Mikhael

What is the movie about? :: George Peter (Siddique) is the rich and notorious don of the area who is known to run the family business as well as criminal activities of the city and its surroundings with such energy and enthusiasm that he doesn’t hesistate to kill even police officers according to his will, the latest of them being N Sreenivasan (Kishore) who dared to arrest him in front of the public. When a new investigating officer Easa (JD Chakravarthi) is appointed in his place with Issac (Suraj Venjaramoodu) to assist him, the hunt for the mafia ruling the city gets stronger. It is then that the headless body of George is found along with his right-hand man, brutally murdered. Then the man who mediates between two rival gangs, Patrick (Kalabhavan Shajohn) is also shot by someone. This brings trouble with gang wars ready to break out.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With George’s brother Marco Jr (Unni Mukundan) coming to the scene, and Francis Davi (Sudev Nair) from the opposite gang trying to have his own vengeance, the police department is kept on his toes. All these seem to point to one man, doctor of the nearby Starcare hospital called Mikhael John (Nivin Pauly) who seems to have a long story to tell about his family and how it came across George. He is the man who seems to be responsible for the death of George and Patrick, but the question remains about what Marco Jr will do about that, with going to police and assuring law and justice, not being an option for him. Easa and Issac will be happy to see the rival gangs fighting each other, or someone murdering the gangsters, but how long can the police department keep away from the scene? Will there be vengeance and can there be justice?

The defence of Mikhael :: The movie is high on style and action sequences, but one can note that it never really goes too far, as it keeps away from elements like flying villains, hero who knows everything before it happens, and all. The music is mostly good and at times excellent, with very few exceptions that we can notice. There are those mass elements, but they are kept in control unlike The Great Father and Abrahaminte Santhathikal which had the same director’s hands firmly on them in one way or the other, or Masterpiece which had so much of the same – the heroism as well as the whole story itself is far more believable, and has better and smarter twists with this one. The thrills are present all the time, and the emotional side works pretty well. The visual style is very nice, and the same rises above the rest. The dialogues are powerful, and Mikhael is a movie that doesn’t hesitate to come up with some moments which are above a normal movie in the industry.

The claws of flaw :: There are times when style gets over substance in this movie too, as The Great Father and Abrahaminte Santhathikal also did. We also see too many similarities with former, with a school being at the centre of attraction, and one girl who is dear to the protagonist – fighting for her becomes the priority for the protagonist. The slow motion could have been reduced, and the interest in sunglasses for some characters continues to be strange. The first half also takes some time to get into the main idea, and we also see the presence of predictability here, with the protagonist and antagonist coming close to facing each other. The ladies don’t have much to do in this movie either, except for the girl who sets everything moving. You can see that some moments were added just for the sake of adding them, and inspirations from foreign movies are certainly there.

The performers of the soul :: It is up to Nivin Pauly to rise and stay at the top, and he manages to do that well – still, his best moments were when his character was a family man, with vulnerability, but it was surely nice to see him in a different avatar, extending what he showed in Action Hero Biju. He does show that he is good at them all, and in a movie which has substance rising over style will surely have him shining better. There are the two qualities of Michael shown by Christina Rossetti with her poem on the angels – service & strength, as doctor & martial arts expert here. One the other side is Unni Mukundan who plays the main antagonist towards the end, and we remember him playing just the opposite in the movie Style – with Tovino as his villain; here he has to face the same thing, even though stylish as he is, with less space on the screen, and not getting the best of dialogues when there was scope for a lot of the same. He should have been given the opportunity to be a more menacing villain rather than showing the muscles. The Luciferesque qualities are seen better with Siddique’s character as Satan against Michael, the leader of heavenly angels – the one who chooses to reign in hell & go against all norms, establishing his own pandemonium. He is the Satan that Milton would keep in his Paradise Lost.

Further performers of the soul :: At the same, Siddique becomes that villain who anyone could have wanted to be – evil and sadistic, going on to reach a state which is nothing less than mentally sick. His ways of tormenting or even finishing off his opponents, and even his dialogues are with that kind of terror that an antagonist can always dream about, and a protagonist can have nightmares about. The girl who played the main character’s sister, a name which hasn’t been known through the early cast list on internet or posters, Navani Devanand also needs some applause as she gets everything right in this movie – she could be a talent to look out for, in the future. She nails all emotions perfectly, whether its anger, sadness or joy. Shantikrishna, Babu Antony, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Ashokan, Baiju and KPAC Lalitha are left with not much to do here. Manjima Mohan as the heroine doesn’t really have anything to do either, and even Reba Monica John who is there for a few minutes leave better impact. JD Chakravarthi, Sudev Nair and Suraj Venjaramoodu get their nice moments though.

How it finishes :: The whole story of Mikhael here has an allusion to the archangel Michael, the leader of the archangels who lead the battle against Satan, a.k.a. Lucifer and his forces who rebeled against God. As a protector and a fighter against evil, this image is reiterated here by giving the same name to the protagonist, and the images of the angel being shown on multiple spaces – the opposite can be seen through the images displayed in the room of the antagonist. The whole movie is about how the brother becomes the guardian angel for his sister, vanquishing the evil forces – with the same, we have the style, all the action, thrills and twists which keep coming at regular intervals; surprisingly, there is also the presence of some funny side. This one might not be the favourite for the family audience, but is surely one nice entertainer which successfully defends its territory within the genre.

Release date: 18th January 2019
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Haneef Adeni
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Unni Mukundan, Navani Devanand, Manjima Mohan, JD Chakravarthi, Sudev Nair, Babu Antony, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Siddique, Renji Panicker, Shantikrishna, Kalabhavan Shajohn, KPAC Lalitha, Amal Shah, V Jayaprakash, Kishore, Reba Monica John, Baiju

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Kamuki

What is the movie about? :: Achaama (Aparna Balamurali) was born to a school teacher Varghese (Baiju) in a auto rickshaw, and continued to be a headache for her parents from childhood to youth. But her elder sister proves to be a hard working girl who stands on her own feet at an early age, but causes trouble for her parents when she marries someone against their will. Achaama decides to be an obedient girl for some time, but soon chooses against it as she joins MSW at Sree Shankara College, Kalady. Her idea of MSW is to have full fun as she considers it to be an easy course with much less to study, and joining Achaama is her childhood friend Jeena (Kavya Suresh) who hopes to go abroad and earn some extra money, working with some NGOs after this course.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: At the college, Achaama meets Harikrishnan (Askar Ali), a blind student who is her senior. Harikrishnan has been working hard to overcome his problems to do academically better than most of the other students around, who are there only for having some fun. Even though she doesn’t realize it in the beginning, she is attracted to the person who manages to go on with his life without any complaints, and never stepping back. Despite making that promise to her father that she won’t marry against his wishes, she finds that determination under threat. But can the love story of Achaama and Harikrishnan have a happy ending, considering their differences and all the other factors which seem to be good enough to finish the relationship before it even begins?

The defence of Kamuki :: In the medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer’s work The Canterbury Tales, The Merchant’s Tale section, the proverb that love is blind was found – it becomes further direct with this movie, as the protagonist himself is blind. The dialogues about Deepika Padukone, new generation MSW students and blindness are perfectly hitting the right spot, even though they are somewhat not used according to the situations. It is Aparna Balamurali who rises above the limitations of this movie, and the flick uses her skills to make sure that this becomes entertaining in one way or the other, as it struggles with its story which doesn’t have much in there. There is the message about rising above your disabilities and problems with a positive attitude towards life, to make the impossible possible, but the same could have shown in a better and more effective manner too. Yes, some of the comedy can be termed good enough and the music is pretty good.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is like an unstable thing which keeps showing the signs of falling apart all the time – there is no real direction, and we can never see an attempt to keep things together. The whole movie is spread in all directions, and we are often confused about where it is headed with that love story which gets more added, making the mixture look confusing. The love story in this movie itself seems half-baked, and that never really becomes strong enough to justify the title. The final moments seem to be forced to make things better, but we never get it in full strength or in a believable manner. The dramatic side is weak, because after some time, we just stop caring for the main characters. There needed some better effort in dealing with this kind of things, and we see no signs of things getting any better at any stage, as the path chosen is ordinary.

