Unda

What is the movie about? :: A team of police officers from Kerala travels to certain Maoist affected area in Chhattisgarh for election duty. Mathews Anthony (Ranjith) leads the team through the journey in the train, and right through the village area. But accommodation is not provided for all of them at the same place, and they are separated into different teams. The team is lead by Manikandan CP (Mammootty) gets to stay in a polling booth which is isolated and situated near the forest which is known to be infested by Maoists. Leading the support is Jojo Samson (Shine Tom Chacko) who is angry about his wife sending him a divorce petition which he is not ready to sign. Among the other police men are Varghese Kuruvila (Jacob Gregory), Aji Peter (Rony David) and Gireesh TP (Arjun Ashokan) among others. Aji and Gireesh are not in good terms with each other either. The other members of the team also have their own differences.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The location has an ITBP commando Kapil Dev (Bhagwan Tiwary), and nothing else for their support. The arms and ammunition that they have with them might not be enough either, as the ITBP Commander Dakota Akanito (Chien Ho Liao) advices them to ask for something more from Kerala, as there are land mines everywhere, and Maoists attacks keep happening during random intervals at random places. But it seems that help from Kerala might not be coming anytime soon, and the ITBP wouldn’t helping those police men whom they called for support. So, as Maoists threaten to attack, the team is on their own, with their own little personal problems also coming into the scene. Now, the question remains if they can survive these days till the end of election, as the landlords and their goons will also have a say in this. I will be up to Manikandan to lead the way, but he is not the kind of person who is into violence.

The defence of Unda :: There is certain beauty and quality in how the police men are portrayed here, and even the leader is not shown as someone who could know most of the things and go on beating up people. Each member of the team is different, and we see how people from different parts of Kerala have to face the strange and hostile environment for the first time – we witness how they have to adapt and survive, but there is something from home that continues to go strong in them. The setting is used nicely to create the impact, and we feel that we are traveling through the same place with the same team. We want these people to survive like never before, and we hold them close. There are thrilling moments, and we also have a certain dose of humour, which is also something of interest. The final scene of action is highly entertaining, with action, thrills and humour added, all at the right quantity.

Positives and negatives :: The story-line might seem to be not much, as there is just the tale of a few police men facing the Maoists in the middle of nowhere. But it is more than that when we look close, and we see what the subaltern has to face; the poor, the low caste, the scheduled tribes, all of them – the word “poor” defines them well enough, as it is common to all of such deprived men and women. They are surrounded by all kinds of people, hunted, and maybe killed, only to find the blame still with them, even after death – the perpetual blame is the weight that they have to carry to the grave and beyond. We see a certain moral crisis, and there is always the question about where the newly landless people can go. The movie provides no answers, and finds no solution to the problems that the world face, but we know that we will need them – they are not to come from the movie, but from a real world beyond all limits of fiction.

The performers of the soul :: As expected, and with top quality and realistic performance, Mammootty leads from the front. He has had some characters which would beat up everyone and throw them all around, in the last few years, with the recently released Madhura Raja and the earlier movie Masterpiece which came across the biggest of such a problems. This movie goes the exact opposite way, and it is beautiful in doing the same – the way in which Mammootty plays this role will have us wishing for the character to have the final victory, and the same we wish without hope. In those other movies, things were direct, but in this case, it is beautifully complicated, and we love to watch him here. Right from the introduction of his character, we know that things are going to be different this time, and Mammootty thrives on this divergence which keeps us close to the common man’s police officer, someone who is not going to kick or punch people into the sky to make Superman proud.

Further performers of the soul :: Shine Tom Chacko has had a good run during the recent days, and the roles which he played has been very much memorable. This one is no exception, and the last moments have the whole of our attention. At the same tim, , Arjun Ashokan and Rony David also catches our attention, and so do almost everyone in the small police team in the voting booth. We do get only a few moments from Dileesh Pothan and Kalabhavan Shajohn as well as a little more from Ranjith as far as these names are concerned. Actors like Omkar Das Manikpuri and Bhagwan Tiwari comes up with some emotional side to remember too. Easwari Rao who plays Mammootty’s wife in a cameo-like performance is the only female character with a name, and the only one that we can remember. The cameo from Vinay Forrt and Asif Ali were rather unnecessary, and just the news of missing bullets could have been enough.

