Ima

Vampire Owl: I always knew that this was going to happen; I actually thought that it could happen much earlier.

Vampire Bat: What exactly are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: A movie on IMA – Indian Military Academy, about the training and other incidents at the place.

Vampire Bat: No, this is not about the officer training Academy of the Indian Army at Dehradun.

Vampire Owl: You mean that this about the same, a new academy based out of somewhere else?

Vampire Bat: This has no relationship with the military.

Vampire Owl: So, this is about Indian Medical Association? Thus it could be based out of anywhere.

Vampire Bat: I see that your Malayalam has hit a new bottom. You don’t even know what “ima” means?

Vampire Owl: I am one of those evil people who read and talk less of mother tongue.

Vampire Bat: Oh! I am sure that it makes you more evil than most of the villains.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of Madhavan (Pratap Pothen) and Radhu (Menaka Suresh), a couple in their fifties, who are living all by themselves in a house in their village, disconnected from the busy world. They have nobody for help, and their best friends are their two pets, a parrot and a dog. Their best access to the town is through a rowing boat, and they rarely go out that far. Radhu is blind, but she is very much adjusted to live in the house without her sight, accustomed to each corner and each object there. Madhavan has his own eye problems, and has only a terribly blurred vision without his glasses – the spectacles are the first thing that he searches for, right after he wakes up; not tea, newspaper, his loved ones, or anything else. It is only after he puts them in front of his eyes that his day begins.

So, what happens next? :: It is just the love for each other that they need in this life. They balance each other and their life, which goes on as they are there for each other. But there is a complication when Madhavan’s glasses are broken. He finds himself more vulnerable than ever, and he feels more blind than his wife. But when there is the love for your life on your side, there is no need to panic. True love is the one in which both always care for one another. There is no blindness that can stop the light from coming in and staying in their lives, and they will realize that again. It is those little things in life that makes one feel the love again, and being together for eternity is what fairy-tales have wanted us to believe. These two need no fairy-tales, Shakespearean Sonnets, or tales of true love to bring certainty, as they know that they have each other, forever.

Soul exploration 1: True love and where it stands beyond lust and infatuation :: These days, one can only keep wondering where the true love lies. It is mostly in those movies which are rather overrated in the name of love, but the same is not reflected in our lives – sometimes the so called love is compared to leaving the one whom he or she is supposed to marry on the location of wedding itself, but that would be nothing less than lust and infatuation. True love is a case of understanding and care which has to be there all the time. But the new generation struggles to find the same, giving into those things which have no part in the soul, like beauty and wealth. When providing support to the better half isn’t the first thing to do in marriage, it is no real life after wedding at all. True love is when it is a person whom one loves, and not his or her money or body. When souls unite, everything is else is just optional.

Soul exploration 2: Love as a journey of togetherness for eternity :: Through marriage, one also promises to take care of the other until death, and it is something which has to be done all the time. The older generation, despite having their own problems, seemed to understand it better, no matter the degree of love which they show. Whatever problem one has, the other has to nullify the same. It is those who are ready to take this step, that needs to be in such a relationship – it is the others who marry in the name of the spouse having a big job, wealth in the name of cash, big house, luxurious car or property that won’t understand this idea of eternity. But there are those people who look for these features on the one they are to marry, and some people even ask for a government job for the groom – some people just never consider goodness to be a positive thing in a relationship.

How it finishes :: The movie’s cast is rather small, as except for Pratap Pothen and Menaka Suresh, there are no real human presence – the exceptions there are the one who delivers the newspaper in the morning and the one who rows the boat. It is the pair that excels above everything else in this movie. Also, the visuals are too good, with the simplicity as well as the beauty that it possessed. What we have to note is how a simple incident in the lives of two simple people has been made so interesting in such a less run-time. It is also the kind of life that we hope everyone would have, and we feel that maybe this little short-film about the love and care for each other that a couple shows, will stay in the mind of many more people and inspire them to be of love and support for each other, living up to the wedding vows which they exchange. It is the message that a messed up world needs, and it is what everyone should take home and keep with them.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: Humans can love like this? I wouldn’t believe that.

Vampire Bat: Human capability for love is very much there, but it is just that they won’t try that hard to love.

Vampire Owl: These humans are rather too selfish. When was the last time love was really love?

Vampire Bat: It is easier to hate due the inherent evil in man. It was proven in The Belko Experiment too.

Vampire Owl: But they find writing about love to be rather easy. They even make so many movies with love being the theme, like Anarkali, Ennu Ninte Moideen, London Bridge, Premam, Kismath, Thattathin Marayathu, Basheerinte Premalekhanam, Madhura Naranga, Om Shanti Oshana and all.

Vampire Bat: Romantic movies are the easier ones to make. It is the reason why Bollywood have so many of them.

Vampire Owl: Moonnamathe Vazhi was a nice romantic short-film and so was The Story of 90 Coins, I remember.

Vampire Bat: You remember Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol injecting romance into family drama and CIA: Comrade in America doing the same into communism; Sakhavu also did the latter.

Vampire Owl: Still, there is nothing like Brooklyn with its romance.

Vampire Bat: And Crimson Peak with its good old Gothic Romance Horror.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 10th June 2017
Running time: 11 minutes
Directed by: Liju Krishna
Starring: Pratap Pothen, Menaka Suresh

Watch the movie Ima here:

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Story of 90 Coins

Vampire Owl: I have to say that this title has immediately caught my attention.

Vampire Bat: It is not natural for such a thing to happen for you considering the fact that this is a short-film.

Vampire Owl: I have loved more short-films these days than any other. So, there is a certain vision coming to me.

Vampire Bat: So, you will be watching more short-films?

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why not, as you have been writing about so many. I have to keep up.

Vampire Bat: So, you are coming up against the realization that short-films are more worth the time, right?

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have gotten fine results with the last few which I watched.

Vampire Bat: Also, it is for everyone, and not limited by the boundaries, as it is available online.

Vampire Owl: And available in so many language, with English subtitles.

Vampire Bat: The only thing which stops us from watching a short-film is we ourselves.

[Gets some kuzhalappam and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with Wang Yuyang (Dongjun Han) telling Chen Wen (Zhuang Zhiqi) to be with him forever. When she doesn’t agree to the same, and shows her doubts about the future of the relationship, he asks her to give him ninety days to prove her love towards her. Every night, when they left each other, he would give her a coin, and if she rejects his proposal after those ninety days, they would take the cash to the stall where they had first met, have some drinks and bid adieu to each other, hoping not to meet again – that would be the end. Otherwise, they are going to use it for the wedding purposes, according to him. Even though she does fall in love with him, her first priority is to have a house in the city. She also has her career in front of her, and marriage doesn’t come at the top of the list at the moment.

So, what happens next? :: Then there is a chance for her to go to Paris, which is quite the perfect place to continue her fashion designing work. The city which has been commonly referred to as the fashion capital of the world just seemed to have endless opportunities for her. Andre (Jose Acosta), her French co-worker is also asking her regularly to join him on the trip to France, and see how far she can go with her skills in the field. They have their own complications in the relation in between, and it remains to be seen, if they can stand the factors of real life when going through their tale of love. It comes to that point when the relationship was going to be no more – but the promise of ninety days remain. Will they be able to go through those days which are reflected in each coin? Is it love or is it the job that gets the upper hand in the end?

