Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

What is the movie about? :: Prasad (Suraj Venjaramoodu) and Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan) are in love after a certain misunderstanding between them. Living near Vaikom at a village where the caste feeling is high, both are at trouble due to Sreeja’s father and relatives being fully against the marriage and threatens them. The result is that both of them runs away from the place after their wedding, and goes to a remote place in Kasargod where they have bought some land and a place to stay, hoping to get into agriculture. But it turns out that there is no water available there, and things once again takes a twist. They decide to get a loan against her gold ornaments, but her necklace ends up being stolen when in the bus, messing up with their plans. This theft was committed by a man known by the same name, Prasad (Fahadh Faasil) whom Sreeja had seen devouring it to escape being caught with it.

So, what happens next? :: So, the KSRTC bus driver, conductor and the travelers join to take the man to the nearby police station. It is more of a remote area, which doesn’t have leaves too many options for the police than to wait, as Sreeja is certain that the man had stolen her necklace and the thief tells the police that he has stolen nothing, and is working at a road-side eatery making porottas. But when the police asks for an id, he has none, and so they decide to keep him at the police station and wait. With no other option left, the couple also has to wait to find a way to find the necklace from him, as nothing could be proven otherwise. The police officer in charge of the case, A.S.I. Chandran (Alencier Ley Lopez) assures them that the thief is a smart one, but he solves such cases all the time, and will get them their necklace. So, who is the smartest of them all – is it the thief, the couple or the police officer?

The defence of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum :: The question of Dileesh Potham brilliance rises again, and we can see that there is something about it everywhere that fuels this movie. It is a fine narration that takes the story to another level, as we have the perfect example on how to make simplicity so interesting. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is once again an everyman movie like Maheshinte Prathikaram, and those elite classes will not get their due here – there is almost no person in this movie who can be put into that “rich” category, which brings us the real movie for the people, which has never been the self-proclaimed “local” movies. The humour is also working, and they are also based on simple things of life – still there are twists. Once again, we see that the visuals are nice, as you know who in charge of them with the camera. The music is good, with “Kannile Poika” nicely visualized. There is the message hope and forgiveness, even though they are not readily visible.

The claws of flaw :: The movie might feel a little bit slow and a little bit dull at moments of the first half, as we expect it to be fun-filled entertainer like Maheshinte Prathikaram which had absolutely no moment which will make us doubtful. The emptiness that you feel in between, and the repetition that might seem to occur are also certain to be seen. You do feel at times, that this has a little too much of a remider of Action Hero Biju – so, if you don’t like that movie, there is a chance that Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum will not be that interesting to you too. The story also doesn’t have that much in it to talk about, as things are rather simple, and the whole thing is focused to particular places. If you are looking for the usual kind of a movie, this will not claim to be one, which might be a good thing for a few, and not an interesting thing for some others. There could have been a bigger punch by the end, which is not there.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has his second movie running in the theatres at the same time, as Role Models is already there, having released for Eid with Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran – his earlier movies were Take Off and Maheshinte Prathikaaram, and it has been a fine run which continues into this movie too. Fahadh’s work, no matter how good or bad a movie is always something to look forward too – after all, this one is really good. There is a certain balance in his work, and even the simplest emotions from him brings the claps from the audience – the thief’s smiles score big. Suraj Venjaramoodu brings a performance which brings him back to the “fortress of seriousness”, with a full role rather than what he had in Action Hero Biju – he even has the romantic side to explore nicely. The National Award Winner for Best Actor in 2013 is the hero in this one, even though the term has less potential in a realistic story having no heroism.

Further performers of the soul :: Nimisha Sajayan makes a good debut with this movie too, as her work is simple as well as memorable. We see her taking it further with some realistic emotional scenes. It will be nice to see her in a different performance in one of the upcoming movies, and I remember having read that she has signed for another movie already. The next memorable character in the movie is played by Alencier Ley Lopez, who plays the police officer again after Njan Steve Lopez, and combines forces with Fahadh Faasil and Dileesh Pothan once again after Maheshinte Prathikaaram. You remember Vinay Forrt becoming the officer in control of things in Kismath where almost everything happens in the police stations – Alencier gets to do the same, but he has another mode on with Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. There is also the presence of some lesser known faces, who all do a fine job – it seems that the right ones are chosen for sure.

How it finishes :: We have all known what Dileesh Pothan is capable of, with his Maheshinte Prathikaaram, the National Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam and also for Best Screenplay. The same combination of him with Fahadh Faasil returned here, and as expected there is something for us to be impressed, as we were waiting with expectations being a lot high. The movie with a realistic side will always have more for us than what any of those big superstar movies possess. It is the same realization that makes a lot of people to arrive at the theatres on a rainy day, defying all odds to get a ticket for this rather simple a movie – even the advance bookings have been even more. When the first movie was a success, the second movie has become a bigger challenge, as he has to match the glory, and here, with his brilliance continuing, Dileesh Pothan has kept Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum working, even though not as much as Maheshinte Prathikaaram.

Release date: 30th June 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Alencier Ley Lopez, Nimisha Sajayan, Soubin Shahir, Shince Mathew, Jithin KC, Vettukili Prakash, Sreekanth Murali

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Phobia

Vampire Owl: I hope that she doesn’t have vampirophobia. I really hope that she doesn’t.

Vampire Bat: I believe that the exact term for the same is sanguivoriphobia.

Vampire Owl: What? Who on Earth comes up with such strange names? Who even gets that at first attempt?

Vampire Bat: Well, they call it the fear for blood eaters.

Vampire Owl: How can someone actually eat blood? And we are vegetarian vampires; we have suitable replacements instead.

Vampire Bat: It doesn’t count. Humans are masters of generalisation, and they create opinions based on that.

Vampire Owl: We should have a phobia of them instead – unless they are all dead.

Vampire Bat: You are in no position to call an event which causes human extinction. They have to cause their own downfall.

Vampire Owl: It is something that I have always believed in.

Vampire Bat: Just make sure that Wonder Woman won’t murder you after naming you Ares, the God of War.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Mehak Deo (Radhika Apte), a talented artist who is quite popular with her friends, attends almost every party in the town, becoming more of the popular girl in the city. But after being molested by a taxi driver on a terrible night, she develops the worst of agoraphobia, which keeps her away from public places and large groups, as she keeps herself inside the house and mostly in her room. Living in the same house as her sister Anusha (Nivedita Bhattacharya), it gets worse for everyone, as her actions remain more and more uncontrollable and unbearable for all. With the eccentric and unpredictable nature affecting Anusha’s little kid too, they all feel done with helping her, because it seems to be of no use, and Mehak herself doesn’t want to be treated, staying inside home without making an attempt to go out for months.

So, what happens next? :: Shaan (Satyadeep Mishra), Mehak’s good friend decides to help her, and gets her to an apartment which is empty for now after its previous occupant decided to move away. He hopes that this change, and life alone will be better for her, and she will start longing to meet people after this. At the new place, she seems to have some visions, and she feels that there is something sinister about these particular visions. She has two neighbours there with whom she gets to talk often, one of them being Nikki (Yashaswini Dayama), who is a graduate student who lives on the flat on the right, while on the left side, there lives Manu (Ankur Vikal) who had anger management issues and is using laughter to fight the same. The latter used to be in a relationship with a woman called Jiah Khurana (Amrit Bagchi) who had left the place.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: It turns out that Jiah was living in the same apartment in which Mahek is living right now. Knowing that the girl had disappeared without telling anyone, and that there is no clue of where she is, Mahek begins to feel that there is a big mystery behind the same. She comes up with the idea that an angry Manu had killed Jiah and has hidden her body in his apartment. Mehak also feels that her visions are from Jiah’s spirit which is trying to tell her something about the demise. Shaan feels that this is all part of her disease, and that she is having so many hallucinations. Her psychiatrist (Faezeh Jalali) also confirms that Mahek’s condition is worsening every day, and there is not much that can be done unless she is taken to a mental asylum. But Nikki is curious, and decides to help Mehak in finding the truth behind the missing girl. Now the question remains about what really is the truth here.

The defence of Phobia :: There is one thing about which you can be cent percent sure, and it is that Phobia won’t be like any other movie which you have seen in Bollywood, and in psychological horror, it explores more territories, and most of these areas are divergent. The story is nicely presented right from the beginning, and it keeps you wondering what is happening, and what is to follow. The visuals nicely match the overall mood of the movie, and there are some scenes which are particularly great and deserves our attention. Radhika Apte is once again too good, as you would expect her to be – she is that kind of an actress who has more in store for us than anyone from Bollywood, and it is a fact that you just can’t ignore. There are moments from her which you are going to remember for so long. The next one to make the impact is Yashaswini Dayama who keep the curious college girl act going on very nicely.

The claws of flaw :: One can say without doubt that Phobia is not a movie for everyone; I am sure that it might have already been established by many others in one way or the other which randomly talking about the flick. There are also logic flaws in this movie, and her living alone in the flat is nothing less than strange, and having a knife near her when she goes into the virtual reality is rather comfortable. The way in which the mystery is finally solved is also rather strange, when it could have taken a rather direct approach. The climax had potential to be something more, and for some reason, it chooses not to live up to the fantastic build-up in the first half, and finish the movie on a high. The audience is left clueless on a lot of occasions, and more scary moments could have been built regarding the neighbour and other residents of the apartments. When you have an apartment where someone with a mental problem living alone, there is always scope for more.

How it finishes :: Phobia demands that you take things differently, and get your thinking procedure to go another way, which has almost no relation with a regular Bollywood movie; all that those movies are, this movie is not. It is where movies like Phobia and Raman Raghav 2.0 scores, and it is also what we strive to have. Otherwise, Bollywood can only focus on biopics, and tales inspired from real life incidents like Neerja, Rustom and Airlift, which they need to keep the ship sailing in the right direction. It is during such times that this movie does go against the flow, and what we can do is to appreciate the effort and watch this movie without second thoughts about how it will make us feel, and how well it can relate when we haven’t watched similar movies before.

Release date: 27th May 2016
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Pavan Kirpalani
Starring: Radhika Apte, Yashaswini Dayama, Satyadeep Mishra, Ankur Vikal, Nivedita Bhattacharya, Amrita Bagchi, Faezeh Jalali, Salone Mehta, Arush Nand, Dinyar Tirandaz, Amit Kumar Pandey, Malhar Goenka

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jolly LLB 2

Vampire Owl: I know this Jolly fellow. He was so jolly.

