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.

Aadu 2

What is the movie about? :: The team of Shaji Pappan (Jayasurya) go on with the journey after the events of the first film. Their world hasn’t really gotten any better, as they keep struggling to find the money to keep their club, and once again their option is to participate in the tug of war competition. With the Pinky episode closed both with the girl and the goat, Pappan just continues to have his back pain, but leads his team to victory in the competition, only to have his golden trophy stolen by the rival team lead by Anali Sabu (Anson Paul). Meanwhile, S.I. Sarbath Shameer (Vijay Babu) manages to get back to service after begging the new Home Minister of Kerala, P.P. Sasi Aashan (Indrans) to have his uniform again. He decides to keep his eyes on Shaji Pappan who had thrown the former S.I. of the station into the dam reservoir, and prove to everyone that he is an even better police officer than he used to be.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: At the same time, Damodaran Unnimakan Delmen Edakochi a.k.a. Dude (Vinayakan) is having an even more terrible time, working at a restaurant, and with his friends and the new comrade Dragon Paili (Nelson) is planning something huge, without being depressed of his failure – he is ridiculed by the owner of the restaurant, but he is waiting for his opportunity to get back to what he does the best. Satan Xavier (Sunny Wayne) surely has better times with the help of Kanjavu Soman (Sudhi Koppa) and Battery Simon (Bijukuttan) who work for him at small wages. But their world along with that of a criminal mastermind, a villain known as Shetty (John Kaippallil) are to come together soon, with that day on which five hundred and one thousand rupee notes ceased being legal tender. It would begin a series of blunders and confusion that would lead to a twist of fate for some.

The defence of Aadu 2 :: After Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu disappeared from the theatres, people have been slowly trying to like it, and there has been a lot of talk about the same – for them, this would prove to be a nice treat, as they have all wanted it a lot. There are some funny moments in here for sure, and they come and go. The beginning with the introduction of the protagonist, and the return of the police officer to duty are all good, making sure that the sequel starts well. The music and visuals are all pretty good, and there seems to be more and more of an effort to make the youth appreciate it rather than an individual or the family. From a reviewer’s perspective, this movie would come only under Midhun Manuel Thomas’s each and every other work – Annmariya Kalippilaanu, Alamara and Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu are better than this. But you know that it is not the thing which always counts, but on the other side, we know that more people liking or pretending to like a movie to go with the crowd doesn’t make it a better one.

The claws of flaw :: There is not that much of fun in Aadu 2 as it was there in its prequel. It falls short there, and also the story itself is not that interesting. The limited number of working jokes is rather a sad thing. The excuse in favour of this movie might be that it is meant to be nonsense – but even making quality nonsense requires better thinking, and when we look at this movie, that part has come down a level from the first movie too. There are so many ways of making a funny thing work, and whether it is funny in a smart way or if it is nonsense, the thing has to work. Here, Aadu 2 has the nonsense which struggles to be funny even as nonsense, and that is a crime, which is repeated a number of times. Also, even a dumb story can be smart in how it is made to seem ridiculous. This one falls short of its predecessor in doing the same too.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya leads the way as expected after another sequel, Punyalan Private Limited, playing the character that nobody has refused to like. There is no surprise about the fact everyone wishes to see Shaji Pappan again – even I remember that entry that he had in the first part; there is not that much of an entrance here that we will keep remembering, but we love him anyway, as the one character who seems to be part of us in one way or the other. Vinayakan’s Dude could have used even more screen-time, as among them all, the man makes us laugh the most – almost everything from him works, unlike some of the other characters that got to struggle to keep up with the standards set in the first movie. Vijay Babu is in full form with this character which he seems to hold close, and with the support of Noby Marcose, he gets to score with nice moments. Indrans has his presence limited, maybe due to the absence of the sidekick character – and that is disappointing too.

