Cinderella

Vampire Owl: How many Cinderella movies have we watched?

Vampire Bat: I have lost count this time.

Vampire Owl: And how many more Cinderella movies will we watch?

Vampire Bat: It is also not something we can guess.

Vampire Owl: If Cinderella was a vampire, this would have been so perfect.

Vampire Bat: We don’t really have fairy-tales in the vampire world.

Vampire Owl: One doesn’t really need them, right?

Vampire Bat: Well, fairy-tales are lies, we all know that.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that humans are not really short of lies.

Vampire Bat: And they even want us to believe the same.

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

What is the movie about? :: Vivian (Idina Menzel) leads her life in a village of hardworking people with her daughters (Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer), as well as her stepdaughter Ella, then known as Cinderella (Camila Cabello) who is different from her stubborn sisters. She does almost everything in the house, but is not considered to be someone of importance. Nobody in the house likes her, and wastes no time in scolding or making fun of her, despite her best efforts to make things better. Everyone at home considers her to be an orphan, even though she is daughter to the mother’s earlier husband. It is then that Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) is in requirement of a wife, but he is not really that much into it – King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan) and Queen Beatrice (Minnie Driver) are not really happy about it though, as they would have preferred him to marry someone whom they admired and win many colonies as wedding gift in the process.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As Robert goes on living his life, not intending to be the grand kind that everyone wanted to be, Princess Gwen (Tallulah Greive) hopes to be rule the realm as a queen, an idea which nobody is interested in, but she does manage to provide some ideas in between, which mostly wouldn’t suit the world she lived in. Robert would meet Cinderella in the market though, as she was trying the dress which she had designed. For them to meet again, they have to come together in a ball, and she also wants to find buyers for her clothes, and Fairy Godmother (Billy Porter) prepares her for the same, supported by the mice (James Acaster, James Corden and Romesh Ranganathan) who are transformed into men and are supposed to take her to the palace on a magical chariot. Now the question remains if she can fall in love and sell her clothes at the same time, or whether she will fail as her stepmother and stepsisters would have always thought she would. The possibilities are endless.

The defence of Cinderella :: The first song by Ella is the best one with the music, and there are a few nice songs, even though none of them rise much above that particular level, while there are some which are not interesting at all. The visuals are really good, and the magic of the original fair-tale story is maintained, even though it seems to be so more by compulsion rather than anything else – maybe this film could have been named something else and played into another tale instead of calling Cinderella for help. There are some nice ideas in the background, that is for sure, but in the implementation, it often falls on the nose, and still we find something here and there. It does have the support of some fine performances in moments, and it also thrives on the moments. After all, we can’t just avoid a Cinderella movie when it comes, even when it deviates too much from the original ideas, and even if it is not the Cinderella that we knew or wanted to watch.

The claws of flaw :: For a Cinderella movie, this one is really strange. Its deviations often feel dumb, and often it feels useless. We have watched so many Cinderella films that we know what the story should really be about despite adding something not suiting at all. Some of the music does get irritating, just like a few of the characters fo manage to do. It is the same reason why it also feels foolish at times. The director here does have some weird and silly ideas about making a Cinderella film, and one has to understand that there are a few things which really make a Cinderella, just like without a few things, some classics and fairytales are not complete – Hamlet needs vengeance, Macbeth needs the witch-like creatures, Rapunzel needs the long hair etc. This is where Cinderella making the unnecessary deviation without creativity falls behind, and in the process, it is also too long a film, considering what kind of content it has.

Performers of the soul :: A lot of characters in the movie do look strange, even though many of them seems to excel in this. Camila Cabello is really good, without doubt, and the same can be said about Idina Menzel and Pierce Brosnan. Camila Cabello has some fine moments which rise a long way up, while it is always good to see Pierce Brosnan in any role. Idina Menzel has her stepmother role smaller than what one would have expected. Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer plays the usual stepdaughters of the good old fairytale. Nicholas Galitzine and Minnie Driver are okay, but seem to overdo things at some moments, and some of their dialogues are ridiculously silly – but that is more or less inheriting the silly mood of the film itself. Tallulah Greive plays basically a useless role, and she doesn’t have enough screen-space either. A number of smaller characters in this film seems to be strangely written, and we would have actually done better without them as some of them also manage to look much ridiculous. Billy Porter as the fairy godmother is nonsense.

