Sara’s

What is the movie about? :: Sara (Anna Ben) needs to get many things right, and making a name in the film field is only one of them. She has her own set of beliefs, and is not ready to step away from them, no matter the cost happens to be. From her school days itself, she was afraid of having a child, and she maintains that aversion throughout her life. She is bothered by her father Vincent’s (Benny P Nayarambalam) constant requests to get a boyfriend, without which they will come up with a match themselves. It is then that she meets Jeevan (Sunny Wayne), who had left his job in Bangalore and returned home, presently taking care of his sister’s children. When the two meet later, they are united by their lack of interest in having children, and decide to fall in love. They feel that there is a connection between them, and the two decide to wait for a few years before they marry – she hopes that she can study him well during that time, and also get her new movie going.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Their world consists of only the two of them, and they hope to keep it the same without any unwanted trouble. But when their parents come to know about the relationship, things don’t go that smoothly. They are forced to get married too soon, but the two decide to go with the flow without resisting the same. Sara continues to try and get her script accepted by a producer willing to let her direct the film. At the same time, Jeevan goes back to job again. Sara is disappointed by her inability to convince the producers, but things get only worse for her when she gets pregnant. All the relatives come to know about it, and their happiness is only matched by Sara’s disappointment. She hasn’t changed a bit as far as her ideology about children is concerned, even though Jeevan is now not sure. The equations have changed now, and what they had thought earlier might not work any longer.

The defence of Sara’s :: There can always be something about feel-good movies, and that something is carried over here too, with the feeling being too good. Jude Anthany Joseph’s mastery over the same is something on which everybody would agree. The emotional side is strong, and the light-hearted elements with the usual touch of humour works really well here. The reflections of the usual life and the disagreements between generations can also be seen in the flick. It is to be noted that the light-hearted feeling is maintained throughout the film, and it never slips away from the same during its two hours of seemingly perfect run-time, even though it deviates a little bit. As a female centered film, the protagonist does have more to tell you than what meets the eye. There is the requirement to understand that the purpose of marriage is not to have children as soon as you are married, and that parenthood is a responsibility for which everyone has to be prepared well. When people have children in less than an year after marriage, and when they choose to keep having more and more of kids almost every year, it is strange. There is always an intellectual purpose in life as far as humans are concerned, and it is being left behind by these people, both men and women. This film should be an awakening for them, as well as for those who marry early, without maturity coming to them. In India, as more the youth is more dependent on parents it takes them about twenty eight to thirty three years old to be really mature. It is surprising to see some people getting married at the age of twenty one and eighteen, and the recent cases on suicides in the name of domestic violence and dowry were all from those who married too early, especially without the women not being allowed to complete their studies or work freely.

The claws of flaw :: Sara’s could have been more with its ideas, and there was also a chance to add more of light-hearted comedy with those usual kind of situations. You are never really short of some feel-good ideas in our world, and chances for humour were many, but not many of them are taken. It often struggles to make comedy out of silly stuff. The movie should have actually released one day earlier during the weekend, and it would have had more viewers due to the weekend lock-down being imposed, and this flaw in release date will decrease its viewers by a considerable number. These are the kind of choices which make sure how many people watch the film from an OTT platform. Also expectations after Jude Anthany Joseph’s previous movies were very high, and this one has to match that, but this one is more about the ups and downs. This one is certainly not that much fun in comparison with the earlier films, and we also have a little bit more of an emotional side at work here. The final moments seem to have gone for the quick solution, instead of making things innovative. The film is also too materialistic in its viewpoint with main characters going for the selfish motive, the kind which won’t hesitate to cheat and murder if needed, and its heroine wouldn’t be ideal in a morality tale, but as she is shown as a person interested only in films, maybe she is more of a reflection of people in who are part of movies rather than common people. After all, it is difficult for the protagonist to understand that she is not an island, but it is to be noted that the people around her matches her in being judgmental.

Performers of the soul :: With his third venture which seems to resemble the earlier successful works from him, it is Jude Anthany Joseph who has our attention here, more than the main actors and actresses of this film, and it is with high expectations that we are watching this particular flick. The work of Anna Ben remains the same, natural, and perfectly suited for a role like this. Kumbalangi Nights and Helen had her realistic acting skills bringing some surprise to us. This time, we are having exactly what we expected from here, and one more natural performance brings us an lovable film. She is the one actress who makes the perfect new generation star who blends in so well with the roles given to her. Benny P Nayarambalam, Anna’s real-life father plays her father in the film too, and that is indeed a nice addition to the movie. Siddique is also there, and you know what to expect when the veteran actor is once again there, and doing his usual stuff – he has more or less become an integral part of the feel-good Malayalam movies of these times.

Further performers of the soul :: Sunny Wayne is here in a film which is not centered on him, but that comes as no surprise to him, as he was the hero in Annmaria Kalippilaanu, but was not the protagonist there too. He was very good in the earlier supporting roles, and with different roles like the villain in Kayamkulam Kochunni and the surprise entry in June, he is known for these kind of roles more than for being the sole hero in flicks like Alamara and a number of lesser known ones. Before this film, we had him everywhere with that song “Kaamini” in Anugraheethan Antony due to the producers of Chathur Mukham failing to bring it to OTT platforms at a time when films like Cold Case, Drishyam 2, Mohan Kumar Fans, Nizhal, The Priest, Aarkkariyam and Joji scored so high in Amazon Prime Video, Nayattu in Netflix and Kho Kho with Operation Java in ZEE 5. It is also good to see Mallika Sukumaran going through her usual kind of work, and we also see others who have much less to do in here, even though they all form a part.

How it finishes :: This is the third film of Jude Anthany Joseph after Ohm Shanthi Oshaana and Oru Muthassi Gadha, both of those movies being excellent feel-good entertainers, and the former had also won the Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value at the 45th Kerala State Film Awards, as well as making sure that Nazriya Nassim earned a Best Actress Award too. So, this one certainly came with high expectations, especially considering the fact that Anna Ben is a more complete actress in comparison to those who were part of his earlier ventures. The expectations do provide some good results here, as Sara’s is indeed a movie to watch without having too much of the emotional feeling while dealing with similar topics and its light-hearted take on the usual kind of stuff and with a desire for change in the attitudes of the society makes it an interesting watch during these days which still continue have a certain kind of COVID-19 lock-down restrictions going on here and there. Therefore, the audience of all age groups can give it a chance.

Release date: 5th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Anna Ben, Sunny Wayne, Dominic Arun, Siddique, Srindaa, Margret Antony, Siju Wilson, Dhanya Varma, Benny P Nayarambalam, Mallika Sukumaran, Prasanth Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Coma

Vampire Owl: I have been in a vampire coma for quite a long time.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that the coma about which they are talking about here is not the same at all.

Vampire Owl: Well, all comas are pretty much similar in nature when you look deep enough.

Vampire Bat: At least, you should understand that being in a coffin and resting is not really the coma which is supposed to be significant.

Vampire Owl: What about that case when we were attacked by the werewolves and I went into coma?

Vampire Bat: You went for rest, and you had asked for it. There was no real coma.

Vampire Owl: Well, it is quite unfair, you know, for vampires not really having real comas.

Vampire Bat: Why would you want to go on a coma? It is quite absurd.

Vampire Owl: I had placed a bet with Vampire Penguin.

Vampire Bat: I thought that you were finished with that nonsense already!

[Gets an apple cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Viktor (Rinal Mukhametov) awakens on a bed inside a strange room, and he is surprised to find that there is something wrong with the objects in the room, and as he walks out, he finds out that everything around there is weird, with people as well as the objects – the rules of gravity itself doesn’t apply there as buildings from different parts of the world also seems floating around along with the usual kind of buildings and roads. As he walks around and witnesses more strange things, he is attacked by a creature, but is saved by a group of people and he accompanies them as they run away from what seems to be monster with no real shape. The newly found friends explain to him that he should be in a coma in original life, and what they are experiencing are the memories of the people who are in coma. Building, objects, people or whatever they remember are there in this world, but in a chaotic arrangement. Whatever is not remembered, doesn’t exist there at all. The new world had picked up these memories like radio signals.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The one whom Viktor meets first is Fly (Lyubov Aksyonova) a soldier who seems to have healing skills, and explains to him on his newly found situation in between San Francisco Bridge, St. Peter’s Basilica, Burj Khalifa, Kremlin, Big Ben and others. The mixed up memories being more and more chaos to world as not much makes sense in this new world. He feels that this is all just a dream, and he would wake up from it at some point, but Fly tells him that it is not going to happen, and they are all stuck there, in the world of coma, and they are all hunted by the creatures known as reapers, which make their existence there as unsafe, until they find a new place of refuge. If they die in that particular world of coma, there would be no return to the real world for them, and they decide to play it safe. Fly feels that Viktor will play a major role in making sure about their safety, but not everyone is that confident about it.

