Shang-Chi

Vampire Owl: Let me know when Marvel has actually finished with the superheroes.

Vampire Bat: You do think that it is a possibility?

Vampire Owl: Yes, everything comes to an end, in one way or the other.

Vampire Bat: Not everything. We are immortals, so you should know.

Vampire Owl: Marvel is not immortal. There are no vampires among them.

Vampire Bat: There are vampiric superheroes and villains though.

Vampire Owl: But they are not real, you know.

Vampire Bat: They don’t consider us as real either.

Vampire Owl: Who cares about the evil humans think about?

Vampire Bat: We should care about them as they possess the evil of science, and sooner or later, they will come to get us through that portal on the north.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung) had discovered the mystical power of ten rings which granted immortality and the strength resembling a god. He could have used these powers for the good, but instead had chosen to get richer and even stronger, being left with almost nothing to conquer as he had all nations under his control directly or indirectly, within a few years. Later in the 1990s, he travels to a magical forest, which he also required to be in his control. Therem he is stopped by the guardian of the forest, Ying Li (Fala Chen), who stops him, and the two ends up falling in love. As he is not accepted in the village, the two leaves the village and returns to the city. Back to the present, Xu Shang-Chi a.k.a. Shaun (Simu Liu) has grown up, and is best friends with Katy (Awkwafina), both now living carefree life at San Francisco in the United States. They do valet parking for a living, and Shaun doesn’t want to remember much of his martial arts training of early childhood as things seem to go in a natural way in the city.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, he is attacked by a group of assassins on a bus. The attackers take his pendant, and he does feel that he need to find his sister, Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), and save her. Even though he decides to run away soon, Katy manages to convince him and accompany him on the journey after the awakening on a darker past. As he reaches the place where Xu is staying, she turns out to be a thankless moron of a sister, who forces him into a battle with her, which she cheats to win. She also abandons him to fight on his own, until she finally has a change of heart to become less of a deserter. Now, it seems that it was their father who had sent these people to take the two pendants, which he wants to use for some strange and evil plan. But Xu is that kind of a person who feels that she will build her own empire that rivals her father’s, and Shaun would be caught between the two, not looking forward to goodness in anyway.

And what more is to be added to this world of possible chaos and destruction? :: It doesn’t matter how much they fight, as the father finally returns to take them to their original home, and make his son the grand successor, and the holder of the ten rings. Wenwu who wishes to reunite the family again, uses the pendants to bring to life, a magical map leading to that old, enchanted forest – Ta Lo. He tells them that he feels that he could hear his wife calling from the village where he has been held captive. He intends to make them release her, or he will burn the village to the ground. But the two children don’t really have anything to do with it, and they are locked up in the dungeons. There, they meet a former actor who was imprisoned for impersonating Wenwu. There, they find a possibility for some future plans, as there is a magical creature which can lead them to the magical forest through an easier path, which is a little bit too dangerous though. Can they get there before the evil father does?

The defence of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings :: There is a lot of action around here, as one would expect from a movie like this. The same is nicely supported by the visuals and the special effects contribute very well. The final battle with the dragon is so much full of grandeur. There are also some nice details with the magical world and the fantasy creatures present in the village which has all the most beautiful secrets that we find around on the screen. It is the kind of mythological and magical world which we connect with the medieval model with castles and dungeons like so many of the films from Hollywood have done so far. This is the divergent one in that case, and we never really have enough of this. Well, the world surely needs to be different in each and every case, and that would provide us with the feeling of seeing a different civilization every time with its own attributes in Age of Empires and its sequels, or different magical races in Age of Wonders and its sequels. Nowadays, globalization has brought too many similarities, making landscapes looking so similar to each other.

Positives and negatives :: As this movie is releasing rather late in comparison with the others, one can be sure that there are indeed repetitions which are to be found around here, even though there is a certain flavour added which makes them feel somewhat new. Yet, a little predictability will provide some resistance and won’t go away at all. There is always something about different worlds coming together, and evil trying to get into another realm to capture it – the same has been the idea of so many wonderful video games too. The father-son battle is also a usual thing, and even though repetitive as it is, there is something divergent about it for sure. Simu Liu nicely becomes the fine protagonist that we have all wanted around here, and Awkwafina as well as Meng’er Zhang comes up with some fine support in the process. Tony Leung makes a strong villain too, and he surely has more than what meets the eye. Florian Munteanu as Razor Fist also has his moments, and so do Michelle Yeoh and Fala Chen as the fighter motherly figures.

How it finishes :: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings keeps on moving the Marvel Cinematic Universe straight forward after Infinity War and Endgame provided us with what seemed to be a grand end. There is the feeling of something more magical about this particular movie than any other in the franchise, maybe with the one exception of Doctor Strange, which was all so much of magic and sorcery. You can only enjoy the beauty created by magic around here, instead of the science that has run through Avengers all the time and begged for attention. It is always nice to see magic having the upper hand over science, which has been all about war, death and terror. After all, the Corona virus is also a product of science, and we have failed to stop it completely. The mythology of the Dark Gate and The Great Protector told in this movie also further helps in understanding the terrible nature of humanity, and how the whole world should be a better place without their ambitions and hatred that always prevails.

Release date: 3rd September 2021
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
Starring: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, Tony Leung

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Soul of the Dragon

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Uncle Dracula once owned a dragon?

Vampire Bat: Vampires don’t own dragons. The sorcerers do.

Vampire Owl: Well, with the rise of the witches, there are not many left.

Vampire Bat: At least, the necromancers live well with the zombies.

Vampire Owl: You should know that the dragons lived in the dungeons of this castle.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about a legend spread by the villagers.

Vampire Owl: Dr Frankenstein has assured me that it is true.

Vampire Bat: Well, he is one scientist who knows nothing.

Vampire Owl: You don’t know the doctor enough.

Vampire Bat: Well, I know Mr Frankenstein well enough.

[Gets a paneer biriyani and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (David Giuntoli) has a visit from Richard Dragon (Mark Dacascos), an old from a very long time ago, and Bruce is very glad to see him again, but they are attacked by some strangers with axes in their hands. It is then revealed that before he became the vigilante crime fighter known to the world as Batman, he had traveled to Nanda Parbat, a secret monastery in the Hindu Kush area of the Himalayas where he received training in martial arts. There, he was trained by the master of the arts, O-Sensei (James Hong), along with other students, and Richard was one of them. The others included Lady Shiva (Kelly Hu), Ben Turner (Michael Jai White), Jade Nguyen (Jamie Chung) and Rip Jagger (Chris Cox), who are supposed to among his best students – those who are already well-trained in the art. Bruce decides to train among them despite the doubts being present there. He had also learned to control his emotions and redirect them efficiently, along with using the darkness to his advantage.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: O-Sensei bestows upon Shiva, the responsibility of guarding a Muramasa sword called Soul Breaker, after Rip who also claims the same is defeated by her with ease. But Rip has other plans with the sword. He takes the sword, murders Jade who seems to blindly trust him with everything, and ends up opening a portal with the weapon. The area has a magical gate which is guarded by the master, and it would open this portal to world of the serpent god who is mentioned more as a demon, Naga. They had closed the gate once after a long fight against the giant serpents, but not without the sacrifices which had to be made including that of the master himself. Richard had discovered that the millionaire Jeffrey Burr (Josh Keaton) who leads a cult based on snakes named Kobra had taken control of the gate, and hopes to stop him and his allies at any cost. The strangers who attacked them were also mercenaries sent by him, and were expected to stop any progress.

And what more is to be offered here with the bat and his people on the hunt? :: They look for allies, and also hope to find and protect the sword before it is used to open the gate to the other world. For the same, they travel all the way to the Chinatown in Gotham where Shiva who is still in possession of the sword, and is controlling the world of crime out there. Batman is aligned to the opposite side of the law, but she is only happy to see a good friend again. But they are attacked by a bigger group of trained cultists, and the sword is also taken. The cult now owns a highly fortified island where they hope to open the gate using the sword and along with the same, sacrifice a number of kidnapped children. Now, they have to think differently to stop the worst from happening. They do find Ben and manage to make him a part of the team. But will they be enough to stop the evil from spreading? Are they fast enough to make the difference around here? Can Bruce Wayne contribute to all of these better as the Batman with all the equipment?

The defence of Batman: Soul of the Dragon :: There is something divergent about this particular animated movie that we see as following a different path. We do have the feeling of watching something nostalgic around here, reminding us of the animated series which came in the television, and this one surely has a lot of action along with some nice background music to go with it. You know that there is something about those times which we would wish to remember. The memories of the old kung-fu and karate movies also seem to come back to us to make an impact. It seems that there is also the chance to bring a sequel which can prove to be better than the original – a lot of action seems to be waiting to be unleashed, as we look at the final moments. With a short run-time that goes even below one and half hours, there is no drag in this particular movie as it keeps on going quick and smooth throughout its run. The antagonist of this movie serves really well as the one force of another world which seems to be near impossible to stop.

The claws of flaw :: There is not that much of a strength as in a Batman movie, whether as a detective or a superhero thing; for this one chooses a different path in comparison. It is certainly not the kind of DC movie which is expected too. The title is rather misleading as this is not really about Batman, as not just battle is shared – we just have the superhero in this movie which belongs more to the other characters. Well, Batman seems to be more like the guest who has decided to stay and own parts of the flick. The myth on the demon could have also been used in a better way. This also changes the Batman a little too much than what we know from the other movies, and that feels strange as so many things about our dark superhero seems to go some other way. When you have Batman in what feels more like a martial arts movie, this is expected, but the question still remains if it is what the fans of Gotham’s favourite vigilante would want. Well, you have supernatural forces, and Batman is also forced to go Mortal Kombat against them instead of being himself.

How it finishes :: Batman: Soul of the Dragon reminds one of the many interesting animated movies which DC has come up with in the last few years. Justice Society: World War II, Batman: The Long Halloween Part One and Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two are a few of them which made the impact earlier, and there are a lot of more of them which seems to be ready to contribute further to the world of the live-action, supplementing Aquaman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and everyone around. While Marvel doesn’t seem to have these, DC surely has managed to keep one in the animated world too. Well, we know that animated superheroes have been our first love, and any reminder of the same only helps things further. We are all waiting for the bigger movies from DC, and there is no shortage of love for superheroes. After all, there is none in real life, as the only people who are termed super in our world are the most evil among them all.

