Twenty One Grams

Vampire Owl: I am sure that most of the coffins weigh more than that.

Vampire Bat: I doubt if this a movie about coffins.

Vampire Owl: I have only recently discovered that the coffins weight so less.

Vampire Bat: Why did you lift the coffins all by yourself?

Vampire Owl: There were no vampire apprentices available.

Vampire Bat: You should understand that the coffins feel like having less weight just for us.

Vampire Owl: Yet we have vampire apprentices carrying them for us.

Vampire Bat: They have to be trained in carrying the vampire elders.

Vampire Owl: But I have known that vampire elders can float.

Vampire Bat: They are too old to stay awake for more than five or six hours – coffins are important for transportation.

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

What is the movie about? :: DYSP Nandakishore (Anoop Menon) is assisted by CI Sunny (Anu Mohan) as they go after a series of murders which happened in the city within a small period of time. Anjali (Manasa Radhakrishnan) is the first one to be murdered, and it brought her brother Martin (Chandunath G Nair) back home after spending years abroad, as Father Joseph (Nandu) was the only person who was there to take care of her. But soon, Martin is also murdered, and his body was burnt really bad. CI Sreenivasan (Prasanth Alexander) who was in charge of the investigation had felt that Jimmy (Aji John) might be the one behind these murders as he was a former business partner of Martin, and wanted to settle terms after Martin came back to India. There was a problem between Jimmy and Martin related to a restaurant chains which they owned, and the police wonders if the former tried to bring latter back home and finish the problem forever. But Sreenivasan was not really that much interested in taking the risk against the rich and influential, and was only happy to hand over the case without being a target.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: SP Rachel (Lena) is confident that Nandakishore is the right person to solve this case which has no clues, especially as Srenivasan had kept himself too worried. A new recruit Abhirami (Mareena Michael Kurisingal) also joins the team. As the police check for the goons who were working for Jimmy, they reach a name – Tony (Bineesh Bastin) who seems to be connected. His wife confirms the fact that Tony and Jimmy had seen each other, and an amount of money was provided for some work of eerie nature. But even then, Anjali is understood to have been very much afraid of an unknown person, and there is no clue about who that one was. If the two murders are not related, they would be facing two different killers at the same time or even more. There is also an old contessa car which is seen on different occasions near the spots where the murders had occurred. Is there something more sinister at work? Are there other interesting games of murders happening around here? Can there be a psychotic serial killer at work?

The defence of Twenty One Grams :: We have another interesting crime thriller in store here, with its own fine twists. Providing twists over other twists is quite a difficult job, and this one does the same well, until things come together really well in the end. There seems to be a fine line of events being drawn here so that things could come to that end after drawing a good number of red herrings in between. There are so many characters whom we doubt as being the killer, and we also have so many motives – with the possibility of suspecting being endless, the guesses are to be mostly wrong; the movie seals some ideas in those dialogues which feels to be less relevant when spoken, but through flashbacks, we know that these things were basically clues. Predictability will not be an element here even though the film can trick you into believing that you know things better than the cops here. The movie is very well shot too, and the visuals, especially that of the city is impressive – it suits the movie’s mood really well too. The music used in the background here is really good and some effects nicely contribute to the totality.

Positives and negatives :: The pace at which the movie progress is very good, even though at times, it seems to talk more and do less – it still works as we look closer. Some background is predictable. You ability to guess the killer is so continuously tested that there are so many people you will note down as killers. A quality that this movie has, is to know how, when and where to hide, and how to reveal them all when least expected – it never uses the mass style to do that, and that makes this one a movie more for the OTT rather than for those theatres infested with mindless fans. This is certainly not a one killer or a killer with a helper movie like Forensic, John Luther, Anjaam Pathira or Antakshari. Here, we don’t have the star power of Drishyam, Cold Case or Memories, but the effectiveness makes sure that it won’t need that. The movie also has a conspiracy which needs to be brought to light, and we see that there is more than what meets the eye. This is one of those movie releases which I had actually missed – there were so many shots of this movie which could have made the film feel effective in the trailer; unlike those overhyped films, this one could have used more initial hype.

The performers of the soul :: Anoop Menon always feels like the right choice for a police officer like this – the intellectual non-CBI police officer works like a dream for him. He did play the role of superstar in Home, and there is a fine presence that he has at all times. One strong performance that we here is that of Leona Lishoy though, as the lady left in sadness due to multiple reasons. Anu Mohan provides some fine support as police inspector aiding in the case. Manasa Radhakrishnan, despite playing the character who is killed early, remains central to the plot, just like Chandunath G Nair who plays her brother here. Nandu has the role of a priest which comes well for him. Mareena Michael Kurisingal of Mumbai Taxi and Aby fame only gets a few moments to shine though. Shanker Ramakrishnan and Renji Panicker got some smaller roles, which won’t be remembered much. Bineesh Bastin has a little bit of work to do, but not for long. Aji John and Jeeva Joseph plays two characters who are part of the schemes well. Ranjith who appears only in the later half of the movie, also brings some moments of glory.

How it finishes :: Twenty One Grams might be a lesser known movie, but it manages to be a lot better than most of those higher budget films made with the bigger superstars and having those dumb mass elements for the fans. There are so many moments that keep us guessing, and after all those guesses, we feel that we had gone the wrong direction – there is a lot of skill being used here in bringing things together in the end. Maybe, one of those superstar movies can take some of those superior ideas out of this one. It seems that the movies that we less expect to be the big mystery is actually the smarter one – the best minds behind making thrillers are often hidden in the background, and to know them, we have to travel beyond the usual. There are so many movies which have gone rather unknown because they couldn’t marketed well, or the names of the actors were not part of any fan club – this one shouldn’t go lost in that manner. This is another thriller which needs to be celebrated for its smartness, and let it not fall into the deep abyss of avoidance – watch it and see how well it uses the puzzles.

Release date: 10th June 2022 (Hotstar); 18th March 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Bibin Krishna
Starring: Anoop Menon, Leona Lishoy, Renji Panicker, Prasanth Alexander, Anu Mohan, Ranjith, Vivek Anirudh, Lena, Chandunath G Nair, Aji John, Jeeva Joseph, Bineesh Bastin, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Nandu, Mareena Michael Kurisingal, Shanker Ramakrishnan, Rajeesh Kartha

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

CBI V

Vampire Owl: Do you remember watching the first CBI movie?

Vampire Bat: That was one human eternity ago.

Vampire Owl: It was a memorable experience for sure.

Vampire Bat: I would say the same about the second movie too.

Vampire Owl: The third film was a pretty good one too.

Vampire Bat: And let us not talk about the fourth one.

Vampire Owl: We shall directly talk about the fifth one instead.

Vampire Bat: I think that we will talk about the sixth and the seventh soon enough.

Vampire Owl: I know that this series is as immortal as we are.

Vampire Bat: Immortality can also be a curse, so better be careful.

