Vikadakumaran

What is the movie about? :: Binu Sebastian (Vishnu Unnikrishnan) is a lawyer who gets only those smaller cases which don’t get him any appreciation in life. Even though his dreams are huge, he never really gets close to achieving them. He goes through a mundane existence in and out of court, and this has lead to a certain lack of interest which makes him careless in dealing with those lesser cases which gets too. His best friend and support is Manikandan Pillai (Dharmajan Pillai) who helps him to get some new cases. Binu is in love with Sindhu (Manasa Radhakrishnan) who runs a canteen near the court. The fact that he only has his mother and a sister with hearing problems, and that his father had left nothing much for the family makes his consider all options to get to fame and money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that Roshi Balakrishnan (Jinu Joseph) and Aishwarya Nair (Rosin Jolly) enters the scene. There is an incident involving the death of a home guard, a hit and run case in which both of these are involved. The former is a rich and young businessman who is known for many illegal activies, and the latter is a popular film actress who is looking to leave cinema field after getting engaged. Soon, the actress is also found dead, and Binu finds himself fighting against Roshi in the beginning, and later defending his case. His friends as well as the media remains divided on this, but it is to be seen how Binu would end up in his career with this kind of a big case. Will there be justice served for anyone in the end?

The defence of Vikadakumaran :: There are enough funny moments in this flick to keep it going. The credit for the same goes to Vishnu and Dharmajan attempting to repeat what was done in Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. There are some nice moments in the court, both funny and effective, even though there is nothing that raises the bar, in a world where there have been movies like Yes Your Honour, Melvilasom, Jolly LLB, Jolly LLB 2, and Pink – it is still better than that over-hyped disaster of a movie throwing a court-scene out of nowhere, called Queen; the Malayalam one. The movie also nicely ends up with poetic justice being served at the final moments. A common person’s story is depicted well enough, and in doing the same, the main performers do good job. The songs are just okay, not providing too much. There will be fun in store for sure, with some twist to come in the end which will be satisfactory.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that this movie could have done more with each and every aspect, whether it is the comedy, thrills, twists or the court-room drama. There is the presence of a little too many co-incidences, and we could have had better explanations and even better situations both inside and outside the court. There is also the problem of the villain’s overall smartness going with the wind, and the hero getting the smartest of them all, without nothing much happening in between. We could have also had some social issues being dealt with, considering the premise, and those who thought that something was going to be done by the lawyer regarding the first scene in the movie, one is certainly going to be disappointed. Considering its similarities with other movies with a lawyer as the protagonist, it had to do better, but it never really even try to bring a special ingredient – it could have, but that might not have been the priority.

The performers of the soul :: Vishnu Unnikrishnan is back this year after the memorable fun ride which was Shikkari Shambhu. He rightly suits this role, and has no problems in blending in here. If he was co-staring with Kunchacko Boban in that movie, this Easter weekend, he is in competition with the same actor who has Kuttanadan Marpappa at the theatres, both flicks focusing on the comic side. The combination of Vishnu and Dharmajan gets all the attention from us with the funny side which never ends. Baiju also contributes to the fun without second thoughts, and Rafi has his funny moments too. Jinu Joseph plays a powerful negative character in this movie, and he does that in style as he did in Iyobinte Pusthakam. He is the kind of villain that we always need, with a level of antagonism that stays afloat at all times. Indrans’ small role is very much memorable.

Further performers of the soul :: Manasa Radhakrishnan, the lady lead might be remembered more for playing Jaseela, the protagonist’s sister in Tiyaan. She does a fine job here, even though there is not that much of an opportunity provided for her – being just the love interest of the hero seems to be the priority. Lets have more of her in the industry. Rosin Jolly has an interesting role to play in this one, which she manages well, even though it is surprising that so many of the popular reviewers have mistaken her to be Leona Lishoy. It is understandable to make mistakes for the common man and the bloggers, but when the big names who are claimed as professionals do it, one has to doubt one’s purpose of writing a review. Megha Mathew’s role is restricted in such a way that there is almost nothing for her to make even the least impact. The female characters never really get the boost they need with this one.

