Lake of Death

Vampire Owl: I thought that it was originally the river of death.

Vampire Bat: The river of death has already gone dry.

Vampire Owl: What about the pond of death behind the castle then?

Vampire Bat: That pond is originally something related to life and not death.

Vampire Owl: Yet, it is named the pond of death.

Vampire Bat: So, you feel that this lake might not be about death?

Vampire Owl: There is surely something strange about this movie.

Vampire Bat: This is a Norwegian movie, and the first one of the kind we are watching.

Vampire Owl: Well, the idea does seem to be pretty good when we have look from a distance.

Vampire Bat: The first movie which we watch is often too good, no matter what the language happens to be.

[Gets an orange cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Lillian (Iben Akerlie) had lived the early parts of her life with her brother Bjorn (Patrick Walshe McBride), who had lost his ability to talk in the later stages of his childhood, after former had left him with nobody to take care of, as they were both orphans, The two only had a cabin in the woods for them to live, and Bjorn had lived there beside the lake for most of his life, which Lillian had left the place for the city. Bjorn had no friends in the isolated place, and used to sit near the lake doing nothing for most of his life. One day, she gets the news that her brother had drowned in the same lake, and that was shocking and depressing for her, as it was her who left him behind, deciding not to spend much time with him. Seeing her depressed state, her friends decide to accompany her to the cabin in the woods beside the lake for the last time she is going there, as she intends to sell it, and get rid of her memories forever, moving on with her life in the city.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The four friends include the beautiful Sonja (Sophia Lie) and three men, Gabriel (Jonathan Harboe), Harald ( Elias Munk) and Bernhard (Jakob Schoyen Andersen), who feels that along with helping Lillian in getting rid of her depression and the memories of the cabin, they can also have some fun in the woods, as they had heard about the beautiful lake and the lovely setting of the cabin. They reach the place and meet Kai (Ulric von der Esch), Lillian’s former lover and friend, a local guy who arranges everything for her. Sonja is quick to turn into the party mood and get into her bikini for the much needed cooling time in the lake, but with people seemingly pulled down under water and the dog going missing, something is wrong, and spoils the holiday mood for all of them. They also find breakfast already there when they wake up, and Lillian has some strange visions, as she begind sleepwalking. The five of them begin to doubt each other as well as another presence which they wonder whether is supernatural in nature.

The defence of Lake of Death :: The movie has a beautiful setting indeed, and the advantage of having such a cabin in the woods setting is that along with that natural beauty which we see at almost every point, we can also find the scope for the creepy effects, for the lake itself has a well-known history of violence happening around it as well as the cabin. There are also some fine scares to go with, and we are left with what is to happen next, even though in the beginning, the horror is not really that direct. The feeling is always there, as horror is present with creepiness wherever you look at it. We do have a few final moments under the lake, and it is beautifully shot, with the protagonist moving underneath like a fish or rather a mermaid, escaping the evil – a site to behold, just like the beauty of nature surely requiring a nymph or a wood elf of its own. There are some other interesting moments of terror which had come earlier – those which we remember include the protagonist sleepwalking through the room, her trying to get away from the bathtub, her awakening beside the lake, as well as the way she looks at other on different occasions.

The claws of flaw :: This is indeed a slow moving movie, and the lack of pace can be seen from the beginning itself. There is some inconsistency in the characters too, except for the two girls who remain the same, and they are well-defined. It does go into the usual traps, with elements which we have seen in other movies, and even those things which didn’t work in those films either. The cliches are indeed there, and most of them work as red herrings, as we move away from what we should focus on, but that too, when it comes in the end, fades away too easily – it could have been longer, especially the moments under the lake which are beautiful, but are over as we begin to get a touch of the same. The movie could have actually been more like The Cabin in the Woods, one of the best horror movies of all-time, which didn’t really get a screen in the malls around here. This Norwegian movie, for some reason, decides not to be that, or even Evil Dead – the scope was really there, as elements of old horror sneaks in so well around here.

Performers of the soul :: The movie’s spirit is entangled into Iben Akerlie who actually becomes a reflection of the atmosphere itself, and she perfectly fits into the role and setting with ease. There is something about her at all times, and we are drawn to the way she looks and acts throughout the movie, like that fairy-tale nymph who reached the world of humans all of a sudden. The way she looks at everything, from the cabin and the woods to people, as well as her simple actions give us a feeling that she is not of this world. She nicely blends into that strange girl whom nobody can easily figure out. Patrick Walshe McBride’s brotherly figure is even more weird, but we don’t really see much of him around here. Then, it is Sophia Lie who has our attention as one of those characters who are better defined than the others. As the only other female character in the movie, she is the one whom we can consider to be the sane one among the other unpredictable ones. The other actors do just the usual in a horror movie as we look at them.

How it finishes :: Lake of Death, the first Norwegian movie which I have watched, has managed to be an interesting horror movie, even though moving on at quite slow pace from the beginning itself. This could have actually worked better as a usual horror movie with this kind of an atmosphere without complicating things too much or lowering the pace rather too much. We could have had the feeling of terror always being there directly rather than bringing them in the form of strange events which don’t seem to be that much dangerous, or through those hallucinations which makes us feel not to be considered serious. Yet, this can begin your movie watching procedure in style as far as Norwegian movies are concerned, because a horror flick with such a setting is always the best option to begin with. You can go through this world of creepiness, beauty and fear, all mingled into one, and then follow up with more Norwegian horror at some other point. After all, horror is the most real thing that you can ever experience in life.

Release date: 1st November 2019
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Nini Bull Robsahm
Starring: Patrick Walshe McBride, Ulric von der Esch, Iben Akerlie, Sophia Lie, Elias Munk, Jonathan Harboe, Jakob Schoyen Andersen

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Kidnapping Stella

Vampire Owl: So, these people have made a movie about just one kidnapping?

Vampire Bat: You are saying that one won’t be enough?

Vampire Owl: No, I am saying that it can be like a vampire movie made out of one blood-sucking event, which won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: It is a remake of the 2009 British thriller movie, The Disappearance of Alice Creed.

Vampire Owl: Okay, the one starring Gemma Arterton, the lady vampire from Byzantium.

Vampire Bat: The whole vampire team is indebted to her for the work in that movie.

Vampire Owl: It is my second favourite vampire movie after Interview with the Vampire.

Vampire Bat: If you add Let Me In, it could go to the third spot.

Vampire Owl: Do you realize that you haven’t reviewed a full-length German movie yet?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but there has been a short-film which left enough for us to think about.

[Gets an vancho cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: There is some big preparation going on with the two former convicts named Vic (Clemens Schick) and Tom (Max von der Groeben) getting something ready inside a building, just before they get prepared to commit some crime. Stella (Jella Haase), the only child of a wealthy businessman is their target, as they hope to become rich with the money of her father. This act and the resulting ransom is supposed to make sure that they won’t have to go to work for a long time. For this, they come up with some very careful planning, and leave no chance for them to escape, as they undress her and keeps her in a red tracksuit, blindfold her, tie her to a bed, and keeps her in a soundproof room, with no chance for her to even move more than al ittle. To conceal their identities, the two also wear masks while talking to her. There is a certain amount of risk involved with her knowing their identities, because she is pregnant with Tom’s child, as they were in love some time ago.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Stella tries hard to escape from her bondage, but there is no positive result for those attempts, as far as she is concerned. Tom does have a soft corner for her as he comes to know that she is pregnant only at a later moment when they threaten to cut off one of her fingers in front of the camera, while making a video which is to be shown to her father so that he would finally agree to give the ransom money to them. But the problem here is that during one of those vulnerable moments, she finds out that one of the kidnappers is Tom, and almost manages to overpower him to get hold of the gun. But Tom handles that situation as well as a few others which follow. Soon, Vic starts to have some doubts about Tom and Stella, as he is no longer the person whom he met in the prison – he is not sure if Tom can be trusted either. Now, it is to be seen how the two manage to keep the situation going. Can they get the money, or will the girl end up being dead? What will be the priority for Tom now, as he knows that she is pregnant with his child?

The defence of Kidnapping Stella :: You will notice that Kidnapping Stella, just like The Disappearance of Alice Creed and its earlier remake Reckless, doesn’t waste its time in getting into action. There are a few minutes when nobody talks about anything, and then we are quickly into the action when the girl is kidnapped and tied up without any chance to escape even from the bed where she is tied up. We do not have any subplot to take the focus away from the main thing, and even though there is a possibility of some flashback, we never really go towards it. You do have some twists, even though not used to the full effectiveness. A kidnapping scenario is also shown without any pretensions, and without showing it as someone who is locked in a random room giving them an easy journey throughout the abduction. The kidnapping programme is quite a solid one, and even though becoming only the third version of the same tale, you have to appreciate them doing this situation well enough here along with maintaining the thrills.

The claws of flaw :: If you have watched The Disappearance of Alice Creed or its Dutch remake, there is nothing much that you can find here to keep you interested, because you have seen all these in more critically appreciated movies, and the performers who have gained better applause not just in one film, but also many others. This movie also doesn’t seem to have gathered that much of an attention or appreciation as those movies which released much earlier. This one is also quite slow at parts, and for a movie which doesn’t have that much of a run-time, it is definitely a strange thing, no matter how you look at it. The movie could have used some more intense moments to make things feel better. As most of the movie is set within a small area, there was scope to bring more. When you have a film with kidnap as the main thing or rather the only thing, you would expect that something else would be there to be taken. There is always the chance for improvement as far as remakes are concerned, but we doubt if that chance was even thought about here.

Performers of the soul :: One cannot deny the fact that this movie misses someone like Gemma Arterton who has been one class actress in different roles, the best of them that we remember being Byzantium, the highly underrated and under-watched vampire movie coming from the director of the highly appreciated Interview with the Vampire. We can only guess that it would have been a fantastic performance. Jella Haase is pretty much okay as the kidnapped girl, but she doesn’t seem to raise that bar that much. The two kidnappers are actually very good though, and Clemens Schick as Vic, the tougher one comes up with a work that will make us attached to the situation here. Max von der Groeben as Tom, the guy who is caught between two sides also have our attention – he wants to do more than one thing, as there is the need to save his former lover and their unborn baby along with getting all that money from her father. There is no other character here, and these three makes the performers list fully.

