Bhoothakaalam

Vampire Owl: So, the title could mean the days of the past as well as the days of the ghost.

Vampire Bat: It is a nice play on the words being used here.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Malayalam movie industry can have good horror anymore?

Vampire Bat: Well, horror is the only reality of life. So, it is always possible.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the realistic tendencies of the industry can help.

Vampire Bat: Yes, what is life, but a collection of horror of reality?

Vampire Owl: I can’t disagree. I once heard the story of the devil finding the burning hell as a better place to live in comparison to Earth.

Vampire Bat: Well, you know what humans are capable of. They have already made their world a place worse than hell.

Vampire Owl: So, who are the real monsters?

Vampire Bat: Humans are the real monsters, from the day of birth itself. You should see how they torment their own people.

[Gets a chicken biriyani and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: Vinu (Shane Nigam) is a D.Pharm graduate who is living with his mother, Asha (Revathy) in what seems to have been a very unhappy household since the death of Vinu’s father post leaving a lot of money to be paid back for the loans which were taken. His grandmother dies after living most of her life on the bed after a terrible stroke which she barely survived, and the life of mother and son which was full of negativity only gets worse after the demise. Vinu has been looking for a job for a long time, but as he is focusing on getting some work in his field, and is also trying to keep the search close to home, he is not really able to make any progress with that. Depression seems to come naturally to him, as well as his mother, who is a school teacher for small children. Asha is also hesitant to send him anywhere distant, especially to go for a job which is not directly related to the course which he studied. She also temporarily losses her job, as she ends up hitting a child accidently.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The mother and the son continues to have arguments over the past, present and future, as Vinu decides to find a job outside Kerala or even India at some hotels where his friends are working. Asha finds him as a rather useless person, as she originally wanted him to study MBBS, and they had spent a lot of money related to that too. But soon, things get worse, as Vinu feels that he was locked within a room by his dead grandmother, who moves around in the wheel chair. Asha feels that he needs counselling, but he doesn’t agree. George (Saiju Kurup) who runs a counselling centre comes home to help him, but Vinu is not happy about it at all, as he feels that he is being marked as an alcoholic and drug addict. George also feels that the sleeplessness might also be a reason, along with the mental problems which runs within the family. Vinu is in love with Priya (Athira Patel), but has stopped returning her calls, as he does almost nothing, while staying in his room, or in front of the television. But he continues to see and feel things – can this mean something else?

The defence of Bhoothakaalam :: Starting off as a movie which seems to have characters with some mental problems related to trauma, it smoothly enters the horror mode after some time. With many options being left behind, one can make different guesses about what actually happened. The minimum elements are used effectively, and the atmosphere of the house also brings a certain amount nostalgia – like our old houses which had mosaic on the floor along with some old style furniture as well as spaces on the wall. The darkness and shadows are pretty much effective in bringing the scares, and there is much to be felt about the possible presence in the house – they contribute to reaching a point where the title can be justified. The emotional side is also very much working, and there is much of the feelings going through here. Even with all the terror coming from outside, there is also the presence of the depressing past related to regret which continues to haunt everyone – the memories can be disorienting enough, as we move forward through a world of chaotic mind here too.

The claws of flaw :: Bhoothakaalam often restricts itself in the use of horror, except for the finally fifteen to twenty minutes when the film is finally allowed to unleash itself, bringing all the elements which it had in store, but didn’t use early enough. It does take its own time, and one feels that it is moving too slowly during that period of time. There are movies which slowly gets stronger, like Come Play, In Fear and It Follows, and one might feel that this might not feel that new with the early slow movement. The mind could have been given better focus, and the presence in the house could have also been better explained, thus leading to a better final finish. It is surely not that scary as some people seem to talk about it – there is something to be frightened about, but not that much as what the reviews exaggerate here, for only those who haven’t watched Hollywood horror movies at all can be that scared about it. After all, these are not the days when people are scared of ghosts that much, because humans have proven themselves to be more evil, each and every time. Ghosts have to be a special kind of scary to rise about human demonic acts.

The performers of the soul :: Shane Nigam continues his work more out of Kumbalangi Nights rather than the other movies, as he once again plays a similar youth who doesn’t really have a job for a multitude of reason, even though he is better educated this time. Revathy’s work continues to be a thing of quality, as he plays a mother role with a difference. There are moments which rises above the natural so well. James Eliya seems to be the man with logic, and has his moments of advice. Jilu Joseph has a small presence as a psychiatrist, as it is Saiju Kurup who deals with the counselling more, and even finds out a few secrets about the house – one would have loved to see more actions being taken by him here. Manju Pathrose plays the usual nosy neighbour, a role which is quite short. Valsala Menon played the grandmother, and that was the role which also lasted for only a few minutes as the movie continues to focus on the mother-son duo for almost all the time. Athira Patel is more or less the Mamitha Baiju of Operation Java coming in here as the seemingly forced love affair which in this case doesn’t reach anywhere in comparison.

How it finishes :: When we think about ghosts and past, the first movie which comes to our mind is Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, a Gothic romance horror which was not watched by that many people in this part of the world. But the past that haunts this movie is more or less related a good number of other horror movies, with one haunted house as well as a psychological side, both complimenting each other, sometimes from a distance, and at times, getting close enough and going through one another in style. Bhoothakaalam doesn’t hesitate to combine its elements, and then come up with the defining moments in the final stages of the film. This is surely a good deviation from the usual horror movies that we have in the Malayalam movie industry, and just like some of the other Sony LIV movies which released in the last few months, like Madhuram and Kaanekaane, this one also has a strong emotional side to go with. Well, you can also have some interesting horror with relationships running emotional in the background, for the ghosts are better and truer with their emotions than the fake humans.

Release date: 21st January 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Rahul Sadasivan
Starring: Shane Nigam, Revathy, Athira Patel, Saiju Kurup, Manju Pathrose, James Eliya, Jilu Joseph, Valsala Menon

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Two

Vampire Owl: There are two of us here. Therefore, watching the movie is relevant.

Vampire Bat: This movie seems to have something to do with the number, two.

Vampire Owl: I don’t really like that number though. I like “one” – I am the greatest one.

Vampire Bat: Uncle Dracula is the greatest of us all.

Vampire Owl: You just cannot put so much greatness on him anymore.

Vampire Bat: The times haven’t changed. Dracula is still relevant.

Vampire Owl: Vampires are still relevant. Dracula is not.

Vampire Bat: There are no vampires without Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Owl: Maybe in the Dracula Castle. It is not the same case outside.

Vampire Bat: Well, you can just wait and see, after his birthday party which is coming up.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three glasses of oreo shake].

What is the movie about? :: Sara (Marina Gatell) and David (Pablo Derqui) wakes up in the bed somewhere, stitched to each other. They don’t really have any memory how they reached there. The two try to figure out what has happened with them, and where they are. They guess that someone drugged them and brought them here and stitched them up. The people responsible seems to have taken away everything from them, from clothes to wrist watches. They try to make some connection between them, but there is nothing in common between the two. It is also realized that they are being recorded with cameras all around the room. The room seems to be something that gives an aristocratic feeling, making them feel that someone rich and influential is behind their situation. They do find some clues about the same, but someone seems to get into the room at times, and they are not able to find out who. The room seems to be too secure for anyone to go out, with lock being strongly applied from outside.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Sara has the feeling that her husband, Mario (Esteban Galilea) has something to do with it. He is supposed to be someone very rich and influential, with doubts that she is having an affair with another man. She feels that there is also something about him that has resulted in David also reaching there. He also has the feeling that maybe he also knows her husband, who is a much older person. There is also a name Rita (Anna Chincho Serrano) that comes across them, as part of a photo which is placed in the room. Yet, they are not able to remember any of such a name as part of their lives. They feel that maybe this will end only in their death, and try to break down the door, which feels very reinforced. The windows also lead nowhere. There are some big revelations to be made, but they wonder if they will stay alive to understand all of those. Soon, their past will come back to them, and the one thing which makes the two connected with the man who is behind all of these.

