Pretham 2

What is the movie about? :: Famous mentalist John Don Bosco (Jayasurya) is spending his time in peace at Varikkasseri Mana a.k.a. Varikkumanchery Mana, one of the traditional Brahmin houses located at Manissery, a village in Ottapalam, Palakkad. Situated in an area of natural beauty in a plot of about four acres, John feels that there is something strange and mysterious about the place. With a history of popular movies being shot there including Devasuram, Aaraam Thampuran, Raappakal, Drona, Simhasanam, Sufi Paranja Katha, Thooval Kottaram, Valliettan and Manthrikan, a group of youngsters decide to come there to shoot a short-film. They are from a Facebook group known as “Cinema Pranthanmar”, which is known to be a perfect place for movie lovers from all around Kerala. This particular adventure could feed the movie lover in them more than anything else.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The team is lead by Tapas (Amith Chakkalakal) who comes up with this idea of having a short film. He plans to create this film, and run a premiere after inviting all the members of the group which goes into thousands. Joining him are those members whom he had never met, and used the group with their fake names; the first one to join him is the man known in the group by his fake id Mangalassery Neelakandan, Ramanandan (Sidhartha Siva) who is into hotel business in the Middle East and is a big Mohanlal fan. They are joined by Karuthamma, originally Anu (Durga Krishna) who is a nurse and Shahrukh Khan, originally Niranjana (Saniya Iyappan) who is a professional dancer. The last person to join them in Joffin (Dain Davis) who has run away from home due to personal problems with his father.

So, how does the ghost come into picture this time? :: The problem at the resort of Denny Kokken (Aju Varghese), Priyalal (Sharafudheen), Shibu Majeed (Govind Padmasoorya) and Yeshu (Dharmajan Bolgatty) was one which haunted John for a long time, and here, with the youngsters making the short-film, more trouble arrives, and the supernatural only gets stronger. The youngsters are attacked by some strange forces and nobody seems to know what is happening. Their first guess is that it is the spirit of the person who owned and lived in the mansion, but it turns out that there is more than what meets eye at the first place. There is a connection which is making the spirit act there, and John has to begin with it and reach the end soon, before it is too late and someone gets into serious trouble. But it is not that easy, as the clues are less, and the answer to their questions are somewhere else.

The defence of Pretham 2 :: Pretham 2 is indeed a better movie than its predecessor which had too many terrible jokes, even though the final moments were nice for that one too. Pretham 2 has the advantage in almost every field including its setting and cast. The idea is also smarter here with the social media, internet, fake identity and online frauds at the centre. The messages about the possible dangers of being friends with fake ids and trusting strangers without names are all shown in this particular flick. The mystery is nicely solved here, and there is no exaggeration here with the elements of the other world – the first image of the spirit that we see is in the form of a shadow, and the creature from the other world doesn’t overdo things as the happenings would be in a usual horror movie. The thrills are strong, and there are also some nice jokes – we are left guessing with the suspense factor being very high till the end.

The claws of flaw :: Pretham 2 never really rises above most of the problems of its predecessor, as it follows too similar a path, and the spirit also follows the same pattern, as we see no attempt to deviate much. We would wonder if so many spirits are looking forward to have the mystery behind their deaths investigated. There seems to be no other plan for the people on the other side. Some jokes are just repetitive, especially the talks regarding those old Mohanlal movies. The movie could have also used more scares, as the film itself is marketed as a horror flick, and the name itself suggests the same. The movie could have surely used darkness better, and the ghostly presence itself could have done more, at least when the youngsters were alone. Pretham 2 doesn’t try to frighten people much, and that is not acceptable at a time when Hollywood is running movies like The Conjuring, The Nun, Annabelle, Insidious, Sinister and others.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is back with an avatar to remember, unlike Punyalan Agarbattis 2 and Aadu 2 which struggled to live up to its predecessors with all its characters. His mentalist is a rock solid character, and this time, he is better than last time too. Saniya Iyappan, with her flexible dance moves, is a joy to watch here, and has a clear improvement in acting from her previous movie Queen, which was one of the worst collection of elements deserving not to be called a movie at all. She can certainly bring variety to the Malayalam cinema, as her skills are yet to be used in the best possible ways. Durga Krishna after Vimaanam, gets one nice role to perform, and she does that well. Dain Davis and Sidhartha Siva gets to bring the elements of fun well, even though the latter gets too much of Mohanlal dialogues from those old movies, which become too repetitive. Amith Chakalakkal is very good with his character which is rather solid.

How it finishes :: Pretham 2 holds the advantage over Thattumpurath Achuthan, Ente Ummante Peru and Odiyan for this Christmas, and by being a smart horror-mystery-comedy-thriller, it is many things in one movie. With Jayasurya at the centre as one character who has a certain iconic status, and the new faces like Saniya Iyappan who has become another name for dance, Durga Krishna in her second movie, the crowd favourite Dain Davis and others, Pretham 2 makes the Pretham franchise much better than what it was in the first movie. It also leaves a few messages about the problems due to uncontrolled use of social media by teenagers, the dangers that lie behind the fake ids in Facebook, possibilities of different kinds of frauds by online groups looking for easy money etc among others. Pretham 2 makes Christmas a lot of fun, and I wish you all a very Happy Christmas. Enjoy the holidays!

Release date: 21st December 2018
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Saniya Iyappan, Durga Krishna, Dain Davis, Amith Chakalakkal, Sidhartha Siva, Sreejith Ravi, Jayaraj Warrier, Aju Varghese (cameo), Sharafudheen (cameo), Govind Padmasoorya (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Unforgettable

Vampire Owl: There is nothing unforgettable in this world.

Vampire Bat: It is not true. Some things just stay. I thought you would agree to the unforgettable nature of things.