And what more is there in this strange world which seems to have no meaning? :: The leader of the military team is Phantom (Phantom) who has developed his strength and agility, while Spirit (Polina Kuzminskaya) has developed mind power. Almost everyone out there seems to have developed some powers during their stay at the place. Yet, Viktor seems to develop none despite all the hype surrounding him, and the only thing he remembers about him is that he used to be an architect, and had a car accident which brought him into the coma. Still, they have to keep searching in different memories which have become entangled as so many people in coma have left their part in there. With reapers everywhere hunting for people who have reached this world, they are indeed running out of time. The creatures can sense them, and there is a good chance that they will be turned into one of the monsters. But they really have no option, but to try, right? Can they figure things out and finally get out of the coma, or will they meet their ends there itself?

The defence of Coma :: You will notice in the beginning itself that this is a movie which looks just fantastic, with a magnificent world with great detail. There seems to be a lot of top level work done in the designing and graphics departments. We have many areas in this movie which can make a nice wallpaper, from the simplest to the most complicated details. There are so many places which look stunning with real world mingling into the artificial. We do see a fantasy world with a remarkable, yet chaotic design. The reapers also make interesting creatures, nicely suitable for the world that they are part of. You will also come across some fine twists, and there is more than what meets the eye about this idea and the world which has been created here. Even the real world outside coma has its own charm, and the actors do a pretty good job in total. Even though Rinal Mukhametov does pretty good, the two people who catch our attention more are Lyubov Aksyonova and Anton Pampushnyy who have some fine moments even though they don’t really make the protagonists or antagonists here.

The claws of flaw :: There are many movies that this one keep reminding us about. It has the elements of dreams replaced by comas on one side, and we are into another world which feels longer even when the real life’s time is shorter in duration. The Matrix also comes to your mind, with the possibility of a chosen one, and a world being created where the impossible seems to be possible while you have logged into the coma instead of the world of the matrix code. It doesn’t really keep up to the pace maintained by those science-fiction movies from the past either. The movie also has some confusing moments, and unlike the other movies of the genre, the flashback and the explanations are not that well done – we feel that when we look for more of knowledge about the laws of that particular world. The action sequences could have also been better used, as we find the same limited, just like the horror related to those creatures who also weaken over time.

How it finishes :: Coma will be liked by the fans of science fiction who had earlier liked films like Inception which had set a different trend going with its release. Even the love for The Matrix which we have missed for a long time can trigger the interest in this movie, even though this is not that innovative as that flick which changed our idea about science fiction action a long time ago. Still, this movie might need a sequel to further develop its idea to a better state. The world does require better utilization here, because this one feels more or less like an origin story. Well, we are never really without need for some good science-fiction movies, as it is one genre for which the demand never gets too low. After all, Russia has brought us interesting science-fiction before, and most of the time, it has been about aliens. Here, we see the attempt to go divergent, seemingly inspired from some of the ideas on dreams and machine simulation.

Release date: 29th November 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Nikita Argunov
Starring: Rinal Mukhametov, Lyubov Aksyonova, Anton Pampushnyy, Milos Bikovic, Polina Kuzminskaya, Konstantin Lavronenko, Rostislav Gulbis, Leonid Timtsunik, Vilen Babichev, Evgeniya Karatygina, Alexey Lubchenko, Sergei Gilev, Oleg Akkuzin, Igor Sigaev, Albert Kobrovsky

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lonappante Mamodeesa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Aadhi

What is the movie about? :: Aadhitya Mohan a.k.a. Aadhi (Pranav Mohanlal) is the only son of Mohan Varma (Siddique) and Rosakutty Mohan (Lena) who eloped from home, going for that intercaste marriage which nobody supported. As their only son, he manages to gain all the support that he can get from the parents, as he has taken two years break from studies and work to pursue his dream of becoming a music director. A case of infatuation for the girl next door Aneetta (Krittika Pradeep) and trained in the obstacle course training of parkour, there are so many other options for him in life, and yet he wishes for just one thing in life. But it doesn’t go on well, as his efforts in music go unnoticed. Because of the same reason, he decides to go to Bangalore as adviced by his best friend Nadhir (Krishna Shankar). There, he is supposed to perform in Fox Club, where will get the attention of prominent personalities from cinema industry.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Even though almost everything seems to work according to the plans, things get complicated when he meets his old friend from school, Anjana (Aditi Ravi), and ends up having a confrontation with Jayashankar (Siju Wilson) who is the bodyguard of the city’s most respected and feared businessman Narayana Reddy (Jagapati Babu). In between all of this which occurs at the top of the multi-storeyed building, the son of Narayana Reddy ends up being thrown all the way down, thanks to one heated approach by Jayashankar – Anjana is the only witness out there. Now, it turns out that Jayashankar has to hide all of these, and for the same, there is only one option left for him – finish off Aadhi, and for the same, there is full force of an angry Narayana Reddy as well as the police and politicians who are on the corporate payroll.

And what follows next in the adventure? :: With Narayana Reddy stopping at nothing to finish off the young man who killed his only son, and along with Jayakrishnan, Reddy’s right hand Siddharthan (Tony Luke) also joins the party – Aadhi can do nothing, but keep running. The goons sent by Reddy also reaches Aadhi’s home, and every route out of Bangalore is blocked by the police and his teams of goons. With five lakhs on his head, there is the need to run until he meets Sarath (Sharafudheen), Mani (Meghanathan) and Jaya (Anusree). The three also got their own problems with Narayana Reddy and his people, which makes them think about giving him a chance to escape. With the help of the technical expert Ebin (Tony Luke), they think about changing the equation, but is there really a chance to at least get close to escaping? Is there a weakness which they can exploit?

The defence of Aadhi :: There is the use of parkour, the activity in which you move around quickly in an area, getting through obstacles by running fast, jumping, climbing, rolling, swinging, sliding, and all ways possible – most of us have seen it in Paul Walker’s penultimate movie, Brick Mansions as well as the 2004 French film District 13 on which it was based. These scenes are very nicely executed by Pranav, and the same is never exaggerated. There is certain smartness related to how the action sequences are executed in this one, a quality which was missing in a good number of superstar movies in the last few months, most notable one being last Decemeber’s Masterpiece. There are many thrilling moments in this one, and the emotional side makes an excellent impact too. We also have some twists to come up in the final few moments, as there is more to Aadhi by the end. There are also some funny moments which come in between, which work, even though lesser in number.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing special in the premise and the tale here though, as we can see that there is the protagonist who accidentally kills the son or brother of an influential person who will not stop until he finds the person responsible dead – this would seem familiar, from decades ago. The same actor played the father who had his son killed in Pulimurugan, and here he losses his son yet again. One can be sure that Jeethu Joseph is capable of more, as the director who brought three different thriller experiences in the form of Detective, Memories and Drishyam. The movie also takes some time to get going, and the family sequences are just ordinary. The cameo scenes seemed to be rather unwanted, with purpose only to get those claps from hardcore fans. The length of the movie could have been lessened to make the whole thing closer to the point. Some of those longer action sequences could have been shortened to make way for separate moments.

The performers of the soul :: Pranav Mohanlal, without doubt, steals the show in this movie, from the first moments of appearance itself, beginning with those expressions and a certain simplicity that runs through. In the second half, with those action sequences to go with it, he takes the whole thing to another level, trumpeting his arrival in a grand fashion. The wait hasn’t been for no reason, as we get the culmination wonderfully. Aditi Ravi and Anusree plays the female leads, but the former has lesser time on screen, and latter has more of the comic side which also has nothing that much to do for her. It is actually surprising that we don’t see that much of the Alamara actress in movies as we would want to have. Lena and Siddique makes good parents, and are in full control of their work with strong emotional side. Sharafudheen has a funny side here too, even though things are more serious this time. Siju Wilson, Sijoy Varghese and Jagapati Babu make the villainous side here, and they remain strong throughout. Siju’s divergence is a smart move. Meghanathan and Tony Luke provide good support.

How it finishes :: The one thing about the Jeethu Joseph movies after Memories, is something which has been common in Drishyam, Oozham and Aadhi – the battle of the middle class against the rich and the influential who are after the blood of the common man. Even Life of Josutty had the middle class struggle in the core. The three could show the middle class struggling and winning against all odds in the form of thrillers. Well, everyone knows Drishyam, and Aadhi actually shows what Oozham could have been, with better execution. With no shortage of thrills, and bringing the needed variety in action sequences in Malayalam, the twists also drop-in to make this better. Well, fans have been waiting for a day this day for a long time, and one can say that their beloeved Lalettan’s son has scored high on his debut, and this is certainly another flick from Jeethu Joseph that you can admire without second thoughts.

