Evidey

What is the movie about? :: Symphony Zachariah (Manoj K Jayan) is a busy, but not so rich musician who keeps traveling all the time, not caring much for his wife and children. Jessy Zachariah (Asha Sharath) is left to care for the family which consists of her father-in-law, Kuttichan (Prem Prakash) and two children. When one day, Zachariah goes missing, Jessy is determined to find out what happened to him. Police Inspector Simon Tharakan (Baiju Santhosh) is the one in charge of the case, and it seems that the case is solved when a letter from Zachariah reaches them. But there is something strange about the letter – Jessy doesn’t believe that it was written by Zachariah. A man named Kabir (Kunchan) who comes to see them makes things even more complicated. Jessy even begins to doubt that Zachariah has another wife and kids.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Their son Leen (Shebin Benson), a college student is in love with Shahana (Anaswara Rajan), a girl whose life he saved when she was drowning, an incident which fetched him a bravery award. But it seems that he is no longer the person that he used to be. Studying at a college far away from home, he seems to be having more opportunities to go divergent from the studies rather than be the student who used to be the face of the college earlier. He doesn’t come home much, and has been a difficult person to find even for his family. This, along with the missing husband is breaking the family apart, but Jessy is determined to find Zachariah. For that, she would have to take more than one journey, through Mangalore and Goa, as he was supposed to perform at one of the events there.

The defence of Evidey :: The movie belongs to the genre of a family thriller rather than anything else, and the approach also seems to suggest a journey through such a path. The short length makes sure that there is no dull moment in the movie, and there is no drag, even when it seems to be trying to be preachy. The issues that are shown in the movie are genuine, with messages against drug abuse, and the parents’ failure to guide children along with the inability to become good role models. This is the time when students need to be told about the terrible effects of drugs and alcohol more, and with parents having no time to take care of their children, along with everything negative influencing them better, the movie has becoming very relevant. There has been too much of such things in the news, and this is a movie which can be shown in schools and colleges.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s songs are all very much interesting, and such a thing does no good to a family thriller – a good family song or even a song on friendship and love if done well enough can lift a movie of the genre and provide it with a boost, covering its faults up to an extent. Evidey doesn’t have that, and it also doesn’t seem to try too hard with its thriller side which was to serve as its stronger point. The investigative side could have also been done in a more interesting way, and a better backstory was needed with the family members – it would have worked well with a good song, and that much time could have been enough to have the characters settled, especially the two pairs. Even the sequences at Goa could have taken a boost, with some more wandering around the major areas of the state which is not short of providing some good visuals at any point.

The performers of the soul :: The movie remains mostly centered on Asha Sharath, who once again plays the mother of a son gone the wrong way, like in Drishyam. It is once again the duty to save him, but the task remains difficult as it is too late – the tormented mother continues to be on the spotlight. Prem Prakash, at the same time, brings some very emotional and controlled moments to remember, as he has done before on many occasions. Manoj K Jayan is not there for much time, as he is the missing character who can only be there with some small flashbacks. One would feel the need for more of such flashbacks to get a better idea of the character. Baiju plays the police officer who is working on the case, and he makes one believable cop. Kunchan has shorter presence too, and Shivaji Guruvayoor as well as Sunil Sukhada got even lesser time on the big screen.

Further performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu makes his appearance in the later stages of the movie, and has some of the best dialogues in the whole film. He becomes an integral part of the movie in the second half, and continues to assert his presence until the end. Even though some part of it seems forced, the character sticks on well. Shebin Benson shows some skills in this role, and the emotional sequences are handled very well. We see how the changes occur with the character, and how the same has been portrayed in a believable manner. Anaswara Rajan of Udaharanam Sujatha fame does a wonderful job here, as her character is a well-written and well-performed one without pretensions. From the early happy mood to those emotional sequences, she shows a controlled, realistic version, and tranquility when needed is a skill that we rarely see on the younger stars these days.