The defence of Two :: The movie is just one hour and ten minutes long, which makes sure that there is absolutely no drag about it. It doesn’t slow down even though there were many chances in between. There is also the successful maintenance of suspense with twists, as we don’t guess what is coming in the end, even though there are so many things happening in between. The red herrings are delivered effectively, and we make so many guesses about the antagonist who is responsible for what is happening here. It does work as body horror, a subgenre which is difficult to appeal to people – unlike other movies of the same kind, this film actually knows where to keep the borders, and not to be disgusting at any point. The genre is often too much to handle for many people due to the amount of gore and extremities related to body parts, but this one stays at the border related to that. The setting of the room which this movie uses throughout its run also adds on well, and the mysteries to be revealed here are also of interest.

Positives and negatives :: There have been a number of Spanish movies which have tried to be different from the rest – there was The Platform, and here we have this one. This one still seems to have rushed through things too much, as we look at the final moments. It could have taken more time finish it though, as the length here is just seventy minutes and nothing more. The setting which is one place at all times, is nicely managed too. This is also one of those rare films which maintains the Classical Unities of Aristotle. Unity of action is maintained with that one principal action of being stitched together and being together at all times, while unity of place is maintained with where they are trapped, and unity of action is clear as everything happens within twenty four hours. It has been difficult to maintain these in movies, as people look forward to seeing many other things and occurrences as films progress. But in this case, they have made the situation very interesting. Even though this is not the usual horror, the situation of the protagonists is surely a scary one.

Performers of the soul :: With everything dependent on two people, this film focuses on their performances, one can safely say that this works effectively due to the same. We also see that the characters do evolve as the tale progresses. The conversation between the two becomes very important too. Marina Gatell places herself in the situation very well, and comes up with a fine performance. She plays a person who is confused and wants to figure out what is happening quick enough, and even suspects the person who is with her – the character works out really well for her. Pablo Derqui who plays the other person in trouble, takes things slowly, and has better idea of how criminals works – makes the person with him doubtful. The situations which are nicely created for them, is managed well by the two. The whole idea is made better with the performances of these two. The rest of the characters only arrive by the end, or are present only in photos. In the end, we know that in Two, there are only two characters who gets the chance to come up with worthy performances.

How it finishes :: Being stitched to someone else is horror enough, and this Spanish movie use that to its advantage, getting to the list of films in that language which have tried to be different in multiple ways. Thanks to the performance of the leading cast, this one never lags behind, even when there were so many opportunities. It provides us with the opportunity to make so many guesses, and it also has us coming to that twist when least expected. The short journey is very much an engaging watch, and as long as you don’t have a problem with some body horror, this is to work just fine. During the time of Corona virus pandemic, a number of films had people quarantined alone, while this one has two people locked in a room as one. It is indeed an interesting, but strange concept, as you look at it. The creative imagination behind the movie seems to be working well in this particular case. Netflix has once again scored with another fine addition to the grand list of horror and thrills.

Release date: 10th December 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 70 minutes
Directed by: Mar Targarona
Starring: Marina Gatell, Pablo Derqui, Anna Chincho Serrano, Kandido Uranga, Esteban Galilea

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Possessor

Vampire Owl: We do feel that we are possessed very often.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but they are gentle spirits of the forest.

Vampire Owl: There are gentle possessors. Possessing another person’s body is evil.

Vampire Bat: The gentle spirits of the forests have the right to possess.

Vampire Owl: It is not that gentle a possession. I know that.

Vampire Bat: There is a deal between Vampire Elders and the Spirits. You have to honour that as part of our allegiance.

Vampire Owl: There is no honour among non-vampire entities.

Vampire Bat: Honour is just a word. The definition goes by our actions.

Vampire Owl: Possession of another person’s body is not an act of honour.

Vampire Bat: Well, honour depends a lot on the opinions anyway.

[Gets some potato chips and three glasses of Spanish delight shake].

What is the movie about? :: In a certain alternate reality, Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is living as an assassin, but that requires her to take control of others’s bodies to carry out the murders which have become part of her life. The agency of the assassins use an implany installed in the captured host’s brain to control the person, and Vos’ consciousness is inserted in there. Vos decides how to go through the murder using the new body. After the job is completed, she forces the host to commit suicide, or get shot by people, which is the basically the only way for her to get back to her own body. She is considered to be one of the best assassins the group ever had, but as she spends too much of time in the bodies of others, imitating them, she struggles with her identity, and often fails to understand who she really is. She has to practice in her real life to speak normally, just like she has to practice before taking the identity of others. The memories of the murders which she had committed continues to haunt her at all time, spoiling her limited time with her family.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who is in control of the agency, is confident about Vos, but hopes that she is detached from her family, which would make her an even better assassin, as attachments are holding her back. She also holds on to lot of her memories from the past. She is forced to take the next assignment too early despite not being that stable – this time, she has to take the body of Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) and murder the host’s lover Ava Parse (Tuppence Middleton) and his future father-in-law John Parse (Sean Bean), who is a wealthy CEO – the large amount of money and the properties are the target here. In the end, the CEO’s stepson would be taking over the company, and this would also bring the agency a lot of money. But the mission is only a partial success, as Ava is dead, but not the main target, John Parse survives. Vos is not able to escape from the body either, as she cannot make him commit suicide. She understands that she cannot leave this body due to a damaged implant, and she is now strong enough to overpower his will. Now, an inside crisis begins.

The defence of Possessor :: Possessor does have some fine ideas behind it, and we feel them to be strong in the first half of the film. The initial scene is quite a strong one, and it is what makes us very much interested in seeing what is to be followed. There is the courage to go divergent, which is seen here, even though the same losses the strength after showing so much strength in the beginning. The question is indeed asked about identity here, and the problems when one person tries to becomes someone else. It tells the viewers that the basic nature always wins, and you just cannot try to be another person like acting a role. The movie does remain dark throughout its run, and there is nothing like hope of positivity being thrown here, even though we feel that there is a family with a child involved, and there would be a “happily ever after” coming up soon. Well, we know that reality is a dark, tragic space where people are only interested in selfish deeds, and therefore, this movie more or less reflects the same. After all, humanity is not of hope in the present, past or the future.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t really have the strength to go through this idea with the visuals, which could have been better, and the action could have been stronger too. The science fiction elements could have also been used with clarity around here. Some more clarity would have only helped the movie, and as it moves towards the end, the focus seems to be somewhat lost, even though the beginning stages were making us wishing for the better. Too many images come and go here, but without them coming together well enough, this cannot be considered as the best of use of the available resources. You can always have a Hitman, John Wick, Gemini Man or Anna doing their job, but not without some fine visualizations. The early death of Tuppence Middleton is also disappointing, considering the fact that she was one nice addition to the film. In the end, one does wonder if all these were for this one thing, as you were expecting that grand finish, and not something like this.

Performers of the soul :: Andrea Riseborough’s performance is the one to remember, and there is no doubt about the same. Her work is limited due to some strange visions and the lack of clarity which the movie has. Christopher Abbott does a pretty good job, but having the mind-controlled, confused character not leaving out the complication at any moment, leaves him limited too. Tuppence Middleton is the actress whom we had seen in a supporting role in Jupiter Ascending, and she has the skill to come up with something notable out of nowhere – it is no exception here. She is lovely, but we don’t get to see her for more, as her character is killed, and we see another work from her vanish too early for our liking. Sean Bean is very good yet again, and when he is there, we love how things proceed. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays another complicated character who has a few moments to remember. Rossif Sutherland’s role is rather limited here, and when we begin to feel that Kaniehtiio Horn was going to show promise, her character is also killed.

How it finishes :: Possessor seems to be the one movie which is more critically acclaimed and award-winning at the film festivals. The movie is interesting, and does have its moments, but one might not find it as that grand as those critical appreciations suggest. As I had written in the earlier paragraphs, the idea is very good and so are the messages, but they could have shown in a better way, and some of the characters could have also been used in better ways rather than just killing them. Yet, we are interested in the divergent idea and the path less taken, as we look forward to seeing such risks being taken further. If you like the difference in ideas being taken into consideration without holding back, this would appeal to you. Other than that, this one goes on a slow journey which begins strong, and gets weaker by the end, not strengthening its possibilities. So, it is a personal decision to be made on watching this film, and as these are the times of Corona virus pandemic, most decisions are indeed personal in nature, as solitude comes with different pandemics of the world, and the quarantine that follows the same.

