Those Who Wish Me Dead

Vampire Owl: Can someone wish that the undead be dead?

Vampire Bat: Well, that would be something the werewolves would do.

Vampire Owl: Do they still try to make sure about it?

Vampire Bat: They haven’t been that dumb for some time.

Vampire Owl: You mean that werewolves are no longer dumb.

Vampire Bat: Let them make a claim related to that.

Vampire Owl: Well, zombies did make such a claim, and they are surely dumb.

Vampire Bat: Zombies never get to eat enough brains. You can’t blame them.

Vampire Owl: Werewolves don’t get enough of full moon either.

Vampire Bat: Let us not blame them for wishing us dead, at least for now.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Hannah Faber (Angelina Jolie) who used to be smokejumper is struggling with her past after facing a forest fire and failing to prevent the deaths of three young campers and another smokejumper. She ends up being posted at a fire lookout tower in pretty much a remote location. At the same time, Owen Casserly (Jake Weber), who works as a forensic accountant, watches the news about the death of his boss and family in what seems to be a gas explosion, and panics, ending up leaving his city with his son, Connor (Finn Little) who is confused about is happening. The house was originally destroyed by assassins Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult) who were sent by highly influential people who wants to destroy the evidence of what Owen knew and had informed his boss. As they come to know that Owen had left his home with his son, they start another hunt with the clues which they were able to find at his house.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Owen hoped to find refuge with the one man whom he hopes that he can trust, his brother-in-law, Ethan Sawyer (Jon Bernthal), a Deputy Sheriff, who used to be Hannah’s ex-boyfriend. As they are attacked by the assassins, they are forced to drive down the cliff, leading to the death of Owen. Now, only Connor has the much valued evidence against the gangster Arthur Phillip (Tyler Perry). Connor who keeps on running ends up meeting Hannah, who he doesn’t really trust in the beginning, but decides to go with her anyway, as he runs out of options. It turns out that her tower was just hit by a lightning, and they no longer have any option for communication. At the same time, the assassins get another warning from their boss, and as they need to finish what they started as soon as possible, they set fire in the forest as a distraction and goes on looking for the boy at all possible locations, with time running out.

The defence of Those Who Wish Me Dead :: There is always chance for having more and more thrillers which are lesser known, but has enough strength inside to make an impact, thus keeping us interested. This film tries to be one of them, and succeeds up to an extent. This is also a film which we never knew that it had released, but thanks to Amazon Prime Video, we know. The film has engaging moments, as there is the boy being hunted, and we also have a protagonist with a troubled past who is trying to save him as well as others who also comes in. The setting used here is really good, as we have a huge forest area, a small town, and fire that burns them all. The situation has been nicely managed around here, as far as the environment is concerned. It also manages to have an emotional side to go with things. It could have also suited a slasher horror film well too – we have watched films like Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight and Hoax a few months ago.

The claws of flaw :: Those Who Wish Me Dead doesn’t make full use of what it has in the hands. It also stays rather slow during most of its time, and it doesn’t seem to be in a hurry at any moment. It also misses the opportunity to bring some horror in between, and with a quicker pace, it could have achieved much more, after all, we have people who are supposed to be expert assassins fighting some local people. The slasher elements could have also made some impact around here. The intensity could have been much higher as we see how things are progressing around here. Angelina Jolie still has what it takes, but we do feel that she wants to let it go, and Nicholas Hoult, if used as the sole assassin, could have scored much more here. We do miss those days when these two people could have done things which nobody else could do, and that reminds us that we are also getting older – how has the world changed in more than one way, right? Well, all these do make the film feel much longer, even as it is not that long.

Performers of the soul :: Angelina Jolie is the name which makes you watch films during these days too. If there was no COVID-19 pandemic, and if this had released in the theatres here, just her name would have brought the audience to the multiplexes, that much has been her star value around here. She continues to come up with the fine performances, even though there is that tired look which seems to be that much associated with her as much as the character with which it connects really well. Nicholas Hoult who is the next best known name with films including X-Men franchise, Jack the Giant Slayer, Warm Bodies and Mad Max: Fury Road to his name, surprisingly doesn’t get a boost to his role, and is limited to the usual assassin that we see – well, that much is done pretty well. Aidan Gillen plays the other assassin well enough too. Medina Senghore as Allison is the strongest character around here, and Jon Bernthal as Ethan has his moments here too. Finn Little has some good moments as the child actor.

How it finishes :: Those Who Wish Me Dead adds to the list of the usual thrillers with some fine setting to go with it. It had the scope to be more, but that chance is not taken. It would have made more impact if the theatres were open around here, even though one can’t be sure if it is to get a chance for a release here with so many Malayalam films getting ready for release as soon as the COVID-19 numbers get lower. We do have to appreciate the fact that they are indeed releasing these movies on Amazon Prime Video which most of us have better access, as there is almost nobody who doesn’t order from Amazon these days and most of the people do have the Prime account. After all, these are the days when we are hoping for better times, and some good movies can help us to keep life going better. There is nothing like a tale of survival against all odds that can keep us going during these days. So, until things get better, we still have these around.

Release date: 14th May 2021 (USA), 17th September 2021 (Amazon)
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Finn Little, Aidan Gillen, Jake Weber, Medina Senghore, Jon Bernthal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mortal Kombat

Vampire Owl: Do you remember us watching Mortal Kombat on VCR a long time ago?

Vampire Bat: Yes, a long time ago for humans, just a little bit earlier for us.

Vampire Owl: Yes, immortality has an effect on the perception of time.

Vampire Bat: Yet, those were the days when humans had tapes instead of CDs.

Vampire Owl: Mortal Kombat had also inspired many grand stage fights between vampires and werewolves.

Vampire Bat: Yes, thanks to our special powers, we won most of them against brutal strength.

Vampire Owl: Our battles were more or less immortal combats though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, immortality makes sure that death is near impossible.

Vampire Owl: Actually, having such tournaments are good options in our realms too.

Vampire Bat: Well, tournaments no longer have value among elders.

[Gets a red velvet cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: In Japan during the seventeenth century, a group of assassins ruthlessly attack a family, and their leader Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) murders everyone except for their child, who is taken by the God of Thunder Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) to safety. Back to the present, the terrifying realm of Outworld has defeated Earthrealm in nine out of ten competitions of Mortal Kombat, and with one more victory, they could claim and rule Earth. The Outworld has never felt that they have come so close to gaining the ultimate victory. But, an ancient prophecy says otherwise, asserting that the blood of the family which fell centuries earlier could unite a new group of warriors who can defeat the fighters of Outworld. Aware of this, Shang Tsung (Chin Han) sends his warriors to make sure that there are no warriors left to fight them, and Bi-Han who is now known as Sub-Zero is assigned the job to find certain people who have a certain mark to identify them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The identification mark happens to be a dragon tattoo which has been on these people for a long time. A former professional MMA fighter called Cole Young (Lewis Tan) has such a mark, and a person named Jax (Mehcad Brooks) meets him and his family who are attached by Sub-Zero. Jax fights valiantly, but losses his arms to Sub-Zero’s cold, and is considered dead by the Outworld. Another person who is on the hunt is Mileena (Sisi Stringer) who wants Earth to be captured at any cost. Outworld is ready to break all the rules to make sure that they win this last battle. Cole searches for a woman named Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) to whom Jax had pointed much earlier, and upon discovering her, he learns about something sinister which has been going on in the background. She talks about Mortal Kombat, which might be a reality soon, and assures him that they have been chosen to fight for Earth against some unknown species from another world. But that might not be all.

The defence of Mortal Kombat :: This film is nothing less than a return to nostalgia, not just as the adaptation of a game which we have been playing so much from the early days of Windows, as it also contributes as the reminder of that movie which came to the cassette shops, and had us cheering for each action move on display. Well, this film is not that much far away from what we had seen then, as far as action sequences are concerned – we also have the superior computer graphics and with the better cameras, we have some visual grandeur on the screen as expected; a case of higher quality return of childhood as we look at it. The locations are nicely shaped using the special effects. The final battle with Scorpion and Sub-Zero around brings some quality final moments. We can consider this as a beginning, and hope to see more of the fights, with some real tournaments happening in different worlds. The origins of the new age adaptation has been set well, and with one fine sequel, the level of the whole thing could be raised.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about that fact that Mortal Kombat could have been better, especially with so many of options being available. There are so many characters in the game who could have been taken into this film, but only a few were used. Some of the very interesting characters are also killed too early. The individual battles could have actually lasted much more, and some special and unexpected moves could have been added around here. A little bit more of attention could be taken in the clothes of the characters too, and they could have stayed close to how they were in the game. GI Joe had also experienced similar problems, but that franchise never really had this much of variety and worlds to be displayed on the screen with grandeur. It is a shame that some of the battles finish too easily, when we know that there are so much to be done with fighters keeping on battling each other without holding back. You could have always added some game elements according to the requirements.

Performers of the soul :: Lewis Tan as Cole Young leads the way well, even though Jessica McNamee playing Sonya Blade seems to be the real leader around here throughout the first half of the film, as she nicely suits the role so well. Bridgette Wilson would still be the perfect Sonya, as we are all fans of that older version and go on to miss Kitana and Johnny Cage characters for now. Mehcad Brooks as Jax is another determined character who keeps his moments, and Josh Lawson as Kano adds to the same from the other side. The best looks still goes to Mel Jarnson playing Nitara, even though she is there for only a short period of time. We would have loved to see more of her around here, as the winged creature is a thing of Gothic beauty rather than anything else. Sisi Stringer as Mileena brings a side of horror very well. Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero makes the right antagonist, and the ice-filled moments of action are joy to watch. Chin Han and Tadanobu Asano leaves us something to look out for with another possible movie based on the same video game series. Ludi Lin and Max Huang are good additions as the trained warriors too.

How it finishes :: Mortal Kombat does have some special place in our hearts, as it was one of those earlier games which we played and continued to enjoy for a long time. Among these games, it was Mortal Kombat 4 which had our best attention, as it had high graphics requirements, and we actually had to go somewhere else to play the game. The characters of Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Quan-Chi and Raiden were among the favourites then, and it was only later that characters like Mileena were of interest. Among the games, this one does have a legendary status, even though just like the other game adaptations including Need for Speed, Hitman, Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider, Warcraft, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Doom, Blood Rayne, Max Payne, Assassin’s Creed and many others, this one also failed to gather much of critical appreciation. Yes, Resident Evil has grossed so much that nobody can question that particular franchise, but we know that adaptations require more.

