Ranam

What is the movie about? :: Aadhi (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is part of the drug trade in Detroit, Michigan even though he doesn’t want any part of it. Being part of what he calls a dying city has him caught between his need for money and existence as well as the desire to get out of this dangerous game which will lead to his end. He is very much attached to his only one relative in the United States who cares for him, Bhaskaran (Nandhu) and his family which includes Aju (Mathew Arun), who is striving to be like Aadhi, a strong figure who deals with cars and secret activiies. Aju is madly in love with his classmate Deepika (Celine Joseph) who doesn’t care for him, and spends her time with parties, drugs and alcohol, not caring for what can be the result of her actions. There are no strings attached to her as she keeps flying further away beyond hope.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, Seema (Isha Talwar), Deepika’s mother has been trying to raise her daughter well, and has been failing miserably in the same – her daughter doesn’t care for her, and her husband Rajan (Shivajith Padmanabhan) who wanted her to abort their child doesn’t care about her or Deepika as he goes on with his business empire and having relationships with other women. Rajan considers Seema to be someone who is there for his money and influence. Along with Aadhi who has a terrible past with his father murdering his mother, Damodar (Rahman) is another man who has lost his Tamil Sri Lankan identity back at his home country, during the Sri Lankan civil war and is hoping for a greater identity in Detroit’s underworld. Rajan and Prabhakaran has been on Damodar’s side for long.

And what else is to come up in this tale? :: Meanwhile, Detective Ahmed Siddique (Giju John) is appointed to take care of the problem of the underworld concerning Damodar and his right-hand man Selvan (Ashwin Kumar) their own gang, a Polish gang that goes against them, and their mediator Chandran (Shyamaprasad). His special skill is that he is good in both Malayalam and Tamil, a quality that is not commong with many police officers of the city. There is case of a new party drug called Redex and both gangs are trying to become the gang to control its collection and sale. Aadhi and Bhaskaran who are trying to move away from the gang will not find that too easy, as Damodar needs them both with him to become the crime lord of the city, the undisputed king to whom Detroit should bow down. But is that as easy as he thinks? Can he find a way to bring Aadhi back to his gang and evade Ahmed? Will Aadhi find peace and is there hope for Seema?

The defence of Ranam :: Just like the less appreciated Prithviraj thriller Ivide, this one also has the elements of an emotional thriller even though the whole thing seems to be a crime drama from outside. The visuals are really great, and there is also a history of the city as well as the same from the characters’ past. The idea of the missed American Dream is always there, as the characters see their dreams vanish, and we feel the ghosts of their lost dreams in the air itself. The music is really good here, and the theme song is one of the best that you can ever have – watching and listening to the same in the theatre is something glorious. There is no pretension in showing the dark world with the diasporas and collisions happening between ideologies, gangs as well as with the misguided innocence of youth battling against the depression that comes from terrible experiences.

The claws of flaw :: There are many characters in the movie that could have been dealt with in a better way. We have a few who could have done more with better screen presence. The common audience of Kerala will also have problems with following a movie is only Malayalam by about fifty percent – the rest of the dialogues are in English and Tamil. We have the clear lack of subtitles here, and I have missed out on some of the Tamil dialogues myself. There are moments when the movie seems to be confused about where it needs to be going. It is when the movie seems to have a certain drag in between. With everything so well set with all the history and background being dealt with, one just can’t be blamed for expecting more, with the wonderful theme music in the background. It could have matched the strong feeling given by the music with its content further. Prithviraj’s London Bridge set in the United Kingdom could do it better

The performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran once again shows the emotions of someone without roots in the best possible way, following what he did so well in Ivide, which was one less appreciated movie. In Koode, we saw how well he handled the depressing side of emotions, as he kept raising the bar higher to get closer to our soul. The curious case of “still the Thattathin Marayathu” fame Isha Talwar keeps us wondering – she seems to be miscast in most parts of the movie, but after a big loss to her character, she brings us some moments to remember. Giju John as the detective is a strong presence in this movie. Celine Joseph’s Deepika nicely becomes a representation of a new age and a new generation. Her reflection of the character has us impressed. At the same time, Rahman brings a fiery side to the new probable leader of Detroit underworld.