The defence of The Story of 90 Coins :: The movie is just so beautiful to watch – there are those wonderful shots, and there are also beautiful people working in it. Along with the same, the performances are also too good that we feel the reflection of the emotions of the two protagonists. The emotional effect that this movie brings is more than what some of those highly appreciated romantic flicks lasting two and half hours has brought us. We can take the example of two Malayalam movies which are considered top love stories – Ennu Ninte Moideen and Annayum Rasoolum. While the former was entertaining, it dragged itself to almost three hours, with moments which didn’t need to be there. The former also had a run-time close to three hours and had more drag than material. These two, the most overrated love stories don’t stand a chance against a nine minute short-film, and there lies the beauty of The Story of 90 Coins.

Soul exploration 1: Love and promises made :: We see so many movies with promises of love being made. Lets take the example of another overrated movie, Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi – it only has the glorification of our youth who can’t make a good promise and stick to it, and as people don’t usually stick to promises they liked it. The Story of 90 Coins is for the kind of people who stick to those promises made in love, like the characters in the movie Anarkali. Unlike what a lot of youth from a spoilt generation thinks, love is not love when it finds deviation – falling in love is a commitment, and whether it is before or after marriage, it takes real courage, faithfulness and trust to stand with the person you love. With love, comes a promise, and it is about this promise that The Story of 90 Coins talks about. Good men and women keep it, and won’t let it become a random memory which comes into mind later.

Soul exploration 2: Love and love only :: There will be other things like work and people will keep looking for job satisfaction – unfortunately, in a terrible modern world, it is something that people will use to judge you and society will even judge your partner on the same. There will always be those offers to make you feel successful, but it is not inside that cabin or the cubicle that you find what matters the most – it is in in front of your beloved, in her words, and in her arms. As we look at a world affected terribly by modernity, we feel so much less of love – they turns into robots, and they divide us into factions. But there will be a day when we realize that love matters – it will be not that creepy new generation love made in the name of modern love which has no commitment and just infatuation and lust. Love will be love only when it is worth to be called by arranging those four letters in the right way in heart, and never stepping back from those feelings of oneness.

How it finishes :: There are lots of dialogues in this movie which are certain to stay with you. The process of making you feel the love begins from the first few seconds itself, and there are those amazing words in the end, which are sure to give your emotional side and belief in true love a big push. It is shameful that we have more of “theppu” short-films here rather than true love stories – we are the industry which had so many of real love tales which became big hits in the past, and we struggle to make more of the same kind even as short-films. It is during those times that this Chinese short-film from Michael Wong becomes a very significant lesson. This is a movie which has won more than fifty accolades from different international film festivals, and it is the director’s short-film debut. After watching this The Story of 90 Coins, I hope that he will make a lot more of similar interesting flicks.

Release date: 28th July 2016
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Michael Wong
Starring: Jose Acosta, Dongjun Han, Zhuang Zhiqi

Watch The Story of 90 Coins here:

Other short-films of interest: Mangalyam Thanthunanena, Red Jacket, Grace Villa, Culprit, AUFDRUCK, The Shaman.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

I

i (2)

*** I is not just another movie as some critics have judged in the form of the random revenge thing coming to the viewers again. We all know that it has received mixed responses from the audience and critics alike, but let’s not fall into that trap to think twice about watching the movie. I might not be as good as some other movies from Shankar, but it is different, and deserves to be seen and treated with respect that it deserves. It is nothing like we see in Indian Cinema, and the way in this one entertains is different and effective. I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes on to become the highest grossing Tamil movie in Kerala, considering the number of theatres where it has released and the number of shows present in each of the multiplexes.

✠ I has got its plus points:
The awesomeness of Vikram: You are introduced into a pure Vikram show here, and personally I feel that I might never see another actor like him in Indian cinema during my age. Even as this is an entertainer with those masala elements, one can’t stop admiring how great a performer he is, in all roles – he keeps making us feel for his character even when the hero is more than a normal man, beating up too many people. Like the most common words which are used in this movie, one has to wonder what stands above everything; a long way above this movie – and it is Vikram. It is this one actor who raises the level of the movie along with himself, and imagining someone else in this role is nothing less than a crime and a sin of the highest level.

The beauty that is Amy Jackson: This lady makes an impression in her way, and there are times when the Magic Mirror chooses a less expected person as the fairest of them all (Tamannaah Bhatia is the one who comes to my mind whenever I hear that) – here it is Amy Jackson who is stunningly beautiful and even cute at times, redefining most of those occasions when the same words were used in the case of a few other actors. She gives aesthetics a new meaning. This is indeed a big role for her, and amazingly suitable; something that we realize very early. There is nothing special for her to do though, and that is understandable considering the nature of the movie and how much it is dependent on Vikram. Lets give some applause to Suresh Gopi too, who also has his moments.

The stunning visuals: The visuals of China’s outskirts are mesmerizing here, and almost everything happens in relation with the natural beauty during those shoots, and it is a big boost to the movie. This is even better with the visuals of songs. It is like another special world for the viewers brought with big splendour. The graphics are also advanced, and the make-up and costumes can be considered as an even bigger boost – they are so good that you will raise your expectation a lot for any other movie. The definition of an entertainer changes here, and you are are surely going to ask for more after this, instead of deciding to watch some random action and romance. These visuals on the screen increases the need to watch this on the big screen even more. The background score nicely supports the visuals.

Fairy tale and its narrative: The way of narrative is something that I enjoyed a lot. I have always enjoyed these non-linear narratives, and it rightly suits the movie here, even as I doubt how the usual audience would take it. The fairy tale elements also has the charm, and there is the song which seems to a clear tribute to The Beauty and the Beast, even as in totality, our hero is no beast, but someone deformed. That is one awesome song on the screen, just like the one in China. There is the certainty of love thriving against all adversities, and that bad guys getting their due as part of that poetic justice. I is that kind of a revenge-seeking fairy tale with its dark side, as you might be familiar with if you have watched Maleficent. It also has its hunchback of Victor Hugo who deserved to be treated better and in another way, its Frankenstein monster – another deformed person who looks for love.

✠ Where it misses:
It misses out in the second part of the first half, and once our hero and heroine reaches China and finishes their first song, it drags and goes on and on with the usual stuff. Yes, the plot itself is a revenge story, but the latter part of the first half can’t even present things in an interesting manner. Couldn’t some elements be less predictable? The movie is too long too, and they should have cut the romance a bit. There are also too many advertisements shown in the movie – yes, there was the need for a few, but here we see too many; still enjoyable ones there. The beast is also limited to the song, but then the question remains where it could come in when the movie plot is considered. But I had expected a lot more from the beast. The action scenes should have been lesser in number along with the songs. But this movie is beyond all these limitations, as the positives that I mentioned runs through with extraordinary power.

*** The movie becomes a very good lesson on how an entertainer can be made without being dumb and ridiculous. Bollywood can use this for ideas, and learn how not to make a Krrish 4 and Dhoom 4. Anniyan actually managed to be better, years ago, and therefore, I wouldn’t consider this movie as something which changes anything. But I is a movie that could be watched for great entertainment, as well as the great performance that Vikram has put into the movie here. The humour also works and there is a powerful emotional connection that is maintained, which strives to focus on the power of true love that is beyond appearance and money. Don’t go with the reviews, but go with Vikram on this one. Here is a big salute to the actor on how well he has tried and made his transformation, and how much strength he has brought to an ordinary revenge plot. I have given the movie a rating, but I cannot be judged by ratings, and the right method is to watch it in the theatres.