How it finishes :: The movie is more or less a fight for justice, for two dead people, one a common man and the other a celebrity, and the responsible person being the same. We expect a lot of sparks as well as emotional sequences, but they are never really things of concern here. We also notice that it never really reaches the level of the movies like Yes Your Honour, Jolly LLB, Jolly LLB 2 and Pink. But if you are looking for some simple fun with a purpose, you can surely choose Vikadakumaran – just don’t expect too much, and enjoy the entertainment, for this one is never really boring at any moment. The same mood seems to be carried on towards the end, as we get to that end. It is more or less the harmless family movie, the kind of flick that Sreenivasan would do again.

Release date: 30th March 2018
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Boban Samuel
Starring: Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Baiju, Rosin Jolly, Jinu Joseph, Jayan Cherthala, Megha Mathew, Nelson, Arun Ghosh, Indrans, Mahesh, Rafi, EA Rajendran, Nizhalgal Ravi, Sunil Sukhada, Seema G Nair

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Pacific Rim: Uprising

A flashback to the first movie :: The story of Pacific Rim had its focus at the area where about 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 81% of the world’s largest earthquakes occured, and it was discovered that something more was responsible for the same. Then came the giant alien creatures attacking Earth after coming in through an inter-dimensional portal located at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. As it was discovered that these creatures named Kaijus would keep coming, and no wall could stop them, there were massive robotic machines called Jaegers constructed to combat the threat. These machines were too huge and complicated that each Jaeger had to be controlled by two or more people who shared the load inside the machine. They were connected by a neural bridge in a process called “drifting” through which they shared their minds with the machine. With Jaegers getting destroyed faster than they are built, they needed to stop the attacks by closing the bridge.

What is the movie about? :: Years have passed after the pilots of the iconic Jaegar Gipsy Danger Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) using the jaegar’s nuclear reactor to seal the breach through which the creatures passed through. There hasn’t been a Kaiju attack for a very long time, and former Jaeger pilot Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), son of Kaiju War hero and martyr General Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) makes a living by stealing and selling old Jaeger parts on the black market. But him, along with the teenager Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) are arrested for their illegal work with Jaegars. In return for being set free, he is forced to begin training Jaeger program recruits with his former co-pilot, Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), and Amara who has knowledge of Jaegers is also taken into the programme as new recruit for pilot training.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: As the Jaeger training continues hoping to battle any possible return of the Kaijus or any alien creature from another planet or dimension, the programme itself is threatened by the Shao Corporation’s remotely controlled giant drones idea lead by Liwen Shao (Jing Tian) and supported by scientist Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day). There is the plan to get more giant robots controlled from a safe location, without the need for neurally compatible pilots risking their lives in battle. But Mako is doubtful about the possibilities of such an idea, as the system could be hacked with long distance signals responsible for success and defeat in combat. But before she is able to submit her final report about the possibility of such a programme, an unexpected event occurs, which brings the twist to the proceedings.

And what else is to come? :: It is then that a rogue Jaeger, Obsidian Fury attacks the city, and kills Mako along with many other civilians, and causing destruction to the city. Gipsy Avenger, the spiritual successor to Gipsy Danger controlled by Jake Pentecost and Nate Lambert manages to hold on against the far advanced design of Obsidian Fury, before the rogue Jaegar retreats with the arrival of the other Jaegars, Saber Athena, Bracer Phoenix and Guardian Bravo. This leads to a quick approval of the drone programme, and the first group of drones are deployed faster than they intended to be. But it turns out that the drones are not on their sides, as they are quick to get rid of the cannons and attack the Jaegers at the base of operations. As Gipsy Avenger finally finds and defeats Obsidian Fury, there is a secret revealed, and it is not sweet, or positive for humanity and its continued existence, as extinction threatens.