Release date: 23rd April 2021 (USA), 11th September 2021 (Amazon)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Simon McQuoid
Starring: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, Hiroyuki Sanada, Matilda Kimber, Laura Brent, Sisi Stringer, Mel Jarnson, Nathan Jones, Daniel Nelson, Angus Sampson, Damon Herriman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bell Bottom

What is the movie about? :: The movie is set during a time period when India was having rather peaceful moments with Pakistan, even though there were many internal conflicts due to different separatist or terrorist-oriented groups being formed within the country, threatening its unity and integrity. It was also the time period when too many flights were being hijacked, much to the dismay of the Indian Prime Minister of the time, Indira Gandhi (Lara Dutta). The newest flight to be hijacked is Indian Airlines flight IC 691, which left Delhi Airport on a fateful morning with passengers including the women’s Kabbadi team of India. It was also the seventh hijacking in the last five years, and this time, the flight had deviated a long way from its path, and there was no communication. Different departments and organizations keep blaming each other for matters of national security, but the Prime Minister calls for immediate attention. They call up the man who has all the information about hijacking, an analyst, also a RAW agent, Anshul Malhotra (Akshay Kumar), codenamed Bell Bottom.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Anshul also has some personal interest in the cases of hijacking, after being happily married to Radhika Malhotra (Vaani Kapoor), and always trying to clear UPSC with lots of hard work. His mother, Raavie Malhotra (Dolly Ahluwalia) was traveling to Great Britain in an Air India flight which was hijacked and taken to Lahore, Pakistan. Even though there was a negotiation between the two governments and also with the terrorists which led to release of the hostages, but only Raavie came back home dead, and it was reported in television that she died of natural causes. But Anshul never stopped focusing on the hijackings which had happened, as he was chosen as part of RAW. Back to this particular hijacking which seems to lead to a group known as Azaadi Dal, but Agent Bell Bottom is sure that this is the work of ISI, and Pakistan has always wanted something to do with these incidents.

And what else is to follow here with the hijack and the investigations? :: As Agent Bell Bottom has a long past related to all of these investigations, his superior officers are confident about his skills, but when the flight lands at Amritsar airport for a change. But when the airplane takes off from Amritsar and once again lands at Lahore airport, Agent Bell Bottom is once again called for an opinion, and this time, they will have to choose a different path. This time, there has to be that change to make a heavy impact, and also to assure that there will be no more hijackings and releasing of terrorists along with millions of dollars as ransom. But it seems that if negotiations are not allowed in Lahore, the airplane will land somewhere else, in a nation where India will be forced to negotiate. Agent Bell Bottom is prepared for the same though, and he calls of a team for an operation which only Mossad had tried before with some success. But they only have time till the next sunset.

The defence of Bell Bottom :: The movie does make the best use of the time period during which it is set. It is something which seems to be focused on, really well. The makers seem to have done a lot of research and has also done some good work in the recreation. The patriotism at the tip of everything also works well for most of time, and the emotional side works less in comparison. Bell Bottom keeps itself floating because it quickly goes back to where it needs to focus, whenever a deviation is being made. It also quickly leaves the usual Bollywood model to the background, and the same hesitates to make its return, and we end up appreciating the same. The final moments of action are also of fine quality, and even when there was the chance to overdo the same, they never take it – they don’t go that much realistic as Take Off had done, but we know how the paths are different, and therefore we know the choices that the makers have to make. The focus on entertainment makes the fine delivery here.

The claws of flaw :: There are surely those moments which were not needed, and some of the initial moments with emotional touch could have been avoided in a movie like this. The film could have directly gone into action, and the initial moments only seem to try and slow down the action just because a romantic song and a background with a tragedy can be there for long enough to be the motivation for what is to come later. There is also the feeling of watching what we have seen, a number of times. Movies like this one can have its own repetitions, but that has to be kept at the minimum. Some of the plot turns are also rather predictable, and those are not the elements which needed to be added in a film like this which could have used more suspense and bigger twists. In the end, we also see that things are solved rather too easily, instead of having a group of events coming together due to circumstances – films like this one can have bigger brains working behind.

Performers of the soul :: You see Akshay Kumar doing what he has done really well with a few movies in the past which has dealt with similar topics and situations. He had faced similar moments in films like Baby and Airlift, and had done the job with so much of quality related to his work – it is something which suits him really well, and we can always trust him to do this kind of job. He would make a perfect spy in a film like this at any moment. I would prefer to see him in films like these, rather than those comedy movies where he is often placed among some lower quality jokes. Lara Dutta as Indira Gandhi might be the biggest surprise which is in store here, even though we knew it from the trailer, and she blends in really well. Vaani Kapoor’s role is more or less the usual one in which we see the lady leads of Bollywood in a movie like this, and that is done well too. Huma Qureshi also has something to add for shorter period of time.

How it finishes :: Bell Bottom might remind us of some of similar films, but not related to hijacking, but in relation with the covert operations abroad. Most of us were not able to watch this movie in the theatres due to COVID-19 pandemic making the grand return in the form of second wave. This one had released during the Independence Day weekend, and there was also Shershaah on Amazon Prime, which would have been the first preference at that time, because most of the audience have Amazon Prime Video, and not the other options. But as a movie, we can consider Bell Bottom to be the winner of that week as far as Bollywood is considered, even though in the case of Malayalam films, it was Kuruthi rising above every other film. With a touch of patriotism and thrills being always there, it is good to welcome this film to Amazon Prime too, as we are still awaiting the opening of theatres in Kerala, with COVID-19 numbers coming down.

Release date: 19th August 2021 (India), 16th September 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Ranjit M Tewari
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Lara Dutta, Vaani Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Denzil Smith, Adil Hussain, Aniruddh Dave, Thalaivasal Vijay, Dolly Ahluwalia, Mamik Singh, Zain Khan Durrani, Abhijit Lahiri, Sumit Kaul, Sunit Tandon, Jatin Negi, Kavi Raj, Amit Kumar Vashisth, Anjali Dinesh Anand, Ashok Chhabra, Balram Gupta, Girish Sharma, Nitin Khanna, Karim Saidi, Deesh Mariwala, Ahmed Yahya Berrada

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sputnik

Vampire Owl: The title does remind everyone to get vaccinated.

Vampire Bat: It should originally inspire people to go to space.

Vampire Owl: It has surely inspired me to watch the movie.

Vampire Bat: Despite the name, this is a horror film.

Vampire Owl: So there is nothing about the achievements in space programmes.

Vampire Bat: Well, horror is the best genre for movies in space.

Vampire Owl: Horror is the best genre for vampire movies.

Vampire Bat: Horror is more effective in reality though.

Vampire Owl: COVID-19 had already brought that.

Vampire Bat: Doctor Frankenstein is already having new experiments regarding the same.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three glasses of mango shake].

What is the movie about? :: In 1983, as the Cold War has reached its last stages, two cosmonauts who are exploring space come up against something strange on their way back. As there is some problem with their spacecraft, they crash lands in Soviet Kazakhstan. Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov) is the only survivor of the crash, and he is taken to an isolated military facility for observation. Dr Tatyana Yuryevna Klimova (Oksana Akinshina) who is known for some unorthodox methods of psychological treatment including almost drowning a young boy doesn’t accept that she was wrong, and for the same, she is not considered a good choice. But that changes when she is given another mission by Colonel Semiradov (Fyodor Bondarchuk) who is in charge of the facility where Konsantin is kept. This scientific research facility is located far away from civilization, and she feels that there is more to this than what meets the eye, but in a different way.

So, what happens with the events here as some twist is coming up? :: The psychologists at the facility had already tried a lot with him, but there is not much progress about anything, and it is up to Tatyana to make a difference. She talks to the man, but doesn’t find anything out of the ordinary – yet, talking is only the first step, as she would realize later. It turns out that the cosmonaut has been affected by something terrifying, an alien creature which lives inside him. The creature has formed a symbiotic relationship with the man, and it comes out at night when he is asleep. It feeds on whatever he eats, and uses his body as if it is a spacesuit for survival. It had helped him to survive the crash, and helped him regenerate very quickly, making him fit in about two days. Her mission is to separate the host and the creature which lives inside him, and it has to be done without causing him any problems. The man never knew about such an existence inside him as he was feeling even healthier than before, and this seems to be an impossible task.

The defence of Sputnik :: The tension and anxiety is built from the beginning itself, when we see the film. The beginning scenes in space are reminders of what is to come, a foreshadowing of the monstrous entities to be unleashed later. Even though similarities with other alien films are there, this film doesn’t focus on the same, but generates its own monstrosity. The creature design is good, and the deviation from other similar aliens are managed well too. The environment here is also really good, and being at the Cold War Soviet facility does feel different from the usual secret scientific facilities. There is also some fine music going in the background that supports things on the screen, and we also see no shortage of blood and gore. There are also some interesting revelations made in between, and as a Russian film, it seems to have some tranquil quality which the loud alien films from Hollywood don’t usually display.

Positives and negatives :: The film stays further away from the Hollywood style, and therefore if you are looking for people to go around fighting aliens and defeating them in face to face battles, this will not be that much satisfying for you. This one is a rather slower thing, but it still has these moments to be enjoyed – the slowing down does add some beauty to it. You remember that it is usually the United States that is shown as experimenting with aliens, but here we have the change. It is to be noted the film also manage a certain amount of realism even with an alien at the centre here. It also has a small subplot with a child which was totally unnecessary in a film like this – the same was more suited to a flick like Proxima, and here it is out of bounds. One also wonders if it could have had a little bit of more time spent in space, with Gravity-like effects. The ending could have also been stronger, as there are ideas running through here too.

Performers of the soul :: Oksana Akinshina leads the film as a strong character who is more of a person than what meets the eye. She is steady in her role, and has some special moments in store too. The scene with her meeting the alien face to face, and her moments during the alien feeding all provide her with shots to remember in the film. Pyotr Fyodorov has some good work as the cosmonaut who was affected by the alien, and there are some solid moments with him and the leading actress. He fits into the role nicely, and each moment seems to have something for him. Fyodor Bondarchuk plays the antagonist who is planning something sinister with the alien inside human, and he has that determined soldier played to perfection. Anton Vasiliev’s character stand differently, and it is nice to see that one working on a divergent path compared to the others. If alien was more human in nature, that would have made a fine character too.