Release date: 2nd October 2020
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Brandon Cronenberg
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Tuppence Middleton, Kaniehtiio Horn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland, Sean Bean, Raoul Bhaneja, Gabrielle Graham, Gage Graham-Arbuthnot

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Birds of Prey

Vampire Owl: There are not many kinds of vampire birds.

Vampire Bat: But not all of our birds hunt.

Vampire Owl: You stopped letting the birds hunt?

Vampire Bat: Well, the sky needed to be safer for the gargoyles.

Vampire Owl: You are calling for the gargoyles during a pandemic?

Vampire Bat: They are made of stone, and immune to any pandemic.

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that these can’t catch the virus?

Vampire Bat: They are immune to the injection too.

Vampire Owl: That saves us some vaccines.

Vampire Bat: I would have loved to believe that the undead are basically immune, as the virus cannot affect the dead even after rising from the grave. But the research from Doctor Frankenstein says otherwise.

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

What is the movie about? :: A number of years have passed after the defeat of Enchantress in the hands of the team of supervillains, Suicide Squad, and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has broken up with Joker (Jared Leto), and despite going through the procedure many times, this time she believes that they are separated forever. She remembers her time as psychiatrist and also her time before that, as she tries to go on with her lonely life, and for the same, she also gets a hyena, but nobody really believes that she really broke up with Joker. She doesn’t really have any good friends, but everyone seems to know her for the association with Joker. To announce her break up to everyone, she blows up Ace Chemicals were she had her best time with Joker, and this time, she gets the attention of everyone. Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) is the first one to come after Harley for exploding Ace chemicals, and others who have held a grudge against her also follows. Ending the relationship with Joker does have its own negative effects for her.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A good number of people now wants her dead, or at least punished for what she had been doing. This includes not just the criminals and police, but also anyone on the streets whom she had offended – it includes a large number of people. Without Joker’s protection, she finds it difficult to move around safely. But she figures out that she will live her life her own way this time. The biggest mafia leader of the area is Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), the crime lord who wishes to have full control over the Gotham City. Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) earlier worked as a singer in his club, but gets a promotion as his driver during important meetings, after he sees her fight on he streets. Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), the right hand man of Sionis losses a diamond which was supposed to be very important to him, and it turns out that it was taken by Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a young pickpocket who doesn’t hesitate to steal anything from anyone on the streets. The girl also swallows the diamond before being taken to the police station.

And what else is to follow with this strange series of incidents in Gotham City? :: At the same time, a vigilante known as The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) also appears on the streets, killing people all around the city, and nobody really knows what she is after. It does gives more of a head ache to Renee though, as she has been someone not able to get the credit even after working so hard in the police department. With murders happening with crossbows, and Harley also on the loose, Sionis wants the diamond back as soon as possible. For the same, he asks the help of every mercenary in the city, including Harley, who had also started calling herself a professional mercenary with her previous experience in Task Force X, the government funded group of criminals and supervillains. Harley breaks into the police station, and a number of mercenaries also follow her, but she manages to escape with the pickpocket kid, only to be continued to be hunted throughout the city. Dinah and Renee want to save the kid too, but time is running out.

The defence of Birds of Prey :: The film scores with its cast as expected, and while Margot Robbie has already proven herself as the crazy lover of Joker with a PhD in Psychiatry and experience with treating the craziest, Mary Elizabeth Winstead who is known more as the scream queen of horror flicks, has done fine work here – others are okay, even though I wouldn’t consider them to belong here as much as these two manages. The final fight scene scores high with the ambience being used there, and it is something which suits a horror movie more. There are also some humour added here and there, and for that too, the film is highly dependent on Margot Robbie, who seems to have got into that character so well again, and that makes one wonder what would have happened if Joker was also there. The fight sequences are nice, mostly when related to her, and even though left with less number of scenes, Mary Elizabeth Winstead also drops in nicely. The film is also full of colours, and they provide a special feeling to the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The absence of at least a cameo from Joker does have some effect on this film which could have used a little bit more of madness, as there seems to be a little bit too much sanity in here. Along with the same, the character of Rosie Perez seems to be weaker in comparison, and Ewan McGregor plays not that strong a villain as one would expect, with him being only a billionaire with a lot of henchmen – nothing more for him here. Some moments in the movie are also too silly, even when staying within the limits of silliness, and could have been avoided. The movie could have been shorter that way, and it should have stuck to Quinn to make that happen in a better manner. It is also a little bit too violent without reason, a quality which is not the best explored by a DC film. The film also leaves a question if it was trying to be a little bit of Charlie’s Angels by focusing on it as an action movie, but it is understandable, because Harley Quinn is that kind of a character, and only a little bit of the metahuman strength is unleashed here by anyone.

How it finishes :: DC Extended Universe always required more films which though differently, and this is surely one of them. There is a space being left behind after Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame nicely finished the biggest events of Marvel Extended Universe, and now it is up to DC to do the same and bring something grand, despite Justice League not doing that well as it should have managed, and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice failing to gain appreciation. Unlike what was expected, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are the hopes of DC, and I would say that Suicide Squad was one too, even though many people were not really able to get their heads into it. Taking Harley Quinn out of it, and making this film will only help the next part of the second film on the squad when released, for Birds of Prey is a fun-filled entertainer which maintains the same feeling up to an extent, even though not beautifully poetic as that film happened to be. Once again, fun is guaranteed for sure.

Release date: 7th February 2020
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Cathy Yan
Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Quiet Place

What is the movie about? :: Years into the future, Earth has been taken over by strange creatures which has been murdering humans at will. They can be seen almost everywhere, ready to finish off any human that they can detect. These creatures which have hypersensitive hearing, attacks by listening to the noise, as they are blind. Due to their impenetrable armored shell along with the strength, speed and reflexes, the creatures have been almost impossible to kill, as they spread all around the world, leading to the near-extinction of mankind. There are only a few survivors here and there, and all of them are able to do nothing, but keep running with all that they can gather, and that too, without making any noise to ensure their survival in a world which brings death to the noise makers.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is during these times of trouble that the Abbott family which includes the couple – Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) along with their deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and sons Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward) go through the abandoned supermarkets of a town for supplies. The family is very careful that none of them makes any noise that can bring one of the creatures – they use sign language instead of talking so that there is no chance for trouble. As the little boy Beau is attracted to a battery-operated space shuttle toy, he couldn’t help giving it a try, and attracted by the noise, the creatures finish him off, despite Lee’s best efforts to save him from the terror.

And what is follow with the events? :: The family of four is traumatized by the event, and they decide to survive, as they live in the countryside with all preparations to make sure that no sound goes outside the house. They live in regret of not being able to save their family member, and comes close to distracting the creatures more than once, yet surviving through the situations well enough. But the problem arrives when the due date of pregnant Evelyn arrives, and they have to go through the whole thing without making a sound. The system that they had built is not without defects, and one small mistake could result in the death of all of them. With an enemy that seems to be invincible, and knowing whatever sounds they make, can they survive through these troubled times and maybe even provide a fight?

The defence of A Quiet Place :: The idea can be considered too good here, as we are taken to that world which follows a near-extinction event for humanity, with only a few survivors, and you see that death comes naturally, and life is eternally difficult. There is heavy intensity that we feel with this movie, and the horror is real, as it makes us feel so much, even the grief of the characters. The credit to the horror’s strength goes to silence, and what comes after it. There are the creatures being different and scary when we look at them visually, but it is the right use of special effects that brings glory to this one. The feeling of danger here is so real too, and each moment has the same – one wrong step, and you are gone; this one has such a low amount of hope than any other horror film with complete human extinction easily possible.