Further performers of the soul :: One can’t help noticing the absence of two of the characters that made the best impact in the first part, played by Chemban Vinod Jose and Sandra Thomas. The former’s moments which are widely used in memes for trolls and latter being a reflection of a certain group of people who prefer animals to men, are clearly missed in this flick, and Chemban not being found here is a bigger surprise. Sunny Wayne’s character, despite being a big name again, never really gets to get bigger. The big team of the protagonist including Saiju Kurup, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Bhagath Manuel, Vineeth Mohan and others won’t make that big impact this time, as they also struggle to live up to what they did in the first movie, with some jokes here and there. Sometimes, irritating moments do come in as if they are jokes, and the characters just manage to play with the same. Well, fans will just find awesomeness in everything and abuse, but we can’t, can we descend that low?

How it finishes :: The first movie, Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu, was kind of late to gather all the positive opinions, as it had failed at the box-office, and didn’t make much an impact with the critics of that time. This one has picked up due to the fans going in favour of it, and youth taking it as their duty to support it. But in the end, you will find that it is not that funny, and there is a lesser effect here than what was created in the first movie. It is enjoyable in parts, but as a whole, the first movie was surely better, and it also had a better effect on us, as it was something that felt new. But here, we see a movie which seems to try to repeat the same thing without trying anything better or new. It is the curse of the sequels that has caught this movie, and we know that sequels are rarely better than the originals – well, this one is no exception. Well, if you are not going to think about any of these, and desperately wishes to watch the second part, just go for it. After all, it is Christmas, and the festival season and holidays can use some meaningless fun. It is surely why it is more difficult to get tickets for this one than its competitors Vimaanam, Mayaanadhi, Aana Alaralodalaral and Masterpiece.

Release date: 22nd December 2017
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Midhun Manuel Thomas
Starring: Jayasurya, Sunny Wayne, Vijay Babu, Saiju Kurup, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Bhagath Manuel, Vineeth Mohan, Harikrishnan, Noby Marcose, Aju Varghese, Vinayakan, Indrans, Sudhi Koppa, Anson Paul, Srinda Arhaan, Nelson, Bijukuttan, Gopesh, Mamukoya, Baiju, Irshad

@ 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.

Tharangam

What is the movie about? :: Padmanabhan Pillai a.k.a. Pappan (Tovino Thomas) used to be the Sub Inspector of Police working in the traffic department until getting suspended on an unfortunate night during a special operation not approved by the department, along with his good friend and subordinate officer Joy C (Balu Varghese). This incident which lead to the death of their senior officer Antony (Manoj K Jayan) has them wandering around the city in need of money, as they need to pay Ittimani (Alencier Ley Lopez) a sum of five lakhs. Their senior officer Sivadasa Menon (Vijayaraghavan) assures them that he will do all that he can to get them back in the uniform. It is him who come up with a special duty for them, which could bring them some money as part of an unofficial investigation. With things not being that great with his girlfriend Malini a.k.a Malu, Pappan decides to take the job, as some easy money with less risk is not that much of a bad idea.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This unofficial investigation is provided to them by Tharian Mathew (Shammi Thilakan), who offers them a lot of money to find what is going on with his wife, Omana Varghese (Neha Iyer) who owns a restaurant chain in the city and its surroundings. He suspects that she is having an affair, and wishes to divorce her after finding proof of her adultery. As the two friends go on their newly discovered adventure, they only find out that something is strange with the people that she meets, but there is no proof of her having an affair. But when they are watching her, someone else is watching them – Christopher Luke (Sijoy Varghese) is the man after them, and then there is their earlier enemy from the failed operation, Siju (Saiju Kurup) who comes in their way. There is so much going on with their lives that the whole thing seems to be messed up. Can they make the necessary changes to make things better?

The defence of Tharangam :: There is something different in the way this movie begins and ends, and even though the same is not something seen before, it has never been this fresh. It is a fine experiment as far as Malayalam movie industry is concerned – with the hero and a lot of characters surrounding him, and add all the fun, you will find something like Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu here, as our heroes as well as more than one teams of villains are looking for one thing that goes missing. The movie also has a strong side of fantasy to go with the real incidents, even though they are only related in a few occasions. There are messages about people being responsible for their own fate, as God provides them with a number of choices in their life, as one little act of kindness or cruelty, can change everything. There is a lot of dark humour present in this one too, as it nicely deviates from the usual foolish comedy which could have been served here with the subject on another day.