Vampire Bat: It is not that Jolly, but this one can be quite jolly too.

Vampire Owl: So, we have a sequel which has another Jolly, who is also a jolly fellow.

Vampire Bat: Yes, instead of Jagdish Tyagi, we have Jagdishwar Mishra. But we call them both Jolly.

Vampire Owl: That explains the change of cast. But then, this won’t be a real sequel.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but this is the second story of a Jolly, and it is just that it is another Jolly.

Vampire Owl: This is rather confusing with two of them being called the same name, despite having different names.

Vampire Bat: Well, this movie actually happens after the first, and we get a mention about the first movie by the character of the judge.

Vampire Owl: It would have still be nice if at least one person of the two was called Jaggu.

Vampire Bat: Well, these humans have a strange way of naming people again and again.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Jagdishwar Mishra a.k.a. Jolly (Akshay Kumar) is a lawyer who wishes to make it big as a lawyer, but with his chances a long way away, works as an assistant to one of the most famous lawyers of Lucknow, Rizvi Sahab (Ram Gopal Bajaj) at Lucknow. Jolly is not considered as a lawyer who can go the distance, as he is the son of the man hailing from Kanpur who was only an assistant for his whole career, and Jolly himself doesn’t have his own chamber even after trying so hard. A pregnant lady, Hina Siddiqui (Sayani Gupta) spends most of his time in and around court area, trying to convince any of the well-known lawyers to take up the case of his husband. She begs Jolly to make his senior lawyer to accept her case. With the need there to get two lakhs for the final payment of his chamber, Jolly lies to her that the senior lawyer has agreed to take her case, and a sum of two lakhs need to be paid as soon as possible, to which she agrees.

So, what happens next? :: After getting the money from her, Jolly inaugurates his new chamber on the day of Holi in style with his wife Pushpa Pandey (Huma Qureshi) and the rest of his well-wishers. But Hina who finds out about the same, reaches there and creates a scene. Jolly tells her that he intended to return the money after this was done, but she tells him that he should have also rejected her appeal, as everyone else, instead of cheating her – she returns home and commits suicide. Everyone including his own father blames Jolly for causing the death of a pregnant woman. Jolly is unable to sleep or think properly with Hina’s death in his mind. With the help of his friend and lawyer Birbal (Rajiv Gupta), he decides to filed a public interest litigation to get justice for Hina and her husband, something which was to be his biggest challenge in life.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Jolly understands that the case about Hina’s husband Iqbal Qasim (Manav Kaul) was regarding his fake encounter by Police Inspector Suryaveer Singh (Kumud Mishra) on the very next day after their wedding, which brought him promotion. Iqbal was arrested by the police under the suspicion that he was an Islamic terrorist who reached the place from Jammu and Kashmir, and the same was confirmed later, and he is supposed to have shot a police constable while trying to escape, and the cop had died in the hospital later. The truth though, is that Suryaveer just shot him to make the encounter look more genuine, and by mistake he had ended up dead. Worried that he was going to land in big trouble, Suryaveer then hires his good friend and Lucknow’s best lawyer Pramod Mathur (Annu Kapoor), to take up his case, also paying fifty lakhs for the same. Can Jolly go against all odds to win the case and bring justice?

The defence of Jolly LLB 2 :: It is not that easy to work well with court-room drama movies and make them work, especially as things tend to get dull with the setting at the same place, and people tending to repeat the same thing again and again, but Jolly LLB 2, just like its predecessor, manages to be entertaining in more than one way. Well, the scenes inside the court are the best moments of the movie without doubt. We are so interested in knowing what happens by the end of the movie, that we find it difficult to move from the seat. The movie balances the comic side with the edge of the seat moments really well, and we get to see Akshay Kumar doing an amazing job as the protagonist who struggles to make it big. Saurabh Shukla brings the fun in between, and Sayani Gupta makes a heavy impact even with those lesser number of scenes. Huma Qureshi’s work is limited, but she does fine when she is there.

The claws of flaw :: There is the presence of those unnecessary songs and dance sequences which seem to make hardly any impact. The movie is also not without its ups and downs, and gets to the next level only later in the first half. There should also be questions about the way the truth is brought to light in this one, and you will also feel that some sequences are brought to us in such a way that the purpose is more to take melodrama higher rather than anything else. We feel that the innocence and simplicity of the first movie is not that much there in this one – we know how much that movie had raised the expectations so well. The audience also wonders if all of these, or at least most of these is actually possible inside a court. I am sure that this movie could have had many more interesting moments with some more divergence too. Also Huma Qureshi and Sayani Gupta could have been there for more.

How it finishes :: Jolly LLB 2 can be considered as good a movie as its predecessor when we have a look at it as a whole. Last year, Akshay Kumar had Airlift and Rustom to do the job for him after Baby and Brothers while going back longer, and this year, it is Jolly LLB 2 so far. There is also something to think about with this one, as one wonders how significant is the common man when facing the rich and the influential, for everyone don’t keep getting the saviours in time. Jolly LLB 2 could be the best Bollywood movies of the year for many people, and is sure to be in the top ten for almost everyone who watches movies regularly. There have been similar interesting movies in Malayalam too with Yes Your Honour starring Sreenivasan and the next level of the same was the Suresh Gopi starrer Melvilasom – all these are the kind of movies which could be watched together for some good quality court-room drama.

Release date: 10th February 2017
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Subhash Kapoor
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Huma Qureshi, Sayani Gupta, Annu Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, Kaustubh Pile, Manav Kaul, Kumud Mishra, Inaamulhaq, Sanjay Mishra, Vinod Nagpal, Brijendra Kala, Avijit Dutt, Rajiv Gupta, Sunil Kumar Palwal, Shubhangi Latkar, Ram Gopal Bajaj

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pink

Vampire Owl: You know, Lady Death was very much interested in this colour.

Vampire Bat: Why is she interested in colours, when she has been colour-blind since her resurrection from the other world?

Vampire Owl: There are just rumours regarding the same, as she was referring to this movie.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that the news about this movie had reached the land of the dead?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the land of the dead as well as the land of the undead.

Vampire Bat: It is quite an achievement for a human movie.

Vampire Owl: Except for those movies in which vampires are shown to be bad.

Vampire Bat: Almost all of them think that vampires are bad because they don’t understand our culture.

Vampire Owl: They instantly hate anything and everything that they can’t understand.

Vampire Bat: It is quite natural for a race which has fought each other for so long.

[Gets three cups of Ceylon tea with Arrowroot biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the tale of three indepdendent women, Minal Arora (Taapsee Pannu), Falak Ali (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea Tariang (Andrea Tariang), working hard and self-sufficient, living in South Delhi. While Minal and her family are from Delhi itself, Falak is from Uttar Pradesh and Andrea from Meghalaya. They go through a happy life with their little moments of fun, and care for each other, but things quickly take a twist, with people looking at them in a rather strange way. Their landlord is asked to get the three girls out of his home, and when he doesn’t do the same he is attacked by two young men who reminds him of the same. Andrea sees that she is being stalked by unknown people and Falak ends up losing her job; Minal gets it even worse, as a flashback goes to what had happened a few days ago.

So, what happens next? :: The flashback incident involves Raunak Anand (Raashul Tandon), Vishwajyoti Ghosh (Tushar Pandey) and Rajveer Singh (Angad Bedi) who had met the three girls at a rock concert. Rajveer was hit on the head with a bottle by Minal which left him in a hospital, and that had put his friend Ankit Malhotra (Vijay Verma) on a revenge trail, causing a lot of trouble for the girls. This person who has decided to teach the girls the worst lesson possible, will not stop at anything, as the boys are quite rich and powerful, with influence among politicians as well as the police. Troubled with all which have been going through, the girls still refuse to complaint, but Minal, despite all the warnings about what could happen if she approaches the police, goes to the police station. The result is that she is kidnapped and molested by the men who are after her.

And, what is to follow next in the tale that goes deep? :: Minal is shocked, but doesn’t have the time to think or react, as she is arrested by the police on the very next day, as she is accused of prostitution as well as attempting to murder Rajveer. Andrea and Falak remain rather clueless about what to do in the police station, and at home, they find Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan), their neighbor at their door. He helps them and even decides to take up their case, returnning back to his life as a criminal lawyer years later. He had left his job due to declining mental health and also because of his wife Sara (Mamta Shankar) being bed-ridden. In the court, he would have to face Rajveer’s lawyer, a younger and healthier Prashant Mehra (Piyush Mishra) who would go to any length to show his loyalty for the money which received as fees. So, where does the fate of the girls stand?

The defence of Pink :: The movie smartly chooses not show the incidents until the credits show up – it is a nice move to establish the idea that “no means no”, which is rather the one thing that gets the focus because we are there without getting much of an idea about how things really happened. It helps us to come to a viewpoint without taking sides, and it is the smart way to proceed. Pink is the kind of movie that is needed, for it shows how much of a hypocrite the society aspires to be. It has different rules for the boys and the girls, rich and the poor and also for people from one part of the nation and those from some other area. The movie shows how difficult it is to get rid of those prejudices, no matter how smart and educated you are. The movie’s biggest asset in establishing its ideas is Amitabh Bachchan, who is so good that you feel the need to clap again and again – you saw his grief in TE3N already, and this one once again shows the determination in grief that powers his character to become more than what the lawyer has been. The girls are all good, just playing to the need, raising the level so much at some scenes in the court.

The claws of flaw :: The movie before the courtroom drama begins, doesn’t manage to be that interesting, with the whole thing taking so much of time to get going. Maybe things could have been made more tense in the first half to keep one feel the tension. People would also feel not that happy with Amitabh Bachchan being there to save the girls – but you will have to admit that it is him who takes it to the next level as far as performances are concerned. Also, the talk about the girl being from North East, is not taken that much further, maybe because the cultural identity is a little bit less important, just as the fact that the men in question as just too rich an influential – these two things come into the picture and just disappears, but needed better mention here. There is another question which should have been raised in this movie – “Why should anyone drink at all?” It could have been great if the message should have also been against alcohol consumption, rather than having things as okay if everyone is allowed to drink. There is even more that Pink could have achieved, but it chooses to finish with just one message that takes off.

