The Last Mercenary

Vampire Owl: I thought we were done with the vampire mercenaries.

Vampire Bat: Vampires haven’t been mercenaries for a very long time.

Vampire Owl: So the last mercenary is not the last vampire.

Vampire Bat: Well, humans are the best mercenaries as murder is easy for them.

Vampire Owl: At least we have kept them away from the realm for now.

Vampire Bat: They are still very close to getting here through the portal.

Vampire Owl: I thought that the portal was sealed by the selected team of witches, sorcerers and the new necromancers.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but with the human greed letting them achieve more at all times, you never know.
Vampire Owl: Should I inform Doctor Frankenstein then?

Vampire Bat: Well, never inform Mr Frankenstein who always makes things worse.

[Gets a marble cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Richard Brumere (Jean-Claude Van Damme), also known as The Mist is a former secret service agent presently working as a mercenary, one of the best of his category during his time – he is forced to return to France, as his son with an Arabic woman named Farah (Ouidad Elma), Archibald Al Mahmoud (Samir Decazza) is falsely accused of arms and drug trafficking. Meanwhile, people are also looking for him to come back so that they can finish the trouble which is him. After getting back to Paris, he meets Dalila (Assa Sylla) who has been a friend. He realizes that someone is using the immunity that Archibald received from Richard, and there are weapons involved. It seems that someone named Simyon Novak (Nassim Lyes) was involved, and he had used this particular immunity. The police is preparing for Richard to come and try to free his son, so that they can shoot and kill him in self-defence. But he takes the unexpected path, and with the help of his former friends in the secret service, manages to get his son out of prison.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The man who was taking care of Archibald, Fernand (Michel Cremades) is also dead. Archibald who is not ready to take that death, and also not prepared to take another father, doesn’t want to heard about Richard at all. Alexandre Lazare (Alban Ivanov) at the ministry seems to have something about the present situation. Then there is Paul Lesueur (Eric Judor) who seems to have even more in mind. His plans seem to go deeper than ever. Their plan is to kidnap Alexandre and gather enough information. But Archibald, wanting only to be known as Archie is not really the co-operating type. He is the one irritating child resembling his more irritating mother, the one who refuses to grow up, and doesn’t even take responsibility for his own foolish actions. They are basically up against a nation named Taarghistan, and those who support them are former agents who are basically too old for most of the operations. Can Richard and his team fight against all odds and be successful? At least Dalila and her brother seems to be confident about that. Well, lack experience brings more confidence, doesn’t it?

The defence of The Last Mercenary :: The movie focuses on both action and comedy at the same time, and it does manage to hold the two sides together. The focus here seems to be in making an entertaining journey with the usual comic-like spy, but not in a serious manner. The movie does bring some innovation into the usual stuff too. The memorable moments of the film including the protagonists driving a learner’s school car and the fight with two unsuspecting women guards wearing gold. Then there is the last fight which is kept funny, without losing out on style. Most of the performers also seem to be nicely chosen. The visuals are really good, and you never really get tired of seeing Paris on the screen – the big city which is on everyone’s list of places to visit, and another one of those places, most of us might never visit due to the big amount of money that people in this part of the world will have to spend to get there and enjoy the glory. Along with the humour during most of the time, the action is also effective, and this is the combination that successfully brings the entertainment here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does get slow at times, as there are lot of unnecessary moments – it could have surely done without a few minutes; we do have the feeling that it has been stretched to become longer without any real need for the same. There is the humour for sure, but there are those foolish scenes which are rather too dumb to take. It is okay to make use of that to add to the comic side, but there is the need for some borders to be set. Having the high official on the road like a clown feels very much ridiculous. The son spends rather too much time in being irritating too, and some of the other characters here feel rather unnecessary considering how the movie progresses. Some of the dialogues feel strange rather than anything else. Even when taking it as a parody, there is rather too much here to keep us away from being interested in some of these characters. It could have also had some more of serious action from the protagonist, because we are always looking for that, considering what a big name he has been in the past – some people might be watching the film just for him.

The performers of the soul :: We see Jean-Claude Van Damme back here again, and he is one actor who wish to see coming back like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger – one among the three big action stars from the childhood. After all, he has been the Cyborg, Kickboxer and the Universal Soldier from those nostalgic times of childhood. Well, one would feel that he hadn’t really left, but none of his movies made it to the big screen around here for a very long time, except for those in which he was side-lined. He has that classic entry here too, even though there is never that big an action sequence for him to perform, with the movie never getting that serious. Well, he is never really short of the moments, as we look around. The one performer who seems to be of fine support here is Assa Sylla. At the same time, Alban Ivanov brings the comic side to a stronger level. Samir Decazza just goes along as the irritating son, and manages well for most of the time. Eric Judor has the villainy at work quite well.

How it finishes :: The Last Mercenary, as an action comedy flick, feels like a parody. We enjoy the world that the French setting brings us, as we still ruminate and be sad about the fact that most of us might never visit Paris, considering the fact that we will never have that much money to spare, visiting from this part of the world. Well, being the rich bourgeois from here seems to be a long way away, unless you are part of any reserved category or somehow land on a government job – being the politician is the next refuge. The enjoyable ride here adds to the list of action movies that has enough of the humour and action to keep it moving strong. It has Van Damme in action, and this is more or less like seeing some nostalgia coming back again like we had seen past coming back again like in Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Escape Plan and Terminator: Genisys or Terminator: Dark Fate. Then there was The Expendables to have them all together. You are never that far away from the action stars you witnessed on the screen as a child.

Release date: 30th July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: David Charhon
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Alban Ivanov, Assa Sylla, Samir Decazza, Eric Judor, Ouidad Elma, Miou-Miou, Valerie Kaprisky, Michel Cremades, Nassim Lyes, Oleksiy Gorbunov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bro Daddy

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Uncle Dracula used to be called by the same name?

Vampire Bat: As far as I can remember, that was Uncle Bro.

Vampire Owl: Well, I guess it varies by vampire and the century of existence.

Vampire Bat: The existence is the crime. You are not to speak about it.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about the undead existence without the human soul.

Vampire Bat: Well, that should be acceptable, as the absence of the evil human soul is much appreciated in our realm.

Vampire Owl: What do you think about our decision to watch this movie?

Vampire Bat: Well, with the Corona virus at its peak, the fact that they didn’t release this movie in theatres is to be appreciated.

Vampire Owl: Yes, a superstar movie in the theatre means a super spreader.

Vampire Bat: It seems that the producer and director of this movie are sensible people. Let other movies take the credit for being super spreaders.

[Gets a vegetable pizza and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Eesho (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and Anna (Kalyani Priyadarshan) have been good friends since childhood, and have carried over the same as a romantic relationship in such a manner that they even started living together in Bangalore without anyone having any clue about it. Their motherly figures Annamma John (Meena) and Elsy Kurian (Kaniha) wish to have the two youngsters married to each other, as they belong to a similar social status, being part of rich and influential families of the area. Even their friends and relatives find the possible marriage alliance to be an interesting one. The fathers John Chacko Kattadi (Mohanlal) and Kurian Maliekkal (Lalu Alex) are not that interested in the same because latter used to be in love with the former’s wife during pre-degree days. But the two remains good friends, and Kurian handles the advertising matters of Kattadi’s business. Kattadi’s fame is rather unmatched, as they have lot of business ventures, mostly focusing on Kattadi TMT steel bars. Kurian is into the advertising business, while Eesho is working at an advertising company in Bangalore.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Everything seems to go smoothly around here. But there are secrets which needs some cover up, as both Anna and Annamma are pregnant, and John and Eesho don’t want anyone to know about it as of now. It seems that now there is the need for a plan, so that the two can get married, and the function can happen smoothly, and later, they can talk about the pregnancies and related stuff. For the same, the two need to get married as soon as possible, with the blessings of Kurian and Elsy. But Kurian is not really fond of Eesho as latter finds the former’s advertising company to a cheap one in comparison to the multi-national company where he has been working. Yet, it seems that Kurian won’t disagree to the words of John, but there is the need for much more of plans to come. Eesho would still need to get into the good books of Kurian, and for the same, he would also need to use more than one of his skills. As Elsy also comes to know about the pregnancy, all of them will have to come together, and make sure that Kurian will be happy about this alliance – will he be the happy one too?

The defence of Bro Daddy :: The movie depends on humour and feel-good, as well as a certain amount of drama to keep itself going. Whenever it seems to go down, the cast nicely lifts it up. There is some nice humour that comes in between, and this one is kept close to family even though there was the opportunity to go for ridiculous jokes like Ittymaani: Made in China. The messages that the movie provide are pretty good too. It shows that family is indeed important, and a small adjustment made in career won’t matter – as long as you have a job at what you are the best at. It is a fine message for a new generation which keeps on changing jobs for better salary, leaving families behind. The movie also keeps the whole thing light-hearted, never choosing to explore the dark side of all of these, and the emotions, even though present are kept in such a way that there is no exaggeration of the emotional side – it just provides what is required with a simple feel-good family movie that keeps one entertained without making one think too much. Well, it was always moving towards the happy ending, we know.

The claws of flaw :: There is a certain amount of predictability in here, as expected from this kind of a movie. There are so many sequences which seem to progress the way we can guess. We also come up against a certain amount of lagging in between. A certain amount of lag can also been seen related to the revelation of things. The length is a little bit more than what was required. If the event management idea was removed, that would have helped the movie further. The beginning hadn’t impressed that much with the common jokes added, and more of life in Bangalore could have only done the movie favours. There is also too much focus on the luxury home visuals, seemingly trying to help an architect or the seller of a house. It does feel like the idea is to go and come up with life of the richest, giving the feeling that almost everyone else do not exist. The world itself is different around here, like being part of an alien planet. Some of the characters whom we see around also feel wasted, as the focus is indeed on the members of two families only.