How it finishes :: Evidey easily takes its message against drug abuse to the next level, even though it does take some time to be there. With clubs like SADA (Students Against Drug Abuse) being formed in colleges to provide awareness regarding the same, we are slowly, but steadily realizing the fact that the drug menace can’t be left unchecked. Evidey will surely help to bring the awareness, as did Kerala Excise Department with the Vimukthi Short Film Competition and its winning entry “Midhya” by Mar Baselios Institute of Technology and Science, Kothamangalam. After so many short-films tried to make the point in that certain competition, and a number of them winning runner-up and consolation prizes, we now have a full-length movie which doesn’t glorify the evil at any point, and scores with an emotional climax and message against it.

Release date: 4th July 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: KK Rajeev
Starring: Shebin Benson, Asha Sharath, Anaswara Rajan, Prem Prakash, Manoj K Jayan, Baiju Santhosh, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Kunchan, Sunil Sukhada

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and before.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Story of 90 Coins

Vampire Owl: I have to say that this title has immediately caught my attention.

Vampire Bat: It is not natural for such a thing to happen for you considering the fact that this is a short-film.

Vampire Owl: I have loved more short-films these days than any other. So, there is a certain vision coming to me.

Vampire Bat: So, you will be watching more short-films?

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why not, as you have been writing about so many. I have to keep up.

Vampire Bat: So, you are coming up against the realization that short-films are more worth the time, right?

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have gotten fine results with the last few which I watched.

Vampire Bat: Also, it is for everyone, and not limited by the boundaries, as it is available online.

Vampire Owl: And available in so many language, with English subtitles.

Vampire Bat: The only thing which stops us from watching a short-film is we ourselves.

[Gets some kuzhalappam and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with Wang Yuyang (Dongjun Han) telling Chen Wen (Zhuang Zhiqi) to be with him forever. When she doesn’t agree to the same, and shows her doubts about the future of the relationship, he asks her to give him ninety days to prove her love towards her. Every night, when they left each other, he would give her a coin, and if she rejects his proposal after those ninety days, they would take the cash to the stall where they had first met, have some drinks and bid adieu to each other, hoping not to meet again – that would be the end. Otherwise, they are going to use it for the wedding purposes, according to him. Even though she does fall in love with him, her first priority is to have a house in the city. She also has her career in front of her, and marriage doesn’t come at the top of the list at the moment.

So, what happens next? :: Then there is a chance for her to go to Paris, which is quite the perfect place to continue her fashion designing work. The city which has been commonly referred to as the fashion capital of the world just seemed to have endless opportunities for her. Andre (Jose Acosta), her French co-worker is also asking her regularly to join him on the trip to France, and see how far she can go with her skills in the field. They have their own complications in the relation in between, and it remains to be seen, if they can stand the factors of real life when going through their tale of love. It comes to that point when the relationship was going to be no more – but the promise of ninety days remain. Will they be able to go through those days which are reflected in each coin? Is it love or is it the job that gets the upper hand in the end?

The defence of The Story of 90 Coins :: The movie is just so beautiful to watch – there are those wonderful shots, and there are also beautiful people working in it. Along with the same, the performances are also too good that we feel the reflection of the emotions of the two protagonists. The emotional effect that this movie brings is more than what some of those highly appreciated romantic flicks lasting two and half hours has brought us. We can take the example of two Malayalam movies which are considered top love stories – Ennu Ninte Moideen and Annayum Rasoolum. While the former was entertaining, it dragged itself to almost three hours, with moments which didn’t need to be there. The former also had a run-time close to three hours and had more drag than material. These two, the most overrated love stories don’t stand a chance against a nine minute short-film, and there lies the beauty of The Story of 90 Coins.

Soul exploration 1: Love and promises made :: We see so many movies with promises of love being made. Lets take the example of another overrated movie, Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi – it only has the glorification of our youth who can’t make a good promise and stick to it, and as people don’t usually stick to promises they liked it. The Story of 90 Coins is for the kind of people who stick to those promises made in love, like the characters in the movie Anarkali. Unlike what a lot of youth from a spoilt generation thinks, love is not love when it finds deviation – falling in love is a commitment, and whether it is before or after marriage, it takes real courage, faithfulness and trust to stand with the person you love. With love, comes a promise, and it is about this promise that The Story of 90 Coins talks about. Good men and women keep it, and won’t let it become a random memory which comes into mind later.

