Oppam

oppamm

What is it about? :: Jayaraman (Mohanlal) is a blind man who works as a lift operator and attender at an eleven-storeyed apartment right in the middle of the city. He hails from a huge family, but is in debt right now as he has to pay twenty five lakhs for his friend Bappootty (Siddique) who was supposed to provide the amount to the money lender and is currently in the Middle East. He is struggling to make enough money for the wedding ceremony of his sister, which is to happen soon. Even though he is blind, he possesses a better sense of smell, hearing and touch which he uses to his advantage whenever there is the need. His good friends are Veeran (Harish K.R) and Kunju Mohammed (Mammookoya) as well as Devayani (Vimala Raman) who also work there. Whenever there is a need, Jayaraman is there, and he is that readily available helping hand for everyone.

So what happens next? :: A retired chief justice, Krishnamoorthy (Nedumudi Venu), also lives in the same apartment, and Jayaraman is his best friend and aid, as there are secrets concerning his past, and there are problems haunting him. Devayarani is in trouble with her former husband, a police officer named Madhu (Kalabhavan Shajohn) with whom Jayaraman also locks horns. One day, when Krishnamoorthy is killed, things go out of control. Jayaraman becomes the prime suspect, and the police officers in charge, Padmakumar (Renji Panicker) and Anandhan (Chemban Vinod Jose) refuses to believe in his claims of innocence, and Madhu makes things only worse. Only Ganga (Anusree), the police officer who knew him earlier, believes him. With the murderer right behind him like a shadow, will Jayaraman be able to prove his innocence? Can he face the man who seems to be a psychopath, all alone?

The defence of Oppam :: There are many moments of interest, and a lot of thrills in store with this movie which won against its competitor Oozham which released on the same day. The final moments, despite strangely set, are well executed, and the movie finishes with a certain amount cuteness and feel-good factor in store. The beginning was also well done without the unnecessary introductions, and we are taken into the whole thing in a simple and effective manner. The visuals are very good throughout the run, and Mohanlal and Samuthirakani when they are together, make a nice combination against each other. Mamukkoya has some of the nicer moments of fun in this movie which has a certain amount of comic side which is just there for some relief. Chemban Vinod Jose also has some moments of fun, and the emotional side of this movie can also be termed as strong.

The claws of flaw :: One has to say that the movie is too long, and that feeling is due to the present of too many unnecessary songs, and none of them really makes an impact either – the Punjabi wedding song might be the one that works the least. There are also too many missing points here and there in this story, and the opportunity to come up with a better movie goes missing here. There are too many things here that comes as repetitive elements; the twist concerning the child and the killer is too predictable, and the police is also made rather useless – or rather so stubborn that one is made to wonder that these people are the most remorseless and brainless officers ever to be in a Malayalam movie. The final moments are also strange, as they try to be safe where it was never meant to be safe, and with the same, risk more lives. There were surely better ways to handle the whole thing!

Performers of the soul :: As expected, and without doubt, Mohanlal is the one who lifts this movie to the next level, and hides its problems with ease, as he plays the role with no trouble at all. There are those moments involving him and Samuthirakani that stands apart. Along with him being the blind character, it is our villain that also brings things in order. Last seen in Karinkunnam 6s in this part of the world, Samuthirakani brings all the strength that is needed in a villain like this. He is only let down on a number of occasions due to the predictability that creeps in and threatens to make this villain another ordinary creature of random hate, as the opportunity to become one terrifying psycho killer is lost at too many occasions. But he rises above the problems related to his character in this tale, and brings the menace to the big screen, making things more interesting.

Further performers of the soul :: Anusree is very good at this police role. Vimala Raman is kind of misfit as the maid here, even though we are glad that we are seeing her here again after a long time and looking good. Nedumudi Venu’s role is the kind which we see often from him, and he does that with ease. Baby Meenakshi is really good here, and surely better than how it was with Amar Akbar Anthony. Renji Panicker in the police role is surprisingly not that much used here, and Kalabhavan Shajohn just gets another opportunity to beat another character played by Mohanlal after Drishyam. Mamukkoya creates some funny moments with Harish K.R and Chemban Vinod Jose has a few of them too. Aju Varghese has kind of a smaller role of the viewers’ liking though, and Innocent is also there for only a few shots. In the end, we do wish that this movie was just not like too many other movies of the same kind – there are too many characters with less to do, and a little too much of predictability at times too.

How it finishes :: It has been a long time since we saw the best of Priyadarshan, and also the combination of him and Mohanlal, even though I didn’t think that Geethanjali was that bad a movie as it was projected by the critics and the audience. Well, one can safely say that he is back in form with this one. With Pulimurugan already there and running with full strength in the theatres, Mohanlal makes a magnificent push forward, the biggest since the critically acclaimed and heavily remake-spawning flick which was Drishyam. With two of his flicks staying heavy in multiplexes and attracting the audience in the local theatres too, one can be sure that there won’t be many movies coming up with challenge, except for Aanandam, which seems to be the one other movie which is making it big. Even in the Pulimurugan rush, Oppam is another movie that needs your attention; so if you have missed it, get to where it is still playing!

