Morgan

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Vampire Owl: I thought that this title was Morgue.

Vampire Bat: From how you usually think, I am not surprised at all. You could have even thought “Graveyard”.

Vampire Owl: Well, I am the one who found this as the movie to watch.

Vampire Bat: You just made a random guess about it, nothing more.

Vampire Owl: I guess well, and I also do choose well.

Vampire Bat: What you need is a better choice of words.

Vampire Owl: I think that you could be the protagonist of this movie.

Vampire Bat: I am not even going to comment on that.

Vampire Owl: Well, after watching this movie, you will comment.

Vampire Bat: Lets see. I am in need of a science fiction movie right now.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with vegetable puffs].

What is the movie about? :: Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) works as a risk management specialist for a genetic engineering company. Firm in her actions and thoughts, she is given a new assignment, which she is expected to complete without giving any chance for errors. It is concerning the company’s latest experiment, with a genetically engineering human called Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) who has displayed acts of aggression all of a sudden due to which injuries have happened. This person is a lot smarter than humans, and has an advanced growth rate, looking like an adult, but is only five years old in reality. This girl had suddenly become violent and stabbed a scientist Kathy Grieff (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in the left eye. It is revealed that there was another incident earlier at Helsinki which the main scientists Lui Cheng (Michelle Yeoh) and Simon Ziegler (Toby Jones) acknowledges.

So, what happens next? :: It is Amy Menser (Rose Leslie) who is considered to be closest to Morgan, as she used to take her outside. Morgan also considers her as her best friend, and the one whom she loves the most in the world. After the psychologist Alan Shapiro (Paul Giamatti) has an evaluation of Morgan and pushes her to the limits, she attacks and kills him, which leads to Lee taking the decision that Morgan as well as the whole experiment is a threat and need to be terminated. But most of the scientists don’t approve of the same due to their emotional attachment to the subject, and Morgan is certainly not keen to get killed by the humans who are both intellectually and physically inferior to her. Lee reasserts that it is her job to make sure that the subject is terminated, but others feel that she is fighting an unnecessary, lone battle. The question remains about what Morgan thinks about the same with her superior intellect.

The defence of Morgan :: There is one nice twist awaiting you at the end of Morgan, and it can also make way to bring another movie to follow this one – something which could be even better as a sequel, keeping that core idea alive to be explored further. Morgan does make sure that there is a lot of action in there too, as we see the close combat scenes to be very interesting, making it the science fiction action movie that a good number of people had missed. The second half of the movie is more intense, and we are left with a number of questions about being human – and it might be the emotions that make one more human, but what kind of emotions will make one really human? There is also that twist in the end which works well, and that also provides an answer which many people would have wanted while going through the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The most possible comparisons of this movie would be to Ex Machina, which will certainly leave Morgan at a disadvantage. As this one goes for action instead of developing its interesting core ideas into something amazing, the audience does doubt what all it could have achieved otherwise – maybe even with some scares, this could have gone through another path. More fights and less dialogues might be the key for more than one character here, and it is surely more than many people would have liked. There could have been more interesting moments in the beginning stages too, and the predictability in between should have also been shown the door to the outside. When the opportunity to be complex is there, I would say that all science fiction movies should take it, but Morgan just hesitates in doing so.

Performers of the soul :: Kate Mara looks really good as the determined character, and there are moments when you feel that things get even better – the hairstyle as well as the clothing supports the effectiveness of the character a lot. She has been one of my favourite actresses on a list which goes long, along with Rooney Mara too. Anya Taylor-Joy comes up with another impressive performance after The Witch, and here, we see her getting right into a character that shares not much in common with her work in that special horror movie. There is a certain amount of balance in her character, as we love this particular creation as well as hate it, and see it with sympathetic eyes while seeing the same thing as creepy and dangerous. Rose Leslie is there in a role that does her not much justice, but it is good to see her again.

How it finishes :: Morgan is directed by the son of Ridley Scott, Luke Scott. He has worked as the second unit director on Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Martian, both directed by his father. Even though he has directed a science fiction short film Loom, this is his directorial debut with a full-length movie, and it works very nicely indeed. There is even scope for a possible sequel with this one, as we look at how things finish. Morgan is the kind of movie which is thrilling, and at the same time delivers a message, despite not being fully an idea which is not seen before. With the twist right where it needs to be, Morgan might be the flick that most of you haven’t heard about much, but will need to give a try because it is smart science fiction, and there is more to it for thinking about; more than what immediately meets the eye. When you need more of smart entertainment, choose Morgan.

