The Wolf Hour

Vampire Owl: I am not happy about the fact that the werewolves are getting more attention.

Vampire Bat: It is pretty much clear that they are not referring to those creatures.

Vampire Owl: I don’t think that it could be about other wolves.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not. You can refer to animated or survival movies.

Vampire Owl: There is only one kind of wolf which is interesting for the movie-makers.

Vampire Bat: The season of the werewolves is over. They have lost it.

Vampire Owl: Such monsters are never out of the equation.

Vampire Bat: They survived in both Underworld and Twilight because the movies had vampires playing the bigger roles.

Vampire Owl: I have news that they are looking for something more.

Vampire Bat: Well, I can assure you that it is not about this particular movie.

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

What is the movie about? :: June Leigh (Naomi Watts) is no longer what she used to be, as she lives alone in a small apartment in the middle of the city, in the shadows of the books she had written a long time ago, and some of her words had turned her family against her – the rebellious nature had made her an outcast, but she still lives in the apartment owned by her grandmother who is no more. The year is 1977, and there are lots of uncertainties, especially in the neighbourhood where she is living. It is not supposed a nice place for a good-looking lady to live alone, as she is indeed troubled by many things, and the feeling that she is being stalked is just one of them. There seems to be looting and other acts of criminal activity, including arson and murder happening at parts of the neighbourhood, and June keeps herself inside the apartment room at all times, only meeting a grocery delivery boy named Freddie (Kelvin Harrison Jr) whom she trusts to take the trash outside without having to get out or take it down with a rope.

So, what happens with the events here? :: She is supposed to finish her manuscript and publish a book, because she had taken an advance, but that doesn’t really happen as expected, with her burning many pages which she had written. She calls her old friend Margot (Jennifer Ehle) who genuinely tries to help her with the needed support along with some money, but she turns her away soon enough. There is someone who keeps calling her on the buzzer at all times, but doesn’t respond, and she feels that someone wants to break in. She tries to call the police, but Officer Blake (Jeremy Bobb) who comes there is not interested in treating it as a genuine threat. But she can’t stop feeling something terrible happening outside, and even though she wants some money from the publishers, decides to stay inside the room. But things are getting more terrible outside, and with her psychological problems also seemingly getting worse, she would need to think about it deeply and come up with a solution.

The defence of The Wolf Hour :: Naomi Watts’ perfect one lady show makes the movie itself rise above all the possible limitations in a world of confusion and chaos running through the background. The atmosphere created here is also prefect, and we live with the lady within that room, and it nicely maintains two out of the three classical Aristotelian unities of place time and action, with only the second one moving out of line. It does have one principal action and you will find that it exist in a single physical location, the apartment which the protagonist never wants to leave – the only other places we see are in the television interviews of the same person coming in as a flashback, and after the end of action. You have the opportunity to go through the life of a strange, eccentric writer, proving yet again that the most creative writers and other artists can have a certain amount of madness in them, or the society might think so. You also see how Naomi Watts rises to become the character with such ease that we can’t expect anyone else in her place here.

The claws of flaw :: Even though there is the idea given, this is not really that mystery thriller with a touch of horror to go with it. You will feel a little bit misguided regarding the same, as drama keeps on having the upper hand. But whenever the movie struggles, and it does on a number of occasions, there is Naomi Watts to lift it a long way up, and it seems to have made the tale go lazy at times. The movie title also leaves the people confused, and even the description for the film given in different websites are not really accurate, as it stays away from the soul as well as the essence of the movie. It is also quite slow, and you have to admire the leading actress’ skill in not letting us feel the drag much. There could have been many more things in this film, and the fear could have been more real and close to life – there could have been someone psychotic behind the main character or even something supernatural in nature, but this film leaves all of those possibilities behind to make this one just the drama and nothing else.

