Kimi

Vampire Owl: I know a witch by this name.

Vampire Bat: Witches don’t have such names – it should be nickname.

Vampire Owl: Northern Witches are now known by some special names.

Vampire Bat: Are you trying to say that they are going to modernize soon?

Vampire Owl: Yes, their covens are all with electricity now.

Vampire Bat: The witches no longer use magic to light their covens?

Vampire Owl: No, they are now deviating the power taken from the nodes elsewhere.

Vampire Bat: So, they are now deriving cent percent of power from their chaos node.

Vampire Owl: Yes, they are now more powerful than ever. Two of them now serve as sources of unlimited chaos energy.

Vampire Bat: You have to warn the vampire border fortresses. Nobody can stop a fully chaos charged witch, not even a full werewolf army with armour on a full moon.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Bradley Hasling (Derek DelGaudio) is the CEO of a technological firm known as Amygdala, and the newest product in their list is Kimi, a smart speaker which makes use of human monitoring to improve its search algorithm. They are planning to have a stock launch which will help them to earn a good fortune. Sharon (India de Beaufort), a journalist is suspicious about the same, and considers it to be a case of controversy. Angela Childs (Zoe Kravitz) is an employee who works for the same company as part of the Seattle division’s work from home policy. She is supposed to monitor incoming data streams from Kimi devices and make the needed corrections to the code, so that the software can be upgraded and improved. But she continues to stay at home at all times, as she has agoraphobia, and due to the anxiety disorder reaching new heights, things only get worse for her. COVID-19 pandemic did make it almost impossible for her already. Her mother’s advice doesn’t really help either.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She does stalk people living the apartments and Terry Hughes (Byron Bowers) is her man of interest, whom she end up calling into her apartment as she also feels sex starved. Yet, she is not able to start a romantic relationship with him, as it is no longer her point of concern, living all by herself and not caring about anybody else. One day, as she is working, she goes through a recording that she feels is a sexual assault. As her co-workder Darius (Alex Dobrenko) who is initially suspicious that it is just an argument helps her, she is able to find information about the account holder, a lady named Samantha Gerrity (Erika Christensen). She later finds out that the lady was also killed, and there is a hitman associated with it. She intends to talk about this to Natalie Chowdhury (Rita Wilson), a high ranked executive who is in charge of the operations there, but she doesn’t want to go out. But considering her state of mind, will they be ready to listen to her? Is there something sinister about this particular company? Should she be worried about all of these?

The defence of Kimi :: There is something about Kimi that will keep us going. The protagonist and his struggles are quite close to what the introverts might come across, and in the current world, it is only appropriate not to trust another human being. There are some fine camera angles which make things better too – how her situation inside the house and also when she ventures outside are all nicely taken. The first exit out of the place after a shower and brushing is to be appreciated further. The talk in the bedroom had nicely served to let us understand her character already. They have also served a happy ending here, and there is never a situation of too much of danger around – it seems like she can handle them all by herself even though she does get unexpected help. Even with so many complex happening in between, what we see on the screen is kept simple and things get solved also with a certain amount of luck here. As the movie is on Amazon Prime Video, more people will watch this lesser known interesting thing.

The claws of flaw :: There seems to be a dark side to the main character’s past, but it is not shown well enough for anyone to believe if that really happened or if she was hallucinating, having mental problems for a long time. The use of flashbacks doesn’t seem to be something of importance around here. We also have times when the main character is just an irritating person rather than anything else. After all, the movie itself focuses on her all the time, and the other characters seem like people with no identities for most of the time. Well, humans have the right to be irritating and evil, and therefore we go through that. There were many moments when some action could have been added – fight scenes can serve fine around here. This would have also been a big thriller with a few moments given better focus. This could have been the girl on the run, and throughout the process, there could have been a big adventure, with some funny moments to add to it – the humour could have been used more effectively here.