Release date: 12th January 2021
Running time: 83 minutes
Directed by: Sam Liu
Starring: David Giuntoli, Kelly Hu, Jamie Chung, Mark Dacascos, Michael Jai White, James Hong, Josh Keaton

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Venom: Carnage

Vampire Owl: Here is someone who seems to be close enough to vampirism.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that he is closer to zombies than vampires.

Vampire Owl: You are saying so just because he eats brains.

Vampire Bat: We never really evolved in that way, did we?

Vampire Owl: Well, zombies also have blood in their own way while eating brains.

Vampire Bat: It is only a little bit of blood. That won’t count.

Vampire Owl: If we were blood-starved, that would have surely counted.

Vampire Bat: We have evolved enough to go vegetarian when required.

Vampire Owl: Such a requirement is shame to us vampires though.

Vampire Bat: We have had enough control over blood-thirst for centuries now.

[Gets a paneer puffs and three glasses of pista shake].

What is the movie about? :: In an early flashback, we see that a girl is taken away from St. Estes Home for Unwanted Children to a more secure place known as the Ravencroft Institute, as she seems to have special powers related to sound. One of the boys in the children’s home seems to resist the same, but he is helpless against the decision made by the authorities. As she uses her supersound sonic scream powers to attack young police officer, he shoots her in the eye and believes that he killed her. But the girl remains alive, and she is taken to Ravencroft where her abilities are restricted with the use of advanced science and technology, while she remains angry at everyone in the absence of her one eye. Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) grows up from that boy in the children’s home to become a serial killer whom everyone would be afraid of. He had promised carnage in the first movie, and has something special in his mind as he calls for Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom (Tom Hardy) to the cell where he is imprisoned.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Many years have passed since humans explored space and other planets for new habitable worlds, and a comet covered in symbiotic lifeforms was discovered, among which all are believed to have been destroyed, the only exception being Venom who lives with Eddie in secret. Venom is still not happy about Eddie not allowing him to eat enough people and devour their brains. Detective Patrick Mulligan (Stephen Graham) allows Eddie to make a visit to Cletus as he hopes to somehow get some information about the victims of the serial killer. As Eddie speaks to the serial killer as a journalist, Venom manages to discover the area where the corpses of the victims are hidden, from the drawings in his cell, this giving the man a huge boost in the career of journalism like never before. At the same time, Eddie’s former girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) gets engaged to Dan Lewis (Reid Scott), an act which both the human and the symbiote seem to dislike.

And what more can happen as carnage also has its say in a world of chaos? :: Despite Venom’s warning, Eddie decides to accept Cletus’ invitation to visit him one last time, as he will be put to death with the bodies being found. As Cletus mocks and insults Eddie, Venom unleashes himself, and gets bitten by Cletus who tries to escape. The part of the symbiote which gets inside Cletus seems to have its effects. At the same time, back home, Eddie and Venom get into a heated argument about having the freedom to eat criminals, which leads to them attacking each other and going on their separate ways, as the latter feels insulted. As Cletus’ execution is about the begin, a red symbiote emerges out of him, and goes on to attack everyone in the prison, and a number of inmates also escape in the process. This new symbiote known as Carnage agrees to help Cletus in breaking his love out of the institute in exchange for his help in eliminating the original symbiote, Venom from which he was born, thus making him all-powerful in the process. Can the now separate Venom and Eddie unite to stop them?

The defence of Venom: Let there Be Carnage :: A fine performance from Tom Hardy enhances the movie well, and Michelle Williams contributes nicely. Woody Harrelson also becomes a strong villain, thus elevating the level of the film. Stephen Graham also plays a fine detective in between, and might have scope for more in a possible sequel. The special effects are splendid, and it has to be looked at by some dumb mass masala movies around here which claim to have Hollywood-like effects, but has nothing in comparison. The action is very much effective, and two symbiotes fighting each other is indeed a fine sight to behold. The ending does leave scope for a sequel with Venom joining Spider-Man and team sooner or later. With its shorter run-time, this one never goes on the drag as the anti-hero turning superhero had lots of opportunities to stretch this one – keeping the romance to minimum was indeed a boon. The shots of the city are nicely done, and the emergence and transformations of alien symbiotes remain cool at all times. The quality maintained here makes sure that the whole thing will always remain better than Deadpool.

The claws of flaw :: Venom: Let there Be Carnage had opportunities to make it more interesting and at a bigger level with the grandeur on the screen. There are moments when the film does feel rather repetitive, a nature which could have been avoided as we have an alien at the centre of everything. Just like the first film, this one also has a very much a similar villain, another thing of symbiotic and alien nature, even though a better antagonist stays inside it. The movie could have used its humour in a better way, as the creature which decided to stay could have contributed a lot to comedy. The serial killer could have also had more role to play as himself by taking over the alien creature. After the first few minutes, it does take some time to get to the interesting parts, and it also lacks the scares which could have come up with the dangerous aliens. The predictable elements could have been avoided by adding a few twists here and there, or having some deviations at certain areas – after all, we have had so much of similar superhuman stuff in the past.

How it finishes :: Venom: Let there Be Carnage continues the action from the first movie, and even makes it better. While watching the original, one had a certain amount of doubt if this could be made better, but the second movie here has made it possible. The idea of Venom has managed to level up with its symbiotic relationship with the protagonist. With the Infinity War and Endgame finishing off the Avengers for good, we have been in need of more superheroes of quality, and this one nicely fills in that gap, coming years after the release of the first movie. There are the strong action sequences and the emerging fight against a strong villain which will keep us interested at all times. It is always to see the one person whom we have watched only as a villain in those early 2000s Spidey movies coming back to make an impact while saving the world. This one only makes us hope for more sequels as well as more entries in the franchise in relation to this.

Release date: 1st October 2021 (Theatre); 1st March 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Andy Serkis
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Woody Harrelson, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, Peggy Lu, Sian Webber

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Red Notice

Vampire Owl: I am also sending a bloody notice.

Vampire Bat: A red notice doesn’t really mean that it is bloody.

Vampire Owl: A thing of red colour can always have blood added to it.

Vampire Bat: It is supposed to be an international alert circulated by Interpol.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about any notice, which is red in colour.

Vampire Bat: It is still with information about crimes, criminals and threats.

Vampire Owl: The vampire blood moon event also has a red notice.

Vampire Bat: It is not a red notice. It is pasted with red colour directed on it.

Vampire Owl: That still makes it a notice in red.

Vampire Bat: Now, you are clearly talking like a zombie without brain.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: The tale of the Roman general Mark Antony, who fell in love with the enchanting Egyptian queen, Cleopatra is well known, as the two had taken their own lives instead of being defeated and captured, thus forced to live without each other and their world. gifts He had gifted Cleopatra three jeweled eggs as a wedding gift symbolizing their love. The eggs are lost until two are found by a farmer near Cairo in 1907, but there is still no information about the last egg. In the present, Special Agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson), is working as a criminal profiler for the FBI. He is assigned to help Interpol agent Urvashi Das (Ritu Arya) in investigating the possible theft of one of the eggs at Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome. The head of the security in the museum feels that the concern is useless, as the security there is too heavy for anyone to make an impact. But John proves the egg there is not real, and it has been forged. The security seals all doors, but Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) manages to get out of the room.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Despite all the chasing which follows, Nolan is finally captured by John in Bali, with clues from another art thief. But soon, it turns out that the other thief had other plans – the original egg has been replaced once again, and has John presented as the one who is behind all of these, with an eight million transferred to his account, and disguising as FBI office. Urvashi who considers herself to be too smart, is easily fooled by this, and has him taken to the Russian prison where Nolan was already imprisoned. In the prison, the other art thief Sarah Black, known to most people as The Bishop (Gal Gadot) meets them, and her offer to steal the second egg and find the third egg is declined by Nolan. The two becomes determined to get to the second egg before she does, and plans an escape, which is successful, more due to luck than anything else. When the two of them reach the location of the second egg, which is the home of an arms dealer, they also find Sarah there. Now how will the race to the eggs of Cleopatra go, and who will have the final laugh?

The defence of Red Notice :: If looked close, Red Notice is the kind of fun-packed entertainer that you watch on the big screen without thinking much about it. The film does maintain the whole thing where it should be, and mostly manages not to overdo the same. It focuses on the major things, and doesn’t make things complicated at any point, making sure that anyone can watch this film at any point of time, without the stress, and without having to think too much. The straight-forward action remains strong at all times. You get to see some big fights on many occasions, and the Gal Gadot action sequences are among the best of them. Everyone seems to get an equal dose of action scenes to perform too. The heist scene is also interesting, even though there could have been more of similar moments. The visuals of different places at different parts of the world are also stunning. We get to see different cities of different countries with all the charm that they have, and the visual beauty has been maintained until the very last scene of the movie.

The claws of flaw :: Red Notice is surely not a movie which tries hard enough to go out of the usual, and nothing innovative or special can be seen here. We have the usual action going on as the main character go on the heist. The major characters could have also been established better – maybe except for the Ryan Reynolds’ character, which seems to be there for one purpose, and the backstory is also somewhat rightly told. It could have also had more heist sequences with some smarter moments added to it, as well as more outdoor fighting sequences to get better pictures of the cities where the protagonist go. The humour is only somewhat working, and it is unlike the usual works featuring the main characters. It seems that Hollywood is also somewhat running out of ideas as far as innovation is concerned, and holding itself very high over the highly talentless and brainless list in Bollywood is not really an achievement. There is surely the need to try harder, get rid of the silly jokes and fights, to keep the good ones, and add better creative imagination.

