The Best Offer

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Vampire Owl :: It is such a gloomy Diwali this year. Nothing to be done. I expect this Halloween to be bad too.

Vampire Bat :: I had my own celebrations though.

Vampire Owl :: Really? And you didn’t call me? After all, I am your only officially undead friend.

Vampire Bat :: It was not arranged by me. There was lightning and almost everything in the living room seemed to be enjoying fireworks. Only the stabilizer is working now.

Vampire Owl :: I would need that stabilizer. I can connect it to my owlifier and hope that it works without loss of energy.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that you often seem to talk like Victor Frankenstein?

Vampire Owl :: Absolutely not. See, you are giving a wrong idea about owlification to the society. This is for their own good, so that they don’t have to face a third world war and a possible extinction.

Vampire Bat :: Have you even read about a world war?

Vampire Owl :: No. Why should I? I read no evil, hear no evil, see no evil. I just create evil – I am an evil mastermind.

Vampire Bat :: I have a movie for you then.

[Grabs of a cup of tea].

What is it about? :: The Best Offer is set in a world of art, where an old expert in art Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) runs an auction house. He is not a loved person around, as he has very few people around him who likes his way of behaviour and most of his life is spent with the desire to illegally gain the possession of very rare and highly valuable pieces of art, unmarried. He is appointed by a young heiress, Claire Ibbetson (Sylvia Hoeks), who asks for his help to auction off a huge collection of antiques and grand pieces of art which has been passed onto her by the family lines. But as Claire suffer from “a strange disease” as the people she knows tell him, or a certain amount of agoraphobia as she keeps herself confined to a room inside the huge mansion. As curiosity keeps getting into him, he hides himself inside the mansion one day to find that she is young and beautiful and sees her in a compromising position. He is immediately attracted to her beauty, and as they come close to each other, there will be the course of something else that will be set in motion.

The defence of The Best Offer :: Here is a movie which never ceases to enchant you with its visual splendour provided by art rather than anything else. There is a lot of beauty in the way in which the whole thing is narrated. Here is a quote which you can take home — “Emotions are like work of art. They can be forged; they seem just like the original but they are forgery. Everything can be fake: joy, pain, hate, illness, recovery… even love” – it tells a lot about the movie and how it connects art and man. Then there is question of truth and happiness, the things that are not found even in the real thing. The performances are splendid too, especially from the two leading characters. It is indeed a fresh take on the mystery genre, and a different entry to the world of romantic thrillers. There is also the abstinence from the usual formula that can be seen on a number of occasions. One can’t also deny the existence of so many angles from which this movie can be viewed from. I see the hollowness of humanity which can create huge artistic forgeries of the mind.

Positives and negatives :: The movie is slow, and it has lots of art associated with it, not really appealing to everyone. It is easy to find such people who don’t care about antiquity in this part of the world as we see our own centuries old monuments being vandalized by people or even those who claim to be lovers to write their names. There is almost no love for art in our lands, not even to the courses related to the same. So, this movie not releasing her was never a surprise, and people are going to find fault with its setting anyway. There will also be people wondering how such a thing in the movie is even possible with the two – but human mind is indeed strange, and emotions are pretty much ridiculous even for the most skilled ones – that much one has to be aware of. Yes, there are some characters who should have developed further and are lost in this seductive battle between the two main characters. It does give a little bit of too much clue to the viewer’s liking too early, but not everyone will pick them.

Performers of the soul :: Geoffrey Rush steals the show right from the beginning, and even by a bigger margin by the end. We don’t have a character here whom we can easily sympathize with, but here the man has completely made us feel for the character and the emotions that he has, even as he is not that much of a positive character, or someone we can cheer for. He is not a hero here, but we are given a chance to admire him as a tragic hero with this performance, and here he is elevated to the status of someone like Doctor Faustus who has the power of knowledge and yet not the wisdom to make things work in the right way. There is a certain beauty about it. Sylvia Hoeks is stunning here, not just by looks, but with a performance which seems to make her a modern day Rapunzel, caught in the hopelessness of the never-ending loneliness in the middle of nowhere, with no escape and less hair, but still extremely beautiful and having all the traits of her gorgeous and mysterious character.