How it finishes :: The movie originates from The Disappearance of Alice Creed, a 2009 British movie, which also had another remake in the form a Dutch movie named Reckless. From the reviews which we have read about this version here might be the film with the lowest rating, while the other two movies seem to be quite ahead. But for most of us who haven’t watched those two movies because we never really had much of an experience with Dutch movies and as the British movie was released a long time ago, Kidnapping Stella is going to be an interesting experience. There are enough thrills around there, and it surely feels more than the usual hostage movie. Matching The Disappearance of Alice Creed was always going to be a tough task, as it had Gemma Arterton who has been in all kinds of movies with all the glory, a performer who is difficult to match. You are free to watch all the three versions in different European languages and decide the best for yourself if you feel the need to disagree. Otherwise, you can just enjoy this newer version.

Release date: 12th July 2019
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Thomas Sieben
Starring: Clemens Schick, Jella Haase, Max von der Groeben

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June

What is the movie about? :: June Sarah Joy (Rajisha Vijayan) considers herself to be an ordinary girl with no special talents, which is the reason why she is upset that most of the other students who join her class are able to do so much more. Her parents (Joju George and Aswathi Menon) care very much about her as she is their only child. Noel (Sarjano Khalid) is her newfound best friend who is elevated to the level of her boyfriend. They get to connect well with each other as they are both considered to be lagging with their talents. As time progresses, she is able to make new friends, and her Plus Two batch of 2007 is finally able to become a batch to remember not just for the students, but also to the teachers. But at the same time, when her parents find out about Noel, she decided to end their relationship. She joins a nearby college while he travels to Mumbai to stay with his parents and to continue his studies.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The best friends go in their own ways, and June is left with the memories of Noel. She goes through her college days without much of an enthusiasm as she is still caught in her life in Plus Two. After completing her degree, she decides to go for an interview in Mumbai and meet Noel at the same time. She stays with her Plus Two classmate Abhirami a.k.a. Mottachi (Vaishnavi Venugopal) who is also working there, and finds Noel to begin the next phase of their relationship. But things are not that easy as she thought they would be. She has to deal with his family as well as hers, and at the same time, maintain her own independence. About their life, what Noel thinks might not be the same either. So, the question remains about what awaits her in the rest of her life.

The defence of June :: The strength of June lies not just in the performances lead by the female lead, but also in the memories that it creates. It takes us back to the school days, and even though it is not an exact reflection of the memories as it was recreated in Om Shanti Oshana, this one is surely an effective one, thanks to a better performance from the female lead in comparison to that older version. The movie is also a clean entertainer for the family audience, with nothing that makes them doubt about their plan to watch the movie – keeping it so, and at the same time, funny would have been a difficult job, but is done with skill. The climax and the final scenes are beautifully done too, and it talks not just of love, but of nostalgia and friendship that comes back after a long time. The music is nice, and suits the mood of the movie. The songs come too often, but they are nice to hear.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s idea to skip the college days completely is one strong negative point on this movie – the second half could have used some of that too, and in that case, being a coming-of-age story in the lines of Premam and Om Shanti Oshana, this one has a little missing part. There is no life that serves as a coming-of-age story without the college days, because it doesn’t matter who denies the same, there is something about those moments all the time. It is where bildungsroman struggles. The movie is also a little bit too long, which is why one can feel certain drag with the romance. There was surely more scope to make this one better. It has to be noted that not everything in the movie brings the memories of school days, and not all jokes serve to be that effective. But as the industry is once again becoming hesitant to experiment, June is surely one another welcome move.

The performers of the soul :: Rajisha Vijayan who won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in her debut film Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, which was also her first movie, once again makes an impression, as we had expected from the trailer. Georgettan’s Pooram and Oru Cinemakkaran never really gave her any challenge as movies which kept at a certain level, never trying to rise or give its female protagonists opportunity to do much. She takes over the protagonist, and has the sixteen year old going through to the next ten years of her life, even though three years at college are absent. The moments during the Plus Two time period are done with amazing skill, and the latter moments are not far behind, and they seemed to come naturally to her. With the whole movie completely dependent on her performance, she makes sure that she comes up with only the best.

Further performers of the soul :: Along with Rajisha, there are others to add to this one very well. Joju George gets another fine role after Joseph, unlike the insignificant one he had to do in Lonappante Mamodeesa. He nicely gets into the father role here, and has some funny as well as touching moments to go with it. Aswathi Menon who is best known for Sathyam Sivam Sundaram and its highly popular song “Walking in the moonlight” has the mother role here, and she makes it a good one. Sarjano Khalid, the debutante who plays a male lead does well, as if he’s been there before. Arjun Ashokan has also done a good job, especially in the second half. Among the actors and actresses who plays the protagonist’s friends, it is Vaishnavi Venugopal who shines the most. That should be among the most natural performances not by a main or secondary heroine, in a long time. The other newcomers are also good talents, as we can see here.

How it finishes :: Releasing at the same time as Oru Adaar Love released, this one uses less hype and more quality to be assured of a more solid run. After Aadu 2, Vijay Babu becomes the producer again here, and we expected a performance to remember from Rajisha Vijayan – it is the same that we get here. This one stays close to life and memories, along with being another feel-good movie which touches our hearts after Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, Njan Prakashan and Ente Ummante Peru. June is also one movie which does so much justice to the trailer, as it is more or less the same thing that we watched earlier and expected. Even though Kumbalangi Nights and 9 are there, this movie should take over some of the presence of the latter, and keep going, because the movie is many different things to different people.

Release date: 15th February 2019
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Ahammed Kabir
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Joju George, Sarjano Khalid, Aswathi Menon, Vaishnavi Venugopal, Nayana Eliza, Arjun Ashokan, Sanju KS, Akhil Manoj, Harisankar, Sruthy Suresh, Margret Antony, Raveena Nair, Aju Varghese (cameo), Sunny Wayne (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Maradona

What is the movie about? :: Maradona (Tovino Thomas) is a young man who finds some illegal ways of getting easy money every time, and for his support, there is his childhood friend Sudhi (Tito Wilson). Breaking law came easy to them, and they did the same without any regret. Both gets in trouble as they end up in a dangerous situation involving a lawyer as well as a rich politician. The influential people are looking for revenge on the young men, and it sets Martin (Chemban Vinod Jose) and his aid Anto (Kichu Tellus) are after them. They search for Maradona and his friend throughout Kerala, and follows the trail to the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. While Sudhi travels to Kanyakumari with a journey to the South, Maradona seeks refuge in the flat of his distant relative at Bangalore. Martin searches and finds the links getting close to finding both of them at different points.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Maradona is not happy with his stay, but he has nowhere to go. The result is that he finds his own moments of happiness in the flat. Soon, he finds new friends in the nearby homes including a girl who works as a home nurse at the adjacent flat, Asha (Sharanya R Nair). The relationship goes further, as both can’t help falling in love with each other. But with the people chasing him getting closer, Maradona will have think about more than just love to make something good out of life. Is there a chance for a happy ending for Maradona? What can satisfy the people who are chasing him? Hope might be the thing with wings, but is Maradona good enough to have some? How much more trouble can he take after being injured in a clash?

The defence of Maradona :: The movie’s game is that of life, and the man named after the great footballer needs to score his goals – life is a tough game, and we can see the same reflected without exaggeration here. The visuals are nicely captured, and the songs are lovely to listen here. The “Kaadhale” song along with its visuals are nothing less than the bliss of solitude, as Wordsworth would compare. The thrills are present with a chase going on right from the beginning. The action scenes are good, and as a movie with more, we see the drama and the romantic scenes working very well too. Above them all, we see the gradual transformation of the character as he goes through the situations which he hasn’t been familiar with. It is a coming of age story in a different way, and there is nothing here that restricts the movie’s slow, but steady movement towards the same.

The claws of flaw :: The movie feels a little bit stretched with its idea, and even then, a flashback to the flawed hero is not that much there. The title Maradona might have mislead many people, but there is absolutely no presence of football in this one; it is just that people kicking others are present all the time. There is also more scope for Maradona, not just with its thrills and action, but also with the cute romantic side – more of the comic side could have made the presence felt right there. The ending might seem a little bit too far-fetched for a movie like this, and it is more or less an attempt to quickly move towards a happy ending loved by the audience, something which Mayaanadhi never really tried to achieve. Dealing with a certain divergence, this one could have thrived on it, but takes a step back as it moves towards the end – there is no doubt of the same being enjoyable though.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino once again scores as the flawed hero – the question here once again whether his flaws lead to his fall or can he rise above it? There are similarities to his character in Mayaanadhi, but clearly, this role is tougher, and there is no asking for sympathy – all actions of this particular character are intentional, and most of them are not good even for the standards of the typically bad hero. The movie celebrates his deeds, whether good or bad, and it is on his character that the movie progresses. We also see the gradual change that come across the character – it is also nicely shown by him. We have the character that is close to life, and we never doubt the flawed hero’s reality that is displayed here, no matter how much it stays away from the usual heroic stuff.

Further performers of the soul :: Chemban Vinod Jose as strong as he has always been, playing an antagonist without backing down at any moment. He has his own moments here too, showing more than one side of the character. Tito Wilson with the Angamaly Diaries fame excels once again, and his supporting role is once again natural and realistic. Sharanya R Nair is the new face in this flick, and this addition to the list of heroines nicely makes her presence felt. All her work here is nicely balanced, and we are glad to welcome her into the industry, being confident that there is a lot more for her to contribute. Leona Lishoy also makes her presence felt with her supporting work again. The cuteness factor does help, but it is not restricted to that, and we see her going through the different emotions at various points of time without any problem that a newcomer would be exhibiting, and all’s just natural.

