Mr. Fraud

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The Heist Stuff :: The heist movies have always managed to keep us interested (the Bollywood ones not included), and among them, I would rate The Italian Job as the best, followed by many others, including Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, along with Tower Heist and The Art of the Steal, even Fast Five turning into a Rio Heist making one believe that heist was a kind of new successful genre to explore. Even Bollywood had The Italian Job remade as Players, and it was only a matter of time until Malayalam movie industry also came up with a heist movie, and it comes from B. Unikrishnan with Mohanlal in the lead, and it was called Mr. Fraud – quite a negative name for a heist movie (may be it is named from the point of view of the victims). There will be the genuine question about why these heist films are so popular. I would say that people are having more tendency to take risks, and it is basic human nature to desire for something that someone else has, and it is the envy that takes over – at that moment combined by the risk plus desire/envy, the robbery becoming the wonderful art of steal and there begins the world of heist movies. These movies usually have many twists, innovations and the robber is usually portrayed as the good or better person.

What is it about? :: The centre of attraction is Bhaiji or Mr. Fraud (Mohanlal), the man with many names and many faces, none of them real or revealed. He is a man who commits heists against impossible odds with the help of his assistants Abbas (Vijay Babu) and Priya (Manjari Phadnis) as well as special electronic gadgets. After stealing from the dowry of a billionaire’s daughter, they are ready for one final mission to end all heists, and it includes stealing the treasure from the basement of one of the old palaces which is kept there due to a dispute between two parties and a petition to make them public. The two rivals, the two sons and their sons and daughters are waiting for an opportunity to pounce on the treasure and claim the whole of it as Bhaiji comes in between disguised as the evaluator of the treasure. Inspector Sajan (Sai Kumar) also comes the scene hoping to make some profit out of it and takes over as the head of security. In the middle of hatred and discomfort that prevails in the palace, can the man of disguises steal what he has come there to steal or will he lose his way?

The defence of Mr. Fraud :: How many real heist movies do we see in Malayalam movie industry? The other one concerning robbery was Robinhood which was really dumb and that movie had absolutely nothing, and we surely can’t bring Lokpal to the equation when talking about movies which are above average, even as there was the movies like Gangster which won’t stand a chance in front of even Lokpal. This need has been answered by Mr. Fraud which has enough heist moments, along with that idea which is in the centre. Even as it is not anywhere near those awesome heist movies that we watch in Hollywood, this one has managed to do the stuff in the same style, but weaker in content and execution. The movie, even as it has limited thrills, is never boring – that is a new considering how difficult it has been not to bore the audience. They have also managed to come up with a superior first half and nice early second half. The cast is also superb and most of them have played their characters with beauty. The movie hasn’t tried anything too much, it seemed to attempt and be a decent one, with mediocre elements and that is what is has managed to achieve.

The claws of flaw :: Mr. Fraud has had mostly negative or average reviews from the audience, and it has created a clear doubt when the memories of Lokpal comes to the mind. The biggest problem of the movie is that it is not sure about its own genre, and it deviates from its purpose more than once, adding too much emotions. The protagonist also doesn’t become the true fraud that he is supposed to be, not justifying the title – he is not even the exact opposite here. Some of the characters are not fully developed with so many of them there just for the sake of existing there under the shadow of doubt, and the ending is forced. The movie might seem to lose its steam during the climax, and all the action scenes which don’t involve the heists are quite bad, with the superhero side and slow motion taking over, but that is only about a few scenes. The superhero should have remained under or may be on par with the actor when we consider this movie. The background score often gets irritating and so do the songs which jump out of nowhere and the audience has to ask who let them out when they were not really needed.

Performers of the soul :: This is one of the triumvirate movies of Mohanlal which are expected to score big and release soon enough – Koothara, Peruchaazhi and this one, all three expected to be special for one reason or the other, and Mr. Fraud is the first one to reach the theatre despite so many delays. If I had to choose one among them earlier, I would have chosen Koothara to be the better one. This had to be his movie as it is, and from the family man role to this one, he runs the show as usual, and the good thing is that this doesn’t go to that level of Sagar Alias Jacky and there is the limit under control. His looks are nice and keeps things cool. Manjari Phadnis is there for the looks, but surely has her short moments, and Mia also got so much less to do even as she does that without any significant problems. Vijay Babu never gets to do a lot, but Siddique and Sai Kumar excel in the supporting roles as both are there in the roles which they have perfected before. Suresh Krishna in a bigger role would have been nice though, as the situation seemed to suit him, but that was not to be. Characterization, come up with more power next time!