Soul exploration :: Even as the movie’s focus as well as its background are on art and valuable antiques, its soul is on the gorgeous enigma who is at the centre of everything. She is the one to determine the fate of more than one character in the movie, and the universe which was rather static until then, revolves around her and turns it into a romantic mystery and then into a kind of thriller with the world no longer following a pattern. The life based on art becomes the life based on one lady who is like living art in beauty, and the protagonist soon finds his Helen of Troy and seems to wonder like Faustus if it “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships, And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?” – there comes the radical change in the world, and it sets things in motion, as the centre is clearly the mystery that the mysterious beauty provides, and the protagonist comes directly under the influence of this centre, the soul which changes things.

How it finishes :: The Best Offer is lost to most of our people, and it is not even known to most of our viewers. Another fact is that it might not appeal to everyone with a universe of art and a mystery that is built around the same which is hard to connect for a lot of people belonging to the modern world. As it tells the story of two people who are separated from the usual known world in different ways, the focus is on the search of love and the vanity in the hope that there will be the appearance of such a feeling which is so hard to achieve in this world of materialism. The movie talks about the world of love just as the illusion of art, and forgery is possible with ease, even as the best of forgeries might require skills, and it will take more than just the expertise to look through the fake emotions of love and desire, and that should be an objective vision which should be completely absent when the illusion begins to spread through one’s eyes.

Release date: 1st January 2013
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Giuseppe Tornatore
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Sylvia Hoeks, Jim Sturgess, Liya Kebede, Donald Sutherland, Philip Jackson, Dermot Crowley, Kiruna Stamell

thebestoffer

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Asha Black

ashablack (1)

Vampire Owl :: Is she the sister of Jacob Black?

Vampire Bat :: Absolutely not.

Vampire Owl :: Then, is she related to Sirius Black?

Vampire Bat :: I ponder over why you ponder over the name of a movie without making any sense at all. Note the double pondering – you know it is injurious to our vampire brains when not fed enough.

Vampire Owl :: It is because I have become very smart after successfully resisting the urge to watch Bang Bang! – they tried, but I was mentally “owl strong”.

Vampire Bat :: “Owl strong”? What does that even mean? I think that it is racist. I even think that you mentioning black is racist. See, vampire bats are black and you vampire owl is white.

Vampire Owl :: But you are not even brown enough. You should stand under the sun and do the “sun fall on my head” incantation to be even close to be black.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, Fair & Lovely usage among bats is increasing. Soon, they will have white vampire bats. It is all due to seeing the face of Yami Gautam on television during that fairness cream ad and getting addicted.

Vampire Owl :: Holy vampire dragon! White vampire bats? You will look like that cute little white bat from Honduras! Yuck! These fairness creams truly are the greatest brand ambassadors of racism.

Vampire Bat :: Well, can we just call the movie by its Tamil name, Nee Naan Nizhal?

[Goes to the ticket counter].

What is it about? :: We see that there is a series of murders of unrelated men happening in Kuala Lumpur, and the Malaysian police are hoping to find a solution to the same as soon as possible, as the dead are all Indians, and people might soon end up calling it a racist hate crime and would affect the tourism a lot. The man in charge of the investigation is the Assistant Superintendent of Police Anwar Ali (Sarath Kumar), a Tamil Malaysian with a fine track record, and he finds out that these dead people had one common friend with whom they chatted – Asha Black. The other story is about Rohit (Arjun Lal) who is working with a music troupe consisting of his best friends, and is highly attracted to one girl with the nickname Asha Black (Ishita) who sends him a friend request and chats with him so often. As he seems to have almost no interest in his life in India any more, his friends ask him to go to Malaysia and meet the girl of his dreams rather than ruining his life in dreams. But as he reaches Malaysia, he understands more about the girl, and also what all happens around here, and it changes his life.

The defence of Asha Black :: The movie takes charge of a social message here, and it is a bold step by a director doing his first movie. There is complete and absolutely clear success in the way the social message is given to the audience here. The movie’s change from a romantic drama to a dark thriller is also easier, as the somewhat parallel narratives are used a lot in this movie, and this darkness is something that we are perfectly aware of right from the beginning. The way in which certain cartoon-like style is adapted for telling flashback of the mysterious girl is nicely done, and unlike a few other movies which used the same, it works here a lot better as the detail of the illustrations is nice and realistic to the characters. The cinematography is nice, and the theme of the movie has been given a lot of care as it never forgets what it is planning to do with its message, and even as there are things lost, this message is not among them. The characterization also doesn’t falter, and even as some people will question a few characters, I would say that they are the best like that. It even deals with the sensitive stuff like porn and paedophilia without going to the extremes.

