Escape from Mogadishu

Vampire Owl: Humans and their wars. Then they have the grand escape.

Vampire Bat: You know humans. They create wars all the time.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that most of them should be loving these wars.

Vampire Bat: All rulers wish for wars to keep control.

Vampire Owl: And humans are really easy to manipulate.

Vampire Bat: Humans killing humans is quite strange. Vampires do not kill vampires.

Vampire Owl: Yes, their brotherhood is only as good as witches on a blood moon.

Vampire Bat: At least none of the witches turn dead on that dead.

Vampire Owl: Well, they do have the potion of resurrection.

Vampire Bat: They also have the anti-resurrection vial though.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three cups of Munnar tea].

What is the movie about? :: Han Sin-seong (Kim Yoon-seok) is South Korea’s ambassador to Somalia at a time when the African country is going through an internal crisis, with civil war showing its face in most parts of the nation. The life at the Somalian capital of Mogadishu doesn’t seem to be getting any better soon, just like the relations between North Korea and South Korea which is at its worst. It is also the time when both the North Koreans and South Koreans are hoping for their nations to be admitted in the United Nations, and trying to gain the support of Somalia. As the African continent has the most votes in the United Nations, having Somalia on their side was going to be very significant in becoming part of the organization. Kang Dae-jin (Jo In-sung), South Korea’s ANSP intelligence officer is tasked with gaining the upper hand in the process. The gifts don’t seem to be among the best, but they decide to go on with it anyway, as there is hope for a lot of appreciation and even a possible promotion at the same time.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: As they are on their way to meet the president, they are ambushed by rogue forces, who also take away the gifts which were supposed to be given to the leader. As they are also late, Rim Yong-su (Heo Joon-ho), the North Korean Ambassador to Somalia gets the next appointment instead. South Koreans are very muchdisappointed about the same, but cannot argue as they are late by fifteen minutes due to having to walk all the way from the place of attack. They do feel that the North Koreans are the ones responsible for this attack too. Tae Joon-ki (Koo Kyo-hwan), North Korea’s MSS intelligence officer was the one who arranged the attack so that the South Koreans wouldn’t get to meet the Somalian president in time. Now, the South Koreans have to come up with some other plan to nullify what the North Koreans have been doing in Mogadishu. It is up to the only one South Korean intelligence officer left out there to do something soon enough.

And what more is to follow here as the civil war has more power than before? :: As South Korean diplomat tries to contact other ministers in the Somalian government, it seems that everything that they want is just a lot of money in dollars, as well as a lot of favours for their relatives who are studying in different parts of the world. They try to spread information that North Koreans are selling weapons to the rebels, but it seems that the only thing that the government officials and ministers care about is the possibility of bribe. They also find the North Koreans talking to the government officials again, and two begins a word fight, which is stopped very soon by the rebels who are attacking Mogadishu. Even though the ruling government assures everyone that things are under control, soon it becomes clear that everything is going to be completely out of control. United Somali Congress addresses the nation proclaiming that they would bring down the corrupt government for the national interests of Somalia. People are on the rioting streets and with offices as well as banks closed, all the government officials are on the run – the Koreans will have to work together to make sure that they get out of there.

The defence of Escape from Mogadishu :: There are different levels of focus in this movie, as we are not having just an action film or thriller, as there are also elements of drama in here, as movie progresses nicely with a dangerous background always being present. The conflicts come in different varieties, as the action progresses strongly, making fine use of the available background. Being there at the time of a civil war has managed to add more elements of quality, and it easier to introduce one to the terrors of war when it is happening within a nation which is already troubled by poverty and other problems. There is also a certain amount of interest in the human level of action, as there could have been tendency to go on in the unrealistic manner. The scenery is pretty much interesting, and we are only happy to go through the beautiful visuals which become part of the movie very well. There is some interesting humour being added here too. Some messages are also present here and there, and we can sense the meaning going deep at times.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does have a certain amount of dragging at times, and gets a little bit too long with its contents. The initial moments are rather slow, and it does take some time to get into action, with a little bit of silliness having more of a say in the beginning stages. There are repetitive moments which could have been cut with ease. Maybe, instead we could have more of the life around there. There could have also been more focus on the people in the country too. The ending could have also had stronger and sharper moments to finish the whole thing. There are also a number of predictable moments around here, and often we feel that this was were things were heading much early. It is also one of those rare times when we get somewhat new South Korean movies on Amazon Prime, and the film does have comparatively less violence, making it more family friendly than one would expect from a war movie. Yet, the horrors of war could have been depicted further, as we are never short of such terrible wars, which keep on going in different parts of the world as we speak about this movie too.

