Kho Kho

What is the movie about? :: Maria Francis (Rajisha Vijayan) is appointed as a PT teacher in a girls’ school, in the remote area of a village which is surrounded by backwaters. She is forced to take up the job because her husband Ben (Venkitesh VP) was facing failure in business, and was in requirement of the money. Maria used to be a sprinter, and was very close to representing India at an international level when something terrible happened in her life. At the new school, the two people who is in support of her activities are the peon Shivaprasad (Renjit Shekar Nair) and the accountant Vinod (Rahul Riji Nair), the latter being doubtful about the requirement for a PT teacher in the school, yet being interested in Maria. After some days of doing almost nothing in the school which has historically given no importance to arts and sports, she decides to create a kho-kho team for the first time in school history, a move much appreciated by the headmaster.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With a confused but hardworking team led by the stubborn Anju (Mamitha Baiju) who has her own mood swings and not missing her chance to pick up a fight, Maria hopes to make history through her students, and achieve greatness which she couldn’t earlier due to circumstances. The parents of the students are against the students choosing sports instead of using that time for studies, and do not appreciate the fact that the girls are going somewhere far away to compete. But as they qualify for the district level competitions, they do manage to gain a certain amount of support. The girls’ problem related to balancing studies and sports, their problem with wearing shorts within a conservative world and Anju’s attraction towards Shivaprasad might be the least of the problems with Maria will have to face here. Can she and Anju lead the team towards seemingly impossible victories and an even more elusive final triumph?

The defence of Kho-Kho :: Depending more on the emotions than anything else, Kho-Kho also has the usual moments of thrill with the games. It is the common motivational story of the underdogs who had no chance, but with hardwork and inspired performance, comes out victorious against all odds. The characters and the setting become interesting in this case, as this goes through life of common people for most of the time. We also have some nice visuals to go with the same. There are many exciting scenes here to remember too. The struggles of the characters involved here are shown well, especially the two main characters played by Rajisha and Mamitha. The feeling which was provided by Finals is somewhat repeated in this movie, and if you had like that movie, this will be on your favourite sports drama list too. The songs are pretty good, and they go on well with the visuals as well as the mood, and so does the background music. Unlike Chak De! India and Dangal, this is the real woman-centric film with empowerment, and without those unnecessary superstar exaggerations, and that feels true to life in many ways.

The claws of flaw :: Kho-Kho is certainly not that big as Finals, the other film with the same actress in the lead. The background story which keeps on moving silently is not that strong when we look at it. The premise feels similar to other movies, and we can predict a lot of things which are going to happen here. A number of training scenes and events are more repetitive rather than trying to do something different or unpredictable. To add to it, some dialogues actually look more artificial, right out of paper, rather than coming with the emotional weight. Venkitesh is also very much underused in another movie after The Priest limited him, and Thattumpurath Achuthan‘s song presence had made us feel that he would be a regular full presence. More of the girls in the cast should have got more attention though, at least half of them. The release of the movie on Asianet was delayed by a week, and it was Drishyam 2 which had its television release then, a disappointing decision from the channel which might have kept some people away.

The performers of the soul :: We have seen Rajisha Vijayan only in a few movies, and among them, we have seen such great skill. We have seen her in the grand performances from Anuraga Karikkin Vellam which brought her the Kerala State Award for Best Actress, through the nostalgia-inducing coming-of-age story of June, to the earlier sports drama of high acclaim, Finals. It is to be noted that in both sports drama, Rajisha plays a character with a tragedy to go with both life and career. With her role beginning as the trainer, the tragic background was established much earlier here. Rajisha once again has the whole thing in control here, and from the beginning to the end, it is a determined as well as emotional performance. Well, Finals was the best movie of the season when it released, but many people missed the work on the big screen, and the same is the case here too due to COVID-19, and it seems that the early television premieres are changing some of the situation here, with everyone getting the needed access not too late.

Further performers of the soul :: Mamitha Baiju who was also seen in Operation Java plays the captain of the team, and plays her role in a very much believable manner, with all the emotions and determination required for the role. She will surely be a talent to look out for, with more of similar roles. There is the rage and a flurry of emotions that she comes up with, which suits very well for her character with a troubled past. Unlike the character she played in the Balu Varghese starrer, the energy here is intense. Venkitesh VP as the protagonist’s husband has only a limited role, and we are still hoping to see him in bigger roles, like we have wanted all those actors and actresses in the Naayika Naayakan reality show to come out with their performances on the big screen. Renjit Shekar Nair and the director himself – Rahul Riji Nair comes up with good supporting performances. Vettukili Prakash’s role might have felt unnecessary. The cast of girls in the team is also nicely done, and at least quarter of them stay with us by the end, even though not more than one or two gets extra attention.

How it finishes :: Kho-Kho is another sports drama which you don’t need to miss, and it is also a film which goes through the base level of the game, without overdoing the same. Just like Finals, it is nice to see another sport with lesser fans getting all the attention, and not the highly fan favourite Indian sport of cricket or football which comes second. Cricket never really required movies as support, but some sports can have films made on them to bring out interest back to them, and this is the same case happening here. The movie is a reminder of a sport which is often left unnoticed among the bigger names. Kho-Kho is a film that can have even a sequel with this content, and there are times when it also reminds us of Godha, which brought back memories of wrestling as a sport. These are indeed the films which needs our support, and not those overrated stuff which has wandered around with a lot of hype and no substance. Kho-Kho needs to come back to television or release on Amazon Prime at some point to expand its horizons.

Release date: 14th April 2021 (Theatre), 28th May 2021 (Asianet)
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Rahul Riji Nair
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Mamitha Baiju, Renjit Shekar Nair, Venkitesh VP, Vettukili Prakash, Arjun Ranjan, Sreejith Babu, Jeo Baby, Geethi Sangeetha, Rahul Riji Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Demon Eye

Vampire Owl: This was the name of that artifact which the northern witches used.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that they were in contact with the demons?

Vampire Owl: Well, aren’t they supposed to be so?

Vampire Bat: They are usually in contact with those who rise from the grave.

Vampire Owl: Well, this is just one portal away from that.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but the demons are not really the undead in any way.

Vampire Owl: You do have something against some popular demons.

Vampire Bat: No, I am not talking about those tik-tok using humans.

Vampire Owl: At least, that episode is over for now.

Vampire Bat: You should know that demons, the masters of hell are not to be treated without extreme care.

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

What is the movie about? :: Sadie (Kate James) haven’t been in good terms with her father John (Darren Day) for a long time, and never really picks up his call, until one day, she decides to do just that. But she hears some stranhe noise from his room, and he quickly cuts the call, citing an emergency. This is the last time when Sadie sees her father, and the next thing he knows about him is that he is dead. Much to everyone’s surprise, he is supposed to have committed suicide by hanging. This forces Sadie to come back to the house, which is in a remote location, and has nobody else to take over the same. There she meets the man with whom the house keys were left with, Dan (Robert Hamilton), and Sadie feels strange to be at that house which has her old dolls and cameras being set in every room, corridor and staircase. Dan also leaves a job for her in a newspaper, passed on to her by her father who had worked there until his death.

So, what happens with the events here? :: She is immediately hired at the newspaper as a photographer, and finds Dan in an awkward position with Faye (Ellie Goffe) who is supposed to be his fiancee. Dan and Sadie get their first assignment to interview Craig (Liam Fox), a local man who is supposed to have seen The Burning Girl (Alannah Marie) – it was part of a folklore which was supposed to have become reality for some people. There is the legend of the Demon Eye that goes with it, as a girl was burned as a witch a long time ago in the name of causing a famine which she had predicted with the help of an amulet some time ago. But on the way, she sees a fire and a person standing in it, and as she tries to take a photo, the battery goes down. Even while interviewing, she gets into a fight with the man whom she was supposed to interview. She is confused about all the information she had managed to get from different people about her father who she hated. Is there a secret to be unveiled in relation to her father’s death?

The defence of Demon Eye :: We have been falling short of some interesting horror movies, and then this one comes up. It is that movie which deals with its subject in a slightly different way, and the subject itself has more than one angle to take care of. The quick scares are all there, and the most effective one is with a severed head in the bath-tub, then there are hands coming from under the bed, hellish hound kind of thing and the usual burned face with all the creepiness that it can have. The length of the movie is also less in comparison, not going to even ninety minutes, and it does make the most of it, with not having much from the dull moments there. The atmosphere is also good, with a setting in the middle of nowhere, with vast landscapes inspiring dark folktales all around. There is always something about focusing on the folklore, whether it is real or not. This setting will impress you, and with moments to remember, makes its point really well.

