Shershaah

What is the movie about? :: Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra) had always wanted to be part of the military force, and achieves the same dream many years after he started thinking about the same. He has been someone who remained strong from childhood itself. He gets assigned to keeping an eye on the terrorist activities in the border area of Jammu and Kashmir area. Things seem safe and under control when he goes there, but as expected, there is always more than what meets the eye as far going close to the borders is concerned. They come against the first group of terrorists quick enough, and Vikram is blamed for not following the orders by Captain Sanjeev Jamwal (Shiv Pandit), even though everything ends perfectly. But Sanjeev still thanks him for saving his life in the process and making sure that the fight ended with them on the winning side, with no casualties at all – they end up being very good friends.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, there is something more terrifying going on in the background, with acts of terrorism ready to come across the border, and part of it also having roots already. At the same time, there is a flashback of the soldier’s life when he was at his earlier ages. While studying in Punjab University, he had fallen in love with Dimple Cheema (Kiara Advani), who hadn’t noticed him earlier, but had later gone to become his fiance. She had managed to get approval from her father only by telling him that if she won’t get to marry him, she will never marry anyone in her life. He also feels that he should join merchant navy instead of army to get a better salary so that he can get Dimple’s father to agree, but moves back on the same because his dream still drives him forward. She decides to wait for him, as he goes to be part of the army, and she would make sure that there are no more possible alliances being discussed at home.

And what more is to follow around here? :: Back at the camp, there seems to be many battles going on, and not just the small infiltration by the small scale terrorists. Vikram is quick to establish himself as a skilled soldier, and he is also good friends with the local people of Kashmir, due to which some people agree to become informers for him. He is also in charge of some risky operations in the process. There is also a bigger battle in store, as the Kargil War is about the begin. Despite being able to go back home on leave, Vikram has to return very soon, and join his team. Vikram is not someone who would stand back, and it seems that the enemy is crossing all limits, forcing them to quicken their actions. It would be a war which was to decide the future concerning two nations, as well as Kashmir, and the question remains about what is to follow in this for Vikram, as people back at home continue to worry. And then, there are more tales to come.

The defence of Shershah :: When we have war tributes in here, there was always something for us to watch, and this one also stays close to that idea. We also need acts of bravery to keep our world intact. There are some fine actions here which will be remembered, and are going to stay in our memory for the best. The combat scenes are all good, and there is something for our patriotic hearts, which stay on after the film ends too. The emotional side also remains strong, and we feel as part of the moments which the soldiers live through. It is always nice to have good movies dealing with the characters and subject. There are also some visuals of the world around them which never ceases to show the beauty of Kashmir. Along with the same, there is also the war during which the newer generation needs a reminder because even we were too young during the situation in Kargil, or were not born yet – we do get a reminder. You are always happy, and often in bliss to get the same in the name of the country.

The claws of flaw :: When we consider this movie as a work about a war hero, it could have been much more, with better elements of realism having scope to be present. After all, we have had many war movies before, not just in Bollywood, but also in Hollywood, even those works which were awarded well nationally and internationally. The background story, especially the love story remains too weak, and the same adds as an unnecessary part to an otherwise straightforward story of bravery in the border. Focusing on the romantic angle with songs never get old, and as far as love and songs being inserted somewhere when it should be kept at minimum, there is nobody in the whole world matching Bollywood. We do have the predictable moments in here too, and the film chooses not to go for innovation, going through the safe paths rather than anything else. The dramatic moments could also make way for more realistic style in comparison. There were immense possibilities regarding the same too, and there are moments which remind us of the same.

Performers of the soul :: Sidharth Malhotra handles things right, and he has blended into this role quite well too. This is a different kind of role compared to the type of roles in which I had seen him before. He looks very good in this role, and he is even more than that. In the scenes of war, he does the best, and he gets to be inspirational in the display. Kiara Advani is pretty good in what she does, but the love story is rather weak, and not that much suitable in the totality of the scheme of things. She could have got a better role if it was the college time period being shown with less focus on the romantic side, but romance always comes out of somewhere in these films, and that will continue to be the greatest cliché of all time. The other performers are also good, but they don’t really get that much to do. Shiv Pandit is the one who gets our attention the best among them, and there are a few more actors playing the soldiers that have something in here.

How it finishes :: It is always good to provide some tributes to the war heroes, and in doing the same, Shershaah does succeed. The movie still didn’t have that much of a promotion as Toofaan had in this part of India, and that is a shame, because the film should have released with more people knowing about its presence on Amazon Prime Video, the OTT platform which most people uses around here. Still, they would sooner or later understand that this is an interesting, as well as entertaining war drama. There is also a strong emotional side to the same. Being a tribute to the brave soldier who was awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, the great award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War, the film has those perfect moments which will work for the patriot among us. You can never have enough of films on our soldiers, and we pay our respect to the man of valour. Therefore, we watch this movie on Amazon Prime Video, and stay safe from COVID-19 for now. Happy Independence Day and Happy Onam in advance.

Release date: 12th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Shiv Pandit, Jaaved Jaaferi, Nikitin Dheer, Himmanshoo A Malhotra, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar, Sahil Vaid, Raj Arun

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aquaman

What is the movie about? :: A lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) comes up against Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), who is the princess of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis which had sunk under the Atlantic Ocean on one eventful day of ambition and hubris. He saves the injured princess and they fall in love. The unexpected sequence of events lead to the birth of Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa) who shows the ability to communicate with marine lifeforms, and it is only one of his special skills. With the attack of the troops of Atlantis threatening her family’s life, she decides to go back to the city, hoping to come back on another day when the situation gets better. An Atlantean Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) is assigned to train Arthur as he grows up.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Back to the events after the incidents of Justice League, the invasion of Steppenwolf had made Arthur further part of saving the world as Aquaman, a name with which he has been referred to by the media. He comes up against the pirate David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) and his team while the group was trying to hijack a nuclear submarine – Arthur ends up defeating them, and leaves David’s father dead in the process, for which the young pirate wants revenge. Meanwhile, Orm (Patrick Wilson), Arthur’s younger half-brother and Atlantis’ king wants to begin a war against the people on the surface, as revenge against polluting ocean and causing the death of many creatures of the seas. Using an attack by David as the immediate cause, he seeks the support of the rest of the underwater kingdoms to go on war.

And what else is to follow here? :: He easily gets the support of Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), another king under the sea, and looks forward for more. The daughter of Nereus, Mera (Amber Heard) supports Arthur to become the king as the rightful heir to the crown. But at the same time, Orm wishes to get rid of Arthur, who is the first-born of the queen and therefore has a claim to the throne of Atlantis. Despite Orm sending huge tidal waves all around the world, the surface world remains ignorant about what lies beneath. Mera convinces Arthur to try and save both worlds and he agrees. But the fact remains that Arthur doesn’t have much of a chance against the power that Orm holds on his way to becoming the Ocean Master. But there might be one chance – the question remains if he can take it.

The defence of Aquaman :: One can appreciate Aquaman for its great fight sequences and stunning visuals more than anything else. It becomes a spectacle easily with these, and we just love to keep watching without taking eyes away at any moment. The visuals under the sea has all those fights happening underwater too. We have so many things to add to this visual extravaganza. Atlantis itself is a beautiful sight, and we see that even the people and their costumes are nice. There is a lot of world detail around here. The locations on the surface are also nicely chosen. The fight scene in Sicily is glorious, and the final combat is great to watch. There is also the allusion to the tale of the legendary British king Arthur, and the other reminder is related to Thor: Ragnarok which had the hero from Norse mythology fighting his sibling for control over the kingdom. Well, it even has some horror with its marine creatures – that reminds you who the director is.

