Shang-Chi

Vampire Owl: Let me know when Marvel has actually finished with the superheroes.

Vampire Bat: You do think that it is a possibility?

Vampire Owl: Yes, everything comes to an end, in one way or the other.

Vampire Bat: Not everything. We are immortals, so you should know.

Vampire Owl: Marvel is not immortal. There are no vampires among them.

Vampire Bat: There are vampiric superheroes and villains though.

Vampire Owl: But they are not real, you know.

Vampire Bat: They don’t consider us as real either.

Vampire Owl: Who cares about the evil humans think about?

Vampire Bat: We should care about them as they possess the evil of science, and sooner or later, they will come to get us through that portal on the north.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung) had discovered the mystical power of ten rings which granted immortality and the strength resembling a god. He could have used these powers for the good, but instead had chosen to get richer and even stronger, being left with almost nothing to conquer as he had all nations under his control directly or indirectly, within a few years. Later in the 1990s, he travels to a magical forest, which he also required to be in his control. Therem he is stopped by the guardian of the forest, Ying Li (Fala Chen), who stops him, and the two ends up falling in love. As he is not accepted in the village, the two leaves the village and returns to the city. Back to the present, Xu Shang-Chi a.k.a. Shaun (Simu Liu) has grown up, and is best friends with Katy (Awkwafina), both now living carefree life at San Francisco in the United States. They do valet parking for a living, and Shaun doesn’t want to remember much of his martial arts training of early childhood as things seem to go in a natural way in the city.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, he is attacked by a group of assassins on a bus. The attackers take his pendant, and he does feel that he need to find his sister, Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), and save her. Even though he decides to run away soon, Katy manages to convince him and accompany him on the journey after the awakening on a darker past. As he reaches the place where Xu is staying, she turns out to be a thankless moron of a sister, who forces him into a battle with her, which she cheats to win. She also abandons him to fight on his own, until she finally has a change of heart to become less of a deserter. Now, it seems that it was their father who had sent these people to take the two pendants, which he wants to use for some strange and evil plan. But Xu is that kind of a person who feels that she will build her own empire that rivals her father’s, and Shaun would be caught between the two, not looking forward to goodness in anyway.

And what more is to be added to this world of possible chaos and destruction? :: It doesn’t matter how much they fight, as the father finally returns to take them to their original home, and make his son the grand successor, and the holder of the ten rings. Wenwu who wishes to reunite the family again, uses the pendants to bring to life, a magical map leading to that old, enchanted forest – Ta Lo. He tells them that he feels that he could hear his wife calling from the village where he has been held captive. He intends to make them release her, or he will burn the village to the ground. But the two children don’t really have anything to do with it, and they are locked up in the dungeons. There, they meet a former actor who was imprisoned for impersonating Wenwu. There, they find a possibility for some future plans, as there is a magical creature which can lead them to the magical forest through an easier path, which is a little bit too dangerous though. Can they get there before the evil father does?

The defence of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings :: There is a lot of action around here, as one would expect from a movie like this. The same is nicely supported by the visuals and the special effects contribute very well. The final battle with the dragon is so much full of grandeur. There are also some nice details with the magical world and the fantasy creatures present in the village which has all the most beautiful secrets that we find around on the screen. It is the kind of mythological and magical world which we connect with the medieval model with castles and dungeons like so many of the films from Hollywood have done so far. This is the divergent one in that case, and we never really have enough of this. Well, the world surely needs to be different in each and every case, and that would provide us with the feeling of seeing a different civilization every time with its own attributes in Age of Empires and its sequels, or different magical races in Age of Wonders and its sequels. Nowadays, globalization has brought too many similarities, making landscapes looking so similar to each other.

Positives and negatives :: As this movie is releasing rather late in comparison with the others, one can be sure that there are indeed repetitions which are to be found around here, even though there is a certain flavour added which makes them feel somewhat new. Yet, a little predictability will provide some resistance and won’t go away at all. There is always something about different worlds coming together, and evil trying to get into another realm to capture it – the same has been the idea of so many wonderful video games too. The father-son battle is also a usual thing, and even though repetitive as it is, there is something divergent about it for sure. Simu Liu nicely becomes the fine protagonist that we have all wanted around here, and Awkwafina as well as Meng’er Zhang comes up with some fine support in the process. Tony Leung makes a strong villain too, and he surely has more than what meets the eye. Florian Munteanu as Razor Fist also has his moments, and so do Michelle Yeoh and Fala Chen as the fighter motherly figures.

How it finishes :: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings keeps on moving the Marvel Cinematic Universe straight forward after Infinity War and Endgame provided us with what seemed to be a grand end. There is the feeling of something more magical about this particular movie than any other in the franchise, maybe with the one exception of Doctor Strange, which was all so much of magic and sorcery. You can only enjoy the beauty created by magic around here, instead of the science that has run through Avengers all the time and begged for attention. It is always nice to see magic having the upper hand over science, which has been all about war, death and terror. After all, the Corona virus is also a product of science, and we have failed to stop it completely. The mythology of the Dark Gate and The Great Protector told in this movie also further helps in understanding the terrible nature of humanity, and how the whole world should be a better place without their ambitions and hatred that always prevails.

Release date: 3rd September 2021
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
Starring: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, Tony Leung

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Old

Vampire Owl: I wonder if they are trying to say that Uncle Dracula is old.

Vampire Bat: Everybody knows that he is very old.

Vampire Owl: But nobody ever dares to mention that.

Vampire Bat: Why should they keep mentioning that when it is well-known?

Vampire Owl: There might be vampire apprentices who wish to know.

Vampire Bat: They are have joined as vampire apprentices because they know.

Vampire Owl: They still don’t know enough, do they?

Vampire Bat: Well, you can’t expect them to know that much until they reach the next level.

Vampire Owl: You know that Uncle Dracula is planning to dismiss those partial vampires before reaching the next level, so that he doesn’t have to give them a bigger salary.

Vampire Bat: It is expected from the oldest miser in the realm. His habit goes back by so many centuries and vampire resurrections.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of mint tea].

What is the movie about? :: Guy Cappa (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Prisca Cappa (Vicky Krieps) are going through a situation which makes a divorce on the way. They decide to go on a vacation with their children Maddox Cappa (Thomasin McKenzie and Embeth Davidtz) and Trent Cappa (Alex Wolff and Emun Elliott) for the one last time, and then talk to them about the upcoming separation. Prisca does seem to have a medical condition, but is adamant about the divorce. The family is treated very well at the beach resort which they visit, and the children are really happy to be there, despite having to listen to their parents shouting at each other regularly. The next morning, the manager of the resort invites the family to a beach located further away, where not many people goes. They are taken to the area with a few others, who also join them on the journey. The others are also really happy to be there, as it seems like a really beautiful area, with no rush at all, a world where they could actually do whatever they wanted.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: But the place doesn’t seem to be that serene as they had thought earlier, and earlier told by the van driver (M Night Shyamalan), who is not ready to come to the beach with them, even though the tourists surely need some help. They find a fully naked woman (Alejandra Useche) in the sea, and they soon realize that it is a dead body. Agnes (Kathleen Chalfant), who is oldest member of the group dies, and the children quickly turn into teenagers, making them difficult to recognize even for their parents. Kara (Eliza Scanlen), the smallest among children come up with the biggest surprise. At first, it seems like a problem with the kids, and the old woman seems to be just having those old-age diseases. But it soon seems that everyone there are aging rapidly, like one year in every thirty minutes. They try to get out of there, but ends up having blackouts and waking up where they had started. Almost everyone out there seems to have a medical condition out there. When they have injuries, they quickly heals. The dog out there also dies.

What more would happen in a situation from where there might be no escape? :: Jarin Carmichael (Ken Leung) and Patricia Carmichael (Nikki Amuka-Bird) are from the medical field, but they don’t seem to have any clue about what has been happening. Brendan (Aaron Pierre), a famous rapper is also there, but it seems that he has been there for longer than any of them, and has no clue about what is happening around there. Prisca is revealed to have cancer in her stomach, which also grows very quickly, and it has to be taken out. Charles (Rufus Sewell), a surgeon with schizophrenia is the only person who seems to be qualified enough to save her, but is not in a state which will prove to be helpful to anyone. His wife and Kara’s mother Chrystal (Abbey Lee) has low calcium level and is continuously suffering as she gets older. They think about swimming all the way around the beach, but that seems to be a really difficult task, and a person had already died while swimming.
Climbing the steep hills also seems to be a difficult task, as they are not really the healthy adults required at the stage. Now, is there a way out before all of them will be dying soon enough?

The defence of Old :: M Night Shyamalan always has something different for us, and he seems to choose from such topics or materials which possess such a scope. This seems like a divergent thriller for sure, and has some interesting moments in the form of not just an adventure and struggle for survival, but also as a distant science fiction. As it nicely moves towards what awaits us, we are surely engaged early. The strange incidents at the beach also keeps us guessing, and the characters from different backgrounds nicely adds to the same. Along with the same, the scenery is nothing less than enchanting, and it surely feels like that unexplored beach which we really needs to explore, even if it means that we are all going to get older quickly and die around there. Well, all of those rich celebrities having crores which they need to somewhere might really want to check out this place – after all, they escape nicely from India whenever there is a problem here. In the current situation, being a big film star, cricketer, politician or political businessman is necessary to survive around here, unless you are a government-salaried employee.

Positives and negatives :: The execution cannot be considered as that perfect, as there seems to be some problem with how it has been edited, and regarding how a few things seems to be intentionally left out, but as we see the aging process done so well, there is a lot of smartness involved. Some dialogues also seem to be strange, and a few male characters seem rather unnecessary in comparison to the female characters who come up with something to note throughout the movie’s run. There could have also been something special added around here, as it is a movie set on a strange beach. But none of these seem to matter when we look at the entertainment level of the flick. The best performers here are the children jumping to their teenage – Thomasin McKenzie, Alex Wolff and Eliza Scanlen are the ones we look out for, as they deal with their too quick a jump. Vicky Krieps and Gael Garcia Bernal makes a good couple around here too. Abbey Lee’s work is also notable, as she plays one character who has always been in trouble. In the end, the movie seems to come up with the message that we don’t really have that much time as we think in our lives, and it is always best to do what we need to do as early as possible – instead of gaining regret late.

How it finishes :: M Night Shyamalan seems to be the right kind of director who comes up with the movies which feels so beautifully strange – the last one I remember is The Visit, a movie which remained divergently different in its own way and style. We also remember how well he managed to finish with the two movies of one interesting series, Split and Glass, with some special qualities. This one is based on Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy, which he received as a gift for the Father’s Day a few years ago. Even though most of us do not know that much about the original work, we can be sure that he has managed to recreate the world in his way, as he has done in many other films. Well, if Shyamalan would do a movie on Corona virus pandemic, that would be very special, unlike any other film on the same topic. When we consider the same, we know that this movie surely has something special from his imagination, adding to the original material – as we won’t be reading that one, for now we will just have to think it is so, and enjoy the very interesting adventure here.

