Makal

Vampire Owl: I feel that this refers to the daughters of darkness.

Vampire Bat: Uncle Dracula refers to to the children of darkness, but they are different.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that darkness can have many undead children.

Vampire Bat: Yet, most of them are also the children of chaos.

Vampire Owl: You just cannot have such children roaming around.

Vampire Bat: The witches would not mind that.

Vampire Owl: They wouldn’t, while looking for some special ingredients for potions.

Vampire Bat: It has somewhat gone out of fashion, especially after the hunters started targeting the lesser witches of the woods.

Vampire Owl: The witches will still maintain most of their features.

Vampire Bat: The future of witches is yet to be finalized.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Juliet (Meera Jasmine) lives with her daughter Aparna (Devika Sanjay) who is studying in plus two, and preparing for medical entrance. Aparna’s father Nandakumar (Jayaram) had been working as a mechanic in the Middle East for a long time, and finally returns to Kerala after losing his job. As Nandakumar and Juliet comes from different religious, social and economic backgrounds, there is more complication here. He starts a food processing unit with the name Pravasi Food Products which gains some initial success. But it seems that the products need more publicity, as sales in the supermarkets stay at an all-time low, and he is forced to find some other methods for support. Meanwhile, Rohit (Naslen K Gafoor) keeps trying to get closer to Aparna. He even becomes a part of Nandakumar’s factory in the disguise of a migrant worker from West Bengal. He keeps trying to make an impression upon Nandakumar until finally getting caught. Nandakumar and Aparna go through regular arguments related to her dog being inside the house, the problem reaching its highest point when the dog goes missing.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: When Juliet finally gets a government job in Wayanad, things get more complicated. There is the generation gap which is always present, and misunderstandings also exist. Aparna driving the car without a license becomes another common reason for fights. Even Nandakumar doesn’t have an Indian license, and he doesn’t like the car as it was given by Juliet’s family. He also feels tha Aparna is getting too close to her male friends. Meanwhile, Juliet arranges her stay with her co-worker Fathima (Dayyana Hameed), and is not able to take off on weekends to go home and meet her husband and daughter. Premlal (Kottayam Ramesh), the superior officer at the collectorate where she works is not ready to provide any relief to the employees. It is then that something strange happens in their life, as an unknown person also becomes part of their life – coming from Karnataka, Garuda Naik (Balaji Manohar) is a man of mystery. This would change their perspective about father-daughter relationship. But will that come a little too late for their liking?

The defence of Makal :: This family drama moves forward with a touch of humour, which seems to work very well with the audience for whom it is intended. The messages for the families related to parenting and family attachment are always there, as one would expect from this kind of a movie. Most of the struggles shown here feels very much real, and the problems with a new generation of teenagers are portrayed close to reality. It shows how difficult it is to take care of the new generation of such teenagers who rarely listen to their parents, despite seemingly staying with them and using their money for what seems to be forever. As this kind of movies are not easy to find among the categories these days, it is good to see this one coming back too. The emotional sequences are mostly working, and the credit to the same goes to a certain amount of nostalgia that goes towards the past. These are the kind of movies which takes us into the past, and places that world in the contemporary world, and we remember the values which are rarely present during these days when there is a new generation descending into chaos – it can be lamented, while the feel-good factor of this film is strong.

The claws of flaw :: There are many unnecessary sequences in the movie which makes one feel that they lose the focus on regular intervals. With better focus, some of the dialogues and situations wouldn’t have found light in relation to this particular movie, which had the potential for much more. The feeling of being outdated is also there at times. The major twist which happens in the movie is indeed the strangest addition which feels rather unwanted, and a movie which was going the realistic path seems to struggle in finding some realism from that moment. Before the incident, there were also the repetitions which never hesitate to appear out of nowhere. One would feel that some characters should have had more purpose around here. Some moments just gets added to bring more humour in here. Even the main characters seem to be irritating at times, but considering how the real-life people go about, blaming them for being so feels rather difficult. The small romantic angle added here seems to serve nothing other than some humour and a little bit more of emotions, even though all of these were already there.

The performers of the soul :: Jayaram has been having some skill in maintaining this kind of family-oriented films, and that quality is still here, even though the world has changed a little too much from those early times. The fatherly figure has suited him very well for some time now. Meera Jasmine makes her return to Malayalam cinema industry as a grand one, as she is the leading lady again, maybe marking a permanent stay around here. Devika Sanjay who was earlier seen in Njan Prakashan is the one person whom we notice more than anyone else, as she once again scores in playing the teenager with the usual problems which are reflective of the new generation. Naslen K Gafoor of Thanneer Mathan Dinangal and Kuruthi kind of variety and most recently seen in Jo and Jo, has much less to do, but still adds to the humour really well – still, this is a character with minimal impact on the tale. Sreenivasan makes a notable, but less influential appearance here too. Innocent and Siddique remain strong as the veterans. The smaller roles of Nilja K Baby and Dayyana Hameed would also be remembered, and the two are surely going to make it big sooner or later.

How it finishes :: It is clear that the audience intended for this particular movie are the groups which come to the theatre as families. For the other audience, this would seem like something which they have already seen. The movie released on the OTT platform much later than the other, and it comes as a surprise as it could have easily grabbed more viewers with an earlier release. It is late by at least two months, and such a delay would have been heart-breaking for the fans of Meera Jasmine waiting to see her return. We have known what Sathyan Anthikad movies have been capable of, and not much change has come across them. We can still feel the absence of some common names which were part of the cast in his most films, some of them not alive anymore and others not being there for some reason. Well, the 1980s and 1990s were the classic ages of the director, and it is clear that he still have the power of the same family values to be brought to the audience. One can accept them or choose to reject, but these works which has the minimum guarantee are not to be avoided. Most of our parents would always prefer to watch movies like this one.

Release date: 18th August 2022 (Manorama MAX); 29th April 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Sathyan Anthikad
Starring: Jayaram, Meera Jasmine, Siddique, Sreenivasan, Innocent, Devika Sanjay, Dayyana Hameed, Naslen K Gafoor, Meera Nair, Sreedhanya, Balaji Manohar, Jayashankar Karimuttam, Nilja K Baby, Althaf Salim, Sreelatha Namboothiri, Kottayam Ramesh, Krishna Praba, Mani Shornur, Salim Hasan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Solamante Theneechakal

Vampire Owl: Do you think that there could be honeybees in this movie?

Vampire Bat: I am sure that the bees are different in this case.

Vampire Owl: I was looking forward to see a vampire bee.

Vampire Bat: There has been no bee which has been turned into a vampire.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has transformed a few.

Vampire Bat: They are pseudo vampires. They won’t count.

Vampire Owl: You continue to show your prejudice against Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: I have never shown love for dumb experiments.

Vampire Owl: You will surely love the vampire bee though.

Vampire Bat: You should see how the human bees turn out here in this movie which is noted as a romantic thriller.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Glyna Thomas (Vincy Aloshious) and Suja S (Darshana S. Nair) are police constables who are also best friends – they have also rented a place together in Cochin. While Suja is posted in traffic duty, Glyna is assigned the duties at the police station itself. CI Binu Alex (Addis Antony Akkara) is in the charge of the station, and Suja hopes to get rid of the traffic duty and somehow be part of the station duties. For the same, Suja tries to portray Sharath Balakrishnan (Shambhu Menon) as a nuisance for women, but fails miserably. She even falls in love with him later. Sharath works for Nikhil Davis (Sunil Sukhada) who runs a rent-a-car business, but also has other motives. Their love story continues well until one day Binu and Sharath comes across each other, leading to a fight. Binu vows to make Sharath suffer for laying his hands on a police officer, but it is then that a criminal named Arumughan (Manikandan Achari) makes an entry with a grudge against Binu. Then, on an eventful night, things go out of control, and Suja might be the one to suffer for it. Will at least Glyna stand with her during the crisis?

The defence of Solamante Theneechakal :: It is to be noted that Solamante Theneechakal is a movie that has been much awaited by people who had watched at least one episode of the talent hunt show from where the leading actors of the movie where selected. But considering the performances which we come across here, this is more than that – none of the leading performers show any signs of acting in their first movie. They cast indeed is the biggest strength of the movie, as the newcomers score so well with the elder stars like Joju George and Johny Antony. The thrills remain strong, right after the defining incident. The twists are also there to be taken, and the red herrings are very much effective, to make us wonder about them. The early scenes also remain cute, and the friendship is effectively portrayed, with romance almost having a role to be added. There is also a certain amount of realism in the way the life of the leading ladies are portrayed, as both Vincy and Darshana make everything feel so real. Until the life turns around, everything that they do is so natural and without hesitations – the audience falls in love with such portrayal without exaggerations or pretensions.

The claws of flaw :: The absence of the big stars might make this movie’s collections and early appreciation struggle a bit – most people are still slaves to the superstars, and there are other three already established success stories in the form of crowd favourite movies already running in the theatres, which could make this particular movie take a hit. The dark side that the movie adds, do not get that much of a strength as it was expected, and there is some predictability about a few things, even though not with the grand scheme of things. The songs are not that great, and none of them provides the feeling of romance or terror, two elements which seemed to rise above the others – one or two still provide the feel-good feeling though. The first fight scene might be the only exaggerated moment, but there is no following it up well enough. The investigating officer does seem to deviate from the main concerns in the case, but it is justified in the end. Some of the supporting cast members don’t seem to have been used with the effectiveness that they might have deserved – it is still understandable, as the focus is on establishing the new talent which did such a fantastic job on television and deserves to be in the focus throughout the film. Yet, at times it chooses to defy logic by a little bit

The performers of the soul :: It was news then that the main performers for Lal Jose’s new movie were to be selected through a talent hunt show called Nayika Nayakan which aired on Mazhavil Manorama. Darshana S Nair and Shambhu Menon were the winners of the show, and they play the lead with the romantic side in this movie. Vincy Aloshious and Addis Antony Akkara who were the runner-ups in the show also play the next important roles in the movie as expected. They were selected from sixteen contestants going through multiple rounds, and it was one of the high quality shows from which these people were selected, and they have shown the same set of skills reflected around here too. Along with Vincy, some other participants like Meenakshi Raveendran, Ann Jameela Saleem, Venkitesh VP, Amina Nijam and Malavika Krishnadas were already seen in small roles in movies. Thattumpurath Achuthan had served as a vehicle for most of them to make some relatively small appearances which would not be memorized, and this one was to become the bigger space for these four to perform in a memorable way.

Further performers of the soul :: The movie is supposed to be the next big platform for these performers to show their skills, even though their talent hunt show was something which was a memorable experience for the audience. Even the participants in that show who were eliminated earlier, like Ann Paul were enormously skilled – that left no doubt about what these people could achieve. To support them, as the centre of everything, there is also Joju George, who had his best performance in Madhuram last year along with that memorable journey through Pada this year. He feels very natural as the police officer whose portrait never gets exaggerated – we know what he can do with this from Joseph itself. The performers from the talent show makes us feel the professionalism and not the reluctance of the newcomers. Among them, Vincy Aloshious stands out as the star performer, and her moments with Addis are too good. Darshana gets into make things even better – her moments with Vincy are among the best, whether with a funny side or the emotional one, and the two make things work so well. Addis’ villainous side is a strong one, and a lot realistic, but could have used better voice. Shambhu feels perfectly suitable for this role.