Positives and negatives :: There is certain mystery about the creatures, which can take all the terror further, but some people would still want more information related to them. We don’t know where they come from, if it is a Pacific Rim moment with them coming from under Earth or in space ships like Alien or Independence Day, and there is also the option of an incoming wave of demonic monsters from hell. There are not many dialogues in this movie, as the sign language seems to take over, but we have those subtitles which make sure that there is no problem. As silence is the master here, all those other sounds contribute to the story better than dialogues, and adds to the horror like no visual can, and it is a certain beauty of another kind. There is also the strength of family being depicted here, and the idea of sacrificing one’s life for the others and not giving up, can be seen right in the core of this movie.

The performers of the soul :: Emily Blunt leads the way in this one, and most of the viewers from this part of the world would remember her from Edge of Tomorrow, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Sicario and The Girl on the Train – very unlike those characters there, this one has her struggling for survival with her family. There are moments which some other actress couldn’t have done this well, but she excels here without displaying any signs of stepping back. John Krasinski has a touching performance here too, and with him being the real-life husband of Emily Blunt, the pair has no problem with facing the post-apocalyptic event as on-screen couple too. The two kids, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe make sure that they contribute very efficiently to the scheme of things.

How it finishes :: The movie’s simplicity is so much effective like no other usual horror film. Through the lines of 10 Cloverfield Lane, this one is mostly set within an area, and there is the possibility of terror being present all around. With some wonderful performances from every name on the list of actors, this one makes sure that John Krasinski who has also acted in this one, is one director that we need to trust, and the short one and half hours of the movie makes sure that there is no moment which goes wasted. The horror here feels real, artistic and innovative, and lets enjoy this divergence as we did with those other well-received horror movies like The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Don’t Breathe, It Follows and Lights Out. After some time, A Quiet Place makes sure that horror is alive, and there is more than one idea behind the genre. Why wouldn’t you watch this one at least now, a month and half after its release? The movie deserves it.

Release date: 6th April 2018
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward

<— Click here to go to the previous review. Click here for new Deadpool and Avengers.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Last Witch

Background to the movie :: We are no strangers to the tales about witch hunts, and most of us have read about similar incidents all around the world, especially Salem witch trials which had presence in movies like The Lords of Salem and The Conjuring – we even remember a television series with the name Salem. When we look deeper, there has been no shortage of similar incidents throughout the world. In a number of books, we have read about the witch trials in Early Modern Europe. We read in our schools and colleges about Joan of Arc who was burned at the stake, accused of witchcraft. Even in India, we often hear the word Chudail, associated with the witch, even though the same can be applied to demons and spirits too. Here, the movie The Last Witch has its roots on real incidents related to witches in the past too – on one of those incidents involving allegations of witchcraft, witch trials and execution.

One particular witch trial and execution :: Here we have our attention towards the Terrassa witch trials which had taken place in Terrassa, a city in the east central region of Catalonia, in the province of Barcelona in Spain between the years 1615 and 1619. During those days, a terrible weather and crumbling economy of the time was credited to the evil plans of witches, and their worship of their masters in hell. This had lead to a lot of rumours during those times, which finally meant that there would be panic, bringing the need for a witch commision to have the suspects arrested, lest people would take law into their hands. A number of suspects who were arrested, agreed to have been part of Witches’ Sabbath, a meeting of those who practiced witchcraft and other similar things. On the date 27th October 1619, Margarida Tafanera, Eulalia Totxa, Joana Sabina, Guillermo Miramunda Font and Miquela Esclopera Casanovas were executed.

So, what is this particular movie about? :: There were those five women who were hanged during the Terrassa witch trials in Spain, and then there is Joana Toy (Clara Gayo), who had escaped death after being brutally tortured by the authorities for many days, as the torture devices like Heretic’s Fork, Iron Maiden, Judas Cradle, Breaking Wheel and Wooden Horse were part of many such incidents. There is no clue about how she escaped, and where she had disappeared after the incident, as it remains a mystery to be solved by a newer generation. Three friends are all set to discover the truth behind all these, and finding Joana’s whereabouts is the key. These three young friends, Sandra (Paula Pier), Eduardo (Jorge Gallardo) and Mario (Alfonso Romeo) are all set for the same, with a desire to become famous video bloggers after finding something which has been hidden for so long. One of Sandra’s grandparents turns out to be part of that commision which found out if the women were really witches or not, and sending them to their newfound fate of brutal torture and death. He had once told her that the escaped witch lived just outside the city and that her house is still there.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: They feel that she could have come back to her home some time later and might have settled down there, followed by her bloodline – the place has been a farmhouse for a long time, as Sandra figures out from her grandfather’s words. This leads to more of curiosity, and they will find more than just a few homeless men and empty spaces as they usually do. It is no more about getting it viral on Youtube and finding maximum viewers – the mystery is darker than what they thought it would be, and too much for them to handle. There is nothing funny about it anymore. They end up seeing a symbol associated with an ancient organization, which Professor Robert (Fernando Tato) identifies as related to be a Satanic organization of the early seventeenth century that has a history of worshipping a witch rather than the devil. But it is only the beginning of what they are going to find in that abandoned farmhouse. Were they even close to being prepared for this?

The defence and negatives of The Last Witch :: Coming from Carlos Almon Munoz, the only Spanish winner of the Horror Society Awards for Best Short film of the year 2014 for his short-film “Face Your Fears”, as his first movie, this one is surely well-crafted within its genre. We know that Spain has a rich history of coming up with nice found footage films including the REC series. As a fictional account is made about what might have happened to Joanna Toy, this one gets the tale going in the right direction. This is not one of those movies which can score big with what comes out of its budget, as The Last Witch is very much simple and without wonders there. But you will surely want to have more scares, and the need to get into action earlier. But after it gets into the action, there are enough of scares to keep things moving towards that end. With the found-footage stuff, maybe the movie makers here also can make some good work in the category, which has never really been here, gaining some inspiration from this one. We have a good story here, without doubt.

The newfound love for the subgenre :: Where I come from, there are not many fans for the found-footage horror, and I am myself not a big fan of the same. But still, I was able to find interest in this one. Even I have watched only two, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Skin I Live In, liking them both – it is only safe to say that I loved both of those movies, with my admiration for Guillermo del Toro beginning there. I was very close to watching REC, but I did watch its English remake Quarantine and liked it, which was one of those moments when I started feeling that I had to look into this particular subgenre of horror. When a found-footage horror movie is related to something which really happened, like the Terrassa witch trials, there is a certain extra strength regarding the same, no matter how much fictionalized the story ends up to be. I would consider this to be my beginning to watch more of found-footage horror.

How it finishes :: It is said that Spain actually had only a few witch trials compared to other nations and states in Europe, and just a few years after Terrassa witch trials, the practice disappeared completely. It is on one of these later, and one among the last trials, that this movie is focused on. Many European records show cases of people being accused of taking part in Witches’ Sabbath, and a good number of them tried and some executed. The Last Witch nicely uses one of those background tales to create and bring an interesting story to light. There might be many other high budget movies with witches, including The Last Witch Hunter, and there are those which are divergent in character like The Witch and The Autopsy of Jane Doe, along with those on full entertainment mode, like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Seventh Son and Dark Shadows. However, you can see here that The Last Witch also brings an identity of its own without going into that possible void, and manages to be a horror movie which uses what it got, to good advantage, with fine performances.

Release date: 1st January 2016
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Carlos Almon Munoz
Starring: Fernando Tato, Pepe Penabade, Alfonso Romeo, Paula Pier, Clara Gayo, Jose Zumalave, Jose Antonio Almon, Jorge Gallardo

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Tharangam

What is the movie about? :: Padmanabhan Pillai a.k.a. Pappan (Tovino Thomas) used to be the Sub Inspector of Police working in the traffic department until getting suspended on an unfortunate night during a special operation not approved by the department, along with his good friend and subordinate officer Joy C (Balu Varghese). This incident which lead to the death of their senior officer Antony (Manoj K Jayan) has them wandering around the city in need of money, as they need to pay Ittimani (Alencier Ley Lopez) a sum of five lakhs. Their senior officer Sivadasa Menon (Vijayaraghavan) assures them that he will do all that he can to get them back in the uniform. It is him who come up with a special duty for them, which could bring them some money as part of an unofficial investigation. With things not being that great with his girlfriend Malini a.k.a Malu, Pappan decides to take the job, as some easy money with less risk is not that much of a bad idea.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This unofficial investigation is provided to them by Tharian Mathew (Shammi Thilakan), who offers them a lot of money to find what is going on with his wife, Omana Varghese (Neha Iyer) who owns a restaurant chain in the city and its surroundings. He suspects that she is having an affair, and wishes to divorce her after finding proof of her adultery. As the two friends go on their newly discovered adventure, they only find out that something is strange with the people that she meets, but there is no proof of her having an affair. But when they are watching her, someone else is watching them – Christopher Luke (Sijoy Varghese) is the man after them, and then there is their earlier enemy from the failed operation, Siju (Saiju Kurup) who comes in their way. There is so much going on with their lives that the whole thing seems to be messed up. Can they make the necessary changes to make things better?