The claws of flaw :: The message takes over the movie and becomes better than the movie itself – even as that would mean that the message is better conveyed, it degrades the movie as the work that it is, and sometimes message demands even more from the movie, and thus some scenes are created for further support to the message which gets better in the expense of the visual medium. Yes, that makes the movie slower and having more sequences than it should have, and those which involve our hero’s chat love story is rather too stretched, and the addition of songs doesn’t help much there. The thriller effect goes for a walk there and rarely comes back, as this becomes that drama with a small romantic side. There is a certain slowness rising now and then, even as I wouldn’t go on to call that a drag, as might be necessary to make the end much more effective with an extra emotional touch. The search for Asha Black should have been more detailed and so should have been the investigation, and the mystery around her should have been revealed in a more beautiful and yet emotional way. This could have been more interesting as a movie, no doubt.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has Arjun Lal of Thanmathra fame as the hero, or rather the romantic star of this movie, and he has done a good job, especially in the second half as he challenges more than one thing. There is a long path ahead of him, and this is just a start; a good one. Manoj K. Jayan is good as usual in yet another supporting role here as the man who helps our hero in his quest. Isthita has limited things to do as Asha other than being the symbol which is Asha Black, and she also has done enough. I did wish that Bhagath Manuel had a bigger role, and also had better lines. Sarath Kumar is nicely in control of his role, even as the investigation sequences had more power rather than just moving along. Kottayam Nazeer doesn’t really have his usual funny elements working in this one, and it is a disappointment. Overall, I would say that the performances are neat, but not much to cheer for there. There could have been more, but this is still quite satisfactory.

Soul exploration :: Some people might think that this movie is more of a seminar, but never in any moment that this movie directly goes to that level. What it has is its titular character Asha Black whose profile name completely reflects the darker side of the life that she is forced into, with incidents during her childhood and the lack of care from her parents. At the same time, we see a few others who choose that path because of being part of that generation which doesn’t care for their parents. Belonging to the former group and without hope, Asha Black is the symbol of the youth who are on a darker path due to circumstances, and as online world becomes more of a relief for them, what had followed them in real life comes to them there too, and just like lightning striking with all its speed and might, destroys the whole thing. It is the “black” areas of the internet that the movie focuses on along with the evils paedophilia and porn, and the tale is that of the innocent who is caught in a dilemma with asha or hope to be loved. Its message is powerful, emotional and worthy of being watched by families who don’t care for their kids or fails to watch their actions and instruct them. They are preyed upon by the shades of technology – take care of them!

How it finishes :: Asha Black is not everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t have the flavour that everyone would want to put in their tea, and the result is a possibility of liking or not liking this movie, but nobody can challenge the power of its message which is strong as well as relevant. Coming from a debutante director, it is indeed a wonderful effort, as the movie seems to have tried with all its heart to send the right message to its audience which should hopefully consist of the family, especially the parents and the teenage children. This movie, just like Mummy & Me is a need of the age, and even as this can’t considered that good as that Jeethu Jospeph movie, the message is even stronger in this one. It does have mostly positive and mixed opinions from the audience, but not that much from critics for whom this is just negative or almost mixed, and lets hope that this movie does good enough – it has disappeared from some theatres, and I had to travel far to catch it; hope it stays where it is now, for at least one more week, because it deserves it, and it is out duty appreciate such works for the effort itself its Tamil version is also there, as Nee Naan Nizhal.

Release date: 10th October 2014
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: John Robinson
Starring: Arjun Lal, Bhagath Manuel, Sarath Kumar, Manoj K Jayan, Ishita, Devan, Lakshmipriya, Kottayam Nazeer, Riza Bawa

ashablack

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dracula Untold

draculauntold (3)

Vampire Owl :: Do we need extra horror after Annabelle?

Vampire Bat :: No, its Dracula special. We made a promise to Uncle Dracula. Remember?

Vampire Owl :: But we will end up with an overdose of horror here.

Vampire Bat :: There is nothing like an overdose of horror. It is part of our daily lives. And this one won’t scare us at all, as the genre is different.

Vampire Owl :: I hope we can recommend this to Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat :: We have to watch it whatever happens. It is the only English movie in the local theatres now.

Vampire Owl :: I wish they had released these movies on different dates. This is more of a collision which will damage both these movies.

Vampire Bat :: Only if there was no stupid Bang Bang! last weekend. Annabelle might have come earlier.

Vampire Owl :: See, this Bollywood is the source of all evil.

