The Priest

What is the movie about? :: Fr Carmen Benedict (Mammootty) is a priest who is known to have helped the police in multiple cases. Diya Alex Alatt (Saniya Iyappan) approaches him with a certain amount of concern regarding a series of deaths which had occured earlier in the rich and influential family, and were dismissed as suicides. Diya feels that the present controller of the assets of the family, Elizabeth Alatt (Meera Nair) might know something about it. He calls DYSP Shekhar (Sivadas Kannur), who begins to share some of his doubts. When a little girl named Ameya Gabriel (Baby Monica) is also found in the house, and the connected incidents related to her lead to the discovery of more clues related to the murder, Fr Carmen also understands that there is more to her than what meets the eye. Ameya is an orphan, and nobody has any idea what she is upto, because she often goes missing from her orphanage, and comes back by herself. Her actions are also nothing less than what others consider to be strange.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Jessy Cherian (Nikhila Vimal), a new teacher takes charge in the school where Ameya is studying. Even though Ameya has been hostile to each and every person in the school including teachers and students, she immediately becomes friendly to Jessy who is also happy about the same. As the school is closed for summer vacation, Ameya begs for her to be taken with Jessy. With the permission of the orphanage authorities, she manages to take the child to her home in the highlands, which had been abandoned for a long time. But it turns out that this child is not really the kid which she had expected. When anyone else comes in between Jessy and Ameya, the latter reacts violently, especially when Jessy’s fiance Siddharth (Venkitesh VP) comes to meet her, and proposes her. Soon, things take a further violent turn, and Fr Carmen makes his way to the place, as he understands the seriousness of the situation. But this might not be the kind of spirit which Carmen thought it is. He takes the help of Dr Mathews (TG Ravi), but he understands the need to learn about the spirit.

The defence of The Priest :: The movie scores heavily with its visuals, as we do have a perfect setting for horror, and along with the environment, there are the usual scares effectively used with the help of sound effects. The music is also very interesting. The scares are added here and there, and at times they work depending on the audience. There are some twists to be added here, but we do expect a few among with ease, seemingly because of trying to stick to the Hollywood style. The performance are also of a higher level, even though we do feel that the first investigation was even more interesting than what came later. It does have the most interesting part in the beginning, like Mammootty’s Abrahaminte Santhathikal had that crime at the start, and even with the presence of clowns, doesn’t make them nonsensical like it was done in the strange Mammootty movie The Great Father. Instead, most of the time, The Priest plays to its strength, and makes sure that there is no risk taken, even though it was there to be taken.

The claws of flaw :: The Priest has many elements which we would feel borrowed, and the reminder of Hollywood movies is sure to come back here. The climax doesn’t deliver the needed punch either, as it goes through the safe way, and adds one scene after the finish, seemingly as a justification. Looking at films like The Conjuring, The Nun, Insidious, Sinister and Annabelle, we have had an overdose of horror movies with spirits, and as there was enough for reference, this could have certainly done better – we all remember what Ezra did with the Jewish demon. Well, when the demon really doesn’t want to be terrifying, and with the first motive being close to a Mathematics teachers, the scary side weakens – when the motive and actions of the supernatural doesn’t scare us enough, the genre itself struggles. After all, a spirit should do what it always does the best, and it should go further when listing itself as a horror film at all places. There can be more to an act of exorcism and the process of haunting. We also see something missing with the sequence of events, but can’t talk about that without revealing the suspense and twists.

The performers of the soul :: The movie was marketed as the first movie in which Mammootty and Manju Warrier acted together – the last word does have some complications though, because the latter’s character was dead some time ago, and so the characters won’t be living together in the film, and we would have to wait to see them in the leading roles. Manju Warrier’s role is also quite short here, and it can be considered only as long as the work of Saniya Iyappan who also has some work to do related to the first adventure of the protagonist. Mammootty’s avatar here is a lot better than what we have seen in most of his action and thriller films, and this is a character that he does with ease. We can now remember him like Father Brown, the Roman Catholic priest and detective who was the main character in the fifty three short stories written by British novelist GK Chesterton in the years after Victorian era. There we were not into horror though.