The performers of the soul :: Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. The Rock gets things going strong and entertaining as usual. There is almost no movie where you don’t expect him to do what he has been doing the best in style – we remember what he has been doing with WWE too, and he never lags with entertaining the viewers. Whether it is Jumanji, Hercules, Journey to the Mysterious Island, Central Intelligence, Hobbs and Shaw or the whole of the later Fast and Furious franchise, we know what he is capable of, and how well he has been doing the same. There is no doubt about him achieving the same here too. Yet, one has the feeling that this had to be more focused on him rather than dividing this between all of them. Ryan Reynolds do a similar thing like he has been doing in Deadpool and its sequel – even though the humour is not that dark here, there is nothing that divergent in this character either, which he seems to have no problem playing. Gal Gadot is once again the wonder woman here, and she has a spear in one battle here too. She does a great job in a character which required more of a backstory. Then there is Ritu Arya who plays the cop who always losses, but she does that really well.

How it finishes :: The fact that Red Notice works with its entertainment is something to be happy about, but at the same time, one has to remember that Hollywood cannot go on with movies like these, without using more cerebral activity with innovative ideas. The regional movie industries are thinking more these days, and Red Notice is not of that much power to be standing tall against some original ideas which are not short of entertainment either. When you are looking for this kind of fun which takes over everything else, this is the movie for you – it doesn’t come up with the overdose of the same at any point, and hesitates to go the completely mindless Bollywood way. Red Notice is the kind of movie which will keep you interested and engaged, even without having that much of a new story to provide. You can watch it, be entertained, and then leave it behind. After all, you know that whenever the Rock is around, you cannot be disappointed – ask the WWE fans, and they will tell you the rest, whether your favourite wrestler is the Undertaker, Randy Orton, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, or anyone around.

Release date: 5th November 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds, Ritu Arya, Chris Diamantopoulos, Ivan Mbakop, Vincenzo Amato, Rafael Petardi, Daniel Bernhardt

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Don’t Breathe 2

Vampire Owl: Do you remember when was the last time we had gone on a trip that had visions that made us forget to breathe?

Vampire Bat: That was to the Lake of Blood, a long time ago.

Vampire Owl: It is actually called the Lake of Death.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but it has so much of blood, and we cannot avoid that name.

Vampire Owl: The trips have been banned for some time.

Vampire Bat: A trip to Munnar always makes things better.

Vampire Owl: You cannot always trust the highlands.

Vampire Bat: What about some lakeside time at Kumbalanghi?

Vampire Owl: Well, the only trip we might be getting is with corona virus.

Vampire Bat: That is more of a visit and not a trip.

[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Eight long years have passed after the incidents of the first film, and things have changed now. Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) the blind Navy SEAL veteran has recovered from his injuries, and now lives with his daughter Phoenix (Madelyn Grace) and a ferocious dog to take care of them and the property. He tells Phoenix that her mother had died in a terrible fire in their old house, after which he has been taking care of her. He keeps training her in the name of surviving. His only contact in the society is Hernandez (Stephanie Arcila), a former US Army Ranger and a good friend of Norman. She is the one who always takes Phoenix outside for some fun. It is the same time when a lot of news about abductions by organ trafficking gangs among others are coming up, and Norman feels that it is not safe at all. She finds Raylan (Brendan Sexton III) in the washroom, but he is scared away by the dog. But it seems that he doesn’t stop following her. Hernandez feels that the girl should be out more, and that Norman should stop thinking about his past wars and be nicer to people.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Hernandez feels that the man whom he had met earlier was just a weird man, and there is no shortage of such people in the area. But she comes up against the same person much later on the road, and feels that there is more to him than what meets the eye. Soon, she is killed while on the way back home, by the same people. Norman is against her going to school, choosing homeschooling over her meeting more people outside. Soon, a group of led by Raylan reaches their home, and after killing the dog, kidnaps the girl. He tells her that it is not him that she needs to be scare of, but the man next to her. He adds that he is her real father, and that the blind man took her home to replace his own dead daughter. She resists, but is choloroformed, while Norman is left to die after they set fire to the house. He escapes with the help of the dog which the intruders had brought with them. Even though Raylan was looking for his daughter, he does have another motive. What would that be?

The defence of Don’t Breathe 2 :: There are some fine action sequences with interesting use of darkness, as everything is set in two different buildings. The fight scenes have enough to stay in our minds, even though not as much as the first film. Some of the memorable scenes include the blind man’s use of the environment to survive and continue to combat against all odds – it is a much more difficult task for him in comparison to the first movie. The environment has been well-created, and you do feel that presence of evil at all times. Almost everyone in the film is evil, and it is a reminder of inherent human evil itself – you know that people need to be dead to be not evil anymore, as we don’t usually see good people around. The small number of people whom we meet here are reflections of the same evil, with some of them being a little evil, others more evil, and the rest being completely evil. The other characters are not present in the movie, and the girl remains the only hope for a deviation along with the children with whom she play at times.

The claws of flaw :: It is clear that this movie doesn’t maintain the quality of the first film, and it does struggle to live up to the novel idea and quality that it had maintained. The idea of transforming the blind man into saviour might not be interesting for everyone, and he also seems to do a little too much for a man for his situation. He doesn’t seem to have much of a way forward around, as far as the character is concerned – there is no strong motive to support a further character development, with material seemingly less in comparison to the earlier movie. The first film served better as a horror film focusing on survival, but this one moves too much away from that genre which served so well. With a grand change in the character, this is something which struggles to take control of the deviation well enough – maybe it requires another sequel to deal with that, but that would make one wonder what is to be done next. You know that there are better possibilities with horror characters like this one, but the studio seems to think in a different way so as to make the person useful as a protagonist instead.

The performers of the soul :: It is once again the performance of Stephen Lang as the blind man which keeps the movie going – he does seem to play a more tired person here though, as there seems to be a struggle here which is more than the first movie. With a drastic change coming upon the nature of the character, the man does take it with him well enough, even when that often leads to a struggle. He excels in the action scenes, and is good enough to take it to the next level, rising about the others who are part of the fights. Brendan Sexton III makes a pretty good antagonist, even though the idea focuses more on action rather than anything else. Madelyn Grace plays the child well, while Stephanie Arcila’s short presence is memorable enough. Christian Zagia plays a thug with a conscience pretty well. Even then, it is Fiona O’Shaughnessy who seems to be more evil than any other, as she is one mother whom the sons and daughters won’t appreciate for selflessness – there seems to be a certain amount of witch-likeness in her.

How it finishes :: The fans of the first movie will find it difficult to miss this movie, even though it is weaker in comparison the earlier flick. There is no real horror or the surprise element, but the film scores in action. An old and blind man with a special set of skills is someone of interest as he looks forward to save his daughter, and he is also an iconic character. The memories of the earlier movie also keeps us interested well enough. Among the horror movie sequels, this is the one which we have waited for, more than the other usual ones like The Conjuring, Annabelle, Insidious, Sinister etc. After all, Don’t Breathe had the skills to go divergent, and this one takes the path set by that particular movie. It means that you can be assured that this movie has a nice enough background to build on, and cannot go too wrong with this character at the core. Even though it didn’t release here in the theatres at that times, the movie is now available on Netflix, which is a fine relief for us, as we have been waiting for so long.

Release date: 18th December 2021 (Netflix); 13th August 2021 (USA)
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Rodo Sayagues
Starring: Stephen Lang, Madelyn Grace, Brendan Sexton III, Bobby Schofield, Adam Young, Stephanie Arcilla, Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Steffan Rhodri, Diaana Babnicova, Christian Zagia, Rocci Williams

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jungle Cruise

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time we went for a cruise in the river?

Vampire Bat: Are you talking about the journey through the River of Blood?

Vampire Owl: No, that was only a temporary river caused by the war with the werewolves.

Vampire Bat: The river still stands strong with the result of the new battles.

Vampire Owl: The blood in there is not enough even for Uncle Dracula on an eventful night.

Vampire Bat: Still, it is a river with blood.

Vampire Owl: There are other rivers which hold interesting red liquids.

Vampire Bat: You do think about a water world much different.

Vampire Owl: Yes, you have to respect the tradition of the water world.

Vampire Bat: We respect just the tradition of the blood around here.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: In the sixteenth century, a group of Spanish conquistadors had searched the interior jungles of South America for something known as the tears of the moon, which came from a lesser known tree. It was a very long search which went on for so many years that people actually got too tired about it. The flowers of this tree is supposed to cure a good number of illnesses and heal injuries, while even believed to be lifting curses according to the locals. After many people die in search of the special tree’s flowers, the tribal people help a few of them with the unexpected medicine brought out of the flower. When the conquistadors force them to reveal the location of the tree and then burns the village, the chief of the tribe curses them before dying, and all of them are forced to live there forever – near the Amazon river, and under the power of the jungle which watches them at all times. This might not be the best known of the legends surrounding Latin America, but in 1916, seems to be the one which has the attention of a little too many people.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Dr Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and MacGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall) are searching for the same thing more than anyone else. MacGregor presents his sister Lily’s paper at the Royal Society in London, which the audience feels is rather dumb. But at the same time, Lily is searching for an artifact which might be the key to finding the tree. She hopes that the flowers of the tree can actually save millions of people all around the world. She finds the artifact within the society house, while MacGregor had created the diversion. She also manages to escape the area, but not without gaining a lot of attention. While the scientists continue to consider it as a ridiculous myth, Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) of Prussia is very much determined to find the tree for the Germans. He has also done a lot of research related to it, and spent a lot of money. As the youngest son of the emperor, he is determined to get what he wants, at any costs, and even has a lot of troops, ships and even a submarine ready for him.

And what is to be added to the adventures around here? :: The scene shifts to Brazil – Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) is someone who has been offering cheap jungle cruises to people, and he has also added some fake theatrical danger events to make things look more alive and interesting. When Lily asks, Frank is hesitant at first, but agrees later, as he is desperately in need of money and had also looked for the flowers by himself a long time ago, before getting stuck there. After getting back his boat’s engine from the man who had lent him money, the three start the journey together, after evading the German submarines which come at them. But it is only the first problem that they have, as more troubles await them. There are the tribal people that await in the jungles as well as the dangerous animals. Along with the same, there are also those Spanish conquistadors who are caught in the forests to live forever in a terrible state. The Germans would also make a grand return. Are these people ready to face all the troubles that await in the path?