Positives and negatives :: There is nothing special being added to the story, and there are no twists coming your way. The similarities to Thor: Ragnarok are many, with not just the sibling battle, but also regarding the early defeat, loss of weapon and arena battle, this time in the absence of the Incredible Hulk. But we see the cast, and most of the problems vanish with the beautiful visuals – Amber Heard does what Natalie Portman couldn’t do in Thor, as the action star on the lines of Kate Beckinsale of Underworld and Mila Jovovich of Resident Evil, as she does the same thing better than ever. A journey through the underwater world, and witnessing a city with so much detail can negate the negatives easily enough. There is some nice humour, and the emotions stay strong for most of the time too. It hasn’t been that easy going for DC, even though Suicide Squad was a movie I enjoyed a lot, personally. Aquaman makes it easy for DC to go forward now.

The performers of the soul :: Jason Momoa remains strong in this one, and unlike that Justice League role, this time, he brings more charm. He nicely gets into the mix of Justice League with this one, and it will be interesting to see how everything works out with another movie with a team of superheroes trying to match the Avengers in another universe. Amber Heard is amazingly good as the warrior princess from underwater. We remember her for her presence in the thrilling horror movies like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Ward and The Stepfather as well as the action thrillers like And Soon the Darkness, 3 Days to Kill and Drive Angry. This one will be the new way to identify her, as a character which brings the best. She is perfectly suited for action sequences other than being remembered as a scream queen, and it is something that she seems to reiterate here. Patrick Wilson from Insidious & The Conjuring fame becomes an extremely effective villain too. Nicole Kidman has some fine moments too.

How it finishes :: Aquaman might be that one movie which could rise its level to catch up with Marvel, and after Wonder Woman, we have one another movie which lifts the universe again, with hope for even more. On the lines of Thor and Norse mythology, DC has its Greek mythology and elements including Atlantis about which we have read about in Plato’s Republic right in place. The myth and the visuals here can be considered to be even ahead of Wonder Woman, even though the island its inhabitants had their own charm too – nothing matches some nicely created underwater visual splendour though. With the second part of Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel to do the job for Marvel, DC has surely made its move in a nice way, the director of Insidious and The Conjuring, James Wan has made a point once again. Well, it is surprising that Aquaman about whom not many people know – the lesser known superhero now has a movie better than each and every better known superhero of Justice League.

Release date: 14th December 2018 (India); 21st December 2018 (USA)
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Graham McTavish, Temuera, Ludi Lin, Randall, Djimon Hounsou, Natalia Safran, Sophia Forrest

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Robin Hood

What is the movie about? :: Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) has been in love with Marian (Eve Hewson) since he first met her at a stable. He is the lord of a manor, and she is a petty thief, but they have no doubt that they are in love. Still, things change, as he is called to fight in the Crusades in Northern Africa. He fights with great courage there, and defeats as well as kills many, until he makes the decision to stand up against his leaders’ attitude and treatment towards the prisoners of war. He almost gets killed by his own people, but manages to get back to his lands and get back to his feet, thanks to a former Moorish commander known by the name John (Jamie Foxx) who becomes his new mentor. This training that he receives, with the skill that he already has, Robin needs to go against the most powerful man in the county, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With his return, he finds out from his good friend Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin) that Marian is now with another man named Will Tillman (Jamie Dornan). He also finds out that his family property has been confiscated by the Sheriff, who never stops tormenting people in the name of war. Sheriff has his own army to make sure that people pay for the war with all that they have. Robin and Sheriff decide that this has to stop now or people will be left with nothing. There is no hope for the common man, and Robin decides to become that hope, something which would include more than one robbery and fight. But with the knights of the Sheriff being among the strongest, can he find a way through all these to save the common man from losing everything?

The defence of Robin Hood :: There is no shortage of style in Robin Hood, and the action scenes are all nicely done. They might feel to be a little overdose and edited in such a way that it might be a little difficult to follow for the eyes. But they do work, and has our attention more than any other. The setting also feels strange at times, but it is nicely done. We can see that the divergence that this movie has is rather too high, but even in that case, the attempt is to be appreciated for bringing a different version. The archery scenes are among the best, and the visuals with the lighting brings a special effect. The messages revolution and equality runs right through the movie, and a few parts of the movie are funny, even though we feel that it is rather unintentional. The ending also sets the path nicely for a possible sequel even though that seems not coming as we consider the situation here.

The claws of flaw :: The way in which the tale in this movie is changed becomes rather strange. It is too much of a diversion, and it is not easy to digest many of those changes. Some of them feel unnecessary even for any standards. The case of John might be the strangest of them all. The movie could have also used some better editing, especially with its fight scenes. Everything keeps moving from one side to somewhere else without warning. The movie itself is clueless at times about the idea as well as the story, even though it keeps us entertained for most part. Most of the time, the movie also doesn’t look like its from the medieval age. It goes on trying to become like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a movie which does the same thing to the King Arthur legend as this one does to the Robin Hood legend. Well, only some movies could change for the best.

The performers of the soul :: Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett are not here to leave that big mark, but the performances are okay. Taron Egerton had those miserable overrated Kingsman movies, and this one is surely above them, and he also has some nice dialogues to go with the same. The Irish actress Eve Hewson surely brings some charm to the movie, even though her role here is limited. Jamie Foxx doesn’t have the impact to create in this character who is the trainer – it has to be noted that Mohanlal in the Malayalam movie with the similar thief Kayamkulam Kochunni had so many times bigger impact as the trainer, and that movie itself was way ahead of this one with its thief who stole from the rich and helped the poor. Ben Mendelsohn’s Sheriff of Nottingham is not that much of a villain that we expected. Tim Minchin’s version of Friar Tuck is mostly irritating, and Paul Anderson’s Guy of Gisborne doesn’t have that big impact. Jamie Dornan’s Will Tillman can have the great strength only in a sequel if it ever happens.

Soul exploration :: There are different ways in which this particular movie can work, and one of them is similar to the American War on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, with different moments pointing to the same in one way or the other. There are people supporting both sides in a war, as we notice. We also feel that this might be a Batman movie which is not good enough, and something which could have been a different kind of Dark Knight, but isn’t. The hero does spend some time with a mentor, is rich and decides to save his town in a mask, that much is clear. But the fact that Robin Hood is not Batman, and he is not supposed to be like Green Arrow who goes through almost the same things and has the hood and arrow dressed in green. Was he called into the DC Universe to be the Green Arrow? One has to wonder about the similarities visible here.

How it finishes :: Even with all the style, it is strange that Robin Hood makers could think that this would be enough, if they did have that idea. Robin Hood is not our usual hero whom we can change and get away with it. He is not Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or any other superhero to have different version. The same was proved by the earlier adaptation of the Arthur legend. Even with a cast which included Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, the 2010 version which felt closer to history couldn’t go on make it big as expected – these people had to be careful about it when making a movie like this, but the problem here is that there seems to be no such concern. Maybe this would work a little better with the 3D which was not there when we watched it – but about the movie, it is just random action entertainment which isn’t bothered about making things better.

Release date: 23rd November 2018 (India); 21st November 2018 (USA)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Otto Bathurst
Starring: Taron Egerton, Eve Hewson, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Tim Minchin, Jamie Dornan, Murray Abraham, Paul Anderson, Josh Herdman, Bjorn Bengtsson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ant-Man II

What is the movie about? :: A flashback tells the story of Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) who shrinks between the molecules of a Soviet nuclear missile which was launched during the Cold War, successfully disabling it, but was trapped in the sub-atomic quantum realm with no hope of returning. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) went on believing that Janet is dead until Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) became the new Ant-Man and discovered a way to enter and return from the quantum realm. Hoping that Janet might still be alive, they try to repeat the process of entering and contacting the quantum realm. But things get messed up when Scott joins the team of Captain America and fights against the other Avengers. For violating the Sokovia Accords, he is put under house arrest, while Hank and Hope moves away to avoid arrest.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Later, when Hank and Hope manages to open a tunnel to the quantum realm, Scott receives a message from Janet with whom he is quantumly entangled. After Scott makes a call to Hank, Hope takes him to their new hideout, where a new laboratory was set up. FBI officer Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) is in charge of checking him, but Hope sets a decoy at this home. As they consider the message as a confirmation that Janet might be alive, there is the plan to create a tunnel through which one of them can enter and bring her back. For the same reason, they are collecting the needed materials from the black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) who brings up a new deal to buy their laboratory, which Hope refuses. But he is not the kind of person who takes no for an answer.