Release date: 23rd July 2021
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: M Night Shyamalan
Starring: Vicky Krieps, Gael Garcia Bernal, Abbey Lee, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, Aaron Pierre, Embeth Davidtz, Emun Elliott, Alejandra Useche, M Night Shyamalan

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Soul of the Dragon

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Uncle Dracula once owned a dragon?

Vampire Bat: Vampires don’t own dragons. The sorcerers do.

Vampire Owl: Well, with the rise of the witches, there are not many left.

Vampire Bat: At least, the necromancers live well with the zombies.

Vampire Owl: You should know that the dragons lived in the dungeons of this castle.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about a legend spread by the villagers.

Vampire Owl: Dr Frankenstein has assured me that it is true.

Vampire Bat: Well, he is one scientist who knows nothing.

Vampire Owl: You don’t know the doctor enough.

Vampire Bat: Well, I know Mr Frankenstein well enough.

[Gets a paneer biriyani and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (David Giuntoli) has a visit from Richard Dragon (Mark Dacascos), an old from a very long time ago, and Bruce is very glad to see him again, but they are attacked by some strangers with axes in their hands. It is then revealed that before he became the vigilante crime fighter known to the world as Batman, he had traveled to Nanda Parbat, a secret monastery in the Hindu Kush area of the Himalayas where he received training in martial arts. There, he was trained by the master of the arts, O-Sensei (James Hong), along with other students, and Richard was one of them. The others included Lady Shiva (Kelly Hu), Ben Turner (Michael Jai White), Jade Nguyen (Jamie Chung) and Rip Jagger (Chris Cox), who are supposed to among his best students – those who are already well-trained in the art. Bruce decides to train among them despite the doubts being present there. He had also learned to control his emotions and redirect them efficiently, along with using the darkness to his advantage.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: O-Sensei bestows upon Shiva, the responsibility of guarding a Muramasa sword called Soul Breaker, after Rip who also claims the same is defeated by her with ease. But Rip has other plans with the sword. He takes the sword, murders Jade who seems to blindly trust him with everything, and ends up opening a portal with the weapon. The area has a magical gate which is guarded by the master, and it would open this portal to world of the serpent god who is mentioned more as a demon, Naga. They had closed the gate once after a long fight against the giant serpents, but not without the sacrifices which had to be made including that of the master himself. Richard had discovered that the millionaire Jeffrey Burr (Josh Keaton) who leads a cult based on snakes named Kobra had taken control of the gate, and hopes to stop him and his allies at any cost. The strangers who attacked them were also mercenaries sent by him, and were expected to stop any progress.

And what more is to be offered here with the bat and his people on the hunt? :: They look for allies, and also hope to find and protect the sword before it is used to open the gate to the other world. For the same, they travel all the way to the Chinatown in Gotham where Shiva who is still in possession of the sword, and is controlling the world of crime out there. Batman is aligned to the opposite side of the law, but she is only happy to see a good friend again. But they are attacked by a bigger group of trained cultists, and the sword is also taken. The cult now owns a highly fortified island where they hope to open the gate using the sword and along with the same, sacrifice a number of kidnapped children. Now, they have to think differently to stop the worst from happening. They do find Ben and manage to make him a part of the team. But will they be enough to stop the evil from spreading? Are they fast enough to make the difference around here? Can Bruce Wayne contribute to all of these better as the Batman with all the equipment?

The defence of Batman: Soul of the Dragon :: There is something divergent about this particular animated movie that we see as following a different path. We do have the feeling of watching something nostalgic around here, reminding us of the animated series which came in the television, and this one surely has a lot of action along with some nice background music to go with it. You know that there is something about those times which we would wish to remember. The memories of the old kung-fu and karate movies also seem to come back to us to make an impact. It seems that there is also the chance to bring a sequel which can prove to be better than the original – a lot of action seems to be waiting to be unleashed, as we look at the final moments. With a short run-time that goes even below one and half hours, there is no drag in this particular movie as it keeps on going quick and smooth throughout its run. The antagonist of this movie serves really well as the one force of another world which seems to be near impossible to stop.

The claws of flaw :: There is not that much of a strength as in a Batman movie, whether as a detective or a superhero thing; for this one chooses a different path in comparison. It is certainly not the kind of DC movie which is expected too. The title is rather misleading as this is not really about Batman, as not just battle is shared – we just have the superhero in this movie which belongs more to the other characters. Well, Batman seems to be more like the guest who has decided to stay and own parts of the flick. The myth on the demon could have also been used in a better way. This also changes the Batman a little too much than what we know from the other movies, and that feels strange as so many things about our dark superhero seems to go some other way. When you have Batman in what feels more like a martial arts movie, this is expected, but the question still remains if it is what the fans of Gotham’s favourite vigilante would want. Well, you have supernatural forces, and Batman is also forced to go Mortal Kombat against them instead of being himself.

How it finishes :: Batman: Soul of the Dragon reminds one of the many interesting animated movies which DC has come up with in the last few years. Justice Society: World War II, Batman: The Long Halloween Part One and Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two are a few of them which made the impact earlier, and there are a lot of more of them which seems to be ready to contribute further to the world of the live-action, supplementing Aquaman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and everyone around. While Marvel doesn’t seem to have these, DC surely has managed to keep one in the animated world too. Well, we know that animated superheroes have been our first love, and any reminder of the same only helps things further. We are all waiting for the bigger movies from DC, and there is no shortage of love for superheroes. After all, there is none in real life, as the only people who are termed super in our world are the most evil among them all.

Release date: 12th January 2021
Running time: 83 minutes
Directed by: Sam Liu
Starring: David Giuntoli, Kelly Hu, Jamie Chung, Mark Dacascos, Michael Jai White, James Hong, Josh Keaton

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Venom: Carnage

Vampire Owl: Here is someone who seems to be close enough to vampirism.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that he is closer to zombies than vampires.

Vampire Owl: You are saying so just because he eats brains.

Vampire Bat: We never really evolved in that way, did we?

Vampire Owl: Well, zombies also have blood in their own way while eating brains.

Vampire Bat: It is only a little bit of blood. That won’t count.

Vampire Owl: If we were blood-starved, that would have surely counted.

Vampire Bat: We have evolved enough to go vegetarian when required.

Vampire Owl: Such a requirement is shame to us vampires though.

Vampire Bat: We have had enough control over blood-thirst for centuries now.

[Gets a paneer puffs and three glasses of pista shake].

What is the movie about? :: In an early flashback, we see that a girl is taken away from St. Estes Home for Unwanted Children to a more secure place known as the Ravencroft Institute, as she seems to have special powers related to sound. One of the boys in the children’s home seems to resist the same, but he is helpless against the decision made by the authorities. As she uses her supersound sonic scream powers to attack young police officer, he shoots her in the eye and believes that he killed her. But the girl remains alive, and she is taken to Ravencroft where her abilities are restricted with the use of advanced science and technology, while she remains angry at everyone in the absence of her one eye. Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) grows up from that boy in the children’s home to become a serial killer whom everyone would be afraid of. He had promised carnage in the first movie, and has something special in his mind as he calls for Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom (Tom Hardy) to the cell where he is imprisoned.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Many years have passed since humans explored space and other planets for new habitable worlds, and a comet covered in symbiotic lifeforms was discovered, among which all are believed to have been destroyed, the only exception being Venom who lives with Eddie in secret. Venom is still not happy about Eddie not allowing him to eat enough people and devour their brains. Detective Patrick Mulligan (Stephen Graham) allows Eddie to make a visit to Cletus as he hopes to somehow get some information about the victims of the serial killer. As Eddie speaks to the serial killer as a journalist, Venom manages to discover the area where the corpses of the victims are hidden, from the drawings in his cell, this giving the man a huge boost in the career of journalism like never before. At the same time, Eddie’s former girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) gets engaged to Dan Lewis (Reid Scott), an act which both the human and the symbiote seem to dislike.

And what more can happen as carnage also has its say in a world of chaos? :: Despite Venom’s warning, Eddie decides to accept Cletus’ invitation to visit him one last time, as he will be put to death with the bodies being found. As Cletus mocks and insults Eddie, Venom unleashes himself, and gets bitten by Cletus who tries to escape. The part of the symbiote which gets inside Cletus seems to have its effects. At the same time, back home, Eddie and Venom get into a heated argument about having the freedom to eat criminals, which leads to them attacking each other and going on their separate ways, as the latter feels insulted. As Cletus’ execution is about the begin, a red symbiote emerges out of him, and goes on to attack everyone in the prison, and a number of inmates also escape in the process. This new symbiote known as Carnage agrees to help Cletus in breaking his love out of the institute in exchange for his help in eliminating the original symbiote, Venom from which he was born, thus making him all-powerful in the process. Can the now separate Venom and Eddie unite to stop them?

The defence of Venom: Let there Be Carnage :: A fine performance from Tom Hardy enhances the movie well, and Michelle Williams contributes nicely. Woody Harrelson also becomes a strong villain, thus elevating the level of the film. Stephen Graham also plays a fine detective in between, and might have scope for more in a possible sequel. The special effects are splendid, and it has to be looked at by some dumb mass masala movies around here which claim to have Hollywood-like effects, but has nothing in comparison. The action is very much effective, and two symbiotes fighting each other is indeed a fine sight to behold. The ending does leave scope for a sequel with Venom joining Spider-Man and team sooner or later. With its shorter run-time, this one never goes on the drag as the anti-hero turning superhero had lots of opportunities to stretch this one – keeping the romance to minimum was indeed a boon. The shots of the city are nicely done, and the emergence and transformations of alien symbiotes remain cool at all times. The quality maintained here makes sure that the whole thing will always remain better than Deadpool.

The claws of flaw :: Venom: Let there Be Carnage had opportunities to make it more interesting and at a bigger level with the grandeur on the screen. There are moments when the film does feel rather repetitive, a nature which could have been avoided as we have an alien at the centre of everything. Just like the first film, this one also has a very much a similar villain, another thing of symbiotic and alien nature, even though a better antagonist stays inside it. The movie could have used its humour in a better way, as the creature which decided to stay could have contributed a lot to comedy. The serial killer could have also had more role to play as himself by taking over the alien creature. After the first few minutes, it does take some time to get to the interesting parts, and it also lacks the scares which could have come up with the dangerous aliens. The predictable elements could have been avoided by adding a few twists here and there, or having some deviations at certain areas – after all, we have had so much of similar superhuman stuff in the past.