Soul exploration :: There is the need for heist, and even Inception was about heist, wasn’t it? They were the ones who stole ideas, and planting an idea is just the same as stealing one, as one idea is lost while another one takes its place. Mission: Impossible also had its heists going through. Fast Five was a better heist movie than many of the full-time heist movies. So when the bogeyman steals our dreams and convert them into nightmares, isn’t he also a man who is part of this art? Can he be considered one of the first and the most efficient heist artists of all time? Even as it is nowhere near any of the mentioned, Mr. Fraud steals, and performs that operation well. For most of the people though, heist is an adventure, and in the case of such a ride, it has to be entertaining and having a better motive than just to steal. Heist is usually considered different from the usual robbery, and that word is often used positively, thanks to the heist films. The ambiguity remains in this movie too, if it is right to steal under any circumstance or not to; who is evil and who has the fountain of goodness flowing through? Well, the characters in movies like Big B was not with any goodness, and considering that people supported the main characters, the ones in heist movies are much better. Only if this wasn’t that mediocre, we could have come to a conclusion.

How it finishes :: Mr. Fraud is not as bad as some people might suggest, and a comparison to Lokpal is kind of ridiculous and the question of it being better than Gangster is answered with only one sentence – Gangster was the worst movie of the year, challenged only by Salaala Mobiles. It is brought down only by the hype it created, and by being mediocre. Well, Mr. Fraud has its advantages in the theatre, the most important one being the postponement of Bangalore Days which has such a multi-starrer cast that can bring every other movie down – How Old are You will hold onto its place for quite a long time as the family audience have taken it into hearts, and this position that Mr. Fraud was about to lose will be there for at least one week as Bangalore Days has been on a postpone-spree which might or might not end on the upcoming Friday. Kochadiiyaan is not creating the impact that it should have, and Heropanti is running low, so the only challenge that Malayalam movies have is from the English movies, but none of them can replace these movies in content, and they are miles apart in what they come up with, all three Hollywood movies in the theatre dealing with superheroes and super-monsters not really attracting the families.

Release date: 17th May 2014
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: B. Unnikrishnan
Starring: Mohanlal, Mia George, Manjari Phadnis, Vijay Babu, Pallavi Purohit, Dev Gill, Siddique, Sai Kumar, Vijayakumar, Rahul Madhav, P. Balachandran, Devan, Suresh Krishna, Rajeev Parameshwar, V.K. Sreeraman, Kalasala Babu, Sathaar, Balachandran Chullikkadu, Biju Pappan, Ashvin Matthew, Balaji, Amritha Anil

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Days of Future Past

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The X-Men Legend :: The legend of X-Men starts in the theatre with the 2000 movie X-Men, made better by X2: X-Men United later, and undoubtedly ruined by X-Men Last Stand with whatever they managed to do with just one mutant character, Jean Grey. That was supposed to be the ending of X-Men watching for me, and there the director had changed, but the one who director the first two X-Men movies are now back with X-Men: Days of the Future Past. X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: First Class were really good and the latter was rather an impressive flashback to the origin of the first mutants with a nice background of the Cold War, while The Wolverine was a little bit of let down even as it can still be considered okay enough under most of the circumstances. With this franchise from Marvel, we get a movie which has been around with more than nine out of ten rating in imdb and ninety four percent critical rating in rotten tomatoes, something which not many superhero movies could achieve. So this was indeed a movie not to be missed, and a even my delay of one day was depressing for me.

What is it about? :: The story goes quite some way into the future, as there are non-metallic robots which are hunting the mutants as a result of years of human research to find a solution to the mutant existence. At the same time, the robots have also managed to go beyond its instructions oppressing the humans as they are the source of mutants coming into existence later. As Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) has the ability to project a person’s consciousness back to the past and warn others, a group of mutants surivive, including Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Blink (Fan Bingbing), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), Bishop (Omar Sy) and Kitty herself. As they are pretty sure that they will be caught soon, they decide to use Kitty’s ability to send Wolverine back to 1973 to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from murdering Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) who invents the robot assassins whose idea and a captured Mystique’s DNA will be used to create the killing machines in the future as the dead man becomes a sort of martyr. So, can Wolverine do well enough?

The defence of X-Men: Days of the Future Past :: The beauty of this movie is how it has managed to work on its story with its powerful connection to the other X-Men movies, and as this is set in the future, this has a little bit to relate to every other movie of the franchise, especially X2: X-Men United, X-Men: Last Stand and X-Men: First Class. The whole thing is nicely managed here without causing any disruption to all that have already been established in those previous movies. Even with the lesser amount of action sequences, they have done what all were there very nicely, with the robots fighting the mutants, a battle which could have used a little more smartness, but they are visual treats even if one-sided for the most part. The presence of the character Quicksilver is a boost too even when limited to one fight. The movie gets on with its world quite fast too, making sure that the boredom that can cause by explaining about the characters is not there, and if there is the need to know more, the viewers can watch the other X-Men movies. Now, with the time space continuum altered, may be some of the incidents of the movie never happened or might not happen, may be that can give scope for a difference sequence of events in upcoming X-Men movies.

