Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

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Vampire Owl :: This is obviously a movie about the Lich Queen.

Vampire Bat :: What? I am pretty much confident that you have got it wrong.

Vampire Owl :: I am talking about the last part of this title.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, the Lich Queen hasn’t been dying for that long; she was always the undead, and it was one of the quickest transformations ever.

Vampire Owl :: Okay, that guess didn’t work that well.

Vampire Bat :: And you can’t even find out the last time Lich Queen was a girl; that was like thousands of years ago.

Vampire Owl :: So, she really belong to the “old is gold” category.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that when this movie premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, there was a standing ovation?

Vampire Owl :: How can I know? I wasn’t there at that time.

Vampire Bat :: Just watch the movie, will you?

[Gets three cups of tea with jackfruit chips].

What is it about? :: Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) goes through the high school without any real friend, and being just okay with every group of people around him. With people around him divided into groups, he just maintains friendly relationships with everyone and manages to go around being kind of invisible. The only one person who is close to being called a friend is Earl (RJ Cyler) with whom he had been making weird short-films parodying various popular movie titles. He has a crush on a girl at the high school, Madison (Katherine C. Hughes). He doesn’t have a high opinion about himself, and wishes to go on unnoticed; but things change when one of the girls at the same high school, Rachel Kushner (Olivia Cooke) is diagnosed with blood cancer.

So what happens next? :: As his parents (Nick Offerman and Connie Britton) force him to go out with her and provide some confidence in this time of need, he decides to just go – his words about him not knowing her enough goes through into deaf ears. Both of them don’t really like the company of each other, but they get along later, and Earl also joins their team. The two decide to make a movie dedicated to her according to a suggestion made by Madison, but falls short of ideas while her disease gets worse very fast and she decides not to fight this situation anymore. Most of the schoolwork just go ignored too. So, what will happen to this doomed friendship? Does Rachel survive, or will she at least have enough time until the movie is made? Will Greg’s relations with others get any better?

The defence of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl :: This one surely feels real and close enough to life, and there are no exaggerations of any moment. Even without such an attempt, this one manages to be a sweet movie close to heart. There is nothing extraordinary being done here in the tale, as everything goes on towards that awaiting end which is emotional as well as satisfying. We become part of this journey, and it is one that is worth traveling – the light-hearted take on the whole thing helps, and we get to see a positive side in almost everything. Well, going to watch this movie, you know what you will be expecting, that is a lot of tears in store, but the movie manages to rise above that with its funny side, and all the laughter there will make the day better. The movie also leave you with something to think about, related to friendship and brotherhood – there is none that is really mismatched.

The claws of flaw :: This is one movie which had potential for more, not only with its emotional side, but also with those funny moments which seem to be rather too less utilized. With each character, and with each moment, you just feel that there was going to be something more, but almost every character other than the three in the title goes a little less used. Most of this movie also remains predictable, as we move towards that finish which brings no big surprise. The use of commentary about happenings won’t help much either; talking about the dying girl not going to die or getting better just for the audience to hear can’t help at all. I haven’t read the book on which it is based, but Me and Earl and the Dying Girl doesn’t make an attempt to create a difference with this material as a whole; it mostly sticks to the safe zone to move you.

Performers of the soul :: Olivia Cooke is the one person who makes this role very much believable here with an amazing performance – she expresses herself as this character so well. I had seen her for the last time in Ouija, and she is surely someone with a lot of potential, as we watch the cute, talented actress here making the best use of this opportunity. Thomas Mann and RJ Cyler makes a nice team here too; the former cent percent reminding us of someone we have known at some point of time, and the love for movies that these people show will also make sure that someone else we know gets reflected there. The former’s character with his ability to do distant friendships will be one of the best reflections of some people who keep strange and different ideas about friendships, keeping everyone as friends just for the sake of doing so.

