Aadhi

What is the movie about? :: Aadhitya Mohan a.k.a. Aadhi (Pranav Mohanlal) is the only son of Mohan Varma (Siddique) and Rosakutty Mohan (Lena) who eloped from home, going for that intercaste marriage which nobody supported. As their only son, he manages to gain all the support that he can get from the parents, as he has taken two years break from studies and work to pursue his dream of becoming a music director. A case of infatuation for the girl next door Aneetta (Krittika Pradeep) and trained in the obstacle course training of parkour, there are so many other options for him in life, and yet he wishes for just one thing in life. But it doesn’t go on well, as his efforts in music go unnoticed. Because of the same reason, he decides to go to Bangalore as adviced by his best friend Nadhir (Krishna Shankar). There, he is supposed to perform in Fox Club, where will get the attention of prominent personalities from cinema industry.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Even though almost everything seems to work according to the plans, things get complicated when he meets his old friend from school, Anjana (Aditi Ravi), and ends up having a confrontation with Jayashankar (Siju Wilson) who is the bodyguard of the city’s most respected and feared businessman Narayana Reddy (Jagapati Babu). In between all of this which occurs at the top of the multi-storeyed building, the son of Narayana Reddy ends up being thrown all the way down, thanks to one heated approach by Jayashankar – Anjana is the only witness out there. Now, it turns out that Jayashankar has to hide all of these, and for the same, there is only one option left for him – finish off Aadhi, and for the same, there is full force of an angry Narayana Reddy as well as the police and politicians who are on the corporate payroll.

And what follows next in the adventure? :: With Narayana Reddy stopping at nothing to finish off the young man who killed his only son, and along with Jayakrishnan, Reddy’s right hand Siddharthan (Tony Luke) also joins the party – Aadhi can do nothing, but keep running. The goons sent by Reddy also reaches Aadhi’s home, and every route out of Bangalore is blocked by the police and his teams of goons. With five lakhs on his head, there is the need to run until he meets Sarath (Sharafudheen), Mani (Meghanathan) and Jaya (Anusree). The three also got their own problems with Narayana Reddy and his people, which makes them think about giving him a chance to escape. With the help of the technical expert Ebin (Tony Luke), they think about changing the equation, but is there really a chance to at least get close to escaping? Is there a weakness which they can exploit?

The defence of Aadhi :: There is the use of parkour, the activity in which you move around quickly in an area, getting through obstacles by running fast, jumping, climbing, rolling, swinging, sliding, and all ways possible – most of us have seen it in Paul Walker’s penultimate movie, Brick Mansions as well as the 2004 French film District 13 on which it was based. These scenes are very nicely executed by Pranav, and the same is never exaggerated. There is certain smartness related to how the action sequences are executed in this one, a quality which was missing in a good number of superstar movies in the last few months, most notable one being last Decemeber’s Masterpiece. There are many thrilling moments in this one, and the emotional side makes an excellent impact too. We also have some twists to come up in the final few moments, as there is more to Aadhi by the end. There are also some funny moments which come in between, which work, even though lesser in number.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing special in the premise and the tale here though, as we can see that there is the protagonist who accidentally kills the son or brother of an influential person who will not stop until he finds the person responsible dead – this would seem familiar, from decades ago. The same actor played the father who had his son killed in Pulimurugan, and here he losses his son yet again. One can be sure that Jeethu Joseph is capable of more, as the director who brought three different thriller experiences in the form of Detective, Memories and Drishyam. The movie also takes some time to get going, and the family sequences are just ordinary. The cameo scenes seemed to be rather unwanted, with purpose only to get those claps from hardcore fans. The length of the movie could have been lessened to make the whole thing closer to the point. Some of those longer action sequences could have been shortened to make way for separate moments.

The performers of the soul :: Pranav Mohanlal, without doubt, steals the show in this movie, from the first moments of appearance itself, beginning with those expressions and a certain simplicity that runs through. In the second half, with those action sequences to go with it, he takes the whole thing to another level, trumpeting his arrival in a grand fashion. The wait hasn’t been for no reason, as we get the culmination wonderfully. Aditi Ravi and Anusree plays the female leads, but the former has lesser time on screen, and latter has more of the comic side which also has nothing that much to do for her. It is actually surprising that we don’t see that much of the Alamara actress in movies as we would want to have. Lena and Siddique makes good parents, and are in full control of their work with strong emotional side. Sharafudheen has a funny side here too, even though things are more serious this time. Siju Wilson, Sijoy Varghese and Jagapati Babu make the villainous side here, and they remain strong throughout. Siju’s divergence is a smart move. Meghanathan and Tony Luke provide good support.

