Mr. Peabody and Sherman

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Every dog has its day :: Mr. Peabody needs a day for himself, just like any other dog (but surely with specs and a bow tie) without that day being called “a dog’s day”. Yes, the other person without the title is the human character who is obviously less intelligent. As the cats have nine lives and continues to dodge death (with the exceptions of our favourite cats who successfully tested the speed of those faster cars on the highway, may be not knowing that eight of the nine lives have ended and it is nearing game over – they should come up with a life bar on the top right corner of the eye or something), the dogs also need a day on which they can use their awesomeness to good use without taking any physical risk that could permanently place them outside the material realm to be devoured by the soul reaver. This is that day for Peabody, a white dog which could have easily been the ruler of the planet on another parallel Earth. As an intelligent creature who doesn’t ask for the nine lives for himself or claim his right to a possible return from the dead in the name of equality, this dog takes us into an adventure which has already been highly rated by the critics and is indeed splendid.

What is it about? :: Mr. Peabody might be not only the smartest dog in the world, but also the most intelligent creature on Earth surpassing all humans with ease. He proved that he was different from the other dogs in the childhood itself, due to which he was never adopted and never had a home as a puppy. So later, he adopted a boy named Sherman instead, only after he gets rich and popular. As Sherman gets into conflict with his classmate, Penny Peterson who tried to the be the “mean girl”, the adoption agency blames it on the behaviour of Peabody who is an animal and they threaten to cancel the adoption. As Penny is invited to their home with her parents to make sure that nothing worse happens, the kids end up in the time machine invented by Peabody which is usually used to teach Sherman history. As Penny gets caught in Ancient Egypt, Peabody and Sherman has to make things right before the space-time continuum is completely destroyed. But for the same, just a random journey to Egypt won’t be enough, that is for sure.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @Ancient Egypt :: Chronologically the first place to be visited, but otherwise the second, the Little King Tut a.k.a Tutankhamun wants force Penny into child marriage to which she has no objection (even with the revelation that his name rhymes with butt) until she comes to know about the wonderful customs of the land from the Vizier. This is a nice little episode (the movie is so short, so it had to be little) which involves them wandering around through the tombs inside The Sphinx and using the statue of Anubis, the god of death to their advantage. There are some nice jokes involving plague, the underworld and the god-kings. This place is the answer to where, when and how the adventures of Peabody and Sherman actually begins. Well, what is the use of a time machine if you haven’t seen the Pyramids in the zenith of its glory? We don’t have the Roman or the Persian Empire at its zenith, at least we got Egypt. Still, there could have been more of the place, and the same can be felt about what is to be mentioned next.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @Greek-Troy War :: The trio lands in the middle of the Greek Trojan war as the result of a crash making it chronologically the second place to be visited, otherwise the final one. The Greeks are ready to avenge the death of Achilles and bring the fight into the city of Troy as they have carefully placed themselves inside the Wooden Horse. Sherman joins King Agamemnon, Odysseus and team in their battle against Troy, but is saved by Peabody before Trojans get to him. One has to admit that Agamemnon is the funniest character of the movie, and as the good guys beating up the enemies, they are lots of fun. From the location map, I was of the impression that this was going to be the Dracula Castle which was not to be. Well, there should be a sequel, we can hope for that. The father-son relationship reaches its climax during this visit and right after that, as a good number of historical figures make a visit to the future.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @Italian Renaissance :: The trio catches up with Leonardo da Vinci during his attempt to paint Mona Lisa and even manages to make the lady smile or rather laugh in the process. Chronologically the third place to be visited and otherwise the second, this visit to Florence is when Sherman finds himself capable of something and he also gets along with Penny even managing to fly the prototype of a flying machine made by da Vinci together. The city of Florence as well as the Florence cathedral looks beautifully created, and the painting scene as well as the flying scene are nicely done. It is obvious that there were so many people in the theatre who knew nothing about Renaissance, it was a cultural movement of the thirteenth and fourteenth century beginning in the Italian states, especially the city of Florence. We were not taught about it in detail in the school history books, but Mr. Peabody will make sure that you won’t forget it that easily.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @French Revolution :: Being at the French Revolution was more of a study trip for Sherman until things get serious. Thus it was the first time travel event to be shown even as it should come last in a chronological order. Caught between the cakes of Marie Antoinette and the call for assassination by Maximilien de Robespierre, Sherman avoids some advice for having cake as Peabody is almost executed in the guillotine before he finds a way out. As he mistakes Reign of Terror which comes with the French Revolution to be just another rain – they seem to struggle to escape, but Peabody does the escape act with ease. Nobody seems to be a match for the talking dog. The significant role which history would play in this movie is evident from this. I would say no history lover can dare to miss this movie, and it can also serve as a very interesting history class for kids, even as the movie might seem to lack logic like any other animated movie along with lacking in total content.