Release date: 26th January 2018
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Pranav Mohanlal, Lena, Siddique, Siju Wilson, Sharafudheen, Aditi Ravi, Anusree, Tony Luke, Sijoy Varghese, Krittika Pradeep, Meghanathan, Jagapati Babu, Krishna Shankar, Mohanlal (cameo), Antony Perumbavoor (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vimaanam

What is the movie about? :: Venkateswaran a.k.a. Venkidi (Prithviraj Sukumaran), a man with hearing problems, is the latest recipient of Padma Bhushan for his grand achievements in the field of Aeronautics. But it turns out that he has a past which is deeply set in emotions. As he travels back to his hometown in Kerala from Delhi despite the warnings of his good friend Elias (Major Ravi), his flashback is revealed. It goes back to that time when he was going through his school days. From then, there was only one thing which interested him, and it was all about flying. His desire to fly got him to a bigger need, to build an airplane, inspired by Roger’s (Alencier Ley Lopez) tales about how the first flying airplane was invented. He grew up dreaming about the same, and not being interested in studies much, despite being an excellent student. There is someone who had supported him all the time, and continued to do so; that would be Janaki (Durga Krishna), his childhood friend who plans to join MBBS – they have been in love for longer than they can remember.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As Venkidi is half-Christian and half-Hindu, the possibility of their love story becoming something that would be approved at Janaki’s home, is very less, despite him following the same Hindu traditions. But their love continues to grow, and causing trouble for the romance is Anand (Saiju Kurup) to whom Janaki’s father hopes to marry her off, as his family is rich and settled in Singapore. Meanwhile, with the help of Janaki, Roger and his favourite uncle (Sudheer Karamana), Venkidi keeps trying to fly his new machines, none of which manage to rise from the floor. The whole village makes fun of his attempts, but he is not the kind of person who would back down. During difficult times, Venkidi and Roger, with the help of Janaki, steals an engine, which does help them to fly, but flying won’t be enough to get the lovers together in a society which looks for more than just that.

The defence of Vimaanam :: The movie tries to be another inspirational movie in Malayalam, and adds to that long list of similar movies which have tried to do the same, a few being Mili, Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam, Rani Padmini, Udaharanam Sujatha, My God and Aby. Yes, the inspiration to achieve the dreams which have been there for long, is right there. It achieves the same, and makes one feel the power of dreams, not just with the dream of the protagonist, but with that of a shared dream, which gets its significance by the end – as some people would say, that one’s dream is not his or her alone, as it is shared by all those who are beloved. The love story scores more due to the songs, as this flick undoubtedly has some delightful songs, as do its romantic competitor, Mayaanadhi. Well, this one uses subtitles whether it is English or Hindi, and it is something which people related to Mayaanadhi couldn’t do for Tamil. The visuals are also good, and the setting of this movie is something which is capable of achieving a lot more than what we can see on the big screen.

The claws of flaw :: We can see that a simple tale based on real-life people has been exaggerated a lot rather than keeping the simplicity in place. Vineeth Sreenivasan starrer Aby, which released in February this year also dealt with the same thing, about its protagonist trying to make an airplane and fly, fighting against all odds. A number of people might have felt that this is more of a repetition, with bigger budget, and more familiar cast. But the fact remains that Aby was a much simpler story, and it had some light moments of fun to go with it; this one lacks the same. You remember the Jomonte Suvisheshangal becoming the repetition of Jacobinte Swargarajyam, and the same is the case here, causing Vimaanam not to go that high as it could have. The romantic side of this movie, and the incidents surrounding the same, are also the same old wine in that bottle which was available in the market from February itself. There is absolutely no attempt to make this one special, even there were so many chances in there, and the result is a certain predictability with drag in between.

The performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran comes up with more here, as we see him in another avatar, unlike his recent adventures of the year, Ezra, Tiyaan and Adam Joan. Among the young stars, he has been the one with the most variety in his roles, and with Vimaanam, there is nothing there to compared with his previous roles of 2017. Vimaanam‘s role is rather easy for him, compared to the other three characters which he had played in the year, which included a troubled man tackling a Jewish creature of pure darkness, a former gangster turning into a mystic and a father hoping to find his kidnapped daughter who might be in the hands of Satan worshipers – even the movie before that, Oozham had him seeking vengeance; in comparison, this one brings no challenge to him. As he has played character from real life with charm, significant examples being Celluloid and Ennu Ninte Moideen, you know what to expect when he is out there.

Further performers of the soul :: When we look at Aby and this movie, we keep looking for something new, and that new element is Durga Krishna, the debutante actress who brings cuteness and energy to the flick, in a performance which is certain to bring her more roles in the future. The character might feel single-dimensional, and cent percent predictable in a world itself having no surprises, but her work makes the same work for the audience. Alencier Ley Lopez is certainly the man to look out for in the movie, as this character seems to be so well suited for him. Sudheer Karamana is not far behind in that case either, for he was against flight in Aby, but is with all support for his favourite boy’s flight in this one. Eric Zachariah who plays Prithviraj’s childhood has one delightful performance for us, which would prepare us for what is to follow, a wonderful child actor there. Anarkali Marikar has a smaller role, but it is nice to have her there after Aanandam. Lena and Saiju Kurup are good as usual.

How it finishes :: Vimaanam is a movie which was much talked about for a long time. Even as Aby had overtaken the movie with its own protagonist trying to make an airplane and fly like Jacobinte Swargarajyam did before Jomonte Suvisheshangal, this one was something which kept the audience’s interest alive due to the presence of Prithviraj Sukumaran in a different look. But you will find that even with its cliched characters and melodrama, Vimaanam has managed to fly, and battle Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeevi Aanu 2 which has been the youth favourite even before it had released, and even with Mayaanadhi, Masterpiece and Aana Alaralodalaral there with Tiger Zinda Hai, this flight is also catching our attention. It is more or less a reflection of the noble intentions of a movie which is hoping to inspire more and more dreams in a world of chaos. Vimaanam might be the one right family movie for Christmas, catering to the needs of the full family outing, unlike the rest of the movies which are focusing on selections.

Release date: 22nd December 2017
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Pradeep M Nair
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Durga Krishna, Alencier Ley Lopez, Lena, Sudheer Karamana, Saiju Kurup, P. Balachandran, Anarkali Marikar, Major Ravi, Nandhu, Master Eric Zachariah, Ashokan, Tesni Khan, Liya Anu Varghese, Baby Durga Premjith

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ballerina

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

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

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

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

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

Vampire Bat: Because animated is cute and safer option.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rock Dog

Vampire Owl: Do you think that this dog is as emotional as a rock?

Vampire Bat: If it was so, the same wouldn’t have been part of an animated movie.

Vampire Owl: Okay, so the dog is as strong as a rock.

Vampire Bat: This is not really a supernatural movie. So leave that out of your mind.

Vampire Owl: Maybe, he is fan of The Rock?

Vampire Bat: Almost everyone is a fan of Dwayne Johnson. But not the animated cat.

Vampire Owl: At least tell me that he is a Rocky fan.

Vampire Bat: Dude, they are referring to the music.

Vampire Owl: Oh! My relationship with music is as bad as my friendship with the Vampire Crocodile.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this movie would help a little.

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

What is the movie about? :: In a village known only by the name Snow Mountain, a dog named Bodi (Luke Wilson) is supposed to be the next guard, guarding the sheep there from the wolves who wish to eat each and every one of them. His father Khampa (J. K. Simmons) hopes that some day, he will take over the place to become the tough guard whom every wolf will be afraid of. But Bodi doesn’t even come close to looking like a tough guard dog, and keeping the wolves out is rather something which seems impossible. But Khampa is sure that the bad wolves led by Linnux (Lewis Black) will return one day or the other, and orders everyone to be vigiliant if they are to stay alive. To avoid making any noise, he has banned music there, locking up every musical instrument, and also keeps some of the sheep disguised as dogs so that the wolves will think that there are many of them, and they are all alert.

So, what happens next? :: Bodi keeps failing the training, and even fails to work with his father’s special movie known as the Iron Paw that was to be the one thing which would give the dogs advantage over the wolves who are wild are huge in number. To add to it, Bodi also becomes interested in rock music, after listening to the rock legend Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard) through a radio which falls down from an airplane. As he steals something from all those musical instruments which were locked up by his father and starts playng, there is the realization among everyone that he is not going to listen, and he would never be the guard dog who is to save the village from the wolves. Even after trying many methods to change his son, he finds none of them working. The village elder Fleetwood Yak (Sam Elliott) asks Khampa to let Bodi become whatever he wants, and do whichever thing he finds comfortable in his life. Khampa lets him go on one condition that he will return for guard duty if he fails in becoming a popular musician.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Bodi leaves Snow Mountain, but is followed by a few wolves who wish to take him hostage so that they can use him as the key to attack Snow Mountain. But Bodi survives by luck and reaches the centre of city – There he finds a band which consists of a fox Darma (Mae Whitman), a goat named Germur (Jorge Garcia), and a snow leopard named Trey (Matt Dillon). He is humiliated by Trey, who defeats him in a guitar contest, and tells him to go and learn from him favourite rockstar who has a certain god effect among the music lovers. Bodi sets off to the rockstar’s house at the exact moment, but little does he realize that the man is not what he thought he was. Mr. Scatterhood is a Persian cat who lives a lonely life, having no companion other than a robot. He has a high security setup which is meant to keep everyone away. Can Bodi, chased by wolves, make the fan-hating rockstar at least look at him? And who will save the Snow Mountain?

