Bodies at Rest

Vampire Owl: Can the bodies be ever at rest as long as the undead are there?

Vampire Bat: We have never been at rest, as far as I know.

Vampire Owl: The castle is witness and proof to that particular statement.

Vampire Bat: I guess that they didn’t have a vampire or zombie to turn them.

Vampire Owl: Even a sorcerer or a witch could do that. Necromancers were actually available for consultation.

Vampire Bat: Even Dr. Frankenstein was available for the bodies.

Vampire Owl: Well, I wouldn’t recommend Mr. Frankenstein to do that again.

Vampire Bat: He is known for that one event involving the creation of life.

Vampire Owl: Yes, he is notorious for the same, and it is not a good sign.

Vampire Bat: Still, he is the one I look forward to, for creating dumb creatures with no teeth, those which walk like zombies.

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

What is the movie about? :: A much respected pathologist Chen Jia Hao (Nick Cheung) and his assistant Lynn Qiao (Yang Zi) continue to work late at a public morgue on the evening of Christmas, as people begins to celebrate. Even though it is the time to rejoice, there is not much of a crowd outside due to the thunderstorms occuring outside, and people being advised to stay at home at least for the night, or until a notice comes from the authorities. It is then that three armed criminals come into the morgue, demanding that the doctor and his assistant give them a bullet from the dead body of a girl was shot dead earlier. They beat up the elder security guard known to everyone as Uncle Jin (Shu-liang Ma), and the doctor seems to have been left with no option, with phone cables being cut, mobile phones taken, and nobody left inside the building, as it is Christmas evening with a terrible weather making everyone leave early.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The three men who goes under the names, Santa (Richie Jen), Elf (Carlos Chan) and Rudolph (Jiayi Feng) manages to get a bullet from the doctor, but it turns out that it was not one from their gun. The doctor had managed to trick them into believing that he had taken the bullet out of the girl’s dead body, but he hadn’t. After the criminals leave, he takes the body from her back, and manages to break out of the room where they were locked in, only to be chased by the returning criminals again, as he tries to sneak out of there with his assistant and the injured security guard. But the criminals are quick, and they want to get that bullet to remove any proof, because this case has many implications. Can there be hope for the trio to escape and give the bullet to the police, before the criminals catch up to them? Are there other secrets which are to be revealed as time passes? Will this really be a Christmas night with joy, or is there unlimited terror awaiting them all?

The defence of Bodies at Rest :: The movie does have an interesting premise, with three people being caught in a morgue with three masked killers ready to shoot at them, unless the decide the give away the evidence of a murder – it is the kind of thing that keeps us interesting from the beginning itself. As the movie begins, there is a fine shot of the Chinese city that displays the beauty of modernity at night with the lights, and also showing the severity of nature with thunderstorms coming in strong and seemingly without an end – it is more or less an early reflection of what is to follow, as the thriller unfolds. The action scenes in the movie are all believable, as they fight normally, and both the doctor and his assistant while trying to resist, get themselves on the receiving end of the punches and kicks. There are some twists to be revealed in between, and you are in full support of the two protagonists to make it out, while the three classical Aristotelian unities of place, time and action are maintained, with everything happening in the morgue at a night, focusing on one bullet and dead body, having only minor exception.

The claws of flaw :: Bodies at Rest could have done more, and there is absolutely no doubt about it here – there are enough dead bodies in the morgue to assure that, and there is enough going on inside and outside which could have further contributed to increasing the level of this movie. A morgue is always a place of eerie and fear, and with some dead bodies, the same could have been achieved – even the corpse of the girl doesn’t serve as a reason for adding some terror in here. It would have had many places to hide, and even the morgue could have had secrets to be unveiled. The two protagonists, especially the girl could have found more spaces to escape through, as she is quite small. A better connection between the doctor and the main antagonist could have also been nice. The villains often end up being funny, and that is not too good considering the fact that they are wearing the masks, holding the guns, and are ready to murder anyone to take the bullet out of the dead girl’s body.

Peformers of the soul :: Nick Cheung plays the main character here, the one who qualifies as the protagonist from the first scene itself. He is very good, as we see the doctor handling things so well, and he goes through the character nicely. The man who is ready to take a hit to save the forensic evidence has you supporting him throughout the movie. There is also a flashback about him which is discussed here, and it becomes linked to the criminals who have something more to hide than the case of one bullet inside a young girl. Yang Zi is a lovely addition to this movie, and one has to say that she provides some surprises that we love. It has to be said that she fights incredibly well, as she runs away from the criminals, and she brings kind of an escape attack every time here. The three criminals are played very well, and Richie Jen stands out among them as the leader and the focused one. Carlos Chan and Jiayi Feng supports well enough to keep the team going. Shu-liang Ma who plays the security guard gets less to do, but does it okay.