How it finishes :: Mr. Peabody & Sherman is that movie which has prevented Non-Stop from releasing here, and it might not be a good news for many, as it was a much awaited movie especially with Liam Neeson coming back to that path and into that avatar which the fans would like him to follow. Still, it has only lesser shows here at selected multiplexes just like The Lego Movie had if not slightly better. But as it is such a wonderful movie, why would someone ask for anything else? To add to it, this movie releases here a week before it releases in the United States, and that is a twist of fate. Let’s not be fooled by the name of the movie, as it is indeed not good enough to bring people to the big screen. The first impression that came to my mind when I heard the title was not good either. But do not just a movie by its name, especially an animated movie, as they never cease to surprise you, like this one which is the best movie of the year so far – yes better than The Lego Movie too.

Release date: 28th February 2014 (India); 7th March 2014 (US)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Rob Minkoff
Starring (voice): Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Leslie Mann, Stephen Colbert, Allison Janney, Stephen Tobolowsky, Mel Brooks, Stanley Tucci, Patrick Warburton, Lake Bell, Zach Callison, Lauri Fraser, Guillaume Aretos, Dennis Haysbert

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Highway

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The eternal wait :: The one question that I had to ask myself is “On the second day of October, what did the movie Besharam give to me”? It did take away seventy rupees, but I am not talking about that. The answer is a lack of interest in Hindi movies since that Gandhi Jayanthi had come up with terror which had me watch no Hindi movie at all for almost five months (yes, not even on the television). So, it was a necessity that I wait for sometime so that such disaster won’t happen too soon. But there is no denying the fact that I almost watched Jai Ho, but the show was housefull. There are not many movies that have been as hyped as Highway despite having no big male star right in the middle of the story. I always knew that the best thing would be to watch my next Bollywood movie in the form of Highway rather than any other. There have been so much talks about this movie like “what is it going to be?”, “what story will it tell?”, “Alia Bhatt should be so awesome in it, so its a sure watch?”, “isn’t it about Stockholm syndrome?” and so on. The Vampire Bat had heard so much or rather too much about the movie, and he finally decided to fly to the theatre on a motor-bike.

What is it about? :: Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt) is kidnapped just before her wedding as she goes on a night ride with her fiancee trying to keep away the pressures and tension of the big function. She is kidnapped by a group of criminals as they stop at a petrol pump. But as the gang realizes that she is the daughter of a rich and powerful man with links to the government, police and the army, they decide to cancel their plans. But Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda) is not ready to give up as he takes her on a road trip away from the place so that they won’t be tracked. Even as she is initially bound and gagged by them, Veera gets more and more comfortable with her captors, and a bond develops between Mahabir and her. She feels free even as she is a captive, and feels so happy. She even refuses to escape when there is chance and feels that she should be with him for so much longer. She herself says that she doesn’t want the journey to end, as she has no desire to go back or go where the journey ends. But how long till her people finds them and the travel diary is put to a quick end?

The defence of Highway :: Most of the Keralites should remember a pseudo-travel movie with the long name Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and a big drag which begins with about fifteen minutes into it and ends only when the story finishes. Highway is far ahead of that one in almost all aspects, the most important ones being the acting and the visuals. Highway is a visually superior movie with its awesome locations, especially as it has succeeded in capturing the beauty of the paradise which is Kashmir. The beauty of nature becomes more and more joyful to watch as the movie moves on to the latter part of the second half, and it gets stronger and stronger by the time it reaches the end. Its messages of finding oneself and reaching beyond one’s fear are also stronger than ever. It’s use of the two protagonists, a man and woman, both having traumatic childhood works so well to touch our hearts. There is so much honesty in the way these are portrayed too, as there is no addition of stupid masala which makes worthless movies super-hits.

The claws of flaw :: The movie drags a lot, and shows potential to keep dragging. From the beginning itself, the movie seems to make the viewers feel that there is not much to come, even as it is wrong. The character of the lady protagonist is rather too far-fetched to make one believe. She seems rather crazy at times (loosely reminding us of the semi-kidnapped lady protagonist of the Malayalam movie Kilukkam), and her attachment towards a criminal who keeps threatening her comes rather too soon. Except for one or two songs which are okay, the music fails to get the attention of the viewers, and there are times when they come when not needed. There is also the use of other languages or may be variations of Hindi which was rather difficult to follow. There was the need for subtitles at least in it comes rather South. The movie takes one away from any kind of usual entertainment which is usually looked for in such a flick. It won’t give anyone the exaggeration that they might look for in a love story as this keeps that side plain and simple.