Soul exploration 2: Love and love only :: There will be other things like work and people will keep looking for job satisfaction – unfortunately, in a terrible modern world, it is something that people will use to judge you and society will even judge your partner on the same. There will always be those offers to make you feel successful, but it is not inside that cabin or the cubicle that you find what matters the most – it is in in front of your beloved, in her words, and in her arms. As we look at a world affected terribly by modernity, we feel so much less of love – they turns into robots, and they divide us into factions. But there will be a day when we realize that love matters – it will be not that creepy new generation love made in the name of modern love which has no commitment and just infatuation and lust. Love will be love only when it is worth to be called by arranging those four letters in the right way in heart, and never stepping back from those feelings of oneness.

How it finishes :: There are lots of dialogues in this movie which are certain to stay with you. The process of making you feel the love begins from the first few seconds itself, and there are those amazing words in the end, which are sure to give your emotional side and belief in true love a big push. It is shameful that we have more of “theppu” short-films here rather than true love stories – we are the industry which had so many of real love tales which became big hits in the past, and we struggle to make more of the same kind even as short-films. It is during those times that this Chinese short-film from Michael Wong becomes a very significant lesson. This is a movie which has won more than fifty accolades from different international film festivals, and it is the director’s short-film debut. After watching this The Story of 90 Coins, I hope that he will make a lot more of similar interesting flicks.

Release date: 28th July 2016
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Michael Wong
Starring: Jose Acosta, Dongjun Han, Zhuang Zhiqi

Watch The Story of 90 Coins here:

Other short-films of interest: Mangalyam Thanthunanena, Red Jacket, Grace Villa, Culprit, AUFDRUCK, The Shaman.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Storks

Vampire Owl: Have you ever met the Vampire Stork?

Vampire Bat: What? There is no such thing as a Vampire Stork. It is not natural.

Vampire Owl: Well, a Vampire Panda is not natural, but we have one.

Vampire Bat: But we know that it is Kung Fu Panda in disguise.

Vampire Owl: Still, the Vampire Stork became a strange reality near Bermuda Triangle.

Vampire Bat: In that case, it could possibly be a Zombie Stork.

Vampire Owl: Well, the investigation teams are on their way.

Vampire Bat: What if the stork is to deliver a baby instead?

Vampire Owl: Storks don’t deliver babies!

Vampire Bat: Just watch the movie and find out!

[Gets three cups of lemon tea with 50-50 biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: It was quite natural for the storks of Stork Mountain to deliver babies to the families all around the world, and each one of them found extreme happiness in doing the same. They had delivered millions of babies to people until one stork named Jasper (Danny Trejo) attempted to keep a little baby girl for himself one day, which changed it all. The tracker which provided the location of the family to which the baby was to be delivered is lost, and Jasper goes away from there in shame and disgust. With no option left, the storks adopt the baby, and name the new orphan as Tulip (Katie Crown) who grows up within the company. The CEO of the company, Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) discontinued all baby delivery after that and replaced the same with package delivery going by the name Cornerstore.com. After doing the same, he has been focusing on the stocks only, and by being mean to everyone, made the firm a succesful company based on exploitation of its work force.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Eighteen years after she was adopted, Tulip who is an adult now, is working with Cornerstore, and regularly messes up things. Hunter is not happy that Tulip keeps bringing the stocks down with whatever she s doing at the factory. As Hunter is the typical boss who doesn’t want to deal with the emotional side looking only for profits, he just wants to fire Tulip, and he assigns the task to Junior (Andy Samberg) who is to take his place after he becomes the chairman. Junior can’t get himself to fire the girl, and so he transfers her to the mail room which doesn’t really get any mail these days. While she spends all her time there alone, Junior hopes that he can finally get the promotion and be the boss to be in control of the operations.

And, what is to follow next in the animated adventure? :: At the same time, Nate Gardner (Anton Starkman) is a lone boy who is in need of some attention as his parents Henry Gardner (Ty Burrell) and Sarah Gardner (Jennifer Aniston) are always working, not even trying to spare five or ten minutes with their child. He sends a letter to the storks, hoping that he could get a baby brother to play with. This letter which reaches Cornerstone, has Tulip’s attention as she has the first letter in a long time. She immediately enters the baby factory and use the letter to make the baby-making machine work. The result is a pink-haired baby girl. Junior arrives at the machine to try and shut down the machine, and injures his wings. With him unable to fly after the injury to his wings, the two uses Tulip’s flying machine which she had invented to work while delivering for Cornerstone, and plans to get the baby home before anyone else finds out. But can they successfully do that?

