Security

What is the movie about? :: Roberto Santini (Marco D’Amore) is at the head of a security surveillance company, which takes care of the safety of some of the wealthiest people in the area. As the whole area is more or less like a beach resort, there are lots of tourists around, and due to its proximity to sea, there is also the possibility of having some ilegal immigrants running around, which makes the installment of security cameras rather necessary. His daughter, Angela Raffaelli Santini (Ludovica Martino) doesn’t listen to her parents. His wife Claudia Raffaelli Santini (Maya Sansa) is running for the post of mayor, and vows to make the place a safer area. But on an eventful night, a local girl, Maria Spezi (Beatrice Granno) is found with a bloody face on one of the cameras. She also seems to faint soon. The girl lands in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder, while Roberto’s marriage is not going great – their daughter, Angela is in a relationship with her much older creative writing professor, Steffano Thomassi (Silvio Muccino) who is recently divorced. Roberto is also in a relationship with Elena Ventini (Valeria Bilello), a single mother.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: As Roberto spends most of his time with the security cameras, even in the night, he rarely gets any sleep at all. Claudia is a conservative candidate, who is determined to become the first female mayor of the town, whatever it takes. Walter Spezi (Tommaso Ragno), Maria’s father is considered to be the man who was responsible for beating her up, but as she comes to her senses, she tells everyone that it was someone else, and a boy was involved. Walter is freed, but he does have a history of sexual assault and other abuses. Roberto doubts if Elena’s son Dario Ventini (Giulio Pranno) who was found drunk and driving was involved in the crime. Roberto and Claudia understand that Angela is in a relationship with an older man, and they feel that she is sleeping at his place while telling them that she was studying with her classmate (Lavinia Cafaro). Roberto tries to find out the secrets of Angela and Maria, while trying his best to keep Elena out of it, but can he really do that?

The defence of Security :: This is the fourth Italian movie on this website after Piranhas, Pinocchio and A Classic Horror Story, and my venture through the movies from Italy has only gotten more and more interesting – this movie should be a high point in that case. The thriller in this movie works smoothly, and even when slowing down, maintains its strength very well. The emotions are really strong, and there is an effective picture of individuals as well as their relationships, portrayed with efficiency around here. The visuals are nothing less than stunning, and that makes this particular beach town a place we should visit for sure. The pain, grief and regret in this movie can be felt, and at times, even seen. Marco D’Amore surely reflects the same, and it is a similar reflection that can be seen on the face of Valeria Bilello, but nothing matches the suffering of the character played by Tommaso Ragno, who seems to have no way out even at his old age. The movie is a poetry of grief set in motion, even though there is something to be relieved in the end.

Positives and negatives :: For those people who fail to get immersed in this world, this can feel slower and complicated – the attention is required. Some people might also want an exaggerated ending, but for everyone else, this feels close to reality. As the film stays close to one’s emotional with never overdoing the drama, the audience can easily go through what these character go through. Even when the movie shows that relationships are fragile, and pain and suffering becomes part of one’s life for no reason, there is always a chance for healing and redemption; but only those humans who take the right step can provide assurance about the same. The movie knows that lives can be ruined for no reason, or redeemed with care. To show the same, the movie has performers of different age groups, which serves perfectly – they let things unfold and come together in the end, and that works beautifully. There are not many movies which caught my interest like this in a long time other than the Chinese movie, The Soul, and this also serves as a reminder to me to watch more Italian movies – maybe even to visit the beautiful town of Forte dei Marmi in northern Tuscany of Italy.

The performers of the soul :: Marco D’Amore has a solid performance to his credit around here. The whole thing finds some good time resting on his capable shoulders. He goes through the whole situation in a very much believable as well as emotional manner, as the less celebrated hero whom the small town has always deserved. He plays a hardworking commoner whom we can recognize as our own. Even though not forced to go after truth, he becomes the truth seeker. Valeria Bilello and Maya Sansa plays the two women in the life of the main character. The former is the symbol of the protagonist’s future while the latter belongs to his past. Maya Sansa who plays his wife as part of a marriage which is breaking apart, depicts the ambitious and adamant lady well enough to leave an impression. She is the kind of lady who would do anything to reach the top of the food chain, no matter what loss she has to suffer in the process. The two makes the not-so-suitable marriage seem to work to the outside world, but it is evident that they are not even trying in reality. They do have a number of intense and emotional moments together.

Further performers of the soul :: Valeria Bilello has a perfect act performed here, as the struggling mother with two children, one of whom not liking or listening to her, and the other one not able to live without her being around him. She might also be playing the one character with whom we will be connecting with a lot of empathy, but is still left with less screen time in comparison to others. She seems to be the main character’s future, and has close and intimate moments with him – the protagonist is also very much serious with her. Ludovica Martino who plays the daughter, is the one girl who keeps feeling that she has been wronged by everyone, a job well reflected in her performance. It can be seen that her acts of rebellion means something in the end too. Beatrice Granno plays the girl wronged here, and she displays the pain that she always had to go through, really well, even though she could have been given chance for more. Silvio Muccino and Fabrizio Bentivoglio plays the roles with negative shades effectively. Tommaso Ragno is memorable at the man who is always in trouble, and wronged regularly.

How it finishes :: There are not many movies which serve as a perfect package like this one – you won’t be missing much with this film, and there is not much to complaint about it. Whatever you expect from a movie like this, can be seen here, worked out efficiently. An emotional adventure of a thriller with suspense and twists on one side has further reflections on the drama of humanity which it also has running. This is not that much of a well-known movie, and I was also not expecting this to be that good; but it serves something grand, which means that we have a film of quality here. There are so many characters with which you can relate, especially with grief and remorse like in the Spanish film Adios – we also see a lot of things happening with the characters, and none of them are exaggerated or beyond our grasp. As this tale unfolds with beautiful people in an even more beautiful landscape, you are always immersed in this one, no matter how much the pace changes. This is the kind of movie which Hollywood should also try, with all those ingredients including the special one.

Release date: 16th June 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Peter Chelsom
Starring: Marco D’Amore, Valeria Bilello, Maya Sansa, Ludovica Martino, Beatrice Granno, Silvio Muccino, Tomasso Ragno, Giulio Pranno, Anna Della Rosa, Antonio Zavatteri, Lavinia Cafaro, Gaia Bavaro, Doris Von Thury

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lamb

Vampire Owl: I think that they are talking about the Vampire Lamb.

Vampire Bat: A Vampire Lamb from Iceland? That is new.

Vampire Owl: We never had any Vampire Lamb so far?

Vampire Bat: Lambs do not usually go well with the vampires.

Vampire Owl: What about a black lamb with fangs?

Vampire Bat: We already lost the Vampire Wolf to the werewolves. We don’t really need another animal.

Vampire Owl: Wolves belonging to that side of the border. It is not the case of others.

Vampire Bat: You think that every creature other than a wolf would declare allegiance to the vampire kind?

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why they wouldn’t do that.

Vampire Bat: Well, what about the reason that they don’t really need that?