Vampire Bat :: I have known it since Dhoom 2 and Besharam made me certain about it with enough support from Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The tale of the vampire begins with the man, a prince of Transylvania who is ruling his world in peace as a kingdom giving tribute to the Ottoman Empire. But things change as the Sultan asks for thousand boys from his kingdom as a tribute to be part of their slave army so as to conquer the whole of Europe. Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) cannot agree to his demand, and as requested by his wife Mirena (Sarah Gadon), decides to save the boys from doom as he takes up arms against the huge Turkish army. As he understands the stupidity behind his own decision, climbs a mountain which is supposed to have ancient evil within it, and asks the creature inside the cave which had killed a number of Turkish scouts for help. The creature is actually one of the most evil emperors of all time turned vampire, Caligula (Charles Dance), grants him vampirism for three days during which he will have the vampiric abilities and certain weaknesses, but have to control his thirst for blood; in failing to do so will turn him into a vampire forever.

Positives and Negatives :: Dracula is our favourite vampire, at least for most of us, and here we have an origin tale rather than the usual bloodsucker story. Unlike what some people were expecting, Dracula Untold is not packed with horror – one has to wonder why were people so sure about the same? Even the director himself had said that this was more of a drama with elements of action and adventure. The last battle is a little overdone with vampirism, but other than that, the special effects are amazing, especially the effects of bats, dark clouds, impalings, transformations and the Gothic atmosphere that has been successfully created. May be they could have added more innovation and removed the predictability factor, as we know what would happen to the prince already. There have been many types of vampires and Dracula, and there is Luke Evans. It is he who controls this movie with a brilliant performance. Sarah Gadon is also stunningly good in her character of faith and hope, while Dominic Cooper makes a nice villain.

Soul exploration I :: Dracula, the hero against the empire :: The age of empires does sound awesome as a computer game, but otherwise, it is a bloody case of cruelty and brutal subjugation, which doesn’t end in just a conquest. The case of one country extending its domain over another through war is nothing less than a permanent ill-treatment of a future generation, as what the Ottoman Empire does in this movie is nothing different, and there is no empire on Earth which is not built on the blood of the innocent. Here, Dracula is a man of the people, and even as a prince of his small kingdom, he has known the life of someone worse than a common man, as he was taken by the Turks at his early age to be part of the Janissary – an elite infantry unit made of slaves recruited by the Sultan from the Other. He stands up against the ill-treatment of his people in a desire for equal value of human life. He automatically becomes the symbol against imperialism and brutal power.

Soul exploration II :: Dracula, the superhero of the grey side :: Going back to the origins, our villain is still the hero, who has made one fatal decision which would make him a tragic hero, as he ponders over that question which have haunted Hamlet for such a long time, to be or not be (or to drink or not to drink) as he is caught in those stages of transformation into a vampire where he could be immortal in one of the two ways possible. He is neither good or evil there, and in that situation of the grey, he stumbles upon that incident which would turn him into dark grey. He is a man caught in a world of good and evil, where the grey has no position, or has to forcibly embrace the black, or the evil. Dracula is a man of our age, and we know that he could have survived better if lived a long time after his time of existence, and he was not the hero whom his world deserved. History rarely keeps grey characters as it praises only the victors, but we know that there would have been an abundance of them.

Soul exploration III :: Dracula, the villain of the night and darkness :: Dracula’s situation and his descend in forced upon him, but his voluntary decision to choose what he thought was necessary evil against pure evil would become the ultimate evil in more than one way. He becomes a lot like Faustus by selling his soul to the devil, and another Faustian tragic hero has his roots. But with the scope left for a sequel, and those words “let the games begin” reveal to us that we haven’t seen the final shade of this man to which Luke Evans has given another life. Even in his worst situation, Dracula is just dark grey, and his further passing down to the darkness hasn’t occured, which should not be interesting for a lot of people, but my request for such people would be to wait. Dracula is immortal, and this is just the beginning – you have a lot to look out for, and the ending does seems to connect with the style of the 1992 movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Yes, this is a good re-telling, and not another copy of whatever you see everywhere these days.