Release date: 8th September 2016
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Priyadarshan
Starring: Mohanlal, Samuthirakani, Anusree, Vimala Raman, Nedumudi Venu, Baby Meenakshi, Renji Panicker, Chemban Vinod Jose, Mamukkoya, Harish K.R, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Kunchan, Idavela Babu, Aju Varghese, Manikuttan, Arjun Nandhakumar, Innocent, Kalasala Babu, Pradeep Chandran, Anjali Aneesh, Bineesh Kodiyeri, Devshi Khanduri, Sona Heiden, Arun Benny, Balaji Sharma, Poojappura Radhakrishnan, Sreelatha Namboothiri, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Bindu Murali, Suchitra Pillai-Malik, Siddique (cameo), Antony Perumbavoor (cameo)

oppam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aanandam

anandam-2

What is the movie about? :: The leader of the gang Varun (Arun Kurian), lovers Gautham (Roshan Mathew) and Devika (Annu Antony), the seemingly silent but observant Darshana (Anarkali Marikar), Akshay (Thomas Matthew) and Diya (Siddhi Mahajankatti) who has been the girl of his dreams since his first day at the college, and their best friend and photography enthusiast Kuppi (Vishak Nair), makes plans and are part of an industrial visit from a private engineering college which goes through Hampi, Mysore and Goa. As it is a pleasure trip in disguise of the industrial visit, all the students are excited about it, and that has made the teachers extra careful about the same. But the permission is granted, and the trip finally happens.

So, how do things go throughout this trip? :: Akshay really feels the need to talk about his love to Diya, but despite the best efforts of his friends, he is not able to do that, and that keeps bothering him. Varun is a disappointed man as he was rejected by the same girl, and doesn’t want to talk to her anymore. Gautham and Devika finds more of the differences between them as situation changes from the usual stage of their college, its canteen and class rooms. At Hampi itself, there are signs of the same, and by the time they reach Goa, things seem to get out hand with their own personal problems and as they realise that while following the same timetable and doing the same things again and again during the college days, they never knew enough about their best friends at all, a certain distance is felt, but not for long!

The defence of Aanandam :: The movie makes use of the simple incidents that can happen in a trip involving friends, and everything remains light-hearted, without anything huge or threatening in any way happening. It is the cause of success for this movie, as things could be related, even with the very minute exaggerations, which could also be related by some people. There is no doubt about the ability of this movie to connect to the youth, and the funny sequences keep scoring whenever there is a chance. The visuals are really good, and the songs are very much effective. One can be sure that a lot of people have a certain nostalgia about this movie, with where that happens changing for each person. This movie is a safe bet for everyone too, as it begins and ends as a feel-good flick.

Claws of flaw :: There is not much here in the story, as bringing something special was never the idea. The movie has its slow moments here and there, and its love story gets a little bit too much of light over of the friendship factor. The movie could have been better with the romance taking a much lower position in the order of things. This is that kind of a movie that could thrive more on a better focus on college friendship rather than anything else, and even though that is surely touched, this one gets people more focused on the love stories of the protagonists, as one character himself says why he is there – to be there and enjoy with his friends. The movie’s choice of locations also remains a little case of wonder here, but strange decisions happen in life, and so is the case here.

Performers of the soul :: Even though the movie is left without much to bring out anything out of the box, everyone has successfully come up with some natural performances in the roles that seemed to suit them really well. Among the cast, Arun Kurian shows big potential with his serious character while Roshan Mathew has some of the funniest moments with Annu Antony – the tattoo, the metal band, the syringe, the fainting, the thing about knowing each other better; all come together perfectly with them. Siddhi Mahajankatti is the cute side of the movie, and Thomas Matthew also forms the same side. Anarkali Marikar makes the silent assassin, the witness and the narrator of all things, work in the rightful manner. Vishak Nair joins in between with moments of fun too.

Further performers of the soul :: Rony David comes with a memorable performance contributing to the fun – the comedy here works with absolutely no flaw as long as his character is concerned. The moments between the teachers come as the surprise fun in this flick which revolves a lot around six or seven characters, threatening to make everything else non-existent. You can see the presence of Aju Varghese around there too, not as a working character there, but you will see. Renji Panicker is once again there in one of those roles in which you have seen him before multiple times, and that is once again nice, but surely brings no surprise there. Meanwhile, the big surprise comes with Nivin Pauly being there, and he has got some nice moments during his short stay on the screen as the brother of one of the protagonists.