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

What is the movie about? :: Balagopal, DySP, CBI (Renji Panicker) and Vinay, CI, CBI (Ramesh Pisharody) talks about a very difficult case which CBI had to face and attempt to solve, when asked by Aparna (Malavika Menon), an IPS Trainee. It included a series of murders which started from the murder of a minister, and went on happening. It was the murder of a journalist as Bhasuran (Chandunath) and one of the police officers involved in the investigation, CI Josemon (Jayakrishnan), that brought the requirement for a quick solution. DYSP Sathyadas (Saikumar) is in charge of the investigation, but is least interested in solving the case – his concern is more about making some money with the information that he has. IG Unnithan (Anoop Menon) who has absolutely no confidence in the present status of investigation and wants to leave this case to CBI. Sathyadas is also surprised to find out that his wife Advocate Prathibha (Asha Sharath) is in support of placing CBI in his place.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Sethurama Iyer, SSP, CBI (Mammootty) is in charge of the case, and he is assisted by Balagopal and Vinay, along with other CBI officers, Sudhi (Prasanth Alexander) and Anitha (Ansiba Hassan). Chacko, DySP, CBI (Mukesh) also joins them according to request, and they get significant leads from Vikram, DySP (Retd.) CBI (Jagathy Sreekumar) who had an accident while investigating a sensational case. DYSP Babu Raj (Santhosh Keezhattoor) and SI Iqbal (Sudev Nair) are two other police officers who are not really fond of this particular investigation. There seems to be fingers pointed towards a miner Sam (Harish Raj) who had problems with honest authorities, as he has always been into illegal sand mining. But nothing much is known, even from his wife Merlin (Swasika). Then there seems to be a name Mansoor (Soubin Shahir) which seems to be there on most occasions, but it leads nowhere. The connections seem to be difficult to make, as there is too much of complexity around here.

The defence of CBI V: The Brain :: There is no reason why one wouldn’t want to watch another sequel for this particular franchise. The pillars of the earlier movies have remained, even though somewhat withered. This film builds on the same, and uses most of its strengths to gain the advantage. This one is actually bigger than any of the earlier movies in scope, as it is not about the murder of the commoners – the first victim here is a very respectable minister, and there is a lot of complexity in the motives and methods of murders happening around here. You always need such heroes from far away to save the world, even if they are no Avengers. There are some nice twists as usual, and the suspense is surely maintained about the main villain and the motive. The same music and the same people keep coming to us to bring back the childhood nostalgia at all times – there seems to be so many things that keep us reminded about that past in which there were so many wonderful movies which are to be remembered for long for the content.

The claws of flaw :: A comparison to the previous movies of the franchise would place this one in a difficult situation, except when looking at the fourth movie. The name itself rather feels strange – The Brain seems to point at some of those strange supervillains. The movie could have surely used a better twist in the end – the surprise is surely there, but the motive could have been there; if that is not possible, one should get a full-psycho killer. The dialogues could have also been better – there is nothing here to remember here in that field. The title was a pointer to the same, as there has been too much focus on gaining advantage from the name which this particular franchise has had for many years. But the makers don’t seem to understand that the world has changed, and these are not the times of superstars who are bigger than the world around them. It also has someone who is supposed to be the killer all the time, when the mystery focuses on one person in particular rather too much, it feels less like CBI and more like a few others movies we have watched.

The performers of the soul :: Mammootty surely maintains the expertise in this, even after so many years. His character does look much more tired this time though. Even as we miss the old leader of the pack of CBI, this one still still holds strong enough. After so long, this is the one character for whom he is remembered, whether younger or older. The movie also brings Jagathy Sreekumar back to the screen after a long time, and that is indeed nice to see – they have managed to blend him in here with a certain amount of smartness. Soubin Shahir’s character is a strange one which seems not suitable for this franchise, and he can’t shine because of the same reason. Ansiba Hassan of Drishyam fame seems to be there only for the sake of having a lady in the team. Among the other members of the team, only Renji Panicker seems to shine, and that shining also seems to be not without any trouble. Santhosh Keezhattoor and Sudev Nair are sidelined too easily after a good beginning, as the purpose seems to be lost later. There is a long list of people including Swasika who are ultimately left to serve less here.

How it finishes :: We are never short of the need to have murder mysteries being solved while fighting against all odds. We have always been fans of the CBI stories, right out of the childhood and full of nostalgia. This remains the one franchise in which there is a minimum guarantee assurance. You know that this can’t be that good as it used to be, but you also know that this will mostly serve the purpose. The fans are going to be extra happy about this one, as the character will once again make them more alive than usual. The final thought will always be about never being able to leave the CBI series ever. They will come back to you as much as the certainty of the global warming and corona virus, as well as maybe the end of the world too. Yet, this should have been better as the basic structure has always been there to provide enough – there is so much of the same as far the franchise is concerned; mostly like a free-hit in cricket. Well, at least we do have some of the old style entertainment with some new elements added, which would work well enough up to an extent. The franchise lives on to fight another day. But fight against better new stand-alone murder investigation thrillers like John Luther, Anjaam Pathira, Forensic and Antakshari is not easy.

Release date: 12th June 2022 (Netflix); 1st May 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: K Madhu
Starring: Mammootty, Mukesh, Jagathy Sreekumar, Soubin Shahir, Anoop Menon, Saikumar, Renji Panicker, Dileesh Pothan, Asha Sharath, Kaniha, Prasanth Alexander, Malavika Menon, Malavika Nair, Ansiba Hassan, Ramesh Pisharody, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sudev Nair, Jayakrishnan, Swasika, Prathap Pothen, G Suresh Kumar, Ravikumar, Rajkumar Sreekumar, Harish Raj, Idavela Babu, Arjun Nandhakumar, Krishna, Chandunath, Azeez Nedumangad, Sajipathi, Aniyappan, Kalabhavan Jinto, Maya Viswanath, Lukman Avaran, Sminu Sijo

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Velipadinte Pusthakam

What is the movie about? :: Pheonix College of Arts and Science was established ten years ago as a result of the efforts of Vishwanathan (Anoop Menon), a local man who was killed on a terrible night after he made this possible. The location of this college is at a coastal village, where most children stop education at the school level itself, and a few don’t even bother to get to the verandah of nursery. There have been the presence of rich people like Mathan Tharakan (Siddique) and his right hand man, a criminal Kakka Ramesh (Chemban Vinod Jose) who don’t want the local youth to attend college, as it would deprive them of the workers for their fishing business. The college did develop into a popular institution ten years after its inception though, and people from city also joined in to make the campus a mixture of different kings of students, as the number of students from the village doesn’t get any higher, with fishing being a traditional job for the locals.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Into this college where the memories of Vishwanathan is more treasured that anything else, there has been the entry of violence – there is nothing political or religious in nature with the quarrels being rather social. With more students filling in the vacant seats left by the locals, there are two groups which can’t afford to see each other. The first one is led by Franklin (Sarath Kumar), as the son of the best friend of Vishwanathan, coming from the local fishing community – proud and not backing away from a fight. They ridicule those coming from outside as rich beggars who have been trying to take away their opportunities and buy seats with cash. The second one has their leader in Sameer (Arun Kurian) who is an angry young man coming from a rich family in the city, and wastes no time in getting into fights and ridicule his rivals for being poor and doing fishing.

