Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham

What is the movie about? :: A former television actress Haripriya (Grace Antony) feels that she is stuck in an unromantic marriage with Pavithran (Nivin Pauly), who is has been a junior artist and acting coach for a long time, without any success. Their marriage was fixed by a mutual acquaintance, Sivakumar (Sudheesh) who works in the cinema field, as both had some film ambitions which didn’t materialize as they had wished for. Pavithran took loan against Haripriya’s grandmother’s golden earrings for helping his friend, and it had become another reason for their marriage landing in trouble, along with his usual unsuccessful pursuits in the film industry, along with that acting coaching going nowhere. The two are now on the verge of their separation, and as his acting coaching classes are also held in the corner of Haripriya’s father’s restaurant, Pavithran gets some gold coated earrings to replace Haripriya’s golden earrings for the time being, and both are finally together, with an added plan to go on a romantic trip.

So, what happens next in this tale? :: As Haripriya’s brother ask for the earrings to be used for loan for her family’s expenses, Pavithran decides to speed up the romantic trip and steal the earrings. They get room at an expensive hotel, thanks to Sivakumar’s contacts in the film field. There, they meet Jobby (Vinay Forrt), the manager, and Shalini (Vincy Aloshious), the receptionist. One of the room boys, Manaf (Rajesh Madhavan) seems to develop a special liking for Haripriya’s earrings. A mostly successful writer, Balachandran (Joy Mathew) is also there, along with a drunkard, Surendran (Jaffar Idukki) whom almost everyone detests. Pavithran successfully steals the earrings, and hides them. But soon, he realizes that it has been stolen from that location, as he cannot find it either. Haripriya will not stop until she makes sure that each and every person in the hotel is innocent. Jobby who has to go and meet his lover’s parents are also stuck there, and Shalini who is forced to work late without salary is more than just angry about the situation. Can anyone find a solution here?

The defence of Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham :: The movie is fun enough, and mostly mindless fun, when we look at it. The whole thing depends on the messed up lives of everyone who is seen on the screen – none of them seems to be happy, and they are all facing troubles due to one thing or the other. It is a true reflection of our world, in which there is no real happiness, and a certain search for the same leads us nowhere. We see that there is nothing that goes right in this particular hotel, which holds a mirror to a Corona virus affected, climate change affected world of chaos. Everyone has their different problems, and each one of them is shown coming together towards this one particular incident. The set design is really good, and it could even suit a horror movie, as there are reminders of The Shining and its sequel, Doctor Sleep. The setting serves the purpose more than any other thing in the film. Some of the humour is quick to rise, and there are the jokes which do no feel that dumb as some others are. There is some satire that works in the background too.

The claws of flaw :: Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham doesn’t have that much of an effectiveness with its jokes as we would expect in the beginning. In the later stages, it only becomes more and more repetitive in nature. The calls for the manager as well as one drunkard who remains irritating for most of the time doesn’t score that much as expected in the later stages of the film. There is a little bit too much of stretching of the whole thing. The same thing goes on moving forward, and the idea to bring a message in here is lost. It is more or less an opportunity lost in that case. Often it goes down to the level of the kind of movies which we have detested for the buffoonery that gets repeated – such films are not there now, but we do remember such a past. Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham did have some good hype related to the cast, and the trailer despite not giving out a clear idea, did make us feel that there is something special in store, but that much is not there to be taken.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly leads the movie well as expected. This is similar to what he had done with Love Action Drama, another comedy film which could only partially work with its humour. But for someone who has done many movies with some effective light humour, this won’t be a step forward. The one whom we remember for Thattathin Marayathu and Om Shanti Oshaana‘s light comedy was quite a different star, and that was the one whom we continued to prefer. It seems that the same has been lost up to an extent. Grace Antony had her best movie in the form of Kumbalangi Nights, and this one has her as the sole lead. She has provided an entertaining performance here too. Vincy Aloshious plays the other female character of importance, and we would be remembering that one well enough too. She should be considered as the pick of that Naayika Naayikan show on Mazhavil Manorama along with Meenakshi, especially with the way they do comedy.

Further performers of the soul :: Sudheesh has another role which runs through the movie with focus on the beginning and end, and it is good to see him in such roles, like the one we saw in Theevandi. He has been the one actor who has been there from our childhood itself. Vinay Forrt can be considered as playing the funniest character around, and we also feel for the character trying so hard. He and his mobile phone do become interesting from the beginning itself. Joy Mathew plays a role suiting him well. Jaffar Idukki plays a drunkard who is often too irritating, but most of the time, he manages the same in an okay manner. Rajesh Madhavan as Manaf comes up with a notable performance here, and he is the one character who scores when least expected. Sudheer Paravoor as Vijesh Nair is another employee character that we will be noting. There are a few other interesting characters, and they all blend into the hotel atmosphere really well.

How it finishes :: Life has been very serious in the last few months as far as OTT films are concerned. Well, we know what has been happening everywhere, and there is no confusion about the films being serious with a world of chaos all around. Starting from Drishyam 2, we have had a series of serious films, like Kaanekkaane, Sunny, Malik, Kuruthi and others, which have held on to the serious characters really well. The number of comedy movies has been comparatively less, as we look at them. So, this one serves something light-hearted in between, even though it is certainly not that effective. As the theatres have opened now, the movie needed to be of better quality to keep the audience in the OTT platform. Now, with the theatres having opened, people will be moving there unless there is enough power in the OTT to keep them online. The challenge of Kurup is there to stay for long, as it seems. Well, we know that more is to come soon.

Release date: 12th November 2021 (Disney Hotstar)
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Grace Antony, Vinay Forrt, Vincy Aloshious, Joy Mathew, Jaffar Idukki, Sudheesh, Rajesh Madhavan, Sudheer Paravoor, Sivadas Kannur, Neeraja Rajendran, Ratheesh Balakrishna Poduval

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

MIB International

Vampire Owl: This particular franchise has been so old that I am beginning to feel young.

Vampire Bat: Do you know that we have a group, Vampires in Black?

Vampire Owl: We do? What do they do?

Vampire Bat: They wear black, and wander around the castle, as if black is the coolest colour a vampire can wear.

Vampire Owl: So, this VIB does nothing of use.

Vampire Bat: Well, MIB has had another sequel, and so we might be up for more.

Vampire Owl: I think that we should run VIB parallel to MIB because I have so many ideas related to it.

Vampire Bat: What kind of idea do you have?

Vampire Owl: It is regarding a group of vampires wearing black, and facing aliens.

Vampire Bat: I think that people won’t need many more of that, unless created with some really good content.

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

What is the movie about? :: Molly Wright (Tessa Thompson) is someone who had witnessed her parents’ memories of aliens erased by agents of Men in Black while she helps an alien escape. As her memories of aliens stayed, she started looking for employment in the secret organization which she found out about, but finds out that there is no chance. Everybody thinks that she is delusional, and that there is something really weird about her. With no friends and no life of her own, she finally manages to find the Men in Black after tracing an alien who is taken away by the agents. She discovers the headquarters of the organization quite fast, enters without any hesitation, and makes a fine impression on Agent O (Emma Thompson) who heads the team in United States of America, and after naming her Agent M, sends her to work in London as a probationary agent to know how much she is capable of.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There, Agent M meets High T (Liam Neeson), head of the London branch, and Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), the two of whom are supposed to have stopped an invasion of the Hive, a parasitic race at the Eiffel Tower, many years ago. After that, while High T leads the force, Agent H had become irresponsible, leading to T having to cover up all his failures. M meets H, and manages to go with him in his meeting with his close friend and alien royalty who is killed by some mysterious alien twins able to manifest as pure energy, which the agents are not able to counter. Before dying, the alien royalty provides M with a strange crystal, telling to her that it won’t be useful giving it to H because he had changed after the incident during which he saved the world. It turns out that the crystal is not just the usual thing, and that there is something special about it, but they will have to find it the hard way, while the agency is not happy about the royal alien being killed. So, what is next for the two against all odds? Can they save the world?