Performers of the soul :: Naomi Watts is once again brilliant in playing this kind of a role. She had been in an isolated area during a deadly winter storm in the highly underrated thriller movie Shut In which had a twist to remember – the feeling of being stalked or haunted was there too, but here, it feels more psychological, and it gives her more opportunities as almost everything in this movie is about her, even more than any other previous flick. If you go further back, you had Funny Games, where she was taken hostage by psychopaths, and the danger was real at that time. So, she is no stranger to the genre or with playing with this kind of setting – the same is reflected really well here too. Well, for someone who was in The Ring and King Kong, this one is smaller kind of danger, but the scope for performance never gets small. Jennifer Ehle who plays her friend also contributes nicely when she is there. Among the other characters, Kelvin Harrison Jr plays his role nicely to be noted the most, and others also follow in this all-Naomi movie focusing on each element of her.

How it finishes :: The movie seems to show a certain dark side of living through the 1970s in the Unites States of America, especially in the urban area – it is something that would be different even if we consider the scenario in our world in this part of the world, because we remember the 1990s to be much different from the situation we have now. It makes us feel the danger, as well as the imagination of the main character, and we can feel the strange thoughts of the character running through there. We get to have a deep character study of a woman with a magnificent past, someone who let her insecurities take everything out of her, and it becomes another stage of bildungsroman for her, even though quite late in her career. The Wolf Hour is to be watched while taking the same into consideration, instead of what is seen or what is heard – what you might have thought about the film earlier won’t count as you go through this journey as it is indeed different from your thoughts about a mystery thriller.

Release date: 6th December 2019
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Alistair Banks Griffin
Starring: Naomi Watts, Emory Cohen, Jennifer Ehle, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Jeremy Bobb, Brennan Brown

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Descent into Darkness

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the famous quote which has been very much applicable to us?

Vampire Bat: There has been more than one of them that applied to us.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about the one which was regularly referred to, during our first few classes for vampire apprentices.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about one of those quotes about darkness, aren’t you?

Vampire Owl: Yes, it was also written on the first page of our vampire texts.

Vampire Bat: I didn’t realize that you actually read those books.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I read them when I want to sleep. Reading them gives me sleep at times when it evades me.

Vampire Bat: Now you are talking like one of those strange school kids.

Vampire Owl: Well, the quote was about the need for vampires to get into that darkness.

Vampire Bat: Yes, about descending into darkness.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Arrowroot biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Sorgoi Prakov (Rafael Cherkaski) arrives in Paris from an Eastern European country, to make a documentary about the European Dream, in the lines of the American Dream which is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, that proclaims that all men are created equal” with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In the beginning, his journey through the capital of France seems to be all going well, with wonderful places to visit and people being very nice to him. It seems to him that his European Dream is going to work so well. There seems to be happiness all around, and Paris seems to be the perfect place to begin his European Dream. It makes him believe that he has taken the right decision to go on this journey, and that things can only get better. But it turns out that it is the other way around.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: Things were certainly not going to get any better for him, as there was always the chance for all going worse, with some bad decisions, and bad luck – being at the wrong place at the wrong time was just one of the villains. He does get beaten up by people who tries to steal his camera, which is broken, because of which he has to buy another one. He runs short of money, as he doesn’t hear from his producer, and has to adjust in many ways living in the city. He still thinks that everything is in control, but it turns out that not much remains in his hands. The artificial world of pubs and parties with drugs and alcohol adds to him being further away from the reality, creating one of his own, which includes brutality in his madness. His world changes, and he goes on becoming the exact opposite of what he was, bringing in a European Nightmare instead of European Dream.

The defence of Descent into Darkness :: The movie’s highlights come in the last few minutes, with the madness reaching a terrible level. The last scene at the house brings the best of them all. It deserves applause about how those scenes are managed in a realistic, but cruel manner. In the end, we realize how the world changes people, and the idea about hope is mostly that much of a lie, as this party culture with alcohol and drugs contribute to making a person worse through pubs and all their unnecessary additions to the life of youth. The performances are good, not just with the lead, who excels, the rest also follows up well even if they are only those smaller roles. The alternate title of the movie somehow reflects The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, a book, by Jeremy Rifkin. But in the end, we know that there is no big dream that can be achived by a common man all by himself.