How it finishes :: Dracula Untold is not your typical vampire story, and neither is it something that will give you scares every night. Those who wish to see the fangs of terror riding high, as well as those who were hoping for the eternal Twilight style fake love story are going to be disappointed. This was never a horror movie in its core, and this origin story of the greatest vampire of all time, is rather what you can call Dracula Begins, and will work just like Batman Begins as a beginning and a pillar to bring on something like The Dark Knight. This is not a vampire attack tale either, but a preface to the vampire world to which we are to enter. So, if you needed a lot of blood sucking and marks on lots of necks, you would need to check one of those earlier movies which are closer to the Bram Stoker work, rather than going for this. It should be why the word “untold” is added to the title, not to look for those usual bloodsucker tales here. This is highly recommended for the fans of vampire mythology, and I doubt about its effect on normal people; work your intellect and think differently, may be this can work better.

Release date: 10th October 2014
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Gary Shore
Starring: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Samantha Barks, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance, Charlie Cox, William Houston, Ferdinand Kingsley, Noah Huntley, Dilan Gwyn, Zach McGowan, Ronan Vibert, Diarmaid Murtagh, Thor Kristjansson, Joseph Long, Damien Kivlehan

draculauntold

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Annabelle

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Vampire Owl :: This is the day I have been waiting for.

Vampire Bat :: Are you sure this is the movie you waited for?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I am hoping that I can adopt that doll soon. I have also written a letter to the Dracula Castle requesting permission from Uncle Dracula for the same.

Vampire Bat :: You don’t need that doll right now. You are pretty much a scary owl as of now.

Vampire Owl :: No, it is part of my plan to owlify the world. I would need a side-kick, like Robin is to Batman. Otherwise, I know that I am scary and dangerous.

Vampire Bat :: Annabelle doll doesn’t play supporting role. She always does the main role. She is a level five demon, not a level zero vampire.

Vampire Owl :: What? Bad doll. What makes it think that it can get the main role outside movies? Especially when super hero-villains like me are alive?

Vampire Bat :: Because she has pride, and also the rest of those seven deadly sins. It is why she is an evil demonic doll.

Vampire Owl :: I shall rate this movie low.

Vampire Bat :: No, it is me who does the rating, and I choose not for an owlified world.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie has the same beginning as The Conjuring, with people telling the story of a demonic doll. From there, the movie goes to a flashback which shows John (Ward Horton) and Mia Gordon (Annabelle Wallis) expecting the birth of their first child. But they are attacked by a satanic cult which kills their neighbours and causes terror before the cops arrive. Annabelle Higgins (Tree O’Toole), a member of the occult group marks their wall with a symbol and a drop of her blood is left in the eyes of a doll which was in the house. Even as they throw the bloodied doll away, it makes another appearance at the house after a baby is born and they shift the house. They keep it feeling that the doll made its way to the new house during a quick packing and decides to keep it this time. But strange things begin to happen at the new home, and Mia begins to suspect the doll. She contacts the local priest and a detective, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop the terror, or is there a solution?

The defence of Annabelle :: The scares that this movie provides are impressive, just like it was for The Conjuring, even if lesser in a comparison, which should be avoided at each and every moment of this one. There is a very nice creepy environment and chilling atmosphere already created for the thriving of this doll and its scary demons. The way in which the lighting and the darkness are managed can be considered pretty much admirable. The sound effects support the visual horror in an impressive manner. There is one scene when an elevator keeps stopping at one floor full of darkness, and when you think you can avoid this moment by taking the stairs, there is a demon waiting downstairs. There is the moment when a young girl appears and runs towards you and when the door closes and opens, she transforms into something else. There is the bloody guarantee to scare the audience here, and it is something which is not easy to provide. It is time you respect the dolls, and may be after watching this movie, you will.

The claws of flaw :: There are those expectations which make things a lot worse than they really are, and what people expect after watching The Conjuring should be something not less than marvelous, and even as that movie’s fans will surely watch this one, the same has badly affected the opinions which have come out. Considering how much of a big level that movie had left for all the horror movies which were to follow, especially for a flick which claims to be its prequel. Annabelle lags behind The Conjuring with its ideas and the repetition of things that we have seen so many times in our horror watching life, as its plot gets thinner. Even as the end is satisfying, it is rather too predictable and not something that was wanted by those who wanted the evil to end or for the same to thrive. There is no grand success in a pure evil manner, or the end of evil with an exorcism, and also the movie takes a little bit too time to get into full flow of horror and those who are looking for ghosts end up getting restless early itself.