Performers of the soul :: Well, most of us won’t identify the faces in the movie other than that of Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt. The former (he is the reason why I lament missing John Day which had only one late night show here – who cares for good thrillers with non-superstars who can act, right?) comes up with a powerful performance of brilliance, even as there are less dialogues for him; we can strongly believe that this portrayal by him will be appreciated. We can surely expect a lot more from him. Alia Bhatt is there as the centre of everything, right from the beginning to the end. Even as there is some struggle, she seems to be custom made for the role, seeming to be in so much ease with her character. There are occasions when one would wonder if she does rather too much or a lot more than needed, but that should have come with the character. It is hard to believe that this is only her second movie, and I had missed her first one, Student of the Year. She remains incredibly cute throughout the movie and makes it impossible for any other actress to come up with a better performance in such a role soon. She is so dynamic and full of energy that just her presence keeps the whole thing working so well.

Soul exploration :: The movie is the story of two people whose lives get connected by just one act of crime, a kidnap. It comes up with a lot of things to think about, and it remains so close to being a movie of the soul even if not there completely. Even as not all of them remain close to the truths about life, it is evident that there is a clear attempt to bring to the scene as much humanity as possible; not without its troubles, not in the absence of the good side, yet not abandoning the darker side which tries to get closer to the human soul with more power than ever before. Stockholm syndrome is explored from one side while it continues to be a travel diary as a whole. There are realizations being made about life, and it changes both the kidnapper and the kidnapped in a journey which goes on for kilometres. As Saint Augustine of Hippo says “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”.

How it finishes :: As the movie for which we have been long waiting for, Highway mostly delivers, thanks to the performances of the leading actors, the visuals and the message that it delivers. Despite the drag and the occasional inability to connect, the movie thrives in simplicity and that humanity which are its own Kraken and Leviathan in the huge ocean of movies this weekend. It’s emptiness is not of the soul, but of the physical world, and that is one void that everyone can afford to avoid. As Robert Frost says, when two roads diverge, you have to choose the one less traveled, and here it is Highway, and even as it might not go as expected, this one makes the difference, and there is no doubt about. But let me tell you, happiness is highly subjective, just like the opinions on this movie seems to be – ask Alia Bhatt’s character in Highway and she reiterates money can’t buy you happiness, or even anything close to that. So, if you are making a choice, think about all these factors mentioned above.

Release date: 21st February 2014
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Randeep Hooda, Alia Bhatt, Saharsh Kumar Shukla, Pradeep Nagar, Durgesh Kumar, Arjun Malhotra

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

RoboCop

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A hybrid in black :: A long time after the release of the 1987 version, here is a reboot which was much talked about. There are times when remakes and reboots do work, like in the case of Dredd, Batman Begins, The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel, but there are times when they don’t. RoboCop might have also wondered about the same, and no wonder they wanted to make this hero black too, and remains so through most of the movie. It has released here two days after the original release in the United States and seems to have attracted less audience even as the title character is rather famous among the masses and the posters are pretty much impressive. The original movie re-telecasted on television might have brought better audience, even as this one might have just managed to keep itself together, but not throughout the whole movie, that is for sure. As the original movie was rather ahead of its times, one would wonder where this one will stand as bigger robots have come and gone in the form of Transformers and Pacific Rim.

What is it about? :: The world has gone on to 2028. OmniCorp is the organization that supplies mechanized soldiers to the United States Army which are used abroad. They wish to use the same inside the United States, but the same doesn’t happen due to Dreyfus Act which prevents it. The CEO of the organization asks a leading scientist to create a soldier who is a combination of man and machine, so that the public will like him and support more machines. As they look for a human who can be merged with the machine, one of the cops Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured by a bomb blast. As his wife, Clara (Abbie Cornish) approves the same to see him live, he is chosen as the RoboCop. The control of the human side is kept to the minimum so that his decisions are more accurate and without being shadowed by human emotions which could weaken his reliability. The question remains if the man or the machine wins in the end, and whether he can have revenge on the people who tried to kill him as well as those who wishes to control him.

The defence of RoboCop :: So RoboCop rides on the fame of a movie which was more popular than even those movies which had big stars in 1987. Being Alexander James Murphy and newest model from OCP Crime Prevention Unit of Detroit Police Department, this guy has been a popular hero for quite a long time. The idea of a cyborg, half-man and half-machine was a crowd favourite. This movie works on that solid grounds, and therefore this movie does starts with certain good score. There are lots of action sequences in store for such a character, and this movie also has the same, but mostly about shooting people. Along with the cyborg, the other robots are also nicely done. The robot versus drones training fight remains the best shooting sequence in the movie. The movie tries again and again to bring more and more thoughts into the process, including humanity, machines and souls, and it makes more and more efforts to keep the emotional side powerful.