The defence of Men in Black International :: As expected, the special effects with the action sequences score more than anything else, and the CGI elements are at fine work here, making the alien presence have glory – after all, the technology has improved so much, and this was to look better in each and every movie. The location explored are really nice, especially Marrakesh in Morocco which provides the best visuals around. MIB does manage to continue as how it used to be in essence, with a big universe with unlimited number of aliens to be saved these days. There is some humour present, even though most of them don’t work, or are repetitive. We can hope to have another movie in the franchise though, including these new characters and some of the old ones, which can prove to be interesting with some extra innovation, for we should never be short of smart ideas as far as alien invasion is concerned.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much different here as far as the plot idea of the Men in Black series is concerned, as each movie works on a similar thing every time, and the disadvantage here is that it lacks those stars whom we have associated this movie franchise with, and there is absolutely no emotional connection here – that side is almost completely done with. We develop no feelings for the protagonists here, and therefore the concern is rather less. There is not much to save here compared to those original movies which we had, and the villain reveal was rather unnecessary, because we could have guessed that from a long time ago, and it was certainly not that good a choice. The twist was pretty much unnecessary, and the best characters in the movie go unexplored. There is also absence of humour, as the funny side here is rather minimal, and it rarely works, leading us to question the direction it is going.

Performers of the soul :: Men in Black will miss Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones this time, and there is no doubt about the same. It might be due to the same reason that we have a pair which worked so well with Thor: Ragnarok to get out of the Avengers world with that grand finish in Avengers: Endgame, and come to this franchise. Yes, they will have their roles to play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Thor and Valkyire, but their combination doesn’t work that well in this movie, even though they are okay together for most part of the movie. Chris Hemsworth does take a little bit of the early Thor attitude in here too, as the proud MIB agent. Tessa Thompson is fine here, but a younger actress playing this role would have been more appropriate. Rebecca Ferguson, the Mission Impossible and Doctor Sleep girl has fine run in her smaller role, while our TakenNon-stop action star Liam Neeson is a fine addition to the movie here, but they could have used him in a better way, at least by the end scenes.

How it finishes :: Men in Black International continues that same format which it had been following for a long time, and through that idea which has been well-established, it manages to be entertaining – after all, there is also the presence of the big names like Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson and Liam Neeson who are there to keep us entertained. There is not much that we will find new in this movie, or to be greater than the previous movies in the franchise, but you have the guarantee because it is this particular franchise that we are talking about. But, it could have had a movie like Charlie’s Angels had, a long time later, but falls short due to the absence of that humour and an energetic cast. Yet, it is the movie that you watch for being Men in Black with all the aliens and saving the world stuff.

Release date: 14th June 2019
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: F Gary Gray
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, Emma Thompson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Extreme Job

Vampire Owl: So how extreme is this job going to be?

Vampire Bat: This is actually supposed to be a comedy movie.

Vampire Owl: Well, comedy movie can also be extreme.

Vampire Bat: This one has an undercover operation, and so that is possible.

Vampire Owl: We have had some interesting Korean movies.

Vampire Bat: And there will be more, especially when it is Korean.

Vampire Owl: When we began watching these movies during lock-down, we never thought that it could get this far.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that there is more to come with this Corona Virus.

Vampire Owl: As long as there is the guarantee of fun, I am in.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we need a funny side like this movie has, during these terrible times.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: A group of young narcotics department detectives led by Captain Ko (Ryu Seung-Yong) fails a mission which was supposed to be easy. While doing the same, they end up almost killing the person they were supposed to arrest and bring to the police station – along with the same, they also end up causing an accident involving many cars which hit each other. They have one last chance to prove that they are good enough, as they have to do undercover surveillance of an international drug gang which has been gaining in strength. They decide to buy a chicken restaurant just opposite to where the gang stays. But it is not that good a decision, because the place doesn’t have customers, and only the gangs ask for deliveries at times. Captain Ko is determined, but his performance hasn’t been up to the mark, as he gets demoted, and some others get promoted – even those who are much younger and less experienced than him. They feel that it is their last chance.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But the police department hesitates to give them money because the team lead by Ko produces no positive result at all. So, they find a way themselves as Ko takes money from his retirement fund, and pose as a family which wants to run the business. The team which consists of him, Detective Jang (Lee Hanee), Detective Young-ho (Lee Dong-hwi), Detective Ma (Jin Seon-kyu) and Detective Jae-hoon (Gong Myung) are ready to run the business with no customers as they could watch the gangsters and plan their next move. But surprisingly, new customers begin to come into the restaurant, and they keep sending them away in the name of renovation. But they would have to serve at some point, or their cover would be blown. There is not much going on at the place where the gangsters are staying, and with no other way, they decide to cook some chicken so that everyone would accept the fact that they are really running the restaurant. But that would lead a twist of fate they didn’t expect as undercover gets more about it.

The defence of Extreme Job :: The best thing about Extreme Job is its funny side, and it is the first time that I am watching a really funny Korean movie, and the film works really well with its humour – you will notice it at the begining itself, with all those characters bringing the comic side at the start. Even the action which has some martial arts moments, is also nothing less than funny. The silliness with effective humour that this movie shows reminds us of some of the cult classics of our times, the earlier Bollywood flick Andaz Apna Apna and the later Malayalam movie CID Moosa. When we talk about the latter, we also have a similar seemingly incompetent people on an investigation, but they end up solving the case, bringing a surprise – even though, the luck involved here is rather less. The movie also goes through the action quickly, even when nothing much happens around. The chicken-related jokes work really well, as you will see.

The claws of flaw :: With this idea, the movie could have surely done better, not just with the comedy, but also with the mission, with some fine sequences of action added in between. We have those moments when the movie seems to run out of its ideas, and it has to come up again with some else to keep it going. The final few moments go in a rather predictable manner, and it is the usual fight that ends everything. There is also no doubt about the fact that it could have been funnier, and more of comic situations could have added related to chicken, restaurant and cooking. Some of the moments in between could have had more of a flavour of comedy too, and a funny coating could have been better at some points. Some more of the city could have also been added here, and we are seing more scope here. It could have also been shorter, because there is not that much material in here to add to such a length. We are never really short of ideas, right?

Performers of the soul :: The cast chosen to play the misfit police officers is really nice. Ryu Seung-ryong leads the way in this movie with the comedy as well as a certain emotional side to go with it. He has many fine moments with his co-workers, and there some with his wife too, which are also funny. Lee Hanee manages to be the funniest around there too, as some of her expressions are just too good. The way she looks at people also adds it to that funny side. There is the love-hate relationship between her and the fellow detective played by Jin Seon-kyu, and it is really good – latter has some very funny moments added in the last few moments of the film. Lee Dong-hwi and Gong Myung very much supportive too, and we see them all coming up with some very interesting moments in the last few moments of the movie. From Kim Eui-sung who plays the Police Superintendent to Kim Ji-young who plays the chief’s wife, there is a lot of good work being done here by the supporting cast which doesn’t go unnoticed.

How it finishes :: Extreme Job makes an interesting comedy action thriller, and the kind that leaves us with a pretty good mixture of everything. It is no wonder that it is the second most viewed film in South Korean history, as it provides that kind of a feeling – it is never serious, but we love the characters in it seriously. During the days of COVID, it is the kind of movie that we can watch for some extra amount of fun. The movie once again proves that you can look forward to South Korea for all kinds of movies, even though we often consider some genres to be special coming from the Korean side. If I look back at the first two Korean movies which I reviewed, they are Train to Busan and The Wailing. Those have been the movies from South Korea which we were watching – then there was Old Boy long ago, and you know what were looking for from South Korean movies, and it is an interesting thing that there is more than that for us.