The claws of flaw :: Tharangam doesn’t go through the path which the common audience would expect – the trailer had given less idea about what it was going to be in totality, but even then, this seems to have deviated a lot, and will not leave the viewers with the usual and expected kind of experience for them to cherish. Maybe, they could have shortened the fantasy side, and maybe even limited the same to a few dialogues. The romance also disappears earlier than one would expect. There are opportunities of humour being lost, and there are moments when the audience can feel lost. The two cops could have handled the whole thing with lots of funny moments, but such an attempt is not made, as this one tries to bring one thing after the other, creating a mixture which not everyone can take home. The divergence is a fine thing, but the doubt about where to go with the same, is rather strange when we look deep. It is the story that needed to rise more when needed.

Performers of the soul :: It is nice to see Tovino Thomas coming up with different types of roles, as he could do with the two big movies Godha and Oru Mexican Aparatha, as well as that much respected movie on the internet, Guppy. But we know that his best is still to come, and that can even go bilingual. We see him go through the comic side rather easily. Balu Varghese supports him well, even though one wonders why there is no big memorable comedy sequences in this movie even there was more than one chance. The “Luketta” call from the two is just one of them. The one person whom we miss early is Manoj K Jayan, who has only a few minutes of presence there. Dileesh Pothan surprises us in his avatar and is very good with the same, even when the movie could have gone on without extending that sequence a little too much in the beginning.

Further performers of the soul :: Santhy Balachandran makes a much memorable debut here, and she has some very nice moments as well as dialogues in the movie – one can be sure that there are miles ahead for her in Malayalam movie industry. We keep feeling that she is capable of more if provided the bigger roles. One is going to find it hard to believe that this is her first movie. The other new face, Neha Iyer is also strong with her character into which she seems to have dived deep – there is more than face to this character, which she reflects with skill. Saiju Kurup has another character who catches our attention with ease, as he had in Pokkiri Simon, Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, Adventures of Omanakuttan and Alamara earlier. Sijoy Varghese is strong with the negative side of the character throughout his existence in this movie. Alencier Ley Lopez, Vijayaraghavan and Shammi Thilakan get rather shorter, but important roles in this movie.

How it finishes :: Tharangam is that kind of a movie which you can either love or hate, and there is also the option to stand in between – it is more of a movie of the audience, as each viewer can have a separate opinion regarding the same. The level of enjoyment regarding this movie is different, as you notice those simple things which affect your opinion. We know that crime comedy thrillers are not that easy to bring to the common audience, and this one has surely tried hard to do the same, even with those flaws. Dhanush has also made his Malayalam debut as a producer with Tharangam. It has been on the list of much awaited movies for quite some time, and one song with Tovino Thomas and Santhy Balachandran had brought further need to watch this movie as soon as possible. Now, we have this one for Pooja holidays, and if you like movies like Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu, there is a good chance that you will like this one too, and the overall quality of Tharangam feels more – be ready for some experimentation on screen. I will leave you with the wonderful song from the movie.

Release date: 29th September 2017
Running time: 153 minutes
Directed by: Dominic Arun
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Balu Varghese, Santhy Balachandran, Neha Iyer, Dileesh Pothan, Sijoy Varghese, Alencier Ley Lopez, Vijayaraghavan, Manoj K Jayan, Shammi Thilakan, Saiju Kurup, Sanju Shivram, Unni Mukundan (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pokkiri Simon