How it finishes :: This seems to be a movie which should have released much earlier, if it was not for the corona virus spreading through the world. As it was intended, the movie serves as the fine platform to show the abilities of the performers selected from the talent hunt show, which would reach the bigger audience. I was still surprised to see the less number of audience for this movie, and I would hope for the numbers to increase as it has the quality – we are all admirers of good movies, as far as I know. The other successful movies at the theatre might be a reason, but this need to pick up the pace, and with some good opinions, it should surely do that – this would be one of the first such opinions. The movie has to depend on the content more than anything else with the big names being absent, and it does exactly that, with the thrilling moments and the twists that are added to the tale. With no exaggeration of action or life itself, the movie is something that has the special ingredient, which is the new young cast itself. Seeing them would make us believe that Lal Jose has indeed made the right decision once more.

Release date: 18th August 2022
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Joju George, Darshana S Nair, Vincy Aloshious, Addis Antony Akkara, Shambhu Menon, Shiva Parvathy, Johny Antony, Manikandan Achari, Shaju Sreedhar, Binu Pappu, Sunil Sukhada, Sivaji Guruvayoor, Abhinav Manikantan, Aurora Adya

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sweet and Sour

Vampire Owl: I see that they are now exploring two shades of life.

Vampire Bat: Life has millions of shades as of now, towards infinity.

Vampire Owl: There are not many shades for the undead.

Vampire Bat: We have stayed in the grey, not light or dark, not sweet and sour area.

Vampire Owl: Well, humans do consider us to be very much evil.

Vampire Bat: You have never really cared for their opinions.

Vampire Owl: If they are going to cross over to our realm, we will have to care.

Vampire Bat: Nobody can come through the portal without identification. They shall meet their doom even if they manage to do so.

Vampire Owl: Well, you cannot be sure about humans and evil – both always find a way to spread the terror.

Vampire Bat: Evil shall spread, but random humans crossing the portal are the least of our worries. An army of the dead led by the lich queen should worry us more. It would give even Uncle Dracula a jolt.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of Thekkady tea].

What is the movie about? :: Jang-Hyuk (Lee Woo-je) is hospitalized due to Hepatitis B, and his own relatives as well as parents keep away from him. They keep their masks and glvoes at all times and makes him very uncomfortable. A nurse Da-eun (Chae Soo-bin) ignores the advice of others and takes good care of him. Soon, they become close, and spends some time time together after he saves her from being caught for smoking. She is annoyed that she has to work all the time, and often eats with him or falls asleep on his bed. He helps her to take a nap in his space while setting a timer. Jang-Hyuk is unhappy that he has to be in bed at a time right after he got a permanent job, but the presence of Da-eun makes him feel better. Even though he feels that she the two are really close, the time for his discharge is almost there, and Da-eun seems to be getting distant from him. On the day on which he leaves, his favourite nurse is nowhere to be found, and his friends and family returns to him as he is now cured. His friends also tells him that people like him won’t be able to get beautiful girls like her as girlfriends.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He goes back to the hospital and find the first part of her number, and calls a good number of phone numbers until he finally finds that it is her on the other side. She invites him to come to her home, and he stays with her for the night – he spends the night repairing the broken lamps and preparing breakfast. The two seem to be attracted to each other, and after they go on a trip to Jeju Island together. He decides that he would lose weight and in that way, they can wear similar clothing and look cuter together. A slim Jang-Hyuk (Jang Ki-yong) comes into the picture soon. As he has been a hard working engineer, he is intimated by his superior that he will be sent to a big firm in Seoul where he will have some grand opportunities with chances to earn more. This means that he will have to travel from Incheon to Seoul so that the couple can still be together. But when he reaches there, he discovers that there is another candidate for the permanent post, and he would not be assured about holding the position because she is tough competition.

And how does life go on with the new changes :: The other candidate for the permanent post, Bo-yeong (Krystal Jung), seems to be always trying to make him look worse than her. But when Bo-yeong comes up with a new bridge design, Jang-Hyuk comes up with a critical flaw in the design. She is forced to sort it out with him. Initially, he is happy about her not able to solve the problem, and thus not able to go home. Soon enough, he takes pity on her, and helps her in solving the problem – the two begin to have a bond, and with their success, gets more projects to work together. The relationship between Jang-Hyuk and Da-eun seems to be more strained though, as both of them have to work late, and traveling all the way between the two cities in the heavy traffic is even more strained. He arrives late, and even though he does not come home every day anymore, shows less interested in Da-eun. He even refuses to do the small things at home. Soon, it turns out that Da-eun is pregnant, and he wishes to spend more time with her, but it also seems near impossible. Then it seems that he has feelings for Bo-yeong. Life becomes more complicated for all of them.

The defence of Sweet and Sour :: Chae Soo-bin raises the level of this movie with her performance, and it can be seen that she is always one step ahead – it becomes clear by the end of the film. The cuteness factor also serves well towards the performance, and the initial moments at the hospital are so good. Krystal Jung and Jang Ki-yong plays the other two main characters, and their work also contributes well here – the combination scenes at the office are very much interesting; there is some humour related to that too. I am seeing all these three main performers in any movie for the first time. Lee Woo-je, despite lesser screen space, adds some humour to the movie early too, along with a feel-good factor – the early incidents featuring him are very relevant to how the movie ends. The movie is more drama and less romance, and it is evident after half an hour into the proceedings itself. It has to be best appreciated for how it brings the twist in the end, how it brings everything together to have a feel-good even within break-up – a little bit of tampering with the narrative helps it to achieve the same with efficiency.

Positives and negatives :: The movie nicely move away from the cliché which would have been expected with this movie. As things come around, the audience is reminded of the situations when work and family are not easy to manage together. With the stress that comes as the result of work, and the desire to reach newer heights as part of the job, the relationships are very much destroyed with ease as shown here. The endless work and no appreciation is no stranger to any of us even in India – as it has been evident for years, the situation of nurses never got to be any better, despite the service that they have provided during the corona virus pandemic and beyond. The movie keeps reminding us about the every day problems which become part of relationships. The physical exhaustion as part of a competitive world is something that would feel real for almost everyone; unless you are a politician who can get whatever is needed with least work. The movie should have still focused on the romance as much as the drama. There are also moments when the film seems to repeat things, and does a little extra when not needed. People who missed the first few minutes will also fail to catch up with the finish.

How it finishes :: Sweet and Sour is the romantic drama with a twist that makes us feel that it is more than just the usual drama of life – yet, it is as close to reality as it can be. The last fifteen minutes or so becomes the big finish that elevates the movie. It serves as a reminder to what can happen when more importance is given to things other than relationships. Yet, in a world which seeks success in work for the definition of an ideal person, especially men, you just cannot stop working as if your life depends on it. You will never stop thinking about how the world has transformed, and about the difficulties to battle the competition, and still be available to do anything other than work. It is the curse that has come across the profit-seeking world, which never stops asking for more; profits matter more than lives, and there are not many things that can substitute money in a world which favors nothing over a huge bank balance. The idea that simple romantic drama can bring something different makes us think a lot about the possibilities that we can have even in a realistic world. The reality of romance strikes hard.

Release date: 4th July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Lee Gye-byeok
Starring: Jang Ki-yong, Chae Soo-bin, Krystal Jung, Lee Woo-je, Choi Hwan-yi, Shin Joon-hang, Park Chul-min, Yeo Min-joo, Park Ji-hoon, Yoon Byung-hee, Lee Geung-young, Yoo Sun, Choi-hyeong, Kim Mi-hye, Ahn Gil-kang, Kim Mi-kyung

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nothing Serious

Vampire Owl: Vampires do take everything seriously.

Vampire Bat: This is about humans not taking relationships seriously.

Vampire Owl: Well, for us, even the dirt in the graves are serious matter.

Vampire Bat: You are forgetting the dirt in the coffin.

Vampire Owl: Well, humans should at least take the planet seriously.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that they are all prepared to migrate to the next.

Vampire Owl: What? I hope they don’t choose our realm.

Vampire Bat: Well, they were specifically saying that they choose planets.

Vampire Owl: Let us just close the portals to the vampire realm. They will end up destroying our natural world with rivers of blood and graveyards filled with skeletons.

Vampire Bat: You need not worry about it. Uncle Dracula has taken all necessary precautions.

[Gets a mango cake and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Woo-ri (Son Seok-koo) is thirty three years old and single, feeling alone all the time after the woman who was so close to being his girlfriend finds herself a boyfriend. He working at a magazine where he is forced to take over the sex column instead of culture, politics and sports with which he used to be comfortable. Ja-young (Jeon Jong-seo) is a twenty nine year old woman almost turning thirty, and she has had many problems with previous relationships. Woo-ri has his account created on a dating app which Ja-young had created after her breakup with the boyfriend. Ja-young is warned by some of her friends about using the app, but she decides to go on with it, as she finds out that her former boyfriend is getting married, and she would be left single – one of their friends had also found a good partner with the app. She had tried having a relationship in the gym, but that doesn’t work, and neither does her idea of finding someone at the bookshop. Even the random good-looking guy she meets during mountaineering turns out to be the wrong choice, while her debts remain high.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: It is basically the big number of alerts that makes her get back into the dating app, and most of the people there seems to be creepy for her. Woo-ri feels that he will also get something to write in the sex column, and his friend tells him that it will be like having multiple advantages with one single choice with the app. The two meet on the New Year Day and after having a long period of talk over some food, they realize that they do get along quickly enough, only to get their friends curious. She tries to make herself believe that it was a temporary relationship which is not going to last for long, while he is genuinely interested in her. His sex column becomes an instant hit among the readers, as he uses his creative imagination with his experiences, making it like an entertaining story. There is also a lot of appreciation from the higher officials. Despite not getting into a relationship, they do meet each other again and again, and move close to that. Even though they go on with the idea of friends with benefits with nothing serious, there could be more.

The defence of Nothing Serious a.k.a. Romance Without Love :: The movie tries to be the cute romantic love story that does not leave one with much to think about, as the usual romance gets some extra additions here. The visuals of the city are good, and they have chosen some nice places, from restaurants, hotels and cafes to random outdoor places to bring some beauty on the screen. The leading performers of the movie are always there throughout the movie, and for most of the time, both of them are also on the screen, and there is that kind of a dependence on the two characters, which actually works in favour of the film. The fact that these two breathe life and enthusiasm into the main characters is to be appreciated – these are two characters that bring the movie together. Even though there is the usual in here, we also have the divergence also in store – the movie is a combination of the expected and the unexpected, both coming together to create something which is not that far away from life of this century in the big cities. The movie is free-spirited, straight-forward and smart with how it deals with the leading cast, and such collection of qualities are rarely seen in dumb Bollywood romance and others.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does deviate from the cuteness factor at times, as if there is a certain amount of confusion related to which audience the movies is serving. This film should have stayed close to the sweeter side, and could have left some moments for the imagination. All its opportunities are not really sued by the movie, as the first few minutes would make us feel that this movie is up for more. The logic should have been served, but as we know, love story would require less of it, for we know how even the real world tales of love are going and often leading to murders and suicides of the partners before or after the marriage. The movie might not appeal to all kinds of audience, and it seems to be more focused on the newer generation, even though good enough for those generations which are just behind. Even though lasting only one and half hours, there is a certain amount of drag in between, especially with a lot of dialogues coming up. The predictability also has its say, and some melodrama was certainly not needed. The ending also seems forced, even though pretty good to be a finisher to the movie.