Release date: 23rd January 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Lee Byeong-heon
Starring: Ryu Seung-ryong, Lee Hanee, Jin Seon-kyu, Lee Dong-hwi, Gong Myung, Shin Ha-kyun, Oh Jung-se, Kim Eui-sung, Song Young-kyu, Heo Joon-su, Kim Ji-young, Kim Jong-soo, Yang Hyun-min

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Johnny English 3

What is the movie about? :: Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is spending his retirement peacefully as a Geography teacher far away from city-life. But MI7 has a cyber attack from an unknown force, leaving the identities of all their active agents exposed, and some of them dead. This leads to a call for return of the retired agents, hoping that they could investigate this situation without giving any clue to the attacker. But in the end, it turns out that Johnny is the only remaining person who could take the job, about which he has no second thoughts either. For the same, his sidekick Jeremy Bough (Ben Miller) is assigned to accompany him. At the same time, a confused Prime Minister (Emma Thompson)is considering a meeting with a computer expert and billionaire Jason Volta (Jake Lacy), to help them with controlling the cyber attacks and to form an agreement that could bring everything back to normal.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After traveling to france, the two get a clue that the cyber attack came from a yacht named Dot Calm. There they come across a few goons lead by a Russian woman named Ophelia Bulletova (Olga Kurylenko). She gets them captured, but the two could manage to escape. Their paths cross again, and Ophelia tries to kill him more than once – she never gets close to succeeding though. They soon figure out that there is something about Jason that is not right. The yacht itself belongs to him, and they feel that he has something to do with everything that goes on, including the cyber attack which affects all signal lights in London. But can they stop something bigger from happening, and can they act in time before the whole system is broken down? What is the interest of Ophelia in all these? Can the Prime Minister make sure that the country is safe?

The defence of Johnny English Strikes Again :: There is a lot of laughter to be generated with this particular movie. The best moments come from the high-energy dance and the use of virtual reality. But these are certainly not those moments where the fun begins or ends. The movie surely knows how to generate laughter without using cheap jokes which was done by movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service which pretends to be funny. There also some nice visuals, and the adventure continues to be funny throughout the journey. In this short journey of less that one and half hours, there is care taken to make sure that the good, common audience also gets more than the usual, and not just those special viewers. We can be sure that there will be even more to come if Johnny English decides to strike further with another wonderful sequel – we will be ready for it considering the potential, and lets keep the lady lead the same for that one too, this time.

The claws of flaw :: The story might seem similar to Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Dwayne Johnson starrer Get Smart, in the beginning stages even though there are changes to follow. There is predictability in store here, without doubt. It is also too small a movie, ending up with less than one and half hours, which makes us ask for more. The expectations were high with the trailer, as we all know – it has been so long since the earlier movie in the franchise released, and even longer after the first one. The absence of a heart and soul to enjoy such simple jokes can be a problem too. The simplicity shown by the movie might not be for those who are looking for the complexities, and not able to find the fun at some point of life. Most of the reasons which are written in some reviews about not liking this movie are kind of ridiculous though, and lets not fall into the trap, as not many flaws are there in this kind of a movie within its own genre, and you can be sure about that much.

The performers of the soul :: Whether it is about Mr. Bean movie adaptations Bean and Mr. Bean’s Holiday, or the earlier Johnny English flicks which we loved so much, there is one person that we would always want to watch. Can we forget the British sitcom and the animated series which were inspired by the same? I would say that it is an impossible task to keep them away, and we just have to watch them whenever there is a chance. The Rowan Atkinson effect continues in this one too, as he entertains us the big way again. There is no doubt regarding the reason for watching the movie for most people, and it is him – Mr. Bean and Johnny English are the type of characters who are to be remembered forever, and they are also those for which there can be no other actor playing the role. There are many actors who can make you laugh, and then there is this man who never stops doing that.

Further performers of the soul :: Olga Kurylenko has been an actress with a lot of potential. She was there in the James Bond movie, Quantum Solace; she was there in the game adaptation Hitman, and also in the post-apocalyptic science fiction movie, Oblivion with Tom Cruise. She had shined in all of them, and this one is no different. She remains funny on one side, as well as doing so well in those action scenes. Just like Rebecca Ferguson in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Mission Impossible: Fallout, she is someone with immense potential in action movies, and looks perfectly suited for this role. Ben Miller nicely adds to the funny side with his support too. The rest of the cast does manage to do a pretty good job, but there is not that much to be remembered there.

How it finishes :: Johnny English Strikes Again provides some great fun without doubt, and anyone who thinks otherwise might need to check their sense of humour. If someone likes movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service, and fails to have any interest in this one surely needs to check for the same further. Kingsman was one miserable movie, and never came close to being funny. But we can see that Johnny English Strikes Again handles everything so well that you can listen to the whole theatre laughing at regular intervals. This is the kind of laughter that even those regional movies which focused on common audience failed to bring in a packed theatre – it is for the same that Johnny English Strikes Again has to be appreciated; there is always the need to connect and this one surely has that quality which can inspire more of similar movies.

Release date: 28th September 2018
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: David Kerr
Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller, Jake Lacy, Emma Thompson, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Adam James, Miranda Hennessy, Irena Tyshyna, Samantha Russell, David Mumeni, Tuncay Gunes, Nick Owenford, Junichi Kajioka, Matthew Beard

<— Click here to go to the previous review. Also check the reviews of The Predator and The Nun which are still running at the nearby theatres as well as the recent superhero flick, Ant-Man and the Wasp.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lavakusha

What is the movie about? :: Two jobless youngsters who would later be addressed as Lavan (Neeraj Madhav) and Kushan (Aju Varghese), meets in Chennai city, and becomes very good friends. The problems that both of them face, are almost the same, and after being kicked out of their place for not paying the rent, the two decide to return to Kerala, hoping to find something better in their home state. As the lazy people that they are, they can’t stop thinking about earning maximum money with the least effort. It is during their journey back to Kerala that they come across a number of strangers on the train. There is a girl named Sheethal (Deepti Sati), and a man who identifies himself as Venkat (Biju Menon). In an attempt to get the attention of the girl, they cross the way of a group of people smuggling gold in the train who threatens to kill them.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After being captured by the smugglers, the three escapes, and Venkat reveals himself as Joy Kappan, a senior police inspector. A series of confusions follow, and it ends with Joy being able to seize all the gold, and the smugglers escaping. Inspired by the turn of events, Lavan and Kushan decides to become private detectives. But living in a rented house, they are once again very close to being kicked out – it is then that they come across Joy again, who gives them a task to perform. They are to find and take out a huge amount of gold which is stored inside a reputed institution in the middle of the city. As they feel the need for an adventure, the two men agree and goes on the mission. But there are more twists to their mission than they think that there is, and there is more to the truth than what meets the eye.

The defence of Lavakusha :: There are enjoyable moments here and there in this one, and after the comic side gets awakened early, there is also the presence of twists later. It is in the final moments that everything comes together, and we get to see the movie rising above the possibility of just ending up as a foolish thing. The movie is clearly dependent on the trio of Neeraj Madhav, Aju Varghese and Biju Menon, and the three remains the pillars of this flick which leaves less for the rest. The former two get to begin and go on with the humour without restrictions. Even then, it is the second half which manages to use its resources better, improving as it moves towards the finish. You will see the signs of the same by the interval itself. When you are looking for some fun of the simpler kind, Lavakusha might be exactly the movie to turn to.

The claws of flaw :: Lavakusha never really uses its cast to the best possible advantage. When we have a leading cast like this, one has to wonder why there is inability to use it to the full advantage with fun. The jokes often struggle to identify as what they are actually supposed to be – even without logic and with foolishness allowed in there, we see struggle. We see that none of the characters are never really well established for the audience – that applies even to the leading characters. It is for the same reason that there are too many ups and downs in this movie, and the momentum that is often gains is not maintained and carried on to the next moments. The first sequence of the movie itself is rather not needed, and the same thing is repeated again in this movie, without bringing any chance for laughter. The music in this movie is rather forgettable – there is nothing to keep us there with that too. You will also find that the female characters also have less screen presence.

Performers of the soul :: It is Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav whose combination works really well to make things better. Even the comedy which might have gone over our head otherwise, works well, thanks to how well the two manages everything together. Aju Varghese has been present throughout the year’s movies from Aby and Alamara earlier to right now, while Neeraj Madhav comes out of that impressive performance in Oru Mexican Aparatha – we have seen them together at their best in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Kunjiramayanam; this movie is not of such level, but together, they are not behind, at any point. You will notice that the former has a more responsible character in comparison, but then too, you will know that it is only by a small distance. You will feel that this particular combination also meant that the expectations were a little too high with this one – well, it is no surprise, right?