Release date: 2nd September 2016
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Luke Scott
Starring: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Giamatti, Michael Yare, Chris Sullivan, Vinette Robinson, Crispian Belfrage, Luke Whoriskey, Jonathan Aris, Brian Cox, Courtney Caldwell, Amybeth McNulty

morgan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aby

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What is it about? :: Aby Baby (Vineeth Sreenivasan) has always been interested in flying more than anything else. Right from childhood, he has been fascinated with the airplanes, and he has worked hard to make something that could help him fly. Even though he is an expert in the subject of Physics, nobody considers him as good because he is not just an introvert, but also someone not interested in anything else, with his passion even ending his chances of continuing his studies. Anumol Xavier (Mareena Michael Kurisingal) is his childhood friend who has always supported him, and in return, he has been helping her with her science projects. Aby’s father Baby (Sudheer Karamana) considers him as a fool, and doesn’t favour anything that he does, with the feeling that he is the main reason behind all the misfortunes in their life, chasing after an impossible thing and doing nothing good. But Aby is determined, and leaves his home.

The defence of Aby :: There is no shortage of inspiration in this movie, as our protagonist is the kind of person who is least expected to be successful in life, especially with what he loves the most, and his focus only on that – nobody around him thinks that it is the best thing to focus on. With the visuals of a beautiful village area, the movie provides the message to go after one’s dream, something which the present society doesn’t allow, with parents forcing their children to take the courses which they don’t like – the world has had that obsession with engineering and otherwise also related to getting any job with a high salary. The whole thing is kept simple, even with that tendency to complicate things always there. There are also some good songs, and a fine climax which is sure to make the audience leave with smile on their faces.

The claws of flaw :: One can be sure that a lot of people will find this movie as predictable with its tale of chasing a dream. But the thing about inspirational movies is that you will know how things are to go, and it is something that you need to be prepared for. There is also some trouble here and there with the journey of the protagonist, as it could have surely been shown in a better way. Among all the similarities with inspirational movies, this one is the closest to Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho, with that “achieving dream”, element which will make one feel a certain repetition – you remember that the protagonist there also wished to fly, but by traveling in an airplane rather than trying to make one and fly. The part where the protagonist is in the city, and his relation with a new character called GK is also quite strange – it is the part that could have been better thought out.

Performers of the soul :: The last time we saw Vineeth Sreenivasan on the big screen was in Oru Muthassi Gada, in which he played a rather small role. The same was the case of Jacobinte Swargarajyam, which he himself directed. Kunjiramayanam was the flick in which we last saw him throughout the run, and also as the protagonist. Here, he is back as Aby, and bringing life to the dreams of the character. It is the certain amount of innocence that stays on his face, that makes things work even better in this movie. Aju Varghese is there, providing the needed support as always; he has been the best support with an evergreen funny side throughout so many Malayalam movies, and we see him doing the same, even though he is not there as much as he should have – there is not much a direct influence that his character creates in this movie’s progress, and still we remember his work here.

Further performers of the soul :: It is Sudheer Karamana who gets the best of attention among those who come up with the supporting roles. He is there right from the beginning itself, and has moments until the end. Suraj Venjaramoodu provides some comedy here and there. Meanwhile, Mareena proves herself as an interesting presence in the industry for future, as this role works really well for her – throughout the flick, she has kept it simple, and yet so effective. Most people will know her for playing Sophia in Happy Wedding, and Angel in Amar Akbar Antony, even though the movie which had her the leading heroine was Mumbai Taxi. It was a movie which had some nice moments with twists, and could have done better if it hadn’t tried to be the overreacher it ended up to become. But Mareena has the role for which she is going to be remembered from now on, and we hope that she will get an even better, a huge movie soon.

Soul exploration :: There is always something special about dreaming against all odds in a world which doesn’t believe in you, which seems to have very less in store for you. Yes, some people do have it easy, especially those who have too much money and so much time without having to do anything about it – the rest are to struggle for their dreams, sometimes for an eternity, and at other times, until that destination is reached. There is always something inspirational about going for what one wants, and achieving the same. We keep reading those inspirational stories all the time, of which most of them are only partially true, and some of them just make us rather depressed instead of being motivated. Aby tries to make it to such a world of inspiration, and manages to be another interesting motivational flick here.

How it finishes :: This year has been very good for the Malayalam movie industry and its fans. We had Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol becoming the best family movie in recent times, and Ezra bringing something new to the horror genre here; there was also Jomonte Suvisheshangal doing well, and Fukri bringing some fun element. With Veeram also releasing, Aby brings extra feel-good to the scene, and there was the space for an inspirational flick, which has now been filled. Malayalam movies have had so many of them, and with some variety in treatment, this one is also there, following the movies like Mili, Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam, My God, Oru Muthassi Gadha, AnnMariya Kalippilanu, Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho and others. It is once again time to take the inspiration home, and Aby is for everyone, indeed.

Release date: 23rd February 2017
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Srikant Murali
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese, Mareena Michael Kurisingal, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Sudheer Karamana, Hareesh Peradi, Vinitha Koshy, Manish Choudhary, Dileesh Pothan

abyy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Daylight’s End

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Vampire Owl: I know what comes after daylight’s end.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you already watched the end of the movie?

Vampire Owl: I am talking about us coming after the daylight’s end.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that this is not a vampire movie, like the way we want it.

Vampire Owl: Still, daylight’s end is interesting for us too.

Vampire Bat: That doesn’t really make your point have a better meaning.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about what comes from the inner voice of my soul.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you have an outer voice for your soul.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have developed all these through years of meditation.