Release date: 14th January 2015.
Running time: 189 minutes
Directed by: Shankar
Starring: Vikram, Amy Jackson, Suresh Gopi, Upen Patel, Santhanam, Ramkumar Ganesan, Mohan Kapoor

I

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Om Shanti Oshana

Om Shanti Oshana (1)

The type of movies: There have been so many “types” of movies in 2014 with just one month of the year over. Even as love has been the repetitive theme in most of them, there have been lot of difference in the type of love which were portrayed in them, and one has to admit that London Bridge had the best love story among them; but the year has only started and the other significant release was just the badly received Salala Mobiles. There was also a movie 1983 which clearly said that no kind of love, including the love towards one’s lover, siblings, parents or wife is important or significant at any moment, as all of them can be abandoned and each can be disrespected just for pure selfishness and enjoyment based on a random sport called cricket. Now, here comes Om Shanti Oshana which actually has another cute and funny love story in store for you. Yes, we watched it First Day First Show, and we were actually planning to do this when we watched 1983 last week – but this time, we could actually watch it and finally be happy about watching a Malayalam movie FDFS after a long time, for the last Malayalam flick I last watched early morning on the first day was Olipporu.

What is Om Shanti Oshana about? :: Exactly a week after our First Day First Show hopes were derailed by that strange flick which was 1983, we made the attempt again, this time with Om Shanthi Oshana. The movie tells the story Pooja Mathew (from her perspective), as she lives her life riding motorbikes and hating anything about cooking. As her cousin sister Julie Francis gets married to man whom she think is not good-looking enough, she feels that she should find the right man before her parents get her married to a rich man giving a lot of dowry. Even as she feels that she should be interested in a good-looking boy Yardley Avaran whose father and her father belongs to the same profession and are of the same financial status, she falls for another man, Giri Madhavan who is a kung-fu master, a farmer, a social worker and a former communist after seeing him on a few occasions. Even as she is aware of the difference in social status and religion, she decides to go after him. She makes more and more opportunities for them to get closer, but he doesn’t seem to be in a mood. But she doesn’t give up, can she?

The defence of Om Shanti Oshana :: The attempt of this movie to tell the story of love completely from a girl’s perspective is kind of new in Malayalam movie, and the way in which they have done it here has to be applauded (even the cupid in the movie poster is female). The movie has a lot of funny scenes, especially involving Nazriya and her dreams and affection for his dream man. Her love for motorbikes and movies add to it. The movie is more funny throughout, and there is nothing really sad happening – even a heart attack is told in such a way that it ends up funny. The youth should like it, that is for sure. The movie actually moves in its path with relative ease, as it is a road which has been traveled and repaired regularly in a different way. Well, this is actually that simple story which has been powered by some good direction by Jude Anthany Joseph. The movie’s use of old songs, old movies and old incidents is another nice addition. There is absolutely no dull moment in this movie. The song “Kaattu Mooliyo” is sweet or rather cute, and “Mandaarame” is also fine, but might not stand well enough without the funny visuals.

The claws of flaw :: The movie takes the usual path, even as the roles are reversed. You might have heard such a story in reverse so many times. It also comes with nothing like big surprise in the climax, except for, may be small, but beautiful add-ons. This is actually the inverse of Thattathin Marayathu when the boy was looking for a way to gain the girl’s love, but here, it is the girl who is after the boy. If the boy was dreaming about the girl and looking for ways to get to him in that movie, here the girl has a lot of plans going on about gaining the boy’s attention and love. It is a cliche which has been put in reverse gear an allowed to roll down a hill. It is an innovate stereotype in Malayalam movies, but is still the same. For this kind of a story, there is the need for exaggerated events which lack logic, even this necessity is still kept within the limits here. You can also feel that some of the scenes are repetitive, and a few incidents should be dealt with more seriousness. But this is how it should work, because this is how it has turned out to be, if there is any doubt about the same, ask the crowd!

Performers of the soul :: The whole movie is Nazriya-centered, as if she becomes the sun and the rest are planets. Nazriya Nazim has her best ever performance in this movie, even as there is doubt created at times. The whole universe of the movie has her at the centre, right from the moment her character is born. Her Pooja Mathew is not just another girl, as her best friends always tend to be different from her. She rides a motorbike, detests cooking and has her way in doing things which makes her parents feel that she should have been a boy. As she appears almost every minute in the camera due to the narrator being herself, there was a lot dependent on her performance, and she has delivered indeed. Even as her earlier release of the year, Salala Mobiles failed to impress, she has made a fine comeback here. She has come a long way since her debut as the leading actress in Maad Dad. Lets hope that it will only get better for her as the date of her marriage to the most versatile young star in Malayalam movie industry gets near. This is one of those rare movies in which the leading lady gets so much attention, and I am sure everyone loves that it is Nazriya who is the centre of attraction.

Other performers :: Nivin Pauly as Giri Madhavan gives a powerful performance standing on the other side, as he becomes the one to be wooed unlike what usually happens, and what had been shown in Thattathin Marayathu. He is a socialist, master of martial arts and a humble farmer, the three faces of one man which he performs to perfection. He received claps almost throughout the movie for his portrayal. Renji Panicker did a nice job, in a role which would have been usually done by Lalu Alex (remember Chocolate, Niram and many others). Aju Varghese as David Kanjani does his third best funny role after Malarvadi Arts Club and Thattathin Marayathu. He has a strong comic existence which keeps coming again and again as he plays a kind of fraud character. You have to love how they used the sequence of war just to show what kind of thing he did to his trusted friend. Vineeth Srinivasan has a minor role as Dr. Prasad Varkey, but still one which received claps and affected the story in a special way – almost the same can be said about the role of Lal Jose up-to an extent.

How it finishes :: The movie finishes strong enough, but not as powerful as how it began. The first half is surely superior to the second. It never has any troubled waters to travel, as the path is set through a controlled body of water; therefore it goes on and on with no challenges. It’s success is not a mystery though, as we know how much people have been waiting for this one. Even as we had gone for the early show, it was almost full and we just managed to get the tickets. Nivin Pauly’s movies always had something to cheer about and he is becoming more and more the crowd favourite, same being the case of Nazriya. There is going to be the rush of youth in the weekend, and as this is rather a clean movie with no bad language or anything, this should enjoy the same success of Thattathin Marayathu if not better, unless some big movie comes up, gets rave reviews and capture the screens.

Release date: 7th February 2014
Running time: 140 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Nazriya Nazim, Aju Varghese, Vineeth Srinivasan, Renji Panicker, Vinaya Prasad, Akshaya Premnath, Oshein Mertil, Harikrishnan, Lal Jose

Om Shanti Oshana copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Veeram

veeram (2)

Ask the magic mirror :: “Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who Is the Fairest of Them All?” – now here is the answer which naturally comes to any mirror which has been taken into a theatre to watch Veeram; and it is Tamannah Bhatia. Unless that mirror prefers Kristen Stewart more than Charlize Theron, and as long as the question is not about being the “palest”, it is indeed a magic mirror which can be trusted. The first thing one notices in the movie is not our leading lady, that is for sure, but as far as being fair is considered, there is only person on the screen who takes that to another level. Whenever she is around, everyone else looks darker – no that is no measure of beauty even as Tamannah is indeed the more beautiful and the cute one around, and thanks to those beautiful locations during the songs, there is the snow to give that much needed competition; being the ice princess or the snow queen has never been this easy with anybody else.

What is it about? :: This is the story of Vinayakam (Ajith Kumar), the one-man army with a possible extension to five with his four brothers, and even to an army of six if their lawyer is included in the gang. The man has become more of a landlord who takes care of his people and is extremely caring about his brothers. He is a stern businessman and a reputed man of his area. He has weakness for the name Kopperundevi (Tamannaah Bhatia) and as a lady comes up with the same name, thanks to the work of his brothers and the adopted brother lawyer, he falls in love with her, and with the good guy impression created by the brothers, she also falls for him and takes the decision to take him to meet her family. But later she comes to know that he is the rough and tough guy who beats up people whenever he sees something wrong. As she wants a more peace loving person so that he can be approved by her father, he decides to become one. But the need for fight doesn’t leave him, or does it?