Further performers of the soul :: The movie focuses mostly on the characters played by Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav, but the only one with heroic quality in this movie is played by Biju Menon – he gets to be the hero in the movie lead by the two youngsters. As concerning the titles, Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Lakshyam and Sherlock Toms, he had caught our attention with three different roles in the year, and here he gets another one to perform – there is no difficulty for him here, and he has all under control. Sadly, Aditi Ravi is restricted to a smaller role which could have been developed instead of a few other things in a movie which is rather so long for its content, and even Deepti Sati’s presence seems to be strange when she disappears and appears; there even seems to be a certain lack of efficiency in dubbing for her. Vijay Babu and Major Ravi are good with their work at the same time.

How it finishes :: Lavakusha could have been a nice action comedy in Hollywood style – our heroes could have gone through this in Get Smart model, becoming the unlikely saviours when the others in the investigation turn hopeless. Two police officers in undercover mode, finishing their missions in a funny and interesting way was the need here, but that much work isn’t done, and there seems to be not that much focus on attention either. Even with such a longer run-time, this one couldn’t build up enough. Still, this makes mostly an entertaining watch for the weekend. It could be an interesting time-pass movie without doubt. You can also feel a little bit of Tharangam in this one. As of now, Parava seems to have the lead as the most interesting one in the last thirty days. Just like the other Biju Menon starrer in the theatres, Sherlock Toms, this one attempts to combine comedy with the twists, and by the end, you will feel that it is the latter that has caught your attention, unlike what you were expecting.

Release date: 13th October 2017
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Gireesh Mano
Starring: Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Biju Menon, Deepti Sati, Aditi Ravi, Vijay Babu, Major Ravi, Sinoj Varghese, Anjali Aneesh, Ashwin Kumar, Janardhanan, Neena Kurup

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Velipadinte Pusthakam

What is the movie about? :: Pheonix College of Arts and Science was established ten years ago as a result of the efforts of Vishwanathan (Anoop Menon), a local man who was killed on a terrible night after he made this possible. The location of this college is at a coastal village, where most children stop education at the school level itself, and a few don’t even bother to get to the verandah of nursery. There have been the presence of rich people like Mathan Tharakan (Siddique) and his right hand man, a criminal Kakka Ramesh (Chemban Vinod Jose) who don’t want the local youth to attend college, as it would deprive them of the workers for their fishing business. The college did develop into a popular institution ten years after its inception though, and people from city also joined in to make the campus a mixture of different kings of students, as the number of students from the village doesn’t get any higher, with fishing being a traditional job for the locals.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Into this college where the memories of Vishwanathan is more treasured that anything else, there has been the entry of violence – there is nothing political or religious in nature with the quarrels being rather social. With more students filling in the vacant seats left by the locals, there are two groups which can’t afford to see each other. The first one is led by Franklin (Sarath Kumar), as the son of the best friend of Vishwanathan, coming from the local fishing community – proud and not backing away from a fight. They ridicule those coming from outside as rich beggars who have been trying to take away their opportunities and buy seats with cash. The second one has their leader in Sameer (Arun Kurian) who is an angry young man coming from a rich family in the city, and wastes no time in getting into fights and ridicule his rivals for being poor and doing fishing.

And what else is to follow with the book of revelation? :: The two gangs find one reason or the other to fight it out at open spaces or inside the college auditorium when there is the need for some privacy. Supporting the city gang against the village team is the vice principal of the college, Prem Raj (Salim Kumar) who has become an irritation to the female students as well as the teachers, earning him the nick name Kamaraj. Franklin and his team gets rid of him with a nicely executed plan which exposes him in front of the principal. He manages to continue as a professor, while the post of vice principal goes to Michael Idicula (Mohanlal), a happy and easy-going professor who teaches Malayalam. With a grand entry, he manages to be a favourite of all students, and even manages to win the trust both Franklin and Sameer at the same time. But there is one more thing that he will need to do, and by doing the same, he will make sure that there will be some revelations, not just about himself, but also about Vishwanathan and his death.

The defence of Velipadinte Pusthakam :: The movie is entertaining for sure, and the first half has a lot of funny moments to add to the cause – whenever there is something related to the college and its people, there is the comic side that comes up; it is Salim Kumar who handles that all the time. The visuals of the coastal village is very good, and there are some dialogues to remembered, some as serious ones, and a few from the comic side – this is never the complete with its funny side though. With its ups and downs, the movie depends on Mohanlal to save it, and it is his presence that makes the audience miss some of the troubles that this movie has. There are some twists in this movie, some are on the funny side, and the rest are on the more serious angle – some of the thrills come not that strong, but they are surely present there. The most interesting song remains the one you have already listened, and had become the big hit.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s trouble is with its second story, which makes one wish to return to the college, and keep things there. The thrilling side is not used as one would have wanted it to be, and the revelation of the suspense could have been done in a much better manner. There is also the lack of focus on a number of characters that could have done wonders. The second half becomes inferior to the first, and the curse of the second half tightens its grip on rather too many occasions. We also think that there would be some relevant social theme being taken about the rich and the poor, which is not there – with those early clashes, that could have been on the list of things to show for sure. Also, Mohanlal as a lecturer could have become the perfect lecturer to transform this college through a series of interesting events, rather than skipping through all that. This one is also too long a movie, which is why there is the feeling of dragging in between.

Performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in his usual style, manages to cover the limitations of the script here. Due to the same, this movie also becomes a treat for the fans, who will get to clap here and there, especially with his entry and more in the second half. Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol from this year, and Oppam and Pulimurugan from last year have all been doing wonders for him. Anoop Menon has much to with flashbacks, and he remains pretty much suitable, but has not many dialogues. You will find out that Sarath Kumar as well Arun Kurian finds themselves limited as their characters’ rivalry is lost rather too easily. The work here is no challenge for them. Even Anna Reshma Rajan fades away in the process, and so does almost every female character including Priyanka Nair and Sneha Sreekumar. Salim Kumar here has one a full swing comedy attack as he launches one funny dialogue after the other, and with ups and downs, some of them misses by a long distance, but there are a few others which are close to target. The two negative characters played by Chemban Vinod Jose and Siddique are solid, without doubt.

How it finishes :: How much Velipadinte Pusthakam would work for you, certainly depends on your expectations. The expectations were also so high for this one – this was also the movie I was looking for, with Lal Jose and Mohanlal coming together, and the cast from Angamaly Diaries, Sarath Kumar and Anna Reshma Rajan doing some memorable roles. Yes, even more expectations than what was there for Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idavela and Adam Joan. If that much is your expectation, there will be some trouble. The movie is actually quite far away from what you might have expected from the trailer. I was surely surprised by how much the movie has deviated from what I had thought about it, and it is due to the same, that I have crafted the story in such a way that none of the twists, whether serious or funny, are revealed. If you are watching Veilpadinte Pusthakam, be prepared for the deviation. You can’t deny the presence of fun though, especially if you are watching it with family.

Release date: 31st August 2017
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Mohanlal, Anoop Menon, Anna Reshma Rajan, Arun Kurian, Sarath Kumar, Chemban Vinod Jose, Alencier Ley Lopez, Priyanka Nair, Siddique, Salim Kumar, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sneha Sreekumar, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Krishna Kumar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Varnyathil Aashanka

What is the movie about? :: Pratheesh (Shine Tom Chacko) is a simple guy looking to start a business in or around the city of Thrissur. But usual way of making money doesn’t come naturally to him – he is always looking for the easy path, the shortcuts to his objective. His people doesn’t have a high opinion about him, especially his uncle (Jayaraj Warrier) from whom he takes small amounts of money which he can’t pay back. He also needs money for his new business and has nobody to aid him. At the same time, he has to pay to get back the gold ornaments of his friend Thanima (Gayathri Suresh), which he had used to get money for his needs – she threatens to commit suicide after letting everyone know that he is responsible for her death. Pratheesh even tries pickpocketing, but gets beaten up before escaping. His best friend is Wilson (Chemban Vinod Jose) who also goes through a similar phase, and is looking for some money for family matters.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, Shivan (Kunchacko Boban) is a rather experienced thief in the locality. He is known to be very good at his work, and whenever he brings something home, everyone thinks that he has stolen it. Pratheesh, Wilson and Shivan meets up over alcohol, and Gilbert (Manikandan R Achari) from the nearby town also joins them. As they all have their own problems, they decide to solve them all by doing a big heist at the nearby Aishwarya Jewellery owned by Ittoop (Sunil Sukhada). It is something that could change their lives forever, and they plan to do it the simple and effective way, on a twenty four hour harthal night which will have almost nobody on the road in front of the shop. With violence having broken out after the death of a party worker, people have been staying indoor throughout the district, and they decide to use it to their advantage. If things work out right, this would be their one big heist and the last one.