The defence of Jungle Cruise :: This movie once again brings a world which is full of adventure, and we also have the environment to be really good and suitable for the situations shown here. There is one world belonging to the jungle and river, as well as another one which goes further as we get close to the tree that serves as the destination. This world is that kind of place which we would really wish to visit for the natural beauty – the green world which is provided here only gets better as the movie progresses further. The journey is more or less taking us there to travel through the river and the mysteries that lies close to it, related to a curse. There is also some fine humour to add to it, and we don’t feel that we ever come short of the same. There is no better guarantee for entertainment than this movie, and it is basically a safe path for fun, suitable for all ages, and a perfect one for watching with family. We also have that memories of playing Tomb Raider and other related games with artifacts in the forests coming back to us.

Positives and negatives :: Whether it is Jumanji, Hobbs & Shaw or the rest of the Fast and the Furious series, The Rock a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson is the one actor whom we look forward to bring all the entertainment. The action and the humour sticks perfectly to him this time too, as the adventure only gets sharper for his character. He remains the muscle of the film, as he has been with so many other movies too. Whether in Edge of Tomorrow or A Quiet Place, Emily Blunt has the skill for some serious adventure, even though this one surely adds a certain funny side to it. She becomes the Tomb Raider of this particular movie, and a character like this never losses the charm. Edgar Ramirez also comes in nicely as one antagonist of the past. Jack Whitehall is more or less about the funny side. This is the kind of movie which one would love to watch in 3D, as there are so many elements which qualifies in making things better with visuals. Yet, the movie could have gone for a smarter progress with its myth, and it could have had more dangers being shown as part of the world. Some of the dialogues also seem to have come unnecessarily.

How it finishes :: Jungle Cruise stays close to its strengths and makes this one a very entertaining ride. The movie does know where it can stand without troubles. It doesn’t really try to move away from the safe zone in working with the content. It stays simple, and with the same, would attract all the audience with ease. This one is also the classic family friendly journey to which Dwayne Johnson is not a stranger – Journey to the Mysterious Island had provided something similar quite some time ago, as we remember such mysteries and legends getting the due. Well, you can always trust the Rock with that. The transportation to this particular world is done in a way that no kind of audience is left behind. It is the kind of world which can surely have an attraction in a theme park with its name. As we have not travelled that much in the last few years in the name of Corona virus and its restrictions, we are all going to have this virtual one.

Release date: 30th July 2021
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sweet Girl

Vampire Owl: I remember having met a sweet witch.

Vampire Bat: I do not remember any witch being sweet at all.

Vampire Owl: He had some of the sweetest magic potions.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t buy potions without approval of Vampire Senate.

Vampire Owl: I have paid all the taxes along with the price.

Vampire Bat: You will still have to pay the import duty.

Vampire Owl: But we belong to the same realm.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but not the same territory.

Vampire Owl: Now, we are having taxes like humans?

Vampire Bat: It is still very much less in comparison to some of the nations in the world of evil humans.

[Gets a raspberry cake and three cups of orange tea].

What is the movie about? :: Ray Cooper (Jason Momoa) jumps off the top of a building while being chased by the police, and it is followed by a flashback. His wife Amanda Cooper (Adria Arjona) gets really ill with a rare form of cancer. The survival expert, Ray hopes that he can do all that is possible to save her. But it is soon revealed that the life-saving drug called Infirmam was taken off the market due to Bio Prime CEO Simon Keeley (Justin Bartha) paying the manufacturers to delay the production. This also means that there was going to be an indefinite delay, and Amanda doesn’t have that much time. He watches congress woman Diana Morgan (Amy Brenneman) going through a live devate with Simon, and there he seems to be talking about much their company is dedicated to saving lives at less cost, and on how much they have sacrificed in the form of money and time. He makes a call to the live debate, and as Simon doesn’t seem to care that much about bringing the drug back to the market, Ray threatens to kill him if his wife dies because of this negligence.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon enough, Amanda dies, and Ray is left with his daughter Rachel Cooper (Isabela Merced) to go on with the pain and grief. A few months later, Ray gets a call from a journalist Martin Bennett (Nelson Franklin) who claims that he possesses evidence related to the unethical practices and criminal activities on the side of Bio Prime. They meet on a moving train, but a hitman Amo Santos (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) attacks them, killing the journalist and stabbing Ray. Rachel who had followed them also gets knocked out in the process. Even though further investigations reveal nothing about what had happened with Bio Prime or in the train, and with no information about the hitman who attacked them, Ray still continues to track Simon and his company. He manages to sneak into a charity programme and interrogate Simon, only to be attached by the bodyguards whom he manages to kill along with his gaurds. The only other responsible name that he gets is that of the chairman of the same company, Vinod Shah (Raza Jaffrey). FBI Agent Sarah Meeker (Lex Scott Davis) is in charge of the case.

And how far can this go as we keep moving forward? :: Ray and Rachel go on a long ride through less taken roads, trying to get away before the police officers or the assassins get to them. Rachel tries calling Sarah, hoping that she will look into Bio Prime before her father comes up with something terrible again. Sarah is able to get the trust of Rachel like a mother figure. Meanwhile, they are attacked by mercenaries who seems to have found them much to their surprise. Ray fights them and after a small fight, ends up killing them too. At the same time, the same hitman who had attacked them on the train is after them too. Their only option here seems to be to find Vinod and hope that it ends with them. But Santos has other ideas about it, and Vinod knowing anything more than what Simon knew seems not possible at all. How far does all these secrets go? Who might be the last link behind all of these? Will the father and daughter duo survive against what they seem to be completely incapable of handling? Is there a thing like hope for them?

The defence of Sweet Girl :: Jason Momoa is here doing what he does the best, without the superpowers of Aquaman and outside the team of Justice League. Isabela Merced has a point as the daughter figure. She plays a character who is more matured than anyone else of her age, and has her own ideology. This is also one strong character that she can happy that she played. The twist also works like a dream for her, and she rises above everyone else with ease here. She does remind one of Chloe Grace Moretz, like someone who could rise above the senior stars when provided with an opportunity. Then there is Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as the hitman and Amy Brenneman as the congress woman who are all doing what they do the best. The action sequences are all good, and both the father and daughter do their job well. The twist basically comes a shock, even though there were some red herrings here and there – that should work for most people. The movie, just like it begins well, ends without overdoing it, but being mostly satisfactory.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have been quicker here, as there is a lot action to be done. The twist in question here doesn’t seem to be that effective for everyone, as the willing suspension of disbelief might have its problems with how the action sequences have been going on here. It does take a little too much time to get to the twist, which should have been revealed earlier for the audience to adjust to the whole new situation it had created. The loopholes are surely there, especially in the second half of the movie. The movie does seem to be confused about how to respect the genre, and the world it had built earlier. The feeling of half-bakedness does bring some trouble. There was the chance to come up with better dialogues and better emotional moments too – the emotions are there, but with the twist, some emotions feel as if they didn’t exist at all. With that particular twist, it also feels that some of the length of this movie was for no reason, as a number of things didn’t happen as it was shown.

How it finishes :: Sweet Girl is more of less the movie that can go in the path of Hitman, Transporter, John Wick, Mechanic, Accountant, Equalizer, Kate and others while having its main lead going through the impossible to reach the other end. It would require a sequel for that, as it had that twist which changed things a little too much. There will be opinions against this one for sure, as the twist would take away something which the fans would have wanted in the climax, but the film did require something divergent to set a path different from the usual movies dealing with this kind of thing – you can’t just complain for taking the risk and bringing more to ponder about. With lots of action around, a few things can be forgotten, and others can be appreciated – what is to loved and hated might still be different for different types of people. I would be asking people to watch this one without looking at the spoilers and come with your opinion. We are never really less in need of action thriller with a huge mission in hand, right?

Release date: 20th August 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Brian Andrew Mendoza
Starring: Jason Momoa, Isabela Merced, Adria Arjona, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Amy Brenneman, Raza Jaffrey, Justin Bartha, Lex Scott Davis, Michael Raymond-James

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thallumaala

Vampire Owl: I heard that this movie is all about fights.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the title does signify the same.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that there could be more fights in our realm too?

Vampire Bat: We don’t have such small fights. We have only wars.

Vampire Owl: Maybe the wars could be reduced to smaller fights.

Vampire Bat: The smaller fights are not of relevance.

Vampire Owl: They can help stop the bigger wars.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that zombies and werewolves won’t agree to that.

Vampire Owl: Well, Uncle Dracula might agree.

Vampire Bat: For that, he requires a champion. The protagonist of this movie could serve as one in an undead state.

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

What is the movie about? :: There is a fight between Manavaalan Wazim (Tovino Thomas) and SI Reji Mathew (Shine Tom Chacko), and it is a one on one battle while their friends look on. The reason for this fight goes back by a few years, and there is a score to settle. A long time ago, Wazim was someone who usually got into fights, and after the pandemonium was over, he made friends with those who fought with him – the fights develop into a friends ciricle which includes him along with Jamshi (Lukman Avaran), Sathaar (Swathi Das Prabhu), Vikas (Adhri Joe) and Rajesh (Austin Dan). At the same time, he had also fallen in love with Fathima Beevi (Kalyani Priyadarshan), a famous Instagram and Youtube sensation based in UAE, even though she has her roots in Kerala. Despite her early doubts, she soon becomes assured that he could be the one for her, and manages to convince her parents to let her marry the man, even though none of her relatives have a good opinion about her – some of them even think that he is a useless young man who is of no good to the society.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Wazim’s parents (Johny Antony and Neena Kurup) had already ceased having good opinions about him. They want him to go and do some job in Dubai rather than wander around Ponnani town and pick up fights. After starting a fight with Siyad (Noushad Ali), and after they burn down Wazim’s father’s theatre, he is forcibly sent to the Middle East. But when he comes back, he starts another fight, this time with the group led by Reji – it lands them in the hospital, but hopes for revenge. Reji who wants to make up with them is not accepted with them, as everyone other than him and Wazim seems to be upset whenever the other group is seen around. Kalapurakkal David (Binu Pappu) who was part of Reji’s gang had warned against the two groups seeing each other again, but the situation seems to be in favour of both teams fighting each other again. At the same time, there is also a pending fight with Omega Babu (Chemban Vinod Jose) and Jamshi is depressed about it as he often remembers being beaten up by him. So, can Wazim fight these battles along with being able to marry Fathima?