How it finishes :: Bodies at Rest tries to compete with other thrillers which seem to make something out of an idea which feels great from the beginning itself, and the action is well restricted to a single place during one night with all the focus there. It does succeed in doing that up to an extent, but one is not supposed to expect something like The Autopsy of Jane Doe, for this is not that kind of near-perfect thriller. We do have an urge to watch these kinds of movies, with people locked in a morgue full of dead bodies and criminals hunting them, all being something that catches our attention and interest easily. Even though the reviews haven’t been that kind to this one, this Chinese movie is something that will keep you interested throughout the movie, and even before the attack on the morgue – it has that kind of a perfect setting to begin things. Bodies at Rest is only the fourth full-length Chinese movie I watched, and it was surely worth the one and half hours of run-time.

Release date: 16th August 2019
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Renny Harlin
Starring: Nick Cheung, Richie Jen, Yang Zi, Carlos Chan, Jiayi Feng, Shu-liang Ma

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Anveshanam

What is the movie about? :: Aravind (Jayasurya) and Kavitha (Sruthy Ramachandran) are living a happy life in one of those skyscrapers of the city with their two children. Their family seems to be the one perfect world, as their neighbour and close family friend Dr. Gowtham (Vijay Babu) says. There is the smell of a fairy-tale happily ever after, all around there. But one day, their son, Ashwin is hospitalized, and he is supposed to have fallen off the stairs of the apartment. It is Gowtham and Kavitha who brings him to the hospital, while Aravind was spending his time alone after a fight in the television channel where he was working. Dr. Ashok (Srikanth Murali) makes no delay in admitting the boy and trying to save his life, but the head nurse, Sony (Lena) has a doubt regarding the marks found on the boy’s body, and she couldn’t stop herself from informing the police.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Sony suspects that the boy was brutally beaten, and it was a case of child abuse. As she herself was a victim of abuse as a child, she wastes no time in labeling this one in the same way. Latha (Leona Lishoy) and Alphonse (Nandhu) are the police officers on the case, with the former into a few months of pregnancy. They have a list of suspects starting with Aravind who had left office early without telling anyone, and had also visited his apartment. The descriptions provided by Kavitha and Gowtham also do not match one another. The hospital also seems to neglecting some facts, as the boy finally dies, things get even more complicated. The Dr. Faris (Lal) enters the scene from the side of the police to examine things further, and this complex sequence of events need an explanation before next morning – can it be done?

The defence of Anveshanam :: The movie, as expected, begins well, and brings the idea into focus very soon. There are many chances of interesting guesses to be made, as we know the main characters who are put into a situation in a hospital. We are beginning to suspect too many people, from the father and mother, to the neighbour, from the nurse to the doctor, who are all acting strange, and something fishy is going on there, as the police also begins to suspect. As the unsettling atmosphere is built early, and things begin quickly, there is an interesting journey here towards the interval, from where everything slows down and drags. It is only then that we realize that the movie could have risen further with its theme, but stays with a safe zone to which not many people can connect in the right way. But the performances eclipse the same at most parts.

The claws of flaw :: The movie losses its strength in the second half, as it moves from the investigative suspense thriller to a melodramatic and preachy family piece. It struggles to focus on what could have been its strengths, and ends with confusion, as its final moments did show signs of weariness. The movie had the premise and the idea, while the trailer could nicely create interest in the mind of audience. It is when the idea came on the screen, that it never really got its characters going well enough, even though there are many interesting ones. It couldn’t prove its point either, despite trying to go preachy – it could have at least justified its title and went on with the investigation to find what exactly they were searching for. But the movie by the end, decides to go to the middle of nowhere, and declares it fit to sit in no man’s land with some verbal gun shots all around.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya once again leads the way, and here we have his presence in a thriller, and as a father figure, this calls for a different approach with a mystery needed to be brought to light. He is not The Great Father kind of father who spends time in wearing fancy jackets and beating up people, and we don’t have that kind of an irritating gun loving strange character of a girl here, and that is the first case of relief which we have here. We have loved his ways of solving mysteries in Pretham and Pretham 2, but this one has his character in a crisis rather than the one solving it. The man who is still best remembered for Aadu has one more serious flick for which he will be remembered as the sole lead – other than Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam and a few others. Anjaam Pathiraa had Kunchacko Boban bringing one thing, and Jayasurya here continues that journey through the drama, but at the receiving end.

Further performers of the soul :: Shruti Ramachandran was seen in Sunday Holiday as the earlier love interest of the main character, and also in Pretham where she played ghost who was haunting a beach side resort and looking for revenge. Here, she has a bigger and stronger role to perform and one would remember this even more. Lena also remains strong, but her character stays underdeveloped despite supposed to be having such a trouble past and childhood. Vijay Babu is very good in the emotional sequences, and Leona Lishoy goes through a pretty good run. Lal is there only for what can be termed as an extended cameo. Nandhu also adds well in a pretty good police role. Srikanth Murali plays the doctor well, as he is the one who becomes the centre of attraction as he treats the boy who is supposed to have fallen from the stairs, a case which leads to all the drama.