And what else is to follow with the book of revelation? :: The two gangs find one reason or the other to fight it out at open spaces or inside the college auditorium when there is the need for some privacy. Supporting the city gang against the village team is the vice principal of the college, Prem Raj (Salim Kumar) who has become an irritation to the female students as well as the teachers, earning him the nick name Kamaraj. Franklin and his team gets rid of him with a nicely executed plan which exposes him in front of the principal. He manages to continue as a professor, while the post of vice principal goes to Michael Idicula (Mohanlal), a happy and easy-going professor who teaches Malayalam. With a grand entry, he manages to be a favourite of all students, and even manages to win the trust both Franklin and Sameer at the same time. But there is one more thing that he will need to do, and by doing the same, he will make sure that there will be some revelations, not just about himself, but also about Vishwanathan and his death.

The defence of Velipadinte Pusthakam :: The movie is entertaining for sure, and the first half has a lot of funny moments to add to the cause – whenever there is something related to the college and its people, there is the comic side that comes up; it is Salim Kumar who handles that all the time. The visuals of the coastal village is very good, and there are some dialogues to remembered, some as serious ones, and a few from the comic side – this is never the complete with its funny side though. With its ups and downs, the movie depends on Mohanlal to save it, and it is his presence that makes the audience miss some of the troubles that this movie has. There are some twists in this movie, some are on the funny side, and the rest are on the more serious angle – some of the thrills come not that strong, but they are surely present there. The most interesting song remains the one you have already listened, and had become the big hit.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s trouble is with its second story, which makes one wish to return to the college, and keep things there. The thrilling side is not used as one would have wanted it to be, and the revelation of the suspense could have been done in a much better manner. There is also the lack of focus on a number of characters that could have done wonders. The second half becomes inferior to the first, and the curse of the second half tightens its grip on rather too many occasions. We also think that there would be some relevant social theme being taken about the rich and the poor, which is not there – with those early clashes, that could have been on the list of things to show for sure. Also, Mohanlal as a lecturer could have become the perfect lecturer to transform this college through a series of interesting events, rather than skipping through all that. This one is also too long a movie, which is why there is the feeling of dragging in between.

Performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in his usual style, manages to cover the limitations of the script here. Due to the same, this movie also becomes a treat for the fans, who will get to clap here and there, especially with his entry and more in the second half. Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol from this year, and Oppam and Pulimurugan from last year have all been doing wonders for him. Anoop Menon has much to with flashbacks, and he remains pretty much suitable, but has not many dialogues. You will find out that Sarath Kumar as well Arun Kurian finds themselves limited as their characters’ rivalry is lost rather too easily. The work here is no challenge for them. Even Anna Reshma Rajan fades away in the process, and so does almost every female character including Priyanka Nair and Sneha Sreekumar. Salim Kumar here has one a full swing comedy attack as he launches one funny dialogue after the other, and with ups and downs, some of them misses by a long distance, but there are a few others which are close to target. The two negative characters played by Chemban Vinod Jose and Siddique are solid, without doubt.

How it finishes :: How much Velipadinte Pusthakam would work for you, certainly depends on your expectations. The expectations were also so high for this one – this was also the movie I was looking for, with Lal Jose and Mohanlal coming together, and the cast from Angamaly Diaries, Sarath Kumar and Anna Reshma Rajan doing some memorable roles. Yes, even more expectations than what was there for Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idavela and Adam Joan. If that much is your expectation, there will be some trouble. The movie is actually quite far away from what you might have expected from the trailer. I was surely surprised by how much the movie has deviated from what I had thought about it, and it is due to the same, that I have crafted the story in such a way that none of the twists, whether serious or funny, are revealed. If you are watching Veilpadinte Pusthakam, be prepared for the deviation. You can’t deny the presence of fun though, especially if you are watching it with family.

Release date: 31st August 2017
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Mohanlal, Anoop Menon, Anna Reshma Rajan, Arun Kurian, Sarath Kumar, Chemban Vinod Jose, Alencier Ley Lopez, Priyanka Nair, Siddique, Salim Kumar, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sneha Sreekumar, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Krishna Kumar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sarvopari Palakkaran

What is the movie about? :: Jose Kaithaparambil Mani (Anoop Menon) is a police officer working in the special branch, based out of Palai in Kottayam. He is on the search for the right girl to marry, as everyone feels that the time has already passed for the same, and a few years later, he will have zero scope in the marriage market. His father Mani Chacko (Alencier Ley Lopez) and a friend Joymon (Balu Varghese) are the two people who are actively looking for the girl. But they are not able to find the right one for him, as Jose rejects everyone without regret. He finds all girls to be too modern, and not suitable for his lifestyle – sometimes, there is a problem with how the girl greets him, at other times there is a problem with what she wears, and on some occasions, he just feels that the girl is too proud. It is only after a long search that they find Linta (Anu Sithara) who is working at Cochin. Despite her not perfectly matching his viewpoint, they get along, and get engaged.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After being transferred to Thrissur and taking charge there, ASP Chandra Sivakumar (Gayathri Arun) assigns to him the case of a human trafficking which has Mani Swami (Nandhu) as the main link, who is known to find young girls to transport to the Middle East – he also has the charge of kindapping and rape of an iillegal immigrant on his head. While chasing for the man who occasionally visits the city, he comes across Anupama Neelakandan (Aparna Balamurali) who is an activist working for the betterment women and children, and is also working with a theatre group. Jose who is searching for the wanted criminal to bring justice to the victim and Anupama who is looking to help the victim as well as many others like her, finds each other as stumbling blocks more than once. With the help of SI Ramesh Kumar (Chali Pala), he wants to get rid of her, but it is not that easy. And Mani Swami seems like someone who can’t be stopped – unless there is a twist in the tale.

The defence of Sarvopari Palakkaran :: The movie is surely a believable one in most parts. There is absolutely no heroism associated with the protagonist, and it has more of a collection of flawed characters without glorifying any particular side. It surely has a wonderful start, and an interesting finish – in between, there are some sequences which will catch our attention. There is some social relevance with this movie, but it is not given that much focus. We see two sides and two ways of thinking colliding here, and both of them come together as one. We also have some humour at work here, other than some of the comedy which is forced with situations created out of nowhere. There is also a twist, or rather two of them in the end, which works nicely, even though there is a certain stretched feeling present. There are some beautiful visuals in here too, starting from Palai, moving towards Thrissur and then Cochin as well as the highlands of Idukki, and finally into Murdeshwar with its huge Shiva statue and surroundings.

The claws of flaw :: There are moments in this movie which go nowhere. The first song during the credits is one of them, and then there are those points which has no hesitation in defying common sense – maybe the characters are supposed to be somewhat dumb when facing certain situations. Well, there is not much in the songs of this movie – they just try to keep us away. There is also that hidden camera sequence involving the protagonist’s father and friend, which could have just been removed; there is also too much of meaningless scenes between the police officer and the activist, which seems to be strangely done. Maybe, without these, a shorter length of the movie would have made things perfect. Also, they leave the town of Palai too early, and one has to wonder how much the title is justified here – this is not really about him being from a place if you look at it, for it is more about him being conservative and orthodox; could work with someone from any place or district in the same manner.

Performers of the soul :: The one who stands out here is Aparna Balamurali, without doubt. Even though Jimy Augustine from Maheshinte Prathikaaram will remain her most memorable character, and it seems that it will be so for quite long time, she has been creating some fine effect with Oru Muthassi Gada and Sunday Holiday. This one would get to be her second most noticeable character after Jimsy – it is rather more versatile than each and every role she has played, if you look at it. She makes her entry later, but becomes the big screen presence without leaving a chance for doubt. The other heroine, Anu Sithara, even though looking so good in this avatar, pales in comparison, being provided with a predictable character – there is not much to do for her rather than being the love interest of the protagonist. She surely has her one or two nice dialogues with stand out though, entirely different from what she did in Happy Wedding, Fukri and Ramante Edenthottam.