Performers of the soul :: Annabelle Wallis is lovely in her role (with the name of the doll for herself – that’s a nice surprise in the credits section and makes one wonder if it was intentional), but being scared becomes the more important part of her presence, and that indeed seems to work well with her character. Ward Horton and the rest of the cast are left with not much to do, except for a little bit from Alfre Woodard and Tony Amendola. Otherwise, there is not much to do for the actors and actresses, and that is no surprise from a horror movie. Its ddependenceon the performance of its cast is pretty low, as it keeps bringing those moments of terror now and then to minimize the focus on everything else. But the question remains if some more for the acting department would have been good, as this is nothing like The Conjuring, and needed more doses here and there to elevate its status.

Soul exploration :: Annabelle reinforces the faith in the supernatural, and it is always a good thing to have, in a world where people live with the false pride of being everything and believing to the be the centre of the world. Such movies are necessary for the realization that we can’t always know everything, and there will always be things beyond our comprehension. The more we remember about our minuteness, the better the world gets. There might be too many supernatural horror movies which are better than Annabelle, including the two parts of Insidious, Sinister and The Conjuring, and the dolls of Curse of Chucky and Dead Silence surely seems to do better than our demonic doll here. But Annabelle has life of her own, and despite the need to take a few lessons from Chucky, her power as the demonic doll will also stay. Do watch those other two doll movies I mentioned if you missed them. For a review of the former: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/curseofchucky/

How it finishes :: People will obviously want to think low of Annabelle due to the high expectations which haven’t come down even after the bad reviews. A number of reviewers from this part of the world had given even better ratings to below average movies like Pizza just because it was produced by Bollywood – is it how the quality is to be decided? Yes, one has to wonder how such a thing should even happen. Lets not come to any conclusions here though, as there is the certainty that Annabelle scares the audience, and any denial of the same directly takes the viewer with such an opinion into the demonic realm where he or she can join the devil. No, Annabelle is nowhere close to being perfect, and it has its moments of struggles. You can ask for many things extra in this movie, but that it clearly a direct result of your deadly high expectations which had ventured too high and as a result had gone to Mars with Mangalyaan. Just remember that there is chance for another movie between this one and The Conjuring 😀

Release date: 10th October 2014 (India); 3rd October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: John R. Leonetti
Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, Eric Ladin, Ivar Brogger, Tree O’Toole, Keira Daniels, Morganna May

annabelle

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vellimoonga

vellimoonga (1)

Vampire Owl :: I condemn the name of this movie. They are not supposed to name a comedy movie as “the silver owl”.

Vampire Bat :: It says silver owl, not vampire owl or not even night owl. There is no way it can affect you.

Vampire Owl :: But I am still deeply offended.

Vampire Bat :: You were just looking to find a reason to be offended.

Vampire Owl :: Everyone is offended by something or anything all the time, and I choose to follow that path which is the new fashion. I shall still forgive them if the movie is a good one, because I am a generous Vampire Owl.

Vampire Bat :: It has good reviews so far. You could actually not blame a few people this time.

Vampire Owl :: Who are they to judge and review an owl? What do they even know about owls? Are they married to owls?

Vampire Bat :: It is not really the story of an owl. It has humans. What is wrong with you these days?

Vampire Owl :: I stare at the mirror and see only the owlish truth. The absolute truth that only the owls can recognize as true.

Vampire Bat :: This is exactly why zombies eat brains.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Vellimoonga tells the story of a politician Mamachan (Biju Menon) who attempts to reach big heights by being part of political party in the north of India rather than joining a local party and using his local image to become a leader in the locality. He roams around his village, attempting to make a name using his political affliation to the big party of which he is just one of the very few members in the whole state. His best friend and the only other member of the party in that locality is Pachan (Aju Varghese) who helps him in his initiatives, hoping to go to Delhi with him some day. Jose (Tini Tom) is his big political enemy from the left wing. Mamachan who is not married even after his younger brother getting married and having two kids, finally falls of a girl who attends the same church, Lisa (Nikki Galrani), but would face big resistance from her father Vareeth (Siddique) who used to be his rival. How our hero handles the situation becomes the rest of the story.

The defence of Vellimoonga :: The movie’s ability to be a laugh riot cannot be questioned in the most doubtful situations. We come to know that right in the beginning itself. They could ornate this simple plot with nice comic numbers and some interesting twists with serene strength. The script does have enough to extract the performances from the actors and actresses. The visuals are good as the beauty of the rural area is captured nicely and the shots are beautifully adorned. There is no questioning the movie’s propensity for competence even without the presence of any so called superstar or heavy publicity, and for the same, the movie deserves some more applause. The movie could skillfully use its cast to its strength, and could thrive on the abilities of its actors to evoke laughter embedding the right situations here and there and there is also the ultimate realization that it gives to its viewers on how cute and pretty Nikki Galrani actually looks.