Vampire Bat: I am going to pretend that you are talking while sleeping and watch this movie.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with jackfruit chips].

What is the movie about? :: Years have passed after a strange and mysterious plague outbreak had turned most of the people on the planet to cannibalistic, blood sucking creatures. As the daylight ends, the time of these creatures begin. They hunt through the remaining humans, whoever is left without shelter. But a person called Thomas Rourke (Johnny Strong) is determined to battle through this situation, and goes on killing these creatures one after the other in an armoured car. On the way, she sees Samantha Sheridan (Chelsea Edmundson) who is attacked by a group of criminals, and saves her. As he is about to leave, she offers him more guns and ammunition if he gets her to their secret hideout before sunset. Despite the initial doubts, he decides to go with them as he needs all that he can get in his never-ending battle with the creatures.

So, what happens next? :: Even as they drive very quickly, they are unable to reach their destination before sunset, but they get very close to the place. The creatures attack them, but they are saved by the survivors from the hideout, and they all manage to get in. Thomas identifies an alpha creature who leads the rest, as the one who was responsible for the death of his wife. The leaders of the gang of survivors include the old and experienced fighter Frank (Lance Henriksen), his son Ethan (Louis Mandylor) and the former police officer Chris (Hakeem Kae-Kazim). Even as they are suspicious of the intentions of Thomas, they let him in to honour the promise made by Samantha. They still keeps him locked in the cell and promises to provide him the weapons and let him leave after the sunrise on the very next day.

What is to follow in this world of chaos and death? :: As the survivors fall asleep, there are strong noises being heard everywhere. Some of them tries to look around, but are killed by some of the creatures who had managed to get in; but the group successfully kills the creatures and survive the night. In the morning, they find out that the door to the outside has been jammed by the creatures who pushed cars over it. It would take them a long time to move them, and without moving those cars, they can’t take their own vehicles outside. Their plan is to escape to an airfield where there is an airplane. With all of them trapped inside the building and the creatures all prepared to come back again next night, Thomas convinces some of the survivors to accompany him to the building which serves as the hive of the creatures, and kill the alpha creature that leads them. But it won’t be that easy.

The defence of Daylight’s End :: For a low budget movie, this one is a nice achievement, as there are lots of action in store, and that too in style. The whole thing is nicely shot, and we have a lot of shooting going on here, which has our attention, and the same is the case of the creatures who seem to be part-vampire, part-zombie, even though it is more on the vampire side. It is not easy to come up with a good movie in this genre, with too many movies of the same kind being there to be seen, but Daylight’s End manages to survive there. Making a low budget post-apocalyptic movie and having it work so well is too good a thing. The pace is very quick, and we don’t ever feel the need to look away. There is intensity in the happenings, and we get to feel the terror in the situations we have here. If you are looking for post-apocalyptic movies, or to see vampires or zombies coming right at you, take this one and join the ride.

The claws of flaw :: One would think that we had too much of the movies like this, with a situation post-apocalyptic, and the creatures roaming around looking for flesh or blood or both. Resident Evil is the biggest name among them with a new sequel currently running in the theatres, and there are flicks like I am Legend, World War Z and 28 Days Later; there is even Zombieland. Well, people who are tired of the same should go for this one – please choose to say nevermore, and get away. This surely does give that feeling that we have all seen this before. A lot more could have been done with the creatures though, especially with their origins, and also with some special scares added in between. With a setting and creatures like we have here, the possibilities are actually endless. There could have also been a big memorable collection of final moments, with some shocks added to make this a terrifying experience.

How it finishes :: Lead by Johnny Strong and supported well by a cast which has Chelsea Edmundson as the best noticeable female lead, Daylight’s End is the kind of movie that will keep your interest in the post-apocalyptic stuff going. It is not going to bring anything that will change the genre, but it is surely something that can keep you entertained till the end. In humanity’s fight to stay alive, it is us who get to see how things happen in style. It could have scored better with something bigger in its script, and some shock along with bigger scares, but as it is now, there is enough strength to be the action thriller with horror elements. It is surely a better choice than some of those overrated high budget movies, as this one manages to be one of the best of its kind made with such low budget. You can choose to travel to the end of daylight with this one. Just like Fender Bender and Shut In, this is too less known a movie, but it needs to be known by more people!

Release date: 1st November 2016
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: William Kaufman
Starring: Johnny Strong, Chelsea Edmundson, Lance Henriksen, Heather Kafka, Farah White, Louis Mandylor, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Krzysztof Soszynski, Chris Kerson, Gary Cairns, Mark Hanson, Sonny Puzikas, Matt Beckam, Susana Gibb, Ed Spila

daylightsend

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shut In

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Vampire Owl: I am used to hearing a part of this title.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you have heard of this movie title?

Vampire Owl: No, I am used to listening to “shut up”.

Vampire Bat: That should happen naturally to you in a growing vampire community which is building a new code of conduct.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that the critics don’t like this movie?

Vampire Bat: Is that a reason why we shouldn’t like them?

