Mrithyumjayam

Vampire Owl: I am sure that they are talking about us.

Vampire Bat: Why would you think that when going through a non-vampire movie?

Vampire Owl: Because it seems to be about someone who defeated death.

Vampire Bat: We haven’t defeated death; at least not yet.

Vampire Owl: Dude, we have come back from the dead. Anyone would coming back from the grave as a miracle and a victory.

Vampire Bat: It might be a case of victory for us, the same is not the defeat of death.

Vampire Owl: Why wouldn’t death be defeated by our victory?

Vampire Bat: We haven’t left the world of the dead. We are still connected to it. We never came back to the living, and we are just undead.

Vampire Owl: Does that really make a difference?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it surely makes a lot of difference. Death is only a passage, and we went through one of it to another stage – it is different from coming back.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The idea of becoming a respected gangster is to kill the most feared gangster of all-time. But the question remains about what would happen if that man of terror is considered rather immortal? The doctors had told him that he would die in a few months, and he has gone one to live for so many years, and that too at the top of the food chain, doing his business with ease. He was stabbed multiple times, and has so many scars on his body. He was also shot so many times, and people say that he even took bullets on his head and still managed to be what he is now. There is also a tale which goes about twenty years back, about him being surrounded by fifty people armed with weapons, and he murdered them all without even a stick in his hands. He is also known to possess special weapons which are so sharp and poisoned that he can deliver the fatal blow in a second or two.

So, what happens next? :: The movie tells the story of a young man named Appu (Jitin Puthanchery) who has always wanted to be a gangster. He was born into a mafia family, and had grown up listening to their big tales of crime. These tales were talked about a lot of the common people who feared them, and there were even books and movies in their name. All these has made the young man want to be more and more like them. For the same, he takes on the mission, and it is to murder the man, Mrithyumjayam (Selvaraj Raghavan) known more to everyone as the the gangster who can’t die. It is his uncle (Sudhish Gopinath) himself who gives him with this objective even though he and his people have the doubt if he is really ready. But he decides to take it on – but the question remains if he can kill the man who can’t die? Can he accomplish what so many people and diseases couldn’t, and thus rise above the legend of the immortal gangster?

Soul exploration 1: Desire to follow the wrong path to fame :: Well, what people want is more about fame and money, and for the same, young people tend to take the wrong path, as they just seem easier – there is no need to study, and there is absolutely no need to follow the rules. This quick need for money and fame are driving forces behind them taking the terrible path. Once they take this path, there is no changing, and there is no coming back. We can see the protagonist in this short-film too, taking the same road, inspired by his own people and also by movies. Well, considering the state of our own movie industry, there seems to be too much criminal activities there too. It is a sad thing, as common people tend to lose their interest in movies too – you can see that the theatres are not that full as they used to be, and there are shows getting cancelled, or movies getting completely removed from a theatre. In the end, the wrong path can never be justified, and it all comes together to haunt you.

Soul exploration 2: A new generation lost in desire for more :: The new generation seems to find these things rather cool – there is the glorification of violence in the movies like Django Unchained, Kill Bill and many others which seems to show the same as the only solution to problems. This has made the youth choose the same to get what they want to have. The inherent evil in man just makes things easier – it is only that special push that most of them need to go against law, and you will feel such things happening with ease when you read the newspapers these days. The need for becoming the gangster which the protagonist in this movie has, does seem rather foolish and due to dumb reasons; he doesn’t even seem to be ready, but we see that he is ready to kill when there is the need. The most terrible acts of violence seems to be ready to come out when there is a chance – the question remains if it is how our new generation is turning into!

How it finishes :: Mrithyumjayam is taken in such a stylish way that you will have the feeling of this being more global in character – the black and white on the screen works nicely for the movie, and throughout the movie, it provides that kind of a feeling which keeps us immersed right inside. The only colour used otherwise is red, and that is nice to see – the only exceptions are the colours shown on a television screen and on the protagonist’s shades. The first thing that the movie reminds us of, is Sin City. It is actually nice to see that our own people are capable of making short-films like this – it is actually worthy enough to make a full length movie, with this particular gangster’s legend going on, leading the rise of a new one, and showing how things change, but the core remains the same while history repeats itself without any kind of remorse as it sheds so much of blood.

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

Vampire Owl: Throughout my life, I have never wanted to be a gangster.

