Robin Hood

What is the movie about? :: Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) has been in love with Marian (Eve Hewson) since he first met her at a stable. He is the lord of a manor, and she is a petty thief, but they have no doubt that they are in love. Still, things change, as he is called to fight in the Crusades in Northern Africa. He fights with great courage there, and defeats as well as kills many, until he makes the decision to stand up against his leaders’ attitude and treatment towards the prisoners of war. He almost gets killed by his own people, but manages to get back to his lands and get back to his feet, thanks to a former Moorish commander known by the name John (Jamie Foxx) who becomes his new mentor. This training that he receives, with the skill that he already has, Robin needs to go against the most powerful man in the county, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With his return, he finds out from his good friend Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin) that Marian is now with another man named Will Tillman (Jamie Dornan). He also finds out that his family property has been confiscated by the Sheriff, who never stops tormenting people in the name of war. Sheriff has his own army to make sure that people pay for the war with all that they have. Robin and Sheriff decide that this has to stop now or people will be left with nothing. There is no hope for the common man, and Robin decides to become that hope, something which would include more than one robbery and fight. But with the knights of the Sheriff being among the strongest, can he find a way through all these to save the common man from losing everything?

The defence of Robin Hood :: There is no shortage of style in Robin Hood, and the action scenes are all nicely done. They might feel to be a little overdose and edited in such a way that it might be a little difficult to follow for the eyes. But they do work, and has our attention more than any other. The setting also feels strange at times, but it is nicely done. We can see that the divergence that this movie has is rather too high, but even in that case, the attempt is to be appreciated for bringing a different version. The archery scenes are among the best, and the visuals with the lighting brings a special effect. The messages revolution and equality runs right through the movie, and a few parts of the movie are funny, even though we feel that it is rather unintentional. The ending also sets the path nicely for a possible sequel even though that seems not coming as we consider the situation here.

The claws of flaw :: The way in which the tale in this movie is changed becomes rather strange. It is too much of a diversion, and it is not easy to digest many of those changes. Some of them feel unnecessary even for any standards. The case of John might be the strangest of them all. The movie could have also used some better editing, especially with its fight scenes. Everything keeps moving from one side to somewhere else without warning. The movie itself is clueless at times about the idea as well as the story, even though it keeps us entertained for most part. Most of the time, the movie also doesn’t look like its from the medieval age. It goes on trying to become like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a movie which does the same thing to the King Arthur legend as this one does to the Robin Hood legend. Well, only some movies could change for the best.

The performers of the soul :: Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett are not here to leave that big mark, but the performances are okay. Taron Egerton had those miserable overrated Kingsman movies, and this one is surely above them, and he also has some nice dialogues to go with the same. The Irish actress Eve Hewson surely brings some charm to the movie, even though her role here is limited. Jamie Foxx doesn’t have the impact to create in this character who is the trainer – it has to be noted that Mohanlal in the Malayalam movie with the similar thief Kayamkulam Kochunni had so many times bigger impact as the trainer, and that movie itself was way ahead of this one with its thief who stole from the rich and helped the poor. Ben Mendelsohn’s Sheriff of Nottingham is not that much of a villain that we expected. Tim Minchin’s version of Friar Tuck is mostly irritating, and Paul Anderson’s Guy of Gisborne doesn’t have that big impact. Jamie Dornan’s Will Tillman can have the great strength only in a sequel if it ever happens.

Soul exploration :: There are different ways in which this particular movie can work, and one of them is similar to the American War on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, with different moments pointing to the same in one way or the other. There are people supporting both sides in a war, as we notice. We also feel that this might be a Batman movie which is not good enough, and something which could have been a different kind of Dark Knight, but isn’t. The hero does spend some time with a mentor, is rich and decides to save his town in a mask, that much is clear. But the fact that Robin Hood is not Batman, and he is not supposed to be like Green Arrow who goes through almost the same things and has the hood and arrow dressed in green. Was he called into the DC Universe to be the Green Arrow? One has to wonder about the similarities visible here.