The claws of flaw :: The movie can’t really use this emotional side to its advantage, as it is so much caught between it’s confusion about the major character being a man or robot, and in the process, often forgets that the viewers are human, or mostly belonging to that particular species which is supposed to be intellectually superior. RoboCop tries to live on the hype of the original, and in the process, ends up being too less of an entity which can be something which belongs to this age. To add to it, some fight sequences are horribly uninteresting. Then Iran seems to be occupied by the United States and RoboCop is made in China. There is also a television programme which is rather boring for the common viewer. Whenever there is too much deviation from the core of a movie like this, which should have been action, there was to be struggle, and RoboCop is caught in that problem which it has brought upon itself with repetition of the “emotion” stuff, as it gets overdone.

How it works :: Joel Kinnaman does well as the protagonist of the movie. One has to appreciate his presence as the cyborg right from that moment he wakes up inside that suit which is himself. Abbie Cornish is also nice; and I have seen her only in Sucker Punch before. There are lots of good moments provided by the cast, and the movie certainly has its own style. RoboCop seems to be doing better than the 2012 remake of Dredd for now, but I would say that the latter is one of the best reboots ever, even as RoboCop will surely collect more money than the same. Both works on almost the same platform, in a futuristic world full of crime, but RoboCop has the advantage of its hybrid character, and it is what sells, no matter how better Dredd really is. Unlike the original movie, this one isn’t really clear, as it seems to wonder what it is going to convey to the audience. It could have used a lot of updates which any robot should have with that advancement in technology.

Soul exploration :: As RoboCop is the latest victim to Hollywood’s desire to remake movies, there is surely a lot more than what meets the eye. There is a certain amount of satire in it, about the millionaire corporate greed and the prejudice of media, even as they rarely strike hard enough. There is lot of weakness in the idea. The audience expectation of an action movie is fulfilled only on occasions, as the robot police doesn’t get into the field until the second half. There is a lot of slowness related to the first half due to this, but one can spend that time thinking about what is to come and which part of this new breed of police will take over. The movie repeats what one would have always thought about the original law enforcer cyborg, and somewhat adds to the questions which were already there. But the answers are rather not clear in this case. May be it is because the movie wonders about its genre, but it fails to make its point clear as it has another television show in the end which continues what it had been saying.

How it finishes :: RoboCop doesn’t finish that strong as expected from the trailer. There was almost no scene which evoked any good response from the audience in the theatre. It was as if everyone in there was dead; there is always something to cheer for in almost every Hollywood action movie, but not in this one. When it tries too much in order to touch the foreign policy of the United States, capitalism, imperialism, media lies, human tendency towards corruption, terrorism, violence, modern tenchnology with side-effects and all things possible, with no particular care for one, there is rather too much of mess in an action movie which people are expecting. May be it had stuck to one or two things and used more interesting action sequences, with a better link between the audience and the human side of the robot, this would have been better. For now, it is just another okay movie which manages to hold on.

Release date: 14th February 2014 (India); 12th February 2014 (USA)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: José Padilha
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Lego Movie

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The Lego animation :: We all know Lego bricks, don’t we? Those interlocking plastic brick-like things were part of our childhood, and most of us did build a lot of things with them – one of our first teachers of creativity and imagination. Even as they came in many colours, the one I remember the most is blue, and I wonder how that comes to mind often; may be I broke most of the pieces of other colour, who knows? I had them strong until Hasbro came into my life with G.I. Joe. Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes and Daestro took over at that time. But where did my Lego go? I have to admit that I no longer knew anything about it, and I guess it passed on to my younger cousin brothers and sisters, and I had completely forgotten about the same until I came across the trailer of this movie; yes the Lego people were back, stronger than ever, and they had Batman and Wonder Woman for support. The toys had win hearts, and this was the time of the movies – lets see how they fare.

What is it about? :: Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) is a wizard and one of the master-builders of the Lego universe, but he fails to stop Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from taking over a superweapon Kragle. He still tells the villain about the prophecy about a special person who will stop his villainy. Years later, an ordinary construction worker Emmet (Chris Pratt) accidently finds “Piece of Resistance” which can stop Lord Business. As Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) captures him, he is rescued by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) who takes him to another world where Vitruvius lives. As the wizard tries to make him imagine and create something like a master-builder, they find out that his creativity is zero, and he needs an instruction manual to create anything. The other master-builders, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Dumbledore, Shakespeare, Gandalf, Dracula, Green Lantern, Pirate Metal Beard and rest of the team are very much unimpressed by him as he makes a hopeless speech and shows his lack of creativity. But as time is less, they have to work together to find a way to stop the Lord before using the weapon. Can they do it?