The defence of Pacific Rim: Uprising :: Despite missing this year’s Academy Award winner Guillermo del Toro at the helm, this movie has held its ground – even after not matching the first flick, this one has enough to make it better than any transformers movie that has released in the last few years including the last one. The detailing on the screen remains nice, even though not as much as the previous movie which had better quality there. The action sequences are more though, as it is where the movie focuses the most, along with a few twists in between; special effects are great without doubt. The robots look nice, and the Kaijus, even though are present for lesser time than they used to be in the first movie, keeps us further interested. The movie is even lighter than its predecessor, and makes it more for the families. There is also some good acting and fantastic visuals to go with it, plus we also have a final scene that calls for a possible sequel.

The claws of flaw :: There is no chance to match the Guillermo del Toro vision of Pacific Rim, as Pacific Rim: Uprising surely falls short with its content. This kind of a comparison was always expected to be done, and we see that the same strange beauty and smartness is not displayed in this one which just follows the route to make the best out of the success of the first flick. There are more robots, but none of them matches the first movie’s Gipsy Danger, Crimson Typhoon, Cherno Alpha and Striker Eureka. The story also trails in comparison to the first movie, and those moments of goosebumps are missing this time. The movie is also very less about its characters this time, and the neural bridge never really gets the attention as it used to get, and repetitions can be seen. This one requires the possible third movie to take it to the next level, and lets hope that Guillermo del Toro plays a bigger role in that one to make sure that this franchise gets a big boost, as we need it as much as they do.

How it finishes :: Pacific Rim continues to do what Transformers movie franchise could have done better. I have found this one to be even better than the big hyped superhero movie, Black Panther. It is something that has the core in Guillermo del Toro’s grand vision, and due to the same, we will always enjoy a movie in this series. It is sure to make Transformers fans jealous, and lets hope that the franchise with autobots and decepticons will take something out of this movie to make those talking robotic aliens make the best use of its resources rather than repeating its events. With all its big action sequences and special effects, we won’t be able to wait for a third movie for very long; we are sure that there can be more – but even this sequel had taken about five years and so, lets hope that we have the next one before we are out of the robotmonster effects witness on the big screen. Until then, enjoy Pacific Rim: Uprising as the big entertainer that it successfully manages to be. Who needs Independence Day when we have these?

Release date: 23rd March 2018
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Steven S DeKnight
Starring: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman, Adria Arjona, Zhang Jin, Charlie Day

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Poomaram

What is the movie about? :: Each and every college has been going through tough preparations to win the overall championships in the year’s youth festival. In a programme which consists of so many colleges, Maharajas College and St. Teresa’s College have been the favourites, with the latter having defended the title for years. With other colleges including UC College and Sacred Heart College on the trail, the two colleges have their students practicing so much to give their best. The college chairpersons of each college, Gautham (Kalidas Jayaram) and Irene (Neeta Pillai) promises their teachers, students and the managment that would return only with the overall trophy. Both leaders are experts in poetry and skilled in more than one art, as they have talented teams at their hands, ready to make it big on the grand stage.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: While Gautham’s team consists of naturally skilled students, Irene has a group of extremely hardworking and disciplined girls who are determined to keep the promise made to their principal to keep the trophy at their college for another year. While the former focuses on giving the best out of their best students, the latter has come with a fine plan to focus on their strengths and get the best out of those competitions which could bring them the most points. There are these teams who seem to battle each other, and there are the teams from other colleges which look forward to an opportunity to pounce on those points which get divided, and go straight up on the list. So, the year’s competition seems to be something which can bring the surprises and twists, and it is to be seen how things would end.

The defence of Poomaram :: There is a realistic take of the youth festival in this movie, and there is nostalgia invoked from it – this is not that fake nostalgia which was brought to the big screen by 1983, an exaggerated movie on cricket. Poomaram just feels so real, with realistic performances written all over it. If you have studied in an unaided arts college in Kerala, it will be very easy for you to relate to this movie, and if there is a certain amount of melancholy rising like waves on a stormy night, there is no surprise. Well, even that wouldn’t be necessary, as this reflects your college in one way or the other. Poomaram strikes you exactly at that part of your heart where it hurts the most, with memories of the college days. The songs are beautiful, and it adds to the strength of these reflections. There is also the presence of messages, and one has to love how the movie ends with that image of the enlightened.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does has a certain slowness in its proceedings in the second half, and some repetitions of the whole thing. The strength of the beginning and the middle part is only further strengthened by the end. The delay in the release of this movie also seems to have affected the bookings, as one does feel that it has been an eternity since this movie’s first song was released and the flick was ready to arrive at the theatres. There are occasions when Poomaram has been reduced into a joke instead of the celebration of nostalgia that it should have been. Everyone might not like this movie that much though, as the philosophical side of the flick can go over the head of the regular movie watcher. Those who have been eternally looking for entertainment won’t find that much of the same in this one, which is more of an experience raher than anything else.