How it finishes :: Cinderella with this version is enjoyable only because of parts. Otherwise, it is irritating in other parts. It needed better music and try not to use nonsense to sell its ideas. These won’t suit in a Cinderella film either, but as it does look good, and because we have always loved Cinderella, we go on with it. As it has released on Amazon Prime Video, there is always the option to fast forward those unnecessary elements. When people try to divert a classic fairytale without not much thinking, I can assure you that there are many areas where you wish to fast forward. If you accept people’s right to be silly if they have a high budget, and enjoy the rest, you can enjoy the magic with the visual extravaganza. Well, we have accepted many stupid films which looked good or a few others with dumb fun, it is very much possible to be entertained by this.

Release date: 3rd September 2021
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Kay Cannon
Starring: Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter, Pierce Brosnan, Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer, Tallulah Greive

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous fantasy movie review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood direct Amazon release.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood delayed Amazon release.

<— Click here to go to the review of the most watched Indian film on Amazon.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Drishyam

drishyam (2)

Vampire Owl :: So, we are now going to complete watching a trilogy of Drishyam(s).

Vampire Bat :: Yes, even though there are a total of five Drishyam(s) with only two movies having exactly that name and only four movies having similarities to that name.

Vampire Owl :: I was simply making a simple statement which is also true in another way.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but the statement that I made is also true if you look deeply into it.

Vampire Owl :: I still appreciate this movie for keeping the title of the original. This way, I can tell people that I have watched Drishyam twice.

Vampire Bat :: Well, when you say that you watched a remake so many times, do make it clear that it is Drishyam and not Bodyguard. We have to keep certain horror standards.

Vampire Owl :: Do you know that I had no clue that this would be remade into this many languages when it had released with lesser hype than some of those mindless movies?

Vampire Bat :: Do you remember that this is the Drishyam movie that we are watching with the cheapest tickets?

Vampire Owl :: Is it? I have no memory about the bloody human currency. They can’t even keep one standard currency for their realm – how bad is that?

Vampire Bat :: Actually we paid Rs.116 per ticket for the Malayalam version, Rs.90 for the Tamil version, and it is Rs.50 for this one. So, this movie is actually very cheap and will surely give us the money’s worth.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The story might be well known, but lets go for a recap. Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgan) is a simple man and a huge movie lover running a cable television network in a locality in Goa. He watches a lot of movies and lives happily with his family consisting of his wife Nandhani (Shriya Saran) and two daughters. But when an unexpected guest comes into their life to ruin the life of his elder daughter Anju (Ishita Dutta), their small world get a twist of events. The guest is dealt with, but the mother of that missing boy is IG Meera Deshmukh (Tabu) who is ready to go to any extent to find his son who came to the house of Vijay. The protagonist has his plans, but how far can a man with minimum education go to save his family against the angry IG and her husband (Rajat Kapoor)?

The new Drishyam :: Just like we have already seen in the original Drishyam, Papanasam and the other remakes, this begins as the family drama, but here it gets into the thriller side much earlier. In less than fourty five minutes, this one gets into the main action. The movie also has some fine visuals of Goa as it is never completely a rural setting, and the families are surely richer as you can see from the houses of both the protagonist and the police officer. This is also the lighter one among the three, as the police torture is lesser with no bones broken compared to the Tamil version, and the girl also accidentally hits the boy as she aims the mobile phone which is lifted over his shoulder – she never really has the idea of hurting the boy there. The bad boy’s car remains yellow in colour, but there is a certain upgrade here from Maruti Suzuki Zen in the other two verstions to a Hyndai Getz.

Positives and Negatives :: As I have talked about earlier, I have watched only three versions as of now, and so the comparisons are to be limited to them. The version here inherits only the positives and negatives of the original, expect for the small changes which have been made. The biggest visible change is that the elder girl was adopted by the protagonist – one has to wonder if it is because the girl is considered too old to be the real daughter of Ajay Devgan and Shriya Saran or if it comes as part of the goodness package for the hero who was to be established as the good man. I like the fact that this movie quickly got into the thrills, and it might also be the shortest in total run-time among the three, which is favourable. The police officer is also bigger cop, than the big mother figure, and even has her own slow motion sequences from the prison after getting random villains beaten up.