How it finishes :: There is something about the movie chosen by Tovino Thomas, for they bring the difference almost every time. Maradona also shows such qualities, with the seemingly usual characters and usual tale choosing to go through a divergent path, with quite a different treatment. This one might not be the movie for everyone, but just like Tharangam, it chooses to make something more out of what seems to be a usual story. In a monotonous world, there are only a few movies which try to experiment with its content, covering the possibility of predictability so well – Maradona will be remembered as one of those movies. With some moments which can stay in our minds for long, this one will continue to be the one movie which will go on into the Onam vacations despite nature having its own way with the never-ending rainfall.

Here is a video song from the movie:

Release date: 27th July 2018
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Vishnu Narayan
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Chemban Vinod Jose, Tito Wilson, Sharanya R Nair, Leona Lishoy, Shalu Rahim, Kichu Tellus, Parthavi, Niranjan Harish, Hari Thampuran, Nistar Ahmed, Jins Baskar

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Kamuki

What is the movie about? :: Achaama (Aparna Balamurali) was born to a school teacher Varghese (Baiju) in a auto rickshaw, and continued to be a headache for her parents from childhood to youth. But her elder sister proves to be a hard working girl who stands on her own feet at an early age, but causes trouble for her parents when she marries someone against their will. Achaama decides to be an obedient girl for some time, but soon chooses against it as she joins MSW at Sree Shankara College, Kalady. Her idea of MSW is to have full fun as she considers it to be an easy course with much less to study, and joining Achaama is her childhood friend Jeena (Kavya Suresh) who hopes to go abroad and earn some extra money, working with some NGOs after this course.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: At the college, Achaama meets Harikrishnan (Askar Ali), a blind student who is her senior. Harikrishnan has been working hard to overcome his problems to do academically better than most of the other students around, who are there only for having some fun. Even though she doesn’t realize it in the beginning, she is attracted to the person who manages to go on with his life without any complaints, and never stepping back. Despite making that promise to her father that she won’t marry against his wishes, she finds that determination under threat. But can the love story of Achaama and Harikrishnan have a happy ending, considering their differences and all the other factors which seem to be good enough to finish the relationship before it even begins?

The defence of Kamuki :: In the medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer’s work The Canterbury Tales, The Merchant’s Tale section, the proverb that love is blind was found – it becomes further direct with this movie, as the protagonist himself is blind. The dialogues about Deepika Padukone, new generation MSW students and blindness are perfectly hitting the right spot, even though they are somewhat not used according to the situations. It is Aparna Balamurali who rises above the limitations of this movie, and the flick uses her skills to make sure that this becomes entertaining in one way or the other, as it struggles with its story which doesn’t have much in there. There is the message about rising above your disabilities and problems with a positive attitude towards life, to make the impossible possible, but the same could have shown in a better and more effective manner too. Yes, some of the comedy can be termed good enough and the music is pretty good.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is like an unstable thing which keeps showing the signs of falling apart all the time – there is no real direction, and we can never see an attempt to keep things together. The whole movie is spread in all directions, and we are often confused about where it is headed with that love story which gets more added, making the mixture look confusing. The love story in this movie itself seems half-baked, and that never really becomes strong enough to justify the title. The final moments seem to be forced to make things better, but we never get it in full strength or in a believable manner. The dramatic side is weak, because after some time, we just stop caring for the main characters. There needed some better effort in dealing with this kind of things, and we see no signs of things getting any better at any stage, as the path chosen is ordinary.

The performers of the soul :: Aparna Balamurali is indeed the one who saves this movie from drowning, when there were many chances of the same. Whenever the movie struggles, there is something from her that keeps it floating just above trouble. This one never really gets near her role in Maheshinte Prathikaaram, or even the work in Oru Muthassi Gada, but one can only blame the movie’s lack of stability for the same. Whether it was in Sunday Holiday, Sarvopari Palakkaran or Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, she has been doing a good job with her characters. Well, even with movies that refuse to rise, she gets them to do better than they are, and it is the skill that she possesses better than any other actress in Malayalam movie industry. This movie can also thank her for the same.

Further performers of the soul :: As it is said above, and just as it is expected, this one is more of the Aparna Balamurali movie, as Om Shanti Oshana was Nazriya Nazim movie. Askar Ali has his moments here and there, but never really leaves much for the viewers. Kavya Suresh has her own moments too, as the supporting cast did for Nazriya in Om Shanti Oshana – she looks nicely suitable for this role. Rony David who is best known for his role in Aanandam, once again leaves a mark. Baiju’s role is as funny as one would expect from a father character with daughter problems and high expectations. Pradeep Kottayam has some comedy to go with it. We can also find some okay performances from some lesser known actors who play those characters which come and go without contributing that much to the story.

How it finishes :: We can see that Kamuki tries to be different in love, but this particular divergence here is never really believable or interesting except in moments. There was a certain amount of hype about this movie, and the trailer was quite interesting – we just can’t see that level being reflected in the flick, and that is a shame. You can watch this one for Aparna Balamurali though, as she keeps saving the day again and again. We have had movies like Aravindante Athidhikal which dealt with a simple thing on one side, and there was Uncle on the other side which dealt with the complicated on the other side – then we have the movies like Kamuki which won’t fit in both categories. Kamuki could have been something better, and as it is now, it is almost there, becoming an okay watch for these holidays.

Release date: 11th May 2018
Running time:122 minutes
Directed by: Binu S
Starring: Askar Ali, Aparna Balamurali, Rony David, Kavya Suresh, Pradeep Kottayam, Baiju, Rosin Jolly, Ullas Pandalam

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hey Jude

What is the movie about? :: Dominique Rodriguez (Siddique) and Mariya Rodriguez (Neena Kurup), are living a pretty good life with their children Jude Rodriguez (Nivin Pauly) and Andrea Rodriguez (Apoorva Bose) at Fort Cochin. They trace their lineage a long way back, as one of the most respectable Anglo-Indian families at the place. Dominique runs an antique shop nearby, and his skills in doing business depends on his ability to lie so well that he makes a usual thing a symbol of Dravidian world or the last piece of a part of Indian heritage that is not found anywhere else in the country – he sells them at high prices to unsuspecting foreigners who have a strange fascination for the orient, the fine pearls of the East, especially of India. But his son Jude is just the opposite, never able to lie, but more intelligent than anyone else around; at the same time, he completely lacks in any kind of social skill.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Jude has no friends in the city, and his co-workers make sure that he gets fired from his job at a hardware company. He spends his time collecting pictures of different aquatic animals – he has all the information about ocean’s creatures, and loves clown fish, jelly fish and gold fish and his dream is about owning a big aquarium one day. While his parents are worried about his future, his sister finds no hope in him, as he wishes to have food at the exact same time every day, and eats only the same food items all the time. He has a list for almost everything in his life, and talks to his video camera about each day about his thoughts. Twenty eight years old and being different from everyone around him, he has a tough time going through each and every day of his life. But he is not ready to accompany his father with the work.

And what follows next in the adventure? :: When Dominique has to travel to Goa to attend a funeral, things change. He has to take Jude and Mariya with him on the journey, leaving Andrea in charge of the antique shop. There, it turns out that Dominique and Jude have inherited everything which was owned by the dead person who had special love for the distant relatives. Now, the problem that Domique faces in selling the newly acquired property and traveling back to Cochin is Sebastian Chakraparambu (Vijay Menon) who lives with his daughter Crystal Ann Chakraparambu (Trisha Krishnan) in the outhouse which cannot be cleared as the building was rented for a period of five years. Dominique comes up with some plans to get rid of the new neighbours, but nothing works. At the same time, Jude and Crystal become good friends, but both have their own troubles in facing life.

The defence of Hey Jude :: From the first moments itself, you are sure that this is that kind of a light-hearted entertainer with messages for life, which will be developing slowly and steadily as the movie progresses. Hey Jude can be considered as the simplest and the most entertaining movie from the director who has known to provide us with strong philosophical side to ponder about. The humour is a clear winner in this movie, as it keeps dropping in all the time. All the characters in this movie are funny in one way or the other, and things never go out of control to bring a possible dark side. The funny side has us more and more interested in the proceedings, and with the grand visuals of Goa, all becomes good for this movie. The music is pretty good, and as it has been talked about, this is a lovely tale of love, self-discovery, healing and transformation. It gets into the list of inspirational movies which have made the big impact in the industry – we see the support for people to be who they want to be.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is kind of longer than one would have wanted it to be. Then, those who wanted Shyamaprasad to go into those deeper human emotions and situations are going to feel the need for more. One can feel that there has been the effort to make things a little too simple – it was surely not needed considering how far our audience could evolve from the time the first movie of the same director released. The movie could have also ended smarter and without a quick full stop. If you don’t like movies like North 24 Kaatham and Mili, and are unable to connect to the protagonists of those movie, you would have the same trouble here – well, some so called perfect people will always have problems with these kinds of characters, as they jump right out of the firmament with stored thunder in mouth; this one is not for that kind of people born with silver spoons and even golden forks in their mouths.

The performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly surely has the most divergent as well as different character that he has had to play in his whole career, and he could manage the same with great skill. Meanwhile, Trisha makes her Malayalam debut here, and she does that with ease – it is surely surprising that it took her such a long time to be here, but as she is here, it is all good. Well, she has played a Malayali girl in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, making this not the first instance of being part of such a character. Siddique plays the father figure again, as we see him at his best just after watching him in Aadhi in the role of a responsible father – this one is actually more challenging, and his work is light-hearted as well as interesting. Neena Kurup is there throughout as the mother figure, and it is nice to see Apoorva Bose back in action; she was being missed. Vijay Menon plays a funny as well as powerful character present throughout the flick. Aju Varghese has a nice, funny cameo to his credit.