How it finishes :: The one thing about the Jeethu Joseph movies after Memories, is something which has been common in Drishyam, Oozham and Aadhi – the battle of the middle class against the rich and the influential who are after the blood of the common man. Even Life of Josutty had the middle class struggle in the core. The three could show the middle class struggling and winning against all odds in the form of thrillers. Well, everyone knows Drishyam, and Aadhi actually shows what Oozham could have been, with better execution. With no shortage of thrills, and bringing the needed variety in action sequences in Malayalam, the twists also drop-in to make this better. Well, fans have been waiting for a day this day for a long time, and one can say that their beloeved Lalettan’s son has scored high on his debut, and this is certainly another flick from Jeethu Joseph that you can admire without second thoughts.

Release date: 26th January 2018
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Pranav Mohanlal, Lena, Siddique, Siju Wilson, Sharafudheen, Aditi Ravi, Anusree, Tony Luke, Sijoy Varghese, Krittika Pradeep, Meghanathan, Jagapati Babu, Krishna Shankar, Mohanlal (cameo), Antony Perumbavoor (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ballerina

Vampire Owl: I thought that this movie was called Leap!.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but the original name of the flick is Ballerina.

Vampire Owl: It was the cooler name – they should have kept it. Leap could be part of rather too many things.

Vampire Bat: Yes, Ballerina is the name that suits the flick, considering the content too.

Vampire Owl: I wonder why it is that animated dance movies prove to be better than simple and usual dance movies these days.

Vampire Bat: Because animated is cute and safer option.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that I had participated in a dance programme once?

Vampire Bat: And you won something, at least a small prize?

Vampire Owl: They made sure that I would never dance again.

Vampire Bat: For some reason, I am not really surprised about that. You are going need a cure for wellness.

[Gets three cups of elaichi tea with a piece of tea cake].

What is the movie about? :: In this story set in the 1880s, a young girl who lives at an orphange, Felicie (Elle Fanning) wants to do nothing other than to dance all the time – it is more like her only love, but her future is rather bleak, considering the situation. Her best friend in the orphanage is a smart young boy named Victor (Dane DeHaan) who wants to be an inventor, and also creates a few memorable inventions by himself there. Their plan is to escape from the orphanage and reach Paris, where Felicie plans to be a ballerina and Victor wants to be an inventor. There they separate their ways, and Felecie joins Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen), the cleaner of the Paris Opera who also works for Regine Le Haut (Julie Khaner), an extremely rich lady who owns the city’s most popular restaurant. There she meets Regine’s daughter Camillle (Maddie Ziegler) who is practicing for ballet.

So, what happens next? :: Camille finds Felicie to be a good for nothing girl, who will never be anything other than a cleaner. As she insults her and throws Felicie’s favourite item, her music box out through the windown, breaking it. An angry and depressed Felicie, while going out, is given a letter which was intended for Camille, admitting her to the Paris Opera Ballet. She decides not to show it to Camille, and take her position in the opera, posing as her. She is successful in doing the same, but struggles as she has no experience. Meanwhile, Victor become an office assistant at Gustave Eiffel who is building both the Eiffel Tower, the big landmark of the city, as well as the Statue of Liberty to be gifted to the United States of America. Both struggle in their work, not really able to make the impact that they thought they could make when they left the orphanage.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Merante (Terrence Scammell), the teacher and choreographer at the opera tells the girls that one of them would be chosen to dance as Clara in The Nutcracker, and promises to make the selection quick by eliminating the worst performer of the group every day. Felicie is expected to be eliminated on the very first day, but escapes when someone else is injured and eliminated. Realizing that Odette used to be a ballerina during her time before getting injured, Felicie gets training from her, and hopes that she could improve herself well enough to keep surviving the elimination. But with so many things in her mind, it seems rather too difficult for her to keep focus, and her lie is also so close to being discovered. She realizes that she stands no chance if her identity is revealed, as she might be sent back to the orphanage, and also if she has to face someone as disciplined like Camille, there is not much chance. Against all odds, can she do it?