Further performers of the soul :: It is rather surprising that we haven’t seen that much of Anoop Menon for some time, and his only movie this year was Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol. But it has to be noted that he had three fine movies last year among others, and other than the more discussed Paavada and Karimkunnam 6s, he had the underrated Maalgudi Days – a movie which had won Janaki Menon the Best Child Actor Award at the fort sixth Kerala State Film Awards for portraying the character of Atheena. Sadly, his movies have been underrated compared to the others, and it is a grave mistake – we see him fit right into the role here, and at no point do we separate the character from the man. The best thing about him is that he is stays as close to life as possible – there is nothing strange, or super cop model being tried here, as he becomes the everyman police officer. Balu Varghese has a smaller role, and the humour seems to be forced by him and Alencier Ley Lopez along with Chali Pala. Nandhu does a fine job while Gayathri Arun makes her presence here in a role rather not needed.

How it finishes :: This movie thankfully focus on those expected features of the place where it is based – those flicks based on the place, on the district where the place stands, or even on the neighbouring districts have always been based on a protagonist who drinks alcohol most of the time, beats up a lot of people, and then go back to drinking alcohol again. When he is not doing these in this order, he is doing the same mixing things up. Still, he is not just a good man, but a hero – whether it is the more recent Thoppil Joppan or any of them in that long, older list, things have been the same. Despite the name which suggests that it is about the man being a part of the town rather than anything else, Sarvopari Palakkaran dares to move away from that stereotype which had become a curse. Along with the same, it brings an interesting story which is not big in scope, but works – surely more for the family than Chunkzz.

Release date: 4th August 2017
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Venugopan
Starring: Anoop Menon, Aparna Balamurali, Anu Sithara, Vijayakumar, Alencier Ley Lopez, Balu Varghese, Chali Pala, Nandhu, Roshan Basheer, Gayathri Arun, Manju Satheesh, Manuraj, Nithin Susheel

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol

munthirivallikalthalirkkumbol

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of Ulahannan (Mohanlal), his wife Anniyamma (Meena), and their two children, Jini (Aima Rosmy Sebastian) and Jerry (Sanoop Santhosh). Ulahannan is the Panchayath Secretary at a nearby village, and is living in a housing colony where his best friends are Venu (Anoop Menon), Jacob (Alencier Ley Lopez) and Monai (Kalabhavan Shajohn). He is extremely bored with his life, and his only relief remains the time he spends with his good friends having some alcohol. Each and every day in his life remains the same, as he just goes to work, returns home, and goes to sleep after having some drinks and food. He keeps minimum relationship with his family, especially his wife who often wonders if he knows that she exists. He still has a respectable position in the society due to his job and the serious character.

So, what happens next? :: With his friend Venu having relationships with many other girls on phone without his wife Latha (Srinda Ashab) knowing about it, Ulahannan also looks forward to such a relationship, with Julie (Neha Saxena). With her husband Augustine (Suresh Krishna) working abroad, she has been looking forward to begin a beauty parlour for women and kids, and she asks for help from Ulahannan as he is the panchayath secretary. Seeing his old romantic interest Indu (Asha Sarath) only makes him wish for more romance and become the one person he used to be. But one day, as he sees Anniyamma at the church, he realises that he has been wrong all the time – it was never about loving someone else to reclaim the romance, but it was better to love one’s own wife better. With one phone call, things begin to change for Ulahannan.

Where are things heading for? :: So, they finally end up finding the lost romance and everyone seems to be happy about that. This leads to the family ties getting a lot better. Ulahannan has problems at the office with the corrupt politicians including the former Panchayat president Chalakan (Sudheer Karamana) and the current president Thilothaman (Suraj Venjaramood), which he deals with easily. His friend Venu, who is less interested in his own wife Latha, also learns things the hard way after meeting with an accident. There is one question that remains – with changes in the parents’ relationship for the better, how will it affect the lives of the children? With Jini seeming to be very much attracted to a boy whom she only knows through Facebook, what message will the father and mother be able to provide her with?

The defence of Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol :: A treat for the families, this flick is a lot believable one as far as the common audience is concerned. The happenings in this movie are simple and enjoyable, and we get to see all things dealt with, in a realistic way. There are also some nice comedy moments in this one, and there is also the feel-good factor with which the movie finishes. The message that this movie leaves on with, is also nothing less than beautiful and applicable to our times. Even as this is a family drama flick, there is nothing like the possible melodrama in this one too. The movie is certainly in control of the emotions and keeps them in control to make sure that we have that nice feeling throughout the run here. The second half is also superior to the first, and there is that fine finish in this flick which will make sure that we leave the theatre with a smile of satisfaction on our faces, and it is a real boost for the families.

Claws of flaw :: There is a certain amount of drag in the first half of the movie, especially in the beginning. It is really tough to go through the first moments when the protagonist tries to find love outside his family – it is rather unnecessary and stretched beyond the needs even for those with very less imagination. The character called Julie is added without any good purpose, for Neha Saxena is to this movie, what Namitha was to Pulimurugan – an extra addition which will make the family audience feel strange, and others understand the meaningless of the same – still, one can safely say that this is a better movie than Oppam and Pulimurugan. There is also too much alcohol in this one, and the little moments of unnecessary heroism – something which doesn’t add that much of humour or style as one would expect. The songs are not that good, except for “Punnamadakayal” which does give the better feeling even with the thought that we have seen and heard this before.

Performers of the soul :: You see Mohanlal, as expected, leading the way here in his usual style, as everything related to the character has us interested. With a heavy chance of bringing a third big success in a row, he brings that side of him, which will appeal to the family audience more than anything else – it raises the bar above Oppam and Pulimurugan with its realistic treatment relating it to the common man’s life. Along with the same, we are always glad to have Meena pair up with Mohanlal, and she brings life to those interesting moments in a family. Another thing that you will love about this movie is the trio of Alencier Ley Lopez, Kalabhavan Shajohn and Anoop Menon who plays the best friends of the protagonist – they surely have the best moments of fun in store here. You will also get to see how good Aima Rosmy Sebastian is, as she gets more to do compared to her previous work in Jacobinte Swargarajyam. Srinda Ashab also moves out of the role which seemed to be becoming a stereotype, and Rahul Madhav’s short stay is memorable. Suresh Krishna also has once nice funny situation.

How it finishes :: It has been a long break from Malayalam movies as far as the fans are concerned. They have been waiting for so long for another movie, but due to the protests, nothing really came up – only those English, Hindi and Tamil movies score in between. Now, with Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol and Jomonte Suvisheshangal having arrived, we are truly back to the movie world. We missed so many of them during the Christmas season, and with Ezra, Fukri and Georgettan’s Pooram also ready to release, we are sure to have some more treat. Among all these movies, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol is sure to have a prominent place, as it is certainly something which will be taken over by the family audience, and Mohanlal is certain to make it three out of three with Oppam, Pulimurugan, and this one from the director of the big surprise hit, Vellimoonga. After watching this movie, let us hope that everyone also feels that “my life is my wife”, and also that “family is everything” – a lot of people need inspiration to love their own, don’t they?