The performers of the soul :: Aparna Balamurali is indeed the one who saves this movie from drowning, when there were many chances of the same. Whenever the movie struggles, there is something from her that keeps it floating just above trouble. This one never really gets near her role in Maheshinte Prathikaaram, or even the work in Oru Muthassi Gada, but one can only blame the movie’s lack of stability for the same. Whether it was in Sunday Holiday, Sarvopari Palakkaran or Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, she has been doing a good job with her characters. Well, even with movies that refuse to rise, she gets them to do better than they are, and it is the skill that she possesses better than any other actress in Malayalam movie industry. This movie can also thank her for the same.

Further performers of the soul :: As it is said above, and just as it is expected, this one is more of the Aparna Balamurali movie, as Om Shanti Oshana was Nazriya Nazim movie. Askar Ali has his moments here and there, but never really leaves much for the viewers. Kavya Suresh has her own moments too, as the supporting cast did for Nazriya in Om Shanti Oshana – she looks nicely suitable for this role. Rony David who is best known for his role in Aanandam, once again leaves a mark. Baiju’s role is as funny as one would expect from a father character with daughter problems and high expectations. Pradeep Kottayam has some comedy to go with it. We can also find some okay performances from some lesser known actors who play those characters which come and go without contributing that much to the story.

How it finishes :: We can see that Kamuki tries to be different in love, but this particular divergence here is never really believable or interesting except in moments. There was a certain amount of hype about this movie, and the trailer was quite interesting – we just can’t see that level being reflected in the flick, and that is a shame. You can watch this one for Aparna Balamurali though, as she keeps saving the day again and again. We have had movies like Aravindante Athidhikal which dealt with a simple thing on one side, and there was Uncle on the other side which dealt with the complicated on the other side – then we have the movies like Kamuki which won’t fit in both categories. Kamuki could have been something better, and as it is now, it is almost there, becoming an okay watch for these holidays.

Release date: 11th May 2018
Running time:122 minutes
Directed by: Binu S
Starring: Askar Ali, Aparna Balamurali, Rony David, Kavya Suresh, Pradeep Kottayam, Baiju, Rosin Jolly, Ullas Pandalam

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Aravindante Athidhikal

What is the movie about? :: The movie is set up in the area around the Mookambika Temple in the Udupi district of Karnataka. Abandoned by his mother in the temple premises at an early age, Aravindan (Vineeth Sreenivasan) was adopted by Madhavan (Sreenivasan) who made sure that he grew up to be an energetic and educated young man. Madhavan and Aravindan are running a lodge near the temple, and are trying their best to keep up with the rising competition in the name of religious tourism and spiritual journeys, a case in which religions and regions and competing which each other to bring new holy places into the picture. Meanwhile, Girija (Urvashi) and her daughter Varada (Nikhila Vimal) arrives as his new guests at the lodge. Due to some unexpected circumstances, Varada’s performance at the temple is delayed, and in the mean time, Aravindan and her become very good friends.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As a few days pass and she has to leave due to the death of her uncle, Varada feels that Aravindan should give up simply waiting for his mother and start searching for her – Varada herself takes it as her duty to find her with the help of some of Aravindan’s friends. While practising at Sreejaya Nair’s (Janaki Subramaniam) dance academy at Kumbakonam, she is still looking for clues to find the one lady who abandoned her child at the sacred place, and never really looking back. But the question remains if it is easy to find such a person with no solid clue except for some drawings which Aravindan has been preparing since childhood. Well, Varada is not someone who could be disheartened that easily, and will come back to Mookambika for their team’s performance, and there will be at least one good news for Aravindan. What could that be, in the sacred lands?

The defence of Aravindante Athidhikal :: The movie is perfectly targeted at the family audience rather than anyone else, and the whole thing seems to be well directed towards the particular direction. The music is very good and suits the mood of the movie, as it supports the emotional side, and brings us to that final feel-good factor. There are some nice shots of Mookambika and its surroundings, and we feel the mood of the sacred town more than once. We have some interesting characters too, some who wishes to fly on the wings of hope, and others just keep the hope at home, for without it, there might be no tomorrow. As President Snow says in The Hunger Games, it is hope that remains the only thing stronger than fear – we need it, and people decide on how much. Well, there is no shortage of hope in a holy town. With some simple funny moments and the strong emotional side, this movie gets home without trouble.

The claws of flaw :: The story might feel a little outdated for some people, as old wine in a new bottle, but if that wine is still not that bad, one has to wonder why the audience wouldn’t like to have some. The movie also ends rather too soon, and we know that it is the finish when the credits start rolling. We could have also had more with its core tale, which can go beyond the usual stuff, but that attempt is not made here. With a holy town in the middle and the same made colourful, maybe we could have had things to go a level further up – but the movie is satisfied with just this much. There is no dramatic twist that awaits you in this movie, as it keeps the journey straight and simple, or rather too direct for some people. If you are looking for that extra dose of melodrama, it is not going to be there because we see the attempt to have things going closer to reality than anything else.

The performers of the soul :: Vineeth Sreenivasan and Sreenivasan plays the family again, and even though adopted this time, they are no less father-son in effect. Both have their roles nicely matching them, and got their characters as no challenges, doing well at all moments, whether it is about adding some extra fun moments or to contribute to that deep emotional side. Well, we always have certain minimum expectations when the two come together, and it is once again proven that the duo has the strength to keep the whole thing close. These are times when the family movies are needed, and there are no people better than these two to do so. The presence of the family audience in the theatres is more due to the two being there rather than anything else. Urvashi is there with some fun moments after some break, and Aju Varghese along with Bijukuttan further contributes to the funny side with ease.

Further performers of the soul :: Nikhila Vimal has come back to Malayalam movie industry after Love 24×7, and it feels great to have her back at a time that we seem to need someone like her – she has the type of skills that are above the usual actresses that we have here, most of them seemingly here due to recommendation or by having someone in the cinema field. Nikhila stands tall with her performance here, and each moment, whatever it deals with, she scores. She is a wonderful talent that all of us need here, rather than in another industry. After her introduction, it is more about her rather than anyone else. Sreejaya Nair is a nice addition to this tale, and in between, we have Vijayaraghavan, Premkumar and Kottayam Nazeer contributing to the fun. Baiju and Sneha Sreekumar are there for initiating the comic side, as we see in the beginning. KPAC Lalitha is again there playing a mother figure.

How it finishes :: Well, Aravindante Athidhikal is that kind of a movie that is determined to touch your heart, and also leave a smile on your face in the end. It is the feel-good movie that can rise above the others due to its ability to keep things direct and enjoyable throughout its run-time of two hours and two seconds, a length that leaves no chances to drag in between. It is rather surprising that this movie had less publicity compared to the other movies released on the same day, Avengers: Infinity War, Uncle and Thobama. Well, Panchavarnathatha and Mohanlal are still running too. You are not going to regret watching Aravindante Athidhikal on the big screen, and watching with family would be a wonderful experience – well, this is the holiday season, and watching this one with family might be the right choice. After all, feel-good never leaves our industry, as there is always more of the kind.