How it finishes :: With the name of the movie being Unda, there has been many speculations, but it is indeed about the bullets – it is certain that the name has left some people away from the movie, as this is a film which deserved a better opening. But the bookings are picking up now, as the opinions have all been positive. There will be higher booking in the coming days, and the movie is surely here to stay, as this is a flick which is to be taken seriously. Lets hope that the movies that deal with similar topics remain close to reality like this one, and don’t go on to finish off the laws of gravity by sending villains flying in the air. Unda nicely manages to bring everything together, and use its elements to gain advantage. The result is that there is the thrilling ride with humour and messages stored in there. This is the kind of movie that serves better, and does the same faithfully unlike those mindless mass entertainers which serve as darkness to the senses. Well, it has been a fine year in the first half itself with movies like Kumbalangi Nights, Virus and Uyare rising very high.

Release date: 14th June 2019
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Khalid Rahman
Starring: Mammootty, Shine Tom Chacko, Jacob Gregory, Ranjith, Arjun Ashokan, Bhagwan Tiwari, Dileesh Pothan, Omkar Das Manikpuri, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Chien Ho Liao, Easwari Rao, Sudhi Koppa, Rony David, Lukman, Abhiram Poduval, Noushad Bombay, Asif Ali (cameo), Vinay Forrt (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Virus

What is the movie about? :: Kozhikode District collector Paul V Abraham (Tovino Thomas) gets an urgent call when he is about to leave home. There are a series of events that lead to the same, and most of it happens in the Kozhikode Medical Centre. A nurse named Akhila (Rima Kallingal), was taking care of a young man named Zachariah (Zakariya Mohammed), who was admitted to her hospital for fever, but is now suffering from the same symptoms. Dr. Abid Rahman (Sreenath Bhasi) is having his normal shift in the hospital as his lover and medical student Sara Yakub (Madonna Sebastian) shows signs of ending their relationship – at the same time, more and more patients are being admitted in the hospital. But the signs that some of these patients show are not natural, as the doctors figure out that something strange and unusual is coming up. It is also not limited to one or two people anymore, and there is panic.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The samples are sent to Manipal to be tested by the experts led by Dr Suresh Rajan (Kunchacko Boban), and it is confirmed that it is Nipah virus which has affected the patients. With no vaccination or specific treatment available for the epidemic, the only hope for the goverment is quarantine, and hope to find the source, as well as make sure that it didn’t spread to many people. The team lead by Health Minister CK Prameela (Revathi) includes the collector Paul V Abraham with Dr Smrithy (Poornima Indrajith) and Dr Annu (Parvathy) in an attempt to stop the infection from spreading. First identified in 1998 in Malaysia, the disease, in most cases has taken the lives of those who were infected. With people not related to the first patient, like Unnikrishnan (Soubin Shahir) getting infected, there are questions raised how the source could be found. Are the authorities good enough to find it?

The defence of Virus :: The movie nicely deals with a situation that Keralites, especially those from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in the north of the state had to go through. With the virus showing its signs of return in the central area now, the case has gained further significance. One won’t fail to notice how the movie has kept itself close to reality, and how each character has been given significance, with each actor having a job to do. The movie is never dependent on one person, as there is no main character – there are only people who tries to help others, and a few others who try to survive in a world which is threatened by something new, and something deadly. The movie was a need, as the world needed to know the story, and making it a memorable one was Aashiq Abu’s duty, which he did with ease, as we have three good memories in a row, with Rani Padmini, Mayaanadhi and this one.

Positives and negatives :: The movie might feel slow at some points, but it quickly goes past the same. We are able to place ourselves in the place of the characters, and we go through their emotions with ease. The emotional strength of the movie is high, and it can even be more with different people, and their perspectives. The thrills are also there, and we keep close to the whole thing, each moment. Parts of the movie might be fictionalized, but our director surely knows where to stop that. The location is as nicely captured as the people themselves. The view from the top more or less makes us feel the city. You know what is going to happen in the end, and you want to know how we reach there, and to go through that journey, we are with the characters like never before – in creating that closeness to the characters, the director has succeeded.