The performers of the soul :: The movie does have a long list of memorable cast, something which is not often seen related to a family comedy drama. Mohanlal leads, and he does the same with the kind of role which audience has loved him doing. Prithviraj and Kalyani plays the usual youngsters in love, without anything new added around here, except for maybe the cuteness quotient. Lalu Alex is once again the father of the leading lady, and it is something he has done a lot in the past, even though most of similar roles have gone to Renji Panicker following Om Santhi Oshana. He shows that he still maintains the expertise in this kid of roles. Meena is once again looking good with Mohanlal, like it was in Drishyam, Drishyam 2 and Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol. Kaniha is also as notable as the rest as the mother of the leading lady. Jagadish does have a notable role here, while Soubin Shahir’s role to add some quick humour is only partially affective. Mallika Sukumaran once again drops in as the typical old mother figure, a role which would go to her with ease every time. Unni Mukundan, Nikhila Vimal and Kavya Shetty have cameos.

How it finishes :: This is the second directorial venture from Prithviraj Sukumaran after one of the biggest films in Malayalam cinema, Lucifer, which still remains strong in our minds, with the next one coming in 2023 in the form of a sequel. With Mohanlal and Prithviraj joining forces again, this was a movie which was much awaited. It has the skill to deliver as the humorous feel-good movie with effectiveness. There will not be grandeur associated with it, as things are kept simple, keeping it within the predictable lines throughout its run. The cast has elevated the same by adding humour in their own ways, and keeping it close to life. In one way or the other, the movie seems to stand on the exact opposite path of Sara’s which would have dealt the whole episode in a different manner, but Bro Daddy takes the path which the families would to see, and the one which might feel rather selfless in nature. But one can only wonder what it means to be selfless in a chaotic, brutal world? When was the last time we had a society with humans who were not selfish?

Release date: 26th January 2022 (Hotstar)
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Prithviraj Sukumaran
Starring: Mohanlal, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Lalu Alex, Meena, Nikhila Vimal, Kaniha, Soubin Shahir, Jagadish, Kavya Shetty, Unni Mukundan, Mallika Sukumaran, Sijoy Varghese, Antony Perumbavoor, Jaffar Idukki, Joji Mundakayam, Charle

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Extreme Job

Vampire Owl: So how extreme is this job going to be?

Vampire Bat: This is actually supposed to be a comedy movie.

Vampire Owl: Well, comedy movie can also be extreme.

Vampire Bat: This one has an undercover operation, and so that is possible.

Vampire Owl: We have had some interesting Korean movies.

Vampire Bat: And there will be more, especially when it is Korean.

Vampire Owl: When we began watching these movies during lock-down, we never thought that it could get this far.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that there is more to come with this Corona Virus.

Vampire Owl: As long as there is the guarantee of fun, I am in.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we need a funny side like this movie has, during these terrible times.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: A group of young narcotics department detectives led by Captain Ko (Ryu Seung-Yong) fails a mission which was supposed to be easy. While doing the same, they end up almost killing the person they were supposed to arrest and bring to the police station – along with the same, they also end up causing an accident involving many cars which hit each other. They have one last chance to prove that they are good enough, as they have to do undercover surveillance of an international drug gang which has been gaining in strength. They decide to buy a chicken restaurant just opposite to where the gang stays. But it is not that good a decision, because the place doesn’t have customers, and only the gangs ask for deliveries at times. Captain Ko is determined, but his performance hasn’t been up to the mark, as he gets demoted, and some others get promoted – even those who are much younger and less experienced than him. They feel that it is their last chance.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But the police department hesitates to give them money because the team lead by Ko produces no positive result at all. So, they find a way themselves as Ko takes money from his retirement fund, and pose as a family which wants to run the business. The team which consists of him, Detective Jang (Lee Hanee), Detective Young-ho (Lee Dong-hwi), Detective Ma (Jin Seon-kyu) and Detective Jae-hoon (Gong Myung) are ready to run the business with no customers as they could watch the gangsters and plan their next move. But surprisingly, new customers begin to come into the restaurant, and they keep sending them away in the name of renovation. But they would have to serve at some point, or their cover would be blown. There is not much going on at the place where the gangsters are staying, and with no other way, they decide to cook some chicken so that everyone would accept the fact that they are really running the restaurant. But that would lead a twist of fate they didn’t expect as undercover gets more about it.

The defence of Extreme Job :: The best thing about Extreme Job is its funny side, and it is the first time that I am watching a really funny Korean movie, and the film works really well with its humour – you will notice it at the begining itself, with all those characters bringing the comic side at the start. Even the action which has some martial arts moments, is also nothing less than funny. The silliness with effective humour that this movie shows reminds us of some of the cult classics of our times, the earlier Bollywood flick Andaz Apna Apna and the later Malayalam movie CID Moosa. When we talk about the latter, we also have a similar seemingly incompetent people on an investigation, but they end up solving the case, bringing a surprise – even though, the luck involved here is rather less. The movie also goes through the action quickly, even when nothing much happens around. The chicken-related jokes work really well, as you will see.

The claws of flaw :: With this idea, the movie could have surely done better, not just with the comedy, but also with the mission, with some fine sequences of action added in between. We have those moments when the movie seems to run out of its ideas, and it has to come up again with some else to keep it going. The final few moments go in a rather predictable manner, and it is the usual fight that ends everything. There is also no doubt about the fact that it could have been funnier, and more of comic situations could have added related to chicken, restaurant and cooking. Some of the moments in between could have had more of a flavour of comedy too, and a funny coating could have been better at some points. Some more of the city could have also been added here, and we are seing more scope here. It could have also been shorter, because there is not that much material in here to add to such a length. We are never really short of ideas, right?

Performers of the soul :: The cast chosen to play the misfit police officers is really nice. Ryu Seung-ryong leads the way in this movie with the comedy as well as a certain emotional side to go with it. He has many fine moments with his co-workers, and there some with his wife too, which are also funny. Lee Hanee manages to be the funniest around there too, as some of her expressions are just too good. The way she looks at people also adds it to that funny side. There is the love-hate relationship between her and the fellow detective played by Jin Seon-kyu, and it is really good – latter has some very funny moments added in the last few moments of the film. Lee Dong-hwi and Gong Myung very much supportive too, and we see them all coming up with some very interesting moments in the last few moments of the movie. From Kim Eui-sung who plays the Police Superintendent to Kim Ji-young who plays the chief’s wife, there is a lot of good work being done here by the supporting cast which doesn’t go unnoticed.

How it finishes :: Extreme Job makes an interesting comedy action thriller, and the kind that leaves us with a pretty good mixture of everything. It is no wonder that it is the second most viewed film in South Korean history, as it provides that kind of a feeling – it is never serious, but we love the characters in it seriously. During the days of COVID, it is the kind of movie that we can watch for some extra amount of fun. The movie once again proves that you can look forward to South Korea for all kinds of movies, even though we often consider some genres to be special coming from the Korean side. If I look back at the first two Korean movies which I reviewed, they are Train to Busan and The Wailing. Those have been the movies from South Korea which we were watching – then there was Old Boy long ago, and you know what were looking for from South Korean movies, and it is an interesting thing that there is more than that for us.

Release date: 23rd January 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Lee Byeong-heon
Starring: Ryu Seung-ryong, Lee Hanee, Jin Seon-kyu, Lee Dong-hwi, Gong Myung, Shin Ha-kyun, Oh Jung-se, Kim Eui-sung, Song Young-kyu, Heo Joon-su, Kim Ji-young, Kim Jong-soo, Yang Hyun-min

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Escape Room

What is the movie about? :: Six people from different background, unrelated and unknown to each other are given puzzle cubes which they are supposed to open. The names include Zoey Davis (Taylor Russell), a Physics student who is an expert in her subject, and can’t stop talking about it even when she is not at the college, much to the dismay of the fun loving room mate who rarely understands anything that she says related to science and technology. Another name on the list is Ben Miller (Logan Miller) who is responsible for replenishing the stock at a shop, someone who is an introvert and has almost zero friends. Meanwhile, Amanda Harper (Deborah Ann Woll) is an Iraq war veteran, traumatised from her experiences there, but a perfect lady soldier who thinks she can go through anything. Jason Walker (Jay Ellis) is a stock trader who spends his time thinking about how to please his clients and make money. Mike Nolan (Tyler Labine) is a poor truck driver who wishes to earn some quick money.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The last one in the group is someone who is a gamer mad about the idea of escape rooms. Danny Khan (Nik Dodani), a man of South Asian descent, has gone through such experiences before and is excited to be part of this particular escape room game, which would provide the winners with ten thousand dollars, an amount which none of the group members would leave behind. They go to a floor at the top of the building and await further instructions from the game master. When Ben tries to open the door, the door knob falls off, seemingly showing that the game had already begin. They start looking for clues to escape from there, but the discovery of one clue only leads to the heat in the room to rise, and now they have to escape the place before they are fried alive in the first challenge itself. But this won’t be the toughest of their challenges, as many more rooms are to come.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: Even though they manage to find an opening to escape that particular room, there would be tougher challenges awaiting, and some of these tasks would have connections to their past, something which would come to their own mind at regular intervals while going through the escape procedure. There is no doubt about the fact that Amanda Harper, as an Iraq war veteran, would have a troubled past to remember from her time in the Middle East, but the question remains about what kind of past other participants would be hiding. What might be the reason why these six people who are not related to each other, and with nothing to connect them were given the puzzle cubes? Is it a game which itself has a past which had all of them together at a point? Are there some elements which make sure that these people have what it takes to survive, whether the brains or the muscles?