The defence of Storks :: This movie might be the cutest that any animated flick can get, with babies as the centre of attraction. The kids are going to love this movie like no other, as the cuteness factor is at its best beginning from the birth of the first baby itself – then there are a lot of babies coming together in the end, and it is the explosion of cuteness on the screen, like happiness was for Trolls. Then the movie gets to another sweet level, and with its short run-time, never get go of that quality. Along with the same, there is a lot of fun in store here, along with the emotional side which tells us how important family is – spending time with children is that significant. The movie also talks about that cruel mindset of the corporate world, which is clearly against anything human or close to life. The profit-oriented society is killing so many families with all the focus on money-making, right? Well, loving humans is not that easy as loving money, isn’t it?

The claws of flaw :: One has to feel that Storks did rush through the proceedings, and everything happens rather too fast. We could have slowly and smoothly moved through all those sweet, cute moments, but this one was surely in a hurry – we also wanted to see more of the wolves and penguins in this flick; maybe there can be spin-offs. The basic idea about the storks might also be a little outdated, and the myth might also go over the head of more than one person or two. There is also the chance the main characters might feel irritating at times. One also wonders how cute the babies can remain, as the teenage fury seems to come and affect everyone a little too early these days; the age out of cuteness beginning too early too be exact, as we see in that Carnival Cinemas advertisement. We are also tend to wonder if this could have been even better on the lines of Moana, Zootopia, Frozen, Inside Out, Big Hero 6, Epic, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, or such kind, with an even better story.

How it finishes :: Nicholas Stoller had directed a movie which is often considered among the worst movies which were appreciated by the US critics, The Neighbors, but Storks is that kind of a movie from him and Doug Sweetland that everybody will love to keep falling in love with, again and again. Well, have you seen this kind of cuteness for a long time? The animated movies usually take themselves as cute, and don’t include any extra cuteness, but not with Storks, which adds the cuteness as the secret, special ingredient. When this cuteness is guaranteed with entertainment, it is nothing less than a crime not to get your little ones here. A colourful movie is what is needed to get some colour into your life, and Storks might be the perfect flick to do that – you will love babies more for sure, after watching Storks. I have myself found myself more cuteness and love after this one.

Release date: 23rd September 2016
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
Starring: Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Danny Trejo, Chris Smith, Awkwafina, Ike Barinholtz, Amanda Lund, Jorma Taccone

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nerve

nervee-2

Vampire Owl: I was playing this online game. You should also try it.

Vampire Bat: Don’t you know that I no longer try these things?

Vampire Owl: But this is very much interesting.

Vampire Bat: I have gone through many more interesting things in the past.

Vampire Owl: You know, there is this game. You get missions, and you need to finish them.

Vampire Bat: It sounds familiar.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it should. There are so many people playing this game. Look, there is even Mr. Werewolf Anger playing it.

Vampire Bat: This reminds me of a movie.

Vampire Owl: This game is more than that.

Vampire Bat: Just watch this movie, and you will know.

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

What is the movie about? :: Venus Delmonico (Emma Roberts), known to her friends as just “Vee”, spends her time with a small group of friends in an island outside the limits of the city. She wishes to leave her home for studying further in the city but doesn’t want to leave her mother alone after the death of her brother. Venus’ best friend is Sydney (Emily Meade) who is a popular girl around, thanks to an online reality game which goes by the name Nerve. In this popular game which has its gamers enlisted as players or watchers, the latter assigns tasks to the former, and accomplishing the same will bring money and fame to those involved. There is always the chance to become more and more famous in the online world, and this opportunity to become popular is used by most of the youth who has nothing better to do with their life. It is a network which keeps getting bigger and bigger.

So, what happens next? :: This game collects one’s personal data and comes up with three rules: all objectives are to be recorded on the player’s mobile phone, all of the earned money are to be revoked if a player fails or declines a dare in the middle of it, and a player is also not to report anything related to the game to the law enforcement. But the real names of the players are never revealed to the public. It remains anonymous, but the game knows everything. Venus who is rejected by her crush J.P. (Brian Marc) as Sydney proposes in her name, decides to become popular like her and the lover who never happened to be one. The one option that seemed to be easy for her, is to get to play Nerve as a player, and be watched by millions of players all around the world, and the two top players with the most points also get to battle each other to win the game.