How it finishes :: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is that particular movie that makes one feel as one with the protagonists. There is nothing outside the normal world here, as there are many things to which we can relate to. There will be moments when this one will remind you of the Shailene Woodley starrer The Fault in Our Stars, but Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is no romantic flick, as the focus remains on friendship throughout its time. It is that kind of a movie that takes us through the transformation that the protagonist has, and we get so close to the characters there, and in the end, we are part of that world in which enough has been discovered, and more than that needs to be found out later. There is no real “dying” as far as trying to make things better is concerned, right?

Release date: 12th June 2015
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Starring: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal, Connie Britton, Katherine C. Hughes, Chelsea T. Zhang, Natalie Marchelletta, Matt Bennett, Bobb’e J. Thompson, Karriem Sami, Marco Zappala, Etta Cox, Masam Holden, Kaza Marie Ayersman, Cheryl Kline, Joan Augustin, Mark Granatire, Kayana White, Linda Kanyarusoke, Drew Palajsa, Elly Silberstein, Nicole Tubbs

meandearlandthedyinggirl

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shajahanum Pareekkuttiyum

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Vampire Owl :: I am having certain ideas about this movie from the title itself.

Vampire Bat :: Goes back to the history and the movie Chemmeen, right?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, something about love should be there.

Vampire Bat :: And we can also sense comedy.

Vampire Owl :: And it has been more than an year since we saw Amala Paul in a Malayalam movie, I guess.

Vampire Bat :: It is nice to see her on the posters after a long time.

Vampire Owl :: You were a big fan of her second last movie, Mili – I believe.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t see why not. Mili was the one true introvert movie.

Vampire Owl :: And this one should be meant for just some entertainment.

Vampire Bat :: That is exactly my guess too.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Jiya (Amala Paul) is the single daughter of an ex-military man who owns the Jiya Group of Resorts. One day, she meets with an accident and losses her memory for the last few years. Her fiancee, Ravi (Aju Varghese) is very much disappointed about that she doesn’t recognize him, and searches for a way to solve the problem. For the same, he appoints a private detective Mathews (Suraj Venjaramoodu) to find something from Jiya’s past that could bring back her memory. He manages to do the search in his own strange way, but all he could find out is a clue related to a man whose name starts with “P”. But it is revealed that there are two such men who claims to be Jiya’s lovers – Pranav (Kunchako Boban and Prince (Jayasurya).

So what happens next? :: There seems to be no chance of Jiya getting her memory back. Both Pranav and Prince tries their best to get their love stories to Jiya, and at the same time, Ravi makes attempts to make her interested in him, but fails each and every time. While Pranav seems to be a rich businessman with interest in arts and music, Prince is more like a local goon who creates trouble and shares Jiya’s interest in cars. They have different versions of tales which includes her falling in love with them. The parents leave the answer to this question to Jiya. So, the question remains about who is her true lover, if there is one? One of them seems to have a more complicated intention for claiming to be her lover – who is he and what is he looking for?

The defence of Shajahanum Pareekkuttiyum :: There is some amount of fun in store here, that is for sure. There are references to Thalapathi, Manichitrathaazhu, Titanic, DrishyamInnale and Ennu Ninte Moideen in the movie too, and they are very well done to evoke laughter. Some of the best ones include Suraj’s Manichitrathaazhu introduction, Aju’s promise as Moideen and the reflection of the incidents of Innale. The cast is nicely used to bring out the funny side, and one can be sure to find some laugh here and there. The movie remains bright and happy though, with no serious or emotional sides. There is also an attempt to bring the twist in the end, and it only somewhat effective. If you are looking for some fun without much of logic during the weekend, Shajahanum Pareekkuttiyum might be the movie for you; in that way, it works great.

The claws of flaw :: The story of this movie is everywhere; it begins somewhere and ends at some other place, with not much of a development in between except for adding those funny elements. Even with such a funny side, there are not many of the moments which are actually memorable – we will find them, and we are just to forget them. There was lot more potential with this story to add more comedy, and the plot itself could have been something worth remembering. Some jokes are also not that effective; they are not done in a way to maximize the effect. There are also a number of meaningless scenes in this movie, especially with stories being told within, and the songs are not that interesting either. There is a certain lack of standard with the proceedings which is clearly visible at times.

Performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban and Jayasurya comes together again with a comedy movie after Gulumaal and Three Kings – even though I did like those two movies more than this one, this also remains a funny addition to that list. They do the job really well, but the ones who bring more of the laughter are Aju Varghese and Suraj Venjaramoodu; the former has some of the best moments, and the latter nicely raises the fun level of this movie. Amala Paul, with her next Malayalam movie after Lailaa O Lailaa and Mili, doesn’t leave that much here, as most of the entertainment is carried on their shoulders by the team of four. She is there more as the centre of attraction, and the focus of everything which happens around her character and the memory loss. Nikki Galrani’s cameo in the end was rather unnecessary too.

How it finishes :: So, with the two names immortalized in love don’t really get the romantic side going in this movie, as it is just for some simple fun without logic that we can watch this particular flick. You will find almost no romance here, even though it is what the movie is supposed to be about, even though in a funny way. It becomes another movie to bring the memory loss of the heroine to the space, and the movie makes fun of itself too – Ormayundo Ee Mukham might be the last movie to bring the same. This will be another interesting movie to watch with family, along with Karinkunnam 6s which has gone the inspirational way. There is something about watching movies like these – you can neither like them so much, but neither can you hate them; there will be just enough in them for everyone in the end, for so much is somehow managed.

Release date: 6th July 2016
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Boban Samuel
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Jayasurya, Amala Paul, Aju Varghese, Lena Abhilash, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Vijayaraghavan, Sunil Sukhada, Vinaya Prasad, Kalabhavan Shajon, Rafi, Nadirshah, Irshad, Nikki Galrani (cameo)

shajahanumpareekuttiyum

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Karinkunnam 6s

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Vampire Owl :: When was the last time we watched a Malayalam movie in the theatre?

Vampire Bat :: Last month, I guess?

Vampire Owl :: Is it? Still, that feels like an eternity.

Vampire Bat :: It is mostly because we are not used to not watching movies.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I think someone has worked black magic against us, which is why we are missing so many movies.

Vampire Bat :: I see that hands of pure evil itself. But in this case, it is more because we don’t have time.

Vampire Owl :: Did you see the half-yearly list of the movies we have watched in the theatre? It is quite a small list compared to the last few years.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, we definitely need to work on that.

Vampire Owl :: Until then, one Malayalam movie for this weekend?

Vampire Bat :: So be it. A sports drama would be a welcome change!

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Vandana (Manju Warrier) lives with her husband Aby (Anoop Menon) after successfully running away from home in favour of an inter-caste marriage. Both are from sports background, and the latter has one dream only, to make things better for volleyball in a world dominated by cricket. His love for the game is above everything else, and for the same, he supports his own team Karinkunnam 6s. With the same dream in his mind, he contacts Kesavan (Shyamaprasad), a man who is very much interested in the profits to be gained from the venture. Even though he agrees to the idea of having a Volleyball Premier League on the lines of Indian Premier League and Indian Super League, he decides that it has to be entertainment, and that should include fixed matches – it is something to which Aby can’t agree.

So what happens next? :: What follows next are all against Aby, as he is bed-ridden and Vandana has to take over the team to make sure that it plays in the league, and plays fair. For the same, she contacts many players, but the rich and the influential groups in the league works against her making sure that she gets no official players. But Vandana has help from Haritha (Lena Abhilash), the head of the police department, and decides to choose and train a number of inmates in the prison. The team starts from the powerhouse Douglas (Babu Antony), and is joined by many other inmates who look forward to making a mark. But with no professional training, can the prisoners do enough to make it to the next round of the tournament featuring some of the best? Can they leave their own personal rivalries behind and live for the moment?