Release date: 27th April 2018
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: M Mohanan
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Nikhila Vimal, Aju Varghese, Sreenivasan, Prem Kumar, Vijayaraghavan, Urvashi, KPAC Lalitha, Baiju, Sneha Sreekumar, Bijukuttan, Sreejaya Nair, Kottayam Nazeer, Shanthi Krishna, Devan

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Vikadakumaran

What is the movie about? :: Binu Sebastian (Vishnu Unnikrishnan) is a lawyer who gets only those smaller cases which don’t get him any appreciation in life. Even though his dreams are huge, he never really gets close to achieving them. He goes through a mundane existence in and out of court, and this has lead to a certain lack of interest which makes him careless in dealing with those lesser cases which gets too. His best friend and support is Manikandan Pillai (Dharmajan Pillai) who helps him to get some new cases. Binu is in love with Sindhu (Manasa Radhakrishnan) who runs a canteen near the court. The fact that he only has his mother and a sister with hearing problems, and that his father had left nothing much for the family makes his consider all options to get to fame and money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that Roshi Balakrishnan (Jinu Joseph) and Aishwarya Nair (Rosin Jolly) enters the scene. There is an incident involving the death of a home guard, a hit and run case in which both of these are involved. The former is a rich and young businessman who is known for many illegal activies, and the latter is a popular film actress who is looking to leave cinema field after getting engaged. Soon, the actress is also found dead, and Binu finds himself fighting against Roshi in the beginning, and later defending his case. His friends as well as the media remains divided on this, but it is to be seen how Binu would end up in his career with this kind of a big case. Will there be justice served for anyone in the end?

The defence of Vikadakumaran :: There are enough funny moments in this flick to keep it going. The credit for the same goes to Vishnu and Dharmajan attempting to repeat what was done in Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. There are some nice moments in the court, both funny and effective, even though there is nothing that raises the bar, in a world where there have been movies like Yes Your Honour, Melvilasom, Jolly LLB, Jolly LLB 2, and Pink – it is still better than that over-hyped disaster of a movie throwing a court-scene out of nowhere, called Queen; the Malayalam one. The movie also nicely ends up with poetic justice being served at the final moments. A common person’s story is depicted well enough, and in doing the same, the main performers do good job. The songs are just okay, not providing too much. There will be fun in store for sure, with some twist to come in the end which will be satisfactory.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that this movie could have done more with each and every aspect, whether it is the comedy, thrills, twists or the court-room drama. There is the presence of a little too many co-incidences, and we could have had better explanations and even better situations both inside and outside the court. There is also the problem of the villain’s overall smartness going with the wind, and the hero getting the smartest of them all, without nothing much happening in between. We could have also had some social issues being dealt with, considering the premise, and those who thought that something was going to be done by the lawyer regarding the first scene in the movie, one is certainly going to be disappointed. Considering its similarities with other movies with a lawyer as the protagonist, it had to do better, but it never really even try to bring a special ingredient – it could have, but that might not have been the priority.

The performers of the soul :: Vishnu Unnikrishnan is back this year after the memorable fun ride which was Shikkari Shambhu. He rightly suits this role, and has no problems in blending in here. If he was co-staring with Kunchacko Boban in that movie, this Easter weekend, he is in competition with the same actor who has Kuttanadan Marpappa at the theatres, both flicks focusing on the comic side. The combination of Vishnu and Dharmajan gets all the attention from us with the funny side which never ends. Baiju also contributes to the fun without second thoughts, and Rafi has his funny moments too. Jinu Joseph plays a powerful negative character in this movie, and he does that in style as he did in Iyobinte Pusthakam. He is the kind of villain that we always need, with a level of antagonism that stays afloat at all times. Indrans’ small role is very much memorable.

Further performers of the soul :: Manasa Radhakrishnan, the lady lead might be remembered more for playing Jaseela, the protagonist’s sister in Tiyaan. She does a fine job here, even though there is not that much of an opportunity provided for her – being just the love interest of the hero seems to be the priority. Lets have more of her in the industry. Rosin Jolly has an interesting role to play in this one, which she manages well, even though it is surprising that so many of the popular reviewers have mistaken her to be Leona Lishoy. It is understandable to make mistakes for the common man and the bloggers, but when the big names who are claimed as professionals do it, one has to doubt one’s purpose of writing a review. Megha Mathew’s role is restricted in such a way that there is almost nothing for her to make even the least impact. The female characters never really get the boost they need with this one.

How it finishes :: The movie is more or less a fight for justice, for two dead people, one a common man and the other a celebrity, and the responsible person being the same. We expect a lot of sparks as well as emotional sequences, but they are never really things of concern here. We also notice that it never really reaches the level of the movies like Yes Your Honour, Jolly LLB, Jolly LLB 2 and Pink. But if you are looking for some simple fun with a purpose, you can surely choose Vikadakumaran – just don’t expect too much, and enjoy the entertainment, for this one is never really boring at any moment. The same mood seems to be carried on towards the end, as we get to that end. It is more or less the harmless family movie, the kind of flick that Sreenivasan would do again.

Release date: 30th March 2018
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Boban Samuel
Starring: Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Baiju, Rosin Jolly, Jinu Joseph, Jayan Cherthala, Megha Mathew, Nelson, Arun Ghosh, Indrans, Mahesh, Rafi, EA Rajendran, Nizhalgal Ravi, Sunil Sukhada, Seema G Nair

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Aadu 2

What is the movie about? :: The team of Shaji Pappan (Jayasurya) go on with the journey after the events of the first film. Their world hasn’t really gotten any better, as they keep struggling to find the money to keep their club, and once again their option is to participate in the tug of war competition. With the Pinky episode closed both with the girl and the goat, Pappan just continues to have his back pain, but leads his team to victory in the competition, only to have his golden trophy stolen by the rival team lead by Anali Sabu (Anson Paul). Meanwhile, S.I. Sarbath Shameer (Vijay Babu) manages to get back to service after begging the new Home Minister of Kerala, P.P. Sasi Aashan (Indrans) to have his uniform again. He decides to keep his eyes on Shaji Pappan who had thrown the former S.I. of the station into the dam reservoir, and prove to everyone that he is an even better police officer than he used to be.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: At the same time, Damodaran Unnimakan Delmen Edakochi a.k.a. Dude (Vinayakan) is having an even more terrible time, working at a restaurant, and with his friends and the new comrade Dragon Paili (Nelson) is planning something huge, without being depressed of his failure – he is ridiculed by the owner of the restaurant, but he is waiting for his opportunity to get back to what he does the best. Satan Xavier (Sunny Wayne) surely has better times with the help of Kanjavu Soman (Sudhi Koppa) and Battery Simon (Bijukuttan) who work for him at small wages. But their world along with that of a criminal mastermind, a villain known as Shetty (John Kaippallil) are to come together soon, with that day on which five hundred and one thousand rupee notes ceased being legal tender. It would begin a series of blunders and confusion that would lead to a twist of fate for some.

The defence of Aadu 2 :: After Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu disappeared from the theatres, people have been slowly trying to like it, and there has been a lot of talk about the same – for them, this would prove to be a nice treat, as they have all wanted it a lot. There are some funny moments in here for sure, and they come and go. The beginning with the introduction of the protagonist, and the return of the police officer to duty are all good, making sure that the sequel starts well. The music and visuals are all pretty good, and there seems to be more and more of an effort to make the youth appreciate it rather than an individual or the family. From a reviewer’s perspective, this movie would come only under Midhun Manuel Thomas’s each and every other work – Annmariya Kalippilaanu, Alamara and Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu are better than this. But you know that it is not the thing which always counts, but on the other side, we know that more people liking or pretending to like a movie to go with the crowd doesn’t make it a better one.