What is the movie about? :: Simon (Sunny Wayne), known more as “Pokkiri” Simon after the name of the Vijay movie is the leader of the Vijay fans association of the locality. His two best friends, and members of the association are “Hanuman” Biju (Jacob Gregory) who spends most of his life’s time trying to become Vijay’s bodyguard, and “Love Today” Ganesh (Sarath Kumar) who has the nickname after one of Vijay’s earlier movies. They spend almost all of their time, talking about Vijay’s movies and celebrating whenever one of his movies get a release in Trivandrum. On the other side, there are Surya fans including “Singam” Suni (Sajid Yahiya) who continue celebrating the latest sequel to Singam. There is also some compeition between them, and the gang of Vijay fans lead by Beemapally Noushad (Saiju Kurup) who has his own fan association based around the mosque. Both of them tries to make the best out of ten year celebration of Pokkiri, and lands in the police station.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Landing in the police station is nothing new for them, as SI Sathyan (Baiju) finds it easy to catch them for making nuisance all around the theatre in the name of fan club based activities. The one to save them each and every time is CI Alex John (Dileesh Pothan), a police officer from a rich family having an eye on politics. Simon’s father Yesudas (Ashokan) is also a police man, but just like his mother and sister, has not much of an opinion about him. Simon and his friends who do no job, and wanders all around the locality as considered to be nuisance rather than anything else. The only thing Simon manages to do outside the friends circle in the fans association, is to write random PSC examinations, including the police tests to satisfy his father. The only thing they wait for is to watch another Vijay movie – without the same, there is no life for them.

And what else is to follow with the fan adventures? :: The parents of Simon have lost hope in him getting a job, and they wish to get him married. But the problem is that he wants to marry only the girl whom he saw whistling during a Vijay movie. Simon soon finds her again while playing cricket on the beach. Deepa (Prayaga Martin), who is the daughter of a rich sea captain, is the girl whom he wish to marry. Using the plans from a former scientist of ISRO, Seetha Raman (Nedumudi Venu) who turns out to be a Vijay fan too, Simon tries to get her attention, and finally manages to win her love. But things are not that smooth, as there are people like Arjunan Pillai (Shammi Thilakan) and Indran Pillai (Marshal Tito Wilson) who are running all kinds of criminal activities in the city. The young blood of the fans association manages to make both of these brothers angry, and it is no more about sweet love.

The defence of Pokkiri Simon :: There are some funny scenes here which will work, thanks to the long line of interesting cast managing to keep things strong. There is also the reference to Vijay movies, along with something for Pulimurugan. One can be sure that those who follow Vijay movies will find this one more entertaining, and so will those who watch Tamil movies very often. Yes, the fan stuff scores. There is also that part of the story that goes on like the common man’s life, and you will find one final twist waiting for you. If you like Amar Akbar Anthony, I am sure that you will have no problems in finding this one good enough. This movie also follows the same pattern, with the life of the common people with some comedy in the first half, and the second half having a twist, when the unexpected person becomes the villain; from being one of the best among good people in the flick, as he joins the other villains who have been there – in this case too, it is related to a missing girl.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s weakest point is the romantic angle, and the same never really gets going. One can safely say that it even stumbles on many occasions even without starting to get better. The songs also suffers the same fate. There was the feeling that this movie would also focus on the good deeds done by fans in the name of their favourite stars, but that is not there – instead, they do the comparison of stars to gods as a justification which might be the strangest that you would ever get. It is rather bizarre during these days when superstar godmen who reflect gods get convicted. There are also many characters who don’t get what they deserve, as they exist and go on without making the desired impact. The people who don’t follow many movies, and don’t watch much of Tamil cinema will have less to take home. Also, you will find that the movie could have managed all its elements, bringing them together in a better way. It could have been a better movie to become a better tribute to Vijay.

Performers of the soul :: The friendship of the three characters played by Sunny Wayne, Jacob Gregory and Sarath Kumar is undoubtedly better than the same shown in Amar Akbar Anthony. The latter two takes it more on the funny side, while Sunny Wayne is very good playing the main character. He has provided us some good work with Annmariya Kalippilaanu and Alamara, but for some reason, they don’t go on to stay at the theatres like some of those overrated movies with no content do. Marshal Tito Wilson from Angamaly Diaries is also there, playing one of the two antagonists, and he is surely a strong point here, joining Shammi Thilakan who scores on the evil side. Dileesh Pothan is a perfect addition as the police character who impresses with his different side, and Baiju and Ashokan plays two different cops in support well. Prayaga Martin only has a character existing there to be part of that bad romantic side, and she never gets in form – in the end, she disappears like Namitha Pramod in Amar Akbar Anthony. Before that, there are some terrible moments for her, including one song.