How it finishes :: Shyamaprasad is the one director whom we know the most for adapting the American classic expressionist play, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams for the Malayalam audience, and doing that with such skill, that Mahatma Gandhi University has included it in the paper, Comparative Literature for the final semester BA English students. Arike, which signified the exact opposite meaning to Akale, was another beautiful flick with its quest for love. Ivide with its quest for identity and reflecting rootlessness, was also with philosophical undercurrents. But Hey Jude is rather direct in all that it reflects on the screen, and it can be considered as the most light-hearted as well as the funniest movie from the director with messages to go with it. If you liked movies like North 24 Kaatham and Mili, I don’t see why you won’t watch this one with family.

Release date: 2nd February 2018
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Shyamaprasad
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Trisha Krishnan, Siddique, Neena Kurup, Vijay Menon, Apoorva Bose, Aju Varghese (cameo), Shyamaprasad (cameo)

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mooniloraal

Vampire Owl: But there are only two of us.

Vampire Bat: When we are there, the presence of four can be seen.

Vampire Owl: I don’t understand. How can there be four when we are only two people?

Vampire Bat: You need to count the guardian angel too.

Vampire Owl: Doesn’t that make the total as three?

Vampire Bat: No, my guardian angel and yours. It makes a total of four.

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that vampires also have guardian angels? It is never mentioned in the books at the great vampire libraries?

Vampire Bat: Yes, guardian angels are provided without discrimination.

Vampire Owl: Is it a new guardian angel or is it the same as we had before we died and became undead?

Vampire Bat: You are surely angelophobic. The fear for angels is quite common in the case of owlish vampires.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: The three are best friends – Sam (Don James), Jithu (Steve Antony) and the more philosophical of them, Vishnu (Johns Mathew) who is living with the realization that change is necessary, and will happen, as they ponder about their life at Winnipeg in Canada, far away from home. It is a friendship which has been going on for a long time, and is what they consider is forever. Sam and Vishnu meet a restaurant over a cup of coffee, after which they go on a ride in former’s car who tells his friend that their destination is a place where he hasn’t gone, but needs to go at some point. The road through which the car goes is something of scenic beauty, and they enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way, and Vishnu is interested in the surprise which is in store for him in between the busy and rather too modern life they are living.

So, what happens next? :: Their families need them to come back home leaving their life away from home and settle down at their hometown, but they have settled down rather too much to make their return. On their way, their car meets with an accident, but there seems to be no big problem after the collision. At the same time, Vishnu gets a call from Jithu talking about the death of Sam which had just happened in a car accident. This leaves Vishnu confused about the person who is with him in the car and their destination. A rather weird and frightening feeling comes up right from within him. He then shouts to get the car stopped and runs away only to reach a cemetery which has only fallen leaves and tombstones to give company. So, is it true that Sam had died in a car crash? If it is so, who is the one with him? Which kind of demons or spirits are Vishnu hiding from? What is the thing with being at a cemetery far away from the city?

Soul exploration 1: A case of reality and illusion :: Coming up with the tagline “The Strangest Imagination is Reality”, the movie exactly about the same, bringing a mystery in which one is doubtful about what is reality and what an illusion would be. Along with the illusions spread by media and fake news, we also have our own personal illusions which come back to us depending on the situations – on some cases, it is even bigger. The line between reality and imagination is so thin in so many cases that illusions tend to take over. We ourselves have had such feelings more than once, but we are hesitant to talk further about it in fear of the world. We live in that kind of a world where logic gets a better spot compared to imagination and creativity; money gets more value than values – it is a world which is closer to chaos than order, even if it pretends to hold on to the latter.

Soul exploration 2: Friendship and alienation in a land far away :: It feels strange being away from your roots, and even if it is to another city just a few hundred kilometres away, there is that feeling to get back home – the nostalgia and homesickness are things that humans usually can’t live without. It makes people do stranger things, and despite denying the same, there is that feeling about our own lands that come back – unless you are orcs forced to leave your world like in Warcraft, or humans looking for hope in new planets like in the case of Pandorum and Passengers. You have seen similar complications in the underrated Ivide too. In a land a long way away from home, it is friendship that matters the most, and here we have three of them, and their friendship which has something strangely working within – it is what becomes nicely solved by the end. Alienation in an alien land is another level, when you look at it.

How it finishes :: Not to be confused with the 2006 movie Moonnamathoral, Mooniloraal is a short-film which keeps you wondering about what is to happen next. It is the perfect example of another short-film which is smarter than a good number of those full-length movies which have been arriving in the theatres with the labels of being thrillers. Malayalam short-films are coming up with more ideas these days, and Mooniloraal is the reflection of something that has even enough to be made into a full-length movie, as we notice the friendship, thrills and twists maintained in the right balance bringing the clarity between the two, but certainly not radically ending the cycle – it is fittingly established that there are a few things that will never end. Mooniloraal from Triune Productions is the kind of movie that brings the twists nicely, but not without leaving clues – the final twist brings things together, and we once again understand that there is more than what meets the eye.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: This is why I told you that I am not going to the lands of the dark elves even if it is on a diplomatic mission.

Vampire Bat: Dark Elves play no role in such cases.

Vampire Owl: Dark Elves use dark magic to cause disruptions in the bridge connecting life and death, leaving some souls trapped in between. It is a crime.

Vampire Bat: But how is it related to this short-film?

Vampire Owl: Didn’t you see the supernatural forces affecting even technology? It is something which only the Dark Elves can do, joining magic with science.

Vampire Bat: You don’t have any proof for that. The other world always finds a way.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but when they are aided by Dark Elves, it is easier. As the Wood Elves, or the High Elves – they will tell you the stories.

Vampire Bat: There is caste-related violence going on between the three groups of elves – do you think that any of them will tell you the truth about the other?

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that they are no more united against the joint forces of orcs and goblins?

Vampire Bat: Well, you need to read The Great Vampire Imperial Times at some point. These days, they even have a special offer for free coffins.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 25th January 2017
Running time: 19 minutes
Directed by (DOP): Jessay Gopuran
Starring: Don James, Steve Antony, Johns Mathew, Rosamma Nelson (voice)

Watch the movie Mooniloraal here:

Other recommended short-films from India: Red Jacket, Mangalyam Thanthunanena, Moonnamathe Vazhi, Invisible Actor, Grace Villa, Culprit, Ima, Mrithyumjayam.

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Culprit

Vampire Owl: Do you know that I am a culprit in love?

Vampire Bat: How is that relevant right now?

Vampire Owl: I just wanted to remind you that the word applies to me too.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that your experience cannot match the genre of this short-film.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that you are not finished reviewing short-films?

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why I should ever stop doing that.

Vampire Owl: What about those big movies which have got you most of the hits?

Vampire Bat: They have stopped being something that matter. I am supporting smaller ones right now; they are the future. There is more material in them.

Vampire Owl: You are talking like a true vampire apprentice.

Vampire Bat: I am the first vampire apprentice to write movie reviews. So, my opinion counts more than most of the others in the New Vampire World.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Amal (Akhil Vivek) reaches Mumbai from Cochin to meet Jithu (Danish Ashokan), a friend and an elder brotherly figure. It turns out that he has run away from Kerala after the circumstances which lead to a girl named Ancy Kuriyan Thomas (Dona Shankar) going missing, pointed fingers at him. There hasn’t been much progress in the case which only has him as the sole link to the events, but about which he has no clue. Amal tells Jithu his story, which has his best friend Sooraj (Akash Sheel), and an unknown phone call from a female voice which introduced itself as a girl named Devika Varma. As they get closer, Amal asks for her to meet up with him instead of being the random voice on his phone. But despite her agreeing to meet up at Cherai, later calls him to warn him against calling her again unless he wishes to get in trouble.

So, what happens next? :: As they attempt to investigate on the matter, it leads them to Dr. Shafeeq (Anwar Shereef) on whose name, the sim card is taken. He tells them something about the missing girl in the news, Ancy Kuriyan Thomas, which shocks them. But it turns out that they can’t tell that to anyone else, as it would put the shadow of doubt on them. But the police ends up getting a photo which works against Amal, and puts him directly in trouble from the cops as well as the media. Now, he has come directly to Maharashtra and hopes to solve this confusing problem. Can he do that before time runs out? Who is this Devika Varma and how is she related to the mysterious disappearance of Ancy Kuriyan Thomas? Is there a chance than Ancy might be alive after so many days? Why does all this point to Amal when it seems to be clear that he has nothing to do with the girl named Ancy?

The defence of Culprit :: The suspense that the movie has is pretty much huge, and we enjoy how it is told, and it is twisted, in a positive way. From the first few moments, it is established that we have a thriller in store, and then, after a few minutes of the usual stuff to set up the whole thing, we are taken back to staying on the edge of our seats. One would still feel that the end was too quick, and wonder if the absence of the explanation for some deeds were the need – it still lets us think more, and come up with our own conclusions. The movie is actually longer than most of those usual short-films that you see, and so there is plenty of time for the viewers to get drawn into it. With its half an hour run-time over, we end up wishing for the length to be little more, and that is surely a rare thing. Whenever the movie seems to stray away from its path, there will be something, a moment or a dialogue to bring it back on track, and it has a smooth run all the way.

Soul exploration :: Culprit explores what all are there as more than what meets the eye. It shows a protagonist being clueless against a force which seems to have worked against him right from the beginning. There is a mystery here that needs to be solved, as it threatens his own existence, and he understands it should be done as quickly as possible. What we see here is a crime committed, and the person who does that goes to any end to make sure that he is not convicted; for it is something planned well enough to have more than one escape route – there is not much of friendships here to save the day, as the protagonist can trust nobody. We see the movie slowly and steadily getting hold of things, leading to that wonderful revealing in the end. There are things that the movie doesn’t try to tell, and on everything else, what you see and understand gets the clarity.

How it finishes :: Culprit is a fine example of how the right talent shows itself when there is a chance. On one side, we have those big movies struggling to become interesting thrillers, and even with that high budget and big stars, they fail – but here, we have something small in scale, but strong with the idea, which is presented really well on screen. We get a great quality here, without waiting in the queue or spending that extra money on online booking, along with those increased ticket prices – we just need a few MB of data to get into some nice thrilling moments. Culprit also comes at a time when there have been too many short-films dealing with the great nonsense romance in many absurd ways. A well-made thriller lasting half an hour is something that has the strength to go far, and it is hence proven by this short-film.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: Do you think that such people can exist in our society too?