How it finishes :: Venom: Let there Be Carnage continues the action from the first movie, and even makes it better. While watching the original, one had a certain amount of doubt if this could be made better, but the second movie here has made it possible. The idea of Venom has managed to level up with its symbiotic relationship with the protagonist. With the Infinity War and Endgame finishing off the Avengers for good, we have been in need of more superheroes of quality, and this one nicely fills in that gap, coming years after the release of the first movie. There are the strong action sequences and the emerging fight against a strong villain which will keep us interested at all times. It is always to see the one person whom we have watched only as a villain in those early 2000s Spidey movies coming back to make an impact while saving the world. This one only makes us hope for more sequels as well as more entries in the franchise in relation to this.

Release date: 1st October 2021 (Theatre); 1st March 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Andy Serkis
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Woody Harrelson, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, Peggy Lu, Sian Webber

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Red Notice

Vampire Owl: I am also sending a bloody notice.

Vampire Bat: A red notice doesn’t really mean that it is bloody.

Vampire Owl: A thing of red colour can always have blood added to it.

Vampire Bat: It is supposed to be an international alert circulated by Interpol.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about any notice, which is red in colour.

Vampire Bat: It is still with information about crimes, criminals and threats.

Vampire Owl: The vampire blood moon event also has a red notice.

Vampire Bat: It is not a red notice. It is pasted with red colour directed on it.

Vampire Owl: That still makes it a notice in red.

Vampire Bat: Now, you are clearly talking like a zombie without brain.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: The tale of the Roman general Mark Antony, who fell in love with the enchanting Egyptian queen, Cleopatra is well known, as the two had taken their own lives instead of being defeated and captured, thus forced to live without each other and their world. gifts He had gifted Cleopatra three jeweled eggs as a wedding gift symbolizing their love. The eggs are lost until two are found by a farmer near Cairo in 1907, but there is still no information about the last egg. In the present, Special Agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson), is working as a criminal profiler for the FBI. He is assigned to help Interpol agent Urvashi Das (Ritu Arya) in investigating the possible theft of one of the eggs at Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome. The head of the security in the museum feels that the concern is useless, as the security there is too heavy for anyone to make an impact. But John proves the egg there is not real, and it has been forged. The security seals all doors, but Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) manages to get out of the room.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Despite all the chasing which follows, Nolan is finally captured by John in Bali, with clues from another art thief. But soon, it turns out that the other thief had other plans – the original egg has been replaced once again, and has John presented as the one who is behind all of these, with an eight million transferred to his account, and disguising as FBI office. Urvashi who considers herself to be too smart, is easily fooled by this, and has him taken to the Russian prison where Nolan was already imprisoned. In the prison, the other art thief Sarah Black, known to most people as The Bishop (Gal Gadot) meets them, and her offer to steal the second egg and find the third egg is declined by Nolan. The two becomes determined to get to the second egg before she does, and plans an escape, which is successful, more due to luck than anything else. When the two of them reach the location of the second egg, which is the home of an arms dealer, they also find Sarah there. Now how will the race to the eggs of Cleopatra go, and who will have the final laugh?

The defence of Red Notice :: If looked close, Red Notice is the kind of fun-packed entertainer that you watch on the big screen without thinking much about it. The film does maintain the whole thing where it should be, and mostly manages not to overdo the same. It focuses on the major things, and doesn’t make things complicated at any point, making sure that anyone can watch this film at any point of time, without the stress, and without having to think too much. The straight-forward action remains strong at all times. You get to see some big fights on many occasions, and the Gal Gadot action sequences are among the best of them. Everyone seems to get an equal dose of action scenes to perform too. The heist scene is also interesting, even though there could have been more of similar moments. The visuals of different places at different parts of the world are also stunning. We get to see different cities of different countries with all the charm that they have, and the visual beauty has been maintained until the very last scene of the movie.

The claws of flaw :: Red Notice is surely not a movie which tries hard enough to go out of the usual, and nothing innovative or special can be seen here. We have the usual action going on as the main character go on the heist. The major characters could have also been established better – maybe except for the Ryan Reynolds’ character, which seems to be there for one purpose, and the backstory is also somewhat rightly told. It could have also had more heist sequences with some smarter moments added to it, as well as more outdoor fighting sequences to get better pictures of the cities where the protagonist go. The humour is only somewhat working, and it is unlike the usual works featuring the main characters. It seems that Hollywood is also somewhat running out of ideas as far as innovation is concerned, and holding itself very high over the highly talentless and brainless list in Bollywood is not really an achievement. There is surely the need to try harder, get rid of the silly jokes and fights, to keep the good ones, and add better creative imagination.

The performers of the soul :: Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. The Rock gets things going strong and entertaining as usual. There is almost no movie where you don’t expect him to do what he has been doing the best in style – we remember what he has been doing with WWE too, and he never lags with entertaining the viewers. Whether it is Jumanji, Hercules, Journey to the Mysterious Island, Central Intelligence, Hobbs and Shaw or the whole of the later Fast and Furious franchise, we know what he is capable of, and how well he has been doing the same. There is no doubt about him achieving the same here too. Yet, one has the feeling that this had to be more focused on him rather than dividing this between all of them. Ryan Reynolds do a similar thing like he has been doing in Deadpool and its sequel – even though the humour is not that dark here, there is nothing that divergent in this character either, which he seems to have no problem playing. Gal Gadot is once again the wonder woman here, and she has a spear in one battle here too. She does a great job in a character which required more of a backstory. Then there is Ritu Arya who plays the cop who always losses, but she does that really well.

How it finishes :: The fact that Red Notice works with its entertainment is something to be happy about, but at the same time, one has to remember that Hollywood cannot go on with movies like these, without using more cerebral activity with innovative ideas. The regional movie industries are thinking more these days, and Red Notice is not of that much power to be standing tall against some original ideas which are not short of entertainment either. When you are looking for this kind of fun which takes over everything else, this is the movie for you – it doesn’t come up with the overdose of the same at any point, and hesitates to go the completely mindless Bollywood way. Red Notice is the kind of movie which will keep you interested and engaged, even without having that much of a new story to provide. You can watch it, be entertained, and then leave it behind. After all, you know that whenever the Rock is around, you cannot be disappointed – ask the WWE fans, and they will tell you the rest, whether your favourite wrestler is the Undertaker, Randy Orton, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, or anyone around.

Release date: 5th November 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds, Ritu Arya, Chris Diamantopoulos, Ivan Mbakop, Vincenzo Amato, Rafael Petardi, Daniel Bernhardt

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Don’t Breathe 2

Vampire Owl: Do you remember when was the last time we had gone on a trip that had visions that made us forget to breathe?

Vampire Bat: That was to the Lake of Blood, a long time ago.

Vampire Owl: It is actually called the Lake of Death.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but it has so much of blood, and we cannot avoid that name.

Vampire Owl: The trips have been banned for some time.

Vampire Bat: A trip to Munnar always makes things better.

Vampire Owl: You cannot always trust the highlands.

Vampire Bat: What about some lakeside time at Kumbalanghi?

Vampire Owl: Well, the only trip we might be getting is with corona virus.

Vampire Bat: That is more of a visit and not a trip.

[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Eight long years have passed after the incidents of the first film, and things have changed now. Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) the blind Navy SEAL veteran has recovered from his injuries, and now lives with his daughter Phoenix (Madelyn Grace) and a ferocious dog to take care of them and the property. He tells Phoenix that her mother had died in a terrible fire in their old house, after which he has been taking care of her. He keeps training her in the name of surviving. His only contact in the society is Hernandez (Stephanie Arcila), a former US Army Ranger and a good friend of Norman. She is the one who always takes Phoenix outside for some fun. It is the same time when a lot of news about abductions by organ trafficking gangs among others are coming up, and Norman feels that it is not safe at all. She finds Raylan (Brendan Sexton III) in the washroom, but he is scared away by the dog. But it seems that he doesn’t stop following her. Hernandez feels that the girl should be out more, and that Norman should stop thinking about his past wars and be nicer to people.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Hernandez feels that the man whom he had met earlier was just a weird man, and there is no shortage of such people in the area. But she comes up against the same person much later on the road, and feels that there is more to him than what meets the eye. Soon, she is killed while on the way back home, by the same people. Norman is against her going to school, choosing homeschooling over her meeting more people outside. Soon, a group of led by Raylan reaches their home, and after killing the dog, kidnaps the girl. He tells her that it is not him that she needs to be scare of, but the man next to her. He adds that he is her real father, and that the blind man took her home to replace his own dead daughter. She resists, but is choloroformed, while Norman is left to die after they set fire to the house. He escapes with the help of the dog which the intruders had brought with them. Even though Raylan was looking for his daughter, he does have another motive. What would that be?

The defence of Don’t Breathe 2 :: There are some fine action sequences with interesting use of darkness, as everything is set in two different buildings. The fight scenes have enough to stay in our minds, even though not as much as the first film. Some of the memorable scenes include the blind man’s use of the environment to survive and continue to combat against all odds – it is a much more difficult task for him in comparison to the first movie. The environment has been well-created, and you do feel that presence of evil at all times. Almost everyone in the film is evil, and it is a reminder of inherent human evil itself – you know that people need to be dead to be not evil anymore, as we don’t usually see good people around. The small number of people whom we meet here are reflections of the same evil, with some of them being a little evil, others more evil, and the rest being completely evil. The other characters are not present in the movie, and the girl remains the only hope for a deviation along with the children with whom she play at times.

The claws of flaw :: It is clear that this movie doesn’t maintain the quality of the first film, and it does struggle to live up to the novel idea and quality that it had maintained. The idea of transforming the blind man into saviour might not be interesting for everyone, and he also seems to do a little too much for a man for his situation. He doesn’t seem to have much of a way forward around, as far as the character is concerned – there is no strong motive to support a further character development, with material seemingly less in comparison to the earlier movie. The first film served better as a horror film focusing on survival, but this one moves too much away from that genre which served so well. With a grand change in the character, this is something which struggles to take control of the deviation well enough – maybe it requires another sequel to deal with that, but that would make one wonder what is to be done next. You know that there are better possibilities with horror characters like this one, but the studio seems to think in a different way so as to make the person useful as a protagonist instead.

The performers of the soul :: It is once again the performance of Stephen Lang as the blind man which keeps the movie going – he does seem to play a more tired person here though, as there seems to be a struggle here which is more than the first movie. With a drastic change coming upon the nature of the character, the man does take it with him well enough, even when that often leads to a struggle. He excels in the action scenes, and is good enough to take it to the next level, rising about the others who are part of the fights. Brendan Sexton III makes a pretty good antagonist, even though the idea focuses more on action rather than anything else. Madelyn Grace plays the child well, while Stephanie Arcila’s short presence is memorable enough. Christian Zagia plays a thug with a conscience pretty well. Even then, it is Fiona O’Shaughnessy who seems to be more evil than any other, as she is one mother whom the sons and daughters won’t appreciate for selflessness – there seems to be a certain amount of witch-likeness in her.