The performers of the soul :: Jeon Jong-seo leads the way in this romantic movie, and this is the first time that I am seeing her in a movie. There is a certain amount of cuteness related to her performance here, and there is also some humorous side along with the romantic one. She seems to handle the different emotions of her role quite well. Son Seok-koo contributes in a similar manner, and the chemistry between the two works really well, and seems to raise the movie further. The cuteness factor also relates to their relationship till it gets rather too serious in the last few minutes, only to get back to the same stage by the end. He was part of the supporting cast of the movie, Hit-and-Run Squad among others. Kim Seul-gi and Gong Min-jeung also appear in memorable supporting roles. Kim Young-ok as the grandmother and Kim Jae-hwa as the editor in chief of the magazine also have their moments to be remembered. Along with the same, Kim Kwang-gyu plays the father figure which would also be noted. The supporting cast seems to be quite big, and most of them are going to leave some impact here.

How it finishes :: Nothing Serious a.k.a. Romance Without Love is one of those romantic movies which manages to hold its ground despite not clear with its path, and without bringing anything special. The cuteness factor related to the chemistry between the leading performers seems to drive the movie forward more than anything else. South Korean movies have managed to bring at least some quality in almost every genre that they seem to be part of, and with horror and thriller being the perfect categories, romance and drama also got the power to support. This movie also maintains that quality, and even when there doesn’t seem to be that much of a story, it won’t come down that much in content, and the leading pair elevates it. Jeon Jong-seo who has become part of this genre so well, is often the single reason for the same. It is a much shorter, but interesting idea to spend one and half hours, as there is no shortage of some fun-filled moments. No one can deny the need for some love in the air after the corona virus pandemic.

Release date: 24th November 2021
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Jeong Ga-young
Starring: Jeon Jong-seo, Son Seok-gu, Gong Min-jung, Kim Seul-gi, Kim Young-ok, Kim Jae-hwa, Bae Yoo-ram, Im Sung-jae, Kim Kwang-gyu

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Squared Love

Vampire Owl: I hope that blood drinking can also be squared.

Vampire Bat: Drinking blood does not work like that.

Vampire Owl: You should understand that there are many ways of drinking blood.

Vampire Bat: The act has its own value for the soul.

Vampire Owl: Well, that is only if you follow the procedure.

Vampire Bat: Nobody follows the procedure these days.

Vampire Owl: I was not talking about the Twilight vampires.

Vampire Bat: I was not referring to fictional vampires either.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that new vampire tales are not fictional, but related to the lives of humans who are too hungry.

Vampire Bat: Well, it means some fine creative imagination.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three cups of orange tea].

What is the movie about? :: Monika Grabarczyk (Adrianna Chlebicka) lives a double life, as she works as a school teacher as well as reputed model, with or without the wig and makeup. She also wears glasses, and changes the colour of her eyes to make sure that people don’t easily recognize her. She does not really like both jobs, as she is scolded by the headmaster due to the unruly children and all the exposing as the model in swimwear does not appeal to her either – but she still has to pay back her loans in time. Stefan Tkaczyk (Mateusz Banasiuk), also known as Enzo is a journalist who is also in multiple relationships with many different women – he remains popular with the women despite making some unwanted mistakes in his articles. His firm still keeps him due to his popularity. The company decides to make good use of his popularity in an upcoming ad, as things works the best for him with his face on the television. He is soon kicked out of his live-in relationship, the one which he was pursuing with many others at the same time, but this one makes him basically homeless.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He ends up living with his brother for the time being, as his wife is has gone on a trip from which she might not return to him, and there is the need for someone to look after the child. Even though neither Monika or Stefan wants to continue with that ad, the agencies are adamant that they are the ones suitable for the job. Monika particularly does not want to be seen with Stefan on the posters and billboards all around the city, which are already full of her pictures in swimwear. But her father’s debt keep following her even at school, and she is forced to go back to shooting the ad again. The company is looking for something for something special from the two leads of the campaign, and they feel that without it, they are done. They keep trying for something different, and they manage to get something working in their favour after a long time of brainstorming. Meanwhile, Monika is warned that her students have to score well, or she would lose her job. Now, what awaits both Monika and also Stefan who seems to be beginning to get along with her both versions?

The defence of Squared Love :: The one thing that you would love more than the other things is that the movie maintains its status as a romantic comedy really well, and it never gets melodramatic, even though there are those emotional moments – the feel-good elements maintain a certain amount of strength, and it can be seen at its best by the end of the movie. There is something about this light-hearted romance which will make you wish to watch it with admiration for the proceedings rather than the usual feelings. Despite the whole thing being related to modeling, we do notice a certain amount of cuteness related the proceedings – the leading lady remains differently beautiful in those avatars, as one would find it difficult to recognize one as better than the other; yet the teacher avatar is indeed more suitable to her. The movie is indeed a modern age fairy-tale which can be watched by everyone in the family; it is the kind of film which is good for everyone. The experience is indeed beautiful, without ever falling into melodrama or sadness at any point – we remain happy to watch this one, and remain so throughout it.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does keep us reminded that this kind of ideas have been used many times, and it does not really try to come up with any innovation with the basic idea. The subtitles might not be exact too, as some people seems to have commented about the film in different platforms; I would have expected some nice romantic dialogues translated with poetic beauty to English with the right use of words. It is also surprising that people are not able to recognize the young lady as the common school teacher and not the swimsuit model, but the situation is still better than some of the Bollywood movies in which the wife is not even able to recognize the husband – the students whom she teaches are able to know that both are the same without taking much of time. The role of the other protagonist is also not that well defined, as only his nature seems somewhat established – as about one quarter of the film is done, he is more of a model than a journalist; one would be forced to guess whether he is some Youtube, Instagram or Facebook influencer due to which he has the fans and admirers.

The performers of the soul :: The proceedings are led well by Adrianna Chlebicka, who is perfect in two identities of the character – there is excellence in her work as the model which she might have already been familiar with, and she does even better as the teacher who takes care of the children so well. She has her emotions expressed with beauty and quality like not many actresses have done in relation to such a role, and there are many close-up shots which seems to favour her. She should be part of some romantic flick in Hollywood at some point of time. Mateusz Banasiuk seems to suit the role well, even though the character is not that clearly defined related to what he does for a living, as he writes, models, lives with girlfriends and in the end, has a lot of fans, a number which only increases in time. Then, there is the chemistry between the two, which works like a dream – there is even a certain amount of cuteness related to it. Mirosław Baka as the leading lady’s father and Tomasz Karolak as the school principal have their notable roles. Helena Mazur who plays the child is also a lovely addition to the film.

How it finishes :: Squared Love feels like the usual romantic love story which one would like to keep watching again and again in different forms. I have not really been fans of romantic comedies, especially when they are not in Malayalam – the Bollywood ones with romance are the strangest and the dumbest of them all, with infinite ridiculous scenes and some really dumb music. It seems that without nepotism, acting also gets to a higher level. After all, there is nothing worse than watching a Bollywood romance with the so called superstars dancing and showing lust in the name of pure love; that would make this one a fresh breath of air in comparison. At least Poland knows knows how to make a fairy-tale kind of love story work. Bollywood could give it a match when it learns something from the Malayalam films, not just with the evergreen Romantic classics like Summer in Bethlehem, Niram and Aniyathipravu of the past, but also those which came in the modern age like Anarkali. Until then, we have the movies from Eastern Europe in support too.

Release date: 11th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Filip Zylber
Starring: Adrianna Chlebicka, Mateusz Banasiuk, Agnieszka Żulewska, Anna Smołowik, Krzysztof Czeczot, Mirosław Baka, Tomasz Karolak

<<< Click here to go to the previous film review.

<<< Click here to go to previous Polish film review.

<<< Click here to go to first Polish film review here.

<<< Click here to go for a recent undead love story.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Prakashan Parakkatte

Vampire Owl: I think that they are trying to make the light spread.

Vampire Bat: You are misunderstanding the title.

Vampire Owl: So, humans are no longer spreading the light.

Vampire Bat: They had stopped living in the light a long time ago.

Vampire Owl: You mean living in goodness.

Vampire Bat: Goodness has not graced humans for such a long time.

Vampire Owl: Well, I have always known that humans fall easily.

Vampire Bat: When they fall, they end up very deep.

Vampire Owl: I would say they would go as deep as hellfire.

Vampire Bat: There is no fire that could burn a fried evil human.

[Gets a Little Hearts biscuit and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Das (Mathew Thomas) is a plus two student who is not interested in studies, and spends time in other activities, leading to him missing classes regularly. He lives with his parents Prakashan (Dileesh Pothan) and Latha (Nisha Sarang) as well as his younger brother Akhil (Ritunjay Sreejith). Das’ best friend is Anwar (Govid Pai) who joins him in bunking class, a process which is repeated on almost all days. They often go to the local town of Mukkom and the city of Calicut without anyone noticing. Nobody believes that any of the two friends will pass the plus two exam, and even the headmaster is not bothered about them leaving the class too early, and encourages them to leave without bothering other students. Das also falls in love with another plus two student, Neethu (Malavika Manoj), but the problem seems that she belongs to a rich family which owns the bus which travels in the same route. She also studies in a private girls’ school, which bothers him. To get close to her, he also joins the tuition centre of Suni (Dhyan Sreenivasan) where Neethu also studies.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Prakashan owns a grocery shop in the village which is not that much of a profitable enterprise, but as there are not many similar shops nearby, things don’t get that bad for them. His brother-in-law Kuttan (Saiju Kurup) spends his time wasting all the money which is earned from the shop. He is also a youtuber who has a group of people who calls themselves vloggers, but are nuisance to the locals. It is then that things get more difficult, as according to the local leader Raghavan (Sreejith Ravi) warned him earlier, Musthafa (Aju Varghese) starts Madheena supermarket near the grocery shop. Kuttan also supports Musthafa, who is his childhood friend, and the supermarket becomes a grand success. It is then that Akhil meets with an accident, and Das is blamed for the same for his reckless behaviour, especially by Latha who had always preferred her younger son over the elder one. As Akhil requires a surgery and further care, Latha is further angry at Das. Prakshan is forced to take loans from different people as there is the emergency. This turns their lives upside down, with an uncertain future.

