Major Grom

Vampire Owl: It is a shame that vampires don’t have the ranks of major.

Vampire Bat: We do have titles like vampire-at-arms and master vampire.

Vampire Owl: They seem to be a little too much limited in scope.

Vampire Bat: Scope is what Uncle Dracula talks about it.

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula is no longer interested in matters of war.

Vampire Bat: He is not against the peace which prevails among vampires, werewolves and zombies of all realms.

Vampire Owl: He is too old for another war, just like the vampire elders.

Vampire Bat: The wars are led by vampires-at-arms and master vampires.

Vampire Owl: But there is always one Uncle Dracula banner in the front side.

Vampire Bat: The limitations of not having a new banner designer. Nothing more.

[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Major Igor Grom (Tikhon Zhiznevsky) is chasing three bank robbers dressed like clowns, supposed to look like hockey players from a popular Soviet cartoon. He manages to catch them, but at the same time, causes a lot of damage to public property. Colonel General Fedor Prokopenko (Aleksei Maklakov), Igor Grom’s boss and head of the Saint Petersburg Police doesn’t like what has happened in the streets, causing ten million of currency to be lost, putting the blame on the police department. He doesn’t like the fact that Grom is not wearing police uniform and not having any police equipment. He asks Grom to quit, but tears apart the resignation himself, as he feels the need for his presence in the police department. It is then that the trial of Kirill Grechkin (Yuri Nasonov), the son of a billionaire, takes place, and he is accused of a hit-and-run incident under the influence of alcohol. Kirill, despite being apprehended with proof by Grom himself, feels that he won’t be convicted.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Aleksei Lyosha Makarov (Oleg Chugunov), a boy from the same orphanage where the girl who was hit by Kirill lived, feels that the court is corrupt, and is against the common man. He is extremely disappointed, and is also supposed to have disappeared somewhere after the verdict acquits the rich boy. IT millionaire Sergei Razumovsky (Sergei Goroshko), who is the founder of a new social network Vmeste, and his friend Oleg Volkov (Dmitry Chebotaryov), who grew up in the same orphanage as the murdered girl, are not happy with the court’s decision. A masked man attacks and burns Kirill Grechkin, whose car is also destroyed completely. With flame throwers, armour and great skills in combat in possession of the killer, Grom is not able to catch him. Lyosha is taken by the police for the murder, but Grom tells everyone about the incidents of last night, which the police dismisses. He investigates on the case, but it seems that almost everyone wanted the boy to be dead, as he was such a nuisance.

And what more is added to the tale as something strange is coming up? :: Yulia Pchyolkina (Lyubov Aksyonova), a blogger and journalist also wanted a role in the investigation. Later, Oleg comes to Razumovsky and confesses the truth that he is the man on the streets with the flamethrower. Razumovsky is upset by this, but doesn’t want to turn his friend in to the authorities. It is then that videos of a strange man known as Plague Doctor appear on the internet. He wears a mask and a combat suit, and has bombs and flamethrowers – he promises to clean the city and take it out of all the criminal mess. Olga Isaeva (Anna Nevskaya), head of RosGarantBank is the next victim of the Plague Doctor, as she is accused of taking away the money of the poor. There seems to be a war on the rich and influential, called on by the Plague Doctor, while Lyosha is released. The newly formed vigilante is now considered as a hero by many people, who don’t want him to be caught. What does this change do to the law and order situation in the city?

The defence of Major Grom :: The movie does have a hero played well by Tikhon Zhiznevsky, and Sergei Goroshko makes a fine antagonist. Lyubov Aksyonova plays the lead well too. The film can also boast about its stunning visuals, which is interesting in more than one way. There is the feeling of quality here, which is maintained at all times. The beautiful world of Saint Petersburg is a boost, and we do get some fine action sequences around here, with the strong antagonist who seems to be better than the most. The protagonist here is not a Batman, Thor, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Spider-Man – kind of hero, as he has no specific superpowers or a lot of money, except for the fact that he is strong and surely has an expertise in fighting. The film focuses on his strengths and moves forward well. Even for a seemingly superhero movie, it does stay close to reality, and keeps the hero somewhat flawed too. There is also the presence of some humour which works, and keeps the pace quick at all times.