The defence of Karinkunnam 6s :: One can easily say that this is one of the best sports drama movies made in Malayalam – there are not many interesting movies belonging to that genre around here. When it is not based on an overrated sport like cricket, things only get better. It takes some courage to take a movie based on something which is not cricket or football – and that risk is taken, and they make sure that it appeals to the audience in this part of the world. The movie is also dedicated to Jimmy George, who was considered as one of the greatest volleyball players – the deserving heroes of our land who are less known just because they didn’t play the hyped game of cricket. There are some very nice moments in this movie, which are a lot inspirational; there are more which are emotional, but it never manages to overdo the same. There is power and there is also a lot of energy here!

The claws of flaw :: This is a movie which could have made it to the list of the best among its kind. The tale here is still predictable for most of the time though. There could have been more focus on the sports rather than the drama and the incidents which occurred outside the court. It could have gone deeper with both too, with the sporting side as well as the dramatic events with direct relation to the characters. It also takes some time to get going in the beginning, and it is with the prisoners getting to the act that things get to be interesting. The climax could have also been bigger. People might be able to find problems with this movie related to the sports, but none of the sports movies in Malayalam can be considered close enough to that big reality, and this one can also be forgiven for those flaws that can be taken out of the grave when the DVD comes out.

Performers of the soul :: Having no huge star, this one relies on the long list of actors who play the characters in fine style – nobody lets us down around here. After Vettah, Manju Warrier is excellent here, and there is so much energy that she carries forward here – it is shared by the rest of the cast too, especially the team which is lead by Babu Antony with his usual style. The other person who catches our attention from the team is Sudheer Karamana who has some very nice moments; Baiju also gets some nice dialogues here. Suraj Venjaramoodu impresses us with a different avatar here too, and he deservingly gets some claps. Anoop Menon goes on smoothly with his role. Even those who does some cameo roles here leaves something for the audience.

How it finishes :: Without the big cast that the other movies of this season have come up with, this one has managed to come up with a special identity of its own. There is entertainment guaranteed, and it is worth a fine watch with the family. This is no perfect sports drama, but you find inspiration here and you will also get the thrills. Lets hope that this movie brings back to its viewers the memories of the volleyball legend, and also bring more interest into this game. Unlike the movies which are filled with ridiculous content for the fans, this is the kind of movie that needs to be watched – there are no superstars here, but everyone in this movie ends up being no less than a special star. All of them contribute here, and we are left applauding for those final dialogues and the tribute.

Release date: 7th July 2016
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Deepu Karunakaran
Starring: Manju Warrier, Babu Antony, Anoop Menon, Jacob Gregory, Baiju, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Sudev Nair, Sudheer Karamana, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Nandhu, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Manikuttan, Vivek Gopan, Kevin, Lena Abhilash (cameo), Shyamaprasad (cameo), Major Ravi (cameo), Hareesh Peradi (cameo), Maniyanpilla Raju (cameo), Jagadish (cameo), Gayathri Suresh (cameo), Samuthirakani (cameo)

karinkunnam6s ()

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kill Command

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Vampire Owl :: I remember having made such a command.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I totally understand. To your zombie minions?

Vampire Owl :: No, to the Frankenstein Monster.

Vampire Bat :: No wonder nobody gets killed by that command.

Vampire Owl :: My question is about why nobody has told me anything about this movie yet.

Vampire Bat :: Nobody I know have heard about this movie either.

Vampire Owl :: But I have a feeling that we will like this one. The poster is so nice.

Vampire Bat :: A science fiction action thriller will only do good at this time. We never really get much of such movies.

Vampire Owl :: We are going to make Dr. Victor Frankenstein proud by watching such movies.

Vampire Bat :: And we have Vanessa Kirby as the central character.

[Gets three cups of tea with bananachips].