How it finishes :: The big thing about Pink is that, the movie is surely what you call the giant leap – something which has been very much difficult for Bollywood which has been caught in repetitions for such a long time; it might be the only thing that is repeated, with consistency in repetition like no other. Pink not only makes the giant leap, as it also gets to the other end with ease. The movie which was widely appreciated by both the common audience as well as the critics, and had also the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues – it is good to watch this movie and understand why there is so much appreciation going around. When people say that Pink is the kind of movie that everyone needs to watch, they are surely not wrong. It is the kind of movie that not just Bollywood needs to save its face, but it is also the one that the society needs – it is bigger than what would be the biggest cinematic experience we have for a society which needs its lessons regularly.

PS: There are three movies for this Eid, Role Models, Oru Cinemakkaran and Avarude Raavukal – do check the reviews on the same.

Release date: 16th September 2016
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Andrea Tariang, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Angad Bedi, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Piyush Mishra, Mamata Shankar, Arjun Chakrabarty, Mamta Malik, Dibang, Tushar Pandey, Raashul Tandon

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Raman Raghav 2.0

What is the movie about? :: The movie makes it clear that it is not about Raman Raghav a.k.a. Psycho Raman who was a famous serial killer, who unleashed terror in the city of Mumbai in the 1960s. About fifteen years later, another serial killer named Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who seems to follow the same kind of methods, starts his work in the same city. His way of operating is rather strange, and the police has not much clue about what his operations are. His list of victims only get longer, and it also includes Ramanna’s own sister, Lakshmi (Amruta Subhash) who is living with her husband (Ashok Lokhande) and their only son. She reluctantly lets him stay and cooks him food, only to get into an argument with the family. She leaves the place and comes back to take their money as well as kill them all one after the other.

So, what happens next? :: Ramanna is not the kind of person who has any kind of remorse for his actions, and he is surely not the kind of man who thinks twice about what he is to do. He is the worst kind of serial killer whom one could have on their trail. Even after being caught by the police and questioned, there is nothing that comes out of him, and he even escapes with the help of some local boys, thanks to the natural acting that comes to him. ACP Raghavan Singh (Vicky Kaushal) is in charge of the investigation, and has no real clue until finding the photo of Ramanna on the scene of crime, where Ramanna had murdered his sister. He figures out that the man whom they had apprehended a few days earlier has some kind of connection with these brutal murders which have been happening all around the city, keeping the residents terrified.

And, what is to follow next in this tale of terror in the streets? :: Even as he puts a tough cop act all the time, and seems to be righteous cop looking after criminal when someone looks from outside, Raghavan Singh is a a troubled person in his mind, having an unparalleled addiction to drugs, and has an even more terrible anger management issue. He is in a relationship with Smrutika Naidu (Sobhita Dhulipala) at whose place she is staying. It is another terrible relationship that they are having, with him forcing her to have more than one abortion after she keeps getting pregnant as he has his way as he likes. He also has no shame in beating her, but she stays faithful to him, and refuses to go home even after her family hopes for her return. Raghavan gets obsessed with catching Ramanna to such an extent that his issues deepen, and Ramanna at the same time, keeps an eye on the investigating officer – where does this game end?

The defence of Raman Raghav 2.0 :: The dark and terrifying avatar is given more and more life as the movie progresses, and then there is the other side which gets rather scarier. You feel the power of darkness in this movie, and there is so much of energy throughout the flick, thanks to the two main performers. It successfully makes you depressed and leaves you disturbing, with not much hope in the world of chaos. Humanity is surely capable of terrible things, and a lot of these capabilities are there right from the beginning, and are further powered by upbringing and the society. We keep wondering what is to happen next, and we are always interested to know how it all ends, or reach a new beginning. It takes only one serial killer to inspire more, and lets hope that Ramanna becomes our Hannibal to bring more of such movies which can prove to be even better. The final twist is something that breathes life like no other.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that we had expected more from a movie like Raman Raghav 2.0 with its cast and the people who are the helm. We feel that a certain amount of hollowness do exist at times, and this one isn’t that much focused on what we would have been hoping to see with a police officer after a serial killer – this one has almost nothing about the investigation about the murderer. More focus could have been on the characters, and they could have had origin tales, even at the cost of the movie going longer – there are some parts of the movie which could have been cut down to provide space for more of the tale. This kind of movies should have more action, thrilling sequences and deeper story-line which should make us wish to remember the tale more than once; but the focus of Raman Raghav 2.0 seems to be rather a little too much divergent. Then there is the violence – nobody is a role model here.

Performers of the soul :: There is Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal doing a fantastic job in this movie, which surely keeps things going strong. We keep wondering when we will see more of them with movies which get the wider release here. If it was more about the former in the beginning, the latter of Masaan fame takes it to the next level in the second half towards the end. You will also notice Sobhita Dhulipala and Amruta Subhash, as two actresses who brings some great performances in two of the best sequences of the movie. The one thing about Bollywood is that these names which are not regularly talked about as superstars are the real actors and acting stars – I really hope that their movies get release in every theatre here rather than those which brings the crowd; if I was running a theatre, I would run a special show for sure, no matter how much of box-office collection such movies are to bring.

How it finishes :: The movie leaves one with the message that everyone has the tendency to be bad, or rather evil, as it is the inherent evil in man which has more certainty to it than anything else. It is the situation that brings the worst out of people, whether they are branded good or bad. The hopeless state of humanity is directly or indirectly reflected in this movie, which struggles to find goodness which seems to fade away further and further as the flick progresses, and by the end of this, we have lost almost all hope in mankind – it is the ultimate truth, right? We do our best, and still we live in a society which is all about money and power, and the need for it as well as the possession of it, will only turn more people against each other. Evil is so easy, right? Being good is so difficult, especially with a new generation caught inside more than one kind of addiction. Raman Raghav 2.0 has that kind of protagonists, and we know that there is a good chance that we are all going to die an early, terrible death considering where the world is going.

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amruta Subhash, Vipin Sharma, Ashok Lokhande, Harssh A. Singh, Anuschka Sawhney, Hitesh Dave, Rajesh Jais, Kalidas Parthitan, Rhea Pagar, Arun Singh

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Role Models

What is the movie about? :: Gautham Shekhar (Fahadh Faasil) is a man who is always concentrating on his work, and is so busy earning money, that the only person whom he regularly speaks to, is the mobile’s assistant app. He wakes up early in the morning and goes through everything according to the schedule. The boss of his company (Dileesh Pothan) is always calling him names in front of his colleagues despite his hardwork, and he lives his life according to calculations, drinking the maximum amount of water and even making sure that he goes to the urinal frequently according to plan. He has no friends and no love, and he is always busy, and when he is not busy, he is just asleep at night. If he ever gets any time to do anything, he dedicates those moments for studying too, and he has special interest in studies regarding astronomy. He has declared himself cent percent against having fun because it is of absolutely no use.

So, what happens next? :: His father and college professor Shekharan (Renji Panicker) is too worried about the same, and therefore contacts his son’s former best friends from college, Rexy Joseph (Sharafudheen) and Jyothish Narayanan (Vinayakan) whom he had himself evicted from the institution to make sure that Gautham wouldn’t be friends with the boys whom he found worthless and making nuisance. The two old friends are not that fond of their former enemy calling them, but decides to have the free alcohol and chooses to help their old friend with whom they had their best moments in life. They are joined by the third person, Shoubahn Khader (Vinay Forrt) who was the fourth member of their gang which used to be called Role Models during their time at the college. The group, along with the mischief making girl Christy (Srinda Ashab) used to create head ache for everyone in the college especially Gautam’s parents who taught there.

And what is to follow with the adventure? :: The three old friends are shocked to see the attitude of their former best friend towards life, as he had changed so much. He seemed to be exactly the opposite of all that he used to be. They try many things to get him back to be the happy and loving person that he used to be, including alcohol, friendship, and even misunderstanding Christy as his lost love from college. But then, they come to know that the real love of Gautham was Shreya Menon (Namitha Pramod), a girl who was more of an all-rounder, present everywhere, but stayed away from becoming a big name. Their search for her lands them in Goa, where she is a changed person. She is happy to see her old friends, but how will they make sure that Gautham can win his love back? Is there any chance for them to have their old friend back in the way that he used to be?

The defence of Role Models :: There are some nice jokes with which the movie begins – it has that kind of a cast with great comic timing, which improves the level, and keep striving for something better in that department. We have them coming quick and steady in the first half, and the trio handling the same never backs down from doing it. “Thechille Penne” song is nice, but you do feel that should have had more relevance in the movie. The movie also has some messages, even though we are not clear which of them needs to get our attention the most. We would figure out that it is more about parenting than any other. It is good to focus on the significance of parents supporting the children in studying what they really want to – almost every time, the father is the culprit, and due to this attitude of the parents and relatives, the youth are transformed into creatures that should just study for scoring high marks, get a good job with big salary and get married to someone rich and of high family value. Well, the movie does end on a good note despite the confusion. A cameo also arrives in the end nicely, but one has to wonder if it was there because there was no other idea available.

The claws of flaw :: Never does Role Models tries to overcome the limitations which it had put on itself, with not thinking much about the story and how it is told with the entertaining elements. The movie just goes on as if it is walking through sleep, as some characters and some incidents are there just for the sake of being there. Fahad’s action scenes were rather useless, and bringing that certain disorder and making it chaos was certainly a real bad idea. If the same was necessary for the makers to do, they could have at least made things more interesting, and presented in a smart manner. The audience often wonders where the movie is actually heading with so many things added as if they are taken from different movies. You feel that with Fahadh Faasil playing a character reminding you of the same in North 24 Kaatham will make things that good, but this one which has its own confusion running through, never becomes something close to that awesome flick which was critically acclaimed. A divergent movie is fair when it uses the divergence to the best effect, the movie makers should have remembered that.

Performers of the soul :: Once again, Fahadh Faasil makes this seem so easy, as he does his character’s both stages with such an ease that we wonder how he is there to make things better for even the least interesting movie. Keeping on rising with Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Take Off, this one will not be another big movie, but his performance is as usual, to be noted; signs were there in that song which became instantly popular. Sharafudheen-Vinayakan-Vinay Forrt combo is also nothing short of a nice call for laughter, and we have them executing the same really well. The friends just makes things so much better. It is also good to see Namitha Pramod back after Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Amar Akbar Anthony – she gets two times of the character’s life here. Srinda has an interesting and funny role too, after Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol and Adventures of Omanakuttan this year. Meanwhile, Renji Panicker is left with not much interesting to do and Suraj is rather wasted in this role.