How it finishes :: Even though we are not that aware of the actual events which happened related to this, the movie works well to keep us interested in the proceedings – the news channels around here rarely narrates the events of war in African countries. We are never short of the requirements to watch the films which portray the horrors and pains of war, as well as a few other things which lies underneath. War is indeed a thing of hopelessness, a crime to not just humans, but all life forms and the environment around. As the wars of new age are bigger crimes to everything on the planet, one might just end up hoping for human extinction to end all such acts of terror. In the absence of humans, the rest of the world would indeed thrive – there has been so many movies talking about saving humanity by taking people to another planet, but one keep wondering if that is indeed the right thing to do. As we ponder over the same, this film happens to be an engaging action thriller drama that keeps us add another name to that long Korean films of interest list.

Release date: 28th July 2021
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Ryoo Seung-wan
Starring: Kim Yoon-seok, Jo In-sung, Heo Joon-ho, Kim So-jin, Koo Kyo-hwan, Jung Man-sik, Kim Jae-hwa, Park Kyung-hye, Yoon Kyung-ho

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Blood Red Sky

Vampire Owl: Now, this is the type of title that I would prefer for a movie.

Vampire Bat: You are planning to make a movie too?

Vampire Owl: Yes, Doctor Frankenstein will be directing it.

Vampire Bat: Well, not the best director for our kind of a movie.

Vampire Owl: He has assured us that this movie will be the highest grossing vampire movie in the history of our realm.

Vampire Bat: I assume that it would be science fiction then?

Vampire Owl: You know that Doctor Frankenstein doesn’t talk science outside the laboratory anymore.

Vampire Bat: His type of science is the best when not talked about.

Vampire Owl: You are talking ill about an award winning scientist.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that he paid a million for that particular award.

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

What is the movie about? :: An airplane which was supposed to have been hijacked, lands at an RAF base in Scotland. As the soldiers try to get the people out, Elias (Carl Anton Koch), a little boy is the first person to come out, and he is taken into a room, where he recollects the happenings during the flight, seemingly in terror. Back to the past, Nadja (Peri Baumeister), a widow from Germany, is taking a flight to the United States, where she could be treated for blood cancer better, and Elias, her son, joins her at the airport. They come up against Farid al Adwa (Kais Setti), a physicist, who helps them with their luggage. Nadja continues to look really ill, and taking her medicines doesn’t seem to help at all. As the passengers begin to sleep, a group of men supported by the co-pilot Bastian Buchner (Kai Ivo Baulitz), find and attack the three air marshalls in the flight, murdering them. Soon, the gang take over the flight, after getting rid of the pilot.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The team tells the passengers that their requirement is monetary, and if nobody tries to do anything nasty, it will remain safe for everyone. They also re-programme the black box, after which they deviate the flight towards another path. As Elias tries to run away to a hiding place in the plane, one of the attackers shoots Nadja, and leaves her behind, considering her as dead. But it seems that Nadja has secrets of her own. Nadja, even though weakened, manages to access the cargo hold, and removes the contact lenses and dentures that conceal her mutated eyes and fangs before managing to kill and feed on a dog. It is revealed that she was bitten by a vampire which also killed her husband on a winter night when their car broke down. She regains her strength, and attacks one of the hijackers who come that way, killing him. She realizes that her vampirism is coming back to her, as she also feeds from the hijacker. Now, the hijackers have an adversary that they don’t want. But is she good enough?