[Gets a paneer paratha and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Somewhere in the remote area of Iceland, a strange entity seems to make its way to a barn which is located a long distance from the traces of civilization. With the terrifying climatic situation, things seem to get worse. The owners of the barn, Maria (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snaer Guonason) soon finds one of their pregnant sheep giving birth to a creature with a lamb’s head and human body, along with its other children. The two takes the creature into the house and names her after their dead daughter, Ada. The creature’s biological mother keeps trying to contact her, and as she is later found with the sheep, Maria shoots the mother sheep and buries it in a grave further away. Despite having some nightmares about sheep, Maria takes very good care of Ada. Ingvar’s brother Petur (Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson) who arrives at the barn witnessing the incident feels that this newly found creature is only an animal, and wishes to get rid of it, to which the couple doesn’t agree at all.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Petur who always had certain love interest with Maria, decides to get rid of Ada for the best interest of everyone in the house, even if other won’t recognize the same. He takes her on a morning walk in the early morning, hoping to shoot her dead and bury the body far away. But he has a change of heart decides to become the uncle-figure to her – Ada also gets along with him really well. But soon, things seems to get different, and something creepy seems to make its way home, which Ada seems to notice. Petur is still fond of Maria, and after drinking a little too much that he should have, makes sexual advances to her, even using the secret that he knows, that she killed Ada’s real mother. She sends him away on the very next day. With only Ada and Ingvar left around there, the strange entity makes its first appearance. What does this creature want, and how can Ingvar and Maria defend against it? What are the secrets that Ada holds here? What fate awaits the couple and their half-sheep child?

The defence of Lamb :: Powered by the performance led by Noomi Rapace who is one of the best actresses of all-time to be part of movies like this, this film can be considered as thriving on the atmosphere on which it builds its pillars. It is indeed a strange movie when we look at it – there is a creature with a lamb’s head and a human body, and it is raised as a child by humans; not the usual kind of story that you keep seeing around. It has a certain horror side, but also an emotional one, all of them being present there, often in an indirect manner. It deals with the strange nature of people, and their lack of understanding of the realities which they face. Providing the feeling of a pastoral world well enough, it provides a certain amount of haunting experience with the slow movement forward too. It wouldn’t have been that easy to work on this material, but with the right cast and the visuals that work perfectly with the atmosphere, the movie manages to march on. It is a reminder that almost everything in life comes at a price.

The claws of flaw :: Lamb is one movie which has decided to go very much divergent, and there is not that much of horror to celebrate it. The film deviates from the general idea about the genre which comes out from movies like The Conjuring, The Nun, Annabelle, Ouija, Insidious, Sinister and others which work on a formula which has been tested and appreciated by too many people who have identified themselves as fans of the category. Moving away from the original horror ideas, and leaving less to be scared, this wouldn’t be that much appreciated by such fans. Along with the same, the ending doesn’t bring that huge effect which was expected. The movie could have been better marketed as a drama thriller indeed, as one creature which does so less has its limitations. Also, the movie slows down a little too much for anyone’s liking, and it is only right to feel that the movie could be twenty or thirty minutes short in length. The grief in this movie could have been also more evident.

The performers of the soul :: Noomi Rapace is one actress whom we can always rely on. The Swedish actress might be best remembered by the people in this part of the world for her work in Prometheus, and she is no stranger to playing motherly figures, as we have seen the same in Angel of Mine. She has a similar mother role here, and she is as determined as she was in that movie. As we miss seeing her in Alien Covenant, and as a good number of her movies didn’t come here, we can only be glad to watch this particular performance from her, which deserves the appreciation too. Most of you might still remember her for the Millennium series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. Well, as the mother who takes care of her lamb girl child, this is another work which you are going to remember her for. Hilmir Snaer Guonason plays the father figure very well too – after all both parents are part of this lamb love. Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson makes a good contribution in between too.

How it finishes :: The movie seems to have similarities to another flick, Sacrifice, with the atmosphere which is seen around. Even though an English movie, it is also set in such a Scandinavian world. The themes of loneliness and depression, as well as a reflection of people who treat their pets as kids also seem to have some say around here. The story seems to have taken something from the Icelandic folklore too, and the one other movie which seems to stay close to this one is The Witch. The film doesn’t use that many dialogues to make its point, and that would mean that even without subtitles, you can understand most part of the flick. The movie surely had the positive opinion of critics, and was selected as the entry from Iceland for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards which took place in Los Angeles in 2022. So, you know that this movie surely has enough to make an impression – it is a mystery set far away from the everyman’s busy world that will have your attention early.

Release date: 24th September 2021
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Valdimar Johannsson
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Hilmir Snaer Guonason, Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson, Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kate

Vampire Owl: I don’t know many Kates from around here.

Vampire Bat: You do know Kate Winslet and Kate Beckinsale.

Vampire Owl: They are certainly not from around here.

Vampire Bat: They are still part of our large film universe.

Vampire Owl: Universe is never that large, as we look at it.

Vampire Bat: Well, this movie and its performers can be part of it.

Vampire Owl: Mary Elizabeth Winstead has always been part of it.

Vampire Bat: Okay, you do remember her movies which suited us vampires’ tastes.

Vampire Owl: Living through so many centuries, tastes do change.

Vampire Bat: The world does change, but do we? In this realm, can we?

[Gets a ghee roast and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is an experienced assassin who has Varrick (Woody Harrelson) as her handler. She is also an expert sniper who has never missed a target in her long career which has focused mostly on the use of sniper gun and long distance shots. Varrick was also the one who trained her, right from childhood itself. Kate has to come to Osaka in Japan to kill a leader within a powerful yakuza mob, but only just manages to hit the target, after a child comes in the way. Even though this hit was also a success, having to kill someone in front of a child bothers here, leading to an emotional turmoil. She intends to go for one final mission, and then begin a new life, as a commoner. But before the final mission, she comes up against Stephen (Michiel Huisman) in bar. They have sex in the room, and she follows up with a sniper shot, and it is the first time that she misses one, that too, with the chance for clear shot.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She understands that she was poisoned by Stephen under the instructions of the members of a crime family which is headed by Kijima (Jun Kunimura), whom she was planning to assassinate, after having already killed his brother in front of his niece, Ani (Miku Martineau). Having only a day left to live before poison gets her, she decides to kidnap Ani, and bargain with Kijima. Despite using her as a bait in the beginning, she decides to keep her safe during the mission, as the gangsters are also targeting her. Ani is the last in the line of the family, and her death would help an internal power struggle. For getting to the top, she has to get through Renji (Tadanobu Asano) and Jojima (Miyavi), and there is a long way ahead after that too. There are many complications that she has to face on the way too, as many other secrets are revealed, with the unexpected happenings that occur related to the person whom she was trying to assassinate.

The defence of Kate :: Led by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, we have female assassin for a change, instead of the usual, and with her performance in the action scenes, we feel that she makes the exact person who was needed here. The film has so many delightful action sequences, and the one at the top floor of a penthouse, and the final combat are of top quality – the style and the music are nothing less than charming. The world that this movie has created in Japan feels like a classic one, and with all the beautiful violence, you only wants to go there. The fights that we have here, are also never overdone, and would make both John Wick and Hitman: Codename 47 proud. There are also enough emotional sequences to go with it. The lighting, darkness and colours have a different feeling about them, and the we also feel a lot of Japan. After the first few minutes, almost all of the city is set in one city in Japan, and with the main character having less than twenty four hours to live, this one keeps close to the unity of time and place, as well as unity of action, one of the rare action movies to keep it close to the Classical unities of Aristotle.

Positives and negatives :: With its quick action, the movie never drags, even when adding the emotions to it – the emotional side also deserves some applause, even though it could have dealt with the same in different ways which could have appealed more, for options were surely there to be taken. Reminder of other films will also be there, but we can actually see this one as superior in action at times. The violence is there for most of the time, and it has taken with a certain amount of beauty related to it. Some parts of it can feel predictable, but it is with multiple guesses taken – many options were there and therefore one cannot correctly guess the same at all times. Some dialogues are actually there to remembered, and a few of them are like providing some messages about life, revenge and forgiveness. There is strength in the frames, and the way in which this one is taken, will need applause too. Even as you are not part of anything like this, and has never been to the city or been part of any action that comes close, you feel what is happening around, and you are engaged at all times with the assassin’s work.

