Cadaver

Vampire Owl: I have got some doubt if they are talking about us.

Vampire Bat: This is surely not about the undead. You can have my assurance.

Vampire Owl: Well, dead people have no rights in the human world. So, we cannot be sure.

Vampire Bat: Such doubts that you have are usually wrong.

Vampire Owl: This is just our second Norwegian film to be watched.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the last one, Lake of Death was a good one, right?

Vampire Owl: There is something sinister about these movies. I can feel it.

Vampire Bat: You can reserve your feelings for later, after watching the film.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but I am a vampire of extreme doubt, you know that.

Vampire Bat: Yet, you remain the leader of a large vampire battalion.

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

What is the movie about? :: One of the big Norwegian cities was hit by a nuclear disaster, and people struggling to survive with devastation all around. There is no hope for future in this post-apocalyptic situation – food is very difficult to find, and there is also no electricity. Dead bodies could be seen in different parts of the city with devastated buildings, and the climate seems to be very rough, as news about nuclear disasters, conflicts and possible world wars are everywhere. Leonora (Gitte Witt) and Jacob (Thomas Gullestad) live in this particular city with their little child, Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman). The child has regular nightmares, as they live alone in what seems to be an abandoned apartment. They understand that they cannot just hang in there with nothing left other than each other. It is then that they find out that there is a theatre play happening nearby, with a free meal. They understand that it is their chance to have some food for the family, and decides to go there at night, even though they do have some initial doubts about the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Leonara hopes that these are the signs of things getting better, and her optimism leads them to the thaetre building – she feels that even if the meals are not enough, they could still have some fun, which the child desperately needs. Even though Alice is first refused entry, the hotel director, Mathias (Thorbjorn Harr), personally gets there and allows the child inside. The building seems to the one last thing standing tall in between all the destruction around. They are all happy to see what is like a new world for them, with a lot of food and it is more like a festival. Everyone seems starved, and they all eats as much as they want. There are other people who are also there for the first time. Mathias tells the guests that the play will be performed by using the whole hotel without curtain, seats and intermission. Everything during the night would be part of the show, with spectators given masks to wear, and the actors would be without the masks, as they move around.

And things can get only stranger in this world of chaos :: The performance starts all of a sudden, without a warning. The guests have the option to attend any performance at any part of the huge building with so many rooms and floors. Everyone keeps looking for things that would catch their interest, and there are so many different spaces without masked people. As everyone keeps walking around, soon Leonara and Jacon understand that Alice is not with them anymore. They remember seeing her just before, but now she seems lost. They keep searching for them, while others also seems to have lost people who were with them. Soon, it seems that there are no more spectactors, and all of them seems to have disappeared without trace. The show still seems to continue in the same manner, but without people. There are some strange trapdoors and creepy rooms around, while things only get more sinister as they keep moving on. It seems that we have more than what meets the eye with this particular building and the show – how dangerous is it?

The defence of Cadaver :: There seems to be so many mysteries hidden in this particular world, and after the initial introduction to the world of chaos hit by an apocalyptic world, we have a terrifying post-apocalyptic world outside, and we are then introduced into something even more frightening inside a building, that is two levels of horror unleashed without warning. The world inside is creepier than one can imagine. The structure, with its creepy corridors, rooms, paintings, darkness – this old-style building is something which will stay in our minds for a very long time. The terror that the movie brings feels much realistic than it is supposed to be, because it is more or less a reflection of humanity and the inherent evil that has led it for a long time throughout history. People have always been evil, as William Golding had shown in Lord of the Flies, a long time ago – it is the same reflection that we see here. As we look at where humanity has reached as of now, what happens in this film is only a little distant probability, for modernity has taken a part of everyone’s soul, as people go for riches above everything else.

Positives and negatives :: The film could have made itself a bigger blood and gore fest with terrifying secrets being brought to light on after the other, but it gains some remarkable ground in its current form. There were more opportunities in between, with all those strange acts being possible with this premise – the film could have used it for the better. The conclusion is pretty good, there are some moments in between that seems to stretch the movie rather than doing anything else. There is also a little bit of predictability, but we can go past that quick enough. Yet, when you are transported into this particular world, you are more or less in a mystery which seems to get thicker and thicker as time passes. When you have a horror thriller set inside a strange building which is part of a post-apocalyptic world, what can be there other than consistent scope of danger? Well, that much has been achieved really well with this particular movie which thrives on its atmosphere again and again. The idea of survival of the fittest, when applied here works remarkably well. The performances are pretty good, but that is not the focus here.

How it finishes :: This Norwegian film seems to rise above the usual horror flicks, as it rises above the genre which has depleted some of its strengths due to modernity and the lack of belief in traditions. The way in which Cadaver uses its scares should come as inspiration to Hollywood too, as one cannot always depend on The Conjuring, Insidious, Annabelle, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe among others to do the thing, and even come up with more and more sequels, for originality matters. Cadaver is innovative enough to create something special out of an already terrifying premise, and the ability to display some extra skills to keep the audience engaged makes sure that this is one of the most effective horror flicks of these times. The atmosphere, setting, situations – all seems to come together so well. If you haven’t watched this one, you are missing the opportunity to watch a well-made horror movie making unexpected impact. This is indeed a film to stay with you even after the whole thing ends – as effective as you can expect from such a world of mystery.

Release date: 22nd October 2020
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Jarand Herdal
Starring: Gitte Witt, Thomas Gullestad, Thorbjorn Harr, Tuva Olivia, Kingsford Siayor, Maria Grazia Di Meo, Jonatan Rodriguez, Trine Wiggen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Manor

Vampire Owl: Are we talking about the Dracula Manor?

Vampire Bat: There is no such a manor. We only have the castle.

Vampire Owl: Well, this could be a manor which looks like a castle.

Vampire Bat: Well, Uncle Dracula certainly has some specific ideas about what a great vampire abode should be.

Vampire Owl: His ideas are as outdated as the castle dungeon coating.

Vampire Bat: We are not supposed to talk like that about the vampire elders.

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula is still a few centuries away from being a true elder.

Vampire Bat: The elder status is not always gained by age.

Vampire Owl: Yet, all our vampire elders are older than history.

Vampire Bat: Well, you will see how Uncle Dracula is an exception.

[Gets a pineapple cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Judith Albright (Barbara Hershey) had considered herself to be of perfect health, and enjoyed her life with family including little kids, until she suddenly faces a stroke. She decides to move into a famous nursing home, even though her family feels that it is totally unnecessary. Her grandchildren considers her to be young and healthy as anyone of a lower age, but she is adamant. In comparison to her, the other residents of the nursing home are not really that healthy, both physically and mentally. For the peace and quiet of the place, the authorities actually keep a no mobile phone policy, much to her dismay, as she hoped to text her relatives and find some interesting photos and news from the social media. Judith had chosen to stay at this place, as she didn’t want to be a problem for her family, especially if she gets bed-ridden at some point, and has the feeling that things might not be the same again after the stroke.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, she feels that there is something really strange about the manor and the people around there, even though she does make some good friends out there. The nights no longer allow her to sleep, as something is seen or heard all around. The surroundings around this particular nursing home is also pretty much spooky, as we look on. Her room-mate makes some strange noises, and doesn’t seem to be of good mental health. She also feels that there is a supernatural presence there, with nurses also acting strange, and wants to escape. But the problem is that it was her own decision to choose the nursing home – now she needs to act against it. For the same, she would have a lot of convincing to do though, as everything looks perfect from outside. There is a mystery to be revealed here, about what is it that haunts this particular world, but can it be known?

The defence of The Manor :: There are some fine moments of terror which comes out of nowhere, even though there are not many, and nothing much that we would remember for that long. The setting is really good, and they do use the environment to the best advantage, from the building to the surroundings. There is always something about the world around, whether having an enchanted feeling, or about being ready to unleash the terror at any moment. We also have fine concept behind this film, even though not at its full strength when executed. As expected, there is indeed the twist that awaits us, and there is a certain amount of deviation regarding that too. With Barbara Hershey in the lead, this was going to create a certain amount of impact, and one could be confident that the same was going to increase the positive effect.

The claws of flaw :: The Manor could have done a lot more, and we know that from the premise itself. The film is also very slow, and slower than any horror film would have wanted to move forward. When a horror film cannot go at a good enough pace, it affects the whole thing rather too much. Such a film is also expected to use what is required to keep itself in the genre. The idea here should have been executed better, and there could have been many paths to follow. The scares that it uses could have been manufactured in a better way. It also doesn’t try to build on a possible message which was standing so close out there. The structure could have been better as we look at it. As part of a bigger series, Welcome to the Blumhouse, this one had the chance to stand out, but really doesn’t try to do that. Well, it is our right to expect more here.