The defence of The Lego Movie :: This is one of the funniest animated movies of the decade. even as one might wonder if Lego qualifies as animation. Their use of superhero characters is hilarious, and how they managed to bring them into the story is very nice, especially Batman. There is Batman saying “I only work in black. And sometimes, very, very dark gray” and Superman saying “I super hate you” to the Green Lantern. The Wonder Woman is not left behind in fun either, and Metal Beard jumps in like Blackbeard might have did. Uni-Kitty’s attempts to be happy and positive is another thing to watch out for. Even Abraham Lincoln and Michelangelo joins. There are dialogues like “Come with me if you want to not die” parodying The Terminator. I would still prefer Frozen any day, that is for sure. It is nice how a few other worlds are added to the original city of Lord Business, involving Wild West as well as Castles and Dragons settings.

The claws of flaw :: The 3D was totally unnecessary, not only is it ineffective, but it doesn’t suit this kind of toyline animation. It worked well with movies like Frozen and a good number of such titles, but when used with this, it is not effective, in my opinion. There could have also been an even better use of these characters, with our vampire guy and the Shakespeare guy given a better due. I didn’t like the way in which its central theme was exaggerated again and again, even as it was nice in the beginning. This is also too much of a common story, about a normal guy trying to save the world, even as the superheroes fails to do the same – for the same, the movie preaches a lot, and keeps saying that everyone is so special and shouldn’t go according to the rules. Looking at a whole world made of Lego looks fresh in the beginning, but keeps losing its charm. Its connection with the real world is interesting, but is still too weird or rather a little too unnecessary, but that worked, no doubt about it.

How it works :: There might be the usual misconception that a movie which shows so much of a toy-line can’t be that good. Now, that might still be valid even after the success of this movie. A major question might be about what they can come up with such a toyline which is all about construction; what can one bring out of Simcity? But here is the idea that changed that thought. Here is something that rivals the over-hyped animated movies like Brave. The voices are nice, and other than the two main characters, there is some really interesting stuff from Liam Neeson as Bad Cop/Good Cop with that split personality, and Alison Brie as Uni-Kitty. Will Ferrell as Lord Business is another nice villain performance, just like he did with the voice in Megamind. Channing Tatum has a very short time as Superman, but that’s pretty nice too. Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius even comes back as a ghost, and that was a nice surprise. All the voice actors seem to become the character they were embodying.

Soul exploration :: The movie tells that everyone is special and there is the need to nurture the imaginations and show creativity rather than just follow the instructions. It comes up with he idea that almost anyone can make a difference, no matter how much immature or inexperienced that person is. Now, that sounds nice, but when it is completely against that order which works against chaos, there is a little bit loss of trust. It fails to set a limit to that imagination, and it is only in a perfect world under the best circumstances that such things can happen in the right way. Otherwise, instructions can always be helpful, no matter how much they are hated or opposed to prevent people from following them. The movie also doesn’t really come up on top when thinking about being special or adding more imagination, as it could have definitely used more as it neared the end. The end doesn’t justify the nice beginning, as there is the ordinary stuff that fills the finish.

How it finishes :: As we can see from the reviews all around, The Lego Movie finishes strong in the theatre. We should wait very long to meet someone who didn’t like this movie. As an animated movie, it is difficult to find errors from this movie, and almost everyone who have ever played with a Lego toy will like this one a lot, and this one also mostly applies to the rest. From what the year has to offer, this might be the best animated movie of the year. It surely has a colder reception here though, as there are not many screens showing the movie, and the maximum of about three shows or something among so many theatres and multiplexes, with not many viewers either. But it is indeed going on to become a global success, and it can surely stay in the top grossing movies of the year for some time. I can only be glad that this didn’t become one of those movies which didn’t release here, as there are so many movies of other languages which have occupied the screen at this time.

Release date: 7th February 2014
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Starring (voice): Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Om Shanti Oshana

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The type of movies: There have been so many “types” of movies in 2014 with just one month of the year over. Even as love has been the repetitive theme in most of them, there have been lot of difference in the type of love which were portrayed in them, and one has to admit that London Bridge had the best love story among them; but the year has only started and the other significant release was just the badly received Salala Mobiles. There was also a movie 1983 which clearly said that no kind of love, including the love towards one’s lover, siblings, parents or wife is important or significant at any moment, as all of them can be abandoned and each can be disrespected just for pure selfishness and enjoyment based on a random sport called cricket. Now, here comes Om Shanti Oshana which actually has another cute and funny love story in store for you. Yes, we watched it First Day First Show, and we were actually planning to do this when we watched 1983 last week – but this time, we could actually watch it and finally be happy about watching a Malayalam movie FDFS after a long time, for the last Malayalam flick I last watched early morning on the first day was Olipporu.