How it finishes :: Pokkiri Simon should be a must watch for Vijay fans, and for the rest, it could provide some time-pass. Following the pattern of Amar Akbar Anthony more than any other, we can also see a little bit of Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan mode in here. There are those jokes, and also the dialogues which are from Vijay’s popular movies. The director’s previous movie, Darwinte Parinamam was also an underrated movie, and this one also has elements of silver lining even when the clouds are dark, but it isn’t lifted high enough from there. If you are a fan and you can relate to this, that would be great, for there seems to be an attempt to make this one a colourful and quick entertainer. One thing is for sure, and it is that unlike those movies which have claimed to do great with similar cast, this one surely manages to do better – Pokkiri Simon does that for the fans.

Release date: 22nd September 2017
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Jijo Antony
Starring: Sunny Wayne, Jacob Gregory, Prayaga Martin, Sarath Kumar, Dileesh Pothan, Nedumudi Venu, Ashoka, Baiju, Shammi Thilakan, Marshal Tito Wilson, Bitto, Thara Kalyan, Saiju Kurup, Pradeep Kottayam, Sajid Yahiya, Rohni, Vijay Menon, Tanuja Karthik, Sinoj Varghese, Anjali Aneesh, Jude Anthany Joseph, Hena, Sudeep Kopa, Govindan Kutty

PS: Velipadinte Pusthakam, Adam Joan and Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela seems to stay on… 🙂

@ 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.

Central Intelligence

centralintelligence-2

Vampire Owl: So, are we looking for what the Rock is cooking?

Vampire Bat: No, we are not. We will just watch the movie and come back to the castle.

Vampire Owl: But I am hungry. As hungry as a werewolf on an indefinite hunger strike during a full moon night.

Vampire Bat: When he say so, it doesn’t really mean that.

Vampire Owl: So, he doesn’t cook?

Vampire Bat: Whether he cooks or not, we are not going to have that.

Vampire Owl: So, it is not available with the movie. You mean to say that there is no offer.

Vampire Bat: No, it is not. We have to buy our own food with money from our pockets.

Vampire Owl: And unfortunately, we have a cashless vampire economy.

Vampire Bat: But we have the food here.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with tapioca chips].

What is the movie about? :: At a big event, the school’s most popular student and star athlete Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) is being honored by the students and teachers. At the same time, a bully, Trevor Olson (Jason Bateman) and his arrogant friends grab the overweight student Robbie Wierdicht (Dwayne Johnson) from the gym shower and throw him into the centre of the event to humiliate him. With only Calvin and his girlfriend, Maggie Johnson (Danielle Nicolet) showing some sympathy to him, Robbie disappears from the school never to be heard about again for a long time. Many years later, Calvin is married to Robbie and is working as a forensic accountant. With both of them working, and spending almost no good time together, they feel that their marriage is in trouble, and Calvin is also disappointed with his work itself, finding it dull and boring.

So, what happens next? :: While spending his boring time at work and being highly displeased that people who are not that good as him are getting promotions and raise, Calvin receives a friend request on Facebook from a man named Bob Stone – even if he can’t figure out who this man is, he just accepts the request. The man on the other side reveals that he is the old schoolmate Robbie who had disappeared long ago, and asks for a meeting. As they meet, the two are surprised to see that the situation has gone upside down with the man who was supposed to be a big success is caught in a job he doesn’t like, and the one who was humiliated and considered to be good for nothing is now a muscular man with a lot of confidence and happiness – plus he is more than that. Calvin will know more about it when a group of CIA agents led by Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan) arrive at his house – it is the time to save the world, can it be done?