Performers of the soul :: Barbara Hershey plays the main role here, and she is also the old lady in distress around. She is the name that has been familiar the most for the supernatural horror film, The Entity more than anything else. It is also one film of those times which has had its presence well known. After so many years, she is part of another horror flick, and she blends in here really well once again. Bruce Davison is the next notable face here, as he has a bigger role to play here than what it seems in the early stages. Then there are actresses like Ciera Payton, Stacey Travis and Jill Larson who also contribute to the film naturally. Nicholas Alexander plays another significant role here, which becomes even more important in the later stages of the movie. Katie Amanda Keane and Shelley Robertson also drops in, along with Fran Bennett. As this is a nursing home, there are enough in-mates here to add to the characters, even though not all of them are used to the best advantage.

How it finishes :: The Manor is the latest addition to the thrillers added to Amazon Prime Video, and last month we did have The Voyeurs doing the job. It doesn’t use enough of horror to its advantage, unlike what was expected, and if it had done that too, The Manor could have had its own good fan base with its premise. In the world of films like The Conjuring, Insidious, Annabelle, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe among others, this is no grand horror fest, but a small one to be part of the group. The focus here is more on the mystery, and as we go through the environment, we are going to be part of this journey, at a lower pace. In a world slowed down by COVID-19 pandemic, there is always scope for some slow horror too. During these days when you cannot trust the people or the virus enough, all you need is some supernatural horror.

Release date: 8th October 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 81 minutes
Directed by: Axelle Carolyn
Starring: Barbara Hershey, Stacey Travis, Bruce Davison, Ciera Payton, Jill Larson, Mark Steger

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sunny

What is the movie about? :: Sunny Varkey (Jayasurya) has finally returned home from Dubai after a long time with his Logistics business failing, and these are the troubling times of COVID-19 pandemic. He used to want to become a successful musician, but left that idea much earlier. He gets a quarantine spot in Grand Hyatt Residency in Bolgatty Island, Cochin, and gets to be all alone there. SI Sadashivan Nair (Vijayaraghavan) is the police officer who is in charge of looking out for the people in quarantine there, and he keeps an eye on Sunny. He feels lonely, and is uneasy because he is not able to get any more alcohol, with the hotel changing its policies as people were creating nuisance after being drunk. Dr Erali (Innocent) tries to help him with his withdrawal symptoms and a stage of depression. Adithi (Shritha Sivadas) is in quarantine in the room above him, and they also have regular talks.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Nimmi (Shritha Sivadas) had divorced Sunny because he had an affair which he had confessed, much to her dismay. Sunny is as much disappointed about this, as he has been with his financial affairs. She is also pregnant, and it was for the second time, after their child had died a few hours after birth. He has to pay back a lot of money, as a result of his best friend making him an investment which he now regrets. Nimmi no longer wants to do anything with him anymore, and neither does his former lover Dr Anuradha (Mamta Mohandas). It also seems that some of the passengers in his flight were COVID-19 positive, and there is a chance that he might also be in trouble. But he moves on with his lonely life, which doesn’t seem to have much left for him. Yet, it is still to found if there is something more than what meets the eye. With COVID-19 around, you never know.

The defence of Sunny :: Sunny is quite a small movie when we consider its limited setting within a room. Among the classical unities of Aristotle, unity of place and action are maintained, and with a shorter quarantine, all of them could have been there. The setting is really nice, and it is good to see this particular world where parts of one’s life is revealed. There is a whole grand episode of life which is revealed here through small moments. The past, present and future gets intertwined in these incidents which occur in the grand quarantine centre. There is the usual life being reflected here, and the protagonist is very much human, trying to survive in a world which has descended into chaos for him. It shows the life of a depressed man in quarantine really well, and never does it lags behind in doing the same. These are indeed good times for emotional films, as we know what the COVID-19 affected world has come to. Amazon Prime Video has the right films for the same too.

The claws of flaw :: Sunny doesn’t live much beyond the scope here, and it is indeed predictable. A lot of things that we see here, follow the expected routine, with not many surprises to come around. The movie also maintains its slow pace throughout its run, and it is also something which doesn’t come as a surprise when we look at this particular world. It should have had more, even with life being restricted to a room – there is a lot more to be shown with the scenery and the world around, as well as what is inside. It could have also had more events for the main character, as being in quarantine in such a grand space always has more to be added – it is not like being locked in a small room. There could have been more from other characters, even with their faces not shown, as some of them are not really there, exploring their best possibilities. We wished for the sun to shine brighter with Sunny, even though we are okay with what we have around here.

Performers of the soul :: Sunny is a fully Jayasurya movie, as one would expect it to be, from the trailer, and also with the talks regarding the same. There are only a few others who have faces at least inside their masks, or have part of their faces revealed in one way or the other. This is also Jayasurya’s 100th film, and might be his best film to come to Amazon Prime Video. He has come up with a fantastic performance, as a man who doesn’t have any hope in life, and as the only one character which truly performs on the screen, has the whole canvas to himself – we can do nothing more than just applaud the same. We see different phases of his life in the quarantine room itself, and this is a character that shows a certain amount of evolution, which he reflects really well. There is not that much of a challenge provided here for him, but there is indeed something.

Further performers of the soul :: The other characters are introduced through their voices, as they call the main character or sometimes the other way around. There is something to be revealed from each character whom we identify through their voices. Some of the characters have part of their faces being shown, and the voices are those which we identify with ease, especially that of Innocent, Aju Varghese and Vijayaraghavan. They are all part of the tale, even though we don’t see them. All these phone calls play significant roles to keep the film going forward. It is nice to see people like Shritha Sivadas whom we have loved for her early works, and had gone missing for some time. Mamta Mohandas’ voice is heard for much shorter time than we would have expected.

How it finishes :: Sunny nicely sets itself during the COVID-19 and quarantine times, and has the same feeling running through it. There is the loneliness of a quarantine that runs through it, and as we know that we are going to live with COVID-19 with more and more waves supposed to come at some point, this one is closer to reality than one might think. As a movie which has only one face completely shown, and with one person having the chance to come up with all the performance. This is basically the one man film that we don’t usually see around, and it is one risk which has been taken on with success. Amazon Prime has already provided some fine experiences during the Corona virus times, and this one goes the divergent way with ease. There is always more about smaller films like these than what meets the eye, and this one is also that drama which goes feel-good and does that with effectiveness.

Release date: 23rd September 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Mamta Mohandas, Vijayaraghavan, Innocent, Vijay Babu, Shritha Sivadas, Aju Varghese, Sivada Nair, Purnima Krishnan, Binoy KG

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Atlantics

Vampire Owl: Have you tried flying over the Atlantic Ocean?

Vampire Bat: Why would we do that when we have so many portals?

Vampire Owl: Do all these portals serve as gateways now?

Vampire Bat: Not everyone. But the rest are also being repaired by Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: I don’t know why you keep calling that inefficient person for repairs.

Vampire Bat: Well, you don’t get many undead doctors with multiple skills.

Vampire Owl: But most of his qualifications are fake, and I am sure about that.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that all of these will be important related to this movie.

Vampire Owl: There seems to be something strange about this film though.

Vampire Bat: It is not set in France or even Europe, and that does make a difference.

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

What is the movie about? :: In a popular suburb of Dakar, the capital and largest city of the African nation of Senegal, people are forced to work on the construction site of a futuristic tower, without payment even after long hours of continuous toil. The high-rising ultra-modern tower is exactly the opposite of the rest of the city which is seen around there. The tower keep getting taller, but there is no hope for the people working there, as they go on for days without getting paid the proposed wages. As there is no hope for people like them, the only option remains running away from there and finding a job elsewhere, maybe in another nation. Adding to that, the climate change has led to a consistent decline in rainfall and a certain increase in temperature. The climate change and further environmental concerns also greatly impact the very weak economy and the already struggling population. The city no longer remains an option for the young man Souleiman (Ibrahima Traore) who is in love with the charming young lady, Ada (Mame Bineta Sane) who is from the same neighbourhood.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The workers decide to leave the nation by sea, in search of a brighter future in Spain, and Souleiman accompanies them so that he can come back and try to marry his lady love who is to be married to Omar (Babacar Sylla), a rich man who seems to be the better option for Ada in the eyes of everyone. Ada’s family has almost everything set for the big function, which they hope to arrange in a few days. Spain is quite far away, and it is to be a tiring and risky journey, but that doesn’t hold Souleiman back from making the choice. Ada is highly disappointed about the fact that Souleiman decided to leave without giving her an idea. Her friends like Mariama (Mariama Gassama) does try to console her, and even for her friends, Omar is the right person for her, while Souleiman is just a hindrance in front of her objective of marrying the right man. But would he choose to wait for him for years instead of getting into wedlock? Would that be the right decision, or is it something that would go as far as eternity?