The performers of the soul :: The movie has a fantastic cast, and the talent can be seen in each part of it. Parvathy comes up with another great job after Uyare, and this one has one more natural performance from her. Two of the three best movies of the year belongs to her, with the other one without her presence is Kumbalangi Nights. Tovino who was Parvathy’s co-star in Uyare had only memorable performances, with Lucifer, Ente Ummante Peru, Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, Theevandi and Maradona giving him a continuous impressive run in Malayalam movie industry. Here, once again, he owns his role. Kunchacko Boban didn’t have that much of a great run with his previous movies, but he is right there, solid with this role of a doctor. Asif Ali continues his choice of some good movies with another emotional role. Vijay Superum Pournamiyum had provided a great beginning to the year for him. Joju George, after Joseph, continues to strike our emotions in a beautiful way.

Further performers of the soul :: Indrajith Sukumaran and Rahman has smaller, but memorable roles, especially with the former who manages to come up with some nice moments in between. It is also great to see Poornima Indrajith after such a long time, and this is a role to remember for sure – nice to see Remya Nambeeshan there too. Revathi manages to do the job of Health Minister in a believable manner. The similarity in appearance has also been achieved up to an extent. Madonna Sebastian doesn’t have much to do here, and neither does Sharafudheen. Rima Kallingal is quick to come and go, and stays in memories because of the emotional connect with the real-life character being attained. Meanwhile, Sreenath Bhasi gets a different role this time, and he manages to provide complete justice to the same. He had provided some signs of the same in the last movie, but that was a mute character – this time, he raises the bar. The roles of Jinu Joseph and Dileesh Pothan are small, but to be noted. Unnimaya Prasad and Soubin Shahir also catches our attention.

How it finishes :: Virus is already the biggest movie of the weekend, with so almost all shows being booked early. The success here lies in the fact that it shows everything in a realistic manner, never do we see those unreal heroes – we feel that almost every character in there are people like us, and therefore part of us. We can feel the pain and troubles of the characters, as well as reflect the same. As Nipah virus once again becomes a cause of concern, this becomes a thing of focus yet again. Virus is a movie that needs to be watched for how it shows the people showing their fighting spirit and their concern for others, in a battle for survival. It is also a memory of the people who lost their lives in the process, especially the nurse, Lini Puthussery who died while doing her duty. It is the same reason why this movie needs to be watched more than any other.

Release date: 7th June 2019
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Aashiq Abu
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Joju George, Jinu Joseph, Rahman, Soubin Shahir, Indrajith Sukumaran, Parvathy, Poornima Indrajith, Remya Nambeeshan, Revathi, Madonna Sebastian, Sreenath Bhasi, Indrans, Rima Kallingal, Dileesh Pothan, Senthil Krishna, Sharafudheen, Shebin Benson, Zakariya Mohammed, Sudheesh, Savithri Sreedharan, Darshana Rajendran, Basil Joseph, Lukman Lukku, Ann Saleem, Haris Saleem, Sajitha Madathil, Leona Lishoy, Nikhil Raveendran, Sreekanth Murali, Vettukili Prakash, Sreedevi Unni, Ambika Rao, Divya Gopinath, Unnimaya Prasad, Sundara Pandyan, Binu Pappu,Vimal Muraleedharan, Nilambur Ayisha

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Dark Phoenix

What is the movie about? :: In the year 1992, when a space mission seems to be in trouble, while facing a solar flare, the X-Men lead by Professor X a.k.a. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) decides to help the humans, and once again prove that mutants and humand are to co-exist. But it is a risky mission, as the plane is ready for a journey into space. But the team including Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Nightcrawler a.k.a. Kurt Wagner (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Storm a.k.a. Ororo Munroe (Alexandra Shipp), Quicksilver a.k.a. Peter Maximoff (Evan Peter), Mystique a.k.a. Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast a.k.a. Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) and Cyclops a.k.a. Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) go on the mission despite having the doubts. The situation seems under control as Nightcrawler’s teleportation and Quicksilver’s high speed seems to be enough to finish the job.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But it is revealed that there is one more person to be saved, and they decide to go back. With Jean holding the space shuttle together, Nightcrawler takes the remaining person out, but is unable to take Jean back as the solar flare covers her. But he is able to recover her body after that, and surprisingly, she wakes up. The X-Men are hailed as heroes by the public, and the bond between humans and mutants gets to be stronger. But there is something different about Jane after that incident. Hank finds her energy to be beyond comprehension, crossing all borders. Scott also feels that there is something different about her. At the same time, Raven is not happy about Charles leading the mission to a point from which a return becomes near impossible; she feels that making a future with the deaths of mutants won’t be fair.