The claws of flaw :: Vellimoonga could have surely had a little more logic with some of its proceedings, but that should be a purely subjective opinion as far as a funny movie purely made for fun is concerned, and it does keep some of the same. The songs are just ordinary, nothing really making an impact. There is a little bit of missing in the middle, with the flow getting lost at times, but that can often go unnoticed. A little more care to the plot could have been nice, instead of deviating each situation to bring comedy here and there. A little bit more of the reflections of the major political incidents would have also done this movie more favours. A full swing political satire like Sandhesam could have been here, may be developing what Oru Indian Pranayakadha had also partially shown, sadly that much is not there to be seen. There are also a number of comedy numbers which should have been rather avoided, but may be it caters to a certain group of viewers.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon returns to the big screen as the solo leading character of a movie after a very long time, and it is not just the silver in the name of the movie that he strikes, but it is the gold itself. It was splendid to see how well he captures the mannerisms of his character and gets into the role of a political player with such an ease. Yes, it is Aju Varghese who skillfully supports him and does what he has been doing the best, but there is nothing like Biju Menon leading the comedy train, something he has been doing for such a long time along with his other variety roles. He doesn’t combine with or play second fiddle to Kunchako Boban or Dileep this time as takes things forwards with the support of Aju. This also turns out to be Nikki Galrani’s best ever outing in Malayalam as she is stunningly beautiful and cute like no other actress of these days. Tini Tom also essays an impressive role with ease, and Asif Ali’s extended cameo is likable. It is good to see Anu Joseph in the movies too. Sunil Sukhada and Sasi Kalinga scores with their comic numbers too.

Soul exploration :: Vellimoonga does work as a satire, there is no doubt about it. The movie doesn’t hesitate in making fun of the political situation that is prevalent in the country concerned with unholy alliances between the parties and seat sharing, along with the influence of regional parties. The situations related to politics remain funny throughout the movie, and the personal life of the protagonist and his infatuation towards the girl comes only as a part of the same. The significant thing is that the whole thing is concerned with what happens in one village, something which provides a certain feel-good factor to this movie, as the audience also seems to need such locations. The movie doesn’t give the feeling of drinking some bourgeoisie coffee which is provided by some random machinery, but that of a certain kind of tea which has the flavour of the villages and its hardworking common people.

How it finishes :: Vellimoonga is the winner of the weekend before Gandhi Jayanthi and will carry over its success to the Pooja season – who would have thought that this Biju Menon starrer will be the winner facing bigger movies which released at the same time, or were already in the theatres when it came to the audience? Yes, Biju Menon wins this round with ease, and for giving us this one with all its power, we can thank his versatility as a wonderful actor. Let’s hope that this movie is not lost in mindless remakes coming from Bollywood with the dumb stuff like Bang Bang! We are in need of comedy movies which don’t stoop into buffoonery of any kind, and Vellimoonga guarantees that such movies can exist without superstars with its own existence. May be it will inspire more movies which can come up with some more genuine comedy which won’t make the brains of the audience feel like vegetable noodles.

Release date: 26th September 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jibu Jacob
Starring: Biju Menon, Aju Varghese, Nikki Galrani, Tini Tom, Lena, Asif Ali, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Siddique, Sunil Sukhada, Sasi Kalinga, Kalabhavan Shajon, Anu Joseph, Chembil Ashokan, Shivaji Guruvayoor

vellimoonga!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deliver Us from Evil

deliverusfromevil (1)

Vampire Owl :: You are obviously talking about me.

Vampire Bat :: No, I am not. Why should I talk about you now when I am going to watch a horror movie?

Vampire Owl :: You said “deliver us from evil”. I am evil.

Vampire Bat :: No, you are not evil, not even remotely close to being a bad guy.

Vampire Owl :: But I am bad. Super evil.

Vampire Bat :: Owls are not evil. It is impossible. Bats are evil.

Vampire Owl :: You cannot take my right to be evil. I am going to owlify the world and establish my greatness.

Vampire Bat :: As if that is going to happen. You said you would do it before Mangalyan reached Mars.

Vampire Owl :: Damn. It all happens too fast. These strange space related things are not covered by the vampire newspapers.

Vampire Bat :: I would say that it is more due to your brain’s clock working so slow.

[Gets into the theatre].