Performers of the soul :: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fantastic as the assassin, and it is the one thing that stands apart like no other. We have seen her from Final Destination 3 itself, and after slashers like Black Christmas were there, we saw her 10 Cloverfield Lane and Gemini Man, two others full of action and mystery. Birds of Prey had her as an assassin too, as the Huntress who was supporting Harley Quinn. Action, horror and mystery seems to suit her really well, and thriller seems to be her perfect genre. From 2000s itself, she has held a higher position among the scream queens, a position which Amber Heard also shared during a similar time period. Unfortunately, there is no scope for a sequel to have her back as the assassin, with this being the dead end, but one has to say that she deserved more movies like Hitman, John Wick or The Transporter. You can have her as part of these bloody genres at any moment of time, and she is sure to deliver. Miku Martineau as Ani plays a child in trauma that you are to remember. Woody Harrelson has a solid role to play here too.

How it finishes :: Kate is a strong action film which reminds one mostly of John Wick, and at times of The Equalizer, but also develops a life of its own. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead at the top, you can also feel some shots of Anna, even though the premise and the world itself is very much different. You can watch this particular movie just for the action itself, and she is more or less like a female Keanu Reeves – one would wonder if she could have actually played Matrix‘s Trinity in another parallel universe, because there is the feeling that in those clothes, and in that world, she would look almost the same. Clearly an engaging ride, Kate takes you through a fun-filled action journey which is to be remembered not just for all the melee combat, sword fights and gun shots, but also for the story with its twists, as well as the beautiful world that we see around there in between the combat. It is indeed an all-round action package, and not a movie that depends on mindless action all the time. Choose this one for full-time entertainment.

Release date: 10th September 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Miku Martineau, Woody Harrelson, Tadanobu Asano, Miyavi, Michiel Huisman

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cross the Line

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Spain has become my dream country again?

Vampire Bat: I thought that you were going to Romania.

Vampire Owl: All vampires are supposed to have some interest in Romania.

Vampire Bat: Does that lead to an interest in Spanish movies?

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why it shouldn’t.

Vampire Bat: Well, we already have some interesting Spanish favourites.

Vampire Owl: This seems to be the more critically appreciated type.

Vampire Bat: That doesn’t guarantee that this could be your type of a movie.

Vampire Owl: There is no my type of movie unless I make one.

Vampire Bat: Well, vampires don’t make movies, but do watch them.

[Gets a pineapple cake and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: Daniel (Mario Casas) is a shy and good-mannered man who is working at a travel agency in Barcelona. He is very much interested in his job, and loves his family consisting of his father and sister. After their father dies, Dani’s sister Laura (Elisabeth Larena) arranges a trip around the world for him from his own company, as he was the one who was taking care of their father, and might be missing the presence of their bed-ridden father. He is not really fond of the trip though, and he is not interested in changing his lifestyle either. He hopes that he can cancel the trip because there is a two week window, and therefore he just accepts the idea. It is then that he comes across a girl at a restaurant and cafe where he often spends time over a burger, and meeting this girl, Milagros (Milena Smit) changes how things would go about in his life from then. She borrows a small amount from him, and is not happy because she really wants to give it back to him.

So, what happens with the events here as some twist is coming up? :: She keeps asking him to come with her for the money despite him not wishing for it to be returned. They take a walk through the street to the place where she works. Finally, as she is a tattoo artist, decides to give him a tattoo instead. He is reluctant again, but finally decides to go for one due to her consistent persuasion. He becomes interested in her, and therefore, he continues to follow her when she asks for his company. But as he goes to her apartment, her interest in him stays only for a few minutes. Soon, things take a twist, and things are not as what he had thought they were. He would commit a murder due to the circumstances, and soon people would be after him, and it won’t be about just police looking for the murderer. These are not the circumstances which he thought he would have to go through at any point of his straightforward life, but he would have to work through it. Now his life has changed, but unlike what his sister thought, it is not for the best.

The defence of Cross the Line :: The film has managed thing nicely with less resources, and it something which we can appreciate. We can also see the beautiful colours on the screen as well as the spaces which also have that beauty about it. There is some nice music being used here, and the sound effects are really good. The film also serves as a morality tale in disguise, as it talks about what can happen when one crosses the line, hence the title being justified here. There is the side effects of what can happen when one immediately begins to trust someone, especially someone beautiful – you should always have limitations in a world like this, where things are not the same as what seem from outside. The situation of such a person is shown perfectly, without the addition of melodrama or extraordinary elements, and a change coming upon him is also visible. All these happen very quickly, and lasting only about three hours, there is no time being wasted here. It is a continuous busy ride from the beginning, even though the elements of thriller come up later only, and we stay close to the protagonist.

Positives and negatives :: Cross the Line, originally known as No Mataras, is no usual thriller, as it goes on from a drama to thriller half way, more or less like Drishyam and its remakes which changed the mood at the centre stage. So, there is that certain diversion, and some people might have wanted the mood in the beginning to continue, and others might have wanted a full thriller, but this one depends on that twist of events to make things happen. It also has no character development of others as it is completely focusing on the protagonist all the time, giving no importance to others except for in moments. It also ends too soon, and the ending could have had a certain amount of extraordinary, as this film is not something which is not scared of taking the risks. Along with that, Barcelona is among the top ten cities which I want to visit in my life, and in Western Europe, it is the first place which I wish to travel to, and I would hope that the same could be achieved some day, but after COVID-19 pandemic, you never know where you will end up.

Performers of the soul :: The performance from Mario Casas won him the Best Actor Award at the Goya Awards, Spain’s prestigious national annual film awards, and it is no surprise when we watch the film. The performance is realistic, and as far as performances from actors in foreign films are concerned, I would consider his work to be among the best, and something which should have all that appreciation. I had also loved his performance in Adios which released earlier. Along with the same, Milena Smit was also nominated for Best New Actress Award, coming very close to winning that one – when we look at her work here, even though not lasting throughout the film, is really good. She excels with her emotions, and I would love to see more of her in other movies, maybe in Hollywood too. The situations without money and clothes would seem to make her vulnerable, but it can be seen that her character dictates things even when it doesn’t seem so – a character at the strongest when dumped in a relationship, or when fully naked. Fernando Valdivielso was also nominated for Best New Actor there, and he had some good short time in the film too. Elisabeth Larena is a strong name in the film too, and in a film which is dominated by the main actor, she has her moments.

How it finishes :: The movie focuses on one character, and it has two others who are there for enough time to call them as providing support, and with these itself, the film manages to do very well. Serving as a message to what could happen if you cross the line, and also showing how much it can change a person, the film does the same very effectively. The thrilling moments of the film are supported really well by the music that runs in the background. The tension-filled atmosphere being nicely built, this is the kind of film that stays with you for the experience. With seemingly lesser budget and minimal characters, what the film has managed needs to be appreciated. One can be sure that there are many things that can be learnt from this particular film, and this one with its ending seems to taunt us to ask for a possible sequel too. Well, with films like these, it is only fair to hope for more, as it was short and we would have wished for it to go on for more.

Release date: 16th October 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: David Victori
Starring: Mario Casas, Milena Smit, Elisabeth Larena, Javier Mula, Fernando Valdivielso, Aysha Daraaui, Javier Mula

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the first Spanish film review here.

<— Click here to go to the first big budget Spanish film review here.