How it finishes :: Even with all the style, it is strange that Robin Hood makers could think that this would be enough, if they did have that idea. Robin Hood is not our usual hero whom we can change and get away with it. He is not Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or any other superhero to have different version. The same was proved by the earlier adaptation of the Arthur legend. Even with a cast which included Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, the 2010 version which felt closer to history couldn’t go on make it big as expected – these people had to be careful about it when making a movie like this, but the problem here is that there seems to be no such concern. Maybe this would work a little better with the 3D which was not there when we watched it – but about the movie, it is just random action entertainment which isn’t bothered about making things better.

Release date: 23rd November 2018 (India); 21st November 2018 (USA)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Otto Bathurst
Starring: Taron Egerton, Eve Hewson, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Tim Minchin, Jamie Dornan, Murray Abraham, Paul Anderson, Josh Herdman, Bjorn Bengtsson

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Joseph

What is the movie about? :: Joseph George (Joju George) is a retired police officer spending his time with alcohol and cigarettes. He doesn’t have much time for the outside world except for some of his friends from police department, and lives alone in his house. He is a brilliant police officer who never really managed to use his skills to the best effect. He has suffered losses in his family life too, with his daughter Dayana Joseph (Malavika Menon) being lost to an accident a few years ago. He is separated from his wife Stella (Aathmiya) who is now married to Peter (Dileesh Pothan). When Stella meets an accident and dies, it sends him into further depression, as he had always loved her, despite not being able to express his feeling well enough. As an expert investigator who still helps the police department with finding clues to twisted cases, he feels something strange when standing near the place where Stella had the accident.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Joseph finds a few things to be out of place there. He tries to read all the reports together, but is able to feel that this is more or less a planned incident rather than an accident. He calls his friends in the police department who are also retired, and Sudhi (Sudhi Koppa) who was a senior of his daughter in the engineering college, and is now working in the cyber wing. The result is that Joseph finds something shocking behind all these. There is one link between everything, and the roots go deep, and long. To solve this mystery and bring those behind the crime to justice, he would have to travel through those paths less traveled, and take that kind of a risk which someone else wouldn’t even think about. So the question remains if he is ready to do that, and can his friends support him in the same?

The defence of Joseph :: There are many other movies, and then there is Joseph. The movie thrives on the strength of its emotions, and with its investigation, there is even more. There are some twists to follow, and the music nicely supports the mood as well as the elements of mystery that goes right through. The songs are pretty good, and we are sure to enjoy listening to them. There is also one thing that we can value the most, and it is staying close to reality. Joseph has no exaggeration, something which similar thrillers with superstars would have. As there are no superstars who want to beat up their villains, we have a story here which is very much believable. There is no action here, and the police officer here does nothing physical – he is just the smart one, and yet not the perfect one in any way. He is with his flaws, and he is an everyman police officer in whom we can find someone whom we know.

Positives and negatives :: Considering the mood of this movie, it is Memories that we remember before any other movie, with one protagonist, a police officer who has lost his wife and child looking forward to solve a murder mystery or two. The next movie that it reminds us of, is Angels, a movie which had its own twisted ending – something we were not expecting at all. The idea in that movie as well as that of Apothecary can find the reflections here. There might be certain doubts about the genre, as the movie goes on between more than one of them. People can feel that the flashbacks were somewhat longer, but they are all beautiful – almost every moment of this movie has beauty in one way or the other. The visuals are nice, and the feeling of terror that is shown is real, that too without showing anything disturbing with blood and gore.

The performers of the soul :: Joju George is indeed the biggest asset of this movie, as he comes up with a terrific performance as the protagonist, the man with the scar who has lost almost everything he held close to his heart. There is abiding sadness on his face which strikes the hearts of the audience very hard. There is a beautiful scar that he leaves in our souls, and it is due to a performance that stays with us for long. With his career best performance, he has our admiration, and the choice for the protagonist here is perfect, with no seeking perfection to become a hero – Joju’s police officer is the common man, and someone whom we can relate to, because he is not in the sky, but on Earth. From the beginning to the end, we are into his journey, from those simple moments in life to the complex times. Along with the same, we also carry the weight of his emotions, as the character gets so close to the depth of our souls. We, with our waxen winged hearts, like Icarus, burn in the fire of those emotions, and we are delighted about the same.