The defence of Atlantics :: There are two sides to this movie, one being the social commentary which is not far away from life, and the other one is something which you wouldn’t expect from a movie like this, a supernatural drama which is rather unpredictable. Unlike what the posters seem to suggest, this is a movie which cannot be restricted to such smaller displays. The problems of poverty, unemployment, class divide, forced migration, lack of hope and many others are shown in the movie, even though they are not always staying in the front. The visuals feel different, and beautiful even in the absence of any spectacular scene being made. We do feel the culture of the area, and there is also that feeling of inherent terror of not being among those who are supposed to be born into the advantage. It also reminds one of the 2013 Tamil movie, Maryan, the Dhanush starrer set in Kanyakumari and parts of Sudan, which had the habit of growing on you, after watching the same, a reminder that the tale of the subaltern remains the same at all places.

The claws of flaw :: You do have so much scope as far as this movie with such a setting is concerned, and the movie doesn’t use its core elements well enough. It is also quite slow, especially in the beginning stages. There was enough with this idea to speed up things, but the movie decides not to take it. The handling of pace would have a much bigger role to play inthe middle stages of the flick. The idea itself could have been clearer, and it might have helped to add some extra polishing here, but the movie doesn’t use the same either – you feel that there could be something bigger at moments, but that is not provided here. They could have also made sure that the story-line made more sense for everyone. The strange feeling of this movie might not be interesting for everyone, and it makes very much a subjective experience leading to polarised opinions among common men despite winning it completely with the critics. It is also quite surprising that their possible destination is Spain, as the location makes it a difficult place to reach by the sea.

Performers of the soul :: The cast is an unknown one, even for us who watch a lot of movies, including English, and those multiple foreign languages. But it is to be noted that they are often better than most of those so called superstars who are sons and daughters of those bigger superstars who bring them into the movie industry just because they can do whatever they please – the terrible plight of Bollywood; but here, we have a skilled cast. Mame Bineta Sane who plays Ada leads the way with ease here. Amadou Mbow also follows the procedure well to make his role memorable enough. The characters played by Aminata Kane and Mariama Gassama are also memorable as you look at them. Babacar Sylla as Omar makes a usual character which you see in the romantic movies with separation as a major theme, and he does his job quite well. In this movie, you feel more or less like the setting itself becomes a character, especially the tower and the sea, which reflects the human situation there in an interesting manner, as you look deep.

How it finishes :: As a movie which was selected as the Senegalese entry earlier for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards, this movie does make a pretty good impact, as it already did in the Cannes Film Festival. It is also said that the former United States President Barack Obama had named this film among his favorite films and television series of 2019 in Twitter. It would be difficult to bring the supernatural even in the normal situations, and this one tries to do the same against all odds in a situation which is based on multiple real life themes, but manages to come through well enough in the end. You are sure to feel that there is more than what meets the eye, as far as this movie is concerned. It is surely not your usual kind of film, and this divergence definitely sets it apart. This is the time when we celebrate the variety, and for the same, the movie becomes the kind of flick that one should watch and take the ideas back home.

Release date: 29th November 2019
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Mati Diop
Starring: Mame Bineta Sane, Amadou Mbow, Nicole Sougou, Aminata Kane, Traore, Coumba Dieng, Ibrahima Mbaye, Diankou Sembene, Abdou Balde, Babacar Sylla, Arame Fall Faye, Ya Arame Mousse Sene, Babacar Samba, Astou N’Diaye, Khouda Fall

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kidnapping Stella

Vampire Owl: So, these people have made a movie about just one kidnapping?

Vampire Bat: You are saying that one won’t be enough?

Vampire Owl: No, I am saying that it can be like a vampire movie made out of one blood-sucking event, which won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: It is a remake of the 2009 British thriller movie, The Disappearance of Alice Creed.

Vampire Owl: Okay, the one starring Gemma Arterton, the lady vampire from Byzantium.

Vampire Bat: The whole vampire team is indebted to her for the work in that movie.

Vampire Owl: It is my second favourite vampire movie after Interview with the Vampire.

Vampire Bat: If you add Let Me In, it could go to the third spot.

Vampire Owl: Do you realize that you haven’t reviewed a full-length German movie yet?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but there has been a short-film which left enough for us to think about.

[Gets an vancho cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: There is some big preparation going on with the two former convicts named Vic (Clemens Schick) and Tom (Max von der Groeben) getting something ready inside a building, just before they get prepared to commit some crime. Stella (Jella Haase), the only child of a wealthy businessman is their target, as they hope to become rich with the money of her father. This act and the resulting ransom is supposed to make sure that they won’t have to go to work for a long time. For this, they come up with some very careful planning, and leave no chance for them to escape, as they undress her and keeps her in a red tracksuit, blindfold her, tie her to a bed, and keeps her in a soundproof room, with no chance for her to even move more than al ittle. To conceal their identities, the two also wear masks while talking to her. There is a certain amount of risk involved with her knowing their identities, because she is pregnant with Tom’s child, as they were in love some time ago.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Stella tries hard to escape from her bondage, but there is no positive result for those attempts, as far as she is concerned. Tom does have a soft corner for her as he comes to know that she is pregnant only at a later moment when they threaten to cut off one of her fingers in front of the camera, while making a video which is to be shown to her father so that he would finally agree to give the ransom money to them. But the problem here is that during one of those vulnerable moments, she finds out that one of the kidnappers is Tom, and almost manages to overpower him to get hold of the gun. But Tom handles that situation as well as a few others which follow. Soon, Vic starts to have some doubts about Tom and Stella, as he is no longer the person whom he met in the prison – he is not sure if Tom can be trusted either. Now, it is to be seen how the two manage to keep the situation going. Can they get the money, or will the girl end up being dead? What will be the priority for Tom now, as he knows that she is pregnant with his child?

The defence of Kidnapping Stella :: You will notice that Kidnapping Stella, just like The Disappearance of Alice Creed and its earlier remake Reckless, doesn’t waste its time in getting into action. There are a few minutes when nobody talks about anything, and then we are quickly into the action when the girl is kidnapped and tied up without any chance to escape even from the bed where she is tied up. We do not have any subplot to take the focus away from the main thing, and even though there is a possibility of some flashback, we never really go towards it. You do have some twists, even though not used to the full effectiveness. A kidnapping scenario is also shown without any pretensions, and without showing it as someone who is locked in a random room giving them an easy journey throughout the abduction. The kidnapping programme is quite a solid one, and even though becoming only the third version of the same tale, you have to appreciate them doing this situation well enough here along with maintaining the thrills.

The claws of flaw :: If you have watched The Disappearance of Alice Creed or its Dutch remake, there is nothing much that you can find here to keep you interested, because you have seen all these in more critically appreciated movies, and the performers who have gained better applause not just in one film, but also many others. This movie also doesn’t seem to have gathered that much of an attention or appreciation as those movies which released much earlier. This one is also quite slow at parts, and for a movie which doesn’t have that much of a run-time, it is definitely a strange thing, no matter how you look at it. The movie could have used some more intense moments to make things feel better. As most of the movie is set within a small area, there was scope to bring more. When you have a film with kidnap as the main thing or rather the only thing, you would expect that something else would be there to be taken. There is always the chance for improvement as far as remakes are concerned, but we doubt if that chance was even thought about here.

Performers of the soul :: One cannot deny the fact that this movie misses someone like Gemma Arterton who has been one class actress in different roles, the best of them that we remember being Byzantium, the highly underrated and under-watched vampire movie coming from the director of the highly appreciated Interview with the Vampire. We can only guess that it would have been a fantastic performance. Jella Haase is pretty much okay as the kidnapped girl, but she doesn’t seem to raise that bar that much. The two kidnappers are actually very good though, and Clemens Schick as Vic, the tougher one comes up with a work that will make us attached to the situation here. Max von der Groeben as Tom, the guy who is caught between two sides also have our attention – he wants to do more than one thing, as there is the need to save his former lover and their unborn baby along with getting all that money from her father. There is no other character here, and these three makes the performers list fully.