The performers of the soul :: You will not be able to take your eyes off Zoe Kravitz in this film which is all about her – it is clear that she is so good, as she adapts so well into this character, evolved a lot from Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant. This wouldn’t be a role that can be easy to play for the usual celebrities who are so much used to being part of the public fame. This is the same reason why almost nobody from this part of the world will find it easy to play this kind of a role, except what you had seen in North 24 Kaatham. The moments of her going out for the first time after a long time is among the best scenes – from a shower and electric toothpaste to how she goes on unnoticed by the the public is something worth noting for sure. For all celebrities, this kind of roles would require more work, and she has has surely nailed it. The other performances are of so much less significance in comparison here. Byron Bowers has a few dialogues and some moments to add. At the same time, Jaime Camil makes an interesting killer, and it would have been nice if there was more of the action with him around – some fight scenes could have been added here and there with him and the gang around.

How it finishes :: Kimi seems to remind one of Amazon Alexa, and the movie also serves as a cautionary tale about the possibilities of secrets being leaked through some of the newer technologies, which seems to offer more, but is also doing something else in the process. It also gives a nice picture of anxiety and agoraphobia, both being blended in here. It is also something which most of the introverts would love, and being at home all the time is not considered strange anymore with the Corona virus pandemic and work from home establishment changing things. Well, one wouldn’t be able to live a life like the protagonist of this movie though, as the person would considered mentally unstable and forced to an institution, or will be forced by the family, friends and locals to go out and talk with people. Being at those so called developed countries does have more advantages. Then you remember that this is the least of the advantages that you can have there.

Release date: 10th February 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Zoe Kravitz, Betsy Brantley, Rita Wilson, India de Beaufort, Emily Kuroda, Byron Bowers, Alex Dobrenko, Jaime Camil, Jacob Vargas, Derek DelGaudio, Erika Christensen, Devin Ratray, Andy Daly, Robin Givens, Charles Halford, David Wain

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@ 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.

Mili

mili (3)

What is it about? :: Mili Nair (Amala Paul) is a girl who has underachieved throughout her life and has developed a certain amount of inferiority complex about not living up-to the expectations. Being a high level introvert and never having even one real friend, Mili is disliked by her room mates in the hostel, the group of three lead by Renuka Menon (Shamna Kasim) who hates her, and the other two Shelly (Swapna Menon) and Raji (Sija Rose) who feel irritated by her behaviour. Her only two means of happiness are the day-care where she works and the sisterly relationship with Nancy (Praveena). But one day, she is forced to leave her job, and the guy whom she has a crush on, seems to be in a relationship with Renuka. She is highly disappointed and thinks about suicide, but Nancy’s brother Naveen (Nivin Pauly) helps her, and after bring introduced to the friends circle of Anupama (Sanusha Santhosh), her life gets a twist or two as she finds the strength within her.

The defence of Mili :: Here is a movie with so much strength to make you feel and directly go through that path of the protagonist who becomes a kind of answer to Bollywood’s Queen, even as this won’t have that much of good reviews, because three out of five is what awesome Malayalam movies can get from the critics here. I would actually consider this movie better than Queen and also Highway with its empowerment of the central female character. It is also better than the last year’s Malayalam flick How Old Are You are which was less realistic and had a protagonist was too talented that what she comes up with is no real surprise. Meanwhile, Mili has the rise of the real subaltern who comes out of her problems which go back to her childhood and rise like the real queen. Mili is a completely realistic movie, and its incidents and emotions connect directly to the audience. Cheers to Gopi Sunder and Shaan Rahman for the highly effective music too.