And what more is to happen? :: Jean seems to unleash herself at a point, and collapses. Unable to get into her head for the first time, Charles uses the Cerebro machine, and with it at high power, finds that the bad memories that he had shielded in the mind of Jean, are now out in the open, and she won’t be the same again. With memories of her distant past coming back to her, Jean leaves, and the X-Men follows here – they won’t have anything positive to find there though. Her actions there would turn both mutants and humans against her, with no chance to return to the previous state. At the same time, certain aliens from outer space have also reached Earth, searching for the Phoenix Force within Jane. They are lead by Vuk (Jessica Chastain) who serves as the leader of this shape-shifting alien race, called D’Bari. This would lead to time running out for Jean, before she could be herself again.

The defence of X-Men: Dark Phoenix :: The action sequences surely score with this movie, and so does the visual beauty. The action on the train in the final moments are among the best so far in any X-Men movie. There are also a few others which offer something similar. The special effects are used well, and we see the mutant powers being used nicely. CGI is used nicely by the movie, as the desire for another superhero movie after Avengers: Endgame has been provided in the form of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The path that the movie takes seems to be interesting, and ready to bring further twists, even though this might be the final movie of this film with these characters in the main roles. The premise is a wonderful one for sure, even though the movie doesn’t really use the same to the best of effects. It has also released in India earlier than the original release date, and it should serve the movie to get better collections here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is unable to prove to be better than X-Men: The Last Stand which was the movie which dealt with the same story thirteen years ago, and still managed to better at that time. It was not a fantastic movie in any way, but it had somehow managed to do better, not just with its story, but as a whole – it is only with the final moments of action that this movie holds more power. The titular character is also not explored in the right way, as her being all-powerful just goes too much beyond the border, as we get tired of the same quickly. We also know what is to happen with this tale, and how the same person does the job in the end is ridiculous – this is where the previous Dark Phoenix movie served better, with weakness in between the all-powerful; think about Superman without the idea of kryptonite there, and it is easier to understand. The movie also slows down in the middle, and the emotions go weak on a number of occasions.

The performers of the soul :: Sophie Turner from the Game of Thrones fame, has been an interesting addition to the film series – we see her continuing her form at a number of moments, but not as a whole, as things get repetitive. We wouldn’t get to see her as we had seen her in the popular television series, with the avatar itself being different around here. It would have been nice to see her as the earlier and more vulnerable Jane better. Jennifer Lawrence is completely wasted in her short stay there, and there is nothing that she does except for coming up with some unnecessary dialogues. The one who comes up with some of the best moments is Michael Fassbender, who shines as Magneto once again, rising above his good friend and leader of X-Men – James McAvoy who plays the leader is a weakened figure going too strange this time. Alexandra Shipp and Nicholas Hoult come up with pretty good job here. Kodi Smit-McPhee is memorable, while Jessica Chastain and Tye Sheridan are not.

How it finishes :: There is something about X-Men that we have always loved, going back to the childhood memories of watching that animated series. There is not much of a reflection of the same around here though, as the level has certainly come down from the predecessors X-Men: Days of the Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse – it can’t even stand against the single mutant centered tales which came earlier, like Deadpool, Deadpool 2, The Wolverine and Logan. But it is enjoyable up to an extent, thanks to the action sequences where the mutants go for the full scale display of their powers. We are not going to miss the X-Men after this as we already miss Wolverine, and so lets watch a movie of the series one more time, and enjoy the good parts, while we will also have The New Mutants releasing next year as an extra addition. It will have Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams as young mutants, making it something to look forward to.

Release date: 5th June 2019 (India); 7th June 2019 (USA)
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Simon Kinberg
Starring: Sophie Turner, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Jessica Chastain