Further performers of the soul :: Dileesh Pothan, the master of Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is one the other side, showing the enduring sadness from another side, and he contributes with the same as does the rest of the supporting cast. Irshad and team bring nothing less than some wonderful support. Aathmiya also has a memorable performance in there as the wife, and it is also an emotionally touching role from her side. Malavika Menon has a rather small, but notable role here. Johny Antony is once again good in the role of a priest after doing the same in Shikkari Shambhu. You also notice how solid Sudhi Koppa is once again – we had seen the range of his performance in Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam, and here he plays a solid police officer in the cyber wing. His character can actually have a spin-off – I might be asking for a lot, but that is certainly a nice possibility.

How it finishes :: Joseph is that kind of an emotional investigative thriller which will stay with you for so long, and the melancholy that it provides will stay strong. The sadness that this movie possesses has the power to take over you too, as the feelings of the protagonist here are the same as any other common person would have. There is a certain amount of skill in the way in which the whole thing is presented, and we have the kind of protagonist who stays close to life rather than go for the exaggerated heroism. The way in which the whole story is built, will have you interested in each moment, and as the final scenes point to something that needs our attention, everything comes together and we have the best Malayalam movie of the year so far – Joju George can be proud of this one.
Release date: 18th November 2018

Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: M Padmakumar
Starring: Joju George, Dileesh Pothan, Madhuri Braganz, James Elia, Sudhi Koppa, Johny Antony, Idavela Babu, Irshad, Aathmiya, Malavika Menon, Jaffer Idukki

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Kuprasidha Payyan

What is the movie about? :: An orphan, Ajayan (Tovino Thomas) was doing different kinds of work, and finally he settled down in a Restaurant named Paradise with Jineesh (Balu Varghese), his good friend who is also with him. He does almost every job in the restaurant, and has the special duty of bringing idli from Chembakam (Saranya Ponvannan) to the restaurant – it is something that he has to do early morning. At the same time, Jalaja (Anu Sithara) who also works in the same restaurant is in love with him, and soon their attraction towards each other grows further. But things change for the worst when Chembakam is murdered by an unknown assailant. The local police investigation doesn’t reach anywhere, and crime branch is assigned the investigation after the protests from people. The new police officer in charge of the case is Simon George (Sujith Shankar) who has an envious record with the number of solved cases.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Simon is determined to solve the case in one way or the other, and the local people seems to know nothing much about what could have happened on that night of murder. It is then that they interrogate Bhaskaran (Alencier Ley Lopez), a drunkard who comes up with a strange and baseless accusation. Simon decides to develop on the same, even though there is not much truth in it. Soon, Ajayan finds himself framed for the murder of Chembakam. Simon makes sure that he confesses to having committed the murder, after days of torture. Everything is perfectly planned by Simon, and against Ajayan, the famous lawyer Suresh Narayanan (Nedumudi Venu) is set to appear. The court has the junior lawyer Hannah Elizabeth (Nimisha Sajayan) fighting the case for Ajayan as her first case. This one wouldn’t be the case she wanted to begin her career, but she decides that it is her best chance.

The defence of Oru Kuprasidha Payyan :: The movie deals with a variety of themes and we alienation, society’s labels, human emotions running high, and more, as the movie goes through its journey reflecting the contemporary society itself. It is a struggle of more than one person, even though it is just one person whom we see. Everyone has something to prove as well as a few things to lose, and more than one worlds collide in proving the point – the movie shows the same nicely, and never does it back down from showing the people as they are, and the society as it is, with no exaggerated character. The movie has some nice courtroom scenes with nothing overdone there. We also have some twists with the proceedings, and the struggle of a lone man without hope is not something that has reflected in our world so well, just like the abuse of power, prejudice and opportunism go along with the movie well.

