Squared Love

Vampire Owl: I hope that blood drinking can also be squared.

Vampire Bat: Drinking blood does not work like that.

Vampire Owl: You should understand that there are many ways of drinking blood.

Vampire Bat: The act has its own value for the soul.

Vampire Owl: Well, that is only if you follow the procedure.

Vampire Bat: Nobody follows the procedure these days.

Vampire Owl: I was not talking about the Twilight vampires.

Vampire Bat: I was not referring to fictional vampires either.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that new vampire tales are not fictional, but related to the lives of humans who are too hungry.

Vampire Bat: Well, it means some fine creative imagination.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three cups of orange tea].

What is the movie about? :: Monika Grabarczyk (Adrianna Chlebicka) lives a double life, as she works as a school teacher as well as reputed model, with or without the wig and makeup. She also wears glasses, and changes the colour of her eyes to make sure that people don’t easily recognize her. She does not really like both jobs, as she is scolded by the headmaster due to the unruly children and all the exposing as the model in swimwear does not appeal to her either – but she still has to pay back her loans in time. Stefan Tkaczyk (Mateusz Banasiuk), also known as Enzo is a journalist who is also in multiple relationships with many different women – he remains popular with the women despite making some unwanted mistakes in his articles. His firm still keeps him due to his popularity. The company decides to make good use of his popularity in an upcoming ad, as things works the best for him with his face on the television. He is soon kicked out of his live-in relationship, the one which he was pursuing with many others at the same time, but this one makes him basically homeless.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He ends up living with his brother for the time being, as his wife is has gone on a trip from which she might not return to him, and there is the need for someone to look after the child. Even though neither Monika or Stefan wants to continue with that ad, the agencies are adamant that they are the ones suitable for the job. Monika particularly does not want to be seen with Stefan on the posters and billboards all around the city, which are already full of her pictures in swimwear. But her father’s debt keep following her even at school, and she is forced to go back to shooting the ad again. The company is looking for something for something special from the two leads of the campaign, and they feel that without it, they are done. They keep trying for something different, and they manage to get something working in their favour after a long time of brainstorming. Meanwhile, Monika is warned that her students have to score well, or she would lose her job. Now, what awaits both Monika and also Stefan who seems to be beginning to get along with her both versions?

The defence of Squared Love :: The one thing that you would love more than the other things is that the movie maintains its status as a romantic comedy really well, and it never gets melodramatic, even though there are those emotional moments – the feel-good elements maintain a certain amount of strength, and it can be seen at its best by the end of the movie. There is something about this light-hearted romance which will make you wish to watch it with admiration for the proceedings rather than the usual feelings. Despite the whole thing being related to modeling, we do notice a certain amount of cuteness related the proceedings – the leading lady remains differently beautiful in those avatars, as one would find it difficult to recognize one as better than the other; yet the teacher avatar is indeed more suitable to her. The movie is indeed a modern age fairy-tale which can be watched by everyone in the family; it is the kind of film which is good for everyone. The experience is indeed beautiful, without ever falling into melodrama or sadness at any point – we remain happy to watch this one, and remain so throughout it.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does keep us reminded that this kind of ideas have been used many times, and it does not really try to come up with any innovation with the basic idea. The subtitles might not be exact too, as some people seems to have commented about the film in different platforms; I would have expected some nice romantic dialogues translated with poetic beauty to English with the right use of words. It is also surprising that people are not able to recognize the young lady as the common school teacher and not the swimsuit model, but the situation is still better than some of the Bollywood movies in which the wife is not even able to recognize the husband – the students whom she teaches are able to know that both are the same without taking much of time. The role of the other protagonist is also not that well defined, as only his nature seems somewhat established – as about one quarter of the film is done, he is more of a model than a journalist; one would be forced to guess whether he is some Youtube, Instagram or Facebook influencer due to which he has the fans and admirers.

The performers of the soul :: The proceedings are led well by Adrianna Chlebicka, who is perfect in two identities of the character – there is excellence in her work as the model which she might have already been familiar with, and she does even better as the teacher who takes care of the children so well. She has her emotions expressed with beauty and quality like not many actresses have done in relation to such a role, and there are many close-up shots which seems to favour her. She should be part of some romantic flick in Hollywood at some point of time. Mateusz Banasiuk seems to suit the role well, even though the character is not that clearly defined related to what he does for a living, as he writes, models, lives with girlfriends and in the end, has a lot of fans, a number which only increases in time. Then, there is the chemistry between the two, which works like a dream – there is even a certain amount of cuteness related to it. Mirosław Baka as the leading lady’s father and Tomasz Karolak as the school principal have their notable roles. Helena Mazur who plays the child is also a lovely addition to the film.