The defence of Blood Red Sky :: The idea is good, as there is a vampire on the airplane, and we don’t usually get that – there is a certain amount of creativity in bringing a different vampire world unlike what we usually have. It brings a dangerous situation, and then makes it even more dangerous from multiple sides. Each minute, there is no real relief, as the situation only gets worse for the living characters. The movie has no real heroes, and it doesn’t claim to have some supernatural being saving the day, for the bloodbath won’t leave many people behind if it was a real thing. There are some moments which stand out, including different transformations, and quick as well as gory attacks. The mother-son bonding is also good, especially in the beginning stages. There might not be many other movies which connect motherhood and vampirism, and here, the vampire has its own divergence, even though not by that much of a distance. You are never short of blood and gore with vampirism around.

The claws of flaw :: This premise could have developed into something bigger, and there could have been some fine action sequences as well as moments of horror which would bring the shock and stay for long, but that chance is not taken here. You have a vampire on a flight, and also a few hijackers – things really need to get bigger. While holding on to many elements, it sometimes losses grip on its most valuable asset, the vampire mother who has just unleashed the creature in her. Sometimes, the action doesn’t get the attention that it deserves, and during some moments, horror just takes the backseat, leading to the movie losing the advantage. The hijackers here could have also had better motives, and some of them could have actually had specific characteristics as well as a background tale – here, only one of them seems to have the same. Turning more people into vampires is not always the best option to make a movie better – this film seems to like the idea of having a vampire full-house airplane though.

Performers of the soul :: Peri Baumeister leads the way in this movie here, and she does that in a way that catches our attention a lot in more than one mode. She is strong as the motherly figure, and as a vampire, she takes the creature’s features with ease. It is a performance that many others playing vampire characters can note. She goes through the motherly love and vampire thirst for blood at the same time, or interchangeably. Among the villains, it is Alexander Scheer who gets the most of the villainy, even though the vampire-thing doesn’t work well for him. Dominic Purcell who plays the leader doesn’t get his due at all, as death comes early for him. Roland Moller also has his own different moments, and he could have made one smart villain – leaves a mark as he does now though. Carl Anton Koch who plays the son has his moments, but there are a few which doesn’t suit. Kais Setti is there from the beginning to the end, and he also has some fine job to do. Another one to be noted is Kai Ivo Baulitz.

How it finishes :: Like Train to Busan, this one is Flight to New York, and with vampirism spreading quicker than ever, one could actually replace the vampire here with a zombie, and still have the film working – with a little concern about the slower pace of zombies. Placing vampires on the airplane is an idea that can hold on strong, better than placing them in ships or trains. This film seems to have finished the idea though, without scope for a sequel, but we know that sequels can come out of nowhere. We are never really short of vampires, for we have placed them with werewolves in Underworld series, as mother-daughter duo wandering around the world in Byzantium and at many other places. Anne Rice, the author of The Vampire Chronicles who recently died, had brought some fine works which could be made into movies, taking some fine form in the form of Interview with the Vampire starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas. We have had so many vampire novels, films, series and others in quick succession – this one also adds on. Netflix surely has the better vampire flick, as what Amazon Prime could get was Black as Night.

Release date: 23rd July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Peter Thorwarth
Starring: Roland Moller, Peri Baumeister, Chidi Ajufo, Alexander Scheer, Dominic Purcell, Rebecca Dyson-Smith, Graham McTavish, Kai Ivo Baulitz, David Hurten, Kais Setti, Nader Ben-Abdallah, Jan Loukota, Florian Schmidtke, Jacqueline Macaulay, Holger Hage

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shadow in the Cloud

Vampire Owl: I wonder what is stopping them from understanding this shadow?