Vampire Bat: We are an alcohol-free society – so it would be difficult, but evil always finds a way.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that they could come through the portal which Doctor Frankenstein had opened earlier?

Vampire Bat: Mr. Frankenstein can only be the means to evil if we allow him to be.

Vampire Owl: It could be through anyone, someone whom we trust the most.

Vampire Bat: Yes, Evil as a person is a clever manipulator.

Vampire Owl: It could be the Lich Queen, Werewolf Anger, Vampire Kung Fu Panda

Vampire Bat: Why do you keep waiting for evil to come, when there is the chance to embrace goodness?

Vampire Owl: Well, you just can’t see so much evil, and still go with goodness.

Vampire Bat: Goodness is difficult, and evil is easy. It is on this that we wonder, and get inspired to think more about the same.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 9th July 2017
Running time: 31 minutes
Directed by: Jithin S Babu
Starring: Akhil Vivek, Danish Ashokan, Dona Shankar, Akash Sheel, Anwar Shereef, Santhu Bhai

Watch the interesting thriller, Culprit here:

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Role Models

What is the movie about? :: Gautham Shekhar (Fahadh Faasil) is a man who is always concentrating on his work, and is so busy earning money, that the only person whom he regularly speaks to, is the mobile’s assistant app. He wakes up early in the morning and goes through everything according to the schedule. The boss of his company (Dileesh Pothan) is always calling him names in front of his colleagues despite his hardwork, and he lives his life according to calculations, drinking the maximum amount of water and even making sure that he goes to the urinal frequently according to plan. He has no friends and no love, and he is always busy, and when he is not busy, he is just asleep at night. If he ever gets any time to do anything, he dedicates those moments for studying too, and he has special interest in studies regarding astronomy. He has declared himself cent percent against having fun because it is of absolutely no use.

So, what happens next? :: His father and college professor Shekharan (Renji Panicker) is too worried about the same, and therefore contacts his son’s former best friends from college, Rexy Joseph (Sharafudheen) and Jyothish Narayanan (Vinayakan) whom he had himself evicted from the institution to make sure that Gautham wouldn’t be friends with the boys whom he found worthless and making nuisance. The two old friends are not that fond of their former enemy calling them, but decides to have the free alcohol and chooses to help their old friend with whom they had their best moments in life. They are joined by the third person, Shoubahn Khader (Vinay Forrt) who was the fourth member of their gang which used to be called Role Models during their time at the college. The group, along with the mischief making girl Christy (Srinda Ashab) used to create head ache for everyone in the college especially Gautam’s parents who taught there.

And what is to follow with the adventure? :: The three old friends are shocked to see the attitude of their former best friend towards life, as he had changed so much. He seemed to be exactly the opposite of all that he used to be. They try many things to get him back to be the happy and loving person that he used to be, including alcohol, friendship, and even misunderstanding Christy as his lost love from college. But then, they come to know that the real love of Gautham was Shreya Menon (Namitha Pramod), a girl who was more of an all-rounder, present everywhere, but stayed away from becoming a big name. Their search for her lands them in Goa, where she is a changed person. She is happy to see her old friends, but how will they make sure that Gautham can win his love back? Is there any chance for them to have their old friend back in the way that he used to be?

The defence of Role Models :: There are some nice jokes with which the movie begins – it has that kind of a cast with great comic timing, which improves the level, and keep striving for something better in that department. We have them coming quick and steady in the first half, and the trio handling the same never backs down from doing it. “Thechille Penne” song is nice, but you do feel that should have had more relevance in the movie. The movie also has some messages, even though we are not clear which of them needs to get our attention the most. We would figure out that it is more about parenting than any other. It is good to focus on the significance of parents supporting the children in studying what they really want to – almost every time, the father is the culprit, and due to this attitude of the parents and relatives, the youth are transformed into creatures that should just study for scoring high marks, get a good job with big salary and get married to someone rich and of high family value. Well, the movie does end on a good note despite the confusion. A cameo also arrives in the end nicely, but one has to wonder if it was there because there was no other idea available.

The claws of flaw :: Never does Role Models tries to overcome the limitations which it had put on itself, with not thinking much about the story and how it is told with the entertaining elements. The movie just goes on as if it is walking through sleep, as some characters and some incidents are there just for the sake of being there. Fahad’s action scenes were rather useless, and bringing that certain disorder and making it chaos was certainly a real bad idea. If the same was necessary for the makers to do, they could have at least made things more interesting, and presented in a smart manner. The audience often wonders where the movie is actually heading with so many things added as if they are taken from different movies. You feel that with Fahadh Faasil playing a character reminding you of the same in North 24 Kaatham will make things that good, but this one which has its own confusion running through, never becomes something close to that awesome flick which was critically acclaimed. A divergent movie is fair when it uses the divergence to the best effect, the movie makers should have remembered that.

Performers of the soul :: Once again, Fahadh Faasil makes this seem so easy, as he does his character’s both stages with such an ease that we wonder how he is there to make things better for even the least interesting movie. Keeping on rising with Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Take Off, this one will not be another big movie, but his performance is as usual, to be noted; signs were there in that song which became instantly popular. Sharafudheen-Vinayakan-Vinay Forrt combo is also nothing short of a nice call for laughter, and we have them executing the same really well. The friends just makes things so much better. It is also good to see Namitha Pramod back after Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Amar Akbar Anthony – she gets two times of the character’s life here. Srinda has an interesting and funny role too, after Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol and Adventures of Omanakuttan this year. Meanwhile, Renji Panicker is left with not much interesting to do and Suraj is rather wasted in this role.

How it finishes :: It is surprising how close to each other are the three Malayalam movie releases for the Eid holidays, starting from Avarude Raavukal, going through Oru Cinemakkaran and now standing at Role Models. All three of them released on consecutive dates, and are in quality, quite close to each other. They do provide a mixture of genres, and has the comic side as the one fueling everything right from the beginning, and there are twists in store in each of them. Is it a co-incidence that we have all these movies so similar to each other, and those watching it can only give them ratings so close to each other? Well, when Godha, Adventures of Omanakuttan and Achayans had released, all three of them were so different from each other, and we couldn’t consider them to be on the same level. Well, we have regular entertainment in store here for the festival season as Role Models becomes the third movie to release on the third day.

Release date: 25th June 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Rafi
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Namitha Pramod, Vinayakan, Srinda Ashab, Sharafudheen, Rohini, Seetha, Vinay Forrt, Renji Panicker, Suraj Venjarammood, Aswathi Menon, Dileesh Pothan, Siddique, Bibin George, Harisree Ashokan (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Avarude Raavukal

What is the movie about? :: Ashik (Asif Ali) is the popular stage performer in a village on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border who comes to Cochin hoping to work in a movie, after the villagers collect money from their own people to make sure that he gets a chance. Siddharth (Unni Mukundan) is an engineering graduate who is spending his time doing nothing other than to stay at home up-to that extent that his father has to throw him out of the house. Vijay (Vinay Forrt) is an angry young man who was suspended for getting into a fight with another employee in the same company he was working for. Scobo Johnson (Nedumudi Venu) is an old man who is staying alone, and looking for company. Bored and with no plans for future, he comes up with an advertisement calling for bachelors to stay at his place, free of cost – it gets to the three young men who are ready to come right away.

So, what happens next? :: Ashik finds Cochin and the movie world a lot different than what he had thought, and finds problems in even doing the simplest works. He goes to various auditions, but none of them work – he does find a new friend though, in the form of Vinod (Aju Varghese) who is also looking forward to acting in movies, one way or the other. They decide to attend the acting workshop held by Manoj Kuruvila (Mukesh), who is a famous movie director. But even that doesn’t seem to help the two who are more clueless than anything else. Siddharth who does nothing other than staring at girls, even consults Doctor Jayamurugan (Kochu Preman), but his life goes on in the same way until his brother recommends him for a job under Shivani (Honey Rose), which he gets despite performing terribly during the interview. What follows is a terrible mess at the office.

And what follows the events? :: Ashik and Siddharth are not just the ones reaching a higher level of their problems, as Vijay has a bigger issue at hand. His anger issue is more or less the result of something which happened in the past, and his girlfriend Meghna (Milana Pournami) tries to get him out of the same, but with no positive result. Scobo Johnson is the silent witness to all these, and tells them that there are two ways out of it, one the difficult path, and the other, the shortcut. Are the three good enough to get out of the mess that they are in, or is at least Johnson skilled enough to take them through their journeys? Can things finally take a positive twist of events in their lives which haven’t really had much to talk about otherwise? Will their upcoming experiences leave them as better people than who they already are? Only time will tell.

The defence of Avarude Raavukal :: Vinay Forrt successfully leads the group of young men here towards their objectives, as motivation runs right through this one with inspirational dialogues, and featuring the rise of unexpected tales of success; emotional side is strong here. The movie asks its viewers to keep trying, as the fish does; it provides this message without missing its plot, and the direction that it shows is the right one for the new generation. The presence of movies like Mili, Aby, My God and Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam has proved the same, but Avarude Raavukal is more the common person’s story than the rest. There is also the presence of some nice humour in between. There is also some beautiful music in this flick, beginning from “Ethetho Swapnamo” and through “Vaadaathe Veezhathe”, both bringing different but nice feeling. The feel-good effect stays, and despite the certain delay in the movie’s arrival and the morning shows canceled, we are glad to have this movie working and going well enough to provide enough motivation.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t go that close to perfection as the director’s earlier combined venture, Philips and the Monkey Pen, and what we expected was surely more. There are certain ups and downs in between for sure, even as everything seems to have kept at a certain level as much as possible. There are some occasions when we wonder if these things, which do look more and more possible, can ever be solved by the protagonists. The inspirational story is also not something new, and the old man is also a rather strange character, whose twist in the end is even stranger; this one could have just gone simpler and close to life towards the end. Even in the beginning, the movie had taken some time to get going. The cameo roles in the end by Shine Tom Chacko, Sunny Wayne and Sanju Sivram were rather unnecessary too, and the same can be said about a cricket match when it could have been just the engineering classes. You will find the weird and missing sides of the plot, but you can avoid them as they are not that significant.