The claws of flaw :: The 3D makes an attempt to prove itself unnecessary as the movie progresses; the positive side was only in the beginning with the credits. The movie also drags in the middle, with a lot of dialogues rather wasted. The thrills that is supposed to be there from the beginning works at a weaker level through the movie, as there is not enough action in between to support it. Except for the action in the beginning and the end related to the robots where the mutants lose in all cases, there is no real impressive battle except for a little Magneto trick and Quicksilver show. The special effects should have been used better and there should have been lots of action, but they have sacrificed those elements just to add some drama. Still, it is not different from most of the usual superhero movies, especially the X-Men related ones. The characters don’t seem to get into the situation much, and there is rather too much confusion between them. This one should tried to bring more thrills and action from the material that they had, and in the case of mutants, they should have put their powers to use more frequently and efficiently, but that is not there. Then they decided to get rid of Quicksilver who scored so well, and that is a shame.

Performers of the soul :: If someone has to be applauded from his first appearance to the last, it has to be Michael Fassbender, as he is the one who stands out in this movie, making his character the one to look out for. James McAvoy has his moments, but this younger version of Professor is rather impressive only in moments. Jennifer Lawrence shines as the unique mutant Mystique and it was great to watch whenever she was there, but the question would remain if there could have been more in a movie which is based on her and the whole thing is dependent on her actions. Hugh Jackman is once again the Wolverine with style, but this version is rather passive, without that recklessness and anger that we identify the character with, and that was disappointing. Seriously, why would the Wolverine be not aggressive? It is a shame that Anna Paquin’s Rogue was just a cameo, she was one of my favourites with Nightcrawler who is again missing. Evan Peters’ Quicksilver might impress more than many other mutants in just the few minutes that he is present while Nicholas Hoult’s Beast becomes less significant. Meanwhile, Ellen Page and the rest of the mutants of the future present has limited presence compared to those of the past.

Soul exploration :: The movie continues to deal with the basic mutant problem with the human fear for the unknown and the alienation of the other that follows. The end-point of all of these is holocaust, by exaggeration of things which might seem to project the possible extinction with more power than ever. Once again Trask Industries becomes what Stark Industries wasn’t in The Avengers and related movies, being the dark force of science and technology against the one that powered Iron Man. Just with words re-arranged, this industry once again asks the familiar question for those essays at school – “technology: boon or bane?” I thought they were finished with that, but this question might always remain with the technology being an advantage only for the rich and the need to go to space rather than saving Earth. The questions that should be evoked might be about the results of changing the past. It is impossible to change it, but even if it is changed, how will the future respond? Are some things always supposed to happen, no matter how hard we try to change it? Yes, everything seemed to work well by the end of the movie, but how can we be sure about that until a sequel comes to light?

How it finishes :: This franchise might have finished with X-Men 3: The Last Stand, but it didn’t, and came up with two successful origin movies for its most popular character and also created another success without him in the form of X-Men: First Class. The movie also leaves the franchise with endless possibilities to go towards many directions. The destruction of a timeline or rather the disruption of the same can effectively trigger a reboot or many other movies in between. It might seem like a risk, but there are lots of things that it can achieve for a superhero franchise. You might wish to finish watching the other movies of the franchise before watching this one. Then there is always the presence of someone like Jennifer Lawrence who transforms not just like Mystique, but also like Katniss Everdeen becoming Raven – now the question remains, will this change of the past which makes her not an assassin land her somewhere else than not with Magneto? May be with X-Men or as a neutral? How surprising can it be if she is also part of that same school of Professor X? There is a lot to expect from another X-Men movie, that is for sure.

Release date: 23rd May 2014
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Evan Peters, Fan Bingbing, Adam Canto, Lucas Till, Booboo Stewart, Josh Helman, Mark Camacho, Evan Jonigkeit, Gregg Lowe

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godzilla

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From W.B. Yeats’ The Second Coming
“The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
The first thing that came to my mind while looking at that Godzilla poster was this poem, and not Pacific Rim or that movie of the same name from 1998. The same was rather justified by watching the movie, as there was something special about this creature this time, and the deviation from the master of destruction which it was supposed to be, is something which adds more mystery to the same. The mystery about the beast which is mentioned in this poem has kept me thinking throughout my studies of English Literature, and now there is the monster, Godzilla who comes up with the element of mystery and surprise.

What is it about? :: Getting out of that 1919 poem by the Irish poet and coming back to our present scenario, the movie begins with some film reels involving atomic explosion and a huge creature partially rising from under the water. The story belongs to Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) though, a military officer specialized in bomb disposal married to his beautiful wife and a nurse wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen), having one son. When his father Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is arrested in Japan for trespassing into a quarantined area, he travels there and gets him out of prison, only to join him in the mission to find how his mother died at the same place long ago. But as they get inside the area, they find out that there is actually nothing like the radiation at a place when a nuclear disaster had taken place, and it is not quarantined to save people, but to hide a huge secret which can change the future of mankind forever. The secret will soon be revealed inside a secret complex area, but as it comes to light, there might actually be no real hope for humanity. There will be chaos and destruction unleashed on the world as monsters awaken, and the beginning of all this was years ago.