The defence of Veeram :: Translated into English as “Valour”, the movie is a action masala movie, and that basically forgives most of the troubles of the movie. Another thing is that this is the movie of Ajith, or rather by Ajith, about which there is lot more to talk about. Meanwhile, the movie has immense style, and it is reflected not only in the display of the same, but also in the narrative. The use of rain, thunder and lightning along with the clouds adds such a strength to the movie that this use is nothing less than deserving applause. The locations are beautiful and those of the songs are breathtaking. The mixing of action, sentiments and humour is intelligent, and it makes up for what is lost in the old plot. Even with so much lacking in innovation as far as the story is concerned, there is a lot working out well in the other departments. There are many mass scenes and even as the action gets repetitive, the sequences are powerful.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is all about Ajith’s character, and the rest are kept in the shadows most of the times, and their existence is more to make our hero better rather than for themselves, as our leading lady exists so that he could fall in love and dance with her, and a villain to be afraid of him and another to be beaten up and killed by him. The purpose of brothers is more to show that he is superior, but that is understandable as this is more of a movie for the fans; and our hero is that awesome indeed, thanks to a powerful portrayal. The romantic side is weak, mostly due to the fact that it is forced and not rightly fit in the movie. The action scenes repeat as if put in a loop, and it could have been better if some shots of beating up villains were cut. The sentiments also go in a strange way, and the lack of logic is right there in the centre. The story should also be older than most of the actors in the movie, and its similarities to many other Tamil and Malayalam movies can be noted down.

Performers of the soul :: Ajith’s movie as one would expect, as he outperforms everyone with such an ease that what exists there is mostly a one-man show. From his entry, he keeps scoring, and his looks are perfect for this role. It does remind one about Mammootty in the 2000 Malayalam movie Valyettan, but to a small extent; with the romantic side of the brothers slightly resembling the 1991 Malayalam film Godfather. Tamannaah is dazzling, and you can often take that literally. This is the first time I am watching a movie starring her, and I am glad I finally did that; had to leave the Kajal Aggarwal starrer behind even as it was running in the same theatre at the same time, but no beauty lost in the end. Its good to see Bala too, as its been a long time since I watched one of his movies, and he plays a character with the same name which made him famous in the 2007 Malayalam movie Big B, which might once again be a luck factor. Santhanam comes up with lots of funny moments to make sure that the comic side doesn’t go weak. Nassar and Atul Kulkarni also comes up with strong performances.

Soul exploration :: The most shocking thing to the soul was the name of the heroine, especially when her nickname was revealed to be Kopu. But what’s interesting to the soul is its assertion of family values and putting one’s people over everything else. It starts off with the brothers and later extends to the family of his lover, our hero becomes a model brother and son in no time. He sacrifices his happiness to see the family happy, and keeps them away from all the problems as well as their knowledge of their troubles. We have known Jeffrey Nero Hardy as the charismatic enigma, but our hero here is nothing less throughout the movie. Another thing is the significance of “tea” as a symbol in the movie; it not only becomes a symbol of his simplicity, but also his hard-work as well as love for his brothers and family. How often do you see a movie poster with the hero happily drinking tea in it? Now that is a plus for the soul and the Vampire Bat loves it.

How it finishes :: There was always going to be a doubt about which movie to watch, with Jilla running on the other screen, and choosing this was a risk, but nothing regrettable happened in the end. It was nothing strange to see that the viewers for both movies were almost equal, and with only a few vehicles in the yard, with not even one mediocre Malayalam movie release in the same week, and both the Hollywood and Bollywood side being weak in comparison as far as normal people are concerned – shortage of big movies (Drishyam and Oru Indian Pranaya Katha are still there along with many English movies from much earlier, still in the multiplexes). The movie is reckless and violent in its action, and the use of sharp weapons cloud the movie like nothing else – if that is a positive or a negative is for the audience to decide, as it doesn’t go beyond a level. The opinion is divided about the movie, but I would say that this one deserves a check as it keeps the interest high even as it might be too long for one’s liking.

Release date: 10th January 2014
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Siva
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Tamannaah Bhatia, Vidharth, Bala, Santhanam, Ramesh Khanna, Atul Kulkarni, Nassar, Abhinaya, Pradeep Rawat, Munish, Manochitra

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Indian Pranaya Katha

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An Indian Love Story :: Now, that is the direct Malayalam to English translation of the title of this movie, but let it not make you think about this as a romantic love story full of melodious songs and a hero and heroine looking at each other, the sky, the beach, or the river. This is partially a political satire and otherwise a drama concerning family relations. Coming from the director who never disappoints us (except for may be No. 1 Snehatheeram Banglore North), as the man with such a fine record, this movie was always going to be watchable whatever be the content, and even as it turned out to be kind of usual, this movie also doesn’t disappoint (yes, I do think well of his last venture Puthiya Theerangal too). His best of this century was Manassinakkare, and before that we know it has always been NadodikkattuOru Indian Pranaya Katha fits among the good movies, not at the higher level though. But be assured that the love between the lead pair happens just because the movie ends, and that is where the romance should begin.

What is it about? :: Ayamanam Sidharthan (Fahad Fazil) is the leader of the local youth wing of a party who hopes to become an M.L.A. soon by being the candidate in the upcoming by-election. He is supported by Uthup Vallikkadan (Innocent) who is the district head of the party always making an attempt to show his face on television. But his hopes are crashed when the national leaders choose another person who has no political background to contest in the elections instead of him, just because she is the daughter of a big shot politician. As Sidharthan is fed up and decides to take a break, he comes across Irene Gardner (Amala Paul) from Canada who is attempting to shoot a documentary and needs someone to help her, for which she can provide rupees two thousand per day. He feels that this could be a nice opportunity for him to keep away from politics as well as gain some much needed money, and he takes that offer. But he realizes that there is something about her that is much more than what meets the eye. So why is Irene in India and what is she looking for, and how can our hero help her? There remain the questions.

The defence of Oru Indian Pranaya Katha :: The movie has a wonderful first half, and it is a gem that shines and takes all the claps with grace. There are lots of moments of fun, and in each of them, Fahadh Faasil scores, and Innocent provides good support. There is the humble and yet beautiful beginning to the story which is carried on towards the interval. The moment when the hero takes up the job for the heroine is hilarious, and most of the moments involving politics are times of laughter. It remains clean throughout the movie, and there are no unnecessary vulgar jokes which has been plaguing Malayalam movie industry and keeping the audience away. There is basically nothing which is bad for kids, and there is no stupid romance getting in the way of the movie flow. There was obviously the chance for bad jokes on many occasions, and at a time when even movies like Sringaravelan become family entertainers, this effort to keep the dirty things away has to be appreciated. To add to it, the goodness and social message that the movie delivers is worth some applause.