<— Click here to go to the most popular Spanish in this part of the world reviewed.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kaanekkaane

What is the movie about? :: Deputy Tahsildar Paul Mathai (Suraj Venjaramoodu) is still not out of shock after his daughter Sherin Allen Mathai (Shruti Ramachandran) died as part of a hit and run accident. He is running a case against the man who was responsible for the incident, and he reiterates the fact that he will not forgive the driver not because of the accident, but because he didn’t stop to check on her daughter, and didn’t try to take her to the hospital. Paul believes that it was this hesitation that led to the death of his daughter, as he went missing, and was not found for a long time – an earlier treatment could have saved her. Paul hopes that he will get justice for his dead daughter soon enough. His son-in-law Allen Mathai (Tovino Thomas) is now married to a woman whom he had met during one of his business trips, Sneha George (Aishwarya Lekshmi), who is also pregnant for the first time at the moment. They seem to be a happy family, and his grandson Kuttu (Master Alok Krishna) is also a happy child when he is among them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Sneha’s father George (Prem Prakash) is concerned about Paul’s infatuation with the case, but Paul is determined to keep his eyes on the case all the time. It is then that he feels that there is something strange about Allen and Sneha, as he looks into her past. Even though Allen had introduced Sneha to him much later, and had asked him permission to marry her, he finds out that they were together much earlier, from a photo dated many months earlier. Even when he was supposed to be alone for work, he was with Sneha. He feels that Allen was cheating on Sherin for a very long time, and for both Allen and Sneha, it was a comfortable death – with Sherin out of the way, they could quickly get into a relationship. He also figures out that Allen reached the accident spot from the exact opposite direction of where he was then. He decides to find out if there is something more to the death of Sherin than what meets the eye. But as he gets closer to the same, he is not finding it easy to live with anymore.

The defence of Kaanekkaane :: If you consider the emotional side, this film is one of the strongest in that category, and there is no force that can drive it out of there – this one is an emotional thriller with class. Combining family elements and bringing the thrills is no easy task, and such emotional feeling takes some extra skill. The melancholy mood is always there, and defines the work, even before the revelations are made, and we move to the ideas of remorse and vengeance in multiple dimensions. In the end, all these lead to the message of forgiveness and the relief that lies in the same. It reaches the same by following multiple paths, and we never really feel that there is such a revelation. The emotional strength of the film grows on you, and it is at its top most level by the end. All these emotions are shown as ruling these characters. The emotional undercurrents never seem to disappear, as we keep coming back to it, like the Lake Poets to the beauty of nature and the Gothic Novelists to the dark terrors of any ancient castle.

The claws of flaw :: The emotional side often takes over long above the tale of people which is explored here. The story is basic, and we see that the pace doesn’t really pick up here at any point, and there is no attempt to focus around there. The moments before one main character’s death are not that much explored, as the first wife only gets a little less of screen space for our liking. The chance to throw in some thrills here and there has also been missed, and there too, the focus shifts to the emotional side. There is not much of colour in this film, and that should be because of its melancholy side rather than anything else. The movie could have had more advertisements before its release, even though we are seeing more of it right now. It does have a big heart, but that could be something which the people outside the film might be lacking. But when we are immersed in the emotions of the film, any problem is easily forgotten.

Performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu leads the way here, and he comes up with another emotional performance, the kind in which he has excelled in the last few years, moving out of that comedy genre for long. As far as he is concerned, the list of fantastic performances is just too long, and my favourite has been Finals, in which he played the determined sportsman and father. The same fatherly strength can be seen here too, and the determination that he shows here, and how his character is displayed here are all, a few things to be remembered. There is a lot of melancholy that runs through his face, and we go through his pain as much as he does. His character is also as close to reality as possible, and the emotional depth of the film starts from him, is strengthened by him, and comes to a close with his own actions. Prem Prakash plays the father of the second wife, and the veteran actor has no problems with the work here.

Further performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas also plays a different kind of character, and like he did in Luca, has a heavy emotional performance to come up with. Here, he is okay with playing the second most important character, and he once again excels without doubt. One has to wonder how well he has risen in the last few years, and last year he had Kilometers and Kilometers as well as Forensic, but this year, he has many more films to his credit. Shruti Ramachandran who was last seen in Anveshanam has rather smaller role, but we note that down too. Then we have Aishwarya Lekshmi as the leading lady in the movie, one of the best young actresses of our times, keeping the melancholy mood of the film going forward. Seen with Tovino in one of the best combinations through Maayanadhi after her debut in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, she is indeed the one actress whom everyone needs to watch out for, as she impresses each and every time, leaving nothing to criticize – the same is the case here.

How it finishes :: This is the movie of Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas and Aishwarya Lekshmi, all three coming up with splendid performances, and when we add these three to the melancholic mood which deals with themes that run through here, there is something of fine quality. The human emotions are really well portrayed through these performers, and the strong emotions are always running strong in the background. With such a strong cast, the film has no problems in portraying what it has been trying to do. It is so much multi-layered that we won’t be able to take the side of any character, and therefore we choose to travel through this journey. This is also the first Malayalam film to directly release in this particular OTT platform. Well, for every other good movie in Malayalam, we seem to have the choice of Amazon Prime Video. There is a lot more to release there in October, and that should be enough to keep the movie lovers interested even during the times of Corona virus.

Release date: 17th September 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Manu Ashokan
Starring: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Shruti Ramachandran, Prem Prakash, Rony David, Dhanya Mary Varghese, Binu Pappu, Sruthy Jayan, Sreeja Das, Master Alok Krishna

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Poomaram

What is the movie about? :: Each and every college has been going through tough preparations to win the overall championships in the year’s youth festival. In a programme which consists of so many colleges, Maharajas College and St. Teresa’s College have been the favourites, with the latter having defended the title for years. With other colleges including UC College and Sacred Heart College on the trail, the two colleges have their students practicing so much to give their best. The college chairpersons of each college, Gautham (Kalidas Jayaram) and Irene (Neeta Pillai) promises their teachers, students and the managment that would return only with the overall trophy. Both leaders are experts in poetry and skilled in more than one art, as they have talented teams at their hands, ready to make it big on the grand stage.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: While Gautham’s team consists of naturally skilled students, Irene has a group of extremely hardworking and disciplined girls who are determined to keep the promise made to their principal to keep the trophy at their college for another year. While the former focuses on giving the best out of their best students, the latter has come with a fine plan to focus on their strengths and get the best out of those competitions which could bring them the most points. There are these teams who seem to battle each other, and there are the teams from other colleges which look forward to an opportunity to pounce on those points which get divided, and go straight up on the list. So, the year’s competition seems to be something which can bring the surprises and twists, and it is to be seen how things would end.

The defence of Poomaram :: There is a realistic take of the youth festival in this movie, and there is nostalgia invoked from it – this is not that fake nostalgia which was brought to the big screen by 1983, an exaggerated movie on cricket. Poomaram just feels so real, with realistic performances written all over it. If you have studied in an unaided arts college in Kerala, it will be very easy for you to relate to this movie, and if there is a certain amount of melancholy rising like waves on a stormy night, there is no surprise. Well, even that wouldn’t be necessary, as this reflects your college in one way or the other. Poomaram strikes you exactly at that part of your heart where it hurts the most, with memories of the college days. The songs are beautiful, and it adds to the strength of these reflections. There is also the presence of messages, and one has to love how the movie ends with that image of the enlightened.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does has a certain slowness in its proceedings in the second half, and some repetitions of the whole thing. The strength of the beginning and the middle part is only further strengthened by the end. The delay in the release of this movie also seems to have affected the bookings, as one does feel that it has been an eternity since this movie’s first song was released and the flick was ready to arrive at the theatres. There are occasions when Poomaram has been reduced into a joke instead of the celebration of nostalgia that it should have been. Everyone might not like this movie that much though, as the philosophical side of the flick can go over the head of the regular movie watcher. Those who have been eternally looking for entertainment won’t find that much of the same in this one, which is more of an experience raher than anything else.