How it finishes :: It is surprising how close to each other are the three Malayalam movie releases for the Eid holidays, starting from Avarude Raavukal, going through Oru Cinemakkaran and now standing at Role Models. All three of them released on consecutive dates, and are in quality, quite close to each other. They do provide a mixture of genres, and has the comic side as the one fueling everything right from the beginning, and there are twists in store in each of them. Is it a co-incidence that we have all these movies so similar to each other, and those watching it can only give them ratings so close to each other? Well, when Godha, Adventures of Omanakuttan and Achayans had released, all three of them were so different from each other, and we couldn’t consider them to be on the same level. Well, we have regular entertainment in store here for the festival season as Role Models becomes the third movie to release on the third day.

Release date: 25th June 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Rafi
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Namitha Pramod, Vinayakan, Srinda Ashab, Sharafudheen, Rohini, Seetha, Vinay Forrt, Renji Panicker, Suraj Venjarammood, Aswathi Menon, Dileesh Pothan, Siddique, Bibin George, Harisree Ashokan (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Cinemakkaran

What is the movie about? :: Alby (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is the son of a Jacobite Christian priest (Renji Panicker) who had the wish to make him a priest when he grew up, for which he had done so many prayers alone and also with his son. But Alby’s interest is cinema and cinema only, and he has been working as assistant director in a number of movies, but hasn’t been able to go further than that with his life. Things are even more complicated in their family as he is in love with Sarah (Rajisha Vijayan), who is the daughter of a rich fisheries owner and businessman (Lal), despite actually supposed to marry Gonzalez (Jacob Gregory) who has a job offer in Italy. As Alby is a Jacobite and Sarah a Catholic, both families are against the relationship which seems to have been going on for a long time, but they just don’t care and decide to start a life of their own after a quick run-away marriage and getting a flat at a low rent.

So, what happens next? :: Their immediate neighbours are Sudheer (Vijay Babu) and Nayana (Anusree Nair) who make a rather rich couple having some easy time compared to the struggles of the newly-wed protagonists. Alby has no job and no hope in the cinema industry even after years, and the bank manager (Joy Mathew) has already threatened him to renew the loan he had taken, or the gold ornaments he had given would be sold. With the families not close to them, and his friends not able to, or ready to help him, Alby decides to take a risky step here, and that would be to steal from his neighbours. But that doesn’t go that well as he had planned, and it lands the police inspector Manikandan (Prasanth Narayanan) at the apartments. The cop has his own style of investigating, but how does it lead to Alby being in big trouble as his plan never really was to take the money for himself, and with the money still there when the police looks for it?

The defence of Oru Cinemaakkaran :: We have a tale that has its own unexpected twists here, and it goes on with some nice fun elements in the first half, and fine suspense factor in the second. The movie’s attempt seems to be to bring more than one genre into action. Most of the viewers, especially the family audience of the festival season might still love the first half more. The deviation from the movie-making is rather good considering the fact that it would have been a rather predictable tale with one wishing to be someone huge in the film industry. There are some nice songs to go with this movie, and they are all nicely taken visually too. The lead pair is really good together, and there are those sequences involving them which are certainly the highlights of this movie. They have also nicely transformed the simple things into more interesting factors, and it is the way in which most of the things which are presented that needs the applause.

The claws of flaw :: The movie, unlike expected, is not about what happens with a person going through his movie experiences, and that is certain to have a lot of people confused, or even disappointed at some point. If you were expected something like Udayananu Tharam or Padmasree Bharat Dr. Saroj Kumar, that is surely not going to happen. There is also the deviation in the second half leading to those twists, which is rather too much of a divergence, that affects the overall stuff and its quality. With its funny and exciting beginning, we would expect things to go deeper and stronger, at least with its comedy. Also, the movie could have just ended nicely without trying too much of unnecessary things – we find the need to fill in for some missing logic, and those wastage of characters that remain rather underdeveloped. We needed more here too, that is for sure.

Performers of the soul :: After Kunjiramayanam and the smaller roles in Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Oru Muthassi Gada as well as playing the titular character in the underrated feel-good movie, Aby, Vineeth Sreenivasan is back playing the protagonist once again. We see him being comfortable throughout the movie, and he has this character completely in control. We see the humour as well as the emotional side working so well for him here. Rajisha Vijayan who had won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, also had a formidable presence in Georgettan’s Pooram, and this one also has her playing a Catholic girl falling in love with someone outside her caste as Elizabeth, Merlin and Sarah respectively. She remains simple, and strong in her display of character here. There is a certain amount of happiness that she spreads with her incredbly cute performance here.

Further performers of the soul :: There is not much difference in Renji Panicker’s role here, as he had played the father of a jobless son who doesn’t listen to anyone in Georgettan’s Pooram too – he played a Mar Thoma priest then, and is playing a Jacobite priest this time; it seems that there are not many people who can play the role of a priest or a father than him. Here, we have him doing them both very well as expected, even with lesser screen presence. Lal makes an impact for the short period of time when he is there too. Vijay Babu, despite having a nice character to play, gets to be there for lesser period of time too. Anusree is good in this role, and we have her playing the city girl for a change. Noby Marcose and Hareesh Perumanna share some moments of fun in this one, and Prasanth Narayanan comes rather late, as if he was called as an extra add-on in the form of a rather strange character. We expected Jacob Gregory to stay though.

How it finishes :: When you have someone like Vineeth Sreenivasan in the lead, or even has his name associated with a movie, you can be sure that there will something in there, and it is on him and Rajisha Vijayan that this movie depends the most. For this Eid festival season, we are sure to have an interesting list of movies beginning from Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran to go for even more to come in the weeks to follow. As more movies are to follow like Role Models, we have Oru Cinemakkaran seemingly attracting more audience. As of now, it seems that we will have the holidays extended to Tuesday, and as the vacation is longer, we are certain to have more viewers, and a bigger need for more movies to choose from. There has been a shortage of Malayalam movies, and this one will stay for longer considering the need to have more and more of these.

Release date: 24th June 2017
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Leo Thaddeus
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Rajisha Vijayan, Renji Panicker, Anusree Nair, Lal, Vijay Babu, Kottayam Pradeep, Prasanth Narayanan, Noby Marcose, Hareesh Perumanna, Joy Mathew, Sasi Kalinga, Jaffer Idukki, Jennifer Antony, Jacob Gregory (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Avarude Raavukal

What is the movie about? :: Ashik (Asif Ali) is the popular stage performer in a village on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border who comes to Cochin hoping to work in a movie, after the villagers collect money from their own people to make sure that he gets a chance. Siddharth (Unni Mukundan) is an engineering graduate who is spending his time doing nothing other than to stay at home up-to that extent that his father has to throw him out of the house. Vijay (Vinay Forrt) is an angry young man who was suspended for getting into a fight with another employee in the same company he was working for. Scobo Johnson (Nedumudi Venu) is an old man who is staying alone, and looking for company. Bored and with no plans for future, he comes up with an advertisement calling for bachelors to stay at his place, free of cost – it gets to the three young men who are ready to come right away.

So, what happens next? :: Ashik finds Cochin and the movie world a lot different than what he had thought, and finds problems in even doing the simplest works. He goes to various auditions, but none of them work – he does find a new friend though, in the form of Vinod (Aju Varghese) who is also looking forward to acting in movies, one way or the other. They decide to attend the acting workshop held by Manoj Kuruvila (Mukesh), who is a famous movie director. But even that doesn’t seem to help the two who are more clueless than anything else. Siddharth who does nothing other than staring at girls, even consults Doctor Jayamurugan (Kochu Preman), but his life goes on in the same way until his brother recommends him for a job under Shivani (Honey Rose), which he gets despite performing terribly during the interview. What follows is a terrible mess at the office.

And what follows the events? :: Ashik and Siddharth are not just the ones reaching a higher level of their problems, as Vijay has a bigger issue at hand. His anger issue is more or less the result of something which happened in the past, and his girlfriend Meghna (Milana Pournami) tries to get him out of the same, but with no positive result. Scobo Johnson is the silent witness to all these, and tells them that there are two ways out of it, one the difficult path, and the other, the shortcut. Are the three good enough to get out of the mess that they are in, or is at least Johnson skilled enough to take them through their journeys? Can things finally take a positive twist of events in their lives which haven’t really had much to talk about otherwise? Will their upcoming experiences leave them as better people than who they already are? Only time will tell.

The defence of Avarude Raavukal :: Vinay Forrt successfully leads the group of young men here towards their objectives, as motivation runs right through this one with inspirational dialogues, and featuring the rise of unexpected tales of success; emotional side is strong here. The movie asks its viewers to keep trying, as the fish does; it provides this message without missing its plot, and the direction that it shows is the right one for the new generation. The presence of movies like Mili, Aby, My God and Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam has proved the same, but Avarude Raavukal is more the common person’s story than the rest. There is also the presence of some nice humour in between. There is also some beautiful music in this flick, beginning from “Ethetho Swapnamo” and through “Vaadaathe Veezhathe”, both bringing different but nice feeling. The feel-good effect stays, and despite the certain delay in the movie’s arrival and the morning shows canceled, we are glad to have this movie working and going well enough to provide enough motivation.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t go that close to perfection as the director’s earlier combined venture, Philips and the Monkey Pen, and what we expected was surely more. There are certain ups and downs in between for sure, even as everything seems to have kept at a certain level as much as possible. There are some occasions when we wonder if these things, which do look more and more possible, can ever be solved by the protagonists. The inspirational story is also not something new, and the old man is also a rather strange character, whose twist in the end is even stranger; this one could have just gone simpler and close to life towards the end. Even in the beginning, the movie had taken some time to get going. The cameo roles in the end by Shine Tom Chacko, Sunny Wayne and Sanju Sivram were rather unnecessary too, and the same can be said about a cricket match when it could have been just the engineering classes. You will find the weird and missing sides of the plot, but you can avoid them as they are not that significant.