And what is follow with the tale? :: But an attack from a masked figure follows, and both Scott and Hope are forced to be in a fight against an unknown force. This figure takes their laboratory which was in a shrunken state, and they are left with no other option to find Janet and bring her back. Hank’s former partner at SHIELD, Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) helps them locate the laboratory, but there is a surprise waiting for them there with the masked figure and a past that he had long forgotten. Their target also seems to be Janet, and now the question remains if they can get to her and bring her back before any harm is done to her. What is this incident of the past that has come back to haunt Hank? Is there an escape from this masked figure which seems to be able to walk through walls? With Thanos searching for infinity stones at another part of the universe and Avengers spread apart, is there hope for mankind at all?

The defence of Ant-Man and the Wasp :: Among all the superheroes, Ant-Man is indeed the hero with a difference. This one might also be the most family friendly superhero above the rest of the team. He has evolved into a big superhero from the shadows of those names which had become part of people, as this one is more or less the everyman character. We all missed him in Avengers: Infinity War, one of the biggest superhero movies of all-time. The quantum realm looks really great in 3D, and the action sequences with shifting size are too good. The battle on road is something special with everything happening so quickly and precisely. The movie is also a lot of fun. The use of humour in this movie is something to be appreciated. The new characters introduced here are also interesting, and this one nicely blends into the Marvel Cinematic Universe according to where Avengers: Infinity War has left us – you will need to wait for a few minutes after the movie finishes to know that.

The claws of flaw :: The superhero stuff has managed to be so big that Ant-Man with its nice little moments might not be that enough. These days, the superheroes are going for something so huge that this movie might feel rather small. It can also feel like a long introduction to the quantum realm, and a reason to introduce more characters. It is more or less about our expectations about superhero movies that define this, but such expectations have been working beyond one cinematic universe, and are those which cannot be avoided. The movie also lacks a strong single villain, as the danger here is related to survival, and therefore the lack of existence of pure evil or just evil can be seen. Maybe this movie could have released before Avengers: Infinity War – placing it after Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok or Black Panther would have been perfect, but with avoiding that scene in between the credits.

The performers of the soul :: Paul Rudd is as good as he has been in the form of Ant-Man and Scott Lang, being the likable character for everyone including the families. Evangeline Lilly who is most known in this part of the world for playing Tauriel, a Woodland Elf in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, makes a great team with him, and the two easily holds things together in this movie as a fantastic pair. She is surely proving to be the right choice for action and adventure movies. Michael Pena is a lot of fun in the movie, as he brings the humour with ease. Hannah John-Kamen as a character looking for survival, is a perfect cast, as she seems to reflect the emotions of the same incredibly well. Laurence Fishburne is solid as always, and we are always glad to have him around. Michael Douglas carries on the role without any difficulty. Michelle Pfeiffer also joins in here.

How it finishes :: We are never really tired of having more and more superhero movies. Avengers: Infinity War was such a big hit with records being set all around the world, and coming a long way up the list of highest grossing movies of all-time, following the box-office and critical success of Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok. Justice League might not have managed to be that big as Avengers, but DC Universe will also catch up very fast with Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman being all-time favourites in many lists. It is during these times of the big superheroes that the smallest of them all, Ant-Man and Wasp getting all the attention. Well, we wish for more superheroes, and having more of them on the list will only help the cause. This one is another entertaining entry in that list of memorable superhero movies, and if Ant-Man becomes a family favourite fun superhero above the rest, I wouldn’t be surprised either – it is anti-Deadpool and all that Deadpool will never be!

Release date: 6th July 2018 (USA); 13th July 2018 (India)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Hannah John-Kamen, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip Harris, David Dastmalchian, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deadpool 2

What is the movie about? :: Years after murdering the man who gave him the mutant superpowers the hard way in the first movie, Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is working as a mercenary, but on his own terms, while mocking Wolverine. He hopes to start a family with his girlfriend Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). But it is then that one of his targets whom he missed, manages to strike back, killing Vanessa in the process. Wade is quick to kill the man who is responsible for her death, and even tries to kill himself in an explosion; but he grows back as Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) takes him to join the X-Men, with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) not being fond of the not-so-superhero joining the team. But Colossus has him as a trainee and lets him join them on their very next mission.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After a vision of Vanessa, and trying to put his heart at the right place, he decides to help the X-Men to deal with a teenage mutant Russell Collins a.k.a. Firefist (Julian Dennison) who has gone violent at an orphanage for mutants. X-Men join with human soldiers to gain control over the mutant who is looking highly unstable. As Deadpool realizes that Russell was abused and tortured by the orphanage staff, he decides to help him, and ends up killing one of the staff members too, before being stopped by Colossus. Russell and Wade are taken to an isolated prison for mutants, known as Icebox. Collars are used to negate their powers, and without them, Wade slowly and steadily begins to go back to his previous state, with tumout growing inside him – he gets weaker than ever.

And what is follow with the events? :: It is then that a cybernetic soldier Cable (Josh Brolin) whose family is murdered by Russell in the future, travels back in time to kill him before he becomes that brutal murderer. Wade tries to defend Russell against Cable, but denies any attachment to him so that the boy could be safe inside the prison without him. Wade ends up outside the prison, and after having a vision of Vanessa again, decides to help Russell, no matter what happens. For the same, he assembles a team which he calls X-Force – Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Peter (Rob Delaney) and Vanisher (Brad Pitt) are hired to be part of the group, as they hope to stop the mutant warrior from future. But Russell has his own ideas to stop Cable, and it will not prove to be nice for the newly formed X-Force.

The defence of Deadpool 2 :: This one’s capability to bring some entertainment can never be questioned, especially with the comic side, and some action to go with it. You can see that it refers to movies in both Marvel and DC Universe, with references including the latter being so dark. The movie does have some nice main characters, other than its superhero and a kid who is conveniently placed in the middle of everything – it has one lady whose superpower is luck, and one of the most powerful mutants, along with a time traveler mutant warrior from the future – these two are of more strength than anyone else, and you can do nothing but to love them so much. Deadpool 2 is that kind of a movie which won’t apologize for its nonsense which is surely there, and is it is that kind of fun nonsense that we need to be prepared for, unlike our usual Thor: Ragnarok, Logan, Captain America: Civil War or Black Panther from Marvel.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Deadpool 2, just like Deadpool, is not the superhero movie for the kids and families – it just not the right kind of film. The violence and gore remains rather not that good, that too with the whole thing being censored to arrive at this level. Unlike the other superheroes, Deadpool is surely that kind of a person whom we can’t admire – he is that selfish hero in one way or the other, that we need to see dead; but he just doesn’t. This movie surely has no real respect for anyone either, and that is reflected on the character as well as the dialogues of the main character. Some of the dialogues which seem to be close to being funny never really gets there, and there are those jokes which go wandering away, leaving no effect at all. The action sequences could have been better too, and the emotional side struggles, thanks to some stupid dialogues in between.

The performers of the soul :: The movie is about the two people more than anyone ele – these two have played two big characters on the big screen in two different movies. Ryan Reynolds has been Green Lantern before, and it is that DC Universe that he makes fun of in this movie as Deadpool. Then there is Josh Brolin whom we last saw as Thanos, and here he is, as Cable, in the same Marvel Universe. Both of them are really good, making this movie better than what it really is, with its low level plot that doesn’t raise the bar. Zazie Beetz is great fun in this movie, and you also love Brianna Hildebrand who has less time on the screen, but has that special effect when there. Morena Baccarin is another actress whom we wanted to see more here, and as lovely as she is here, there is only less time for her to show here skills. The rest of the cast is just mostly okay.