The defence of Thallumaala :: This is the one movie which you might want to watch if there is the need for seeing a lot of fighting on the big screen. The movie also remains colourful throughout its run, and the visuals are really good. The humour works well during most of the time, and they have really added some fine doses of comedy in between to elevate the level of the film. There is the reminder of masculine ego which is hurt, as it was in Maheshinte Prathikaaram, where two women do talk about the madness of the major male characters who decide to go on an unnecessary fight. The audience will keep getting fights over fights, and in the end, they will have the feeling of having watched a big adventure with fists and legs as the main character never stop thinking about fights even if they cease to believe in love and the other common things in a movie. Some of the songs remain very notable, especially for the different kind of treatment. There are those dance moves which were already seen in the released songs. The world becomes different with this movie, and there is no need to have any outside interference related to this.

The claws of flaw :: Thallumaala‘s trailer had already given the feeling that this was going to be about fights, but it takes a lot of steps towards meaningless fights starting out of nowhere. The trailer itself was indeed confusing up to an extent. The first half takes some time get to be interesting, and most of the engaging moments can be seen as happening in the second half. The romantic side is rather strange around here, as there seems to be no real reason for the incidents to happen and turn the hero and heroine to marriage, especially for the lady who is very rich and remains an Instagram sensation who is adored by so many people all around the world. The story is not that strong, with most of the incidents in the film having not much of a meaning. The show of the sequence of events in also everywhere, and we don’t see anything occurring straight enough. In the first half, the tale keeps moving through different timelines as if they have a time machine – everything is basically everywhere to keep the audience confused. There were many things which could be added and also removed around here as there is struggle to be overcome.

The performers of the soul :: It is indeed great to see Tovino Thomas in a different avatar around here. His roles in Vaashi, Naaradan, Minnal Murali, Kaanekkaane, Kilometers and Kilometers and Forensic were all different, as he played superhero, lawyer, journalist, forensic expert and many others in a short period of time, and he has done the same with some fine skills. This role will be something to remember for him, as he also seems to get younger with this one, as this reckless youth is also of variety. Shine Tom Chacko indeed shines in this work, and he seems to perfectly suit the character. It would seem like the right thing to have him Soubin Shahir who dropped out of the film, as a character like this one requires Shine. Kalyani Priyadarshan, even though becomes the leading actress, has much less to do for the progress of the tale, and in between the fights which are supposed to happen at all times, would be happening with or without her presence in Kerala. Among the friends, it is Lukman Avaran who stands out, as he seem to blend in here like no other. In the other gang, Binu Pappu remains notable – in both gangs, all of them are indeed of relevance. Johny Antony’s father role is lovable, and Shafi Kollam of Star Magic fame gets a fine role to perform. Chemban Vinod Jose is there but with not much to do.

How it finishes :: Among the releases set around Independence Day and a week beyond, this particular movie seems to have the advantage over the others. It cannot be considered as the better film among these choices, but is surely the one flick that seems to attract the young audience to the theatres more than any other. The film makes us wonder if the only thing that the new generation does is to fight, and whether everything is solved by fighting with each other, a disappointing trend for a movie which has Mahatma Gandhi as the father of the nation, and after seventy five years post getting independence. Yet, there is the assurance of entertainment, and the funny side often makes sure that the fighting does not feel too cruel around here. It is to be noted that Shine Tom Chacko brings this movie back to life so well, and we end up wanting his character to win in the end. Well, this variety for sure, and it is not in the story, but in what surrounds it, as we are introduced to the one real fight movie in the Malayalam film industry. It is also realistic if we consider the number of random fights which have broken out in the state for no reason, and adorn the news.

Release date: 12th August 2022
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Khalid Rahman
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Shine Tom Chacko, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Chemban Vinod Jose, Lukman Avaran, Binu Pappu, Johny Antony, Neena Kurup, Gokulan, Swathi Das Prabhu, Adhri Joe, Austin Dan, Assim Jamal, Shafi Kollam, VP Khalid, Noushad Ali, Bhanumathi Payyannur, Ann Salim, Mashar Hamsa, James Elia, Unni Raja, Mohammed Eravattoor, Anand Bal, Satheesh Kumar, Balan Parakkal, Babu Annur, Nasar Karutheni, Salim Kumar (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Heaven

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Uncle Dracula is going to heaven?

Vampire Bat: I am sure that vampires have a different afterlife.

Vampire Owl: You mean beyond heaven and hell?

Vampire Bat: Somewhere in between, to be exact.

Vampire Owl: Are you talking about the purgatory?

Vampire Bat: I wouldn’t know before death, but there would surely be blood.

Vampire Owl: Well, as long as there is blood, I am okay with it.

Vampire Bat: You don’t really take the blood substitute anymore?

Vampire Owl: Until Doctor Frankenstein invents the perfect substitute, I won’t.

Vampire Bat: Then, be assured that it will a long wait, because that pseudo-doctor and scientist with fake degree is involved.

[Gets a paneer puffs and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: A group of NCC cadets discover a dead body in the forest area where they were camping for the holidays from their school. The first police officer to the scene is Bijoy Kuruvilla (Sudev Nair), and the dead person is identified to be Fabian John (Deepak Parambol), with the help of the forensic experts who are led by Narayana Swami (Joy Mathew). According to the descriptions from the witnesses and circumstancial evidences, the police discover the murderer to be none other than Peter Kurishingal (Suraj Venjaramoodu), another police officer. Then, the movie gets a flashback when Peter is in charge of a police station in a village. He had only recently lost his wife, and has a number of cases for investigation, which he takes very seriously so that he can use them to forget the grief of loss. His mother Mariyam Kurisingal (Vinaya Prasad) takes care of his only son, as he remains mostly busy as a strict police officer. But things get worse as he comes up against a case which would prove to be personal for him, as a family is murdered, and along with them, he also find his son’s dead body, much to his shock.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Peter’s subordinate Sukumara Pillai (Alencier Ley Lopez) is posted in the case with the new officer in charge of the investigation, Inspector Kishore (Padmaraj Ratheesh) who seems to be solving the case rather quickly, and a man named Stephen (Jaffar Idukki) confesses to have committed the crime with an immigrant labourer from West Bengal, as part of an attempted robbery. Peter has his doubts, but as one of the victims is his son, his superior officer Revathi Subramaniam (Abhija Sivakala) declines him an opportunity to be part of the investigation team, but lets him have a look at it as part of a parallel investigation for which he would be solely responsible. Soon, he discovers that the man who is accused of murder, Stephen actually had nothing to do with it. This home named Heaven, where the murders took place, seem to have more than one secrets to be discovered. His discoveries soon lead to him taking over the case after joining back on duty. But it remains to be seen if he will like what he would discover.

The defence of Heaven :: Here is one more addition to the smart thrillers of our times with some fine red herrings. The investigation shown in the movie feels solid, and so does the emotional side. The movie achieves its motives without exaggerating anything at any moment. There are twists till the end of the movie, and we see that it has nicely solved the puzzles to come strong in the end with enough strength. The realistic mode is maintained while bringing up the thrills and twists, and it surely feels like something which could happen during these days when different crimes are part of the news more than ever. Even the police procedures seem to be much accurate, and it doesn’t seem to venture into those areas where the smartness of the audience is questioned; maybe it is because the film chooses to have no such superstars who have so many fans wishing for their favourite actor to destroy evil like a fallen angel. Well, this movie is also something with fallen angels, but it knows how to keep it realistic. This is the kind of film that can teach valuable lessons for Bollywood which has its non-performers coming out of nepotism, not able to emote.

The positives and negatives :: The visuals are really good, and the camera is particularly good in capturing the emotions of Suraj Venjaramoodu, with all the grief which is part of the character’s life. The moments after the son’s death is as emotional as it can get, and it is only matched by the determination in his face that comes up later. There are the inner and outer battle shown here are with their own relevance. Heaven does not hesitate in going through the emotional path of the police officer and his investigation, just like it was seen in the movie Memories which had that abiding sadness in it which would return to haunt the viewer. The movie could have actually focused on the darker side even more. The return to the initial moments come rather too late, and due to the same, people might have actually forgotten the events which had happened earlier. The movie does slow down after the deaths and following emotional troubles, and it could have used a serial killer instead of the usual vengeance ideas being repeated. The music doesn’t feel as that great in comparison to some of the other thrillers which dealt with similar themes.

The performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu handles the regretful cop role really well, and it reminds us of his earlier movie Pathaam Valavu, where he had also lost his child. The helpless and lack of hope can be seen on one side, while there is smartness on the other. He is the police officer and father to remember. The emotional struggle which was best displayed in Kaanekkaane, and added with mass in Jana Gana Mana and Driving License works really well here too, as he is indeed one of the best actors to go through a strong emotional side. The biggest support to him is provided by Alencier Ley Lopez who makes a fine cop in a supporting role; I had felt that John Luther could have really used him as a police officer too. The actors like Sudheesh and Jaffer Idukki add more of an emotional side to the film with their shorter presence. Vinaya Prasad also has the emotional grandmother role. Padmaraj Ratheesh and Sudev Nair also makes some fine police officers. Abhija Sivakala as the superior police officer is also solid. Deepak Parambol’s as well Nimisha Sajayan’s smaller roles are effective too. The collection of performers here makes sure that there is something interesting about all of them.