How it finishes :: After Anjaam Pathiraa, the audience was expecting another top level investigation thriller, but what we see here is an investigation drama, which seems to have some nice ideas, but is not displayed that well on the screen – this could have become better as a short story, like Roald Dahl’s Lamb to the Slaughter, something which had a crime and what followed with the weapon used for murder. But instead, Anveshanam tries to be many things at ones, and also tries to be too preachy in the end – it is what makes this interesting premise struggle as it moves towards the end. Still, the movie is to be watched for how it builds the tension and suspense within limited space, and while being set in a few hours of time, almost sticking to the Aristotlean Unities except for those multiple flashbacks which keep coming.

Release date: 31st January 2020
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Prasobh Vijayan
Starring: Jayasurya, Leona Lishoy, Shruti Ramachandran, Vijay Babu, Lal, Lena, Nandhu, Jai Vishnu, Shaju K S, Srikanth Murali

<— Click here to go to a previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela

What is the movie about? :: Chacko (Lal) and Sheela (Shanthi Krishna) are a couple in the city who are going through their usual days. The former was working at Kuwait until a few years ago, and the latter is a Chemistry professor at the nearby college. While their youngest child Sarah (Ahaana Krishna) lives with them, their eldest child Mary (Srinda Arhaan) lives with her husband Tony (Siju Wilson) nearby. Their only son Kurien (Nivin Pauly) is working at London, and it has been some time since he last visited India. It is during one of these days that Sheela develops a doubt if she has breast cancer. The talk about the same frightens Chacko, who consults his good friend and dentist Varkichan (Dileesh Pothan). The man refers Chacko to a reputed doctor of a famous hospital in Cochin, Saiju (Saiju Kurup) who has cured many patients suffering from cancer. After consulting him and undergoing the tests, they confirm the same, that she does have stage two breast cancer.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is at the same time that Kurien returns to Cochin for spending a forced break, as Sheela had called and asked him to come as soon as possible without saying any reason. He gets the feeling that she had called him to get him married, as most of the other relatives of his age have been married already, and his siblings also share the same thoughts. The only other reason could be related to their grandfather, but he has been the same for years, and there is absolutely no change regarding his health. Chacko, who is afraid of the disease, struggles to even talk about it to his children – but one day, he manages to let them know the truth after a series of misunderstandings. Everyone in the family is shocked and sad, and are cent percent confused about what to do next. The family which had things going straight without any intermissions, gets a lot of thinking to do after that revelation.

And what else is to follow in the adventure in the land of crabs? :: Kurien’s only relief is his long lost friend Subbu (Krishna Shankar) whom he meets after a long time. Sheela tells her family to support her happily, but everyone remains sad and depressed. They decide to get a home nurse to look after the grandfather as Sheela is not well. Their search for one ends with Yesudas (Sharafudheen) whose conditions are agreed upon. Meanwhile, while taking his mother to one of the chemotherapy sessions, Kurien meets a girl from Bangalore named Raichel (Aishwarya Lekshmi) who had arrived in the hospital with her parents, as her father also had cancer. They become good friends, and Kurien feels very much attracted to her. Meanwhile, Sarah is also in love. Chacko keeps struggling to make himself adjust to the understanding and fear of his wife’s disease. In this newly confused world, the battle between chemo and the crab goes on.

The defence of Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela :: There are two sides to Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela – a humorous one and the emotional one. The humour is there in the movie all the way – the light-hearted side of this flick will make it a much loved title for this Onam season for the families. The emotional side is there, as the family is shaken by the unexpected trouble, and we see how they overcome the same, but never missing out on bringing a little comedy here and there. The balance which has been maintained here without letting the flick stumble into some kind of melodrama, is a remarkable achievement. The use of the right cast also makes sure that things work better. The movie leaves us with the message that it is the unexpected twist in life that makes us stronger, and it is the difficulties that makes us capable of more – positivity added there when the trap of hopelessness is present. Along with the same, it is once again re-iterated that family is that important, and it would come over almost all the other things in life; something that most of the new generation would need to realize at some point.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does take the safe route rather than trying anything special or unexpected. It might be rather too simple for the liking of some people, unlike Adam Joan, the other good movie of the Onam-Eid season which makes sure that it is more like the exact opposite of this movie – like a mirror image which reverses things. Well, we have interesting movies at both sides of the mirror, and it is a positive sign for the Malayalam movie industry. Yet, one wonders why it was so necessary to add a romantic side to this movie which adds nothing more than a little bit of cuteness along with a song – without the same, this one would have finished in less than two hours, and Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela would have had no moment of deviation from its beautiful family stuff. In a world when youth wishes for quick movies, the movie’s dilatoriness will trouble more than one person, but if you relate to the characters well enough, such a problem can vanish into thin air. There could also be people who want some parts of this movie to be more serious; well could have been even more touching for sure.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly goes through his role comfortably, as the lazy, Lays eating, London-er with more Keralite thoughts than anything else. There is also a little bit of romantic side for him here, but it is once again the family stuff that he gets to handle, and does very well. When the movie is cute, and the hero is Nivin Pauly, I wonder what can stop the family from rushing into the theatres. It has been a long time since we saw Shanthi Krishna, and it is good to see her back, and she remains the strong point of this movie from the beginning to the end. Lal also joins in and makes this role exactly at the right place. Ahaana Krishna’s second role also seems to be a good choice, as she seems to be doing what Aima Rosmy Sebastian has been doing – she has more to do than the heroine, Aishwarya Lekshmi who has a memorable presence, but gets less time on screen. The Aluvaite Premam team has kind of a get together with Siju Wilson, Krishna Shankar and Sharafudheen there, and strengthens the funny side, and so does Srinda.