So, how do things go from here? :: Her first mission, what they call in the game as dare, is to kiss a random stranger at a diner for five seconds. Venus chooses to kiss Ian (Dave Franco), who spends his time reading her favorite book, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. He sings to her revealing that he is also playing Nerve. Interested in the two, the watchers add the dare to go together into the city. But things only get complicated after that, with newer dares added – there are more difficult ones coming, and with the total number of viewers, Venus and Ian gets to the top two places, much to the dismay of Sydney who was the star in their circle. Jealous of Venus being popular than her, Sydney attempts to take more risks, and almost falls to her death. But the watchers are not finished, and they have more plans for the players – will Venus go on or quit? What is the past that Ian is hiding? How will Sydney react to this?

The defence of Nerve :: There is a fast-paced thriller in store in the form of Nerve – there is no dull moment, and from the moment this movie begins, to the end, we are cent percent interested in what is to happen next. The movie also nicely presents the terrible beauty which is present in the form of another reality online, which has caused more trouble in the last few years than during any other period of time – the message is surely to unplug from that different mirage of a reality which is not really anything close to even a distant reality. The thrills are working without doubt, and that too continuously here. What works more than the rest is certainly the pair of Emma Roberts and Dave Franco – the former manages to work the role of the teenager who wishes to bring the attention really well, and the latter with more or less the same motive – not only does the watchers of the game find them a good pair, as the audience of this movie must feel the same too. The movie also looks great on screen.

The claws of flaw :: Nerve could have surely been darker and more threatening with its world, for we all know that the reality about the virtual world can only get much more worse as time progresses – after all, we are having a generation that is interested only in pleasing others, and getting more and more attention, no matter what happens to their own people. Even as it is based on a 2012 novel of the same name by Jeanne Ryan, there could have been more dares added into this one, along with more freaky incidents happening – as a movie, it could have used all that, even though nothing can be said about the book without having read it. The movie could have also used a few faces for Nerve, and justice could have been better served to those unknown names using the game. The scope was further for this movie, and we could have always had a bigger and darker thriller with this one going a safer path.

How it finishes :: Nerve is clearly a reflection of what happens in the current world which is dominated by all kinds of social media which begins from Facebook and Twitter. The strength of online games is another thing which is visible. In a world which has been so much affected by an online world which affects the reality in a way which makes it too difficult to come back, Nerve has a message for each one of the viewers. Nerve is the kind of movie that is certain to make one think, and it is a clear reflection on how bad a simple game can get, and how much lawlessness can be present online – it doesn’t really matter how good or educated a person is, as it is eternally easy to be evil without a face; the movie shows exactly that! As we see all those online abuses happening all around, you know that the nature of the internet is bringing the worst out of people on most occasions. Nerve is just its next stage. Lets be prepared for the worst to happen.

Release date: 27th July 2016
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Juliette Lewis, Machine Gun Kelly, Miles Heizer, Kimiko Glenn, Samira Wiley, Ed Squires, Brian Marc, Eric D’Alessandro, Marc John Jefferies, Casey Neistat

nerve

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rockstar

rockstar (1)

Vampire Owl :: I have absolutely no relationship with music. I have doubts related to the effectiveness of this movie on me.

Vampire Bat :: Your are talking as if I have such a relationship.

Vampire Owl :: Well, the elder vampires say that you did sing a song when you first joined the vampire team.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, the result of that action was eight vampire elders having heart attack, thus losing their immortality. It was the first vampire death due to a heart problem, and the first case of missing immortality by natural reasons.

Vampire Owl :: It should be a record then. I have never witnessed such a thing after I joined the vampire team.

Vampire Bat :: Well, it is because I don’t sing anymore. I am the one responsible for bringing the current elder vampires to power as the great vampire elders as the reigning elders of that time had that heart attack. So, these people appreciate me, but they have begged me not to sing again.