The defence of Escape Room :: The movie makes a fine treat within the genre, as there are puzzled to be solved, and very personal problems to be taken care of. The movie is a psychological as well as action thriller, and it also has the elements of drama with the characters’ past catching up quite fast. It can also be considered to be a part of a type, strangers-in-a-room subgenre, where only the toughest and the smartest can survive. We have seen such a situation before in The Belko Experiment, and during the times of Corona lockdown, this movie will surely catch one’s attention. There are some interesting rooms designed here even though we would have wanted even better ones. There are some nice situations being brought here for the protagonists too. We will also have some twists around here too, even though not that many of them.

The claws of flaw :: If you had watched the trailer, you would be expecting more from the movie. It does reveal a little too much of the movie, and as this one is of short run-time, there is less number of rooms. The movie could have started earlier with the action because here it starts twenty minutes in the film. There was scope for one more room to be squeezed in here with the same run-time, and with a slight increase in the same, another one could have been there. This idea has been tried and tested a lot, and it could have had something special as we see it being repeated here, but the same is not done. There is also some predictability which comes into the picture in the final stages, and the movie just tells us the names of the characters who are to survive towards the final stages – the three characters of whom we have had a few minutes of introduction, which was rather unnecessary addition to an unnecessary revelation. The ending is also ordinary.

The performers of the soul :: There is another movie in 2017 released with the same name, and what seems to be keeping this flick better could be the performances, as setting, puzzles and characters of the 2017 seems to be better from the trailer. In the 2019 version here, the one actress who looked perfectly suited for the role was Deborah Ann Woll, who played the Iraq war veteran in a very convincing way throughout the movie. The next one to make an impression is Taylor Russell who plays the character who has the most screen space, and it comes off without any difficulty. Logan Miller is natural in a usual person kind of role, and Jay Ellis suits here like Will Smith does in most occasions. Tyler Labine and Nik Dodani are the lesser players here, as we don’t get to notice them much except for the latter coming up with a funny side which is cut short too soon.

How it finishes :: With the premise that it had, Escape Room is a movie which could have achieved something bigger, and maybe it can with the upcoming sequel. The movie has its moments with the rooms, and keeping the audience at the edge of the seats trying to figure out who all will go to the next level, and how they can figure out the puzzles and survive each stage. With six people facing circumstances beyond their control, there was always going be thrilling fun, and this movie is no exception here. I was wondering that during these times of Corona, you can create yourself an escape room with puzzles. After all, we are all under lockdown, and going out is nothing less than a terrible violation against our own countrymen. So, lets play a game or two, decode some puzzles, answer some riddles, and create our own escape rooms in the house.

Release date: 4th January 2019
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Adam Robitel
Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, Yorick van Wageningen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Johnny English 3

What is the movie about? :: Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is spending his retirement peacefully as a Geography teacher far away from city-life. But MI7 has a cyber attack from an unknown force, leaving the identities of all their active agents exposed, and some of them dead. This leads to a call for return of the retired agents, hoping that they could investigate this situation without giving any clue to the attacker. But in the end, it turns out that Johnny is the only remaining person who could take the job, about which he has no second thoughts either. For the same, his sidekick Jeremy Bough (Ben Miller) is assigned to accompany him. At the same time, a confused Prime Minister (Emma Thompson)is considering a meeting with a computer expert and billionaire Jason Volta (Jake Lacy), to help them with controlling the cyber attacks and to form an agreement that could bring everything back to normal.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After traveling to france, the two get a clue that the cyber attack came from a yacht named Dot Calm. There they come across a few goons lead by a Russian woman named Ophelia Bulletova (Olga Kurylenko). She gets them captured, but the two could manage to escape. Their paths cross again, and Ophelia tries to kill him more than once – she never gets close to succeeding though. They soon figure out that there is something about Jason that is not right. The yacht itself belongs to him, and they feel that he has something to do with everything that goes on, including the cyber attack which affects all signal lights in London. But can they stop something bigger from happening, and can they act in time before the whole system is broken down? What is the interest of Ophelia in all these? Can the Prime Minister make sure that the country is safe?

The defence of Johnny English Strikes Again :: There is a lot of laughter to be generated with this particular movie. The best moments come from the high-energy dance and the use of virtual reality. But these are certainly not those moments where the fun begins or ends. The movie surely knows how to generate laughter without using cheap jokes which was done by movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service which pretends to be funny. There also some nice visuals, and the adventure continues to be funny throughout the journey. In this short journey of less that one and half hours, there is care taken to make sure that the good, common audience also gets more than the usual, and not just those special viewers. We can be sure that there will be even more to come if Johnny English decides to strike further with another wonderful sequel – we will be ready for it considering the potential, and lets keep the lady lead the same for that one too, this time.

The claws of flaw :: The story might seem similar to Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Dwayne Johnson starrer Get Smart, in the beginning stages even though there are changes to follow. There is predictability in store here, without doubt. It is also too small a movie, ending up with less than one and half hours, which makes us ask for more. The expectations were high with the trailer, as we all know – it has been so long since the earlier movie in the franchise released, and even longer after the first one. The absence of a heart and soul to enjoy such simple jokes can be a problem too. The simplicity shown by the movie might not be for those who are looking for the complexities, and not able to find the fun at some point of life. Most of the reasons which are written in some reviews about not liking this movie are kind of ridiculous though, and lets not fall into the trap, as not many flaws are there in this kind of a movie within its own genre, and you can be sure about that much.

The performers of the soul :: Whether it is about Mr. Bean movie adaptations Bean and Mr. Bean’s Holiday, or the earlier Johnny English flicks which we loved so much, there is one person that we would always want to watch. Can we forget the British sitcom and the animated series which were inspired by the same? I would say that it is an impossible task to keep them away, and we just have to watch them whenever there is a chance. The Rowan Atkinson effect continues in this one too, as he entertains us the big way again. There is no doubt regarding the reason for watching the movie for most people, and it is him – Mr. Bean and Johnny English are the type of characters who are to be remembered forever, and they are also those for which there can be no other actor playing the role. There are many actors who can make you laugh, and then there is this man who never stops doing that.

Further performers of the soul :: Olga Kurylenko has been an actress with a lot of potential. She was there in the James Bond movie, Quantum Solace; she was there in the game adaptation Hitman, and also in the post-apocalyptic science fiction movie, Oblivion with Tom Cruise. She had shined in all of them, and this one is no different. She remains funny on one side, as well as doing so well in those action scenes. Just like Rebecca Ferguson in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Mission Impossible: Fallout, she is someone with immense potential in action movies, and looks perfectly suited for this role. Ben Miller nicely adds to the funny side with his support too. The rest of the cast does manage to do a pretty good job, but there is not that much to be remembered there.

How it finishes :: Johnny English Strikes Again provides some great fun without doubt, and anyone who thinks otherwise might need to check their sense of humour. If someone likes movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service, and fails to have any interest in this one surely needs to check for the same further. Kingsman was one miserable movie, and never came close to being funny. But we can see that Johnny English Strikes Again handles everything so well that you can listen to the whole theatre laughing at regular intervals. This is the kind of laughter that even those regional movies which focused on common audience failed to bring in a packed theatre – it is for the same that Johnny English Strikes Again has to be appreciated; there is always the need to connect and this one surely has that quality which can inspire more of similar movies.

Release date: 28th September 2018
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: David Kerr
Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller, Jake Lacy, Emma Thompson, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Adam James, Miranda Hennessy, Irena Tyshyna, Samantha Russell, David Mumeni, Tuncay Gunes, Nick Owenford, Junichi Kajioka, Matthew Beard

<— Click here to go to the previous review. Also check the reviews of The Predator and The Nun which are still running at the nearby theatres as well as the recent superhero flick, Ant-Man and the Wasp.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

America Mappillai

What is the story about? :: Rangarajan (Raja Krishnamoorthy) and Vasantha (Leela Samson) along with the children Ganesh (Arjun Chidambaram) and Sunanda (Namita Krishnamurthy) seems to be living pretty much a good life until Ganesh gets very much afraid of being forcibly married to Mythili (Gayathri), the daughter of Ragunanthan (Delhi Ganesh). He plans with his friend, Michael (Rakesh Ram) to get rid of that problem, and finally decides to tell his parents that he is gay and has a boyfriend named Karthik (Gokul Anand). He hopes to bring Karthik home, and make everyone believe the same, but as he is actually homosexual, hesitates in acting as Ganesh’s boyfriend, but the confusion which this situation was to create had only begun there, with more to follow.

How is it different from what you see all the time? :: Unlike the usual series that we get to see around here, this one is more or less direct, even when it keeps the limits – there is no unnecessary melodrama that comes in here. There are moments when you think that the drama is going to reach another stage, but thankfully, it doesn’t. There are moments when it thinks divergent so well, and we can applaud on its ability to do so, without making things complicated at all. Being simple and powerful is surely not an easy thing to do, but America Mappillai does manage to do so. It also rises above the usual predictability factor to deviate the experience to the new path, the one which is not usually taken. We are no longer slaves to that repeated world of usual serials, as we have programmes like this.

What is so special here? :: The characters are indeed special – with so much of a simple story here, they had to be better, and they really are. They are the ones that keep this story going, and the actors and actresses have done a very good job with their characters. Well, even those who are there for only those smaller roles do nicely. Some moments just go cute even when least expected. Each episode comes in the name of a colour, and the reflection of that particular colour can be seen nicely. With a usual home and its people facing different and rather complicated situations, the series try to do something difficult, but that is achieved without alienating the family audience – there is always that kind of a risk and this one nicely goes past the same without trouble. Maybe this would mean that ZEE can come up with an interesting one in Malayalam too, later.