Claws of flaw :: The movie fails to keep the momentum going in the second half, and right after the first half, the world starts twisting and breaking apart. Even as the latter half also has some good jokes, it seems to suffer from a big curse which hinders its movement, and it drags and gets converted into a family drama from the political satire which it was in the first half. There is lot of emotional undercurrents going on, and none of them romantic in character. The leading lady’s search for her roots lacks in both strength and innovation and the flashback story is too much off the dusty old books. The songs stay below average, and there is nothing that can pounce in our hearts. There is a void left in our desire to follow the satirical side, and our need for things which are left behind can be felt by the end of the movie. It has a happy and a righteous ending for sure, but surely not an effective one. The people who are looking for the romantic side will be disappointed, as the love between the leading characters blossoms only in the last few moments of the movie, or rather the last few seconds before the movie ends.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, Sathyan Anthikkad’s style rescues another movie yet again. But Fahadh Faasil is the man who leads the show yet again, just like he did in North 24 Kaatham without even speaking much, and in Amen with simplicity. He has portrayed a different character yet again, and his comic side in this movie is something that takes over. He once again transforms to a character who rules the first half of the movie and stays good in the second half. Innocent’s support is as good as usual, and there is no boring moment when he is around. Amala Paul looks even better than ever in this movie, and it is good to see that her presence is there right from the moment she is introduced. Her character seems to have been rightly portrayed, right from the moment she appears with a video camera in an orphanage. Her characteristics of a lady searching roots as well as a fun loving girl are rightly captured and reflected to the audience. Shafna and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy are also there with significant roles which catches attention, but the latter could have had more screen time.

Soul exploration :: The movie does leave us with many messages, one of them being the core of them all, not to take politics as a job, but as a means to serve people along with working. The real ambition is to be serving people rather than to be at the top, but that will rather be a need. Well, ambition is the root of all evil, and as Doctor Faustus did prove long ago as in the lives of Lucifer and Mephistopheles, there is nothing like ambition that makes a man evil. The leading characters do undergo significant changes in their journey, but not something as huge as North 24 Kaatham, as they were both this good right from the beginning to the end. Even as a movie which is considered as a romantic comedy, there is no glorification of romance or similar stuff, and that is another bonus. The useless nature of exaggerated love is made known to us throughout the movie, and the stress is more on family values, along with helping others at the same time. The movie also stresses on the importance of roots and the need to know them thoroughly. Whatever be the situation, or however the world changes, there is nothing like our parents, as the movie shows.

How it finishes :: When the hero says “There is beef in the scene” – that was a hilarious moment, and so was the dialogues in the library – the movie drops such laughter bombs regularly to keep the movie in the hunt in a weekend powered by two other big releases, Jeethu Joseph’s Mohanlal starrer Dryshyam and Lal Jose’s Dileep starrer Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal along with the Bollywood’s own Dhoom 3 and Hollywood’s only release Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. There is also the Tamil movie Biriyani, which means that there is a lot going on in the theatres this weekend – I have already booked tickets for Dryshyam, and I am looking forward to watching Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal on the same day. There is a lot to be done for me this Christmas, that is for sure, and as far as Oru Indian Pranaya Katha is concerned, it is a good choice for a family outing, and there is not much rush for it due to the less hype – you can go for it soon enough. Forgive the movie for its weaknesses in the second half, and do give it a chance to be that love story that scores without that much of romance. This is a small movie of goodness, that can do with a lot of support from the audience.

Release date: 20th December 2013
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Sathyan Anthikad
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Amala Paul, Innocent, Shafna, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Krishna Prabha, Muthumani

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thattathin Marayathu

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The case of love :: The stories of love has been exaggerated for centuries, and we are not strangers to how William Shakespeare described a lot of things in his Sonnets. The better qualities which are needed for this world including brotherly and sisterly love or the love for the down-trodden or the subaltern would always have to make way for a kind of love which is based on the outside beauty and powerfully fixed on infatuation and lust. Then they can ask “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” but does all the immortalizing of such love make any sense? How someone can fall in love for another just by looking at his or her is one of the weirdest things in the world. That is undoubtedly a case of infatuation and lust, however one tries to support the theory of love at first sight. But it is such a story that we are going to talk about, and it is the same thing that this movie is about, and as this turned out to be a good movie even without the “truth of love” in it, this case of love is to be left to the audience who made this one a hit, and as a film, it deserved it.

Love in the South :: Malayalam movies have had that incredible strength to come up with successful love stories which stay on our minds for long. One of the earliest movies of that kind after the early age of the legendary Chemmeen should be Nakhashathangal, but the trend came back stronger than ever with two movies Aniyathipraavu and Niram, both starring Kunchako Boban and Shalini who established themselves as the perfect star pair for love stories. The specialty of these two movies was that there was so much goodness in them, and on both occasions, the pair chooses not to disobey their parents, and such sacrifice should be at the base of love, and not carnal desire. But about the pathetic nonsense which came as pseudo-love stories, like Annayum Rasoolum, one shouldn’t bother – it was a pathetic case of looking at each other in an extended version of love at first sight moments, and that movie will do more bad than good for the romantic movies which are to follow including Oru Indian Pranayakadha. Meanwhile, Dr. Love was a superior story of love with sacrifice involved in it, just like Dhosth.

What is it about? :: This movie written and directed by Vineeth Sreenivasan as his second venture as the captain of the ship, has the story of a ordinary Hindu Nair boy falling in love with a rich Muslim girl. Vinod Nair (Nivin Pauly) has fallen for Aisha Rahman (Isha Talwar) with an incredible moment of falling in love as he hits her while running and she falls down the stairs to land in a hospital. Supported Abdu (Aju Varghese), Hamsa (Bhagath Manuel) and Mustafa (Ahmed Siddhique), he goes on a mission to win her love despite the problems caused due to religion and social status, and that fact that he belongs to the party which is fighting against her family’s business. After doing some strange and stupid things, he finally gets a chance to talk to the girl, and soon he tells her about his love to get a positive response. His supporters grow, as S.I. Prem Kumar (Manoj K. Jayan) helps further in his cause as he leaves his house. So, will this love story succeed, or does it have to become another Romeo and Juliet? Almost everyone in Kerala knows the answer.

The defence of Thattathin Marayathu :: The movie has everything which is needed for a perfect love story of exaggerated character. It is also the best love story in Malayalam since Niram, with all the possible additions of the age, including the witty dialogues, “when she replied, I felt like Sreesanth who got the wicket of Andrew Symonds” or “why should boys of Kerala need six-pack?”, and another one “you can think before making decision about my love and tell me that you do love me”. Despite the popular thoughts about this being a powerful love story, I would say that this movie is never serious – it is incredibly light and always on the humorous side; even when it tries to get serious, there is that feeling of “all’s well that ends well”, and as there is no real dark shade to the movie, this is a perfect love story which is nothing less than a fairy tale, and if we think that way, the movie is the perfection of exaggerated love, rightly presented on screen, and therefore flawless in its core.

Claws of flaw :: Despite having the best songs of the year and the great cinematography and direction, the movie is nowhere near perfection in a natural world. It clearly lacks logic and fails to make sense on multiple occasions, a flaw which can be forgiven just because of the reason for its existence. It follows the old style tradition of a boy from one religion marrying a girl of another faith, and to add to it, here one is poor and the other is rich, another stereotype explored. The boy feels the usual love at first sight for the girl and starts dreaming about her as if his life depended on her. He forgets his duties and even his parents and becomes the stupid guy, while the girl remains just the opposite, not breaking traditions or disrespecting her parents or relatives. The exchange letters through a messenger, sings songs in dreamy sequences, and hopes for being together. In that case, the movie has nothing new or innovative in its base. it is not intense, and it has no real villain except for one man who just objects to the marriage.