Release date: 20th January 2017
Running time: 154 minutes
Directed by: Jibu Jacob
Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Aima Rosmy Sebastian, Sanoop Santhosh, Anoop Menon, Srinda Ashab, Alencier Ley Lopez, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Reshmi Boban, Bindu Panicker, Lishoy, Suraj Venjaramood, Sudheer Karamana, Sharafudheen, Neha Saxena, Rajesh Paravoor, Suresh Krishna, Rahul Madhav, Ganapathi, Sohan Seenulal, Meghanathan, Joy Mathew, K. L. Antony Kochi, Leena Antony, Asha Sarath (cameo), Sasi Kalinga (cameo)

munthirivallikalthalirkkumboll

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Karinkunnam 6s

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Vampire Owl :: When was the last time we watched a Malayalam movie in the theatre?

Vampire Bat :: Last month, I guess?

Vampire Owl :: Is it? Still, that feels like an eternity.

Vampire Bat :: It is mostly because we are not used to not watching movies.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I think someone has worked black magic against us, which is why we are missing so many movies.

Vampire Bat :: I see that hands of pure evil itself. But in this case, it is more because we don’t have time.

Vampire Owl :: Did you see the half-yearly list of the movies we have watched in the theatre? It is quite a small list compared to the last few years.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, we definitely need to work on that.

Vampire Owl :: Until then, one Malayalam movie for this weekend?

Vampire Bat :: So be it. A sports drama would be a welcome change!

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Vandana (Manju Warrier) lives with her husband Aby (Anoop Menon) after successfully running away from home in favour of an inter-caste marriage. Both are from sports background, and the latter has one dream only, to make things better for volleyball in a world dominated by cricket. His love for the game is above everything else, and for the same, he supports his own team Karinkunnam 6s. With the same dream in his mind, he contacts Kesavan (Shyamaprasad), a man who is very much interested in the profits to be gained from the venture. Even though he agrees to the idea of having a Volleyball Premier League on the lines of Indian Premier League and Indian Super League, he decides that it has to be entertainment, and that should include fixed matches – it is something to which Aby can’t agree.

So what happens next? :: What follows next are all against Aby, as he is bed-ridden and Vandana has to take over the team to make sure that it plays in the league, and plays fair. For the same, she contacts many players, but the rich and the influential groups in the league works against her making sure that she gets no official players. But Vandana has help from Haritha (Lena Abhilash), the head of the police department, and decides to choose and train a number of inmates in the prison. The team starts from the powerhouse Douglas (Babu Antony), and is joined by many other inmates who look forward to making a mark. But with no professional training, can the prisoners do enough to make it to the next round of the tournament featuring some of the best? Can they leave their own personal rivalries behind and live for the moment?

The defence of Karinkunnam 6s :: One can easily say that this is one of the best sports drama movies made in Malayalam – there are not many interesting movies belonging to that genre around here. When it is not based on an overrated sport like cricket, things only get better. It takes some courage to take a movie based on something which is not cricket or football – and that risk is taken, and they make sure that it appeals to the audience in this part of the world. The movie is also dedicated to Jimmy George, who was considered as one of the greatest volleyball players – the deserving heroes of our land who are less known just because they didn’t play the hyped game of cricket. There are some very nice moments in this movie, which are a lot inspirational; there are more which are emotional, but it never manages to overdo the same. There is power and there is also a lot of energy here!

The claws of flaw :: This is a movie which could have made it to the list of the best among its kind. The tale here is still predictable for most of the time though. There could have been more focus on the sports rather than the drama and the incidents which occurred outside the court. It could have gone deeper with both too, with the sporting side as well as the dramatic events with direct relation to the characters. It also takes some time to get going in the beginning, and it is with the prisoners getting to the act that things get to be interesting. The climax could have also been bigger. People might be able to find problems with this movie related to the sports, but none of the sports movies in Malayalam can be considered close enough to that big reality, and this one can also be forgiven for those flaws that can be taken out of the grave when the DVD comes out.

Performers of the soul :: Having no huge star, this one relies on the long list of actors who play the characters in fine style – nobody lets us down around here. After Vettah, Manju Warrier is excellent here, and there is so much energy that she carries forward here – it is shared by the rest of the cast too, especially the team which is lead by Babu Antony with his usual style. The other person who catches our attention from the team is Sudheer Karamana who has some very nice moments; Baiju also gets some nice dialogues here. Suraj Venjaramoodu impresses us with a different avatar here too, and he deservingly gets some claps. Anoop Menon goes on smoothly with his role. Even those who does some cameo roles here leaves something for the audience.

How it finishes :: Without the big cast that the other movies of this season have come up with, this one has managed to come up with a special identity of its own. There is entertainment guaranteed, and it is worth a fine watch with the family. This is no perfect sports drama, but you find inspiration here and you will also get the thrills. Lets hope that this movie brings back to its viewers the memories of the volleyball legend, and also bring more interest into this game. Unlike the movies which are filled with ridiculous content for the fans, this is the kind of movie that needs to be watched – there are no superstars here, but everyone in this movie ends up being no less than a special star. All of them contribute here, and we are left applauding for those final dialogues and the tribute.

Release date: 7th July 2016
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Deepu Karunakaran
Starring: Manju Warrier, Babu Antony, Anoop Menon, Jacob Gregory, Baiju, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Sudev Nair, Sudheer Karamana, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Nandhu, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Manikuttan, Vivek Gopan, Kevin, Lena Abhilash (cameo), Shyamaprasad (cameo), Major Ravi (cameo), Hareesh Peradi (cameo), Maniyanpilla Raju (cameo), Jagadish (cameo), Gayathri Suresh (cameo), Samuthirakani (cameo)

karinkunnam6s ()

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Paavada

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What is it about? :: Joy a.k.a. Paambu Joy (Prithviraj Sukumaran) spends his day with alcohol, and that leads to his wife Cinimol (Miya George) leaving him to do service in a charitable institution. He spends most of his time with alcohol as if there is no tomorrow. With nobody left to control him, the local priest tries to make him stop drinking, but it is of no use, and the priest finally admits Joy in a de-addiction centre. Babu a.k.a. Paavada Babu (Anoop Menon) used to be a college lecturer teaching English, but now spends his time lost in alcohol as if it is the only thing that he does throughout the day. Except for the dialogues which he takes out of the Shakesperean Drama including Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar, there is nothing much good that comes out of his mouth. His well-wishers forcibly take him to a de-addiction centre.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The well-wishers think that they can only return after changing themselves, but that turns out to be a wrong idea, as the two manage to escape from the place which is heavily guarded. This brings a special bond between the two which is forged in alcohol, even though the caretaker of Babu doesn’t really like the fact that Joy has started living in their house. But they get along as time progresses, and as they are united in alcohol, something else comes up which changes their times of happiness into something depressing. There will be a flashback which works against their happy days, and certain news will add fire to the same. So, with the help of their well-wishers, will they be able to overcome this problem which affects them both?