How it finishes :: This is one Soviet-age film with aliens from space, and that is a special change, unlike X-Men and Captain America which could be set in the same time period – horror has a certain advantage while dealing with the time period, and this Russian film make good use of the same. You can find similarities with another alien film from Hollywood, Life, and surely the references to Alien and its sequels can be seen, as that particular alien life-form has been the model for many more which followed. As sputnik means fellow traveler, the film nicely alludes to the alien as much as the successful Soviet space programme of the space race time period. Now, it has also come to refer to the vaccine looking forward to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and here it is the alien that needs to be taken care of instead of the virus. If you have liked films space travel films with aliens coming to Earth, this is another movie to grab your attention, and with this setting, it has much more of an advantage above the other movies.

Release date: 23rd April 2020
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Egor Abramenko
Starring: Oksana Akinshina, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Pyotr Fyodorov, Anton Vasiliev, Vitaliya Korniyenko, Anna Nazarova, Aleksey Demidov, Aleksandr Marushev, Albrecht Zander, Pavel Ustinov, Natalya Shvets, Vasiliy Zotov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nobody Sleeps

Full titleNobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight.

Vampire Owl: People should actually sleep in the woods.

Vampire Bat: Why would they do that? These days people prefer big cities.

Vampire Owl: It is easier to hunt humans that way.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that they would be taking enough preparations if they are to sleep in the woods at some point.

Vampire Owl: There is no preparation that can stop a vampire with night vision.

Vampire Bat: Well, people are not really concerned about stopping vampires either.

Vampire Owl: It is the doing of Twilight. People used to be afraid of us.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that they have many more things to be afraid of now.

Vampire Owl: Tell me that we are still in the top ten of that list.

Vampire Bat: I am afraid that I can give you no guarantee regarding the same.

[Gets a green apple cake and three glasses of oreo shake].

What is the movie about? :: A postman is seen as delivering a letter to some remote area, somewhere around a forest. As nobody answers the door bell, he goes on to look on the other side of the house, and hears some noises from the basement. He feels that there is someone there, and while trying to help, he dragged down the basement. His cries can be heard, and at the same time, there is someone washing bloody clothes inside the house. Then the scene shifts to thirty years later, as a group of youngsters arrive at an area near a forest for a camp. In the camp, mobiles are confiscated, as the organizers attempt to keep them offline, away from technology and close to nature. It is supposed to be a kind of rediscovery for the students who woul have the advanture of their life, meeting local people and even some of the creatures of the forest. Some of the youngsters do feel that it is nice to be away from Instagram because they don’t have to see some of the moronic posts which keep coming up there.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Iza (Izabela Dabrowska) is the leader of a group which goes for a three day hike in the forest. They are supposed to reveal facts about themselves and get to know about each other, a change from what they had been doing on the internet with strangers. Zosia (Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz) and Aniela (Wiktoria Gasiewska) are the only other two female members of the group. The other members are Julek (Michał Lupa) confirmed as the slowest and the least athletic among the groupm being attached to gaming, as well as Daniel (Sebastian Dela) and Bartek (Stanisław Cywka). Soon enough, they feel that something in the forest which they won’t like to face, and they had already seen a dead deer, seemingly a cruel work. Aniela and Daniel soon get to be together, but the former is soon killed while others look for him as he had disappeared all of a sudden. But is this the last of the disappearances which is to happen in the forest? What is the secret that the forest have in store?

The defence of Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight :: Bringing a group of youngsters who have spent most of their lives on the internet to a forest is pretty much a fine idea for horror films. During these times when the youngsters are more into online friendships and trying to get more views on Instagram and Youtube at any cost, this tale of them being in real life is much relevant. We do see people being unable to separate online life from the offline, but this is a warning about exploring the less explored too. The horror does feel real, as much as any film of the genre shot in a forest, and the environment does provide a real boost. There are some nice shots of the forest shown with all its beauty, and the terror that lurks beneath. It is this setting that serves the purpose, even though not that much as it would for an Evil Dead movie. The terror here does feel and the melancholy of the main character is also felt very strongly throughout the movie.

The claws of flaw :: It is natural that the characters here move on the lines of usual horror films, and the mistakes that they make are close to what is repeated. The film doesn’t take that much of an innovation into its slasher mode, as horror always had a better chance in this particular film too. So much was to be done here with the monsters in the forest and with no help coming up any time soon. When we look at the deaths in the film, they are pretty much expected, and predictability is surely there – one wouldn’t hope to go beyond that in a film with slasher mode on. You also feel that this has ended with a need to have a sequel, and a grand finish was always possible. The seemingly invincible murderers here could have been replaced with something else for a change, and the sinister presence here had the opportunity to be something of much bigger scope – yet this one takes the predictable enjoyable route quite well.

Performances of the soul :: Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz plays the character that seems to be the lead from the beginning itself. She maintains a certain amount of melancholy throughout her time, and yet the character remains a strong presence. Her character has gone through a tragedy in the past, and the same is also reflected with flashbacks throughout her journey. Wiktoria Gasiewska plays more or less the character that we usually see in horror films, and she has managed the same with more charm than such characters usually have, and maintains a more realistic stance in comparison with others. She plays that character who is surely going to get killed at some point in a horror movie, and that will be the case here too. Michał Lupa plays a strong character despite seemingly the weaker link among them all. Sebastian Dela and Stanisław Cywka play their part well as the two other usual characters of the horror genre. Gabriela Muskała also remains pretty good when she is there. The lesser characters do their part well.

How it finishes :: Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight keeps the horror genre alive, and we do need to keep the category strong. For the same, this is a welcome addition. All the horror fans would be seeing a regeneration of horror here, as well as the slasher subgenre which hasn’t had too many big movies in the recent past in comparison to what was there earlier. As of now, we need all the horror that we can take, especially when we see all the nonsense which could make it way forward in this world. We are very close to descending into chaos, and therefore horror is the only reality that we have in front of us. Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight doesn’t bring that kind of horror, but does have some effective horror to remind us that the old style scares are still alive. The Polish film does manage to rise above a good number of Hollywood films here. I remember watching Dark, Almost Night which was another Polish horror movie, and now we have this one for the genre.

Release date: 28th October 2020
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Bartosz M Kowalski
Starring: Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, Wiktoria Gasiewska, Michał Lupa, Stanisław Cywka, Gabriela Muskała, Sebastian Dela, Mirosław Zbrojewicz, Michał Zbroja, Piotr Cyrwus, Olaf Lubaszenko, Wojciech Mecwaldowski, Bartłomiej Kotschedoff, Bartłomiej Firlet, Małgorzata Szczerbowska, Izabela Dąbrowska

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the first Polish review.

<— Click here to go to the previous slasher film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous slasher horror film review.

<— Click her to go to the previous jungle-setting slasher horror film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Intuition

Vampire Owl: I remember having an intuition myself.

Vampire Bat: Vampires don’t have intuitions, for we have the vampire sense.

Vampire Owl: I thought that it was called the vampire instinct.

Vampire Bat: It was changed after the film, Basic Instinct released.

Vampire Owl: I didn’t find anything wrong about that movie.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but vampires used to be very prude at that time.

Vampire Owl: It was because of Doctor Frankenstein. He had his strange habits.

Vampire Bat: Well, he is creating a COVID-19 vaccine with zero side effects.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that there can be a vaccine which works with vampires.

Vampire Bat: A vaccine among the undead has its own possibilities. We are forever, and there won’t be the need for a second dose.

[Gets a red velvet cake and three glasses of pineapple shake].

What is the movie about? :: Francisco Juanez (Joaquin Furriel) had solved a case involving a serial killer who murdered young girls just recently. The murderer had killed himself before being caught. Due to an injury caused to a police officer on duty, a new recruit, Manuela Pelari (Luisana Lopilato) is assigned to investigate the murder of a woman who was assaulted with a sharp weapon. She is considered to be a VIP case, and the police are not able to find the weapon, as Francisco joins the team. The dead woman is Gloriana Marquez (Delfina Chaves), the daughter of a business magnate with many media connections, political contacts and the support of many big businessmen, and the police needs to be very careful about this case, or things could go out of control for the department whose reputation is at stake. Their first suspect is her boyfriend who has been in a relationship with her for two years, and was also the first person to find her body. Then her best friend is also added to that list.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, the head of the police department asks Manuela to keep an eye on Francisco who hasn’t been himself since his wife died, and it seems that the man who murdered her was killed earlier, and they suspect Francisco on that particular case. Manuela doesn’t believe that he might have committed the murder, but decides to investigate anyway. At the same time, the investigation on Gloriana’s death seems to go in a complex path. More information is added to Gloriana’s life is revealed by talking to her close contacts. Manuela tries to find where Francisco happened to be, at the time when the man’s murder had taken place. At the same time, the dead man’s family hopes to have vengeance, as they are sure that it was Francisco who murdered him. They are just waiting to pounce on the police officer as soon as there is clarity on who was really responsible for the death. El Zorro (Abel Ayala), his brother is ready for blood. Minerva del Valle (Maite Lanata) confesses to the murder of Gloriana, but Francisco is not convinced, or is he?

The defence of Intuition :: This one works as an interesting investigative thriller, without any doubt at all. Everything here seems to be perfectly arranged, and there is fine quality about how things go forward. There is no exaggeration being added here, and even if this is about a strange investigation, there is so much that we feel is close to reality around here. With two murders being investigated at the same time, and with the police officer also being a suspect, this one has more to guess than what originally meets the eye. The main character also serves as a mystery all by himself. The visuals are really good, and we see the beauty of the Argentine city with some good shots, just as it shows the area outside the urban area. The background score is also very much suitable and keeps us interested. There is also more about the murders than what meets the eye, and twists are there while suspense is maintained throughout the film, making one wonder who is one which side, and how all these would be coming together. It keeps you interested in what is happening, even when things get slow.

The claws of flaw :: There are moments when it seem a little confusing, and there are more dialogues than it was needed. There was no need to complicate things beyond the need for the case itself. The pace keeps getting higher and lower, even though the pace is mostly slow. The beginning stages are also badly used, and it doesn’t have much to do with the later case, and if they couldn’t use that to their advantage, it could have been removed – a serial killer would have suited this film really well too. This kind of initial cases not that useful for plot has been seen in different movies all around the world, for example, the Malayalam film, Abrahaminte Santhathikal. All these distractions occur when the better thrillers like Memories, Forensic and Anjaam Pathira focuses on what is to follow rather than providing an introduction which seems to be of grand focus, but doesn’t come into the picture after that except for some mentions. In the end, one feels that there is some missing out on the thrilling elements which should have been there in the film.