Vampire Owl: Well, they liked I Am Not a Serial Killer.

Vampire Bat: That is absolutely ridiculous. They really need the “shut up” instead of “shut in”.

Vampire Owl: It is time for us to bring the balance by supporting the correct movie.

Vampire Bat: This is indeed that movie to support!

[Gets three cups of masala tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Richard Portman (Peter Outerbridge) and his son Steven Portman (Charlie Heaton) meets an accident while leaving home after a fight between the two – their car crashes into a truck as the differences between the two continue even inside the vehicle on the road. After the accident takes the life of her husband and leaves the son paralysed, Richard’s second wife and Steven’s step-mother, a psychologist by profession, Mary Portman (Naomi Watts) decides to care of the boy, even though it means being isolated from her own friend circle and spending most of her time with him. Separated from her own people, and often questioning her own decisions, she keeps herself going against all odds. But there is one thing that she is sure about, and it is that she has to take care of the boy.

So, what happens next? :: There is also a young kid Tom Patterson (Jacob Tremblay) who was her patient, but has gone missing. This ten year old child is deaf, and she had seen him for the last time at her own home. She does hear strange noises in her home, and there are also stranger happenings around, for which she can find no explanation. She also has her own nightmares, and the only rational explanation seems to be her inability to sleep during nights, which is bringing these hallucinations to her – but she is not satisfied with the same. Then, later, during a storm, on a strange dark night, she begins to believe that someone else is inside the house trying to harm her and Steven. Who or what is this that has come to her home without an invitation? Why does it/him/her want to haunt her and her paralysed son? Then the bigger question is about the missing child!

The defence of Shut In :: There is a strong line of mystery going right through Shut In, as it keeps us guessing from the very early stages itself. There are those moments of scare and there is suspense, as we get to that twist in the end. If you are going to ask why the protagonist didn’t figure out this or why she didn’t act like that, I am sure that I can ask why the protagonist in your favourite movie acts in such an unbelievable manner – well, it is different for each person, and being a psychologist like the main character of this movie won’t help at all; for you will never become the master of others’ minds, as each person is different as an individual and not as a robot whose “metallic emotions” could be treated by science. It is also the message of this movie – it doesn’t matter how much you think you know about others and their minds, and there is no point about claiming that you have studied it scientifically: you just can’t predict human nature.

The claws of flaw :: There are similarities to another movie which released in the same year, The Boy which also had problems with the critics, who might have decided that these movies were bad even before watching them – it is a clear reflection of the fact that some people are not qualified enough to judge horror movies, for such flicks surely need separate reviewers who understand the soul of horror, hopefully none of them includes those who reviews Bollywood drama. There is something strange going on with these people who keep rating the scarier horror movies low, and give a better score to horror movies which are not horror at all – even the thriller genre suffers from the same. This movie surely had the potential to develop better with its basic idea, and there are some points when things are not that smooth, but the shorter length makes sure that the movie survives that.

Performers of the soul :: From the beginning to the end, Naomi Watts remains the heart and soul of this movie. Seemingly getting younger every time, she is the kind of actress that everyone would love to have a in a horror movie or a mysterious thriller. You remember watching her in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering a long time ago, but we all better recognise her from the much loved horror movie The Ring and its less acclaimed sequel, The Ring Two. But the best of her for me is the 2007 version of Funny Games – she has been perfectly suited to this genre which has the thrills and scares in store. It is the same that she makes sure in this movie, as once again does her job in the perfect way – we appreciate seeing her on the screen in this flick too. Charlie Heaton and Oliver Platt also scores in between, but Jacob Tremblay only gets less to do unlike in that nice horror movie named Before I Wake.

How it finishes :: This is another nice thriller movie which has been wronged by the critics. It is a thing about them to combine and build flaws on some movies, and the critics in India usually have the tendency to copy those in the United States without shame, unless there is someone from Bollywood performing in that movie [then it will be, watch the movie for him or her]. Some people really needs to know what “bad” and “terrible” movie means, and some of those flicks include those which they have been praising so much in the last few years. Maybe they were watching another movie instead of this one – who knows? Or they do judge in a way that only their group of people understands. Shut In is worth a watch; it is no big horror thriller, but it is surely something in which you can try and spend your time – it has enough in store.

Release date: 11th November 2016
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Farren Blackburn
Starring: Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay, David Cubitt, Clémentine Poidatz, Crystal Balint, Alex Braunstein, Peter Outerbridge

shutin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Monster Calls

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Vampire Owl: Do you know that a monster did call me before?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the potato chips monster.

Vampire Owl: No, a real monster.

Vampire Bat: What did he say?

Vampire Owl: He said that he would eat me for dinner.

Vampire Bat: Oh! A monster that eats the undead for dinner. This should have been in the news.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but it was April Fool, coming right from Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat: According to the humans, we are surely monsters. So, from another perspective, it is true.

Vampire Owl: But we are vegetarian.

Vampire Bat: Yes, that is indeed our specialty which is to remain the same.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with potato chips].