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you know this shadow?

Vampire Owl: Yes, it should be Uncle Dracula trying to get some moonlight.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think so. He prefers darkness over any light.

Vampire Owl: Well, he is now being lunar powered.

Vampire Bat: What? You mean, like those werewolves and witches?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the technology in the cells in now shared.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that Doctor Frankenstein did another experiment.

Vampire Owl: Yes, now the advantage that the werewolves had over us is gone.

Vampire Bat: Advantage? The barbarians can make any empire fall at some point.

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

What is the movie about? :: During the final stages of the Second World War, the Flight Officer Maude Garrett (Chloe Grace Moretz) finds herself assigned to a B-17 bomber named a The Fool’s Errand, but as she boards the airplane with her orders, nobody in the crew is happy to see a young woman being assigned to what seems to be a tough and dangerous journey which lies ahead. She feels that she saw something on the side of the flight, which resembled an unidentified creature, but people have a difficult time believing her as they had reached a lot of height. After being left in the turrey for takeoff, she is not able to get back to the flight, as the hatch is stuck and nobody is able to open the door. They keep trying from above and below, but as she begins demanding that she be taken out immediately, they cut off the communications to her, and goes on checking her credentials, if she is really a flight officer like she claims to be.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But it turns out that there is something else happening in the flight. After seeing a Japanese plane close to the flight, she is attacked by the creature, a gremlin, but somehow manages to fight it off. The crew finds out that nobody by her name exists in the force, and feels that she could be an imposter, or an enemy spy who boarded the flight with some sinister plans. There was a bag which she had brought with her, and the crew begins to wonder what its content could be. But Maude continues to try and make them believe what she had earlier said. It is then that the gremlin returns, and they are also attacked by Japanese fighter planes. Now, they have more than one thing to worry about, but the question remains if they can trust her enough to have her fight with them. As of now, it seems that only Staff Sergeant Walter Quaid (Taylor John Smith) seems to believe her up to an extent. Can the crew survive this?

The defence of Shadow in the Cloud :: The music in the beginning itself provides us with that fun feeling, and it comes right after a short animation video regarding the gremlins. The movie focuses on that kind of entertainment, which is not that much based on finding the reason behind everything. Without that much of thinking involved, this movie can be nicely set on that flight during the Second World War, which serves as a nice setting for the same, and it makes the whole thing feel divergent. It does the same by leaving all the accuracy behind, but gets to be fun enough even with that loss – criticism would find fault out of many things. The film is surely good looking, and the plane is also stylishly designed. The soundtrack is really good, and it provides a special feeling to the action. The title of Shadow in the Cloud is justified nicely too. It is the kind of movie which you watch when there is a lot of time to spare, and need quick entertainment.

The claws of flaw :: The movie requires to focus on the entertainment and nothing the rest of the things around. When one searches for logic in this one, it won’t suit the movie much, as there are lots of things which seems to be out of it. There is World War, Japanese fighter planes and strange things happening at such a height – when the leading characters falls down from the flight, she gets blown up by an exploding plane and she falls into the plane, and she also beats up a gremlin with her own hands – I thought we were done fighting on the top of flights, but these people are still having that. The movie is also too short – even then, the movie takes a little too much time to get going in the first few minutes, which are full of dialogues. Talking about too many things might be one of the problems, as the movie does lack focus. It could have actually focused on being the monster movie in such a height, and there could have been some real terror being unleashed, but the same is certainly not the case here.

Performers of the soul :: There is absolutely no doubt about what Chloe Grace Moretz is capable of, as she has been showing the same in some of those big movies, most of them underrated due to no reason. Her performance is somewhat pulled back due to some bad dialogues and writing – if this was a better work in totality, the work would have been noted further. If this movie used more sense, the result would have been outstanding for her. Almost every movie which Chloe has acted in, you see her doing a fantastic job, and you find it difficult to not like the movie – it is certainly an advantage which the makers of her films have. When you have acted in such a young age, some of the acting skills are lost when you get old – we have seen the same in Malayalam movie industry, some child actors have become pain to watch when they became older. But Chloe is clearly an exception, as she is too good. The rest of the cast is only there to support her.