How it finishes :: The movie originates from The Disappearance of Alice Creed, a 2009 British movie, which also had another remake in the form a Dutch movie named Reckless. From the reviews which we have read about this version here might be the film with the lowest rating, while the other two movies seem to be quite ahead. But for most of us who haven’t watched those two movies because we never really had much of an experience with Dutch movies and as the British movie was released a long time ago, Kidnapping Stella is going to be an interesting experience. There are enough thrills around there, and it surely feels more than the usual hostage movie. Matching The Disappearance of Alice Creed was always going to be a tough task, as it had Gemma Arterton who has been in all kinds of movies with all the glory, a performer who is difficult to match. You are free to watch all the three versions in different European languages and decide the best for yourself if you feel the need to disagree. Otherwise, you can just enjoy this newer version.

Release date: 12th July 2019
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Thomas Sieben
Starring: Clemens Schick, Jella Haase, Max von der Groeben

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Svaha

Vampire Owl: Another Korean movie. You are going international very often.

Vampire Bat: Well, there is the need for more movies for lock-down as far as vampires are concerned.

Vampire Owl: You still haven’t watched everything from Hollywood.

Vampire Bat: That can surely wait. There are many types of movies in different languages, from all parts of the world.

Vampire Owl: You have become a movie explorer beyond borders, haven’t you?

Vampire Bat: Exploration is a pure vampire trait, driven by blood. It is either a place or a movie, and it won’t matter what.

Vampire Owl: The quality of the wanderer and explorer has been inherited by all vampires in and around the castle.

Vampire Bat: About this movie, I feel that we are going to be reminded about another Korean movie, The Divine Fury, as this one also has demons.

Vampire Owl: But I do see a difference in pattern here.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they are not the same in soul, as the type is different.

[Gets a whiteforest cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: In the beginning, a few minutes show the existence of evil in the countryside, as something strange begins to happen there, making people worried. Back in the city, Pastor Park (Lee Jung-jae) is someone who spends his time trying to expose those religious groups which are involved in illegal activities, and he specializes in finding similar cults which have deviated from the main-stream religions, and are using the name of religious denominations to achive something sinister. He is paid for doing this by the heads of different religions, and the latest one is a cult group known as Deer Mount, supposed to be a Buddhist group, but does not worship or adore Lord Buddha, but others. This makes the Buddhist leaders interested, and they ask him to find proof, because it is certain that they might be having some kind of scripture, which will be the key to understanding where they stand, and how much they are different from Buddhism.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The result of the search is that they found out the existence of some edited versions, and also those parts which are never heard of before, giving a strange feeling with its content. There is something like a Book of Revelation, talking about beasts trampling the snakes and protecting the light. The Buddhist monk who is with them is not able to find the exact meaning, and what all these are about, and need to contact an expert. Meanwhile, Chief Hwang (Jung Jin-young) investigates the murder of a child and the main suspect might related to the same Deer Mount cult. As the suspect commits suicide, there seems to be no link to take this case forward. There is a much darker secret related to whatever has been happening around. It can now be traced and moved to a village where a family had two children, a girl and a thing, the latter being kept outside the house, locked in a shed. So where does all these lead?

The defence of Svaha: The Sixth Finger :: A Korean movie with a difference never stops being interesting, and this movie is no different. This one is also a complex tale regarding a series of murders of young school girls, and it is as interesting as the mysterious and spiritual side which it deals with from the other side, connecting to the killings which has been occuring through years, not being a new thing. The movie has its thrills regarding the same, and there is also a philosophical side to the movie, as the main character does have things to wonder about. The scary elements are there, but they do not run throughout the movie – they can be seen in moments though. The Divine Fury, another Korean movie was cent percent direct about the whole thing, but this one takes a divergent path to reach its destination, and therefore leaves some ambiguity, even while catching the interest of the viewers in style.

The claws of flaw :: The complexity of Svaha: The Sixth Finger will not be that appealing to everyone, as it throws in more characters into the mixture of things, making things even more complex. Everything just gets too tight at times, and some characters just seem to be there for the sake of it, not being defined well enough. The diverging story-line also has some problem in coming back together, and we are bombarded with one thing after the other, which makes us struggle to follow it at times. The characters provided for support are too many, and we do forget a good number of them, even though they don’t come up with a bad performance or anything. The movie should have also known to present its idea in a better way, even though it is entertaining and exciting as of now – after all, there seems to be a lot of things going in the background, and everything needed to be in the front, strong and clear in soul.

Peformers of the soul :: Lee Jung-jae as Pastor Park is the main character in the movie, and one person whom the audience is supporting from the beginning itself. He gets the special focus once he is introduced, and never does anyone rise above him. Park Jung-min as Na-han gets the significance later, but soon becomes a very important character that stays for long. Lee Jae-in’s character is also a notable one, and we see her at many points of the movie, which are all moments that will remain in our mind. Jung Jin-young as Chief Hwang gets a little less as far as the time spent on the screen is concerned, even after being introduced much earlier, seemingly with more importance. There is also some good support from Lee David as Joseph, the one who supports Pastor Park throughout, even though he is a bigger believer than the pastor is. There are so many other characters and all of them do manage to contribute by their own.

How it finishes :: Svaha: The Sixth Finger is that kind of a movie which has so many ideas, and brings them all from different directions on you, without pausing at any moment. It never losses focus in doing that, and only gets richer in ideas as it moves forward. As it gains in complexity, it doesn’t really use its strengths to the advantage, and it is where the movie losses control in some parts, but that is not a problem here, with the movie coming back stronger when needed. What runs under the movie is surely strong enough, and the variety in treatment of the subject also comes into the picture – it never ceases to be interesting, as we all need to unveil this mystery and understand the terror which has been going through here, underneath everything that is clearly seen. The result is that we have one more Korean movie which brings something different for us to watch, from many kilometres away from that nation.

Release date: 20th February 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Jang Jae-hyun
Starring: Lee Jung-jae, Park Jung-min, Lee Jae-in, Jung Jin-young, Lee David, Jin Seon-kyu, Ji Seung-hyun, Min Tanaka, Cha Sun-bae, Hwang Jung-min, Jung Dong-hwan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Platform

Vampire Owl: Have you walked through the platforms?

Vampire Bat: Which one are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The moving platforms which have been introduced inside the castle.

Vampire Bat: Now we vampires have moving platforms? Why?

Vampire Owl: Come on. This is supposed to a haunted castle with many vampires. Such attractions are supposed to be there.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that Uncle Dracula is planning to make Hotel Transylvania, a five star hotel with special attractions.

Vampire Owl: No, the castle a historical place. We can only add some attractions which supports its status as the monument.

Vampire Bat: They are going to destroy another historical monument. Do the vampire elders know about this?

Vampire Owl: They will know when the platforms are introduced. We are giving them a sweet little surprise.

Vampire Bat: They are so old that such a shocking surprise can make them former elders, and bury them in the vampire underworld.

[Gets a mango cake and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Goreng (Ivan Massague) wakes up in a concrete room with another man on the bed opposite to his, and Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor) is a man who seems to have different opinions on world compared to him. The room is marked by the number 48, and there is a hole in the centre through which he is able to look at a large number of similar rooms going up and also going down towards infinity. Trimagasi explains that they are in a tower-style building that goes a long way to the higher and lower levels, at which food is delivered through a platform that travels from the top, stopping for a fixed period on each floor – each floor below gets only the left over of what the higher floors eat, and the amount of food decreases as each floor passes. If they try to keep some food with them for later use, the room gets heated or cooled towards the extreme ends until the food is thrown down. Each month, the imprisoned people are randomly reassigned to a new level and it seems to happen randomly.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The prisoners at the building were allowed to take one item which they really loved, or wanted to keep, into this building, and Goreng had taken a copy of Don Quixote, one of the best known and the most influential novels in Spanish, something which has been an inspiration and part of syllabus in many colleges all around the world teaching English Language and Literature course. One day, a young woman named Miharu (Alexandra Masangkay) rides down on the platform with food, and Trimagasi tells Goreng that she goes down the hole every month searching for her lost child. Goreng sees that she is being attacked by two men, but is relieved to see that she manages to kill both of them using a knife she had with her, and she continues to go down with the food, seemingly searching for the child that she needed to find.

And what is to follow here as time passed in the pit? :: While Goreng had volunteered to spend six months in what was known as the Vertical Self-Management Center to earn a special diploma, Trimagasi is someone who is serving a one year sentence for manslaughter, and he is surprised to see that someone would volunteer to be part of such a programme just for earning a diploma degree. Even though Trimagasi is not someone who seems to be so friendly, the two somehow manages to be pretty good friends, but only until they are transferred to the next cell, which is numbered 171, a place which is on the lower side, and would get none of the food, because 170 levels above and 340 people in there would need a lot more than what is moved on a platform. So, this is up to the two friends to figure out how to survive in this terrifying situation with no food. Will they find a way to survive until the next change to a better space, or will they end up killing and eating one another? Os is there a way to go to another room or escape from this experiment?