Performers of the soul :: Asif Ali who is coming out of the late, but sure success of Adventures of Omanakkuttan has done a fine job with a character which had quite something to perform out there. Unni Mukundan comes out of the dismal movie which was Achayans, and makes good use of what was a rather easy job for him. Vinay Forrt had a little less to work with in Georgettan’s Pooram brings the best of them all – his story remains the most interesting one in the whole movie, and he is the backbone of the flick. Aju Varghese should be powered by the grand success of Godha, and does a pretty good job when he is there. Honey Rose who was last seen in My God which was an under-appreciated movie, makes a comeback after two years – not much to do, but good to see her back. Milana works through limited expressions in this one. Nedumudi Venu has some nice dialogues which prove inspirational, and forms the pillars of the movie’s progress.

How it finishes :: It has been a long time since a Malayalam movie with an interesting and long list of star cast released, and being the first movie to release for the Eid holidays, Avarude Raavukal surely has an early advantage among the others which are to follow. Shanil Mohammed, who had earlier directed Philips and the Monkey Pen with Rojin Thomas has his first solo outing here. The flick had won Kerala State Film Award for Best Children’s Movie and Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist for Sanoop Santhosh. This one might not create that much of an impact, and has a lot of heavyweights to follow. Getting itself to the list of feel-good movies with messages, Avarude Raavukal will leave with a positive effect more than anything else. There are not many other things that we need for this special season.

Release date: 23rd June 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Shanil Muhammed
Starring: Asif Ali, Unni Mukundan, Honey Rose, Vinay Forrt, Aju Varghese, Mukesh, Milana Pournami, Nedumudi Venu, Sudhi Koppa, Lena, Ambika Mohan, Kiran Aravindakshan, Nisha Sarangh, Aishwarya chandran, Kochu Preman, Shine Tom Chacko (cameo), Sunny Wayne (cameo), Sanju Sivram (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rogue One

Vampire Owl: The title of this movie has already made me think about Rogue Two.

Vampire Bat: It is the problem due to thinking too much about sequels. I don’t think that there will be another Rogue, as this is supposed to be a spin-off standing alone.

Vampire Owl: Some movies have too many sequels anyway. I can’t even remember when I first heard about Star Wars. Maybe we should see the rings and live only for seven days, so that the memory works better.

Vampire Bat: It is something that goes beyond centuries for humans, so I have heard.

Vampire Owl: But it hasn’t been that much known throughout the world, I wonder why.

Vampire Bat: Well, even Star Trek became popular only in the last few years – before that they had copied the same to make Captain Vyom.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I remember that it had such an uncomfortable timing that I ended up missing the food provided for many wedding, betrothal and house warming functions for watching it.

Vampire Bat: But, during those times, we never knew the original.

Vampire Owl: Star Wars was more popular than Star Trek during those days.

Vampire Bat: Now, there is the twist – everyone we love around here loves Star Trek more.

[Gets three cups of breakfast tea with a piece of orange cake].

What is the movie about? :: Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), an expert in weapons research is hiding on a planet, away from the dictatorship called Empire and its sinister motives which include but are not limited to enslavement of people. Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), who is in charge of the weapons research for the Imperial Military Force finds him and forces him to build a superweapon called the Death Star, which is capable of destroying planets from a long distance away, thus giving supreme power to the Empire. While his daughter is saved by the wanted rebel and an extremist Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), his wife is killed by the Empire in the conflict. Galen is left with no other way, and is forced to go with Orson to provide his expertise, while Saw and his forces continue to resist the Empire which only grows stronger and stronger with time, while the rebels focused on newer methods to take down the Empire.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Years later, a cargo pilot of the Empire, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) turns to the side of the rebels, as he brings a message from Galen to Saw, and he is captured by the extremist rebels. Meanwhile, Jyn Esro (Felicity Jones) who is a prisoner of the Empire, gets rescued by a rebel officer, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) who takes her to the rest of the rebels, and there, they convince her to find more about her father and the Death Star so that they can make good use of the information; their true intention is to kill him though. They will be joined by a re-programmed droid from the Empire, a blind but skilled warrior Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and his fighter friend Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) who would have more than what they could handle on a normal day. Can they figure out Galen’s message, find him and stop the Death Star before it begins destroying the rebel bases, or even the planets on which they stand? Is there hope against the Empire which stands so strong?

The defence of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story :: Despite it not becoming that much of a popular thing here, this movie continues in the path set by its predecessors in the franchise, and does the same thing again, and provides the entertainment beyond the known world. Well, Star Wars is something that doesn’t age, and can go on to make more and more sequels, and shall continue to become success for many years to come. The message about rebellion continues, as the dictatorship also continues to do what it has been doing. The nostalgic feeling should work for those who had grown up watching Star Wars – those VCR and VCP days had more than one cassette of this franchise, with the first Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi; these used to be the special movies which looked too good, but not many people had watched them. The visuals and the special effects are too good, and you are going to love the final battle scene for sure, with all the splendour. Well, a stand-alone spin-off Star Wars movie is good to keep you strong while waiting for the next flick.

The claws of flaw :: The lack of popularity of Star Wars around here has hurt the possibilities with a lot of people no aware of how this series is progressing; about where it all began, where everything is going, and who all are these people, you wonder – well, not many people who have watched those earlier Star Wars movies are there to watch the newer flicks in the theatres, you know, and a stand-alone spin-off will only confuse them. Well, if people are confused about this, you can’t blame them, and they can only enjoy parts of this one in that case. Also, the one point to note is that there is not much of a change or variety in proceedings in this movie, as this becomes more Star Wars, rather than bringing a new special element. Star Wars: Force Awakens was certainly a better movie than this, and it seemed to try to be something by itself unlike this one which goes on and on with its usual stuff. Also, its attempt to work on the nostalgia that we have for this movie works not that much with the audience here. The emotional side is rather weak.

Soul exploration :: Well, Star Wars has always been about the rebellion against the dictatorship, as we had felt a long time ago. But during those times, the need was not this strong, and with a lot of things forced on us for no meaningful reason, one has to wonder if we are all the rebels against that part of the society which steals our individuality from us, for which new rules are made; when rules are not really made for people, and it is just for a certain group of people, we wonder if this situation in Star Wars is not so different from what we have now. There is so much hate in the world that hope seems too far away, as far as the stars are. Star Wars also has the message of hope, and battling against all odds. But how strong is everyman against the troops which are controlled by fascism which threatens to destroy not just worlds, but also the idea from the minds of the people? Star Wars movies keep bringing that hope in one way or the other, against the mighty Empire which would call for fake patriotism and not rebellion, but revolution happens in one way or the other.

How it finishes :: As it is clear for many people, people in India are not really much of fans for the Star Wars franchise, even though I remember having watched the series, and becoming interested in the same – I was among a few people who did, for Star Wars surely had no takers in the schools, tuition classes or even among the cousins. The presence of some of the Star Wars games was what helped me further to keep the interest alive, and while those earlier games had the Jedi Knight hero, there was also Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds which provided the feeling of playing Age of Empires II: Age of Kings again. Even though it keeps making so much money in the United States, and maybe also in Europe as well as other English-speaking nations, it would have to try hard to make it work better in India for better collections – but you never get bored of watching a Star Wars movie as far as I am concerned, and I have enjoyed watching this one too. We await the real sequel of Star Wars: Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi releases with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega after this one from the director of Godzilla. So, may the force be with you.

Release date: 16th December 2016
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Jimmy Smits, Genevieve O’Reilly, Anthony Daniels

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rings

Vampire Owl: This sounds a lot cooler. Does the “s” in the end mean that there are many rings?

Vampire Bat: Why does this feel cooler when the critical appreciation has been so low with this one?

Vampire Owl: Because there seems to be more than one ring. So, there could be more than one spirit in play.

Vampire Bat: Are you going towards talking about the wedding ring that is planned to be given to Lady Death?

Vampire Owl: Yes, something like that too.

Vampire Bat: Dude, don’t you know that being married to Lady Death means that you have to die?

Vampire Owl: Yes, but I am already dead and risen. I am undead, we all are.

Vampire Bat: But the undead can also die in some ways, and you know that too.

Vampire Owl: But death by Lady Death has its special advantages.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is your undead call in the end.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with aloo paratha].

What is the movie about? :: On an airplane, two passengers Carter (Zach Roerig) and Kelly (Lizzie Brochere) discover that it has been seven days since they both had watched the infamous Samara Morgan’s (Zoe Pessin) cursed videotape which has been circulating well to take enough lives all around. The two realise that they are going to die soon, but at some point, it feels that being on airplane provides them some protection as the cursed entity from the video tape can’t reach there as they are so much above the ground and in the presence of many people, but it turns out that they are wrong. There seems to be some problem with all the screens of the airplane whether it is of the pilots or the passengers, as the evil entity arrives on the video, and the plane crashes killing them all, with no evidence of what caused the disaster.

So, what happens next? :: Julia (Matilda Lutz) sends off her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) to the college, and after being in contact for months, suddenly has no information about him. One day, she finds Skye (Aimee Teegarden), a beautiful girl on the other side of the video chat, and there is no sign of Holt. So, she decides to search for him all by herself. She reaches the college, and find the professor whom Holt said was an interesting person with whom he was working with projects – Gabriel Brown (Johnny Galecki). But the professor denies having known this particular person, and tells her that she should move on, as people of his age finds something more interesting, or maybe it is about him finding someone better. But she doesn’t give up as she follows Gabriel to a secret area of the college, which is more than what meets the eye.

So, how does the big mystery reveal with its twists? :: There she meets the beautiful girl whom she had seen in the video chat, Skye, who takes her to her apartment, and asks her to watch a video. But Holt who contacts them asks her not to, and then there is the evil entity, Samara arriving, and she takes Skye’s life while Julia locks her inside the bathroom. Holt arrives soon to confirm everything, and she comes to know that he is in trouble. Gabriel, who had bought a VCR with the tape inside, had watched the mysterious video, and was keeping on transferring the curse to another person before the seven days end, a process that has been going on and on, so that nobody died. Gabriel was so much interested in learning about this tape which is the gateway to the other world, so that the process continues. Unable to watch Holt die, Julia watches his copy and carries over the curse to him, but this time, the video is more than the usual one.