How it finishes :: You will find Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela from the debutante director Althaf Salim to be a treat for the whole family, even without trying anything huge. It stays close to life and closer to the heart with those simple moments of life, and simpler instances of comedy being nicely woven into the plot. One has to wonder how well Nivin Pauly has been choosing his movies – from those dual releases of Ivide and Premam, it has been such a fantastic journey. The last three movies, Action Hero Biju, Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Sakhavu have been different in core, and all three of them are worth the appreciation. Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela continues that sequences of interesting movies. With the Tamil movie Richie supposed to come up soon, our movie here will raise hope to an even higher level. As of now, there is no void as it has been at certain points of time, and we have enough to enjoy this vacation season. I wish all of my readers a Happy Eid, as well as a Happy Onam in advance! 🙂

PS: Relate the crab to cancer, and there is more than one meaning which you can take from “the land of crabs” in the title.

Release date: 1st September 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Althaf Salim
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Lal, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Ahaana Krishna, Shanthi Krishna, Siju Wilson, Srinda Arhaan, Krishna Shankar, Sharafudheen, Dileesh Pothan, Saiju Kurup, Sidhartha Siva

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Void

Vampire Owl: I have always liked the Void. It made sure that there was nothingness in our realm. It was beautiful.

Vampire Bat: There is more than void that brings the nothingness.

Vampire Owl: Void is actually better than the rest. It is quite harmless, unless you use it to tamper with the wheel of time.

Vampire Bat: You can’t manipulate the wheel of time with just the void.

Vampire Owl: Well, you can’t just manipulate anything like the humans do. They just lie, cheat and steal as they want to.

Vampire Bat: These days, they are busy spreading the same on the internet, right into the social media.

Vampire Owl: Maybe, we can put them right inside the Void.

Vampire Bat: The Void doesn’t take anyone who tries to get in – it chooses people with quality.

Vampire Owl: What about the Shadow Domain?

Vampire Bat: The humans might be capable of entering that domain, because they are that evil. We can keep this in the list of suggestions.

[Gets three cups of Wayanad tea with Patanjali Doodh Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A man named James (Evan Stern) is seen running away from two people who shoots him, but misses. They hope to continue the chase and find him, but he reaches the main road and stumbles across a police car which is parked on the side. The police officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) gets him to the nearest hospital which only has parts of it working after a fire, and will be closing down soon. There are only the minimum number of staff present there including Doctor Richard Powell (Kenneth Welsh), nurses Allison (Kathleen Munroe) and Beverly (Stephanie Belding), along with the inexperienced intern Kim (Ellen Wong) who was supposed to leave much earlier. Other than them, there are only a pregnant girl Maggie (Grace Munro), her grandfather Ben (James Millington), and the only patient admitted there, Cliff Robertson (Matt Kennedy).

So, what happens next? :: The hospital is not the best preference for anyone who is looking for the best of treatments, but its proximity makes it a good choice for the people living around. It is the only reason why at least three people from outside are already there for treatment. The state trooper Mitchell (Art Hindle) also follows there, as there has been a blood bath in a farm house, and he is also looking for James, who could be the one responsible for the same, as the is known to take drugs. Meanwhile, Beverly murders Cliff and attacks Daniel, who is caught with surprise by her skinless, bloody face, but manages to shoot her dead. Mitchell attributes this to James and some drugs which he was taking, which the nurse could have used for herself. Daniel who goes out to use the radio in his car finds things getting complicated as he is attacked by a cultist wearing a hood having the picture of a triangle.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: An escaped Daniel manages to get himself back into the hospital, but two strangers are also inside (Daniel Fathers and Mik Byskov) who wish to kill James – in the confrontation, the doctor gets killed. As more and more cultists gather outside the hosptial, they understand how messed up the situation is, and tries to have some control. But it turns out that Beverly has come back from the dead, and she doesn’t even come close to looking the same. After failing to get hold of James, this animated version of her takes Mitchell, and kills him. They survivors finally manage to kill the creature, but there seems to be some more evil lurking under the hospital. They can’t get out as the armed cultists are waiting outside, and something threatens to come up and finish them off from the hospital’s basement – what will they do? The pregnant girl’s time is running out, and Daniel himself was stabbed – will they survive the night?