Positives and negatives :: The movie basically follows the usual plot, and that too, without trying too hard. It is not really different from the usual superhero movies, with a villain having a grand motive, and also having those psychological problems, but talks about being ideologically superior. The choice of the villain’s costume is interesting as well symbolic, as he intends to take away the plague in the form of a few people, from the city, striking as the Plague Doctor providing treatment. It is no surprise that movie makers outside Hollywood are making some fine superhero films these days, for the cultural difference is contributing very nicely to making these flicks more interesting than seeing something which we have seen for a very long time. Yet, there is always more that these kind of movies can do, with creative imagination that can go beyond some comics, suiting the age. A superhero can be built differently, and transformed as much as a creative thinker can – something which would make the admirers of the genre proud. After all, you are never really far away from finding the perfect superhero.

How it finishes :: Here is another interesting heroic adventure of our times, based on another comics. For a change, we do have the superhero policeman, and not the common man who takes the law into one’s hands, mostly due to circumstances. Well, we require our superheroes in all forms, even without the superpowers – defeating what seems to be a supervillain is surely what matters the most. It does remind us of those other superhero movies, but with its setting, as well as with the choice of cast, it does stand apart. There are not many superheroes who can get a strong villain like this one, and therefore, just like Minnal Murali, this one powers up well enough. In a world populated by humans who have been degrading further into their evil ways, the requirement of a superhero seems to be understood better these days, along with the understanding that one can never have such a hero in reality. With the same, the movie does provide some good escapism, even though it is still close to reality than most superhero works.

Release date: 5th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Oleg Trofim
Starring: Tikhon Zhiznevsky, Lyubov Aksyonova, Aleksei Maklakov, Aleksandr Seteykin, Sergei Goroshko, Dmitry Chebotaryov, Mikhail Evlanov, Oleg Chugunov

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Acceleration

Vampire Owl: How far can you accelerate here?

Vampire Bat: Well, the movie has a world of crime in it, and so, we can be sure that the acceleration will be related to action.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that such an acceleration will affect the plot negatively.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that there will be just the usual plot.

Vampire Owl: They are not really into create a story to run beneath the action, or do they value it too?

Vampire Bat: I have read what the movie is about. It is nothing that you have heard about – we have only that tale without surprises.

Vampire Owl: So, this movie is to be watched only for the action sequences.

Vampire Bat: There could also be some thrilling moments in store.

Vampire Owl: Well, if it works with what it needs to, I have no real objection.

Vampire Bat: Let us see how it manages to work out.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Vladik Zorich (Dolph Lundgren) is one of the much feared and respected crime lords of Los Angeles. As he is double-crossed by his most trusted operative on crime, Rhona Zyocki (Natalie Burn), the man who runs many businesses including weapons, gambling, drugs and skin trafficking, decides to make her dance according to his songs. With no more risks possible in his current business, he kidnaps her only son, and with the little kid by his side, he gets the power to make her obey everything that he asks him to do, like a slave under command, the chain being attached to the child. As her son’s life is in his hands, Rhona struggles to obey Vladik’s orders, as she has to face some of the most twisted men and women in the business. But with her son’s life on the line, she will go through punches, kicks, gunshots and torture, with one goal in mind. Can Natalie do all the necessary things needed to keep her son alive, as Vladik has more plans for her? Will she and her son survive?

The defence of Acceleration :: The movie does have some nice action sequences, more related to shooting, and thanks to Natalie Burn being perfect in doing all that, Acceleration does manage to accelerate through its short run-time which is actually shorter due to the longer credit scenes, making it lasting about one hour and twenty minutes, losing another five minutes in the process. With such a low budget, they did manage to make this much, and has also managed to have some good performances from the main cast. The visuals are good too, as we look at the city which is coloured nicely in the night and with the darkness to set the mood for some action with much at stake. As the movie progresses you want to see more of Natalie on the screen, as sooner or later, this becomes all about her, the character on whom everything around here focuses on. You will have to watch it without thinking too much, and things will come together with progress.