How it finishes :: Heaven gets into the list of interesting thrillers including the recently released Twenty One Grams and Solamante Theneechakal, as well as many others which came earlier. After all, the thrillers of this world mean more than just Drishyam. The movie working a lot better than the heavily hyped movies like CBI 5: The Brain is a reminder that we have some new names who can do the same thing better. Well, this is the kind of film which can never work for Bollywood as the sons and daughters of superstars would not agree to act in movies which cannot progress without throwing hundreds of villains around. Movies like this should open their eyes to the idea that there is the need for more thinking differently, or the drought in Bollywood of blockbusters is going to continue forever. Bollywood’s fight with its own incompetence might be forever, but during those times, Malayalam movie industry, just like the other South Indian film industries, is coming up with some fine works of quality which are to be remembered.

Release date: 19th August 2022 (Hotstar); 17th June 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Unni Govindraj
Starring: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Sudev Nair, Sminu Sijo, Sudheesh, Joy Mathew, Alencier Ley Lopez, Jaffer Idukki, Vinaya Prasad, Abhija Sivakala, Deepak Parambol

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Malayankunju

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the floods and landslides of the last few years?

Vampire Bat: Yes, 2018 floods was too terrifying for vampires too.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that this movie will be a Fahadh Faasil show.

Vampire Bat: You mean, more focused on him than the big works like Joji and Malik.

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why it should be any different.

Vampire Bat: There can always be balanced acts.

Vampire Owl: The focus always shifts to Fahadh Faasil at some point of time.

Vampire Bat: We remember the much earlier Fahadh Faasil movie which was focused on high ranges too.

Vampire Owl: Maheshinte Prathikaaram was one of its kind.

Vampire Bat: Well, so was Kumbalangi Nights which deserved better accolades than what it had received then. Still my favourite movies of him would still be the earlier ones in the form of Amen and Diamond Necklace.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three scoops of blackcurrant ice cream].

What is the movie about? :: Anil Kumar aka Anikuttan (Fahadh Faasil) is an expert electrician who serves the locals of the high ranges of Kerala. He is the one whom almost everyone depends on, whether it is about laptops and mobiles or related to general household items like televisions, refrigerators and washing machines, with any possible doubts being cleared using Youtube. Sumesh (Deepak Parambol) is his best friend, and helps him with obtaining the electrical equipments required for repair, as they live closer to the forest area. His father Radhakrishnan (Jaffar Idukki) had committed suicide a long time ago, and he had been unhappy about it for a long time, leading him to becoming frequently angry towards others and even resulted in him acting strangely for most of time. His mother Shanthamma (Jaya S Kurup) is particularly unhappy about how he has been living his life – as the child next door cries all the time, he feels disturbed and not able to concentrate on his work, leading to more fights with neighbours.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: All of these points to his sister Sandhya (Rajisha Vijayan) eloping with Deepu (Arjun Ashokan) on the night before her marriage, the event thus becoming the major reason for the suicide of Anil’s father. Even though his uncle Surendran (Indrans), neighbour Poulose (Irshad) and a few others are still in support of him, he doesn’t gain any fans among the people around. As his sister comes back to the area with her child, he is not ready to go and see her. He also gets into fights with the locals, and lands in the police station. But he somewhat gets along with these people, but it has been raining heavily for a long time, and an alert was already issued. Most of the people nearby had already moved from the area, and Anil’s neighbours plan to get out there the very next morning. Anil is adamant that he won’t leave his house, despite the warnings of his mother. But the landslide occurs during that night, and everyone seems to have perished. Anil tries to get out of the area underneath the land and try to save others who might have also been caught in there, but can he?

The defence of Malayankunju :: The struggle that the main character has to face, feels as real as possible. The skills with cinematography seems to have worked in favour of the movie, not just underneath the ground, but also outside with the shots, even though there are no shots of this particular world like in one of the best quality films in high ranges for sometime, John Luther. There are no exaggerations in this tale which is close to reality from the beginning to the end – the protagonist is no hero, and struggles with the problems of the mind reminding us of North 24 Kaatham which had a different crisis from inside. The movie is very much well shot in parts, and with some fine use of lighting and sound effects, creates the desired effects to take us to that world. The nature with all the greenery works close to the tale, even though environment is pushed to the background for quite a long time. This seems to be a movie custom made for Fahadh Faasil, and he assures the audience about the same. He continues with his excellence, and when he is there, you know that the movie will rise further, even if caught in the ordinary at times.

The claws of flaw :: With the premise, one would have expected this to be a disaster movie with the visuals of the terror also coming into the picture. The time spent underneath the ground could have also looked better, with some more smaller events of interest – the situation outside could have also been shown from outside, about what had actually happened, and how the news channels report the incidents – these could be easily achieved without making things complicated or exaggerated. The idea of having the father appear in the dream-like sequence doesn’t work, considering the mood which the film has been maintaining. Some of the characters are there to do very less, and it is disappointing considering their skills. The sudden interest in humanity which is displayed by the protagonist seems to be forced, as he looks like the one who is interested in his fellow humans all of a sudden. The movie had already stretched a little bit too much with the events in the early stages. After all, as people watch survival thrillers in different languages, they are no strangers to the idea. The songs are also not that interesting.

The performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has never stopped amazing us with his works, and it is to be noted that even with the ordinary stories like Ayal Njanalla and Role Models, he has elevated the movie to a classic level, and there is no question about those works which have managed to be close to perfection with his presence. We have been seeing him as the actor who has been part of movies from different languages and having more and more fans from different parts of the world and even outside the nation. Here, he is excellent in displaying the protagonist’s desire to survive against all odds, as he is caught in the debris which remained after the landslide. Rajisha Vijayan plays another role in which she does a fine job, even though one would have wanted to see her more, as we had only recently seen how well she managed to work as the sole star in Keedam, a quality which was also seen in Kho Kho, Finals and June, all of them having her rising above all expectations. The usual veterans are surely strong in here, in the form of Indrans, Irshad and Jaffar Idukki. Nilja K Baby also gets a good role which is performed well, and we would expect RJ Nilja as part of more similar movies – more of future for the film industry.

How it finishes :: The movie seems to have had its inspiration from the landslides which occurred in Kerala, especially from the year of Kerala’s biggest floods of the century till the year of the corona virus – the devastation of the times seems to serve as inspiration for creativity as much as for caution. The horror related to natural disasters has never been too far away from us. This one works as an eye opener for all people, as everyone needs to come together during the disaster which unites humanity, and let them get out of the boundaries of religion, caste, race and language. The disaster has been used to remind people of what they have been missing, and some fantastic performances make sure that it gets to the viewers. It also works as the triumph of humanity when it discovers what it had lost in the last few years – hope and love for the other. Malayankunju successfully urges the audience to reclaim the same, even though a world of chaos and destruction awaits to be unleashed on unsuspecting people.

Release date: 11th August 2022 (Amazon Prime Video); 22 July 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Sajimon Prabhakar
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Rajisha Vijayan, Indrans, Nilja K Baby, Johny Antony, Jose MV, Deepu Navaikulam, Jaffar Idukki, Jaya S Kurup, Deepak Parambol, Arjun Ashokan, Meera Krishnan, Binu Manambur, Irshad, Chali Pala, Meera Krishnan, Remya Suresh, Kiran Peethambaram

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Keedam

Vampire Owl: The name of this movie is interesting.

Vampire Bat: I also support people to use similar names for their movies.

Vampire Owl: We should also grow some vampire pests at home.

Vampire Bat: Uncle Dracula managed to get rid of the pests after a long struggle.

Vampire Owl: We should use the pests to our advantage.

Vampire Bat: You can’t control these pests at all. Only the witches can do it.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that they might use the pests against us?

Vampire Bat: They are good with such small creatures.

Vampire Owl: Well, I would expect an attack at any moment.

Vampire Bat: You should have faith in at least some witches. We are not so different from each other.

[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Radhika Balan (Rajisha Vijayan) lives with her father, Retired Advocate Balan (Sreenivasan) while working as a cyber-security expert at her own start-up company with her partner Vijay (Rahul Riji Nair). She is good friends with CI Charles (Vijay Babu), whom she helps as part of an investigation. Radhika is adamant that one’s privacy should always be respected and that their firm should only help people who have compromised their privacy due to hacking or carlessness. It is then that she accidentally calls a wrong number and Kili Biju (Mahesh Nair) who is on the other side continues to bother her on phone. He gets her name through True Caller App and finds more information about her by searching her name on Facebook. She is frustrated and decides to complain to the police, and things go out of control at the police station. Biju’s friend Thurumbu Aji (Renjit Shekar Nair) is a man who has been on the criminal records for a long time, and was also involved in a murder case – he decides to lead his friends (Anand Manmadhan and Arjun Ranjan) in an attempt to make Radhika’s life a living hell, and doesn’t leave her father out of it either.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: They follow her at her home and office, and also goes on to destroy the reputation of her father – it feels like wherever she goes, they are present at the location. When they decide that they are finally done with Radhika and her father, she decides that this is not the end. She decides to get into their privacy by hacking their mobile phones, so that they won’t think about doing this to anybody else again. Vijay is worried about her actions, and the same is the case of her father, but she is not ready to go back on it. She manages to get into the phone of Biju, and even though it is only revenge that was looking for, she comes across the information that could mean more than that. It turns out that even though they live as scrap-dealers, there is more to them than what meets the eye. They are involved in gold smuggling and other illegal activities, and they work as carriers for different people in different areas. Radhika might be dealing with a little bit too much, and it will be of the best interest for everyone if she backs down, but will she? What will Aji and his group do when they find out that she is spying on their crimes?

The defence of Keedam :: We can see that Keedam chooses a realistic character who doesn’t create any magic within a thriller unlike what is often expected. The female protagonist here does what she has always done the best, and she does the same in style. The messages about cyber security is more or less of a reminder of the world that we are living in, and leaves the idea that we need to be more careful when we are using any electronic device. There are some defining moments here which makes things more interesting. The final moments are indeed thrilling, even though the much needed final closure was not there to be taken. The divergence that the movie possesses is to be appreciated, and unlike some other industries, Malayalam seems to have all those movies, with the makers moving from one category to the other with relative ease, and even coming up classic stuff in between. The father-daughter relationship is shown well, reminding one of the same in Helen and Uyare with Lal-Anna and Siddique-Parvathy, even though the father figure here is more worried and weakened, and still doesn’t trouble her with his lectures much.