The defence of The Void :: Without wasting any time, The Void is ready and right into action, and this one keeps building on what it has in the beginning, bringing more horror into the material. You can feel the evil present throughout, and there is almost no way of how terrible it is; we just keep knowing its existence, and understand the chance that it could be fully unleashed at any moment. The scary moments work really well, and we see the effective use of terror in the form of undead creatures which are not zombies by definition. There is one nice scene where the heroes are caught between the creatures seemingly right out of hell rather than becoming walking undead in the form of zombies. There is scope for unleashing the most ancient and the most powerful of evil around here, and we know that death is only the beginning, once again. The cast is also pretty good, even though there is nothing big done. Caught in a half-burnt hospital, it is a nice setting for all.

The claws of flaw :: The blood and gore in this movie is going to keep some people away, as the movie gets violent early enough, only to get a few steps further as it moves forward. The Void might also be a little late in its arrival; if it had come a lot earlier, we could have enjoyed it as the first flick of a franchise which would have a fine cult following. The movie could have also used some fine, detailed creatures for its horror rather than those half baked ones, which surely adds to the horror, but not as whole. There could have also been better clarity with its story, and it could have made up a grand one with its proceedings – with this kind of a premise, there are so many places that its tale could go. But its chances are not fully explored here, as it ends in just an ordinary way instead of making it a big terrifying finish to a journey resembling the idea of hell.

How it finishes :: The Void will get more of interesting horror, and there is not that much of delay for this movie to take you on the terrifying ride. Even if not as good as those divergent horror movies like Don’t Breathe, A Cure for Wellness, Get Out, Lights Out, The Autopsy of Jane Doe and It Follows, this one has also has its own variety in treatment, as horror gets its dimensions explored yet again. There will be those haunting tales about ghosts on one side, and then there are these stories, which takes it to a different level – we will always love those movies like The Conjuring, Insidious and Annabelle, but we want things to bring more twist like this one, even if it is not a perfect story with all things coming together. Maybe, there could be a nice sequel to this one, working on its established origins, and making things better. We can only hope and wait for that though.

Release date: 7th April 2017
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Steven Kostanski, Jeremy Gillespie
Starring: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Mik Byskov, Grace Munro, Evan Stern, James Millington, Art Hindle, Stephanie Belding, Matt Kennedy

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Akam Puram

Vampire Owl: Why does the title sound to me like Inside Out?

Vampire Bat: It is more like Inside Outside.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the insides could be outside, and vice versa?

Vampire Bat: Are you referring to mind being outside the body?

Vampire Owl: Yes, such things are possible with meditation in a coffin.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that Doctor Frankenstein has developed a method to separate body and mind.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that the volunteer would have lost both his mind and body if Frankenstein was involved.

Vampire Bat: You are being too judgmental about someone who cured you of zombieness.

Vampire Owl: Dude, it was a temporary thing. I was going to be okay in a few minutes.

Vampire Bat: Anyway, this one requires none of these things.

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

What is the movie about? :: Udayan (Sarath Das), a policeman, reaches late to report to his senior officer (Prem Lal) as he goes to pray at the nearby temple. As time is running out for them to present a murder convict (Arun Punalur) to the district court, the senior police officer is furious. But Udayan tells him that he has had no time at all, as his mother is not well. It is her birthday, and usually they all go to the temple together, and this time, after leaving his mother to the care of his sister, he had to go to the temple alone, and pray for her well-being. He remembers how his rich relatives have been hesitant to help, or even look in their direction after the demise of his father, after which his mother had been taking care of him and his sister. Now, she is not well, and he is sad about not being able to be there at home to look after her due to this special duty which has come up because of someone else taking leave for personal reasons.

So, what happens next in the tale? :: The senior officer tells him that it is quite natural with their job, and it is their duty of presenting this man at the court in time that should matter the most – otherwise, they could be suspended, or transferred to somewhere far away; in that case, he wouldn’t be able to take care of his family at all. It is then that Udayan gets a call from his sister letting him know that their mother’s condition became critical, and she is admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of a nearby hospital. Udayan begs his senior officer to take a turn and go to the court after seeing his mother, to which the officer reluctantly agrees. But now, the question remains if they can reach their destination in time. Also, there is doubt if Udayan’s mother could be saved – the uncertainty is there at both sides, and the convict also has something to say about it contribute to the situation. Will at least one of the two things end well for the two cops on special duty?