Thattathin Marayathu and love :: The world of the movie is strange, as the hero sells helmets after making police catch people for not wearing a helmet, and with the cash he earns, he begins a pardah shop – and that is an act of love. This movie’s definition of love is being infatuated by a random girl at a random place just because she is good-looking. Is this love or some strange feeling which has been created a girl in veil, and without that what would be she to him? Well, who cares about what should have got all the attention, as she might have been a horrible creature in soul, but the only thing that matters in this love is that she is beautiful and has a fair complexion. Thattathin Marayathu is never a story of true love, and most of the people might agree, but it is unrealistic love of exaggerated love, presented in a beautiful manner. Well, the real life can never be this simple as a whole, and it is also not this complicated in many other things that they show. Well, as long as the new bottle where you put the old wine is pretty good, how can one complain? The leaks are there, but there are provisions to make sure that the wine don’t get lost on the ground.

How it finishes :: In this visually awesome movie, another thing that catches our attention is the performance of Aju Varghese as he has done a perfect comic supporting stand there. Manoj K. Jayan and Bhagath Manuel are also nice support. Nivin Pauly comes up with a side which wasn’t there to be expected from him, and establishes himself as the romantic hero of this age. But as far as Isha Talwar is concerned, her character is a real disappointment, not talking much or doing much even as she has the most righteous character in the whole movie. The result is that he has created more of a statue image, which affected her in the movie I Love Me. She will always be remembered as a beautiful sculpture rather than a character, and the fact that she was perfect for the role doesn’t come as a positive. The movie has successfully presented its world with the support of most of its cast, and as the image it shows is of innocence and goodness even as it is covered is stupid love of exaggerated nature. It is a magnet, and it will attract viewers even after being shown on television multiple times unlike dark creatures of pathetic romance like Annayum Rasoolum.

Release date: 6th July 2012
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Isha Talwar, Aju Varghese, Bhagath Manuel, Aparna Nair, Manoj K. Jayan, Sreenivasan, Sunny Wayne, Niveda Thomas, Ahmed Sidhique, Manikuttan, Sreeram Ramachandran

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Journey 2

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What is Journey 2: The Mysterious Island? :: It is a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth which had Brendan Fraser in the lead with the comparatively less known Anita Briem along with Josh Hutcherson. It was based on the nineteenth-century novel of the same name by Jules Verne and had great special effects and CGI which could have been great in 3D or may be 4D. I couldn’t watch that one in 3D, but did manage to watch its sequel in its full power, and managed to watch it so many more times on television, thanks to Star Movies, or was it HBO? This sequel is based on another Jules Verne novel, this time The Mysterious Island. Well, who better than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to replace Brendan Fraser? Both are my favourite actors indeed, and that makes this a special series for me, and I have to say that I liked the sequel better than the original, just by a slight margin. Michael Caine and Vanessa Hudgens are two great additions to the franchise.

The Setting :: The movie is loosely based on the novel, which I had read in its abridged form long ago. This version of the original classic has a grown-up Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson), years after the incident which involved his journey to the centre of the Earth with his uncle Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser). Just like Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne is the guide in the first movie, Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island is the guide this time. The journey continues to be personal, and through the new world, they will find new relationships and also strengthens what all were weak and struggling. There is a lot of potential for using the best CGI and all the special effects, and with the movie being released in 3D, there is a lot in store for the viewers here, even as the chance to watch it on the big screen has disappeared. It should still look pretty nice with a good cable connection and an LED television.

What is it about? :: Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) is back in action, as he tries to find his lost grandfather Alexander Anderson (Michael Caine) this time. With the help of his stepfather Hank Parsons (Dwayne Johnson), he deciphers the code which is supposed to have been sent by the grandfather even as he doesn’t get along with Hank much to the dismay of his mother Elizabeth (Kristin Davis). The stepfather and the son travel together to Palau according to the codes. There they assigns a helicopter guide Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) who agrees to take them to the dangerous island for three thousand United States dollars. The helicopter is caught in a storm and they crash into the island. There they encounter strange animals until coming up against a giant lizard, from which the grandfather saves them. Now the question remains if they can get out of the island which is going to sink in two days. In the process, they will have to get the aid or avoid a good number of creatures.

The defence of Journey 2 :: The movie’s best advantage is its graphics, as it has created an outstanding 3D world which clearly makes a point that it is indeed a mysterious island, and not of this world, nor connected to any logical or scientific factors of modernity. It is indeed funnier, and has more beautiful world compared to the original. It is an adventure which is friendly enough for all ages, and therefore clearly suitable for family viewing. The movie’s theme of family is mostly worked out well too, with the father-son, father-daughter bonding often working quite well in the background. There are a few impressive dialogues which they drop in here and there. There is a very well created chase scene involving giant bees and huge birds, as well as nice sequences involving the sinking of an island and a submarine which all look beautiful in 3D. It can boast of a strong 3D adventure inside it, supported by a literary work which brings in nostalgia to the mind.

The claws of flaw :: The movies similarities to the original novel as well as its connection to its predecessor are limited. There is your typical lack of logic, but it is covered by the background book as well as the brilliant special effects in 3D which takes you to another world. There is no contribution from a horror side, but simple, non-threatening world, and that often adds to the better impression it creates for families. It might also have a little bit of emptiness in it considering such a marvelous world it created and how it has brought up so much less and ended in just one and half hours. We watched it on the same day as Agneepath, which meant that this felt much shorter, especially considering how much of a pathetic and long movie the Hritik Roshan starrer Bollywood movie was – it was the worst movie of 2012 indeed, and thanks to The Rock and his team that the day was saved and I didn’t watch many Hindi movies after that in the year.

Performers of the Soul :: Josh Hutcherson has his moments, especially with Vanessa Hudgens, but The Rock steals the show, just like he does in any wrestling ring. I would be surprised if there is a good number of people who won’t watch the movie just for the man. Yes, you have to love him – he sings “What a Wonderful World” and also teaches his stepson something on how to get the attention of the lady; the man scores with the funny moments really well, even as the muscles come to donate a lot to the score quite often. When Dwayne Johnson is not scoring, it is Michael Caine who takes the lead only to lose it to the magnificent screen presence of the former WWE champion, one of the most popular Wrestling superstars ever. Vanessa Hudgens is there for the looks, and her cute and charming presence catches your attention if not the beauty and the clothing. She never looked better – no not even in Springbreakers; that was too much of a gorgeous side. Kristin Davis has very little to do, that too in the real world, while Luis Guzman is quite funny throughout.

How it finishes :: The movie works mainly due to Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine, and no surprises there. The movie is a fine mix of everything good and nothing unworthy of the family audience. It is not a classic movie which can justify the book on which it is based, but an entity which is of visual splendor, unlimited fun and awesome actors. There is absolutely no human character in the movie that you won’t like, and there is no real villain even in the form a creature of the mysterious island. It has taken out everything bad or evil from its core, and has filled it with more and more good and sweet things. Jules Verne won’t complaint about this though, neither will the authors of Treasure Island and Gulliver’s Travels – this indeed saves the world from the less interesting adaptation of the latter which was released in 2010. You can catch this one very often in the English movie channels; its quite a frequent visitor to the television, and if you have missed this one, you haven’t really been checking the channels enough.

Release date: 10th February 2012
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Caine, Luis Guzman, Kristin Davis

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Dark Shadows

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✠ The rating given to this movie might shock a few mortals, but as this blog written from the Vampire Bat’s perspective, he has decided to take control to fulfill his partially broken promise to that Count who lived as a recluse inside a coffin in a castle. Yes, the Vampire Bat doesn’t broke promises, or rather doesn’t break anything other than may be, his own teeth – blame the root canal offers from local dentists in that case. To add to it, the Vampire Bat shall write this review on a Wednesday, as he was born on such a day. He is mentally depressed after writing a test, and after asserting what he had found out that each and every other person of his world wants the questions from the syllabus while he wants the same from outside. May be he never belonged to the world of humans, and should rather fly away one day. But the depressing side is that he can’t fly – so he will write a bloody review about one of his favourite vampire movies, and undoubtedly his favourite blood sucking movie of 2012. Yes, this is that movie.