How it finishes :: The fans of the first movie will find it difficult to miss this movie, even though it is weaker in comparison the earlier flick. There is no real horror or the surprise element, but the film scores in action. An old and blind man with a special set of skills is someone of interest as he looks forward to save his daughter, and he is also an iconic character. The memories of the earlier movie also keeps us interested well enough. Among the horror movie sequels, this is the one which we have waited for, more than the other usual ones like The Conjuring, Annabelle, Insidious, Sinister etc. After all, Don’t Breathe had the skills to go divergent, and this one takes the path set by that particular movie. It means that you can be assured that this movie has a nice enough background to build on, and cannot go too wrong with this character at the core. Even though it didn’t release here in the theatres at that times, the movie is now available on Netflix, which is a fine relief for us, as we have been waiting for so long.

Release date: 18th December 2021 (Netflix); 13th August 2021 (USA)
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Rodo Sayagues
Starring: Stephen Lang, Madelyn Grace, Brendan Sexton III, Bobby Schofield, Adam Young, Stephanie Arcilla, Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Steffan Rhodri, Diaana Babnicova, Christian Zagia, Rocci Williams

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that they want the ghosts dead.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that vampires are not included in the list of ghosts.

Vampire Owl: So, they wish to kill us in some other movie.

Vampire Bat: Still, not as much as they have murdered their own kind.

Vampire Owl: That was not enough for an extinction event though.

Vampire Bat: Humans will be extinct sooner or later.

Vampire Owl: Have you checked all possible extinction events?

Vampire Bat: Yes, humans are part of nine thousand out of ten thousand of them.

Vampire Owl: They do have a fair chance to go extinct then.

Vampire Bat: Yes, good for the world around them, right?

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: It is shown that there is a hunt for a supernatural entity which leads to the death of the man who tried to trap the creature. This leads to his daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) inheriting the farm. As a single mother, she struggles to pay the rent for her apartment. Her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) are not that fond of the happenings around there. The three moves to the house with the farm which is passed on to them. The new town where they live seems to have earthquakes at all times despite having no seismic activity recorded – there is no volcano around, and not even some loud noise in this town where nothing much happens. Trevor is infatuated by Lucky Domingo (Celeste O’Connor) who works at a nearby diner, and seeing a vacancy there, joins the place for work. Meanwhile, Phoebe joins the class of Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), who is there just for the sake of it, and plays movies for the students.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She also meets Podcast (Logan Kim), another student who is interested in science as much as she is. The three becomes infatuated with a device which Phoebe finds at home, and it turns out to be a ghost trap. Gary who has been a fan of the Ghostbusters for a long time, tampers with the trap with the help of his students, releasing one of the spirits that scares them and immediately flies into the nearby closed mine – the locals used to believe that the place was haunted too. Callie and Gary seem to instantly attracted to each other as the three comes to the inherited home in the middle of nowhere to find clues related to ghosts. Meanwhile, Trevor and Lucky on a trip with their friends also come across a spirit which they seem to dismiss as some random smoke coming out of the abandoned mine as part of some natural process. But a word seems to stay stuck with them.

Now, where would the ghosts lead further in this tale? :: Soon, Phoebe discovers a secret laboratory underneath the outhouse on the side of their house, and it seems that there was more to her grandfather than what met the eye of the villagers who called him the dirt farmer who farmed nothing other than dirt. He was doing some special work indeed. It turns out that the ghost of the grandfather is still there, and he hopes that his grandchildren will take over the Ghostbusters procedures. Phoebe seems to be able to enjoy that prospect very much. But will the very young new generation be good enough to come with a new level of ghostbusting while working against all odds? With a new terrifying evil ready to be unleashed, how good can a group of kids leading a team be? With the evil predating everything that they know, how good can modernity work against such evil grandeur of ancient times?

The defence of Ghostbusters: Afterlife :: The movie would be very interesting for those who grew up watching the original movies of the 1980s – seems like some doses of nostalgia being in store here and there. The setting at a town in the middle of nowhere with some nice locations which are even more remote – things one get better from there. The humour works well in here too. The action is big enough, and there is a lot happening in the final stages with the fights going on against the creatures from the other world. The special effects are pretty well done, even though not with every ghost – the final demonic arrival is a sight to be appreciated though, with the background effects also playing some fine roles. Mckenna Grace remains the soul of this movie, and the one child ghostbuster that you are going to remember for long, with moments to remember. Carrie Coon – Paul Rudd moments also bring some unexpected fun. Celeste O’Connor – Finn Wolfhard team is also an enjoyable one around here.

The claws of flaw :: Anything that is specifically intended for the old fans of the franchise which started in the 1980s won’t work for us, as the series didn’t have much of a fan base in this part of the world which was more into those spirits of Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and others. It was also a reason for the reboot making no impact around here. This one which take place more than thirty years after the 1980s works seem to do better, but doesn’t make an impact around here either. Well, with The Conjuring having brought its own methods of hunting spirits, this method would surely seem less effective – this still seems to be twilight times of The Conjuring franchise and that brings some chance for another sequel. There could have also been some deviation from what seems to be less suited moments around here. It could have also been less inclined to be suitable for children, as ghosts have evolved enough during these days. The beginning stages also take some time to get going, thus stretching the movie to something above two hours.

How it finishes :: Ghostbusters: Afterlife works well with its elements, and seem to know the strength to use to the advantage – the same is done in most parts, even though the film doesn’t go on to become the perfect return vehicle for such ghosts of many people’s nostalgia. Not to be confused with Resident Evil: Afterlife, this movie has enough hunting of ghosts to keep us interested. With another sequel, much more can be achieved by this particular franchise, which seems to have enough family-friendly ghosts in action. Well, this is one film with ghosts which can be watched with all kinds of people as audience. One one side, we have The Conjuring, Insidious, Ouija, The Curse of La Llorna, Sinister, The Nun, Annabelle and team, and on the other side we have this one which is not really for the scares, but has its own ghosts to keep the haunting going strong. Well, as much as we need those other films, this one is in requirement too – no doubt about that.

Release date: 19th November 2021
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, Paul Rudd

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jungle Cruise

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time we went for a cruise in the river?

Vampire Bat: Are you talking about the journey through the River of Blood?

Vampire Owl: No, that was only a temporary river caused by the war with the werewolves.

Vampire Bat: The river still stands strong with the result of the new battles.

Vampire Owl: The blood in there is not enough even for Uncle Dracula on an eventful night.

Vampire Bat: Still, it is a river with blood.

Vampire Owl: There are other rivers which hold interesting red liquids.

Vampire Bat: You do think about a water world much different.

Vampire Owl: Yes, you have to respect the tradition of the water world.

Vampire Bat: We respect just the tradition of the blood around here.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: In the sixteenth century, a group of Spanish conquistadors had searched the interior jungles of South America for something known as the tears of the moon, which came from a lesser known tree. It was a very long search which went on for so many years that people actually got too tired about it. The flowers of this tree is supposed to cure a good number of illnesses and heal injuries, while even believed to be lifting curses according to the locals. After many people die in search of the special tree’s flowers, the tribal people help a few of them with the unexpected medicine brought out of the flower. When the conquistadors force them to reveal the location of the tree and then burns the village, the chief of the tribe curses them before dying, and all of them are forced to live there forever – near the Amazon river, and under the power of the jungle which watches them at all times. This might not be the best known of the legends surrounding Latin America, but in 1916, seems to be the one which has the attention of a little too many people.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Dr Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and MacGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall) are searching for the same thing more than anyone else. MacGregor presents his sister Lily’s paper at the Royal Society in London, which the audience feels is rather dumb. But at the same time, Lily is searching for an artifact which might be the key to finding the tree. She hopes that the flowers of the tree can actually save millions of people all around the world. She finds the artifact within the society house, while MacGregor had created the diversion. She also manages to escape the area, but not without gaining a lot of attention. While the scientists continue to consider it as a ridiculous myth, Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) of Prussia is very much determined to find the tree for the Germans. He has also done a lot of research related to it, and spent a lot of money. As the youngest son of the emperor, he is determined to get what he wants, at any costs, and even has a lot of troops, ships and even a submarine ready for him.

And what is to be added to the adventures around here? :: The scene shifts to Brazil – Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) is someone who has been offering cheap jungle cruises to people, and he has also added some fake theatrical danger events to make things look more alive and interesting. When Lily asks, Frank is hesitant at first, but agrees later, as he is desperately in need of money and had also looked for the flowers by himself a long time ago, before getting stuck there. After getting back his boat’s engine from the man who had lent him money, the three start the journey together, after evading the German submarines which come at them. But it is only the first problem that they have, as more troubles await them. There are the tribal people that await in the jungles as well as the dangerous animals. Along with the same, there are also those Spanish conquistadors who are caught in the forests to live forever in a terrible state. The Germans would also make a grand return. Are these people ready to face all the troubles that await in the path?

The defence of Jungle Cruise :: This movie once again brings a world which is full of adventure, and we also have the environment to be really good and suitable for the situations shown here. There is one world belonging to the jungle and river, as well as another one which goes further as we get close to the tree that serves as the destination. This world is that kind of place which we would really wish to visit for the natural beauty – the green world which is provided here only gets better as the movie progresses further. The journey is more or less taking us there to travel through the river and the mysteries that lies close to it, related to a curse. There is also some fine humour to add to it, and we don’t feel that we ever come short of the same. There is no better guarantee for entertainment than this movie, and it is basically a safe path for fun, suitable for all ages, and a perfect one for watching with family. We also have that memories of playing Tomb Raider and other related games with artifacts in the forests coming back to us.

Positives and negatives :: Whether it is Jumanji, Hobbs & Shaw or the rest of the Fast and the Furious series, The Rock a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson is the one actor whom we look forward to bring all the entertainment. The action and the humour sticks perfectly to him this time too, as the adventure only gets sharper for his character. He remains the muscle of the film, as he has been with so many other movies too. Whether in Edge of Tomorrow or A Quiet Place, Emily Blunt has the skill for some serious adventure, even though this one surely adds a certain funny side to it. She becomes the Tomb Raider of this particular movie, and a character like this never losses the charm. Edgar Ramirez also comes in nicely as one antagonist of the past. Jack Whitehall is more or less about the funny side. This is the kind of movie which one would love to watch in 3D, as there are so many elements which qualifies in making things better with visuals. Yet, the movie could have gone for a smarter progress with its myth, and it could have had more dangers being shown as part of the world. Some of the dialogues also seem to have come unnecessarily.

How it finishes :: Jungle Cruise stays close to its strengths and makes this one a very entertaining ride. The movie does know where it can stand without troubles. It doesn’t really try to move away from the safe zone in working with the content. It stays simple, and with the same, would attract all the audience with ease. This one is also the classic family friendly journey to which Dwayne Johnson is not a stranger – Journey to the Mysterious Island had provided something similar quite some time ago, as we remember such mysteries and legends getting the due. Well, you can always trust the Rock with that. The transportation to this particular world is done in a way that no kind of audience is left behind. It is the kind of world which can surely have an attraction in a theme park with its name. As we have not travelled that much in the last few years in the name of Corona virus and its restrictions, we are all going to have this virtual one.