The defence of Paavada :: The movie begins with the notice that this happened before the bars had closed in Kerala. You will feel that Paavada is a clear entertainer right from the beginning to the end. There are no dull moments here, and this is certainly a quality which the audience will appreciate. The comedy sequences power the first half while the emotional side takes over the second, even though there is some fun in parts concerning the latter part of the movie too; it ends with very much of a happy angle. The story remains strong here, especially with how things take the twists, and this side takes over when the rest goes a little down. There will be dialogues for you to remember, and even as it has too much of alcohol, there is message and something for the family audience along with the youth. There is clearly enjoyment in store here. You can also find a message against alcoholism by the end.

Claws of flaw :: Some jokes won’t work that well, and a number of them seems to be more forced to be added with alcohol rather than being better. There are also certain deviations from the trailer, and the story won’t follow that path which you might have predicted earlier. There is also that too much of a focus on alcohol in the first half at a time when other factors could have also been there. Alcohol gets too much of screen space here than one would have wanted. The songs are all forgettable, and if they were avoided, the movie could have gotten rid of a few extra minutes which were there. The movie also has a huge amount of melodrama which comes in during the second half. The final light moments after the climax were also not that effective. Paavada really did have scope to be an even better movie.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj has been making the right choices with his movies, and this one is no different, as he has become the one actor whose movies can be trusted more than any other. Even earlier, I liked his movies like Ivide and London Bridge which had certain viewers in doubt. In this movie, he handles both the funny as well as the emotional side with no problems at all. We had seen how well he could handle a character suffering from addiction in Memories, and here he comes up very well with two sides of the same coin. Some people might have had doubts from the trailer, but they will be cleared with this movie. Miya plays the role of his wife, and has the usual stuff to do, which she manages fine; they were together in their last movie Anarkali too, even though not paired with each other.

Further performers of the soul :: Anoop Menon continues his good work from the less appreciated, but interesting Maalgudi Days. I have felt that he was nothing less than a perfect choice to play the alcoholic English professor with a philosophical side and love for drama; also having a troubled past. Except for the alcoholism, he carries over the rest from his previous movie, and there are some very nice moments which he shares with Prithviraj. Kalabhavan Shajon once again plays a character with evil shades, reminding one of Drishyam. Siddique has a strong performance by the end of the movie while Chemban Vinod Jose and Sudheer Karamana manage their contrasting priest roles really well. Sharafudeen of Premam fame has some nice moments in the first half. Maniyan Pilla Raju and Nedumudi Venu provides fine support and Asha Sarath is another positive.

How it finishes :: Prithviraj had only finished a hat-trick of blockbusters with Ennu Ninte Moideen, Amar Akbar Anthony and Anarkali, and this would surely add to that list of great success. I watched this movie at a multiplex screen, and even though it was in the morning, the place was almost houseful with seats vacant only here and there. I am expecting this to be the first blockbuster of 2016 as far as Malayalam movies are concerned. So, this year has a very fine beginning for Prithviraj, and his upcoming movies this year which should begin with Darvinte Parinamam, are also the titles which will catch our attention. I am pretty sure that Paavada is the movie which will work for all kinds of audience, and so it should be your movie of the weekend as it seems now; plus you see that the goodness side wins in the end whatever be the circumstances.

Release date: 15th January 2016
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: G. Marthandan
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Miya George, Anoop Menon, Kalabhavan Shajon, Chemban Vinod Jose, Maniyan Pilla Raju, Nedumudi Venu, Sudheer Karamana, Siddique, Sharafudeen, Renji Panicher, Kunjan, Asha Sarath, Dinesh Prabhakar, Murali Gopy, Manikuttan, Sai Kumar, Sunil Sukhada, Manju Warrier

paavada

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Maalgudi Days

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What is the movie about? :: A little girl, Athena Adarsh (Baby Janaki) is going through a state of depression after losing her father to the sea right in front of her eyes. As she spends her time at home staring at the possessions of her father and not talking to anyone, her mother Swathy Adarsh (Priyanka Nair) decides to send her away from home to keep the kid away from the memories. For the same reason, she gets admission for Athena in Maalgudi Residential School which is located in the highlands. But Athena doesn’t make many good friends until she comes up against Milan Joseph (Master Vishal) who is the mischief maker without friends, having a history of being brought up by a single parent and being quite unpopular. They form a gang of two, separate from the other kids around.

So, where and how does the twist of events occur? :: One day, while playing on the ground, the ball goes outside the school limits, and the kids come across an injured man called Zephan (Anoop Menon) who is wanted by the police. He has a mysterious past, and there is not much known about him except that he is an artist. The kids help him with water and food and develops a bond with him, as he leaves for another place, which is according to him towards his own child. The twist of fate happens when the kids gets caught in a situation from which there seems to be no escape. With nobody around to help them, how will they get back to their parents? Does anybody including their teachers actually even know that they are in such a situation?

The defence of Maalgudi Days :: One thing that you should have felt right from the trailer is that there is a certain amount of visual beauty to the locations, and if used well, can create a nice experience for the eyes – it happens right here. The surroundings used here happens to be perfect setting for the movie. Then there is the realistic ending to the movie, using the emotions to the right quantity rather than bringing what would go on to become melodrama. This is also a movie that touches the emotions at the base level, not within that elite level of romance to which reality is never that close. If you wish to support only superstar romance, go for it, but I would rather incline myself towards the sad realities and little goodness in life rather than the exaggerated infatuation. The goodness in this movie touches you on one side, and from the other side, the sad realities of life come in. It is from this ability to touch one’s emotion that this movie can be a favourite for the audience.

Claws of flaw :: Well, a near flawless movie was never expected in this case. The movie was never heavily promoted and never did it generate any hype. It just had an interesting song playing on television and came right into the theatres. It is nowhere close to being among the big movies with its content either, and that problem is solved by creating a fog of innocence which works. But the blind fans will neglect the same, because they can only get emotional when their superstar falls in love and losses his romance – the story of struggles of people never appeal to them. This bloody exaggerated romance seen in movies have made people feel only when the hero and heroine separate, and it will be a flaw, not with the movie, but with the brainwashed audience who are blind to the truth. This movie does have its own struggles in the middle, and a lot of scenes do seem half-baked. The material is not that well connected in between, and not made to appeal to people throughout its run. The first song with graphics was a terrible idea too.

Performers of the soul :: As you might have already noticed, Anoop Menon and Bhama forms the star power of this movie, and are the main actor and actress. Bhama does a fine job, but is present only in a few flashback sequences. Anoop Menon has his moments, and the best of them are in the second half. I am sure that a lot of blind fans would have appreciated their favourite actor in this role, and might spend most of their time praising this movie, if that particular person was acting in this, no matter how bad the performance was. But do not underestimate Anoop Menon who has done a commendable job, and at least once in a blue-moon, try to watch and appreciate movies without partiality. I had to add this to the review because of the conversation which I heard from some of the youngsters sitting behind me. Kids in trouble is a joke to some people, but their favourite hero getting beaten up or losing his romantic interesting is so sad – simply pathetic attitude.