Count Dracula: Here you are again. I think that your review of Dark Shadows has been pending for long. Do you have it with you? Its time Barnabas Collins gets his due. He is one of those few vampires who could see McDonalds and feel the presence of Mephistopheles. He is our saviour against Twilight and Mortal Instruments creatures of pseudo-darkness.

Vampire Bat: I can see that you feel the need for some good vampires like Barnabas Collins and Victoria Winters. I love that scene when he sees M for McDonalds: Over 1 billion served. He was accidently quite right about the fast food and the beverages being the demons who suck the soul out of our insides, leaving us nothing of much use. Twilight and Mortal Instruments are the result of the same fast food, as they mess up our brain rather than the stomach.

Count Dracula: So what do you think about this vampire and his family? I did feel the presence of other wonderful forces of the supernatural right from outside the theatre where it was showing – I was wandering around in the mist until I crashed on the wall of that place, it was not good for my fangs, but still felt good for the presence.

Vampire Bat: Barnabas returns 196 years later, after feeling the wrath of unrequited love from a witch, Angelique Bouchard who cursed him into a bloodsucker, killed his parents and also forced his true love to commit suicide. She is a witch who curses his family and gets him buried alive in the middle of a forest, takes over his family business and puts his descendents into ruin. The worst thing is that the witch is still alive, using her magic to identify herself as her own descendants. This love has always been so overrated, right?

Count Dracula: Yes, even with me it is the same. I already feel a lot of love for Angelique Bouchard. Eva Green is that good, and I still can’t forget The Dreamers. I can remember my first infatuation with a witch already. Why would he not return the love baffles me. Whom does he have instead?

Vampire Bat: There is Bella Heathcote taking rebirth, from Josette du Pres to Victoria Winters. She appears as if an enchanting fairy vampire, not as some random Bella. But the two characters you will surely love are Michelle Pfeiffer’s Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Chloë Grace Moretz’s Carolyn who asks “are you stoned or something” to which the recently risen Barnabas says “they tried stoning me dear, it did not work”. To add to it, he calls a lava lamp “pulsating blood urn”, and the crane as “a giant dragon with millions of teeth and a thousand shining eyes” – you have to love him. His seriousness is awesome!

Count Dracula: I have felt that myself, rising from the grave and seeing the world different. I know you feel the change each and every day. The world is indeed to fast, and I am sure that most of us hope that each and every day we go to sleep, we never wake up again. I wish for the sunlight to disappear, and you hope for the day to end, and there is not much different in how we see the world, and we are as outdated as Barnabas Collins; it is just that we have no lover witch.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have always thought that, and Dark Shadows makes sure about the same. Moretz is wonderful in the movie, and the way she says “I’m a werewolf, okay? Don’t make such a big deal over it” to her mother, and always special mention needs to be for Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Meanwhile, if you don’t like Bella Heathcote in this movie, you have to be blind – not that closing of eyes you do with sunlight, but the real blindness of the physical world.

Count Dracula: You make the point there. I have read about the many faces of Johnny Depp too, and I shall not doubt him at any moment. This face is my favourite indeed, and then comes that Jack Sparrow followed by the crow-carrying head in The Lone Ranger. Then comes Sweeney Todd and The Hatter – who won’t love Alice in Wonderland by the way, and they were two special characters. I am not going to count the faces of such a versatile actor, as that won’t even please my coffin. Instead tell me more about Eva Green.

Vampire Bat: Her character has angel in her name and some strange love which keeps her in the attitude that “If I can’t have you, my love, I’ll destroy you!” – not that much of hatred as she keeps him alive; should be too much admiration. She tries everything she can, but true love finally wins – not really a surprise, isn’t it? Eva Green is fantastic in the movie, as she is beautiful, charming and perfect as the pretty witch. The cast itself is the real strength of the movie. With such awesome names involved with it, who would not wish to watch this movie? The comedy is also well done.

Count Dracula: That sounds like interesting stuff. A vampire movie with all of these? That should cure me from the death strike which fell on me with Twilight and Mortal Instruments. I shall have a new life of blood. You should have reviewed this one much earlier – remember how long ago I had told you to do the same?

Vampire Bat: Despite the good box-office returns, the ratings haven’t been good with it. I would think that it is the result of an anti-vampire sentiment and possible cruelty which has been unleashed on vampire movies due to terror which was Twilight and all the sequels that followed tried desperately to destroy man’s faith in vampires. No wonder Byzantium didn’t release at this part of the world. There is only one chance for us to reclaim that lost faith, or rather two – release a movie from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, or create the much needed sequel to this movie which has left a good chance for another story by the end of it.

Count Dracula: It is much needed, that is for sure! These undead creatures are bothering me too much just because they had to watch Twilight. Even the wolves no longer listen to me – they think I am going to wear their skin as clothing and call myself a werewolf. See how these movies are badly affecting my children of the night. We need that, or I might have to turn my whole castle into a one big coffin.

Vampire Bat: There is less hope for both of them. The problem about having a Vampire Chronicles movie is that nothing can live up-to the awesomeness of Interview with the Vampire. The scope of a Dark Shadows sequel is less, due to the lack of need and the not that positive critical reception. One day, we will take over as official undead reviewers with bad teeth, and then we can change the whole thing.

Count Dracula: Then we shall stick with this Barnabas as the vampire hero of this century so far. The last century’s control was disputed, but for this one, it has become pretty clear, the only challenge being from Selene and the next closest was indeed Rayne, but they were rather the heroines who enchanted us. I shall pray for the rise of more vampire in movies and literature which are as good as Barnabas.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is worth your time for sure, especially as you have not much to do, and all the souls are going to love it. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you, especially the dark shadows if you got what I meant.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie mostly due to the great performance of Johnny Depp in his new avatar, and then due to the good work put into it by Eva Green with great support from the rest, especially Bella Heathcote, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Here, we have that true vampire comedy movie which adds almost every ingredient correctly, thus making this a great choice, and the reason why you need to go back in time and check the theatres.

✠ I don’t know about that television show or soap opera on which this movie is based, and that might not be necessary, but if you love vampire flicks and bloodsuckers in literature, you will like Dark Shadows which keep the worlds of Twilight and Mortal Instruments away. Even if you don’t care much about the same, the comic side of the movie will keep you interested. Still, there is so much seriousness underneath striving for true love, which makes this a wonderfully layered movie. I am pretty sure that whatever you like and wherever you are from, most of you will at least like this one as an average movie, and there are not many places where you can have this much vampire fun along with looking at such a great cast. Behold the beauty of the shadows of this movie, and you might end up loving it along with Bella Heathcote. This one won’t even make Count Dracula think twice, and in that case, long live Barnabas Collins, who has survived a witch’s love and watched his own dark shadows in a coffin for such a long time.