The claws of flaw :: There is not that much of fun in Aadu 2 as it was there in its prequel. It falls short there, and also the story itself is not that interesting. The limited number of working jokes is rather a sad thing. The excuse in favour of this movie might be that it is meant to be nonsense – but even making quality nonsense requires better thinking, and when we look at this movie, that part has come down a level from the first movie too. There are so many ways of making a funny thing work, and whether it is funny in a smart way or if it is nonsense, the thing has to work. Here, Aadu 2 has the nonsense which struggles to be funny even as nonsense, and that is a crime, which is repeated a number of times. Also, even a dumb story can be smart in how it is made to seem ridiculous. This one falls short of its predecessor in doing the same too.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya leads the way as expected after another sequel, Punyalan Private Limited, playing the character that nobody has refused to like. There is no surprise about the fact everyone wishes to see Shaji Pappan again – even I remember that entry that he had in the first part; there is not that much of an entrance here that we will keep remembering, but we love him anyway, as the one character who seems to be part of us in one way or the other. Vinayakan’s Dude could have used even more screen-time, as among them all, the man makes us laugh the most – almost everything from him works, unlike some of the other characters that got to struggle to keep up with the standards set in the first movie. Vijay Babu is in full form with this character which he seems to hold close, and with the support of Noby Marcose, he gets to score with nice moments. Indrans has his presence limited, maybe due to the absence of the sidekick character – and that is disappointing too.

Further performers of the soul :: One can’t help noticing the absence of two of the characters that made the best impact in the first part, played by Chemban Vinod Jose and Sandra Thomas. The former’s moments which are widely used in memes for trolls and latter being a reflection of a certain group of people who prefer animals to men, are clearly missed in this flick, and Chemban not being found here is a bigger surprise. Sunny Wayne’s character, despite being a big name again, never really gets to get bigger. The big team of the protagonist including Saiju Kurup, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Bhagath Manuel, Vineeth Mohan and others won’t make that big impact this time, as they also struggle to live up to what they did in the first movie, with some jokes here and there. Sometimes, irritating moments do come in as if they are jokes, and the characters just manage to play with the same. Well, fans will just find awesomeness in everything and abuse, but we can’t, can we descend that low?

How it finishes :: The first movie, Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu, was kind of late to gather all the positive opinions, as it had failed at the box-office, and didn’t make much an impact with the critics of that time. This one has picked up due to the fans going in favour of it, and youth taking it as their duty to support it. But in the end, you will find that it is not that funny, and there is a lesser effect here than what was created in the first movie. It is enjoyable in parts, but as a whole, the first movie was surely better, and it also had a better effect on us, as it was something that felt new. But here, we see a movie which seems to try to repeat the same thing without trying anything better or new. It is the curse of the sequels that has caught this movie, and we know that sequels are rarely better than the originals – well, this one is no exception. Well, if you are not going to think about any of these, and desperately wishes to watch the second part, just go for it. After all, it is Christmas, and the festival season and holidays can use some meaningless fun. It is surely why it is more difficult to get tickets for this one than its competitors Vimaanam, Mayaanadhi, Aana Alaralodalaral and Masterpiece.

Release date: 22nd December 2017
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Midhun Manuel Thomas
Starring: Jayasurya, Sunny Wayne, Vijay Babu, Saiju Kurup, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Bhagath Manuel, Vineeth Mohan, Harikrishnan, Noby Marcose, Aju Varghese, Vinayakan, Indrans, Sudhi Koppa, Anson Paul, Srinda Arhaan, Nelson, Bijukuttan, Gopesh, Mamukoya, Baiju, Irshad

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pokkiri Simon

What is the movie about? :: Simon (Sunny Wayne), known more as “Pokkiri” Simon after the name of the Vijay movie is the leader of the Vijay fans association of the locality. His two best friends, and members of the association are “Hanuman” Biju (Jacob Gregory) who spends most of his life’s time trying to become Vijay’s bodyguard, and “Love Today” Ganesh (Sarath Kumar) who has the nickname after one of Vijay’s earlier movies. They spend almost all of their time, talking about Vijay’s movies and celebrating whenever one of his movies get a release in Trivandrum. On the other side, there are Surya fans including “Singam” Suni (Sajid Yahiya) who continue celebrating the latest sequel to Singam. There is also some compeition between them, and the gang of Vijay fans lead by Beemapally Noushad (Saiju Kurup) who has his own fan association based around the mosque. Both of them tries to make the best out of ten year celebration of Pokkiri, and lands in the police station.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Landing in the police station is nothing new for them, as SI Sathyan (Baiju) finds it easy to catch them for making nuisance all around the theatre in the name of fan club based activities. The one to save them each and every time is CI Alex John (Dileesh Pothan), a police officer from a rich family having an eye on politics. Simon’s father Yesudas (Ashokan) is also a police man, but just like his mother and sister, has not much of an opinion about him. Simon and his friends who do no job, and wanders all around the locality as considered to be nuisance rather than anything else. The only thing Simon manages to do outside the friends circle in the fans association, is to write random PSC examinations, including the police tests to satisfy his father. The only thing they wait for is to watch another Vijay movie – without the same, there is no life for them.

And what else is to follow with the fan adventures? :: The parents of Simon have lost hope in him getting a job, and they wish to get him married. But the problem is that he wants to marry only the girl whom he saw whistling during a Vijay movie. Simon soon finds her again while playing cricket on the beach. Deepa (Prayaga Martin), who is the daughter of a rich sea captain, is the girl whom he wish to marry. Using the plans from a former scientist of ISRO, Seetha Raman (Nedumudi Venu) who turns out to be a Vijay fan too, Simon tries to get her attention, and finally manages to win her love. But things are not that smooth, as there are people like Arjunan Pillai (Shammi Thilakan) and Indran Pillai (Marshal Tito Wilson) who are running all kinds of criminal activities in the city. The young blood of the fans association manages to make both of these brothers angry, and it is no more about sweet love.

The defence of Pokkiri Simon :: There are some funny scenes here which will work, thanks to the long line of interesting cast managing to keep things strong. There is also the reference to Vijay movies, along with something for Pulimurugan. One can be sure that those who follow Vijay movies will find this one more entertaining, and so will those who watch Tamil movies very often. Yes, the fan stuff scores. There is also that part of the story that goes on like the common man’s life, and you will find one final twist waiting for you. If you like Amar Akbar Anthony, I am sure that you will have no problems in finding this one good enough. This movie also follows the same pattern, with the life of the common people with some comedy in the first half, and the second half having a twist, when the unexpected person becomes the villain; from being one of the best among good people in the flick, as he joins the other villains who have been there – in this case too, it is related to a missing girl.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s weakest point is the romantic angle, and the same never really gets going. One can safely say that it even stumbles on many occasions even without starting to get better. The songs also suffers the same fate. There was the feeling that this movie would also focus on the good deeds done by fans in the name of their favourite stars, but that is not there – instead, they do the comparison of stars to gods as a justification which might be the strangest that you would ever get. It is rather bizarre during these days when superstar godmen who reflect gods get convicted. There are also many characters who don’t get what they deserve, as they exist and go on without making the desired impact. The people who don’t follow many movies, and don’t watch much of Tamil cinema will have less to take home. Also, you will find that the movie could have managed all its elements, bringing them together in a better way. It could have been a better movie to become a better tribute to Vijay.