The claws of flaw :: The accent used in this movie might feel a little difficult to understand for people at this part of the world at some points. There are moments in there which seems to be added for the sake of being there, or maybe to have the flick at a good length in totality. We also feel that the movie could have been really scary with its madness, and while some are surely part of the madness in a depressing manner, others are just funny – but it gets really better in the end. The dark humour is somewhat there, and the cultural differences might be bringing it down for our audience here. There is also the feeling of the need for more after we watch the trailer, and the expectations were surely bigger. The movie also misses out on having a memorable female character; even as the movie was based on one person in particular. Someone whom he meets in the city, maybe? Or someone whom he decides to murder?

The newfound love for the subgenre :: There are not many people who love to watch the found-footage horror around here, and I am myself a new person interested in the genre. When a found-footage horror movie can catch your attention, you know that it is going to get better for the genre here. There was The Last Witch being an interesting one made in low budget in the genre, and now there is this one. We remember the movies like Cannibal Holocaust, The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, [REC] and Cloverfield which were talked about a lot, with The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity becoming the representations of the subgenre a lot. With this movie showing signs of some smart plans, maybe, we are awaiting more to come in the found-footage horror, and the best might be yet to come, as did horror with The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe last year.

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

Vampire Owl: The strange things that humans do these days. Even Doctor Frankenstein is better.

Vampire Bat: Their control over their own mind and heart is rather questionable.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that most of these humans are already insane.

Vampire Bat: Well, they are better blood-suckers than vampires are, and they have proven the same with their wars.

Vampire Owl: There is the certainty of evil in them.

Vampire Bat: They possess inherent evil, and still call themselves to be of neutral alignment between good and evil, while holding that evil in mind.

Vampire Owl: I am pretty sure that they are more aligned to evil than our kind ever had been.

Vampire Bat: I would rank them with werewolves and dark elves, and at times with the zombies.

Vampire Owl: With their latest technology, they are already zombies enough.

Vampire Bat: Yes, more or less like your zombie minions.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 15th December 2017 (World-wide release on Amazon Video, POV Horror Roku, POV Horror Amazon Fire TV, and all Android devices)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Rafael Cherkaski
Starring: Simon-Pierre Boireau, Elodie Bouleau, Rafael Cherkaski, Roland David, Charles Dhumerelle, Xavier Kerf, Corentin Koskas, Denis Larzilière, Loïc Lefebvre, Philippe Pasquini, Omar Salim

<— Click here to go to the previous review. Movies of the Soul recommends Thor: Ragnarok as the movie not to be missed this year.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sunday Holiday

What is the movie about? :: Unni Mukundan (Sreenivasan) is a lecturer teaching in the commerce department of a reputed college in Aluva, who is more interested in giving lessons about life to his students on Sundays, and also to convert his script into a movie. He has been wandering around with his movie dreams for quite a long time, but nobody has accepted, or even considered reading his script. Nobody even believes that he has a good enough story, and most of the popular directors refuse to see him, consider him as just one of those people bothering them with something which will waste their time. It is during those times that Unni comes to know that a popular and highly successful director, David Paul (Lal Jose) has been admitted in the nearby hospital. He decides to make use of that opportunity, and visit him to tell the story. Even though David is initially reluctant, he decides that it will not hurt anyone to just listen during free time.

So, what happens in the story within the story? :: It is the tale of Amal (Asif Ali), a youngster who has been in love with Sithara (Shruti Ramachandran) ever since they had known each other during childhood. It is a relationship which their families which are related to each other, approves of, but only until Sithara gets a proposal from a doctor, something which neither her parents or the opportunist lady herself wishes to let go. As she immediately chooses the newly found love who earns in big numbers, the jobless young man leaves his town of Thalassery to the city of Cochin, as there is a small job set for him at the place. He reaches there and finds himself selling CDs and DVDs of devotional songs, and at the same time, meets a girl named Anu (Aparna Balamurali) who is also doing some selling door to door. The incidents which are to follow affects his life, and the heart-broken one gets something to cheer him up for the rest of his life.