Positives and Negatives :: The movie is a straight take on its content, even as it is an ordinary story in its base. There are some silly moments in the beginning which might have been meant to bring some fun there. May be Mili should have been shown as “just another introvert” or with a further clear background. Well, the movie touches you and it shakes your heart with its emotional power. “Manpaatha Neettunna Mohangale” is a bloody good song, and when heard in relation to the movie is a wonderful experience, something that makes you feel the power of the journey of the protagonist, as long as you have a heart with enough of empathy. It is a stake through the heart, but is something of exhilaration on one end. The movie ends with a speech which is the soul of the movie, and it is up-to you to decide if you want it in the end. But the power of the final words cannot be questioned as it is incredibly strong and the return of that song in the end is a remarkable addition to the emotional strength of the movie.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is impressive in its characterization, and it is reflected in the performances of the actors. Mili’s character goes through a great path, right from the awesome child actor to the amazing performance from Amala Paul who has undoubtedly managed her best in Malayalam with this one protagonist. It is nothing other than inconceivable bliss to watch her as Mili. Here is she acting without make-up and making it work in an amazing way. Nivin Pauly gives a great support, and him doing this role in a heroine-centred role is worth an applause. Sai Kumar is also very good; the same can be said about Praveena. One thing that is to be noticed is the presence and the nice support of the young actresses in this movie, starting with Sanusha Santhosh about whom we are well aware of, and has already left her mark. The others including the better known Shamna Kasim and the rest of the list having Sija Rose, Swapna Menon and Soumya Sadanandan makes us realize that Malayalam movie industry has so much power in its core for years to come.

Soul exploration :: It is clear that some people are not able to be inspired by Mili and can’t like it. I can understand that. It is mainly because of their inability to connect with those who have problems in their life. May be they are hundred percent extroverts or some who were born with silver spoons in their mouth, or those who had a very easy path throughout their lives. They might be big genius people who knows everything. But for us others, who can connect easily with a person having troubles, this movie is a big thing. May be some people don’t need to be motivated because they are so awesome, but I am really motivated with this, as I know my weaknesses. It is okay that some people can’t connect with people having problems, but I can. May be it is because I am not that good, and the positive thing about that is that I can surely feel the power of motivation that is present in this movie. I am an introvert, a proud introvert – and I feel the pain and the abiding inspiration. Let me tell you something about Mili – she remains the introvert even in the end, but a confident one.

How it finishes :: You can read my earlier preview and expectations about this movie here: (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/introvert-queen). But I have a request; it is that if you can’t relate to the feelings of someone who has a behaviour problem and with people having any trouble with being “normal”, don’t watch this movie. If you think that people who are different are idiots and don’t deserve anything, please stay with your higher level of people. If you think that getting high scores in exams and getting a big job with a high salary are the only things that matter in your life, please stick to the great people who have managed to do so. Mili is for people who have empathy, and it is not for those who take pride only in one’s own achievements by degrading others. Mili has a few lessons for the parents, not to scold the children for the problems that they couldn’t solve in Mathematics or for the ten marks that they lost in Physics – love your children and teach them to be good, not scoring machines.

A few more words :: The movie ends with the lines from William Wordsworth’s The Rainbow: “the child is father of the man”, and you ask yourself; how can that not be true? The other name of the poem is My Heart Leaps Up – hope that gives you a clue. Romanticism never seems to leave me. Mili has a lot for women, introverts and all the subaltern, with a mighty message to rise. The modern world asks for winners and in the world of competition as the weaker ones are avoided, a good person is the true winner. Society provides us with labels, but it doesn’t reflect the real us. During the movie, I often wondered if Mili is a manifestation of the kindred of my soul’s unexplored side. There are those moments which tunnel through your brain and heart to send shock-waves right through. You have the right not to agree with me, but my rating stands, because I completely follow my mind and heart on this one. I will leave you with one awesome song from the movie.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Pillai
Starring: Amala Paul, Nivin Pauly, Shamna Kasim, Sanusha Santhosh, Sija Rose, Riya Saira, Praveena, Sai Kumar, Amol Parashar, Vanitha Krishnachandran, Idavela Babu, Anju Aravind, Ambika, Bindu Panicker, Devi Ajith, Baby Nandana, Master Neil Kaushik, Baby Ammu, Sangeetha Mohan, Soumya Sadanandan, Swapna Menon

mili

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.