How it finishes :: Shadow in the Cloud makes a fine display of what fun movies can be, with an interesting setting added to it. It is a shorter movie of less than one and half hours which throws logic and accuracy out through the window, and seems to be very proud of such an action. Even if you are not too fond of this kind of movies, you can watch the film for Chloe Grace Moretz, the child actor who has been doing so well also as the leading lady in the last few years. If this movie had released before COVID-19 pandemic, may be a lot of people would have watched and enjoyed the movie – it would have ben such a nice time-pass thing. If you are supposed to remain in home for two to three months without break, you will watch anything, but entertainment like this is a mood booster – not that much of a thing for the brain though. Do give it a chance, and see how it will turn out to be, according to your preferences and demand.

Release date: 12th September 2020
Running time: 83 minutes
Directed by: Roseanne Liang
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Taylor John Smith, Beulah Koale, Nick Robinson, Callan Mulvey, Benedict Wall, Byron Coll, Joe Witkowski

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vimaanam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aby

aby-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

abyy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Non-Stop

non-stop (2)

That prayer for release :: People have many reasons to pray for, but one thing that I have prayed for is the release of Non-Stop. We have known that it did release in India on a much later date than its United States release, and thanks to the PVR Cinemas website which thinks that I am from Bangalore and shows me the timings there (when not showing the Chennai timings), I know that it did release there and still not here, just like a number of other movies including I Frankenstein, Ender’s Game, Oldboy and Prisoners making one wonder what is wrong with these people. For a movie like Non-Stop which has someone like Liam Neeson doing what he does the best, one has to be surprised that it took so much time to grace the theatres here, and now it has come with Bangalore Days, and one is left to wonder how stupid is that. Well, it is there in not many theatres and so I guess it is not really another official release. It just proves that multiplex owners are lacking in common sense, and this absence hurts them in collections as well as the movie fans. Well, everyone has a reason to pray, and the prayers are answered now.

What is it about? :: William Marks (Liam Neeson) is an air marshal who is more of an alcoholic after the depression over the death of his daughter. As he travels from New York to London and with the flight travelling away from coast and over the Atlantic Ocean, he gets text messages from an unknown source stating that one person will die every twenty minutes unless a sum of one hundred and fifty dollars is transferred into a specified account. He attempts to find the truth with Jack Hammond (Anson Mount), the other air marshal on the plane, but that doesn’t go on well as Jack is killed. Now, with the help of the person sitting next to him, Jen Summers (Julianne Moore) and an air hostess Nancy Hoffman (Michelle Dockery), he goes on trying to find the person who is behind the threat. But the people in the flight gets suspicious as he doesn’t reveal anything, and those on the ground are pretty sure that he is hijacking the plane and not investigating anything. Between all these, and also with a bomb discovered in the middle, can the air marshall come up with enough to save one hundred and fifty passengers on the plane?

The defence of Non-Stop :: The best defence of the movie is Liam Neeson; while Arnold Schwarzenegger might have lost his touch because he is old, this man is getting better as he is getting old, which is why he doesn’t need to be in any of The Expendables. We are given one of the last action heroes that we will have, without martial arts flurry or special effects overdose, and he himself is a living defence. He takes us into the middle of the thrills just a few minutes after the flight takes off, with the stranger striking, and that too with a dual nature of being the investigator as well as the suspect. The thrills stay from then to the end, and even as it leaves us to make some guesses, it certain that the best guesses are not the result. There are so many suspects for us that we can start from one end and continue to the other, just like our protagonist is doing in the movie. It remains intense as well as entertaining, never ceasing to be the thriller that it is supposed to be. It has nicely used its setting to have an advantage over what would have happened if it wouldn’t have occurred anywhere else. The movie has managed that all that was expected of it, and with no denial of the same, comes its defence.