Vampire Bat: It is a good thing because Werewolf Anger would have killed you otherwise. He hates gangsters.

Vampire Owl: Do they make him angry too? Like vampires, zombies, wood elves, dark elves, high elves, satyrs, orcs, goblins, halflings, witches and centaurs do?

Vampire Bat: He is always angry. He just hates the gangsters.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that he hate them so much that no gangster will ever see the light of the day in his territory?

Vampire Bat: Yes, something like that, but only until the Lich Queen re-animates their remains. She raises the undead from such people.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the gangsters never really die either?

Vampire Bat: As long as the Lich Queen gets her hands on them.

Vampire Owl: So, there is really the defeat of death.

Vampire Bat: As I said earlier, this is not the defeat of death either, but the opening of another passage while traveling to the other world.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 30th January 2016
Running time: 15 minutes
Directed by: Dominic Arun
Starring: Rafeeq Aman, Dominic Arun, Ananthu Balachander, Sudhish Gopinath, Anil Narayanan, Jitin Puthanchery, Selvaraj Raghavan, Shabin, Nandhan Unni, Balu Varghese

Watch the movie Mrithyumjayam here:

PS: Check out the reviews of the latest movies in the theatres, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Basheerinte Premalekhanam.

<— Go back to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein)

Vampire Owl :: This movie was approved by Doctor Victor Frankenstein and his monster.

Vampire Bat :: It is still a risk. Just like his experiments. Last time, when he came up with such an experiment, I got teleported to different planets one hundred and twenty seven times. You know what happened with the monster.

Vampire Owl :: Still, I thought that there would be enough reasons to watch this movie. You keep coming up with something.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, the Frakenstein monster gets a special treatment, even though it is based on the graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein gets a twist.

Vampire Owl :: What about the fact that the trailer had looked very good?

Vampire Bat :: I watched the trailer more than an year ago. So, can’t remember.

Vampire Owl :: It still looks good.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that the chances of good trailers leading to good movies are rare?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but so are the chances of Uncle Dracula reclaiming his vampire throne as the ruler of all vampires.

Vampire Bat :: Okay, just don’t tell him.

[Waits at the bus station].

What is it about? :: It has been a long time after Doctor Victor Frankenstein (Aden Young) created a monster (Aaron Eckhart) from the dead. This story takes over from the finishing of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and has the monster wandering through the world of men unnoticed. During an attack by demons, he is helped by Ophir (Mahesh Jadu) and Keziah (Caitlin Stasey) of the Gargoyle Order. He is named Adam after the first man on Earth, as he is also the first and the only one of his kind, and is informed that there is a battle between good and evil going on, and it is only the Gargoyle Order created by Archangel Michael that stands between the demons and them taking over the world of men. Meanwhile, a demon Naberius (Bill Nighy) exists on Earth in the form of a billionaire and an influencial business man; he hopes to find Adam and use the secret of Frankenstein to bring back corpses to life.

The defence of I, Frankenstein :: You know what kind of a story this movie is telling. I have always loved to know what happened to the monster after the Gothic novel had ended. So, this continuation should be a welcome thing for most of the fans of the work. There is a certain amount of mysterious beauty with this movie which is carried forward regularly. The movie is full of action, and the battles are very well taken. It has quite an interesting idea and how the story develops grabs the attention of the viewers with ease. The CGI and special effects are very good, and the transformation of stone gargoyles between what is seen on the cathedrals and into various make another thing of interest. The cathedral and the mythical world detail are really nice. There is a battle that take place around the building which is nothing less than a visual action treat. If you liked Underworld, liking this should come naturally.

The claws of flaw :: They could have established the universe better, and not just telling that there has been a war going on for centuries, along with putting our protagonist right between the factions. This has almost no horror at all; the demons are there, but they are not scary enough to make that much of an impact as the creatures from the depths of hell. This could have even worked as another story without our monster in between as demons fighting angels and some human with special power being the difference maker. They should have added something special for the monster, and his emotional and spiritual conflicts could have been displayed in connection with the choices that he has to keep making. But this one manages not to take many risks and goes on to make this the action movie that it manages to be; there is very less characterization, and the attempt to establish a mythology is only partially there.