How it finishes :: The debutante director Ganesh Raj has made more than just a fine beginning here, as he had not an easy task with new faces all around, and theatres with superstar movies – but he has succeeded in making this one live up-to its name, and leave us with a happy feeling. Already running with packed crowds, the movie is sure to be the one flick that makes one happy not just with its content, but for the realisation that a movie doesn’t need stars, as what comes a long way above it should be a dedicated team of people working together and working hard to make things happen – the Vampire Bat and the Vampire Owl believe that it is the secret behind the simple, cute, effective as well as charming existence and success of this movie, and with talent and the yearning for the target, that is achieved on this day or the other.

Release date: 21st October 2016
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Ganesh Raj
Starring: Arun Kurian, Thomas Matthew, Roshan Mathew, Vishak Nair, Annu Antony, Siddhi Mahajankatti, Anarkali Marikar, Rony David, Nivin Pauly (Cameo), Aju Varghese (Cameo), Renji Panicker (Cameo)

anandam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Scorch Trials

thescorchtrialsss

Vampire Owl :: This is not really the maze runner, is it?

Vampire Bat :: There is no maze in this one; but it is still officially a maze runner movie.

Vampire Owl :: How can this be a maze runner movie without the protagonists running through the maze?

Vampire Bat :: Well, they don’t even walk through it, but the title demands so.

Vampire Owl :: I was hoping to see more of the maze.

Vampire Bat :: We all were; the maze part was so good in the first movie.

Vampire Owl :: They could use the same again, in some other way, like levels change in games.

Vampire Bat :: Well, they were out of the maze in the first movie itself, so I think that it was never going to be possible.

Vampire Owl :: The audience never gets what they want to have, right?

Vampire Bat :: That has always been the case.

[Gets three cups of tea with jackfruit chips].

A flashback to the first movie :: The first movie which had gathered some good opinions from the critics and viewers began this adventure in the area which was surrounded by stone walls, leaving only one escape route, through the maze. This maze has strange creatures wandering inside though, and it was more like suicide for someone to go out through that path, which made the people inside create a small civilisation of their own, and the numbers increased with more and more people send up through a lift from under, which goes down only when all the weight is removed from it. The residents of this area which they called “The Glade”, trained runners to go through the maze and find a way out. The movie ends with them finally finding a way out through the maze.

What is it about? :: Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the other surviving youth from the maze, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Frypan (Dexter Darden) and Winston (Alexander Flores) are taken to what seems to be a safe place away from all the trouble – they are welcomed to a facility run by Janson (Aidan Gillen) who promises to make things better. It is all about one virus and finding a cure; all those who have escaped and reached the facility seems to be immune to the same. But things don’t seem to be normal with this particular facility. Soon, they find out that it belongs to World Catastrophe Killzone Department (WCKED) led by Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) who was supposed to be dead, but it is not the case.

So what happens next? :: As they understand that the WCKED is experimenting on the immunes, despite being warned of “The Scorch”, the deadly situation that prevails outside the facility, the group makes an escape, and goes on in search of hope. They look forward to meeting with a resistance group, “The Right Arm” who are supposed to be hiding somewhere in the mountains and are bringing the fight to the WCKED. Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) who leave their crew to help them in finding the resistance group. But the question remains if the resistance group really exist, and even if it does, are these people of any good when facing the WCKED who are armed with the best technology and weapons?

The defence of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials :: The movie does catch your attention very early, as the scene shifts from the maze to what seems to an entirely new world. The new world detail is really good if you have a nice look at everything. We are given the assumption that there is something huge coming up all the time, and with secrets left to be brought out, we keep hunting for the same with the protagonists. There is no real love story in here to slow things further than what has been going on then, and that is also a positive. There are some good action sequences around here too, and one really ends up thinking that there is the need to watch the next and the final movie of the franchise, Maze Runner: The Death Cure to get the best of it; the movie ends in such a way that we have to look for that sequel coming up on January 12th, 2018.

The claws of flaw :: The main trouble that this movie has to face is that it is a Maze Runner movie without the maze, and as that was the most important factor which made the first movie a success, this one was sure to trail. With the idea of rebellion not that well used as with Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games and Beatrice Prior of Divergent, Thomas doesn’t do the same that well – our protagonist doesn’t go on to develop that much as a character. The moments of big thrills and heavy emotions are also missing in this particular flick. Too many people as well as incidents are predictable here, and the story doesn’t have that big strength which it should have had with the idea of the scorch being introduced – it could have been a show stealer like the maze, but it just isn’t as the movie slowly moves through it to the expected end.