Release date: 30th July 2021
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Theerppu

Vampire Owl: So, we get to watch another one on OTT.

Vampire Bat: Well, OTT can take much more.

Vampire Owl: Some of the best of Prithviraj has come on OTT.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why these platforms shouldn’t have the best.

Vampire Owl: There are not many movies which we have been waiting for this year.

Vampire Bat: That hasn’t stopped us from watching more.

Vampire Owl: Yet, that hasn’t been enough.

Vampire Bat: I believe that the best of the movies have already released.

Vampire Owl: So the creativity is no longer strong as it used to be?

Vampire Bat: Human creativity has been corrupted terribly.

[Gets a paneer pizza and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: Ram Kumar Nair (Vijay Babu), a business tycoon has decided to host a meeting with an old friend whom he would be meeting after a very long time, surprising his wife, Mythili Ram Kumar (Isha Talwar) who has never seen him as someone who values friends, family and relatives above money. Even the servant at their resort is suprised by this particular decision. It turns out that this was also going to be a business deal. Later, it is seen that Abdulla Marakkar (Prithviraj Sukumaran), an eccentric man meets his old friend, Parameshwaran Potty (Saiju Kurup) who is also accompanied by his beautiful and commanding wife Prabha Nair (Hannah Reji Koshy). Prabha is skeptical and develops an instant disliking to Abdulla as she realizes that there is a troubled history running between Potty’s two friends, and it could be too personal to talk about even among friends. It turns out that Potty and Prabha are going to meet Ram in the upcoming meeting which is supposed to solve all their monetary problems which mounts to many crores. Their only other friend is Kalyan Menon (Indrajith Sukumaran) who is the DIG of police.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Ram shows the couple the resort which depends on historical exhibits to attract the foreigners. Soon, it turns out that Ram is only interested in Prabha with whom he has been chatting on Instagram for a long time. It is his sexually motivated interest in Prabha which seems to have brought her and Potty an invitation for a business meeting, and not the old friendship from school which was lost a long time ago. Due to his his infatuation with Prabha, Ram makes fun of Potty and decides to rename the couple’s brand with Prabha as the CEO, also contributing with three crores for the purpose. In comparison to Prabha, Ram considers his wife Mythilli more as a business partner whom he married for the purpose of growing his company. The richer and smarter Mythilli considers Ram as a womanizer who doesn’t hesitate to spend his money for women whenever there is a chance. Aware of her image of voluptuousness that has interested Ram, Prabha doesn’t reject his sexual advances, much to the dismay of Potty, who feels that soon, his wife will be living with the billionaire.

And what is to follow as events get more complicated? :: They are also expecting Kalyan Menon, who is also a partner of Ram in his business deals, but he is delayed by a far-right political organization conducting a programme, which could lead to riots in the city. They are also not able to get Kalyan on the mobile phone, as he remains busy – while awaiting him, they find another person on the door who decides to come in. It is Abdulla Marakkar who has come in, with the reminder of the terrible past of cheating which has been forced upon him and his family, as revenge seems to be closer to him than ever. He would make this a circus of horror with doors locked, and a working antique double-barreled gun in his hands. He would find the special exhibits of the resort including what is claimed to be that bat used by Kapil Dev in 1983 World Cup, spectacles used by Mahatma Gandhi, wine possessed by Saddam Hussein and many more to be interesting, but not that much as the terrible past which was handed over to him by the family of Ram. Considering the situation of Prabha, on which side would Potty stand, and when will Kalyan come to make his own contribution?

The defence of Theerppu :: The movie does have some interesting references running through it, and the expectations that rises in the beginning gives enough hope to keep the audience interested in watching the rest of the movie. The visuals are really good, and world which it creates for a resort of antiques works like a dream. The location works in favour of the mood of the movie. The serving of the basic idea of revenge also stands apart from the usual movies which would have a quick or brutal resolution to the fire of vengeance that would run deep. The cast works perfectly in favour of the movie, as Prithviraj Sukumaran makes an attack like in Kuruthi, and despite the late entry, Indrajith Sukumaran makes an impact. Vijay Babu seems to suit the role really well, while Saiju Kurup once again makes a slow, but effective work. Isha Talwar goes through a smooth journey as the main lady character. Hannah Reji Koshy of Darwinte Parinamam and Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu has a role to remember here, and among the newer actresses, she definitely requires more roles. Siddique’s role in the flashback remains a thing of interest as usual, with the veteran actor showing the same strength.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s final statement seems to be problematic as it seems to be further away from the reality that we have known through these times. The weak cannot defeat the powerful in the ways shown in the movie, that is for sure, as the rich and the influential would always find a way. There are many paths which it could have taken to come up with a better idea with its premise. It could have worked as a more serious drama or thriller without seemingly moving through an ordinary path full of pot-holes which needed some better directions. It does seem lost at times, and confused with where it is actually going. The flashback scenes, despite looking fine, often struggles to provide the desired effect, and some of the characters from the past do not stay, despite seemingly having the power in the beginning stages. The present does not take the effect of that treachery of the past with that much strength because the connection is not that well-made, and the less required deviations are rather easily seen as we look.

How it finishes :: Theerppu is a movie which could have surely been something more with the long line of strong cast and the visual style which it had developed with the premise. The trailer had provided the effect of watching something in an international level, but that losses some power beyond the visuals. Clearer ideas and a focused journey would have made this a more interesting work in the end, especially because there are too many layers at work as far as this film is concerned. We have had many interesting stories of revenge in the past, and even the very successful serial killer movies in Malayalam like Anjaam Pathiraa have pointed to the acts of vengeance. Yet, this is the movie in which revenge gets divergent and ends in a different manner than what is commonly expected. It makes sure that entertainment will be provided with such divergence. You can always watch Theerppu for that kind of a chance which does not hesitate in moving away from the regular.

Release date: 30th September 2022 (Hotstar); 25th August 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Rathish Ambat
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Isha Talwar, Indrajith Sukumaran, Vijay Babu, Hannah Reji Koshy, Saiju Kurup, Siddique, Sreelakshmi, Srikant Murali, Mammukoya, Suzanne Bernert, Lukman Avaran, Shaju Sreedhar, Alancier Ley Lopez, Aswin Kumar, Poojappura Radhakrishnan, Shameem Rein, Vinod Vaswani

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

<<< Click here to go to the previous Malayalam film review.

<<< Click here to go to the previous Malayalam film review on same OTT.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Quiet Place II

Vampire Owl: Well, this one is quite a place.

Vampire Bat: They are talking about quiet places only.

Vampire Owl: Well, our castle is quiet enough, especially during day time.

Vampire Bat: There is too much of murmuring in there.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about the intellectual voice transfer.

Vampire Bat: How can you give it such fancy names?

Vampire Owl: It is the name which the vampire elders preferred.

Vampire Bat: The vampire elders are too old to call anything by any name.

Vampire Owl: It is also another Dr Frankenstein approved thing.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein can’t even approve himself as a doctor.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt), Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) and their children, along with other spectators, witness the arrival of a strange object resembling an asteroid landing on Earth, while attending a little league game. Even though it lands some distance away from them, it scares them due to the size and sound being involved there. People in the town seems to be already in a state of panic. The police seems to be heading there, but already, some strange extraterrestrial creatures are attacking people. As the aliens cause chaos everywhere, the vehicles on the street are out of control, and people look for shelter. It turns out that the creatures are extremely hostile, tearing people into pieces using their extreme speed and strength, while being protected by what seems to be armoured skin. But the creatures are blind, and yet with hypersensitive hearing, would attack anything that makes even the slightest noise. The police seems to be ineffective against them, as their skin can stand the gunshots with ease.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: An year later, the alien creatures have brutally murdered most of the Earth’s population. With her husband dead while trying to protect her, Evelyn tries to survive with her kids, while their Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds)m their dumb and deaf daughter discovers a high-frequency audio feedback which can make the aliens vulnerable, and the same could be transmitted from her implant through a microphone. Her son, Marcus Abbott (Noah Jupe) also hopes to make something out of it, while also searching for a new home. On the way, the group accidentally triggers a sound alarm, alerting the creatures. At the same time, Marcus also steps into a bear trap and screams, thus alerting the creature again. They manage to one creature using the audio device and gun, while escaping from the other. They are taken to a soundproof hideout by one of their old friends, Emmett (Cillian Murphy) who lives in an abandoned steel foundry.

And what more is to follow in a world infested by ruthless alien creatures? :: Emmett had turned cynical and with no hope at all about future after all members of her family died, leaving him to survive for no reason. He feels that the humans who are left are not worth saving at all, even if there is something left. He also asks them leave the very next day, but after hearing the song, “Beyond the Sea” which according to Emmett has been playing continuously for four months, Regan feels that it is a signal which is telling them where to look, and it is on an island. She wants to go to that tower and use her high-frequency signal there, using it as a special weapon against the alien creatures. But it won’t be that easy, as the path in that direction is infested by many creatures, and Regan’s idea of going alone wouldn’t get the support of anyone. Yet, she would leave, and Emmett, with some love left for his old friends, will have to find her. Now, the question remains if her journey is really worth it. What awaits her near the tower? Is it going to work?

The defence of A Quiet Place Part II :: Just like the predecessor, this movie also depends on the same strength of sound effects which the predecessor displayed a few years ago. The alien creatures are also as good as they used to be, maintained the strength yet again. We also have more hope than there used to be. Emily Blunt continues what she was doing in the first film quite well, and she does have the warrior strength which she had displayed in the movies like Edge of Tomorrow and The Huntsman: Winter’s War. There is no loss of determination in her character here too. It is up to Millicent Simmonds and Cillian Murphy to become that characters who further to save the world though, and they are very much effective in doing the same, despite the early doubts put in there. Noah Jupe also joins well with newly found courage and wisdom in the character. Djimon Hounsou plays the man of another lands with authority. John Krasinski appears in the flashback moments, as the director also gets the acting in here again. Scoot McNairy as the leader of bandits could have had more screen space too.

Positives and negatives :: The movie still doesn’t bother to come up with any science fiction explanations about the origins of the creatures – people might have expected that, but they do get a flashback about their arrival with objects from space, which proves that they are indeed from another planet, moon or some interstellar object beyond our understanding. The movie is also in short of dialogues to keep the aliens away, but there is surely more than what we had in the first movie. The strength of the family and the importance of not giving up, also comes into the picture here. There is the idea that there is always hope for humanity, even though one does wonder if the aliens bringing extinction to humanity would have been the right thing to do, considering what mankind has done to their own people as well as the environment around them. Well, we don’t really know what the aliens were up to, as the focus is not on those scientific elements yet again, but we can be sure that there could be a sequel explaining all of these. One more sequel showing the ultimate battle of humanity against the creatures, and we can be done with it.