How things have been getting further divergent :: Nowadays, ZEE is targeting the young population as they are coming up with new and original shows on ZEE5. Well, ZEE Entertainment has been known for its traditional approach, as we know the channel for bringing us all the entertainment in the old fashioned way. Well, now we see that things have changed, with welcome divergence. We also see that ZEE is focusing different language based content too, and it is the privilege that we get here by using the ZEE5 app. The app has a fine collection of television shows, originals and movies in different languages, and it is always fun to get it in the language that we want them to be using. The collection is interesting, and one would need to take a look to know more.

The problem of being in doubt :: As it was with Hamlet and many others, the protagonist is in doubt. Well, you can say that he is in more than just doubt – he doesn’t want to be committed for more than one reason. Along with the same, he is also bothered about what people would think, and still wants to do things according to his desires. It is a certain confusion that most of the people are facing these days, with unnecessary inputs from many relatives causing further trouble. Among these relative concerns, a job and marriage are two of the most significant things that keep ringing into one’s ears. The idea is that not having a job or not being married is just not the right thing, especially if most of the relatives of the same age has already done these. Well, this comparison can cause problems, as it does for our protagonist here too.

Soul exploration :: As the series shows, the idea of being divergent is difficult to accomplish. Whatever be the idea, people usually find it difficult as part of a society. The world has its own written rules, anything that doesn’t match that, is in trouble. It brings that confusion which never really ends, and even with the seemingly happy ending of this series, we can expect that to come back at some point. As we do know, there are no happy endings in real life, and there is certainly no happily ever after. This series makes sure that it gets close enough to that by giving that feeling of all coming together well enough, and satisfies the audience who wishes to have something similar to that. With the short length and good work from the cast, the series makes sure that this gets its point right there, without going away from the core.

How it finishes in the end :: Well, America Mappillai is a series that can’t be ignored. As ZEE5 brings this new kind of entertainment outside the usual and expected path, we are sure to be in need to try the same with premium subscriptions, seeing how it is supposed to work so well to bring all the fun. Praveen Padmanabhan who has directed the episodes seem to have made sure that it will work well with almost all kind of audience. Give it a try and download the ZEE5 app to watch the show as well as others. It can bring more to your world of entertainment, and there is a good chance that the next most interesting series in your own mother tongue will be there. This is the time to spend some time to explore #ZEE5 and #ZEE5Originals with #AmericaMappillaiOnZEE5.

Release date: March 2018 – April 2018
Running time: 10-15 minutes per episode
Directed by: Praveen Padmanabhan
Starring: Raja Krishnamoorthy, Leela Samson, Arjun Chidambaram, Namita Krishnamurthy, Gokul Anand, Rakesh Ram, Gayathri

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Velipadinte Pusthakam

What is the movie about? :: Pheonix College of Arts and Science was established ten years ago as a result of the efforts of Vishwanathan (Anoop Menon), a local man who was killed on a terrible night after he made this possible. The location of this college is at a coastal village, where most children stop education at the school level itself, and a few don’t even bother to get to the verandah of nursery. There have been the presence of rich people like Mathan Tharakan (Siddique) and his right hand man, a criminal Kakka Ramesh (Chemban Vinod Jose) who don’t want the local youth to attend college, as it would deprive them of the workers for their fishing business. The college did develop into a popular institution ten years after its inception though, and people from city also joined in to make the campus a mixture of different kings of students, as the number of students from the village doesn’t get any higher, with fishing being a traditional job for the locals.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Into this college where the memories of Vishwanathan is more treasured that anything else, there has been the entry of violence – there is nothing political or religious in nature with the quarrels being rather social. With more students filling in the vacant seats left by the locals, there are two groups which can’t afford to see each other. The first one is led by Franklin (Sarath Kumar), as the son of the best friend of Vishwanathan, coming from the local fishing community – proud and not backing away from a fight. They ridicule those coming from outside as rich beggars who have been trying to take away their opportunities and buy seats with cash. The second one has their leader in Sameer (Arun Kurian) who is an angry young man coming from a rich family in the city, and wastes no time in getting into fights and ridicule his rivals for being poor and doing fishing.

And what else is to follow with the book of revelation? :: The two gangs find one reason or the other to fight it out at open spaces or inside the college auditorium when there is the need for some privacy. Supporting the city gang against the village team is the vice principal of the college, Prem Raj (Salim Kumar) who has become an irritation to the female students as well as the teachers, earning him the nick name Kamaraj. Franklin and his team gets rid of him with a nicely executed plan which exposes him in front of the principal. He manages to continue as a professor, while the post of vice principal goes to Michael Idicula (Mohanlal), a happy and easy-going professor who teaches Malayalam. With a grand entry, he manages to be a favourite of all students, and even manages to win the trust both Franklin and Sameer at the same time. But there is one more thing that he will need to do, and by doing the same, he will make sure that there will be some revelations, not just about himself, but also about Vishwanathan and his death.

The defence of Velipadinte Pusthakam :: The movie is entertaining for sure, and the first half has a lot of funny moments to add to the cause – whenever there is something related to the college and its people, there is the comic side that comes up; it is Salim Kumar who handles that all the time. The visuals of the coastal village is very good, and there are some dialogues to remembered, some as serious ones, and a few from the comic side – this is never the complete with its funny side though. With its ups and downs, the movie depends on Mohanlal to save it, and it is his presence that makes the audience miss some of the troubles that this movie has. There are some twists in this movie, some are on the funny side, and the rest are on the more serious angle – some of the thrills come not that strong, but they are surely present there. The most interesting song remains the one you have already listened, and had become the big hit.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s trouble is with its second story, which makes one wish to return to the college, and keep things there. The thrilling side is not used as one would have wanted it to be, and the revelation of the suspense could have been done in a much better manner. There is also the lack of focus on a number of characters that could have done wonders. The second half becomes inferior to the first, and the curse of the second half tightens its grip on rather too many occasions. We also think that there would be some relevant social theme being taken about the rich and the poor, which is not there – with those early clashes, that could have been on the list of things to show for sure. Also, Mohanlal as a lecturer could have become the perfect lecturer to transform this college through a series of interesting events, rather than skipping through all that. This one is also too long a movie, which is why there is the feeling of dragging in between.

Performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in his usual style, manages to cover the limitations of the script here. Due to the same, this movie also becomes a treat for the fans, who will get to clap here and there, especially with his entry and more in the second half. Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol from this year, and Oppam and Pulimurugan from last year have all been doing wonders for him. Anoop Menon has much to with flashbacks, and he remains pretty much suitable, but has not many dialogues. You will find out that Sarath Kumar as well Arun Kurian finds themselves limited as their characters’ rivalry is lost rather too easily. The work here is no challenge for them. Even Anna Reshma Rajan fades away in the process, and so does almost every female character including Priyanka Nair and Sneha Sreekumar. Salim Kumar here has one a full swing comedy attack as he launches one funny dialogue after the other, and with ups and downs, some of them misses by a long distance, but there are a few others which are close to target. The two negative characters played by Chemban Vinod Jose and Siddique are solid, without doubt.

How it finishes :: How much Velipadinte Pusthakam would work for you, certainly depends on your expectations. The expectations were also so high for this one – this was also the movie I was looking for, with Lal Jose and Mohanlal coming together, and the cast from Angamaly Diaries, Sarath Kumar and Anna Reshma Rajan doing some memorable roles. Yes, even more expectations than what was there for Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idavela and Adam Joan. If that much is your expectation, there will be some trouble. The movie is actually quite far away from what you might have expected from the trailer. I was surely surprised by how much the movie has deviated from what I had thought about it, and it is due to the same, that I have crafted the story in such a way that none of the twists, whether serious or funny, are revealed. If you are watching Veilpadinte Pusthakam, be prepared for the deviation. You can’t deny the presence of fun though, especially if you are watching it with family.

Release date: 31st August 2017
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Mohanlal, Anoop Menon, Anna Reshma Rajan, Arun Kurian, Sarath Kumar, Chemban Vinod Jose, Alencier Ley Lopez, Priyanka Nair, Siddique, Salim Kumar, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sneha Sreekumar, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Krishna Kumar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Despicable Me 3

Vampire Owl: I would like to use this particular title for myself too.

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to be called the vampire deserving hatred and contempt?

Vampire Owl: Because I am going to take over the world.

Vampire Bat: You have had that thought since you became a vampire apprentice for the first time. It is not real.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has always believed in alternate realities.

Vampire Bat: But you don’t believe in Mr. Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: He is just not part of my reality. But his methods surely are.

Vampire Bat: You cannot pretend to put things into different realities, and speak as if you are from one reality in which is independent of the others when all of these is just one reality.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that with regular practice and with finding inner peace, we can create our own realities with our minds?

Vampire Bat: This is exactly why I feel that zombies without brains are awesome.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and caramel popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Felonious Gru (Steve Carell) is spending some nice time as a secret agent of the anti-villain league along with his newfound love, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) who is also trying hard to be a loving mother to the three adopted kids, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel). Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a supervillain obsessed with the television character that he played, has become Gru’s biggest opponent, and even evades him and Lucy on so many occasions. After the last encounter between the two, Gru and Lucy end up being fired from the league by the new chief of the league. Now left without any job, the minions led by Mel (Pierre Coffin) wishes for him to go evil again, so that they will all have something to do. But Gru doesn’t want go back to be the villain again as it would be against all he had hoped for, and so the minions just decide to quit, except for two.