What is Om Shanti Oshana about? :: Exactly a week after our First Day First Show hopes were derailed by that strange flick which was 1983, we made the attempt again, this time with Om Shanthi Oshana. The movie tells the story Pooja Mathew (from her perspective), as she lives her life riding motorbikes and hating anything about cooking. As her cousin sister Julie Francis gets married to man whom she think is not good-looking enough, she feels that she should find the right man before her parents get her married to a rich man giving a lot of dowry. Even as she feels that she should be interested in a good-looking boy Yardley Avaran whose father and her father belongs to the same profession and are of the same financial status, she falls for another man, Giri Madhavan who is a kung-fu master, a farmer, a social worker and a former communist after seeing him on a few occasions. Even as she is aware of the difference in social status and religion, she decides to go after him. She makes more and more opportunities for them to get closer, but he doesn’t seem to be in a mood. But she doesn’t give up, can she?

The defence of Om Shanti Oshana :: The attempt of this movie to tell the story of love completely from a girl’s perspective is kind of new in Malayalam movie, and the way in which they have done it here has to be applauded (even the cupid in the movie poster is female). The movie has a lot of funny scenes, especially involving Nazriya and her dreams and affection for his dream man. Her love for motorbikes and movies add to it. The movie is more funny throughout, and there is nothing really sad happening – even a heart attack is told in such a way that it ends up funny. The youth should like it, that is for sure. The movie actually moves in its path with relative ease, as it is a road which has been traveled and repaired regularly in a different way. Well, this is actually that simple story which has been powered by some good direction by Jude Anthany Joseph. The movie’s use of old songs, old movies and old incidents is another nice addition. There is absolutely no dull moment in this movie. The song “Kaattu Mooliyo” is sweet or rather cute, and “Mandaarame” is also fine, but might not stand well enough without the funny visuals.

The claws of flaw :: The movie takes the usual path, even as the roles are reversed. You might have heard such a story in reverse so many times. It also comes with nothing like big surprise in the climax, except for, may be small, but beautiful add-ons. This is actually the inverse of Thattathin Marayathu when the boy was looking for a way to gain the girl’s love, but here, it is the girl who is after the boy. If the boy was dreaming about the girl and looking for ways to get to him in that movie, here the girl has a lot of plans going on about gaining the boy’s attention and love. It is a cliche which has been put in reverse gear an allowed to roll down a hill. It is an innovate stereotype in Malayalam movies, but is still the same. For this kind of a story, there is the need for exaggerated events which lack logic, even this necessity is still kept within the limits here. You can also feel that some of the scenes are repetitive, and a few incidents should be dealt with more seriousness. But this is how it should work, because this is how it has turned out to be, if there is any doubt about the same, ask the crowd!

Performers of the soul :: The whole movie is Nazriya-centered, as if she becomes the sun and the rest are planets. Nazriya Nazim has her best ever performance in this movie, even as there is doubt created at times. The whole universe of the movie has her at the centre, right from the moment her character is born. Her Pooja Mathew is not just another girl, as her best friends always tend to be different from her. She rides a motorbike, detests cooking and has her way in doing things which makes her parents feel that she should have been a boy. As she appears almost every minute in the camera due to the narrator being herself, there was a lot dependent on her performance, and she has delivered indeed. Even as her earlier release of the year, Salala Mobiles failed to impress, she has made a fine comeback here. She has come a long way since her debut as the leading actress in Maad Dad. Lets hope that it will only get better for her as the date of her marriage to the most versatile young star in Malayalam movie industry gets near. This is one of those rare movies in which the leading lady gets so much attention, and I am sure everyone loves that it is Nazriya who is the centre of attraction.

Other performers :: Nivin Pauly as Giri Madhavan gives a powerful performance standing on the other side, as he becomes the one to be wooed unlike what usually happens, and what had been shown in Thattathin Marayathu. He is a socialist, master of martial arts and a humble farmer, the three faces of one man which he performs to perfection. He received claps almost throughout the movie for his portrayal. Renji Panicker did a nice job, in a role which would have been usually done by Lalu Alex (remember Chocolate, Niram and many others). Aju Varghese as David Kanjani does his third best funny role after Malarvadi Arts Club and Thattathin Marayathu. He has a strong comic existence which keeps coming again and again as he plays a kind of fraud character. You have to love how they used the sequence of war just to show what kind of thing he did to his trusted friend. Vineeth Srinivasan has a minor role as Dr. Prasad Varkey, but still one which received claps and affected the story in a special way – almost the same can be said about the role of Lal Jose up-to an extent.