The defence of Central Intelligence :: There is fun guaranteed with Central Intelligence as the two of the leading actors and situations continue to bring the laughter to us, and the action is also stylish from The Rock. There is one thing that we can be thankful about more than anything else, and it is that this one doesn’t go on to be like that terrible, third-rate movie called Kingsman: Secret Service which was the worst comedy movie which we had the chance to watch in such a long time – so many people have pretended to like it just because critics have felt something in the vulgar and violent presence in the movie, but nobody here is falling for that. Here in this movie, we have the fun that we can relate to, and with The Rock punching not just through the walls, but also through our need for comedy, there is the strength of Central Intelligence that gets magnified with its cast. It is the same reason why the movie holds things together even when it is going through a lazy path in between.

The claws of flaw :: One has to feel that with more situations added, Central Intelligence could have been a lot more fun, and might have even become the funniest movie in a long time. The plot also doesn’t hold on strong enough, with a climax that doesn’t go on to create that much of big effect with its twists or the comedy – the big twist could have been done better, but this one refuses to do the same. We do feel this idea is done too many times before, and this one needed the special ingredient within. There are jokes that are rather repetitive, and some of them are not really funny for the common man or the thoughtful ones – the presence of such jokes could have been avoided to fill up with those more quality ones. We remember the movie The Rundown which was also called Welcome to the Jungle – with The Rock himself teaming up with Seann William Scott, that was actually more fun.

Performers of the soul :: The Rock stays at the centre of this one too, bringing all fun right to us – Dwayne Johnson plays this role bringing so much entertainment to us. Always the entertainer, whether it is the WWE where he is one of my all-time favourite wrestlers with the Undertaker and Triple H, or even in the movies like Hercules or the Fast and Furious series, there is no exception on his part here. He scores not just with the comedy, but also with those action sequences. Kevin Hart becomes the right partner for him with all the fun around. Their combination is so much fun that, they provide almost everything that this movie needs – it is only until the two meet that you have to wait, and everything begins right there, as you would expect. Aaron Paul who is a lot remembered for Need For Speed, once again has a nice role to do which seemed to be so simple for him. Amy Ryan nicely fits in as the agent too.

How it finishes :: Along with the entertainment, there is a strong message against bullying in Central Intelligence. It shows how someone who was bullied and considered to be among the worst students in all ways, having the least chance to succeed, get to be the person that nobody expected him to be. The same works the other way too, with the big success story of schools and colleges being not meeting the expectations. Well, you gain nothing by underestimating or overestimating people, as none of them are the same. One day or the other, each of us have to face the world in our own ways, and with what we want being different in each case, the judgment that people pass on us won’t be the right one. Everyone is different, and all of us have our own success stories. It is up-to the so called society to accept us as what we are.

Release date: 17th June 2016
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, Dilan Boyack, Timothy John Smith, Megan Park, Ryan Hansen, Thomas Kretschmann, Phil Reeves, Kumail Nanjiani, Slaine, Melissa McCarthy (cameo)

centralintelligence

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shajahanum Pareekkuttiyum

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Vampire Owl :: I am having certain ideas about this movie from the title itself.

Vampire Bat :: Goes back to the history and the movie Chemmeen, right?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, something about love should be there.

Vampire Bat :: And we can also sense comedy.

Vampire Owl :: And it has been more than an year since we saw Amala Paul in a Malayalam movie, I guess.

Vampire Bat :: It is nice to see her on the posters after a long time.

Vampire Owl :: You were a big fan of her second last movie, Mili – I believe.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t see why not. Mili was the one true introvert movie.

Vampire Owl :: And this one should be meant for just some entertainment.