Vampire Owl :: Well, I do come close to having heart attack while listening to some of the new generation music. It should be a natural thing, unless you are the Lich Queen. She has no heart and replaces parts of her brain in five or six days.

Vampire Bat :: This one is a romantic musical comedy. So, you have to be aware that we are going to listen to a lot of music.

Vampire Owl :: I am prepared for it. I just hope that movie will work for me due to my non-musical owlish background.

Vampire Bat :: Lets find that out then.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Anand Abraham (Siddharth Menon) is a musician who is part of a popular band and is a very famous personality in Bangalore. The youth, especially girls have some special love for him. Hailing from the Keralite town of Palai and always into music, he spends his life with alcohol and having relationships with many girls with no seriousness or commitment. During a wedding function, he meets Athira Menon (Eva Pavithran), and that changes the situation quite a lot. Athira is against the idea of marriage itself as her parents have been living separately for many years. She is a beauty stylist who wishes to adopt a child without getting into matrimony. So, when their not-so-serious relationship brings pregnancy, both ends up being confused about what to do next. Both have different opinions about what to do next, even though marriage is not the first choice.

So, where does the grand solution come from? :: The problem with Anand is that he wishes to give his son his surname, and still he can’t go into any kind of commitment. His desire is to continue to be the rockstar that he has been. Meanwhile, Eva detests marriage, and wants to take care of the baby herself. She keeps repeating that she doesn’t want to marry him, but Anand wants his son to be known as his own. With a lot of advice coming from their friends and acquaintances, they finally decide to come up with the grand solution, to get married and get divorced later after the baby is born. With this new variety idea, they goes to the registrar’s office and submit the application. What happens after this with their lives as well as what their parents have to say about this is all that movie talks about.

The defence of Rockstar :: There are only a few movies which keeps getting better and better as the movie progresses, and Rockstar is one of them – may be if the movie was longer, this one could have been a better flick? One has to wonder, because the earlier quicker pace of the flick was actually working against the movie considering the genre that it belongs to; a romantic musical should allow the audience to get that feel, and it only arrives later with its strength used to the advantage. The movie is not short of ideas, about freedom and people living their lives their own way, along with understanding the meaning of love and affection. There are some nice, enjoyable moments; with the scenes at the registrar’s office, the grandmother-grandson bonding moments, the final emotional sequences and a few more can be mentioned. Some of the humour will be remembered, and the movie is emotionally touching.

Claws of flaw :: The beginning of the movie is a catastrophe and it will keep telling you that you need to leave the theatre right now. It is more like an inspiration to get yourself out of the theatre – the first thirty minutes are the worst that you might have ever seen for some time, and from there, it slowly begins to get better and with fourty five minutes passed, it begins to get better as you will notice. Rockstar seems to be a movie which could have achieved a lot bigger if focus was there, and with the first few minutes cut. The ideas which the movie talks about don’t really show themselves with the strength that is was supposed to have, and some of them are easily lost. There is also a certain amount of immaturity in the way the movie as a whole comes to the screen. Maybe a better narrated and better edited movie was needed here to bring the ideas to the audience in a better way. The songs are not that good and humour could have been used more. It could have have done without some scenes and predictability.

Performers of the soul :: Siddharth Menon does pretty good as the protagonist on his debut, as he does suit his character very well. There is nothing special for him to do here though. One would have expected a lot more musical stuff from his character though. But the movie often deviates from its musical self, making one wonder if that should have been done with a singer becoming the leading actor here. The character here is focused in the wrong way, if you ask me. By the end, it matters less if he is a rockstar or a businessman, and it still works for the usual audience in another way because he is more of a common man and not a star at that time. The daughter of the director VK Pavithran, Eva Pavithran is really good in her second coming debut here. She seemed amazingly suitable for this role, and she is sure to get bigger roles from now. There will be a few moments from her which you will appreciate very much and keep in your memory.

How it finishes :: It was nice to see Praseetha Menon of Badai Bunglaw fame doing an interesting role. Poornima makes a nice return to Malayalam cinema after a very long time. M Jayachandran had the role of a totally unnecessary character, as there is nothing good in it. Anumol has a notable character and Sona Nair has some good moments along with Mukundan Menon even as they are short. Mallika Sukumaran is seen in Malayalam cinema after a long time and she has some nice moments too. The funniest moments of the movie still belong to Saiju Kurup in his short stay. Most of the remaining support is rather wasted. Rockstar might not be the movie which you expected to watch after having a look at the trailer and hearing a lot about it – this is the advantage as well as the disadvantage of the movie, and it is a watchable flick; just don’t expect something huge.