The defence of Sunday Holiday :: You are sure to find happiness in the little things of joy that the movie brings, and even though its humour is not leviathan or anything, it is on those little things that the same also concentrates. We have some nice visuals of the places, and the city from high up, is always a joy to watch. The combination of Asif Ali and Aparna Balamurali also proves to be a very nice one. There are also messages to take home in this movie, as it tells the audience to forgive and move on, and to be concerned and kind to others. A moment featuring Sudheer Karamana and Siddique explains that the best. The movie also asserts goodness in those people who act more angry and frustrated than loving. The final twist is good, but the fact that this had to be a movie within a movie is more tiring than helping the cause. Well, feel-good surely feels better to have rather than mixing meaningless twists to a tale which can’t take it, and therefore Sunday Holiday will stand tall over the director’s earlier flick.

The claws of flaw :: It is certain that you will find not much which will give you the feeling of freshness here – there is the kind of story with feel-good factor that has been flourishing for years, and it is the thing that Malayalam movie industry has found easy to follow. It is up-to us to wonder why there is no experimentation with the kind of genre which has worked so well even without that much of a budget. Is it because the same is considered the safe bet, and therefore doesn’t require any more attention? The movie also has sequences which contribute so less to the movie, and there are also those characters without whom movie could have gone foward, along with those tales of some which don’t get to be close to where we had wanted them to. The songs also seem to be added more than needed, as with a certain drag in the middle, we feel this movie to be longer than it really is.

Performers of the soul :: We were waiting for Thrissivaperoor Kliptham starring both Asif Ali and Aparna Balamurali, and here we have this one starring both of them. The former is coming out of two underrated movies, Adventures of Omanakkuttan and Avarude Raavukal, both being divergent in their own terms, and had potential for even more – both were not short of fun if you look at them.The latter is coming right out feel-good success stories, Maheshinte Prathaikaram and Oru Muthassi Gadha, playing three roles in two flicks, and awaiting the next, Sarvopari Palakkaran. She played a girl from Idukki, from Cochin (Ernakulam), Kannur (Iritty) in this one and is now set to play characters from Kottayam (Palai), and Thrissur – well, all seems to work so well as far as Aparna is concerned. With shades of her character in the realistic Dileesh Pothan movie, she is the pick here. Asif Ali’s character though, is closer to his work in Avarude Raavukal, and he is natural in doing the same.

Further performers of the soul :: As Asif Ali plays the young man in need for confidence and change, Aparna is the muse that he was in need to write the rest of his tale on the book of life. Shruti Ramachandran of the Pretham fame is also here doing not much, restricted to the beginning and the end of the flick – see does give that ghostly look in the end for sure. Sreenivasan, Lal Jose and Asha Sharath’s characters work outside the tale, which means that they have much less to do except for the beginning, before the interval, and just after the tale finishes. The two actors whom we are sure to notice, and will ask for them to be present more are Sudheer Karamana and Siddique – no surprises there when you remember how it has been working with the previous movies. Bhagath Manuel also gets to do a good role, even though it doesn’t become the sidekick role as much as expected. Dharmajan is in hold of the comic side, and the rest only has to follow.

How it finishes :: Sunday Holiday is surely an improvement for the director who had earlier directed the movie Bicycle Thieves which is more or less a shame for the Italian classic with the same name, something to which almost everyone at the theatres agreed, watching that movie with so much high expectations after positive reviews. With no other Malayalam release, this is a weekend which only has Tiyaan and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum from last two weeks giving it some challenge, and therefore, its place should be safe, even without trying that hard. Along with the other two movies having Asif Ali which released last, this becomes another feel-good flick than anything else – I wouldn’t rate this one above those two though, with its problems in the middle part. Still, we all need feel-good movies which leave something for life all the time, and so Sunday Holiday becomes a good movie to watch this weekend, whether it is really Sunday or not.