How it finishes :: Squared Love feels like the usual romantic love story which one would like to keep watching again and again in different forms. I have not really been fans of romantic comedies, especially when they are not in Malayalam – the Bollywood ones with romance are the strangest and the dumbest of them all, with infinite ridiculous scenes and some really dumb music. It seems that without nepotism, acting also gets to a higher level. After all, there is nothing worse than watching a Bollywood romance with the so called superstars dancing and showing lust in the name of pure love; that would make this one a fresh breath of air in comparison. At least Poland knows knows how to make a fairy-tale kind of love story work. Bollywood could give it a match when it learns something from the Malayalam films, not just with the evergreen Romantic classics like Summer in Bethlehem, Niram and Aniyathipravu of the past, but also those which came in the modern age like Anarkali. Until then, we have the movies from Eastern Europe in support too.

Release date: 11th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Filip Zylber
Starring: Adrianna Chlebicka, Mateusz Banasiuk, Agnieszka Żulewska, Anna Smołowik, Krzysztof Czeczot, Mirosław Baka, Tomasz Karolak

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<<< Click here to go to previous Polish film review.

<<< Click here to go to first Polish film review here.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Boss Baby

Vampire Owl: More bosses and more babies? I thought we were done with them as Storks finished.

Vampire Bat: Well, the boss is a baby, and the baby is a boss. There is no more to add to it.

Vampire Owl: I have a feeling that this could be about Mavis. You remember our time with her earlier.

Vampire Bat: She is not a boss. And the baby here is human.

Vampire Owl: Dude, every human is just a simple bite away from not being human.

Vampire Bat: What? You bite babies and kids these days? When did you start doing it?

Vampire Owl: No! I was referring to the werewolves and zombies.

Vampire Bat: There has been no zombie infection since last redmoon, when the witches threw that beach party.
Werewolves are just too angry to go out of their territory. You will find no chance of humans getting bitten.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein had informed us that humans were developing new vaccines leading to zombie outbreaks.

Vampire Bat: Even Frankenstein can’t stop humans and their perpetual greed. I am sure that he knows about that too ever since he turned undead.

[Gets some jackfruit chips and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Templeton (Tobey Maguire) tells the story of his childhood, from the time when he was seven years old, living with his parents, Ted (Jimmy Kimmel) and Janice (Lisa Kudrow). He lives a happy life as their only son, getting all their love, and is not ready to share the same with a brother or sister. He keeps an imaginary world with himself, where he goes on missions, mostly saving the day all by himself, and this fictional world is a significant part of his existence. It is due to the same that he is not able to believe when a baby arrives there dressed in a black suit. He feels that his new brother, the baby (Alec Baldwin) receives rather too much attention while he is ignored by his parents. They keep dealing with the baby’s needs and Templeton gets almost nothing. He is frustrated and envious of this new person who has stolen his world, and the love which only he is to receive.

So, what happens next? :: Templeton also feels that the baby is acting strange, but the parents are not ready to check that due to their love for the new arrival into their family. He is also shocked to know that the baby can talk like an adult. One day, he listens to the baby talking to the other babies of the neighbourhood and understands that they are on a mission. He tries to get the evidence, but gets grounded. So this baby, who turns out to the the boss of the rest of the babies in the neighbourhood, the Boss Baby, after their confrontations, decides to tell Templeton the truth. He makes Templeton suck on a pacifier which takes them to Baby Corp, a place where babies are doing business, sending infant love right after the babies are produced. Only a selected group of babies are chosen into business there, and there they try to keep the love for babies active. But now, they are facing a crisis, with puppy love overtaking the love for babies.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: It has been a global phenomenon, as puppies having been taking over everything, more than doubling the love humans have for babies, leaving very little for cats, birds and the others. If the Boss Baby doesn’t succeed in finding the secret files regarding what Puppy Co, the big puppy supplying organization is planning to do as a surprise which will completely eliminate all others including babies from the love list of humans. The Boss Baby is at the house because Templeton’s parents work at the Puppy Co, and he says that he will go back to business at Baby Corp after his mission is accomplished. But if he fails to do what he is assigned to do, he won’t be taken back into business, and will have to settle in with Templeton as his brother, his memories about Baby Corp gone. Templeton, wanting the Boss Baby to go away, decides to help him. But with puppies dominating further, can babies finally get the love the deserve?