The defence of Godzilla :: I can’t remember much from the 1998 movie, but from what I can recollect, this is surely a big improvement. Well, as I was a kid at that time, it wouldn’t have been of much use if I had an opinion at that time too. Well, this Godzilla is different, and a big change is that the humanity is not really fighting Godzilla this time, even as there is no denial of confrontations and rockets fired, with destruction caused. Now, that should be a surprise, and the number of monstrous entities should be more than you expect. Unlike Pacific Rim, the movie also has a dark style and there is the more powerful terror element at work. The creatures are designed to look terrifying, and they serve their purpose as they become harbingers of death and destruction with their size and lethal power. There is absolutely nothing funny about their presence or the whole movie as it keeps the seriousness and the atmosphere of horror throughout, between great action supported by the special effects and background score. It is a nice introduction that has been given to the younger audience about this monster who hasn’t graved the screen for sometime. They goes on with the story really well, and there is a lot of suspense built around what is happening around.

The claws of flaw :: Godzilla has released after Pacific Rim; it is not much of a flaw as both deals with the monsters in a different way, but that should hurt a bit for the audience. If this had come before Pacific Rim, that might have actually helped both movies. This should still gross more than the 2013 monster-robot extravaganza, thanks to the title referring to the king of monsters, already running houseful here. There is also no denying a certain amount of slow start to the things unlike Pacific Rim which pounces directly into the action scene. The human characters don’t really impress, and there is no dialogue which will cause an adrenaline rush. The nature-related theme is not fully explored, and this could have actually had a message about the need to preserve environment and get rid of the nuclear warheads. There is a certain amount of uncertainty on what the director was actually planning to bring to the audience; Pacific Rim was certain about it, but not this movie. If it had focused better on the human characters or kept the focus completely on the creatures, this surely would have worked even better. After all, everybody wants to see the giant creatures on the big screen.

Performers of the soul :: Our main hero is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and it seems to work on most occasions except for a few when he turns wooden. One would still feel that the character has come alive just because there was the need for a hero in this movie. Elizabeth Olsen plays the less explored character of his wife and doesn’t get much attention; neither should be anything memorable. They will be seen together as siblings, or the super-powered evil twins in The Avengers 2 as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; she played a character attracted to her father in Oldboy – she surely is having a strange combination of characters to play; but unlike Oldboy, she has almost nothing to do that actually affects the movie here, and that should be a let down. The rest of the cast also has very less to do, as this is the world of the monsters where humans become spectators most of the time, and even when they are doing something, the effects are minimal. Even as the monsters come quite late, this slow and steady sacrifice of human characters start very early in the movie and goes on to the end. Well, the monsters need to scare and kill a lot of people, so there is that purpose.

Soul exploration :: The movie shows Godzilla as a force of nature, something that is beyond humans to stop, but the same can also be said about the other creatures. The fact that these creatures feed on radiation is something to be noted. Thus the movie is indirectly a message against the problem that the nuclear power can cause, and the creatures of radiation are rather the symbols of the evil that can be brought upon the current society by the development of science and technology which have been used in such a manner that it makes things convenient, but not better. Godzilla is referred to as a force of nature (that reminds me of what an article called the cricketers Virender Sehwag, Adam Gilchrist and Shahid Afridi a long time ago), and he becomes that force of nature which will bring balance on Earth, whether its enemies are other creatures or the human beings themselves. Well, Godzilla is nothing like the other two creatures which belong to one species, one being the smaller male with wings and the other being the bigger female, stronger without wings. The force of nature is rather the great equalizer, which makes its own choices and takes sides. That is what makes this monster so different and gives the viewers so much to look forward to. Yes, men think that they can control nature with science, but it is indeed the other way around!

How it finishes :: We were given two Malayalam movies with big stars this weekend in the form of How Old Are You and Mr. Fraud and it is a big decision to choose this one over them, but that won’t be too difficult at many places as they would be already booked. The crowd for Godzilla assures the success of the movie, but also makes sure that the two movies I mentioned are already houseful. Godzilla might have lesser audience in the weekdays, but seems to be good enough to stay above par. If you liked Pacific Rim, you will surely like this one too, and the degree of the liking shall depend on what you need, a light action thriller with style or a dark horror thriller with action, Godzilla fitting to the latter detail. Lets take some time to spare some time for these creatures from the depths of Earth, not just the alpha predator which is Godzilla, but the other two mentioned as MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism)! Yet there is one more thing to remember, and that is about the minuteness of humanity against the universe and its secrets, and lets not consider science and technology as the greatest achievement of humanity; it is rather the respect of the fellow humans, environment and the other creatures that should interest us.

Release date: 16th May 2014
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal

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Vampire Owl [Looking at the Son of God poster] : Mosa, horse, fish, sea…is this a Biblical story?

Vampire Bat: It is not Moses’ Malayalam version, it is Mosa…”Sa” as in Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly. The Son of God poster is from last week, it doesn’t show at the theatres any more.

Vampire Owl: So what do you think a title like Horse-fishes of Mosa would mean?

Vampire Bat: Hmmm…may be they use fishes as horses, or horses as sea-food?

Vampire Owl: Or may be a man named Mosa eats both the horse and the fish, or eats fish on a horse?

Vampire Bat: May be the actors are the horses and actresses are fish or fishy.