The defence of Rock Dog :: There are not many other animated movies which have managed to pull something out with what seems to be so less in hand. We have our protagonist who tries to go beyond what he is supposed to be, chasing his dreams, as many other animated movie characters have done in the past. There is also one rockstar who reminds us of so many celebrities in our world. With the funny side as well as the inner messages, this one scores over many other animated movies which have got the appreciation of the critics, including the overrated Brave, happiness magnet Trolls and the last year’s nomination Kubo and the Two Strings. We see the main characters, the rock dog, the rock cat, the sheep and the wolves, and we enjoy watching what each of them do, and how everything turns out for all. It surely turns better than what the critics had told you, and you get to go searching for what you really need in your life – and most probably go against what society tells you.

The claws of flaw :: Just as expected, this one also doesn’t move that much away from its predictability, and it also takes too much time to get into the action – considering its extra short run-time which doesn’t even reach one and half hours, it makes the movie even shorter after that. It is based on the Chinese graphic novel named Tibetan Rock Dog by Zheng Jun, and one has to wonder if this lives up to that, and whether it could have done better with the material already in hand. The animation also seems a little strange considering how much it has developed – here, it seems to be animated in a rather lesser way when we look at some parts; it is more because of the quality which has been brought in animation with flicks like FrozenMoana, Zootopia, Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon, Inside Out, Kung Fu Panda and many others. Rock Dog is not really rocking when we consider that department deeper. Also, for most of us, rock works less.

How it finishes :: We keep seeing the animal world taking over, with them reigning all over with the animation – there is Sing, Zootopia, and others which has them all over as Cars have the vehicles power going on. Sing even has the music as do Rock Dog, and there is the presence of a few things common which you can search and find or ignore as you wish. The critics may not have been that lenient with Rock Dog as they have been with certain other movies, which rather surprises a lot of us, but everyone can surely watch this movie with the same feeling as they approach most of the other animated movies, as I can surely say that Rock Dog is not that far behind as you think, and when thinking about it from another angle, there is more than enough to keep this as interesting adventure with moments which are to be remembered – rocking at times, as a few people I know would describe it.

Release date: 24th February 2017
Running time: 80 minutes
Directed by: Ash Brannon
Starring: Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J. K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, Sam Elliott, Liza Richardson, Ash Brannon, Will Finn, Julie Craig, Deng Feng, Kellen Goff, Jennifer Hale, Matthew W. Taylor

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Udaharanam Sujatha

What is the movie about? :: Sujatha Krishnan (Manju Warrier), who stopped school at ninth standard, hopes to provide good education to her daughter Athira Krishnan (Anaswara Rajan) who is no mood to study, and despite considered smart, raises questions about how she has reached so far with her studies. The Trivandrum district collector (Mamta Mohandas) is Sujatha’s role model, but Athira has no such plans as to getting close to even trying for civil service examinations – Mathematics of tenth standard is terror enough for her. Athira enjoys her life watching television and playing with her friends, doing not much of reading, even telling her mother that she only wants to be a servant like her, and work at households, giving the excuse that it is the children of engineers who become engineers, and kids of doctors become doctors. This worries Sujatha who has been looking for better education for her daughter, and complains to Paul George (Nedumudi Venu) who owns the house where she mainly works.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Paul asks her to get her daughter to the famous institution which trains the students so well that they can be nothing less than highly successful in their lives. Cherian (Alencier Ley Lopez) who runs the institution tells her to have her daughter score at least fifty percent marks in the examination, and he will be ready to give them a big discount in fees. But Athira’s skill lies in becoming first from behind, as her scores are always in single digits, never really getting past what batsmen get from a lofted shot over the boundary during a game of cricket. So, Sujatha decides to join school too, and with the help of Sreekumar (Joju George), the most feared Mathematics teacher and headmaster of the school who is persuaded by Paul, she gets special permission and joins the tenth standard of the institution, much to the dismay of Athira who feels ashamed by the same. Now, the question remains about what change it can make.

The defence of Udaharanam Sujatha :: We will find the movie’s main character as someone who the common man can relate to, with ease. There is always the presence of those parents who dreams for their children, and there are always those kids who don’t want to do anything with their lives. We have the simple moments that touch us, and then there is the moment of final realization that helps the movie to rise further. There is the reflection of the difficulties that a mother has to undergo for the child, and we see the new generation who has no awareness, or doesn’t want to think more about the same. We also find the focus being made on the importance of education, and on being thankful to our own people, our family, especially our parents. Yes, along with some humour as well as emotional moments, Udaharanam Sujatha is that kind of a movie which would catch the attention of family audience more than any other, no matter what superstar it would have.

The claws of flaw :: Seemingly having two movies as its base for the story, Nil Battey Sannata and Amma Kanakku, in Hindi and Tamil respectively, one would expect more from this particular tale, with Manju Warrier right there in the lead. You will also find that the movie is an overreacher with what its characters achieve. There is no Doctor Faustus, but one has to feel that a simple movie like this would have had simple steps steadily moving towards glory. We feel that it is too quick to get there, using that cliched twist to make the child understand the significance of her mother and the dreams – maybe the other movies which came earlier had similar things, but there has been enough time to re-organize things. Well, we are pretty much confident that not that many people have watched or even heard about those other flicks; that much was certain from the audience watching this movie. There was also chance for more humour, and the emotional side could have been stronger.

Performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier handles another movie with care, and she has this character in full control. She is here after that wonderful movie which was C/O Saira Banu, and the inspirational sports movie, Karinkunnam 6s; the thriller Vettah also showed a certain divergence, and here she is now, being part of another one of those interesting women-centric movies that has more than what you would think from outside. She has the funny side as well as the emotional one working well here. One has to feel that there will be no replacement for her for a long time. Supporting her very well is Anaswara Rajan as the daughter who has her own way of living her life. She rightly joins in to play her role, and only gets better as the movie progresses. Her combination with Manju Warrier had moments that will immediately catch our attention, more on the emotional side rather than with the funny part.

Further performers of the soul :: Regarding the funny side, we leave that to Joju George who excels with the comedy, and it is him whom we can hundred percent depend to make us laugh here. There are so many moments of laughter being generated in the class room, thanks to him who is also one of the producers of this movie. It is that kind of a character who can be used for a full movie based inside a school. Meanwhile, Alencier Ley Lopez only has a small role to play in this one, appearing twice to be noted. Mamta Mohandas also has a little role to play in this one, as we remember seeing her last in Thoppil Joppan and Two Countries. It is always a pleasure to see her, and there are lots of movies in which we had wished for her to be a part of, as we watch them on the big screen, and see someone missing from its soul. Then there is Nedumudi Venu who plays the inspirational role, as he keeps motivating like no other in this movie.

How it finishes :: There is the certainty of existence of two movies which have dealt with the same thing, and Udaharanam Sujatha also comes in there as the third of them. I wouldn’t be able to comment on Nil Battey Sannata or Amma Kanakku, but Udaharanam Sujatha has its heart at the right place. You might need to think not that much about the transformation and those final moments which go a little too ambitious, but Udaharanam Sujatha is a movie that will attract family audience like a strong magnet, as it has that feel-good factor with positive messages in favour of education, and dreaming high. Well, there might be so many other inspirational movies, but Udaharanam Sujatha goes more family-oriented than any other. So, the question remains if you are ready to be inspired by Sujatha’s example? Do you know someone who has gone through a similar example of a path?

Release date: 28th September 2017
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Phantom Praveen
Starring: Manju Warrier, Anaswara Rajan, Nedumudi Venu, Mamta Mohandas, Joju George, V Suresh Thampanoor, Alencier Ley Lopez

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Clint

What is the movie about? :: Edmund Thomas Clint (Master Alok) is the only son of MT Joseph (Unni Mukundan) and Chinnamma Joseph (Rima Kallingal), and was named after the famous Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood, as his parents were his fan at that time. While his mother remained a housewife, his father has been working as an upper division clerk with the government. He loved colours so much that he started painting at a very small age. His work impressed his parents as well as people around, but their decision to accept the boy’s decision to not attend school anymore was considered, and often declared as radical and foolish by so many of his well-wishers. He has been known to be a curious boy who wished to travel and see things, reflecting them on his canvas, and when he couldn’t, he used the descriptions by the people around him and the books given by his father to come up with an idea of how things could really be, as he combined them with his creativity and sharp intellect.