Release date: 14th July 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Asif Ali, Aparna Balamurali, Shruti Ramachandran, Lal Jose, Bhagath Manuel, Sudheer Karamana, KPAC Lalitha, Asha Sharath, Sreenivasan, Siddique, Sunish Kumar, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Vinaya Prasad, Nirmal Palazhi, Sethulakshmi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Monster Calls

amonstercalls-2

Vampire Owl: Do you know that a monster did call me before?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the potato chips monster.

Vampire Owl: No, a real monster.

Vampire Bat: What did he say?

Vampire Owl: He said that he would eat me for dinner.

Vampire Bat: Oh! A monster that eats the undead for dinner. This should have been in the news.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but it was April Fool, coming right from Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat: According to the humans, we are surely monsters. So, from another perspective, it is true.

Vampire Owl: But we are vegetarian.

Vampire Bat: Yes, that is indeed our specialty which is to remain the same.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with potato chips].

What is the movie about? :: A young boy named Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is in a state of worry due to his mother Elizabeth Clayton’s (Felicity Jones) cancer. She keeps telling him that she is getting better, but the truth is that she is not. It is only getting worse, and she is slowly and steadily moving towards her end. It is difficult for him to accept the same, and with his father Mr. O’Malley (Toby Kebbell) being separated from him and living far away from them, he has not many people to look forward to. He is also targeted by Harry (James Melville), a bully at the school, and he is asked by his grandmother Mrs. Clayton (Sigourney Weaver) with whom he doesn’t have a great relationship, to move to her home with her. But Conor is more frustrated by the idea of moving to his grandmother’s home than about being bullied by his classmate and his friends.

So, what happens next? :: One night at exactly 12:07 a.m., Conor comes across a strange tree-like monster (Liam Neeson), that tells him it is going to come up with three stories, after which Conor has to tell the monster his own story, which is the truth behind the nightmare that he keeps seeing. The first story is that of an old king who has lost all his sons battling giants, dragons and great wizards who led men and creatures of darkness. The only heir he had was his grandson who was loved by all people of the kingdom. But at his old age, he gets married to a beautiful woman, after which he falls ill and dies. With the prince not old enough to claim the kingdom, the queen becomes the ruler, and the prince runs away with his love, a farmer’s daughter who seems to be murdered. This queen who is claimed to be a witch, is supposed to be behind the death of both the king and the lover, is saved by the monster, as he claims – Conor wonders why.

So, how do things go from here? :: The second story is that of an ill-tempered, greedy apothecary who follows the old ways of medicine, and pesters a local parson to let him cut the yew tree in the churchyard. The parson who is a man of strong faith is against the apothecary who grows in hatred towards everyone around. But when the parson’s two children gets ill, he asks the apothecary for help, and even offers the yew tree and a change in his own belief. But the apothecary refuses to help him, and the children die. The tree then takes his monstrous form and begins destroying the house of the parson, much to the dismay of Conor who doesn’t understand why the creature is not destroying the house of the apothecary instead. As the third tale nears, Conor’s relationships with his father and grandmother worsens further, and his mother’s disease also gets worse – now, the question remains if the creature can actually heal his mother.

The defence of A Monster Calls :: There is sadness in A Monster Calls, and you can feel it all the way from the beginning to the end. The monster has the message to move on with one’s life, and survive through the unexpected pains – on what it takes to live through the certainty of losing a loved one. It uses all the available themes to its advantage, and tells the message with ease. All the characters used here points to that one message. It has all which are needed to strike you emotionally, and at the same time, despite being a fantasy movie, has more of real life in it with all the fiction that seem to be part of the world. It becomes more of a fairy-tale for the adults rather than children, as each point that its main characters make is worth pondering about. It makes one turn into one’s own mind and ask the same questions about humanity again and again, and at the same time, we get to see the nice creature detail to go with it.