The claws of flaw :: There are times when we feel that the writers were in a hurry to finish this movie. This is already a very short movie lasting less than one and half hours, and they don’t find it enough, as it seems from how this movie has been jumping from one scene to the other. There could have been better editing in place for sure. In the end, there is a rush, and at times, the protagonist has it easy – she beats up people easily, and escapes from bondage by herself, not really looking as if she ever had even a little trouble. You shouldn’t make things too easy in a movie like this, as the way she escapes here is just too silly, as the man who caught her and tied her up is a human trafficker and had intended to punish her hard in a way which she would remember throughout her like until she dies, but she just frees herself and simply stabs him after walking through his evil lair which is supposed to be so difficult to escape from. The movie’s twists are not interesting either – there were opportunities to add to it, but the movie doesn’t do so.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has Natalie Burn written all over it as far as performances are concerned, as she becomes the perfect action star with looks and style as much as the action sequences. With her looks, she is separated from the usual leading actress – she possesses that intensity that cannot be unmatched, and that is more or less due to her appearance, as she becomes someone we expect to beat people up, and maybe even shoot them nicely. But action surely is not her only skill, as Natalia Guslistaya, the Ukrainian model can do much more, without doubt. She was also seen in Mechanic: Resurrection, Expendables 3 and Criminal, all of them action thrillers, even though not in those main roles, and so there is a good chance that you might have missed her in those films. Dolph Lundgren was last seen in Aquaman in a significant role, and you can try finding him there, and the clue is that it is linked to Mera, the superhero’s lover underwater in the Kingdom of Atlantis. He is the one other actor worth mentioning, and the others just manage to play along at most of time.

How it finishes :: Acceleration is more or less the time-pass action movie which you can watch without spending much time thinking about. There is not much otherwise as far as this movie is concerned. There is enough in this movie to keep you interested as a crime action thriller. But escapism does get the advantage over the other things, and thus this movie is left with not much for the brain. It goes on the lines of many other action thrillers, but doesn’t use those elements of the genre to the best of advantage – but that might not have been needed considering the fact that this movie doesn’t try too hard. It lets everything go accordingly, because with Natalie Burn and Dolph Lundgren in the lead, an action thriller can go on as expected, without attempted to come with something grand. Acceleration accelerates just enough for you, and the escapist entertainment runs on that initial acceleration which is a little boosted at times.

[Gets some friench fries along with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: This movie could have been so much more.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they could have used the leading lady to more potential.

Vampire Owl: This is a movie which was not watched by many people, and so, not many people know about it.

Vampire Bat: She surely is perfect for an action movie, don’t you think?

Vampire Owl: Yes, but more as the lady villain rather than as the heroine.

Vampire Bat: There is no question about the fact that she looks quite lethal with the action sequences and more.

Vampire Owl: I never knew that Hollywood has such actresses custom made for such roles.

Vampire Bat: We didn’t know that there would be Corona Virus either.

Vampire Owl: There are so many things that we don’t know.

Vampire Bat: Well, knowledge doesn’t come with immortality. You have to read a lot to come up with that.

[Vanishes into the shadows behind the oak tree].

Release date: 8th November 2019
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Michael Merino, Daniel Zirilli
Starring: Natalie Burn, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Liddell, Sean Patrick Flanery, Danny Trejo, Dobromir Mashukov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Maradona

What is the movie about? :: Maradona (Tovino Thomas) is a young man who finds some illegal ways of getting easy money every time, and for his support, there is his childhood friend Sudhi (Tito Wilson). Breaking law came easy to them, and they did the same without any regret. Both gets in trouble as they end up in a dangerous situation involving a lawyer as well as a rich politician. The influential people are looking for revenge on the young men, and it sets Martin (Chemban Vinod Jose) and his aid Anto (Kichu Tellus) are after them. They search for Maradona and his friend throughout Kerala, and follows the trail to the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. While Sudhi travels to Kanyakumari with a journey to the South, Maradona seeks refuge in the flat of his distant relative at Bangalore. Martin searches and finds the links getting close to finding both of them at different points.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Maradona is not happy with his stay, but he has nowhere to go. The result is that he finds his own moments of happiness in the flat. Soon, he finds new friends in the nearby homes including a girl who works as a home nurse at the adjacent flat, Asha (Sharanya R Nair). The relationship goes further, as both can’t help falling in love with each other. But with the people chasing him getting closer, Maradona will have think about more than just love to make something good out of life. Is there a chance for a happy ending for Maradona? What can satisfy the people who are chasing him? Hope might be the thing with wings, but is Maradona good enough to have some? How much more trouble can he take after being injured in a clash?