And what else is to happen here? :: Dayanandhan (Suraj Venjaramoodu) is just another guy living nearby, and has been sitting idle at home after the bar where he was working had shut down according to the new liquor policy of the government. His wife Keerthana (Rachana Narayanankutty) goes to work at a nearby textile shop, and he isn’t interested in searching for a new job. They have also taken loans, and as they had married after eloping, there is nobody from their place to help them. While returning home after meeting a friend at Aluva on the same harthal day, Dayanandan comes up against the same thieves, and they decide to shut him up in one way or the other. There are also two policemen, Gireesh (Tini Tom) and Murugan (Dinesh Prabhakar) who arrives at the same location at the same time. This leaves everyone confused, on what is to happen next. Everyone has their own problems to deal with, but this one only gets more twisted.

The defence of Varnyathil Aashanka :: The movie goes through a satirical mode with its content, as it takes on what has been happening in the state during some time. There is a lot of humour happening here with simple incidents, as you would notice – the simple things in life gets packed into more and more humour, and there seems to be no difficulty in doing the same at any point. There are also those reflections and messages to take home, as uses its humour to show the people around us as they are – you see that the thieves are the same, and you doubt if this and that are the same. Never does the movie losses its pace, and you will see that it is always interesting. You also see the power of team work in this one, as this is not limited to one person overshadowing the rest – everyone gets to do their part, and contribute to the tale as well as the overall humour. You are going to be interested in being part of the simple man’s heist without complications, in one way or the other.

The claws of flaw :: Despite providing a reflection of the state of our surroundings and leaving the message, the movie’s final funny and interesting speech will feel a little too lengthy, and the final moments will also seem not matching the whole movie, as it goes without the wonder which was rather expected. There also those moments which seem to defy logic, but in the name of bringing the funny side in a neat way, you will find things to be fair – with the same, it eclipses the other two movies which released on the same day. Still, the movie has a few moments in the first half which will hold it down, but it is just by a little bit. There shouldn’t be the expectations about seeing a big heist movie with this one too, as that can ruin things. On the first day of its release, this one seemed to be rather not hyped, and made way for the rest of the releases, but we see this one getting stronger now.

Performers of the soul :: The movie begins with Shine Tom Chacko’s character, and he gets a fine role here following Tiyaan, which he has done without stumbling anywhere. Kunchacko Boban has brought his character to a fine level, and it is very unlike what he has been doing in the recent past. Suraj Venjaramoodu has another interesting role, which immediately catches our attention right from the beginning – he arrives late and he conquers. There is one final speech that he gets to make further difference nicely and effectively. Chemban Vinod Jose is at his usual best, as he has played the thief in so many other movies, having no trouble with this one. Manikandan R Achari extends the fun which is present like he did with Alamara and Basheerinte Premalekhanam, and has his own moments with the flick. Gayathri Suresh makes one nice cameo at the end, which you will remember. Rachana Narayanankutty is a fine addition too, as you would see here.

How it finishes :: Varnyathil Aashanka battles against Sarvopari Palakkaran and Chunkzz for this weeekend, while the others including Sunday Holiday, Kadam Katha and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum are also there from the previous weeks. Its comparisons are going to be to Sapthamashree Thaskaraha and Kohinoor, both having quite a big group of thieves looking forward to the big heist. In comparison, one can place this movie in between the other two movies, as it is better than Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, but not as better as Kohinoor. Certainly a lot better than the other movie of thieves like Bicycle Thieves and Urumbukal Urangaarilla, Varnyathil Aashanka has something that the rest of the flicks of the same kind never had – its ability to use some satire to reflect and make fun of the happenings in the state, and the movie can consider the same as its special quality which makes its stand apart.

Release date: 4th August 2017
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Sidharth Bharathan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Chemban Vinod Jose, Shine Tom Chacko, Rachana Narayanankutty, Manikandan R Achari, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Jayaraj Warrier, Sunil Sukhada, Tini Tom, Dinesh Prabhakar, Gayathri Suresh (cameo), KPAC Lalitha (cameo)

<— Click here for the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

What is the movie about? :: Prasad (Suraj Venjaramoodu) and Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan) are in love after a certain misunderstanding between them. Living near Vaikom at a village where the caste feeling is high, both are at trouble due to Sreeja’s father and relatives being fully against the marriage and threatens them. The result is that both of them runs away from the place after their wedding, and goes to a remote place in Kasargod where they have bought some land and a place to stay, hoping to get into agriculture. But it turns out that there is no water available there, and things once again takes a twist. They decide to get a loan against her gold ornaments, but her necklace ends up being stolen when in the bus, messing up with their plans. This theft was committed by a man known by the same name, Prasad (Fahadh Faasil) whom Sreeja had seen devouring it to escape being caught with it.

So, what happens next? :: So, the KSRTC bus driver, conductor and the travelers join to take the man to the nearby police station. It is more of a remote area, which doesn’t have leaves too many options for the police than to wait, as Sreeja is certain that the man had stolen her necklace and the thief tells the police that he has stolen nothing, and is working at a road-side eatery making porottas. But when the police asks for an id, he has none, and so they decide to keep him at the police station and wait. With no other option left, the couple also has to wait to find a way to find the necklace from him, as nothing could be proven otherwise. The police officer in charge of the case, A.S.I. Chandran (Alencier Ley Lopez) assures them that the thief is a smart one, but he solves such cases all the time, and will get them their necklace. So, who is the smartest of them all – is it the thief, the couple or the police officer?

The defence of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum :: The question of Dileesh Potham brilliance rises again, and we can see that there is something about it everywhere that fuels this movie. It is a fine narration that takes the story to another level, as we have the perfect example on how to make simplicity so interesting. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is once again an everyman movie like Maheshinte Prathikaram, and those elite classes will not get their due here – there is almost no person in this movie who can be put into that “rich” category, which brings us the real movie for the people, which has never been the self-proclaimed “local” movies. The humour is also working, and they are also based on simple things of life – still there are twists. Once again, we see that the visuals are nice, as you know who in charge of them with the camera. The music is good, with “Kannile Poika” nicely visualized. There is the message hope and forgiveness, even though they are not readily visible.

The claws of flaw :: The movie might feel a little bit slow and a little bit dull at moments of the first half, as we expect it to be fun-filled entertainer like Maheshinte Prathikaram which had absolutely no moment which will make us doubtful. The emptiness that you feel in between, and the repetition that might seem to occur are also certain to be seen. You do feel at times, that this has a little too much of a remider of Action Hero Biju – so, if you don’t like that movie, there is a chance that Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum will not be that interesting to you too. The story also doesn’t have that much in it to talk about, as things are rather simple, and the whole thing is focused to particular places. If you are looking for the usual kind of a movie, this will not claim to be one, which might be a good thing for a few, and not an interesting thing for some others. There could have been a bigger punch by the end, which is not there.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has his second movie running in the theatres at the same time, as Role Models is already there, having released for Eid with Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran – his earlier movies were Take Off and Maheshinte Prathikaaram, and it has been a fine run which continues into this movie too. Fahadh’s work, no matter how good or bad a movie is always something to look forward too – after all, this one is really good. There is a certain balance in his work, and even the simplest emotions from him brings the claps from the audience – the thief’s smiles score big. Suraj Venjaramoodu brings a performance which brings him back to the “fortress of seriousness”, with a full role rather than what he had in Action Hero Biju – he even has the romantic side to explore nicely. The National Award Winner for Best Actor in 2013 is the hero in this one, even though the term has less potential in a realistic story having no heroism.

Further performers of the soul :: Nimisha Sajayan makes a good debut with this movie too, as her work is simple as well as memorable. We see her taking it further with some realistic emotional scenes. It will be nice to see her in a different performance in one of the upcoming movies, and I remember having read that she has signed for another movie already. The next memorable character in the movie is played by Alencier Ley Lopez, who plays the police officer again after Njan Steve Lopez, and combines forces with Fahadh Faasil and Dileesh Pothan once again after Maheshinte Prathikaaram. You remember Vinay Forrt becoming the officer in control of things in Kismath where almost everything happens in the police stations – Alencier gets to do the same, but he has another mode on with Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. There is also the presence of some lesser known faces, who all do a fine job – it seems that the right ones are chosen for sure.