Release date: 11th May 2012
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Bella Heathcote, Eva Green, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller

darkshadows copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

5 Sundarikal

5 sundarikal1

5 Sundarikal which can be translated as 5 Beauties, is that romantic anthology film which might have had its existence to thank the 2009 anthology movie Kerala Cafe. There were ten stories in that one and here it is cut to half with five, and only Anwar Rasheed doing a story in both the anthologies. The Vampire Bat would not agree to the title though, as it would be left to him to say which one is the beauty and which one is the beast. The only suitable title would have been 5 Females, and fighting with three other movies which has interested the crowds, even the name of a movie has to add to the total interest generated. Even in my case, this is the first time I get a Malayalam movie with a Malayalam name to review, and the “5” is to be read as Malayalam “anchu” and not “five” as far as I know. Watching stupidity like Raanjhanaa is clearly out of the equation and this movie having five stories instead of one increases the probability of getting at least two good ones; so there is no doubt which Indian movie one is supposed to go this week. There is the power of five compared to the power of six in ASK a.k.a Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha, and the obsession with beauties continue, this time with more success, and one beauty judged less is always the truth gained further. Whether it should be “sundarikal” or “sundarimaar” is a question to be asked to satisfy the quest to find grammatical errors, and I would go with the former.

Sethulakshmi: directed by Shyju Khalid :: [59/100] :: No, there isn’t going to be a total score based on the average of these stories, as that should annihilate the purpose of this movie as an anthology as well as this review as a subjective reality. There would be separate worlds for each story and for the movie, there would be another reality of totality, to which this simple story adds on first coming as an adaptation of M. Mukundan’s short story, Photo. The story of two school kids is shown in its own natural innocence until their world-changing event happens. The simplicity turns itself into the tough theme which the story has to deal with, and that is the place and may be where it scores. There is the depth of evil portrayed in a way that will haunt one with innocence. But the question remains if this belongs to this movie, as the presence of a beauty or even pseudo-beauty here itself negates the need for this story in the movie and all the purpose it would have served, and however one tries to look at this, a more deserving platform for this one would have been Kerala Cafe, and might have been the second best story in that movie after Anjali Menon’s Happy Journey. It is kind of misplaced here, and this might have been added here to arouse the curiosity of the viewers as well as to create that new generation element – otherwise this among the other stories is like Roger Federer guarding the goal post for the Spanish national football team.

Isha: directed by Sameer Thahir :: [79/100] :: Along with the former one, this story also has the scope of becoming a one and half to two hours of good cinema. It stars Nivin Pauly as the thief a.k.a the Santa, and Isha Sharvani who makes her debut as the beauty of this segment, and undoubtedly the smartest and the most charming of them all. They start off as two strangers and with many things in common, and the question would be what they end up to be, and that is the surprise, that twist of plot which raises the story from its existence just inches about the average level. Nivin Pauly has remained similar to what we saw in Thattathin Marayathu, as this time he has another Isha, Isha Sharvani instead of Isha Talwar, another lady from the North, and this female lead does a lot more than the other one did. This story and what is to follow are the only two segments which are actually centered on the beauties, and this is the only segment in which the beauty is in control and remains so throughout most of the story. One has to say that this one has the best of the lighter moments too, and the claps which came after this segment are well deserved. The whole story is centered on the two leading characters, and there we see the most beautiful lady and the one romantic hero; they make this work like nobody else could have.

Gouri: directed by Aashiq Abu :: [10/100] :: This is the weak link in the whole movie, and without this, the movie could have been declared the best anthology in Malayalam movie industry ever. This is Aashiq Abu’s worst so far, and from what we have seen of him already, it might remain his worst. Biju Menon is there as the husband with nothing to do that really matters to the story. Tini Tom and Rimi Tomy makes an unnecessary visit, as Kavya Madhavan who plays the wife expresses her need to have a kid. Kavya is there as if she is to be that strange character who is more unsure about herself and the world around her than Popeye without his spinach. Jayasurya also makes a small appearance thus making this one the most powerful segment in terms of celebrity power, but in performance, it is a dynamite of the next generation which failed to blow. This is a painfuel half an hour of torture, which could have been avoided or may be replaced. It is surprising that it came from the same director who gave us Da Thadiya in the same year. This might even make Estragon and Vladimir say that there is something to be done – sorry, Samuel Beckett. Kammath and Kammath and Lokpaal were not that bad now, as you go through this one. This story in the middle shows us the middle finger, but fortunately it was preceded and followed by brilliant segments.

Kullante Bharya: directed by Amal Neerad :: [84/100] :: This is the moment which strikes you hard. Amal Neerad has come up with a story which is narrated by Dulquer Salmaan who sees everything from the top floor of a group of apartments. The awesome presentation and the story’s ability to relate with the contemporary society of Kerala, and may be even India as a whole, has helped this one to get the most claps in the theatre, and remain the highlight of this five star experiment. Dulquer Salmaan has eased through this segment, and even as a person moving on wheelchair, there is so much of impact with every word he says. Reenu Mathews leaves an imprint without even a word said. The newcomer Jinu Ben brings tears to the audience with no direct revelation. The story also works as a satire on the self-proclaimed righteous, highly moral society which considers itself as the role-model, and has a lot of prejudice against the people whom they are not familiar with, and those who think or act different. If there has been so much interest in this story which has only one actor who has performed in a leading role in more than one movie, it shows how much impact this one has created, and how much it could relate with its audience.

Aami: by Anwar Rasheed :: [61/100] :: This might be the most awaited story of the movie, with a businessman, Ajmal (Fahadh Faasil), who travels from Malappuram to Kochi and vice versa. His too much affectionate wife who is known only by her nickname (Asmitha Sood) keeps asking tricky questions to him and leaves him puzzles to solve – a strange abnormal habit, to which anybody would agree. The night journey then transforms into something that changes his life. The presence of Honey Rose and Vinayakan just adds to powerful cast of this segment which is already the talking point due to Fahadh Faasil’s presence and his new looks. It is him who excells in this story, and everything else is a little let down. With meaningless puzzles and strange happenings, this is not something which the viewers can relate with, but thanks to the leading actor and some interesting dialogues, this one lets the movie with its head held high, not annihilating the world which was created by the second and the fourth segments. As Fahadh Faasil fights extreme anger, greed for money, violence and his own old relationships and gets back to his beloved, the whole thing ends happily. This is surely better than the highly predictable Bridge segment in Kerala Cafe by the same director.

The movie is that roller coaster ride of Final Destination 3, in which death tries to pull the movie down, as some of the stories lose charm, and suddenly a story comes up which changes the things around. It is the advantage of having five different stories directed by five different people, and this is well done, and it would live on as long as this theme doesn’t come up with a overdose, either with the stories or with the concept of pseudo-beauty. To be frank, there is nothing in this which binds this collection together, as same was the case with Kerala Cafe, and it doesn’t give that much of anything that Cloud Atlas gave its viewers. This movie uses the concept of enchanting viewers with its title and the trailer, and tries to undo the failure of Poppins which had its own wrecked set of anthologies in which only the story of Kunchako Boban and Nithya Menon made any impact, with Indrajith-Padmapriya and Jayasurya-Meghna stories staying there not without troubles. Still, the question remains, who is the beauty? If they were all eligible for the same title, won’t they be good enough for that word which comes as just the opposite? Why would we be forced to believe with that willing suspension of disbelief that they are all beautiful? Will Isha Sharvani and Kavya Madhavan look like beauties to two people who have different concepts of beauty? Even myself is clearly sceptical about the latter; but leave that for the intellectuals, and concentrate on the medium for now.

Release date: 20th June 2013
Running time: 145 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Amal Neerad, Anwar Rasheed, Sameer Thahir, Shyju Khaled, Aashiq Abu
Starring: Isha Sharvani, Asmitha Sood, Reenu Mathews, Honey Rose, Kavya Madhavan, Baby Anika, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan, Biju Menon, Fahadh Faasil, Jayasurya, Master Chethan, Tini Tom, Rimi Tomy, Jinu Ben, Vinayakan

5sundarikal copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.