The defence of Maradona :: The movie’s game is that of life, and the man named after the great footballer needs to score his goals – life is a tough game, and we can see the same reflected without exaggeration here. The visuals are nicely captured, and the songs are lovely to listen here. The “Kaadhale” song along with its visuals are nothing less than the bliss of solitude, as Wordsworth would compare. The thrills are present with a chase going on right from the beginning. The action scenes are good, and as a movie with more, we see the drama and the romantic scenes working very well too. Above them all, we see the gradual transformation of the character as he goes through the situations which he hasn’t been familiar with. It is a coming of age story in a different way, and there is nothing here that restricts the movie’s slow, but steady movement towards the same.

The claws of flaw :: The movie feels a little bit stretched with its idea, and even then, a flashback to the flawed hero is not that much there. The title Maradona might have mislead many people, but there is absolutely no presence of football in this one; it is just that people kicking others are present all the time. There is also more scope for Maradona, not just with its thrills and action, but also with the cute romantic side – more of the comic side could have made the presence felt right there. The ending might seem a little bit too far-fetched for a movie like this, and it is more or less an attempt to quickly move towards a happy ending loved by the audience, something which Mayaanadhi never really tried to achieve. Dealing with a certain divergence, this one could have thrived on it, but takes a step back as it moves towards the end – there is no doubt of the same being enjoyable though.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino once again scores as the flawed hero – the question here once again whether his flaws lead to his fall or can he rise above it? There are similarities to his character in Mayaanadhi, but clearly, this role is tougher, and there is no asking for sympathy – all actions of this particular character are intentional, and most of them are not good even for the standards of the typically bad hero. The movie celebrates his deeds, whether good or bad, and it is on his character that the movie progresses. We also see the gradual change that come across the character – it is also nicely shown by him. We have the character that is close to life, and we never doubt the flawed hero’s reality that is displayed here, no matter how much it stays away from the usual heroic stuff.

Further performers of the soul :: Chemban Vinod Jose as strong as he has always been, playing an antagonist without backing down at any moment. He has his own moments here too, showing more than one side of the character. Tito Wilson with the Angamaly Diaries fame excels once again, and his supporting role is once again natural and realistic. Sharanya R Nair is the new face in this flick, and this addition to the list of heroines nicely makes her presence felt. All her work here is nicely balanced, and we are glad to welcome her into the industry, being confident that there is a lot more for her to contribute. Leona Lishoy also makes her presence felt with her supporting work again. The cuteness factor does help, but it is not restricted to that, and we see her going through the different emotions at various points of time without any problem that a newcomer would be exhibiting, and all’s just natural.

How it finishes :: There is something about the movie chosen by Tovino Thomas, for they bring the difference almost every time. Maradona also shows such qualities, with the seemingly usual characters and usual tale choosing to go through a divergent path, with quite a different treatment. This one might not be the movie for everyone, but just like Tharangam, it chooses to make something more out of what seems to be a usual story. In a monotonous world, there are only a few movies which try to experiment with its content, covering the possibility of predictability so well – Maradona will be remembered as one of those movies. With some moments which can stay in our minds for long, this one will continue to be the one movie which will go on into the Onam vacations despite nature having its own way with the never-ending rainfall.

Here is a video song from the movie:

Release date: 27th July 2018
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Vishnu Narayan
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Chemban Vinod Jose, Tito Wilson, Sharanya R Nair, Leona Lishoy, Shalu Rahim, Kichu Tellus, Parthavi, Niranjan Harish, Hari Thampuran, Nistar Ahmed, Jins Baskar

<— Click here to go to the previous reviews, both English and Malayalam.