How it finishes :: The movie finishes strong enough, but not as powerful as how it began. The first half is surely superior to the second. It never has any troubled waters to travel, as the path is set through a controlled body of water; therefore it goes on and on with no challenges. It’s success is not a mystery though, as we know how much people have been waiting for this one. Even as we had gone for the early show, it was almost full and we just managed to get the tickets. Nivin Pauly’s movies always had something to cheer about and he is becoming more and more the crowd favourite, same being the case of Nazriya. There is going to be the rush of youth in the weekend, and as this is rather a clean movie with no bad language or anything, this should enjoy the same success of Thattathin Marayathu if not better, unless some big movie comes up, gets rave reviews and capture the screens.

Release date: 7th February 2014
Running time: 140 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Nazriya Nazim, Aju Varghese, Vineeth Srinivasan, Renji Panicker, Vinaya Prasad, Akshaya Premnath, Oshein Mertil, Harikrishnan, Lal Jose

Om Shanti Oshana copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

London Bridge

londonbrdg

Malayalam movies in 2014 :: This year hasn’t started really well for me, as I don’t think that any movie from Kerala in 2014 has been even average, may be because of that extending the limits by Drishyam, but with London Bridge, there is a some comeback. I do have to warn you in advance that it is a love story, but not your usual romantic love story – the romance factor is not the point here, and what takes over is humanity or rather compassion and goodness in its most innocent form. So, if you are expecting too much of intimate scenes and the dialogues professing eternal love, you are going to be disappointed. But the love in this movie still manages to be more genuine than what was seen in most of the love stories, especially those repetitive romantic love tales of the same kind. This love might look kind of ordinary, but there is so much going through the background, a flurry of emotions which takes one’s heart by storm, and it is clear that even nature comes in just to help and leave after taking a bow. Why wouldn’t gaia wish to contribute when it can see the loss of mankind’s loss of inherent evil? If there is another movie to which this one can be connected, that should be Diamond Necklace – you will know!

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of Vijay Das (Prithviraj Sukumaran), a promising young businessman in the city of London who after starting off in a student visa has made it big with the help of his mentor Francis (Mukesh). As he runs a number of shops and money lending business, and in his path, Vijay comes face to face with a huge business tycoon CS Nambiar (Prathap Pothen), one of the richest Keralites in the United Kingdom. Even as they start off against each other in the beginning, Nambiar is impressed by the ambitions and hardwork of his fellow Malayali, decides that he will be a nice choice for his daughter Pavithra Nambiar (Andrea Jeremiah) who is determined to be a social worker and is not interested in marriage. As Vijay works on Nambiar’s instructions and attempts to please Pavithra, he comes to know that she is interested only in art, literature and charity works, while he is always after money. He struggles to keep with her, but as Vijay’s car hits Merin Elsa John (Nanditha Raj), he finds a chance. Merin has just come to the country and is just about to start her job as a nurse when this ends up in he hospital – she is regularly visited by Vijay to show his compassion to Pavithra who starts falling for him, but Merin also starts developing feelings for him, which he also develops.

The defence of London Bridge :: I am sure that a lots of people will be asking me to this, after watching this or while reading the other reviews. Yes, I am going to start by admiring this movie for its assertion of compassion and goodness. One can’t avoid the emotional power of the movie either. There are simply good-looking people and breath-taking scenery – I have never seen the beauty of England and Scotland being captured in this manner. There is the countryside at its best and also London, especially the London Bridge, Big Ben, Tower of London and London Eye. There are also the support of some brilliant shots which help the movie. It creates an incredible amount of nostalgia in me, related to my last visit to the United Kingdom. I know my brethren will be having nostalgia about many things, but this is one completely belonging to me, and increasing my desire to visit the place again; may be there was something that I left unfinished. The movie should make the United Kingdom tourism proud, especially the countryside and London in the way in which they are portrayed. This will remain one of the most visually stunning movies as far as capturing nature is concerned. Now you know why William Wordsworth and company had to write poems; how could they not see such beauty while being such visionaries?