The claws of flaw :: Among the horror movies these days, Demon Eye is the one which is rather less known, or not known at all at this part of the world. It should have still achieved more with the premise – you know that with the title itself and also with the idea which is being explored here. Whenever there is a demon involved, you can take it further with ease. The demons might have been less scary in comparison to pandemics, but they are not yet completely out of the equation. We have so many moments which could have been something bigger, but manages to adjust with what it has, not trying to raise the bar. The effects of the low budget are there too, even though they have partially overcome that. The ending of the movie also felt a little rushed, because a horror movie like this requires something bigger, and the case of the climax is also the same. The main character also required to make more out of the situations here.

Performers of the soul :: Kate James plays the protagonist in this movie, even though IMDb hasn’t really listed here at the top, or with a photo. Even though there is some struggle in the beginning stages, she plays the character really well, and only gets better in the later stages. She is part of almost every scary scene in this movie, and the best one is that of the bath-tub with the severed head, even though more could have been done with a character like hers. Her portrayal of the troubled character who need psychiatric help from the early stages is believable, without being melodramatic. The other actors don’t seem to try too hard, but manages to hold on. She is way ahead in that case, when we look closely. The other young lady in the movie is the next person to catch our attention, even though she is not there for too long on the screen – Ellie Goffe does a very good job too. Robert Hamilton, Darren Day and Liam Fox, all of them manage just enough here.

How it finishes :: There are always some interesting horror movies of interest, if we keep checking for them. Demon Eye can be on the list too, depending on your preferences, even though you can’t expect it to do too much with its content. This is the kind of horror movie which you watch on Friday nights for some fun scares, and for that purpose, this film is successful, leaving no doubts behind. With a fine premise, from a situation in which things could have gone much worse, the movie takes itself back to make sure that as a whole, it is a pretty good work. There might be a few things left unexplained though, but through the same, it leaves the scope for a sequel, even as we are not really supposed to expect one, considering the response it had received otherwise. Do add this to your horror collection, as one more demon, this time with another witch-hunting past, will bring the entertainment to you.

Release date: 26th April 2019
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Ryan Simons
Starring: Darren Day, Liam Fox, Kate James, Ellie Goffe, Jimmy Allen, Alannah Marie, Robert Hamilton

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Coma

Vampire Owl: I have been in a vampire coma for quite a long time.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that the coma about which they are talking about here is not the same at all.

Vampire Owl: Well, all comas are pretty much similar in nature when you look deep enough.

Vampire Bat: At least, you should understand that being in a coffin and resting is not really the coma which is supposed to be significant.

Vampire Owl: What about that case when we were attacked by the werewolves and I went into coma?

Vampire Bat: You went for rest, and you had asked for it. There was no real coma.

Vampire Owl: Well, it is quite unfair, you know, for vampires not really having real comas.

Vampire Bat: Why would you want to go on a coma? It is quite absurd.

Vampire Owl: I had placed a bet with Vampire Penguin.

Vampire Bat: I thought that you were finished with that nonsense already!

[Gets an apple cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Viktor (Rinal Mukhametov) awakens on a bed inside a strange room, and he is surprised to find that there is something wrong with the objects in the room, and as he walks out, he finds out that everything around there is weird, with people as well as the objects – the rules of gravity itself doesn’t apply there as buildings from different parts of the world also seems floating around along with the usual kind of buildings and roads. As he walks around and witnesses more strange things, he is attacked by a creature, but is saved by a group of people and he accompanies them as they run away from what seems to be monster with no real shape. The newly found friends explain to him that he should be in a coma in original life, and what they are experiencing are the memories of the people who are in coma. Building, objects, people or whatever they remember are there in this world, but in a chaotic arrangement. Whatever is not remembered, doesn’t exist there at all. The new world had picked up these memories like radio signals.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The one whom Viktor meets first is Fly (Lyubov Aksyonova) a soldier who seems to have healing skills, and explains to him on his newly found situation in between San Francisco Bridge, St. Peter’s Basilica, Burj Khalifa, Kremlin, Big Ben and others. The mixed up memories being more and more chaos to world as not much makes sense in this new world. He feels that this is all just a dream, and he would wake up from it at some point, but Fly tells him that it is not going to happen, and they are all stuck there, in the world of coma, and they are all hunted by the creatures known as reapers, which make their existence there as unsafe, until they find a new place of refuge. If they die in that particular world of coma, there would be no return to the real world for them, and they decide to play it safe. Fly feels that Viktor will play a major role in making sure about their safety, but not everyone is that confident about it.

And what more is there in this strange world which seems to have no meaning? :: The leader of the military team is Phantom (Phantom) who has developed his strength and agility, while Spirit (Polina Kuzminskaya) has developed mind power. Almost everyone out there seems to have developed some powers during their stay at the place. Yet, Viktor seems to develop none despite all the hype surrounding him, and the only thing he remembers about him is that he used to be an architect, and had a car accident which brought him into the coma. Still, they have to keep searching in different memories which have become entangled as so many people in coma have left their part in there. With reapers everywhere hunting for people who have reached this world, they are indeed running out of time. The creatures can sense them, and there is a good chance that they will be turned into one of the monsters. But they really have no option, but to try, right? Can they figure things out and finally get out of the coma, or will they meet their ends there itself?

The defence of Coma :: You will notice in the beginning itself that this is a movie which looks just fantastic, with a magnificent world with great detail. There seems to be a lot of top level work done in the designing and graphics departments. We have many areas in this movie which can make a nice wallpaper, from the simplest to the most complicated details. There are so many places which look stunning with real world mingling into the artificial. We do see a fantasy world with a remarkable, yet chaotic design. The reapers also make interesting creatures, nicely suitable for the world that they are part of. You will also come across some fine twists, and there is more than what meets the eye about this idea and the world which has been created here. Even the real world outside coma has its own charm, and the actors do a pretty good job in total. Even though Rinal Mukhametov does pretty good, the two people who catch our attention more are Lyubov Aksyonova and Anton Pampushnyy who have some fine moments even though they don’t really make the protagonists or antagonists here.

The claws of flaw :: There are many movies that this one keep reminding us about. It has the elements of dreams replaced by comas on one side, and we are into another world which feels longer even when the real life’s time is shorter in duration. The Matrix also comes to your mind, with the possibility of a chosen one, and a world being created where the impossible seems to be possible while you have logged into the coma instead of the world of the matrix code. It doesn’t really keep up to the pace maintained by those science-fiction movies from the past either. The movie also has some confusing moments, and unlike the other movies of the genre, the flashback and the explanations are not that well done – we feel that when we look for more of knowledge about the laws of that particular world. The action sequences could have also been better used, as we find the same limited, just like the horror related to those creatures who also weaken over time.

How it finishes :: Coma will be liked by the fans of science fiction who had earlier liked films like Inception which had set a different trend going with its release. Even the love for The Matrix which we have missed for a long time can trigger the interest in this movie, even though this is not that innovative as that flick which changed our idea about science fiction action a long time ago. Still, this movie might need a sequel to further develop its idea to a better state. The world does require better utilization here, because this one feels more or less like an origin story. Well, we are never really without need for some good science-fiction movies, as it is one genre for which the demand never gets too low. After all, Russia has brought us interesting science-fiction before, and most of the time, it has been about aliens. Here, we see the attempt to go divergent, seemingly inspired from some of the ideas on dreams and machine simulation.

Release date: 29th November 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Nikita Argunov
Starring: Rinal Mukhametov, Lyubov Aksyonova, Anton Pampushnyy, Milos Bikovic, Polina Kuzminskaya, Konstantin Lavronenko, Rostislav Gulbis, Leonid Timtsunik, Vilen Babichev, Evgeniya Karatygina, Alexey Lubchenko, Sergei Gilev, Oleg Akkuzin, Igor Sigaev, Albert Kobrovsky

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Wick 3

What is the movie about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) had murdered Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) at The Continental Hotel, violating the rule that there would be no blood on its grounds. Winston (Ian McShane), the owner and manager of the hotel had delayed announcing the resulting excommunication and global bounty by an hour to give him a head start. Now being an excommunicado, John is on the run, and is confronted by lesser assassins even before his time started. With a fourteen million bounty on his head, and on the run from assassins, he manages to gain a safe passage to Casablanca in Morocco by claiming a favour from a lady known as the Director (Anjelica Huston). There he meets Sofia (Halle Berry) who owes him a favour and asks her to lead him to the Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui), a high ranked member of the high table who could take the bounty off his head.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is during the same time that an adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) from the high table meets with Winston, who is asked to give up his office in seven days. Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), the leader of a network of vagrant assassins is also asked to give up his position. There would be serious consequences if both were to disagree. An assassin known as Zero (Mark Dacascos) is recruited by her for the mission. He, along with his assassin team members, take on the helpers of John Wick. At the same time, John does come up with a deal, but there is more to be done, and there are so many assassins after him. He would wish to stop this and live in the memories of his wife, but that wouldn’t be possible that easily. Winston and Bowery King wishes to keep their part too, but that will be quite difficult too.