How it finishes :: You can see that Ranam follows the path of Ivide with its setting and how things progress with its characters. But Ranam can’t be considered to be as good as Ivide, because that one had emotions going so strong with all its characters; Ranam‘s focus is rather limited with its characters and their flashbacks. But there is a better focus on the Hollywood style of movie-making, and with style and class being present there to be seen, and that too without holding back at any moment. There is quality in what is presented on the screen, and when we look deeper, there is even more than what is shown on the movie, as the emotions go further and with better strength. Ranam becomes something more than what meets the eye on more than one occasion, and it takes a better pair of eyes to witness the same. Watch the title song from the movie below:

Release date: 6th September 2018
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Nirmal Sahadev
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Rahman, Isha Talwar, Celine Joseph, Giju John, Mathew Arun, Ashwin Kumar, Shyamaprasad, Shivajith Padmanabhan, Justin David, Sajini Sacharaiah, Santhosh Keezhattoor, David Alessi, Christian Brunetti, Christopher Brophy

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lavakusha

What is the movie about? :: Two jobless youngsters who would later be addressed as Lavan (Neeraj Madhav) and Kushan (Aju Varghese), meets in Chennai city, and becomes very good friends. The problems that both of them face, are almost the same, and after being kicked out of their place for not paying the rent, the two decide to return to Kerala, hoping to find something better in their home state. As the lazy people that they are, they can’t stop thinking about earning maximum money with the least effort. It is during their journey back to Kerala that they come across a number of strangers on the train. There is a girl named Sheethal (Deepti Sati), and a man who identifies himself as Venkat (Biju Menon). In an attempt to get the attention of the girl, they cross the way of a group of people smuggling gold in the train who threatens to kill them.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After being captured by the smugglers, the three escapes, and Venkat reveals himself as Joy Kappan, a senior police inspector. A series of confusions follow, and it ends with Joy being able to seize all the gold, and the smugglers escaping. Inspired by the turn of events, Lavan and Kushan decides to become private detectives. But living in a rented house, they are once again very close to being kicked out – it is then that they come across Joy again, who gives them a task to perform. They are to find and take out a huge amount of gold which is stored inside a reputed institution in the middle of the city. As they feel the need for an adventure, the two men agree and goes on the mission. But there are more twists to their mission than they think that there is, and there is more to the truth than what meets the eye.

The defence of Lavakusha :: There are enjoyable moments here and there in this one, and after the comic side gets awakened early, there is also the presence of twists later. It is in the final moments that everything comes together, and we get to see the movie rising above the possibility of just ending up as a foolish thing. The movie is clearly dependent on the trio of Neeraj Madhav, Aju Varghese and Biju Menon, and the three remains the pillars of this flick which leaves less for the rest. The former two get to begin and go on with the humour without restrictions. Even then, it is the second half which manages to use its resources better, improving as it moves towards the finish. You will see the signs of the same by the interval itself. When you are looking for some fun of the simpler kind, Lavakusha might be exactly the movie to turn to.

The claws of flaw :: Lavakusha never really uses its cast to the best possible advantage. When we have a leading cast like this, one has to wonder why there is inability to use it to the full advantage with fun. The jokes often struggle to identify as what they are actually supposed to be – even without logic and with foolishness allowed in there, we see struggle. We see that none of the characters are never really well established for the audience – that applies even to the leading characters. It is for the same reason that there are too many ups and downs in this movie, and the momentum that is often gains is not maintained and carried on to the next moments. The first sequence of the movie itself is rather not needed, and the same thing is repeated again in this movie, without bringing any chance for laughter. The music in this movie is rather forgettable – there is nothing to keep us there with that too. You will also find that the female characters also have less screen presence.