The claws of flaw :: You can keep feeling a certain amount of drag throughout this flick, and those who are looking for the usual kind of fantasy movies are going to feel strange. If you can’t take some preaching, this one is going to be not the movie for you. There also seems to be an attempt to get more and more emotional with things, but that was really not needed, as there was a lot of the same, which came naturally. This is also based on a novel of the same name, written by Patrick Ness, and so it is up-to the author who wrote the screenplay for the movie as well as the fans to decide on how it did justice to the work. There is also the chance to miss out on the symbolism that one comes across in the movie, and so maybe the flick could have hinted on what it was planning to do – a lot of people should have felt that the monster is the usual one, but this one is not just a monster, but much more than that, and one needs to take that.

How it finishes :: The fangs of the message here is quite strong, and it is the performances which support the same more than anything else. You will see how well Lewis MacDougall takes the protagonist to the viewers so well. There is no doubt anywhere about how Sigourney Weaver gets us closer to things, and Felicity Jones makes us feel the pain. As the movie deals with a situation which most people will face in one way or the other, one can be certain that there is the need for A Monster Calls at some point, and we will have to take these messages from the movie right back home. Well, above them all, there is Liam Neeson as the monster, and there is nobody else who could be a monster who provides us with the best messages – proven here without doubt. What would you do when your own monster calls? Well, it is something to keep thinking about.

Release date: 23rd December 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, Liam Neeson, James Melville, Geraldine Chaplin, Max Golds

amonstercalls

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Masaan

masaann

What is it about? :: Set in the city of Varanasi, this tale separates into two, bringing two stories together. One of them is the tale of Devi Pathak (Richa Chadda) with her boyfriend checking into a hotel room, but the police also follows them. As the police inspector tries to record their faces in his mobile phone, the scared boy locks himself in the bathroom, and in fear of humiliation in front of his family and friends, commits suicide much to the shock of Devi. But her trouble doesn’t end there as her father Vidyadhar Pathak (Sanjay Mishra) and herself are blackmailed by the corrupt police officer (Pankaj Tripathi) who demands what seems to be a huge amount of money for them, for not leaking her video into Youtube and other social media. As she keeps switching the jobs and running away from people, things just don’t get any better.

So, what is it about the second tale? :: The next story is that of Deepak Chaudhary (Vicky Kaushal) in the same city of Varanasi, hailing from a low caste that deals with the burning of corpses. But he wishes to go beyond the restrictions of his caste, and studies Civil Engineering at a polytechnic college. He soon meets and falls in love with Shaalu Gupta (Shweta Tripathi), an upper-caste girl. Even though it takes time, she accepts his proposal. Even though he does find the courage to tell her about his caste and what his people do, she doesn’t hesitate in going forward with the relationship. She asks him to stay focused and look for camus placements to get a good job – she would accept him as his husband even though her parents won’t, as long as he has a job. But there is a twist waiting to wreck havoc in their lives too, and the question remains if Deepak can get himself out of the depression.

The defence of Masaan :: The biggest advantage of this movie is that it sticks to the common man and a town rather than going for the ultra-modern city life and its people – this one has also told the story in a realistic way without adding those usual Bollywood flavours. One can safely say that Masaan is a long way above a usual Bollywood movie. It works so well emotionally because its characters are not people wearing colourful dress and jumping around with loads of money, and still complaining about their “zindagi” which is not enough. These are not about the kind of spoilt people who blame their past and their parents for what has gone through in their lives – instead, these are responsible people, ready to fight, which is why we fall for them, and we want them to win – there is no moment in this movie that we don’t feel for them, as we go through the tragedy of life which still has hope here and there.

Claws of flaw :: This is not for the usual Bollywood fan-people who support movies which make no sense; this one stays away from that, and uses the real world instead of the exaggerated visions of life – it is not a flaw, but for some people, that means no entertainment. Yes, the movie is pretty much slow, and it won’t have people dancing to strange party music – I would certainly thank God for that. Maybe the ending could have brought something more, even though hope is still there at the finish, stretching its arms towards our protagonists. Finding fault with Masaan is not an easy job; unless you are the masala entertainment seeker who wish to label this one as not interesting and even boring – but trust me, as both these are not the things that we relate to this movie, even when we are sleepy. Masaan is that good, and its nice philosophical claws point towards a reflection of perfection rather than the flaws.