The defence of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum :: We have watched the previous two chapters, and one can safely say that the franchise has had a clear improvement, with the second chapter being better than the first, and this third chapter rising above the predecessors. The improvements come in different fields – one is the action, which is surely better, and each sequence and each kill seems to have something in it. There are some interesting sequences in the beginning itself, and in the end, we have another grand one. The ending also assures us of another sequel, and more blood bath. The visuals are also part of the improvement, as what we see on the screen, with the shots from the distance, or even inside the fighting places are all really good. The humour also sees a certain improvement, and a few are there when least expected. Most of us have played the game Hitman, on the silent assassin, and John Wick goes loud, like Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.

The claws of flaw :: The phrase “Si vis pacem, para bellum”, means “If you want peace, prepare for war”, and “parabellum” in the movie name calls for war, which brings a lots of blood and gore which may not be acceptable for everyone – its actually a lot more than the previous movie, but as we won’t have the original uncut version here, that won’t be a problem for our audience here. One would also wonder why the movie decided not to have a better storyline behind all the big action. While Keanu Reeves is too good here, we miss Ruby Rose with that intensity in the last movie – Asia Kate Dillon never comes up with any action, and Halle Berry is wasted in a small role looking the same all the time. More of Laurence Fishburne would have also been appreciated. Everything also comes together in a way that makes a number of incidents in the movie not worthy, and some replacements could have made it feel better.

How it finishes :: John Wick 3 undoubtedly brings the best full action movie in a long time, maybe the most significant one after Mission Impossible: Fallout. Well, there are many other genres which those usual action movies could fit in, but this one is perfectly suited for exactly one category. But one thing that will surprise the movie fans is related to this flick’s availability in the theatres. As of now, it seems to be available in only one multiplex in Cochin, which is PVR Cinemas in Lulu Mall. The closest place where one can find the same is many kilometres away, in the next district, at INOX in Sobha City Mall, Thrissur. With Avengers: Endgame reigning and breaking all records, there might be no place for another English movie, but with John Wick shows running full, there has to be more, and it is one thing which the assassin deserves. At least it should stay for more.

Release date: 17th May 2019
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston, Ian McShane

*Below is a short review on another movie which I watched during this weekend – Ishq.

[Short Review: Ishq (2019: Malayalam) – The movie talks about two lovers who are harassed by moral policing locals. It has some fine performances from whole of its cast, and the idea is definitely a good one, with a reflection of certain incidents which have happened in the past. The Shine and Shane combination works like a dream. There is also one beautiful song and the first few moments are nicely done until they get repetitive, and the ending is nice. But with its story and the execution as a whole, the movie struggles. There is also the lack of some good characterization, and wastes its female characters except for the moments in the beginning and the end. The characters act in strange ways as in a brainless slasher movie, leaving the realistic side a long way behind. A journey from a road thriller to home invasion, from “In Fear” to “Funny Games” can always be better.

If there were messages intended, then also the movie gives the wrong ones, as reflected in the response of the audience – they are clapping to those mass scenes which go against the spirit of the movie itself, and in the end, except for the people online, especially on Facebook, others are not seen as giving the highly positive opinions. Giving a tagline which nobody really cares to read is also not an excuse to not living up to what the title says. The movie seems to be something created out of anger rather than with a mission, and to work with the common audience, we need the latter – the intellect has advantage over instinct, and it is something to be kept in mind when dealing with an issue like this one. This was a movie which had a great chance at being something brilliant, but fails to be there, as it embraces mediocrity.]

Also refer to similar movies like Varathan and Uncle which were better.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

June

What is the movie about? :: June Sarah Joy (Rajisha Vijayan) considers herself to be an ordinary girl with no special talents, which is the reason why she is upset that most of the other students who join her class are able to do so much more. Her parents (Joju George and Aswathi Menon) care very much about her as she is their only child. Noel (Sarjano Khalid) is her newfound best friend who is elevated to the level of her boyfriend. They get to connect well with each other as they are both considered to be lagging with their talents. As time progresses, she is able to make new friends, and her Plus Two batch of 2007 is finally able to become a batch to remember not just for the students, but also to the teachers. But at the same time, when her parents find out about Noel, she decided to end their relationship. She joins a nearby college while he travels to Mumbai to stay with his parents and to continue his studies.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The best friends go in their own ways, and June is left with the memories of Noel. She goes through her college days without much of an enthusiasm as she is still caught in her life in Plus Two. After completing her degree, she decides to go for an interview in Mumbai and meet Noel at the same time. She stays with her Plus Two classmate Abhirami a.k.a. Mottachi (Vaishnavi Venugopal) who is also working there, and finds Noel to begin the next phase of their relationship. But things are not that easy as she thought they would be. She has to deal with his family as well as hers, and at the same time, maintain her own independence. About their life, what Noel thinks might not be the same either. So, the question remains about what awaits her in the rest of her life.

The defence of June :: The strength of June lies not just in the performances lead by the female lead, but also in the memories that it creates. It takes us back to the school days, and even though it is not an exact reflection of the memories as it was recreated in Om Shanti Oshana, this one is surely an effective one, thanks to a better performance from the female lead in comparison to that older version. The movie is also a clean entertainer for the family audience, with nothing that makes them doubt about their plan to watch the movie – keeping it so, and at the same time, funny would have been a difficult job, but is done with skill. The climax and the final scenes are beautifully done too, and it talks not just of love, but of nostalgia and friendship that comes back after a long time. The music is nice, and suits the mood of the movie. The songs come too often, but they are nice to hear.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s idea to skip the college days completely is one strong negative point on this movie – the second half could have used some of that too, and in that case, being a coming-of-age story in the lines of Premam and Om Shanti Oshana, this one has a little missing part. There is no life that serves as a coming-of-age story without the college days, because it doesn’t matter who denies the same, there is something about those moments all the time. It is where bildungsroman struggles. The movie is also a little bit too long, which is why one can feel certain drag with the romance. There was surely more scope to make this one better. It has to be noted that not everything in the movie brings the memories of school days, and not all jokes serve to be that effective. But as the industry is once again becoming hesitant to experiment, June is surely one another welcome move.

The performers of the soul :: Rajisha Vijayan who won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in her debut film Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, which was also her first movie, once again makes an impression, as we had expected from the trailer. Georgettan’s Pooram and Oru Cinemakkaran never really gave her any challenge as movies which kept at a certain level, never trying to rise or give its female protagonists opportunity to do much. She takes over the protagonist, and has the sixteen year old going through to the next ten years of her life, even though three years at college are absent. The moments during the Plus Two time period are done with amazing skill, and the latter moments are not far behind, and they seemed to come naturally to her. With the whole movie completely dependent on her performance, she makes sure that she comes up with only the best.

Further performers of the soul :: Along with Rajisha, there are others to add to this one very well. Joju George gets another fine role after Joseph, unlike the insignificant one he had to do in Lonappante Mamodeesa. He nicely gets into the father role here, and has some funny as well as touching moments to go with it. Aswathi Menon who is best known for Sathyam Sivam Sundaram and its highly popular song “Walking in the moonlight” has the mother role here, and she makes it a good one. Sarjano Khalid, the debutante who plays a male lead does well, as if he’s been there before. Arjun Ashokan has also done a good job, especially in the second half. Among the actors and actresses who plays the protagonist’s friends, it is Vaishnavi Venugopal who shines the most. That should be among the most natural performances not by a main or secondary heroine, in a long time. The other newcomers are also good talents, as we can see here.

How it finishes :: Releasing at the same time as Oru Adaar Love released, this one uses less hype and more quality to be assured of a more solid run. After Aadu 2, Vijay Babu becomes the producer again here, and we expected a performance to remember from Rajisha Vijayan – it is the same that we get here. This one stays close to life and memories, along with being another feel-good movie which touches our hearts after Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, Njan Prakashan and Ente Ummante Peru. June is also one movie which does so much justice to the trailer, as it is more or less the same thing that we watched earlier and expected. Even though Kumbalangi Nights and 9 are there, this movie should take over some of the presence of the latter, and keep going, because the movie is many different things to different people.

Release date: 15th February 2019
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Ahammed Kabir
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Joju George, Sarjano Khalid, Aswathi Menon, Vaishnavi Venugopal, Nayana Eliza, Arjun Ashokan, Sanju KS, Akhil Manoj, Harisankar, Sruthy Suresh, Margret Antony, Raveena Nair, Aju Varghese (cameo), Sunny Wayne (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ghost in the Shell

Vampire Owl: Now my vision is clear. It was those ghosts. They did it!

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The ghosts stole the seashells which I had collected and stored near the warehouse on the beach.

Vampire Bat: No, you can’t blame the ghosts or Lich Queen’s zombies on this one.

Vampire Owl: Does that mean I can blame the werewolves? Or the witches?

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to blame someone because you lost a few seashells which are not at all valuable to the realm?