The claws of flaw :: Keedam doesn’t use its resources to the best advantage – the premise was so good, and there were so many paths which it could have travelled; there is no limitation in the cyber world. Cyber security is no longer the topic of a selected few, and the rise of Jio and the spread of COVID-19 did change the situation for internet and its unlimited resources which came upon unsuspecting people all of a sudden – most of them were easy prey to cyber problems as they were not ready, and the youth just fell into the mobile gaming trap. The film could have dealt with such problems more effectively like Operation Java. Often, there is the feeling that something is missing in between. As it follows this particular pattern, there is the unconvincing feeling coming up at times. The ending could have also been better, and it didn’t need the forced extra scene there. The movie had also started with Hindi lines with the beginning credits, and that provides the feeling that someone speaking Hindi was involved in crimes or that this happens outside Kerala and Tamil Nadu, a rather strange to do, whatever be the reason.

The performers of the soul :: Rajisha Vijayan who could be a part of the much acclaimed Jai Bhim after the sports drama Kho Kho, once again does an excellent job in another role of interest. There are not many roles which she can’t do in the industry, as she rises above the other actresses with movies having her as main protagonist. She gets into this character which is very much different from her much appreciated roles in June and Finals, and always looks comfortable with the same. Rahul Riji Nair who directs another film with the same lady lead has things in control as the actor too. Sreenivasan is present in the father role, and has done the character of a concerned father well. Vijay Babu plays a sensible police officer with all the qualities which are needed with it. Manikandan Pattambi of Marimayam fame manages the negative character well, and it is his dialogue which seems to give the title to this movie. The rest of the antagonists of the group have managed their roles well, and in a realistic manner, led by Renjit Shekar Nair. For this movie, the choice of antagonists did work in its favour, even though in the end, there should have been more in store for them.
How it finishes :: Keedam is a movie which could have achieved so much more – there was so much potential considering the topic which it was dealing with. But with its idea and the protagonist to be noted, there is another step in the right direction, and it remains very much interesting at the same time too. It is another reminder of Malayalam movie industry’s courage to venture into unfamiliar territories, as it had already done with the superhero stuff in Minnal Murali stuff, while also having one of the most human films in the form of Madhuram releasing in different OTT platforms within the gap of a few days. Rajisha Vijayan might be the best actress we have in Malayalam film industry now, and we know that people don’t get Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress on debut movies just like that as she did in Anuraga Karikkin Vellam. She has dealt with sadness, depression, anger, fear, love and friendship with so much effectiveness in her movies. The movie could have had more for her, but as it seems now, is an entertaining thriller which also has a realistic side in parts.

Release date: 1st July 2022 (ZEE5); 20th May 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Rahul Riji Nair
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Vijay Babu, Sreenivasan, Manikandan Pattambi, Renjit Shekar Nair, Anand Manmadhan, Mahesh Nair, Rahul Riji Nair, Arjun Ranjan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Infinite

Vampire Owl: I have often walked towards infinity.

Vampire Bat: You are not supposed to touch the infinity portal.

Vampire Owl: I never really touched it. I just go near it.

Vampire Bat: Your presence near the infinity portal can be chaotic.

Vampire Owl: I assure you that I have a positive relationship with it.

Vampire Bat: The portals can get into your brain very easily.

Vampire Owl: You mean like the zombies do.

Vampire Bat: I am talking about manipulation of mind.

Vampire Owl: You mean, like the device Doctor Frankenstein invented.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein invents too many fake things.

[Gets a ghee cake and three cups of Peermade tea].

What is the movie about? :: It is revealed that there are people who are gifted with a perfect memory of all of their past lives, called the Infinites. Among them, there are two groups which try to gain supreme power, one being the Believers, dedicated to using their knowledge for the protection and growth of humanity. The other groups, Nihilists, find this power as a curse – they have the power to end all life on Earth, and only the Believers stand in their way. In the year 1985, a man in chased by a huge group of people including the police, right on the highway. He drives off a bridge and falls to escape from them, while his associates are killed by a strange man with a powerful explosive weapon. In the present, many years after the incidents, it is shown that a man named Evan McCauley (Mark Wahlberg) has schizophrenia, and he feels that his dreams are his memories. As he has a history of violence, he struggles to get a job, and is one step away from paying the bills. This just don’t seem to work for him as he sees things and takes anti-psychotic drugs.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: For some reason, he is able to do things that he has no idea about. He was never trained to be a bladesmith, but manages to create too strong a sword. He tries to sell it to the local gangsters, but as their leader try to cut a girl’s hand off, he intervenes only start a fight. He end up being arrested by the police. In the police station, he meets Bathurst (Chiwetel Ejiofor) a man who keeps calling him by another name, and talks about his past in this life and others. He also threatens to kill him if he doesn’t bring his memories back. As Bathrust has almost made him memorize some of the things, Nora Brightman (Sophie Cookson) arrives in a bullet proof car and saves him, as the two manage to outsmart Bathurst. After escaping, he feels that he is having another psychotic episode and will soon wake up in a hospital. Nora tells him that his visions are realities from other lives. He says that whatever he is doing now are possible due to the special skills that he used to have in another life.

And what more is to follow in this world of different lives in chaos :: Nora tells him that there are about five hundred of them with the ability to remember their past lives – the skills from their earlier lives also stay with them. She tells him that she is one of the Believers who understand that their gift is a responsibility unlike the Nihilists who see the curse in it. The Believers have to act fast enough to make sure that the Nihilists won’t cause the end of all life on Earth. Both groups believe that Evan is the reincarnation of Heinrich Treadway from that event in the past where he drives off the highway to his fall. He is taken to the location known as the Hub, which is located quite far away that they have to use an airplane. He meets many other members of the group, who hopes that he is really the person they are looking for. There, he understands that Bathurst was once a part of their group, and that they were friends – then he had lost his faith and turned to another side. Bathurst wishes for the world to end so that there would be no more reincarnation – there should be no life on this world to reincarnate into. Can he and his people be stopped?

The defence of Infinite :: This movie does have sci-fi elements strong. There is also the presence of enough action around here. The world is well-created, and the secret area is a beautiful space with a lot of detail about it. There are multiple action sequences that will be remembered, starting from the protagonist’s escape from the prison and the last one feels the most significant among them. The special effects are nicely used to support this, and there is some fine computer generated imagery that powers them all. It does have Mark Wahlberg, who has been the one actor whom we have preferred in the action movies, and he blends in here quite well too. It is good to see Sophie Cookson in a full action thriller having all the seriousness, instead of going through the Kingsman nonsense of the lowest level. She becomes a lovely action star in this one. Chiwetel Ejiofor makes a strong villain, except for a little struggle in the end. Wallis Day and Kae Alexander are two other notable performers in there with some extra action.

Positives and negatives :: The thoughts about memories and reincarnations makes one feel like going back to a few Bollywood movies of the 1990s – there is no value to them now, except for bringing up the nostalgia again and again, as they were rather too emotional, a lot more than needed. The movie could have used the preface even better, with much more of the grandeur here. There is so much of potential around here, that much to actually go on to become a cult classic with reincarnations, but it doesn’t seem to try that much. Taking the risks doesn’t seem to be this movie’s method of going forward, as it does feed the usual at times. The movie’s success is a lot in its mystery which is always there, and there is also the fact that they have successfully created a world which fits in the willing suspension of disbelief for most of the time. I find it rather surprising that the critics didn’t find the movie to be that good – it is certain that if it had released here before the corona virus pandemic, it would have brought in a lot of money.

How it finishes :: Infinite is as much an interesting work of science fiction as many others which bring something innovative at all times, whether it is The Matrix, Jupiter Ascending, Reminiscence, Free Guy or anything else which remains similar and different at the same time. It is a smooth journey which remains engaging at all times. Well, it is not easy to bring a science fiction concept out of nowhere and make it work with efficiency. The same seems to have been achieved here with the help of a new world, something which is so well-created and managed. As a movie talking about reincarnations, it does leave a message that despite the fact that we do fall, there is a chance to try again – it is pretty much a positive message, but one does wonder if depending on one to reincarnate will be the best option in that case. Well, the movie is indeed an entertaining one, and it does leave us hope that we all will get out second chances – in a world like this, mistakes might be the only thing that comes right, and instead of reincarnation after death, what we might need is a resurrection, just not in the form of a mindless zombie.

Release date: 10th June 2021
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Sophie Cookson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jason Mantzoukas, Rupert Friend, Toby Jones, Dylan O’Brien, Wallis Day, Tom Hughes, Raffiella Chapman, Kae Alexander, Liz Carr

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Luther

Vampire Owl: It has been 826 days. That is a long time.

Vampire Bat: 826 days after watching a movie in the theatre, and now we are back.

Vampire Owl: The OTT life was quite long during that time, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, mostly of Prime Video and Netflix, and then others.

Vampire Owl: The last one we watched was Forensic.

Vampire Bat: That was a good end to the sequence before corona virus.

Vampire Owl: Well, we remain the same even now.

Vampire Bat: We continue to live in a world without hope.

Vampire Owl: There is no movie that can be close to the reality of hopelessness.

Vampire Bat: Well, we will watch this movie for now, and think about the meaninglessness of a hopeless life later.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of cadamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Circle Inspector John Luther (Jayasurya) of Devikulam police station is someone who is very much committed to his duty. He is fully supported by Sub Inspector Felix Joy (Deepak Parambol) who also spends a lot of time dedicated to duty. The absense of John during the major programmes at his home has his wife Jessy (Athmeeya Rajan) and sister Leena (Drishya Raghunath) in sadness, and his parents (Siddique and Sreelakshmi) in disappointment. On the night before his sister’s engagement, John finds him in trouble due to two cases. The first one is related to a political murder and the second one is a man-missing case following an accident which kills another person. The first case leads to John getting physical with the goons and ends up getting smashed on the head with a tube-light, which leads to him going deaf on one year, and requiring to use hearing aid on the other. But with a boy also found to be missing, he has to get back to the case and solve it within a deadline of two weeks.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He discovers that the two missing cases have no relation with each other, and there is soon a woman that goes missing. The death in the first accident, and the missing person of the same accident seem to have no common person behind them. Their only clue is a pickup truck which doesn’t have the registration number displayed on one side, which makes it very difficult for them to go forward. All of these incidents have happened in a certain area which doesn’t seem to have many people around. As this takes place in the high-ranges between the tea plantations, there seems to be a shortage of CCTV cameras too. But they hope that there could be that one witness who might have seen one of these victims just before or after being taken away by the criminal. Still, it is to be noted that the man who is behind all of these can’t be a common criminal – there might be a lot more to him. John and Felix have to be very careful in this case. Can they find out the mastermind before there are more victims?