Performers of the soul :: Asif Ali who is coming out of the late, but sure success of Adventures of Omanakkuttan has done a fine job with a character which had quite something to perform out there. Unni Mukundan comes out of the dismal movie which was Achayans, and makes good use of what was a rather easy job for him. Vinay Forrt had a little less to work with in Georgettan’s Pooram brings the best of them all – his story remains the most interesting one in the whole movie, and he is the backbone of the flick. Aju Varghese should be powered by the grand success of Godha, and does a pretty good job when he is there. Honey Rose who was last seen in My God which was an under-appreciated movie, makes a comeback after two years – not much to do, but good to see her back. Milana works through limited expressions in this one. Nedumudi Venu has some nice dialogues which prove inspirational, and forms the pillars of the movie’s progress.

How it finishes :: It has been a long time since a Malayalam movie with an interesting and long list of star cast released, and being the first movie to release for the Eid holidays, Avarude Raavukal surely has an early advantage among the others which are to follow. Shanil Mohammed, who had earlier directed Philips and the Monkey Pen with Rojin Thomas has his first solo outing here. The flick had won Kerala State Film Award for Best Children’s Movie and Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist for Sanoop Santhosh. This one might not create that much of an impact, and has a lot of heavyweights to follow. Getting itself to the list of feel-good movies with messages, Avarude Raavukal will leave with a positive effect more than anything else. There are not many other things that we need for this special season.

Release date: 23rd June 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Shanil Muhammed
Starring: Asif Ali, Unni Mukundan, Honey Rose, Vinay Forrt, Aju Varghese, Mukesh, Milana Pournami, Nedumudi Venu, Sudhi Koppa, Lena, Ambika Mohan, Kiran Aravindakshan, Nisha Sarangh, Aishwarya chandran, Kochu Preman, Shine Tom Chacko (cameo), Sunny Wayne (cameo), Sanju Sivram (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fukri

fukri-2

Vampire Owl: What about Fukrey?

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that there is a relation between the two. That one was a coming of age comedy film.

Vampire Owl: You mean just like Premam.

Vampire Bat: The genre is rather too vast. People who have no idea about that genre were blaming Premam for being close to its category.

Vampire Owl: Yes, some people even praised Blinglore Days for downgrading Premam.

Vampire Bat: It is Bangalore Days.

Vampire Owl: Whatever it is, our concern should only be about the nights, right?

Vampire Bat: It is the presence of the day that makes sure that there is night.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but we all have our preferences, don’t we?

Vampire Bat: Yes, as long as the night has darkness.

[Gets the tickets with cardamom tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Lucky (Jayasurya) and Franklin (Bhagath Manuel) are best friends who are also engineering dropouts looking forward to making some quick money. For the same, they try many things. One day, they end up complicating things so much that they have to keep running from people. During his adventures in making easy money, he meets Nafsi (Prayaga Martin) and Sana (Salini RT) who needs someone to act as an elder cousin to bail them out of some trouble which they had due to bunking classes for watching a Salman Khan movie first day first show. There, posing as their cousins, they come across their real cousin, Ubaid (John Kaippallil), and ends up telling a lie that Lucky is the son of Ali Fukri (Lal) who is the son of Sulaiman Fukri (Siddique). Sulaiman and Ali has a long gone past, which has left them as terrible enemies who wouldn’t hesitate to beat each other up if there was a chance.

So, what happens next? :: Despite being hostile to his son, Sulaiman the patriarch, isn’t angry with his grandson. But Aliya (Anu Sithara) whom Lucky meets on his way back from the college, reveals that Ali has no son, and she is his only daughter. She asks him to get into the Fukri mansion posed as Ali’s son, and there is also an opportunity to be there at Ali’s wife house. Ali had married a Brahmin girl which was one of the many reasons for the problems with his father. Aliya provides enough details for Lucky to be at both places, and during his stay there, he solves almost all his financial debts. As Lucky is in love with Nafsi, he feels that this could work in favour of him in more than one way. At the same time, he decides to unite both families as well as the father and the son. But one day, Ali returns, and he is certainly not happy with it – he wishes to destroy all happiness in Fukri family, and one has to wonder what would happen next.

The defence of Fukri :: There is the presence of comedy, and the jokes work most of the time, and at other times, we have to make ourselves believe that there is some fun stuff going on. The songs are mostly okay, but there is nothing much to remember for long. It is still nicely done for the family audience, and without any bad joke added here and there and hurting no religious or community sentiment, manages a clean work – it needed someone like our veteran director to do the same, even though it is surprising that he had chosen to go through such a safe path with no risk taken. Even though it stays for more time that it should have, lasting above two and half hours, we don’t end up complaining about the length. Denied its release during the Christmas season due to the theatre owners’ strike, this one has a festival mood too, with all the colour and style that we see around. This might be the right choice to spend the time you have in extra.

The claws of flaw :: The main problem with this movie is that it has the kind of idea that has been tried again and again so much. It is certainly an old wine in a pot which he seems to have borrowed from a number of older movies – he has just added a little bit of flavour, and so we know that we have seen this before on lots of occasions. From the beginning itself, it is so predictable, and one twist with the daughter might be the only exception. The first half is rather brainless with comedy thrown in here and there, and the second half has a little bit too much of melodrama and it ends as if they had to force an ending out of nowhere. There is a little too much of Udayapuram Sulthan here, with one son trying to unite families from Hindu and Muslim families posing as someone else; his father was the main problem-maker there too. Posing as the cousin was the main idea in Dilliwala Rajakumaran too, and Kaaryasthan also had the protagonist trying to unite families – the examples are many, and it is a rather outdated idea for these times.

Performers of the soul :: There are three people who control this movie with ease – Jayasurya, Lal and Siddique, playing the fake grandson, and the next two generations of parents. The three generations effectively make this one worth our time. Jayasurya still has it easy compared to the kind of roles with which he had surprised us earlier. Lal and Siddique are perfectly suited for their roles, as their looks and style also compliment being the two big characters. Among the heroines, it is Anu Sithara who plays the daughter figure who scores the best – we had last seen her in Happy Wedding. Prayaga Martin pales in comparison, except for the looks – even though she looked even better in Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. It was also good to see Bhagath Manuel playing the second fiddle. Joju George is the one person to create the best effect on screen with minimal screen presence.

How it finishes :: There has been something different going on with the Siddique movies in the last few years – Ladies and Gentleman and Bhaskar the Rascal were clearly terrible movies, and even after bringing a combined effort with Lal in King Liar, nothing really changed with that. Bodyguard was an overrated movie too, with similar overrated remakes coming in many languages. And then there is Fukri. Coming directly into this situation, Fukri is definitely is a better flick. As we consider all these movies, Fukri is also the closest to a pretty good family flick which you can watch for the weekend. With Munthirivallikal Thalirkumbol and Jomonte Suviseshangal running in the theatres and Ezra all prepared to release, it is back to the busy times for Malayalam cinema industry after that terrible break due to the strike! Still, this could have been a laugh riot with its premise already established long ago – but that is not the case.

Release date: 3rd February 2016
Running time: 156 minutes
Directed by: Siddique
Starring: Jayasurya, Lal, Prayaga Martin, Bhagath Manuel, Siddique, John Kaippallil, Anu Sithara, Joju George, Krishna Praba, KPAC Lalitha, Sreelatha Namboothiri, Thesni Khan, Reena, Naseer Sankranthi, Salini RT, Sajan Palluruthy

fukrii

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Annmariya Kalippilaanu

annmariya-kalippilaanu-2

Vampire Owl :: The title itself says that the kid is dangerous. Is it actually safe to watch this particular flick?

Vampire Bat :: What? Now, you are afraid of kids?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, one kid called me bad owl and threw a stone at me when I was doing my owlish meditation.

Vampire Bat :: Owls don’t meditate. This makes no sense.

Vampire Owl :: What are you talking about? Even Kungfu Panda meditates. Why not me?

Vampire Bat :: He does Kungfu. The only thing that you do throughout the day is sleep and worry about the possible devastation of the New Vampire World.

Vampire Owl :: I meditate in my dreams. Sometimes, I even meditate inside the dream within my dream’s dream.

Vampire Bat :: You are my nightmare!

Vampire Owl :: I occasionally dream within nightmares to make them better too.

Vampire Bat :: I am going to declare you the Nightmare Owl, the one true creature of the dark nightmares.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Annmariya (Sara Arjun) is the daughter of a doctor couple, Roy (Saiju Kurup) and Teresa (Leona Lishoy). The latter is working with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement at the war-torn nation of Syria, with the former left to take care of their daughter all by herself while working at a private hospital called Nyle. He rarely has time to call, and even when he does, there is not enough time that he spends talking to his wife and child. Annmariya’s dream to get a medal in the fourth standard for long jump just like her father did, and is striving for the same. But she fails to do that as her P.T. teacher David (John Kaippallil) disqualifies her after calling her jump a foul in return for complaining to the principal about him harassing their English teacher, Megha (Anjali Aneesh Upasana).

So what happens next with Annmariya unleashing the fury? :: A disappointed Annmariya wishes for vengeance against the teacher, and for the same, he asks Avinash (Master Vishal Krishna) to help her, and as he has a crush on her, he readily agrees and consults Sarath (Althaf Manaf) who promises to find them a thug to beat up the bad teacher. For the same, they find Gireesh (Sunny Wayne), an idle young man looking for ways to make easy money and his best friend Ambrose (Aju Varghese), an auto-driver who doesn’t go for work. Annmariya gives him the i-phone gifted by her father to beat David, and after some intervention by her uncle Inspector James (Vijayakumar) and another thug Suku (Shine Tom Chako), he agrees to beat up her teacher, but things don’t go as easily as planned.