Soul exploration 1: More than one responsibility in life :: It is the nature of our world that when we have a job, we will be blamed for not doing enough at home, and when we are at home, we are blamed for not being good enough to get a job. It is like not getting a girl for marriage when you have no job, and having no leave for marriage when you have the girl – it is that kind of a world. In this situation when we have to keep working, there is no hope to do our duties well enough, as the balance is so difficult. Yes, there are some people who have it easy as they lie, cheat and steal their way to the top, for the common man, maintaining this balance is eternally difficult. We see the same reflection of difficulties with the protagonist of this movie too, as he struggles to keep up things. Then there are those relatives, who are useful more for the blame game than anything else.

Soul exploration 2: Life running through a busy world :: One can’t predict or judge in a world which is rather too busy. There is nothing that will go according to plan, and the line between good and evil gets rather thin. When nobody has any time for anyone, as we see the protagonist having no relatives to take care of his mother – they are rich, but they don’t have time for their own people, and they pretend to like people only to make money. We see how much lies are being told these days just to make money, and one would wonder if such liars have any honour. But what makes us lovable for the friends and relatives is money, and these days, nobody really cares how you got the money and property if you have them. Well, it is a modernized, mechanical world build out of money, isn’t it? Who wants good qualities? There are parents who will get their daughters married to any fake person if he got money.

How it finishes :: Akam Puram directed by Abhilash Purushothaman is another interesting short-film which makes one think about the harsh realities of life, as one can’t help wondering how it could be any better with the same. We all live in a world which is full of uncertainties, and often when we look at the lives of others, we wonder how different it is. Supported by the performances from a good cast lead by the popular serial artist Sarath, this successfully catches the interest of its viewers, who are made to realize that no matter how hard one tries, there are few things that will never change, and it is the difference between each person in their though process, and their priorities – it is often due to how they were brought up, but as we all know, the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. Also read the reviews of those movies which are in theatres right now, Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Varnyathil Aashanka, Clint, Sarvopari Palakkaran, Chunkzz, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum.

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

Vampire Owl: I have had similar experience with one of the vampire convicts.

Vampire Bat: You were assigned to transporting convicts?

Vampire Owl: Yes, those guilty of the bloody terror.

Vampire Bat: I believe that it was called blood terror.

Vampire Owl: Yes, during those times, I was working as an apprentice with the vampire imperial guard.

Vampire Bat: You are a soldier? You never mentioned it in your resume.

Vampire Owl: It is because I was dismissed for failure in transporation of convicts.

Vampire Bat: So, how many days did you work with the vampire imperial guard?

Vampire Owl: One day, one job, the end.

Vampire Bat: What a beautiful case of one day’s work.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 14th January 2017
Running time: 15 minutes
Directed by: Abhilash Purushothaman
Starring: Sarath Das, Prem Lal, Arun Punalur

Watch the movie Akam Puram here:

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Take Off

What is the movie about? :: Sameera (Parvathy) is a divorced nurse who is trying to work hard in the local hospital and pay the debts of her family, as well as ensure that the studies of her younger sisters are also dealt with. She was formerly married to Faisal (Asif Ali), and has a child, but they were separated due to problems in both families related to her work as well as the differences in way of seeing things. Shaheed (Kunchacko Boban) who works as a male nurse in the same hospital, is in love with her, and is hoping to marry her if she agrees some day. Both of them are expected to go to Iraq for work soon, and in that way, earn a better salary. Sameera finally decides that it is better for her to marry Shaheed and move on, as he is also moving to Iraq, and her relatives would make her get married to someone else anyway; at least she finds Shaheed as a good person and he is in love with her.

So, what happens next? :: After marriage, Sameera gets pregnant, but they soon have to move to Iraq and join the new job. They have heard that the place is not that safe, but there are other nurses who work there and earn a good salary. It is the year 2014, and ISIS has launched itself into the major cities of the nation. It is at the same time that Sameera’s son Ibrahim a.k.a Ibru (Master Eric) comes to live with her. Their location, Tikrit, as well as Mosul where Shaheed had traveled to with the military, all are under attack despite the repeated assurances that the army of the country will keep them safe. Sameera is shocked when she realises that Mosul is captured by the extremists and has become impossible to reach on phone. She approaches the Indian ambassador to Iraq, Manoj Abraham (Fahad Faasil) who assures her that he will do his best to find her husband.

And what is to follow between the chaos and destruction? :: It doesn’t take the ISIS long to take full control of all significant landmarks in the city of Tikrit with the military falling and later becoming a non-existent force there. The militants also make it inside the hospital and keeps the nurses as hostage. Shaheed is still in Mosul, captured by the militants there. But Manoj is determined to rescue and bring all these people back to India in one way or the other. For the same, he works with Ranjan (Prakash Belawadi), his superior officer as well as Jayamohan (Prem Prakash) who is a rich Malayali businessman with many connections in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. With the External Affairs Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Kerala in contact with him, he will try a plan which is claimed to be risky by more than one person, but is considered to be the best option to bring the nurses home by Manoj himself.