The defence of Tharangam :: There is something different in the way this movie begins and ends, and even though the same is not something seen before, it has never been this fresh. It is a fine experiment as far as Malayalam movie industry is concerned – with the hero and a lot of characters surrounding him, and add all the fun, you will find something like Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu here, as our heroes as well as more than one teams of villains are looking for one thing that goes missing. The movie also has a strong side of fantasy to go with the real incidents, even though they are only related in a few occasions. There are messages about people being responsible for their own fate, as God provides them with a number of choices in their life, as one little act of kindness or cruelty, can change everything. There is a lot of dark humour present in this one too, as it nicely deviates from the usual foolish comedy which could have been served here with the subject on another day.

The claws of flaw :: Tharangam doesn’t go through the path which the common audience would expect – the trailer had given less idea about what it was going to be in totality, but even then, this seems to have deviated a lot, and will not leave the viewers with the usual and expected kind of experience for them to cherish. Maybe, they could have shortened the fantasy side, and maybe even limited the same to a few dialogues. The romance also disappears earlier than one would expect. There are opportunities of humour being lost, and there are moments when the audience can feel lost. The two cops could have handled the whole thing with lots of funny moments, but such an attempt is not made, as this one tries to bring one thing after the other, creating a mixture which not everyone can take home. The divergence is a fine thing, but the doubt about where to go with the same, is rather strange when we look deep. It is the story that needed to rise more when needed.

Performers of the soul :: It is nice to see Tovino Thomas coming up with different types of roles, as he could do with the two big movies Godha and Oru Mexican Aparatha, as well as that much respected movie on the internet, Guppy. But we know that his best is still to come, and that can even go bilingual. We see him go through the comic side rather easily. Balu Varghese supports him well, even though one wonders why there is no big memorable comedy sequences in this movie even there was more than one chance. The “Luketta” call from the two is just one of them. The one person whom we miss early is Manoj K Jayan, who has only a few minutes of presence there. Dileesh Pothan surprises us in his avatar and is very good with the same, even when the movie could have gone on without extending that sequence a little too much in the beginning.

Further performers of the soul :: Santhy Balachandran makes a much memorable debut here, and she has some very nice moments as well as dialogues in the movie – one can be sure that there are miles ahead for her in Malayalam movie industry. We keep feeling that she is capable of more if provided the bigger roles. One is going to find it hard to believe that this is her first movie. The other new face, Neha Iyer is also strong with her character into which she seems to have dived deep – there is more than face to this character, which she reflects with skill. Saiju Kurup has another character who catches our attention with ease, as he had in Pokkiri Simon, Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, Adventures of Omanakuttan and Alamara earlier. Sijoy Varghese is strong with the negative side of the character throughout his existence in this movie. Alencier Ley Lopez, Vijayaraghavan and Shammi Thilakan get rather shorter, but important roles in this movie.

How it finishes :: Tharangam is that kind of a movie which you can either love or hate, and there is also the option to stand in between – it is more of a movie of the audience, as each viewer can have a separate opinion regarding the same. The level of enjoyment regarding this movie is different, as you notice those simple things which affect your opinion. We know that crime comedy thrillers are not that easy to bring to the common audience, and this one has surely tried hard to do the same, even with those flaws. Dhanush has also made his Malayalam debut as a producer with Tharangam. It has been on the list of much awaited movies for quite some time, and one song with Tovino Thomas and Santhy Balachandran had brought further need to watch this movie as soon as possible. Now, we have this one for Pooja holidays, and if you like movies like Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu, there is a good chance that you will like this one too, and the overall quality of Tharangam feels more – be ready for some experimentation on screen. I will leave you with the wonderful song from the movie.

Release date: 29th September 2017
Running time: 153 minutes
Directed by: Dominic Arun
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Balu Varghese, Santhy Balachandran, Neha Iyer, Dileesh Pothan, Sijoy Varghese, Alencier Ley Lopez, Vijayaraghavan, Manoj K Jayan, Shammi Thilakan, Saiju Kurup, Sanju Shivram, Unni Mukundan (cameo)

<—Click here to go to previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Get Out

Vampire Owl: This reminds me of the first two words Dracula uncle told me. It is nice of them to make a movie titled the same.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about what happened when you applied for apprenticeship with the wrong biodata.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I wasn’t trained in vampiric language at that time, and messed it up.

Vampire Bat: You could have just used the universal blood language at that time. It was an official language too.

Vampire Owl: I was just glad that I could get these two words from him without thinking that much about the same.

Vampire Bat: It was all that you were looking for?

Vampire Owl: Well, we are all satisfied with what we have, aren’t we?

Vampire Bat: Yes, we are happy with what we are, and what all exist for us.

Vampire Owl: It is something that we need to to teach the humans.

Vampire Bat: Unfortunately, even after being just mortals, they learn nothing about what could face them in the afterlife. The Lego movie characters know better.

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

What is the movie about? :: A photographer named Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) have been in love for a few months, and they decide to visit her parents at a far away place, in the countryside, where they own a huge area of land of and property by the side of a lake. Chris is a little bit concerned about meeting her conservative parents because he is black, and her parents seem to be having a white legacy going with her grandfather having lost to Jesse Owens in front of Hitler during the Berlin Olympics of 1936. But the parents seem to be happy with their relationship, Dean Armitage (Bradley Whitford) and Missy Armitage (Catherine Keener) welcomes him to their home as part of their family, even though his brother Jeremy Armitage (Caleb Landry Jones) does come up with some strange remarks which they don’t mind that much.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The servants at the house who are black, act rather too strange towards him, with Walter (Marcus Henderson) and Georgina (Betty Gabrietl), both doing strange things and also talking as if there is some hostility in the air. Chris has a strange feeling about the happenings at the place, and has a walk at night, during which he is hypnotised by Missy who is a psychiatrist, after which he feels no desire to smoke. He also seems Walter and Georgina doing some strange things, and Jeremy even tries to put a headlock on him, making him really uncomfortable. There is an annual gathering supposed to happen at the place too, during which a lot of guests seem to have special interest in him, except for the only black man in the group, Logan King (LaKeith Stanfield) who also acts strange. He talks about the same to his best friend, Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery) who asks him to get out of there.

And what is to follow with a twist of events? :: Chris also meets a man called Jim Hudson (Stephen Root), who is blind, but appreciates his work with photography, as he has his assistant who describes them to him. With all focus on him only, Chris asked about how it feels to be an African-American, but he passes the question to Logan who seems to have a certain problem answering the question, and when Christ tries to take his photo, gets angry, asking him to get out of there. Logan, bleeding from his nose, seems to feel better after a session with Missy, and Chris keeps narrating the happenings to Rod, who tells him that those people there might be brainwashing the black people with Missy’s hypnotizing ability, and keeping them as slaves, or even sex slaves, which at first seems funny, but Chris realizes that there is more to this strange behaviour of the people than what meets the eye.

The defence of Get Out :: The movie has its viewers feeling that there is something coming, right from the first sequence itself, and it keeps throwing something again and again on the way, to make sure that the audience is kept excited about what is to come. There is a big mystery ready to be revealed, and throughout the movie, there is the feeling of weirdness and danger which is nicely reflected through more than one character. The early feeling of waiting for the suspense to reveal itself has its replacement in the form of thrills and a certain amount of horror that get stronger by the end. We know that there is something eerie about it, but then we realize that there is even more to come as the movie progresses towards the end. There is tension that is shown between the characters here, and there is something like a rising intensity about it – we feel that this movie is getting better and better towards the end, as we know that something unexpected is to happen, and things are going to go bad for the protagonist, and then towards terrible.