The defence of Annmariya Kalippilaanu :: It is great to see how another world of a child has been brought to the screen with all the innocence – following the path of the movies like Philips and the Monkeypen. There is sweetness in the way that each incident is shown in this movie, and there is also the presence of that cute funny side which comes in between. Whether it is the good millionaire named Baby who travels with the sign “Baby on board” or the loving servant at home who tries hard to speak good Malayalam, the exaggerated tales about the thug or the combinations of different actors, all come together to make this one a sweet, enjoyable ride to be taken with the family. You will have enough messages to take home too, about family, love for each other, and the bond of friendship, along with the strength that strong belief of other as well as yourself brings to you.

Claws of flaw :: Due to its simplicity, there is not much of the flaws being visible here. Everything in this movie is presented in such a cute way that we don’t feel much of the problems that threaten to come up here and there. There is a certain amount of time that the movie takes to get going in the beginning; also with the first few moments of introduction of Sunny Wayne’s character. The main idea of the movie could have been presented in an even better way – the whole thing could have been even funnier. There is also no attempt to bring anything special. Most of the time, we know what is to happen next, and we are just glad to have them coming here. There is also uncertainty regarding the angel, whether it is a real person or magic realism added. Not all characters are used to their full potential here though. The animation in between was rather strange.

Performers of the soul :: Sara Arjun is one amazing child lead, there is cent percent certainty about it, and it is so clear from this movie. We had seen her in Deiva Thirumagal with Vikram as well as Jazbaa with Aiswarya Rai – we can be confident about seeing more of her work, and that will be great for Malayalam movie industry. Sunny Wayne has a fine run throughout the movie in this role, and this character has him doing the job comfortably. Aju Varghese provides a nice support, and he is good teaming up with Sunny Wayne. Siddique provides some nice support here, and his character is both funny and interesting. Leona Lishoy does some fine work as the mother, and Saiju Kurup is good when he is there. John Kaippallil stays strong as the antagonist too. Shine Tom Chacko has another good role here, which also seems to suit him. Even those in smaller roles do interesting work!

How it finishes :: This movie comes from Midhun Manuel Thomas who had recently directed Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyanu, a movie which was so underrated during its release, and so overrated when it released on DVD. After that movie which is more or less average in totality, Annmariya Kalippilaanu is a big step ahead for him, and it leaves us wishing for more of similar movies from him; we see the silliness in the previous movie being replaced by happiness and messages in this movie – it is the kind of stuff that we people need, and the same is delivered by this movie. There will always be something about the movies like this, as we will keep feeling the need for some inspiration, and also get those special messages that are to be kept in heart.

Release date: 5th August 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Midhun Manuel Thomas
Starring: Baby Sara, Sunny Wayne, Aju Varghese, Shine Tom Chacko, Leona Lishoy, John Kaippallil, Siddique, Saiju Kurup, Vijayakumar, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Sethulakshmi, Althaf Manaf, Master Vishal Krishna, Bijukuttan, Anjali Aneesh Upasana, Dulquer Salmaan (Cameo)

annmariya-kalippilanu

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan

BajrangiBhaijaan (2)

Vampire Owl :: How come you decided to watch this movie all of a sudden?

Vampire Bat :: There is too much hate all around. I thought I could escape from it through whichever movie that proclaims universal brotherhood.

Vampire Owl :: But we don’t officially trust these kind of movies.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I have been reading the hate messages on social networking sites. People need movies like this to bring down the hate.

Vampire Owl :: But are you sure about this choice of movie?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, mostly because I don’t see any other. The reviews are also positive like the box-office collections.

Vampire Owl :: Whatever the collections are, I hope this one collects more than the depressing things like Krrish 3, Dhoom 3 and Chennai Express.

Vampire Bat :: Lets see what we can get from this one to contribute to the reviews.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I hope that you are right about this one.

Vampire Bat :: Well, even the Vampire Oracle has favoured me on this choice.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi a.k.a Bajrangi (Salman Khan) has a love story going on with Rasika (Kareena Kapoor), and as he is considered not good enough for anything, he got to prove his worth to her father (Sharat Saxena) with six months left. He has been traditionally declared as such a failure that his first success brought a heart attack to his father. Meanwhile, Shahida (Harshaali Malhotra), a speech-impaired little girl from Pakistan gets lost in India during a pilgrimage trip and ends up with him because she had to get down from the train and do a “Mary had a little lamb”. As everyone comes to know that she from Pakistan after she claps with a Pakistani win over India in a cricket match, he decides to get her to Pakistan in one way or the other. But he might have to break more than a few rules for the same.

The defence of Bajrangi Bhaijaan :: Strong in its messages and emotions, Bajrangi Bhaijaan does manage to keep people positively interested in the movie. The elements which would please the crowd and even bring them to tears are interestingly intertwined to create a nice effect in totality. There is comedy added here and there and a light tone is maintained. The actions scenes are less, but are there to make sure that the usual crowd will like the stuff. The visuals are very nice, and the second half does have a big advantage over the first because of getting rid of the silliness, and the ending, even though a little overdone, is okay and the movie finishes off with an emotional touch which seemed to be very much enjoyed by the audience in the theatre. The performances led by Salman Khan and the little kid also work very well.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is still old wine in a new bottle up-to an extent. The story is something rooted in many others of the past, and even with the current changes, the soul remains the same. Yes, there is more care taken in how certain things are managed here, but the melodrama comes up at times, and some jokes are not really effective either. The plot is just ordinary, and it is treated with all those which could make an impact on the audience. The love for truth displayed by the main character is rather overdone, and so are those songs, among which none makes an impression. The chicken song was rather too irritating. The romantic angle is completely out of order, and the flashback in the bus was the lowest point of the movie. There are also too many predictable events happening in the first half and things are not that much believable. Well, the end does justify the means up-to an extent.

Performers of the soul :: My favourite movie from Kabir Khan remain the more realistic Kabul Express. Salman Khan continues to bring the crowds into the theatres, and along with the same, he manages this character with skill. Even though the character becomes just “the good brother”, he has given the same some interesting moments which are going to stay in the minds of the viewers. Harshaali Malhotra, the kid remains the big star of this movie, and she is the one making the biggest impact, as one would expect; that too with no words spoken. Kareena Kapoor was totally unnecessary in this movie and so was the whole sub-plot related to her, but she does okay here. Nawazuddin Siddiqui provides great support.

Soul exploration :: The message of universal brotherhood is nicely used here. There has been too much hate going on these days, and if you look on the social media, it is crystal clear. The movie gives a lesson about how important it is to love the others beyond the borders, with respect for other religions, races and traditions. Patriotism and nationalism shouldn’t be about hating people of other nations. People should be free to support any nation when a sporting event is happening. Cricket is not a test of hate-based patriotism. The right patriotism should be about love for one’s country and not based on hate. It should be about working for the development of the nation and not to tarnish its image by intolerance and prejudice. At a time when even state-based hate is propagated and even dogs have better status than humans, can one hope for a better situation?

How it finishes :: People have been actually judging this movie by its title. I have actually heard people saying no to the movie due to the same. I don’t know about the Bollywood audience, but it has given a strange feeling in this part of the world. So, it is not easy to guess why I had almost nobody local in the theatre. People judge a movie by its title, but this movie is a fair watch. It is nowhere near perfect, but is enough to provide an entertaining and emotional ride. With its core, what it reminds me of, is about Picket 43, a movie about the relationship between two soldiers on the two sides of the border – there is no relation with the stories, but in the soul, both seems to have a similar connection, of people and their families.

Release date: 17th July 2015
Running time: 159 minutes
Directed by: Kabir Khan
Starring: Salman Khan, Harshaali Malhotra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kareena Kapoor, Meher Vij, Najeem Khan, Kamlesh Gill, Om Puri, Sharat Saxena, Alka Kaushal, Adnan Sami, Atul Srivastava

BajrangiBhaijaan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Picket 43

picket43 ()

Vampire Owl :: Is this the right time for a patriotic movie?

Vampire Bat :: Surely it is. We had harthal just a few days ago and observed another bane of our nation. After a negative thing for the nation, this is our chance to reclaim the good things.

Vampire Owl :: So after lots of harthals giving losses of thousands of millions of rupees, we can always gain patriotism by watching movies?

Vampire Bat :: May be movies like this will help. Lets watch and know more about it.

Vampire Owl :: Will such movies make the common man any better?

Vampire Bat :: People only take what they want. So, I doubt it.

Vampire Owl :: Still, they are all patriots on three days an year and if that Team BCCI or Indian cricket team wins the World Cup.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but when there is the need to do something for the nation, it is to be seen if what is preached can be practiced.

Vampire Owl :: This is the season of Facebook patriots and social workers.

Vampire Bat :: And lets see what Picket 43 brings to the season.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Hareendran Nair (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is one of the Indian soldiers who are posted at Picket 43, an area on the border which has seen regular ceasefire violations, and has also lead to the death of a number of soldiers from the Indian side. With the last soldier murdered by the militants, the place becomes something to be talked about a lot among the soldiers and Hareendran Nair is the latest person to be posted there, alone except for a dog with him. As his superior officer Vinaya Chandran (Renji Panicker) denies him leave to go back to his lover to marry her or to support his ailing mother, he is left with no option but to stay at the hostile area. The Pakistani soldier on the other side keeps shooting on regular intervals until a change is made, and another soldier Mushraff (Javed Jaffrey) comes for service. Hareendran and Mushraff becomes friends and the latter promises the former that no militant will come through his picket to attack India as long as he is alive.