Release date: 3rd December 2015
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: VK Prakash
Starring: Siddharth Menon, Eva Pavithran, Sona Nair, Anumol, Praseetha Menon, Saiju Kurup, Poornima Bhagyaraj, Mallika Sukumaran, Prakash Bare, Mukundan Menon, M Jayachandran, Dinesh Prabhakar

rockstar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Spring Breakers

“I will drink Life to the lees” said the protagonist, the Ithacan king and the Greek hero, in the poem titled with his own name, Ulysses, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. That suspected hedonism in the face of our inescapable mortality found in The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, the Edward FitzGerald translation, going back to the eleventh and the twelfth centuries has found ever increasing rhythm in this generation, but without the octopus hand of death and the ultimate end. “Carpe diem” as they can still say, from our own most mentioned ancient poet, Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known to most of us as Horace – “Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the next day”, an idea which has developed into a lifestyle with loose morals leading to a life of unimaginable pleasure among the new generation. Epicureanism has made a more powerful entry to the new world, and as a kind of hedonism finding pleasure as the only intrinsic good, there is a new environment which is powerful and fast spreading. In an attempt to maximize pleasure, and keeping the pain and worries away, there is this chaos which is the side-effect of this pleasure-seeking, and Spring Breakers deals with such an effect. The loss of values, traditions and religion in the contemporary world is given a shocking reflection. It is also a satire on all those “finding ourselves” nonsense which has been thrown on us. The modern life might be empty enough without these, but are these not another group of visages of vanity?

The movie begins with a spring break beach party and goes back college attended by four friends, Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brittany (Ashley Benson), and Cotty (Rachel Korine). Candy, Brittany and Cotty despises their normal life at the college and spend their spare time smoking, drinking and partying, while Faith is part of a religious group for the youth in which she seems to be a reluctant participant and finds her world horribly monotonous. When the spring break arrives, the four friends decide to go on their best ever, and enjoy it like never before, but they find themselves terribly short of money. Candy, Brittany and Cotty commit armed robbery at a restaurant and finds enough money to make the trip. Despite of her religious friends warning her about the three friends, Faith decides to accompany the trio in the trip. After reaching Florida, the girls attend wild beach parties and indulge in various unruly activities, and the scene skips to the present when the situation goes and reaches a girls gone wild environment. So much for the shocking mirror of the so called modernity, which is a disturbing world captured in slow-motion.

But after spending a lot of their time in cocaine and alcohol, they are arrested, and taken to the cell and spends two nights in jail, and when all hopes are lost, they are unexpectedly bailed out by Alien (James Franco), a local rapper, a Brittany Spears fan and a gangster who had become very interested in the girls, and calls them “different from the rest”. But as he takes them to one of his usual hangout places, and Faith becomes more and more uncomfortable with his attitude, lifestyle and his friends. Despite his attempts to convince her to stay telling her that he likes her a lot and they would have fun, she decides to leave. But her friends decide to stay despite her begging them to accompany her. They are introduced into Alien’s criminal world full of glamour and money, as they become his partners in crime or soulmates as he would call them, dressed and maked in pink and armed with guns, performing more and more armed robberies not just for the monet, but also for the fun of inflicting the pain and the thrills and advanture associated with it. All these finally leads to Cotty being shot on the arm by a rival gang and returning home as a result of the trauma. But the two girls and Alien decides to stay, continue what they started and seek revenge even as everyone is going back to school, along with taking their relationship to a new level – so the spring break continues.

