The Tattooist

Vampire Owl: The title here is something that caught my attention early.

Vampire Bat: It rarely happens related to short-films, right?

Vampire Owl: I stopped differentiating between short-films and long films some time ago.

Vampire Bat: This is actually a micro short-film, much shorter.

Vampire Owl: That saves a lot of time then.

Vampire Bat: So, you are going for the shortest of them now.

Vampire Owl: Why not? It is best to show the most, within the shortest period of time.

Vampire Bat: Everyone is too busy these days.

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why they won’t be. The challenges are too many. Shorter movies are thus helpful in saving time.

Vampire Bat: It is a competitive world. Let us take that option of saving time then.

[Gets some vegetable puffs and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: The Tattooist (Wang Yanhu) is a very popular man in the town who gets many customers, as his skill as well as the resulting work is something which has been widely appreciated. Most of his clients are young men and women who are enamoured by what he does. His reputation in his field is so high that it is near impossible for anyone else to work and gain such popularity. But there is something sinister behind his much acclaimed work. There are people drugged, imprisoned and tortured in a secret lair under his tattoo studio. Can at least one of these people survive and escape to tell the tale of brutality to others? Or will the tattooist continue to have more victims, and enjoy his run as the best of them all in the field – the grand villain? Is there hope in between the chaos, or will it be all about evil and extreme violence?

Similar Dark Legends from the Past :: The first thing that came to my mind while watching this was regarding Sweeney Todd. This tale which we literature graduates have studied as part of Victorian age literature had a barber who makes his customer victims fall down through a trap door by pulling a lever on the side of the chair on which they sit. The people who land in the basement usually dies which broken necks or skulls, and the rest are finished off. He also has a partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett, who assists him in getting rid of the bodies by making meat pies from the corpses and selling them to the u customers at her pie shop. The two shops are also connected through an underground passage. We had also heard about the same as a movie, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as the main characters. Such dark legends of villainy never ceases being amazing.

More about The Tattooist :: We are quickly taken through this vision of the director, which keeps us asking for more. We begin by seeing the tattooist at work, and it seems like some elegant work being done there – all of a sudden, the mood changes, and we are taken to the bloody, gory side. We also see how the music changes, and the sound effects are used to a fine effect. We see what the tattooist actually manages to do, and there is that transformation from a paradise-like atmosphere to inferno. There are people imprisoned inside cages and cells, people being dragged away, corpses, and a lot of blood and gore. Then we are back to what is happening in the world of beautiful tattoos – it has us expecting the terror which is to come for the customer who is having her tattoo done by the same person. This is exactly how our imaginations are made to run far, and how we are made to wish for a longer version.

The Beauty of The Tattooist :: The charm of the movie lies not in just one element, as this creates a perfect collection of things, something that would make a near perfect horror movie if the same tempo is maintained. There are movies like American Mary which talks about body modification and the horror that comes related to that. It had one of the queens of horror, Katharine Isabelle playing a medical student desperate for money ending up taking clients from the body modification community to solve her financial troubles. Well, tattoos can have the same effect as long as the right elements are added, and we can see that Michael Wong has succeeded in doing exactly the same. Well, as of now, tattoos have come to this part of the world very rarely in movies, like in some funny sequences like the fainting moments in the Malayalam movie Aanandam.

How it finishes :: Watching The Tattooist as a full-length movie will be a horror movie lover’s dream, as this one could serve as a fine trailer about what can come. Michael Wong’s directorial debut short film The Story of 90 Coins was a lovely flick which dealt with an entirely different topic, and extreme opposite if we look at it. It had picked up more than sixty accolades from different international film festivals including the Best Direction and Best Cinematography. The Tattooist hasn’t been far behind in creating some grand waves all around. As he has easily gone through two different genres, creating two interesting movies with ease, we can be sure that there is more to expect from him. Until then, enjoy watching this micro short-film, and the same can be found at the bottom of the review. Along with the same, enjoy the summer vacation going on at this part of the world!

[Returning after the movie and snacks].

Vampire Owl: You can see that my opinion about having a micro short-film remains the same.

Vampire Bat: I see that you have enjoyed watching this short-film, and at the same time, keeping your valuable time to make a good use of the same.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and still we have watched what we needed.

Vampire Bat: It is an idea which stays and expands further in our minds, after we finish watching the movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, we can even contribute with our own version to add to the already existing idea through imagination.

Vampire Bat: It makes me wonder what the tale of each victim would be.

Vampire Owl: This is certainly worth a longer version too.

Vampire Bat: I would keep my hope high about that.

Vampire Owl: I am recommending this for the whole vampire community.

Vampire Bat: I would be doing the same thing too.

[Takes a long walk into the darkness].