Performers of the soul :: The friendship of the three characters played by Sunny Wayne, Jacob Gregory and Sarath Kumar is undoubtedly better than the same shown in Amar Akbar Anthony. The latter two takes it more on the funny side, while Sunny Wayne is very good playing the main character. He has provided us some good work with Annmariya Kalippilaanu and Alamara, but for some reason, they don’t go on to stay at the theatres like some of those overrated movies with no content do. Marshal Tito Wilson from Angamaly Diaries is also there, playing one of the two antagonists, and he is surely a strong point here, joining Shammi Thilakan who scores on the evil side. Dileesh Pothan is a perfect addition as the police character who impresses with his different side, and Baiju and Ashokan plays two different cops in support well. Prayaga Martin only has a character existing there to be part of that bad romantic side, and she never gets in form – in the end, she disappears like Namitha Pramod in Amar Akbar Anthony. Before that, there are some terrible moments for her, including one song.

How it finishes :: Pokkiri Simon should be a must watch for Vijay fans, and for the rest, it could provide some time-pass. Following the pattern of Amar Akbar Anthony more than any other, we can also see a little bit of Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan mode in here. There are those jokes, and also the dialogues which are from Vijay’s popular movies. The director’s previous movie, Darwinte Parinamam was also an underrated movie, and this one also has elements of silver lining even when the clouds are dark, but it isn’t lifted high enough from there. If you are a fan and you can relate to this, that would be great, for there seems to be an attempt to make this one a colourful and quick entertainer. One thing is for sure, and it is that unlike those movies which have claimed to do great with similar cast, this one surely manages to do better – Pokkiri Simon does that for the fans.

Release date: 22nd September 2017
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Jijo Antony
Starring: Sunny Wayne, Jacob Gregory, Prayaga Martin, Sarath Kumar, Dileesh Pothan, Nedumudi Venu, Ashoka, Baiju, Shammi Thilakan, Marshal Tito Wilson, Bitto, Thara Kalyan, Saiju Kurup, Pradeep Kottayam, Sajid Yahiya, Rohni, Vijay Menon, Tanuja Karthik, Sinoj Varghese, Anjali Aneesh, Jude Anthany Joseph, Hena, Sudeep Kopa, Govindan Kutty

PS: Velipadinte Pusthakam, Adam Joan and Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela seems to stay on… 🙂

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Swarna Kaduva

swarnakaduvaa-2

Vampire Owl :: There are too many creatures roaming around in the world of the Malayalam movie industry.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Pulimurugan’s leopard is also there.

Vampire Owl :: And other creatures with the support of Biju Menon.

Vampire Bat :: Vellimoonga’s owl and Marubhoomiyile Aana’s elephant, they were interesting creatures too.

Vampire Owl :: You know that Marubhoomiyile Aana already had a tiger in it.

Vampire Bat :: But that was not golden. And with the owl being silver, how can the tiger not be made of gold?

Vampire Owl :: With leopard and tiger there, will there be a lion?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Sinham 3 will have Suriya, Anushka Shetty and Shruti Haasan in the lead roles.

Vampire Owl :: It is more like a zoo.

Vampire Bat :: But the general trend is that Malayalam movies with creatures in the titles do some pretty good job.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Rini Iype Maatummel (Biju Menon) is assisting the rich jewellery owner Lonappan (Innocent) in almost everything. Even though he is just assisting the man, the ultimate aim is to make it huge in one way or the other. One day, when Lonappan’s car hits an unknown man, things take a twist of events which end up in the murder of another person, Divakaran (Suresh Krishna). Now Rini’s job is to make sure that the dead man’s wife Lovely (Iniya) doesn’t say anything about her husband being missing. Meanwhile, a nurse, Deepthi (Poojitha Menon) is witness to him being involved in the crime, and he marries her to make sure that she doesn’t talk about it to anyone. During all these events, Rini manages to take a few lakhs of money from Lonappan, which he hopes to use in starting another jewellery shop. With no problem in lying and cheating people, can Rini get what he wants?

The defence of Swarna Kaduva :: Here is another simple, fun-filled comedy movie with Biju Menon as the lead. There are some nice comedy sequences which are handled the most by Biju Menon, and followed up by Innocent and Hareesh. The movie also has its message, which means that the man gets to have a better character in the end. The jokes are mostly working, with exceptions – it was not really that easy with things getting a little bit dark for a movie of this kind, but the humour holds on. Another point is that there is no real drag in this movie, and things go on smoothly, without making us bored. The graph of this movie goes straight ahead, with no struggle anywhere. The main character is also a fine representation of many people of this era, who wishes to become rich easily, without going the honest way – those people who are looking for short-cuts and dishonest ways to success are reflected on our protagonist.

Claws of flaw :: The big comparison is going to be made with Vellimoonga here, and surely that much is fun is not around here. The feel-good factor is also not there, as this not that light-hearted as Vellimoonga with its twist of events. The climax is not that interesting, and things go through predictable lines on too many occasions. This movie could have been better with some more effort at the climax, and keeping closer to the light moments all the time, and having the messages in a more visible manner. There are moments which could have been avoided to make this movie shorter – the romance with Iniya’s character is one of them, and one does feel that there are more “pennu kaanal” and related stuff in this movie than intended – the last one is surely too much of an extension even though there is some fun there. This flick is just a fifteen or twenty minutes too long despite having no drag.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is all about Biju Menon as expected, and others only come in to give him the needed support – as some people would refer to, as the “key” or the “special ingredient”. Just like the other movies with him as the solo lead, like the big surprise hit which was the comedy entertainer Vellimoonga, and the strictly average flick which was Salt Mango Tree, Biju Menon never ceases to give his best. Even the other movies with him in the cast, including Marubhoomiyile Aana and Anuraga Karikkin Vellam had him scoring heavily with the comic scenes. We remember how it started off so well with the movie Ordinary, with those earlier signs in Marykkundoru Kunjaadu and Seniors – we can really go for his movies as a safe bet these days as far as the comic side is concerned. His Rini here, is similar to the character he played in Vellimoonga, and so there is no doubt about how well it goes.

Further performers of the soul :: But there is one difference, as this one here has more negative shades, and there is no good quality about this character throughout the movie. But it is safe in his hands for sure. The point to be noted is that he is both the hero and the villain of this movie – there is nobody else giving him competition. You go for this movie seeing him on the poster, and you won’t be disappointed. Meanwhile, Innocent is back to doing what he does the best, and brings the laughter – we are always happy to see him there. Hareesh also has his moments, a good number of them. The role of the leading lady is shared between Poojitha Menon and Iniya, both of them doing a fine job, with the latter being the more intense of the two. Sudheer Karamana and Suresh Krishnado provide some nice support here when they are present on the screen.

How it finishes :: Earlier it was Aanandam, and now this little movie is also all set to leave a nice mark. This one will not bring anything huge or out of the usual way, but is sure to keep you interested throughout its run. One thing that we wonder about though, is about putting in the poster that this was directed by the one who directed Mayamohini and Sringaravelan; that is more like negative word-of-mouth. It is strange considering the fact that nicely done comedy movies like Mattupetti Machan and Udayapuram Sulthan are part of the director’s filmography. If this idea was based on box-office collections, one has to remember that times have changed, and those two movies, if released now would have got no collection of that kind – the world has changed, and we need Swarna Kaduva as itself rather than resembling those two terrible movies mentioned in the poster.

Release date: 4th November 2016
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Jose Thomas
Starring: Biju Menon, Innocent, Poojitha Menon, Iniya, Sudheer Karamana, Suresh Krishna, Kottayam Nazeer, Hareesh Perumanna, Rosin Jolly, Baiju, Anju Aravind

swarnakaduva

@ 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.

Style

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Vampire Owl :: It is strange that we haven’t yet watched the first big movie of the year yet.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and it was also going to be one of the last movies of last year until the release was postponed.

Vampire Owl :: Then we are going to watch a movie which has a two year presence.

Vampire Bat :: Well, if you wish to explain the delay of a movie in that manner.

Vampire Owl :: Haven’t we finished the rest of the big movies? I don’t think that we have the opportunity not to watch this one.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, we also need to begin this year’s movie watching experience without delay.