@ 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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adhura

Vampire Owl: It has been long enough since you reviewed a short-film.

Vampire Bat: I would say that the frequency of movie reviews at Movies of the Soul has decreased overall, and it is not just with the shorter versions.

Vampire Owl: I have found you to be too far away from cinema these days than ever.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have been busy. There has been other work in between.

Vampire Owl: But I am glad that we are back to watching movies as it used to be.

Vampire Bat: This is just a small break, and you can’t expect me to review movies as much as I used to be.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that this short-film has proven to be an inspiration to bring you back to the movie reviewing world, and there will be more to get you back.

Vampire Bat: It is somewhat true. But even then, that would depend on the availability of time.

Vampire Owl: Still, you remember that we have found more in short-films than the rest.

Vampire Bat: With Bengali short-films, I am sure that I can find more.

[Gets some banana chips and three cups of Munnar tea].

What is the movie about? :: It is the time of Durga Puja at Kolkata, as the City of Joy prepares for the festival. It is on one of those days that Sudipto (Praveen Srivastava) couldn’t help noticing a beautiful girl on the other side of the road where he awaits his friend to arrive on his motor-bike to provide him a ride to his office. He keeps finding the girl at the same place at the same time, and she is revealed to be Mira (Amita Bharat). As days pass, he feels that he has fallen in love with her at the first sight itself, and soon, he feels the need to gets closer to her, and desperately wishes to express his feelings for her. His friend, Bunny (Dhruv Jha) is a mutual friend to them both, who has feelings for her too, but decides to sacrifice his own feelings for Sudipto. Soon, he decides that it is time for him to propose, but then, there is a twist that awaits him.

The defence of Adhura :: Based on the Micro Story, One Rainy Day by Reetwika Banerjee, the movie is nicely brought together as an interesting short-film. With a good cast and a lovely song in between, the movie nicely brings the romantic side to full strength. It has that kind of a romantic side which some movie can only bring with a full-length. We remember that the movies like Ennu Ninte Moideen and Annayum Rasoolum took about three hours to show that there is romance out there, especially in the eyes of the male lead. This short-film takes only a few moments to do the same. We can see that the male lead, Praveen Srivastava has done an excellent job in that case – the feelings, from innocent love to heartbreak that tends to follow. The rest of the cast, Amita Bharat, Dhruv Jha and Ajoy Chakraborty, all feel so natural, something for which many bigger short-films struggle with the cast.

Soul exploration 1: The irony of love at first sight :: The story has the strength inside to keep the romance going, and nicely takes it to that final twist. It is the love at first sight, that takes on through that beautiful song, and into those final moments of agony. It is more of less the futility of what is often reflected in the feelings of infatuation that can be seen here. As love develops for beauty without knowing a person, the result, as it is always possible, could be disaster. There is the feeling of romance, but it is only half-baked, as we go deep about what has caused one to fall in love. We see the same with the protagonist, who is innocent in his dreams, but fate has that special to be more cruel that one can guess. It assures that there is no such thing as love at first sight which can stay, and there is no strength in such romance that is built on weak pillars of infatuation.

Soul exploration 2: There is no seeing behind the masks of others :: People are rarely those whom we think that they are, and most of them have a twist in waiting for us. We think that things are straight forward as it seems, but they are not. You see people with many faces, like personalities in Split, or a terrible secret to hide like in Pet. The mask that a smile brings is stronger than any other. There are not many people who are not wearing masks, and it is the tendency that comes out of innocence to believe that the masks are real faces. True love has it difficult during these days, and it is sad to say that even friendship has to struggle to find the right one. Sometimes, we are just not that good to see through people, and love is just one of those things that take the sight away from us – for, people always say that love is blind, and some others learn how bad the blindness is.

How it finishes :: Adhura might feel a little long for a few, but its shots make sure that they have our attention. Simple and yet immediately catching our attention, this one has all that it takes to keep things strong throughout its run-time in its story. You feel that you have watched what could be the perfect, cute, love story, but then you know that you have been slowly moving towards a twist which was destined to turn things upside down. This surely has the firepower to go full movie, with necessary elements added – maybe something in the lines of Premam with different stages of realization of the protagonist. With such a good cast, maybe it could go ahead of a number of other movies which have dealt with a similar theme as a full movie.