Performers of the soul :: The script is the hero as everyone knows already, and the rest of the factors are supposed to follow. Once again, there are no comparisons to be made directly between the leading actors of the three movies. Still, indirectly taking a look at the same, even though not making the impact as Mohanlal and Kamal Hassan who had made their roles memorable in their own ways, Ajay Devgan is also very good here even without being that intense or emotional. It is good to see different actors doing the same thing in different styles without moving that much out of the core thing. Shriya Saran might be the best looking among all the actresses among five movies, but considering the three, she makes the least impact, may be because the Hindi version has cut some of those family scenes and the opportunities are less. The cut happens in the first half itself.

More performers of the soul :: Ishita Dutta who makes her Bollywood debut here is also quite good in her role as the elder daughter. She did very well for a debutante, especially in those emotional sequences. Esther Anil of the Malayalam and Tamil was the best option for the younger daughter’s role as she has done the same in the Telugu version too; the choice here is just okay. Tabu stays very strong here, as she matches Asha Sarath of Malayalam and Tamil with her strong cop role. The original’s Siddique and Kalabhavan shajon have their mirror images in this movie as not that strong, and the same is the case when compared with Papanasam’s Anant Mahadevan and Kalabhavan Mani. But any problem here is mostly erased by the strong script, and the movie has risen high already. After watching all these versions, I feel that I might be having confusion with the comparisons and so I would stop here!

How it finishes :: With the fifth movie of a very long remake saga, this version of Drishyam also manages to come strong with the audience, and once again asserts the importance of one’s own family strongly. In a theatre having a complete non-Keralite audience, the claps were so many and people were clearly entertained. Those haven’t watched the original or the other remakes should surely watch this one, and even for others, this will provide that feeling of going through that nice experience all over again. I still do wonder why some people had to get out of the theatre early and miss that final moment of revelation – are they even aware about what they missed? There are not many shows of this movie at this part of the nation because everyone knows a lot about this story, and so one should catch this Drishyam soon!

Release date: 31st July 2015
Running time: 163 minutes
Directed by: Nishikant Kamat
Starring: Ajay Devgan, Shriya Saran, Tabu, Ishita Dutta, Prathamesh Parab, Rajat Kapoor

drishyamh

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Drishyam

drishyam!

The vision right here :: Translated as “The Sight” or may be as “The Visual”, and produced by Antony Perumbavoor under Aashirvad Cinemas, Drishyam is that movie which gave me big trouble in writing the title in English; whether it was Dryshyam, Dhryshyam or Dhrysyam with a lot of variations replacing one “y” or the other with “i” or both with “i”. But about the decision to watch the movie, there was absolutely no doubt. This movie released on a Thursday, a day before the flow of the weekend movies started, and had already come up with good reviews from both the critics and the audience. There was absolutely no reason why I wouldn’t watch this movie, as there were so many people asking about why I haven’t watched this movie, and I decided to book a the tickets, and there was never a better decision in the recent times, as the tickets for the movie was sold out everywhere in a flash, and much faster than Dhoom 3 – its trailer had said that the year would end with a “dhoom”, and now we know that they were talking about Drishyam, and not on some weird movie with strange characters doing stupid things on motor-bikes.

What is it about? :: Georgekutty (Mohanlal) is an orphan who has studied only till standard four, and Rani (Meena) is his wife, a simple woman who failed in standard ten. They have two daughters, Anju (Ansiba) and Anu (Esther Anil) and are leading a happy life in a village background. Georgekutty is a simple farmer who runs the business of a cable television business named after his wife along with being a farmer; he is loved by most of the people of the village has the image of a nice, innocent man. Still, he doesn’t back away from having opinions about most of the things of the world, which makes him the enemy of Sahadevan (Kalabhavan Shajon), a local cop. But as a simple incident changes their life, they are forced to prepare for the worst, and save their family together, as the common man who lags in education decides to take on the law which comes after them. Will they succeed in their mission or will the family break apart due to the power of external force lead by the Inspector General herself? Anything more said about the movie is rather giving away too much, and the rest is to be seen.