The performers of the soul :: The movie has Kalidas Jayaram in the leading role, but we see that he is no hero; he plays a character who is one of us – there might be the elements of those college chairpersons or arts club secretaries whom we had met during our college days in him. Kalidas who had won the national award for the best child actor by acting with his own father in Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal, has the much awaited debut here, and it is a lovable and natural one. We see him as the chairperson of one of the most prestigious institutions not only in the city and the state, doing a wonderful job with all the simplicity, and there is no moment when we cease to admire his natural work. One wouldn’t call this work a challenge for someone who has proven his skills at such a young age, but this is a fine start for him, as there is the certainty of bigger things to accomplish for him.

Further performers of the soul :: Neeta Pillai plays the female lead in the movie, even though she or any other character in the movie where not in any of the posters of this flick. She plays a wonderful leader of her team of best friends in this movie, as she is there as an inspiration as the college chairperson, someone who was determined to win the trophy every single year from the first day she joined there for BA English Literature course. In this role, Neeta reflects what a perfect leader should be, and with her strong words, we can be sure that there will be more from her for us to witness on the big screen. Kunchacko Boban and Meera Jasmine makes little cameos which don’t mean much except for having them there in the movie. Joju George is the one face who is quickly recognizable here, as he plays a cop again after the same director’s Action Hero Biju. There is also a long list of new faces doing well.

How it finishes :: The movie refers to the story of a young student in Oxford University who was part of a competition about Jesus turning water into wine. He couldn’t write anything for a long time, until with only a few minutes left, this young man who was to be known later as Lord Byron, just wrote the following line: “The water met its Master, and blushed”, one of the best possible description of the miracle. There are many more similar talks about famous literary figures, artists and philosophers including Henry David Thoreau, William Shakespeare, Kalidasan, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. There is the idea about what is more important in our lives, and what matters to be the winner, at what cost. It focuses on its messages and realistic reflections really well, with a divergent philosophical side. Poomaram might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is that cup of tea, which can be loved by anyone at one point of the movie or the other, for it is a special kind of poetry of our own memories.

Release date: 15th March 2018
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Abrid Shine
Starring: Kalidas Jayaram, Neeta Pillai, Joju George, Archita Aneesh, Kunchacko Boban (cameo), Meera Jasmine (cameo)

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and the best of the year so far. Meanwhile, have you read about this special superhero?

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Raman Raghav 2.0

What is the movie about? :: The movie makes it clear that it is not about Raman Raghav a.k.a. Psycho Raman who was a famous serial killer, who unleashed terror in the city of Mumbai in the 1960s. About fifteen years later, another serial killer named Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who seems to follow the same kind of methods, starts his work in the same city. His way of operating is rather strange, and the police has not much clue about what his operations are. His list of victims only get longer, and it also includes Ramanna’s own sister, Lakshmi (Amruta Subhash) who is living with her husband (Ashok Lokhande) and their only son. She reluctantly lets him stay and cooks him food, only to get into an argument with the family. She leaves the place and comes back to take their money as well as kill them all one after the other.

So, what happens next? :: Ramanna is not the kind of person who has any kind of remorse for his actions, and he is surely not the kind of man who thinks twice about what he is to do. He is the worst kind of serial killer whom one could have on their trail. Even after being caught by the police and questioned, there is nothing that comes out of him, and he even escapes with the help of some local boys, thanks to the natural acting that comes to him. ACP Raghavan Singh (Vicky Kaushal) is in charge of the investigation, and has no real clue until finding the photo of Ramanna on the scene of crime, where Ramanna had murdered his sister. He figures out that the man whom they had apprehended a few days earlier has some kind of connection with these brutal murders which have been happening all around the city, keeping the residents terrified.

And, what is to follow next in this tale of terror in the streets? :: Even as he puts a tough cop act all the time, and seems to be righteous cop looking after criminal when someone looks from outside, Raghavan Singh is a a troubled person in his mind, having an unparalleled addiction to drugs, and has an even more terrible anger management issue. He is in a relationship with Smrutika Naidu (Sobhita Dhulipala) at whose place she is staying. It is another terrible relationship that they are having, with him forcing her to have more than one abortion after she keeps getting pregnant as he has his way as he likes. He also has no shame in beating her, but she stays faithful to him, and refuses to go home even after her family hopes for her return. Raghavan gets obsessed with catching Ramanna to such an extent that his issues deepen, and Ramanna at the same time, keeps an eye on the investigating officer – where does this game end?

The defence of Raman Raghav 2.0 :: The dark and terrifying avatar is given more and more life as the movie progresses, and then there is the other side which gets rather scarier. You feel the power of darkness in this movie, and there is so much of energy throughout the flick, thanks to the two main performers. It successfully makes you depressed and leaves you disturbing, with not much hope in the world of chaos. Humanity is surely capable of terrible things, and a lot of these capabilities are there right from the beginning, and are further powered by upbringing and the society. We keep wondering what is to happen next, and we are always interested to know how it all ends, or reach a new beginning. It takes only one serial killer to inspire more, and lets hope that Ramanna becomes our Hannibal to bring more of such movies which can prove to be even better. The final twist is something that breathes life like no other.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that we had expected more from a movie like Raman Raghav 2.0 with its cast and the people who are the helm. We feel that a certain amount of hollowness do exist at times, and this one isn’t that much focused on what we would have been hoping to see with a police officer after a serial killer – this one has almost nothing about the investigation about the murderer. More focus could have been on the characters, and they could have had origin tales, even at the cost of the movie going longer – there are some parts of the movie which could have been cut down to provide space for more of the tale. This kind of movies should have more action, thrilling sequences and deeper story-line which should make us wish to remember the tale more than once; but the focus of Raman Raghav 2.0 seems to be rather a little too much divergent. Then there is the violence – nobody is a role model here.

Performers of the soul :: There is Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal doing a fantastic job in this movie, which surely keeps things going strong. We keep wondering when we will see more of them with movies which get the wider release here. If it was more about the former in the beginning, the latter of Masaan fame takes it to the next level in the second half towards the end. You will also notice Sobhita Dhulipala and Amruta Subhash, as two actresses who brings some great performances in two of the best sequences of the movie. The one thing about Bollywood is that these names which are not regularly talked about as superstars are the real actors and acting stars – I really hope that their movies get release in every theatre here rather than those which brings the crowd; if I was running a theatre, I would run a special show for sure, no matter how much of box-office collection such movies are to bring.

How it finishes :: The movie leaves one with the message that everyone has the tendency to be bad, or rather evil, as it is the inherent evil in man which has more certainty to it than anything else. It is the situation that brings the worst out of people, whether they are branded good or bad. The hopeless state of humanity is directly or indirectly reflected in this movie, which struggles to find goodness which seems to fade away further and further as the flick progresses, and by the end of this, we have lost almost all hope in mankind – it is the ultimate truth, right? We do our best, and still we live in a society which is all about money and power, and the need for it as well as the possession of it, will only turn more people against each other. Evil is so easy, right? Being good is so difficult, especially with a new generation caught inside more than one kind of addiction. Raman Raghav 2.0 has that kind of protagonists, and we know that there is a good chance that we are all going to die an early, terrible death considering where the world is going.

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amruta Subhash, Vipin Sharma, Ashok Lokhande, Harssh A. Singh, Anuschka Sawhney, Hitesh Dave, Rajesh Jais, Kalidas Parthitan, Rhea Pagar, Arun Singh

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Monster Calls

amonstercalls-2

Vampire Owl: Do you know that a monster did call me before?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the potato chips monster.