The performers of the soul :: The movie has Kalidas Jayaram in the leading role, but we see that he is no hero; he plays a character who is one of us – there might be the elements of those college chairpersons or arts club secretaries whom we had met during our college days in him. Kalidas who had won the national award for the best child actor by acting with his own father in Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal, has the much awaited debut here, and it is a lovable and natural one. We see him as the chairperson of one of the most prestigious institutions not only in the city and the state, doing a wonderful job with all the simplicity, and there is no moment when we cease to admire his natural work. One wouldn’t call this work a challenge for someone who has proven his skills at such a young age, but this is a fine start for him, as there is the certainty of bigger things to accomplish for him.

Further performers of the soul :: Neeta Pillai plays the female lead in the movie, even though she or any other character in the movie where not in any of the posters of this flick. She plays a wonderful leader of her team of best friends in this movie, as she is there as an inspiration as the college chairperson, someone who was determined to win the trophy every single year from the first day she joined there for BA English Literature course. In this role, Neeta reflects what a perfect leader should be, and with her strong words, we can be sure that there will be more from her for us to witness on the big screen. Kunchacko Boban and Meera Jasmine makes little cameos which don’t mean much except for having them there in the movie. Joju George is the one face who is quickly recognizable here, as he plays a cop again after the same director’s Action Hero Biju. There is also a long list of new faces doing well.

How it finishes :: The movie refers to the story of a young student in Oxford University who was part of a competition about Jesus turning water into wine. He couldn’t write anything for a long time, until with only a few minutes left, this young man who was to be known later as Lord Byron, just wrote the following line: “The water met its Master, and blushed”, one of the best possible description of the miracle. There are many more similar talks about famous literary figures, artists and philosophers including Henry David Thoreau, William Shakespeare, Kalidasan, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. There is the idea about what is more important in our lives, and what matters to be the winner, at what cost. It focuses on its messages and realistic reflections really well, with a divergent philosophical side. Poomaram might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is that cup of tea, which can be loved by anyone at one point of the movie or the other, for it is a special kind of poetry of our own memories.

Release date: 15th March 2018
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Abrid Shine
Starring: Kalidas Jayaram, Neeta Pillai, Joju George, Archita Aneesh, Kunchacko Boban (cameo), Meera Jasmine (cameo)

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Ira

What is the movie about? :: Dr. Aryan (Gokul Suresh) arrived at Cochin from Kolkata, trying to leave a mark in his own home state, but is accused of murdering the Minister of Forests and Wildlife Protection, KP Chandy (Alencier Ley Lopez) who seemingly dies due to cardiac arrest. The much discussed case becomes a favourite for the media, as the minister was already in the news for corruption allegations, and his son, the next big name in politics, Jacob Chandy (Shanker Ramakrishnan) is looking forward to punish the man who is supposed to have murdered his father. Aryan is accused of being a naxalite and part of a group which is known to target politicians, and police is very much interested in making him confess to this crime. It is during these times that Inspector Rajeev (Unni Mukundan) arrives to take over the investigation from Delhi.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Rajeev doesn’t have a smooth run with the investigation, as the Commissioner of Police, Satheesh Varma (Kailash) is not interested in helping him. Even the people at the hospital seems to be not that much interested in helping him. But beginning with the taxi driver who dropped Aryan at the nearby church, Rameshan (Saju Navodaya), Rajeev begins to solve the mystery. There is more than what meets the eye with this tale, and he soon finds one love story which becomes the core of the whole thing, with Jennifer Jacob (Niranjana Anoop), the neighbour of Aryan, and his own tale of love with a girl whom he met in a forest near Kothamangalam, a long time ago – Karthika (Miya George). Now, the question remains about who is so much interested in framing Aryan as the murderer of a minister, and it is a difficult question to solve.