The defence of Prakashan Parakkatte :: The movie is set up nicely to bring a tale of the common people who have their own struggles within the family. It never ceases to make one feel like it is a realistic world of simple things. The setting is really good, and there are the usual kind of people which we see around. The movie’s emotional side remains relatable and the struggles feel very much real. The truth about the youtubers who do no constructive things in life is also brought to life here in opposition to people who work hard and still can’t have enough to keep their family going. People who are looking for easy money and their spreading the curse through videos can be seen here. The visuals of this particular world nicely contributes to the overall movie, as the highlands have never really ceased being beautiful in Malayalam movies which explores the common man’s lives and struggles. The songs are good, and the one depicting plus two romance stands stronger. The cast is a really good one, and we can only love these performers going through the realistic mode.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing new that the movie tries to bring around here. The formula has already been tested and approved, and there is no special ingredient to elevate the level of the film. Sometimes, the movie just seems to move forward without an idea about where it is heading – the direction should have been better planned here. Some of the emotional sides also feel overdone, and predictability is rather high. The ending doesn’t end the movie, but brings a continuation which seems to reflect the usual world. It could have chosen many different paths to reach the final destination, but here we see the safe path being taken instead. Taking risk doesn’t seem to be this movie’s cup of tea. The trailer and the choice of actors and actresses seemed to point to something bigger, but that much is not achieved here. There was the chance for bringing more humour here too, but without enough focus, it is not achieved. Sometimes, one does wonder what exactly the plan is. It could have added more feel-good elements, which had many opportunities to come to the scene – after all plus two life in school also becomes reflection of more opportunities.

The performers of the soul :: Mathew Thomas who had some fantastic performances in Kumbalangi Nights, Thanneer Mathan Dinangal and Jo and Jo has another work to remember here. He has always stood one step ahead of the other actors of his age. Govind V Pai of Parava fame is the one who supports him this time instead of Naslen K Gafoor who has aged a little too much to get back to his plus two avatar, and should be looking for the college roles or the elder brother roles to Mathew and Govind. Dhyan Sreenivasan plays the kind of role which Vineeth Sreenivasan had played with Mathew years ago, and this time, it is a cameo. Dileesh Pothan shines in the father role here, and the director turned actor is indeed the best choice for a role like this. Nisha Sarang of Uppum Mulakum fame joins and suits the role really well. Malavika Manoj is good addition to the role here, and she surely has a fine future ahead – she can join the new group of actresses like Mamitha Baiju and Anaswara Rajan who have had some strong presence early enough. Saiju Kurup nicely plays the typical new generation youtuber who tries the easy path without any hard work.

How it finishes :: Prakashan Parakkatte works just like those nice little feel-good movies following the trend which started with new life in Maheshinte Prathikaaram. The movie also serves as a coming-of-age story, the bildungsroman which works with the first half of life if we consider Premam as the one typical story in Malayalam film industry. The final message about money not being that important in life comes a little bit too late, and it is the kind of revelation which won’t work with people of this age where how much one earns and has in the bank account is considered to be the most significant thing, without which there is no life. One would wonder if the message of being a good person considered more important than money will work in this particular age when society depends on what lies in the bank account. But the movie attempts to provide that message and hope that thing will come together well. In the process, this becomes the usual movie with the common family problems, while being in control of the emotional side.

Release date: 29th July 2022 (ZEE 5); 17th June 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Shahad Nilambur
Starring: Mathew Thomas, Dileesh Pothan, Malavika Manoj, Nisha Sarang, Govid Pai, Saiju Kurup, Aju Varghese, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Sreejith Ravi, Ritunjay Sreejith, Nithin Sabu, Stevin Bijum

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jo and Jo

Vampire Owl: The movie seems to have gathered some extra attention.

Vampire Bat: Some movies always get some unexpected attention.

Vampire Owl: Most of them also get the unwanted.

Vampire Bat: Well, there are many unwanted movies.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about the movies with so called superstars.

Vampire Bat: Yes, in comparison, this one is capable of more.

Vampire Owl: Yet funny movies mostly get more ratings than they should.

Vampire Bat: Let us not think about comedy right now.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that these are bad times.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there are never good times when humans are involved.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: Jomon Baby (Mathew Thomas) and Jomol Baby (Nikhila Vimal) are the two children of Baby Palathara (Johny Antony) and Lillykutty Baby (Sminu Sijo). Both the children do not like each other, and fights continuously, sometimes without any reason at all. Manoj Sundaran (Naslen K Gafoor) and Ebey Kuruvilla (Melvin G Babu) are Jomon’s best friends, and the former also has a crush for Jomol. Baby is an understanding father even though both of his children are more irritating than anything he had known before, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic lock-down days. Baby doesn’t have that much of a work because these are the corona times, and Lillykutty is not happy about her children being rebellious against her. Jomol is not happy and often violent for no reason because she feels that Lillykutty likes Jomon more as he is the younger one and male. Jomon is a very irresponsible student and son, whose only contribution towards home is the one fish that he gets once in a bluemoon while trying fishing with his friends.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Member Shibu (Binu Adimaly) is consistently trying to get Jomol married to someone who is settled outside India, especially because Lillykutty wants to see Canada, United States of America, United Kingdom or similar countries after she settles down there – Jomol is very hostile about that idea as she is not the kind of person who wishes to leave her comfort zone. One day, Jomon finds a letter seemingly of romance, addressed to a person named Jo, and also a green motor-bike leaving the area. He feels that Jomol is having an affair, and throws the letter away. He feels that she will leave them all, and go with a stranger on a motor-bike. Jomol who picks up the letter later, finds the writings for someone named Jo, and feels that Jomon is having a romantic affair at this age, which means that the girl would most probably be below eighteen, and therefore it is an illegal affair. Jomol decides to take the help of their grandmother to find out the truth, while Jomon is helped by his friends, especially Manoj who is heart-broken about his crush having an affair. What would actually be the truth?

The defence of Jo and Jo :: When we look at Jo and Jo, some people might find it perfect to relate, especially the kind of new generation that is not ready to give their elder sister the deserving respect, and spends their time playing nonsensical games when not wandering around with friends for smoking or drinking alcohol. The film is a fine representation of such a generation, and also that of a new generation of elder sisters who fail to take responsibility of the younger brother – in that case, the boys who serve more as friends are surely better. Still, it does feels that the new generation is gone beyond repair, thanks to the mobile and internet addiction brought to everyone by Reliance through Jio and schools through the online classes in the time of COIVD-19 lock-downs. The film clearly shows that the future is lost with a new generation coming up from online schooling. The humour which has been used for the same is somewhat working, and those who are able to relate to these might find the proceedings to be even better.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much in Jo and Jo that you have not witnessed before in different forms in a few movies and some homes, even though there is the exaggeration. Sometimes, this idea of exaggerating is a little too much. The problem that the main character has with his bowels is made fun of in a miserable manner, and those are not really fit to get anywhere near quality jokes. When making a family movie, one also has to make sure about the language. There are strengths being displayed in this movie, but they don’t get the required focus. A better awareness about the genre was required here. One actor who should have been used more is Sagar Surya of the Thatteem Mutteem fame. The moments related to corona could have also been more fun – a lot of innovations could have been used there too. After all, there is more about corona virus than what is reported in the news; you just need to look a little more for inspiration. For a movie dealing with simple things, it feels a little long, and also has some irritating moments. The feel-good factor just goes missing, and there is almost no good thing about family here.

The performers of the soul :: Mathew Thomas who set the ball rolling with Kumbalangi Nights and Thanneer Mathan Dinangal, continues his good form around here too, even though that much of power cannot be seen around here. The talent is visible at points around here, but not as a whole. Nikhila Vimal who debuted as the lead in Love 24×7 and only recently had different types of performances in The Priest and Madhuram, gets a role which is still much divergent from her previous performances. Yet, sometimes, her character feels overdone, and one would love her the most from that work of grace which was seen in Aravindante Athidhikal. Johny Antony who is known more as the director, earlier seen in Home, has evolved into Ranji Panicker – Lalu Alex mode with ease, and is the one true lovable character in this movie. Naslen K Gafoor who traveled a different path with Kuruthi, does what he has been usually doing with ease. Melvin G Babu is the one who nicely adds to the fun, often better than the bigger names around here. Sagar Surya’s small role is made effective enough too. Sminu Sijo makes a fine mother too.

How it finishes :: It is nice to see that Jo and Jo releasing on Amazon Prime Video less than one month after its theatre release. These are the times when the corona virus is becoming stronger than ever, and crowds should be taken care of, even though political parties and celebrities would care less about common man who is forced to suffer due to the never ending attack of the virus. If it was stronger and better focused, it would have been able to leave an emotional impact or a result of pure fun, but due to it going through everything randomly, it is only a somewhat effective entertainer without an emotional side to be taken further. If it has tried to send a message, there has been failure related to that. The movie can be considered as a random funny movie about happenings in a family during COVID-19 lock-down times, without expecting too much – there is nothing grand here, and no contribution towards the intellect. You can just go through this movie because you wish to see something which could naturally occur in families, with the funny side, avoiding the terrible exaggerations in between – nothing more is granted here.

Release date: 10th June 2022 (Amazon); 13th May 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Arun D Jose
Starring: Mathew Thomas, Nikhila Vimal, Naslen K Gafoor, Melvin G Babu, Johny Antony, Leena Antony, Sminu Sijo, Sagar Surya, Hareesh Penga, Binu Adimaly, Kalabhavan Shajohn

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Black Island

Vampire Owl: Are we talking about the island near the Northern Witches territory?

Vampire Bat: That one is called the Dark Island of Magic.

Vampire Owl: Well, that depends on the translation.

Vampire Bat: Let the vampire elders deal with the translation of ancient languages.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein is good with languages.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that Mr Frankenstein was talking about computer languages.

Vampire Owl: He has worked with the Northern Witches in relation to creating new magic potions through scientific experiments.

Vampire Bat: This is why I told you that he is a pseudo-scientist of no real value.

Vampire Owl: You should say the same thing when he wins the Vampire Nobel Prize,  and gets elected to the Vampire Science Academy.

Vampire Bat: There is no Vampire Nobel Prize for pure nonsense.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Jonas Hansen (Philip Froissant) is an orphan who lives under the sponsorship of the last member of his family. He recently lost his grandmother to the attack of a dog on a beach, while his parents had died in a car crash caused by another driver, both incidents seemingly having something strange about it. Nina Cohrs (Mercedes Muller) who lives in the island is instantly attracted to Jonas, and they become good friends. Most of the girls of the island do have some attraction towards him. It is that kind of a place where there is not that much of a modernity – beautiful scenery seems to make the best out of tourism, but even then, not many tourists visit the area. The place doesn’t have a lot of things happening around there either, and it remains a place of serenity throughout the year. Helena Jung (Alice Dwyer) takes over the German classes in an island which is located far away from the mainland in Europe. She is the replacement for a teacher who just had an accident, and would take a lot of time to make a return.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The new teacher feels like someone whom everyone would like, and she remains friendly with almost every student. She asks the students to call her by her first name when they are not at the educational institution, or when nobody else is listening. She also shows great interest in making the students write poetry and improve their creative writing skills, and with the friendly attitude, becomes a favourite of almost all the students. Soon, Helena seems to get really close to Jonas, or rather too close for a teacher and student, while Nina maintains a certain amount of dislike for her. Nina’s suspicions are at place, but the relationship between the teacher and the student only becomes more intimate. There are too many secrets related to the new teacher, and any attempt to venture any deeper into it will put Nina in peril. But can she stay away from this mystery as she cares too much about Jonas? Will Jonas really understand what is going on here? What is the motive of Helena, and why would she choose to be in a remote island instead of the city from where she arrived?