Watch the film here:

Release date: 9th June 2018
Running time: 2 minutes
Directed by: Michael Wong
Starring: Yanhu Wang, Li Lu, Myra Mala, Mayela Magrou, Dan Litza, Simon Shiyamba, Chase Lichtenberg

<— Click here to go to the previous review

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Captain Marvel

What is the movie about? :: A few galaxies, away, on the Kree Empire’s capital planet of Hala, Vers (Brie Larson), a member of Starforce has a regular dose of nightmares every night, and it seems to be related to her memories, most of which she doesn’t have any more except in the form of quick shots. She is trained by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) who hopes that she can keep her emotions under control, and use her special powers only when needed. The same is asserted by Supreme Intelligence, an Artificial Intelligence which had command over the empire. At the same time, a war is going on, between the technologically advanced Kree and the shapeshifting Skrulls, happening on different planets. This war which has been going on for centuries, had Kree at the advantage, calling the Skrulls terrorists who are trying to take over different planets by force and leaving a trail of mass destruction and brutal murders.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: During one of those missions assigned to the Starforce, Vers ends up being captured by them. A memory probe is conducted on her, and the Skrulls find many of the lost memories, but don’t exactly find what they were looking. As Vers manages to escape, she lands on the planet called Sector 53, Earth. Her presence in Los Angeles attracts the attention of SHIELD agents Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). The Skrulls lead by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) continues to chase her, and she discovers that she was an airforce pilot, and was working on developing an experimental engine with the famous scientist, Dr Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) before she was presumed dead in the failure of the effort and resulting explosion. But it is not the only secret that she would be bringing to light.

The defence of Captain Marvel :: There is some nice world detail in Captain Marvel, and the action immediately catches our attention. The journey through different planets, as well as the trip through the United States in the 1990s remain a joy to watch. There is also the presence of a lot of humour in this one, and that involves more of the unexpected. There is also a lot to expect with the new movie in the Avengers series, Endgame, with this new character being introduced into the scene. With this type of a strong superhero added to the roster like a Superman without Kryptonite, there are wonders waiting to happen. There are also some interesting questions being asked in the movie, about war and the need to end it. This movie could also go a long way with its main idea, and the journeys through different planets with more species to be there.

The claws of flaw :: Captain Marvel is no match for Wonder Woman, and that is indeed strange, considering the fact that even Black Widow and Scarlet Witch showed signs of doing that early – the female characters of Marvel had a certain amount of charm, but this new superhero who gets the first Marvel movie with a female hero lead, trails. She is also very late to arrive here, as a movie set in the 1990s. Captain Marvel should have been there before Avengers: Infinity War, and along with Ant-Man and the Wasp, these movies are not helping the upcoming big one that much as one would have expected. Regarding the introduction of such a powerful superhero late is not helping, and too much strength is also not bringing any advantage. This one needed a Kryptonite to keep the titular hero in control, as we no longer live in the age of invincible heroes, as we need the flawed ones more; it is not Superman that can do the job these days, but Batman and Aquaman.

The performers of the soul :: Brie Larson is indeed the person to look out for, and she handles this too strong a superhero with such skill that we feel closer to the character – the distance becomes less. You remember her playing a kidnapping victim in Room, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. The 2017 movie Kong: Skull Island was the one movie for which she has been known the most among the common audience around here. She doesn’t have the more close to life superhero like Gal Gadot had with Wonder Woman – that one had her closer to us with the role, and it is the presence of too much superpower that keeps this one away. Also having a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe, this one comes as no challenge to her, and it is her who makes sure that the superhero gets to the masses, and we can only be glad about the same creating a huge effect in the next Avengers movie.

Further performers of the soul :: Jude Law as Yon-Rogg here reminds one of Patrick Wilson’s character in Aquaman, as he goes on doing more and more in the name of the empire. He makes one strong villain here, even though the villainy is let down by having too strong a superhero at one end. From what he has displayed, we can be sure that there was more to be done if the villain was given some powers to match the glowing superhero. Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury is too good once again, and we have him handling the humour with a great amount of skill. Ben Mendelsohn as Talos on the other side of the war also has some fine moments to go with. Gemma Chan and Djimon Hounsou are notable as other members of the Starforce who tries to make things happen for Kree, but doesn’t have the power – once again the problem of too powerful a superhero and the absence of good enough supervillains comes up.

How it finishes :: It can be seen that Captain Marvel remains an entertainer throughout its run, with great visuals all around, and it even has a cat to steal the show along with those common humans. But with the overpowered superhero, there is a limit to how entertaining this one can be, and we all know how this will end, right from the beginning itself. A super powerful hero to use against Thanos is not that great an idea because that leaves whatever in Earthly, and whatever is human, out – we don’t want something like what happened with the final moments of Justice League, which had everyone other than Superman to be a waste. But we hope that Marvel can fix that well enough making this less repetitive next time, and until then, this one is a very entertaining movie set on different planets and between different species. The good 3D also helps the same, even though the world is no match for that of Aquaman and Thor: Ragnarok.