Performances of the soul :: The performances here and very good, and that includes so many of them who are involved. Joaquin Furriel whom we know for his film, The Son, leads the way as a police officer with a mystery surrounding him, and at the same time, also makes a perfect and determined cop. There are some nice dialogues to add to the same too. Luisana Lopilato matches the same in skills, and she remains solid as the rookie police officer too. She could have been parts of similar Hollywood films at some point of time, because she has that kind of a performance delivered throughout the film. Their moments together are really good, with some moments as well as dialogues to remember. Maite Lanata plays another character who is connected to the crime, and she plays well into the mystery of the whole thing. Her interrogations have more than what seems when we look forward to find more than what meets the eye. Rafael Ferro plays the cop with his own secrets very well. Abel Ayala’s character has short stay, and so does Delfina Chaves, whose death sets things in motion here.

How it finishes :: Intuition makes it to list of interesting Spanish films to watch, especially those thrillers that we would like to watch carefully. These are the kind of thrillers which have something special about them for everyone if we look at them closer. Even with its slower pace, and some complications, it manages to be another thriller with more than one mystery to be solved. As the first Argentine original Netflix film, it does have the quality to go to the international audience. Based on the novel called La Virgen en tus Ojos in Spanish and translated as The Virgin in your Eyes, written by Florencia Etcheves, it also works as a prequel to the 2018 thriller Perdida a.k.a. Missing. As the original novel is in Spanish, the idea about the book that we can have here is minimum, but without that, we can surely enjoy the movie, and can see how it has managed to work here. When we think about Argentina, the first thing that comes to our mind is surely the Argentinian football team with Lionel Messi, and Maradona from the past, and maybe the fans should also have a look into the Spanish films from Argentina and enjoy them.

Release date: 28th May 2020
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Alejandro Montiel
Starring: Luisana Lopilato, Joaquin Furriel, Rafael Ferro, Delfina Chaves, Maite Lanata, Marita Ballesteros, Juan Manuel Guilera, Sebastian Mogordo, Abel Ayala

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the first Spanish film review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first big budget Spanish film review here.

<— Click here to go to the most popular Spanish in this part of the world reviewed.

<— Click here to go to Chilean Spanish film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cinderella

Vampire Owl: How many Cinderella movies have we watched?

Vampire Bat: I have lost count this time.

Vampire Owl: And how many more Cinderella movies will we watch?

Vampire Bat: It is also not something we can guess.

Vampire Owl: If Cinderella was a vampire, this would have been so perfect.

Vampire Bat: We don’t really have fairy-tales in the vampire world.

Vampire Owl: One doesn’t really need them, right?

Vampire Bat: Well, fairy-tales are lies, we all know that.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that humans are not really short of lies.

Vampire Bat: And they even want us to believe the same.

[Gets a beetroot cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Vivian (Idina Menzel) leads her life in a village of hardworking people with her daughters (Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer), as well as her stepdaughter Ella, then known as Cinderella (Camila Cabello) who is different from her stubborn sisters. She does almost everything in the house, but is not considered to be someone of importance. Nobody in the house likes her, and wastes no time in scolding or making fun of her, despite her best efforts to make things better. Everyone at home considers her to be an orphan, even though she is daughter to the mother’s earlier husband. It is then that Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) is in requirement of a wife, but he is not really that much into it – King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan) and Queen Beatrice (Minnie Driver) are not really happy about it though, as they would have preferred him to marry someone whom they admired and win many colonies as wedding gift in the process.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As Robert goes on living his life, not intending to be the grand kind that everyone wanted to be, Princess Gwen (Tallulah Greive) hopes to be rule the realm as a queen, an idea which nobody is interested in, but she does manage to provide some ideas in between, which mostly wouldn’t suit the world she lived in. Robert would meet Cinderella in the market though, as she was trying the dress which she had designed. For them to meet again, they have to come together in a ball, and she also wants to find buyers for her clothes, and Fairy Godmother (Billy Porter) prepares her for the same, supported by the mice (James Acaster, James Corden and Romesh Ranganathan) who are transformed into men and are supposed to take her to the palace on a magical chariot. Now the question remains if she can fall in love and sell her clothes at the same time, or whether she will fail as her stepmother and stepsisters would have always thought she would. The possibilities are endless.

The defence of Cinderella :: The first song by Ella is the best one with the music, and there are a few nice songs, even though none of them rise much above that particular level, while there are some which are not interesting at all. The visuals are really good, and the magic of the original fair-tale story is maintained, even though it seems to be so more by compulsion rather than anything else – maybe this film could have been named something else and played into another tale instead of calling Cinderella for help. There are some nice ideas in the background, that is for sure, but in the implementation, it often falls on the nose, and still we find something here and there. It does have the support of some fine performances in moments, and it also thrives on the moments. After all, we can’t just avoid a Cinderella movie when it comes, even when it deviates too much from the original ideas, and even if it is not the Cinderella that we knew or wanted to watch.

The claws of flaw :: For a Cinderella movie, this one is really strange. Its deviations often feel dumb, and often it feels useless. We have watched so many Cinderella films that we know what the story should really be about despite adding something not suiting at all. Some of the music does get irritating, just like a few of the characters fo manage to do. It is the same reason why it also feels foolish at times. The director here does have some weird and silly ideas about making a Cinderella film, and one has to understand that there are a few things which really make a Cinderella, just like without a few things, some classics and fairytales are not complete – Hamlet needs vengeance, Macbeth needs the witch-like creatures, Rapunzel needs the long hair etc. This is where Cinderella making the unnecessary deviation without creativity falls behind, and in the process, it is also too long a film, considering what kind of content it has.

Performers of the soul :: A lot of characters in the movie do look strange, even though many of them seems to excel in this. Camila Cabello is really good, without doubt, and the same can be said about Idina Menzel and Pierce Brosnan. Camila Cabello has some fine moments which rise a long way up, while it is always good to see Pierce Brosnan in any role. Idina Menzel has her stepmother role smaller than what one would have expected. Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer plays the usual stepdaughters of the good old fairytale. Nicholas Galitzine and Minnie Driver are okay, but seem to overdo things at some moments, and some of their dialogues are ridiculously silly – but that is more or less inheriting the silly mood of the film itself. Tallulah Greive plays basically a useless role, and she doesn’t have enough screen-space either. A number of smaller characters in this film seems to be strangely written, and we would have actually done better without them as some of them also manage to look much ridiculous. Billy Porter as the fairy godmother is nonsense.

How it finishes :: Cinderella with this version is enjoyable only because of parts. Otherwise, it is irritating in other parts. It needed better music and try not to use nonsense to sell its ideas. These won’t suit in a Cinderella film either, but as it does look good, and because we have always loved Cinderella, we go on with it. As it has released on Amazon Prime Video, there is always the option to fast forward those unnecessary elements. When people try to divert a classic fairytale without not much thinking, I can assure you that there are many areas where you wish to fast forward. If you accept people’s right to be silly if they have a high budget, and enjoy the rest, you can enjoy the magic with the visual extravaganza. Well, we have accepted many stupid films which looked good or a few others with dumb fun, it is very much possible to be entertained by this.

Release date: 3rd September 2021
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Kay Cannon
Starring: Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter, Pierce Brosnan, Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer, Tallulah Greive

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous fantasy movie review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood direct Amazon release.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood delayed Amazon release.

<— Click here to go to the review of the most watched Indian film on Amazon.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Home

What is the movie about? :: Oliver Twist (Indrans) is leading a normal life with his two sons, Antony Oliver Twist (Sreenath Bhasi) and Charles Oliver Twist (Nalsen K Gafoor), his wife Kuttiyamma (Manju Pillai) and father (Kainakary Thankaraj) who has memory problems. Oliver and Kuttiyamma are also feeling the problems of their old age. Antony is trying to be successful in the film field, but he is too busy with social media that he doesn’t complete the climax of the script, much to the dismay of the producer, Baby (Maniyanpilla Raju) who keeps asking if something can be done about it. His time is running out, as it has been two years after he started writing – he had directed his first film to a grand success, and this time, nobody is sure that he will finish it in time. At the same time, Charles’ interest in social media only, and nothing else is on his list of interesting things. He keeps putting Instagram stories at all times, and during the rest of the time, he is mostly sleeping.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Finally, Antony decides to return home to finish his script, and for the same, he returns home with a seven day deadline to complete his script. There he finds out that Charles is vlogging at all times, and doing nothing else. His life is highly digitalized, and he is happy to keep himself online instead of talking to anyone in the family. Antony is no different, even though his parents remember that he used to be a different person before leaving them for the city. Antony is in love with Priya (Deepa Thomas), a relationship which has lasted very long, but now he is too bust to return her calls. Her father, Joseph Lopez (Srikanth Murali) is a very rich and influential man, popular at all places. Oliver hopes to be friendly with his sons, but they don’t have that much of an interest in talking to the elders. Often, they even ignore Oliver as if he is not a part of their life. Oliver hopes that things will change, and he goes on with his life, with that wish, but Antony has very low opinion about him, and is often hostile towards him too.

The defence of Home :: There are many things which are reflections of real life incidents in the film, and one often wonders if they have come across such incidents before. Social media addiction has been an effective theme, and these days, anyone is a vlogger on Youtube, and with many followers, they think that this is life. People have been bothered more about what happens online rather than offline, and in the same the real world is forgotten, a reflection of the same is reflected here. The message about mobile phones stealing our valuable time is also provided nicely. It adds a few things about loss of relationships and health due to the use of smartphones and social media among the youth. The film, even though set most in a home and its surroundings, is visually too good, not just inside the house, but also during the outside moments. There is a lot of beauty on the screen that surrounds everything, and occasional humour adds on well. Then, there is the ending that conquers all, emotionally as strong as it could be.

The claws of flaw :: There is a lot of repetition which happens in the film, and it is surely a slow work, as we look at it. Some of the emotions are added here and there as if it was just there for the sake of it, and some incidents just become random part of the same. This comes from the man behind Philips and the Monkeypen and Jo and the Boy, and we can see similar elements being repeated here. It still doesn’t have the charm or quality of the former, which was one of the best movies released in the year, seemingly bringing a certain amount of magic to the screen. It also has its length extended a little too much, and with too many songs being added here and there, it does feel a few minutes too long. There are moments in between when we feel that this was going nowhere nowhere, and it was going to go on with the same kind of thing again and again. There are so many things coming up, and often it does seem to miss the main point, but there is the ending that brings things together.