How it finishes :: Deadpool was never known to be the superhero that someone would wish to admire for anything other than saving the day. Being a rather selfish hero, this one was never supposed to appeal to the usual superhero admirers – even with that selfless act added in the end. There seems to be no real attempt to make this one feel better than the first movie, and there is certainly no special ingredient added to it. But we can safely say that it will provide some entertainment with the funny side and the action that comes with it. The family audience will surely have to choose Avengers: Infinity War over this one or one of those Malayalam movies in the theatres. Well, the ‘A’ certificate is sure to make that happen easily.

Release date: 18th May 2018
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Stefan Kapicic, Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Bill Skarsgard, Rob Delaney, Brad Pitt (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Black Panther

What is the movie about? :: A long time ago, as a part of on-going tribal wars in a divided continent, five African tribes fought over a the control of a meteorite which was the source of an alien metal called vibranium, most commonly known to the Marvel fans as one of the materials used to construct Captain America’s shield. Vibranium which was first deposited on Earth by a meteorite about ten thousand years ago, had its variation in Wakanda, which absorbed sound waves, vibrations, and kinetic energy making the metal stronger. It was something that could do more than what the modern science could explain. This variety of vibranium is often referred to as a powerful mutagen, something that could change the genetic material, usually the DNA of an organism and thus would increase the frequency of mutations more than the usual background level. Vibranium exposure did the same to a number of Wakandan natives.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: A warrior who ate a heart shaped herb which was affected by the metal gained special abilities and became the first Black Panther. He united the tribes to form the nation of Wakanda, but that had only four of them as the Jabari tribe chose not to follow this new rule, moving to the mountains. The result was that the Wakandans used the vibranium’s abilities to become highly advanced with their science and technology. But they also chose to isolate themselves from the rest of the world with their modernity hidden within forests. Even after so many years, the outside world thinks about Wakanda as a third world country which is very much short of resources, but doesn’t trade with the outsiders or ask for help because of their pride and inability to combine their older and darker world with the new one.

And what else is to come? :: Following the events of Captain America: Civil War and the death of his father, the king, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to Wakanda to claim the throne as the eldest son. The commander-in-chief of the Wakandan army Okoye (Danai Gurira), T’Challa’s ex-lover Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) are the happiest ones to see him as the new king. At the ceremony, the Jabari tribe’s leader M’Baku (Winston Duke), a mighty warrior challenges T’Challa for the throne of Wakanda, but is defeated in ritual combat – a battle in which he finally accepts defeat after T’Challa requests him to surrender lest the fight would only end with his death. But that would only begin trouble for T’Challa, for Wakanda needs more than just another king who kept continuing the tradition of the tribe for such a long time.

And then there is the case of trouble :: The first thing that he felt the need to accomplish after becoming the king was to find and bring to justice, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), a black-market arms dealer and smuggler who had access to vibranium and knows the secrets of Wakanda. But on their path stands CIA agent Everett K Ross (Martin Freeman), who takes Klaue into custody, much to the dismay of the new king and his team who need to fulfil their promise by bringing the man to Wakanda’s justice or death. Meanwhile, an American black-ops soldier named Erik Stevens (Michael B Jordan) is after the throne, and he has a twisted past with Wakanda. He would try to make T’Challa pay for what his father had done, and also to make sure that his race could become the rulers of the world. What can the new Black Panther to do stop the man who has had only one mission in his life since childhood?

The defence of Black Panther :: As one would have expected after watching Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, the big strength of this flick remains the action sequences. There are some nice visuals of the new world in here, and we get transported nicely there. The final one hour of the movie is where this one picks up to become something interesting, as in the beginning stages, there was a certain amount of struggle. The movie has a pretty good cast which gives enough for it to keep going, but the pick of them all are Michael B Jordan who plays the villain with a purpose, the nice moments from Martin Freeman and all that Winston Duke brings as M’Baku, even though he is not present throughout the flick. Then there is the idea about the oppressed becoming the oppressor, and trying to have revenge on the next generation of those who had oppressed them years ago – it is certainly not the way, as it is nicely shown in the movie.

The claws of flaw :: There is no denying the fact that the expectations were so high with this movie that it is quite difficult to satisfy almost anyone who is watching this movie. You also have to wonder which kind of superhero movie gets this many good reviews – you will notice that this one is certainly not better than the last Marvel movie, Thor: Ragnarok. Sometimes, you feel that the reasons why this movie is often praised are not really what should be used as the positives regarding the flick. It could have dealt with the theme better, without doubt – the scope was more with this one compared to any other superhero flick. The story also has nothing new as it goes through the expected path, and even though there was the chance, there is absolutely no surprise here. Some of the costumes are rather strange, and the world itself could have used better attention. The funny side as well as the thrills are not able to get hold here either. The romantic side is certainly bad.

How it finishes :: The 3D didn’t have much to offer in this movie. But the movie becomes another interesting superhero movie with one more hero having the background origins story set. It doesn’t have its elements matching the previous Marvel movie, Thor: Ragnarok which was ahead in almost every department, from action and visuals to the funny side. Despite the critics being rather prejudiced in supporting this movie, it hasn’t created that much of an interest among the common audience like those Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, DeadpoolDoctor Strange & even Ant-Man movies would do for Marvel. But with that nice work in Captain America: Civil War, and with this tale of Wakanda already set and begun, we can expect to have more from Black Panther. With that nice finish in the end, there is surely more needed for us, and lets hope that the character would deliver more in the upcoming movies.

Release date: 16th February 2018
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis

<— Click here to go to the previous review and even further.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Street Lights

What is the movie about? :: There is a burglary occuring in the city, and the two thieves are being chased by security guards, only to be saved by a third man who is part of the gang. The three men are revealed to be the confused Sachi (Hareesh Perummana), clueless Raju (Dharmajan Bolgatty) and the angry, violent Murugan (Stunt Silva) who is determined to get what he wants in any way possible. They have stolen a diamond necklace, which might be the key to making their life better, and maybe perfect enough to ensure an eternity of wonderful existence. Simon Mundackal (Joy Mathew) who is the owner of the diamond necklace, is afraid to go to the police as the necklace is made from unaccounted money, which makes him call his nephew who is a police officer, James (Mammootty) – a man known to have his special skills in solving difficult cases.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: James has no problem in taking over this case, as he is known to have a history with Murugan, a criminal from Tamil Nadu’s Theni who has escaped to Kerala. He keeps only his most trusted people from the force with him, keeping the investigation personal and far away from the force’s knowledge. This search for the five crore worth of necklace begins with the one mobile phone which the thieves left at the house, but the journey forward is not that smooth for them, with James’ trusted officer Issac (Rony David) getting injured while fighting Murugan. The three thieves got their own safe houses in and around Cochin, and even when they are not to be found in the city, they have their presence. But they do make one mistake while hiding the diamond necklace, and Raju has the credit for the same.

And what follows next in the adventure? :: Their complicated adventure collides with the normal life of the people of Vypin and other places close to the city, and things begin to undergo changes for all of them. Remya (Lijomol Jose), her cousin and childhood friend (Soubin Shahir) who is in love with her, a child in her neighbourhood, his father who is connected to the thieves, and others are forced into the world of policemen and thieves, which has only one diamond necklace as the means to solve everything. There is also a flashback or many of them related to how everything begins. But the question remains if Murugan and his friends can be caught, and whether the diamond necklace can ever get back to Simon who is waiting for the same – well, you will never know, as there are some twists ready to happen.