Vampire Owl: Because it is quite natural for them to steal from us. I wouldn’t tolerate being made a fool.

Vampire Bat: I got the feeling that Vampire Raven threw it back into the sea which he was cleaning the area. He was assigned to the beach.

Vampire Owl: What? That evil black bird! I told you that he was evil! Not that much as Vampire Crocodile, but still…

Vampire Bat: Just watch this movie and see what the ghost here is all about.

[Gets three cups of Wayanad tea with Patanjali Doodh Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A long way into the future, humanity has depended on science a lot, and has developed very much. There are a lot of enhancements available for the human body which involves the improvement of vision, hearing, strength, accuracy and intelligence, which are all available on the market for a price. In a godless world, it is science that decides every action of man, with more and more inventions coming up, and technology proving it to be endless in scope. It is that point of time when death by disease seems to be a difficult thing to happen as most parts of the body are replaced with ease. Hanka Robotics, which is world’s leading developer of human augmentative technology decides to take it one step further. In a world which has robots and Artificial Intelligence to do a lot of things, they come up with the idea to develop of a mechanical body termed as shell, that could integrate human brain and use it.

So, what happens next? :: Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche), a champion at what she does, is chosen to do this job. She is someone who is known to have done wonders with her research, and is the easy choice here. Now, there is the question of a volunteer, and it comes as a result of terror. Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson), a young lady who somehow survives a terrorist attack in which everyone in her family other than her is killed, is chosen to be the brain of the shell, with her body damaged in the attack beyond repair. It seems to work well, as the test subject awakens, and is able to talk and move without any problem. The CEO of the organization, Cutter (Peter Ferdinando) observes the progress which has been made with the shell and the resultant cyborg organism, and decides that this new creation should be used against terrorism as soon as possible. He considers her as their future, and their best hope against terrorists.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: After an year passes, Killian has become a Major in the anti-terrorist bureau Section Nine. Working along with the counter-terrorism operatives Batou (Pilou Asbaek) and Togusa (Chin Han) and under the command of Chief Daisuke Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano) she continues the hunt for terrorists, making amends for the death of her parents due to such an attack. Among those attacks which she and her partners have witnessed, there is one which looks rather strange, with robots going rogue for no reason and hacking into the mind of a Hanka employee. Even for the best of hackers, this seem unnatural, and she feels that there is something deeper regarding this. Despite the hallucinations that she keeps having, she decides to dive deep into the Artificial Intelligence of the robot, and there she finds an unknown entity, known only as Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt). But this entity is not human, or robot, or a hybrid – it is something that exists within. She needs to find more before time runs out.

The defence of Ghost in the Shell :: The action sequences are really good, and the visuals are a joy to watch; the movie is rich on the screen, and you can’t deny it at any moment – the world of the future is so nicely created that we keep looking at every detail carefully. Scarlett Johansson leads the way as the perfect choice for this protagonist. She seems to be doing what Mila Jovovich has been doing for Resident Evil and Kate Beckinsale has been working for Underworld. Looking so good, and removing all doubts about why she was cast in this role, she goes on to become the true ghost inside the shell – more than Black Widow in The Avengers and it’s sequel or those Captain America flicks. Along with her, the movie also has a tale which will have our attention very early. When the idea is also so good, we keep staring, and when every detail of the visual is that good, we just can’t stop admiring the awesomeness on the screen. Along with the same, the movie has its own twists; some people will come close to guessing the same, but it still counts as pretty good ones which adds to totality.

Positives and negatives :: Ghost in the Shell should feel a little short with how much it really has – there is the hundred percent need for a sequel as we wish to see Scarlett Johansson going through all the action again in a sequel which would take this away from its origin story mode where it is now. There will be shades of other movies, but everything in here is enhanced, and nothing dares to go a step down, which is the beauty of what we see here. I haven’t gone through the Japanese manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow on which this is based, and that should be left for the fans – I would just watch this movie and enjoy how good it happens to be. A movie which entertains as well as brings something to think about is a glorious watch. It is also for us to think about who is right and who is wrong, and how correct is all that we are thought to believe in – maybe there is hope outside the thought process or maybe there is none at all.

How it finishes :: Ghost in the Shell can be considered as one of the best movies of the year, easily rising above big flicks of huge franchises like Alien Covenant and Wonder Woman, and the same is done in style. It also successfully provides a message against the human desire to look better and have an easier life – science has made all these easier, but is humanity good enough to negate the harmful effects of technology? Well, we are already slaves to technology, and so the answer might be no already. In future, it is clearly stated that wars will be fought on science and technology, and there will be terror. While hoping that such a day will never come, we also get a look at how mind finally takes over in the battle against all odds. Well, let the mind power win, and go on to watch this wonderful action thriller which has no moment which will want you turn back and exit.

Release date: 31st March 2017
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Juliette Binoche, Michael Carmen Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han, Peter Ferdinando, Danusia Samal, Kaori Momoi, Lasarus Ratuere, Anamaria Marinca, Michael Wincott, Yutaka Izumihara, Tawanda Manyimo, Daniel Henshall, Rila Fukushima, Pete Teo, Yuta Kazama, Chris Obi, Adwoa Aboah, Tricky

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Criminal

criminal-2

Vampire Owl: I am suffering from a thriller overdose.

Vampire Bat: And also the science fiction overdose. This movie is both, just like many other flicks which we have been watching in the recent days.

Vampire Owl: Why is it that there are not enough of such movies made here, and we have to keep depending on the Hollywood all the time?

Vampire Bat: We are specialised in drama, aren’t we?

Vampire Owl: And the romance. You see the latest one, the sequel to Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.

Vampire Bat: You mean Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Who makes sequels to a dumb movie?

Vampire Owl: A sequel to a super-hit dumb movie.

Vampire Bat: Which is the dumb movie which is not a super-hit in Bollywood?

Vampire Owl: I can only remember Besharam and Tamasha.

Vampire Bat: I am not letting them doing a science fiction thriller. It would mean the beginning of the end.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with biriyani rice and gravy].

What is the movie about? :: Xavier Heimdahl (Jordi Molla) is a newly turned anarchist, a former businessman looking forward to bringing the downfall of all world government and initiate a reign of chaos. For the same, a hacker known by the code name “the Dutchman”, Jan Strook (Michael Pitt) is forced to create a computer program that would be able to bypass all security features, and get to the nuclear defense codes of as many nations as possible. But fearing for what will happen afterwards, Jan panics and contacts Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) who is a CIA agent based in London. Even though Bill manages to get the money and also make the deal with Jan, he is unable to get the money to him, and also safely transport the hacker from the safehouse, as he is captured by the group of terrorists and murdered while trying to extract information.

So, what happens next? :: Now, the situation is that nobody knows where Jan is, and very much desperate to get to the hacker, the senior CIA agen Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) contacts Dr. Micah Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been running a number of experiments related to implanting memories on human brain. Micah agrees that theoretically speaking, he could transplant the memories of a dead man into the brain of a living person who volunteers for the experiment, but it has never been tested before, and nobody can figure out how it turns out to be for the receiver of these memories. A criminal Jerico Stewart (Kevin Costner) seems like the best option for the same for Micah, even though Quaker wants an agent to do the same. But an early childhood brain trauma makes Jerico the best choice according to Micah, and so they go forward with the same.

And what follows the transfer :: They bring a reluctant Jerico to the laboratory and conduct the experiment. In the beginning, it seems unsuccessful, and Jerico doesn’t respond to the questions asked related to Bill. But Jerico escapes the captivity, and memories of Bill begins to flash through his mind. As the memories keep coming to his mind, he keeps experiencing different emotions as well. Meanwhile, Jan decides to sell his program to the Russians believing that CIA is not ready to pay him, and has decided to back out of the deal. At the same time, Xavier and his henchwoman Elsa Mueller (Antje Traue) are looking forward to capture Jerico and find out where Jan is hiding, but it is the CIA who gets to him first. But the question remains if Jerico can remember the significant things, and even if he does, will he tell the CIA or the terrorists the truth?

The defence of Criminal :: There is a wonderful premise in store with Criminal, and it also finishes off well with a nice twist, and a fine ending which is going to appeal to most of the people. The pace is good, and we get into all the action very early, which makes sure that we are interested in what is to happen at the next moment, as things keep going out of control for the protagonists and the world almost ready to descend into chaos. Kevin Costner comes in a role which we are sure to remember more than any other in the recent past, as this one seems to suit him so well at all points. Gal Gadot has a nice emotional role to perform as we see her after all the action in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Antje Traue whom we had seen in Man of Steel and Pandorum gets another tough role to perform, and she might be the strongest of them all. There is also the strength of having Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones in two major roles.