What is the movie about? :: A young boy named Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is in a state of worry due to his mother Elizabeth Clayton’s (Felicity Jones) cancer. She keeps telling him that she is getting better, but the truth is that she is not. It is only getting worse, and she is slowly and steadily moving towards her end. It is difficult for him to accept the same, and with his father Mr. O’Malley (Toby Kebbell) being separated from him and living far away from them, he has not many people to look forward to. He is also targeted by Harry (James Melville), a bully at the school, and he is asked by his grandmother Mrs. Clayton (Sigourney Weaver) with whom he doesn’t have a great relationship, to move to her home with her. But Conor is more frustrated by the idea of moving to his grandmother’s home than about being bullied by his classmate and his friends.

So, what happens next? :: One night at exactly 12:07 a.m., Conor comes across a strange tree-like monster (Liam Neeson), that tells him it is going to come up with three stories, after which Conor has to tell the monster his own story, which is the truth behind the nightmare that he keeps seeing. The first story is that of an old king who has lost all his sons battling giants, dragons and great wizards who led men and creatures of darkness. The only heir he had was his grandson who was loved by all people of the kingdom. But at his old age, he gets married to a beautiful woman, after which he falls ill and dies. With the prince not old enough to claim the kingdom, the queen becomes the ruler, and the prince runs away with his love, a farmer’s daughter who seems to be murdered. This queen who is claimed to be a witch, is supposed to be behind the death of both the king and the lover, is saved by the monster, as he claims – Conor wonders why.

So, how do things go from here? :: The second story is that of an ill-tempered, greedy apothecary who follows the old ways of medicine, and pesters a local parson to let him cut the yew tree in the churchyard. The parson who is a man of strong faith is against the apothecary who grows in hatred towards everyone around. But when the parson’s two children gets ill, he asks the apothecary for help, and even offers the yew tree and a change in his own belief. But the apothecary refuses to help him, and the children die. The tree then takes his monstrous form and begins destroying the house of the parson, much to the dismay of Conor who doesn’t understand why the creature is not destroying the house of the apothecary instead. As the third tale nears, Conor’s relationships with his father and grandmother worsens further, and his mother’s disease also gets worse – now, the question remains if the creature can actually heal his mother.

The defence of A Monster Calls :: There is sadness in A Monster Calls, and you can feel it all the way from the beginning to the end. The monster has the message to move on with one’s life, and survive through the unexpected pains – on what it takes to live through the certainty of losing a loved one. It uses all the available themes to its advantage, and tells the message with ease. All the characters used here points to that one message. It has all which are needed to strike you emotionally, and at the same time, despite being a fantasy movie, has more of real life in it with all the fiction that seem to be part of the world. It becomes more of a fairy-tale for the adults rather than children, as each point that its main characters make is worth pondering about. It makes one turn into one’s own mind and ask the same questions about humanity again and again, and at the same time, we get to see the nice creature detail to go with it.

The claws of flaw :: You can keep feeling a certain amount of drag throughout this flick, and those who are looking for the usual kind of fantasy movies are going to feel strange. If you can’t take some preaching, this one is going to be not the movie for you. There also seems to be an attempt to get more and more emotional with things, but that was really not needed, as there was a lot of the same, which came naturally. This is also based on a novel of the same name, written by Patrick Ness, and so it is up-to the author who wrote the screenplay for the movie as well as the fans to decide on how it did justice to the work. There is also the chance to miss out on the symbolism that one comes across in the movie, and so maybe the flick could have hinted on what it was planning to do – a lot of people should have felt that the monster is the usual one, but this one is not just a monster, but much more than that, and one needs to take that.

How it finishes :: The fangs of the message here is quite strong, and it is the performances which support the same more than anything else. You will see how well Lewis MacDougall takes the protagonist to the viewers so well. There is no doubt anywhere about how Sigourney Weaver gets us closer to things, and Felicity Jones makes us feel the pain. As the movie deals with a situation which most people will face in one way or the other, one can be certain that there is the need for A Monster Calls at some point, and we will have to take these messages from the movie right back home. Well, above them all, there is Liam Neeson as the monster, and there is nobody else who could be a monster who provides us with the best messages – proven here without doubt. What would you do when your own monster calls? Well, it is something to keep thinking about.

Release date: 23rd December 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, Liam Neeson, James Melville, Geraldine Chaplin, Max Golds

amonstercalls

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ezra

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Vampire Owl: Malayalam movies have always needed more horror movies.

Vampire Bat: This has come after a long wait too.

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time we really loved a Malayalam horror movie?

Vampire Bat: I am not sure about that. We have been loving the Hollywood horror only.

Vampire Owl: I heard that it has a little bit of Jewish culture in Kerala.

Vampire Bat: And that it was also going to be dubbed into more than one other language?

Vampire Owl: I hope one or two vampire languages are added.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this one will be different. It is evident from the poster and also from what people talk about it.

Vampire Owl: Ghosts need to be shown different, because they are all not the same.