So, that is how it goes, depicting spring break as an escape from reality, into another world, and two of the girls decides to continue in it, with one leaving when she realizes what is going to happen and the other when she comes to her senses about what is really happening. Then the question would be about reality, and where would one need to escape into. They girls chose the world of drugs, alcohol, sex and violence, rather than something which could have revived them spiritually. From the words of Faith: “It was really great. I think we found ourselves here. We finally got to see some other parts of the world. We saw some beautiful things here. Things we’ll never forget. We got to let loose. God, I can’t believe how many new friends we made. Friends from all over the place. I mean everyone was so sweet here. So warm and friendly. I know we made friends that will last us a lifetime. We met people who are just like us. People the same as us. Everyone was just trying to find themselves. It was way more than just having a good time. We see things different now. More colors, more love, more understanding. God, it’s so nice to get a break from my uni for a little while. I know we have to go back to school, but we’ll always remember this trip. Something so amazing, magical. Something so beautiful. Feels as if the world is perfect. Like it’s never gonna end.”

Consider this and think about the fact that Selena Gomez’ Faith is the only girl out there with some sense left in her. Even she considers that world as “warm and friendly”, the things there as “amazing, magical and beautiful” and people there as “just like us”. Her concept of “colour, love and understanding” were entirely disturbing for someone with a strong religious background. Her desire was change and escape from the monotonous world, and she needed to be awakened. She herself says “I’m starting to think this is the most spiritual place I’ve ever been”; and what she needed was a spiritual awakening, not a physical one. Despite of knowing that the three girls stole the money for the vacation, she still decides to stay, and needed a bigger jolt of being arrested and taken to the gangster world so as to come to know that she was wrong all the time, and it was not the world which she wished for. Selena’s portrayal of the comparatively good girl has been a sweet one. Right from the beginning, when she gets into the bikini with her friends, it seems clear that she is the misfit with her body as well as the expressions, but her role is that of substance, and her character does something other than being crazy and wild, which is to think. But the question would remain if she needed this much of a backlash to get away from her so called friends?

Cotty (Rachel Korine) is the next person to come into her senses and she required to be shot on the arm for the same. She would seem like the sexually charged person of the gang, as the sole female wet, wearing nothing but her panty and surrounded by males in a room throughout the spring break, while her friends spend their time together. But after getting shot, she shows that everything was just a mask of being the strong, smart and sexy lady to be part of the gang. But Brittany (Ashley Benson) and Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) takes the same to the next level, beginning a sexual relationship with Alien (James Franco) as well as taking the violence to another stage. Vanessa Hudgens seems to have shed her cute Disney image completely with this one, and Ashley Benson seems to rule the movie as the most gorgeous of the gang as well as the most beautiful. The final two form the best of the bad girls, with no remorse about anything they have done, and still hanging onto their idea, of pretending that it is a video game or a movie. James Franco is big revolution, and as the rapping hunk who takes the girls under his wing, he looks so different in his looks, his way of talking and his style that nobody might recognize him if not told. He is the Mephistopheles of this morality tale, and even as Faith lives upto her name and suvives the temptation, and Cotty repents as he realizes the horror, the two remaining ones – the “soulmates” are damned with their soul. In this age when tradition has disappeared, and religion takes the exit, such things tend to be stronger than ever.

Well, this movie might look like just a random party show, but what does this tale come up with? It is a morality tale covered in bikinis, as it gives us a horrifying look into the present day culture which has gone to that path which is nothing less than the worst of all hedonism. It is a twisted allegory towards contemporary culture. It is a take on the contemporary world of loose morals and the absence of faith which they lost with the return of Faith, and remorse which they lose with the return of Cotty. There is a Don Juan and there is a Doctor Faustus in all humans beyond the ability for denial, but there is a limit to how far that takes one, and as long as Spring Breakers are concerned, they have taken it to the limits, from the monotonous life to seeking change, they have taken the forbidden path, but still, they are not judged. The new generation has been lost, as it would say, or the most of it. The inherent evil in man has taken control more powerfully. This one can’t work as a morality tale though, as there is a lot of strong outer covering. But what it can do is that it can shock the audience into taking a look into the contemporary world of late night parties, drugs and booze which has taken over the teenage girls, and its raw reflection is Spring Breakers. This shock has been used in a simple manner in Papilio Buddha, the Malayalam movie, but in Spring Breakers, they use it in an exaggerated, twisted manner, but the result is that they surely shock the audience into understanding the terror that is modern culture, with sadness and depression. They could have done without the repeated uncomfortable images, but this is still a different movie using a different style.

Release date: 22nd March 2013
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Harmony Korine
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, James Franco, Gucci Mane

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.