The defence of The Platform :: There are some relevant ideas being discussed in this movie, some directly, and most them indirectly. There is some violence, and it is shown as part of human need, and we also have survival of the fittest, with the certain support of luck, as the residents of this building shows life itself in another way, but the core remains the same. There is a display of how higher social order, or people of a better economic status will look at others, even those who were at their same status earlier. The idea at the base goes like this – if you only take what you need, there will be enough for everyone else; it thrives on the need rather than the want, because the desire for more than you need is the root of all evil. It is not just the case of food, but also of other basic needs like clothing and water among others. Along with food, the one thing that people have more than they need is surely clothes, and water is the one thing which is wasted the most. The movie nicely touches these elements with action and thrills to go with them, and the performances from everyone is good.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have been more accurate with how it presented its ideas, because some are being lost here. There are also some repetitions, even when considering the fact that this is a movie which is just over one and half hours in total run-time. It is also to be noted that more elements could have been included in this movie in that run-time itself, or by adding a few more minutes, because the movie remains a short one considering the idea which it is trying to convey to the audience of our times. The characters could have also been more interesting, and the ambiguity regarding what was happening above could have been removed, especially with one of the people in the office also becoming a prisoner. The movie is also pretty much violent, and often makes some people feel disgust and shock – this is not really a movie for everyone, as the film doesn’t choose to go through that safe path to bring in the audience, making this a much lesser known Spanish flick.

How it finishes :: As The Platform asks some questions relevant during the time of Corona Virus, with COVID-19 spreading throughout the globe, and it is the time to help others, we cannot deny its significance against a world of chaos as well as selfishness. With only a few main characters, the movie manages to bring its point during the season of crisis, even though it did release much earlier, but not many people had heard about it then. It is the kind of movie which will come to the light during different types of similar problems in the world, and it can be considered as a movie standing on its own, with similarities more with its other elements, and not with its core idea. The Platform is the movie that you need to watch during the season of quarantines, isolation and lock-downs, so that as a part of humanity, you can ponder over whatever is happening in a world which has been taught to be the fittest to survive in a cruel world full of inherent evil that William Golding talked about in his novel, the much studied Lord of the Flies. You can also watch another similar lock-down social experiment with The Belko Experiment.

Release date: 6th March 2019
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Starring: Ivan Massague, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan, Emilio Buale Coka, Alexandra Masangkay

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Divine Fury

Vampire Owl: We are certainly not used to watching Korean movies.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but we make exceptions with some of those films

Vampire Owl: I think that the last two Korean movies reviewed around here were The Wailing and Train to Busan.

Vampire Bat: They were the only two movies of that particular language which were reviewed here. The other big movies were Chinese.

Vampire Owl: Yes, The Mermaid and The Monkey King 2. I remember them. There were two short-films too, I guess.

Vampire Bat: After that, the total number of movies watched itself was decreased, and there was no chance for Korean and Chinese films.

Vampire Owl: Well, we are back here watching them though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is always more movies to watch, except at the theatres during the time of Corona Virus.

Vampire Owl: That time too will pass, and we will be back to watching the latest movies at the theatres.

Vampire Bat: I shall display no doubt regarding that statement, so that I can hold on to some more optimism at the time of crisis.

[Gets a pineapple cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: Yong-hoo (Park Seo-joon) is a martial-arts champion who keeps winning all his fights as if he is seeking revenge for the death of his father, who was murdered while doing his duty as a police officer in the city, and his mother who had died even earlier. He feels that God didn’t listen to his prayer when he was a child, and left him an orphan, and the wrath which he possessed from the same feeling helped him to become the fighting champion he ended up to be. But one day, he has an injury on his hands, which he shows at the hospital, but after a number of days, it only gets worse with the doctor confirming that it is not an infection, and he should show it at a bigger hospital in the city. Finally, he decides to meet a new shaman, a blind young girl who has a connection with the spirit world. The girl finds out that there is something evil about him, and refers him to the priest at a local church.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There he meets Father Ahn (Ahn Sung-ki) who is performing an exorcism, and with his wound, he is able to help him. The priest reveals that it is stigmata, the bodily wounds which were imposed on Jesus Christ while he was undergoing crucifixion. He also added that it would appear only on those people who have strong faith. It surprises him though, as he has never known faith after his father died. But, as time passes, he gets involved in what the priest has been doing, including getting rid of the demons, as there is nobody else who is willing to help him in the dangerous exorcisms. He slowly and steadily begins to regain his faith in God, but there is a bigger evil in existence in the city, and soon enough, they need to find it. When they exorcise a demon from a young girl Soo-jin (Park Ji-hyun), the priest comes to know about it. Can they do it early enough, or will darkness envelope the city? What would be the key to defeating the demons they don’t know much about?

The defence of The Divine Fury :: There is something about The Divine Fury that you will find different, or rather many things, as you approach it as a horror movie, but that is only one side of it, while having your journey through the film. The movie basically blends many things, including action sequences, mystery, thrilling moments and others of emotional bonding. The emotional side to the movie also remains strong between all these action and horror. The movie has a run-time just a few minutes more than two hours, and we get through that quickly, as there is no slowing down the action here, for the demonic presence is always there. The final action sequence somewhat reminds one of Constantine, even though not that much well done, and there are some nice punches and kicks being landed in the end. The final shot of moving hands from the well is really creepy, and so are the exorcisms which are well done, especially that of the young girl and the kid.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t really begin so well, and it gets interesting with the first exorcism which the protagonist partially witnesses. There are many other approaches which this movie could have taken too, but it often chooses the easy way, especially with some parts giving the impression that we have watched all of these before. People might think that there is a little bit of too much speech about God and faith going on right through it, but it is a necessary part of the movie. The final action scene could have been made somewhat like the John Wick fights between the lights, and the demon in the end could have also been scarier. We could have also used more exorcisms, and the philosophical dialogues could have been quickly done with. The villain could have actually had a better background and backstory too.

Performers of the soul :: Park Seo-joon plays the main character, and he has some interesting movie titles under his name. We can witness the changes that come across him clearly, as we see the journey shown nicely. Ahn Sung-ki as Father Ahn also makes a perfect priest, and his dialogues about almost everything catches our attention – there are words of wisdom from him which we might miss, if we are not careful enough. From the first moment he is seen in the exorcism scene, we know that he would be the right priest. The two also share some funny moments too, even though the seriousness of the situations stay as it is. Woo Do-hwan doesn’t really fall behind much either. It has to be noted that the movie has managed to have some fine performances from the supporting cast, especially those who plays the possessed, starting from the young girl played by Park Ji-hyun. You have to look out for them every time.

How it finishes :: The Divine Fury is the movie that deals with exorcism and the demons in a very different way compared to what we have seen in many different movies, from The Conjuring, The Nun and Annabelle series or the good old Insidious franchise. There is also the hope for a sequel known as The Green Exorcist. I will surely be looking forward to it, as this is the kind of movie which Hollywood will find difficult to make, and the Korean movie industry has nicely made one movie which could stand apart, even though not without its flaws. Do not get fooled by the comparatively smaller rating given to it when we consider some other popular Korean movies, because this one is not a pretender, and it goes through things directly. If you want to watch a good action horror movie with martial arts and exorcism running through it along with some philosophy, do watch this one.

Release date: 31st July 2019
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Kim Joo-hwan
Starring: Park Seo-joon, Ahn Sung-ki, Woo Do-hwan, Park Ji-hyun, Jung Ji-hoon, Sim Hee-seop, Seo Jeong-yeon, Jo Eun-hyung, Kim Seon-min, Jung Eui-soon, Kim Bum-soo, Lee Chan-yoo

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kumbalangi Nights

What is the movie about? :: Four brothers Saji (Soubin Shahir), Bonney (Sreenath Bhasi), Bobby (Shane Nigam) and Franky (Matthew Thomas) live in a small house which on an abandoned side of the fishing village of Kumbalangi. Born and brought up in a remote area on the island which came to be connected to mainland Kochi by a bridge only a few years back, they have been living happily, content with what they have. Their small area itself forms a very small island where people abandon their dogs and cats. Saji and Bobby doesn’t have jobs even though the former manages to get something without working. Bonney works with a music and dance troupe while Franky is a student and a football enthusiast. Things seem to be going smoothly even though none of them has any real purpose in life. They fight with each other and also with others, and have some drinks, wasting their time without regret. There are no thoughts about future either.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Things have a twist when Bobby falls in love with Babymol (Anna Ben) who has been admiring him for a long time. She works in a resort at Kallenchery side of Kumbalangi as a tourist guide and also runs a home-stay near her home. The two wants to get married, but her sister Simi’s (Grace Antony) husband Shammi (Fahadh Faasil) decides things in the house due to her father’s demise, and he wouldn’t have him as a co-brother. Shammi wants someone who is equal to him, and asks Bobby to get a job and renovate their small house. Bobby finds out that Shammi is not someone who can be reasoned with, and gets to work. But can Bobby get to marry considering the fact that Shammi is considering more than what he says? Also, can the brothers settle their differences and stop fighting each other at regular intervals for different reasons?