The defence of Ballerina :: The movie is more about achieving one’s dreams, none being too small. It calls for hard work, and not backing out, no matter how difficult or impossible the situation seems to be – it calls to do what we love, and keep loving the same. There are a few moments which bring the laughter, and the dance steps make one feel very good. The visuals of the city are also amazing. The movie also shows the usual attitude of the rich towards the poor, and how much the rich and the powerful tries to get their people all the opportunities, and talent don’t matter for them; there will always be the common people who do better. Still the attitude of the rich remains the same, as it has been shown in too many tales. It is strange that even after so many years, nothing has changed – the rich gets all the opportunities by birth, and the poor who gets rich becomes the oppressor at some other point. It is a strange world, but we should never stop trying to get to our dreams.

The claws of flaw :: One would have a feeling that achieving dreams of a higher level is only getting difficult these days, as only foul is fair in an evil world – every time we try to achieve something, there is more than one rich lady in front of us; there are thousands or millions of obstacles in the same place, and happy ending or happy continuation is more than just difficult in our world. We keep feeling that there could have been more of some stunning scenes of dance around here, as the scope was always there to make it bigger. It also takes some time to get itself to the ballet and serious dancing, and it is only balanced by the shorter run-time of the movie which leaves it with no dull moments – how can one find such a thing looking at such cute and wonderful animation? The boy’s tale could have also got a little bit more attention though, at least related to how far he has gone with his objective.

How it finishes :: Ballerina or The Leap! as it is known more, is another animated movie that you would love to add to that long list of interesting movies which ask you to go after your dreams without worrying about what would happen otherwise. It is the kind of inspiration that we have always wanted, and this movie gets to that fine list of animated movies, even though not that much there compared to those bigger flicks like Frozen, Moana, Zootopia, How to Train Your Dragon, Epic, Kung Fu Panda and many others which have gone on to become bigger names among all kinds of audience – Ballerina is also a movie which will work for everyone, and it is certain to appeal to children, as it is that cute. There are movies like Sing and Rock Dog which deals with the singing side, and Ballerina meets the dancing one – we see that all things get the needed inspiration. Well, no dream is to be left unattended.

Release date: 4th November 2016
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Eric Summer, Eric Warin
Starring: Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen, Terrence Scammell, Julie Khaner, Mel Brooks, Kate McKinnon, Elana Dunkelman, Shoshana Sperling, Joe Sheridan, Bronwen Mantel, Jamie Watson, Tamir Kapelian

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sing

Vampire Owl: I remember singing once as a part of group song competition; that was long time ago.

Vampire Bat: And what happened? Did you get a prize?

Vampire Owl: They told me never to sing again.

Vampire Bat: They have surely saved the whole vampire community by saying so.

Vampire Owl: Music has never been my field of interest. My relationship with it is truly bad.

Vampire Bat: Which is why nobody is asking you to sing anything again.

Vampire Owl: I still sing motivational songs for my minions.

Vampire Bat: You are motivating your brainless zombie minions with terrible music?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and I appreciate their brainless situation.

Vampire Bat: I believe that they appreciate you singing something they don’t understand too.

[Gets some jackfruit chips and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A koala bear named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) owns a theatre in the middle of the city, catching everyone’s attention. It was bought by all the money his father had earned by washing cars, because father wanted only what his son wished for the most, a wish which is all about music show. Despite working so hard, none of his shows become success, and Judith (Rhea Perlman), the representative of the bank, is after him to pay back the loan which he had taken, without which they would be forced to take over the theatre. He comes up with one final idea to save his theatre, which is about hosting a singing competition. He intends to provide the winner with a prize money of one thousands dollars, but the iguana who works as his assistant, Miss Crawly (Garth Jennings) ends up adding two more zeroes to the end of the amount in the fliers before they are distributed.