Performers of the soul :: It is Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav whose combination works really well to make things better. Even the comedy which might have gone over our head otherwise, works well, thanks to how well the two manages everything together. Aju Varghese has been present throughout the year’s movies from Aby and Alamara earlier to right now, while Neeraj Madhav comes out of that impressive performance in Oru Mexican Aparatha – we have seen them together at their best in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Kunjiramayanam; this movie is not of such level, but together, they are not behind, at any point. You will notice that the former has a more responsible character in comparison, but then too, you will know that it is only by a small distance. You will feel that this particular combination also meant that the expectations were a little too high with this one – well, it is no surprise, right?

Further performers of the soul :: The movie focuses mostly on the characters played by Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav, but the only one with heroic quality in this movie is played by Biju Menon – he gets to be the hero in the movie lead by the two youngsters. As concerning the titles, Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Lakshyam and Sherlock Toms, he had caught our attention with three different roles in the year, and here he gets another one to perform – there is no difficulty for him here, and he has all under control. Sadly, Aditi Ravi is restricted to a smaller role which could have been developed instead of a few other things in a movie which is rather so long for its content, and even Deepti Sati’s presence seems to be strange when she disappears and appears; there even seems to be a certain lack of efficiency in dubbing for her. Vijay Babu and Major Ravi are good with their work at the same time.

How it finishes :: Lavakusha could have been a nice action comedy in Hollywood style – our heroes could have gone through this in Get Smart model, becoming the unlikely saviours when the others in the investigation turn hopeless. Two police officers in undercover mode, finishing their missions in a funny and interesting way was the need here, but that much work isn’t done, and there seems to be not that much focus on attention either. Even with such a longer run-time, this one couldn’t build up enough. Still, this makes mostly an entertaining watch for the weekend. It could be an interesting time-pass movie without doubt. You can also feel a little bit of Tharangam in this one. As of now, Parava seems to have the lead as the most interesting one in the last thirty days. Just like the other Biju Menon starrer in the theatres, Sherlock Toms, this one attempts to combine comedy with the twists, and by the end, you will feel that it is the latter that has caught your attention, unlike what you were expecting.

Release date: 13th October 2017
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Gireesh Mano
Starring: Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Biju Menon, Deepti Sati, Aditi Ravi, Vijay Babu, Major Ravi, Sinoj Varghese, Anjali Aneesh, Ashwin Kumar, Janardhanan, Neena Kurup

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jacobinte Swargarajyam

jacobinteswargarajyam (2)

Vampire Owl :: Quite a lot of things happened this year, you know; with the Malayalam movies.

Vampire Bat :: Only a few months have passed, and so you can’t really say a lot!

Vampire Owl :: Well, Darwin completed his evolution and Mahesh had his vengeance. Now, Jacob wants his kingdom of heaven.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Darwinte Parinamam and Maheshinte Prathikaram; now Jacobinte Swargarajyam – note the “NTE” sound in the middle of the title of every movie.

Vampire Owl :: I am sure that this one has worked so well too. I couldn’t get tickets for the movie at the multiplexes.

Vampire Bat :: Well, it is Vishu. Theatres were supposed to be full.

Vampire Owl :: Is that the same reason why we are here so early?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, you see the large number of people in the queue behind us.

Vampire Owl :: And I am glad that we parked our car early.

Vampire Bat :: This one should work for us too.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Jacob (Renji Panicker) is a successful businessman who made Dubai his home after striving hard to reach his current position. With his wife Sherly (Lakshmy Ramakrishnan) and four children, Jerry (Nivin Pauly), Abin (Sreenath Bhasi), Ammu (Aima Sebastian) and Chris (Stacen), they go through some of the happiest times of their life. Jerry is in love with Chippy (Reba Monica John), a medical student, and Ammu leaves to study the same course. Abin spends his time with music. But as Jacob is cheated by one of his trusted people, he is left in a lot of trouble and also in dire need of money, disturbing the momentum of the family. With consistent threats from Murali Menon (Ashwin Kumar) and others who had invested in his venture, he decides to travel to Liberia to find bring a deal and come up with a solution to his present problem.