The claws of flaw :: The humour doesn’t work much, and it also gets pretty much violent in the end, something which we weren’t expecting that much considering the first half. We do look at the huge amount of critical appreciation, and expect something even bigger, like a masterpiece, but we will only get this movie – on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie manages to have an approval rating of 99% based on 269 reviews; it is something that we don’t see that often, for things tend to come down a few days after a movie’s release. Metacritic has adjusted with an 84, but something like 99 is what keeps the expectations at a top level. People who have no understanding of the movie’s basic premise will find some trouble too. There is the certainty of some missing logic, with the way the movie becomes something not that natural by the end, which will raise some eyebrows here and there. If you are expecting the twist to be like The Skeleton Key, you are in for a surprise, with doctors and medical science being attached here, even without that much of a deep explanation.

How it finishes :: With Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams staying strong as the leading actors, we have a movie to look out for, right here. It is a flick which is not that well-known around here with a rather unknown cast for our audience, and not much of a title that grabs attention, but there will be a lot of fans for this one from here later, that is for sure. The opinions on this one are going to be divided here though, as the racial stuff is not going into the roots with our audience – maybe the caste would do if we make a similar movie here. The movie seems to reflect how things are, when we see another person as “the other“, as someone who really doesn’t belong to our group, and there are some people who pretend to accept them, even though they really don’t. People are such good actors in real life these days, aren’t they? We see so many of such people in this flick, and then there are others who just hate those who are different – the world still needs change for sure, and you see the need stored right within, with a smart horror thriller here. At the same time, lets hope that the viewers take something out of this movie and be better towards the others, the different, those who are not like everyone else.

PS: Check out the review of the latest release, Sunday Holiday.

Release date: 24th February 2017
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lil Rel Howery, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Catherine Keener, Betty Gabriel, Marcus Henderson, Erika Alexander, LaKeith Stanfield, Stephen Root, Geraldine Singer

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Logan

Vampire Owl: He is quite the popular person, isn’t he?

Vampire Bat: Yes, he is the favourite mutant of almost everyone you meet.

Vampire Owl: I wish that the mutants in our worlds were not zombies.

Vampire Bat: They have to be considered separately, especially with a world of supernaturals and superheroes in waiting.

Vampire Owl: Well, we were the most popular supernatural creatures at a time, and it is sad that there are signs of the same changing.

Vampire Bat: I believe that we are still very much popular, and our side remains strong. The mutants have always been there as superheroes or supervillains.

Vampire Owl: I have watched the trailer of this one. It is strange, for I thought this one was at least partially immortal.

Vampire Bat: He is a product of science; they haven’t really understood immortality yet.

Vampire Owl: But immorality is there.

Vampire Bat: That is kind of an easy thing for humans these days.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Hide and Seek biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Going right into a distant future, mutants are almost extinct. There is no longer the need for fighting the other mutants lead by Magneto (Ian McKellen), and there is no battle between the humans and the mutants, with the mutant problem seemingly not there as a threat. During these times, James Logan Howlett a.k.a. the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), drives a limo and takes care of Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease which has lead to the world’s most dangerous brain being not something of use, and the telepathic abilities no longer working. Logan remains only a shadow of what he has been earlier, with his healing factor leaving him with time making him age, and without the healing, the adamantium skeleton which is the unyieldingly hard material inside him, is slowly and steadily killing him from inside.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The two mutants are given company by another mutant, Caliban (Stephen Merchant), who has the ability to sense the presence of other mutants and track them. These are not easy times for Logan, who does get into trouble at times. One day, Logan is approached by a woman named Gabriela Lopez (Elizabeth Rodriguez), who claims to have worked as a nurse for some biotechnology corporation. He keeps trying to avoid her, but after offering him some money, she requests him to escort her and an eleven year girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to a place in North Dakota known only as Eden. After she gets murdered, Logan, Xavier and Laura manages to escape the people who pursue them, while Caliban is captured. They are chased by a group of men lead by the cybernetically-enhanced fighter, Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).

And what follows the same in the movie? :: Laura also has adamantium skeleton bonded to her, and has claws not only in her hands, but also in her feet. They find out from Gabriela’s final video message that she is one of several mutant children the company was breeding and joining with the DNA from different mutants, thus transferring their powers to children whom they felt were easier to brainwash into the ultimate killing machines, but it was not that effective as it was planned. Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) who was the head of the project, is now in pursuit of his lost assets, and is determined to capture them dead or alive. Logan doesn’t have an instant liking to Laura who was cloned from his own DNA, but things get better as they go on traveling together. But unknown to them, there is one more thing after them, the X-24 project, which is more of the killing machine than Logan and Laura combined – how do they fight the monsters on their tail?

The defence of Logan :: This is one superhero movie in a divergent mode, which makes most of the things different with this one’s protagonist. There is something good with a superhero movie trying things differently as this one, as we get something other than the usual thing. With the powerful action scenes, what we have here is an even stronger emotional side, and we go through the hero’s struggles to live up to the legend in order to save more than one life, rather than finding him achieve greatness with a fantastic display of powers – something which X-Men and Avengers have been focusing on, along with destroying quite a good amount of public and private property. A predictable side is present too. We feel the pain of the hero more than in any other superhero movie, and it is something that the character of Wolverine has so much scope in providing us, along with those big action sequences. This one surely shows that there is more than one way to go divergent than Deadpool, and maybe Logan shouldn’t have been a movie with just one part.

The claws of flaw :: One is certain to find this too violent a movie, something which the X-Men movies haven’t focused on. There was already one special child in Midnight Special, and we have a rather more violent one here. There is also too much of a length for this movie considering the material that is possesses and how things have been proceeding, and just as many Wolverine fans had said, this is not the movie that they wanted with their hero at the centre – the end might be too much for them who might have wished for their favourite mutant to steal the show and just continue for eternity. A lot of things in this movie are going to be feeling like tragedy for the fans, and the situation of the great Professor X goes with that of Wolverine. This one is a lot dark and depressing with its content, and with violent kids in there, this is the movie that you would want to avoid watching with the younger ones – even as the kids and youth of these ages are surely getting more violent.

How it finishes :: Logan is one superhero movie with a difference; it will not go on to become something like The Dark Knight franchise, but this divergent treatment is certain to make one think about how much better each superhero movie could be – an idea which even those Bollywood superhero movies stealing from Hollywood can also think about. It can also work beyond the genre, as not a superhero movie. One thing that you will love more than everything else is, as expected, Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine who once again gives it all, as the older man who is not the killing machine that he used to be – with a number of X-Men movies, we have been missing him, and we needed something like this which was all about him. There is also Dafne Keen who is also almost as good as the big man with her performance. There might be other movies with superheroes, mutants or X-Men, but Logan is a movie that walks the different path, and will have your attention with how well it manages to do the same.

PS: Also, look forward to this week’s movie, Tiyaan.

Release date: 3rd March 2017
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adventures of Omanakuttan

What is the movie about? :: Omanakuttan (Asif Ali) is a young marketing executive at the customer care centre of Clintonica, a company selling hair oil, based out of the city of Mysore. He is evidently very good at what he does, which makes him getting selected as the best employee multiple times by Chandrasekharan (Siddique) who owns the company, and tries to keep expanding the same. It also makes his co-workers jealous of him, and sometimes even irritated, as Omanakuttan is ready to work even on days of harthal and bandh, mostly because he has nothing else to do with his life. As Omanakuttan is an introvert, he never really goes to social gatherings and doesn’t have that many friends, and a lot of his colleagues are even hesitant to talk to him. He shares the room with Philip (Saiju Kurup), who finds it okay to stay with him because he doesn’t ask many questions, and also never hesitates to give his share of the rent.