So, what happens next? :: The extra zeroes bring the motivation for the animals in the city, as a long line is set in front of the theatre. Moon feels that this is going to be his first and the greatest success story, and he selects his group of contestants from the audience – There is Johnny (Taron Egerton), a teenage gorilla who wants to be a singer unlike his family which is full of criminals led by his own father (Peter Serafinowicz). Then we have Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a porcupine teenager who performes with her boyfriend Lance (Beck Bennett), but only the girl is selected for the programme. Mike (Seth MacFarlane), an arrogant white mouse who earns everyone’s appreciation and thinks that he will win the tournament easily, is also selected. Another selected contestant is a housewife and mother of twenty five piglets Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) who is paired with Gunter (Nick Kroll) who is more of an entertainer.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Then there is Meena (Tori Kelly), an elephant teenager who has a stage fright, but gets in as contestants a giraffe and a group of frogs who were also selected, back out. Even though Buster understands that the flyers show a huge amount, he decides not to back out. He remains optimistic that he can somehow manage the money, and convinces his best friend, a sheep named Eddie (John C. Reilly) that there is a change that his grandmother and former opera singer who performed at same theatre, Nana Noodleman (Jennifer Saunders) could provide them the needed cash. Even though Eddie’s doubt remain, Moon gets word from Nana that she will come and see their performance. Now, it is up to Moon to get the best performances from a rather inexperienced and confused group of contestants who have their personal problems to deal with too. Can he do it? Can they do it?

The defence of Sing :: There are some nice visuals as you would expect, and there is the inspirational side, as the movie has protagonists with self-doubts, which are removed in the end, and everyone gets to show their skill on the big stage – something which rarely happens in our world, but we are happy that it turned happy for everyone at least in the animated version. The funny side is really good – for example, see a koala doing a car wash. The movie actually gets too good in the end, and we appreciate how things go in the final moments more than any other. The final message is indeed to believe in yourself, and to go for one’s dreams without second thoughts – no matter what the others think of you. Well, dreams got long legs and huge wings, which makes it easy for them to fly away, but we keep trying to grab them, and succeed at times. It is something which has been a common thing in the animated movies, but it works for sure, almost every time. We should get to do what we love, but do we?

The claws of flaw :: There are moments when you feel that this movie focuses a little too much on the much smaller audience. It is also not less depressing to see a reality show, as any programme like that only takes commonsense for a ride – we had too many of them in our televisions here, and we have wanted to get rid of each one of them at one moment or the other. There is not that much of a story here to make the big impact either. You will also see that this one doesn’t become a game changer, and falls behind the much appreciated flicks like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Inside Out, Despicable MeHow to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. There was the sure chance to compete with all these movies with a bigger plot and a bigger message – Sing doesn’t really do that, or even try, despite being such an entertaining treat as a whole; maybe it took a few things for granted too easily.

How it finishes :: Sing is part of an year which had some smart movies with talking animals, and also had Zootopia winning the Academy Award for the best animated movie of the year. It seems that animals who talk bring the best out of animation, and gets appreciated by critics and judges better. With a colourful movie which touches the emotional side, and having some nice messages with the wonderful songs, Sing adds to that list, getting in there in style. Well, there is not much of a life without animated movies these days – there are so many of interesting movies of the genre, going through Frozen, Big Hero 6 and Inside Out; Sing actually makes sure that the possibilities always exist, and we can only have more and more. You get to watch them with all the glory on the screen, and you can’t help not getting a copy of such movies to keep for the next generation. An animated world is a beautiful world, and it feels eternal.

Release date: 21st December 2016
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Garth Jennings
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Saunders, Jennifer Hudson, Garth Jennings, Peter Serafinowicz, Asa Jennings, Nick Kroll as Gunter, Beck Bennett, Jay Pharoah, Nick Offerman, Caspar Jennings, Leslie Jones, Rhea Perlman, Leo Jennings, Laraine Newman, Adam Buxton, Brad Morris, Bill Farmer, Oscar Jennings

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Trolls

trolls-1

Vampire Owl: I have never liked the trolls. They are so bad.

Vampire Bat: People say that we will like them after watching the movie.

Vampire Owl: It is an animated movie, and the same can’t be used to judge a creature like this.

Vampire Bat: It is actually strange because the creatures in this movie doesn’t seem that huge or scary as they really are.

Vampire Owl: Yes, trolls are destroyers as much as we know.

Vampire Bat: Oh! I see that the movie is based on troll dolls.

Vampire Owl: Nowadays, trolls have dolls too?

Vampire Bat: No, they are based on cute little dolls of Danish origins, made for children.

Vampire Owl: I knew this would happen when they made it animation – the real ones can only be in a horror or action adventure movie.

Vampire Bat: DreamWorks Animation has brought this one for us. Let us see how it goes, for animated movies always keep a minimum standard.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with special aloo paratha].