The defence of The Boss Baby :: The visuals are really good, and the cuteness is clearly visible throughout this one. The kids are going to love this one from the beginning itself. It doesn’t matter how much close to reality this one has intended to get, the truth is that a lot of people these days love puppies more than babies. There are people who even make the public statement about the same, and don’t want to have babies – it makes this movie even more relevant to our world. How some people manage to hate babies, and still love puppies is a surprise to many, but we know how people are, and what they are capable of. The funny side remains mostly strong with this one – how the baby works with his suit and suitcase is so much fun to watch. The message is to spread love, and not to keep it inside, or limited to someone – there is always more than one person who deserve the love, which only multiplies and comes back when given.

The claws of flaw :: There is the certainty of strangeness concerning this movie which has a baby as the boss – it is rather the next level of having something that doesn’t really come together. It keeps itself far away from reality all the time, and it never even tries to come back and be normal for a second. We have already seen the baby factories in Storks too. There are moments when the comedy doesn’t work too, and the world of imagination shown within this movie is rather a little too stretched and not needed. By the end, The Boss Baby gets rather predictable though, and its surprise regarding the villain is not that much of a shocker either. Well, this much was set, and we wonder why not some more here. It is the world of wonderful animated movies, and here they have a baby as the main character, and there should have been more, I am sure that a lot of people will agree to getting more with the movie’s little protagonist brothers.

How it finishes :: The Boss Baby will also have a sequel coming up, and it will be interesting to see how this tale of baby business magnet will go on. Based on the 2010 picture book of the same name, which was written and illustrated by the American author Marla Frazee, this one surely has developed a lot from the material. The looks of The Boss Baby is of the level of big animated movies like Zootopia, Moana, Frozen, Epic, How to Train Your Dragon, Big Hero 6, Inside Out and Kung Fu Panda, but is never close to getting around that level in its content. This is the kind of world in which the lost fish as well as martial arts expert Panda gets sequels, and so whatever the baby gets is a bonus – after all, we don’t want fishes and pandas taking over the place of babies like those puppies did. This one doesn’t seem to be going for the Academy Awards with this, but with the entertainment side, The Boss Baby is a leader.

Release date: 31st March 2017
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Tom McGrath
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Miles Bakshi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Lisa Kudrow, Conrad Vernon, James McGrath, David Soren, Nina Zoe Bakshi, Tom McGrath, Walt Dohrn, James Ryan Eric Bell Jr, ViviAnn Yee, Edie Mirman, James McGrath, James Izzo

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Highway

highwayy

The eternal wait :: The one question that I had to ask myself is “On the second day of October, what did the movie Besharam give to me”? It did take away seventy rupees, but I am not talking about that. The answer is a lack of interest in Hindi movies since that Gandhi Jayanthi had come up with terror which had me watch no Hindi movie at all for almost five months (yes, not even on the television). So, it was a necessity that I wait for sometime so that such disaster won’t happen too soon. But there is no denying the fact that I almost watched Jai Ho, but the show was housefull. There are not many movies that have been as hyped as Highway despite having no big male star right in the middle of the story. I always knew that the best thing would be to watch my next Bollywood movie in the form of Highway rather than any other. There have been so much talks about this movie like “what is it going to be?”, “what story will it tell?”, “Alia Bhatt should be so awesome in it, so its a sure watch?”, “isn’t it about Stockholm syndrome?” and so on. The Vampire Bat had heard so much or rather too much about the movie, and he finally decided to fly to the theatre on a motor-bike.

What is it about? :: Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt) is kidnapped just before her wedding as she goes on a night ride with her fiancee trying to keep away the pressures and tension of the big function. She is kidnapped by a group of criminals as they stop at a petrol pump. But as the gang realizes that she is the daughter of a rich and powerful man with links to the government, police and the army, they decide to cancel their plans. But Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda) is not ready to give up as he takes her on a road trip away from the place so that they won’t be tracked. Even as she is initially bound and gagged by them, Veera gets more and more comfortable with her captors, and a bond develops between Mahabir and her. She feels free even as she is a captive, and feels so happy. She even refuses to escape when there is chance and feels that she should be with him for so much longer. She herself says that she doesn’t want the journey to end, as she has no desire to go back or go where the journey ends. But how long till her people finds them and the travel diary is put to a quick end?