How it finishes :: We have all known what Dileesh Pothan is capable of, with his Maheshinte Prathikaaram, the National Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam and also for Best Screenplay. The same combination of him with Fahadh Faasil returned here, and as expected there is something for us to be impressed, as we were waiting with expectations being a lot high. The movie with a realistic side will always have more for us than what any of those big superstar movies possess. It is the same realization that makes a lot of people to arrive at the theatres on a rainy day, defying all odds to get a ticket for this rather simple a movie – even the advance bookings have been even more. When the first movie was a success, the second movie has become a bigger challenge, as he has to match the glory, and here, with his brilliance continuing, Dileesh Pothan has kept Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum working, even though not as much as Maheshinte Prathikaaram.

Release date: 30th June 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Alencier Ley Lopez, Nimisha Sajayan, Soubin Shahir, Shince Mathew, Jithin KC, Vettukili Prakash, Sreekanth Murali

@ 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.

Lakshyam

Vampire Owl :: When did this one release? I never knew.

Vampire Bat :: This one is more like a silent assassin. Not many people are aware of its release.

Vampire Owl :: I pity the humans; even we who live in another dimension are aware of this release.

Vampire Bat :: The humans are all after one movie only; they bring the hype for one movie, call it the greatest of all-time, and then bring it down.

Vampire Owl :: That seems to be quite the thing that humans do everytime. They even have that subspecies called fans for the same purpose.

Vampire Bat :: It also has a further subspecies, abusers, also known as the haters.

Vampire Owl :: Like they abused everyone who didn’t like the movie that much, and also those who didn’t watch the movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, for them, everyone needed to appreciate its greatness.

Vampire Owl :: That makes no sense, because everyone makes the effort; some people just have so much budget, and being rich, they have to struggle less.

Vampire Bat :: A fan is a fan. Read like, an idiot is an idiot.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: There is an accident near Peermade involving a police jeep, and it is revealed that the vehicle was carrying two convicts who seems to have escaped after the crash. Vimal (Indrajith Sukumaran) and Mushtafa (Biju Menon) are the two former prisoners, now out in the forest. The former is accused of murdering his own girlfriend Shalini (Sshivada), a crime to which he has confessed. The latter is a small-time thief who has been trying to make it big, and was caught accused of having stolen a Rolex wrist-watch, of which there is no proof except for the fact that he was there when it was stolen. Handcuffed to each other, the two will require mutual help to survive, but one happens to be a rich orphan with only one relative in the name of a brother who is in the United States and doesn’t care; the other had a mother who killed his father, and now he is alone.

So, what happens next? :: So, both have to make it through the forest, and goes on with the journey after being chased by a bear and almost being bitten by a snake. Due to the tough circumstances, Mushtafa thinks about going back, as there is no clear evidence of him being the thief and he could get away at some point. But Vimal is adamant, and offers Mushtafa, a total amount of five lakhs if he stays with him through the tough journey, let him escape the police, and find the one who had actually murdered his girlfriend. Mushtafa finds the offer interesting because it was five lakhs that he wanted to make, to begin a new life with a mobile shop and leave his troublesome past behind. With the police after them, and a forest which seems to be never-ending, will they finally be able to find the real murderer and bring him to justice, as time runs out?

The defence of Lakshyam :: There is the certainty of thrills about Lakshyam, when it is present, along with a certain suspense factor, and nobody can deny the same here, even with those troubles which make way. We also have some humour, especially with Biju Menon around. The visuals of the forest are nicely captured here, and we get to see the world from the top, as if in a game such as Age of Empires: Age of Kings with those trees, rivers and small people all around; birds flying in different directions too. The song in this movie is also good, and well taken, even though not anything that would make the big difference. The movie is also successful in making us believe that something huge is on the way right at the beginning. The movie also becomes a distant morality tale in the end, with all things being solved, even though not without some trouble as expected. The message is more about the second chance, which is provided as a reward for goodness.

The claws of flaw :: You are certain to ask if the movie has used all its possibilities as a thriller of this kind – it is far behind in making the best use of the same. Even a certain amount of humour is done in a bad taste, something which is disappointing considering the potential of the two actors here, and the possibility with this situation and environment. The comic side was also something that managed to begin so well, but doesn’t really manage the same throughout the run. The main suspense is also revealed too early, and the potential places to insert the thrilling elements were not looked at. Coming from the pen of the man behind Drishyam, the remake Papanasam and Memories, we surely have expected a lot more with this one, even though this surely has the advantage over his last effort, Oozham. With Mummy and Me, Detective and My Boss, it was a faultless resume for Jeethu Joseph, and even Life of Josutty had held on – one wonders what is happening with the same.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon once again leads the way, and his comic timing is exceptional as usual – even otherwise, he never goes back, and there is not even a sign of the same. There is cent percent safety concerning him handling this particular role. We are also glad to see Indrajith back here, as he is one actor who has so many good movies in his pocket, and remains very much underrated – there is no hype surrounding him, and he delivers each and every time. Sshivada’s role is once again limited, as in the ridiculous movie Inspector Davood Ibrahim, and becomes nothing like Su Sudhi Vathmeekam – but she surely has a few charming moments, not something that is expected to stay for long. The supporting cast is also so small, and the most famous name in that list, Shammi Thilakan also has so much less to do. In a movie that has almost every scene with one of these characters, and three quarter of the movie with these two together, the rest just had to keep going on.

How it finishes :: Biju Menon is coming right out of three family movies which were not less than entertaining with the humour; Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Kavi Uddheshichathu? and Swarna Kaduva. Indrajith’s last three movies were Vettah, Amar Akbar Anthony and Kohinoor, all being multi-starrers, his big surprise as the sole hero coming in the form of Angels. Both seems to have been choosing very well with their last few movies, which have kept us interested in their flicks that go on to be good enough for minimum guarantee. With the name Jeethu Joseph is added, Lakshyam also stays somewhere there, even though not as much as expected. The thrills are here and it should keep you interested at moments. As a movie with not much of a hype, Lakshyam making a pretty much okay run will surprise not just one or two people, but all who were looking forward to other movies. The big challenge to this movie’s existence, CIA, will still be there as the one with the hype.

Release date: 6th May 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Anzar Khan
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Biju Menon, Sshivada, Kishor Satya, Shammi Thilakan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Maheshinte Prathikaram

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What is the movie about? :: Mahesh Bhavana (Fahadh Faasil) owns a small studio named Bhavana, living his life in and around Kattappana in Idukki. He is a simple man who finds happiness in the usual happenings of daily life, and is a popular person in the neighbourhood. His best friends include the older man who runs a shop near his studio, Baby (Alancier Lay) and his employee who is a cheerful young man named Crispin (Soubin Shahir). He has been in love with his childhood friend Soumya Kunjumon (Anusree Nair) for a long time, but it turns out that she decides to marry someone who works abroad instead. At the same time, he also gets into a fight with a group of strangers, and he makes a promise not to wear footwears until he has revenge on Jimson Augustine (Sujith Shankar) who beat him up.

So, how and where will the things be going from there? :: Mahesh is determined to have his revenge as he trains in Kung-fu hoping that he can win a fight against his newly found opponent. As Jimson has moved to the Middle East for a job, he keeps waiting for his moment of return. Meanwhile, Mahesh meets Jimsy Augustine (Aparna Balamurali) who needs him to take a photo for the cover page of a magazine. As they fall for each other, he comes to know that she is the sister of the man whom he wants to beat up. But he decides to go on with the relationship, even though he is determined that he will beat up the man when he returns to India. So, will Mahesh have his revenge? Will he manage to do that and finally wear the chappals? Is the decision not to have revenge as Jimsy wouldn’t want? Or will he just fail in the quest?