Further performers of the soul :: Why don’t you people take some time to appreciate Anoop Menon choosing to act in this movie of debutantes, and coming up with a touching performance? Is it only with those overrated movies that your loyalty lie? Coming back to the movie, the child actors have done some very nice job here; there is a lot of skill in that age group, as the Malayalam movies which have given significant role of children in the last two or three years have revealed to us. This movie provides enough opportunities to the two child actors, and never hesitates to let them free. They have more to perform here than in a regular movie about children, and they come up strong. Priyanka Nair has a good role here; she was among my favourite actresses before she took that break. Saiju Kurup handles an important role, while Noby manages the lighter moments which are rather less and has least significance in this emotional flick.

How it finishes :: The situation looks rather bleak for the movie considering the number of viewers, but as there have been positive opinions, the number of people for the show will be more in the next few days. But the promotions have been rather less related to this one, and if you have noticed, this one is not present at Wikipedia, making this one more of a movie which is not out of the shadows yet. With the challenge posed by Charlie, Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Two Countries still there and with another possible challenge from the Bollywood movie Wazir, one has to be doubtful about how well it will do in the end, but coming from three debutante directors, this surely needs some attention considering how sincerely the attempt has been made. It surely has that single act of kindness which is supposed to shape the mindset of future generations, that too with one great self-sacrifice – are you ready for it?

Release date: 8th January 2016
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Visakh, Vivek, Vinod
Starring: Anoop Menon, Bhama, Priyanka Nair, Noby Markose, Saiju Kurup, T.P. Madhavan, Irshad, Sathyadev, Abhi Madhav, Anand, Binoy, Janaki, Vishal, Alji Francis

maalgudidays

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Angry Babies

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Vampire Bat :: Did you just say Angry Birds at the ticket counter?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but he heard Angry Babies.

Vampire Bat :: How can you be so sure?

Vampire Owl :: Because he gave me tickets. Angry Babies sounds dumb. I am not going to say that with Angry Birds in my mobile.

Vampire Bat :: But what if there are real babies in it and justifies the title?

Vampire Owl :: I have watched the trailer. It didn’t seem like the protagonists were ever going to have a baby.

Vampire Bat :: It should have been Angry Babes then, unless they act like babies.

Vampire Owl :: I am afraid this will remind me of What Happens in Vegas.

Vampire Bat :: I think it will be like Just Married.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: The rich and the poor love story begins in the highranges of Kerala as Sarah Thomas (Bhavana), daughter of a wealthy businessman and Jeevan Paul (Anoop Menon), a still photographer decides to run away on the day of the lady’s betrothal. They arrives in Mumbai and starts a Coffee Shop with name Sarah Jeevan by selling the ornaments she was wearing for her engagement function. As Sarah is more into the shop and Jeevan rarely goes there and attempting to get a job as a photographer, they slowly moves away from each other; his photographing beautiful models acting as a powerful catalyst for the same. They slowly begins to detest the presence of each other, and files a divorce only to be asked to wait for six months which seems longer to them than ever. After failing in an attempt to push the other person out of their flat, they decide to share the place until the legal separation, and their problems are mediated by Madhavan (P. Balachandran). Sarah attempts to take over things by appointing a servant Selvi (Anusree) and being close to Alex (Joju) much to Jeevan’s dismay. But as their friends who helped them elope comes to Mumbai, they decide to act like all is well so that they are not hurt.

The defence of Angry Babies :: The one thing which was guaranteed from the beginning and delivered with ease was the fun. The movie has clean entertainment and comedy, unlike the new generation comedy which laughs at things or use multiple double meaning words in an attempt to evoke laughter. This is where the has been quite an attention, and even if there is some loss of fun, such tidy status is to be managed if families are to watch this one, and the flick manages some security there. This is lots of fun right from the beginning to the end, but as it moved towards the climax, it doesn’t fail to give some message about adjustments in marriage, and the weaknesses that the love marriages will show sooner or later as long as there is no support from the families of the bride and groom. The blessings of one’s parents is always a major factor in marriage. There is difference between love and marriage and it is easier to talk stupid things about love and wander around together doing nothing, but wedding takes it to another level, and this one deals with the problems in Ivar Vivahitharayal in a funny and sometimes stupid manner – the same director handles this one too. There are lots of funny situations, and the beauty of Mumbai is nicely captured too.

The claws of flaw :: Angry Babies doesn’t have that much of an innovation, and the story is mostly predictable except for the smaller details. The story has is own dose of exaggeration, but nothing that thrives on inflammation to the wrong emotions like Bangalore Days had been trying; why do you need to over-think Angry Birds though, for it serves it purpose and do what it is supposed to do, with no unnecessary additions to make it something it is not. The ending is also a bit forced with the love returning to the life like a boomerang quickly remembering that it was actually supposed to come back – well, this was supposed to maintain that comic factor throughout the movie and the ending is no different as it ends up in another funny moment. This is not for the people who are not looking forward to such a movie, and if someone feels the need to inject anything other than just fun into this movie, it is their problem and needs to stop watching movies in the theatre. There is no denying that it could have created a few more funny moments, and the flashback story of love needn’t even exist – it never bores with such stuff, and then why not the creation of a little more funny moments like What Happens in Vegas and Just Married could come up with?

Performances of the soul :: Most of the screen time is reserved for Anoop Menon and Bhavana, and there is almost no moment which doesn’t include one of them and most of the time, they spend together. Anoop Menon shows his skill for comedy like never before, especially in the first half and in the end works well with the emotional stuff. Bhavana is a beauty; not just with the looks, but with her handling of both comic and emotional scenes. She plays a character which reminds one of Mamtha Mohandas in My Boss, and yet keeps so many good elements with her unlike that “boss”, and this middle path that she has taken for her character is rather a smart idea by the director not making her the more egotic person, and gives enough to Anoop’s character too. None of these characters preach though, and keeps things simple, fighting and getting over with it. Anusree’s character is a little overdose at times, but manages to funny throughout the movie, and she is one actress who can thrive in simplicity. The Vodafone Comedy Stars fame Noby was the funniest one in the second half, and it makes one extremely happy to see him coming up with so much to make us laugh, and Joju comes next in the comic contribution. Noby needs a lot more chances, for he has earned it. Meanwhile, Nishanth Sagar makes a nice come back looking so much younger, and Parvathy Nair looks beautiful in her short stay. Kalabhavan Shaju also contributes to the fun.

Soul exploration :: One thing is very clear about this movie, and it is the lack of pretending to be something. Unlike our most recent pretender to the throne of awesomeness called Bangalore Days, this movie knows where it stands and where the strengths lie. This one also doesn’t depend on a hufe starcast to hide its weaknesses, but it uses very good use of the resources available. The disadvantages of a multi-starrer cast has always been its special ability to hide its weaknesses; just like what was evident from the early opinions about Bangalore Days. The people would be staring at their favourite stars and it will be impossible for them to tell the truth that the movie had problems, and will say that the movie is awesome just because they are typical fanboys and fangirls. The real movies shouldn’t have too many superstars because it spoils its essence even as there will be a good amount of box-office collections, and there will no real review about it as nobody wishes to go against the fans because people only need to read what they want to read, and this case, they are intoxicated just because their favourite actor or actress looks great on the screen. When those involved with the movie other than the cast are also popular, the movie needs zero substance. This movie moves away from such lies, and that is a point for the soul.