Performers of the soul :: Indrans was earlier seen in two very serious roles this year with two films, Malik and Yuvam, playing the roles of a police officer and an advocate respectively. This one is a light-hearted, but yet emotional role for him, and having come out of fully comic roles, he has been doing this really well. This is indeed a very heartfelt performance from him, and with him at the centre of a family movie, this will be remembered as he celebrate forty years in Malayalam cinema industry, in his 341st movie in the long career. We are finally able to see him throughout a mainstream film in the lead role, and also with the most emotional touch, as he basically lives through here. Sreenath Bhasi had some very serious roles in Virus and Kumbalangi Nights not too long ago, and he now has a rather lighter version here – he had come out of that earlier “freakan” image a long time ago, and this one has him in a controlled role. Nalsen K Gafoor who was last seen in Kuruthi with all the seriousness, and earlier in Thanneermathan Dinangal with all the humour, can be seen in a realistic role of a youngster in this film, and he once again scores big. The simple comic side that he adds here brings more life to the movie.

Further performers of the soul :: It is also nice to Manju Pillai having a good role to play in a film, as we have been seeing more in the television series and comedy shows of Mazhavil Manorama. She has blended into this role really well, and one would wonder why she was not that much in similar roles before. We have always loved to watch her in Thatteem Mutteem for a long time. There are also some nice dialogues that reflects the mood of the film. Deepa Thomas has her first leading role, and she has comes up with a memorable performance too. She has indeed provided a natural performance, and we look forward to seeing her in more roles, and with more screen space in comparison to what is seen here. Srikant Murali also has a role to remember here. Anoop Menon’s act is also a good one, while Maniyanpilla Raju also drops in here and there. Vijay Babu’s role might seem very small, but is still one role that also makes a difference, with a lovely touch of humour. Johny Antony, as usual adds more humour here, while KPAC Lalitha who comes in the final stages of the movie has something special to add. Priyanka Nair also has a fine role in the flashback.

How it finishes :: Home is a movie for the present families, which are not short of this kind of a situation at different homes, due a new generation of kids who are addicted to gadgets and moving away from parents both physically and mentally. It will be remembered for some moments for the heart. The feel-good elements from the director’s earlier films can be seen reflected here, and the same kind of reflections can be seen visually too. Vijay Babu has provided us with so many of similar movies, and we have always stayed close to most of them. During COVID-19 times, having a feel-good film to watch with family was always going to be good. The messages that the film provides are effective, and leads to that one final message which raises the level of the film. Do look out for the final scenes with credits too, and it is where the movie brings a little more for the soul. So, we have our Onam movie on Amazon Prime Video, and as you watch the same, I wish you a Very Happy Onam in advance!

Release date: 19th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Rojin Thomas
Starring: Indrans, Sreenath Bhasi, Kainakary Thankaraj, Naslen K Gafoor, Manju Pillai, Deepa Thomas, Vijay Babu, Srikant Murali, Johny Antony, Anoop Menon, Maniyanpilla Raju, Aju Varghese

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Indian film review.

<—Click here to go to the highest rated Indian movie this year, as of now.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godzilla vs Kong

Vampire Owl: These are not the monsters we expect around here.

Vampire Bat: Well, we cannot stop any of them from entering the realm.

Vampire Owl: So, you mean to say that there is no active vampire defence against monsters.

Vampire Bat: Whatever remains will only be active against werewolves.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that a transformed ape and lizard won’t count.

Vampire Bat: We can ask Doctor Frankenstein to try and contain the radioactivity.

Vampire Owl: I am afraid that it won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: We are already prepared for the huge impact.

Vampire Owl: These are sacred lands. There should be no fight for supremacy here.

Vampire Bat: This is just a temporary space. They will pass through this area, through the portal.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Five years have passed after Godzilla defeated the legendary monster, King Ghidorah and all the other monsters had bowed down to him, accepting his supremacy as the great king of the monsters. He is limited to a small space within the Skull Island, as a dome is created to hold him inside, so as to avoid any contact with Godzilla who wouldn’t appreciate the fact that there are two titans. A deaf and mute child, Jia (Kaylee Hottle) is the only person who could successfully bond with Kong, who is not really happy to be restricted to a small space, which he often tries to damage when he is angry. Jia is also the adopted daughter of the Kong expert Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), and she hopes that they can hold on to Kong as much as possible, and avoid the epic clash which could happen between the two. Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), tries to get into a facility which is attacked by Godzilla at the same time, and that gets everyone worried, as Godzilla has never attacked without a reason.

So, what happens with the events here as something big is coming up? :: Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) feels that there is something wrong here, as Godzilla should have attacked only because there was a reason for the same, and something sinister is happening within. Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir), the CEO of the organization recruits Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), to lead a journey into the Hollow Earth, the homeworld of the Titans, which could have enough energy to fuel the planet and bring a defence against Godzilla. Nathan is not sure about as his books related to same was poorly received by everyone, and going into such a world would mean death, but as he understands that he has developed HEAVs, some specialized crafts able to withstand the high pressure which is exerted by the gravity field. Ilene understands that there is chance for Kong to find a new home in Hollow Earth, and agrees to the idea. But this journey is not that direct as they thought, as there are other motives for the rich businessman behind all these.

The defence of Godzilla vs Kong :: As expected, the film focuses on the action, with huge monsters ruling the screen, asking for bigger screens to watch it with the best effect, and we already had similar feeling with earlier films of Godzilla and King Kong, as well as the unrelated robot v/s monster battles of Pacific Rim. Among the monsters, it is Godzilla who continues to impress us more, as Kong continues to bring the feeling of enlarged ape rather than the alpha creature, still pretty good enough. The grandeur of Godzilla continues to impress us in many ways, and there is no dinosaur from Jurassic World that could stand up to that glory. When these two collide, there is the classic battle of the highest level indeed. There are so many great battles, and one final one with one extra human made monster – as we know, the worst of them are human or created by humans, proven through centuries, and if you have watched the Russian alien film, The Blackout, you will know what humanity is capable of, and this thrilling ride with great visuals asserts it again.

The claws of flaw :: The focus on giant action means less attention on the other things, and it is also not something which was unexpected. The building of the monster is something that was unexpected, and human greed is once again explored in a more predictable manner rather than anything else. There is no absence of Seven Deadly Sins as far as science is concerned, and it is as if they have taken that one directly from religion. The repetition that we feel here is more or less what was expected, but something which has less innovation except for Godzilla fighting Kong and having a mechanical monster also to join the fight. The evil plans of corporates in hold of scientific inventions is expected, but it is still good to see the evil being shown again. Maybe, they could have been shown as more evil that what they seemed, because it was leading to human extinction in one way or the other. This looks like we would need another sequel to use the film to its best advantage.

Performers of the soul :: Unlike what was expected, it is Millie Bobby Brown is the one who has the best of our attention. She plays who seems to be the only really smart person around here, as she seems to figure out what is happening before anyone, the so called smart scientists and researchers figure out things, and throughout the film, she seems to be the only real hope for the world. Rebecca Hall and Alexander Skarsgard plays the usual scientists being misguided into something which they wouldn’t have wanted if they had some common sense about what they giant corporations really wanted, but they play along well enough. Brian Tyree Henry plays the other smart person around, and it is being displayed nicely too. Shun Oguri and Demian Bichir plays the villains quite well, and they are more or less the usual villains that we have in this kind of films. Eiza Gonzalez also plays a meaty role, and she could be one strong action star with works in full scale action thrillers, for we know how effective she was in her small role in Hobbs and Shaw.

How it finishes :: Godzilla vs Kong is the kind of film which should be watched on the big screen, but with the COVID-19 pandemic’s second arrival ending that opportunity, and the fear about the same will keep it to the smaller screens for us, except for others who can afford a grand home theatre at home. It is exactly what you would expect from a monster film, and you might have already guessed that with ease from the experiences from the movie’s predecessors. When monsters of such grandeur collide, you know that there will be a spectacle on the screen, and the quality of this glory will be dependent on your screen and your audio devices. Even though we are missing it on the big screen, we can still appreciate the fact that it is not available on an OTT platform in India, and they have chosen the one which is used the most by people here, Amazon Prime Video. Let us hope that after The Tomorrow War, there will be more Amazon Original Movies coming soon, for we are without the multiplex experience now, and might stay so for some time.

Release date: 14th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video), 31st March 2021 (USA)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Eiza Gonzalez, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir

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<— Click here to go to the previous high rated movie.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shershaah

What is the movie about? :: Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra) had always wanted to be part of the military force, and achieves the same dream many years after he started thinking about the same. He has been someone who remained strong from childhood itself. He gets assigned to keeping an eye on the terrorist activities in the border area of Jammu and Kashmir area. Things seem safe and under control when he goes there, but as expected, there is always more than what meets the eye as far going close to the borders is concerned. They come against the first group of terrorists quick enough, and Vikram is blamed for not following the orders by Captain Sanjeev Jamwal (Shiv Pandit), even though everything ends perfectly. But Sanjeev still thanks him for saving his life in the process and making sure that the fight ended with them on the winning side, with no casualties at all – they end up being very good friends.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, there is something more terrifying going on in the background, with acts of terrorism ready to come across the border, and part of it also having roots already. At the same time, there is a flashback of the soldier’s life when he was at his earlier ages. While studying in Punjab University, he had fallen in love with Dimple Cheema (Kiara Advani), who hadn’t noticed him earlier, but had later gone to become his fiance. She had managed to get approval from her father only by telling him that if she won’t get to marry him, she will never marry anyone in her life. He also feels that he should join merchant navy instead of army to get a better salary so that he can get Dimple’s father to agree, but moves back on the same because his dream still drives him forward. She decides to wait for him, as he goes to be part of the army, and she would make sure that there are no more possible alliances being discussed at home.

And what more is to follow around here? :: Back at the camp, there seems to be many battles going on, and not just the small infiltration by the small scale terrorists. Vikram is quick to establish himself as a skilled soldier, and he is also good friends with the local people of Kashmir, due to which some people agree to become informers for him. He is also in charge of some risky operations in the process. There is also a bigger battle in store, as the Kargil War is about the begin. Despite being able to go back home on leave, Vikram has to return very soon, and join his team. Vikram is not someone who would stand back, and it seems that the enemy is crossing all limits, forcing them to quicken their actions. It would be a war which was to decide the future concerning two nations, as well as Kashmir, and the question remains about what is to follow in this for Vikram, as people back at home continue to worry. And then, there are more tales to come.

The defence of Shershah :: When we have war tributes in here, there was always something for us to watch, and this one also stays close to that idea. We also need acts of bravery to keep our world intact. There are some fine actions here which will be remembered, and are going to stay in our memory for the best. The combat scenes are all good, and there is something for our patriotic hearts, which stay on after the film ends too. The emotional side also remains strong, and we feel as part of the moments which the soldiers live through. It is always nice to have good movies dealing with the characters and subject. There are also some visuals of the world around them which never ceases to show the beauty of Kashmir. Along with the same, there is also the war during which the newer generation needs a reminder because even we were too young during the situation in Kargil, or were not born yet – we do get a reminder. You are always happy, and often in bliss to get the same in the name of the country.