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

Vampire Owl: So, I see that this is your first review of a Bengali movie of any kind.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and the fourth one that I have watched.

Vampire Owl: Interesting. I remember that you also started reviewing movies in foreign languages this year.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this has been an interesting year. Just like the last year, so many things happened around here.

Vampire Owl: Who would have thought that Take Off would be our favourite movie of the year?

Vampire Bat: A lot of things including this review were not on our list. I am sure that there is more to come this year with more than two months left.

Vampire Owl: I can already say that you are going to review more Bengali movies.

Vampire Bat: That would depend on the permission given by time.

Vampire Owl: Time is a fraud. He would never stop for us.

Vampire Bat: Unless, we go so fast that it would make us feel that he has almost stopped.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Watch the movie Adhura here:

Release date: 24th September 2017
Running time: 19 minutes
Directed by: Abhijit Sinha
Starring: Amita Bharat, Praveen Srivastava, Ajoy Chakraborty, Dhruv Jha

<— Go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Noor

Vampire Owl: The only Noor I know is from the 1997 Malayalam movie, Chandralekha.

Vampire Bat: That character was Nooruddin.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but saying the name will be like asking for a hundred rupees.

Vampire Bat: It doesn’t matter. If you get one hundred rupees, keep it.

Vampire Owl: But what would I do with human money in our realm?

Vampire Bat: Well, you can start a coin museum. We already have different kinds of museums and one more will do nicely.

Vampire Owl: That is surely not a bad idea. My zombie minions can always do with some extra business when not trying to take over the world.

Vampire Bat: Isn’t it yet proven that they can’t take over the world at all?

Vampire Owl: No, because I have taught them to be positive in their life, or rather in their undead existence.

Vampire Bat: Now I know what is going wrong with a few brainless zombies.

[Gets three cups of strong tea with Mariegold biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Noor Roy Chaudhary (Sonakshi Sinha) is a girl in her late twenties, worried about so many things, and her weight being more than her Twitter followers is just one of them. She feels that she is the step-daughter of her father, and the cat Dimpy is the real child, as he cares a lot for the cat. She feels that there is nothing good going on in her life, as she spends most of her time in the traffic, and can’t afford anything much, with her salary being lesser than what she has been spending in the last few months – the potholes meant that she had to keep changing the tyres of her Tata Nano, and she also ends up quitting smoking to cut the costs. Her job as a journalist has her disappointed all the time, as she thinks that she is more of a joker than a journalist. She keeps sending her resume to CNN and BBC so that she could escape from the meaningless journalism which she is doing.

So, what happens next? :: Shekhar Das (Manish Chaudhary), her boss used to be a journalist whom everyone admired – all young journalists wanted to be like him. After his marriage to Lavina Kapadia (Suchitra Pillai), he had received his father-in-law’s news agency, and had settled in as the boss, and had no more courageous journalist action. It is there, at The Buzz that Noor also worked as the junior correspondent. She runs a show called Mumbai Believe it or Not which she finds to be pointless. She gets to talk to different people in the city, like someone who walks upside down and another one who never removes her helmet – she wants to do something like the problems local fishermen are facing due to a new coastal road and the problem with sewers. Also, she is worried about her weight, and doesn’t believe that any good and decent guy will fall in love with her, considering that hiring a hitman to kill someone is rather easier.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Her best friend in the city is Zaara Patel (Shibani Dandekar) who doesn’t listen to anyone else, and has been trying to motivate her since school days. Saad Sehgal (Kanan Gill), her other friend is now at London, and these childhood friends are all that she got. Her favourite sentence is “I hate my life”, and the maid at the place Malti (Smita Tambe) is the only other person whom she regularly talks, other than her friend and her father (MK Raina). It is then that she comes across Ayananka Banerjee (Purab Kohli) who has been a CNN reporter working in the Middle East during the wars, and the two gets close. It is then that she gets an idea about something more – an exclusive news which could turn things around for her. But will that happen, or will she remains the same and keep blaming herself for not doing it right?