The claws of flaw :: Some people ask for logic, and it is a surprise that they would ask for it in this movie which has remained as close to the same as it could, under the circumstances and the environment. They are mostly the fanboys and fangirls who are actually more interested in seeing motor-bikes turning into bikes and huge super-bikes running on a small thread as in Dhoom 3 or complete nonsense as in Krrish 3. They make dumb Bollywood movies grand success by lending their eyes to stuff that could go straight into the garbage can, and when there are Hollywood movies which keeps its logic working according to the setup of the movie, they say that the movie is stupid, but it is not for the common viewer to pay any attention to such stuff. The climax and the ending are of lower quality, compared to the movie as a whole, especially the first half and the first part of the second. This one does remind the viewer of Die Hard and its sequel, with a man against all odds and a flight with hijackers involved. Flaw finders can run around this one, but can’t take away the quality that it has maintained throughout the movie.

Performers of the soul :: The man whom we loved in Schindler’s List is now one of those super action stars whose movies we can watch without bothering much about the entertainment factor. There were always Taken, Unknown, The Grey and The A-Team which defined the same. He was one star that we could trust with no doubts, and even the more complicated Chloe turned out to be pretty good. He has been Zeus, he fought the Nazis, secret organizations, terrorists, wolves in different movies and even manage to hold one Victor Hugo classic on his shoulder, now how can one doubt him? We never did, which is why we chose this one over Maleficent. Julianne Moore comes up with a character who helps our protagonist, but not without creating that needed shadow of doubt which follows her, and she has carried it with her not lacking in what is needed. Michelle Dockery has smaller, but quite important role as the air hostess, and happens to be the most beautiful person on that dangerous flight. These are actually the three people who we mostly notice, and talking about the villains who come out as a surprise would be a crime.

Soul exploration :: When we were there to watch the movie, it was going to be cancelled, with not enough audience for a show to run, which is eight according to them. But thankfully, some people who couldn’t get the tickets for another movie (Bangalore Days) did save the day, and it is thus evident that one movie helps the other, like the Malayalam movie Drishyam helped three movies in our local theatre during its run, Our Indian Pranayakatha, 1983 and London Bridge. Supported by the hopes of scoring at the expense of another movie, Non-Stop could have done much better with an earlier release, as it asks the viewers questions about how safe they are, and how true can the assurances of the government be. We already know how media goes after breaking news twisting the facts, and how the appearances can be deceiving no matter how close a view we can manage to get, and a further display of the same also comes with this movie. The questions that the movie asks may feel to be without answers, but I guess that is how it is supposed to be. No matter what changes, there are a few questions that we can never manage to answer, and there something that will never get better.

How it finishes :: Non-Stop won’t do that good here with its horribly late release and in the presence of Bangalore Days which is expected to be good and if it is not, will be hailed so by the fans and the youth; we know how fan-boys and fan-girls work. The challenge from its Hollywood opponent will also be high, especially as it has the power of being new. But it is certain that there will be a lot of people who really want to see Non-Stop and with the face of Liam Neeson on the poster, this should bring a few people in, that’s all. This weekend’s winner in Kerala will surely be Bangalore Days though, and questioning the same would be just madness. There are positive reviews out already, the lowest ones being around average or just above average. Non-Stop is that movie which I had missed, and was sure not to get an opportunity to watch again on the big screen, but I guess I can just be glad that I had this chance out of nowhere. Liam Neeson is made for the big screen, he is that good and I made sure its on th big screen.

Release date: 14th March 2014 (India); 28th February 2014 (US)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Jason Butler Harner, Anson Mount, Lupita Nyong’o, Omar Metwally, Jason Butler Harner, Corey Hawkins, Frank Deal, Shea Whigham, Bar Paly, Jon Abrahams, Quinn McColgan

non-stop copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.