Release date: 8th March 2019
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law

<— Click here to go to the previous review

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Balan Vakeel

What is the movie about? :: S Balakrishnan (Dileep) is a lawyer who works under the reputed advocate Pramod Sujanapalan (Arjun Nandakumar). But he hasn’t been able to achieve much in his professional career due to his stammer, even though he was known to be a smart & intelligent person during his college days. His father and mother (Siddique and Bindu Panicker) are concerned about him, but are sure that he can only be a failure in life, with former also being a chain smoker who tries different drugs. His first successful case is that of Ansaar Ali Khan (Aju Varghese), a local goon who is involved in a robbery case. Ansaar doesn’t have the cash to pay as his fees, and therefore provides him with a place to stay at low rent. But this new place has Irumbu Babu’s (Bheeman Raghu) presence, and he considers it to be his own room and wants him to leave. But it will be the smallest of his problems.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that his brother-in-law P Mohanan Pillai (Suraj Venjaramoodu) comes up with a plan to make some easy money. He asks Balakrishnan to be a part of it, and she accepts the same reluctantly. He sends a notice to a given address asking for compensation in the name of a woman (Priya Anand) who claims to have been abused by the person at the address. But it turns out that it is the address of the DGP of Kerala Police, KE Eapen (Renji Panicker) who is suprised to get the same. The charge of investigation goes to Indhulekha Marar (Lena) who gets only a limited amount of time to solve the case. Meanwhile it turns out that the person whose name is in the letter is Anuradha Sudharshan (Mamta Mohandas), a woman who is completely unaware of this. There seems to be some conspiracy behind all these. But there is no clue regarding where to begin.

The defence of Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel :: There are the twists in store in Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel for sure, and there is mystery awaiting to be revealed, related to a conspiracy. We also have incidents which seems to reflect reality, but there is the certainty of exaggeration regarding the same. The emotional flashback in the movie becomes effective with the last twist, but otherwise it feels strange, and makes you wait the whole time trying to find something out of it. There is also the presence of a fine cast to support everything out there, making sure that they manage all that this movie can provide. There is some good humour out there, even though not throughout the flick. It is seen more in the initial stages, starting from the introduction of the main character itself. The interval punch is strong enough to make one interested in the second half, even though the first half wasn’t that much there.

The claws of flaw :: It can be seen that there is no attempt to make this movie go through a fully entertaining path, and there is no plan to make this a perfect journey as an investigation thriller either, as this is caught somewhere in between. The jokes are also just partially effective, and we see that the funny side in the name of children hitting older men, people falling on electricity lines and surviving, a drug addict father instead of the usual alcoholic one etc – they are just there for the sake of adding some strange funny side. There is also the presence of some unnecessary mass scenes, and the hero sending people flying around comes in, and the struggling protagonist that we wanted to watch from the trailer is lost. Having such a protagonist beating up people all of a sudden works against the overall mood of the movie, and what we know about the protagonist. The songs are not that good either.

The performers of the soul :: This seems to be a movie nicely made for Dileep, as he has this in control, just like many other movies of the same kind. There is no problem here, as he had played advocate trying to serve justice before in Passenger, and there was Mamta Mohandas there too, with the same name for her character, Anuradha. Well, Passenger is a movie long way ahead of this one, without doubt. Mamta Mohandas is here for a full role unlike what she had in 9. There is not much for her to do regarding the investigation here though, as she is the victim and there is the protagonist to save the day. A little romantic side added there seems to be rather forced though, as this movie could have done without it. The focus on its main idea would have been enough, and trying to play cupid between the main character didn’t do both of them any good.

Further performers of the soul :: Siddique’s father character is kind of strange, but brings the funniest moments of the movie with ease. There is his comic timing that lightens up the movie really well. Aju Varghese is the next person in the comedy department, and it works well for him most of the time too – he does get some memorable funny ones. Suraj Venjaramoodu also has the comedy working in his favour, even though at parts it seems out of order. Priya Anand gets another smart role after Ezra and Kayamkulam Kochunni, but with lesser time spent on the screen. Veterans like Ganesh Kumar and Renji Panicker right there, doing what they do the best in police roles. Another person who shines so well inside the uniform is Lena, who is also there Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam, and mystery-solving journey of puzzles which is also running in the theatres.

How it finishes :: For B Unnikrishnan, this movie comes after Villain, which was a smart one for sure. Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel does take the path of Vikadakumaran and Jolly LLB, a trend related to a struggling lawyer whenever the same is the protagonist. This one has its moments of thrills and twists are brought into the scene, but there is not doubt about the fact that this could have done better. There is the fine premise already set, and the idea that has scope for a lot, but it is not utilized in the best way. Maybe we have to wait to get something better out of a story related to courtroom, and we can do that. Until then, lets watch Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel and enjoy the interesting side. For those who wants the more realistic side, there is always Kumbalangi Nights & June running, and seemingly good enough to keep doing the same for a long time.

Release date: 21st February 2019
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: B Unnikrishnan
Starring: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Priya Anand, Aju Varghese, Siddique, Ganesh Kumar, Renji Panicker, Bindu Panicker, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Saiju Kurup, Vamsi Krishna, Harish Uthaman, Lena, Arjun Nandakumar, Pramod Sujanapalan, Bheeman Raghu, Veena Nair, Pradeep Kottayam, Thesni Khan, Sajid Yahiya

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.