Vampire Owl: No, a real monster.

Vampire Bat: What did he say?

Vampire Owl: He said that he would eat me for dinner.

Vampire Bat: Oh! A monster that eats the undead for dinner. This should have been in the news.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but it was April Fool, coming right from Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat: According to the humans, we are surely monsters. So, from another perspective, it is true.

Vampire Owl: But we are vegetarian.

Vampire Bat: Yes, that is indeed our specialty which is to remain the same.

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

What is the movie about? :: A young boy named Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is in a state of worry due to his mother Elizabeth Clayton’s (Felicity Jones) cancer. She keeps telling him that she is getting better, but the truth is that she is not. It is only getting worse, and she is slowly and steadily moving towards her end. It is difficult for him to accept the same, and with his father Mr. O’Malley (Toby Kebbell) being separated from him and living far away from them, he has not many people to look forward to. He is also targeted by Harry (James Melville), a bully at the school, and he is asked by his grandmother Mrs. Clayton (Sigourney Weaver) with whom he doesn’t have a great relationship, to move to her home with her. But Conor is more frustrated by the idea of moving to his grandmother’s home than about being bullied by his classmate and his friends.

So, what happens next? :: One night at exactly 12:07 a.m., Conor comes across a strange tree-like monster (Liam Neeson), that tells him it is going to come up with three stories, after which Conor has to tell the monster his own story, which is the truth behind the nightmare that he keeps seeing. The first story is that of an old king who has lost all his sons battling giants, dragons and great wizards who led men and creatures of darkness. The only heir he had was his grandson who was loved by all people of the kingdom. But at his old age, he gets married to a beautiful woman, after which he falls ill and dies. With the prince not old enough to claim the kingdom, the queen becomes the ruler, and the prince runs away with his love, a farmer’s daughter who seems to be murdered. This queen who is claimed to be a witch, is supposed to be behind the death of both the king and the lover, is saved by the monster, as he claims – Conor wonders why.

So, how do things go from here? :: The second story is that of an ill-tempered, greedy apothecary who follows the old ways of medicine, and pesters a local parson to let him cut the yew tree in the churchyard. The parson who is a man of strong faith is against the apothecary who grows in hatred towards everyone around. But when the parson’s two children gets ill, he asks the apothecary for help, and even offers the yew tree and a change in his own belief. But the apothecary refuses to help him, and the children die. The tree then takes his monstrous form and begins destroying the house of the parson, much to the dismay of Conor who doesn’t understand why the creature is not destroying the house of the apothecary instead. As the third tale nears, Conor’s relationships with his father and grandmother worsens further, and his mother’s disease also gets worse – now, the question remains if the creature can actually heal his mother.

The defence of A Monster Calls :: There is sadness in A Monster Calls, and you can feel it all the way from the beginning to the end. The monster has the message to move on with one’s life, and survive through the unexpected pains – on what it takes to live through the certainty of losing a loved one. It uses all the available themes to its advantage, and tells the message with ease. All the characters used here points to that one message. It has all which are needed to strike you emotionally, and at the same time, despite being a fantasy movie, has more of real life in it with all the fiction that seem to be part of the world. It becomes more of a fairy-tale for the adults rather than children, as each point that its main characters make is worth pondering about. It makes one turn into one’s own mind and ask the same questions about humanity again and again, and at the same time, we get to see the nice creature detail to go with it.

The claws of flaw :: You can keep feeling a certain amount of drag throughout this flick, and those who are looking for the usual kind of fantasy movies are going to feel strange. If you can’t take some preaching, this one is going to be not the movie for you. There also seems to be an attempt to get more and more emotional with things, but that was really not needed, as there was a lot of the same, which came naturally. This is also based on a novel of the same name, written by Patrick Ness, and so it is up-to the author who wrote the screenplay for the movie as well as the fans to decide on how it did justice to the work. There is also the chance to miss out on the symbolism that one comes across in the movie, and so maybe the flick could have hinted on what it was planning to do – a lot of people should have felt that the monster is the usual one, but this one is not just a monster, but much more than that, and one needs to take that.

How it finishes :: The fangs of the message here is quite strong, and it is the performances which support the same more than anything else. You will see how well Lewis MacDougall takes the protagonist to the viewers so well. There is no doubt anywhere about how Sigourney Weaver gets us closer to things, and Felicity Jones makes us feel the pain. As the movie deals with a situation which most people will face in one way or the other, one can be certain that there is the need for A Monster Calls at some point, and we will have to take these messages from the movie right back home. Well, above them all, there is Liam Neeson as the monster, and there is nobody else who could be a monster who provides us with the best messages – proven here without doubt. What would you do when your own monster calls? Well, it is something to keep thinking about.

Release date: 23rd December 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, Liam Neeson, James Melville, Geraldine Chaplin, Max Golds

amonstercalls

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oozham

oozhamm

What is it about? :: Surya (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is an engineer working in the United States. His family includes his father, the health inspector Krishnamurthy (Balachandra Menon), his mother Subhalakshmi (Seetha) and his sister Aiswarya (Rasna Pavithran). He also has an adopted brother Aju (Neeraj Madhav) who has returned home after resigning from a big job in Microsoft. All seems to go well until one incident changes their lives forever. The world knows it as a mysterious illness killing three members of a family – the father, mother and daughter, but Surya and Aju know that it is not so. Bound by the need for revenge, they team up with Gayathri (Divya Pillai) who has also lost her sibling to an incident on the same day. Soon, they realise that both these incidents are connected.

So what happens next? :: As doubts are raised about who would want to kill the members of this family, all fingers finally point to Wilfred Marcus (Jayaprakash) and his sons Andrew Wilfred Marcus (Tony Luke) and Edwin Wilfred Marcus (Anson Paul). As they set on a path of war against the multi-national company run by these three, there is sure to be a tough job ahead – Surya uses his skills as an expert in creating controlled explosions as part of his job in the United States, while Aju and Gayathri supports the cause. So, this huge firm which supplies medicines after spreading diseases, will have no regret in wiping families out – will they stand these three people going on a war against them? How can a multi-billionaire empire be brought down to its knees by people with no influence? It is to be seen.

The defence of Oozham :: The better side of the movie might be the drama, but that also seems to be on the lines of many other movies; a perfect family with things going worse all of a sudden. With the presence of one cute little sister and a rather modern younger brother goes in lines of Jacobinte Swargarajyam. The idea is good, there is no doubt about it, but had to be presented in a better way, as an original work with more thrills. The cast is all good, and the effectiveness depends on them. The visuals are also nicely done. There is also the message which rather goes lost. The hero-heroine romance never really gets going – that is a relief, as the movie would have drifted further otherwise. This one surely has some interesting moments, and it is for the same that we can go for this movie.

The claws of flaw :: The biggest problem of this movie is that things come too easy. The protagonists all of a sudden seems like people who have been doing the same thing for centuries, may be from the time when the first civilisation was born on the banks of a river – only the immortals could do things this easily against what is claimed to be such a giant organisation. Even the idea itself goes back to the time when the first man was born. Oozham remains outdated in its idea, and even in the way of presentation, it just adds a non-linear narrative which is rather too strange, just like that unnecessary magic realism in Life of Josutty. There are no twists around here, and things finish too comfortably as we wait for the big climax to take our breath away – that is never really there. From the realistic, flawed heroes of Memories, Drishyam and Life of Josutty, we are back to those perfect heroes, sadly.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj, as expected remains the central figure, and the biggest selling point of this movie throughout its run. The character, no matter how less developed it is, remains safe in his hands. It is his screen presence that gives something to this protagonist, even when the trouble gets worse with the weak script full of all the cliches you have seen in the movies in so many languages. Neeraj Madhav is provided with another half-baked character who seems to be there in the name of secularism rather than anything else, and he gives some flavour to the one dimensional character that hacks anything because he can – couldn’t this character have a better identity of his own? One has to wonder. These two actors could have brought a huge blockbuster with fine reviews if the script was better.