The defence of Black Island :: The movie does work as a mystery thriller a few minutes into action itself. There is the eerie feeling that spreads through the movie especially due to the setting on an island which reminds one of that strange world surrounded by water shown in Sacrifice. The twists await us, and the movement forward, even though slow, is rather smooth. It also makes sure that there is no falling into that usual pit of nonsense with the relationship at the centre. The visuals are really good, as we are introduced into a world with natural beauty within, and surrounded by beaches and crystal clear ocean water, reminding us to go for a journey soon enough. Well, after that COVID-19 scenario, travel hasn’t really opened up for most of us, and it is nice to see this world of beauty at least on the screen. The atmosphere does suit the thirst for revenge, and we know that this kind of a world can have even a serial killer on the loose with maximum effect. There will be the moments to cherish right in between.

The claws of flaw :: This is not the kind of idea that one would need to appreciate for theme – elder teachers falling in love with too young a student is not something that should be encouraged, even with seemingly decent movies like Premam which would use pretensions to play with the minds of the unsuspecting people – as part of a plan of vengeance, that wouldn’t look that bad in this case; there is enough of a past around here. Still, the relationship should have looked more convincing, and the things around here looks rather too easy. These are the kind of things which are to be dealt with more intensity. The movie also kills off one of the most interesting characters in there rather too early. The investigation into all of these should have also been stronger, and people in this movie are not as smart as they should have been. The moments which are of importance here should have also been edited better, showing them as the parts which shouldn’t be missed. The movie could have also picked up pace too.

The performers of the soul :: The movie is mostly an Alice Dwyer work, with her as the centre of attraction. There are still moments when one would feel that she could have been completely into this case of revenge, but at times, she seems be not in focus at more than one thing. It could be more because of her character not being written with that vision that a revenge-seeker should have. A stronger character would have been better for our eyes and the rest of the senses. Yet, she maintains that mystery about her well, especially during the first half of the flick. Mercedes Muller plays a strong role, and she is lovely in her infatuation towards her long-time friend. She seems to be the one intelligent and determined person like nobody else in the movie, and she surely required a screen presence throughout the movie. Philip Froissant plays a usual character who surprisingly has too less to do other than listening to his teacher who became the lover and the friends around him – he is reduced into a person of not that much of importance. The other performers are of not that importance in this small world.

How it finishes :: I have come across some of the interesting German movies in the last few years, and they seem to keep a certain level with the thrillers. Whether it was Blood Red Sky, Freaks or Breakdown Forest, there is some attempt at thinking differently instead of going with the usual things. Well, horror movies and thrillers are the only things which seem to keep me going in this world of chaos and hopelessness. There has been the down-feeling which came with the Corona virus which doesn’t seem to leave, and it feels worse as we are going back to the society. Still, when we see the hatred that is seen in movies like these, we feel that this is real, a reflection of the society that we know, the one full of liars and cheaters. We have to accept horror as a normal part of life, more real than romance and drama which are considered too real. With some more focus, this movie could have done better, and as of now, it goes on as a thriller which also a work of drama and mystery that takes over on many occasions. The movie works better than what some of the reviews had talked about.

Release date: 18th August 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Miguel Alexandre
Starring: Jolene Andersen, Alice Dwyer, Susan Angelo, Hanns Zischler, Mercedes Muller, Jonas Hansen

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

<<< Click here to go to the first German film reviewed here.

<<< Click here to go to the first full-length German film reviewed here.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Don’t Kill Me

Vampire Owl: At some point, a werewolf asked me not to kill him.

Vampire Bat: So, you have started fighting werewolves on your own.

Vampire Owl: No, it was an arena battle during the last carnival.

Vampire Bat: Why would you kill a werewolf on an arena?

Vampire Owl: It was part of a great, memorable drama.

Vampire Bat: I knew it. You wouldn’t even slay a zombie juggernaut.

Vampire Owl: Why would I? Let them eat the brains of evil humans.

Vampire Bat: All zombies are not interested in human brains. Some of them just sleep in their graves at all times.

Vampire Owl: They are not undead – they are just the dead.

Vampire Bat: Well, zombies do have the right to make their choices too. Some of them even fall in love.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Mirta (Alica Pagani) is madly in love with her boyfriend and drug addict Robin (Rocco Fasano) who is detested by her parents. One day, she decides to have drugs with him, and an overdose leads to the death of both of them. But soon enough, she finds herself waking up in the tomb. She escapes from her tomb in the mausoleum where she was laid to rest and starts walking towards her home. But she understands that she is dead, and leaves the house soon enough. The police informs her parents that someone has stolen her parents. She knows that her body has started decaying, and there are also people hunting her. A strange person also visits her home, and says that they are going to protect the living from the dead – he adds that the parents are going to see their child very soon, but she won’t be the person whom they knew earlier. Soon, she ends up committing her first murder, and after eating the man, feels much better.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: But soon enough, she will understand that there is something more going on out there. There is a sect that has been hunting her kind from 1600s – destroying those who come back to life instead of staying dead, known to the secret organizations as the overdead. The group seems to be heavily organized, with lots of money, weapons and other resources. Mirta does find some help, but she wishes to go back and find Robin, hoping that he will also wake up at some point, as they died in almost the same way. But she is captured by the group, and is put in chains. It is then that she realizes that Robin has also come back to life. But that would also leave her with more revelations about what has happened with her life. It will also mean that she will have to make her own decisions against her heart. Where will that lead her in the end? Is there a war coming between the humans and the overdead? Will she choose one of those sides?

The defence of Don’t Kill Me a.k.a. Non Mi Uccidere :: This is a movie which comes up with some fine surprises, and even shocks in relation to its zombie world. It doesn’t hesitate to try something different, and take a few risks with its progression and scenes. The ability to stay unique in a world of repetitions is to appreciated. There are a few bloody moments in the final scene of the movie, and that result of an undead fighting the hunters has some quality setting which is going to stay for long. The moments of the protagonists meeting after dead are strangely interesting too, and there was that twist that worked out there. The bath scene seemed to point to some of the tales of the witches from the past, and maybe this will also come up with more links if there is a sequel. The visuals are really good here, not just with the scenery, but also with people and objects. The environment has worked in favour of the movie too. The message here seems to be about being careful about whom you are obsessed with, and that it is not about looks in a relationship. The movie also encourages one to take the path required instead of going with the flow.

Positives and negatives :: Don’t Kill Me does more than what was expected from it, and we are only to witness the same. It doesn’t overuse any of the special effects, and keep them to the minimum, but in an effective way. The idea here seems to be about using lower budget to achieve more. It does leave a few things to the imagination, without trying to explain them all. It could have also linked its sequences better, instead of seemingly straying from the path to come up with one scene or the other. Despite the zombie existence, you would still imagine Alice Pagani in a vampire movie, because the looks seem to work well with such an option – the Gothic world seems to suit her well. I would like to see her as part of an Underworld movie at some point of time. She is also suitable for the mood of Byzantium and Interview with the Vampire. The ability to move away from silly romance and keeping it natural also helps here – this movie could have easily been Twilight, but thankfully it is not. This one is a serious adventure at hand. The blood and gore is present, and still continues to be in control.

The performers of the soul :: The movie has its soul fixed on Alice Pagani, an actress who has made the transformation into the undead very smooth and believable – you don’t become the undead that easily and make it feel natural. She has this one in control throughout its run, as the confused youngster in love who doesn’t know much about what she has been forced to go through. Even in a decayed zombie form, she remains beautiful, and displaying the human confusion seemingly in an attempt to retain her humanity. She is there in every key moment of this movie, as if she is this movie, and it is all about her. Despite the thriving human beauty, she will make a fine undead, maybe even a vampire – Hollywood should have her. Rocco Fasano, for most of the movie, is the Robert Pattinson of this movie, the much liked Edward Cullen who is without his Twilight – has the looks of the undead working for him. They have some interesting scenes together, but there are not that much either – the romance doesn’t get overdone, and that is a nice way to keep away from the commonly expected undead infatuation.

How it finishes :: There are the usual romantic zombie movies like Warm Bodies which try to go the Twilight way, and then there is this one, which tries to be as divergent as possible. It knows that it has to be innovative in the zombie horror genre, as the idea has been repeated too many times. This is the realization which makes the whole thing better. One can only feel that Andrea De Sica is a visionary director who has brought another zombie origins story which can have a prequel or a sequel according to the need, as this one doesn’t end here at all. Italian movies have had some quality works in the last few months, like Security and A Classic Horror Story, both of them coming up with their own divergence in the process. When we look at these movies, despite the genres to which they belong, there is no exaggeration at all. Well, you know how wrong you can go with the zombies, and how much nonsense can be added in the name of the undead – here, we get them in our world, without those unnecessary ornaments or overdose of romance. The low ratings seem to be from those who expected a Twilight, but the beauty of this movie is that it is not here.

Release date: 21st April 2021 (Italy); 21st February 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Andrea De Sica
Starring: Alice Pagani, Rocco Fasano, Silvia Calderoni, Fabrizio Ferracane, Anita Caprioli, Sergio Albelli, Giacomo Ferrara, Esther Elisha, Kateryna Aresi, Francesca Alice Antonini, Federico Ielapi, Marco Boriero, Marco Matteo Donat-Cattin, Marco Pancrazi

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

<<< Click here to go to the first Italian film review here.

<<< Click here to go to the last Italian film review here.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rurouni Kenshin

Vampire Owl: Isn’t this the second Japanese movie that we are watching?

Vampire Bat: Yes, they were mostly overshadowed by Korean and Chinese films.

Vampire Owl: The name is quite tough here.

Vampire Bat: Your soul will get used to such names.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Japan is my dream country?

Vampire Bat: Japan is everyone’s dream country.

Vampire Owl: Except for the common vampires of our times.

Vampire Bat: Are you talking about the never-ending need to go to Romania?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the holy land dedicated to Uncle Dracula, especially on Halloween.

Vampire Bat: That trend had come down since the Russia invaded its neighbouring country, Ukraine. We, vampires are supposed to stay kilometres away from any terrible war caused by human kind. We are not violent people.