So, what happens next? :: As one his co-workers easily reject his proposal and everyone at the office seems to find it funny, he gets some advice from his boss who tells him to market himself, and decides to do what he is good at, with the girls – to talk on the mobile, and never to come face to face with them. It is with the same idea that he gets the mobile number of a number of girls and get to just chat with them, under different names, and as different people in different fields of work, and at the same time avoiding any chance to meet them. It goes on easily for him as it has been his job for quite some time at the office. One day, he comes across Pallavi (Bhavana), who seems to be a big fan of the Malayali singer living in Karnataka, Siddharth (Rahul Madhav). He also manages to get to talk with her as Siddharth, and Pallavi, who is a parapsychologist looking to travel to Spain to continue her studies, also considers it to be nice to keep in touch with the famous singer.

And what follows the events? :: One day, while returning home, Omanakuttan gets into trouble, and after being hit on the head, wakes up in the middle of a waste disposal area with no memory of who he is. He just has his second mobile phone with him which he was using to call the girls, and each person on the other side calls him by different names, which leads him into more and more confusion. It is then that he comes across Pallavi again, both not recognizing each other. After he helps her to repair her car’s punctured tyre, she gives him a lift to the city. Later, they meet again, and she agrees to help him find who he is, but in return for his own help with her life. But it turns out that Omanakuttan is just one of the names that they come across; there will be other names including Michael and Jerry, and a news that he had died in an accident on the highway. Pallavi’s former lover Shiva (Aju Varghese) also drops in. So, how do they finally figure out what is happening out there, and who the man really is?

The defence of Adventures of Omanakuttan :: Considering the way this movie progresses, one might feel that it could be kind of television series, like Arrow or The Flash, just in a funny way, as there are so many interesting characters in this movie. There is more than one mystery to solve, and more than one or two twists to follow, which could be effectively used as a series, and even in a possible sequel later with mysteries still to be solved. Along with bringing the twists, the movie’s funny side also gets to another level in the second half, as we see Adventures of Omanakuttan repairing its problems, and making things better in the latter part, finally reaching that climax which is more than what we had expected. Well, if you want change and don’t accept the change which is Adventures of Omanakuttan, there will be same kind of movies again and again, and by appreciating movies like these, we will have better divergent movies that will make things even better. You would at least need to watch this flick so that you will have a better understanding of your taste, and where the alignment of the same stands.

The claws of flaw :: What should bother a lot of people is the pacing of this movie, which is so slow, and it certainly drags with its story in the first half. It is also too long for most of the people, as the total length was nearly three hours for us with the breaks in between included – we are not longer ready to spend that much time continuously unless there is something spectacular happening on the big screen. A lot of people inside the theatre did feel that this was so slow and going on and on – there was the fear that this was going to go nowhere, but that problem was solved in the second half. Whenever there is the sign of things getting upgraded in the first half, it just doesn’t happen – there was the need to get rid of a few minutes which showed the protagonist’s character, because the same was already established, and had no need to be shown as what he was. The humour was is not always working, and the curse was certainly on the first half here.

Performers of the soul :: Asif Ali does a fine job as the protagonist, his different faces which are handled nicely, and special mention needs to be given to the comic side with him around, and with a later support of Aju Varghese who gets some very nice dialogues, keeps the movie floating well on the troublesome waters in the middle. The latter who is also seen in Godha at the theatres now, seems to be completely in form. Kalabhavan Shajohn and Siddique are the two other main contributors to this one, they have one nice sequence of dialogues in the end, which is undoubtedly the pick of the whole thing. Bhavana is really good in the role of a bold girl who decides to do whatever she wants with her life, holding one certain aim as her dearest thing. There are some smart ideas that her character comes up with in the movie, and they are also a lot funny, and well acted. It is also a lot of fun with her around, contributing to the overall humour.

How it finishes :: Taking a divergent path, Adventures of Omanakuttan is certainly not the movie to be appreciated later, as there are not many movies which builds so well on an ordinary beginning and first half to elevate itself to such a high level by the end. This is a movie which has to be watched in the theatres so that the experimental and different flicks like this one makes more film makers to try more. Adventures of Omanakuttan decides to go differently, and won’t go the path you want it to be, just like Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla, but becoming funnier and smarter in treatment for sure. You don’t need this one to be Guppy, because it is not the movies for the masses that we need, but movies that differ from each other in a good way – we need a good dose of good movies, and along with Godha, Adventures of Omanakuttan will make sure that there is more for the fans here this weekend and next week.

Release date: 19th May 2017
Running time: 166 minutes
Directed by: Rohith V.S.
Starring: Asif Ali, Bhavana, Aju Varghese, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Siddique, Saiju Kurup, Rahul Madhav, Srinda Arhaan, Aditi Ravi, Arya Rohit, Sivaji Guruvayoor

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Charlie

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What is the movie about? :: The titular person, Charlie (Dulquer Salmaan) is a character who is compared to many things, a djinn and the wind being just a few of them. Some people call him a mad man and someone who is completely out of his mind. He comes to the lives of people and disappears only to make a grand appearance on another day when he is least expected. He is a man known for being himself, and he is someone whom not many people forget once they meet him. He is the force of nature that unleashes himself, and there are not many things normal about him. But he is a skilled artist, and spends a lot of time helping others; but that doesn’t stop him from being a free bird. He likes no chains being attached to him, and he makes his decisions in his own way.

So what is the story about? :: The story goes through the life of Tessa (Parvathy) who is the one who do the revealing job, and it is through her that we come across Charlie. She is someone with a habit of running away from home, and when it seems that her marriage is to be fixed, she goes on a rather longer run. She stays in a room at Fort Cochin, and finds the place strange as it has things which were left behind by the earlier occupant. She notices the artistic work there and also a graphic novel which has been left incomplete. She becomes more and more interested in finding what happens next in that work, and at the same time, she is infatuated with the person who lived there before her; the man often referred to as djinn, Charlie – the person who put himself on the obituary column of the newspaper just because he could and he wanted to.

The defence of Charlie :: There is a grand amount of high quality feel-good provided in this movie, and you will sense it as the movie gets near the first half break. The way in which this story unfolds is the biggest plus point here, as the narrative style successfully brings the curiosity of the audience to the next stage. There are not many things predictable about this movie and its characters, except for the final moments; those actually contribute to making this one delightful. The beautiful visuals just support the same really well – they are not limited as they extend from the seas to the hills. The lovable characters also work their skills to make us feel the attachment to this flick. Jo and the Boy had the tagline “See Happiness”, and Charlie seems to absorb it into itself! The background music really brings the true feeling of the movie to us, and we know that this is there to stay both intellectually and spiritually – look out for the song “Oru Karimukilinu” for the true divergent magical reflection of movie’s dreamy side. Did you want change? Well, you got it right here!

Claws of flaw :: The one thing which could have been better is the story, and its reflection of life; Charlie is more like the fairy-tale, but it is not that throughout its run. Charlie has quite an unrealistic side to it, but it is completely not that. It is a mixture which won’t work for everyone in the same way. The beginning of the movie is also not that interesting; but it picks up and is at its best in the second half. People can also find the same problems related to liquor once again being branded cool and part of a “supposed to be awesome” life which also has nothing for the family. The humour could have also been better used considering the overall mood of this movie. What surprised me a lot is how the flaws were disappearing in the second half of this movie; it was as if there was something other-worldly working around, with the problems of this movie fading and the viewers feeling really good. But I did want a more believable titular character – being real is difficult here.

Performers of the soul :: Charlie has the best performance from Dulquer Salmaan and his best movie since Ustad Hotel and Second Show as far as Malayalam movies are concerned. He is the central character and you are sure to like this performance, but the focus is still on Parvathy’s Tessa as it is into her journey that we are introduced, and it is with her that we go on that adventure. When you look at her, you will surely feel that she has come a long way from Ennu Ninte Moideen, but then you remember that it also released just a few months ago. You will love her more in this movie than any other, because her character remains the seeker who won’t yield, and yet she remains the simple person throughout this flick. I believe that we are not finished with seeing her many visages of the lady who surely will only go higher during the years to come.