Further performers of the soul :: Even though often known as the first Mammootty-Manju Warrier movie, the latter gets only limited presence, and in the first half we don’t even have a clue that she exists. But when she is there, she works through this very well. Nikhila Vimal is once again seen as a talented actress, extending her good work from Njan Prakashan and Aravindante Athithikal. Saniya Iyappan has the early shorter presence, and as we had seen her effectiveness in horror with Krishnankutty Pani Thudangi where she was the only saving grace, we were expected more of her presence there. Ramesh Pisharody and Jagadish are also given some early moments in here. Venkitesh VP whom we have known from the television show Nayika Nayakan also has done some good work. Baby Monica also contributes nicely once the horror side begins. She excels in displaying that scary side which is brought to light in the second half of the movie.

How it finishes :: The Priest was among the much awaited movies with Mammootty in the lead, and it has come late due to COVID-19 pandemic – according to the reports, it has still managed to be a profit-making venture, even with the theatre occupancy being controlled. The Priest is the one Malayalam movie which brought the viewers to the theatres and made sure that the business was running smoothly. As it has released on the OTT platform of Amazon Prime, one can now watch the film without those fears which we had earlier. The Priest is not only on a path towards being a stylish horror movie, as it is also an innovation in having a release on an OTT platform a month after its theatre release – it is a path which many more movies can follow, as there are other films which need to be released, and we are still facing the worst case of that one grand pandemic. With the clouds bringing darkness early in the afternoon, The Priest makes an interesting thriller for the time, even though it could have been bigger and smarter.

I also wish everyone a Very Happy Vishu! Stay safe and enjoy the day 🙂

Release date: 11th March 2021 (Theatre), 14th April 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Jofin T Chacko
Starring: Mammootty, Manju Warrier, Nikhila Vimal, Baby Monica, Venkitesh VP, Saniya Iyappan, Sivadas Kannur, Jagadish, Lishoy, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Ramesh Pisharody, Kochu Preman, Ameya Mathew, TG Ravi, Dinesh Panicker, Kalabhavan Haneef, Naseer Sankranthi, Sminu Sijo, Jeeva Joseph, Shiny T Rajan, VK Prakash, Meera Nair, Thomas Kuriakose, Jayadevan, Manoj Chennai, Sohan Seenulal, Madhupal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Karinkunnam 6s

karinkunnam6s (1)

Vampire Owl :: When was the last time we watched a Malayalam movie in the theatre?

Vampire Bat :: Last month, I guess?

Vampire Owl :: Is it? Still, that feels like an eternity.

Vampire Bat :: It is mostly because we are not used to not watching movies.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I think someone has worked black magic against us, which is why we are missing so many movies.

Vampire Bat :: I see that hands of pure evil itself. But in this case, it is more because we don’t have time.

Vampire Owl :: Did you see the half-yearly list of the movies we have watched in the theatre? It is quite a small list compared to the last few years.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, we definitely need to work on that.

Vampire Owl :: Until then, one Malayalam movie for this weekend?

Vampire Bat :: So be it. A sports drama would be a welcome change!

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Vandana (Manju Warrier) lives with her husband Aby (Anoop Menon) after successfully running away from home in favour of an inter-caste marriage. Both are from sports background, and the latter has one dream only, to make things better for volleyball in a world dominated by cricket. His love for the game is above everything else, and for the same, he supports his own team Karinkunnam 6s. With the same dream in his mind, he contacts Kesavan (Shyamaprasad), a man who is very much interested in the profits to be gained from the venture. Even though he agrees to the idea of having a Volleyball Premier League on the lines of Indian Premier League and Indian Super League, he decides that it has to be entertainment, and that should include fixed matches – it is something to which Aby can’t agree.

So what happens next? :: What follows next are all against Aby, as he is bed-ridden and Vandana has to take over the team to make sure that it plays in the league, and plays fair. For the same, she contacts many players, but the rich and the influential groups in the league works against her making sure that she gets no official players. But Vandana has help from Haritha (Lena Abhilash), the head of the police department, and decides to choose and train a number of inmates in the prison. The team starts from the powerhouse Douglas (Babu Antony), and is joined by many other inmates who look forward to making a mark. But with no professional training, can the prisoners do enough to make it to the next round of the tournament featuring some of the best? Can they leave their own personal rivalries behind and live for the moment?

The defence of Karinkunnam 6s :: One can easily say that this is one of the best sports drama movies made in Malayalam – there are not many interesting movies belonging to that genre around here. When it is not based on an overrated sport like cricket, things only get better. It takes some courage to take a movie based on something which is not cricket or football – and that risk is taken, and they make sure that it appeals to the audience in this part of the world. The movie is also dedicated to Jimmy George, who was considered as one of the greatest volleyball players – the deserving heroes of our land who are less known just because they didn’t play the hyped game of cricket. There are some very nice moments in this movie, which are a lot inspirational; there are more which are emotional, but it never manages to overdo the same. There is power and there is also a lot of energy here!