Vampire Bat :: That is exactly my guess too.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Jiya (Amala Paul) is the single daughter of an ex-military man who owns the Jiya Group of Resorts. One day, she meets with an accident and losses her memory for the last few years. Her fiancee, Ravi (Aju Varghese) is very much disappointed about that she doesn’t recognize him, and searches for a way to solve the problem. For the same, he appoints a private detective Mathews (Suraj Venjaramoodu) to find something from Jiya’s past that could bring back her memory. He manages to do the search in his own strange way, but all he could find out is a clue related to a man whose name starts with “P”. But it is revealed that there are two such men who claims to be Jiya’s lovers – Pranav (Kunchako Boban and Prince (Jayasurya).

So what happens next? :: There seems to be no chance of Jiya getting her memory back. Both Pranav and Prince tries their best to get their love stories to Jiya, and at the same time, Ravi makes attempts to make her interested in him, but fails each and every time. While Pranav seems to be a rich businessman with interest in arts and music, Prince is more like a local goon who creates trouble and shares Jiya’s interest in cars. They have different versions of tales which includes her falling in love with them. The parents leave the answer to this question to Jiya. So, the question remains about who is her true lover, if there is one? One of them seems to have a more complicated intention for claiming to be her lover – who is he and what is he looking for?

The defence of Shajahanum Pareekkuttiyum :: There is some amount of fun in store here, that is for sure. There are references to Thalapathi, Manichitrathaazhu, Titanic, DrishyamInnale and Ennu Ninte Moideen in the movie too, and they are very well done to evoke laughter. Some of the best ones include Suraj’s Manichitrathaazhu introduction, Aju’s promise as Moideen and the reflection of the incidents of Innale. The cast is nicely used to bring out the funny side, and one can be sure to find some laugh here and there. The movie remains bright and happy though, with no serious or emotional sides. There is also an attempt to bring the twist in the end, and it only somewhat effective. If you are looking for some fun without much of logic during the weekend, Shajahanum Pareekkuttiyum might be the movie for you; in that way, it works great.

The claws of flaw :: The story of this movie is everywhere; it begins somewhere and ends at some other place, with not much of a development in between except for adding those funny elements. Even with such a funny side, there are not many of the moments which are actually memorable – we will find them, and we are just to forget them. There was lot more potential with this story to add more comedy, and the plot itself could have been something worth remembering. Some jokes are also not that effective; they are not done in a way to maximize the effect. There are also a number of meaningless scenes in this movie, especially with stories being told within, and the songs are not that interesting either. There is a certain lack of standard with the proceedings which is clearly visible at times.

Performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban and Jayasurya comes together again with a comedy movie after Gulumaal and Three Kings – even though I did like those two movies more than this one, this also remains a funny addition to that list. They do the job really well, but the ones who bring more of the laughter are Aju Varghese and Suraj Venjaramoodu; the former has some of the best moments, and the latter nicely raises the fun level of this movie. Amala Paul, with her next Malayalam movie after Lailaa O Lailaa and Mili, doesn’t leave that much here, as most of the entertainment is carried on their shoulders by the team of four. She is there more as the centre of attraction, and the focus of everything which happens around her character and the memory loss. Nikki Galrani’s cameo in the end was rather unnecessary too.

How it finishes :: So, with the two names immortalized in love don’t really get the romantic side going in this movie, as it is just for some simple fun without logic that we can watch this particular flick. You will find almost no romance here, even though it is what the movie is supposed to be about, even though in a funny way. It becomes another movie to bring the memory loss of the heroine to the space, and the movie makes fun of itself too – Ormayundo Ee Mukham might be the last movie to bring the same. This will be another interesting movie to watch with family, along with Karinkunnam 6s which has gone the inspirational way. There is something about watching movies like these – you can neither like them so much, but neither can you hate them; there will be just enough in them for everyone in the end, for so much is somehow managed.