The claws of flaw :: With its tale, Criminal could have surely achieved much more – it is something that we can all be sure about without doubt. The story could have been further developed into something bigger, dealing with brain and memories as Hollywood find it fit. This is an idea which has survived enough to be capable of bringing more, and that could have been something under focus. This is the kind of idea which could even be rather scary when we look at it. To add to the same, most characters are not dealt with well enough either, and there the focus goes limited. It was also strange to see Ryan Reynolds who has been two Marvel superheroes, Deadpool and the Green Lantern being being used so less, with his character dying so early. Alice Eve whom we last saw in a big movie in Star Trek Into Darkness, also gets much less here.

How it finishes :: For some reason, Criminal is a lesser known science fiction thriller around here, but it could have given many other movies a fight at the box-office if it had gained some hype here. Yes, Criminal is a lot better than some of those movies which gained too many positive reviews than they should have. Most of these faults which seem to have been found are not really that much of a problem if you take a deeper look at it and feel what you are really looking for from this movie within its genre. At the same time, Criminal also asks some very interesting questions about what makes a person – is it his memories, his emotions, or what he or others think that he is? Well, maybe all of them along with the situations – but there is a chance that none of them well. Go and see how it is made with the main character in this movie.

Release date: 15th April 2016
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Ariel Vromen
Starring: Kevin Costner, Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, Michael Pitt, Jordi Molla, Antje Traue, Scott Adkins, Amaury Nolasco, Ryan Reynolds, Colin Salmon, Tommy Hatto, Robert Davi, Richard Reid, Natalie Burn, Lara Decaro

criminal

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ormayundo Ee Mukham

ormayundoeemukham (1)

Vampire Owl :: Did you say the word soul?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I said that this movie talks about soul-mates.

Vampire Owl :: Dude, that is totally so evil. Like the souls in The Conjuring?

Vampire Bat :: Not that soul, the one that they say related to romance, like in Romeo and Juliet, Uncle Dracula and Mina Harker in the undead form or even like cardamom and tea.

Vampire Owl :: How disappointing. You should go for it alone then. It doesn’t fit my plans at all. I won’t recommend that for you either, as you are a cynic.

Vampire Bat :: But I can take that. I can have even tea, lime juice and milkshake together. I can take them all together.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, you are the one who watched three movies of entirely different genres at two different malls on one day and survived to tell the tale. Yes, I know that.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and I repeated that performance.

Vampire Owl :: You have even transformed me into a movie watcher. You are a bad influence. I should go back to my intelligent evil plans to conquer the world.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, do take the shovel to dig up your buried plans.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Gautham (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is a young businessman with an MBA from the United Kingdom, but is struggling with handling his father’s business at home due to his tension, lack of confidence and inability to memorize significant things related to business. His mother Vasundhara Devi (Rohini) struggles to keep the business going all by himself, and helping them in all that, is Gautham’s best friend Apoorva (Aju Varghese). Nithya (Namitha Pramod) enters their world as Gautham is forced to marry the daughter of a family friend as is attempting to make an escape. She is a sand artist and an orphan, with only the support of her sister Neethu (Soumya Sadanandan) and a family friend Dr. John Kuruvila (Mukesh) who is treating Nithya for her short term memory loss. Even as Nithya and Gautham gets really close, she doesn’t remember who he is, when they meet on the next day. Even as his well-wishers warn him against falling with love with her, he is adamant on making her remember him and stay in her mind forever.

The defence of Ormayundo Ee Mukham :: The move is cute, and there is no need for summoning an oracle from Delphi to tell you that, as it was evident from the trailer itself. The songs are good and nicely complimenting the movie, even if not that much to remember when standing alone. There is the feel-good factor and it also exists with the power to strike the hearts. The funny side is strong, with Aju Varghese handling things so well, and there are some really memorable moments with him and Soumya Sadanandan, and some more when Facebook, Whatsapp and some of the big movies and its dialogues or even songs are made fun of. Coming from the debutante Anvar Sadik, this is a great start for him, especially when experienced ones struggle a lot – no don’t look at Bollywood, that should be a shocking scene. The cinematography is excellent too. There is also the beauty of love, even as it is overdone with some dialogues, work nicely against the world of dumb new generation pseudo-love which we have to suffer from on many occasions. This one is extremely sweet and successfully delivers the feel-good factor.

Claws of flaw :: The movie seems to have been inspired by the 2004 movie 50 First Dates, but the director here has given the fact that he is influenced by Hollywood romantic movies just before the beginning of this flick. There is also the mentioning of a number of movies in the middle of this, and may be that will keep those who are complaining happy. Well, romance and comedy are two things that can be taken and changed to suit a different world and culture, and therefore, that trouble should be forgiven. This is also quite predictable with not much in the story and struggling to make things happen, especially for those who have watched a lot of romantic comedies from English, especially the Adam Sandler starrer. The end is just what we expect, and there is the extended final moment which shouldn’t have been there. They could have tried harder with this one, as there are moments which seems to be at a loss. There is the weakness of the central portion that this movie has, compared to what happens in the beginning and right after the middle. Yes, there is the stupidity in love too, but that is expected.

Performers of the soul :: Vineeth Sreenivasan wins the show, mostly with his funny side rather than anything else, and his presence in this cute movie is rather like the need for fire inside a fire-breathing dragon, and it is by his presence and his usual style that he has controlled things here, without trying anything different or special. But, if the movie is going to work for a certain extended period which becomes an infinite period of a slice of eternity, the credit for the same should go to Namitha Pramod, and the way in which she has handled her character. There is nothing big as if to slay Smaug the stupendous being demanded there, but she has done the job with so much neatness. Supporting her is Soumya Sadanandan who has done an unbelievably good job, making one wonder if she is a veteran. It felt so natural with her performance, and I hope to see her a lot more on the big screen, as she seems to handle every department so well. Aju Varghese handles the entertainment, and once again comes with a big score.

Soul exploration :: Ormayundo Ee Mukham once again get itself into the true love theme, which is surely something that has been exaggerated again and again, and it similarities to 50 First Dates doesn’t help the cause at all. But it has the nice moments which deals with the same in a better manner than most of the other movies. Well, what was Thattathin Marayathu other than a veil-obsessed young man wandering around after falling in love with a random girl for almost no reason at all? Did Om Santhi Oshana have anything other than a strange infatuation? Well, those two movies were undoubtedly better than this, but we can’t let this one go just because it has inspiration from a Hollywood movie. It takes some brains to adapt something from there to here, especially in the case of romantic comedy, as the definition of the same are different here. It is not really easy to group movies like No Strings Attached, Love and Other Drugs, Friends with Benefits and A Lot Like Love into romance, which would be rather absurd looking from here. We always had the worst of such nonsense in the form of things like Banglore Days.

How it finishes :: Ormayundo Ee Mukham needs an applause for the transformation it has done with the material, and all that the cast has put into it. There is no emotional nonsense which gets into this one either, even when the emotions are on the high – and there is no other dumb fake romance related thing added to it. The movie surely works as an entertainer, and its skill in the use of its resources can be clearly seen. But don’t expect a Thattathin Marayathu at all, and if you have watched 50 First Dates and liked it a lot, may be you won’t like this that much. I am not that much of an admirer of Hollywood’s romantic comedies, as I don’t think it has that much of any real romance at all, almost completely dishonoring what defined the same, and keeping it for Disney and the children’s movies. May be if that wasn’t the case, I would have liked this less; but I am sticking to the old generation romance, and I say that this one strikes one good shot towards the boundary and it is up-to the commentators and the crowd to talk about it.

Release date: 14th November 2014
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Anvar Sadik
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Namitha Pramod, Aju Varghese, Soumya Sadanandan, Mukesh, Rohini, Lakshmi, Idavela Babu, Bhagath Manuel, Raveendran

ormayundoeemukham

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Wick

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Vampire Owl :: May be we should watch Beauty and the Beast instead of this.

Vampire Bat :: Now why should you think so after getting the tickets?

Vampire Owl :: Because you can find more than one John everywhere, but a beauty is so rare to find.

Vampire Bat :: You are beauty-blind. You never appreciate any kind of beauty. Do you know that?

Vampire Owl :: That is not true. I find beauty even in a mortuary.

Vampire Bat :: It is exactly what I am talking about. And this is why you will find more beauty or the strange image of beauty in an action movie like John Wick.

Vampire Owl :: What about Jessabelle? I have heard that she is a beauty.

Vampire Bat :: It has been panned by critics, and might not release here soon. The same is the case of Horns.

Vampire Owl :: See, they don’t release the right movie here. You should arrange a mutiny while I am planning to owlify the world.

Vampire Bat :: Still doing better than the censor board.

[Goes into the theatre].