Vampire Bat: Well, maybe this is the answer to the prayers of many such spirits.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and caramel popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Ranjan Mathew (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is an orphan and a successful professional working in Mumbai. After falling in love with an interior designer Priya Raghunathan (Priya Anand) who is also based in Mumbai, they get married against the wishes of her parents. One and half years later, he gets a transfer to Cochin, and despite Priya’s reluctance to move from the city which had become a part of her, they relocate to the new place, which is a mansion-like old house rented to them upon the recommendation of Father Samuel (Vijayaraghavan) who is not just a priest, but also Ranjan’s uncle. Ranjan’s company is dealing with disposing the nuclear waste from the nuclear reactors in South India, and he is in charge of the operations. Meanwhile, A.C.P. Shafeer Ahammed (Tovino Thomas) is tired of investigating a strange murder in an antique shop which leaves no clue.

So, what happens next? :: As Priya has a lot of free time, she tries to do some interior work for their new house and buys some interesting items from the shop of Moosa (Alencier Ley Lopez) who had managed to bring a few new things of interest from the house of a Jew who died without a heir in the country, as everyone had left for Israel. After getting a box from the shop and opening it, things begin to change, as Priya sees a creepy figure in the mirror as well as the wardrobe, and Ranjan hears footsteps from the roof – and more spooky things follow. As Father Samuel finds Jewish inscriptions on a strange box, he advises Ranjan to consult Rabbi David Benyamin (Babu Antony) who resides in Mumbai. As Ranjan comes to know that Priya is pregnant, he becomes more desperate, but David’s death follows, and now the only hope seems to be in the form of Rabbi Marcus (Sujith Shanker) who has arrived at Cochin.

The defence of Ezra :: There is variety without doubt in Ezra, and the same can be said about the quality displayed in this movie. The visuals are really well-used here to create the advantage, and the darkness as well as some spooky elements are created well with the use of sound effects, and these work really well in the first half to make us interested in the second. There is also a lot in the story told here, unlike the other horror movies, and the creature that this flick chooses here is not among the usual ones, as the myth used is something not many people around here have known before. The use of a perfect setting and antiques happen to be something that works for this flick more than any other horror movie. There is also one twist that happens by the end, even though it is the only big surprise in the movie, and could have been presented in a better way. The songs are good, especially “Lailakame”.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does get a curse, and it happens in the second half, as many other movies – this evil spirit doesn’t really make that much impact as it should in the latter part, and the final exorcism, brings nothing huge. There were so many possibilities with this movie, and the infinite chances are not used at all – it is kind of strange that the movie doesn’t bring the special ingredient; there were so many opportunities and Ezra hesitates to think out of the box, even with a spirit from inside a box. As we see the characters watching The Conjuring 2 on television, one has no doubt about one movie which has inspired this one. But Ezra has so much of hesitation in unleashing the terror – the viewers find so many situations which could have been scarier, but the movie doesn’t seem to find the need to bring huge scares. Also, at one point, you feel that this is the Odette Annable starrer The Unborn, but then it is not; there is just the dybbuk and the pregnancy in common.

Performers of the soul :: In a movie that has Prithviraj as the protagonist, it is him who leads the way – it is the first half that gets the best of him with a simple and rather natural touch to the proceedings – not that much with the final scenes though. Priya Anand makes a Malayalam debut which the Keralites will remember. Sujith Shanker makes a surprising entry here, and in this role, most of us might not even recognise that he is the same person from Njan Steve Lopez and Maheshinte Prathikaram – it is quite solid work. Tovino Thomas, even though he is there for less amount of time, has his moments. Vijayaraghavan is fine there, but Babu Antony’s stay is cut short; the same is the case of Pratap K. Pothen and Alencier Ley Lopez who leaves the proceedings rather too early. Sudev Nair and Ann Sheetal has a nicely created flashback scene which is done fine.

How it finishes :: There is a little shortage of horror movies in Malayalam movie industry, and there is a lot of shortage in the case of good horror movies – the latter is also applicable to the Bollywood film industry too, which is why, for the Indian cinema as a whole, the requirement is for more good horror. There is no need for more drama and more romance – there is too much of the same already, and there is nothing closer to life than horror, in one way or the other. Therefore, Ezra‘s presence is something which has to be appreciated, and despite not using all the possibilities in the scary side, manages to be a horror movie with a difference as far as the Malayalam movie industry is considered. It is evident that the Malayalam movies are back after that break – and each release this year, including Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, Jomonte Suviseshangal, Fukri and Ezra have stayed different from each other.

Release date: 10th February 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Jay K
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Priya Anand, Tovino Thomas, Sudev Nair, Vijayaraghavan, Sujith Shanker, Pratap K. Pothen, Babu Antony, Alencier Ley Lopez, Ann Sheetal

ezra

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fukri

fukri-2

Vampire Owl: What about Fukrey?

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that there is a relation between the two. That one was a coming of age comedy film.

Vampire Owl: You mean just like Premam.

Vampire Bat: The genre is rather too vast. People who have no idea about that genre were blaming Premam for being close to its category.