How it finishes :: Coming from the director who has handles the funny side nicely, like in Ivar Vivahitharayal, Happy Husbands and Husbands in Goa, this was expected to be interesting stuff which is certain to make the audience laugh as long as it kept close to the genre. This is his sixth movie and the first one without Jayasurya being a part of the cast. This would be his first movie with Anoop Menon and the second with Bhavana as a part of it. In a weekend when movies like Koothara released, it was good to have this movie from Saji Surendran, with a movie that doesn’t think that the audience are stupid and the flick is too intellectual. As I was not a part of the Mermaid Welfare Association of India, I wasn’t happy at all with Koothara, but that is one story I am not going to talk about now. For now, what we need to remember is that Angry Babies is the movie which promises and delivers what it is supposed to come up with, as anything else would have been an unnecessary overdose which the superstar movies come up with, and not a movie which has an identity of its own rather than wearing a fake visage intended only for making money. Now, for the question about the title of the movie, the protagonists are indeed like babies in both love and hatred 😀

Release date: 14th June 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Saji Surendran
Starring: Bhavana Menon, Anoop Menon, Noby Tharian, Joju George, Parvathy Nair, P. Balachandran, Kalabhavan Shaju, Nishanth Sagar, Anusree Nair

angrybabies copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Silence

silence (1)

Questions of the day :: The first question of the day is less relevant, and it is about the day of release. Why would this movie be released on a Saturday? That gives the impression that the movie is less confident about fighting face to face with movies that release on the Friday as usual, and this was more of a “weak week” except for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire striking the multiplexes; that won’t help – it gives more of a feeling that by releasing on a Saturday or a Sunday, more family audiences can be lured to the theatres without reading a review. That is rather pure lack of confidence, something which we audience have more on all those who are behind this movie than they might have had on us. The next question is about the lack of publicity – this might be the least publicized movie of Mammootty as well as V.K. Prakash in a long time. Nobody really knew that this movie was going to release last Saturday. It was updated on multiplex lists much later, and there was no talks about it. Seriously, why release a superstar movie in secret? There are some posters, but in a week such as this, the movie could have done incredibly well with better marketing.

What is Silence? :: From the director who gave us Beautiful (my favourite movie from him), comes this flick which is more of a thriller. No it is not just Silence if you look closer into the poster, as it is The Power of Silence, with Silence written in big letters. I didn’t like his last few movies, but I was sure that there will be something good coming up from him soon. Only if they had marketed this well as they did for the inferior movies like Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla and Poppins. This has to be the least popularized Mammootty movie too, breaking the record of Kunjananthante Kada which also came sneaking into the theatres. But Silence is still moving silently, and there needs to be voices if it has to take it to the next level. Just because the name of a movie is The Power of Silence, would that mean its better to sneak into the theatres and run for a week with not many people knowing that it has released? Except for jobless people like me, of course. The fans will know, but for a neutral, this one had to be told about. What is the motive behind making this movie if nobody knows it has released? Who knows? Well, lets move on to what might point to our movie concerning corpus delicti!

What is it about? :: Aravind Chandrasekhar (Mammootty) is the newly appointed Chief Judge of the Karnataka High Court after a great run as a lawyer with absolutely no blemish. He is praised as the youngest person to achieve that honour and everything goes smoothly as he goes to his ancestral home with his wife Sangeetha (Pallavi Purohit) and two children. He is harassed by a phone call from an unknown person who seems to know almost everything about him, and tells him that he is not fit to be a judge. There are cars chasing him, people around his house, his daughter is given gifts by strangers and his son is found missing only to be found later. With the help of Neil George (Anoop Menon), an IPS officer and a good friend, he attempts to solve the mystery behind the people who are shadowing him. He finds that there is something about his past there, and goes back to look at the cases which he dealt with, and with the advice of his former rival Markose (Joy Matthew) and his juniors, he would find out the same just after the first half and gets to make things right.

The defence of Silence :: The movie does have the power of silence as it moves on silently, but with some hidden fire throughout the first half. It is a good attempt by the crew to make a thriller after the same director and scriptwriter did join earlier to make comedy movies. The movie is serious and is successful in making people think that there is something big coming up and there are surprises in store. The questions have been brought to light and the train of answers have been set up in such a way as to make sure that there will be no derailing except for some shaking in the second half. There is that feeling which has been missing in the thriller movies in Malayalam, which audience might have been waiting for. There is that point where the interval is set and it is where the movie is at its peak, and at the top it sends people to buy popcorn, kappa varuthathu, kadala and tea, waiting to pounce on them again after the interval, and people are left with high hopes.

Claws of flaw :: The second half takes an unnecessary leap and takes away the hopes. The beginning of the second half is okay, but as it progresses and reaches the second part of the second half, the curse takes over and by the climax, it is almost completely gone with the ship barely holding on at the top of the sea level with only the mast remaining on the top. The way they end this movie is rather despicable, and there is an underwater fight scene as they attack each other as if they were born to live underwater, but that place looks rather like an aquarium. Why all the stupidity and dialogues of nonsense in the end is a question which can spring up. The loopholes catches on, and the background music which comes out of nowhere and becomes disturbing for the ears with noise pollution is another despicable thing. The movie becomes rather amateurish as a thriller as it reaches the finishing line. The points that the movie scores is for the first half, and the for the second, it gets some points just because it doesn’t fall into the bottom of the abyss.

Performers of the soul :: Mammootty is the one who saves the movie again and again as the flick keeps losing steam on regular occasions. He makes sure that he does all that he can to keep this ship from sinking from the holes created by itself during a moonwalk with a glacier, and there is a lot of them which can make a regular Titanic sink. Anoop Menon has given him great support right from the beginning and his performance is as good as it can get, while Pallavi’s debut in Malayalam is just decent with nothing special added to the menu, and one often wonders if that character is there just because our protagonist needed a family and someone was to be kidnapped and left for dead by the villain. Aparna Nair has nothing but a presence, like the dead twin sister in Geethanjali. Joy Mathew has a very small role, but when he is there, he makes that impact that he always makes, and his character could have been further explored rather than left behind with a few dialogues. He would have been a better villain than anyone else in the movie. The child artists are also good.

How it finishes :: Silence is a silent scene for most of the viewers as the movie which doesn’t have even a wikipedia page (even small budget movies without superstars often manage one). Its power as a thriller might be disputed and its strength as a superstar movie might be questioned. V.K. Prakash and Y.V. Rajesh surely make a great combination (yes, I liked Gulumal: The Escape and Three Kings, no matter what). Not among the more interesting thrillers in any manner, and don’t compare this to Memories though, as it remains the best Malayalam thriller movie not only of this year, but also of a long time. Silence doesn’t rise even as a mediocre contender to that. But this one does have its moments of thrills which doesn’t go beyond a certain point. The thrillers with psychological as well as the investigative sides always make it interesting to watch, as proved by Memories, Nadia Kollappetta Rathri and Sahasram. Silence has a certain doubt if it should go with these three or last year’s Grandmaster, and there it confuses itself as well as the viewers, and gets drained of energy, yet holds its ground. There is information that it is inspired from multiple Hollywood flicks, but none I have watched. We need more thrillers in Malayalam, and so I suggest we should make this one a success!

Release date: 7th December 2013
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: V.K. Prakash
Starring: Mammootty, Anoop Menon, Joy Mathew, Pallavi Purohit, Aparna Nair, Kavitha Nair, Ravi Vallathole, Basil, Prakash Bare

silence copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.