The defence of Kumbalangi Nights :: The first thing that strikes you here is the presence of those Chinese nets against the beautiful backwaters and greenery, captured so wonderfully. At night, the sight becomes even more beautiful, becoming the enchanting Kumbalangi – the visuals are too good. Supporting the same, are some excellent performances from each person on the screen – being a movie which gives equal importance to its characters, we see nobody backing down here. The emotions and the funny side stand at two sides of the backwaters, sometimes jumping into water together, and at times, one after the other. As a realistic take on the life of struggling people, we listen to the local slang, and we also see common factors of life. If you have been to Kumbalangi, you will see a few things which will remind you of the village – not just the fishing nets, but also the bridge to Kumbalangi, the path to Kallenchery, the Kallenchery Resort and others. There we love the simplicity that the movie displays.

Positives and negatives :: The nights at Kumbalangi is a tale of the abandoned, who seek redemption within the world which has become a part of them. The lives of the subaltern nicely gets the treatment that it deserves. It is not like those movies which choose “jobless youngsters becoming gangsters” to show the same idea, because Kumbalangi Nights nicely manages to think above that idea. It destroys the stereotype that Angamaly Diaries also created earlier in the name of a realistic tale, and goes for real, common people instead of thugs. Kumbalangi Nights is a welcome metamorphosis from the usual to the unusal, an extension of the movies like Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Thondimuthalum Drikshashiyum. As it touches you deep with its realistic depiction of all things with even more realistic dialogues, from the talk about true love to those related to family and relationships, there is no reason for you not to watch it. You can ask for more from the story, but the tale here is of life itself. It still takes some time to get going, and can be considered to be slow in the beginning by a few.

The performers of the soul :: The four actors who play the four brothers form the core of the movie. Among them, it is Shane Nigam who plays the Romeo character that touches your heart very early. He excels in those romantic sequences too. We remember those early signs in Kismath which were so nicely carried into Parava, and Shane is now here, playing another character so naturally. Soubin Shahir is fantastic with those emotional scenes and the character never fails to bring the funny side alive too, even when things are going very serious. He has those moments that touch hearts so well in the second half. Sreenath Bhasi plays the mute character very well with actions and expressions. Matthew Thomas who plays the school boy is not far behind either. We see how well they combine to make the moments in this flick so much better. In their journey, in their transformation, in their brotherhood, we find our messages of life as they find redemption.

Further performers of the soul :: Two leading ladies add to it in the same way. Grace Antony does her job in a believable manner, becoming the local house wife as one would expect her to be. She also proves that she can handle the funny side really well. At the same time, the debutante who leaves a fantastic mark here is Anna Ben. Among all the dialogues in the movie, it is those that she says that stays with us for long. Those related to “true love” and “knowing Jesus” are among them – we feel those to be so natural that whether they are emotional or funny, they go deep. Then you see Fahadh Faasil who steals the show each and every time he appears on the screen, and by the end, we see him in a performance that we least expect. There is more to his character than what meets the eye, and we have had that feeling before, in Varathan – no we are not going to find such exaggeration here, because this is the life of everyman with struggles rather than someone with the silver-spoon. We have no heroes here – instead, we have people whom we understand, and their myriad of emotions taking roots within us. Heroism is shown to be abnormal, and what the villain wishes to display – others live life.

How it finishes :: This is one movie which surely doesn’t look like the director’s debut film, as one would find it difficult to come up with complaints here. The choice of Kumbalangi is a smart one too, and it makes sure that things get closer to perfection unlike Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam which couldn’t do the same even with backwaters all around. There is poetry in Kumbalangi Nights, with its beautiful backwaters, and the lives of people who face abandonment just like their surroundings, and how they seek redemption. It is a realistic through the common man’s life with all those emotions coming from within, and we see how the setting contributes to making the story even more beautiful. Last year, we had to wait till Joseph to have the best of the year, and this year, this month, with Kumbalangi Nights, the best of the year might have come early. With it lighting up our world, we no longer have the darkness of the nights, as they are replaced with (k)nights in shining armour who reflect the light.

And here is one beautiful song to add to it:

Release date: 7th February 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Madhu C Narayanan
Starring: Shane Nigam, Anna Ben, Grace Antony, Sreenath Bhasi, Soubin Shahir, Fahadh Faasil, Ramesh Thilak, Matthew Thomas, Dileesh Pothen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lonappante Mamodeesa

What is the movie about? :: Lonappan (Jayaram) runs a watch repair shop in the small town of Manjapra near Angamaly, and Shameer (Hareesh Perumanna) is the one who does all the repairing jobs there. Lonappan doesn’t get much of an income from the shop, but he is not able to close it because it is family property. He is unmarried, and also has 3 unmarried sisters (Shanthi Krishna, Nisha Sarang & Eva Pavithran) – as they are not getting married, he is also not thinking about getting married. He is someone who used to be called “Tolstoy” for his story-telling abilities when he was a child. But the situation at home had forced him to stop his studies and take over watch repairing business. He is not satisfied with the same, and doesn’t even try to make things better. The watch repair shop remains exactly in the same shape as it used to be earlier.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: One day, Lonappan has a get-together with his former classmates from nearby school, and he realizes that he is the only one in their class who couldn’t get settled down. His old friends Kunjootan (Dileesh Pothan) and Neelima (Kaniha) are married, and they have settled down with good jobs in the Middle East, even though Lonappan was supposed to be the smartest of the students in their batch. The confidence given by the two makes him wonder what he can do differently to achieve success. There is frustration in his mind, but that doesn’t stop him from trying a few things differently much to the dismay of his sisters who find his actions to be strange and hopeless. Now the question remains if he can find success in his life. Whether his newly found plans will work or not, will be revealed only in the future.

The defence of Lonappante Mamodeesa :: The protagonist nicely becomes an example of people who couldn’t get to become what they wanted in life because of circumstances, and what was imposed on them by family and relatives. It is a case that is quite common, and it is a situation that too many people have faced in India, especially in Kerala – the rise of engineering was only one of such cases. With the feel-good elements, it is something that we can’t hate, and as a reflection of an everyman character, it is something that we don’t want to avoid. The emotional side is strong at times, and we can stay close to the life of the main character. It is up to the character to go through another baptism to bring the change to his character, and it is baptism by fire that can make sure about it.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is certainly confused about how it is going to bring about the change in the protagonist. The quick ending makes that clear, as we wait for something special to happen, but there is no such thing. The music is not memorable at all, and some of the characters in the film are not even needed. The subplots are not that much there, and some incidents don’t really have purpose. The transformation of the protagonist is not shown in the best way, and the movie is lacking in comedy, even though there were many chances for the same. Even the leading lady is wasted without being given much of a chance to keep staying on the screen. There are so many opportunities being wasted here, as we know that this was meant to be more. Lasting for just more than two hours, this feels longer because of missing the path on different occasions.

The performers of the soul :: Jayaram is the one family favourite actor whom we love to in roles like this. But it is a disappointing truth that except for last year’s Panchavarnathatha, there hasn’t been a movie which could rise above average status since Nadan and Lucky Star in 2013. Daivame Kaithozham K Kumar Akanam, the other movie of 2018 was a big pain, and we can be glad to see that this movie comes close to bringing the glory back up, even though it never really manages to do that in the end. Jayaram surely has returned to form, being at his comfort zone, playing a character which brings him no real challenge. Playing a commoner who has to go through many struggles, something related to family and at other times related to personal life wouldn’t bother him at any moment, and we can see the lovable Jayaram model on a number of occasions, and it brings us hope that things can get only better.