Vampire Owl: So much for the movie names.

Vampire Bat: And some people said they preferred Malayalam titles for Malayalam movies. This should make them happy.

[Gets the eighty rupee tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of two men, Alex (Asif Ali) and Akbar Ali (Sunny Wayne) who meets under strange circumstances. Alex is the son of a rich land owner and planter at Pambady, Kottayam. He is born as the fourteenth kid in the family as his father Kuriachan (Nedumudi Venu) wanted one more son than his predecessor who had thirteen. Alex lives in a huge house, but is isolated as his brothers and sisters are too much older than him, and soon he is left with his father alone, after his mother dies and the others move away. As his father also dies, he moves to Cochin to do his Master degree, but spends time wasting money. But, thanks to his best friend who cheats him, he ends up in jail from where he keeps making attempts to escape. His last effort is successful, thanks to the help of Akbar who also escapes from the jail. As one of the sons of his brethren is the jail warden, he is convinced to go back to jail with his name is among a number of people to be released on the Independence Day. But he has to bring Akbar back with him, but for that, he will have to follow him all the way to the Lackshadweep Islands. He meets Deena (Janani Iyer) who agrees to help him, but he is now in the centre of a love story featuring Akbar and Isa (Swati Reddy).

The defence of Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal :: The best thing about the movie is its wonderful visuals, and its success in capturing the beauty of Lakshadweep Islands, the sea and the underwater world with such skill. This is actually a big advertisement for Lakshadweep if it works well at the box-office. We also have to admire how they turned such a simple story into a nice watch with a philosophy. Unlike pseudo-travel movies like Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi which tries to pretend that it has a philosophy and still provides the audience with a kind of protagonist who never really changes or even becomes more of himself, Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal rejects the opportunity to be a machine spreading more and more lies through a journey. Our movie is more of a travel movie with bildungsroman elements which attempt to look into the human nature through incidents of different worlds joined together. The protagonists are left changed by the end, thanks to what they experience here. This is an adventure with a certain amount of romance and small doses of thrills. The background score is also interesting, but the songs are ordinary. One also has to admire the leading actors for their performances.

The claws of flaw :: Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal is not a movie for everyone, and I can dare to think that it might not interest a good number of common movie watchers, and as you already know, the name itself arouses curiosity, but keeps people think too many times before watching this movie. The movie’s drag comes as another problem, even as compared to a movie like Annayum Rasoolum, this is a Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4, and to Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, this is a McLaren F1. Even as this is many times a better love story than Annayum Rasoolum, but the intensity of the feeling of love remains just the motive when it could have been part of the theme. The love between Alex and Deena is something seemingly possible only in the end and also revealed before the credits roll. Meanwhile, the same between Akbar and Isa is hidden not by the lady’s veil, but by her own selfishness that she admits, and this proof for inherent selfishness that cruise through the human mind at high speeds, weakens the romantic side, and a resurrection of love detained by selfishness raises from the ashes only by the end. There is no denying the fact that a better plot and an energized romantic side could have done this movie a lot of favour.

Performers of the soul :: This is one of the best performances from Asif Ali, and one can easily feel that it is more his movie, as he is the one who narrates, and for the first forty five minutes, none of the four leading actors/actresses are introduced other than him. He single-handedly makes sure that the first half is quite fun, and one also has to love his style of narration. The funny side is also handled well by him. Sunny Wayne makes his entrance after the first forty five minutes, and shares the burden. The story changes to his life and his world, which he handles quite well. But that character that we follows and relates with will still be that of Asif Ali’s Alex who guides us through this adventure. Janani Iyer is cute here, and plays a wonderful character in this movie, but is there for only a short time, a case of sudden disappearance as if her concern ends spontaneously, and her next presence is only in the final scene. But this Deena, is one lovable character that she plays, and even graces us with some words of wisdom along with that charming smile. Swati Reddy looks kind of uncomfortable with this role and also with the looks, but manages to survive as Isa. May be she could have done Deena better than she has performed as Isa, but one can’t be sure.

Soul exploration :: Coming back to name of the movie, the word “mosa” means huge sea waves (credit to the newspapers who ended that doubt) and “kuthira meenukal” even as it is literally translated into “horse-fish” means swordfish (again newspapers to the rescue) in local language. It is said that this kind of fish, predatory in nature, happens to be very selfish, and they are equated to the characters of the movie (no, I haven’t met any of these creatures personally to test the selfishness factor; thought selfish went better with shellfish :D). Both of our heroes as well as Isa remains selfish throughout the movie, mostly due to their circumstances, the only exception being Deena whose words reflect on Alex during the climax scene, and he realizes that even as he made a mockery of her earlier, what she said was more closer to the truth than anything that he had ever said. The random act of kindness that brought to Alex the ability to make others happy without him ever knowing, and that too for the first time in life, would change his life forever, along with that of Akbar. After going on a different path, we can see that Alex asks a bribe-demanding police officer who is also his relative, if he has eaten swordfish, a question which he asks not only to the corrupt officials, but also to a generation powered by selfish motives. So, this movie transforms the swordfish that is seen dancing on the waves of life, back to what could be goldfish, something which occurs in the mind.