So, what happens next? :: Meanwhile, Balthazar continues to have more and more success with his evil plans, stealing world’s most precious diamond without even having to think twice about it. It is during those times that Gru comes to know that he has a twin brother named Dru (again Steve Carell), who seems to be rather a successful businessman with his pig farms. They had separated when they were kids, as Gru was taken by his mother and Dru by his father, both not knowing about each other until now. When it is revealed, Dru does invite Gru and his family to his special place, where they are given a grand welcome. With golden hair on the head and being a more cheerful and successful man, Dru does make Gru jealous, but it is not the visit is more about. Dru reveals that Gru has always been a role-model in the form of a master villain, even with his failures – he claims that it is Gru who has kept the family tradition going.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Meanwhile, minions end up in prison, and come up with some special plans to get back with Gru due to the nostalgia keeping on troubling them. Dru wants Gru to go back to crime with him, as he feels that both of them could get the family crime legacy to the next level. Gru who is now married to his love and being the father of three adopted children, doesn’t really want to do the same, but wants to get even with Balthazar. He plans to get the diamond from the criminal, and get it to the anti-villain league along with the villain himself, so that he could find him and his wife back in the job. But his brother is interested in this because they could get their hands on the most valuable diamond in the world, and the heist would thus go down in history. But our evil villain does have other plans starting from Hollywood, and going on for mass destruction. Will Gru be able to stop him this time?

The defence of Despicable Me 3:: There is the focus on laughter here, and attempts are regularly made at the same. With the attempt to bring in more action sequences, and situations made for comedy, we are surely seeing an entertainment which finishes without taking that much of our time. It also leaves things open in the end which means that we can have something to go for with a fourth movie which will be something better if good imagination gets the right inspiration. Minions, even though out of the main tale, making almost no impact, are still fun to watch – there are some rare cases here that has repetition being fun. The kids are surely going to love this one a lot – there is no reason why they shouldn’t, as silliness is written again and again on screen with this movie around. Everyone from that age really wants to be Gru or at least with him in an animated world full of action and minions, don’t they? Well, be there early as this one released in India before it did in the United States of America.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Despicable Me 3 is just too childish – surely more childish than the first movie as well as Despicable Me 2. There is almost no thinking regarding the story-line here, as we get to know that quite early. We see not much happening here, and even the usual messages are not present. With what seems to be a random mixture of things, the emotional side is rather lost, something which can be rather catastrophic of an animated movie – the kids have almost no significance in the tale along with the minions who are just there for the laughter, and there are the two brothers whose story just seemed to have been brought for the sake of the adventure, and there is the villain who seems to have the appeal rather too much on the kids rather than anyone else. You would also realise that there have been two movies before this and a spin-off, and a better result still evades the makers and the fans alike. 3D is also not that much of a difference maker.

How it finishes :: Well, Despicable Me 3 is fun for sure, even though it seems to trail behind Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 without even trying well enough to make much of an impact. Maybe, everyone have already felt that this franchise is in an eternal safe zone, like Ice Age, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda series might have been thinking already. But, if we compare the number of screens and the number of viewers for Cars 3 and this one, it is clear that safe zone is slowly and steadily becoming a myth – there are always new movies which are not sequels made out of special creativity, like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen and Inside Out, ready to conquer the animated area. They will surely have to put the extra effort for the next movie, if people are going to continue believing in the same – this will work as of now with its comic side and how good it looks on the screen, but an animated movie is going to require more than that in order to have a long and better run.

Release date: 16th June 2017 (India); 30th June 2017 (USA)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews, Jenny Slate, Pierre Coffin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godha

What is the movie about? :: Anjaneyan Das (Tovino Thomas) is an engineering graduate who spends most of his time playing cricket at the local ground as part of a cricket team lead by the local party leader Vijayan (Sreejith Ravi). Supported by the local youth including his own cousin brother Balan (Aju Varghese), they try to play the game on the ground with a lot of cricket craze even though they keep losing the matches. But the same is not possible during presence of the man they call Captain (Renji Panicker), a former wrestler who lives in the memories of those wrestling matches, and doesn’t let anyone play any other game on the ground. He is also the father of Anjaneyan who had dreams of making his son a wrestler too, but that didn’t go on well too. There is a certain fight going on between a new generation of cricket fans and the old generation of wrestling fans who wish to see their favourite sport brought back from the ashes.

So, what happens next? :: Captain who had enough of all this nonsense from his son that he forces Anjaneyan to go and pursue engineering post graduation at Punjab University, something which his reluctant son finally decide to agree to, and travel to the north. He does find things rather strange there, and just survives without getting beaten up due to his desire to have porotta and beef roast. But what catches his attention more than the rest of the things there is Aditi Singh (Wamiqa Gabbi), a girl who beats up almost everyone there. They become good friends until there is an incident involving Aditi and her brother who is a police officer there, and Anjaneyan comes back home much to the dismay of his parents. He gets back to his usual life until he gets a call from Aditi who had reached the railway station near his place.

And what follows the events? :: Aditi is also full of an intense desire to wrestle, for which her family doesn’t allow. Her brother had decided to marry her off to someone so that this craze for wrestling could be taken out of her, which is the reason why she has left Punjab and reached Kerala. Initially, Captain doesn’t want her presence in the place, but things change as he understands her passion for wrestling, and decides to help her to achieve her dream. Aditi starts training under Captain, and despite the initial problems, manages to get to a major tournament and win it, expanding the horizons of the dreams. But it is not just the Captain who is inspired by her dreams, as Anjaneyan also has his own memories of wrestling brought back to him due to the same. But will she finally be able to get the best out of her dreams for herself as well as the people around her?

The defence of Godha :: One quality that Godha has retained from the same director’s Kunjiramayanam is its quality in simplicity; as we look through these two movies, we see simple things made beautiful or memorable. The latter was all about making its comic side more and more effective while the former here works on delivering the inspiration on the big screen. In a world which is being swallowed by those sporting events which has more money and bigger heroes, there are the sports other than cricket which struggles to find a path towards attention, and Godha has certainly caught your eyes and brought it to something which is more than just WWE which at least has fans of entertainment. This movie lasting just two hours is nothing short of a full-length entertainer, as there is something to laugh or something to make you smile throughout its run. The same makes this movie a cent percent steady flick from the first scene itself.

Positives and negatives :: The humour is really good with this one, and those scenes providing goosebumps as well as the emotional side – all remain strong right there. The mixture of things is certain to attract all kinds of audience, as we have something for everyone in this quality mixture. The songs as well as the background music are really good, and the same can be said about the visuals, all keeping the level of this movie high. There might not be anything that huge with the tale here, which once again has its protagonists getting inspired to achieve their dreams, but in the end, it is all about dreams, isn’t it? Maybe people will need more seriousness concerning this kind of a topic, and the predictability is present for this movie too. There were cynics who thought that such a theme couldn’t be developed that well in Malayalam – but this one should make them take back their words. There was also the scope to make this one rather longer, as the audience did seem to want more. In a nation which avoids too many sports in favour of cricket, we just need more of such movies, even if the inspiration might feel repetitive later.

Performers of the soul :: The spirited cast of this movie is lead by Wamiqa Gabbi who, without doubt, brings unparalled charm here. There is something about the way she elevates the movie as the determined heroine – she has certainly made a huge impact with the audience as it was clear in the theatres. The determination in her eyes, and her performance within and outside the sport will be in your minds for long. Those who follow Bollywood will remember her for the work in the movie Sixteen, an underrated movie which deserves to be watched by more. Meanwhile, Tovino Thomas gets even stronger than Oru Mexican Aparatha with a role that brings more than one shade of him, and there is some nice skill in how he plays the second fiddle to Wamiqa when needed, and even to Renji Panicker’s powerful character when there is the need – it is the neat, and the right performance that he brings here, after the smaller role in Ezra and Guppy which deserved more. He also shines in the comic sequences mainly with Aju Varghese, and also with that long line of actors from Hareesh Perumanna and Dharmajan Bolgatty to Bijukuttan and Kottayam Pradeep.

How it finishes :: Godha has been in the news for some time with some wonderful music released, an interesting trailer, and having both Tovino Thomas and Wamiqa Gabbi as guests at Badai Bungalow programme on Asianet in one of its most entertaining episodes of all-time. So, the expectations were there, and the movie delivers. Basil Joseph’s last movie Kunjiramayanam, his debut flick was a huge laugh riot, and this one goes on to become more than one thing. Godha is your inspirational fun-filled entertainer which is also a sports drama. It required some special skill to keep all the elements working for this flick, which is a wonderful mixture – but everything is taken of with precision, and we have the final product as something which seems to have a fine invitation to make us go through and watch again at least once, a quality which was there in very few entertainers of this decade, most notably, Maheshinte Prathikaram.

Release date: 19th May 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Basil Joseph
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Wamiqa Gabbi, Aju Varghese, Renji Panicker, Bijukuttan, Mamukoya, Pradeep Kottayam, Hareesh Peradi, Hareesh Perumanna, Sreejith Ravi, Dharmajan Bolgatty

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Central Intelligence

centralintelligence-2

Vampire Owl: So, are we looking for what the Rock is cooking?

Vampire Bat: No, we are not. We will just watch the movie and come back to the castle.

Vampire Owl: But I am hungry. As hungry as a werewolf on an indefinite hunger strike during a full moon night.

Vampire Bat: When he say so, it doesn’t really mean that.

Vampire Owl: So, he doesn’t cook?

Vampire Bat: Whether he cooks or not, we are not going to have that.

Vampire Owl: So, it is not available with the movie. You mean to say that there is no offer.

Vampire Bat: No, it is not. We have to buy our own food with money from our pockets.