Further performers of the soul :: Anna Rajan with the Angamaly Diaries and Velipadinte Pusthakam fame plays the female lead, even though there is not much there for her to make an impression. Eva Pavithran who was last seen in Rockstar, Nisha Sarang of Uppum Mulakum fame, and Shanthi Krishna who had made a comeback with Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela are there as the three sisters of the protagonist, doing a fine job. Hareesh Kanaran is there to bring the comic side to good effect, but we can see that it is limited – the opportunity for comedy itself is not that much there to be taken, and it is wastage of his skills. Kaniha is there just for the sake of being present. Dileesh Pothen has some nice moments for us to remember, as he does that each and every time he comes on the screen. Alencier Ley Lopez’s priest role is also something that goes limited. Joju George, after the greatness of Joseph, gets a role to be forgotten.

How it finishes :: A return to family track can be seen for Jayaram with Lonappante Mamodeesa, and we know that there is hope for more. The main idea is about dreams and how people are often unable to reach where they wanted to be, or where they deserve to be – the power of the twist of fate is so. This one appeals more to the family audience that anyone else, and goes the predictable way to bring the feel-good factor. The focus on feel-good for success has let something else go missing though – we remember how Njan Prakashan, Ente Ummante Peru, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, all tried feel-good with fine effect within a gap of one month. Even though this one wouldn’t live up to that level, it also goes on to make it count in the list of movies belonging to the same category, and striving to get into the minds of the family audience.

Release date: 1st February 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Leo Thaddeus
Starring: Jayaram, Anna Rajan, Eva Pavithran, Joju George, Kaniha, Hareesh Perumana, Shanthi Krishna, Alencier Ley Lopez, Dileesh Pothen, Niyas Backer, Nisha Sarang, Innocent, Sneha Sreekumar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ente Ummante Peru

What is the movie about? :: Hameed (Tovino Thomas) is left with nobody to call a relative after the death of his father Haider (Renji Panicker). Even though he inherits the big house along with his father’s business as well as a few acres of land, he is lonely – as he has nobody to call his own, he is not able to get married to a respectable family either. He, along with Beeran (Hareesh Perumanna) and Hamsa (Mamukkoya) keeps looking for a suitable alliance for him. He soon falls in love with Sainaba (Saipriya Deva), a girl whose proposal had already come for him, but was rejected by her father because he seemed to be nothing less than an orphan. While he is running his family business and looking for a way to marry Sainaba, he comes across a will left by his father, which points to two women, and one of them could be his mother. He decides that this is his chance to find his family.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: So, the the wives are to be given a share of the property, and there is the need to find both of them to figure out which one his mother is. The two of them are located in Kozhikode and Ponnani in the form of Ramlath (Shanthi Krishna) and Aisha (Urvashi), the former being married with two children and the latter living alone in her house on the side of the lake. But the question remains if this can happen because the truth is still hidden in some of the pages about which there is not much information, even for Haider’s good old friend, Sivankutty (Dileesh Pothan) who seemed to know almost everything about his friend’s past. Can Hameed rise above all these to get what he wants? Will he finally cease being an orphan? Can he finally marry the girl whom he loves? It would take a journey not just through North Kerala, but through North India to make sure about that.

The defence of Ente Ummante Peru :: Unlike the usual stories with the same setting, this one never really does manage to keep selling the same thing again and again. But the tale is kept simple and enjoyable for families. It sticks to the point from the beginning to the end, never really deviating from the path or having moments of dullness – the total movie length makes sure that it stays put. There is nothing exaggerated here with everything going on while staying close to life. The feel-good factor never really falls behind here, and the visuals, wherever it is set, stays good. The emotional side is strong, and by the end, it reaches an even better level. Along with the expected comic side, the use of gallows humour is to be noted – it is the human condition that makes us think on more than one occasion, as the point of life and its meaning is always something to ponder about with death making a grand entry at so many unexpected times.

The claws of flaw :: There is no special ingredient with this one, as we look deep into this tale of search for the main character’s mother. This is the kind of story that we have heard for a long time, with search being for parents or siblings. The children separated from their parents or brothers is an idea which goes older than some of those very old flicks, not just in Malayalam or South India. Even Oru Indian Pranayakatha had a similar search with its main character looking for both parents, after returning from Canada and collecting clues leading to more than one state in India. The songs and music are not really that good. We never really get that much of a romance between the leading characters, and one has to remember that Tovino used to be an expert in that. The journey through Uttar Pradesh could have been more interesting, and the supporting characters could have been closer to our heart that what they seemed to be.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas is the one to keep this movie going with a realistic and lovable performance once again. His last movies Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, Theevandi and Maradona – all were among the strongest flicks of the year. Here, we continue to admire his work, as the emotional state of a man looking for his mother is nicely shown – he is someone who is looking for his last hope in changing things. This is not the first time that he has shown this with the same strength though. Urvashi had a fine role in Aravindante Athidhikal, but here she has a lot more to do, and she has done the same well. It is in no way, an easy character to play this time, as her role becomes the most significant thing in the movie ever since she makes her entrance. We hope that we see her in more movies, and without that many breaks in between.

Further performers of the soul :: Meanwhile, there is a new face in Malayalam movie industry in the form of Saipriya Deva who plays the heroine, and she does that with a lot of charm. It can be seen that the movie doesn’t focus on her at all, as far as the complete plot is considered. We can surely keep her close to our hearts though. Malayalam movie industry does need its heroines more than its heroes, and more skilled actresses will elevate the level of the characters that they play. At the same time, Hareesh Perumanna in charge of the comedy, and he does that with amazing skill. Shanthi Krishna has a smaller, but emotionally strong role – since her return in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, we have all wished to see her on the big screen very often. Mamukkoya and Siddique got the kind of roles which they have done before, and brings no challenge to them, while Dileesh Pothan makes a short, but nice appearance of significance.

How it finishes :: There are four Malayalam movies releasing in the beginning of Christmas vacation, and this is just one of them. Unlike the others, this movie seems to have made no big claim, and therefore the expectations have been kept low. We know what expectations could do to a movie like Odiyan, and how the low expectations for DC movies did help Aquaman in the early stages. Ente Ummante Peru brings the surprise not only due to the lower expectations, but also with how it remains so simple and yet so effective at the same time. It is one movie which possesses and displays the true spirit of Christmas season, more than anything else. Therefore, choosing Ente Ummante Peru over most of the other movies won’t be that difficult a job. The idea of feeling happy and leaving the theatre with a smile on one’s face never has a substitute, especially when with family.

Release date: 21st December 2018
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Jose Sebastian
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Saipriya Deva, Urvashi, Shanthi Krishna, Hareesh Perumanna, Dileesh Pothan, Mamukkoya, Siddique

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ranam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ballerina

Vampire Owl: I thought that this movie was called Leap!.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but the original name of the flick is Ballerina.

Vampire Owl: It was the cooler name – they should have kept it. Leap could be part of rather too many things.

Vampire Bat: Yes, Ballerina is the name that suits the flick, considering the content too.

Vampire Owl: I wonder why it is that animated dance movies prove to be better than simple and usual dance movies these days.

Vampire Bat: Because animated is cute and safer option.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that I had participated in a dance programme once?

Vampire Bat: And you won something, at least a small prize?

Vampire Owl: They made sure that I would never dance again.

Vampire Bat: For some reason, I am not really surprised about that. You are going need a cure for wellness.

[Gets three cups of elaichi tea with a piece of tea cake].

What is the movie about? :: In this story set in the 1880s, a young girl who lives at an orphange, Felicie (Elle Fanning) wants to do nothing other than to dance all the time – it is more like her only love, but her future is rather bleak, considering the situation. Her best friend in the orphanage is a smart young boy named Victor (Dane DeHaan) who wants to be an inventor, and also creates a few memorable inventions by himself there. Their plan is to escape from the orphanage and reach Paris, where Felicie plans to be a ballerina and Victor wants to be an inventor. There they separate their ways, and Felecie joins Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen), the cleaner of the Paris Opera who also works for Regine Le Haut (Julie Khaner), an extremely rich lady who owns the city’s most popular restaurant. There she meets Regine’s daughter Camillle (Maddie Ziegler) who is practicing for ballet.