Further performers of the soul :: Coming right out of Ayal Njanalla, Divya Pillai’s character goes on a struggle here; she has kept it going in a straight line, but there is nothing much for her, and she doesn’t come up with anything out of the box. Rasna Pavithran seems to do a simpler version of the cute act which Aima Rosmy Sebastian did in Jacobinte Swargarajyam and that certainly works. The idea of some cute sister moments has been a family favourite these days, and this movie attempts to use that to its advantage. Actually, one has to say that each member of the cast gets drawn into the set of cliches here, and that has limited the performances to an extent. Pasupathy is strong here, but is rather underused as a character that could have been presented better. Jayaprakash remains a nice villain throughout, but is let down by how the character is not strengthened by the necessary dose of corporate evil. Balachandra Menon and Seetha plays a fine couple with ease.

How it finishes :: There are better things which this movie could have done with its idea which has always been there in movies of other languages. Yes, it is more of a revenge drama than the thriller, but even in that genre, this movie has its limitations. When things come too easily, there is less scope for drama; there was the need to make one feel for the protagonist, but there is nothing there. Still, this movie doesn’t go uninteresting; we can watch it just because we have time – it doesn’t go terrible; Oozham has enough in it to make an average watch as long as you are in a good mood. The worst movie of Jeethu Joseph so far is here, but that is just a statement about his skill as a director, and not a judgment about this movie which can be watched without much expectations and some extra time to spare. This is where you find the cliche collection again; so just don’t look for anything new, even in the dialogues.

Release date: 8th September 2016
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Divya Pillai, Rasna Pavithran, Neeraj Madhav, Balachandra Menon, Kishor Satya, Irshad, Jayaprakash, Pasupathy, Seetha, Tony Luke, Anson Paul

oozham

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hate Story II

hatestori (3)

Vampire Owl :: But I didn’t watch the first movie of this franchise.

Vampire Bat :: No need. This will not be connected to the prequel even that much as Sachin Tendulkar is to Maria Sharapova.

Vampire Owl :: That is indeed reassuring. Isn’t this Surveen Chawla the one who paired with Sreesanth in Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena?

Vampire Bat :: And in many Hindi serials with unknown people and those which none of us watches. She even hosted a television show called Comedy Circus Ke SuperStars.

Vampire Owl :: So this will create something new for the erotic genre in India or recreate whatever the first movie did?

Vampire Bat :: I would think that the only eroticism will be in the poster and the songs. She should be shooting people all around.

Vampire Owl :: So it should be cheating by the posters?

Vampire Bat :: Just like any other movie around here. Every movie pretends.

Vampire Owl :: At least we can watch the movie for her.

Vampire Bat :: Well, she is incredibly cute, even with a gun.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: The scene shifts to Mumbai where Sonika (Surveen Chawla) who is attending regular photography classes. After the death of her parents, Mandar Mahatre (Shushant Singh) had become her guardian and is keeping her as a mistress. Mandar is a powerful political leader in Mumbai who is feared if not respected by all. She is forced to succumb to his demands until Akshay (Jay Bhanushali) comes to her life, and the two photography classmates become lovers. But as our villain understands that she is with some random guy, they are forced to run away to Goa, but that doesn’t stop our villain from going there and attempting to kill them both. She ties Akshay to the seat of a car and drowns him in a river while he buries the girl alive in a cemetery, but is found by a man who comes there to mourn a death. As she is shifted to the hospital, there are attempts to murder her, but soon she gets out of trouble and begin planning her vengeance. As expected, she starts from the lesser ones to go to the big fish, and the question remains if she can be good enough to take on such a powerful man who controls a lot of things in Mumbai including the police.

The defence of Hate Story 2 :: Well, our heroine no longer uses her body or sexuality to take revenge. She doesn’t go to that level of the protagonist of the first movie and just goes on to murder people – not in that much of a bloody fashion as Killl Bill, but she does finish them off nicely. Surveen Chawla is the highlight of the movie, but the erotic scenes are rare, and even absent in the case of the movie without the songs. It is in those songs that such scenes occur and so do those bikini scenes. Some of them even waits till the movie to end until coming up. So one can watch it not as an erotic movie as the songs will be available on television (haven’t checked them myself yet). Yes, she doesn’t stand with a bare back and a gun and neither does she appear like in some other posters which seems to have offended a few. I would say that the poster gives a different opinion about the movie, and being erotic is not one of the strong points of the movie. But the songs are really good, and they are nicely picturized without losing the mood of the movie except for one which comes with the hallucination. This should have enough to satisfy the fans of Surveen as well as the revenge movie fans. Unlike Ek Villain, this is also more original in its soul.

Claws of flaw :: With choosing to do away with the erotic scenes which actually powered it before the release, the strangest thing in the movie is Jay Bhanushali coming back from the dead as the glowing avatar as part of her hallucinations. I do wonder why they even had to think about it. Then the romantic side comes up with him at the wrong moments, and in the end it also helps to add a few more erotic scenes in a small screen with the credits. But most of the photos on the posters never really happens in the movie. Even with those which happen, they are in the songs, and that would give rise to the question if getting some video songs later will be enough. It has so much less erotica and compared to its predecessor, it even lags in the thrills and the cast performance – even the dark shades becomes less and the story is just average. It is not something that we haven’t seen before, and adds to the large number of revenge movies which are part of our movie collection. It is really a predictable end that awaits the audience too, and you know what it will include. We needed a lot more and with the kind of views that the trailer had, a much better movie was expected.

Performers of the soul :: This movie is about Surveen Chawla and the character that he plays, and it is the story of her hatred which can only be destroyed by the taste of vengeance. She is nothing less than wonderful on her debut. I was pretty confident about her being good as this had to completely depend on her. She maintains her level through different emotions, and her transformation is good. She is comparatively better as the lover and the one facing her own troubles, and I would guess that the face suits a damsel in distress. But the same can’t be said about the rest of the cast who falters. Jay Bhanushali struggles and it was a bad idea to bring him back as hallucinations, as he was quite good until then – later he was made an illusion with the support of music and the time of entrance is mostly terrible too. As the movie was about the heroine, it is still mostly fine. Sushant Singh is okay, and there are moments when he is very good. But overall, he had the potential to be a better villain which is ruined by some lazy writing and leaves the movie to our heroine as expected, and thankfully, she excelled. Sunny Leone is there just for the item song “Pink Lips”, which is also okay, but the song scene springs out nowhere and disappears without trace.

Soul exploration :: The movie asserts the need for revenge, but its hatred is weaker than the prequel even with the presence of a villain worth hating, right from the beginning to the end, at no point stating otherwise with his action or speech. What our protagonist does is actually something that she should have done a long time ago. She is scared, but as she comes back from the dead, she becomes fearless. Near-death experiences do bring the best, doesn’t it? Or is it the love that guides her? I would say a little bit of both, but she becomes the revenge seeker without remorse. It has its messages about the evil that is in the society and its ability to destroy the life of a common person, but doesn’t really work on it further. The movie has the hero being murder by water, the heroine attempted to be killed under earth, one villain killed by fire and the another one by air – good use of the elements, I would say, but I do wonder if that was actually meant to be so. Ek Villain and Hate Story 2 are still signs that the thriller genre is doing fine in Bollywood, and it is actually a good sign – along with the matching fact that the heroine gets murdered early in the former and the hero in the later.