Vampire Owl :: Exactly; only a fine beginning can ensure that we will end up watching one hundred movies in the theatres by the end of the year.

Vampire Bat :: We have to get there. It is a century which I could have achieved easily if the first six months had more movies watched in the theatres.

Vampire Owl :: So, lets begin the journey within the first week of the year itself.

Vampire Bat :: So be it. We shall begin our battles at this theatre.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Tom (Unni Mukundan) is leading a happy life with his little brother Jerry (Master Ilhan) and parents in the city, as he also works with modifying cars while the family also owns a restaurant. His best friend in Kapra (Balu Varghese) working as a car mechanic who doesn’t know how to repair anything. It is during one of these days that Diya (Priya Kandwal) comes into his life with the beginning of the rainy season. They gets closer and as expected, falls in love, with Tom already infatuated with her. As Diya keeps driving her father’s specially modified car through the busy city, she drives her way into Edgar (Tovino Thomas) who is a rich gangster controlling the most powerful criminal empire in the city. Edgar doesn’t like anyone touching his car, as it is to him like the dog is to John Wick, but Diya’s driving doesn’t help.

The defence of Style :: As the name suggests, the movie does look good, and it is stylish; you will know that it is special with the looks right from the beginning itself. The visuals are splendid and there are some good stunts performed in here. There is the attempt to use this visual advantage all the time, and as the big action entertainers have gone so less in number, this one also tries to make something out of that side. The action sequences were mostly very good, but the best one is surprisingly the one from the villain which comes first; that one has the least slow motion sequences and special acts as it is done straight in a believable way; it also kept the style factor very high. There are some pretty good jokes in the middle and the extended sequence after the movie that comes with the credits become a welcome addition. There are some thrills too, even though it is the first half romance and comedy which entertains next after the villain who makes smaller appearances than expected.

Claws of flaw :: There is not much of a story around here, and things go on as predicted. As the makers had already mentioned in the posters, this is indeed the first cliche story of the year, and there is no attempt to add anything different to that anywhere in the story. The later stunts in the movie got a little too much of the flying bodies, and more heroism; the final stunt deviates into the extra masala territory with more villains beaten up – even as this is supposed to have cliches, may be there were elements which could have made this one more believable, but they are left untouched in the end. I am pretty sure that the Malayali audience would have wanted a more believable cliche story as we consider the time from around interval are concerned. The stage was set by the end of first half, and then the movie slowly goes to that too much predictable finish which is not that much for this generation – we are surely beyond that kind of heroism. There could have been more funny moments too along with better songs.

Performers of the soul :: It is the villain who steals the show in this movie, and even though he appears only in a few sequences, it is Tovino Thomas who gets all the appreciation from the audience after the critically acclaimed Ennu Ninte Moideen fame. But as everyone would have wanted, he needed to be there for more time, but we see that he will only be there when the need is there. The makers haven’t used the powerful image that this villain had in the beginning of this movie, to the maximum advantage. The psychotic side of the villain is not used to benefit the movie either, and there goes the bonus which could have lifted this movie to the next level. I would say that when you have a villain with such big screen presence, you shouldn’t restrict him – he should be allowed to thrive like the evil existence that he is supposed to be. But it is not really the case here.

Further performers of the soul :: Unni Mukundan does his role in a simple way, without adding anything grand. Action will surely work nicely for him, as proven. The movie should be a fine setting for him to reclaim the action hero image which he had displayed so well in Mallu Singh. Priya Kandwal manages to be a lot pretty in this debut movie, and even as she doesn’t have much to perform here except for being the fairest one around, she does her job without trouble. I am sure that Malayalam movies will see more of this debutante heroine. Balu Varghese is the one who handles most of the funny side, and he keeps his usual style here, and it works despite not that much humour being worked on here. Vijayaraghavan also has some humour elements to work with here. Also look out for the kid who has his own nice moments. Noby plays another character bringing some humour, but disappears soon. Shine Tom Chacko has just one scene which is not really relevant.

How it finishes :: Coming from the makers of the surprise hit Ithihasa, maybe the audience would have expected a lot more. The challenges are from the most awaited movie of 2015 which was Charlie, the funniest movie of 2015 which was Adi Kapyare Kootamani and the proven crowd-puller which was Two Countries. With Jo and the Boy also around at that time, the shifting of this movie to one week later was pretty much the good idea. With most people already watched the rest of the movie in the theatres, Style surely has a better chance – it is also the kind of movie which Malayalam movie industry has kept away from for quite some time; the entertainer filled with cliches. There will be the kind of audience who will be looking for this kind – there is one hero, one heroine and a villain who doesn’t like them both; you know what to expect.

Release date: 2nd January 2016
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Binu S
Starring: Unni Mukundan, Tovino Thomas, Balu Varghese, Priya Kandwal, Vijayaraghavan, Master Ilhan, Noby Markose, Dominic, Baiju, Shine Tom Chacko

style

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Saaradhi

saaradhi (2)

Vampire Owl :: Happy Friday the 13th. May the vampire force bring us all the vampiric awesomeness that we can imagine.

Vampire Bat :: You were waiting for this day to scare some humans, right? But considering the present situation, you should make sure that they don’t scare you with their deeds lacking any humanity.

Vampire Owl :: I shall power myself with a movie today. Choose a movie for me this weekend. I am owlified ready on this special day.

Vampire Bat :: There are no Hollywood movies releasing this weekend here.

Vampire Owl :: What? No! What is horror without Hollywood? After all, it is where all ghosts, vampires, werewolves, demons, zombies and even aliens visit first during their journey from the other world.

Vampire Bat :: I think that Hollywood actually scared the censor board here with their horror for the weekend.

Vampire Owl :: Lets go for some local thriller then. Anything available in that category?

Vampire Bat :: There is the Hindi movie Roy and the Malayalam movie Saaradhi.

Vampire Owl :: No Hindi on a Friday the 13th. They don’t match intellectually. These people release bad movies even for National Holidays and so no Bollywood for now. Lets go for Saaradhi.

Vampire Bat :: Let it be so then. Get the horror popcorn!

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: An ambulance driver named Christy (Sunny Wayne) gets another one of the duties, and he has to deliver a dead body to a place which is not correctly mentioned. Three men and two women accompany the corpse, but strange things happen on the way and things are not as clean as it looks. One man has a gun, and none of them are really as sad as they seemed to be outside the mortuary. Christy had thought that he could visit his lady love on the way back too, but now, the whole thing is so complicated and he has to escape with the dead body. Sathyanathan (Baiju), a corrupt police officer seems to have something planned about this corpse, and a powerful politician known by the nickname JJ (Madhupal) also has some relation to this. There is police chasing him as well as some criminals and it is forest all around him.

The defence of Saaradhi :: Saaradhi comes to the screen working on that genre which has too many risks associated with it considering our audience whose tastes cannot be combined with all kinds of thrillers. But the movie had already managed to catch our attention with the trailer. The script is actually very good in parts as it seems, even if not that much as a whole – there is some intelligence used, but it needed to stay all the way. Coming from a debutante director, this is a fair effort too, and there is sincerity in the way in which the social message is given here, and it is for the common audience that it has been provided – remember Passenger and Arjunan Sakshi with the idea here. The latter part of the second part is actually the best part of the movie, and the thrills reach the right level there. There are some nice shots of the high-ranges to help the viewers too.