The defence of Highway :: Most of the Keralites should remember a pseudo-travel movie with the long name Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and a big drag which begins with about fifteen minutes into it and ends only when the story finishes. Highway is far ahead of that one in almost all aspects, the most important ones being the acting and the visuals. Highway is a visually superior movie with its awesome locations, especially as it has succeeded in capturing the beauty of the paradise which is Kashmir. The beauty of nature becomes more and more joyful to watch as the movie moves on to the latter part of the second half, and it gets stronger and stronger by the time it reaches the end. Its messages of finding oneself and reaching beyond one’s fear are also stronger than ever. It’s use of the two protagonists, a man and woman, both having traumatic childhood works so well to touch our hearts. There is so much honesty in the way these are portrayed too, as there is no addition of stupid masala which makes worthless movies super-hits.

The claws of flaw :: The movie drags a lot, and shows potential to keep dragging. From the beginning itself, the movie seems to make the viewers feel that there is not much to come, even as it is wrong. The character of the lady protagonist is rather too far-fetched to make one believe. She seems rather crazy at times (loosely reminding us of the semi-kidnapped lady protagonist of the Malayalam movie Kilukkam), and her attachment towards a criminal who keeps threatening her comes rather too soon. Except for one or two songs which are okay, the music fails to get the attention of the viewers, and there are times when they come when not needed. There is also the use of other languages or may be variations of Hindi which was rather difficult to follow. There was the need for subtitles at least in it comes rather South. The movie takes one away from any kind of usual entertainment which is usually looked for in such a flick. It won’t give anyone the exaggeration that they might look for in a love story as this keeps that side plain and simple.

Performers of the soul :: Well, most of us won’t identify the faces in the movie other than that of Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt. The former (he is the reason why I lament missing John Day which had only one late night show here – who cares for good thrillers with non-superstars who can act, right?) comes up with a powerful performance of brilliance, even as there are less dialogues for him; we can strongly believe that this portrayal by him will be appreciated. We can surely expect a lot more from him. Alia Bhatt is there as the centre of everything, right from the beginning to the end. Even as there is some struggle, she seems to be custom made for the role, seeming to be in so much ease with her character. There are occasions when one would wonder if she does rather too much or a lot more than needed, but that should have come with the character. It is hard to believe that this is only her second movie, and I had missed her first one, Student of the Year. She remains incredibly cute throughout the movie and makes it impossible for any other actress to come up with a better performance in such a role soon. She is so dynamic and full of energy that just her presence keeps the whole thing working so well.

Soul exploration :: The movie is the story of two people whose lives get connected by just one act of crime, a kidnap. It comes up with a lot of things to think about, and it remains so close to being a movie of the soul even if not there completely. Even as not all of them remain close to the truths about life, it is evident that there is a clear attempt to bring to the scene as much humanity as possible; not without its troubles, not in the absence of the good side, yet not abandoning the darker side which tries to get closer to the human soul with more power than ever before. Stockholm syndrome is explored from one side while it continues to be a travel diary as a whole. There are realizations being made about life, and it changes both the kidnapper and the kidnapped in a journey which goes on for kilometres. As Saint Augustine of Hippo says “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”.

How it finishes :: As the movie for which we have been long waiting for, Highway mostly delivers, thanks to the performances of the leading actors, the visuals and the message that it delivers. Despite the drag and the occasional inability to connect, the movie thrives in simplicity and that humanity which are its own Kraken and Leviathan in the huge ocean of movies this weekend. It’s emptiness is not of the soul, but of the physical world, and that is one void that everyone can afford to avoid. As Robert Frost says, when two roads diverge, you have to choose the one less traveled, and here it is Highway, and even as it might not go as expected, this one makes the difference, and there is no doubt about. But let me tell you, happiness is highly subjective, just like the opinions on this movie seems to be – ask Alia Bhatt’s character in Highway and she reiterates money can’t buy you happiness, or even anything close to that. So, if you are making a choice, think about all these factors mentioned above.

Release date: 21st February 2014
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Randeep Hooda, Alia Bhatt, Saharsh Kumar Shukla, Pradeep Nagar, Durgesh Kumar, Arjun Malhotra

highway copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.