The claws of flaw :: When we consider this movie as a work about a war hero, it could have been much more, with better elements of realism having scope to be present. After all, we have had many war movies before, not just in Bollywood, but also in Hollywood, even those works which were awarded well nationally and internationally. The background story, especially the love story remains too weak, and the same adds as an unnecessary part to an otherwise straightforward story of bravery in the border. Focusing on the romantic angle with songs never get old, and as far as love and songs being inserted somewhere when it should be kept at minimum, there is nobody in the whole world matching Bollywood. We do have the predictable moments in here too, and the film chooses not to go for innovation, going through the safe paths rather than anything else. The dramatic moments could also make way for more realistic style in comparison. There were immense possibilities regarding the same too, and there are moments which remind us of the same.

Performers of the soul :: Sidharth Malhotra handles things right, and he has blended into this role quite well too. This is a different kind of role compared to the type of roles in which I had seen him before. He looks very good in this role, and he is even more than that. In the scenes of war, he does the best, and he gets to be inspirational in the display. Kiara Advani is pretty good in what she does, but the love story is rather weak, and not that much suitable in the totality of the scheme of things. She could have got a better role if it was the college time period being shown with less focus on the romantic side, but romance always comes out of somewhere in these films, and that will continue to be the greatest cliché of all time. The other performers are also good, but they don’t really get that much to do. Shiv Pandit is the one who gets our attention the best among them, and there are a few more actors playing the soldiers that have something in here.

How it finishes :: It is always good to provide some tributes to the war heroes, and in doing the same, Shershaah does succeed. The movie still didn’t have that much of a promotion as Toofaan had in this part of India, and that is a shame, because the film should have released with more people knowing about its presence on Amazon Prime Video, the OTT platform which most people uses around here. Still, they would sooner or later understand that this is an interesting, as well as entertaining war drama. There is also a strong emotional side to the same. Being a tribute to the brave soldier who was awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, the great award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War, the film has those perfect moments which will work for the patriot among us. You can never have enough of films on our soldiers, and we pay our respect to the man of valour. Therefore, we watch this movie on Amazon Prime Video, and stay safe from COVID-19 for now. Happy Independence Day and Happy Onam in advance.

Release date: 12th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Shiv Pandit, Jaaved Jaaferi, Nikitin Dheer, Himmanshoo A Malhotra, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar, Sahil Vaid, Raj Arun

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Kuruthi

What is the movie about? :: Ibrahim (Roshan Mathew) lives in the pain of having lost his wife (Navya Davy) and daughter (Aiza Hassan) to a devastating landslide which killed twenty four people during the heavy monsoon rains and the resulting floods in Kerala. He hopes that he would be united with his wife and daughter in heaven soon enough, while his community is blaming the United States, Israel and the North of India for their plight while trying to recover from the remains of the earlier destruction. Most of the local people including Ibrahim’s good friend Kareem (Shine Tom Chacko) has moved to an area further away from the devastated area, but two families have remained at the same place, and Sumathi (Srindaa) who lives with her brother Preman (Manikandan R Achari) at the nearest house is only happy to help them whenever required. Is then that on a usual night, the town Sub Inspector Sathyan (Murali Gopy) comes into the house with a young murderer, Vishnu (Sagar Surya) whom he hopes to protect from religious violence, as this murderer himself was part of a similar religious crowd long ago.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But for the same, he has to fight the biggest religious fundamentalist that he has ever known, Laiq (Prithviraj Sukumaran), who had already attacked the police earlier with his violent group of religious fanatics. He is also the son of the man who was earlier killed in the violence, and he seeks revenge in the name of religion, community and family, while Ibrahim finds it difficult to understand the neverending hatred in his eyes. He makes a grand entry with his friends, and knows that his prey is there. He had come back from Paris earlier after getting into trouble there, and now he only knows vengeance. Laiq gets into the house with the help of Kareem, and with another helper, they manage to outsmart the police officer, ending up stabbing him. As Ibrahim sees the violence, and takes the policeman’s gun and forces Laiq and his friends to go outside, the dying policeman makes him swear an oath on his holy book that he will protect the man at any cost. But that wouldn’t be acceptable to those who just went outside.

The defence of Kuruthi :: Thrillers have been the need of the COVID-19 times, and here, one more gets added. With just above two hours of run-time, this movie manages to go through the thrills in the darkness. What is striking about this film is that it deals with the hatred which has always existed in the mind of man, something which has spread in the minds over humanity, leading to the idea of the “other”, thriving through the world. But the characters in the film are not just motivated by the same, and are instead having their own reasons for what they are doing during the one fateful night. Due to the same, there are some unexpected twists along with those which people can guess, and we also have some very strong dialogues going on here. Some of them might be very much memorable too. The performances also fuel the film really well, and it often comes from those characters who are considered to be lesser, but with less number of characters here, they all have roles to play in what happens in an eventful night.

The claws of flaw :: There were many routes for this particular thriller to follow, and the trailer had suggested many. The film follows its own, and not every moment of the same seems to go in the right direction. It does misses many opportunities to create the elements of fear when the protagonist is locked inside the house with other characters, and when it could have done better, it tries to go without taking risks. There is also a scarcity female characters in the movie, and other than Srindaa, there is only a new face, Navya Davy in a flashback along with a child actress. It also seems to be in a hurry to finish things, rather than using the atmosphere in the best possible ways. Being caught in an area like this would have brought the chance for more thrilling and scary circumstances, but while looking at philosophy, the movie seems to forget the same. It could have done that at least with the total run-time being increased by a few minutes. Well, we know where vengeance can lead a movie when there is something more to fuel the same.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran who was last seen in Cold Case, another thriller which released in Amazon Prime Video, is once again strong, and even though menacing from the beginning, he could have shared this more with Shine Tom Chacko. The purpose seems to be more or less as adding the star value rather than getting him more to perform. The evolution of Roshan Mathew from that very small role of Adi Kapyare Kootamani and the student role of Aanandam has been a thing to remember, and the same will be much talked about after this film too. He is the protagonist in the film, and how the film moves on, depends on his actions. He has that pain in his eyes which is reflected in his actions. It is nice to see Shine Tom Chacko getting some nice roles, but as he was last seen in a smaller work in Operation Java, this is also a comparatively smaller screen-time, even though he has a presence throughout the film. Murali Gopy has a role which is quite easy for him, and even though he is there only for a short period of time, he leaves a mark with his actions and dialogue as he has always done.

Further performers of the soul :: It is also good that Srindaa is doing roles like these instead of silly stuff like Aadu and minute as well as useless things like in Sara’s, as her work was becoming more and more of clichés. Here, she is amazingly strong in her character, and she is the only female character in the whole movie’s present. After the grandeur of Kammattipaadam, we have seen very less of Manikandan R Achari when we think how much he has been capable of doing, and he contributes well too. Then, Mamukkoya in a serious role is memorable here with a touch of humour, and we have seen the same effect with so many of actors who were focusing in comic roles in the past – he also gets the best dialogues here. Sagar Surya whom we recognize from his light-hearted comic role in Thatteem Mutteem series in Mazhavil Manorama is also here, doing the serious role, which he does in a fine manner. It is nice to see such names familiar to families coming to the big screen. Naslen K Gafoor whom we remember from Thanneermathan Dinangal also has a strong role here to play, further away from the funny side which he had then, and the same is done effectively here.

How it finishes :: Kuruthi, even though feels like a full thriller, it is surely more than just that. It seems that during COVID-19 times, ideas of making a good thriller has also been worked on, really well. Along with the same, it also takes on a society which is driven by hatred rather than anything else, as people are divided on different lines here. It shows the people who acts differently under strange circumstances, and it also has a little bit of humour in between the bleak times, and that is a nice surprise. Kuruthi is indeed a film that tries to speak about how people have been divided, and it ends without hope for the future – the bleak times of our world, with its uncertainties get reflected here, and the same is done without COVID-19 being the villain. Well, you don’t need a virus to end the world, as you always have humans. If you have seen the Russian film, The Blackout, you will have an idea of what a virus really would be, if an alien was to look at Earth before planning a full-scale invasion of the planet. Well, the only war which you win with hatred, is that which the future generations will lose, and you can see the signs if you look backwards in history. Back to the present, you fight on social media, you battle on those Youtube comments like you are brain-dead. What is the point?

Release date: 11th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Manu Warrier
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Roshan Mathew, Shine Rom Chacko, Murali Gopy, Srindaa, Manikandan R Achari, Mamukkoya, Sagar Surya, Navas Vallikunnu, Naslen K Gafoor, Navya Davy, Aiza Hassan

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Eighteen Hours

What is the movie about? :: A group of friends is shown as making a journey through the forest, and after meeting an accident on the way, they are shot. Then the scene shifts to six hours earlier to an airport. Six students from a school are traveling from Kerala to Karnataka to take part in an inter-school competition in Bengaluru. But unfortunately, their flight is cancelled, and they have to travel by a bus instead. Along with them, there are the teachers from the school and a former student, Anupama (Indu Thampy) who is also in trouble due to the flight being cancelled. On the way, they reach the exact same place where the accident had happened, and there the bus is hijacked by a group of gunmen who were seen earlier. The gunmen are basically trying to get away from police and cross the border with a collection of drugs which they hope to exchange for a good amount of money. For the same, they hope to keep the bus and the students with them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As the bus keep moving, the police are also after them, but with the bus in their control, they are able to keep themselves going. The man in charge of the operations is Commissioner Jayakumar IPS (Shyamaprasad). Now, as the teachers, Geetha (Devi Ajith) and Vinayan (Harikrishnan) are thrown out of the bus, the remaining students are Alisha (Sanjana Nair), Elsa (Keerthana Sreekumar), Chandrika (Keerthana P Kumar), Fiza (Abhirami), Bhoomi (Anagha Ravi) and Dwani (Parthavi Vinod), along with Anupama. Now they face the biggest problem in their life, as they realize that most probably, they won’t be going back home. Even though the police do find them, they are killed by the goons. Now, they have to take the matter into their hands and try to escape, but can they do it before time runs out?

The defence of Eighteen Hours :: There is some good experimentation in the form of a survival film here, and despite having some veteran actors in smaller roles in there, we have a lot of young blood at work, as there is some risk well taken around here. But as they all come up with pretty good performances, and with the atmosphere being used very well, film turns out to be effective. The background music is effective, and there is one good song to add to it. The camera work is fantastic, and there are some fine visuals of the forest, even though the focus actually shifts in between, which affects that possibility. Almost all of the film is focused on a forest, or semi-forest area, which is a big bonus for this kind of a theme, even though more adventures through the forest would have been preferred. The final moments also bring a twist, and has hope for a possible sequel, which turned out to be a nice idea, as this film was too short with its length.