What is it about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is spending his life in sadness and depression after the death of his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan) due to cancer. But he receives a puppy which his wife had left for him and decides to love it a lot. One day, a group of gang members ask him to name a price for his car in which they are interested. But John refuses and leaves them very angry. But at night, lead by Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), they get into his home, beat him up, kills his dog and steals the car. Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the leader of the gang and the father of Iosef scolds him and tells him who John actually is. He was his best assassin, who was nicknamed the boogeyman, and this ruthless killer will come to get the one who attacked him, and there is no force that can stop him. He tries to talk to John, which fails, and therefore places a bounty on him – the two major assassins who seem to take the offer seriously are Marcus (Willem Dafoe) and Miss Perkins (Adrianne Palicki). But John Wick has already started his mission – he has been in the best in the business.

The defence of John Wick :: The world of John Wick is nicely created, and it is a nice and gory one full of action and violence which stands apart. It gives a special feeling as we are guided through that strange and lawless world with its own chaos as the right thing to do. It is stylish work, and its style doesn’t go too much and make it complicated – it is simple and nice, with some melee combat and lots of gunshots, never really trying anything spectacular. We do need a good action movie with a lot of action which doesn’t get overdone with flying bodies, people doing insance stunts and all, and here is it. For those who need a bloody revenge story, here it is. It might be the time to imagine all those who were bad to you this week getting shot – yes, it is a lot like a video game and the one that first comes to mind is Max Payne. There is that kind of a feeling going on, and there is even the shot of a man playing a first person shooter getting shot, all of a sudden. Shoot, shoot and save the movie – I would say that it is the motto of John Wick.

Claws of flaw :: There is drag, and there is absolutely no doubt about it. The slowness of the movie is rather awkward and there are also some uninteresting parts of the action sequences which are uncalled for. The movie does seem to offer a lot in the beginning, but that much is not provided – John Wick is this, John Wick is that, but he is not that smart as it turns out to be, but sometimes goes on like a kind of Chuck Norris, getting rid of people who are in his way. But in melee combat, he gets beaten up a lot, and one has to wonder why he was considered that scary. It is all because of his dog getting killed, and that is also strange considering how much of a murderer the protagonist has been. Then there is the ending, and the final scenes as well as the fights are not the better things in the movie, even as they could have been – and that is a let down. We think that it has ended, and it has not, and then there is the hope for another ending, and finally it ends, it is predictable, keeping us looking on our watches – there are boring moments, and the movie is a little too long.

Performers of the soul :: Here is a movie of Keanu Reeves which is all about him as the name itself suggests. He is once again at his best, and in action, he seems supreme. He has blended into this avatar so nicely that this might be his best performance for some time. There is still nothing like seeing him in The Matrix, Constantine and Speed though – sorry, couldn’t live without mentioning them here. Michael Nyqvist is fantastic as the gang lord. The movie does leave one hoping that Adrianne Palicki had more to do – the only thing she does here is to try to kill John Wick, but she is supposed to be a smart lady assassin, and should do more, and could have controlled a lot more in the movie, and her end is also too cold. I thought she was very good in G.I. Joe: Retaliation as Lady Jaye, and here she has a blunt character, but I liked the way she dealt with it. The same is the case of Willem Dafoe who was needed more – there could have been more with him and that sniper rifle. Lance Reddick is nice indeed in his scenes. Ian McShane also leaves a nice mark. I do wish Bridget Moynahan was out of John Wick’s mobile screen for a little more time.

Soul exploration :: This is a story of revenge, and how it goes in a violent manner – there is no chance for regret in this world of chaos and annihilation. There is the assertion of the truth that one’s past can’t be asked to go away, especially if it is violent in nature. There can be many things that a man can be, but being not influenced at least indirectly by his past is rather not possible – the grave where you hide these tend to come back as zombies, and John Wick is no exception for the same. The Malayalam word for “past” is “bhootham” which means ghost, and it keeps haunting us, thus making that name a worthy one. John’s attempt to escape from his past doesn’t prove to be good for his present, and keeps his future uncertain. Yes, worrying about the past is useless, but not when it is a terrible one, and you do have something left in you to take your mind and body back to it – that means that you have not changed. Unless you have not let go in a way in which there is no return, there is no escape, because ghosts will successfully feed on them some day. There are not many twisted things in this movie, as the plot is direct – find, kill, have your revenge, leave in one piece if possible.

How it finishes :: This weekend’s challengers for John Wick are from Nightcrawler and Beauty and the Beast. The remains from the past include Gone Girl which is still going strong, along with Interstellar, Big Hero 6 and Fury which should be of no challenge for this one. Among this week’s releases too, this one should have the advantage, with Keanu Reeves being back at what he has been doing the best and can accomplish with that certain amount of awesomeness – there will be a lot of Matrix fans who have been hoping for the same. It is also the only hundred percent action movie among all the releases. The releases in other languages also has none that belongs to full action. Lets hope that John Wick will bring a change in the action genre as it hasn’t been doing that well as the situation used to be, unless being mixed with science fiction or some random adventure into the unknown or fantasy. Do give John Wick a chance if you are a strong action fan, otherwise may be you can doubt.

Release date: 14th November 2014 (India); 24th October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe, Lance Reddick, Daniel Bernhardt, Omer Barnea, Toby Leonard Moore, Bridget Regan, Keith Jardine, Thomas Sadoski, David Patrick Kelly, Clarke Peters, Kevin Nash, Randall Duk Kim, Scott Tixier

johnwick

@ Cemetery Watch
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7th Day

7thdayy

The 7th Day significance :: A name which signifies a special day and the tagline which supports the same “The seventh day on which God rested after creating the world in six days”, this was always going to be a different experience. God didn’t need to rest, but he rested on the seventh day which became the Shabbat of Jews, and it is up-to this movie’s release to see how all that would relate to a thriller movie such as this (but it turns out that I thought too much about it). Prithviraj Sukumaran himself says that there has not been any other movie which he has been involved this much, and that only reason that there is no trailer for this movie (there is only the teaser) is because he doesn’t want anyone to have a prior idea or design about this movie which is going to be innovative in many ways. Read more about the same from his official page on Facebook. For anyone who have watched and liked either Mumbai Police or Memories starring the same actor, this was going to be a must watch, and that includes me who considers the latter to be the better movie and among the best of the year. These two movie publicize this movie more than any page or advertisement that can be created – why need anything more?

What is it about? :: David Abraham I.P.S. (Prithviraj Sukumaran) accidently meets Shaan (Vinay Forrt) and Vinu (Anu Mohan) as his jeep hits their motorbike. As he comes across Shaan again and the news spread that Vinu has committed suicide, David feels that there was something strange about the whole thing, and it was evident from their talks and action last night. He goes to meet Shaan who tells him that they have been in trouble for a very long time, and were hunted by the henchmen of a strange and mostly unknown enemy known to many as Christopher Moriarty. They have been trying to run and hide from them in vain, and he was actually separated from his friends before the accident happened. His other friends, Jessy (Janani Iyer), Aby (Tovino Thomas) and Cyril (Praveen Prem) are nowhere to be found and he suspects that they are in deep trouble or possibly dead. David decides to help him and goes out on an investigation by himself, only to uncover strange truths about them, and come to the realization that Shaan might be the only one among the gang who is telling the actual truth. But David is not ready to lose this battle and certainly not the war. His icons are people from the history who lost, but he always plays to win; he doesn’t mind if he tries and losses.

The defence of 7th Day :: The centre of all defence of this movie stands Prithviraj Sukumaran, more powerful than ever. He has the screen presence which makes most of the other things in the movie not that significant. Whenever he is there, everything is under control, as he remains the captain throughout the journey of this ship. Other than that, movie has a nice suspense maintained throughout, and is not without thrills. There is a lot of mystery feeling that the environment of the movie gives. The feeling goes on throughout the movie, especially when our protagonist is on the investigation. The style and lighting in the movie is special, and the darkness that runs throughout the movie helps its mood a lot. There is always something about the inception and development of a dark world in a thriller movie, and this is no exception. We are given the feeling that there is always more than what meets the eye for each character, and even David Abraham himself is no exception, as we see how he changes and reacts according to the situations. There are some stylish dialogues too, some of them which can stay on our minds for at least some time.

The claws of flaw :: 7th Day is a lot like Memories and Mumbai Police, the two other police stories featuring Prithviraj. But the problem is when this one doesn’t give its protagonist to be more of a vulnerable man like in those two, and from the latter, it inherits not just the dark shades, but also the drag which turns out to be rather unfortunate. This also has an investigation going like Memories, but comes nowhere close to that movie in the script or the climax. The occasional drag is a let down, and there are times when the movie becomes less of an investigative thriller and more of a crime drama – something to be expected when the whole thing is related to policeman on suspension and a group of youngsters on the run from a web of crime lead by a ruthless guy whose last name comes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s greatest known creation, as Professor Moriarty gives it to this one, Christopher Moriarty – I would like to think not much about it, and imagine not about them being related. The chain of events begin on Christmas, so may be they chose to have Christopher as the first name. That should have been avoided, and just another usual name could have done; for villains are not known for their names, but for their actions. Any more talk about that name shall shatter the suspense, and lets not venture more into the same.