Performers of the soul :: Aaron Eckhart comes up with quite a controlled and yet powerful performance as the creature without a soul. You can feel the effort that has been put there, even though further development of the character could have made it even better. Still, this might be the best which could have been done with all are available. The monster’s situation is actually made clear with one quote from the movie: “You’re only a monster if you behave like one”, and the depiction keeps us close to the character. Yvonne Strahovski looks very good in the role, and she does her job very well, despite having much lesser to do than expected considering the significance of her character. Bill Nighy manages to bring the villainy nicely, and very much working. Miranda Otto fits her role too, even though it is a strange character at times. Jai Courtney could have been better used.

Soul exploration :: The centre of all action is a creature who has no soul, as he is an animated corpse. This itself is his absence or imperfection, similar to what people lack; in this case, it is the soul itself, as he is not a combination of body and soul like a normal human being. As a creation of the dead, he is more a zombie, but with a working brain. [***Spoilers ahead] – The interesting point that this movie manages to make is that the creature does finally manage to grow a soul. Here, a monster who was close to the dead than the living manages to develop a soul with his deeds, but as we read the newspaper every day, some humans really doesn’t have at least part of the same and don’t strive for the same. The question remains if the people of our world who lives without heart and soul can finally manage to grown something, but as we see in the movie, it is easier for a corpse to grown one rather than the humanity driver by hate.

How it finishes :: I have seen many kinds of reviews, but nothing like this 3% on Rotten Tomatoes which told me why I shouldn’t trust these critics. I have known movies which are so unbearable getting better appreciation. The difference between these and those at Metacritic is almost 30% though, which surely makes me feel where I should be checking more; it has not just been the case of this movie! Well, this movie doesn’t bring anything huge that was going to change the movie world forever, but it did exactly what it was supposed to do, and I am surprised that some people couldn’t really have the sight to see that. Well, even all movies of Underworld franchise which moves on in a similar manner got better reviews along with those terrible movies which got positive reviews – critics would prefer to see Kate Beckinsale with her vampires and werewolves rather than being caught with a monster between demons and gargoyles, it seems.

Release date: 24th January 2014
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Stuart Beattie
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney, Socratis Otto, Nicholas Bell, Kevin Grevioux, Steve Mouzakis, Caitlin Stasey, Aden Young, Chris Pang, Deniz Akdeniz, Goran D. Kleut, Mahesh Jadu, Penny Higgs

i,frankenstein

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

G.I. Joe II

gi-joe-retaliation

There are only a few things which bring people back to their childhood on a magic carpet made of collective unconciousness and the dreams one carry over to adulthood on the clouds of absolute wonder. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was in no way a failure in doing the same, but with G.I. Joe: Retaliation, it has come closer to being one of those few things. The first one had all the uninteresting characters who tried to be smart, with the exception of Storm Shadow and The Baroness. The second one would surely be more interesting even as the total improvement is just too slight to be considered improved. There is nothing extraordinary in the movie, but the way in which they have treated the ordinary is significant. Here, one can see the power of the old G.I. Joe toys which forms the essence to every kid who has grown up now, living their childhood through these toys. This is the hidden strength of powerful memories which lie beneath the movie and seeks to be called upon from the abyss. From the seemingly ordinary world of the grown ups, this one takes the life of the adult back to the past and then back to the future with its power of the “toy” characterization which is more of a powerful raising of the toylines.

It would not be a big surprise for many fans if it is said that The Rock/Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock runs the show around here. The Rock has always been coming back with power. With him, is the hero of the movie Die Hard, which makes this movie caught between a rock and hard place – that place which is hard enough to die. The role of Bruce Willis is smaller, but still very important and effective in the movie. He still gets to hold many guns and shoot enough people to make an impact. Meanwhile, The Rock is the leader, after the death of Duke (Channing Tatum) – that moment of dead Joes which calls for retaliation over the retaliation of the Cobras over the Joes. The Rock remains the WWE Champion and here also he reigns in what he does the best. He is the new addition to the list and he has done so much to his character which makes Roadblock the undisputed leader and the champion of all the Joes of this movie. His character has made his intentions clear right from the beginning, and remains the nearly unstoppable character till the end, still not deprived of the chance to be beaten up and almost getting killed; without that there would have been no fun inside him. He is also the one who gets to have the final touch in saving the world from total disaster and a Cobra commander with that wonderful destruction plan.