The defence of Ira :: We can see that the suspense stays strong throughout the movie, and there is the nice use of opportunities for twists towards the end. The first half as well as the second, has its thrilling moments as well as an effective emotional side. The entertainment side is strong throughout its run, and it has the audience interested in the investigation, and the predicament of the main characters. It is something offering a full run of entertaining moments, even adding some jokes here and there, with some of them working well. We can see how much the politicians manipulate people, and how so many incidents are twisted to be of advantage to them – we see where the common man’s place is, and what they are made to believe by putting them into a coma of indirect oppression. The visuals are very good, especially those of the forest, as we see that it is close enough to the locations where Pulimurugan and Shikkari Shambhu were shot – the beautiful world on the other side of Kothamangalam.

The claws of flaw :: There seems to be reflection of real life moments in the movie, but they really have no point here, and we see that they are unable to affect the movie well enough to make an impact worth remembering – these are more or less like the ingredients added to catch the attention of the viewers with the manifestation of a strange visage. We can also guess a number of things about this movie, as there is not that much focus on making sure that all minor twists hold ground. The movie could have also focused more on its title, as its oppressed including the tribals and the common people facing powerful politicians, never really get enough of justice, even though the poetic justice is delivered by vengeance. This could have been a better thriller, no doubt about that – it could have had a smarter investigation, and a stronger backstory which would be able to connect better with the right kind of bridges between the past and the present.

The performers of the soul :: Unni Mukundan doesn’t have any problem with this police role, the kind which he has already done before. From the nice entry in the beginning, he has things under control, with no real challenge being present in there to play this particular police officer for him. Gokul Suresh seems to be getting better with every movie, and we see how things have managed to rise in quality from Mudhugauv to Masterpiece, and now here. Even though Unni Mukundan’s police officer is established as the hero very early, we come to know in the end that all that Gokul’s character did was of high purpose, from the very first moment itself, with or without him knowing about it. There are also signs of a younger Suresh Gopi with his work, and the viewers are sure to wait for more from him. The significance of him being in an action-thriller is displayed so.

Further performers of the soul :: As you will notice here, the movie does have quite an interesting list of actors. The main female lead would be Miya George, even though she has lesser time on the screen, arriving late, and leaving rather early – she is very good in her work here. It is rather surprising that we don’t see that much of her work these days, Niranjana Anoop has more presence, and has done a pretty good job. There is a long way to go for her, in the industry for sure. Alencier Ley Lopez plays the corrupt politician in a nice way, Shanker Ramakrishnan plays a pretty good negative character for most of the time. Lena plays a strong character, that of a lawyer with ease, and Saju Navodaya only has a few moments to bring the laughter, which he manages; so does Nelson during the flashback moments.

How it finishes :: Ira has enough to make sure that the viewers are engaged at all moments. It might not be the best investigative thriller of our times, but it possesses enough in there to make sure that the audience is entertained. One might think that it could have been made better, as the premise was set very well. But it has been difficult to make good stories of investigation for some time in Malayalam industry, and Ira makes sure that something more is added to that genre. Well, thrillers don’t usually have enough support from the audience, unless it has those family elements like Drishyam, and also has a big superstar at the helm. Let us hope that this one has that support, as experimentation in the genre seems to have stopped rather too early. If the early opinions about the movie is going to continue, Ira might be followed by more of similar flicks.

Release date: 16th March 2018
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Saiju SS
Starring: Unni Mukundan, Gokul Suresh, Miya George, Lena, Alencier Ley Lopez, Niranjana Anoop, Shanker Ramakrishnan, Neeraja, Saju Navodaya, Kailash, Nelson, Mareena Michael Kurisingal

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