How it finishes :: I hope a certain lack of more ideas could be forgiven as I was having heavy fever while watching this one at the theatre. Well, fever is such a mortal thing and it can’t stop the Vampire Bat, even as there is no denying that things got worse after watching the movie – the air conditioner and the fan stopped in the theatre, still the fever got worse. I guess as far as I can walk, I can go to a theatre and watch movies. I had thought a lot of things about this one while watching, but I guess I can always come up with more in detail later at http://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/. Still, I can say for sure that if you liked Hate Story‘s first entry, you can go for this, but remember that this not that erotic and there is no working on the same lines as the prequel except for the fact that there is revenge by a female protagonist. I haven’t been a fan of Surveen Chawla, but if you are, I guess you will surely need to try this one – otherwise, just try your luck. This is a movie which can go either way for the audience, and it is more of an opportunity which could have been better used.

Release date: 18th July 2014
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Vishal Pandya
Starring: Surveen Chawla, Jay Bhanushali, Sushant Singh, Mika Singh, Siddharth Kher, Rajesh Khera

hatestory2 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ek Villain

ekvillain (2)

Vampire Owl :: Didn’t someone say that Riteish Deshmukh was very goood in this movie?

Vampire Bat :: Just a little better than Arjen Robben with a dive, I guess.

Vampire Owl :: If it is better than most of the football actors, we should surely watch it because it will be worthy of many awards.

Vampire Bat :: I heard it was just like I Saw the Devil.

Vampire Owl :: Well, I didn’t see that saw.

Vampire Bat :: Neither did I.

Vampire Owl :: Then I would say that watching this villany is necessary.

Vampire Bat :: As long as he doesn’t bite.

Vampire Owl :: That shouldn’t be a problem as this is not in 3D.

Vampire Bat :: Shraddha Kapoor in 3D was actually too good to be true!

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Guru (Sidharth Malhotra) is a former gangster and assassin who has retired from his dangerous life of crime to live with his new found love Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor), but things take a big turn as she is murdered by an unknown assailant who enters her home, uses a screw driver and pushes her through the window. A CBI officer Aditya (Shaad Randhawa) takes charge of the situation being aware of what the former assassin is capable of, but that doesn’t prevent Guru from going after the clues. He first go to his former boss Ceaser (Remo Fernandes), but realizes that he didn’t have anything to do with the same. As he sits in a church looking at the crucifix, he notices a boy coming up and presenting a few of his toys to the statue which involved something from his house. By following the boy, he reaches the place of Rakesh Mahadkar (Riteish Deshmukh) who is the henpecked husband of Sulochana (Aamna Sharif) and an unsuccesful employee who is always scolded both at home and the office. But he doesn’t seem to be capable of anything like that, as he is always the victim, not someone who can harm even a mosquito. But such a visage was never going to confuse a professional killer like Guru, or was it?

The defence of Ek Villain :: The cast remains strong in the movie, especially the male leads, and it is good enough to draw the audience. The fact that it has enough material to work on from the South Korean flick is more of an advantage as not many people have watched that one. The movie successfully establishes a nice environment to work on, right in the beginning, and the point they stop at the interval is pretty nice. The romantic side has its good moments, most of them related to God and otherwise when they are in a song. Even though not really the kind of thing that suits a movie like this, the songs are actually good and are worthy of being in one’s USB device in the car. The cinematography is nice and the world around are nicely captured to the delight of the viewer’s eye. There is not much slow motion used and it is a good thing because there was going to be tendency. Our hero surely has some nice moments in a mental asylum, a hospital and a railway station where he scores in style. The thrills are mostly around our villain though, and the message of good being rewarded and bad being punished, along with the plight of the common man in a society which has nothing for him are nicely shown.

Claws of flaw :: The movie has not much idea about how the suspense is to be maintained and the thrills are to be boosted, as we know the killer too early as well as his motives. The story could have developed better, especially as the material of I Saw the Devil already available and ready to inspire. The path taken by the narrative to go back and forth doesn’t work that well with this one either, as this is the kind of movie which should work when the things to be revealed are not hidden and vice versa. Even the killings are taken care of without too much violence, may be fearing that the family audience will stay away. The director’s earlier venture of Murder 2 could handle the darker shades better, but not this one which tries to be too cute, even cuter than its own heroine. Shraddha Kapoor kind of ruins some significant light moments with a certain kind of overacting which makes one wonder if she is playing a mentally challenged girl, but not all the time for even she has her very small moments. Riteish’s character is also not without its flaws, but it is him who manages to handle it well within the limitations. He could have surely had better dialogues, after all he can do this villain stuff nicely.

Performers of the soul :: Among the star cast, Riteish Deshmukh was the one whose performance stood above the rest, not by much, but enough to be the star of the movie. I did expect some transformation like Vikram in Anniyan on a smaller scale, but that was not to be, but still his different character had moments to remember for the viewers. Sidharth Malhotra was good with his romantic side and just a little behind in the action scenes, but still lacked a bit in energy. Shraddha Kapoor is cute, and seems to think that she is acting in a possible Ashiqui 3, with that hangover which she still seems to show with some Ashiqui 2. I was confident that she will be a lot better in this movie, but it was sad to see that she decided to stick to the stereotype – it does suit her immensely, but not the character she was playing nor the style of the movie. I was particularly impressed with how well Aamna Sharif did so well with her role opposite our bad guy, the first time I was seeing this lady on the screen. Prachi Desai’s item number was pretty much beautiful. Remo Fernandes was okay in the smaller screen presence that he had, and Shaad Randhawa could have surely done nice with some more to do on screen.

Soul exploration :: One major question remains about what lead to the creation of the villain of Ek Villain. If it is about our hero-villain, we can say that it was the childhood situations, but for our real complete villain, it is the wickedness of the so called civilized section of the society who finds it nice to take on the people who are not as fortunate as they are. As said in Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, and this is the situation that becomes the cause, and this inequality in his own class gives rise to this one serial killer who murders people who used bad words against him or even accuses him of not being good enough, including the situations when he just feels so due to his mood. The need for the words of love from his wife despite her yelling at him all the time becomes his anger which he brings out with the murders rather than being angry at her or anyone else. It is the need to get rid of the frustration which brings the villain to the point of no return, and changes him from a simple man to a serial killer, but as most of the other movies, here too bad deeds never go unpunished, and good deeds have some advantages. The movie does assert the need to be good and not to be abusive or use bad words at others, especially those who struggle to succeed in life.

How it finishes :: Ek Villain had the usual Bollywood things added to an otherwise rough and tough theme, which could have been avoided. There is one villain in every love story as they say, but this is still not a love story, and it surely should not have gone through that path – romance is not always a necessity, as it can always make way for many other things according to the genre and style of the movie. In a more violent and bloody movie, the thing more needed might be a screw driver, one would say. Zinda which released years ago had a better idea about it, which is why we can still afford to watch it with Oldboy of South Korea as well as Oldboy of the United States of America. Murder 2 with similar theme also holds an advantage over this. As Ek Villain had to make it romantic in its base just like the Malayalam movie Anwar did while copying The Traitor from Hollywood, it lost its most important part, which was the generation of fear which had to rise above everything else including romance. But with the success that the movie have managed in places with the exception of this part of India, one has to say that it did work in favour of them even as not for the same as a work. Still, next time may be the can innovate a lot more when coming up with such stuff.

Release date: 27th June 2014
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Mohit Suri
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Aamna Sharif, Kamaal R Khan, Remo Fernandes, Shaad Randhawa, Prachi Desai

ekvillain copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.