So, what happens next? :: Camille finds Felicie to be a good for nothing girl, who will never be anything other than a cleaner. As she insults her and throws Felicie’s favourite item, her music box out through the windown, breaking it. An angry and depressed Felicie, while going out, is given a letter which was intended for Camille, admitting her to the Paris Opera Ballet. She decides not to show it to Camille, and take her position in the opera, posing as her. She is successful in doing the same, but struggles as she has no experience. Meanwhile, Victor become an office assistant at Gustave Eiffel who is building both the Eiffel Tower, the big landmark of the city, as well as the Statue of Liberty to be gifted to the United States of America. Both struggle in their work, not really able to make the impact that they thought they could make when they left the orphanage.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Merante (Terrence Scammell), the teacher and choreographer at the opera tells the girls that one of them would be chosen to dance as Clara in The Nutcracker, and promises to make the selection quick by eliminating the worst performer of the group every day. Felicie is expected to be eliminated on the very first day, but escapes when someone else is injured and eliminated. Realizing that Odette used to be a ballerina during her time before getting injured, Felicie gets training from her, and hopes that she could improve herself well enough to keep surviving the elimination. But with so many things in her mind, it seems rather too difficult for her to keep focus, and her lie is also so close to being discovered. She realizes that she stands no chance if her identity is revealed, as she might be sent back to the orphanage, and also if she has to face someone as disciplined like Camille, there is not much chance. Against all odds, can she do it?

The defence of Ballerina :: The movie is more about achieving one’s dreams, none being too small. It calls for hard work, and not backing out, no matter how difficult or impossible the situation seems to be – it calls to do what we love, and keep loving the same. There are a few moments which bring the laughter, and the dance steps make one feel very good. The visuals of the city are also amazing. The movie also shows the usual attitude of the rich towards the poor, and how much the rich and the powerful tries to get their people all the opportunities, and talent don’t matter for them; there will always be the common people who do better. Still the attitude of the rich remains the same, as it has been shown in too many tales. It is strange that even after so many years, nothing has changed – the rich gets all the opportunities by birth, and the poor who gets rich becomes the oppressor at some other point. It is a strange world, but we should never stop trying to get to our dreams.

The claws of flaw :: One would have a feeling that achieving dreams of a higher level is only getting difficult these days, as only foul is fair in an evil world – every time we try to achieve something, there is more than one rich lady in front of us; there are thousands or millions of obstacles in the same place, and happy ending or happy continuation is more than just difficult in our world. We keep feeling that there could have been more of some stunning scenes of dance around here, as the scope was always there to make it bigger. It also takes some time to get itself to the ballet and serious dancing, and it is only balanced by the shorter run-time of the movie which leaves it with no dull moments – how can one find such a thing looking at such cute and wonderful animation? The boy’s tale could have also got a little bit more attention though, at least related to how far he has gone with his objective.

How it finishes :: Ballerina or The Leap! as it is known more, is another animated movie that you would love to add to that long list of interesting movies which ask you to go after your dreams without worrying about what would happen otherwise. It is the kind of inspiration that we have always wanted, and this movie gets to that fine list of animated movies, even though not that much there compared to those bigger flicks like Frozen, Moana, Zootopia, How to Train Your Dragon, Epic, Kung Fu Panda and many others which have gone on to become bigger names among all kinds of audience – Ballerina is also a movie which will work for everyone, and it is certain to appeal to children, as it is that cute. There are movies like Sing and Rock Dog which deals with the singing side, and Ballerina meets the dancing one – we see that all things get the needed inspiration. Well, no dream is to be left unattended.

Release date: 4th November 2016
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Eric Summer, Eric Warin
Starring: Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen, Terrence Scammell, Julie Khaner, Mel Brooks, Kate McKinnon, Elana Dunkelman, Shoshana Sperling, Joe Sheridan, Bronwen Mantel, Jamie Watson, Tamir Kapelian

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Moonnamathe Vazhi

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that there are three paths rather than two. It is indeed a strange world.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is more than just the opposites – more than just life and death, good and evil, heaven and hell, black and white and so on.

Vampire Owl: Yes, there is time just before death, there is the neutral side, there is the purgatory and you also have grey in between.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is more to it than what we usually have.

Vampire Owl: So, where does the third path lead this time?

Vampire Bat: Well, we are going to find that out soon. Lets watch it very carefully.

Vampire Owl: Is there the smell of romance?

Vampire Bat: It is just the biriyani. Remember that you had asked for it earlier.

Vampire Owl: Oh! Never mind then.

Vampire Bat: Biriyani is also love though. A lot of people have fallen due to this desire for the food item that couldn’t be resisted.

[Gets some vegetable biriyani and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Lenin (Rahul KP) is a taxi driver in Cochin who is in quick need of money as his mother is in the hospital and requires urgent surgery – there are also pending bills which are to be paid. He asks for loan from a lot of people, but none of them, including his good friends provide him with the amount – some don’t have the money and the others are just reluctant to provide with the same. He already has some loans which are to be repaid, and with this situation, he has been wandering around everywhere to find whatever money he can arrange. He decides to keep going, and tells the staff at the hospital that he will be returning with enough money, and it is going to happen soon. But he is still aware of the truth that there is no real hope and falls asleep in the car. It is then that a girl calls his taxi for a journey to Kakkanad and around.

So, what happens next? :: This girl Nadiya (Veena Nandakumar) is living at Palarivattam who is facing financial problems, and the house of her parents where she had spent her childhood is going to be taken over by the bank. She asks her brother as well as her grandfather for help, but even as they are rich, has no plan is saving the old house. It would also mean that Nadiya would have no place to stay. She has no more hope, and wishes to end her life. It is during his search for help that she enters the taxi and life of Lenin. While they go through the journey together, certain truths about life is revealed, as we witness how it flies without direction, like kites on the sky. The hopelessness of common man gets to find hope by random acts of kindness, and togetherness, which becomes the reason to live at a time when fate plays a sadistic game.

The defence of Moonnamathe Vazhi :: With some of the beautiful music and some great visuals of Cochin and its surroundings, there is more about this movie than you feel in the beginning – it has quite a slow start when you look at it; but there is no denying that we remain interested all the time with what is one the screen and what we listen to. The movie’s progress is so smooth, and very much real that we keep going with the flow, like mermaids in an ocean. There are so many good moments, and dialogues in this short flick that we do feel the need for a longer movie, not ending this with the run-time just over half an hour – we want this to go on and on, as we have already loved its protagonists. The feeling that the final moments provide is also too good, and we are left with the same feeling for quite a long time even after the movie finishes. A simple, realistic tale with love is often so hard to find.

Soul exploration 1: Life and its collection of sadistic twists :: There is this thing about life coming under the effect of fate – the jokes that it plays on us are rather too many. If personified, it is nothing less than Grimm Reaper with his scythe. But being the one who likes to play, fate only chooses to make it slow, as Joker would say, guns are just too quick. We look for hope to escape from this play, but it is difficult to find, and it is just to faith that we hold on. It is when we hold on that there is something worth living for in the end, as it is depicted in the movie, and if we give up, it is the game of fate which is for us to lose. As the protagonists in this movie finally get the directions in the last moment, we realize what it means to stay in the struggle, and follow the righteous path. Poetic justice should follow, no or at another point.

Soul exploration 2: A new path that opens when least expected :: There is always more than one, or two paths ahead of us, but we don’t see that many. Death is always the easy option, and it has been the harbinger of relief and peace for so many people who decided to embrace it instead of life, which has been the tougher choice to make during turbulent times. It takes courage to move on, and only when we go on through the road that we see more of the diverging paths – it is only then we can take that road that we really need to travel through. Here, the path also has that side of love, even though it is not that visible – what we see more is the kindness and empathy which runs right in the middle of this flick. It is the same feeling that we had seen in London Bridge, a less appreciated realistic love story. So, it happens here.

How it finishes :: The short-film undoubtedly has a wonderful cast, starting with Veena Nandakumar who is going to make her big industry debut with Kadam Katha which stars Joju George, Vinay Forrt, Roshan Mathew and Renji Panicker. In the debutant director Senthil Rajan’s flick, she is supposed to be playing an MBBS student. It was great to have her here, as she looks amazingly good in this role. At the same time, Rahul who plays Lenin brings a serene and wonderful performance. The movie rests on the shoulders of these two, and combined with all those elements which makes the right short-film, Moonnamathe Vazhi is the one thing which you shouldn’t miss on Youtube. It was released by Media One television channel earlier last month.

Release date: 8th June 2017
Running time: 32 minutes
Directed by: Gopakumar GK
Starring: Veena Nandakumar, Rahul KP, Pala Aravindan, Girija Venugopal, Saina Kakkattil, Simi Sethy, Akhilesh KT, Shaji Nalpadi, Vineeth Thoyakkavu, Akhil Vishnu VS, Rajith Anirudh, Soorya Panicker, Afsal, Baby Carolin, Master Benchamin, Master Nihaal Saade

Watch Moonnamathe Vazhi here with all its beauty:

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.