So, what happens with the events to follow in this biopic? :: It is one of Joseph’s friends Mohanan (Vinay Forrt) who appreciates his work the most, among those outside his family. It is when he is getting more and more attention, and even while getting selected to participate in a number of competitions, that tragedy strikes. His doctor and nephrologist Joseph Abraham (Joy Mathew) lets his parents know the terrible thing, that his kidneys are failing, and there might not be many days left before him – they can only try, according to him. Shattered by this news, Clint’s parents’ life won’t be the same again. But they try their best to keep their child happy during his last days. But fate always wins, and there is no chance to stop him – but can they delay the inevitable as much as they can, and bring some hope? There is the certainty of more being painted by the boy, even when being so close to death.

The defence of Clint :: Showing the life of a child prodigy who is known to have drawn over twenty five thousand paintings during his short life of a little less than seven years, here is a certain amount of inspiration in store with this movie, and we get close to life of the little genius on the big screen. Telling the tale of a naturally skilled person, this one nicely explores how he had been doing what was best at. There are some nice visuals and a few memorable moments to go with the same. The setting is very good, and helps to make the movie better. Even though the child is at the centre, there are some familiar names who get to show their skills in the movie too. The best thing about this movie is that it hasn’t complicated things that much when it could have done the same, and it never does concentrate that much on the disease when the usual tendency to do the same. Without that, the movie provides us a pretty good journey through the life of the famous child prodigy.

The claws of flaw :: There is the movie going so close to melodrama, and some moments just seem to be added to bring the cliche stuff in a predictable manner rather than anything else. We also find some dialogues rather too much for the child, and the sequence involving Salim Kumar is rather strange instead of being funny – it is the worst point of this flick. It even has a barber who looks on like a butcher. The movie also drags in between, which is rather strange, because they could have kept things going just with the paintings, and children playing; also those dialogues between father and son, which could have been the highlights of this movie, goes rather restricted, despite the promise shown in the beginning. There seems to be limitations around here, with the story and its moments, for there was scope to bring in more and more, which could have made this movie a big, colourful thing just like the real child in his real life is known to be. There was the need for quality.

Performers of the soul :: It is never that easy to get a biopic related to the life of one special child with amazing skills at a very young age. It was essential to find the right cast, and Master Alok, despite providing us with a few doubts in the beginning, does a fine reflection of the character he plays here. The existential questions do provide him the chance to take it further, as life after death, one’s existence as stars after that, and many other come to him. He has his best moments after getting the disease though, and goes throughout without struggling at any point. Baby Akshara is good support to him, even though some dialogues given to her just go strange, as with Alok on a few occasions, but latter has better control. Children and their world, if given more life with the colours on the canvas reflected into them, would have provided these two something further cute to work with though.

Further performers of the soul :: It is only after the movie gets to come up with a talk with the real life parents of Clint that we get into the movie. After we get in there, it is Unni Mukundan and Rima Kallingal, especially the latter, who gets to work through the pillars of this movie, and hold it together for its protagonist to manage. Both of them provide us with what seems to be an honest attempt at making this work, and their presence makes some of those problems in this movie to be forgotten. They are really good right from the beginning, and they excel at the emotional sequences. There is not that much revealed about their characters, but the two rightly portray what is needed here. The next big role here goes to Vinay Forrt, who is not far behind in his portrayal of the friend and well-wisher. Renji Panicker comes in and contributes in a good, smaller role, but Joy Mathew is indeed the next noticeable one, as he does his doctor act with no problems.

How it finishes :: One can be sure that this is a good attempt at making a biopic on the life of our own child prodigy. But there will still be doubts if this couldn’t be any better. With four movies being there in the theatres from last ten days, including Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Varnyathil Aashanka, Sarvopari Palakkaran and Chunkzz, along with the leftover movies Basheerinte Premalekhanam, Sunday Holiday, Kadam Katha and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, Clint is going to have a tough time in the less number of theatres it is being screened. With some more, attention, this movie could have competed well, and even won against most of these titles – there can be more from the life of a child prodigy who has gone on to become someone whom we all know. As of now, as this movie stands, it becomes also our opportunity to check this movie, and feel the strength of the life of a little master of colours – it is where this movie has our attention, making an attempt not to be forgotten. I watched this one because I wanted to know, and I wished to see everything alive – don’t you too, for such a skilled child?

Release date: 11th August 2017
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Harikumar
Starring: Unni Mukundan, Rima Kallingal, Master Alok, Vinay Forrt, Joy Mathew, Renji Panicker, Baby Akshara, Salim Kumar, KPAC Lalitha

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Cinemakkaran

What is the movie about? :: Alby (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is the son of a Jacobite Christian priest (Renji Panicker) who had the wish to make him a priest when he grew up, for which he had done so many prayers alone and also with his son. But Alby’s interest is cinema and cinema only, and he has been working as assistant director in a number of movies, but hasn’t been able to go further than that with his life. Things are even more complicated in their family as he is in love with Sarah (Rajisha Vijayan), who is the daughter of a rich fisheries owner and businessman (Lal), despite actually supposed to marry Gonzalez (Jacob Gregory) who has a job offer in Italy. As Alby is a Jacobite and Sarah a Catholic, both families are against the relationship which seems to have been going on for a long time, but they just don’t care and decide to start a life of their own after a quick run-away marriage and getting a flat at a low rent.

So, what happens next? :: Their immediate neighbours are Sudheer (Vijay Babu) and Nayana (Anusree Nair) who make a rather rich couple having some easy time compared to the struggles of the newly-wed protagonists. Alby has no job and no hope in the cinema industry even after years, and the bank manager (Joy Mathew) has already threatened him to renew the loan he had taken, or the gold ornaments he had given would be sold. With the families not close to them, and his friends not able to, or ready to help him, Alby decides to take a risky step here, and that would be to steal from his neighbours. But that doesn’t go that well as he had planned, and it lands the police inspector Manikandan (Prasanth Narayanan) at the apartments. The cop has his own style of investigating, but how does it lead to Alby being in big trouble as his plan never really was to take the money for himself, and with the money still there when the police looks for it?

The defence of Oru Cinemaakkaran :: We have a tale that has its own unexpected twists here, and it goes on with some nice fun elements in the first half, and fine suspense factor in the second. The movie’s attempt seems to be to bring more than one genre into action. Most of the viewers, especially the family audience of the festival season might still love the first half more. The deviation from the movie-making is rather good considering the fact that it would have been a rather predictable tale with one wishing to be someone huge in the film industry. There are some nice songs to go with this movie, and they are all nicely taken visually too. The lead pair is really good together, and there are those sequences involving them which are certainly the highlights of this movie. They have also nicely transformed the simple things into more interesting factors, and it is the way in which most of the things which are presented that needs the applause.

The claws of flaw :: The movie, unlike expected, is not about what happens with a person going through his movie experiences, and that is certain to have a lot of people confused, or even disappointed at some point. If you were expected something like Udayananu Tharam or Padmasree Bharat Dr. Saroj Kumar, that is surely not going to happen. There is also the deviation in the second half leading to those twists, which is rather too much of a divergence, that affects the overall stuff and its quality. With its funny and exciting beginning, we would expect things to go deeper and stronger, at least with its comedy. Also, the movie could have just ended nicely without trying too much of unnecessary things – we find the need to fill in for some missing logic, and those wastage of characters that remain rather underdeveloped. We needed more here too, that is for sure.

Performers of the soul :: After Kunjiramayanam and the smaller roles in Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Oru Muthassi Gada as well as playing the titular character in the underrated feel-good movie, Aby, Vineeth Sreenivasan is back playing the protagonist once again. We see him being comfortable throughout the movie, and he has this character completely in control. We see the humour as well as the emotional side working so well for him here. Rajisha Vijayan who had won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, also had a formidable presence in Georgettan’s Pooram, and this one also has her playing a Catholic girl falling in love with someone outside her caste as Elizabeth, Merlin and Sarah respectively. She remains simple, and strong in her display of character here. There is a certain amount of happiness that she spreads with her incredbly cute performance here.

Further performers of the soul :: There is not much difference in Renji Panicker’s role here, as he had played the father of a jobless son who doesn’t listen to anyone in Georgettan’s Pooram too – he played a Mar Thoma priest then, and is playing a Jacobite priest this time; it seems that there are not many people who can play the role of a priest or a father than him. Here, we have him doing them both very well as expected, even with lesser screen presence. Lal makes an impact for the short period of time when he is there too. Vijay Babu, despite having a nice character to play, gets to be there for lesser period of time too. Anusree is good in this role, and we have her playing the city girl for a change. Noby Marcose and Hareesh Perumanna share some moments of fun in this one, and Prasanth Narayanan comes rather late, as if he was called as an extra add-on in the form of a rather strange character. We expected Jacob Gregory to stay though.