The claws of flaw :: This is a movie which could have made it to the list of the best among its kind. The tale here is still predictable for most of the time though. There could have been more focus on the sports rather than the drama and the incidents which occurred outside the court. It could have gone deeper with both too, with the sporting side as well as the dramatic events with direct relation to the characters. It also takes some time to get going in the beginning, and it is with the prisoners getting to the act that things get to be interesting. The climax could have also been bigger. People might be able to find problems with this movie related to the sports, but none of the sports movies in Malayalam can be considered close enough to that big reality, and this one can also be forgiven for those flaws that can be taken out of the grave when the DVD comes out.

Performers of the soul :: Having no huge star, this one relies on the long list of actors who play the characters in fine style – nobody lets us down around here. After Vettah, Manju Warrier is excellent here, and there is so much energy that she carries forward here – it is shared by the rest of the cast too, especially the team which is lead by Babu Antony with his usual style. The other person who catches our attention from the team is Sudheer Karamana who has some very nice moments; Baiju also gets some nice dialogues here. Suraj Venjaramoodu impresses us with a different avatar here too, and he deservingly gets some claps. Anoop Menon goes on smoothly with his role. Even those who does some cameo roles here leaves something for the audience.

How it finishes :: Without the big cast that the other movies of this season have come up with, this one has managed to come up with a special identity of its own. There is entertainment guaranteed, and it is worth a fine watch with the family. This is no perfect sports drama, but you find inspiration here and you will also get the thrills. Lets hope that this movie brings back to its viewers the memories of the volleyball legend, and also bring more interest into this game. Unlike the movies which are filled with ridiculous content for the fans, this is the kind of movie that needs to be watched – there are no superstars here, but everyone in this movie ends up being no less than a special star. All of them contribute here, and we are left applauding for those final dialogues and the tribute.

Release date: 7th July 2016
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Deepu Karunakaran
Starring: Manju Warrier, Babu Antony, Anoop Menon, Jacob Gregory, Baiju, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Sudev Nair, Sudheer Karamana, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Nandhu, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Manikuttan, Vivek Gopan, Kevin, Lena Abhilash (cameo), Shyamaprasad (cameo), Major Ravi (cameo), Hareesh Peradi (cameo), Maniyanpilla Raju (cameo), Jagadish (cameo), Gayathri Suresh (cameo), Samuthirakani (cameo)

karinkunnam6s ()

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Two Countries

twocountries (2)

Vampire Owl :: So, which are these two countries? Are they from the time of the World Wars, the Hundred Years’ War, the Thirty Years’ War or the Cold War?

Vampire Bat :: The two countries are India and Canada. But this movie has a more funny side to the title. It says “the story of two country fellas”.

Vampire Owl :: So, it redirects towards the characters and their special qualities. There are two ways of saying it then, I see.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and do not think on the lines of 2 States.

Vampire Owl :: Well, Dileep has returned to the kind of roles which work for the real family audience, and so, this should be an interesting watch.

Vampire Bat :: I hope for something on the lines of Marykkundoru Kunjaadu, Thommanum Makkalum, Kalyanaraman, and Pulival Kalyanam which were from the same director.

Vampire Owl :: And Dileep and Mamta Mohandas unites for a movie once again years after My Boss.

Vampire Bat :: And it will be some Christmas fun.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, we couldn’t go for a movie yesterday and we will try to make sure that the celebrations get better with this one.

Vampire Bat :: It is all that we will do on this day!

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Ullas (Dileep) is one of the jobless people who wander around his hometown doing some business or indulging in some other activity. His best friend is Avinash (Aju Varghese) who is part of most his adventures and ends up in trouble because of Ullas. Most of the things which they work on, never really bring anything positive; it is not just about business. As they take huge loans from a man at Fort Cochin (Makarand Deshpande), Ullas decides to marry his daughter Simran (Isha Talwar) who is on a wheel chair; he finds this an easy path to getting rich. For the same, he sends his elder brother Ujvalan (Jagadish) to speak for his marriage against the wishes of his parents. But things change as another marriage proposal arrives on the scene.