Release date: 6th July 2016
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Boban Samuel
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Jayasurya, Amala Paul, Aju Varghese, Lena Abhilash, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Vijayaraghavan, Sunil Sukhada, Vinaya Prasad, Kalabhavan Shajon, Rafi, Nadirshah, Irshad, Nikki Galrani (cameo)

shajahanumpareekuttiyum

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Specials: Remake Saga

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*With two of the four remakes of Drishyam still pending and scheduled to release next month, I take this opportunity to remember a few of the Hindi movies which were remakes from Malayalam, with most of the better known ones from Priyadarshan. So, as we wait for the release of the much awaited movie remakes starring Kamal Haasan and Ajay Devgan, let us have a look at one of those remakes. Even though a good number of them worked in both languages, here I choose a movie which still remains a much loved title in Malayalam, but the same can’t be said about its Hindi remake. Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam and Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar are the two movies I am writing about.

Even though the setting look different, they are the same with the situations in both movies. Actually, the protagonist enters the scene earlier in the case of the Hindi version. The sequences do look exactly the same though, beginning with the eviction notice and going on with talks about the problems of the house, related to the marriage of the female family members and the other financial problems which have been created and the chances of any of the troubles getting over. These things actually do remain the same everywhere even though the cultural differences and changes in the tones of characters according to the language can also be seen.

The Malayalam version has better known actors playing the supporting roles, and as the scene shifts to the city, the changes are more easily visible – both cities are nowhere close to being similar in the soul as each has its own identity. You can see that from the way characters interact and even from the looks of the building which the protagonist owns. There is a gap of fifteen years between the movies and the changes are clearly seen; so are the differences in language and culture. This raises the question if this remake would have worked better if done a few years ago and with even less similarities with the original. The good thing about the remakes of Drishyam is that the gap between the original and the last released remake won’t be more than two years.

The Malayalam version also had Mohanlal who is a big difference between the two versions – it would have been easier to guess though. Even with some dialogues which seems to be exactly translated with such clarity like using a good translating software, there is no match for that time period which was like the golden age of Malayalam cinema. The version is also longer at the beginning stages; if you check at 35 minutes of the Malayalam version, the Hindi version has only reached 29 minutes or slightly shorter with the story reaching the same point. But you won’t feel that so much time has passed, and it is the skill of the legendary actor to keep the audience interested, and things are closer to the life of the 1980s. Then in the end, the Hindi version gets longer by around 40 minutes.

The slight changes occur when the run-time gets to half an hour with new characters included as they lead to some more situations; those having no place in the original. The Malayalam original also has fun right through it, even though the Hindi remake has more ups and down with its progress, and makes less sense. Sreenivasan was that big boost to the original that the remake misses despite the presence of Paresh Rawal. He comes with that hilarious performance in a song which can never be matched. The jokes become less effective as the original was so simple and right out of the heart. The veteran actor Thilakan was another big positive along with the songs.

The extra sequences that the Hindi version adds nothing good to the movie, as some of them actually remind the viewers of older Malayalam movies like Shubhayathra, Minnaram, Chandralekha and Vandanam, which might have been added to bring some extra humour. Chandralekha-inspired money lending sequence is rather too ineffective in this movie unlike it was in the Malayalam movie. This actually means that the Malayalam version gets ahead and now the remake from Bollywood is lagging. Releasing too late, the remake had to do something special, and not add things from other movies. There was also the social satire element of the Malayalam version which doesn’t become that effective here.

Hera Pheri was actually that remake of Ramji Rao Speaking which did some justice to the original. I liked how it worked with Garam Masala (Boeing Boeing), Hungama (Poochakkoru Mookkuthi), Dhol (In Harihar Nagar) and Hulchul (Godfather) even though, in almost every case, the original scores better. But here, even with the jokes, the effect is less, as Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar doesn’t do the same for Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam even though it should still be okay for those who haven’t watched the original or the scenes from other Malayalam movies. I don’t have much of a positive opinion about Bodyguard and its remakes though. About the nonsense movie Pokkiri Raja and its remake Boss, there is no need for any opinion. The ratings are very low for our movie here, but this remake isn’t that terrible as it shows, when we think about those movies and compare. But with Drishyam, there seems to be some very nice effort put in there made, and you will know if you have watched the trailers. I will be watching both the remakes, and I really hope that they do justice to the original – if they do, it is going to be awesome!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.