Vampire Owl: And unfortunately, we have a cashless vampire economy.

Vampire Bat: But we have the food here.

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

What is the movie about? :: At a big event, the school’s most popular student and star athlete Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) is being honored by the students and teachers. At the same time, a bully, Trevor Olson (Jason Bateman) and his arrogant friends grab the overweight student Robbie Wierdicht (Dwayne Johnson) from the gym shower and throw him into the centre of the event to humiliate him. With only Calvin and his girlfriend, Maggie Johnson (Danielle Nicolet) showing some sympathy to him, Robbie disappears from the school never to be heard about again for a long time. Many years later, Calvin is married to Robbie and is working as a forensic accountant. With both of them working, and spending almost no good time together, they feel that their marriage is in trouble, and Calvin is also disappointed with his work itself, finding it dull and boring.

So, what happens next? :: While spending his boring time at work and being highly displeased that people who are not that good as him are getting promotions and raise, Calvin receives a friend request on Facebook from a man named Bob Stone – even if he can’t figure out who this man is, he just accepts the request. The man on the other side reveals that he is the old schoolmate Robbie who had disappeared long ago, and asks for a meeting. As they meet, the two are surprised to see that the situation has gone upside down with the man who was supposed to be a big success is caught in a job he doesn’t like, and the one who was humiliated and considered to be good for nothing is now a muscular man with a lot of confidence and happiness – plus he is more than that. Calvin will know more about it when a group of CIA agents led by Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan) arrive at his house – it is the time to save the world, can it be done?

The defence of Central Intelligence :: There is fun guaranteed with Central Intelligence as the two of the leading actors and situations continue to bring the laughter to us, and the action is also stylish from The Rock. There is one thing that we can be thankful about more than anything else, and it is that this one doesn’t go on to be like that terrible, third-rate movie called Kingsman: Secret Service which was the worst comedy movie which we had the chance to watch in such a long time – so many people have pretended to like it just because critics have felt something in the vulgar and violent presence in the movie, but nobody here is falling for that. Here in this movie, we have the fun that we can relate to, and with The Rock punching not just through the walls, but also through our need for comedy, there is the strength of Central Intelligence that gets magnified with its cast. It is the same reason why the movie holds things together even when it is going through a lazy path in between.

The claws of flaw :: One has to feel that with more situations added, Central Intelligence could have been a lot more fun, and might have even become the funniest movie in a long time. The plot also doesn’t hold on strong enough, with a climax that doesn’t go on to create that much of big effect with its twists or the comedy – the big twist could have been done better, but this one refuses to do the same. We do feel this idea is done too many times before, and this one needed the special ingredient within. There are jokes that are rather repetitive, and some of them are not really funny for the common man or the thoughtful ones – the presence of such jokes could have been avoided to fill up with those more quality ones. We remember the movie The Rundown which was also called Welcome to the Jungle – with The Rock himself teaming up with Seann William Scott, that was actually more fun.

Performers of the soul :: The Rock stays at the centre of this one too, bringing all fun right to us – Dwayne Johnson plays this role bringing so much entertainment to us. Always the entertainer, whether it is the WWE where he is one of my all-time favourite wrestlers with the Undertaker and Triple H, or even in the movies like Hercules or the Fast and Furious series, there is no exception on his part here. He scores not just with the comedy, but also with those action sequences. Kevin Hart becomes the right partner for him with all the fun around. Their combination is so much fun that, they provide almost everything that this movie needs – it is only until the two meet that you have to wait, and everything begins right there, as you would expect. Aaron Paul who is a lot remembered for Need For Speed, once again has a nice role to do which seemed to be so simple for him. Amy Ryan nicely fits in as the agent too.

How it finishes :: Along with the entertainment, there is a strong message against bullying in Central Intelligence. It shows how someone who was bullied and considered to be among the worst students in all ways, having the least chance to succeed, get to be the person that nobody expected him to be. The same works the other way too, with the big success story of schools and colleges being not meeting the expectations. Well, you gain nothing by underestimating or overestimating people, as none of them are the same. One day or the other, each of us have to face the world in our own ways, and with what we want being different in each case, the judgment that people pass on us won’t be the right one. Everyone is different, and all of us have our own success stories. It is up-to the so called society to accept us as what we are.

Release date: 17th June 2016
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, Dilan Boyack, Timothy John Smith, Megan Park, Ryan Hansen, Thomas Kretschmann, Phil Reeves, Kumail Nanjiani, Slaine, Melissa McCarthy (cameo)

centralintelligence

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shajahanum Pareekkuttiyum

shajahanumpareekuttiyum (1)

Vampire Owl :: I am having certain ideas about this movie from the title itself.

Vampire Bat :: Goes back to the history and the movie Chemmeen, right?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, something about love should be there.

Vampire Bat :: And we can also sense comedy.

Vampire Owl :: And it has been more than an year since we saw Amala Paul in a Malayalam movie, I guess.

Vampire Bat :: It is nice to see her on the posters after a long time.

Vampire Owl :: You were a big fan of her second last movie, Mili – I believe.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t see why not. Mili was the one true introvert movie.

Vampire Owl :: And this one should be meant for just some entertainment.

Vampire Bat :: That is exactly my guess too.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Jiya (Amala Paul) is the single daughter of an ex-military man who owns the Jiya Group of Resorts. One day, she meets with an accident and losses her memory for the last few years. Her fiancee, Ravi (Aju Varghese) is very much disappointed about that she doesn’t recognize him, and searches for a way to solve the problem. For the same, he appoints a private detective Mathews (Suraj Venjaramoodu) to find something from Jiya’s past that could bring back her memory. He manages to do the search in his own strange way, but all he could find out is a clue related to a man whose name starts with “P”. But it is revealed that there are two such men who claims to be Jiya’s lovers – Pranav (Kunchako Boban and Prince (Jayasurya).

So what happens next? :: There seems to be no chance of Jiya getting her memory back. Both Pranav and Prince tries their best to get their love stories to Jiya, and at the same time, Ravi makes attempts to make her interested in him, but fails each and every time. While Pranav seems to be a rich businessman with interest in arts and music, Prince is more like a local goon who creates trouble and shares Jiya’s interest in cars. They have different versions of tales which includes her falling in love with them. The parents leave the answer to this question to Jiya. So, the question remains about who is her true lover, if there is one? One of them seems to have a more complicated intention for claiming to be her lover – who is he and what is he looking for?

The defence of Shajahanum Pareekkuttiyum :: There is some amount of fun in store here, that is for sure. There are references to Thalapathi, Manichitrathaazhu, Titanic, DrishyamInnale and Ennu Ninte Moideen in the movie too, and they are very well done to evoke laughter. Some of the best ones include Suraj’s Manichitrathaazhu introduction, Aju’s promise as Moideen and the reflection of the incidents of Innale. The cast is nicely used to bring out the funny side, and one can be sure to find some laugh here and there. The movie remains bright and happy though, with no serious or emotional sides. There is also an attempt to bring the twist in the end, and it only somewhat effective. If you are looking for some fun without much of logic during the weekend, Shajahanum Pareekkuttiyum might be the movie for you; in that way, it works great.

The claws of flaw :: The story of this movie is everywhere; it begins somewhere and ends at some other place, with not much of a development in between except for adding those funny elements. Even with such a funny side, there are not many of the moments which are actually memorable – we will find them, and we are just to forget them. There was lot more potential with this story to add more comedy, and the plot itself could have been something worth remembering. Some jokes are also not that effective; they are not done in a way to maximize the effect. There are also a number of meaningless scenes in this movie, especially with stories being told within, and the songs are not that interesting either. There is a certain lack of standard with the proceedings which is clearly visible at times.

Performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban and Jayasurya comes together again with a comedy movie after Gulumaal and Three Kings – even though I did like those two movies more than this one, this also remains a funny addition to that list. They do the job really well, but the ones who bring more of the laughter are Aju Varghese and Suraj Venjaramoodu; the former has some of the best moments, and the latter nicely raises the fun level of this movie. Amala Paul, with her next Malayalam movie after Lailaa O Lailaa and Mili, doesn’t leave that much here, as most of the entertainment is carried on their shoulders by the team of four. She is there more as the centre of attraction, and the focus of everything which happens around her character and the memory loss. Nikki Galrani’s cameo in the end was rather unnecessary too.

How it finishes :: So, with the two names immortalized in love don’t really get the romantic side going in this movie, as it is just for some simple fun without logic that we can watch this particular flick. You will find almost no romance here, even though it is what the movie is supposed to be about, even though in a funny way. It becomes another movie to bring the memory loss of the heroine to the space, and the movie makes fun of itself too – Ormayundo Ee Mukham might be the last movie to bring the same. This will be another interesting movie to watch with family, along with Karinkunnam 6s which has gone the inspirational way. There is something about watching movies like these – you can neither like them so much, but neither can you hate them; there will be just enough in them for everyone in the end, for so much is somehow managed.

Release date: 6th July 2016
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Boban Samuel
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Jayasurya, Amala Paul, Aju Varghese, Lena Abhilash, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Vijayaraghavan, Sunil Sukhada, Vinaya Prasad, Kalabhavan Shajon, Rafi, Nadirshah, Irshad, Nikki Galrani (cameo)

shajahanumpareekuttiyum

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adi Kapyare Kootamani

adikapyarekoottamani (1)

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of four friends who study in the same college and stay at the very same hostel. Bhanuprasad (Dhyan Sreenivasan), Bruno (Aju Varghese), Remo (Neeraj Madhav) and Koshy (Vineeth Mohan) are those friends who enjoy their lives to the full with drinks and other activities. The warden of the boys’ hostel is Father Alfred Kattuvilayil (Mukesh) who is a very strict person, but the students manage to go on with their activities making sure that he doesn’t notice. Shaanthappan (Bijukuttan) desperately tries to let the priest know that his students are not what he thinks they are, but they youngsters manage to escape each and every time. But they will soon be part of something from which they can’t escape that easily.