The claws of flaw :: With this movie coming from the director of the critically acclaimed movies like Thalappavu and Ozhimuri, the expectations were certainly high. Such a level of movie isn’t here, as another path is taken. The first few minutes of the movie were also not really needed, because a quick entry to action is always the best in a flick like this, and that could have made this movie just above two hours – an appropriate length, and also very quick with its proceedings. The court room scenes are the movie’s strength, and therefore, being there early would have done the movie more favours. The film also chooses a middle path, not going for the mass audience, and not going the exact other way either, which means that it won’t be for all, but is meant mostly for those who are looking for a believable and good cinematic experience. Still, we feel that it ends too soon without that expected grandeur in the end.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas is back at the top again, after his Theevandi and Maradona, both having a great run as well as some nice opinions as he reflected this generation of youth with two tragic flaws in both cases, even though none of them lead to his fall. Well, Mayaanadhi, just like Guppy was that movie which set a wonderful fairy-tale kind of path for him, which seems to be at the strongest point right now. You remember him doing secondary roles in Ennu Ninte Moideen, Charlie and Style in succession, but you see where he is now – there is that display of simple and human emotions which is there better than ever this time. The emotional side is nicely handled, and he plays the character that is the representative of someone who has nobody to help, and as the character says, there is always someone from above who will be there to help.

Further performers of the soul :: Anu Sithara is one actress who has done very well in the industry with certain charm, but never really managed to go beyond a certain level with her movies, as almost all of them couldn’t rise to become the flicks which they promised to be. She has a smaller role here compared to what we thought, but she is really good in this avatar. It is very much a suitable one, as she proves. Beginning with a lead role for the first time in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, Nimisha Sajayan also couldn’t get a movie of that level after that. But Nimisha is too good in this movie in which we can see the struggling junior lawyer seeking to give her best, perfectly placed in her hands. Sujith Shankar’s police officer is a solid one, and so is Nedumudi Venu’s lawyer lacking in humanity.

How it finishes :: With Drama and Kayamkulam Kochunni still running in the theatres, Oru Kuprasidha Payyan makes a grand entry into the shows, promising to be something special considering the fact that it comes from the director of movies like Thalappavu and Ozhimuri. Malayalam movie industry surely needs some thrillers, as those days of Drishyam and Memories seem to be long gone. We are in need of more thrillers like Oru Kuprasidha Payyan which doesn’t just have the murder investigation in there, but also something hidden behind the real scene. A mirror to the contemporary society is another recommended factor in cinema, and it is exactly what Oru Kuprasidha Payyan becomes, in part. There is more than what meets the eye to Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, and it is why the flick shall endure and won’t yield to the rest of the flicks currently running in the theatres.

Release date: 9th November 2018
Running time: 145 minutes
Directed by: Madhupal
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Anu Sithara, Nimisha Sajayan, Dileesh Pothan, Alencier Ley Lopez, Siddique, Balu Varghese, Saranya Ponvannan, Shwetha Menon, Nedumudi Venu, Sukanya, Sreelakshmi, Maala Parvathi, Sujith Shankar, Sudheer Karamana, G. Suresh Kumar, Madhupal

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Drama

What is the movie about? :: Rosamma John Chacko (Arundathi Nag) has always had a desire to be buried in Kattappana, next to her husband, at their own parish cemetery where their ancestors were buried. But as she is in London with her youngest daughter Mercy (Kaniha), she is afraid that she can’t go back home if she is dead, as none of her children are in Kerala or even India. Mercy who used to be a nurse, is married to Dr Mukundhanunni (Shyamaprasad) who is a reputed cardiac surgeon in London after falling in love, and they are settled in United Kingdom with their two little children. Her eldest son Philip (Suresh Krishna) is a millionaire settled in the United States of America while her second son Benny (Tini Tom) is now in Australia with his wife who is a nurse. Her another daughter Ammini (Subi Suresh) is a nurse working in Canada, and has been living there with her jobless husband Anto (Johny Antony).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: She also has her youngest son whom she loves more than the others, and Jomon (Niranj S) who is living in Dubai has no say in anything. His presence at United Arab Emirates itself is at the mercy of his good friends. So, with her sons and daughters in the United Kingdom, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Australia and Canada, she is found dead on her bed while asleep. So, now the question remains about her funeral. The idea to which almost everyone agrees to, is that she is to have a funeral at London. For the same, the two elder brothers assign Dixon (Dileesh Pothan), a funeral director who runs his own funeral services in partnership with Rajagopalan (Mohanlal). The desire of the sons to have their mother’s funeral programme to be grand gives Dixon the idea that this is his chance to make it big.