The defence of Street Lights :: There is certain suspense about how things are going to come together, and things get nicely uncovered, and we have them joining well enough to make a point as we march towards the end. There is also a balance regarding importance given to the characters, as a number of roles seems to have the same significance in how things keep happening. The characters are more or less like the street lights, making their presence felt by lighting up moments – some are surely brighter than the rest, but all are working unlike in some parts of our world. Even those characters who come only in one scene have enough in them to be memorable. There is the mixture of comedy, thrills and twists that go on well, even though none of them gets to a level which makes the whole thing truly remarkable. The comic side brings the balance, you have almost all genres except horror looking right into this movie which is kept short for our interests.

The claws of flaw :: The final moments of the movie seem to be forced. One has to wonder why there had to be the need to bring the hero and the villain face to face, to get the protagonist to beat up his opponent with ease, when everything has been going in a rather realistic manner. The heroism with sunshades, slow motion and the stylish vehicles just seem to be added for the sake of having them there. A tale of the common man gets lost in this need to go unreal at times. A few predictable moments could have been avoided, and the focus should have been more with the child and the romantic tale, with the police-criminal moments being restricted. The final moments showing the greatness of the protagonist is rather dull, and a near perfect police officer is mis-fit for this kind of a realistic tale of the common people we see around.

The performers of the soul :: Mammootty plays the hero in this tale of other people, and he has no problem in playing this character which brings no challenge – it is just the usual stereotype of a police officer surrounded by characters full of life. Here, he brings the needed the charm, and surely strengthens the movie as the star. Lijomol Jose and Soubin Shahir have their own moments in this one, and there is fun around when they are around, with a certain amount of cuteness to go with the same. Hareesh Perumanna and Dharmajan Bolgatty are the two to provide the best of comedy though, as they bring something or the other all the time without hesitation. Stunt Silva does make a perfect villain in between, and we can see the evil side coming out of the veil, as we see the villainy which gets darker, revealing the strength of that darkness. Adhish Praveen is wonderful throughout the movie, and Gayathri Krishna’s shorter presence has our attention.

How it finishes :: Street Lights is not what many people might have expected, but its core tale of common people that we have been in need. If the so called action side was removed, it could have been a thriller with Maheshinte Prathikaaram or Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum model comic side. It never really matches them in totality, but Street Lights does manage to bring its own identity around here. Among the movies which go on doing the same thing again and again, this one does try to go a different path, particularly with one side of its story, and we can appreciate the same. It is with the same thing that Street Lights differs from Masterpiece – there is an idea here which is divergent in its core, and there is the attempt to experiment at certain points. Well, we can safely say that the street lights bring enough to get rid of the darkness here.

Release date: 26th January 2018
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Shamdat Sainudeen
Starring: Mammootty, Gayathri Krishna, Lijomol Jose, Soubin Shahir, Joy Mathew, Hareesh Perumanna, Stunt Silva, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Rony David, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sudhi Koppa, Motta Rajendran, Neena Kurup, Adhish Praveen, Sohan Seenulal, Rajasekharan

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and the opinion before that.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adventures of Omanakuttan

What is the movie about? :: Omanakuttan (Asif Ali) is a young marketing executive at the customer care centre of Clintonica, a company selling hair oil, based out of the city of Mysore. He is evidently very good at what he does, which makes him getting selected as the best employee multiple times by Chandrasekharan (Siddique) who owns the company, and tries to keep expanding the same. It also makes his co-workers jealous of him, and sometimes even irritated, as Omanakuttan is ready to work even on days of harthal and bandh, mostly because he has nothing else to do with his life. As Omanakuttan is an introvert, he never really goes to social gatherings and doesn’t have that many friends, and a lot of his colleagues are even hesitant to talk to him. He shares the room with Philip (Saiju Kurup), who finds it okay to stay with him because he doesn’t ask many questions, and also never hesitates to give his share of the rent.

So, what happens next? :: As one his co-workers easily reject his proposal and everyone at the office seems to find it funny, he gets some advice from his boss who tells him to market himself, and decides to do what he is good at, with the girls – to talk on the mobile, and never to come face to face with them. It is with the same idea that he gets the mobile number of a number of girls and get to just chat with them, under different names, and as different people in different fields of work, and at the same time avoiding any chance to meet them. It goes on easily for him as it has been his job for quite some time at the office. One day, he comes across Pallavi (Bhavana), who seems to be a big fan of the Malayali singer living in Karnataka, Siddharth (Rahul Madhav). He also manages to get to talk with her as Siddharth, and Pallavi, who is a parapsychologist looking to travel to Spain to continue her studies, also considers it to be nice to keep in touch with the famous singer.

And what follows the events? :: One day, while returning home, Omanakuttan gets into trouble, and after being hit on the head, wakes up in the middle of a waste disposal area with no memory of who he is. He just has his second mobile phone with him which he was using to call the girls, and each person on the other side calls him by different names, which leads him into more and more confusion. It is then that he comes across Pallavi again, both not recognizing each other. After he helps her to repair her car’s punctured tyre, she gives him a lift to the city. Later, they meet again, and she agrees to help him find who he is, but in return for his own help with her life. But it turns out that Omanakuttan is just one of the names that they come across; there will be other names including Michael and Jerry, and a news that he had died in an accident on the highway. Pallavi’s former lover Shiva (Aju Varghese) also drops in. So, how do they finally figure out what is happening out there, and who the man really is?

The defence of Adventures of Omanakuttan :: Considering the way this movie progresses, one might feel that it could be kind of television series, like Arrow or The Flash, just in a funny way, as there are so many interesting characters in this movie. There is more than one mystery to solve, and more than one or two twists to follow, which could be effectively used as a series, and even in a possible sequel later with mysteries still to be solved. Along with bringing the twists, the movie’s funny side also gets to another level in the second half, as we see Adventures of Omanakuttan repairing its problems, and making things better in the latter part, finally reaching that climax which is more than what we had expected. Well, if you want change and don’t accept the change which is Adventures of Omanakuttan, there will be same kind of movies again and again, and by appreciating movies like these, we will have better divergent movies that will make things even better. You would at least need to watch this flick so that you will have a better understanding of your taste, and where the alignment of the same stands.

The claws of flaw :: What should bother a lot of people is the pacing of this movie, which is so slow, and it certainly drags with its story in the first half. It is also too long for most of the people, as the total length was nearly three hours for us with the breaks in between included – we are not longer ready to spend that much time continuously unless there is something spectacular happening on the big screen. A lot of people inside the theatre did feel that this was so slow and going on and on – there was the fear that this was going to go nowhere, but that problem was solved in the second half. Whenever there is the sign of things getting upgraded in the first half, it just doesn’t happen – there was the need to get rid of a few minutes which showed the protagonist’s character, because the same was already established, and had no need to be shown as what he was. The humour was is not always working, and the curse was certainly on the first half here.

Performers of the soul :: Asif Ali does a fine job as the protagonist, his different faces which are handled nicely, and special mention needs to be given to the comic side with him around, and with a later support of Aju Varghese who gets some very nice dialogues, keeps the movie floating well on the troublesome waters in the middle. The latter who is also seen in Godha at the theatres now, seems to be completely in form. Kalabhavan Shajohn and Siddique are the two other main contributors to this one, they have one nice sequence of dialogues in the end, which is undoubtedly the pick of the whole thing. Bhavana is really good in the role of a bold girl who decides to do whatever she wants with her life, holding one certain aim as her dearest thing. There are some smart ideas that her character comes up with in the movie, and they are also a lot funny, and well acted. It is also a lot of fun with her around, contributing to the overall humour.

How it finishes :: Taking a divergent path, Adventures of Omanakuttan is certainly not the movie to be appreciated later, as there are not many movies which builds so well on an ordinary beginning and first half to elevate itself to such a high level by the end. This is a movie which has to be watched in the theatres so that the experimental and different flicks like this one makes more film makers to try more. Adventures of Omanakuttan decides to go differently, and won’t go the path you want it to be, just like Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla, but becoming funnier and smarter in treatment for sure. You don’t need this one to be Guppy, because it is not the movies for the masses that we need, but movies that differ from each other in a good way – we need a good dose of good movies, and along with Godha, Adventures of Omanakuttan will make sure that there is more for the fans here this weekend and next week.