What is the movie about? :: Trolls are supposed to be the small magical creatures that go through a state of happiness continuously throughout their lives. With their existence unknown to most of the world outside, they spend their lives hugging, dancing and singing – the only thing that they care about is having a party, and all these come with the same. This state of perpetual happiness comes into trouble due to an intervention from the outside. Soon they are discovered by the huge creatures called Bergens, who are never happy – living in sadness for eternity, they find a way to bring happiness home, as they could be happy for some time by eating a Troll. It would be considered one of the greatest discoveries for the Bergen world, as happiness just came to them without having to do anything else other than having food.

So, what happens next? :: Bergens decide that happiness is their right too, and for the same they take things one step further. The put the tree as well as the Trolls inside a cage, guarded by their troops, keeping the little creatures under their control until the huge annual fest which included everyone among the Bergens getting to eat a troll and thus getting a taste of true happiness. This festival known as the Trollstice arrives, and with the prince of Bergens Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) getting to eat his first troll, Chef (Christine Baranski) presents them with Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the princess and the next queen of the Trolls. But it turns out to be a decoy, and the Trolls lead by their king and great warrior, Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor) makes a grand escape through the underground tunnels. This leads to Chef being banished, as the Bergens feel that their prince will never know happiness in his life because he had never eaten a Troll.

And what follows :: With Chef sworn to capture all the Trolls and promising of having her vengeance, the happy group of little creatures find their new home far away from the Bergens. After twenty years had passed, Princess Poppy had grown into a very happy and extremely optmistic person who decides to throw in a huge party and make some noise. But another Troll, Branch (Justin Timberlake) opposes the plan, as he is afraid that it would attract the Bergens who will listen to the sound and find their way to the Trolls. With a possible Bergen attack always in his mind, he has even prepared an underground bunker with a lot food and other facilities in there, so he can hide there forever. Poppy and other Trolls find him as worrying for no real reason, but his fears come true as Chef finds them, and captures most of them for the Trollstice – now it is up-to Poppy and Branch to team up and rescue them.

The defence of Trolls :: There is absolutely no doubt about the facts that the kids are going to love this one – all those elements which touches a child are right here, and the grown ups could also like this one as long as they can choose to ignore that extra level of cuteness and the childish factor which are there. There is a lot of happiness in this movie, and the message also seems to be happy, stay so, and make sure that the others around you are happy too, with the right actions taken to bring them closer to that happiness, no matter how much that seems to avoid their lives. There is also the idea of coming back from a time of no hope, and having an attitude of not giving up, no matter what happens. There is also the idea of friendship, and we also see that everyone is special. There is also quality in the way the animated characters seem and behave. The voices are also nice, and very much suitable throughout.

The claws of flaw :: The title itself will be strange for most of the people here, as nobody has ever heard about the troll dolls in this part of the world as far as I know, even though it has surely worked in those areas where such dolls have existed and have been part of kids’ lives. Everyone knows only one kind of trolls which are huge creatures who are not really friendly as many movies and tales have depicted them. There is a lot of silliness in this one, and it is a fine task for the adults to go above that. There is also a lot of music in this one, and even though it is right for the genre, and will appeal to a group, there is nothing such as Frozen here that will stay for long. The whole world might seem too childish, and also too colourful if we look at them from a neutral point of view. It could have surely done better without that certain amount of stupidity which some character show, which is not really enjoyable – but Trolls does manage to rise above that. Even a better story was possible.

How it finishes :: The movie’s most significant message might be that happiness comes from inside, and not while affected by someone else, or by causing harm to anyone else – it is something that is always inside us, and we have to find them, maybe with a very little amount of help. But as a musical animated adventure, this one could have been more like Frozen, which was better suited for all ages of people – the characters here are too much for the children who are of an even lower age group than most of the other animated movies. This doesn’t go the Inside Out way either. But the message of Trolls, and the beauty of its characters are there to stay – you will realise the same as soon as you finish watching the flick, and there is no way that you will hesitate to watch Trolls with kids. You can also choose to think like a little kid, and make the Trolls get into your mind and heart. The question remains if you are ready to find that happiness which is hidden inside you!

Release date: 4th November 2016
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, Gwen Stefani, Jeffrey Tambor, Icona Pop, Ron Funches, GloZell, Kunal Nayyar, Quvenzhané Wallis, John Cleese, Meg DeAngelis, Noodlerella, Ricky Dillon, Kandee Johnson, Walt Dohrn, Mike Mitchell, Grace Helbig, Curtis Stone, Rhys Darby

trolls

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.