The defence of Take Off :: The movie is based on the captivity of forty six Indian nurses by ISIS, and their evacuation by the Indian government, which was one of those celebrated events and a major achievement for the nation – it takes a lot of effort to recreate and add something extra for the creative and cinematic side, and still keep it simple and real. The director has succeeded in doing the same here. The movie has nicely handled the situations of war, and also related to the hostage crisis – with terrorism to be worked with here, things could have gone different ways, but all goes well in this movie; we see balance and maturity in everything here. The emotional side is also strong, and things are kept realistic as well as interesting at the same time, a quality which has been only fakely attributed to certain movies these days.

Positives and negatives :: The first half of the movie is more about the family drama, with the final few minutes getting the protagonists to reach Iraq, with the terrible disaster of a war waiting to happen. From there, it is a thrilling adventure, and the movie works as two here. This movie is visually geat, and also has some nice music as well as background score to go with the same. The movie, despite not trying to bring anything out of the box, got all of us interested, with how this tale is told, and how the characters feel simple and real as the common man who wishes to make money for their families while protecting the same. Even with its smaller budget compared to the Bollywood movies like Airlift which deals with the evacuation of Indians too, Take Off can easily give a fine competition – in simple words, it is surely better than the Bollywood movie dealing with this. There is a better re-imagination here for you to watch.

Performers of the soul :: There is no shortage of interesting performances here, and Parvathy manages to keep her character at the right place, even living through the war on most of the occasions. The different stages of life of her character are nicely portrayed, and this is sure to bring more and more applause as the movie runs in the theatres and will be watched by more followed the highly positive opinions – following Charlie and Ennu Ninte Moideen. Kunchacko Boban has a controlled performance here as he once again plays a character who will appeal really well for the family audience, after Kochauvva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho. Then there is Fahadh Faasil who arrives in the second half, and steals the show – there are so many moments for him as he goes strong after Maheshinte Prathikaaram once again, and the last few moments are undoubtedly his. The child actor Eric is also too good. Prakash Belawadi, Prem Prakash, Asif Ali and Alencier Ley Lopez also catch our attention with their smaller roles.

How it finishes :: We had the Akashay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur starrer Airlift directed by another Malayali, Raja Krishna Menon, which had dealt with a similar crisis and somewhat same kind of situation which released in 2016 and had received many positive opinions. While Airlift was based on the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, this one is based on the 2004 ISIS invasion of Iraq. Both are about evacuating the Indians left in the nation torn by war, and both has the patriotism as well as the final success that goes with the same – both have also received a lot of critical acclaim, and has been in the news even before the release. The comparisons maybe many, and it is certain that what we need are movies like Take Off and Airlift which deals with the situations related to common people who struggle anywhere in the world, and it is also significant how realistically their tales are told. This is the best movie of the year so far, as it joins C/O Saira Banu, Alamara and Honey Bee 2 which are running in the theatres stronger than the rest.

Release date: 24th March 2017
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Mahesh Narayan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Parvathy, Fahadh Faasil, Prakash Belawadi, Asif Ali, Prem Prakash, Alencier Ley Lopez, Parvathi T, Anjali Aneesh Upasana, Master Eric, Joju George, Sidhartha Siva, Devi Ajith, Divya Prabha, Prashant Nair, Rukhsar Rehman

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Apothecary

apothecary (4)

Vampire Owl :: My owlification procedure didn’t work yesterday.

Vampire Bat :: Why? You fell into one of those holes which used to be a part of what used to be our roads?

Vampire Owl :: That was last week. This time, I was trying to pronounce the name of this movie so that I can say that correctly at the ticket counter.

Vampire Bat :: The movie name is one of its kind. I don’t think you will need to pronounce it. They will just give you the tickets.

Vampire Owl :: It is okay then. I can’t pronounce it yet. Still working on it.

Vampire Bat :: Never mind. I call it Eco-Pathiri.

Vampire Owl :: That reminds me, I need pathiri.

Vampire Bat :: You need a blood shake.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, that too. Then I will pronounce it correctly.

Vampire Bat :: May that happen in this century.

[Goes to the ticket counter].

What is it about? :: The movie has the protagonist Dr. Vijay Nambiyar (Suresh Gopi) leading a wonderful life as a neurosurgeon and one of the most respected employees of Apothecary Hospital – a super speciality hospital intended for the high class people which charges an incredibly heavy price for the service that it provides. He is known to be someone who is able to have the grace of God in healing people, and has saved the lives of many people who had lost hope. He is married to Nalini Nambiyar (Abhirami), a gynaecologist working at the same hospital and with two kids. Subi Joseph (Jayasurya) is one of the poor and illiterate patients admitted to the hospital, and along with a few others, he is also a contendor for being a guinea pig for illegal drug tests which are going on in the hospital. Dr. Vijay is also forced to agree to the management’s demands for illegal drug tests on patients, but as he himself is admitted in the same hospital after an accident, things change. There will be a lot happening in one man’s mind – no doubt.