[Gets a porotta roll and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 1864, and Japan is now open to foreign trade. This means that a few people seek to end the rule of Shoguns and bring back the authority of the empire, with some of the being ambitious and the others filled with ideals. They are forced to face each other, and fighting goes on only to make the situation worse in the island nation which seeks progress with trade and commerce. Himura Kenshin (Takeru Satoh) who is also known as Hitokiri Battosai serves as a political assassin to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate which would eventually lead to the Meji Restoration and the later rise of Imperial Japan, finally leading to their participation in the Second World War and fall with the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The history goes a long way, and this is more like a civil war which will begin the events which will finally lead to a detailed epoch in the Japanese history with no security or value for human life. The young man of concern here, who is a skilled fighter with swords, joins the clan of Choshu, and begins to work with Katsura Kogoro (Issey Takahashi), their leader.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: During one of the fights in which he kills all the men, a member of the opposite gang refuses to die, and despite being impaled by sword multiple times, gives the assassin a cut on his face. This has Himura clearly disturbed instead of being cold with all the killings. Katsura understands that even after so many years of killing hundreds of men, his assassin is still not comfortable with killing people, a process which he keeps repeating. He feels that the young man hasn’t really grown up yet, and remains pure at heart, which means that there is no peace at heart. He is still the best fighter that he has known in years, but that wouldn’t change the heart. When Himura had earlier joined the group in a bid to overthrow the Shoguns, he hadn’t killed anyone, but the promise that he had shown was immense, unlike anyone whom he had seen among their fighters. He would keep on wondering if the man has finally has had enough of the fights and the brutal killings.

And what can bring a change to world which has only gotten worse with the civil wars? :: Katsura feels that there is the need to find a solution, as there is the need to end this continuous war, for which he needs as many hands holding the swords with expertise. Himura is still haunted by the memories of the man who refused to die, citing the reason of love in his life. One night, he goes on to have a drink of his own, and interferes when a lone woman named Yukishiro Tomoe (Kasumi Arimura) is bothered by a group of men who demand that the woman treats them with respect, and consider them as their heroes. After leaving the tavern, he is almost attacked by two drunkards from the tavern who are killed by an assassin with a chain. He manages to kill the assassin, but finds Yukishiro who had come to thank him, drenched in the blood of assassin, and she soon faints as a result of the shock from what she had just witnessed. He takes her back to his hideout, a place for the revolutionaries. The girl who feel thankful, decides to stay, much to his surprise, as he wonders why.

The defence of Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning :: The stylish action sequences begin the film’s progress very soon. The fights with the swords remain memorable, as there seems to be so much of speed and control related to them – it is like you take your eyes away from the screen for less than a second, and still you end up missing something. You are going to find it difficult to follow the pace of the very thin and agile swords which keep moving in all directions, but you enjoy what happens around. The characters remain interesting, and there seems to be something about almost everyone out there. The performers seem to be chosen with care, and the way they come up with the action scenes makes one wonder if they are really that well trained in all of these. Takeru Satoh leads well, Kasumi Arimura does the job with integrity. The movie nicely takes the fictional world and combines it with history. The emotional side also gains strength at times. The visuals are nice, not just with the big towns, but also with the nice little villages and the small homes surrounded by nature.

The claws of flaw :: The movie might feel to be too violent for at least a few people who are expecting more fights on the scene with blood and gore being hidden, but this is not really that martial arts or superhero movie to go through that route. This is also a little bit too long, considering the fact that the story is very much a predictable one, with not that much of innovation added here by looking at the possibilities in history. When action becomes the first and the one great choice, the plot suffers – it is quite a natural thing as we have seen in other movies – you just can’t satisfy everyone, and then the makers would prefer to go with what the crowd would like to see here. It seems to be very much hesitant to take the risk in different areas, when the challenges were present. The romance, even though present there, feels somewhat forced, even though the performers make it work without any trouble – after all, a love affair changing people all of a sudden is a stereotype which has been used for too long that we don’t really care about that anymore; then the ending which we can feel good enough to make a guess.

How it finishes :: This is not the franchise that we are familiar with, even though people of Japan should be very much familiar with the same. It is also based upon the manga series of the same name, which means more Japanese familiarity for sure – films inspired by comics have its own space like the video-game based works of our times. The movie takes the old style sword-fighting action to the next level, within its own charming setting – there will be no shortage of such action here. This is supposed to the fifth and final installment of this particular franchise about a nineteenth century assassin. But as it is also a prequel, it serves as a stand-alone movie which can be watched first, in the middle or last, and there is the placing in history which makes things easier to understand. Historical setting serve well when used with clarity and skill. We do feel that this a usual tragic tale about friendship and love in a world of war and chaos, but as we have the same arranged really well with the setting, the idea works effectively.

Release date: 4th June 2021 (Japan); 30th July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Keishi Otomo
Starring: Takeru Satoh, Kasumi Arimura, Issey Takahashi, Nijiro Murakami, Masanobu Ando, Kazuki Kitamura Yosuke Eguchi

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

<<< Click here to go to the previous Japanese movie review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Matrix: Resurrections

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the first time that we watched The Matrix?

Vampire Bat: Yes, you understood twenty five percent of the movie then.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that I understood more than fifty percentage of it.

Vampire Bat: You still had to read details about the story a hundred times.

Vampire Owl: I don’t remember having read the plot even once.

Vampire Bat: I remember that you did the same for the makers’ other film, Jupiter Ascending.

Vampire Owl: I don’t even remember watching that movie.

Vampire Bat: It was on the same day that you attended Mr Frankenstein‘s Grand Exhibition.

Vampire Owl: Dr Frankenstein has thousands of exhibitions every year.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about that many fake science exhibitions.

[Gets a paneer fried rice and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a game designer and the creator of a very popular video game series called The Matrix, which already had three games in the franchise. The game is based on his memories as Neo, which is not clear, but he does feel that there is a lot in his head which feels real. He is mostly happy with his life, as living as a famous game designer seems like a pretty good option. He keeps coming across a woman named Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) who is a married woman with two kids, and she seems to be based on a main character whom he had designed for the video game, Trinity. He becomes friendly with her, and he likes him, but doesn’t seem to remember him at all, just like he is not sure how she became a part of his game. He struggles to separate his life and these strange memories, and his therapist gives him some strange pills in support. A young lady named Bugs (Jessica Henwick) finds this game simulation which is running an old code in a loop based on the time when Trinity had found Neo. With the help of a programme which has embodied Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in a new form, she starts searching for answers, as Neo was supposed to be dead. Two of them combine the forces looking for Neo and finds him in the end.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The machines sent by Bugs save him, and he is taken to her ship known as the Mnemosyne. He is taken to the new city of the human resistance, where a lot older Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) awaits them. She is not happy that Bugs brought Neo to the area which is now a safe house, and tells her that she and her crew of Lexy (Erendira Ibarra, Sequoia (Toby Onwumere), Berg (Brian J Smith) and others are now grounded with the ship. It turns out that sixty years have passed in the real world after the war between humans and machines had ended. Except for Niobe who now takes the decisions around there, mostly adamant and foolish, while everyone else from the original human resistance are now dead, including Morpheus as he was known, and had led the resistance earlier. She tells them that there was some peace achieved through his sacrifice, which lasted for some years, but eventually, things got worse. Now, can Trinity be freed? Can there be peace again?

The defence of The Matrix: Resurrections :: You know the thing about The Matrix, which means that you mostly know what can happen with this version too – the trailer had set the expectations going well. There is a lot of action for sure, and you do enjoy it, even though these are not things which you haven’t seen before – the fights go on in a stylish manner within the movie, and there are also some nice worlds built around here. The advanced special effects and computer generated imagery means that this particular world looks even better than how it used to be earlier. Here we have Keanu Reeves doing what he has been doing the best again, which is always a thing of quality – outside the world of John Wick, Neo is indeed an iconic character and we are never tired of watching him around there. The new additions of the cast are very much suited to this situation of post-apocalyptic science fiction action. After all, we know that this is the kind of situation which could happen at any point of time, with machines taking over being the best option for any apocalyptic event – the extinction of human kind is not something that we can resist. Then, this is a world which has no shortage of style.

The claws of flaw :: The Matrix: Resurrections which comes as the very late addition to the list of movies in a franchise which was far above the others of that time, doesn’t manage to live up to that hype or the grand expectations which were always present. When Neo is coming again after a long time, you expect that this is going to be something above all, but with the lack of innovation, they try to share the qualities that makes Neo with a female characters, which is pretty much the dumbest decision that they can do with some dumb romance added to a film which could have stopped that with the third movie and a few deaths. Actually, the third movie of the franchise served as such a fine ending, and this often keeps feeling a lot unnecessary. One has to wonder if any action sequences in this movie will be remembered much in comparison to the earlier movies, among which all of them had some special moments of fight scenes. The beginning is also too slow, leaving the film too long with so much of initial moments good enough to be cut. One would guess that this one is more intended to make some quick money on the fame which those classic movies had, but that attempt seems to have failed in rising up to the expectations too.

The performers of the soul :: We know that this has been the movie which made Keanu Reeves the huge star all around the world, even though I have always remembered him facing the devil in Constantine and Devil’s Advocate more than any others as well the vampire as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula of 1992, and maybe a few older people might go for Speed as the initial big thing from him. The new generation surely had John Wick with its sequels, and I do like his science fiction works like Replicas too. Yet, this is the one role in which almost everyone of my age would have wanted to see him again, and he is here, with the same strength that he had at that earlier point. Carrie-Anne Moss is someone whom we remembers for this franchise itself, and it is always good to see her back – she has become part of this world again really well. Yet, the actress who makes the most impact is Jessica Henwick, who played second fiddle in Underwater nicely, and she is indeed lovely – the baton should be passed on to her soon enough. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II doesn’t stand up to Laurence Fishburne, but remains okay. Erendira Ibarra also has a notable role. Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris are villains for the sake of being, as machines rule over them. Priyanka Chopra Jonas is there for the sake of being there.

How it finishes :: The big question about this particular movie is whether it was actually needed at all, for these are not the times when the first three movies came into existence, and the adaptation to the new audience who have witnessed all of these already, and then again through other movies would have had some strange feeling about watching this one. You are coming up with a sequel so many years later, and it would require something more than what was already seen, and this one falls flat on innovation. But, there is a lot of entertainment with the action happening all around, and nostalgia is something that sells, which means that we can always watch this version of The Matrix too, and hope that a great worthy sequel will be made at some other point of time. Until then, let us be happy enough with this one, and hope that the Corona virus would stop coming again and again, as watching movies like this at the theatre can mean more, even though I would always prefer the OTT versions. After all, becoming poor by paying so much for the movie tickets, parking and food after being in a traffic jam for such a long time, followed by dumb fans in a theatre is terror, no matter which one is the flick.

Release date: 22nd December 2021 (Theatre); 12th May 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Lana Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Night Teeth

Vampire Owl: And finally, we have another vampire movie.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this is about our kind of vampires.

Vampire Owl: They seem to drink blood really well.

Vampire Bat: Yet, they seem to be like a new group of vampires.

Vampire Owl: There is no new or old groups among true vampires.

Vampire Bat: You were the one leading the protest against the new batch of sparkling teenage romantic vampires.

Vampire Owl: Well, I have now become a more inclusive vampire.

Vampire Bat: You are acting like the Vampire Chameleon.

Vampire Owl: That guy has been dead for years now.

Vampire Bat: Yet, you are trying to replace him.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of tea-coffee mix].