The defence of Maheshinte Prathikaram :: This one is more than just a movie; as it is more of life – there is nothing exaggerated in this movie as it uses the simple events of life, which could happen anywhere, and brings everything out of them. The movie’s biggest asset is its ability to make one laugh, and that too without using those silly jokes – even above that, it can bring a certain smile on the face of the viewers. There is a lot of skill in how the comedy is handled in this movie; there is nothing dumb, and there is no words used with hidden meanings. The revenge here is not something of hate, but simple, and out of a simple promise which has been made – nobody gets to suffer for the same; and the movie is that light-hearted. The songs are good and the visuals of the high-ranges are very well captured. Life is rarely reflected on screen this simple and lovable; especially look out for the anthem and the theatre scenes – that’s just two of the long list.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing huge in the story of this movie; it is just the simple life of the common man in the high-ranges. Well, as Life of Josutty had said in the posters, this one is also just life without twists and suspense. There will be no big melodrama or romance as those exaggerated movies – dealing with a simple man’s life, this movie won’t satisfy the blind fans looking for all which is not there in life. As the movie brings real and natural humour instead of the silliness which is needed for the fans, there will be the group which won’t like it. But the final fight scene could have been shortened, and Aparna Balamurali could have had her entrance much earlier, especially considering the fact that they don’t see each other during their first meeting. But that is no flaw for you to decide not to watch a feel-good movie which is a lot sensible than the rest.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil returns to be the crowd-favourite after Monsoon Mangoes which never really got close to connecting with the audience. As always, he is too good – he has taken control of this character and has done a really fantastic job. You have to love how well he manages each of his characters, and this one is simply awesome. Here is the man whose movies have viewers and admirers of movies rather than fans – it means that we can watch his movies without being troubled by the blind fans who are howlers, abusers and haters; how many celebrities can manage to offer a movie without trouble from terrible people? I had even read that he said that fans associations are not needed, and people need to watch his movies only if they are good. It is the kind of policy which every sensible actor needs to follow.

Further performers of the soul :: Anusree manages her role here with ease, as she plays Fahadh’s love interest in the first half. The second half has Aparna Balamurali whom we remember from Oru Second Class Yathra in which she played the character Amritha Unnikrishnan; it is related to the song “Ambazham Thanalitta” with Vineeth Sreenivasan rather than the movie. Here, she is the one to look out for, after our protagonist. She has a simple and charming way of playing her character here, and it is a lovable performance in store here. I am sure that she will go a long way after this performance. 2015 had some interesting new female faces in Malayalam movies, and 2016 has one more promising star, even though not that much of a new face – she has her first big role and she has done a really good job; this work feels so real and energetic.

And the rest of the movie :: The combination of Alancier Lay and Soubin Shahir is really good in this movie, and they handle the funny side here amazingly well. In a movie which has a lot of new faces, another newcomer Lijomol also has some nice funny moments here. The debut from the director Dileesh Pothan is a wonderful one, and he has also played one role. The supporting cast is really strong here, even with so many new faces. This different kind of revenge story is the kind of movie which you should really watch. It is something like a simple and humorous page taken right out of the book of life. Maheshinte Prathikaram is the kind of movie which could have been made more, but only people who have the ability to notice the simple things in life with skill, can come up with such a creation, and for the same, this movie needs the appreciation as it becomes the best of the year so far! These are good times for movie-watchers, with options of Action Hero Biju and Puthiya Niyamam also there!

Release date: 5th February 2016
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Aparna Balamurali, Anusree Nair, Soubin Shahir, Alancier Lay, Lijomol, KL Antony, Jaffer Idukki, Dileesh Pothan, Sujith Shankar, Saiju Agustine

maheshinteprathikaram

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Punyalan Agarbathis

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The time of the saints :: It is the time for the saints, and it was proved by one of the best satirical movies in Malayalam belonging to this century. There was indeed a saint in that movie, and it was Pranchiyettan and the Saint. Now, with the word “punyalan” translated as the saint, this movie also tries to take on the saint + trichur slang which shaped that wonderful satire. The saint is for sale this time, as our hero sells “Saint Incense Sticks” which is how “Punyalan Agarbathis” would get translated, and also if we consider it in another way, it is the sale of a useful saint imagery that happens here, now just as a Christian saint, but rather as the saintly figure in the centre which gets explored so many times, mostly remembered by this year’s movie Immanuel with its title character and Pranchiyettan was himself nothing less than a saint. There is still a lot of interest for the saintly figures among our usual audience, even as the hero who beats up people and says vulgar dialogues might come back any time now – I just hope they stay dead.

What is it about? :: Hailing from Trichur, Joy Thakkolkaran (Jayasurya) is a man who keeps trying his luck in many business ventures, but none of them really working. His latest attempt is on creating incense sticks from elephant dung, and it is named Punyalan Agarbathis hoping that Saint George will help him in his attempt to make it big. He wanders around looking for collecting what he calls “raw materials”. His wife, Anu (Nyla Usha) supports him with a regular job, but it is often insufficient for what he has to spend for his business. He is helped by his long time friend and assistant Greenu Sharma (Aju Varghese) and a driver Abhaya Kumar (Sreejith Ravi) as well as two workers who rarely works. But he has to fight a lot of narrow minded people, politicians and after all, fate which means that his troubles might never end. He is forced to spend most of his time in the court seeking justice, and his ideas keep getting struck down by destiny’s lightning, as he begins to feel that the whole world is against him. The story deals with how he finally survives in his battle.

The defence of Punyalan Agarbathis :: Well, the defence of Punyalan Agarbathis is easy up-to an extent. Other than its social relevance which is mostly about the tragic situation of the common man and the social evil which is harthal, the whole thing is about fun. The simplicity of the movie is worth appreciating. There are lots of funny dialogues stored in between. The beginning credits scene itself is well-crafted with scenes from Trichur. Most of the characters are interesting, and the movie has successfully built up a very good first half after its interesting beginnings. It has moments which makes one wonder how more awesome it can get, and keeps the audience asking for more. The movie’s biggest advantage might be its name, and its trailer which keeps the audience interested, and once the movie starts, there is also the ability to keep close to that standard till the end of first half. The songs are fine and the cinematography is admirable. The saint hasn’t avoided this movie, that is for sure.

Claws of flaw :: The movie seems to create the idea that there is a saint in most of the common man who suffers due to the rich, corrupt hands of the same society, but that kind of fades a few minutes after the first half. By that time, movie had deviated from its wonderful world to an abyss of incapacitated story with the undercurrents of that logic which decided that it is better to leave the flick and go to Mars and stay with Martians. There was always the chance to go astray right from the beginning, but it happened only in the second half, and the way they tried to finish it quickly almost as if a limited offer deus ex machina is used, is a real blemish on the movie. It was more like a cargo ship with great items on board going adrift and losing its good cargo by the time it reaches the destination. Why this sudden disorientation? Even if there was no happy ending to the story, may be if they had just let the leading character miss out and leave his business, it wouldn’t have been a lesser level second half or ending.

Performers of the soul :: If I have to tell who is the performer of the day, that would be a surprise, as Jayasurya is the man in form yet again. He transforms into another interesting character with ease, and Aju Varghese is a wonderful support to him. Sreejith Ravi also contributes to the fun in an avatar he is not usually seen in. Nyla Usha joins the party with charm, and Rachana Narayanankutty does a great job, both serious and funny sides handled with care. Innocent and Tesni Khan also contributes with their relatively small presence, even as we would have liked to see a lot more from the former. T.G. Ravi was there for the last Trichur based satirical comedy and he is there to impress us yet again. Idavela Babu is here as a villain for a change and doing a wonderful job, even as the evil face doesn’t just belong to him, but to so many forces of the society. You have to like Sunil Sukhada in his job. The acting department is so close to perfection, and the other areas of the movies are well supported, yes Mala Aravindan’s funny KAPA character included.

Social relevance :: We have had many movies of social relevance, with Sandesam, Varavelpu and Vellanakalude Naadu quite a long time ago, and Arabikkatha, Passenger and Pranchiyettan and the Saint not too far away from the present. Punyalan Agarbathis falls behind all these movies, but is the next movie which comes to the list. The movie takes on harthal as a social disturbance right from the beginning stages itself. The assertion on the harthal stands tall among others, and another focus is on the corrupt politics and the plight of the common man, and also about how difficult it is to begin an industry in Kerala. But the use of elephant dung there might be strange, but still okay enough as the movie is not to be taken that seriously, and the use of such an insignificant and free thing means that one can’t even try little things in a world of corruption and among influential people who are there to create trouble. If it was presented a little differently, with a better second half and a much better climax, the movie would have been remembered for a very long time.