So what is this suddden change of direction in life about? :: Bhanuprasad meets a girl named Adhishtalekshmi (Namitha Pramod) who offers him twenty thousand rupees just to get her inside the hostel and get her out in a few minutes. As he is desperately in need of money, he agrees to that, and gets her in when the other students are out for a movie. She has a special motive which she accomplishes, but it turns out that it is not that easy to get her out. The students return early and the next morning has a strike in the college which ruins their plans to escape. Their secret passage through the window is also blocked as Shaanthappan gets it repaired after informing the priest. Now, it is up-to Bhanuprasad and his three best friends to find a way to get her out before her father and his goons get to the place.

The defence of Adi Kapyare Kootamani :: This movie goes on the lines of Kunjiramayanam and Vellimoonga with the fun and its simplicity, with everything appealing really well for the family audience just like the youth. From the beginning itself, the movie’s direction is clear, and it is towards a really enjoyable comic side which can only get better as we gets deeper into the story. Even though the director is a debutante, there is not much of a problem there with how well this one has turned out to be. It needs skill to bring something special out of ordinary situations, and a lot of appreciation should be provided for the same. Cheers to Friday Film House in finding another new director and gifting him to the Keralite audience. The traits of Manichithrathazhu, Kaththi and In Ghost House Inn are smartly used too, and there is a strong funny side to the way of dealing with the same.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing much about the story which is happening here, as it just goes on creating the funny situations. A good number of people might find this one too simple, but that is also an advantage of this movie. The rush in the end and a little bit of too much confusion can belittle the final moments. But as a sequel has already been announced, we can be sure that some of them will be solved. In the movie, the whole thing is mostly located at one place, and you are not going to see much variety there except for the comedy which has the special strength. The songs are not really memorable either. We can also note that the smaller number of scenes which happen outside the hostel doesn’t really work that well. Maybe the sequel can work harder to solve the problems left in its predecessor – we can wait for that!

Performers of the soul :: The group of Aju Varghese, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Neeraj Madhav and Bijukuttan are here in this movie too, bringing the same fun to us yet again. Vineeth Mohan nicely joins them in this adventure. Dhyan does a pretty good job here, and Vineeth Mohan supports, but it is Aju Varghese with Neeraj Madhav brings the best fun here with their coming timing; look out for the former fainting and providing signal along with the latter tearing his shirt apart and also looking for the Kaththi blue-print. The ideas to get the lady out of there are rather too funny. Namitha is really good, and it is nice to see her back after that “nothing” role in Amar Akbar Anthony, as she once again gets the chance to be the integral part of a movie rather than walk around. Bijukuttan scores, and he does the best in the Manichithrathazhu scene which is a big bonus; he even has a special Christmas song.

Further performers of the soul :: Mukesh is rock solid fun as the priest who believes that his students are angels and also that everything is under is control all the time; he scores the best with the moments of advice for the students and the situations of fear. The one thing which you can be sure about here is that this one is a real team effort. Most of the characters get similar chances to perform here, and the power of the youth in the Malayalam movie industry is more than just evident here. As everything is simple and possible to be connected for the audience, everything depended on the cast and how well they managed the comic side, and the movie gets all the success there. On one side, there will be movies releasing with huge hype, and on the other side, there are the small movies like this one which brings us so much of fun. Well, we will be looking forward to this director’s next movies, and it is not any easier to wait for the sequel to this movie.

How it finishes :: Coming from Sandra Thomas and Vijay Babu under who produced Philips and the Monkey Pen, Zachariayude Garbhinikal and Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeevi Aanu under Friday Film House, the expectations were to be pretty good on this one. The movie also has three of the big stars of the big comedy entertainer of the year, Kunjiramayanam. With positive opinions already going on, this one will provide the competition to the other competitors like Two Countries, Charlie and Jo and the Boy with the next competitor Style changing the release date. Christmas will surely be interesting season with all these movies which have got pretty good opinions battling each other, and there is also one Star Wars movie which is wandering around the corner along with two Bollywood flicks which can also be found at places!

Release date: 25th December 2015
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: John Varghese
Starring: Dhyan Sreenivasan, Namitha Pramod, Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Vineeth Mohan, Mukesh, Bijukuttan, John Vijay, Devi Ajith, Bhagath Manuel, Pradeep Kottayam, Vijay Babu, Sabu

adikapyarekooottamani

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

TheManfromUncle (1)

Vampire Owl :: I believe that they are talking about Uncle Dracula returning to the castle.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t understand why they would do that. It is not possible.

Vampire Owl :: Or may be a man who is the messenger of Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat :: Don’t you know that the return of Uncle Dracula is not of concern for the humans these days as they don’t even believe in his existence?

Vampire Owl :: I guess I misunderstood the title then. I thought this would mean his return because the world needs it.

Vampire Bat :: It stands for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement as I have read on the internet.

Vampire Owl :: So, no true uncles are involved. It is actually good because some uncles are so irritating with their comparisons of their nephews and nieces.

Vampire Bat :: It is actually based on an American television series of the 1960s. There was also one called The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. during the same time period.

Vampire Owl :: So, it is clearly new for us. During that period, we were not into television series, and surely none from that part of the world. Do you think that it will be good?

Vampire Bat :: Well, we will surely have to watch and find that out. This comes from Guy Ritchie, the man who brought the two Sherlock Holmes movies to us, and will bring a King Arthur movie next year.

[Gets a cup of tea with chocolate chip cookies].

What is it about? :: At a time when the Cold War was going strong, years after the Second World War, a former professional thief and the present CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is on a special mission. He brings Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), the daughter of Udo Teller (Christian Berkel), an expert scientist who was working for the Nazis, out of East Berlin, as they manage to go past the KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) who gives a big chase. But it turns out that the job is not anywhere close to being finished yet, with the two rich shipping company owning couple Alexander (Luca Calvani) and Victoria (Elizabeth Debicki) Vinciguerra who are Nazi sympathizers have the scientist with them, and Gaby’s uncle Rudi (Sylvester Groth) working with them might be their only chance to get to Udo. The time might be less because the couple might be creating their own nuclear weapons.

So what is the possible solution here and where do they go? :: So, with chaos and destruction staring them right on their faces, CIA and KGB decides to bring their best men together, with Napolean and Illya working together to bring solution to this new problem. Gaby and Illya are to pretend to be engaged as they go to meet her uncle in Italy. Solo also poses as an antiquities dealer and stays in another room in the same hotel at Rome. So, another game begins far away from home, and the question remains if these three can get along. Gaby’s best interest seems to be in finding her father, and the two agents have the interests of their own nations and the agencies to keep steady. With their own agendas being there, what can these people do to ensure world peace in front of an enemy which is more united than they are? Saving the world is not a choice though, isn’t it? Especially when USA and USSR did join forces!

The defence of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. :: One thing which you can be hundred percent sure about this particular flick is that it has some simple, light-hearted fun. The humour that has been used in this movie never crosses the limit, making it appropriate for almost all kinds of audience, a quality which is not easy to maintain for the Hollywood movies of these times as they intend to go for sex and violence instead. Well, that should have made the censor board very happy or they would have been on a grand cutting process around here. The thrills are present and there is one twist and some nice smaller turning of events. The movie also has a fine style going throughout it, and the music used in the flick gives an even better feeling. What surprised me the most is how this flick, even with its simplest scenes, could bring smiles on our faces – a quality which the more appreciated movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service completely lacked and replaced it with boredom.

Claws of flaw :: The fact remains that there might not be anyone who has watched that telvision series around here, as the idiot box presence improved only later around here, and the number of channels only increased even later. So, the case of nostalgia is completely going out through the window for ny person from this part of the world. The movie could have also used a lot more humour here because the possibility was very much there – there were some nice points where it could have added so much more to the movie. The three protagonists could have taken them in easily. The story could have also been more polished to bring the suspense and thrills to the next level – it is something which could have made sure that The Man from U.N.C.L.E. will be the spy movie which worked for a genre-based audience. There could have also been more melee combat here. As this is more like an origin story, a possible sequel should solve the problems!

Performers of the Soul :: The three leading performers in this movie are nothing less than complete fun. Their characters have something special, and they are nicely brought on screen with action and humour. They are the ones who make us wish for a sequel for this one. Among the three, the big performer is undoubtedly Henry Cavill who has the thief turned into CIA agent played with charm; coming right out of Man of Steel – one wonders if he will make a nice James Bond in a parallel universe. His agent makes a fine combination with his former nemesis character Armie Hammer, and both nicely compliment each other. You will love the third one, played by Alicia Vikander too. It won’t be that big a performance or something of very high quality like her work in Ex Machina, but she is cute and full of fun in this movie. You will surely get something a lot better than her Seventh Son though. You will also notice Elizabeth Debicki making a nice lady villain.

How it finishes :: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is indeed a fine spy movie with fun. Unlike Kingsman: The Secret Service which was always running out of ideas making it use violence and ridiculous sexual remarks, this movie here knows exactly where it is going. The collections and critical appreciation for that mindless flick is a reflection of how much the quality of the viewers and critics have come down, but thanks to movies like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. that we can have movies which are actually fun and not just claimed to be so. Our movie here shows Kingsman: The Secret Service how it is done, and how it should have been accomplished. On one side, we have interesting spy movies like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and on the other side, we have boring and clueless spy stuff like Kingsman: The Secret Service; and thankfully, I know that the former was the more successful one where I watch movies!