The defence of Picket 43 :: The power of patriotism is once again on display here, and this is one of those movies that we need to watch now and then. This might also be our director’s second best movie after Keerthi Chakra that has come after a long time. The movie is also about friendship and that too beyond borders and all kinds of obstacles,as humanity thrives without limitations. There is also mutual respect and love for one’s country which are proclaimed again and again. It also makes things clear that friendship has no limits and it can be made with ease if needed in the presence of a good heart. There is an idea given about the hardships that the soldiers suffer and the sacrifices that they make to serve their country, keeping their personal choices away to keep the citizens safe. The beauty of Kashmir is well captured, as the snow covered world as well as the green side are equally amazing, even as the white side suits the working of the movie better. The shots at Picket 43 are the best of the movie.

The Claws of Flaw :: The family drama and romantic side are completely out of place. It is good that they mention that it is love, and otherwise it would have been really difficult to find any romance there – almost everything shot in Kerala remains clear negative and was not needed. Even the shots which were supposed to be in Pakistan should have been better taken with more imaginary power instead of just going through that Malala-Taliban model idea which needed not much thinking. The focus should have been even further on the friendship and talking about their philosophies about life and what they think about war, and how the two nations could go into a better relationship. Well, those who are expecting a Tango Charlie model philosophy and a powerful anti-war ideology are going to be disappointed. The heavy non-linear narrative style might also depress a few. The songs are also not that up-to the mark. The final shooting scenes also go into heroism, something that was not supposed to be part of this movie. Being slave to the clichés is sometimes a fashion, isn’t it?

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran shines in the movie as the Indian soldier guarding Picket 43; he excels in those emotional scenes and nicely manages the lighter moments too. He is there throughout the movie, and there is not much time in the movie without his presence, and we can safely say that this is his movie. The next big character, and among the two really significant characters is the Pakistani soldier played by Javed Jaffrey who steals our hearts from the other side. May be he was chosen because he played a Pakistani soldier in the war satire which was War Chhod Na Yaar. Whatever be the reason, he has done an amazing job here. Both of them get some nice dialogues, and a few memorable lines too. Then there is the dog which is a cool addition to the movie, even as there was more scope for things to be added with the pet. Renji Panicker is also good. Prithviraj’s love interest has a forgettable outing here, and so do most of the characters of Kerala episode.

Soul exploration :: Picket 43 links friendship, patriotism and sacrifice together to make an impact, and these are major elements of this movie. The first one is the major theme of the movie which also asserts humanity and hopes for peace, so that there could be humans who no longer hate each other for no real reason – friendship beyond boundaries is the factor at the core. Patriotism is present here and there, but I have felt better of the same with the other running movie from Bollywood, Baby. The use of patriotism was expected and in the beginning and end, it is even more strong – but it is still not a core element. The sacrifice element is also in abundance, and it is not just for the country, but also in the name of friendship and honour, thus the sacrifice element joining the other two together. May be the forced happy ending was not necessary. Even the dog becomes a symbol another friendship here, even as it has no role in the other two elements.

How it finishes :: Releasing on the Republic Day weekend, Picket 43 is doing a nice job at the theatres along with Mili, not really being a mutual challenge as the themes are entirely different with the two, bringing no comparisons into the question. It is also the right time for the release of this movie. There is no better time to get the best results at the box-office. What needs to be appreciated is the effort to take a movie like this, all the way from the South to the North, and using so many themes in it. The same thing seems to be rewarded nicely by the audience, and it was also the movie which has had most number of screens having shows. Yes, Major Ravi is back with this movie. Lets hope for peace and no war, and also pray for a bright future in the relationship between the two neighbouring nations which still have hope for better relations. May God bless our soldiers and may goodness and humanity thrive among chaos and destruction.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Major Ravi
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Javed Jaffrey, Renji Panicker, Sudheer Karamana, Kannan Nair, Haresh Peradi, Angana Roy, Anu Mohan, Anshu Sharma, Sreerag Nambiar

picket43

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Big Hero 6

bighero6 )

Vampire Owl :: I am still suffering from a certain amount of brain damage after watching Interstellar.

Vampire Bat :: Nolan added Physics into that movie because he know that we have all hated our Physics teachers and it is almost everybody’s least favourite subject along with Mathematics. I do feel that the movie has added Physics to my list of degrees without telling me.

Vampire Owl :: Free degree, that is cool. Actually, do you even remember any of our Physics teachers?

Vampire Bat :: No, I don’t, and I shall never remember. Even after I tried harder for the same, I was always let down by it. But Chemistry has worked the other way around for me. I was so shocked by my scores for the subject that I wanted to faint and prove it.

Vampire Owl :: Do you think that this movie will have Physics?

Vampire Bat :: Not as much as Interstellar, I am sure. They will at least speak in English rather than in a nerd language this time.

Vampire Owl :: Thank God that we are partial nerds then.

Vampire Bat :: That should be why we enjoyed Interstellar, especially when our imaginations go to space as well as the other dimensions every day.

Vampire Owl :: Is it just an illusion or does it actually seem like a How to Train your Dragon: Robot Version?

Vampire Bat :: I think we should watch this and check. It has managed to gain so much of critical appreciation.

[Starts the car].

The background :: Big Hero 6 comes from a group of superheroes which were part of Marvel Comics. But the differences are there, no doubt about that. This becomes the first movie to feature characters from Marvel comics and builds hype as from the makers of Frozen and Wreck it Ralph! – something which will draw in plenty of comparisons. This is also the sixth big animated movie released in this year at this part of the world after Mr. Peabody and Sherman, The Lego Movie, How to Train your Dragon, Rio 2 and Planes: Fire and Rescue – I have watched all except the last. People might think that this is not the right weekend to release an animated movie as it has to face the powerful Interstellar in a battle of David and Goliath, especially when in the modern world, David has very less chance to win. But it is not always about one thing or two when it comes to movies, isn’t it? Which is why Big Hero 6 could keep itself working well enough when facing such a big nemesis.

What is it about? :: Set in the fictional world of San Fransokyo (kind of like San Francisco and Tokyo in a combo), Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) spends his time attempting to participate in illegal robot fights. He is an expert in robotics, and his brother Tadashi Hamada (Daniel Tenney) feels that he is wasting his potential by doing such worthless things outside law. So, he shows his little brother his university and the robotics laboratory where he and his friends are achieving marvellous things under the experienced Professor Callaghan (James Cromwell). Hiro is highly impressed and is desperate to the get into the university, for which he invents something called microbots which can transform into anything, and can be controlled using telepathy. He is accepted into the university, but a fire breaks out and his brother is killed, which leaves him in permanent grief. But soon, with the help of his brother’s robot Baymax (Scott Adsit), he attempts to find the man who might be responsible for the death of his brother.

The defence of Big Hero 6 :: Here is what you expect from an animated movies in the right quantities, nothing too much and not really missing out anywhere. The comedy works most of the time, but is more limited to the main robot and less to the rest. The movie is all fun and entertainment too, visually looking very good and having some very nice action sequences which are overtaken by the emotional ones which are even better. The world is nicely detailed with different architectural combinations, and the characters are also nice and pretty much likable, with one extremely lovable robot at the centre of everything. The superheroes are nicely created and the supervillain also looks impressive. Well, this one is light, easy to follow and connect, as well as lovely to watch on the big screen, and what more would you need in an animated movie? Big Hero 6 surely scores here, and deserves the whole family in the theatre. Well, it isn’t accompanied by the hype such as Interstellar got, so it can only be a clear winner. I would expect a sequel to hit the theatres soon, as this origin story is now established.

The Claws of flaw :: It follows the usual animated movie policy and doesn’t try to innovate too much, may be due to the fear that it will repel the family audience which is supposed to be its strength. There is too much of a predictable plot, very unlike Mr. Peabody and Sherman which had its nice additions to bring twists to the story. Even the small suspense about the identity of the villain is also predictable up-to an extent, and we almost know most of the things that are going to happen before they do. May be the kids, and those who are new to the genre might not guess that well, but it is so. The usual things that happen include the loss of a loved one, revenge, team of superheroes and a big villain which is the setup too many movies that we have known in this genre. The humour is also not as good as some other animated movies in comparison, and the 3D not that much up-to the mark. Too many movies with similar factors have happened, and our hero with his robot is a lot like another hero with his dragon, and that also happened this year for the second time. May be the villain also could have taken up a better characterization and backstory?

Soul exploration :: Big Hero 6 is not better than Frozen, and it is a clear fact, expect for some irritating fan-boys and girls saying that it is so without any particular reason. It is not better than Mr. Peabody and Sherman which is the best animated movie of 2014 as it stands now, and stands below many other animated titles. But we cannot deny the emotional power of this movie, and its message of friendship and brotherhood, and the call to use one’s skills and abilities for others. The fact remains that the one non-human character in the movie, the robot is the one who spreads all these messages and by influencing the humans around it to heal and not to hurt, that brings out the truth that humans always need someone else to tell them what is right and what is wrong, as they are too much affected by the bad emotions and not that much by the right ones. Yes, this robot is one positive role-model for everyone, and the other movie at the theatres now, Interstellar has none even as it is superior in many ways. May be it is time to get a Baymax robot action figure for a change – we have had too many transforming robots already!

How it finishes :: Big Hero 6 has been the surprise package of the weekend while Interstellar is just doing as it was expected to perform, and there are even some who had expected a lot more from that movie – Christpher Nolan is that kind of person. But our movie is the silent assassin here, coming up our of nowhere and making the impact, overtaking the expectations associated with it. What works against Interstellar is that none of the common man group has gone to space and there is no real idea about how it is, or if anybody has actually gone there or if it is just a conspiracy theory. So when in a science fiction, if science completely devours fiction, there will be a problem for people. If it had dealt with what actually happens with human lives, things would have been direct, but otherwise there was the need to make it less complicated. It is not bad to have things complicated, but it has alienated the family audience here, and that section has been taken over by Big Hero 6 which has one robot with better emotional connection than the whole cast of Interstellar combined, including that of the third rate ghost-contacting father-hating daughter.

Release date: 7th November 2014
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Starring (voice): Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, T. J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Génesis Rodríguez, Damon Wayans Jr, Maya Rudolph, Stan Lee, James Cromwell

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.