What is it about? :: The story set a long way into the future, as technology has gone beyond human expectations, transforming lives as well as combat. Captain Bukes (Thure Lindhardt) and his team of marines are off to a training facility in a remote island. They are joined by Mills (Vanessa Kirby), a human who is genetically enhanced by robotic technology, being part of one of the many types of machines and hybrids who are supposed to replace the human soldiers later. The idea is simple, to finish off the machines which were designed by Mills and get out of the facility, as she herself will observe the whole thing. The soldiers don’t really trust Mills, and hesitate to consider her as one of them. But they trust themselves to go through this training with ease, as the opponents are just mindless machines who have always been there as part of the programme.

So what happens next? :: Even though things seem easy in the beginning, soon they find out that the machines are copying their battle style, and are learning how to counter the human soldiers, using the human idea against themselves, and steadily becoming the superior force with better skill acquired through the experience of fighting with the marines. This no longer remains a training programme, but a battle for survival, as there are more effective killing machines on the island than they had imagined. So, with marines getting killed one after the other, what are the chances of them completing the training or at least getting out of the island? What role does Mills play in this newly declared war, and on which side does her loyalties lie? Where did this simple training programme go wrong and how can the marines make their last stand with machines everywhere?

The defence of Kill Command :: The movie has great CGI; it was rather unexpected for a lesser known movie which seems to be made from a lower budget. It is the kind of movie that you can watch instead of all those high budget movies which keep coming for you, with almost nothing inside them other than the repetition of what we have been seeing for many years. The machines look really good and environment including the surroundings and the insides of the buildings are all nicely designed. There is also a lot of action going on here. There are some nice thrilling moments with the machines around, and you can look forward to a big adventure. This is also a short movie and things go on smoothly throughout its run, leaving no boring moments behind. The acting is also good, and there is something special about how it turns out on the screen – you see even a few nice scares to go with it.

The claws of flaw :: There will be similarities to be found when in comparison with other movies, with its central idea. A better treatment of the same subject could have been done with more entertainment and further twists. This one often takes its progression straight, taking things for granted, and not making the best use of everything. There is also a certain amount of predictability that comes in, and it hesitates to go as the movie progresses towards the end – a better finish would have also been nice, as everything seemed to be moving towards the big final moments, but that never really happens. There are the nicely designed machines, there is the partially machine character, there is a special environment which can bring mystery and horror, and also a lot of action, but all these are not used to create the maximum impact, which would have raised the level of this flick.

Performers of the soul :: The best of this movie are its machines; we will get to love how they look and work. This whole thing can be compared to one big video game that you might have played during your childhood – there is that kind of a feel throughout this flick. The cast includes mostly unknown names as far as people in this part of the world are concerned. The best among them, and the one who leads the way as the protagonist, is great to watch – Vanessa Kirby who has played Estella Havisham in the BBC version of Great Expectations, makes her half-human, half-machine character work with ease. Genetically enhanced characters or cyborgs are not really the best characters had to be that good, and I would consider this particular one to be another memorable mixed existence. The rest are there in support, which they manage well.

How it finishes :: Kill Command is that kind of a movie which can create a great video game out of itself – it is like a perfect setting for a First Person Shooter, especially one featuring some arena battles following games like Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena. As a sci-fi action thriller, it makes a nice impact, even without trying too hard. With the kind of material that exists here, I would want to have a sequel, and I am pretty sure that it can surpass this one. Kill Command provides you with that feeling that some nice sci-fi movies can be made without the big names and those huge action sequences that destroy everything around. Just a few machines, some people and a remote location is enough to make the whole experience better with some nice CGI and performances, as long as the resources are used nicely. I would consider this movie to be a fine addition to those simple, but effective sci-fi movies – this is no Ex Machina, but still a fine work.

***This is the 300th movie review on this blog!!!

Release date: 13th May 2016
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Steven Gomez
Starring: Vanessa Kirby, Thure Lindhardt, David Ajala, Bentley Kalu, Tom McKay, Kelly Gough, Deborah Rosan

killcommand

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.