How it finishes :: Here is somthing to gather more attention – the cinematography of this movie is handled by the same person who did it for Amen which was praised for the same reason (Abinandhan Ramanujam). There are some movies which turns out to be entertainers, and there are others which end up as classics. But Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal doesn’t really belong anywhere, and even with a certain inability to gather attention, this movie has to be applauded for the different approach that it takes. This visual philosophical spectacle needed something more in the script. Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal is a flawed gem, and its flaws often make us less interested, but it is still a refreshing journey, and also that movie which will make you think about going the the Lakshadweep Islands. But do keep this in mind – this is not the movie that everyone deserves, and it is just this movie that deserves its limited audience! You look for change, and you look for some difference instead of entertainment, and here is a movie which is pretty good in doing something like that. The movie seems to be receiving mixed reviews, and a possible failure of Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal will only make sure that the time of mindless entertainers will begin again. And yes, lets not be even half-a-swordfish 😀

Release date: 1st May 2014
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Ajith Pillai
Starring: Asif Ali, Sunny Wayne, Janani Iyer, Swati Reddy, Nedumudi Venu, Nishanth Sagar, Jijoy, Jojo Mala, Chemban Vinod, P. Balachandran

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Law Point

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That point to be noted :: There are some movies which come silently and go unnoticed. This was going to be the case of Law Point as it didn’t release in a good number of local theatres where even The Amazing Spider-Man 2 released, and that comes as a big surprise considering the fact that a Kunchako Boban – Namitha Pramod pairing has some good scope to attract audience, not just the fans of Kunchako, since Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum. Now, where is that much needed hype which should have been present here at least a little bit? A movie which released in silence and went on to become a big hit was Memories, but that belonged to another class, and also to a director who had never known to have evaded victory, and the creator of greatest hit of all time in Malayalam (Drishyam), Jeethu Joseph. Meanwhile, this one comes from Lijin Jose who directed the 2012 movie Friday. It was a fine movie, no matter how some of the audience might have rated it, and it surely gave the viewers a lot to think about. Now, thinking isn’t what most of the fan-boys do these days right? If they do that, they would never be the minions of actors, but a lot above that with their own individuality. Friday had given us a director who could innovate well in his directorial debut, and it is on that same director that I trust while watching this movie.

What is it about? :: Sathya (Kunchako Boban) is a brilliant lawyer who has the ability to do wonders at the court, and spends most of his time taking the cases of big-shots and saving them from the crimes which they have committed. He is proud and shows more interest in money than anything else. After saving a rape-accused, Kuriyachan (Suraj Vencharamoodu) from the law, a millionaire named Ramakrishnan (Nedumudi Venu) comes to meet him and asks his help to get his son out of trouble. The son was in a big problem as his girlfriend tried to commit suicide as he refused to marry her and they were going to file a case against him according to the last letter that she had written. Sathya agrees to become a mediator and solve the case for which he is going to get rupees twenty lakhs and the girl’s family is going to get a crore rupees. Even as her father Philippos (Joy Matthew) seems to agree a bit, the girl Maya (Namitha Pramod) is not ready to agree. Therefore, Sathya asks her to come with him for a ride in his Volvo, to which she agrees as she has been spending too much time locked in her house. As the simple ride gets longer than expected, a lot more comes out of it, and sooner or later, it will change the life of Sathya with a twist.

The defence of Law Point :: Whatever is expected from Law Point, it has nothing to do with them, as it is not really a courtroom drama, suspense thriller or action romance or a mixture of any two of these combined in another combination. There is nothing about the court and neither is there much to justify its title. The movie chooses to be different and go in a path which might not be unexplored, but which is not expected to follow with such a cast and settings. The beginning setting is just the base for what is to be revealed in the end, and the whole thing that happens between works just to connect and make things interesting. The visuals are nicely captured, most of the best ones around Vagamon and the surrounding areas. The background music is nice (despite reminding of the Yuvvh music by the end), and the songs as well as their picturization are nice. The movie is very short for a Malayalam flick, lasting just above an hour and forty five minutes, and that makes sure that this becomes more of a fast food for the movie watchers. As the other Malayalam movies except 7th Day which has released since Vishu haven’t managed to work, Law Point might just work well with some audience with its points.

The claws of flaw :: The movie comes up with good drag in between, especially the time close to the interval, sometime before and after that. By the time the interval is reached, people might be left a little confused about where the movie is heading, as it doesn’t reach an interesting position by then. The first aim of the movie should have been to keep the viewers interested, but that is not the first preference here. The end might actually destroy the purpose of a lot of things which happen in the middle, but for others, there is good reason in the end. The end twist should have had a little more punch, and the lack of the dark side makes this one end up with a feel-good effect, but that won’t satisfy those with different expectations. The dark themes remain absent even as they threaten to come up in the beginning. The impact is less, and the movie ends when the viewers expect a little more twist or some addition to the romantic side or even a change of character from the protagonist who seems to remain the same proud young man with that over-confidence still failing to disappear.

Performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban has a nice introduction, and comes up with a nice performance as the young lawyer even as he has just one scene in the court and the rest are all outside. He plays that kind of a proud and confident advocate who thinks that he can even save the devil himself if in trouble and he is that damn smart. His negative shade is nice, but kept under control throughout the movie. Then there is Namitha Pramod with her best performance ever, as she carries that character on her shoulder beautifully. There are times when one wonders if the middle period of the movie is meant to prove that she is pretty, something which doesn’t need any proof as far as any viewer is concerned. She looks better than ever, and her acting graces her beauty so well. They form a nice hit pair, second only to, may be the Nivin Pauly – Nazriya Nazim pair. Suraj Venjaramoodu has only the initial scenes, and there are the funnier scenes around. Meanwhile, Joy Mathew’s role is nice as usual.

Soul exploration :: Law Point plays a twisted game, something which looks rather plain in the first half, but it is not, as proven later. But this game of twists remain faithful to the lighter side. The centre of this movie is a suicide attempt. Yes, suicide is a punishable offence in India, and that is re-asserted in the movie. There have been something about repealing the same, but not active yet. Yes, the one who attempts to commit suicide and fails in the same is not just the victim, but also guilty in the eyes of the law. Here, that is often repeated in talking about the victimization, the culprit and the two sides of the same law, the only law point which keeps moving through the movie. Is it right to have the depressed suffer again just because he or she made the wrong choice at that moment of extreme emotions? As our lady protagonist asks, hasn’t everyone thought about committing suicide at some point of their lives? Still, isn’t each individual life so important that suicide is a sin? But there is that nice game that is being played, and after that twist, we come to know that all’s well that ends well.

How it finishes :: The current situation is favourable to Law Point, considering what else are the Indian movies running in the theatres released in the last few weeks. The movie needed a lot more publicity as well as a few additions here and there which could have made it complete. There is a lot that such popularity can do to this type of movies. I searched for its Facebook page and was disappointed not to find one, but found information about its release and other stuff from the official pages of the leading actors. It is a sure watch for the fans of both Kunchako Boban and Namitha Pramod. Kunchako has been a minimum guarantee star, and with Polytechnic and this one, he is coming back to the form slowly but steadily. Namitha’s success story has continued well so far, and even the lesser appreciated Puthiya Theerangal was a nice one, something which I can certify with ease. There is shortage of action and there are no real thrills, but the movie’s twists can pull it up from any trouble that it causes to the viewers.

Release date: 1st May 2014
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Lijin Jose
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Namitha Pramod, Joy Mathew, Nedumudi Venu, Praveena, Devan, Suraj Venjaramoodu, KPAC Lalitha, Kalabhavan Prajod, Shari, P. Balachandran, S. V. Krishna Shankar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Amazing Spider-Man II

the amazing spidey

Vampire Owl: How can they release the movie on a Thursday? That too a Spider-Man movie which releases in the United States on Friday?

Vampire Bat: Because it is International Worker’s Day and Spider-Man is part of the working class, not the rich bourgeois class like Batman or Iron Man and neither is he an alien like He-Man, Superman or Thor. You remember he used to deliver pizza on an awesome moped when he was Tobey Maguire with Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. And he is amazing as you can guess from the title.

Vampire Owl: So he thinks that he is amazing. I wonder how much? Does that make the movie automatically amazing? And that former trilogy of Spider-Man, it was not amazing enough?

Vampire Bat: He should think that he is more amazing than most of the other amazing superheroes, just like my dead cat, until it chose to go Neo and play Matrix in front of a Tata Safari. Let’s check for that “amazing” thingy right now, and make sure that he is not just a vain hybrid like many others. So we are having onion uthappam today?

Vampire Owl: That would call for lunch before or after movie?

Vampire Bat: Now, that is a clearly amazing question, as far as there is no spider in the lunch.

[Wing-rides to the multiplex].

What is it about? :: Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is trying to balance his life as both himself and Spider-Man as he tries to save the world, spend time with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) along with searching for the secret behind the death of his parents. As our hero keeps reminding himself of the promise he made to Gwen’s father, he keeps breaking up with her, sometimes she herself breaking up with him as he keeps talking about what her father said. Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to the city to see his dying father Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) who tells him that the disease is hereditary and he has been struggling to extend his life. As Harry takes over as the new CEO of his father’s business, OsCorp, he keeps trying to find a way to cure his disease. He finds that Spider-Man’s blood may give him a chance as he can heal himself pretty fast. He asks Peter to help him finding Spider-Man to which he says that he will try, but later shows up as Spider-Man to say no as he was unsure of what the results would be. Meanwhile Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an employee of OsCorp falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels making him a walking electric generator, but is captured by Spider-Man as he creates chaos in the city. It seems that both Harry and Max now has one spider enemy – and the battle begins.