Release date: 19th May 2017
Running time: 166 minutes
Directed by: Rohith V.S.
Starring: Asif Ali, Bhavana, Aju Varghese, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Siddique, Saiju Kurup, Rahul Madhav, Srinda Arhaan, Aditi Ravi, Arya Rohit, Sivaji Guruvayoor

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Georgettan’s Pooram

Vampire Owl: Why is it that all these people have characters that have something or the other to highlight as a title?

Vampire Bat: You mean, like that first Malayalam movie to release this year – Jomonte Suvisheshangal.

Vampire Owl: And surely Jacobinte Swargarajyam.

Vampire Bat: Along with Darwinte Parinamam.

Vampire Owl: As well as Maheshinte Prathikaram.

Vampire Bat: This is the fifth with this kind of a title, there is no real difference in possessiveness.

Vampire Owl: I think that these people, George, Jomon, Darwin, Jacob and Mahesh are related.

Vampire Bat: There is a great chance that Jacob and Jomon are – they even tell the same story, you know.

Vampire Owl: Maybe they are from different generations, and it is just history repeating itself in a distant family.

Vampire Bat: Georgettan’s Pooram might be more distant with the use of slang in it, though.

[Gets the tickets with some caramel popcorn and vegetable puffs].

What is the movie about? :: A team of four mischievous boys have grown up to be George Vadakkan (Dileep), and his best friends who are known only by their nicknames, Vava (Vinay Forrt), Pallan (Sharfudheen) and Chullan (Thiru Actlab). Living in and around the city of Trichur, the four friends spend most of their time doing nothing, having drinks or simply sleeping, in Mathai Parambu, a piece of land donated to the public by a former Kabbadi player who was part of great achievements from the Indian Kabbadi team – they also have for company and old kabbadi player, Joseph (T.G. Ravi). But George’s father, the parish priest of the local church of the Mar Thoma denomination, Mathew Vadakkan (Renji Panicker), wishes for something or anything better for his son – nobody believes in the same though, even his own friends and relatives.

So, what happens next? :: As the four goes through the path which leads nowhere, George comes across Merlin (Rajisha Vijayan) during a funeral, and immediately falls in love with her. Even though she tells him that he wishes to become a nun and despite the fact that she belongs to another denomination, he shamelessly decides to run after her for love. Without having to do anything else in life, such things have been very easy for him. There is also the entry of Peter Mathai (Chemban Vinod Jose), who claims to be the son of E.V. Mathai and claims the ownership of Mathai Parambu. He seems to be determined to take control of land by one way or the other. But the team of four are not willing to give up their place, and in an effort to save their land as well as to make Merlin fall in love with George, they go on doing some strange things, none of which works well enough.

What follows these events? :: The team of four are clueless as usual, as they are used to do nothing good, and seems to come up with nothing constructive. Even their inspiration, Joseph dies by falling from the top of a tower there. One day, Peter seems to be ready to give up the claim to the land, but for the same, George and his friends will have to play kabbadi, and also start winning. The people of the locality also backs them in this to keep the land in the hands of the public. But is it possible for them to win against top level players with some quick training? How far can the public support and prayers boost them? Is Peter really the son of E.V. Mathai, and does he mean what he says? Can George manage to win the love of Merlin and the appreciation of his parents and siblings? Not really the easier things to do for George, but he decides not to give up.

The defence of Georgettan’s Pooram :: Despite not using the state award winning actress, the star of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, Rajisha Vijayan to her best of potential, the movie does manage to use Dileep well enough – we get to be confident that he will be back for more with another light-hearted movie, not just producing one like he did for Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. Vinay Forrt and Sharafudheen also remains interesting, and there is entertainment guaranteed from their side. The level of comedy is fluctuating throughout the movie, but there are some nice ones in this flick. The second half has things getting rather intense, and the plot gets an upgrade there. Chemban Vinod Jose once again impresses the audience with the way that he carries on as the man with a mission, and he remains our hope for future in a lot of different kinds of roles. Renji Panicker continues what he has been doing the best, as the father figure, and this time at more than one level.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is just too long, and it could have easily been made shorter without some bad jokes in the first half and those slow motion sequences of heroism in the second – Karinkunnam 6s had managed to bring volleyball to the centre of everything and managed to be an interesting flick; but this one gets kabbadi too late in the second half only, and things get serious slowly only. Sudheer Karamana gets to play kabbadi here as he had done for volleyball in last year’s Manju Warrier starrer. A certain amount of absence in logic is also there, and the movie also gets confused in working with the Christian denominations. If the priest shown as protagonist’s father is actually a priest of Mar Thoma denomination, as a protestant church, the church building or the house wouldn’t be having saints or statues of anyone. If the person was intended to be a Catholic priest, he wouldn’t have been married – it is a strange world right there. One also wonders why the protagonist has to go after the girl shamelessly after she says no – shouldn’t the “no” always mean a “no”? And still he is a hero?

How it finishes :: Georgettan’s Pooram could have done a lot better not only with its comedy, but also with its sporting side. But as it is now, it is surely a watchable flick, and the best entertainer with Dileep as the main character after Two Countries which had him at what he has been doing the best. The protagonist shouldn’t have turned a super kabbadi player all of a sudden though, battling against the big players. Maybe some restraint could have been brought with the heroism. Maybe, a better flow could have been maintained. But for some time-pass, nobody can deny that this movie has something here and there for most of the people. Surely bigger in fun compared to Dileep’s recent movies, and surely better than any movie in that long list of continuous movies from Kammath and Kammath to Ivan Maryadaraman, Georgettan’s Pooram can ask for some of your time as long as you enough to spare!

Release date: 1st April 2017
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: K. Biju
Starring: Dileep, Rajisha Vijayan, Chemban Vinod Jose, Vinay Forrt, Sharafudheen, Thiru Actlab, Renji Panicker, T. G. Ravi, Sudheer Karamana, Kalaranjini, Assim Jamal, Jayaraj Warrier, Sunil Sukhada, Sathi Premji, Kulappulli Leela

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Baby

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Vampire Owl :: I am so confused that I can’t make a decision which movie to watch this weekend.

Vampire Bat :: It is the calming time after the tsunami which was Vikram’s I. Every Malayalam movie was waiting to avoid a release competing with the big thing that was I, because they understood what the best possible result for their movies was.

Vampire Owl :: There are so many Malayalam movies and a Hindi movie in the local theatres – how can we choose this time?

Vampire Bat :: I say, we toss a coin.

Vampire Owl :: I say we look at the theatre list.

Vampire Bat :: The irony is that the best movie might not come to our nearby theatres. It is how things work.

Vampire Owl :: And these movies are going to be mutually destructive to each other, and it is a shame that they release together.

Vampire Bat :: I say, you drive the motor-bike straight; we will go through the path which has less traffic and reach any theatre and watch the movie there.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, let fate decide.

Vampire Bat :: Unless fate is like Uncle Dracula.

[Reaches a theatre].

What is it about? :: During a mission in Istambul, Indian special agent Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar) manages to uncover details about a number of possible terrorist attacks against India from outside, which is from a few people who are part of a terrorist organization in the neighbouring country and also from the inside which includes a group of brainwashed people. As Maulana Mohammed Rahman (Rasheed Naz) plots about the same from outside the nation, Bilal Khan (Kay Kay Menon) escapes from prison and plans from inside the country. To stop these attacks, the team of Ajay Singh Rajput and Priya Suryavanshi (Taapsee Pannu) have to first go to Nepal and find the first link, and then Ajay and another team will have to go to Saudi Arabia in a more dangerous mission. Can the team go past all their obstacles and come out victorious using all their skills?