The defence of Noor :: The movie goes on a realistic path, and there is nothing that goes beyond the lines drawn regarding the same. We feel the protagonist’s problems, no matter how silly they will sound, and they are possible in the case of so many people. The first half is really good, with some humour, and there are also those moments which are there to stay. The credit for the same goes to Sonakshi Sinha who makes this character work so well. Her dialogues, expressions, and the incidents in life make things go on smoothly, and we keep enjoying the light and sweet moments around. There is everything going right with this character with those scenes. If you don’t read too many reviews which keep saying that this isn’t right, and that should have been like something else, you will know that this movie is close to life as it can get – most of the blame put on this movie seems to be more due to some prejudice rather than anything else, even though the movie does have its problems. Still, there are messages, and the feel-good factor.

The claws of flaw :: Noor could have been big, and there is no doubt about that. There was scope for almost everything that could have stayed, from big thrilling moments to those big funny scenes, all contributing very well to the movie in totality. There are also those silly scenes which get rather too much of an attention. There are also those final moments, which seem to have finished the movie without trying that much – maybe there was a rush without that much of a thinking. Things get rather too comforable there, and we are left to witness the curse of the second half, which has attacked Bollywood so much, and is without any plans to stop at any time. One has to wonder why it gets a step down from the moment the first half stops. When there seems to be the chance to get deep into the bad practices in the medical field, the movie just takes one step back, and then when getting close to the bad guy, there is another step taken back – strange things happen in the second half. Then there is too much of party.

How it finishes :: One thing that Noor makes one feel is like that of the Malayalam movie Mili. There is a lot in common between the two despite having entirely different personalities. Also, in certain reviews, there have been people judging the character, without thinking about the fact that it is the role, and this is a person who has her own problems – some people are even against her thoughts, and it is not like they say that it is badly done, but coming up with the idea that it is wrong. It is a strange judgment of people when you see it. We surely have some strange people who come with their own strange ways of hating a movie. This flick is based on the novel Karachi, You’re Killing Me! by the Pakistani journalist and writer Saba Imtiaz, which was also her debut novel. She has also developed the script for this movie, and any comparison can only be done by someone who has gone through both the movie and the novel.

Release date: 21st April 2017
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Sunhil Sippy
Starring: Sonakshi Sinha, Shibani Dandekar, Smita Tambe, Kanan Gill, Purab Kohli, Manish Chaudhary, Suchitra Pillai, MK Raina, Gareth Lawrence, Nikhil Khurana, Indraneel Bhattacharya, Sippora Zoutewelle, Ajita Khanna, Yulian Shchukin, Avantika Akerkar, Sunny Leone (cameo), Diljit Dosanjh (cameo), Badshah (cameo)

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fireman

fireman ()

Vampire Owl :: I believe that you are talking about Kane.

Vampire Bat :: No, Kane sets people on fire. This is about saving people.

Vampire Owl :: So he saves those people who are set on fire by Kane. I know that the fire still burns.

Vampire Bat :: No, this is only about saving people from fire.

Vampire Owl :: He should save a few cricketers then. During the last India Pakistan match, I heard from many people that Virat Kohli was on fire.

Vampire Bat :: What? I think that this is too early for you. Go back to sleep, it is only ten thirty in the morning.

Vampire Owl :: What about the English movies this weekend?

Vampire Bat :: There are only Oscar nominated movies in the theatres this weekend. Nothing has been released. By the time they finish cutting Fifty Shades of Grey, even our immortality would have expired.

Vampire Owl :: I am hoping for a job at the censor board. Then I can display my cruelty by cutting parts of a movie. I hope to become Mr. Cruelty for the next Global Vampire Cruelty contest.

Vampire Bat :: First, you can try to come to your senses at least at 10:30 AM.

[Goes to the theatre].