The defence of Drishyam :: Here is another thriller on the cards, after having Mumbai Police and Memories this year gaining critical acclaim as well good box-office collections. The thriller genre is indeed gaining the support of the audience, and even Up and Down: Mukalil Oralundu and Silence had enough of the average stuff inside them. Memories might still be the best investigative thriller this year for every one, as long as this one categorizes under a family thriller. The movie’s first half is a full family drama with light shades until the one major incident that happens just before the end of the half, taking the tension into the space after interval. There is the simple life of ordinary people close to nature portrayed throughout, something which is of goodness and dedication. The second half brings the thrilling twist to the world as the darker shade creeps in under the disguise of law. There is so much brilliance and beauty in the way the story is told, especially in the second half. There is the mixing of the right features that make this one a movie for more than one kind of person.

Positives and negatives :: We are indeed caught in that world of uncertainty which no real assurance of what is to happen next, as an illiterate village guy takes on the educated smart people, but still there might be a little dragging in the first half, and it is just after the interval that the movie actually takes off as it is. The songs are just ordinary, but the performances are top class. The first half does have some ineffective jokes, and there is too much coming from a man who learns how to beat the police with the help of movies. You can actually come up with the need for disbelief, but considering the world that we love in, nothing is impossible, and as the demonic Overlord would say, evil always finds a way. Power and influence always got the upper-hand, and when the common man fights for his family and his world, it is always something that inspires millions. As George Orwell will give us through his Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. That should be another reference to the 2009 movie Ividam Swargamanu, which itself is mentioned in this movie as our hero goes to work on his land. Let’s add that this one is more emotionally touching and less complicated than that one.

Performers of the soul :: There are many directors who might have the best records for many, but for Jeethu Joseph, it is a perfect record when I look at it, with the most interesting thriller of a decade Detective, the best family drama of its age Mummy & Me, the funniest movie of last year My Boss and the best investigative thriller of this year, Memories – there is his perfect record, none of the movies deserves below 80/100 in my opinion. Even with the lesser number of movies, he is already among the best, no doubt about that. Mohanlal is back with a role where he perfectly fits in, reminding us of his performance in Ividam Swargamanu, or rather a role which is even more worthy of being loved – once again the farmer who fights for his small world. There is no longer a hero who transforms into a superhero who beats up the opponents, and he excels as the common man. It is good to see Meena back opposite Mohanlal after Chandrolsavam (2007) and the performance of Kalabhavan Shajon in a negative role is worth mentioning. Asha Sharath also remains strong throughout her presence. Meanwhile, the kids are just brilliant, and they are strong pillars of this movie – I hope that they will stay for long.

Soul exploration :: In its soul, Drishyam is more or less Ividam Swargamanu, even if not so in the presentation as well as the genre. The two characters instantly likable, and we are on their side right from the beginning to the end. Here Mohanlal plays Georgekutty who fights the law for his family in the place of Mathews who fights the law for his land. Both are quite innocent characters who are looking to save their respective worlds. Both movies have the protagonists who are not that educated common men who are on the back-foot most of the time. But this movie has the whole thing more under the control of the protagonist, and the external help he receives is much less. There is no law being used in the favour of him, but there is surely the appropriate use of media. Georgekutty is better planned, all by himself throughout the movie, and even as he suffers more, right from the beginning to the end, everything has been under his control. There is no real corruption in this movie, but there is just power and influence which troubles the common man. The end is indeed a very good, and not without the twist that was needed.

How it finishes :: Drishyam is indeed the winner of the weekend and the movie of Christmas. The movie is in many ways the triumph of goodness when placed against all kinds of problems. There is always evil and sin which often takes many forms and can sometimes rise above the law, and all that decisions belong to the fine thread that fate has woven for each man and woman unless Grimm Reaper decides to cut that thread with his scythe. But the movie ends up as the victory of the common man in his ability to do the right thing. The movie also asserts that there is nothing like family. The real immediate world is family, and without love and mutual co-operation, there is no such world in reality. We do not live for the moment or anything, as we live for the world, which is family – and most of us might have troubles with our blood, but none of them can stand the power of time, and problems and our struggles bring us together. It is never too late to find our little world as well as our role in it. Drishyam is the visualization of the struggle of a common man for the family, and there is brilliance in store.

Release date: 19th December 2013
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Kalabhavan Shajon, Siddique, Asha Sharath, Ansiba, Esther Anil, Roshan Basheer, Koottickal Jayachandran, Neeraj Madhav, Irshad, Kunchan, Antony Perumbavoor

drishyam copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.