How it finishes :: When you have someone like Vineeth Sreenivasan in the lead, or even has his name associated with a movie, you can be sure that there will something in there, and it is on him and Rajisha Vijayan that this movie depends the most. For this Eid festival season, we are sure to have an interesting list of movies beginning from Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran to go for even more to come in the weeks to follow. As more movies are to follow like Role Models, we have Oru Cinemakkaran seemingly attracting more audience. As of now, it seems that we will have the holidays extended to Tuesday, and as the vacation is longer, we are certain to have more viewers, and a bigger need for more movies to choose from. There has been a shortage of Malayalam movies, and this one will stay for longer considering the need to have more and more of these.

Release date: 24th June 2017
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Leo Thaddeus
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Rajisha Vijayan, Renji Panicker, Anusree Nair, Lal, Vijay Babu, Kottayam Pradeep, Prasanth Narayanan, Noby Marcose, Hareesh Perumanna, Joy Mathew, Sasi Kalinga, Jaffer Idukki, Jennifer Antony, Jacob Gregory (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aby

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What is it about? :: Aby Baby (Vineeth Sreenivasan) has always been interested in flying more than anything else. Right from childhood, he has been fascinated with the airplanes, and he has worked hard to make something that could help him fly. Even though he is an expert in the subject of Physics, nobody considers him as good because he is not just an introvert, but also someone not interested in anything else, with his passion even ending his chances of continuing his studies. Anumol Xavier (Mareena Michael Kurisingal) is his childhood friend who has always supported him, and in return, he has been helping her with her science projects. Aby’s father Baby (Sudheer Karamana) considers him as a fool, and doesn’t favour anything that he does, with the feeling that he is the main reason behind all the misfortunes in their life, chasing after an impossible thing and doing nothing good. But Aby is determined, and leaves his home.

The defence of Aby :: There is no shortage of inspiration in this movie, as our protagonist is the kind of person who is least expected to be successful in life, especially with what he loves the most, and his focus only on that – nobody around him thinks that it is the best thing to focus on. With the visuals of a beautiful village area, the movie provides the message to go after one’s dream, something which the present society doesn’t allow, with parents forcing their children to take the courses which they don’t like – the world has had that obsession with engineering and otherwise also related to getting any job with a high salary. The whole thing is kept simple, even with that tendency to complicate things always there. There are also some good songs, and a fine climax which is sure to make the audience leave with smile on their faces.

The claws of flaw :: One can be sure that a lot of people will find this movie as predictable with its tale of chasing a dream. But the thing about inspirational movies is that you will know how things are to go, and it is something that you need to be prepared for. There is also some trouble here and there with the journey of the protagonist, as it could have surely been shown in a better way. Among all the similarities with inspirational movies, this one is the closest to Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho, with that “achieving dream”, element which will make one feel a certain repetition – you remember that the protagonist there also wished to fly, but by traveling in an airplane rather than trying to make one and fly. The part where the protagonist is in the city, and his relation with a new character called GK is also quite strange – it is the part that could have been better thought out.

Performers of the soul :: The last time we saw Vineeth Sreenivasan on the big screen was in Oru Muthassi Gada, in which he played a rather small role. The same was the case of Jacobinte Swargarajyam, which he himself directed. Kunjiramayanam was the flick in which we last saw him throughout the run, and also as the protagonist. Here, he is back as Aby, and bringing life to the dreams of the character. It is the certain amount of innocence that stays on his face, that makes things work even better in this movie. Aju Varghese is there, providing the needed support as always; he has been the best support with an evergreen funny side throughout so many Malayalam movies, and we see him doing the same, even though he is not there as much as he should have – there is not much a direct influence that his character creates in this movie’s progress, and still we remember his work here.

Further performers of the soul :: It is Sudheer Karamana who gets the best of attention among those who come up with the supporting roles. He is there right from the beginning itself, and has moments until the end. Suraj Venjaramoodu provides some comedy here and there. Meanwhile, Mareena proves herself as an interesting presence in the industry for future, as this role works really well for her – throughout the flick, she has kept it simple, and yet so effective. Most people will know her for playing Sophia in Happy Wedding, and Angel in Amar Akbar Antony, even though the movie which had her the leading heroine was Mumbai Taxi. It was a movie which had some nice moments with twists, and could have done better if it hadn’t tried to be the overreacher it ended up to become. But Mareena has the role for which she is going to be remembered from now on, and we hope that she will get an even better, a huge movie soon.

Soul exploration :: There is always something special about dreaming against all odds in a world which doesn’t believe in you, which seems to have very less in store for you. Yes, some people do have it easy, especially those who have too much money and so much time without having to do anything about it – the rest are to struggle for their dreams, sometimes for an eternity, and at other times, until that destination is reached. There is always something inspirational about going for what one wants, and achieving the same. We keep reading those inspirational stories all the time, of which most of them are only partially true, and some of them just make us rather depressed instead of being motivated. Aby tries to make it to such a world of inspiration, and manages to be another interesting motivational flick here.

How it finishes :: This year has been very good for the Malayalam movie industry and its fans. We had Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol becoming the best family movie in recent times, and Ezra bringing something new to the horror genre here; there was also Jomonte Suvisheshangal doing well, and Fukri bringing some fun element. With Veeram also releasing, Aby brings extra feel-good to the scene, and there was the space for an inspirational flick, which has now been filled. Malayalam movies have had so many of them, and with some variety in treatment, this one is also there, following the movies like Mili, Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam, My God, Oru Muthassi Gadha, AnnMariya Kalippilanu, Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho and others. It is once again time to take the inspiration home, and Aby is for everyone, indeed.

Release date: 23rd February 2017
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Srikant Murali
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese, Mareena Michael Kurisingal, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Sudheer Karamana, Hareesh Peradi, Vinitha Koshy, Manish Choudhary, Dileesh Pothan

abyy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Before I Wake

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Vampire Owl: Do I get to make a sentence with this title?

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: I really wanted to make a sentence with these words as those school children do.

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to imitate school children when we are self-taught and vampire-learnt?

Vampire Owl: I just want to try it once like they do.

Vampire Bat: Okay, come up with the sentence.

Vampire Owl: Before I wake, I remember that I need to brush my teeth.

Vampire Bat: This is the most ridiculous sentence that I have heard – you never brush your teeth. And you should remember that before going to sleep, not after falling asleep.

Vampire Owl: I do brush my teeth, but I do that only in secret.

Vampire Bat: Secret? It is not like you are planning to bring the end of the world.

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

What is the movie about? :: The married couple of Jessie (Kate Bosworth) and Mark (Thomas Jane) Hobson makes the decision to adopt a child after their young child dies all of a sudden, and as they realize that they can’t be parents biologically anymore. They haven’t really recovered from the loss of their only child, but they decide to go on with the adoption anyway hoping that it will make them forget and provide a child with a better life. The one whom they adopt is the eight year old boy Cody Morgan (Jacob Tremblay), who was adopted many times, but had to return to the foster home for a variety of reasons. After not much of a thought, they decide that this is the child for them. Even though Jessie is a lot more concerned with parenting after the unexpected death of her son, she decides to bring all the love to Cody, and so does Mark.

So, what happens next? :: There are just happy moments with the three around, and they get along really well. Cody seems like a good child, and the the couple leaves nothing behind in loving him. One night, the couple are surprised to see beautiful butterflies of different colours fly across the living room. But when Cody wakes up, things get back to how it used to be, and the butterflies suddenly disappear without leaving any trace. Another night, after talking to Cody about their dead son, they find the child standing in front of them at the main hall, and see him disappear when Cody wakes up. Jessie is fascinated by this, and shows him many videos of his son so that there is a better chance that Cody dreams about him when asleep – she also tries to keep him asleep so that he can dream. But there is more to his dreams that they know – and it will be revealed soon.

What all awaits in the dreams and nightmares? :: Cody talks a lot about The Canker Man (Topher Bousquet) who is always with him. As this person is supposed to arrive when he is asleep, he mostly stays awake reading about butterflies and other nice things. He often talks about this creature having eaten his mother, and keeps making sure that this shadowy creature is not present around him just before going to sleep. With all these powers that Cody’s dreams have, there is only more that the powerful nightmares can do, especially during a bad day at school or at home. It is certain that nobody believes him when he talks about it, and not many people who have seen it remains alive, with the rest of them in the mental asylum. With such dark power waiting to be unleashed, does the couple realize what they are going to face?