The claws of flaw :: The film doesn’t utilize all the elements to its best advantage, even though the scope was for much more – when you get people being kidnapped with the setting in the forest, you know that the possibilities are endless. After all, a forest in nobody’s permanent ally, and it doesn’t matter what your age, gender or social and economic status used to be – a criminal or an innocent, forest has its say. We have seen similar hostage situations in films before, but this one in a more stylish take on the same, with no saviours and no planning, going rather ruthlessly at it, and in a contemporary world with drug-based crimes increasing, one would expect similar things to happen more than they used to be – COVID-19 has left people highly unstable, unpredictable and ready for anything. With a run-time of just more than one and half hours, it doesn’t establish the background story that much. It could have also used more fighting sequences, along with some extra running around and hiding – this should have focused more on escaping and hiding, but it is less in comparison.

Performers of the soul :: Indu Thampy plays the leading character here, and keeps things going, as she only gains strength. The elements of Type 1 Diabetic are nicely incorporated here, as she is supposed to be playing a character with the same health problem which she has in life, and she has some action sequences which are managed really well. Among the veteran actors, only Shyamaprasad gets something to perform here, and he plays the character well when focused on him. He has good scope in playing a senior police officer, as it is shown here. We have all loved him for his skills as a director, and one has to feel that Hollywood touch which was in Ivide and Hey Jude also being reflected here as far as style is concerned. Even he has a small role to play in his films, he has always made that memorable, and it is the same case here. We had last seen him as an actor this year itself, in Chathur Mukham, and we also remember his role in Ranam, another underrated film with its own moments of glory.

Further performers of the soul :: Vijay Babu has an even smaller role even though we feel that this was going to be a bigger role from how it goes in the beginning, while Sudheer Karamana’s work is unfortunately too small for our liking, as we all expected him to make a comeback at later stages as part of the search for the bus. One has to wonder why they needed other police officers to the lead other teams when the latter was there to make an impact. Lengthier presence of such actors were required, but I guess that they can be used better in a possible sequel in the future. The newcomers do handle the work well though. While the villains do suit their role, the girls do their job really well, and considering the fact that this is the first film for most of the cast around here, everything goes very much nicely. For a number of these performers, there will be more roles coming, and bright future is there for at least some of them, depending on how things would go in their next films. Former Miss India, Mansi Sehgal is also here in a cameo.

How it finishes :: Eighteen Hours, despite missing the chance to go higher, has its own merits running through it. It should be the belief in its strengths that made sure that this one had its release not in the theatres, but on Mazhavil Manorama as well as the app, Manorama Max. With less resources and also with a lot of newcomers, the film has managed enough to be entertaining in an atmosphere which seems to make the most out of it. Even when the film seems to struggle, it manages to raise its bar later, and just like its protagonists, the movie doesn’t give up, and goes on to bring a surprise in the end. The director’s best known film was Salt Mango Tree, along with other familiar titles like Thrissur Pooram and Escape from Uganda, but this film, even though without the big names playing major roles, gets to be better, and can inspire even better flicks like this. It adds on as another interesting release during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, coming straight to home.

Release date: 1st August 2021 (Mazhavil Manorama and Manorama MAX)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Nair
Starring: Indu Thampy, Vijay Babu, Sudheer Karamana, Shyamaprasad, Advaith Ajay, Harikrishnan, Krishnan Balakrishnan, Devi Ajith, Vimal Vijay, Sanjana Nair, Keerthana Sreekumar, Keerthana P Kumar, Abhirami, Anagha Ravi, Parthavi Vinod, Mansi Sehgal

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Toofaan

What is the movie about? :: There are some usual days in the big city, as Aziz Ali a.k.a. Ajju Bhai (Farhan Akhtar) is fighting in the streets – there is no hesitation for him in going on beating people mercilessly, and even getting beaten up in the process. After the fight, and after being hit on the head during the process, he goes to hospital where Dr Ananya (Mrunal Thakur) asks them to get out, as she doesn’t want to treat gangsters who keep causing trouble in the city. Soon, Ali begins to develop an interest in boxing, which seems unusual in the beginning for his friends, but he is indeed very serious about it. Even though he has the strength, and wants to keep fighting, lacks the accuracy and technique. It is the same reason why he goes on a trial without any plan, and gets beaten by perfect shots from the seemingly weaker opponent despite going strong in the initial stages. Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal) is the coach who makes the difference around there, and Ali hopes that he could train with him some day, and become a great boxer like Muhammed Ali.

So, what happens with the events here? :: It turns out that Nana is the father of Ananya, and after some continuous attempts, decides to take him in, much to his own surprise. But it takes a lot of time and effort to gain the next level of his attention. He has to spend most of his time fighting the lower level of boxers, and he keeps training at all times, leaving his recent life behind. He is very quick to go through the next steps, and at the state level, he is given the title “toofaan” while going through the state championships, quite an easy path to the finals. But things won’t go that easy when Nana finds out that Ananya is in love with Ali. He no longer wants to do anything with any of the two, and Ananya decides to leave their home. This brings the twist, and the later stages of life now has to be dealt in a different manner. But the journey forward won’t be easy for them, and it will make them take some desperate actions in the process, which wouldn’t provide the best results. Yet, they have to make sure that they did make a good attempt.

The defence of Toofan :: As this is a sports drama based on boxing, there is no shortage of action around here, and the fights don’t begin in the ring as far as this particular film is concerned, as the underdog, as expected, had to come from the streets. It is the kind of idea that never gets old, as everyone loves comebacks, not just of one kind, but of different styles. The pattern seems perfect here, and there is the inspirational element at work, even though too much of motivation cannot be good. The emotional moments are pretty much working, even though they are somewhat moving in an expected manner, and predictability is also there in the rest of the things – we still have our dose of inspiration, action and emotions. Some dialogues can be remembered, even though it is the trailer that has the best. The romantic side remains cute, even though often seeming like forced in here. We have watched films like Brothers, and so this one nicely holds on to similar idea with ease.

The claws of flaw :: The sports drama genre has had a lot of repetition in the past, and if you look at Malayalam film industry, there have been two, Finals and Kho Kho, which could deviate from the usual path of the sports drama movies. In comparison to these films, there is a lot of cliches in this one, and from the beginning itself, there are so many things which go on the predictable lines. The songs and dance steps also come out of nowhere, and it is time for the industry to keep them to minimum – they are not mandatory in any case. Having a movie like this without a romantic angle between the main characters was also a possibility here, and maybe that seemed to be too unusual a diversion against the safe path here. It is time that films like these go less predictable, and move out of pattern to bring a higher level of sports drama, for such an improvement is the need of the time – until then, we will adjust with this one in the usual model and hope for the better versions.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has to depend almost completely on Farhan Akhtar, as he is the one name that can bring the audience to this path to watch the flick. He has some fine moments for the audience, even though we have already seen a number of them before, in different forms. There are those happy moments and those highly emotional, sad moments. The moments in the boxing ring are indeed good ones too – those were expected though, as we have seen the trailers. The last movie I watched with him in the lead was Wazir, and that was indeed a good one – well, I haven’t been into Bollywood films much, and this is more a come back for me as a Bollywood film reviewer more than for anyone else. As his character does go for a comeback, the motivation stuff comes into the picture again. Well, sports drama has been meant for the same for a long time, and it is that spirit which Farhan Akhtar maintains here, and it is always better than rich people going on trips to Europe just because they have too much money and they can claim to reclaim their lives.

Further performers of the soul :: Paresh Rawal also does a great job as the boxing coach and trainer. Then, he is also that father figure who is to remembered in another way. As he has done many times, he does again, with emotional moments in this film. He remains completely natural in his act here. Mrunal Thakur is the usual leading lady, and goes through the romantic side that we keep seeing in similar films. She does have a lovely presence though, and plays nicely to the requirement of the movie, and there is lot of positivity brought here by her – she has the same in different stages of life. She would be even more suited for a feel-good movie, and with her face and expressions, is immensely suitable for the same kind of a film. She does remind one of Aditi Rao Hydari at some points. Vijay Raaz is the other most notable face, even though he is not there throughout the film. There are many other characters who nicely play along here, and they all become part of the whole – the signs of the same are present in the beginning itself.

How it finishes :: Toofaan adds to the long list of sports drama movies which have graced the Indian film industries, and does add some entertainment, even though there is no innovation regarding the same – we usually know what happens with the storylines of these films without thinking too much about the same. The thrills that the boxing sport provides is much more than any other, and in that way, this movie manages to come up with more, with the action background always having scope, while the emotional side comes up to add another angle here. With the release being postponed multiple times, and finally releasing in the OTT platform of Amazon Prime Video, it does have enough to keep us interested in the sports, and while the Malayalam movie Godha has us taken to the world of wrestling in a different way compared to Dangal, this one goes the boxing path, and when the sports which are less appreciated get some attention, it is always good. The first Bollywood film I watched after a long time did work for me here.

Release date: 16th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 161 minutes
Directed by: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Paresh Rawal, Mrunal Thakur, Vijay Raaz, Mohan Agashe, Hussain Dalal, Darshan Kumar, Supriya Pathak

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Malik

What is the movie about? :: Sulaiman Malik (Fahadh Faasil) is a leader of a coastal community consisting mostly of fishermen. He is taking a break from the usual activities, and is going for Hajj, when he is arrested by the police. In his coastal village of Ramadappilly, people begin an agitation. A strike is organized to demand his release, and a curfew is imposed on the area. Soon, there are riots in the streets, and the local people take on the police. It seems that there is a political game going on in the background, with corporates having a say in the same, as PA Aboobacker (Dileesh Pothan), the minister from the area also pretends that he knows nothing, and doesn’t support the request to provide some extra security to him in prison. At the same time, there are plans being made to finish Saulaiman in the prison itself, as the police hopes that this would end their troubles, and can finally bring peace to the seaside community.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Sulaiman has had a troublesome past, as he often got into trouble in school itself, and soon lands in the juvenile home, a place where he would have to go again. After dropping out from school with his best friend David Christudas (Vinay Forrt) and Peter Esthappan (Dinesh Prabhakar) he gets into smuggling with Aboobacker and Chandran (Nisthar Sait), who controls most of the happenings in the coast. But there is a rift between the groups, and they split. Sulaiman and David lead the young group which makes inroads into the business, and makes great profit at the expense of Chandran. Sulaiman falls in love with Roselin (Nimisha Sajayan), David’s sister who is the only one from the area who has studied in a college, but not many people know about this interest. At the same time, the new collector, Anwar Ali (Joju George) provides them help to start a new school. But all of a sudden, things take another twist, and Sulaiman develops into another kind of a leader, and it would change the whole equation, leading to the present events.