How it finishes :: The movie nicely continues the world which was left by the first part – the expansion that this world receives is almost as good as the first. Things continue to be kept simple as it used to be, in a post-apocalyptic world infested by ruthless alien creatures. The possibility of terror is always there, and we keep remembering about 10 Cloverfield Lane which dealt with similar creatures, but with not much of the visuals. The idea of the divergent horror movie is maintained here, as it was seen in Malignant, The Witch, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Don’t Breathe, It Follows and Lights Out. A Quiet Place Part II continues a world of divergence which in this case has the aliens bringing all the horror and very less science fiction. These are the movies which keep the horror alive in different patterns, and with noises at the very centre of everything. Even though it is currently on Amazon Prime Video, this is one movie which could have feel better on the big screen, as there is so much of silence and the sudden sound effects that make the big impact – moments which one needs to live through rather than just get hold of.

Release date: 28th May 2021
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou, John Krasinski

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Paappan

Vampire Owl: So, we are going to see Suresh Gopi’s true return.

Vampire Bat: Well, this is indeed the return which we have been waiting for.

Vampire Owl: So, the earlier return won’t count at all?

Vampire Bat: Some returns are more important than others.

Vampire Owl: In some cases, there are too many returns which make it insignificant.

Vampire Bat: Well, this should be the one grand return.

Vampire Owl: We are no strangers to grand returns.

Vampire Bat: Uncle Dracula’s returns would not count.

Vampire Owl: A vampire return is of fine significance too.

Vampire Bat: Not for a vampire that comes alive many times.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: A dead body is discovered in a forest by some youngsters, and it is rumoured to be that of super star Ravi Varman (Rahul Madhav), but turns out to be that of his driver Rajan (Sreejith Ravi) who was the initial suspect for this particular murder. ASI Raghavan (Nandhu), SI Sabu (Abhishek Raveendran) and SI Soman (Tini Tom) are the first two police officers on the scene, and the case is transferred to be handled by ASP Vincy Abraham IPS (Neeta Pillai) under the order of SP Bhaskar Shenoy IPS (Vijayaraghavan). The murder seems to have been committed with much brutality. The evidences including the mode of operation and use of weapon seem to point to a former serial killer Iruttan Chacko (Shammi Thilakan) who is known to choose lone male victims at night randomly. CI Abraham Mathew Mathan (Suresh Gopi) who is affectionately called Pappan is asked to assist in the case as he was the one who caught Chacko earlier after a series of incidents which led to the death of his wife, Nancy (Nyla Usha).

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: These incidents which followed her mother’s death made Vincy move away from Abraham, who had taken Michael (Gokul Suresh) and his mother Sussan (Kaniha) under his wing, which complicated things further. Abraham is sure that it is not Chacko who committed these murders, but someone who might be inspired by it. Vincy is married to a thatre artist named Sidharth (Chandunath), and the news that she is pregnant makes things only a little better between them. A retired forensic expert Dr Pattabhiraman (Janardhanan) provides further evidence to Abraham related to Chacko’s case. Things get further complicated when another forensic surgeon Dr Sherly Somasundaram (Asha Sharath) seems to be attacked, and that is completely beyond the facts which the police had figured out. Sidharth is worried about Vincy taking too much of worries when pregnant. Can Abraham, Vincy or anyone find the truth behind these murders? Who would copy Chacko and become a similar murderer just because there is some grudge which has stayed for long?

The defence of Paappan :: The quality which has been associated with the movie needs to be appreciated. It is also a feature of the main characters of the film who maintains a higher level. The movie maintains the thrills and the suspense is present till the end. There is the presence of some fine red herrings around here, and the viewers are kept guessing without exaggerating the elements of strength. The procedure of investigation is portrayed well along with a certain emotional side associated here and there. Some spirit of a few older movies is maintained here. The film is also quick to get going as the murder happens rather too early, and the flashbacks just fit into the forward movement. The visuals are really good, and the area as well as the moments of terror are well-captured. There are no exaggerated dialogues or action being overdone. There is also the importance of maintaining balance between one’s family and duty being asserted, and the reminder that past could always manage to return to haunt all humans. There is the journey away from stereotypes during multiple occasions.

Positives and negatives :: The inability of Paappan to keep the last few minutes effective is rather disappointing, and the revelation of the secondary villain also lacks the same effectiveness in a movie which was going in a classic mode until then. There is the feeling that there are not enough actors to play some of the important roles even with so many big names out there. The fight scenes in the end seem to keep repeating as if in a loop, and we are made to keep wondering if it would ever end – the length of the movie is felt to be long in the last few moments than the longer periods of time when investigation goes on. For a movie like this, the usual ending was not supposed to be the right one. The flashback tale is too weak as we have a look at it. But one could still think about this movie without paying too much attention to the unnecessary details. After all, this is all about the murders, killers and the police officers set to solve the riddle – the basic thing remains to hold on to the strengths without fail.

The performers of the soul :: Suresh Gopi and Gokul Suresh have come together for the first time in a movie here. The return of the former is a grand one this time, and it has the troubles of the previous Kaaval return removed well. He is once again the police officer that we continue to love. The one person who catches our attention more than the others is Neeta Pillai, who does such a fantastic job as the leading investigator of a series of murders. Years after her first work in Poomaram, this is one work which makes her a solid performer above many other actresses who debuted in the last few years. In comparison, the role of Gokul Suresh is smaller, but maintains a fine presence in a role which also makes a difference. Shammi Thilakan’s role is a very much impressive one, and he maintains a realistic side to it. It is always nice to see Dayyana Hameed of Star Magic fame and Yuvam in the small, but notable roles too, but we would hope for more of her. Sadhika Venugopal of Star Magic is also notable here. Nyla Usha’s role in flashback is pretty much okay. Asha Sharath has her moments, while Ajmal Ameer’s role feels forced. Kaniha does the predictable role well.

How it finishes :: We never have enough of investigation thrillers which make an impact with the smartness factor effectively used. The thrillers like John Luther and Twenty One Grams successfully became the murder investigations of quality rising above the more hyped films with murder investigations, like CBI 5: The Brain. This movie also gets to that better level rather than going for the superstar exaggeration which often becomes the biggest flaw of thrillers leading with murder mysteries. There are no shortage of psycho killers who can become part of such movies, as we have had films like Forensic with the murderers who had no true motive, like revenge or hatred. A little bit more of attention could have made sure that this movie could become one of the best of its kind. Well, there are more movies which can come up with similar investigations, and after corona virus pandemic having its say, thrillers have surely done better.

Release date: 7th September 2022 (ZEE 5), 29th July 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 170 minutes
Directed by: Joshiy
Starring: Suresh Gopi, Neeta Pillai, Gokul Suresh, Asha Sharath, Nyla Usha, Kaniha, Vijayaraghavan, Chandunath, Janardhanan, Nandhu, Ajmal Ameer, Abhishek Raveendran, Tini Tom, Shammi Thilakan, Dayyana Hameed, Sadhika Venugopal, Baiju Jose, Sreejith Ravi, Rahul Madhav, Jewel Mary, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Malavika Menon, Rosin Jolly, Preetha Pradeep, Chali Pala, Nirmal Palazhi, Sajitha Madathil, Srikanth Murali, Madan Mohan, Benzi Mathews, Nandhu Pothuval, Kottayam Ramesh, Sinoj Varghese, Savithri Sreedharan, Sanuja Somanath, Parvathi T, Saniya Babu, Baby Kanmani, Jordi Poonjar, Sundarapandiyan, George Abraham

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

<<< Click here to go to the previous Malayalam film review.

<<< Click here to go to the previous investigative thriller review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sweet Girl

Vampire Owl: I remember having met a sweet witch.

Vampire Bat: I do not remember any witch being sweet at all.

Vampire Owl: He had some of the sweetest magic potions.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t buy potions without approval of Vampire Senate.

Vampire Owl: I have paid all the taxes along with the price.

Vampire Bat: You will still have to pay the import duty.

Vampire Owl: But we belong to the same realm.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but not the same territory.

Vampire Owl: Now, we are having taxes like humans?

Vampire Bat: It is still very much less in comparison to some of the nations in the world of evil humans.

[Gets a raspberry cake and three cups of orange tea].

What is the movie about? :: Ray Cooper (Jason Momoa) jumps off the top of a building while being chased by the police, and it is followed by a flashback. His wife Amanda Cooper (Adria Arjona) gets really ill with a rare form of cancer. The survival expert, Ray hopes that he can do all that is possible to save her. But it is soon revealed that the life-saving drug called Infirmam was taken off the market due to Bio Prime CEO Simon Keeley (Justin Bartha) paying the manufacturers to delay the production. This also means that there was going to be an indefinite delay, and Amanda doesn’t have that much time. He watches congress woman Diana Morgan (Amy Brenneman) going through a live devate with Simon, and there he seems to be talking about much their company is dedicated to saving lives at less cost, and on how much they have sacrificed in the form of money and time. He makes a call to the live debate, and as Simon doesn’t seem to care that much about bringing the drug back to the market, Ray threatens to kill him if his wife dies because of this negligence.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon enough, Amanda dies, and Ray is left with his daughter Rachel Cooper (Isabela Merced) to go on with the pain and grief. A few months later, Ray gets a call from a journalist Martin Bennett (Nelson Franklin) who claims that he possesses evidence related to the unethical practices and criminal activities on the side of Bio Prime. They meet on a moving train, but a hitman Amo Santos (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) attacks them, killing the journalist and stabbing Ray. Rachel who had followed them also gets knocked out in the process. Even though further investigations reveal nothing about what had happened with Bio Prime or in the train, and with no information about the hitman who attacked them, Ray still continues to track Simon and his company. He manages to sneak into a charity programme and interrogate Simon, only to be attached by the bodyguards whom he manages to kill along with his gaurds. The only other responsible name that he gets is that of the chairman of the same company, Vinod Shah (Raza Jaffrey). FBI Agent Sarah Meeker (Lex Scott Davis) is in charge of the case.

And how far can this go as we keep moving forward? :: Ray and Rachel go on a long ride through less taken roads, trying to get away before the police officers or the assassins get to them. Rachel tries calling Sarah, hoping that she will look into Bio Prime before her father comes up with something terrible again. Sarah is able to get the trust of Rachel like a mother figure. Meanwhile, they are attacked by mercenaries who seems to have found them much to their surprise. Ray fights them and after a small fight, ends up killing them too. At the same time, the same hitman who had attacked them on the train is after them too. Their only option here seems to be to find Vinod and hope that it ends with them. But Santos has other ideas about it, and Vinod knowing anything more than what Simon knew seems not possible at all. How far does all these secrets go? Who might be the last link behind all of these? Will the father and daughter duo survive against what they seem to be completely incapable of handling? Is there a thing like hope for them?