The defence of Apothecary :: Along with the wonderful performances from the cast, this movie can also boast about a straight-forward approach in its path. It doesn’t add any masala in its realistic world and keeps things as it should be. As Kung-fu Panda already found out with the dragon scroll, there is no secret ingrediant in this movie, and it is simple noodles. Every extra masala that you add to the movie noodles won’t always give the result that it is expected to give, and there are times when it has to stay real, and even in the imaginations, the movie achieves the same. Its social relevant theme and the message that it carries with pride are among the things that its makers can be proud about. It leaves the audience with thoughts far above what meets the eye, and this stimulation of the intellect should be made mandatory in the movies which end up crossing the limits of buffoonery and they should be chained to the pillar of sense at some point. The whole thing might have been a risk, but it is good to see that the director has chosen this theme and has given out the right message. It might not have been easy, but it is done. The end dialogues are excellent, even when preachy.

The claws of flaw :: The movie drags, and it does so for quite a long time. The movie can be considered too long for its theme and it stretches itself with repetitions which could have been something else. For someone who gave us Melvilasom on his directorial debut, this is a letdown. That movie was something special, one of the best ever made in the history of Malayalam movie industry, and measuring from that perspective, this movie has gone down. Such a comparison was expected as there was the line “from the director of Melvilasom” on the poster, and even as it can be avoided, the hopes remain partially crushed. Then there is that sentimental background music which runs through the movie and keeps coming out of nowhere to make us irritated. It should have been made shorter and to be capable of connecting better with the audience. There had to be a little more clarity on a few things related to the hallucinations and thoughts of our protagonist. There was to be some better editing too. The first part of the second half seems to drag the most, and almost makes this just an art movie.

Performers of the soul :: Suresh Gopi plays the protagonist and easily steals the show in a character that seemed to work for him like a beautiful dream sponsored by a genie. His moments of emotions as well as the preachy side are very much nicely handled. Jayasurya is also there giving life to a character which is simple and at the same time touching for the audience. Subi Joseph is a representative of the common man who comes to the universe of the elite, and it is well done. Asif Ali has a lesser job to do, but he finishes that well. Meera Nandan’s role is also small, but she is very good as Daisy, and the sadness that she displays is so effective for everyone who watches her on the screen. Abhirami has so less to do, as most of the time, she remains crying, but that is still not that much of a lesser job to do. The supporting cast is mostly okay even as there seemed to be some trouble with it as the characters of the doctors were a little too much on the same side which could have been avoided to add some neutrality. In total, it is good to be part of this movie.

Soul exploration :: Here is a special movie for the viewers. Unlike the usual expectation, this is not a medical thriller, but more of a medical drama. It is meant to make people think and there is no doubt about its success in the same. The whole movie is set inside a hospital and a lot of it inside the ICU, like the director’s last movie was completely shot inside a courtroom. It has been all about one building till now. As the earlier movie had talked about the prejudice that was there among the equals, this one talks about the patients’ existence as commodities as hospitals turn into big business ventures looking just for profit. That one had absolutely no drag though. But here, the relevance of the topic is much higher, as it is something of contemporary nature a lot more than anything else. It is just the same as educational institutions becoming places for business – there are always the hospitals. There are basically two types of commodities in our world – the student and the patient, both being good for business, and to be used as a medium to extract money from their loved ones.

How it finishes :: The movie is incapable of surviving in the theatre of much time, and it was evident from the expressions of the common people who were watching it. Surprisingly, they will like fake movies like Bangalore Days, 1983 and Neelakasam Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi is rather a surprise for me though. After the box-office reports come, lets hope that truth won’t have to take that much of a fall, but the sad and depressing fact is that it will. There is no hope for movies like Apothecary in our theatres. It is not because of any other reason – it is because of the attitude of our own audience who are looking for just stupid fun, not even some intelligent entertainment. People ask for entertainment and they are provided the same, most of the time in a very low quality, but surprisingly, people are more than happy with the same. They come and see their favourite stars, sons of the stars or any relative of their favourite superstar on the screen and watch all the nonsense and clap like there is no tomorrow. The hope is just not there for the meaningful movies.

Release date: 7th August 2014
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Madhav Ramadasan
Starring: Suresh Gopi, Jayasurya, Abhirami, Asif Ali, Meera Nandan, Thampy Antony, Indrans, Kavitha Nair, Neeraj Madhav, Seema G. Nair

apothecaryy copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.