The claws of flaw :: London Bridge doesn’t try to be different with its script, as it goes on and on with what the audience has known for quite a long time. There are dialogues which doesn’t really like to pick up, and there moments which were to be awesome, but remains ordinary. The movie drags a bit, and it can make the audience looking for entertainment asking for more, especially as this movie lacks exaggeration of any kind with its good length. There is no creation of a romantic world for these three people and the romance might look kind of weak from the outside. There are simple human emotions, fear, compassion, love, pain and frustration; even if it is quite normal to have these in a normal way, most people are not going to like it, that is for sure. This might also be my favourite movie from this director who has touched a new area, but I know there are skeptics who will disagree. They might feel that this is not “cinematic” enough, but I would disagree as usual. I am a person who love to agree to disagree when it comes to movies, so you should know. It needed some polishing that is for sure, still there is a typical flow and the movie can do a Hobbit-dwarves-barrel-escape, as it is pushed into the river of love and emotions powered by humanity. May be they could do better with a few wood-elves with nice archery skills, especially as this is such a competitive world that hitting the bulls-eye is so important (unless you wish to be devoured by impatient entertainment-orcs).

Performers of the soul :: The performance department is led by Prithviraj Sukumaran who fits into his role with ease. The transformation that his character has, and the variation that happens to his attitude as well as his relationship with others are admirable; especially from a heartless businessman to the man with the golden heart. He has once again rightly chosen not to be a superhuman character, but a normal human. Nanditha Raj as Merin is one of the most lovable characters ever, and with a stunning cuteness, she has done her agonized character so much life that, her eyes and expressions tell the story better than the words. I would be surprised if anyone would be cuter in a role such as this. But she is still never a weak character as she holds on to life without giving up or asking for favours, and never does she cease to care or be good. One has to love that change in expression when she comes to know that he is the one who hit her, and that was a nice sweet moment. She’s most impressive in those moments of sadness, and incredibly cute in those moments of happiness. Merin Elsa John is a character in pain from the moment she is introduced to us, but there is always a certain amount of innocence associated with her which touches our heart, and the way she finds cute smiles between tears and agony is wonderful success to Nanditha’s debut in Malayalam. She makes us feel for Merin each and every moment like a needle piercing through out hearts, and you have to say that the teeth adds to that innocence!

Other performers :: I have to say that I was also touched by the performance of Andrea Jeremiah which is second only to Nanditha. There has always been something mysterious about her, and the way she deals with Pavithra is worth mentioning anywhere. Her character as the rich heiress to a huge business should have been the exact opposite of our other lady character, but she develops something more of her own, and actually surprises us in a pleasant manner, right in the beginning and particularly in the end. She comes up with something by the end which gives this movie an extra emotional boost. I didn’t like her in Annayum Rasoolum, but not this time. Prathap K. Pothan has a strong role to play, as his character is special, and different from what you usually see with such a character, a rich businessman looking to marry off his daughter. Sunil Sukhada catches the attention with his character and Lena Abhilash has a very good presence as Gracy which is boosted by her own performance. Mukesh contributes as he always does, and it is nice how he fits into such characters. Yes, they all did well and it made me feel very good in the end, I was happy when it finished, and the performance of each of them made sure that I was with them, that is for sure. The songs are nice performers too, especially “Kannadi Vaathil” and “Venmegham”; while “Ennum Ninne Orkkanayullil” is cute and “Chinni Chinni” is fine. They look the best with the visuals.

How it finishes :: I am recommending London Bridge for anyone who likes to watch a feel-good movie and not some random glorification of anything, whether it is cricket, violence or sex. The credit of the same goes to our three leading actors, the superstar who accepted the role of a normal guy in an ordinary movies, and the two leading actresses, one giving life to an innocent girl from Thiruvalla and the other to a true humanist and charity worker who is more alive than anyone else. The movie is strong at soul, even as it displays its strengths so less due to its execution problems. Its ends up telling us that we will know the importance of someone in our life only when we feel that we are going to loose them. Prithviraj and Nanditha makes us feel it, so much more and more as the movie progresses to the end. But I would like to add that this is not that much for mindless entertainment; this is for serenity, and this is a tribute to that love which is not based on lust and infatuation, as we see in most of the other love stories. Thank you Anil C. Menon, for this perfect cast, and it is the best thing, along with the incredibly beautiful visuals of the United Kingdom and the feeling that it leaves us with. It makes me wish to go to the British Isles again, and re-create my time there. The flaws might be many, but the pain is perfect and it strikes as it touches your good side as long as it exists! I would also ask the viewers to keep away from the usual conventions about a love story, as it is not how this works!

Release date: 1st February 2014
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Anil C. Menon
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Andrea Jeremiah, Nanditha Raj, Prathap K. Pothan, Mukesh, Sunil Sukhada, Lena Abhilash, Amritha Anil

londonbridge copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.