The defence of Sweet Girl :: Jason Momoa is here doing what he does the best, without the superpowers of Aquaman and outside the team of Justice League. Isabela Merced has a point as the daughter figure. She plays a character who is more matured than anyone else of her age, and has her own ideology. This is also one strong character that she can happy that she played. The twist also works like a dream for her, and she rises above everyone else with ease here. She does remind one of Chloe Grace Moretz, like someone who could rise above the senior stars when provided with an opportunity. Then there is Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as the hitman and Amy Brenneman as the congress woman who are all doing what they do the best. The action sequences are all good, and both the father and daughter do their job well. The twist basically comes a shock, even though there were some red herrings here and there – that should work for most people. The movie, just like it begins well, ends without overdoing it, but being mostly satisfactory.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have been quicker here, as there is a lot action to be done. The twist in question here doesn’t seem to be that effective for everyone, as the willing suspension of disbelief might have its problems with how the action sequences have been going on here. It does take a little too much time to get to the twist, which should have been revealed earlier for the audience to adjust to the whole new situation it had created. The loopholes are surely there, especially in the second half of the movie. The movie does seem to be confused about how to respect the genre, and the world it had built earlier. The feeling of half-bakedness does bring some trouble. There was the chance to come up with better dialogues and better emotional moments too – the emotions are there, but with the twist, some emotions feel as if they didn’t exist at all. With that particular twist, it also feels that some of the length of this movie was for no reason, as a number of things didn’t happen as it was shown.

How it finishes :: Sweet Girl is more of less the movie that can go in the path of Hitman, Transporter, John Wick, Mechanic, Accountant, Equalizer, Kate and others while having its main lead going through the impossible to reach the other end. It would require a sequel for that, as it had that twist which changed things a little too much. There will be opinions against this one for sure, as the twist would take away something which the fans would have wanted in the climax, but the film did require something divergent to set a path different from the usual movies dealing with this kind of thing – you can’t just complain for taking the risk and bringing more to ponder about. With lots of action around, a few things can be forgotten, and others can be appreciated – what is to loved and hated might still be different for different types of people. I would be asking people to watch this one without looking at the spoilers and come with your opinion. We are never really less in need of action thriller with a huge mission in hand, right?

Release date: 20th August 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Brian Andrew Mendoza
Starring: Jason Momoa, Isabela Merced, Adria Arjona, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Amy Brenneman, Raza Jaffrey, Justin Bartha, Lex Scott Davis, Michael Raymond-James

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thallumaala

Vampire Owl: I heard that this movie is all about fights.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the title does signify the same.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that there could be more fights in our realm too?

Vampire Bat: We don’t have such small fights. We have only wars.

Vampire Owl: Maybe the wars could be reduced to smaller fights.

Vampire Bat: The smaller fights are not of relevance.

Vampire Owl: They can help stop the bigger wars.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that zombies and werewolves won’t agree to that.

Vampire Owl: Well, Uncle Dracula might agree.

Vampire Bat: For that, he requires a champion. The protagonist of this movie could serve as one in an undead state.

[Gets a marble cake and three cups of mint tea].

What is the movie about? :: There is a fight between Manavaalan Wazim (Tovino Thomas) and SI Reji Mathew (Shine Tom Chacko), and it is a one on one battle while their friends look on. The reason for this fight goes back by a few years, and there is a score to settle. A long time ago, Wazim was someone who usually got into fights, and after the pandemonium was over, he made friends with those who fought with him – the fights develop into a friends ciricle which includes him along with Jamshi (Lukman Avaran), Sathaar (Swathi Das Prabhu), Vikas (Adhri Joe) and Rajesh (Austin Dan). At the same time, he had also fallen in love with Fathima Beevi (Kalyani Priyadarshan), a famous Instagram and Youtube sensation based in UAE, even though she has her roots in Kerala. Despite her early doubts, she soon becomes assured that he could be the one for her, and manages to convince her parents to let her marry the man, even though none of her relatives have a good opinion about her – some of them even think that he is a useless young man who is of no good to the society.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Wazim’s parents (Johny Antony and Neena Kurup) had already ceased having good opinions about him. They want him to go and do some job in Dubai rather than wander around Ponnani town and pick up fights. After starting a fight with Siyad (Noushad Ali), and after they burn down Wazim’s father’s theatre, he is forcibly sent to the Middle East. But when he comes back, he starts another fight, this time with the group led by Reji – it lands them in the hospital, but hopes for revenge. Reji who wants to make up with them is not accepted with them, as everyone other than him and Wazim seems to be upset whenever the other group is seen around. Kalapurakkal David (Binu Pappu) who was part of Reji’s gang had warned against the two groups seeing each other again, but the situation seems to be in favour of both teams fighting each other again. At the same time, there is also a pending fight with Omega Babu (Chemban Vinod Jose) and Jamshi is depressed about it as he often remembers being beaten up by him. So, can Wazim fight these battles along with being able to marry Fathima?

The defence of Thallumaala :: This is the one movie which you might want to watch if there is the need for seeing a lot of fighting on the big screen. The movie also remains colourful throughout its run, and the visuals are really good. The humour works well during most of the time, and they have really added some fine doses of comedy in between to elevate the level of the film. There is the reminder of masculine ego which is hurt, as it was in Maheshinte Prathikaaram, where two women do talk about the madness of the major male characters who decide to go on an unnecessary fight. The audience will keep getting fights over fights, and in the end, they will have the feeling of having watched a big adventure with fists and legs as the main character never stop thinking about fights even if they cease to believe in love and the other common things in a movie. Some of the songs remain very notable, especially for the different kind of treatment. There are those dance moves which were already seen in the released songs. The world becomes different with this movie, and there is no need to have any outside interference related to this.

The claws of flaw :: Thallumaala‘s trailer had already given the feeling that this was going to be about fights, but it takes a lot of steps towards meaningless fights starting out of nowhere. The trailer itself was indeed confusing up to an extent. The first half takes some time get to be interesting, and most of the engaging moments can be seen as happening in the second half. The romantic side is rather strange around here, as there seems to be no real reason for the incidents to happen and turn the hero and heroine to marriage, especially for the lady who is very rich and remains an Instagram sensation who is adored by so many people all around the world. The story is not that strong, with most of the incidents in the film having not much of a meaning. The show of the sequence of events in also everywhere, and we don’t see anything occurring straight enough. In the first half, the tale keeps moving through different timelines as if they have a time machine – everything is basically everywhere to keep the audience confused. There were many things which could be added and also removed around here as there is struggle to be overcome.

The performers of the soul :: It is indeed great to see Tovino Thomas in a different avatar around here. His roles in Vaashi, Naaradan, Minnal Murali, Kaanekkaane, Kilometers and Kilometers and Forensic were all different, as he played superhero, lawyer, journalist, forensic expert and many others in a short period of time, and he has done the same with some fine skills. This role will be something to remember for him, as he also seems to get younger with this one, as this reckless youth is also of variety. Shine Tom Chacko indeed shines in this work, and he seems to perfectly suit the character. It would seem like the right thing to have him Soubin Shahir who dropped out of the film, as a character like this one requires Shine. Kalyani Priyadarshan, even though becomes the leading actress, has much less to do for the progress of the tale, and in between the fights which are supposed to happen at all times, would be happening with or without her presence in Kerala. Among the friends, it is Lukman Avaran who stands out, as he seem to blend in here like no other. In the other gang, Binu Pappu remains notable – in both gangs, all of them are indeed of relevance. Johny Antony’s father role is lovable, and Shafi Kollam of Star Magic fame gets a fine role to perform. Chemban Vinod Jose is there but with not much to do.

How it finishes :: Among the releases set around Independence Day and a week beyond, this particular movie seems to have the advantage over the others. It cannot be considered as the better film among these choices, but is surely the one flick that seems to attract the young audience to the theatres more than any other. The film makes us wonder if the only thing that the new generation does is to fight, and whether everything is solved by fighting with each other, a disappointing trend for a movie which has Mahatma Gandhi as the father of the nation, and after seventy five years post getting independence. Yet, there is the assurance of entertainment, and the funny side often makes sure that the fighting does not feel too cruel around here. It is to be noted that Shine Tom Chacko brings this movie back to life so well, and we end up wanting his character to win in the end. Well, this variety for sure, and it is not in the story, but in what surrounds it, as we are introduced to the one real fight movie in the Malayalam film industry. It is also realistic if we consider the number of random fights which have broken out in the state for no reason, and adorn the news.

Release date: 12th August 2022
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Khalid Rahman
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Shine Tom Chacko, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Chemban Vinod Jose, Lukman Avaran, Binu Pappu, Johny Antony, Neena Kurup, Gokulan, Swathi Das Prabhu, Adhri Joe, Austin Dan, Assim Jamal, Shafi Kollam, VP Khalid, Noushad Ali, Bhanumathi Payyannur, Ann Salim, Mashar Hamsa, James Elia, Unni Raja, Mohammed Eravattoor, Anand Bal, Satheesh Kumar, Balan Parakkal, Babu Annur, Nasar Karutheni, Salim Kumar (cameo)

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

<<< Click here to go to the latest release review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nna Thaan Case Kodu

Vampire Owl: The movie had become the big talk during these days.

Vampire Bat: It was related to the pot-holes on the roads.

Vampire Owl: Well, vampires don’t really need the roads.

Vampire Bat: Humans are really in need of some good roads.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that Doctor Frankenstein has developed a formula for it.

Vampire Bat: He cannot even prepare the levitating ground for vampires.

Vampire Owl: Sir Frankenstein is a much better scientist than what you think.

Vampire Bat: Well, you cannot depend on pseudo-scientists at all times.

Vampire Owl: He will prove his worth as an award winning scientist this year itself.

Vampire Bat: You keep waiting for it for an eternity.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of butterscotch ice cream].

What is the movie about? :: Rajeevan (Kunchacko Boban) has been living as a thief for most of his life, and has been in and out of prison many times after being caught for such small thefts. He meets Devi (Gayathrie Shankar), a Tamil labourer, and after falling in love with her, decides to stop all illegal activities and start a family. One night, as Rajeevan returns after a temple festival, he almost gets hit by an auto rickshaw, which makes him jump over a wall – he lands in the frontyard of the local MLA’s house and is bitten by his pet dogs, only to be accused of trying to rob the politician’s home. The police and the locals believe the accusation as he has had a history of being thief, something written clearly in the police records. Devi who knows his history also suspects him, and despite her being pregnant, does not want him to be anywhere near him. Rajeevan decides that he has to prove his innocence, and also wishes to punish the person who is responsible for his plight, and for the same, he starts with finding the auto rickshaw.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He starts by finding Sureshan (Rajesh Madhavan) who was driving the auto rickshaw called Aayiram Kannumayi, and it turns out that he lost control of the vehicle as he came across a pickup truck which was driven by Johny (Sibi Thomas) tried to avoid hitting a bicycle which fell into a pot-hole in front of MLA’s house. This makes the PWD minister KP Preman (Kunhikannan Cheruvathoor) the man responsible for these sequences of events which led to Rajeevan being bitten by the dogs and branded as a thief again. He takes the advice of Advocate Gangadharan (Gangadharan Kuttamath) who is an old acquaintance – he also decides to help him in the case, even though there is not much of a hope in fighting against a cabinet minister. Even though they manage to get Chief Minister Deepa (Unnimaya Prasad) accept the complaint and approve of action, proving it in the court would be a more difficult thing. The politicians and their goons along with their money power would make things tough, but can he come out of it and hold the minister responsible for the pot-holes on the road?