The defence of Rings :: This is the tale that becomes more of an origin story than anything else. This could have easily been a reboot, or the tale of another girl who is not the popular horror character who has been there for so long. The mystery factor gets the advantage over the horror side. Also, among the cast, it is Aimee Teegarden who seems to be able to become the best scream queen, and they could have used her throughout the movie, while Matilda Lutz brings enough of the same. There is something that we can always be sure about though; it is that a movie from The Ring franchise will always be that, and no matter how much people try to degrade a movie from the series, there will always be something in it, as the continuation of one of the most loved horror movies of all-time, and what might be the best horror adaptation from the Japanese.

The Claws of flaw :: You would expect that a movie like this which has a powerful foundation can do very well to make this franchise even better, but that is not the case, as there is no symbol of improvement everyone, and at times, one has to wonder if this has deviated so much that Rings is a movie which has not much to do with the franchise except for the antagonist proclaiming the same. The movie also has a certain shortage of scares, which is surprising, because the antagonist here is someone who has attained an iconic status, not just with the movies of this franchise, but also with the Scary Movie franchise, most notably Scary Movie 3 which had used the scary moments to evoke laughter brilliantly. The expectations were so high, but what was delivered was just a movie just manages to do enough because we had forgotten most of that movie which released fifteen years ago, and the gap here is so much to bring a comparison without watching the original again.

How it finishes :: A lot of things have changed since the first movie had released, and there is no doubt that we have a different world for the entity to enter right now. It was like fifteen years ago when the horror genre hadn’t become this huge as far as the common audience are concerned. These are the days when even Malayalam movie industry which focuses so less in horror, thought that bringing a superstar horror movie with high quality special effects was required, and Ezra came into being. Rings might not be anywhere close to bringing justice to the series of novels wriiten by Koji Suzuki, the Japanese versions of the movies, or the first movie which made the big impact and brought alive the other remakes from the Japanese including The Grudge, Dark Water and Pulse. But Rings still remain a movie which can keep the franchise moving forward, and it surely has those moments which will keep you wish for a sequel that could do even better. Just don’t look for a Don’t Breathe, Lights Out or It Follows, as this is the sequel to a big horror movie, and it will be fine enough.

Release date: 3rd February 2017
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Starring: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan, Chuck David Willis, Patrick R. Walker, Zach Roerig, Laura Wiggins, Lizzie Brocheré, Karen Ceesay, Dave Blamy, Michael E. Sanders, Randall Taylor, Drew Grey, Kayli Carter, Jill Jane Clements, Adam Fristoe, Zoe Pessin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rustom

Vampire Owl: I have always loved those Akshay Kumar movies, not just now, but also during the early times of Khiladi.

Vampire Bat: Everyone loves Khiladi, or at least those earlier ones in the franchise.

Vampire Owl: Then, Baby, Brothers and Airlift in the last two years – it is too good.

Vampire Bat: I have heard people say that Rustom is even bigger than the rest.

Vampire Owl: What? Are you sure that you are sure about it?

Vampire Bat: You mean to ask that I am twice sure about the same?

Vampire Owl: Are you saying it because Akshay Kumar won the National Film Award for Best Actor for this particular movie?

Vampire Bat: No, the quality of this movie was already established.

Vampire Owl: Then, I would watch this one this midnight.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: During the 1950s, an Indian Navy Officer named Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar), fell in love with, and is happily married to the beautiful young lady, Cynthia Pavri (Ileana D’Cruz). But it doesn’t go that smoothly as he discovers her affair with his friend and a very rich and influential playboy, Vikram Makhija (Arjan Bajwa), while returning from his deputation in the ship. Their servant Jamnabai (Usha Nadkarni) tells him that she hasn’t been home since yesterday, and has no idea when she will return. An angry and frustrated Rustom finds Vikram’s intense love letters to his wife, and also finds them together at Vikram’s place, much to his dismay. When Cynthia finally arrives home, Vikram shows her the letters and doesn’t let her explain. Instead, he storms out of the place, gets a pistol from the ship’s arms and ammunition, and makes a trunk call to Defense Secretary K. M. Bakshi (Kanwaljit Singh).

So, what happens next? :: Bhanabhai (Deepak Gheewala), Vikram’s servant hears three gunshots and goes to see him at his room, only to find his master dead in a pool of blood, with Rustom standing on the side with a gun. Rustom who walks out of there, surrenders at the local police station, to Inspector Vincent Lobo (Pawan Malhotra) who gets charge of the investigation of this particular murder. Vikram’s sister Priti Makhija (Esha Gupta) who is a very influential woman, with even bigger contacts than her brother, wants to have death sentence for Rustom, for which she is ready to do anything in her power. The biggest of punishments is the only thing that can make her any satisfaction, as she promises to make the man who killed her only brother, suffer the worst fate. Erich Billimoria (Kumud Mishra), the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper decides to help Rustom as he is part of the community, by continously bringing sympathetic news about him through his writings.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: The community itself tries to help him by bringing a reputed lawyer for him, but he decides to fight his case all by himself. He is even offered better facilities by the navy, which he also refuses. Meanwhile, his senior officer at the Navy, Rear Admiral Prashant Kamat (Parmeet Sethi) sends two people to find certain documents at his home, which they fail to do, as nothing like that is present there. Enraged by this, Rustom brings other plans for his fellow officers, and at the same time, pleads not guilty when in front of the Judge Patel (Anang Desai). Public Prosecutor Lakshman Khangani (Sachin Khedekar) is confident that he would win the case despite the newspaper siding with Rustom which leads to the public being with him. His confidence only increases with Rustom fighting the case by himself. But is there something more in Rustom’s mind which he doesn’t know about? Is he good enough to win the case without any help?

The defence of Rustom :: The movie’s biggest asset, without doubt is Akshay Kumar, and there is no doubt about how good he is – he has gone through three thrilling flicks, Baby, Brothers and Airlift, his performance in the first one being as good as his work here. Ileana D’Cruz is also very good, and we see everything working in favour of this movie. The supporting cast does the job very well, including Pawan Malhotra and Kumud Mishra who deserves the special mention. The thrills are present all the time, and we have twists coming through. How things take the u-turn more than one is worth watching again and again. We also have some nice humour in between. The songs are also to be loved, and heard again. There is also a dose of patriotism in this one. And this one is smart, and so, you will need the brain to work to get through this movie, and not the heart which is reserved for your favourite celebrities. Well, Rustom is the kind of movies that could replace those unrealistic movies from Bollywood very often, and it is the main reason why this entertaining ride which goes through a realistic side is more important than any of those overrated pathetic movies that get rather too popular.

The claws of flaw :: Rustom has a rather slow first half as it seems to be peacefully moving towards the interval, and we keep wondering where this tale that focuses on adultery will lead, but it is all to change later, as you would witness. One might also feel that there is a little too much righteousness added to the main character, and fictionalised events only help in making the protagonist even a better person, as the newspapers in the movie did too. Maybe, this movie could have gone deeper to explore the rather darker areas, and might have been able to deal with the emotional side in a more personal way too. The movie is also too much focused on one character, when there could have been bigger portraits of more interesting characters, who are around him. One also wonders why the hero is always in his uniform – is it how things work when a military officer is arrested? Well, we don’t know much about the same, and so can’t comment on it. Maybe a tale on the real incident without fiction will also come to the big screen some day, but in the end, how can we know the exact truth?

How it finishes :: Rustom is the kind of movie which gets unexpectedly strong, and when you least expect it to happen, the movie is firing from all cylinders. Inspired by a court case in 1959 about Naval Commander Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati was tried for the murder of Prem Ahuja, the alleged lover of his wife Sylvia – known as K. M. Nanavati vs State of Maharashtra, and with a highly fictionalised account of the incidents and what surrounds the same, Rustom shows how well things can work out with some good creativity, and a fine cast to go with the same. The incident is also known to have inspired the 1973 movie Achanak as well as the 1963 flick Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke. But now, we have Rustom to remember related to incident rather than any other. Akshay Kumar also received the National Film Award for Best Actor at the 64th National Film Awards which were announced on the seventh of April this year – there is so much good talked about this movie, and you need to watch it at some point.

PS: Despicable Me 3 and Cars 3 attract the families this week.

Release date: 12th August 2016
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Tinu Suresh Desai
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz, Esha Gupta, Arjan Bajwa, Pavan Malhotra, Kumud Mishra, Usha Nadkarni, Sachin Khedekar, Anang Desai, Parmeet Sethi, Indraneel Bhattacharya, Kanwaljit Singh, Brijendra Kala, Gireesh Sahadev, Abhay Kulkarni, Varun Verma, Sammanika Singh, Deepak Gheewala, Ishteyak Khan, Naman Jain, Subhashis Chakraborty, Vipul K. Rawal, Suresh Sippy, Rajesh S. Khatri, Samir Shah, Haresh Khatri, Nagraj Manjule, Mohit Satyanand

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kahaani 2

Vampire Owl: But I haven’t watched the first Kahaani.

Vampire Bat: Neither did I watch that flick. It is not necessary to get into this one.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that this is not really a sequel even though it qualifies as one.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is no real continuation of the tale here. This is more like Story One and Story Two, as is Kahaani One and Kahaani Two.

Vampire Owl: So both Vidyas in the movie are not the same even as both outside the movie are the same.

Vampire Bat: Yes, just Vidya Balan is the same. Otherwise, in the movie, there are Vidya Venkatesan Bagchi and Vidya Sinha as characters.

Vampire Owl: It makes a total of three Vidyas, two inside the movies and one outside.

Vampire Bat: That is certainly not relevant. We are in no need to be talking about these simple human names.

Vampire Owl: Yes, why can’t they choose interesting names, like The Great Vampire Owl?

Vampire Bat: You don’t have “Great” as a prefix. And yes, humans are not vampires or owls.

[Gets three cups of lemon tea with 50-50 biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Vidya Sinha (Vidya Balan) takes care of her teenage daughter Minnie (Tunisha Sharma) who is paralysed from the waist down. She has a nurse (Soma Adhikari) taking care of the girl when she goes to work. Vidya hopes to make enough money to go to the United States of America, and get her the best treatment so that she could walk again. Despite Vidya’s concern about her daughter, Minnie is happy with her life, and feels the she has nothing to worry about, being content with her present with her mother. Things seem to go on normally, but one morning, the nurse just doesn’t come, and she can’t get her on phone either. She is worried to leave Minnie alone, but the happy girl asks her to go, telling her than she can handle things until the nurse arrives – she might be on the train which should be why they are not able to get her on phone. Vidya finally decides to leave, asking her neighbour to keep an eye on her daughter.