The defence of Malik :: Malik maintains a certain strength throughout its run, and even with its seemingly lighter moments, the same is maintained. The film goes through the strong message of political games running wild in the background, as everything seems to be planned by people in control, the government and the corporates which use religion for their own purposes, and it is more about the religious identity rather than God as long as it stays with them – of course, this is about the corporates who pay the politicians, especially those who are rather too rich. WH Auden had said about the same in his poem, Refugee Blues, on the plight of humans in comparison to animals and birds due to politicians. There are many threads of revenge and hatred which runs right through here, and some of them also takes some fine, memorable twists. The connections made here are also nice. Here, it has the struggles of the characters, and questions about who is right and who is wrong. It also takes on what happens in between everything, as something more than what meets the eye. The visuals are also really good here, as there are some fine shots of the sea and the surroundings.

Positives and negatives :: There is something that Malik seems to miss in between, some periods of time which could have been better shown here. The ending could have also been better, as the movie finishes without leaving the mark which was set earlier. In the end, there is the understanding that there is no hope, and this is where the movie seems to try and bring the beginning of a repetition. For a film which had this much of a grandeur in store, this kind of a finish doesn’t serve enough of the purpose. Maybe, the lack of triumph on the side of the common man is more or less a reflection of what actually happens in this world where the powerful will continue to reign, and it doesn’t matter who is at the helm. It does show how terrifying it will continue to be, as long as religion is in the hands of politicians, who are more of atheists rather than believers, from the way they use religion for their own advantages. Malik can surely use a more positive sequel too, even if far from reality.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has another film added to the long list of films that have made an impact. He was last seen on OTT, then too on Amazon Prime, with a wonderful performance in Joji, and this one also follows the same suite, but in a different way, as the characters go divergent in both cases. Here, he plays another strong character, and it has been one which the audience has been waiting for, since months ago – the movie has been getting delayed all the time for releasing in the theatres, and it has come to OTT, which is a perfect move, for Fahadh has his admirers everywhere. This performance from him will be listed among the big ones too. He has moments in different points of the main characters’ life, and all these time periods have something special from his side, for the audience to remember. Nimisha Sajayan who was last seen in Nayattu, also has a fine job to do here, which she manages to do without any struggle. She also has a strong role here, and the support that she provides is of high quality.

Further performers of the soul :: The next person who has our attention is Vinay Forrt, who gets into this role with ease. He adds a natural performance to the whole thing. Dileesh Pothan comes in, and plays a typical politician with his own sinister motives, and it is done naturally too. Indrans’ role of the police officer also becomes very much notable. Joju George also has some nice contribution to provide here, and he is supposed to be doing a role which was initially meant for Biju Menon. Dinesh Prabhakar is also here, adding to the totality. Appani Sarath and Sudhi Koppa have some contributions to provide here, and they do it well, only to have only a short stay there, when we were expecting something grand to be there. Salim Kumar also has a comparatively smaller role to do around here. There is the lesser known among the cast who have also done some nice job around here, and it includes Sanal Aman who played the character of Freddy, Parvathy Krishna who played the doctor, along with some police officers and people of the village.

How it finishes :: Malik was supposed to be one grand film to be released in theatre with all the grandeur that it deserved, and even its OTT release, the film maintains some of it. The wait has been worth it, when we look at the movie as a whole. The question would be still be about if it could have been more, as the expectations were that high, and there is the certainty of deviations from what was actually expected after watching the trailer. But the film is indeed strong, and with Fahadh Faasil and Nimisha Sajayan in the lead, you would expect that. Well, it is nice to see that it has finally released, because the same wouldn’t have happened in the theatres soon enough, and releasing something like Marakkar on the big screen will be a big risk even in the month of August, as we see where the COVID-19 numbers are going – it is certainly much above what was expected, and we don’t really see things getting safer with another possible wave on the way. Until then, we can also watch Cold Case, Mohan Kumar Fans, Kho Kho, Aarkkariyam etc among others on Prime again!

Release date: 15th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Mahesh Narayanan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Nimisha Sajayan, Joju George, Vinay Forrt, Dileesh Pothan, Anjusha CA, Divya Prabha, Amal Rajdev, Indrans, Jalaja, Salim Kumar, Appani Sarath, Sudhi Koppa, Devan, Dinesh Prabhakar, Rajesh Babu, Meenakshi Raveendran, Rajesh Sharma, Irshad, Abhijith Krishna, Nisthar Sait, Dev Mohan, Sanal Aman, Parvathy Krishna, Devaki Rajendran, Asif Yogi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chathur Mukham

What is the movie about? :: Clement (Alencier Ley Lopez) used to be a professor in the Kerala Agricultural University, and even though he has retired from service, has a certain amount of interest in science which can be matched by nobody else. Due to his skills in science, he is approached by Antony (Sunny Wayne) who wishes to talk to him about a certain kind of energy which can be associated with ghosts, but this time, he is trying to connect the same with science in one way or the other. Clement is a strong believer in science, but not in ghosts, and he is not ready to believe in Antony’s tale about energy in the form of ghosts. Then, Antony comes up with the full story about the woman who was haunted by ghosts, Thejaswini (Manju Warrier). She is someone who spends most of her time in the social media, and has everything related to her life posted on Instagram. She belongs to a new generation which believes that technology is an important part of life, and also that women needs to have education and financial independence before getting married.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Hailing from Kollam, she works with her old friend, Antony who has been running a CCTV business at Thiruvananthapuram as a new venture. Things seem to work out well for her until a strange incident occurs during a ritual at temple and she losses her phone in the temple pond. This leads to her deciding to go for another phone, and she hopes she can find the cheapest one with multimedia features. It is then that she comes across a special offer in a website which seems to have started only a few days ago. This is a type of phone belonging to a brand that nobody had heard about, and they guess that it is some kind of new Chinese device. She orders the same, and gets it only to find out that there is something strange about it. She finds out that there are messages going out of it without her consent, and she even gets electrocuted from the charger, but the mobile phone seems to have full charge even after a long time period of usage. Initially, she feels that only the selfie camera of the phone is the weaker link.

And what is to follow with the terrifying series of events? :: But there is much more to the mobile phone than what meets the eye. The sequence of events unfold in such a way that she becomes afraid of her own mobile phone. She tries to get rid of the phone multiple times, but it ends up being with her, or forces her to take it back in one way or the other. Even dropping the phone in the middle of the road or the temple pond doesn’t help. As the phone continues to come towards her and cause problems, she becomes confident that there is a ghost haunting the phone. She approaches a local magician, but the spirit scares him away too, and she is forced to live with the phone which seems to slowly taking her to death. Clement is still not convinced, and decides to see the woman anyway. But this leads them to a strange past that the mobile phone seems to have a strange and mysterious past, and it is not the only phone that belongs to the same category.

The defence of Chathur Mukham :: The film provides a good deviation from the usual horror films, with technology bringing the horror again, as it was surely tried before, but not with this much focus on science. The cinematography is one thing that increases the effectiveness of this film, as we can see them. These are not the usual horror settings, but the different ones which can provide the environment in a similar manner with variety. With the mobile phone at the centre, this doesn’t even need to have that much of the usual jump scares in action to bring the horror to the social media and the usual dose of technology. There is also the chance of a sequel which is left behind at the end. The special effects are used well enough, and there are some fine explanations to the horror which is added here too. Having Manju Warrier as the main character is also a good addition. With technology being an integral part of our lives, the ghost from technology is more relevant here in comparison to those spirits which wandered through cemeteries and old haunted houses.

The claws of flaw :: There are the usual kind of things which have been done before, and these repetitions bring us back to different films which we have seen before, like The Ring and The Final Destination series. The dramatic side is also not that effective in comparison, and some characters are just not used well enough. With the concept having the deviation, the film could have made it even more innovative, but by the end, film is moving more towards a safer side rather than anything else. It could have also focused on the background, or added more scares, which are not considered either. The ending could have also been better, because there was the chance for creating something grand. It could have also had some science fiction elements taking over in between, but that doesn’t happen, and the film could have also had more deaths, and more spreading of terror. When you have spirits in store within a mobile phone and when it has effect on technology and electricity, you know there are no limits that need to established – it could have run free.

Performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier leads the way in a horror film, and even though this genre is not unfamiliar to her, when we consider The Priest, this is time she faces the ghost, her own fears and death as a strong character. Sunny Wayne, just like he did in Sara’s and June, has the supporting role in another heroine-centered film, which he does in his usual way, being the second most important character around here. He doesn’t really have his moments this time though, but manages to hold on. Niranjana Anoop is unfortunately wasted in a small role here, and the character doesn’t even get killed by the ghost – a few others at least had moments in that way in comparison. The other actors who deserved more attention, including Rony David, Srikant Murali, Babu Annur etc also have their roles limited. Alencier Ley Lopez is the only other actor who comes into the spotlight, and this happens to be a nice change for him from the usual roles. Meanwhile, Shyamaprasad is notable in his small role, while mobile phone is definitely a character all by itself with its ghostly presence.

How it finishes :: Identified as techno horror, the film does have its moments. We have already had ghosts haunting electronic devices, especially mobile phones – the Bollywood film 3G was related to the same, and this one is certainly a better creation in comparison, even though it released eight years later. Pretham and Pretham 2 were also wanderings through the spiritual presence in technology. There are many things that make Chathur Mukham different though, and Manju Warrier is surely one of those elements. This one also works as a warning against the presence of technology in our lives. This is the kind of film which could have released on the OTT platforms much earlier – this delay has made the interest in the movie much lesser, and the fact that it didn’t release in Amazon Prime Video also contributes to that. Cold Case with its ghost in the refrigerator had already made the supernatural working online, and now we have this ghost to haunt the OTT, which it surely does pretty well.

Release date: 8th April 2021 (India), 8th July 2021 (ZEE 5)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Ranjeet Kamala Sankar, Salil V
Starring: Manju Warrier, Sunny Wayne, Alencier Ley Lopez, Rony David, Shyamaprasad, Niranjana Anoop, Babu Annur, Srikant Murali, Shaju Sreedhar, Kalabhavan Prajod, Balaji Sarma, Navas Vallikkunnu, Saranjith

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.