What is it about? :: Vijay (Mammootty) is a firefighter who is highly dedicated to his work and considers helping the public as his main motive. Lakshmanan Pillai (P Sreekumar) is his senior who is almost ready to retire from service, and Shahjahan (Unni Mukundan) is a young man who works under him. One day, he faces a problem that he never had before. A tanker losses its control, and the tank which it carries is tossed around. As a number of his comrades including his senior are killed, Vijay has to take control and make sure that there is no explosion of the tank, and with the help of the City Commissioner Sherin Thomas (Nyla Usha) and her reluctant police force, he has to get things under control. The local political worker Iqbal (Siddique) also offers to help. But it is not an easy situation here with the need to evacuate the surroundings, one of the nearby buildings being the central prison.

The defence of Fireman :: There is the certainty of thrills with this movie and the tribute to the Fire-force of Kerala is present as well as acknowledged. There is also the presence of twists, and the audience is kept glued to the screen. The background score is good and nicely keeps the level of the movie high. The dialogues are smart and powerful, mostly left for Mammootty. The way in which the movie transforms from a possible disaster movie to a possible investigative thriller adds to the power of that twist. Yes, once again, there is more than what meets the eye. The climax has some nice moments. There are a few more things that I could add here, but that might destroy the suspense at least up-to an extent and I choose not to. Then there is absolutely no romance here, and for that, I am more than just glad. Yet, the heroine has her moments too.

The Claws of Flaw :: The special effects are quite depressing to watch. Some of the moments should have been just talked about and declared happened, rather than showing them on the big screen. Just those fire effects were needed for this movie, and the rest could have been left for the imaginations – our viewers are very much used to creating something by themselves. The name itself is a repetition with its tagline, as you might have noticed – the publicity was also not enough. The movie also takes some time to get into the thrilling side. The movie is not without some loopholes with certain exaggeration, and the final action scene was rather unnecessary. The focus on the hero as always being the smartest of them all is also a little too much to digest. The other characters do have a certain tendency not to be that good.

Performers of the soul :: I haven’t watched a movie having Mammootty since Gangster, because it was the lowest that the great veteran actor could reach, may be with the exception of Parunthu, Love in Singapore and Pattanathil Bhootham. With some better movies being there in between as read here and there, I went to watch this movie, not without doubts – only to be happy that I made the right choice this time. This one is strengthened by that power packed performance from Mammootty that each and everyone of his fans deserve to see on the big screen. As the whole thing is centred around him, he continues keeping things under control. Unni Mukundan is good, and Siddique manages things with his usual ease. Nyla Usha comes up with her best performance ever, and I would consider this one the best supporting role from an actress in a police role. Salim Kumar’s character doesn’t really work.

Soul exploration :: We used to see the police officers acting at the right time to save the day, and even collectors – this time it is all about the fireman. The movie pays tribute to the fire workers who come to the aid of the common man as soon as there is the need with the number 101. The movie’s soul strikes the right place with its tribute, as we see the hero as fireman and not those usual roles which have been tried again and again. There is a question being asked about how many people want to be a fireman as much as having a desire to be a police officer or an army man? Well, hope this movie inspires more people to see the fireman as a hero and hope to save the lives. I am glad that this movie turns out to be a fine product on the screen, and it celebrates the efforts of those people who strives hard, but are often not in the spotlight.

How it finishes :: Fireman has a big chance this weekend with no Hollywood release and this one being the more awaited among the Malayalam movies with its change of release dates. The opinions have been positive too, as you can know from the audience. I did doubt our director here with his movies Tejabhai and Family and Crazy Gopalan, but his Winter had its thrills – I could also feel the confidence when he was there in the program Onnum Onnum Moonu with Unni Mukundan and Nyla Usha. This should be the first movie in India to have Fire-force and their activities at the centre – I still can’t say that with confidence because I don’t watch every movie in every language, but it seems to be so. Fireman is a movie that deserves to be watched, and it is not just a good start to Mammootty, but also the best thriller of the year so far.

Release date: 19th February 2015
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Deepu Karunakaran
Starring: Mammootty, Nyla Usha, Unni Mukundan, Siddique, Sreerag Nambiar, Salim Kumar, Hareesh Peradi, P Sreekumar

fireman

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.