Vampire Owl: Yes, some people even praised Blinglore Days for downgrading Premam.

Vampire Bat: It is Bangalore Days.

Vampire Owl: Whatever it is, our concern should only be about the nights, right?

Vampire Bat: It is the presence of the day that makes sure that there is night.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but we all have our preferences, don’t we?

Vampire Bat: Yes, as long as the night has darkness.

[Gets the tickets with cardamom tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Lucky (Jayasurya) and Franklin (Bhagath Manuel) are best friends who are also engineering dropouts looking forward to making some quick money. For the same, they try many things. One day, they end up complicating things so much that they have to keep running from people. During his adventures in making easy money, he meets Nafsi (Prayaga Martin) and Sana (Salini RT) who needs someone to act as an elder cousin to bail them out of some trouble which they had due to bunking classes for watching a Salman Khan movie first day first show. There, posing as their cousins, they come across their real cousin, Ubaid (John Kaippallil), and ends up telling a lie that Lucky is the son of Ali Fukri (Lal) who is the son of Sulaiman Fukri (Siddique). Sulaiman and Ali has a long gone past, which has left them as terrible enemies who wouldn’t hesitate to beat each other up if there was a chance.

So, what happens next? :: Despite being hostile to his son, Sulaiman the patriarch, isn’t angry with his grandson. But Aliya (Anu Sithara) whom Lucky meets on his way back from the college, reveals that Ali has no son, and she is his only daughter. She asks him to get into the Fukri mansion posed as Ali’s son, and there is also an opportunity to be there at Ali’s wife house. Ali had married a Brahmin girl which was one of the many reasons for the problems with his father. Aliya provides enough details for Lucky to be at both places, and during his stay there, he solves almost all his financial debts. As Lucky is in love with Nafsi, he feels that this could work in favour of him in more than one way. At the same time, he decides to unite both families as well as the father and the son. But one day, Ali returns, and he is certainly not happy with it – he wishes to destroy all happiness in Fukri family, and one has to wonder what would happen next.

The defence of Fukri :: There is the presence of comedy, and the jokes work most of the time, and at other times, we have to make ourselves believe that there is some fun stuff going on. The songs are mostly okay, but there is nothing much to remember for long. It is still nicely done for the family audience, and without any bad joke added here and there and hurting no religious or community sentiment, manages a clean work – it needed someone like our veteran director to do the same, even though it is surprising that he had chosen to go through such a safe path with no risk taken. Even though it stays for more time that it should have, lasting above two and half hours, we don’t end up complaining about the length. Denied its release during the Christmas season due to the theatre owners’ strike, this one has a festival mood too, with all the colour and style that we see around. This might be the right choice to spend the time you have in extra.

The claws of flaw :: The main problem with this movie is that it has the kind of idea that has been tried again and again so much. It is certainly an old wine in a pot which he seems to have borrowed from a number of older movies – he has just added a little bit of flavour, and so we know that we have seen this before on lots of occasions. From the beginning itself, it is so predictable, and one twist with the daughter might be the only exception. The first half is rather brainless with comedy thrown in here and there, and the second half has a little bit too much of melodrama and it ends as if they had to force an ending out of nowhere. There is a little too much of Udayapuram Sulthan here, with one son trying to unite families from Hindu and Muslim families posing as someone else; his father was the main problem-maker there too. Posing as the cousin was the main idea in Dilliwala Rajakumaran too, and Kaaryasthan also had the protagonist trying to unite families – the examples are many, and it is a rather outdated idea for these times.

Performers of the soul :: There are three people who control this movie with ease – Jayasurya, Lal and Siddique, playing the fake grandson, and the next two generations of parents. The three generations effectively make this one worth our time. Jayasurya still has it easy compared to the kind of roles with which he had surprised us earlier. Lal and Siddique are perfectly suited for their roles, as their looks and style also compliment being the two big characters. Among the heroines, it is Anu Sithara who plays the daughter figure who scores the best – we had last seen her in Happy Wedding. Prayaga Martin pales in comparison, except for the looks – even though she looked even better in Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. It was also good to see Bhagath Manuel playing the second fiddle. Joju George is the one person to create the best effect on screen with minimal screen presence.

How it finishes :: There has been something different going on with the Siddique movies in the last few years – Ladies and Gentleman and Bhaskar the Rascal were clearly terrible movies, and even after bringing a combined effort with Lal in King Liar, nothing really changed with that. Bodyguard was an overrated movie too, with similar overrated remakes coming in many languages. And then there is Fukri. Coming directly into this situation, Fukri is definitely is a better flick. As we consider all these movies, Fukri is also the closest to a pretty good family flick which you can watch for the weekend. With Munthirivallikal Thalirkumbol and Jomonte Suviseshangal running in the theatres and Ezra all prepared to release, it is back to the busy times for Malayalam cinema industry after that terrible break due to the strike! Still, this could have been a laugh riot with its premise already established long ago – but that is not the case.