And what else is to follow here? :: Everything seems to be going smoothly, but then, Jomon resists this idea, and asks for a funeral in Kattappana, at the cemetery where his mother had always wanted to be buried. Even though Mercy, as well as Mukundhanunni who is afraid of his mother-in-law’s spirit wandering around the house without attaining peace does agree to the same, none of them has the voice against the elder brothers who decide on it. It is then that Rajagopalan decides to have a say in the process. He feels that the old lady should get the funeral that she had always desired. But Dixon who has taken the advance payment for the funeral function won’t agree to it, and neither will the lady’s sons who got all of these planned very well. So can Rajagopalan find a way to make things happen as well as re-unite with his wife Rekha (Asha Sarath) who had thrown him out of the house in the name of a poem from the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda?

The defence of Drama :: The movie does deal with a situation that could happen very often in future – it is more or less something which has been dealt with in a realistic manner. When we consider the number of our relatives outside India, it makes about twenty five percent, and if it is about someone who is outside Kerala, that can make up to seventy five percent of the total number of people. The movie certainly shows a reality that a lot of people are going to face. The older generation will have their houses and funerals in trouble soon enough. There will be those busy times at some point, when their opinions will not ever come to being something that the new generation will listen to. But it is all based on money, isn’t it? The movie is also a morality tale, with money finally becoming the least important thing. The flick also has some comedy in there, and the visuals when showing England, is pretty good.

The claws of flaw :: The movie seems stretched, without doubt. It does seem too long, and should have been kept short by removing certain parts. Maybe the introduction of Mohanlal could have happened much earlier, and things could have started happening as early as possible. There is also a certain amount of repetition here, and we can see some struggle with the flow. More focus could have been there with the characters, especially the sons and daughters of the deceased lady, and the problem that a new generation of money and career seeking youth gives to the old generation could have been focused better. Also, considering the fact that this movie comes from the director who gave us the flicks like Pranchiyettan and The Saint, Indian Rupee, Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathirakolapathakathinte Katha, Spirit and Thirakkatha, this is not really the movie that we expected.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal doesn’t have any problems with this character as it seems usual and natural for him – there is special to be done or to be divergent. Asha Sarath doesn’t have that much to do here. We note that there are directors here coming in notable roles – Dileesh Pothan, Shyamaprasad, Johny Anony, Renji Panicker, all of them having their interesting moments. Suresh Krishna and Tini Tom plays the two siblings based in United States of America and Australia nicely in their own styles. Kaniha had a rather irrelevant role in Abrahaminte Santhathikal, but here she has a nice role, and has the emotions running strong with this one. Baiju has the funny side to handle, even though the department struggles most of the time. Arundathi Nag plays the corpse for most of the time, but has her moments when not inside the box. Jayaraj Warrier, Shaalin Zoya and Jaffer Idukki got some smaller roles here, but they are notable despite the short stay there.

How it finishes :: How many young men and women go in search of jobs elsewhere, and how many of them remain in Kerala? Do they really settle outside because there are zero opportunities here? It is nice that they show those five nations – United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Australia and United Arab Emirates. These are those places where our people will never cease to try to go and work, along with more nations in the Middle East as well as New Zealand. But is it always worth it? You will have to think over that with the situations created in this flick. It does leave one with a few things to keep thinking, and that seems to have the focus over the entertaining side. With the challenge there with Kayamkulam Kochunni, Drama seems to have just enough to keep going, and it seems to be a choice not to try to have more.

Release date: 1st November 2018
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith
Starring: Mohanlal, Asha Sarath, Arundathi Nag, Dileesh Pothan, Shyamaprasad, Kaniha, Baiju Santhosh, Johny Antony, Tini Tom, Shaalin Zoya, Subi Suresh, Niranj S, Suresh Krishna, Renji Panicker, Jaffer Idukki, Jayaraj Warrier, Shankar Panicker

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.