The defence of John Luther :: As far as the thrills are concerned, they are here to stay with this particular movie. There is the grand mystery running through the middle, which never losses strength. The suspense could be maintained, and it keeps us guessing. There are red herrings which almost makes us think the other way. The quality that we see on the big screen is too good – the beauty of visuals is always there, whether it is about the long shots of the enchanting Munnar and Cochin or the classic shots of night with danger lurking in the corners. The final moments have us more in fear than anything else, as the villain is revealed, but not with further twists. The songs are interesting, and they support the happenings of the movie well. The background score is effective, and the use of sound effects to support the proceedings also need to be appreciated. The darkness in a very good ally for this particular movie, as much as the different noises used around here – the scene at the beginning is a nice example of the same.

Positives and negatives :: One would be right to find some cliches here, but we have always required most of them to keep the cinematic world moving forward with strength. The movie could have given more significant chances to its female main leads to perform, as they are pushed to the background rather too early. There is a little bit of horror touch to the movie at times, and that could have worked even better if the elements were introduced much earlier. The movie is a reminder to us that any person among us could be a psycho killer, and idea that could save lives – well, those who enjoy when we fall are no less of such killers either. After all, all human beings are born evil, and this film once again shows how effective in evil they can be, especially when they feel that they are done with the society. We blame the evil spirits and demons, and maybe even categorize vampires as pure evil, but humans have always been the root of all evil. The dark world of the investigation in this movie also points towards the same, and we can’t agree less.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is someone who performed all alone in Sunny last year, and this time, he gets a fine team, and we have him with a fine performance here. We believed that he was indeed the actor to be trusted while booking a movie ticket after such a long time, and also at Lulu Mall; quite an expensive one in this case. One would think that after watching so many films in the theatre from 2013 to 2020 until corona virus brought the trouble, the celebrities will be supporting this blog, but that is wrong, because only a very few of my reviews like Meppadiyan and Luca have been shared by the leading actors of respective films. Anyway, coming back to Jayasurya, he looks and performs like the dedicated actor that he always has been. From the perfect police officer to the flawed one like we see in Memories, he is to be appreciated for how well he has brought the quality in here. It is to be noted that Deepak Parambol also brings some fine support in here, as the police officer who is not left far behind, but stays beside the main character. Athmiya Rajan and Drishya Raghunath are lovely, but has less screen time. The villain is really good, but can’t reveal more about him due to spoiler possibilities.

How it finishes :: You always have time to support a dark mystery thriller placed on an investigation. We did welcome movies like Anjaam Pathira, Antakshari and Forensic with much appreciation. Like the latter movie, this one also keeps its killer as the psycho and not a revenge seeker, which lets it have the advantage over the rest of the similar movies which attempt to turn themselves into random movies of vengeance. The time it takes to come to the final villain also needs to be appreciated, as the suspense is successfully maintained until then. This is also the first movie I have watched in the theatre after 826 – the last one was Forensic just before corona virus had made that big run. It is always good to watch thrillers as much as horror movies, as we are better prepared to face all the evil in the world after watching these movies, and we know when to be ready, and when to give up and just die. After all, evil is too natural for humans, and there is always someone trying to lie, cheat and steal, as well as murder us, or make our life a living hell; its in human nature.

Release date: 27th May 2021
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Abhijith Joseph
Starring: Jayasurya, Athmeeya Rajan, Drishya Raghunath, Siddique, Deepak Parambol, Sivadas Kannur, Pramod Velliyanad, Sreelakshmi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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.

Don’t Kill Me

Vampire Owl: At some point, a werewolf asked me not to kill him.

Vampire Bat: So, you have started fighting werewolves on your own.

Vampire Owl: No, it was an arena battle during the last carnival.

Vampire Bat: Why would you kill a werewolf on an arena?

Vampire Owl: It was part of a great, memorable drama.

Vampire Bat: I knew it. You wouldn’t even slay a zombie juggernaut.

Vampire Owl: Why would I? Let them eat the brains of evil humans.

Vampire Bat: All zombies are not interested in human brains. Some of them just sleep in their graves at all times.

Vampire Owl: They are not undead – they are just the dead.

Vampire Bat: Well, zombies do have the right to make their choices too. Some of them even fall in love.

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

What is the movie about? :: Mirta (Alica Pagani) is madly in love with her boyfriend and drug addict Robin (Rocco Fasano) who is detested by her parents. One day, she decides to have drugs with him, and an overdose leads to the death of both of them. But soon enough, she finds herself waking up in the tomb. She escapes from her tomb in the mausoleum where she was laid to rest and starts walking towards her home. But she understands that she is dead, and leaves the house soon enough. The police informs her parents that someone has stolen her parents. She knows that her body has started decaying, and there are also people hunting her. A strange person also visits her home, and says that they are going to protect the living from the dead – he adds that the parents are going to see their child very soon, but she won’t be the person whom they knew earlier. Soon, she ends up committing her first murder, and after eating the man, feels much better.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: But soon enough, she will understand that there is something more going on out there. There is a sect that has been hunting her kind from 1600s – destroying those who come back to life instead of staying dead, known to the secret organizations as the overdead. The group seems to be heavily organized, with lots of money, weapons and other resources. Mirta does find some help, but she wishes to go back and find Robin, hoping that he will also wake up at some point, as they died in almost the same way. But she is captured by the group, and is put in chains. It is then that she realizes that Robin has also come back to life. But that would also leave her with more revelations about what has happened with her life. It will also mean that she will have to make her own decisions against her heart. Where will that lead her in the end? Is there a war coming between the humans and the overdead? Will she choose one of those sides?

The defence of Don’t Kill Me a.k.a. Non Mi Uccidere :: This is a movie which comes up with some fine surprises, and even shocks in relation to its zombie world. It doesn’t hesitate to try something different, and take a few risks with its progression and scenes. The ability to stay unique in a world of repetitions is to appreciated. There are a few bloody moments in the final scene of the movie, and that result of an undead fighting the hunters has some quality setting which is going to stay for long. The moments of the protagonists meeting after dead are strangely interesting too, and there was that twist that worked out there. The bath scene seemed to point to some of the tales of the witches from the past, and maybe this will also come up with more links if there is a sequel. The visuals are really good here, not just with the scenery, but also with people and objects. The environment has worked in favour of the movie too. The message here seems to be about being careful about whom you are obsessed with, and that it is not about looks in a relationship. The movie also encourages one to take the path required instead of going with the flow.

Positives and negatives :: Don’t Kill Me does more than what was expected from it, and we are only to witness the same. It doesn’t overuse any of the special effects, and keep them to the minimum, but in an effective way. The idea here seems to be about using lower budget to achieve more. It does leave a few things to the imagination, without trying to explain them all. It could have also linked its sequences better, instead of seemingly straying from the path to come up with one scene or the other. Despite the zombie existence, you would still imagine Alice Pagani in a vampire movie, because the looks seem to work well with such an option – the Gothic world seems to suit her well. I would like to see her as part of an Underworld movie at some point of time. She is also suitable for the mood of Byzantium and Interview with the Vampire. The ability to move away from silly romance and keeping it natural also helps here – this movie could have easily been Twilight, but thankfully it is not. This one is a serious adventure at hand. The blood and gore is present, and still continues to be in control.

The performers of the soul :: The movie has its soul fixed on Alice Pagani, an actress who has made the transformation into the undead very smooth and believable – you don’t become the undead that easily and make it feel natural. She has this one in control throughout its run, as the confused youngster in love who doesn’t know much about what she has been forced to go through. Even in a decayed zombie form, she remains beautiful, and displaying the human confusion seemingly in an attempt to retain her humanity. She is there in every key moment of this movie, as if she is this movie, and it is all about her. Despite the thriving human beauty, she will make a fine undead, maybe even a vampire – Hollywood should have her. Rocco Fasano, for most of the movie, is the Robert Pattinson of this movie, the much liked Edward Cullen who is without his Twilight – has the looks of the undead working for him. They have some interesting scenes together, but there are not that much either – the romance doesn’t get overdone, and that is a nice way to keep away from the commonly expected undead infatuation.

How it finishes :: There are the usual romantic zombie movies like Warm Bodies which try to go the Twilight way, and then there is this one, which tries to be as divergent as possible. It knows that it has to be innovative in the zombie horror genre, as the idea has been repeated too many times. This is the realization which makes the whole thing better. One can only feel that Andrea De Sica is a visionary director who has brought another zombie origins story which can have a prequel or a sequel according to the need, as this one doesn’t end here at all. Italian movies have had some quality works in the last few months, like Security and A Classic Horror Story, both of them coming up with their own divergence in the process. When we look at these movies, despite the genres to which they belong, there is no exaggeration at all. Well, you know how wrong you can go with the zombies, and how much nonsense can be added in the name of the undead – here, we get them in our world, without those unnecessary ornaments or overdose of romance. The low ratings seem to be from those who expected a Twilight, but the beauty of this movie is that it is not here.

Release date: 21st April 2021 (Italy); 21st February 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Andrea De Sica
Starring: Alice Pagani, Rocco Fasano, Silvia Calderoni, Fabrizio Ferracane, Anita Caprioli, Sergio Albelli, Giacomo Ferrara, Esther Elisha, Kateryna Aresi, Francesca Alice Antonini, Federico Ielapi, Marco Boriero, Marco Matteo Donat-Cattin, Marco Pancrazi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.