Release date: 3rd February 2016
Running time: 156 minutes
Directed by: Siddique
Starring: Jayasurya, Lal, Prayaga Martin, Bhagath Manuel, Siddique, John Kaippallil, Anu Sithara, Joju George, Krishna Praba, KPAC Lalitha, Sreelatha Namboothiri, Thesni Khan, Reena, Naseer Sankranthi, Salini RT, Sajan Palluruthy

fukrii

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Miss Peregrine’s Home

missperegrineshome

Vampire Owl: I once knew a tooth fairy by this name. It was when I was having the best of times.

Vampire Bat: Oh! I thought you only knew witches during those days.

Vampire Owl: Stop being judgmental. She was a nice tooth fairy. She even dealt in fangs.

Vampire Bat: Okay, and then what happened?

Vampire Owl: She died and I embraced the fact that I was immortal. I really felt my eternity.

Vampire Bat: It could have been most romantic tale that I have ever heard, if I never knew how to read.

Vampire Owl: You just have no empathy. Even my zombie minions clapped to my story. It is a long one, and I can let you hear it if you provide me with one hundred and thirty four days.

Vampire Bat: No, thanks. Why don’t you write a book instead?

Vampire Owl: I don’t write anymore. I spread ideas through telepathy.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I can see your ideas taking over the world from a very long distance.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with tapioca chips].

What is the movie about? :: Jake (Asa Butterfield) has grown up listening to the tales which his grandfather Abe Portman (Terence Stamp) has told him about battling monsters along with fighting the World War II. The centre of attraction in all of these stories is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which has Miss Alma Peregrine (Eva Green) as the headmistress, and the place has children with some amazing abilities, and are called peculiars. Each of these special abilities make them what they are, and this headmistress herself is more than what meets the eye. His parents are not that fond of these strange, folk-tale kind of stuff that Abe is feeding his grandson, and wishes that they could stick to the usual things. But things are not that easy as they seem to be.

So, what happens next? :: One day, he gets a call from his grandfather and later finds him with his eyes missing. Before he dies, he leaves Jake with some clues to what he is to do, and there is also a monster there, which disappears. Left clueless about what he is to do next, the psychatrist tells them to go to this particular place mentioned by Abe, and it is the only thing that can make him believe that it is all fiction, with stories made up by the old man every day. So, accompanied by his father, Jake travels to Cairnholm and finds that the children’s home mentioned by his grandfather was destroyed during a Nazi air raid on September third, 1943. But he is surprised to find a number of children there, who seems to be more than just normal. They invite him to their secret place.

So, how do things go from here? :: There he meets Miss Peregrine who explains to him that she can manipulate time and belongs to a special class of peculiars called ymbrynes. To live in peace, she has created a time loop which repeats all over again and again on the third of September, 1943 just before the bomb falls on their building. As they keep living the same day again and again, none of them ages either. There he understands that a team of monsters called Hollows, lead by Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) hunt Peculiars to devour their eyeballs hoping to gain immortality in the process. With these people on the hunt for more peculiars and waiting to enter the loops, can Jake save the day, and also save his new found love interest, the aerokinetic Emma Bloom (Ella Purnell)?

The defence of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children :: The movie is undoubtedly something that looks very good on the screen – the setting, the costumes and the special effects; they all look impressive. The pace gets better, and by the time it reaches the end, we are very much into one loop or two. The movie has a good mix of things, and never really gets lost in what it has to provide us – and it has been done in style. Among all the cast, it is Ella Purnell who leaves something beautiful with her charming performance. Then there is Samuel L. Jackson who once again scores high as the antagonist – there are some dialogues from him which are so much memorable; Eva Green also follows the same path, but on the other side. Asa Butterfield reminds one, and brings some of the Harry Potter effect in this one too.

The claws of flaw :: There is no shortage of the feeling that we have seen this before so much. We have always known X-Men and what they called as the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. The peculiar children just become another version of the X-Men when they were all younger. There is also no big mission to do here, which makes this not that much of a flick that most people would have expected. The monsters remind one of some Guillermo del Toro effect, as if Pan’s Labyrinth or Crimson Peak has decided to have a peek – they are still not that less interesting. With its magic and its protagonist accompanied by the magic, one is certain to feel some amount of Harry Potter in this one. There is also the lack of best use of the available resources – this could have been one big movie of magic, but that much is certainly not there.

How it finishes :: Tim Burton surely brings something special in making these kind of movies, as we have already seen in the two nice Johnny Depp starrers Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland, both having their fantasy elements at the right places. Well, referring to the same actor with this man at the helm, there was also Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Also in that list is Planet of the Apes, which I consider better than the franchise which is going on now, and that earlier special flick, Sleepy Hollow. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children might be the kind of movie which had left people wondering about what it contains, but based on a book by American author Ransom Riggs, seems to have left us with enough to be interested in, watching the whole thing on the screen.

Release date: 30th September 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Lauren McCrostie, Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson, Finlay MacMillan, Pixie Davies, Cameron King, Georgia Pemberton, Milo Parker, Raffiella Chapman, Hayden Keeler-Stone

missperegrineshomee

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.