How it finishes :: Ranjith Sankar has given us messages through his movies, and his best shall yet remain Passenger, a fine Molly Aunty Rocks and a below average Arjunan Saakshi. All of them had something other than the story to tell us, and this one is not different either. The elephant dung thing gets irritating after some time, and you know at which point the movie losses focus. Otherwise, this is the right Malayalam movie for the weekend, if we consider the reports. As the title Bicycle Thieves hurts my feelings about Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist drama and the name Escape from Uganda makes one feel worse, with the only thing further strange being the name Namboothiri Yuvavu @ 43 – this movie is a winner right from the title. The reports also seem to suggest that there is something in the title that is carried into the movie. Still, if you are not fixed on watching a Malayalam movie, I would suggest Frozen as the movie of the week. Meanwhile, our desire to watch another Pranchiyettan and the Saint remains unfulfilled.

PS: The leading character in Pranchiyettan and the Saint was Francis, and here we have the character as Joy. Something tells me that next satires based on Trichur might having the protagonists, as Jos and Paul, and you can make a guess why I predict so! 😀

Release date: 29h November 2013
Running time: 160 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Nyla Usha, Aju Varghese, Innocent, Rachana Narayanankutty, Sreejith Ravi, T.G. Ravi, Tesni Khan, Mala Aravindan, Idavela Babu, Sunil Sukhada, Shivaji Guruvayur

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

We’re the Millers

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It was a delayed entrance that this comedy movie made to the theatres here and there was a bigger delay in me watching the same. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones had taken over the last weekend, and it was necessary that I had to wait, and therefore I did and took this pill of comedy which is We’re the Millers. The Hangover Part III was the last full-time comedy of this nature which I had watched in the theatre last. Now, here is this movie which overtakes the final movie of a series of a solid fanbase even with its highly predictable setup which comes up with no surprises or moments of absolute brilliance. It is more of a disadvantage of that movie rather than the capability of this movie. But the difference in rating is negligible and the effect is also not that much of a variation, as you can check right here: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/thehangover3/ except for the well-known fact that it was The Hangover, and was to be respected for the first movie of the franchise, which was just another Dude, Where’s My Car? if we look at it with eyes uncovered of the glorified mist.

David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is a drug dealer of a smaller level, a chronic bachelor and still a happy one until he is robbed of his money and stock, on a night of stupidity. His boss, a rich drug lord and gangster Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms) forces David to smuggle marijuana from Mexico to the United States in order to clear his debt to be him as well as gain some good carrier fee. As he is known enough as a drug dealer and one man crossing the border is going to be more suspicious, he hires a stripper named Rose (Jennifer Aniston) who is having heavy financial difficulties and loses her job, an arrogant runaway teenage punk girl named Casey (Emma Roberts), and his eighteen year-old neighbor Kenny who is afraid of kissing a girl (Will Poulter) to pose as a typical American family called the Millers travelling in an RV, with that random family name he came across. They are a strange group, but still manage to get through into Mexico and also get the needed goods from a Mexican drug-hold, despite almost getting shot by the gangsters and being caught by the Mexican police.

Due to the presence of a heavy load of marijuana on the RV, the automobile breaks down. They are helped by a family called Fitzgeralds whom they had encountered at the border, and it consisted of Don (Nick Offerman), Edie (Kathryn Hahn), and Melissa (Molly Quinn). As they take the Millers’ RV to a repair shop, Kenny falls further for Melissa. It is then revealed that Don Fitzgerald is a DEA agent as he comes across his badge and the gun. After Edie seems to be highly interested in Rose, and Melissa finds out Kenny kissing both Casey and Rose (as they were trying to teach him the same), a holy mess breaks out and despite the husband and wife being reluctant to leave them, they finally get to the shop only to be greeted by the real drug lord whose package they had been carrying over. But they try to convince him that they are not a real family, and Rose is a stripper, as she strips down to her underwear and do some pole-dancing and attacks him with a steam vent which sets them on the escape route with an angry drug lord and his men behind them. As they try to settle their differences, they are followed by one of the most dangerous gangs and it is to see if they can survive and finish their mission, earning the much needed money.

Jennifer Aniston who seems to look better and better, steals the show in this movie, as the stripper and still the caring supposed-to-be-mother. I haven’t watched many of her movies, and the only one I can remember right now, is Bruce Almighty, possibly because the genres of the films she acted in rarely was part of my to-be-watched list. May be I could find a few more of the movies with her in them, sooner or later. The absence of big male leading actor is solved by her presence, and even as this is more of an opportunity for her to get into her character and look awesome. But it is to be noted that her acting skills as a comedy actress also gets its due, and she never looks out of place and even her character’s job in the movie seems to help her performance highly. She has her charm working out throughout the movie as she triumphs in what she does. Most of the better moments of the movie has her as part of it. She is the biggest star in the movie, and the next one is Ed Helms, the Stu of The Hangover franchise with quite a small screen presence. He comes, make a short impact and then makes small appearances.

Jason Sudeikis as David Clark makes a good central character, and he has his own good moments in an everlasting screen presence. He remains funny throughout, as his dynamic character evolves from the drug dealer who keeps seeking money to a responsible father-to-be. Will Poulter’s Kenny Rossmore is undoubtedly the funniest of all characters in the movie. He is instantly likable even with all the nonsense that he come with up with, adding to the funny side of the movie. Emma Roberts as Casey Mathis, and she provides the right dose of energy or the lack of it at the right moments, creating the much needed contrast with Kenny on one side, while also with David on another side. She is the bad kid, a strange and never caring girl who ran away from her home due to small differences. Nick Offerman’s Don Fitzgerald and Kathryn Hahn’s Edie Fitzgerald are the next funnier characters. Molly Quinn as Melissa Fitzgerald has a cute, beautiful, innocent presence throughout the time she spends on screen. She might even be the best-looking person around in the movie. Tomer Sisley is a fine Mexican drug lord and Matthew Willig makes a good henchman.

The strength of this movie is its cast, as one might expect even before watching the trailer of this movie. But the question remains if they could have had a better, less predictable plots with not much of the repeated comedy scenes. Some of them are too silly and stupid for the common movie watcher who has had a long season of watching comedy movies. It might be more than just okay for the viewers from this part of the world, as adult-comedy is not something you get to watch in theatres too often here, and even if it does attack the big screen or the television channels, there are more to cut than to show, making the whole thing a lot more shorter than what it really is. Jennifer Aniston surely had some of her stripping and pole-dancing cut from the totality, and there has been a lot of dialogues by both the male and the female lead which has been removed. The movie surely felt quite short compared to its total running time given in the internet, but one can also think that it was more because it was funny and entertaining enough, with subtitles to make sure that none of those terms are missed by the usual audience who don’t get to see movies of this genre every day, every month or even every year.

The Heat and Grown Ups 2 hasn’t come to our theatres, but The Hangover Part III had quite a good time here. We’re the Millers also had quite an okay time here, but Jennifer Aniston can’t create that much of an effect here and there all the collection this movie makes here comes from the trailer which was shown before Indian movies, and that trailer was pretty good rising the bar of expectations. The fact that Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is having a better word of mouth, and still staying on to have more shows, and Riddick coming to make an impact with a superstar who is loved in this part of the world, the only hope for this movie is to fill the void which The Conjuring might leave next week after scaring enough people. But that might also be filled by new releases in different languages, as the Onam celebrations are coming up and families shall flock into both the normal theatres as well as the multiplexes, not for adult-comedy, but for the family movies, mostly in Malayalam followed by Tamil and Hindi in that order. So the time of this movie has almost ended here, but it has surely created enough impact outside here. For now, I hope that they don’t steal from this movie to make a road trip flick in the form of a Hindi or Malayalam movie, as a whole or in part, as that won’t be tolerable at all.

Release date: 7th August 2013 (United States); 31st August 2013 (India)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Quinn, Ken Marino, Matthew Willig, Tomer Sisley, Thomas Lennon

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