So what is this suddden change of direction in life about? :: The situation changes with the arrival of the proposal of Laya (Mamta Mohandas) to whom Ullas speaks on phone pretending to be someone else. But as she as well as her parents become very much interested in the man on the other side of the phone and the stories which he tells them, she decides to come to Kerala. It turns out that they knew each other from childhood, and Ullas uses this opportunity to pretend that he has always loved her from the time they were kids so that he can fly to Canada as her husband. So, he chooses Laya over Simran, but after marriage, he understands that things are not like he had thought, and his new wife has a lot of problems, with her family being just one of them.

The defence of Two Countries :: There is no shortage of fun in Two Countries, as it is evident from the scene of introduction itself. The comedy shifts to Canada from India, and it only gets better; the story also reaches a better level then. The strength of the movie remains the humour, as most of us expected. There are also some emotional moments which work pretty well. The cast itself becomes a bonus to this movie as the list which begins with Dileep. The best scenes happen at the party, court and friends’ home. It is a nice flick to watch with family, and the youth will also love the fun provided. The visuals of Canada are good too, even though more could have been utilized. It was clear that people in the theatre enjoyed the comedy and the claps were there. This is also a lot better entertainer than the overrated comedy of the year, Amar Akbar Anthony.

Claws of flaw :: The music never really gets to be that good, and the climax seems to be rushed to an end which comes to a solution which the audience wanted rather than finishing it in the right way. A lot of fun is also directed towards the mindless side, even though it is kept enjoyable. There is not that much of a new story here with predictability running high. Some parts of the movie are also half-baked, and one will wonder if the movie used the whole of its premise to its advantage; for this isn’t that much complete as My Boss with its fun. A lot more of comedy would have been here, and the beginning situation is more like what was there in too many movies. With the names Rafi and Shafi involved with this movie, people would have expected even more; this is surely not as good as Marykkundoru Kunjaadu – but it delivers; no doubt about that.

Performers of the soul :: Dileep is once again at his full form here, as he follows the good run after Chandrettan Evideya, Love 24×7 and Life of Josutty. This is also the complete comedy movie which has full fun without overdoing the comic side, a quality which hasn’t been seen since his My Boss in 2012. This is the kind of role which he can go through with ease, and it is once again proven. His support at home is Aju Varghese and the same is provided by Suraj Venjaramoodu in Canada while Mukesh replaces Jagadish in the second half as the brotherly figure away from home; Aju and Suraj are the big comic support here. We missed Mamta Mohandas for too long with her last big role being in Celluloid. She does her character amazingly well; there are not many actresses who can do this type of comedy so well. Isha Talwar has a small role, and Srinda Ashab just supports in bringing the fun.

How it finishes :: With the support going on to Vijayaraghavan, Lena Abhilash, Asokan and Vinaya Prasad, this one brings Canada into the picture, a change from Life of Josutty which had the heroine based in New Zealand and My Boss which had the heroine as an Australian citizen; it is a welcome variation as there is no journey to United States and United Kingdom here either, which would have been the usual choices. Among the Christmas movies, Two Countries is sure to have a nice status, as it should appeal to different kinds of audience. As it seems, Christmas seems to be a blast with Jo and the Boy, Adi Kapyare Koottamani and Charlie also getting good opinions. Two Countries is surely going to entertain you, and the reviews about this have also been positive! The time period between Christmas and New Year will shine for the Keralite audience; no doubt.

Release date: 25th December 2015
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Shafi
Starring: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Aju Varghese, Mukesh, Isha Talwar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Srinda Ashab, Jagadish, Vijayaraghavan, Lena Abhilash, Makarand Deshpande, Asokan, Vinaya Prasad, Riyaz Khan, Ajmal Ameer, Rafi, Hareesh, Carrie Marston, Megan Weckwerth, Eldon Hunter

twocountries

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mythri

mythri!

Vampire Owl :: I thought that you were not going to watch this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, all the masala was doing bad for my health. So I decided to go masala free, and I guess this movie achieves that status with ease.

Vampire Owl :: This is a new idea. I wonder how this one came up.

Vampire Bat :: Well, it is because more people have watched a lot of masala movies and let the movies with good themes die. It is up-to us to make amends.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, they have to learn from Lady Death. She uses no masala at all. She just takes those souls and sends the order to hell to cook them without masala.

Vampire Bat :: You still holds on to that one? Yes, but be aware than Mohanlal has only a smaller role in this one rather than being there on all posters around Kerala.

Vampire Owl :: I can relate to that. I have seen that so much among these vampires too. Everything got a poster of Uncle Dracula and there are even those programs about which he has no idea about.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I remember a few of those.

Vampire Owl :: We will still give this a try because the Kannada version of the movie got great reviews.