The defence of Before I Wake :: Well, this is not the horror-fest that we need, but the beautiful horror that could do even better. There are enough scary moments, and along with the same, the main idea is superb – to have a mind that could create things, but good and bad, through the dreams which become reality; you sleep, but what you have in your dreams and nightmares become the reality for the people who are awake. When you are not in control of these, you don’t wish to sleep at all – nobody can blame you for the same. There is a nicely designed creature here, and the same can be said about the environment as well as the world that is created inside the dreams and nightmares. Mike Flanagan has provided us some of the most interesting horror movies including Ouija: Origin of Evil and Oculus, and Absentia and Hush are two highly rated ones from him too, with Gerald’s Game coming up based on the Stephen King’s novel of same name. You can always expect something special when he is around.

The claws of flaw :: This one could have surely added more frightening moments, and also should have picked up the pace faster in the beginning stages. We do have an idea early enough, but things just move rather slowly during those times. The Canker Man, the monster, should have been in the movie for longer too – so could have been the use of his powers, with sleeping and dreaming being part of the action on screen when least expected. With the scope for imagination to run wild as this is about dreams and nightmares, one is sure to say that this movie could have easily made it into the list of favourites on many lists with more attention. There could have been something similar to the magic which Guillermo del Toro had created with his creatures in more than one movie, but this one’s focus keeps shifting from what was its biggest strength among them all – the nightmare creature, or the Canker Man.

How it finishes :: There is one thing that we can be sure about – it is that Before I Wake is more than just a horror movie; it dares to be different in its treatment of its monster and how things change to reach that end which leaves a smile on our faces. It ends with more of a beautiful feeling than anything else – it is something that horror movies don’t usually have. As Kate Bosworth provides with a performance that makes us feel the dreams and nightmares, happiness and sadness, life and death – all at one place, we are made sure that this is the horror movie which is not just about being terrifying, but also about something more than that. It is the success of this kind of a movie that we see here, which is part a fairy-tale and also a horror movie, being the kind of movie that we wish to watch before we go for sleep and have our daily dose of dreams and nightmares. Here we have those which make Crimson Peak and Mama proud.

Release date: 31st July 2016
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, Jacob Tremblay, Annabeth Gish, Dash Mihok, Topher Bousquet, Scottie Thompson, Justin Gordon, Kyla Deaver

beforeiwake

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The BFG

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Vampire Owl: Is it like LPG and CNG?

Vampire Bat: You seriously need to work on your studies about abbreviations.

Vampire Owl: So, it is not another kind of dirty fuel that humans use to destroy nature?

Vampire Bat: No, it stands for Big Friendly Giant.

Vampire Owl: Now, that is new. I am BFVO then. Big Friendly Vampire Owl.

Vampire Bat: Everybody knows that you are not friendly. You are surely not big either.

Vampire Owl: Come on, it is one of those lies spread by Werewolf Anger. He is just angry at me for no reason.

Vampire Bat: But I witness your lack of friendliness everyday.

Vampire Owl: You, sir need to check your vampire mind for hallucinations.

Vampire Bat: This is a Steven Spielberg movie. Will you just watch it?

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

What is the movie about? :: Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a ten year old orphan girl spends her nights at an orphanage at London by reading books, as she has a sleeping problem. She is more of a loner and has less number of friends there. Even though it is not allowed, she manages to stay awake at night all the time. One night, at three in the morning, which she herself calls the witching hour, she sees an old giant (Mark Rylance)outside through her window and the creature sees her too. It captures her and takes her to the Giant Country which is a secret place. As he establishes himself as a friendly giant and doesn’t want to eat her, she asks him to let her go, but he tells her that she has to stay there forever as she has seen him and now knows that the giants exist, which she will tell the other humans causing trouble for them. He also adds that if she tries to escape, one of those non-vegetarian giants will eat her.

So, what is it really about? :: There she understands that none of the giants really like the one she has named BFG a.k.a. Big Friendly Giant, starting with their leader, the Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) who thinks that he is good for nothing as he eats those which he considers as pathetic vegetables. The Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) doesn’t fall behind in hating the giant who doesn’t belong either. The list is long with the rest of the giants, the Butcher Boy (Michael Adamthwaite), the Bonecruncher (Daniel Bacon), the Manhugger (Adam Godley), the Gizzardgulper (Chris Gibbs), the Meatdripper (Paul Moniz de Sa), the Childchewer (Jonathan Holmes) and the Maidmasher (Olafur Darri Olafsson). All these giants are bigger and stronger than the BFG, and are not hesitant in making fun of him each and every time they meet.

So, what happens next? :: The special thing about the BFG is that unlike the other giants who spends their time in laziness, he is more of a scholar who can not only read, but is also skilled in many other fields. What he does with most of his life is to capture the dreams from Dream Country and send them to little children. With one of the giants getting hold of Sophie’s blanket, the BFG realizes that she won’t be safe anymore, anywhere in the Giant Country and tries to get rid of her – but she doesn’t agree to it, and soon, all the giants are at BFG’s place looking for the little human being for dinner as they can smell her. With all the destruction they cause at his place, finally the two friends decide that enough is enough, and these flesh-eating creatures need to be taught a lesson. But shouldn’t their preference be to survive rather than anything else? How can they do anything to the group of powerful giants?

The defence of The BFG :: The visual treat is the one thing that makes The BFG score really high, and there is absolutely no fault in that – the world of giants, dreams and everything is nothing less than that enchanting fairy-tale that we hope to see waiting for us. There is no dark shade to this tale either, even with those giants looking for humans to eat whenever it is possible – this is why there is so much of a magical effect which goes right into one’s heart to satisfy a childish side which rests there. The child takes over, and we can only see how satisfied that one is. The visual beauty is one thing, and the strong emotional side just gets right into us with Mark Rylance as the good giant making us feel amazingly good. The kid, Ruby Barnhill doesn’t stay far behind either, as this combination works like magic for all of us who have been looking for more and more of beautiful feelings within us. You are going to leave this one with a smile on the face, that stays.

The claws of flaw :: When you consider this one only as a Steven Spielberg movie, one is sure to expect more from The BFG. No, this is not going to stand that kind of an expectation, with our movie coming from a 1982 children’s book which was written by the British novelist Roald Dahl. Also illustrated by Quentin Blake, it is supposed to be an expansion of a short story from Dahl’s own 1975 book Danny, the Champion of the World. The first live-action adaptation of the same is this one, and so what we need here is to accept its childishness – otherwise, things are not going to work. This is the kind of movie which would have become my instant favourite if this had released during my childhood – still, it is surely not without its flaws, as rarely does it try to rise above what seems to be in the material; there is no attempt to make it bigger, as there was scope without doubt. The repetitions could have also been avoided.

How it finishes :: Even those adults who feel that there is nothing serious happening in a children’s movie will agree that there is fun in this one, and there was surely a visual treat that nobody can miss. There are those moments which come up with positive messages, and there is the funny side. Friendship is found when it is least expected, and the same is the case of courage and wisdom – you will know when you watch this movie. The sweetness in this movie will surely make you feel good, and wish that there was one big friendly giant who could bring a better meaning to your life – it is that much which the child in you will ask for, and it is what this movie delivers visually. It is your inner child and the misfit in you that wins this battle to choose the movie to go for, as I checked for some of the movies in my favourite genre, and still got attracted to this one more than those first choices on the list; your case will be no different.

Release date: 1st July 2016
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, Bill Hader, Michael Adamthwaite, Daniel Bacon, Adam Godley, Chris Gibbs, Paul Moniz de Sa, Jonathan Holmes, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Marilyn Norry, Chris Shields, Matt Frewer, Geoffrey Wade

thebfg

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho

kochavvapauloayyappacoelho

Vampire Owl: This is one long list of people. I know some of them, I think.

Vampire Bat: You know Paulo Coelho for sure.

Vampire Owl: Yes, he is a much talked about figure in the New Vampire World.

Vampire Bat: The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage – you know them.

Vampire Owl: I know more than that, and I shall read more of it.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that your reading habit is coming back.

Vampire Owl: So, how is he related to this movie?

Vampire Bat: It is for us to find out by investigating while watching this movie.

Vampire Owl: It is one title of a movie that is sure to catch your attention too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, even we wonder what it is about, and the curiosity catches the audience.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Ayyappa Das (Rudraksh Sudheesh) is a kid who has always had the dream to travel in an airplane. He has been growing up thinking about nothing other than this one thing, and almost everybody in the village knows that. There is one toy that he always has with him, and that is a tiny model of an airplane. He and his best friend, his cousin sister Ambily (Abeni Aadhi) spends their time hoping to find him a chance, by praying to different dieties. He had two chances to go in the plane though, the first one spoiled by a disease, and the second one when his father died, having taken visa and paid for the airline tickets in both cases. With his father dead, his chances for traveling in an airplane seems to have reached a new low, but he still believes that there is some chance here or there and is not ready to give up.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The other significant character in this movie is Kochavva, whose real name is Ajayakumar (Kunchako Boban). He is a very helpful person, and is loved by almost everyone in the village. A man known for his good heart and the intense desire to help people in need, everyone calls him by the name Kochavva, no matter they are older or younger to him. Having given up his love Anju (Anusree) due to the goodness in his heart, he is the man who is now going to help Ayappa Das in getting closer to his dream. One day, while teaching children swimming, Kochavva tells everyone about how significant swimming is, and how it can help one to achieve more, along with doing it as an exercise. Ayappa Das sees it as an opportunity to travel in an airplane by going for competitions outside Kerala.