So, what happens next? :: But when she returns home, she is shocked to find out that Minnie is missing, and there is no clue about what had happened around. Earlier, when she called home, she had managed to talk to the nurse who had told her that she is there. But when she calls at the nurse’s number, it she tells her that she never came to the house because Vidya had told her not to come on the day. Her neighbour also tells her that he was told by her that the nurse had come, and so he could stop checking. It is then that she gets an anonymous call which asks her to arrive at a certain location if she is to find her daughter alive. There is also some reference to the past which scares her into running out – all tensed and frightened, she gets hit by a car and ends up in the hospital in a coma. The nursing home where she is admitted is run by Dr. Maity (Pradip Mukherjee) who asks the Police officer Inderjeet Singh (Arjun Rampal) who is on the case to speed up things as the medical bill only gets costlier and costlier.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Inderjeet keeps searching for clues about the lady in the hospital, and finds something interesting in her diary. Meanwhile, Inderjeet’s senior officer who is after a woman named Durga, Pranab Halder (Kharaj Mukherjee), tells him that a certain lady is wanted for a certain kidnapping and murder case – the photo of the wanted woman looks exactly like the lady in the hospital. But Inderjeet doesn’t reveal the similarities between Vidya and Durga, and decides that he has to discover things all by himself. He understands that both the women are one, and are known by the name Durga Rani Singh who worked as a clerk in a school in Kalimpong. After having a terrible childhood, she seems to have a better youth, and is in love with her good friend, Arun (Tota Roychoudhury) who is working in publishing. But, something from her childhood repeats once again in front of her, and she can’t be silent about it – but what she will decide to will have consequences? What is her past all about, and what is happening to her present? What will happen to her future?

The defence of Kahaani 2 :: The movie keeps us trying to figure out the twist which is to come up, and we find the thrilling moments in between – the suspense is maintained, and we are kept unsure about who is right and who is wrong, and above all, who really is the protagonist? The first of the movie is actually done without providing us any chance to complain, as we are taken into a world which has too many secrets, and we are drawn into this mystery which is to be solved in one way or the other. Vidya Balan is just so good in this visually good movie too, and handles the whole thing with so much of skill. We would want her to return if there is a Kahaani 3 too, as she is sure to get hold of proceedings with ease in this kind of a movie. Arjun Rampal provides with some nice support, and he really suits this character, which has balance, being a usual cop with usual family and usual problems. There is also a nice message in store here along with the strong emotional side, about which more talked is to reveal a little too much of the plot as spoiler.

The claws of flaw :: The second half, with the curse that Indian movies, especially the Bollywood ones have, except for the final reveal that brings the twist, is not that much thrilling as the first half, and we would have expected the weaker section of the tale to the be covered better. Those who are awaiting the continuation of the first story are also going to be disappointed, because we hear this tale as another one. Sometimes, we just feel that the movie is getting short with its logic. There is a little too much focus on making the protagonist a superhero, despite getting hit by a car so hard that she had earlier gone into a comma – things get too easy for her, and even with outside help, this is just too convenient for the lady. When you start a movie so well, there is the need to make things better by the end, but the need for the same is not that much reflected here. A few things in the movie are also predictable, and it is quite a bad situation for any thriller movie.

How it finishes :: There are going to be comparisons with the first movie, and it does seem that it had become more popular than this one, but I wouldn’t comment on the same as I didn’t watch the first flick. Also this one is not a direct sequel to the previous movie – well, as Kahaani 2 is a stand-alone movie, it could always come up with something different, and when we look into it, things are rather interesting, and it never ceases to be the same. It does keep us guessing for what is to come next, and even when things are slow, it is never boring. It is nice of Bollywood to have had some nice thrillers in the year, from Wazir to TE3N and this one, as all of these had something special in them, and it is better to have movies like these represent the industry rather than those irritating romantic comedies which keep coming again and again as if there is a certain machine producing the same. Thrillers which are close to the common man’s life is in need more.

PS: Meanwhile, this week’s releases, Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3 has the family audience interested.

Release date: 2nd December 2016
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Sujoy Ghosh
Starring: Vidya Balan, Arjun Rampal, Tunisha Sharma, Naisha Khanna, Manini Chadha, Jugal Hansraj, Amba Sanyal, Kharaj Mukherjee, Tota Roychoudhury, Koushik Sen, Pradip Chakrabarty, Nitya Ganguli, Pradip Mukherjee, Ardhendu Banerjee, Biswajit Chakraborty, Gargi Bharadwaj, Soma Adhikari, Haridas Chatterjee, Sarthak Dey Sarkar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Despicable Me 3

Vampire Owl: I would like to use this particular title for myself too.

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to be called the vampire deserving hatred and contempt?

Vampire Owl: Because I am going to take over the world.

Vampire Bat: You have had that thought since you became a vampire apprentice for the first time. It is not real.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has always believed in alternate realities.

Vampire Bat: But you don’t believe in Mr. Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: He is just not part of my reality. But his methods surely are.

Vampire Bat: You cannot pretend to put things into different realities, and speak as if you are from one reality in which is independent of the others when all of these is just one reality.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that with regular practice and with finding inner peace, we can create our own realities with our minds?

Vampire Bat: This is exactly why I feel that zombies without brains are awesome.

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

What is the movie about? :: Felonious Gru (Steve Carell) is spending some nice time as a secret agent of the anti-villain league along with his newfound love, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) who is also trying hard to be a loving mother to the three adopted kids, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel). Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a supervillain obsessed with the television character that he played, has become Gru’s biggest opponent, and even evades him and Lucy on so many occasions. After the last encounter between the two, Gru and Lucy end up being fired from the league by the new chief of the league. Now left without any job, the minions led by Mel (Pierre Coffin) wishes for him to go evil again, so that they will all have something to do. But Gru doesn’t want go back to be the villain again as it would be against all he had hoped for, and so the minions just decide to quit, except for two.

So, what happens next? :: Meanwhile, Balthazar continues to have more and more success with his evil plans, stealing world’s most precious diamond without even having to think twice about it. It is during those times that Gru comes to know that he has a twin brother named Dru (again Steve Carell), who seems to be rather a successful businessman with his pig farms. They had separated when they were kids, as Gru was taken by his mother and Dru by his father, both not knowing about each other until now. When it is revealed, Dru does invite Gru and his family to his special place, where they are given a grand welcome. With golden hair on the head and being a more cheerful and successful man, Dru does make Gru jealous, but it is not the visit is more about. Dru reveals that Gru has always been a role-model in the form of a master villain, even with his failures – he claims that it is Gru who has kept the family tradition going.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Meanwhile, minions end up in prison, and come up with some special plans to get back with Gru due to the nostalgia keeping on troubling them. Dru wants Gru to go back to crime with him, as he feels that both of them could get the family crime legacy to the next level. Gru who is now married to his love and being the father of three adopted children, doesn’t really want to do the same, but wants to get even with Balthazar. He plans to get the diamond from the criminal, and get it to the anti-villain league along with the villain himself, so that he could find him and his wife back in the job. But his brother is interested in this because they could get their hands on the most valuable diamond in the world, and the heist would thus go down in history. But our evil villain does have other plans starting from Hollywood, and going on for mass destruction. Will Gru be able to stop him this time?

The defence of Despicable Me 3:: There is the focus on laughter here, and attempts are regularly made at the same. With the attempt to bring in more action sequences, and situations made for comedy, we are surely seeing an entertainment which finishes without taking that much of our time. It also leaves things open in the end which means that we can have something to go for with a fourth movie which will be something better if good imagination gets the right inspiration. Minions, even though out of the main tale, making almost no impact, are still fun to watch – there are some rare cases here that has repetition being fun. The kids are surely going to love this one a lot – there is no reason why they shouldn’t, as silliness is written again and again on screen with this movie around. Everyone from that age really wants to be Gru or at least with him in an animated world full of action and minions, don’t they? Well, be there early as this one released in India before it did in the United States of America.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Despicable Me 3 is just too childish – surely more childish than the first movie as well as Despicable Me 2. There is almost no thinking regarding the story-line here, as we get to know that quite early. We see not much happening here, and even the usual messages are not present. With what seems to be a random mixture of things, the emotional side is rather lost, something which can be rather catastrophic of an animated movie – the kids have almost no significance in the tale along with the minions who are just there for the laughter, and there are the two brothers whose story just seemed to have been brought for the sake of the adventure, and there is the villain who seems to have the appeal rather too much on the kids rather than anyone else. You would also realise that there have been two movies before this and a spin-off, and a better result still evades the makers and the fans alike. 3D is also not that much of a difference maker.

How it finishes :: Well, Despicable Me 3 is fun for sure, even though it seems to trail behind Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 without even trying well enough to make much of an impact. Maybe, everyone have already felt that this franchise is in an eternal safe zone, like Ice Age, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda series might have been thinking already. But, if we compare the number of screens and the number of viewers for Cars 3 and this one, it is clear that safe zone is slowly and steadily becoming a myth – there are always new movies which are not sequels made out of special creativity, like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen and Inside Out, ready to conquer the animated area. They will surely have to put the extra effort for the next movie, if people are going to continue believing in the same – this will work as of now with its comic side and how good it looks on the screen, but an animated movie is going to require more than that in order to have a long and better run.

Release date: 16th June 2017 (India); 30th June 2017 (USA)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews, Jenny Slate, Pierre Coffin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cars 3

Vampire Owl: An animated movie in a multiplex is always cool, you know.

Vampire Bat: And what makes it cooler than the rest?

Vampire Owl: Well, they have the best 3D for animated movies – its works the best for this genre.

Vampire Bat: Actually, the animated movies will need them these days, as a lot of them are not working as well as they used to be.

Vampire Owl: You mean mostly about the sequels.

Vampire Bat: This movie is a sequel too. They all maintain a certain level from which they don’t go down, but we actually expect more.

Vampire Owl: Disappointment due to high expectations – I have been there before.

Vampire Bat: But Despicable Me 3 will have the audience divided on deciding which one to watch.

Vampire Owl: Still, Cars 3 got more shows, which is rather surprising.

Vampire Bat: Well, this one surely seems less childish with its posters. But I am sure that this is not going to be Moana, Zootopia, Frozen or Inside Out.