The Claws of Flaw :: The first few minutes are nothing less than torture. There is Sreenivasan catching a thief in a sequence which was not needed, and the item song is a mess. The only watchable moments are about the lady wearing the lungi – otherwise the song stays at the deepest area of the abyss. This is also not the final product that this script deserved, as it struggles to thrill all the way, and the interesting moments come too late. It is safe to say that the first half drags, and the characterization also faces a struggle. It is also time people realize that dead people talking in visions or hallucinations is bad, especially when there is some serious stuff going on. The weaker parts of the script needed the polishing, and then one can’t imagine how much better this could have been. This one also needs a Wikipedia page – is it a very difficult thing to attain? See all those movies inferior to this one having that kind of publicity. Ambiguities and slight lack of logic are there too with predictable moments.

Performers of the soul :: I don’t feel anything of high quality here. There are no big stars here either. The best performance was from Sreenivasan and it is something of no doubt. He has done another Passenger kind of character here, but with more power in the role. Sunny Wayne has his highs and lows in this movie – you have to avoid those phone talks and some of the highly emotional scenes, and he has done fine. Nedumudi Venu’s character looked like a ridiculous creation, but even then he seemed to have managed it as much as he could. The female characters make almost no impact in this movie, and those moments which have them at the centre rather makes things dull. Madhupal is very good while Dharmajan has too small a role. The small moments of comedy comes from Sunil Sukhada and up-to an extent from Sreenivasan. Baiju has a role like he played in Angels, just a lot more on the bad guys’ side. Sunil Sukhada surely needed a bigger role.

Soul exploration :: Saaradhi has an ambulance driver who makes its title worthy. He is not just the driver of a random vehicle, but also the one who drives forward a few lives. There is the story of the common man that goes on here. On its background, there is the continuous struggle of the common man to make things happen – it should have been focused more here, but we can think about that as an after-effect. This should have reached that Passenger level with that, but it is not there. But what we can see once again is a decent, average thriller which has managed to rise above its limitations and also score on the social message side. With lesser expectations, this movie can actually manage to be much more. A regular dose of thrillers and those which give the good and interesting message are the ones which we need. Also remember that this also about one man making the difference.

How it finishes :: Saaradhi comes from a debutante director who seems to has dared to come up with some experimentation and due to the same reason, has also taken some risk here. It is the kind of people who tries to think different that we need in our industry, and in that case, this movie needs to be applauded. Another new director would have taken a safer formula, but this one has chosen that difference, a variation which might not work with everyone. This effort in bringing something something that doesn’t follow the usual easy path, even when on his debut is the factor that we need to see here. At the same time, there is also the same at work here. The expectations that I had while watching the trailer had me hoping for a lot more, but I am expecting that the usual movie audience will end up liking this more than I did. I really hope that this movie becomes a success, because only then can more “different” movies can be made in a better way.

Release date: 13th February 2015
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Gopalan Manoj
Starring: Sunny Wayne, Sreenivasan, Nedumudi Venu, Vinutha Lal, Vishnu Raghav, Sruthibala, Baiju, Sunil Sukhada, Madhupal, Thalaivasal Vijay, Dharmajan

saarathi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Angels

angels (2)

*Avoiding the “Soul Exploration” paragraphs will be a nice idea if you wish to avoid spoilers. Deeper spoiler in the third soul exploration.

Vampire Owl :: No, absolutely no chance.

Vampire Bat :: But you promised to be back for the weekend.

Vampire Owl :: My weekend starts tomorrow. And why would I watch a movie named Angels? It is totally against my evil mastermind, evil plans and evil cupcake. Did I mention the evil icecream? No, because it would sound like “I scream”.

Vampire Bat :: But the movie still seems dark, worthy of evil.

Vampire Owl :: Even funny movies are too dark these days. I am not falling for that.

Vampire Bat :: You are still looking for an opportunity not to watch a Malayalam movie.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, if I come to watch this movie with you, I will have to watch two Hollywood movies with you this weekend along with this. There is no control. You should have some rest. You are watching movies like Uncle Dracula going to the Theatre of Blood.

Vampire Bat :: Why wouldn’t a vampire go to the Theatre of Blood every hour is beyond me. Uncle Dracula is actually setting a fine example.

Vampire Owl :: This is what I am talking about. You are addicted. It is like a deadly virus and you are spreading it to me too.

Vampire Bat :: You should be more bothered about what all diseases your zombie team is spreading.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Hameem Haider (Indrajith Sukumaran) is investigating a case called “the cemetery murders” which involves the corpses of the victims being disposed on a random grave of cemeteries. He comes very close to catching the murderer, but is shot on the leg and it takes time for him to recover, only to lose the case to Ashok Kumar (Baiju) who continues the investigation reaching nowhere in the process. Meanwhile, a reporter for the ruling party’s television, Haritha Menon (Asha Sarath) who is looking for some crime scenario for her show in the channel meets Father Varghese Punnyalan (Joy Mathew) who promises her some shocking revelations about the lost murder case as he publishes his book, for which he asks for Haider. But at the show, he says that he himself is the killer, but Haider disagrees and tells him that as the investigating officer, he knows better. From there, the next group of attempts to solve this case begins again.

The defence of Angels :: Angels manages to hold the suspense strong from the beginning to the end. The climax is brilliant, and overtakes the build-up in style. The final moments gives us a lot more to cheer for. It is shot in a stylish manner, and the background score is nice. The investigation progresses nicely, and the characterization of the three main characters is splendid. Among them, Indrajith continues to give power-packed performances. This is what comes for him between Memories and 7th Day – a hybrid for this elder brother this time. Asha Sarath comes with another strong work, but among them all, the pick should be Joy Mathew who has the best lines in the movie, and takes over the whole thing by storm with his portrayal of the priest. Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli who play’s the protagonist’s wife also comes up with a fair job. The message that it leaves us with, also gives us something to think about. This is something that the debutante director Jean Markose can be proud of.

Claws of flaw :: The movie needed a lot more of the right promotion, giving more idea about what it is about. I was actually disappointed about the number of people in the theatre, which was too low for a first day show – hope it changes with the word of mouth. The story does seem to get a little stretched in the middle, but that is solved soon. It follows the style of Memories and 7th Day, and might be repetitive for some, and for those who didn’t like those movies by much can think twice about this one. There might be a few questions unanswered, especially with the connections between the murders and the strength of the motive, but still by not affecting the story by much. The villain also deserved a better scope in the climax instead of just being pointed out. There are a few points in the movie which can be guessed, but I could find out things about 7th Day in a much easier way, and so it is no big deal.

Soul exploration 1: A case against infanticide of all kinds (possible indirect spoilers here) :: The movie comes up with a message against aborting. No, it doesn’t say that it should be avoided at any cost, but it makes the stand that there is no reason why a child with a chance to live should not be given the opportunity to see the world. They have the right not to be killed, more than the right to life. It is also extremely powerful in how it comes up with the same, and one has to admit that it has more than enough to get the attention of people. It has the strength to make people realize how bad that act is, and how worse it can be when someone is forced to do the same. We know how prevalent is female infanticide in the developing countries, and India also needs to deal with that situation in a lot of backward areas. Here, it deals with how profitable an enterprise it could become, and how heartless the common man could be when they think about the unborn babies as “human waste”. It is a shame, and the lack of humanity; this movie takes over the message and brings it to the viewers.

Soul exploration 2: The depiction of “different” angels on Earth (possible indirect spoilers here) :: The idea of angels also go with the aborted babies in this movie. They are considered as the cherubs who go to a special and beautiful condition after death, as they are denied this situation and are given something else. The symbolism of the angels also work nicely here, and so does the comparison. The question about their choice to live in this world or directly become the angels that they deserve to be, which are not directly given to them, but are often decided by some people of this world. The movie’s title is justified only in the second half, and comes strong there. It is that powerful punch that they come up with here, that makes such a great impact. It is actually an innovative step taken considering that this is supposed to be an investigative thriller in full strength. Well, the three main characters are actually angels in another way, aren’t they?