Further performers of the soul :: While the leading pair does steal many hearts around there, Aparna Gopinath is also here as the second leading lady, and it is a deep and serene performance here. I didn’t like her in American Born Confused Desi (ABCD), but I am really pleased to see her in this avatar, and she was also special. She makes the appearance on screen much later, but her sequences are also those which stay with us. The funnier moments belong to Soubin Shahir here. The other interesting characters are played by Nedumudi Venu, Chemban Vinod Jose and Neeraj Madhav, while Tovino Thomas, Kalpana, K.P.A.C. Lalitha and Ramesh Pisharody plays even smaller, but memorable characters. They are there to be admired, especially Tovino and Kalpana. There is a fine list of actors here, and most of the characters played by them will stay in our hearts.

How it finishes :: Charlie was one of those most hyped movies of this year along with Ennu Ninte Moideen which should top that list. The social media was full of random information and talks about how great these two movies will be, just before the release. Coming from Martin Prakkat, the director of the hit movies like Best Actor and American Born Confused Desi (ABCD), Charlie was supposed to make the big impact; if you ask me, I can clearly define this one was the best movie from the director so far. The previous two movies were just random comedy while Charlie gets to the next level and touches the soul; it surely has a certain amount of magic. I am really happy that he dared to go through a different route. Charlie becomes another lovely experiment which will be remembered for quite a long time, and should win this Christmas season after a tough battle with the rest of the flicks – the strength here is not in the existence, but in the essence; that explains the special experience. Check out this song from the movie which I had earlier mentioned!

Release date: 24th December 2015
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Martin Prakkat
Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Parvathy Kottuvata, Chemban Vinod Jose, Ramesh Pisharody, Aparna Gopinath, Nedumudi Venu, Soubin Shahir, Neeraj Madhav, Tovino Thomas, P. Balachandran, Kalpana, K.P.A.C. Lalitha, Seetha, Jayaraj Warrier, Surjith, Renji Panicker, Joy Mathew, Nassar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Fault in Our Stars

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Vampire Owl :: Why do you have a beard?

Vampire Bat :: Do I need a reason for that?

Vampire Owl :: I think you are having a beard because you don’t want anybody to recognize you getting tickets for bad movies.

Vampire Bat :: How bad? I can even stand a movie with a zombie falling in love with a corpse.

Vampire Owl :: They have already made that in Bollywood. I think they put it in the romantic comedy genre and people seemed to enjoy it a lot. A box-office hit. Something worse was made in Malayalam. It was called Annayum Rasoolum. Another hit there.

Vampire Bat :: But this will be good.

Vampire Owl :: If it is good, the show will be cancelled. Nobody will watch it. They only want to watch dumb romance and superstar movies. I heard you watched Pizza in 3D?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, you mean to say you actually read my Facebook status?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I am making a list of the bad movies you watch. Now go and watch a movie. Meanwhile, I will create an evil plan to owlify and take over the universe.

Vampire Bat :: And that is the evil Vampire Owl prototype.

[Begins the journey].

What is it about? :: Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is a cancer patient who is loved and cared by her parents Michael (Sam Trammell) and Frannie (Laura Dern) who decides to send her to a support group at the local church, feeling that she is depressed and need friends. There she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) who also had cancer and had to lose one of his legs. They form an instant liking to each other, and soon their relationship develops. As it goes on, things get stuck at Hazel’s favourite novel which doesn’t seem to have a conclusion and she desires to know the ending of this story which is about a cancer-striken girl whose life parallels her. But the author of the book, Peter van Houten has moved to Amsterdam and not replying to fan mails. As Augustus tracks down Houten’s assistant, Lidewij and they finds out that the answer will be provided in Netherlands, they decide to travel to Europe together. Even as she is unhealthier, her parents and Augustus decides to make her dream come through. Through all these, a romance also develops.

The defence of The Fault in Our Stars :: There are many stupid romantic movies that are thrown at us thinking that we viewers have no brain, and this is one beautiful exception that we have here. It is not an exaggerated display of teenage romance that we have here, and it is not terribly realistic to the core, but it has kept away from exaggeration as much as possible consider the limitations of a movie which is to appeal to the viewers and more people are to know about the feelings that the patients have. The two major characters are beautifully portrayed, and Hazel is awesome. Almost every dialogue and every interaction concerning her catches our attention and we feel for her right from the beginning to the end, and when she replies “thank you” to the compliments that are given to her in a cute tone, it gives a lot of happiness to oneself considering the way she is going through her life. The beautiful young lady gives us silver lining to our life, finding hope with an extraordinary amount of faith while going through pain and being stalked by death, the certain visitor who is being delayed by prayers and medical treatment. The romance is also beautiful, and hundred percent of the soul rather than some retarded movies which only claim to be so.

Claws of flaw :: As the adaptation of the novel of the same name by John Green, the movie might have its points missing out, but I haven’t read the book yet, and so it is not up-to me to talk about that. The movie has certain coating to make sure that it doesn’t go uninteresting to the viewers, and the extra bit of sugar-coated romance added also adds to make sure that the teenagers flock to the theatres – yes, I could see a lot of them dying for more and more romance and left without the satisfaction of seeing what they needed in a stupid romantic movie, but this movie has given them more than enough in my opinion – this is not to be considered as just a romantic movie, and that much we owe to the real people who suffer from the disease. Well, how can we find fault with a wonderfully acted movie having two people trying to live their life in a beautiful manner despite having the knowledge that they are going nowhere other than the ultimate death, or “doom” or “oblivion” as the characters do call the end in a funny way? I guess there is no need to go deep down into it. Romance is actually an intruder into the seriousness, and I wonder how this would have turned out without it – got to have been better.

Performers of the soul :: Shailene Woodley as Hazel is the spirit and soul of this movie and she makes this movie even more than what is should have been. We did see her in Divergent where she matched Jennifer Lawrence – taking Beatrice Prior to the the level of Katniss Everdeen in a lesser movie, but this is an entirely different situation. We love the attitude of her character, and Hazel is not just Hazel, and as her lover calls her, she is Hazel Grace, proving herself to to be in the grace of God or the grace herself by being a wonderful person against all her thick walls of troubles. Ansel Elgort played Shailene’s brother in Divergent, and here she plays the next best character and one has to admire the way both of these characters are written, and these two have played them to perfection. They provide the viewers with some abiding sadness along with happiness and heart-break that comes. But they are within the limits of seeing the beauty of the world. There are two things that the characters do teach us, one is that “The world is not a wish-granting factory”, and the other is that “Funerals aren’t for the dead, they are for the living” – prayers are the ones for the dead, aren’t they?

Soul exploration :: The title alludes to “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar Act I Scene II. It has human situation, either good or bad, as the result of one’s own actions rather than by the power of the divine, or that human condition itself such a flawed one that divinity can play no role in it. But it is not true on most occasions, right? There are things beyond our control, and a desire to control our own fate can only be successful up-to an extent or not close to having any success at all. No, it is not our fault that we don’t achieve something or ends up on the losing side. There is always the element of luck or fate, and the existence of God’s grace that changes things. There is indeed the fault in our stars, and there is the society and the world around us that shapes us and define our lives – just too many factors which control our lives on which we sometimes have no knowledge and at other times no control, and things to do fall apart. We are all subject to the fault in the stars, and it is just that for some people, it is less visible on the outside. In some other cases, we know. We have to live through the faults, our characters did.

How it finishes :: Even as there this released last month in the United States, it has the presence here at the right time at theatres with Planes 2: Fire and Rescue 3D not creating the usual animated impact out there – only wish remains that it had more shows. For Keralites, some memory of Akasadoothu inspired by Who Will Love My Children? will be there in this movie and there is the feeling that these movies carry far beyond its own realm of existence on a big screen. The Fault in Our Stars is nicely romantic along with being tragic and still, it creates that effect which none of the movie can really create. We can only hope that people will support beautiful movies like this instead of fake and dumb romantic movies like Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya which attracts audience so much. Unfortunately, for some people, they think that love is all about physical attraction and exaggerated fake romance – Bollywood continues to teach that very long story which it uses again and again without any shame or regret, just with the addition of something on bed. Sadly, such are the movies which come good at this part of the world.

Release date: 18th July 2014 (India); 6th June 2014 (USA)
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Josh Boone
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Lily Kenna, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek, Mike Birbiglia, John Green (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.