The defence of The Amazing Spider-Man II :: The movie has Spider-Man on a mission to save the city as well as his love life. He does that in style here. The shots of Spider-Man swinging around the city and then his battle with Electro are breath-taking not just for the sequences, but also for the environment. The camera work is stunning and everything looks so awesome in 3D or truly amazing to fit the title. There is that scene when Electro uses his special power of electricity on everything around him, and Spider-Man goes on to make sure that everyone around remains safe by flying through the air and shooting webs all around him. There is also that battle against the fully powered Electro who uses his power in such a destructive manner that Spider-Man’s moves looks so impressive as the world of electricity around him which seems to recreate its own beauty beyond destruction on the screen in 3D. How often do you see such beautiful devastation and a battle which is so much electrifying not just in the sequence, but also visually? Where else can you get a superhero so selfless and gives so much hope unlike some of the others who seems to get the viewers further into darkness and the absence of hope?

Claws of flaw :: Despite being the best Spider-Man ever, the movie also deals with the usual stereotypes, as the villain falls into genetically mutated trouble yet again, and transforms into something special from the nobody that he used to be. He often reminds one of Megamind‘s Tighten with his desire to be noticed. He is too much of a Mr. Nobody in the beginning, a lot more than what can be taken. His powers are rather too much, and his evil side is a little half-baked. The Green Goblin gets very less screen time too, an Harry Osborn doesn’t shine and only leaves us with potential to be awesome in the sequel. OsCorp becomes more of the opposite of the Stark Industries here. The final scene also seems to have been forced for the inception of Mary Jane Watson into the franchise. The plot’s other side which involves Peter’s dead parents are also a little over-used. I won’t say that this affects the movie much, and the negative reviews only reflect the critics’ horrible inability to enjoy this movie, and one can never attribute it as the flaw of this movie. How can someone see the special effects and 3D of this movie and give a positive review with them only? The negative reviews are rather a case of shame.

Performers of the soul :: Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and Peter Parker does a fantastic role in the multiple personalities, and let nobody fool you about this superhero’s two-sided coin of a world. I would say that no other superhero’s alter ego is that powerful as Spider-Man can claim. Nobody has this much conflicts in the real life, which should be why heroes like Iron Man can live without a secret identity, and money makes it easy for him and Batman. This is where someone like Andrew Garfield does so well to suit, and forms a nice pair with Emma Stone who is there stronger than in the first movie. She becomes Spidey’s first true love like nobody can deny it. She has quite much to do, and powerfully contributes in saving the day as well as the movie. I would have preferred her with black or brown hair, but Gwen was supposed to have the golden one. Jamie Foxx comes up in different avatars, as he transforms from a Spidey fan to an attention seeking villain who wishes to get rid of his competition on television. Dane DeHaan is no James Franco, but he has given us hope of coming up as the arch-nemesis of this Spidey, like Jim Moriarty is to Sherlock Holmes and Joker is to Batman. He might not get that many claps, but gives us enough hope to bring a lot in a possible sequel – for this one is evil, and evil mind has just began to work.

Soul exploration :: Among all the superheroes, Spider-Man has been the most human, despite Iron Man and Batman claiming to have no real superpowers except for the help of superior scientific equipment and remaining closer to humanity. But what does Spider-Man give us? He was that superhero who gave us the best line to quote from a superhero movie not bothering the situation – “With great power. comes great responsibility”. There is no denying that Batman as the Dark Knight took off with so much style, and even his villains, Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and Joker (Heath Ledger) made that powerful impact that no other super-villains could make. But there is something about Spidey, and it is that his villains have always remained powerful than him, and even with his superpowers, he is at disadvantage, and being the younger of the group, he also has to deal with more troubles, as he struggles to make his living. There is no other superhero who has his alter ego in that much troubles as he would have as a superhero. Yet, his battles are more interesting to watch than that of any other superhero, and there is the success of Marvel. He is the common man’s superhero. Yes, the verdict is that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is amazing, no matter how fan-boys will try to degrade it.

How it finishes :: As Peter Parker says “Everyday I wake up knowing that no matter how many lives I protect, no matter how many people call me a hero, someone even more powerful could change everything”. But there is always another side to it, and for that, there is the graduation speech of Gwen Stacy. But some critics are still caught in the web of The Dark Knight, and refuses to come out. No disrespect to The Dark Knight, but it is a shame to think that it is the only great superhero movie, and there comes the fan-boys with an extra-terrestrial ability to overrate that franchise. It is high time they step out of it, or stupid Bollywood superhero movies like Krrish 3 will copy from Hollywood and make some complete retarded stuff, pay for positive reviews and create new record at the box-office. It is worthless to ask, but one has to wonder how someone can like Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 3 more than this one? That was proved again with the positive reviews for one of the dumbest movies of all time, Noah. Or may be they have a case of arachnophobia, but I would give them the advice to take this movie as something which can take that fear out of them, use this to bring some love for the creatures, at least the smaller ones with no venom. Now, if it will overtake Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier as the highest grossing movie of the year is a question worth asking.

Release date: 1st May 2014 (India); 2nd May 2014 (US)
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Marton Csokas, Louis Cancelmi, Max Charles, Chris Cooper, B. J. Novak, Denis Leary

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.