Soul exploration 3: The crucifixion of the self and resurrection (possible direct spoilers here) :: The priest’s conviction of himself is a case of crucifixion, which will bring the truth to the light as he takes the punishment for the sinner, but the interesting part is that he is resurrected to his former self in a few days as the criminal is found. Well, the resurrection was near impossible if the truth was not to come to light, but in this case, it works, and his suffering for the sins of the others is short-lived. Fr Varghese Punnyalan not just becomes a symbol of a medium to find truth, but also the only reason why there is truth and justice. Do notice that there are crucifix and cross symbols at a lot of places in the movie, and the character of the priest itself says that he is different from the others, and hence more prone to the problem of being in trouble due to even simple misunderstandings than the others. Do watch this movie, and there might be something you need to add.

Release date: 28th November 2014
Running time: 110 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jean Markose
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Joy Mathew, Asha Sharath, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli, Baiju, Dinesh Panicker, Vijayakumar, Tharakalyan, Parvathy Menon, Baby Annie, Prem Prakash, Aneesh G Menon, Jinto K Thomas

angels

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Up and Down

up&down (3)

We all get stuck in the lift. Those who haven’t are the ones who are waiting to get stuck there. Two years after the release of his Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty, this director has returned with what is listed as a psychological thriller – Up & Down: Mukalil Oralundu, which deals with the same issue. But I would not say that it is psychological, as it is more of a murder investigation; a suspense thriller of the recent Mumbai Police model, but the style resembles Banking Hours 10 to 4. But this surely has a good advantage over that; the advantage of the powerful base plot which forms the undercurrents. But the question would be about how it surfaces and faces those ships and boats, the critics and the common man who watches them after watching Neram, English and Mumbai Police in the other theatres. The more famous movie review sites doesn’t seem to have taken this one well, but as long as I am concerned, this is surely above average, and this successfully entertains more than any other Malayalam movie after the age of Amen. Even with its flaws, and the times when sharks become little crocodiles, this wide sea of thrills manages to make an impact on the viewers.

The whole thing happens in the tallest building in the city, a flat where a major event is taking place at the top, that is the twenty fourth floor. There is a lot of preparation going on, and there are many important guests arriving on the day. But it is not in a room, in a hall or at the premises of the flat that the story takes place, as the film is a story of eight people and a kid who gets stuck in the lift on a day when there is a major program there. The trapped people include the lift operator of the flat (Indrajith), the city police commissioner (Ganesh Kumar), the flat’s builder and a major businessman (Baiju), his wife who is a dancer and is dressed for an item in the program (Remya Nambeesan), an alcoholic writer and a stoic personality with a “Carpe diem” attitude to life (Prathap Pothen), an IT professional who plays the role of Godse in a drama for the program and also the secretary of the residents association of the apartment (Rejith Menon), his girl friend and the one in charge of the program (Sruti Menon), a former NRI from the United States who play the role of Mahatma Gandhi for the program’s drama item (Nandhu) and a little kid (Master Devaraman).

The writer keeps telling everyone that he reached there early morning; the kid keeps enquiring about his mother (Meghana Raj) and the lift operator himself tells the police commissioner about his doubts on the missing person. They are on their way to the top of the flat for the program when the lift gets stuck. The man who comes to repair the lift is an alcoholic (Koch Preman) and this delays the process further. The lift has a lot of problems, and this time, it causes bigger trouble as the function has to begin, and soon the writer has chest pain. They also find that there is a dead body on the top of the lift, and the police commisioner guesses that one of the people in the lift is responsible for the murder. He pledges to find the real victim before the lift is opened. But the question remains if it is possible in such a small space with so many people being related to the murdered person in one way or the other. The talks and actions of the people in the lift keeps on raising more and more suspicions. Even the investigator and the most respected people in the lift doesn’t seem to the kind of righteous people who can’t commit a brutal murder. Slowly, a good number of secrets are revealed, which would change their lives once they get out of the trapped area.

This one is more of Meghana Raj’s movie than anybody else. She is present in most of the flashbacks where the core of the movie is revealed. It might also be Ganesh Kumar’s best police role ever. Indrajith has very little to do as the serious lift operator who never has a moment of happiness in life. Prathap Pothen has the most interesting role in the movie, as an alcoholic who enjoys his life without worrying about the past, present or future. He provides the best comic relief with Nandhu. In many ways, this might be one of the most interesting intellectual alcoholics, a reminder of the wise fools of William Shakespeare (that was a little far-fetched) who provides those funny lines as well as the words of wisdom. It is the strangeness of his character that works the best in a situation of being trapped in such an environment. His character is most well-drawn, and the rest are just a little less developed. Some of them really don’t have any interesting character traits at all. The presence of flat characters subtract some points from the situation, and the scenes outside the lift losses in comparison to what happens inside the lift.

So where does the 2010 American supernatural thriller film come into the picture? No, The Night Chronicles: Devil doesn’t really come into the scene here. It had the supernatural within modern city life while this one has the usual crime within the modern urban life. There is no people getting killed one at a time, and there is surely no devil. The only common thing is the lift and the only similar event is the people getting trapped in the lift. So there is no place for Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan or whoever he is. But in a world where the humans can do his job better than him, who needs that personality from the depths of the pain’s own abyss called inferno? There are satan’s little helpers who are both intellectually and spiritually better people of evil than the prince of darkness and eternal pain. Well, this one is successful in building that tension which remains there for most of the time. It is close to being brain dead in the end due to its attempt to come up with something strange and the requirement of another twist, but still, considering the fact that we have seen much worse Malayalam movies, and the greatest disasters of the Malayalam movie industry, this is not at all a bad thing in its glory.

The movie would have been better if the creators had simply forgotten about everything outside the lift and there were more incidents inside rather than the outside. That would have been more of the psychological piece as expected. May be the makers thought that the common movie watcher of this world who hasn’t watched movies like Buried might not stand a chance if they had to face with a monotonous environment such as a plain lift. The need for some colourful factors always comes to the scene when entertaining crowd-puller movies are considered. The movie’s subtitle “Mukalil Oralundu” would signify God, but there is no such direct involvement. The operation of the lift can be related to that divinity, but it is not something that can be directly connected. If the title means the dead body on the top, that would make more sense, but that would turn the usage into a rather funny thing. The more interesting thing might be about considering the lift as a character, which works as it wants itself to. Such a thing can’t be avoided even if that factor is also not explored. The supernatural clearly takes the backseat when the not-so-natural human beings takes control and leads the way.

To be frank, I have been waiting for this one for quite a long time, as the release date was changed from 17th May to 24th May; something unusual for me to long for a movie which had no special cast or nothing to boast about – I was impressed by the trailer and this being a thriller added to the longing. But the movie doesn’t seem to give what the trailer conveys to the viewer. The mystery should have been a little more bifurcating for my mind if it was so. But here, the mystery is straight, but still strange. This suspense works very powerfully throughout the first half and the movie soars high despite of some small troubles, and goes through with half of the second half without too much trouble, but it is the end that fails to justify the means. It was as if everything was made just to make the end happen, or the finish was just made for the movie to end. It is somewhat uninspiring, but everything else throughout the movie is worth all the attention. It might not be what one expect after watching the best of the world, but with the limited resources, it has been turned into something which can be watched for the fun and thrills, especially that first half which keeps one guessing about what happens next, or what can’t happen next.

Release date: 24th May 2013
Running time: 115 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: T. K. Rajeev Kumar
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Meghana Raj, Prathap Pothen, Remya Nambeesan, K. B. Ganesh Kumar, Baiju, Nandhu, Sruti Menon, Rejith Menon, Master Devaraman, Kochu Preman, Vijayakumar

up&down copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.