What is the movie about? :: Vampires and humans have co-existed through the years, and the former has fed from the latter only through a mutual agreement, which means that there was no chance of a battle between the two races. The living and the undead has kept on going without any problems coming in between. There was also a truce, and as vampires continued to get better, humans continued to make themselves believe that the creatures of the night didn’t exist. Vampire continued to try and hide their existence, not feeding on the unwilling and never entering the human area without permission. Benny (Jorge Lendeborg Jr) is a college student who is working part-time as a as a chauffeur, temporarily replacing his brother Jay (Raul Castillo), who was going to apologize and make up with his girlfriend. Jay has also realized that the vampires have broken the pact and entered the human area, also feeding from a lot of them, as well as committing murders. His girlfriend Maria (Ash Santos) is also among the latest ones taken by the vampires as many encounters happen.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Benny, a Spanish speaking immigrant, is the usual local college student who is not aware of all of these, and was going on with his happy and carefree life until then. He was the one who forced to Jay to let him be the driver for a change. As he goes to the rather rich area to pick up the riders, he meets Blaire (Debby Ryan), who seems to be really friendly. The other girl Zoe (Lucy Fry) doesn’t seem to be that friendly, but does seem to be talkative enough, in a strange manner. They even talk about the possibility of this being his last day on Earth. They do arrive at grand location where the party is taking place, and he hears a woman screaming from inside. At the same time, a war between vampires and humans are coming, because a very rich and influential vampire lord Victor (Alfie Allen) is the person who has intentionally broken the truce for no reason. Jay is actually part of a human group which is charged with maintaining the peace between the two races. As Jay and his friends start hunting down the vampires, Victor plans to finish off his fellow lords and gain all the power. So, what role does Benny play among all these around here?

The defence of Night Teeth :: There are some very interesting scenes in this movie which once again brings the vampires to the human world without pretensions. One has the feeling that this could go the Twilight way and make a mess of the whole thing with full teenage vampire romance, but such a thing doesn’t happen at all. The visuals are nothing less than stunning, as we go through this vampire-infested world in the nights with classic style buildings and lights – the blood also runs strong here, adding to the overall creepy beauty of the atmosphere. The pace is always good around here, and the vampire situation that we see here has been nicely arranged. The vampire-human clash in the city is basically like something that we have seen before, but being much better, like a battle between gangs or races nicely set in a better environment with a divergence. There is a continuous flow of a beautifully stylish world that is going on here, with a touch of horror, as blood runs through. Even without that much of backstory being told, the tale goes on really well.

Positives and negatives :: The movie does succumb to the usual tendency of such vampire stories to go through the predictable path, and that which appeal only to a certain amount of audience. Yet, it manages to come back up in the path whenever it seems to be a little lost, with the style and some nice humour that seems to come as a welcome addition. The humour comes in to join the horror and the thrills, and makes them more entertaining. It is a reminder that the funny side can compliment a horror movie really well, and it was what the film, Black as Night had missed while trying to add some dumb humour and some nonsensical history in between. The cast has also been perfectly chosen, even though there might still be some names which one would also like to have around here. There are some fine action scenes in here, that is for sure, and the vampire girls lead in that quite well. The movie also sets a fine ending which has scope for a future sequel. The music is really good, and set things up nicely for the happenings of the world. The movie does have some good fangs at the needed areas.

The performers of the soul :: Jorge Lendeborg Jr plays the protagonist caught between vampires really well – he seems to suit the situation nicely. He has the confusion being dealt with nicely, but even has enough to be a vampire himself. Yet, there is nobody who suits the nice vampire role better than Debby Ryan, who also has her moments of vampire intensity. One another day, she could be part of a horror slasher movie as a scream queen too, with blood seemingly doing well with her. Lucy Fry had played a vampire about seven years ago, and she is doing it again – this time, she is part of a much better movie, and has a lot better role to perform, as she becomes the perfect nocturnal creature in need of blood and enjoys all the violence that she inflicts. She has the kind of look here that one wouldn’t doubt if she is not really a vampire, even from a distance. I would love to have her as a major antagonist in more than one horror movie. Raul Castillo and Alfie Allen are the strong ones belonging to two sides. One would also love The Voyeurs‘ own lovely Sydney Sweeney and the always charming Megan Fox playing two superior vampires, but we could have actually had more of them here, especially the former who makes a very interesting character in a short time.

How it finishes :: We are never short of the need of the vampire movies to entertain us, for vampirism shall never leave the audience, being an idea of quality since Lord Byron’s physician, William John Polidori published the first vampire novel, The Vampyre. After all, vampires are as immortal in literature and cinema as the vampire characters happen to be in fiction, their immortality in their ability to entertain the viewers rarely questioned. This one, with a touch of the modern age, doesn’t fall behind, even though I did have my doubts after watching the trailer. Well, this is one of those movies which manages to do a lot better than what the trailer had brought us – the movie seems to realize that its strengths are best shown as a whole rather than in parts. You are going to remember the humour in this movie as much you remember those moments of action with blood having a say. In the end, you will remember that the vampires are forever, and they will keep coming back in different forms in different movies like the certainty of Corona virus taking different forms and coming back for more of infections.

Release date: 20th October 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Adam Randall
Starring: Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Debby Ryan, Lucy Fry, Raul Castillo, Megan Fox, Alfie Allen, Ash Santos, Marlene Forte, Bryan Batt

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Brazen

Vampire Owl: So, Netflix seems to have released another movie with a killer.

Vampire Bat: I am wondering if this is a serial killer on the loose.

Vampire Owl: There is always a chance that there can be more than one killer.

Vampire Bat: If it was a vampire, one killer would have been enough.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t really want a vampire in there though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, vampires are rarely serial killers or psycho killers.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that vampires can only be contract killers.

Vampire Bat: We, vampires have been killers of souls for a long time.

Vampire Owl: The exact title should have been takers of souls.

Vampire Bat: With the exception of zombies whose souls are now with the Northern witches.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Grace Miller (Alyssa Milano) is a popular mystery novelist who has long journeys with her book tours. Most of her novels have women getting murdered, and after a series of investigations, the killer is discovered. She finally gets to visit her sister after a long time. The sister is going through a custody battle for her son after filing a divorce, and also teaching English Literature and Drama in high school. Ed Jennings (Sam Page) who lives next door is a detective has just solved the case of the murder of a woman by her husband, and is now going through a few days off. Grace and Ed have drinks together and discusses different fictional murders, as she hopes that she could use his help in her upcoming novel. But when she returns home after spending some time with him, she finds her sister dead inside the house. Grace goes into depression, and Ed feels that he should be going through the investigation rather than any other police officer, and help her.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Police investigation discovers that even though her sister was a teacher for the public, she was part of a webcam based site known as Fantasy Inc, where she worked as a dominatrix, providing online femdom. The first suspect is the ex-husband, as the dead woman knew some of the secrets that the rich and influential man held. Even though she has remained anonymous as the company has always guaranteed to keep her identity secret, and as she was also wearing a mask throughout her performances, the police feels that it could have been somehow leaked. Grace feels that she should also be personally involved in the investigation, even though Ed asks her not to take it personal, and let the police do the job. She does come up with some interesting information from the school where her sister was teaching, and that provides some of the missing pieces for the police. But it seems that this is not just about her sister, as there are other murders.

The defence of Brazen :: This is one entertaining movie which has an investigation going, and the puzzle is nicely solved, with some nice red herrings thrown around here and there. The lost parts of the puzzle are nicely brought in here, and we are also able to make some guesses, but things become perfectly clear only by the end. From the beginning itself, you know where this one is going, and as you get into the mood soon enough, you are much more interested in it. It has some interesting twists happening around here, and it does take a fine turn in the end. The idea of including the dominatrix-teacher twist is something which hasn’t been tried before, and the movie makes some fine connection related to that. You are not required to expect too much about this though, as this doesn’t go on with that much of a divergence, and we have the straight forward thriller which can be enjoyed. You see the murders happening, and you see how the mystery is solved, with the killer being caught in the end – it is pretty much what you need as a completed puzzle. Then there is Alyssa Milano, the lady from our past, bringing back the childhood memories.

The claws of flaw :: The movie suffers from the early reviews, which seem to be against it, and can affect its scope, but it really doesn’t deserve that much of a spot down the ratings. The addition of a mystery writer to the police department’s investigation does feel strange, as if the cops are not that bright, thanks to the lady at the head of the department who seems to have less faith in her own people. The investigation of the police should have been the more convincing one, but here, it seems that fiction can serve the whole investigation better, and it is indeed a strange thing. Even with a serial killer who seems to be more like a psycho at the centre, there is not that much of scares related to it – the man could have been used better. It could have also used the work of the dead people better, and could have connected it better with the psychotic episodes. There could have also been clearer versions of the murders happening with some nice shots of the same making the deaths more gruesome. The first few moments of the movie are also slower, and it does take some time to pick up the pace, while the romantic angle is less explored.

The performers of the soul :: We have known Alyssa Milano mostly from one vampire movie which was among those interesting vampire flicks of the times, and she was indeed a loved actress from the movie, and during those times – we were all looking for some fine horror movies during those times, with special focus on vampire films. Many years later, twenty six to be exact, I am watching another movie with her in the lead, and it is a case of nostalgia as much as anything else. Well, she has been the childhood crush of many kids living and growing up through the 1990s. She does come up with a good performance here too, even as the character is not that perfectly written according to the needs of this thriller. Well, there are a few actresses who were part of our childhood, and they still remain our favourites at a higher age group. Sam Page plays a good supporting role, and he also shares a fine chemistry with Alyssa, often bringing a certain amount of humour related to it too. Emilie Ullerup also shines during her short stay around here. Malachi Weir also has a supporting role to add to it here. Aaron Paul Stewart also has something to contribute.

How it finishes :: Brazen might not be a movie that caters to some high expectations, but it is surely the type that manages to do its job well, and also in an entertaining way. The movie is based on Nora Roberts’s novel Brazen Virtue, and the similarities and differences between the two versions are yet to be known. Some of the early negative reviews about this movie feels rather surprising, because there is not that much of flaws here, which pulls it down, as far as you look at it according to the overall mood of the movie. It is an investigative thriller which maintains the strength throughout its run, and there are some interesting moments which builds on the tale’s twists really well. In the end, there is the final twist, and we see the serial killer mode being switched on in the middle, as the investigation did get stronger then. You can surely watch this movie and be entertained, and Alyssa Milano is the one actress whom you remember from the childhood days, as she was one of those big names of those times, in those early CDs and DVDs.