Lee Byung-hun as Storm Shadow should come next, and not Snake Eyes or Flint. He is that character without whom nothing is possible; there would be an eternal void in the lives of both sides also himself – on this occasion, that absence would cause more disaster to the Joes rather than the Cobras. He was undoubtedly pure evil in the first movie, something which I would have questioned without even a single proof. The question of good and evil is twisted in this sequel, and the roles would become more complicated with a few revelations. He is still not a person to be the right part of the Cobras nor the integral part of the Joes. His truth lies somewhere in between, which is not that comprehensible to both sides. For this time, Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) figure it out more than the rest as they are all driven by the same motive, the quest for revenge and the need for finishing off what they started. The battle between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow which looked good enough to continue until eternity would come to an end here, not with one of them dead, and surely not with both dead. Still, the revenge belongs to Storm Shadow, my favourite right from the childhood, and that is something I would be glad to remember.

Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye, has more to do other than being the love interest of Flint and being the attractive one whose beauty supports the missions in a less significant manner. She is the tough person, the shooter who shoots – well, what else should the shooter do is a question pretty relevant, but she is the accurate one around here; and may be even tougher than most of the Joes out there. She finds out that someone is impersonating the President and also uses her beauty and charms for moving themselves closer towards the ultimate destination – in that casem she scores on two occasions. Still, she is no femme fatale. Yet, her speciality is mentioned as Covert Operations in the toy series. The way in which this character has eclipsed the weaker Scarlett from the previous movie is a powerful sign of what to be expected of a possible sequel. For now, there is no suitable replacement for this one.

Flint is more or less Duke himself, or may be the new Duke with a new girl friend who is taller and stronger. It was actually not possible to see the difference in the beginning. Snake Eyes remains the same, faceless and not that interesting a character, even as there is always a certain amount of hype surrounding him. The addition of Jinx to his team might have given the character of Snake Eyes, a chance to be a little more interesting, but not too much. Jinx is never a weak character, but pales in comparison to Lady Jaye, but both are of a better status than Scarlett of the first movie. Ray Stevenson as Firefly makes that powerful impact right from his entrance though, on that bike of destruction which would make the Ghost Rider proud. It should be the most stylish moment of the movie, as long as some shots of The Rock and Adrianne Palicki can be considered a little short and not of style, but of brutality and beauty respectively. He continues to be the one perfect villain any hero wishes to fight, until he gets to face Roadblock for a second time. Still, could have had more character development.

The story continues where the first movie had finished, even as there is no mention of a number of characters from that one – Zartan has impersonated the American President and the G.I. Joes are framed for stealing warheads from Pakistan and are almost exterminated, before Roadblock, Flint and Lady Jaye manages to survive and make their way back to the United States from their mission in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Storm Shadow and Firefly rescue the Cobra Commander from the maximum security prison. Snake Eyes and Jinx successfully capture Storm Shadow while recovering from his injuries so that he can answer for the murder of his uncle. But Storm Shadow reveals that Zartan is the murderer and he was only a victim of the situation. The three join forces with the Joes in a final attempt to stop Zartan from his attempt on total domination with the help of the Cobra Commander. He invites the world leaders to a summit where he forces them to submit to him by destroying London and threatening to cause further destruction. Once again, it is upto the same people to save the day, and this time, it is going to be a little more fun.

G.I. Joe is many things at once, other than being a movie and also close enough to being a video game – and the most powerful of them all is nostalgia. I had my first contact with the G.I. Joe action figures when I was in the Primary School, and that was the reign of Storm Shadow, Cobra Commander and a few others whom I might fail to name now, but will still remain the earliest of the best choices. This movie has provided a return, and with its superior action sequences and okay 3D scenes, there is a peek into the past which not only brings back the action figures, but also the world that I missed. It is a well-made time machine which can make its way to the past if directed in the right way. It is something which generates more subjectivity in a grown up kid than most of the other things. The more significant question might be if it takes anything back to that world along with bringing something into the present – these questions make G.I. Joe immortal in the mortality, and closer to the adult world of total uncertainty.

Release date: 28th March 2013 (USA); 29th March 2013 (India)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, Adrianne Palicki, Lee Byung-hun, D.J. Cotrona, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson, Channing Tatum, Arnold Vosloo

gijoe copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.