So how is the dream to be achieved? :: The problem is that Ayappa Das is afraid of water, and it is not just some fear – it goes deeper. When almost every kid in the village was taught swimming by Kochavva, he had always stayed away – he has often felt water as death. The movie goes on to bring to its viewers on how the boy managed to overcome his fear of water, and how Kochavva uses the quote from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist – “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” to make him believe in himself, and also in the rest of the people around him. With his dream of traveling in an airplane on the line, can Ayyappa Das finally become the person that he and Kochavva want him to be? Is it possible for him to finally achieve that one thing which seemed to be not happening as everything in the universe earlier seemed to conspiring against him?

The defence of Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho :: With the whole tale based on and hoping to thrive on Paulo Coelho’s popular and best known quote from The Alchemist, there was something inspirational coming up for sure, and it could be seen from a long distance – it is the same that is delivered here, with the protagonist’s hope to achieve his biggest dream, but at the same time, there is the assertion on goodness which is in keeping one’s dreams as second priority for the sake of others. The village setting nicely supports the whole thing, and with a certain light-hearted momentum, this one manages to move towards becoming that motivational movie which is expected. “Neelakkannulla Maane” is an amazing song, which might be the best of the year so far. Everyone needs an inspirational movie, and when it is based on dreams, the feel-good effect only gets better, and surely there is more approval for such an idea.

Claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t have a full flow if we look at it, and it does drag at parts. There is also that ending which could have been something bigger, but it is not. We could have had the effect of many other motivational movies like Mili, Rani Padmini and Su Sudhi Vathmeekam, but that didn’t happen here. There are points when the pace comes down, which shouldn’t have been the case. There is no shortage of inspirational movies in Malayalam, and so this could have done better to keep itself strong, but it has managed to be surely better than the partially inspirational movies from Bollywood like Dear Zindagi which cares only about the new generation richer class minority who moans for no valid reason. The amount of humour is also a little too less considering the scope which was there – with Suraj Venjaramood and Aju Varghese there, one has to wonder why the funny lines were kind of hard to come by. The final cameos were not needed either.

How it finishes :: As Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho marks the return of Udaya Pictures which was the first ever movie production company in Malayalam cinema, this one is also the seventy fifth movie of Kunchako Boban who has brought his legacy strongly. He is very good here, playing a role in which seems to be very comfortable – it is a simple role, with the protagonist driven by the simple need to help others as Fahadh Faasil’s character was driven by the simple need for revenge in Maheshinte Prathikaram. In the movie, it is the kid, Rudraksh who steals the show though. With some funny moments here and there from Suraj Venjaramood and Aju Varghese not being used to the best effect, this is one movie which thrives on the feel-good factor and positive messages, for which one should feel the need to watch Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho. This is where you see intelligence in simplicity.

Release date: 9th September 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Sidhartha Siva
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Anusree, Rudraksh Sudheesh, Suraj Venjaramood, Aju Varghese, Nedumudi Venu, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Abeni Aadhi, Muthumani, Mukesh, Sudheesh, Irshad, Musthafa, Maniyanpilla Raju, Mithun Ramesh, Biju Menon (cameo), Parvathy Ratheesh (cameo)

kochavvapauloayyappacoelhoo

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jo and the Boy

joandtheboy (2)

What is the movie about? :: Joan Mary John (Manju Warrier) used to be a kid who loved Mickey Mouse a lot and later took it as her ambition to create a cartoon character like that. When asked at school about whom she wanted to be, she had the answer as Walt Disney. Later, she grows up to be an animator who hopes to make a big series or movie with a character created by her, and for the same, she makes different approaches, but with not much of a result. As she goes above the age of thirty with no job and no interest in marriage, her parents Johnny (Lalu Alex) and Mary (Kalaranjini) become more and more worried. But she continues in her own small world trying to make that big difference to it with one right moment. Then the life changing moment appears, and the story has another direction to proceed.

So what is this sudden change of direction in life about? :: Joan needed something special with her life. Things take a turn with the arrival of a boy called Chris (Sanoop Santhosh) who was adopted by Catherine (Rekha), one of Joan’s relatives. The visit happens at a time when Joan is struggling to make a mark as things continue to work against her. After the initial dislike due to the boy’s attitude, Joan becomes good friends with him, and they become good friends. Later, he becomes the inspiration for the cartoon character whom Joan is planning to create, and she ends up designing her creation just like him. Calling the character Criz, she keeps making the attempt to impress the firm, with the man at its head not interested in her ideas. With the help of her friends and the boy, Joan will try again, as it is her only dream in life.

The defence of Jo and the Boy :: There is a very nice beginning to this movie, with the child and Mickey Mouse; it keeps that level or somewhere around there until the cartoon character gets its own problems. There was the possiblity of this one becoming the right movie embedded in the spirit of Christmas in the beginning stages. The ending is also pretty good, even though the climax has a little bit too much melodrama. This is inspirational and feel-good, that is for sure – there is no shortage of such stuff here and there even though not in totality with the story. The Philips and the Monkey Pen feeling exists right through this one, even though that much strength is not there to be a worthy successor to that amazing movie – don’t keep the expectations that high about this one. There is also the strength of some amazing visuals in this flick. You are going to fall in love with locations used here, and there is no question about that. The performances will be another plus point.

Claws of flaw :: The movie will have problems in connecting to a good number of viewers who might not have expected this from the trailers. The humour here is rather too less. The songs are not that good either, and visuals are the ones which give the feel to the music. There are problems in the middle part and the first part of the second half does have some lagging portions along with cliches. A lot of scenes which were shown in the trailer in a nice way have almost no significance in the movie in its totality. The Philips and the Monkey Pen magic is not really recreated here, with some magical moments here and there, but that connectivity, clarity and emotional strength isn’t that much present here. It should be also why this movie try to be the great overreacher with its story, when it could have stayed on the ground with the common man; instead it does try to fly too high, and becomes the Icarus with burnt wings – unlike the son of Daedalus, this one survives though. A better or even simpler story would have made this a fairy-tale beauty.

Performers of the soul :: As you might have already expected, Manju Warrier is the big performer here, as she once again manages an inspiration role to take it to a fine level, after How Old Are You? and Rani Padmini. All those “different” characteristics of this role comes to life with her, even though common man question the action here – that is explained with the “difference” factor; “divergence” isn’t really a crime, right? Sanoop Santhosh also does an interesting job here as the boy who brings the diversion in life. Even though the character is not that likable as in Philips and the Monkey Pen, he does his character well. It is nice to see Lalu Alex doing the “cool father act” once again. Sudheer Karamana is too underused here as his character disappears after making a nice impact. Sunil Sukhada also has a short appearance in the beginning stages of the movie. Pearle Maaney provides some good support. A point to be noted is that there is no pair for the heroine here, and as you expected, the romance is null.

Soul exploration :: Jo and the Boy is another movie which talks about dreams. The whole story is about the lady protagonist who has a dream in her childhood and keeps going towards it even as she reaches the age of thirty – unmarried and without a job. It is the story of many good men and women who couldn’t achieve a particular thing just because they don’t have enough contacts or blood-relationships with people at good positions – we know how it works in this world, as people with reservations and powerful relatives will get things done easily and earlier while others have to work hard to achieve it. But our protagonist keeps trying, and despite the worries, her parents also supports her. In a world in which sons and daughters of actors/directors/producers become actors without any skill, and children of ministers become leaders and then ministers, Joan is a symbol of everyone who keeps trying without accepting defeat and changing the path.

How it finishes :: As you might know already, there is no shortage of inspirational movies in Malayalam Cinema; even this year, it is a process which started with Mili, and continued to go on through Rani Padmini, Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam and My God. Among these five big inspirational movies including this one, three of them are heroine-oriented, one has a person who rises above his disability, and another movie has a kid at the centre of everything. Malayalam movie industry does know how to inspire its audience, that is for sure. With Jo and the Boy, I am glad that there has been a lot of inspiration gained from movies this year, and there are also those feel-good entertainers which have provided us with some more happiness, and some movies are both! I am extremely glad to have watched more Malayalam movies than the flicks in any other language this year, in the theatres.

Release date: 24th December 2015
Running time: 156 minutes
Directed by: Rojin Thomas
Starring: Manju Warrier, Sanoop Santhosh, Pearle Maaney, Kiran, Lalu Alex, Kalaranjini, Rekha, Sudheer Karamana, Sunil Sukhada

joandtheboy

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