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Godzilla II

What is the movie about? :: Five years have passed after the incidents of the 2014 movie. Godzilla had defeated the creatures mentioned as MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), saving Earth’s cities and making its way back to the ocean – the questions about a monster saving the city were going to be there as always, and still there is no clear indication of a future co-existence in peace between the two species. Meanwhile at present, Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) works for an organization called Monarch which is tracking, studying and trying to understand Titans, the almost immortal giant monsters which had dominated Earth millions of years ago. Along with her daughter Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown),she is kidnapped by Colonel Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) while witnessing the birth of a giant larva which is to become a Titan later, named Mothra.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and other from Monarch approach Dr Mark Russel (Kyle Chandler), Emma’s ex-husband so that they can find her and find a device, the ORCA developed by her, which is capable of talking through frequencies that only Titans can hear. It is revealed that Emma and Jonah intend to free a Titan locked in ice codenamed Monster Zero. Monarch, despite chasing them all the way to an outpost in Antartica, is unable to defeat Jonah, while Emma frees and awakens Monster Zero, a three headed monster with wings and running electrical currents through its body. Releasing lightning from its body and traveling inside hurricane created by itself, the monster goes on to try and become the apex predator, while Godzilla feels the effect of a bio-chemical weapon, going into hibernation only to awaken many years later.

And what more is to happen? :: But now the situation demands the presence of Godzilla. Monster Zero is revealed to be Ghidorah, an ancient alien known to have fallen from the stars, one who has been Godzilla’s primary rival for the position of apex predator. As a creature out of this world, the weapons seems ineffective against it, while the monsters destroy different cities in different parts of the world, controlled by their new king. Godzilla needs all the radioactivity to rise from its chamber located past different wormholes under the ocean, and it is up to humans to take it there and awaken the monster before Ghidorah lays waste to the whole world with his newly found minion creatures. Now the question remains if they can do it in time, and if Godzilla can reclaim its position as the king of the monsters against this alien monster which keeps on evolving.

The defence of Godzilla: King of the Monsters :: There are some nicely made action sequences in the movie, with the giant monsters fighting each other. They fill the screen, and we see those moments of glorious action that takes place. Each monster would seem to have something special that keeps them apart. The same brings us destruction like never before, as we notice that not much of the world is left – the visuals of the world are nice to watch, and the creatures are also nicely created. The myth is nicely created with the monsters being the real owners of this world, and humans just living in here because they are allowed to do so – the creatures becomes nature’s natural defence system against the pollution that is present. Godzilla is referred to as one among the first gods worshiped by humans, and it goes deep like Prometheus and Alien: Covenant did when it talks about the distant past history, for some time. We see this mythology seemingly up for even more.

The claws of flaw :: A lot of repetition from the first movie can be seen here too. Once again, there is the need for Godzilla to save the world, and the early doubts continue to be there until the humans once again decide that it has to be left to the monster except for a little help from mankind. The pattern repeats without remorse, even with more creatures being added to the scene – Godzilla always makes a comeback, and it is up to him to make sure that the balance is maintained. The characters are not that developed, and we don’t really feel anything for them – they never seem to be important, and the need for focusing on them is never felt; Pacific Rim was closer to the humans despite being a monster movie. Some part in the beginning could have also been shortened to make the movie stop at two hours; if humans can’t be interesting, what we can do is to cut a few of them and their moments.

The performers of the soul :: The performances here are dependent on the CGI monsters rather than humans who are restricted, with not much of interesting stories, and with less to do. The way in which the monsters are designed and are depicted in action will always have the best of applause. Among the humans, it is Ken Watanabe who steals the show, as he brings the words of wisdom regarding having faith in Godzilla. Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga are caught in a forgettable, predictable story of another family in trouble as if we have not had enough of such tales told in an uninteresting manner. Millie Bobby Brown does have her moments to keep her as someone to look out for the future though. Charles Dance as Alan Jonah makes a strong villain, but we never really get the focus on him, with all these monsters around – as the three-headed dragon-like monster becomes the primary antagonist, he is not there to be seen much, but we expect more from him in any of the upcoming sequels.

How it finishes :: As the holidays come to an end for schools and colleges in this part of the world, and with the final weekend before classes begin, children and youth would love to watch this grand monster effect on the big screen. This can serve as the last moments of escapism before that reality of studies is brought to them – Pacific Rim would agree. Godzilla is all set to go to that place which you saw in Kong: Skull Island and battle King Kong in the next movie, and before that you will feel the need to watch that movie with the giant ape as well as the two Godzilla movies. With the destruction of environment, there seems to be a hidden message about how nature comes up with its own defence system – the three-headed dragon-like monster becoming part of a hurricane only powers it, as does Godzilla being revived by nuclear weapons. The same as a fine addition to a high action monster movie.

Release date: 31st May 2019
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Zhang Ziyi

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@ Cemetery Watch
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