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

What is the movie about? :: Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is having some serious fun time racing with the veteran racers, competing well, and still being the fastest of them all. As he is so close to winning another race by a small margin, a stylish looking black car Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) just goes past him and finishes first, much to the surprise of everyone that an unknown rookie managed to sneak in. It is only the beginning, as more of the new generation cars keep coming in, and with the use of better technology and training, manages to do better than the veterans who just focus on running fast. Soon, all the other veterans have retired, leaving McQueen as the last of the old generation racers. Even with his best effort, McQueen can only become second to Jackson, and by trying too hard, blows one of his tyres and meets with an accident, leaving the younger generation of high-tech cars to rule the racing arena.

So, what happens next? :: McQueen has recovered, four months later, and he is staying back at his hometown. His well-wishers including his girlfriend Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt) and best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) motivates him enough to get back to racing, even though everyone is not without doubts regarding his ability to even come close to beating a younger opponent who is certainly faster and is following high-tech methods. He also decides to change his approach towards racing so that the result could be different. Dusty (Ray Magliozzi) and Rusty (Tom Magliozzi), the owners of Rust-Eze, and the main sponsors, inform him of having sold the company to Sterling (Nathan Fillion), who currently runs the elite racing car training facility called Rust-eze Racing Center – McQueen gets to train with the new technology and facilities there.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), who is also a fan of McQueen is appointed as his trainer. But it doesn’t go as planned, as McQueen is unable to use the modern technology to his advantage, and even ends up crashing into the race simulator which was supposed to help him against Jackson. Sterling tells him that it is time that they build on the legacy of McQueen, as there is not much scope with him racing now, with younger cars with a better use of technology on the track. But McQueen asks him for one final chance to race, which Sterling agrees to provide him on the promise that he will retire if he losses, as the company can’t afford to keep losing the races. But it turns that no matter where and when he tries, he is unable to get anywhere near Jackson’s top speed, while Cruz has her own problems to deal with. Can Jackson be beaten by anyone, and can McQueen reclaim some of his lost glory on track?

The defence of Cars 3 :: There are some nice animated characters on the big screen in the form of cars, and as we expect, the emotional side is strong, and so is the colourful world inside the screen. There is also the inspirational message about the main character as well as the supporting cast that strives towards their objective, and our hero is someone who doesn’t give up – motivation is served by cars better than the usual human being does. His success is that we feel for the cars as if they are humans, even more than what animals in the animated movies sometimes fail to achieve. There is a fine world which is built here, and the cars look effective for sure. This is also an improvement from the second movie, even though, not better than the first movie – it would be even more difficult to repeat this with another movie, and we have a lot of its resources being already used. The three Cars movies releasing in 2006, 2011 and 2017 – well, we are made to wait so long for the sequels, and it is good to have them in the end.

The claws of flaw :: The safe route is taken once again by this franchise, and the humour content is surprisingly so less for a movie like this – Despicable Me 3 is certain to overtake this flick with that. There is also some struggle during the middle part, where we wonder what the movie is going to accomplish as we progress towards the end – that is a kind of drag there. There is that confusion that we feel in the middle, which can only be solved by having more popcorn or french fries with extra masala tea. It has also been a little too much time since Cars 2 had come and left, and that gap is really felt. The 3D could have also been better, as we look for more excitement with the racing stuff happening on the big screen. The twist in the end might not be that effective for everyone, as it brings down the possibility of having a good sequel, where the same could have tried more effectively, focusing on the same from the beginning itself.

How it finishes :: After a certain deviation which had happened with the previous movie, Cars 2, the movie has come back to bring the focus at the right side. After that unnecessary attention on a secondary character, we are back to the one who matters the most than any other – Lightning McQueen, and all things get back to track and everything is now related to racing. This weekend, Cars 3 actually go one on one against Despicable Me 3, a battle which seemed to be heading towards a draw, with the opinions from both the critics as well as the general audience. Compared to its current opponent, Cars 3 should appeal more to the youth, while Despicable Me 3 should be inclined towards the children, even though both should be basically for all ages, and a joy to watch in 3D. These two movies going against each other, will make this weekend a perfect day of animated 3D adventure, as we can choose to watch them both.

Release date: 16th June 2017
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Brian Fee
Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Lea DeLaria, Lloyd Sherr, Paul Dooley, Jenifer Lewis, Katherine Helmond, Chris Cooper, Lewis Hamilton, Bob Costas, Bob Peterson, Cheech Marin, Michael Wallis, John Ratzenberger, Ray Magliozzi, Tom Magliozzi, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Junior Johnson, Margo Martindale

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Underworld: Blood Wars

Vampire Owl: This movie has been going on and on, and we, the vampires have spent so much money or trying to attain copies of the same.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that even Werewolf Anger has a copy of the first three movies of the franchise.

Vampire Owl: Why would he have those copies? He is angry at all movies.

Vampire Bat: He is angry at everything, and so this anger is actually a reflection of his less angry side.

Vampire Owl: But it is still Werewolf Anger, the angriest werewolf of all-time.

Vampire Bat: There is some competition regarding the same, from Werewolf Hunger.

Vampire Owl: Well, hunger is a strong emotion, and he is named after that; so I would expect some tough competition.

Vampire Bat: I hope that watching Blood Wars won’t make them more interested in wars.

Vampire Owl: Watching Underworld: Awakening awakened nobody though.

Vampire Bat: Well, all the movies in this franchise will be better tales than Twilight for sure.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Little Hearts biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The war between the two species goes on, and vampires are in trouble with the advanced werewolves, the stronger and the sharper versions of Lycans going through them, with only two strongholds left for the formerly high class species of undead, the Eastern Coven and the Nordic Coven. Semira (Lara Pulver), a beautiful and ambitious council member of the vampires, sees Selene (Kate Beckinsale) as the only hope for saving their coven as well as preserving their world as it has been for many years. With Lycans only getting stronger under their ruthless and fearsome leader Marius (Tobias Menzies), Semira gets the support of Thomas (Charles Dance), a Vampire Elder who is the father of David (Theo James), whose life was saved by Selene herself. They are successful in getting the support of the council which declares Semira fully responsible for whatever actions Selene comes up with when inside the coven.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The vampires have been searching for Selene already, seeking justice for the deaths of Viktor (Bill Nighy) and Marcus (Tony Curran), and this becomes her opportunity to return to the coven, forgiven, even though not forgotten as a murderer of her own kind. David pleads her to return to the coven, as she could join her kind and defend everyone against Marius who also wishes to capture Selene for information about her daughter Eve (India Eisley) whose blood could prove vital to the werewolves in attaining ultimate supremacy over vampires. Alexia (Daisy Head) arrives with her team and the order from the coven and takes Selene home just in time before the Lycans arrive at the scene. There they are given a warm welcome, but Varga (Bradley James), the leading Death Dealer of the coven isn’t happy that Selene has returned to train his team of Death Dealers, and with his intimate relationship with Semira, a twist seems to be coming up.

The defence of Underworld: Blood Wars :: There is the usual style of the Underworld franchise that we see here, and it is reflected not just on the visuals and the action sequences, but also in the overall dark mood. Vampires facing werewolves is the kind of idea that never gets old, and will remain interesting as long as you don’t put too much drama in there by the way of Twilight an its evil twin sisters. The tale continues with all those elements that are to satisfy the fans of the franchise. The movie also finishes off smartly, with having an option to end the tale there, as well as to continue it – the scope for a new dawn in this movie will be an entirely different one too. Still, whatever they do it will be eternally impossible to have the pre-determined critics to rate a movie like this any higher; if this was a Bollywood movie with a heavy dose of nonsense, maybe the reviewers here would have rated it a lot high; add a big superstar to it, and you know what happened with dumb movies like Krrish and its sequels.

Claws of flaw :: People are certain to think that there is too less added to this movie as another significant movie in the franchise – for there was the scope for deviation while retaining the basic elements, which is not taken. The journey here is just the easy way, with no special ingredient. I would also consider to be the second least interesting movie of the franchise following the one movie that was the prequel without Kate Beckinsale in it. Even though the critical opinions are without doubt biased and prejudiced as it was with almost every Underworld movie, this is surely a step down from the previous movie, Underworld: Awakening. Without a proper understanding of the background used in this movie, the weaklings will also find it difficult to go through this movie, and some reviewers need to be shown all movies of this franchise, without which they seem to struggle to find out which movie is this particular flick which they watched.

Performers of the soul :: Kate Beckinsale is also at her best as usual, and she becomes Selene and shines through this movie too – she looks almost the same as when the first movie released fourteen years ago, something that the Resident Evil series and Milla Jovovich will have in common. There is not much that separates her, all the action, and the style of this movie. We had also seen the same in the remake of Total Recall as well as Van Helsing. Selene is a character whom we have identified as one of the most recognizable vampires in live-action movies, and with her being played by the same person, and having the same looks throughout the franchise has helped the cause further. Giving her company as the other gorgeous vampire is Lara Pulver, whom we will all remember as the special Irene Adler from the Sherlock television series, with that introduction scene and what followed from A Scandal in Belgravia. Clementine Nicholson is another actress who will be a big asset to the franchise without doubt. We are also glad to see the Divergent franchise‘s own Theo James here again.

How it finishes :: Anna Foerster’s first movie has the fans of the franchise interested for sure, with the vampire-werewolf tale never running out of opportunities make more and more movies. This is also one of those movies which release first in India and then in the United States – something which happens at a few occasions mostly with those superhero movies and not with anything that has a vampire or a werewolf. This tale can surely bring more sequels, prequels and even spin-offs, and with some divine intervention, maybe there will be a movie which will be loved by the critics – but the chance of the same is very little. But it is up-to us to enjoy movies like these, instead of overrating those local superhero movies which has nothing inside them other than some so called superstars who come down to such a terrible level to act in such nonsense – we will have anyone without intellectual poverty will have trouble watching such flicks, but both the common viewers and the reviewers will claim that the movies are of epic level.

Release date: 6th January 2017 (USA); 2nd December 2016 (India)
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Anna Foerster
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Lara Pulver, Theo James, James Faulkner, Daisy Head, Clementine Nicholson, Tobias Menzies, Charles Dance, Oliver Stark, Peter Andersson, Bradley James

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.