Release date: 14th August 2015
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris, Hugh Grant, Luca Calvani, Sylvester Groth, Simona Caparrini, Misha Kuznetsov, David Menkin, Christian Berkel

themanfromuncle

PS: Favourite pre-Christmas movie at the theatres right now: Anarkali. Merry Christmas 🙂

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Specials: Remake Saga

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*With two of the four remakes of Drishyam still pending and scheduled to release next month, I take this opportunity to remember a few of the Hindi movies which were remakes from Malayalam, with most of the better known ones from Priyadarshan. So, as we wait for the release of the much awaited movie remakes starring Kamal Haasan and Ajay Devgan, let us have a look at one of those remakes. Even though a good number of them worked in both languages, here I choose a movie which still remains a much loved title in Malayalam, but the same can’t be said about its Hindi remake. Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam and Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar are the two movies I am writing about.

Even though the setting look different, they are the same with the situations in both movies. Actually, the protagonist enters the scene earlier in the case of the Hindi version. The sequences do look exactly the same though, beginning with the eviction notice and going on with talks about the problems of the house, related to the marriage of the female family members and the other financial problems which have been created and the chances of any of the troubles getting over. These things actually do remain the same everywhere even though the cultural differences and changes in the tones of characters according to the language can also be seen.

The Malayalam version has better known actors playing the supporting roles, and as the scene shifts to the city, the changes are more easily visible – both cities are nowhere close to being similar in the soul as each has its own identity. You can see that from the way characters interact and even from the looks of the building which the protagonist owns. There is a gap of fifteen years between the movies and the changes are clearly seen; so are the differences in language and culture. This raises the question if this remake would have worked better if done a few years ago and with even less similarities with the original. The good thing about the remakes of Drishyam is that the gap between the original and the last released remake won’t be more than two years.

The Malayalam version also had Mohanlal who is a big difference between the two versions – it would have been easier to guess though. Even with some dialogues which seems to be exactly translated with such clarity like using a good translating software, there is no match for that time period which was like the golden age of Malayalam cinema. The version is also longer at the beginning stages; if you check at 35 minutes of the Malayalam version, the Hindi version has only reached 29 minutes or slightly shorter with the story reaching the same point. But you won’t feel that so much time has passed, and it is the skill of the legendary actor to keep the audience interested, and things are closer to the life of the 1980s. Then in the end, the Hindi version gets longer by around 40 minutes.

The slight changes occur when the run-time gets to half an hour with new characters included as they lead to some more situations; those having no place in the original. The Malayalam original also has fun right through it, even though the Hindi remake has more ups and down with its progress, and makes less sense. Sreenivasan was that big boost to the original that the remake misses despite the presence of Paresh Rawal. He comes with that hilarious performance in a song which can never be matched. The jokes become less effective as the original was so simple and right out of the heart. The veteran actor Thilakan was another big positive along with the songs.

The extra sequences that the Hindi version adds nothing good to the movie, as some of them actually remind the viewers of older Malayalam movies like Shubhayathra, Minnaram, Chandralekha and Vandanam, which might have been added to bring some extra humour. Chandralekha-inspired money lending sequence is rather too ineffective in this movie unlike it was in the Malayalam movie. This actually means that the Malayalam version gets ahead and now the remake from Bollywood is lagging. Releasing too late, the remake had to do something special, and not add things from other movies. There was also the social satire element of the Malayalam version which doesn’t become that effective here.

Hera Pheri was actually that remake of Ramji Rao Speaking which did some justice to the original. I liked how it worked with Garam Masala (Boeing Boeing), Hungama (Poochakkoru Mookkuthi), Dhol (In Harihar Nagar) and Hulchul (Godfather) even though, in almost every case, the original scores better. But here, even with the jokes, the effect is less, as Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar doesn’t do the same for Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam even though it should still be okay for those who haven’t watched the original or the scenes from other Malayalam movies. I don’t have much of a positive opinion about Bodyguard and its remakes though. About the nonsense movie Pokkiri Raja and its remake Boss, there is no need for any opinion. The ratings are very low for our movie here, but this remake isn’t that terrible as it shows, when we think about those movies and compare. But with Drishyam, there seems to be some very nice effort put in there made, and you will know if you have watched the trailers. I will be watching both the remakes, and I really hope that they do justice to the original – if they do, it is going to be awesome!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Darling

darling!

Vampire Owl :: You mean Darling Darling?

Vampire Bat :: No Darling just once, unless you want to create an echo.

Vampire Owl :: Vampire Owls don’t echo. We are immune to such inferior special effects.

Vampire Bat :: Then its easy to follow. This is the remake of the Telugu horror comedy romance, Prema Katha Chitram.

Vampire Owl :: That movie in which Nanditha Raj plays a Nanditha?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and here Nikki Galrani plays someone not Nikki.

Vampire Owl :: You mean Nikki Galrani of Om Santhi Oshaana, 1983 and Vellimoonga, the not-so-owlish movie?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with no doubt. How many other Nikkis do you know?

Vampire Owl :: Well, what about Nikki of Neal ‘n’ Nikki?

Vampire Bat :: That ruins my day. Why did you have to even try to mention that movie?

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Kathir (G. V. Prakash Kumar) is looking to commit suicide and for the same, he is joined by two other people consisting of his friend and another girl, seemingly leading to a nice small group suicide. Kumaran (Bala Saravanan) and Nisha (Nikki Galrani) who become part of the suicide gang, try to make their last wishes happen before committing the awesome act of self-destruction. There are things which they do, like having a new car which they steal and slapping an MLA in front of the news channels. They escape from the police and goons and go to a house accompanied by another man trying to suicide, Athisaya Raj (Karunas). Nisha is in love with Kathir, and her real plan is to stop him from killing himself, and Kumaran is also hoping to stop his friend from doing the act. But the house where they are staying has a back-story and things won’t go as planned.

The defence of Darling :: There are some improvements on Prema Katha Chitram that this movie has made here as the remake. The best of them is the climax and the ending which has some interesting changes. It is quite faithful to the original, but not a blind copy. The movie is funny and scary in parts, and does full justice to its genre of horror-comedy which hasn’t been an easy thing to do. It is time Bollywood also has some horror-comedies of this quality. There is ghost, romance, comedy, mystery and even the ghost slayer Ghost Gopal Varma. All four of the main actors are very good, and one thing that you can’t fail to notice from the posters of the movie in Kerala is that Nikki Galrani is the Queen of Luck or the Goddess of Fortune – judging from the Malayalam movies which she has acted in: Om Santhi Oshaana, 1983 and Vellimoonga; the three big hits – can we dare to disagree?

The Claws of Flaw :: As a remake of Prema Katha Chitram, the movie might seems redundant for a few. There are some scenes which doesn’t improve the original, and there is no big improvement in quality here. The original was a movie which a lot of people had watched here too, but Darling should still be a new experience for another good number of people. The movie does have some of the same problems as the original, with some misplaced jokes and some loss in the horror department, but those were expected as the remake. One big change which they could have done was with the face of the ghost, and even the first possession moment was no surprise. A scarier ghost could have been there, and the total spooky atmosphere should have been enhanced. Some innovation could have only done this move good, with a shorter flashback and more elements of mystery. Yes, more scares would have brought the awesomeness here, and there was the need to match the comedy.

Soul exploration :: The resurrection of horror genre in the right manner is a need among all the Indian movie industries. Bollywood seems to combine it too much with erotica and spoil the whole thing, or just copy something from Hollywood and add below average things here and there. Horror no longer seems to a genre that is interested in being spoken in Hindi. But a better working combination at this part of the world is horror with comedy and simple romance as it has been proven here. It is a good form for the horror genre to exist, without the extra seriousness that comes in and often fails to connect with the audience. There will always be people who want to laugh at the horror movies, and may be what people deserve more is the horror comedy. I would expect better times for horror with this mixture of genres in work, and I hope for such a movie in Malayalam too, without going too stupid or absurd.

How it finishes :: It is surprising how well the movie has attracted the audience here even as there is only one popular face for the people here, which is Nikki Galrani. It has come to only selected theatres here and at some places just to fill in the blanks, and may be that is a reason. The multiplexes hadn’t had much shows. I would say that Darling was a movie which could have done wonders here with some better promotion – after all, Nikki is one of the favourite actresses of the common movie fans here, and that has been accomplished by her presence in just one year – 2014. It is a sure entertainer and has its existence at a number of theatres in Kerala – you might have to search for them, but if you haven’t watched Prema Katha Chitram, this a movie that you should give a chance for the effort and the difference that it brings to the screen.

[After the movie]

Vampire Owl :: You didn’t tell me about the special 3D effects in the theatre.

Vampire Bat :: 3D at that theatre? We were in the same theatre, right?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, didn’t you see those effects?

Vampire Bat :: What exactly are you talking about?

Vampire Owl :: Didn’t you see the black kitten and the smoke outside the screen?

Vampire Bat :: That actually seemed like a rat. The smoke was just people with the cigarettes. This is why you should go to local theatres more often.

Vampire Owl :: It is still a special effect. We should have brought the Vampire Cat.

Vampire Bat :: So do you think that the hiking of ticket price by twenty rupees was justified?

Vampire Owl :: Absolutely not. These conditions deserve a maximum of fourty five rupees, thats all. We have better effects at the Dracula Castle.

Vampire Bat :: Then lets hope for another theatre next time.

[Runs to the Indian Coffee House].

Release date: 15th January 2015
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Sam Anton
Starring: G. V. Prakash Kumar, Nikki Galrani, Karunas, Bala Saravanan, Srushti Dange, Rajendran

darling

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.