The defence of Baby :: This movie gives you no nonsense, and it is all about action, that too in a rather believable collection of events. There are no flying bodies here, and fighting and getting beaten up actually means that. The best thing is that this doesn’t go in the path of Holiday which was always trying to take itself down; here we don’t say our hero making fake speech about patriotism, because we get it from the way in which the movie progresses. There are some nice dialogues about being secular and being Indian, but patriotism is something that runs through this movie and preaching about it is never needed. There is no dumb romance as in the movie or any full song, and this one is bloody serious about how it goes. The only comparison that can be made is with Madras Cafe, but that one was more realistic and cent percent serious; striving towards perfection – this one has its own serious comedy here and there which works. The visuals of three abroad locations are nice too. The background music also works. The thrills are plenty.

The Claws of Flaw :: Our hero is still beyond mistakes except for a few, and his family life was something of not much need here, plus no other family is shown in the whole movie. This reminds us of Mission Impossible franchise too, especially with the first scene involving Tom Cruise’ Ethan Hunt saving Keri Russell’s character – Akshay Kumar does something similar here. There is also a certain amount of drag associated with this, but that is very rare and happening more due to the length of the movie and the effort to stretch the thrilling moments further more. There is also the lesser use of the female cast when they were actually doing good. There might be some loopholes here and there in the movie too, and considering the build-up, a bigger climax and ending would have been expected. Everything comes together too easily by the end and it is a “terrorist hunting happily ever after” finish.

Performers of the soul :: Akshay Kumar goes in and comes out strong in this movie, as he works his way to perfection with his character. I would believe that this is exactly how the character was supposed to be; mostly emotion-free, sharp and improvising. This is the type of Akshay Kumar who is awesome. After all, he is the khiladi as we know him, and this is one role in which he can play his best. Madhurima Tuli is one of the prettiest faces on the screen indeed, but she is restricted to a small role here which she manages with ease and lights up those moments. Taapsee Pannu, the other female lead gets more to do on the screen, but her role is also limited to one mission; still she manages to do some stunts and make an impact. Anupam Kher is very good there too, and he along with Rana Daggubati and our protagonist makes a nice, interesting, lethal and funny combination which makes the need for a sequel right there. All the villains are effective, but it is not against personalities or communities that the team goes – it is against evil.

Soul exploration :: Baby surely has a strong heart. There is also the application of the much needed intelligence which has been lacking in Bollywood. It is yet another symbol Bollywood growing up, away from the childishness of flicks like Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3. This is also what Holiday should have been instead of being a masala action thriller, but that was just a remake and stuck to the plans. The movie salutes those who tries and work hard to keep the nation as well as its citizens safe, and this is the one nice tribute to them, and the only one movie which I can consider as a better tribute was Tango Charlie. The movie also works to build on that “Indian” identity which beyond religion, caste, creed, language and colour. Lets give this movie the salute that it deserves, as it doesn’t degrade itself to a commercial flick and try something from the Ek Tha Tiger model either.

How it finishes :: Baby surely needs support, not just because it seems to be the best of the weekend from what I have heard so far, but also because only with such movies succeeding, can we keep the terrible mindless movies away from the big screen. There is an unbelievable amount of toughness in this movie, and this Mission Impossible of India actually settles for five percent of success with their “impossible” as our protagonists say in this movie. Lets make one thing clear; Baby is not Holiday, and it means that you have to take this one seriously. Romance is not mandatory; songs are not needed; villains flying on hero’s contact is a waste – this is Baby, and the movie means something beyond mindless action and thrills; it is above them both intellectually and straight from the heart. Thank you Neeraj Pandey for beginning the Bollywood side so well for me; the first Hindi movie of the year that I watch in the theatre raises my hopes high for the rest of the year.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 159 minutes
Directed by: Neeraj Pandey
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Madhurima Tuli, Taapsee Pannu, Rana Daggubati, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, Kay Kay Menon, Sushant Singh, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Rasheed Naz, Rasheed Naz, Karan Wahi

baby

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Penguins of Madagascar

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Vampire Owl :: I have received a letter from the vampire penguin.

Vampire Bat :: What does it say?

Vampire Owl :: It says that he is happy to announce the release of Penguins of Madagascar, a movie that make all the undead penguins proud, and he wants us to watch it in the name of the Universal Vampire Brotherhood.

Vampire Bat :: But I have already watched it.

Vampire Owl :: What? Then why did I see no opinion?

Vampire Bat :: Because I delayed it so that there would be gap between the posts.

Vampire Owl :: It is totally unfair. Now as the Vampire Penguin has demanded it, I have to watch it alone. What happened to watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1?

Vampire Bat :: Skipped it. Waiting for some inspiration for me watch it. Nobody has that much of an opinion and I have already read that book and has less hopes about this one.

Vampire Owl :: And then you watched the Penguins alone. A cruel move against me there.

Vampire Bat :: You can watch it with your zombie minions. It has some good ideas for owlification.

[Leaves for the bus stop].

The background :: Do you remember those penguins of the Central Park Zoo? Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private proved to be the smartest creatures around. They have been helping our heroes of the Madagascar series, Alex the lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the hippopotamus. We have had no option, but to love the penguins throughout the series. They have been too good, and it is clear that they always deserved a spin-off movie for themselves. Well, this is not just that spin-off, but also the sequel to Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted as the action continues from the circus itself as they go on to celebrate Private’s birthday. It is not really the continuation though, as Madagascar 4 is scheduled to be released on May 18th 2018, but as that date is too far away, lets be happy with this arrangement of the penguin characters for now.

What is it about? :: In a flashback, we see that somewhere in Antarctica, three little penguins, Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), and Rico (Conrad Vernon), save an egg from seals and end up floating far away on an iceberg. The egg hatches and becomes Private (Christopher Knights). Back to the present, as they go to steal from the United Sates treasury to enjoy Private’s birthday after the events of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, the get caught by Dave (John Malkovich), an octopus who lives in the human costume of Dr. Octavius Brine after having to be transported from zoo to zoo due to new cute penguins coming. He is now looking for revenge on all penguin kind. As they try to escape, the Penguins are saved by a special force known as the North Wind, lead by, a wolf named Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch), a seal named Short Fuse (Ken Jeong), a polar bear named Corporal (Peter Stormare), and an owl named Eva (Annet Mahendru). Due to some differences, the two teams decide to chase the villain through their own paths; will they succeed?

The defence of Penguins of Madagascar :: Once again, just like the other movies of the Madagascar series, this is lots of fun. There are some genuinely funny moments in this one, and they are just meant for evoking the laughter, making this one a big fun ride, and people are certain to be entertained. The penguins as well as the special animal forces are admirable characters, and this is an opportunity for us to know those characters whom we liked a lot in the franchise in a much better way. The family audiences with kids are going to love this one, that is for sure, and might not want to miss this one. The moments which involve the meeting of the two groups as well as the same with the villain along with that moment when all three groups meet are hilarious. The message is also nicely given, about the appearance not being that much of a factor. Even as the movie doesn’t go on to be one of the top three animated movies of the year as expected, it is really a powered entertainer.

The Claws of flaw :: It is pretty much sillier even considering the fact that it is an animated movie, and the predictability factor is once again big. There is nothing like the final extravaganza that the last movie in the franchise had offered, and even in 3D, this one offers much less compared to what was expected. There are ordinary moments in the movie too, and there are scenes which are extremely dumb, and the presence of those moments which fail to click are also present here and there, but they can still be avoided. This one is also weaker than the three other Madagascar movies, all of which are worth an eighty five and above in the score. This movie actually feeds on that impact that those three movies had created, and ends up extending the fanbase of the franchise. There are moments which are just created for the sake of being there, and the plot never really shows much scope, ever. There is repetition, no doubt about it. There is a chance that this will make the penguins less interesting with too much attention given here.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s first attention is on brotherhood for sure. But it is not the major theme here, as it focuses more on appearances as we can see right from the beginning. The penguin named Private is actually considered to be too cute, and the others feel that the only thing that he can do is to distract the opponent for the rest to take the appropriate action. The same is the case of all four penguins as far as the other animals and birds are concerned – they think that the penguins are too cute to do anything strong and significant. Most of the people here base their assumptions based on the looks and nobody really cares to give these people a try. But everything would change in the end, and it is to this finish which says that appearance doesn’t define the quality or brilliance of a person that the movie strives to reach. It is the appearance itself that creates the villain here, and the movie focuses so much on the same. Penguins of Madagascar never retreats from that aim as we see the traits everywhere.