What is it actually about? :: The absence of his father required the rise of Jerry to the vacant position, and it is what the movie is really about. It is about Jerry trying to bring things back together with the help of his family of his brothers and his mother. With his father stuck in Liberia, he will find new ideas and will bring new plans to minimize and later get rid of the damage completely. With the help of the old friends of his father, Unni (T.G. Ravi) and Philip (Sai Kumar), and also the newly found people in his life, Yousuf (Vineeth Sreenivasan), he will rise to the occasion, and with the help of the situation and fate, shall go on to become the person whom he never thought he would be. But the question remains about the timing – with time running out so fast, will he really be able to do that when needed? Can he be the saviour for his family when it matters the most?

The defence of Jacobinte Swargarajyam :: Clean, and staying close to the realities of life, this movie makes a good use of its cast which has come up with some natural performances. The scenes which depict the relationship between the members of the family gives that special and yet beautiful feeling – it provides anyone who values family with that special reflection to life. The funny scenes are simple and from everyday life, but working very well. The emotional scenes are very much touching, but still kept in control. There is so much positivity in this movie even when facing lots of trouble, and the feel-good factor here is rather tremendous. There are also some very nice visuals; the songs are interesting, and “Ee Shishirakaalam” is the pick of them all. The messages left here are also beautiful, of working hard without any shortcuts, supporting one’s family and being there for the ones you love the most.

Claws of flaw :: Yes, undoubtedly, this movie could have been better; the scope was there, and such a wonderful cast was present. This emotional family story goes through a little bit too much of a predictable path too. We can guess a lot of things around here easily. A story at the Middle East and the tale of a family facing financial crisis – these are two things that can appeal to the Malayali audience so well, which is why a better story with a rather slower transformation of the protagonist would have done better for the movie. The film is also a little bit too much focused on money, and it is the capital, the profit and the money that drives too many things in this movie – well, it is still not the primary focus, but the fingers are often pointed towards that, even though not many people might see that. Well, capitalism was always supposed to be there, considering the setting.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly requirest a lot of appreciation here – for he surely knows how to become the hero, and otherwise stay there waiting for the opportunity; it has been the case with his character here. Renji Panicker takes the glory in the beginning stages, and Lakshmy Ramakrishnan dominates at times, and Nivin is there exactly as his character demands, and I consider that a wonderful thing here. After Action Hero Biju, he once again has a realistic portrayal of his character here, and it only gets better. Meanwhile, Aima Sebastian has a small but amazingly cute presence in this movie, and Reba Monica John leaves a mark even with her shorter presence – that could have been explored further. Renji Panicker does his job with ease, and Lakshmy Ramakrishnan has her character becoming one of the best strong mother/wife characters that we have seen for a long time. The other most notable person here is Sreenath Bhasi who is a lot likable.

How it finishes :: Do note that Vineeth Sreenivasan and Aju Varghese make notable cameos here, the former making a bigger impact in the story. The child artist Stacen also does a good job. This movie could have been stronger with its story, but the feeling that it provides is really good. It is something that is perfect for a family watch for the weekend, as it is a movie with faith, hope and values. It is a movie that reminds the viewers of their family and how much the blood keeps us together, binding us. The significance of the family is something that has been part of our movie industry for a long time, and this one becomes a welcome addition to the same. Vineeth Sreenivasan does four in a row, after Malarvadi Arts Club, Thattathin Marayathu and Thira. The Thira sequel won’t be here soon though, I guess.

Here is a song from the movie; you should love it 🙂

Release date: 8th April 2016
Running time: 145 minutes
Directed by: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Reba Monica John, Renji Panicker, Aima Sebastian, Lakshmy Ramakrishnan, Sreenath Bhasi, Stacen, Sai Kumar, Ashwin Kumar, T. G. Ravi, Dinesh Prabhakar, Vineeth Sreenivasan (cameo), Aju Varghese (cameo)

jacobinteswargarajyam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.