Performers of the soul :: Richa Chadda has an amazing outing in the movie, as her character makes us feel each moment of loss and sadness, and this one is also one of the stronger character that we have been seeing in Hindi movies – she is not the kind of person who blames her parents for her past and falls in love with everyone around, becoming so ambitious with “zindagi” that she cannot sleep and then needs a therapist. It is a character that we admire, and with this performance, the person we see on the screen gets better. Then there is Vicky Kaushal whose character’s feelings reflect on us so well. His bliss in love and his sadness in separation – all feel so real that we feel the need to get further away from the so called superstars of the industry; the best actors and actresses are seen in realistic movies, in the tales of the lives of common man, and not with those ultra-modern people who creates problems for themselves and needs someone to solve them.

Further performers of the soul :: Richa Chadda and Vicky Kaushal might be two names which not many people here knows, but they are among those real performers who act in the movies which are rather real, and not exaggerated. This is exactly the reason why we need new faces with skills instead of superstars; as it is proven here again that a movie shouldn’t be about the big stars and who they are, for there are only characters who need to be played with the needed features. Yes, there is also Shweta Tripathi as Shaalu Gupta who brings such cuteness to the screen that we begin cheering for the two to get married – she has some beautiful combination scenes with Vicky Kaushal that makes us feel for them, not just within this movie, but rather eternally. The next one who impresses us is Sanjay Mishra, and he is there doing the same throughout this movie. To add to it, the world itself is a character, as we see how it influence the people.

How it finishes :: There is a certain happiness and sadness that Masaan leaves one with. It is the happiness of having watched this beautiful movie, and at the same time, the sadness that we share with the protagonists of this movie who are troubled by what fate or destiny has provided them with. There might have been the tendency to move away from the beauty at the centre of everything, but the movie stays there and becomes a realistic film rather than moving towards that side which is too common in Bollywood. Masaan is a very significant movie as it tells us that there is real skill out there, and the best that comes from anywhere around Bollywood can be found among the movies collecting less at the box-office, and has not much of the so called superstars, both male and female. Masaan shows how good content can get better, and so close to perfection, and it becomes another reason why people need to watch realistic movies more, and leave the usual exaggerated and overrated works behind.

Release date: 24th July 2015
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Neeraj Ghaywan
Starring: Richa Chadda, Vicky Kaushal, Shweta Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, Pankaj Tripathi, Nikhil Sahni, Satya Kam Anand, Vineet Kumar, Niharica Raizada

masaan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Wazir

wazir (1)

What is it about? :: After a personal tragedy strikes the family of a police officer Danish Ali (Farhan Akhtar) in the form of the death of his daughter in the hands of terrorists, he is blamed for it; separating him from his wife Ruhana Ali (Aditi Rao Hydari). He is later suspended from service as he murders a terrorist who was the only key for the cops to find a minister linked with the terrorist. As he is extremely depressed and thinks about ending his life, he meets Pandit Omkarnath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan), an old chess master on a wheel chair who used to teach chess to the cop’s daughter. They come across each other again and a friendship is formed between the two. Omkarnath had also lost his daughter only some time ago, and he suspects that a popular politician, Izaad Qureshi (Manav Kaul) is behind the murder even as the police records it as an accident.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Omkarnath tries to get the attention of the police department, the media and the government. But nothing really happens except for bringing more fury into the mind of the politician and his supporters. This is where the henchman known only by the name Wazir (Neil Nitin Mukesh) comes into the picture. But this person seems to be something more than a henchman, as he stays in the shadows and creates situations of terror for the old man, becoming more like a shadow assassin. Danish is mostly helpless as he is suspended from service, but makes the promise to protect his new best friend and play his part in the battle for justice as if it is his own. Their fates are going to join together and soon, the shadows of darkness which are cast on their lives shall converge. Can Danish stand this big test?