How it finishes :: The big surprise here was that this movie had shows at more multiplexes than The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. That was surprising because it was clear that it really is the movie that everyone want to watch, its popularity only matched by just another sequel which would be the last part of The Hobbit which is also coming up. I would guess that the multiplexes decided to go completely with the family audiences this time instead of choosing the movie which the youth have been waiting for so long to watch. It is the same reason why the movie has evaded me so far, and another reason is that I know the story and don’t find the first part of the book interesting; even the last book as whole is the least interesting of the series. Yes, I wanted to watch it, but as the time came, I ended up choosing another movie again. Well, there is still time, but I do feel that many others have also done the same, which is why Penguins of Madagascar is doing well here.

Release date: 28th November 2014 (India), 26th November 2014 (USA)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Simon J. Smith, Eric Darnell
Starring (voice): Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare, Werner Herzog

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ek Villain

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Vampire Owl :: Didn’t someone say that Riteish Deshmukh was very goood in this movie?

Vampire Bat :: Just a little better than Arjen Robben with a dive, I guess.

Vampire Owl :: If it is better than most of the football actors, we should surely watch it because it will be worthy of many awards.

Vampire Bat :: I heard it was just like I Saw the Devil.

Vampire Owl :: Well, I didn’t see that saw.

Vampire Bat :: Neither did I.

Vampire Owl :: Then I would say that watching this villany is necessary.

Vampire Bat :: As long as he doesn’t bite.

Vampire Owl :: That shouldn’t be a problem as this is not in 3D.

Vampire Bat :: Shraddha Kapoor in 3D was actually too good to be true!

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Guru (Sidharth Malhotra) is a former gangster and assassin who has retired from his dangerous life of crime to live with his new found love Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor), but things take a big turn as she is murdered by an unknown assailant who enters her home, uses a screw driver and pushes her through the window. A CBI officer Aditya (Shaad Randhawa) takes charge of the situation being aware of what the former assassin is capable of, but that doesn’t prevent Guru from going after the clues. He first go to his former boss Ceaser (Remo Fernandes), but realizes that he didn’t have anything to do with the same. As he sits in a church looking at the crucifix, he notices a boy coming up and presenting a few of his toys to the statue which involved something from his house. By following the boy, he reaches the place of Rakesh Mahadkar (Riteish Deshmukh) who is the henpecked husband of Sulochana (Aamna Sharif) and an unsuccesful employee who is always scolded both at home and the office. But he doesn’t seem to be capable of anything like that, as he is always the victim, not someone who can harm even a mosquito. But such a visage was never going to confuse a professional killer like Guru, or was it?

The defence of Ek Villain :: The cast remains strong in the movie, especially the male leads, and it is good enough to draw the audience. The fact that it has enough material to work on from the South Korean flick is more of an advantage as not many people have watched that one. The movie successfully establishes a nice environment to work on, right in the beginning, and the point they stop at the interval is pretty nice. The romantic side has its good moments, most of them related to God and otherwise when they are in a song. Even though not really the kind of thing that suits a movie like this, the songs are actually good and are worthy of being in one’s USB device in the car. The cinematography is nice and the world around are nicely captured to the delight of the viewer’s eye. There is not much slow motion used and it is a good thing because there was going to be tendency. Our hero surely has some nice moments in a mental asylum, a hospital and a railway station where he scores in style. The thrills are mostly around our villain though, and the message of good being rewarded and bad being punished, along with the plight of the common man in a society which has nothing for him are nicely shown.

Claws of flaw :: The movie has not much idea about how the suspense is to be maintained and the thrills are to be boosted, as we know the killer too early as well as his motives. The story could have developed better, especially as the material of I Saw the Devil already available and ready to inspire. The path taken by the narrative to go back and forth doesn’t work that well with this one either, as this is the kind of movie which should work when the things to be revealed are not hidden and vice versa. Even the killings are taken care of without too much violence, may be fearing that the family audience will stay away. The director’s earlier venture of Murder 2 could handle the darker shades better, but not this one which tries to be too cute, even cuter than its own heroine. Shraddha Kapoor kind of ruins some significant light moments with a certain kind of overacting which makes one wonder if she is playing a mentally challenged girl, but not all the time for even she has her very small moments. Riteish’s character is also not without its flaws, but it is him who manages to handle it well within the limitations. He could have surely had better dialogues, after all he can do this villain stuff nicely.

Performers of the soul :: Among the star cast, Riteish Deshmukh was the one whose performance stood above the rest, not by much, but enough to be the star of the movie. I did expect some transformation like Vikram in Anniyan on a smaller scale, but that was not to be, but still his different character had moments to remember for the viewers. Sidharth Malhotra was good with his romantic side and just a little behind in the action scenes, but still lacked a bit in energy. Shraddha Kapoor is cute, and seems to think that she is acting in a possible Ashiqui 3, with that hangover which she still seems to show with some Ashiqui 2. I was confident that she will be a lot better in this movie, but it was sad to see that she decided to stick to the stereotype – it does suit her immensely, but not the character she was playing nor the style of the movie. I was particularly impressed with how well Aamna Sharif did so well with her role opposite our bad guy, the first time I was seeing this lady on the screen. Prachi Desai’s item number was pretty much beautiful. Remo Fernandes was okay in the smaller screen presence that he had, and Shaad Randhawa could have surely done nice with some more to do on screen.

Soul exploration :: One major question remains about what lead to the creation of the villain of Ek Villain. If it is about our hero-villain, we can say that it was the childhood situations, but for our real complete villain, it is the wickedness of the so called civilized section of the society who finds it nice to take on the people who are not as fortunate as they are. As said in Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, and this is the situation that becomes the cause, and this inequality in his own class gives rise to this one serial killer who murders people who used bad words against him or even accuses him of not being good enough, including the situations when he just feels so due to his mood. The need for the words of love from his wife despite her yelling at him all the time becomes his anger which he brings out with the murders rather than being angry at her or anyone else. It is the need to get rid of the frustration which brings the villain to the point of no return, and changes him from a simple man to a serial killer, but as most of the other movies, here too bad deeds never go unpunished, and good deeds have some advantages. The movie does assert the need to be good and not to be abusive or use bad words at others, especially those who struggle to succeed in life.

How it finishes :: Ek Villain had the usual Bollywood things added to an otherwise rough and tough theme, which could have been avoided. There is one villain in every love story as they say, but this is still not a love story, and it surely should not have gone through that path – romance is not always a necessity, as it can always make way for many other things according to the genre and style of the movie. In a more violent and bloody movie, the thing more needed might be a screw driver, one would say. Zinda which released years ago had a better idea about it, which is why we can still afford to watch it with Oldboy of South Korea as well as Oldboy of the United States of America. Murder 2 with similar theme also holds an advantage over this. As Ek Villain had to make it romantic in its base just like the Malayalam movie Anwar did while copying The Traitor from Hollywood, it lost its most important part, which was the generation of fear which had to rise above everything else including romance. But with the success that the movie have managed in places with the exception of this part of India, one has to say that it did work in favour of them even as not for the same as a work. Still, next time may be the can innovate a lot more when coming up with such stuff.

Release date: 27th June 2014
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Mohit Suri
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Aamna Sharif, Kamaal R Khan, Remo Fernandes, Shaad Randhawa, Prachi Desai

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.