The defence of Nna Thaan Case Kodu :: The satire has not been used that effectively in Malayalam movies in this century, with only a few exceptions going beyond it. But this movie has made sure that it is done well, and this time, it has also worked well with the common family audience too. The movie also serves as a reminder that Kunchacko Boban has evolved a lot, while we also realize that there are so many skilled newcomers waiting to make their appearance in the films – Malayalam movie industry seems to be taking a lot of them, unlike Bollywood which has always rooted itself in nepotism without shame. The movie scores with situational comedy as the court proceedings go on. There are also some smart dialogues added to the same, some of them which makes us think about our plight, and it does make fun of those in power whenever possible. The advantage of this movie as well as Vaashi is that they are not ridiculously loud and spitting mass dialogues like Jana Gana Mana did as if the court belonged to the protagonist’s father. We will remember this movie for the moments which focus on what the common man needs.

The claws of flaw :: With its use of the idea, Nna Thaan Case Kodu could not go on to become something like the perfect satire Sandesam and the near-perfect satirical comedy Pranchiyettan and The Saint – it falls short of making such a usage. It could have done a lot more with the content which was there to be used. There is a certain amount of lag which we also feel, as the movie goes long with the programmes in the court. The language is difficult to follow at times, and unlike Solamante Theneechakal, there is not Malayalam or English subtitle for the Tamil dialogues here, and neither it is present for the Kasargode slang which is much divergent from the same language used in other parts of the state. Maybe they could have used English subtitles for the whole movie, at least for the theatres which were part of the multiplexes in shopping malls. We also do feel that some of the situations displayed here might not be possible – even though we feel the realism, we wonder if such things can ever be possible in real life fighting against the political dominance. The tale required some extra punch to make sure that it goes to the next level.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban had shown signs of changing track from the old romantic hero and the man of humour through the thrillers like Anjaam Paathira, Nayattu, Pada and Nizhal, and even moved further from the true love elements with his Bheemante Vazhi. This one has him in another avatar which we are going to remember, as it is so much dependent on him, even though other performers are not far behind with the moments that they get – the problem is that we don’t really know the names of most of them, but we can appreciate them as a whole, as the cast seems be very well prepared to suit the world of this movie. Gayathrie Shankar makes a fine entry into Malayalam cinema, but as she plays a Tamil labourer and never speaks anything in Malayalam, the true entrance to the industry would still have to wait – she has surely come with a very good supporting performance though. Among the actors, Gangadharan Kuttamath who plays the protagonist’s advocate and PP Kunhikrishnan who plays the magistrate are to be specially noted. But most of the humour is effectively handled by Rajesh Madhavan and his lover, whose name we don’t know – their moments led to to the whole theatre breaking into laughter.

How it finishes :: Nna Thaan Case Kodu has been in the news for a few days after its release as it talked about the pot-holes on the road in Kerala in its poster, and it lead to the call for boycott of the film by some of the followers of the ruling party, but the PWD minister himself said that a movie is to be seen as the work of art. There were many discussions related to the same in the television channels. Anyway, it is nice to see that the movie has risen above all of these to become the most watched film in the theatres these days, and as a work of satire, it holds a fine mirror in front of the audience. It not just a reminder of the pot-holes which have been bothering the people of Kerala for a long time, but also a reflection of the irresponsible politicians who have gained victory over their opponents because the options were less. The movie can be considered as a protest against all the MLAs, MPs and ministers not just in Kerala, but also in the centre, as politics should not be the last refuge for anyone or the result of nepotism, but an opportunity to serve the people. This movie is indeed the needed satire of these times.

Release date: 11th August 2022
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Gayathrie Shankar, Rajesh Madhavan, Basil Joseph, PP Kunhikrishnan, Sibi Thomas, Kunhikannan Cheruvathoor, AV Balakrishnan, Shukkur, Gangadharan Kuttamath, Mridul Nair, Unnimaya Prasad, Bhanumathi Payyannur

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Heaven

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Uncle Dracula is going to heaven?

Vampire Bat: I am sure that vampires have a different afterlife.

Vampire Owl: You mean beyond heaven and hell?

Vampire Bat: Somewhere in between, to be exact.

Vampire Owl: Are you talking about the purgatory?

Vampire Bat: I wouldn’t know before death, but there would surely be blood.

Vampire Owl: Well, as long as there is blood, I am okay with it.

Vampire Bat: You don’t really take the blood substitute anymore?

Vampire Owl: Until Doctor Frankenstein invents the perfect substitute, I won’t.

Vampire Bat: Then, be assured that it will a long wait, because that pseudo-doctor and scientist with fake degree is involved.

[Gets a paneer puffs and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: A group of NCC cadets discover a dead body in the forest area where they were camping for the holidays from their school. The first police officer to the scene is Bijoy Kuruvilla (Sudev Nair), and the dead person is identified to be Fabian John (Deepak Parambol), with the help of the forensic experts who are led by Narayana Swami (Joy Mathew). According to the descriptions from the witnesses and circumstancial evidences, the police discover the murderer to be none other than Peter Kurishingal (Suraj Venjaramoodu), another police officer. Then, the movie gets a flashback when Peter is in charge of a police station in a village. He had only recently lost his wife, and has a number of cases for investigation, which he takes very seriously so that he can use them to forget the grief of loss. His mother Mariyam Kurisingal (Vinaya Prasad) takes care of his only son, as he remains mostly busy as a strict police officer. But things get worse as he comes up against a case which would prove to be personal for him, as a family is murdered, and along with them, he also find his son’s dead body, much to his shock.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Peter’s subordinate Sukumara Pillai (Alencier Ley Lopez) is posted in the case with the new officer in charge of the investigation, Inspector Kishore (Padmaraj Ratheesh) who seems to be solving the case rather quickly, and a man named Stephen (Jaffar Idukki) confesses to have committed the crime with an immigrant labourer from West Bengal, as part of an attempted robbery. Peter has his doubts, but as one of the victims is his son, his superior officer Revathi Subramaniam (Abhija Sivakala) declines him an opportunity to be part of the investigation team, but lets him have a look at it as part of a parallel investigation for which he would be solely responsible. Soon, he discovers that the man who is accused of murder, Stephen actually had nothing to do with it. This home named Heaven, where the murders took place, seem to have more than one secrets to be discovered. His discoveries soon lead to him taking over the case after joining back on duty. But it remains to be seen if he will like what he would discover.

The defence of Heaven :: Here is one more addition to the smart thrillers of our times with some fine red herrings. The investigation shown in the movie feels solid, and so does the emotional side. The movie achieves its motives without exaggerating anything at any moment. There are twists till the end of the movie, and we see that it has nicely solved the puzzles to come strong in the end with enough strength. The realistic mode is maintained while bringing up the thrills and twists, and it surely feels like something which could happen during these days when different crimes are part of the news more than ever. Even the police procedures seem to be much accurate, and it doesn’t seem to venture into those areas where the smartness of the audience is questioned; maybe it is because the film chooses to have no such superstars who have so many fans wishing for their favourite actor to destroy evil like a fallen angel. Well, this movie is also something with fallen angels, but it knows how to keep it realistic. This is the kind of film that can teach valuable lessons for Bollywood which has its non-performers coming out of nepotism, not able to emote.

The positives and negatives :: The visuals are really good, and the camera is particularly good in capturing the emotions of Suraj Venjaramoodu, with all the grief which is part of the character’s life. The moments after the son’s death is as emotional as it can get, and it is only matched by the determination in his face that comes up later. There are the inner and outer battle shown here are with their own relevance. Heaven does not hesitate in going through the emotional path of the police officer and his investigation, just like it was seen in the movie Memories which had that abiding sadness in it which would return to haunt the viewer. The movie could have actually focused on the darker side even more. The return to the initial moments come rather too late, and due to the same, people might have actually forgotten the events which had happened earlier. The movie does slow down after the deaths and following emotional troubles, and it could have used a serial killer instead of the usual vengeance ideas being repeated. The music doesn’t feel as that great in comparison to some of the other thrillers which dealt with similar themes.

The performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu handles the regretful cop role really well, and it reminds us of his earlier movie Pathaam Valavu, where he had also lost his child. The helpless and lack of hope can be seen on one side, while there is smartness on the other. He is the police officer and father to remember. The emotional struggle which was best displayed in Kaanekkaane, and added with mass in Jana Gana Mana and Driving License works really well here too, as he is indeed one of the best actors to go through a strong emotional side. The biggest support to him is provided by Alencier Ley Lopez who makes a fine cop in a supporting role; I had felt that John Luther could have really used him as a police officer too. The actors like Sudheesh and Jaffer Idukki add more of an emotional side to the film with their shorter presence. Vinaya Prasad also has the emotional grandmother role. Padmaraj Ratheesh and Sudev Nair also makes some fine police officers. Abhija Sivakala as the superior police officer is also solid. Deepak Parambol’s as well Nimisha Sajayan’s smaller roles are effective too. The collection of performers here makes sure that there is something interesting about all of them.

How it finishes :: Heaven gets into the list of interesting thrillers including the recently released Twenty One Grams and Solamante Theneechakal, as well as many others which came earlier. After all, the thrillers of this world mean more than just Drishyam. The movie working a lot better than the heavily hyped movies like CBI 5: The Brain is a reminder that we have some new names who can do the same thing better. Well, this is the kind of film which can never work for Bollywood as the sons and daughters of superstars would not agree to act in movies which cannot progress without throwing hundreds of villains around. Movies like this should open their eyes to the idea that there is the need for more thinking differently, or the drought in Bollywood of blockbusters is going to continue forever. Bollywood’s fight with its own incompetence might be forever, but during those times, Malayalam movie industry, just like the other South Indian film industries, is coming up with some fine works of quality which are to be remembered.

Release date: 19th August 2022 (Hotstar); 17th June 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Unni Govindraj
Starring: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Sudev Nair, Sminu Sijo, Sudheesh, Joy Mathew, Alencier Ley Lopez, Jaffer Idukki, Vinaya Prasad, Abhija Sivakala, Deepak Parambol

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.