The defence of Wazir :: It always feels good to have a Bollywood movie with an interesting plot especially as there are too many of the flicks which don’t have one at all, and there are movies which asks “why always the same story” and while saying that, it comes with the exact same plot told in a miserable way. This is where Wazir uses its intelligence as well as the strong emotional side to become a better and different movie. I do wonder at times why Bollywood movies and good plots are never friends enough. But if you look here, Wazir shows how to become an interesting emotional thriller bringing the breath of fresh air which makes the beginning of the year a nice one indeed, as there are no mindless flicks floating around anymore. The thrills are present and so is the suspense factor. There is also variety and style in how the whole thing is handled. The action sequences are done in a smart way, no overdoing and no slow-motions; believable as well as exciting.

Claws of flaw :: Even though its short length will save some time, people will want more here. Well, we ask ourselves if this is the kind of protagonist whom we want in the investigative thriller flicks, and there are moments when we will think about having a sequel to complete this movie. The usual Bollywood fans who love the entertainment and masala elements are also going to like this one less too; for there is nothing of such kind in here. Even when I visited the theatre, there was so much less interest for this movie there, but I hope to see it get better in the coming days. The movie surely has some points when it becomes slower, especially as a certain emotional side tries to play its role. The fact that some actors are there for only an extended cameo or special appearance will also put some people into lesser interest for the proceedings. The movie could have done better with the thrills overtaking everything else; no doubt about that – but it works well as it is!

Performers of the soul :: Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar makes a highly impressive team here. One man in sorrow has his mind game going strong while the other one is physically fit and has been one of the best police officers of the department – both roles are played with such passion here. The intensity that Farhan Akhtar shows here should be the one thing for which you wouldn’t want to miss this one. Aditi Rao Hydari has a beautiful and at the same time, a happy-transformed-into-sad presence in this movie, and you will feel that even the absence of words speak in favour of her as seen with her expressions. I am pretty sure that she is a lot better than the overrated actresses of the industry. As I turn back the pages, I remember that I had seen her on screen, in the Malayalam movie Prajapathi in which she made her debut as well as in Murder 3; the rest I had missed.

Further performers of the soul :: Neil Nitin Mukesh makes the best out of what he has in this movie, even though it is more of a special appearance. He reminds one of the character “Musafir” in the Malayalam movie The Tiger, who has been an agent and contract killer for the terrorists; but it turns out that even with the essence and soul being the same, the existence is different, and you will know that by the end of the movie with that one final twist – your love for the movie is going to be ultimately decided by that. John Abraham stays strong while doing another special appearance, something which reminds us of him in Madras Cafe; his character will be a reason for us to ask for a sequel to this one – he can always excel in this kind of a role. Manav Kaul as Izaad Qureshi is a really strong presence in this movie. He makes quite a big impact here as the villain who needs to be brought down for the two protagonists.

How it finishes :: Wazir is a movie which begins well as well as ends well. The slowing down in the middle can be forgiven, and the shorter run-time will make sure that you will have an engaging experience with this thriller. Even when viewing it from here, Wazir is no Memories, but it is an engaging journey. The game of chess is also nicely used in parallel with the story-line. It was used not as part of the story-line in the Malayalam movie, the Mohanlal starrer Grandmaster, but here, it comes in as part of the plot; in a smart way of course. You will know better about the relation between life and chess as the movie gets towards the end; one of the protagonists do talk about a few things which relates them much earlier though. The songs are also pretty much okay here. I loved the director’s earlier movie David, and Wazir is the movie which becomes a fine start to the new year, and it is the movie that needs to watched; not those one hundred crore gaining movies, most of which never deserved to be there in the 100-crore club!

[Edit – This review was also later published at: http://kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1275-wazir-movie-review-2]

Release date: 8th January 2016
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Bejoy Nambiar
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hydari, John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Manav Kaul, Anjum Sharma, Mazel Vyas

wazir

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.