Release date: 13 January 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Monika Mitchell
Starring: Alyssa Milano, Sam Page, Colleen Wheeler, Lossen Chambers, Emilie Ullerup, Malachi Weir, Barry W Levy, Matthew Finlan, Aaron Paul Stewart, Will Verchere-Gopaulsingh, Jack Armstrong, Leslie Kwan, Michael Q Adams

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Madhuram

What is the movie about? :: Kevin (Arjun Ashokan) is the bystander for his mother, who is going to have a surgery at the government medical college hospital very soon. He is married to Cherry (Nikhila Vimal) who isn’t accepted by his mother yet. He is very much tensed about it, and spends most of the time wondering about what is to happen next. Sabu (Joju George) is there as a bystander for his wife Chitra (Shruti Ramachandran). There are also others who have become part of the hospital during their time spent out there. Ravi (Indrans) is a retired postman who is waiting for his wife to be discharged, while celebrating forty years of marriage. Thajudeen (Fahim Safar) is a bystander for his father who is forced to come there because the doctor in the hosptial is very famous, and a quick surgery is required. Despite how much how much Ravi talks about the importance of staying in long marriage and how much Sabu reasserts the same, Kevin and Cherry are on the verge of a divorce. Cherry wonders if it will happen as soon as his mother is healthy and asks him to leave her.

So, what happens happens around here? :: Thajudeen is to first one to leave the hospital from the group, as his father has a stroke and dies, causing moments of silence and depression everywhere around them. Kevin’s tension only further increases as the surgery is delayed, and after knowing about the death of Thajudeen’s father. The same also affects Ravi upto an extent, as he is also a little bit worried. Sabu talks to the others about his love story with Chitra which happened at Kunjikka’s (Jaffar Idukki) restaurant, where she used to come and have biriyani in secret. They married after causing a lot of problems in the neighbourhood. Ravi’s tale is about him falling in love with his wife while delivering letters at a locality, and it was another case of love story wrecking havoc around. When Kevin’s anxiety problems get better, they are surprised to find that Sabu is surprisingly angry at the hospital staff, which leads to the big revelation by Doctor Rajah (Lal) about Chitra. This makes them wonder how long he has been in the hospital.

The defence of Madhuram :: The movie has to be appreciated more for its optimistic viewpoint about relationships, and life that goes on with love and endurance against all odds. With Joju George who seems to go through the whole thing as if living through it rather than acting, and Shruti Ramachandran who blends in to this role in a realistic manner like no other, this one feels like a safe watch from the beginning itself. The movie’s messages about relationships is beautiful, as it celebrates being in marriage, and with love. The movie also knows where to place the emotions, without any overdose of melodrama coming into the picture to ruin things. The humour which the movie uses in the initial stages brings some early delight, and as it passes on to the sad and emotional side, it makes sure that the balance is not lost, and we are not put into a world of eternal depression, for there is faith, belief and hope at all times. The taste of love between husbands and wives never losses its charm, for love in marriage is shown as a thing with wings more than that of the other kinds of relationships.

Positives and negatives :: Some dialogues might feel like a little too much in the view of life, but the actors who deliver them make it even more effective – the emotions are so well portrayed through them, and we appreciate the choice of performers here again and again – you see how Joju and Indrans make us feel, and the rest are following them so well, effectively. The visuals of the hospital are also nice, and songs with all the picturization makes us feel the emotions which are present at all times. The food also stays with us, and the focus in the same also contributes to the overall mood, which is surprisingly a happy one for most of its run, even though it is set in a hospital and there is the long wait for some risky surgeries going on throughout the film. You also see that this one basically maintains the balance between optimism and realism, unlike Jis Joy movies like Sunday Holiday, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum and Mohan Kumar Fans which have so much of optimistic attitude that one feels that there is too much of positivity in life which is not really there. Without the same, this one makes you feel the love, and you are into the emotions.

The performers of the soul :: The director here is blessed with a fantastic cast which anyone would wish to have in a work of drama. It is led by none other than Joju George, the man who touched our emotions the best, not with an emotional drama, but with an investigative thriller, Joseph – that was one turning point which still holds strong in our minds, and this drama holds strong with its emotional content, thanks to him more than anyone else. We have always known what he is capable of, and here is one more testimony to his skills. The combination of Joju George and Shruti Ramachandran is something to remember for long, as their relationship has a lot to take away in this tale of different relationships between many couples. Shruti Ramachandran was already there in the highly emotional drama, Kaanekkaane, which was another film which released in the same platform. This love story of the two over one biriyani and more food, is a thing of high quality and the flashback keeps us glued to the seats and in love. They also have some nicely visualized songs to support their cause – you also remember some simple, yet lovely dialogues.

Further performers of the soul :: After the Joju George and Shruti Ramachandran story, we have the other tale of husband and wife, with Arjun Ashokan and Nikhila Vimal playing the couple without that much of love, and with one mother standing in between them, leading to a possible divorce in future. Arjun Ashokan had the role of a lover in June which came from the same director and has no problems here, while Nikhila Vimal was last seen in the horror movie, The Priest. Her ability to deliver some natural performances were seen in two different roles in the movies Aravindante Athidhikal and Njan Prakashan, and she continues to establish herself as a leading actress with such roles. Even though this is the secondary love story, and is often rushed, raises itself with the performances of the two. Indrans has another touching performance to deliver here after Home, and this character also stays close to us. Jaffar Idukki, Jagadish and Lal also come up with some delightful performances, even though in smaller roles. Fahim Safar, Navas Vallikkunnu and Malavika Sreenath are also notable.

How it finishes :: The movie does have its surprises, but the intention here is to bring an emotional surprise rather than the usual one, and the director is successful in doing the same. There is emotional strength which is equal to, or at times even at a higher level than Kaanekkaane also of Sony LIV, for this movie is purely a relatable drama for many people, and it is about husband and wife relationship. The Tovino-Suraj starrer of the same platform had elements of a thriller, and therefore not relatable for all times, but when we look at Madhuram, its emotional intensity is of the common man’s soul. Well, the work that these OTT platforms have done to make our Christmas celebration better, is to be appreciated, for we have already had the greatest superhero film in India in Netflix, and this one is a collection of emotions, which we are to cherish. Well, with these movies being available everywhere in the online platform, you can give some credit to the Corona virus pandemic for bringing these national and international level of attention.

Release date: 24th December 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Ahammed Khabeer
Starring: Joju George, Shruti Ramachandran, Nikhila Vimal, Arjun Ashokan, Lal, Indrans, Jagadish, Malavika Sreenath, Jaffar Idukki, Babu Jose, Sminu Sijo, Thirumala Ramachandran, Navas Vallikkunnu, Fahim Safar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Voyeurs

Vampire Owl: Do you think that life means anything?

Vampire Bat: It doesn’t matter for humans at all. Then why should it matter for us?

Vampire Owl: I am sure that it would matter to us more.

Vampire Bat: I would never understand why humans are like this.

Vampire Owl: Humans need their lives to keep lying.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is the only thing that they do throughout their lives.

Vampire Owl: I had trusted three humans last year, and I would never do that again.

Vampire Bat: Humans are all about cheating others, and nothing more.

Vampire Owl: I would trust the demons of hell over these people.

Vampire Bat: Let us not blame the zombies for eating their brains then, and go home.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) and Thomas (Justice Smith), move into a new apartment in Montreal, Canada after a long time of spending time apart despite being in love for quite a long time. It seems to be the perfect place for them, and everything seems to work exactly according to the plans, which includes children, job and many more things. They soon find out that the windows of their apartment look across the street to another one, which has no curtains. They see and note these neighbours from the first night itself, and there is initially just some photography, but soon things get more intimate. Pippa doesn’t feel that it is okay to look into the lives of others. They even end up giving those people random names. Soon, they become more addicted in the life of people on the other side. Sebastian (Ben Hardy) and Sam (Cait Alexander) are the two people whom they end up seeing in action. Then there is also Julia (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) whom they see at the same apartment.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: They understand that Julia is the original wife, and Seb is cheating on her. Now, Pippa and Thomas are really interested, and wants to know what these people were talking to each other. For the same, they attend a Halloween Party in the apartment, and place a recording device in there. Julia who is supposed to be the real wife of Seb knows that he is cheating on her with some of the models whose photos he had taken. As more models including Mere (Blessing Adedijo) are added to the list, only Thomas and Pippa knows about the same as they watch from a distance. When Julia visits Pippa’s eye clinic, they become friends, and Pippa really wishes to talk to Julia about all the cheating that has been going on. But it seems that there is more to what they have been seeing around. The world has its secrets, and here once again, we have more than what meets the eye.

The defence of The Voyeurs :: The Voyeurs does have some moments of suspense, and it keeps us interested about what is to happen next, and twists as well as thrills do make the appearance. We have many unpredictable moments in here too, as one does feel that he or she never did see that coming. It is then that the mood of the movie suddenly changes without a warning, and there are those final moments when Sydney Sweeney scores above everyone else. All of a sudden, we have something to look out for. The pattern is also really good, and how it transcends the genre is a thing to look out for. The final moments of the film are among the best too, as the shock does get to everyone. We also have some fine visuals around here, and there is also the message given about not to believe what we see. Well, we just cannot believe the humans about almost anything, because humanity itself is built on the towers of lies and hatred for others.

The claws of flaw :: Even though The Voyeurs could have been a better film, there is no attempt here to rise above the limitations. There are lots of slow moments in here, and we are left with times when nothing much happens. The film also takes some time to bring its twists to the scene. People will find some parts of the movie strange too, and also related to how things change so fast. We also have times when things are not that perfect, and we do feel that some of these things could have been different. It also follows the usual formula for the is kind of film for most of the time too. It could have also focused more on human nature, and how it has led to all of these in a direct manner. The film could have also had its focus on evil rather than anything else, as well as some special tendencies which people have. It does have the strength up to an extent, and we are always looking for more as far as films like this one are concerned.

Performers of the soul :: Sydney Sweeney leads the cast, and things go pretty well with her work, and Justice Smith also comes up with a similar job. Sydney is indeed lovely in showing those emotions as things change so quickly. We can see that in the end, she raises the level so well. It is beautiful to watch her emotional side at work. The leading cast are pretty good together, as we look at them. Natasha Liu Bordizzo is very good with her work, even though it is Katharine King whom we notice before her. Natasha also has something special in store, and you can wait for that too. The other names including Katharine King are fine to watch on the screen, but quickly vanish without any trace of their former existence. Ben Hardy is more or less the character that seemed predictable earlier, but not so later. There are also a number of other characters who are not given that much focus, and we forget them too, as film comes to an end.

How it finishes :: The Voyeurs has its moments of suspense and thrills, along with the twists which keep us going. It is not just what it seems to be, but more, and also leaves hope for a possible sequel in an even stranger manner. The films like this can actually go a strange route, and can miss the mark easily, but this one holds on really well. It is nice to see that another interesting thriller has come out on Amazon Prime Video during these times when theatres still remain closed. There are surely more coming up, and for now, we have this one to be appreciated. The Voyeurs might not be watched by many as of now, but it will surely be a preference soon enough. So, all of you do stay safe during the time of COVID-19 pandemic, and watch more films from Amazon Prime Video. These might not be the best time, but at least we can watch some good movies.

Release date: 10th September 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Michael Mohan
Starring: Sydney Sweeney, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Justice Smith, Ben Hardy, Katharine King, Cameo Adele, Jean Yoon, Blessing Adedijo

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<— Click here to go to the previous film review from Amazon release.

<— Click here to go to the previous English film review from Amazon release.

<— Click here to go to the English review from Amazon release during the same time.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.