What is it about? :: A cop Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) is going through some strange situations, as weird incidents happen in the city, and some of them has almost no reason or solution. A Spanish priest Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) tries to convince the police officer that these incidents have something with it than what meets the eye. There are three former soldiers from Iraq who seems to be involved with the crimes that has occured in the city, and the priest warns Sarchie that it is beyond the human comprehension as there are two types of evil, primary and secondary, and it is only the second about which the humanity can find answers with its ability to understand things in the scientific way. At first, the cop refuses to believe that the three men are possessed, but he might not be able to hold on with that viewpoint for too long, as things go out of control, and it affects even his own relationships with his wife and daughter.

The defence of Deliver Us from Evil :: The scares are surely working, especially with a number of scenes in the basement which brings the best out of horror. The atmosphere is creepy, and is successfully kept that way and the tension is efficiently maintained. The darkness and the rain are two elements that nicely supports the shocks that the movie dares to come up with. The movie nicely manages to stay in control with the blood and gore elements as well as the horror, and this intermediate path which it has taken can make it a safer bet. There is an attempt to explain evil with the need for faith, and there is some skill in the characterization of the two leading characters who go on to fight evil. The moments in the zoo and the basement of a family with a complaint are two very nicely done scenes, invoking terror as well as mystery, and a certainty that there is something yet to come. The cast is also a fine boost for this movie.

The claws of flaw :: The movie needed a lot more explanations about what is happening around with demons possessing people and making them do things, and by passing through the portal into this world from the other dimension, the question would remain about what they achieve other than scaring people and in the process, killing a few. There had to be a plan which isn’t seen anywhere here. A comparison to The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister which comes from the same director is not possible as this belongs to a lower level, and any comparison to The Conjuring is clearly impossible. The movie should have used more special effects, and it could have given a much needed boost to the scary sequences. The end scene is also weaker with a usual exorcism performed in not that powerful manner as it was expected from the way the movie was working with its creatures from the other world. The second half is weaker compared to the first which was an impressive start.

Performers of the soul :: Eric Bana is in full control of things here in one of my favourite performances from him ever. There is something about him that makes him good with this character, and I would guess that his looks and style is pretty much best suited to playing this role. Édgar Ramírez also has left a mark as the new generation priest who has kept himself modern, but has still remained within his priestly world. I remember him mostly as Ares from Wrath of the Titans, and here he seems to fit in better. The prettiest one around, Olivia Munn has an admirable stay, and her character has presence, but she is left is not much to do in a world of demons repelled by one priest and a police officer. Sean Harris as Santino is impressive with his possessions and nicely compliments the horror elements of the movie with his performance. Meanwhile, Joel McHale is also good in his supporting role. Olivia Horton also delivers some terror with her role as the possessed lady.

Soul exploration :: The movie is based on the real life experiences of Ralph Sarchie recorded in his book, Beware the Night also co-written by Lisa Collier Cool. I would guess that it would add to the spookiness and surely has me wishing to read the work some day – it would be difficult to get it here, but there will be a way. The title of the movie is the ending of the Lord’s Prayer. It is that need to be saved from evil that we can see in this movie. There will always be things which are not in our control, and humanity’s minuteness and vulnerability are among those factors which will solidify the same fact. It is a clear thing that we can’t know everything, and no mater how or to whom we pray, there is something that prayer can always do. There is evil in this world, and however we categorize them, there is the need for God’s grace to save ourselves. The free will is there, but it is not the permission to do evil; as there is the presence of sinister forces at work, and only by goodness and faith that one can be redeemed.

How it finishes :: The reviews from critics which were negative, has now improved and the movie has come close to getting a fifty percent, and I would expect it to increase further as the opinions from most of my acquaintances have been quite positive. The other movie of the week happens to be November Man which should have its own audience due to the presence of Pierce Brosnan. Surprisingly, Lucy and The Maze Runner are the movies which stay on to this week, and I wonder more about the former, as it seems to have stayed there so much longer than it was expected to thrive. Deliver Us from Evil should be the movie of the week, and it is going to be replaced by Annabelle as the most awaited horror movie of the year. There is also that expectation for Haider the Hindi contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet along with the seemingly dumb remake of Knight and Day which has been named Bang Bang! which attempts to repeat what Besharam did during last year’s Gandhi Jayanthi. Let’s hope that horror will find a way to thrive!

Release date: 26th September 2014 (India); 2nd July 2014 (US)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Joel McHale, Chris Coy, Olivia Horton, Dorian Missick, Rhona Fox, Valentina Rendón

deliverusfromevill

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.