Performers of the Soul :: Prithviraj’s real beginning with a police role picks up with Vargam, and that spark returned with Mumbai Police, which was incredibly powered with Memories – the two investigative thrillers of last year which had him in stunning performances, the second being something which was to be appreciated by everyone. He slowly moved away from that kind of police role which Suresh Gopi used to do and gain success, and he himself did with not that much appreciation. Instead, he has come up with so much variety in the same, accepted roles in which he could prove his wonderful acting skills again and again. 7th Day is no exception. From Solomon Joseph to Anthony Moses, and Sam Alex to David Abraham, the fourth memorable police role comes to light here, even as you can surely ask the question if he will come last among the four. Well, Prithviraj steals the show, and this movie is so much about his character – the best thing about the movie. The youngsters are okay with their performances, but as expected, Vinay Forrt stands out as the best of them all, followed by Tovino Thomas. Janani Iyer has the least to do among them, and Joy Mathew has a small, but good role.

Soul exploration :: Welcome to the world of another dark investigative thriller. Unlike Memories, this one leaves much less for the soul. Somehow, I was able to guess the villain as well as the main culprit in the movie, and there were two, and I guessed them both correct – that should have just an incident by accident, and you should give it a try guessing. I was also able to bring up the final twist correctly, something which was rather impossible with Memories and slightly possible with Mumbai Police. The first half’s inherent slowness might have been the main thing which hurt its possibilities of being special, and the second half never really manages to make things faster. The flashback scenes were to be without Prithviraj and they also hurt the soul. It need a lot more of life, something which Mumbai Police partially provided with the negative traits of the character and Memories with the powerful presence of a psycho killer and the memories of the protagonist himself. This one doesn’t have such a boost. We expect much more, but we do not get it. But we are indeed satisfied by what we get, and coming from a debutant director, this is very good.

How it finishes :: This is a week of too many movies – the Vishu holiday which gets extended due to Dr. Amedkar Jayanthi and Sunday with just a day separating them from the Maundy Thursday. With the rush of the summer vacations from school kids and college students, there might not be any movie which can’t be a hit unless it does something really stupid. Gangster‘s inability to impress any kind of audience except for the fans and other concerned groups who say it is good for the obvious reasons, will surely help the other movies which release on the very next day a lot – 7th Day, Ring Master and Polytechnic. Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier gets an extended long run, and with Divergent and Rio 2 ready, and as some other movies refuse to go way including lesser Bollywood releases, this will be a nice weekend for the three Malayalam movies which released today. The families with kids might be looking forward to Bhoothnath Returns too. The Easter week is also coming up, and with 2 States and Transcendence waiting to pounce, it is the best to make most money this week, and with some good opinions, an extended run is a certainty. Now this one has less shows, but that is expected to increase in the upcoming days. 7th Day has the upper-hand as far the opinions are concerned.

Release date: 12th April 2014
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Syam Dhar
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Janani Iyer, Vinay Forrt, Anu Mohan, Tovino Thomas, Praveen Prem, Joy Mathew, T. G. Ravi, Yog Japee

7thday copy

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2013 in Review

Happy New Year everyone. I was waiting for WordPress to give me my year in review, but no such summary and statistics came up for this blog, and so I thought I should come up with a movie summary instead. I had posted this without detail on Facebook, and I guess I would share this in detail here for the new year.

2013 copy

Best Malayalam movie: Celluloid
Its awesomeness approved by Kerala State Film Awards and the National Film Award committee of India. Prithviraj starts the year well. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/celluloid/

Best Hindi movie: Madras Cafe
There is absolutely no doubt about this one, as even with actors not known for their acting, this movie nails it. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/madras-cafe/

Best English movie: The Conjuring
I had thought long and hard about this one, but a horror movie always deserves an extra push and this one deserved it. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/the-conjuring/

Best Animated movie: Frozen
Unlike Brave, this year has a respectable animated movie at the top. People of no age group can afford to miss this one. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/frozen/

Best Action movie: Pacific Rim
Guillermo del Toro doesn’t miss out as he makes the right robot movie in our world plagued by Transformers. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/pacific-rim/

Best Visual experience: Gravity
This visually superior movie is all set to make it big on the Academy Awards next year, that is for sure. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/gravity/

Best Thrills: Drishyam
The director Jeethu Joseph maintains his cent percent record with another thriller, his second super hit of the year. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/drishyam/

Big Surprise: Philips and the Monkey Pen
Not that inspiring from the name, and not at all hyped, this movie is a beautifully crafted allegory with children as main characters. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/monkey-pen/

Righteous One: North 24 Kaatham
This movie is so simple and yet scores with the simple thoughts about goodness, righteous and happiness, and it has the power to change lives. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/north-24-kaatham/

Magical Movie: Amen
This movie is magical with or without its clear share of magic realism, and it is one of its kind, to be remade in other Indian languages. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/amen/

Powerful Experience: Rush
For a movie which can bring even non-Formula One fans to feel the emotions, there is no evil to be said about this one. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/rush/

Game Changer: Go Goa Gone
This movie might be the best thing that has happened to Bollywood in 2013, and I hope that this zom-com brings good changes instead of mindlessness. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/go-goa-gone/

Personal Favourite: Memories
One of the two brilliant movies from the director of the year, this movie establishes Prithviraj as the Malayalam actor of the year. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/memories/

Unnoticed One: 10:30 am Local Call
This movie had lots of good things about it despite a small cast except for Lal. This is a thriller as well as a love story with strength at both levels. Sadly, it didn’t get the attention or the appreciation it actually deserved.

Worst Malayalam movie: Kammath and Kammath
The movie provides us a world of nonsense and one can’t even understand what they say or intend to say. It wastes two actors and two actresses in a few hours of crime which they call a film. The side-effects of this movie include an eternal hatred for dosa which I could overcome only by hating idli.

Worst Hindi movie: Besharam
The shameless movie of the year has one of the so called young actors of the future in one of the worst roles anyone can do. This movie is a disgrace to Gandhiji as it released on the day of Gandhi Jayanthi. Taking in a whole family of actors and adding bad jokes which are older than our leading actor doesn’t help either.

Worst English movie: Mortal Instruments
This movie wonders who is the lover of whose brother and demons, vampires, hunters and werewolves have never been this retarded. There is this nonsense which makes Twilight look better. One comes to know that Lily Collins is incredibly cute, but the story or the characters makes no sense even when they are not on screen.

Most Undeserving Hit: Chennai Express
This is a painful watch as its take on the South – the actress has a Hindi accent which is not from the South of India, but from outside the nation, and the movie isn’t even funny enought to be taken lightly, and its romantic side is terrible. This is a clear case of stereotyping, and with all due disrespect to Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3, this will remain the undeserving one.

Of a Mental Asylum: Olipporu
From the moment it begins, to the end, the movie has tried to do something intellectual, that is for sure – but at most times, it makes no sense and with this movie, I have stopped watching Malayalam movies on the first day, alone. In the movie Nadan, Jayaram tells a few words which are applicable for this movie.

Worst Drag: Annayum Rasoolum
This had three hours of nothing but drag – the hero looks at the heroine, and keeps looking at her till the end of first half, and in a relationship of few words, they kiss, he goes to jail and she dies in a world of pathetic pseudo-romance. To add to an already slow movie, there is slow motion – what is wrong with these people?

Worst Drift: Bicycle Thieves
This movie drifts again and again with no idea where to go and what to do with its characters. There are twists of no sense and characters of no use. After stealing the title from Vittorio De Sica, this one comes up with a heroine who looks many times younger than the hero, and lead by her being weird. almost everyone acts strange, wonder why.

Worst Emptiness: Kili Poyi
This one has nothing, but smoke inside it, with clear glorification of drugs and a loose lifestyle, and its characters are so plain that one can hope to have just smoke inside it and feel the emptiness throughout the world. The movie itself is a black hole which has unfortunately made an impact of nonsense.

Worst Lie: Neelakasam Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi
This movie is a lie from the beginning to the end, and has characters who use the mask of travel for being stupid and aimless. The leading character is a man who pretends so much that he obviously has no identity of his own, and the journey is useless. This is rather an Indian Born Confused Desi (IBCD).

Worst Stupidity: ABCD
This one uses that kind of jokes which can’t appeal to even the worst of brains, and it is surprising that it became a big hit. The story of two shameless people who live a shameless life to end shameless doesn’t bring up any interest, except for the fine debutant performance of Jacob Gregory.

Unbearable One: Sringaravelan
This year’s most shameful comic movie comes up with a hero who falls in love with the heroine in another strange and meaningless way and their adventure is indeed a mentally retarded one, with the only hope being the beautiful heroine. Why would someone subtitle a movie “The Romantic Fighter” is beyond all hope.