How it finishes :: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials could have surely been a better movie, and there is no doubt about it. It surely doesn’t get to be that good as its predecessor which had the maze and the creatures to keep things better. Still, this one manages to be there as the movie which keeps us interested in watching the final movie of the franchise. Maybe the movie could have tried not to be like many other movies, with so many elements from them coming together here, and not all of them having that much of an effect. It is more of a case of being confusing due to such additions, while the original Maze Runner was rather clear on what it was doing and proceeded through the path on which it was supposed to travel. It surely works, but not as much as it could have, with so many things within their reach, or rather too many of them! Expect no hunger games!

Release date: 18th September 2015
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, Patricia Clarkson, Alan Tudyk, Rosa Salazar, Jacob Lofland, Alexander Flores

thescorchtrials

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Last Witch Hunter

thelastwitchunter-2

Vampire Owl :: This could really be a movie about the Lich Queen.

Vampire Bat :: What? No, there is no lich here; only the common witches are in this movie.

Vampire Owl :: Well, you are underestimating her; she is everywhere.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, her definition of everywhere doesn’t include the movies.

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

Vampire Bat :: And making a witch movie is always easier than making a lich movie.

Vampire Owl :: Just like making Season of the Witch.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that the easiest thing to do with a witch story is to link it to the plague?

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

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

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is it about? :: Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is a witch hunter from the medieval age who is known to have slain a Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht) – a remorseless creature from the dark side which was responsible for spreading a plague in an attempt to destroy the whole humanity. Cursed with eternal life after losing his family, centuries later, he works as a veteran witch hunter for a secret group known as the Axe and Cross, which aims to keep the order at the right place concerning witches and humans. Any use of magic against humans is forbidden, and the witches will be imprisoned in that case. He is feared by all witches around the globe, and is aided by a man appointed as the 36th Dolan (Michael Caine) in his work against evil.

So what happens next? :: But as his old friend Dolan 36 is murdered and a new partner Dolan 37 (Elijah Wood) is appointed, Kaulder goes on the search for the strange dark magic which is responsible for the fate of his old friend who is caught in a curse rather than the suspected death. He attempts to use the help of a witch, Chloe (Rose Leslie) to restore his memories about his death and return to life, but is attacked by Ketola (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), a powerful witch. Both escape and gets back to the mission together, only to find that all these were planned by the Witch Queen and her minions to make sure that she can return to this land many years later and finish what she had started – the annihilation of all humans for a better world.

And then to the present :: They try to create new potions with resources from Miranda (Aimee Carrero), but she is also murdered as the witches seem to be one step ahead of them all the time. They seek help from another witch Danique (Dawn Olivieri), but she only tries to finish him off, but Chloe who is a dream walker, saves him from the side-effects of the drug which he has. With the use of ancient dark magic, the witches seems to get stronger, and the return of the powerful Witch Queen is only supposed to make things terrible and beyond control. The future of humanity rests on the last witch hunter. With such enormous evil ready to return, can Kaulder stand ground and defeat the returning witch?

The defence of The Last Witch Hunter :: The basic idea of this movie might be predictable, but is nicely worked out with Vin Diesel stealing the show as the immortal hunter of witches. There are signs of some smart ideas here and there as we go through the movie. The special effects are nice, and there are some fine visuals for sure. There are some nice detail with the creature known as Sentinel, and also with the Witch Queen as well as her lair. The presence of Rose Leslie of Game of Thrones fame makes things better, as she is that kind of an actress who can make fine impact even the story is not really going that well. The Last Witch Hunter does try to be different even though not completely succeeding in the same – but it succesfully becomes an interesting one.

The claws of flaw :: There was always more to have done with this particular story, as it is often confused about how to make things better – the premise was so good here, but not fully utilized to its advantage. A huge battle between the witch hunter and the large number of witches was supposed to happen, but nothing like that could really get going. There was also the opportunity to show so much of magic, and the spells could have made things more enjoyable. The return of Witch Queen could have also been something that could cause more massive devastation, but here when that comes, it is just about the witch hunter, the dream walker and those restricted battles – it is more like rushed towards that end.

How it finishes :: One has to wonder if this movie could have used Rose Leslie’s character better, as she is a dream walker witch here; there could have been even more fight scenes along with the magic – we can never stop asking for more from this movie. When trying to bring a world which looks so good with the special effects, maybe if this movie had focused more on making the plot bigger and smarter with better assertion on the evil that the queen brings with a lot of magic, this one could have achieved better at the box-office as well as with the critics. But as of now, it is still an interesting movie which works as an action-fantasy flick with Vin Diesel going strong at the centre.

Release date: 23rd October 2015
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Breck Eisner
Starring: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Julie Engelbrecht, Michael Caine, Rena Owen, Isaach De Bankolé, Lotte Verbeek, Dawn Olivieri, Inbar Lavi, Aimee Carrero, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Allegra Carpenter, Kurt Angle, Joe Gilgun

thelastwitchhunter

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.