Vampire Bat :: That might not define much in Kerala, but lets see.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Siddharth (Master Aditya) spends his time playing pranks, but is a bright student. His mother (Anu Joseph) is working at a factory while a criminal and politician called Kalaprathapan (Kalabhavan Mani) has his eyes on her after saving the boy from the police station. But situations land Siddharth in a juvenile home. He is a big fan of Puneeth Rajkumar (Himself) who is conducting a Kodipathi program on television and is looking for kids to participate in a junior version of the game. With the help of his fellow in-mates, he manages to somehow send the messages and get selected. As the strict warden is finally impressed by the boy whom he had considered the scum of the Earth, Siddharth gets permission to go to Chennai for the show accompanied by him. Meanwhile, his enemies at the juvenile home returns and a DRDO scientist called Mahadevan (Mohanlal) also comes to the scene.

The defence of Mythri :: You have to call this one a sincere effort without doubts. This surely will have a nice impact on the audience and one has to appreciate the intentions behind it. The movie tells the tale of the rise of an underdog from the middle of nowhere to the helm. The social message is powerful with relevance throughout the nation, and even though this is not a full entertainer, there is still a little bit of the same, and there is that intensity and the strength of emotions which drive a good number of those scenes. The way in which the story is told also makes a positive impact. It has the power to touch the soul, but the impact could have been heavy if it was completely remade for the Malayali audience. Yes, changes are there, with more Malayalam actors added, but a few more could have done better, and the title could have been just Mythri with no extra additions.

The claws of flaw :: The question is about the path used by this movie, for it is the Slumdog Millionaire model that has been used here, and the ending also reminds one of the Malayalam movie, One Man Show just a bit. There is also the Malayalam touch missing in this movie, and it might have hurt the chances to be more successful among the Malayali audience. This is more like something which is not ground-breaking for the Malayalam movie industry which has had so many movies with social messages. The feeling of dubbing doesn’t help the cause too. There is also a movie scene shooting which is done mostly in slow motion and with the heroism even though it is still a film within a film. The songs also come out of nowhere for no reason, and there are those dance steps which are also overused for the Keralite viewer preferences. And yes, you won’t see that much of Mohanlal in this one as in the posters.

Performers of the soul :: Puneeth Rajkumar is not really a name much known among the Keralite audience, but he surely has a left a mark here, enough to be remembered by the viewers. He is also the one who does the Kannada version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and so the right person to do this role. But no Malayali can watch this without thinking about Suresh Gopi in Ningalkum Aakaam Kodeeswaran because he has become that name related to this programme’s real Malayalam version as well as the philanthropy. What would have happened if Suresh Gopi was there with Mohanlal doing what he has been doing the best? One has to wonder – it would have surely brought the crowd in for this one. But be assured, for this wonderful actor whom we have here is very good in this. There are no clues given when questions are wrong in this case, but questions are easier for this competition!

More Performers of the soul :: We will remember Puneeth Rajkumar for quite a long time for sure. Mohanlal has an appearance which lasts not more than half an hour, and his extended cameo is something which makes an excellent impact. The kid, Aditya manages to do a fantastic job, and it is nice to see him go on to do even better as movie progresses, along with the actor who did his best friend and a brother-like figure called Johnson, the actor named Jagadish giving fine support to the boy. Kalabhavan Mani is pretty good as the villain. Atul Kulkarni leaves a mark as the warden too. It was also good to see Anu Joseph with Oridathoridathu fame who has done a memorable job here, and along with her, Archana also does a good job; one is present on in the beginning and the other just at the end. Bhavana makes an even shorter appearance, and so does Sajitha Betti.

How it finishes :: There wasn’t enough hype surrounding this movie and not much promotions took place, which has surely worked against it; if you consider the rush for Jurassic Park, Premam and then look at this one, there will be a clear picture. It had gone on to become a wonderful success in Kannada, but the same can’t be said about its status here. But it still remains the duty of the movie fans to give a chance to this movie with a social message along with those mass entertainers and full superstar flicks. The movie makes a point against judging people by where they stand as of now, and on the basis of which class they belong to. Mythri is a reason for you to watch a movie in the theatres with full family, and take a message home despite its inability to connect completely with the Keralite audience.

Release date: 12th June 2015
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: B.M Giriraj
Starring: Mohanlal, Puneeth Rajkumar, Master Aditya, Anu Joseph, Archana, Kalabhavan Mani, Atul Kulkarni, Bhavana, Sajitha Betti, Jagadish

mythri

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.