Clueless One: The Host
There are no Twilight movies this year, and this movie is the worthy successor to that legacy, coming from a work of the same author. From the beginning to the end, this is a clueless alien invasion with no sense. At the end of the movie, we are aliens and would wish to escape from that world.

Worst Hype: Django Unchained
A story of violence and racial hatred has the shoot-at-random-people theory going throughout it. If the colour is different, shoot more people, and dead people are so much fun in this movie. Show a grin after you shoot people, because murder and destruction is so much fun. I have written a review, but you needn’t read it 😀

Malayalam Only:
Best Actor: Prithviraj Sukumaran (Celluloid, Memories, Mumbai Police)
Second Best: Fahadh Faasil (North 24 Kaatham, Amen)

Best Actress: Remya Nambeesan (Philips and the Monkey Pen, Left Right Left, Nadan)
Second Best: Swati Reddy (Amen, North 24 Kaatham)

Best Pair: Fahadh Faasil and Swati Reddy (Amen, North 24 Kaatham)
Second Best: Nivin Pauly and Nazriya Nazim (Neram)

Best Performance: Prithviraj Sukumaran in Celluloid
Second Best: Prithviraj Sukumaran in Memories

Best Negative Shades: Indrajith Sukumaran in Left Right Left
Second Best: Indrajith Sukumaran in Ezhamathe Varavu

Best Villain: Joy Mathew in Amen
Second Best: Sreekumar in Memories

Best Supporting Role: Indrajith Sukumaran in Amen
Second Best: Fahadh Faasil in Immanuel

Best Comic Lead: Asif Ali in Honey Bee
Second Best: Kunchacko Boban in Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum

Best Debut: Reenu Mathews in Immmanuel
Second Best: Keerthi Suresh in Geethanjali

Surprising Performers: Vijay Babu in Philips and the Monkey Pen
Second Best: Lena Abhilash in Left Right Left

Best Impact: Shobana in Thira
Second Best: Indrajith Sukumaran in Amen

Best Character: Georgekutty in Drishyam (Mohanlal)
Second Best: Sam Alex in Memories (Prithviraj Sukumaran)

Best Director: Jeethu Joseph (Memories, Drishyam)
Second Best: Lijo Jose Pellissery (Amen)

Best Child Artist: Esther Anil (Drishyam)
Second Best: Sanoop Santhosh (Philips and the Monkey Pen)

Best Song: Memories Never Die (Memories)
Second Best: Etho Sayahna Swapnangalil (10:30 am Local Call)

PS: Most read movie reviews:
Drishyam (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/drishyam/)
Oru Indian Pranaya Katha (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/oru-indian-pranaya-katha/)
Phata Poster Nikla Hero (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/phata-poster-nikhla-hero/)

*103 movies watched on the big screen this year, with 71 of them reviewed. There were 44 English movies, 43 Malayalam movies, 12 Hindi movies and 4 Tamil movies. Total Reviews including honorary ones = 109.

Extracted

extracted (6)

What is Extracted? :: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven” — John Milton, Paradise Lost. Well, the mind creates not just heaven and hell, but a lot of other things. As long as the minds are concerned, the physical existence of hell and heaven can take a heavy toll. If the mind keeps you burning, you shall feel the inferno, and if the mind is going through peace, hell is not coming down. Yes, going to paradise, inferno or purgatory in the physical manner is to be left for life after death, but for what happens on Earth, it is all about the mind. This is the same reason why two people might experience the exact same thing in different manner. Each person is unique and so is the mind in every man. Extracted takes us into the mind of one man, where there are memories which keep playing, and there is this another man who is trapped right in there with no chance for an escape. So what are his memories and how does it work? Does the man escape from that world?

What is it about? :: It follows Tom (Sasha Roiz), who invents a machine which can help a person to enter the mind of another man and read his memories, or rather walk around in it (rather like walking around the dreams of a particular person in Inception, but this being more of a scientific device which reacts to instructions and keeps the person who just entered the memory walk through them as he wants to, unaffected by that world and not influencing anything in the mind). Our scientist is a good man, and wishes to use this in treating trauma and for other medical purposes. But once again, government becomes the temporary villain as they make him enter the mind of a suspected killer of a woman, Anthony (Dominic Bogart) with promises of money which he needs as well as a little threatening. But then the system refuses to log him off the mind of that man and his body is left motionless with his mind trapped in the memories of the murderer with nobody having any idea how to get him out. He keeps wandering in the memories until he starts trying to communicate with the owner of the memories.

The defence of Extracted :: Even without the use of that much of a budget, they have made this one interesting. There is absolutely no need for special effects of the highest quality to make a science fiction movie (listen Krrish 3, you never needed those horrible special effects which is not even fit to be called special, if you ever had a good story supported by fine acting). The graphics are kept at a simple level and the story is given the importance it deserves. There is not even a real villain, even as they do get into the mind of someone who is the bad guy. The scene when the infiltrator and the owner of the memory meet each other inside the mind in a fine point. The atmosphere they have created is not really that of a special effects aided fantasy with strange happenings, as the mind itself becomes just another reality with only two of them and of course the computer. There is no external or internal factor affecting the same, and that adds to the simplicity of the movie and way in which it progresses. These people are smart indeed.

Claws of flaw :: The memories doesn’t have anything special, as this is the mind of a man who is into drugs and a lot of illegal activities. His world is simple and often lacks details as the computer is forced to fill those areas with certain kind of fillers which dominates a good part of his memory. That would make the special effect lovers sad, as there is nothing to feel awesome out of this world. There are ambiguities, that is for sure, but of a very small kind. There are moments which could have been made better, and there was more scope for this movie in the way the narrative progresses, and the manner in which the whole situation is being built up. The simplicity is often the movie’s enemy, as the impression it creates stay within certain limits. If you are expecting a special effects marvel like The Matrix, an incredibly awesome looking creation like Inception or something as serene and yet powerful like The Cell, you are going to be disappointed. This one is a movie of this world and not anything else. There is almost nothing to take you to the highest levels of fantasy with visual awesomeness.

Performers of the soul :: The performances are surprisingly good, and it is one of the highlights of a movie which has been rather unknown. Sasha Roiz has done a great work in the movie, and if anything matches or betters that, it should be the performance of Dominic Bogart. While the former is more of a flat character, the latter is as dynamic as he can get, and moves on to the realization about himself not before thinking and coming into his own conclusions. The two female leads are also very good with the limited screen presence that they have, but they do have quite the emotional stuff to go through. If there was more character development in the case of the characters other than the owner of the mind, this could have been a great field for performances. There is nothing extraordinary out there, as everything remains so simple and believable. There is nothing of exaggeration even in a science fiction movie of complicated ideas, as there is a high chance for the same as we have seen in many such movies. These characters are done in a simple manner and the acting works in the right manner, even as most of us might not know any of these actors or actresses.

Soul exploration :: I wish to leave you with a few lines from a song in the Malayalam movie Memories: “Time flows like a river running wild, my mind’s swimming, swimming like a child, I watch the yesterdays go by, like moving patterns in the sky, memories never die”. The movie has a protagonist who is a drunkard living in the memories of his wife and daughter who were killed by a criminal, and he is as much caught in those memories as our hero here. Yes, that was an investigative thriller in which he gets out of them to solve a mystery, but here, we have a device and science fiction. We are all slaves to the past, and memories are all that he have, but when the memories are not ours, there comes the surprise, and just like Inception and The Cell, Extracted also sends someone into the mind of another person. I would recommend that song by the way, as its lines “I take a train into the past” and “Trapped in the desert of my mind” with the way in which it is sung and the scenes are shown in brilliant – it is that which comes to my mind when I watch this movie.

How it finishes :: Extracted is worth a watch if you liked Inception and The Cell, or may be even The Matrix. If there needs to be the reminder of another title, that would be Source Code. Be careful about expecting something spectacular, but expect something simple instead. I would compare this one more to The Cell rather than any other movie, and this is a lower budget version of such movies, taken in the right manner so that it can make an impression without too much quality. Its final plot twist is rather not that impressive, and the ending is adjusted than rather created with full power. It could have tried a little bit harder, and then it could have come up better. Whether you like it or not, we have to appreciate the efforts they have done to create so much out of a low budget movie without losing out. The movie proves that memory can be simple, and yet valuable, and there is no need for blue aliens or space station or inter-planetary travel to make a good science fiction movie. The ideas of The Matrix, Inception and The Cell can be further used, and none of them are finished. Even as budget matters, it is the attitude that matters more. In the end, there is that fine work which might not stay in our memories forever!

Release date: 10th March 2012
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Nir Paniry
Starring: Sasha Roiz, Dominic Bogart, Jenny Mollen, Frank Ashmore, Nick Jameson, Richard Riehle, Sara Tomko, Brad Culver, Richard Riehle, Rodney Eastman, Augie Duke

exxtracted copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.