Vampire Owl: I have been able to forget everything, and re-programme my brain with ease.

Vampire Bat: Was that part of one of the experiments by Doctor Frankenstein?

Vampire Owl: No, it is my own special skill, and no Frankenstein is required for the same.

Vampire Bat: But I know that you keep remembering Lady Death and your inability to get to her realm when needed.

Vampire Owl: Lady Death is not of past. She is more like the present.

Vampire Bat: This is exactly what I am talking about.

Vampire Owl: There is more to that particular story than what meets the eye. You should realize that better, considering how life has been. Well, it follows.

Vampire Bat: I think that you are going to write a book, considering how you have been talking about your life’s story in the last few days.

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

What is the movie about? :: Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) is in a new relationship with David Connover (Geoff Stults) who has only recently separated from his wife Tessa Manning (Katherine Heigl) with whom he has a child, Lily Connover (Isabella Rice). They seem to have managed very well as individuals, sharing the custody of their daughter who stays with each of them at one place after the other. Julia herself has her own little secret, with her abusive former boyfriend Michael Vargas (Simon Kassianides) getting arrested for his violence on him, and is on a restraining order, which has only few days left. To add to her fear about the same, she also has Tessa acting rather strange, seemingly intruding into their lives. Her best friend Ali (Whitney Cummings) would comfort her telling her that these are just common things in life, and is surely better than her last abusive relationship which left her with scars on her body.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: After leaving her job and city to arrive at this town, her biggest nemesis remains Tessa who keeps creating problems for her, mostly in the name of the child, and her inability to take care of the kid as she is not a mother. Scolded by her own mother Helen Manning (Cheryl Ladd) for letting go of her marriage, Tessa gets more and more angry and frustrated, deciding to teach her husband’s new lover a lesson. She searches for information on Julia and finds more than enough about her past, which is not revealed to David. She decides to use the same to her advantage, and contacts Julia’s ex-boyfriend. What follows is a series of events which involve Tessa trying to get rid of Julia, while latter somehow manages to hold on. But the question remains about how long can she evade the traps set by Tessa who seems to have everything in control.

The defence of Unforgettable :: There is the suspense associated with this one, and it keeps you engaged about what is to happen next, and how the plan works out. But above everything else, and even above the story, the movie works the best due to its two leading female actresses, Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl. The former shows her desperation to perfection, while the latter is more like the snow queen who has her heart made into ice, having almost no remorse over her action which would destroy lives – the selfishness that is reflected there is more than what a regular villain would bring in a movie like this. Katherine becomes what they describe by psycho barbie between two characters, and there is some terror hiding behind her eyes as she stare into her nemesis. There are some smart movies being made, but twists oppose the same, and thankfully there is no melodrama even while dealing with this kind of a theme. The one doubt left is whether we have loved the villain so much that we were wishing for her to thrive.

The claws of flaw :: There are a few moments which looks not really living up to what seemed to be planned, and we have some situations that seems to be not done well enough – the movie has its problems here and there as it brings its content. There could have been more to the flashback of the villain too, as we see how good she is even without the same. The final sequence is also strange, seemingly made to let the heroine win, and it is only fair for someone’s good side to let her be the last woman standing, and we wished otherwise, and it would have been more realistic that way. The male characters don’t really have anything interesting to do here, and we see that there was so much more of villainy that could have been brought on. There could have also been certain suspense about what was going to be done, and how worse it could become for the protagonist – the psycho barbie idea could have been twisted to the extreme limits.

How it finishes :: When you see a movie like this, there is that category which you fit this one into, and that is erotic thriller, and then there is erotic drama which has more chance to be chosen by the regular audience. This is certainly not a movie that will be memorable for a very long time with its thrills, but thanks to Katherine Heigl, this one gets raised from where it could have stayed otherwise. After watching this movie, one thing is for sure – we would want a bigger version of such evil on the screen – it is more like the purge that takes away all the bad things; we need something like this more often. When you see the negative reviews and you watch this one, you are going to be surprised by what it brings, and we know that thrillers based on relationships and home can also bring some more when you least expected them.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: I think that this particular lady reminds me of someone.

Vampire Bat: If it is about the ex-girlfriend, it might be about Lady Death.

Vampire Owl: What meaningless thing are you talking about? She is not an ex. She is part of my present.

Vampire Bat: Don’t you know that the realm of death has stopped all connections with the vampire world? You can only be trapped in one of the worlds.

Vampire Owl: It is not possible. We are the connection between the living and the dead. We are needed.

Vampire Bat: Even the Lich Queen has been saying the same. There is no real contract regarding the same.

Vampire Owl: There is one with the Vampire Elders.

Vampire Bat: Dude, that connection no longer exists. The Vampire Elders have given up all positions of powers because they are very old.

Vampire Owl: It is absurd. A Vampire Elder rules forever.

Vampire Bat: You should read The Vampire Times at least once a week.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 21st April 2017
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Denise Di Novi
Starring: Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, Geoff Stults, Isabella Rice, Whitney Cummings, Cheryl Ladd, Simon Kassianides, Sarah Burns, Alex Quijano, Stephanie Escajeda, Kincaid Walker, Aline Elasmar, Lauren Rose Lewis, Jayson Blair, Robert Wisdom

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Resident Evil: Vendetta

Vampire Owl: I see that evil even got some vendetta to go with it.

Vampire Bat: Animated Resident Evil will make sure that there was no real final chapter with the Resident Evil franchise.

Vampire Owl: What is final with a virus outbreak and zombie infection? The same will only keep happening.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is just that we already undead that the zombie bites are not affecting us.

Vampire Owl: What? You got bitten by a zombie? When and where?

Vampire Bat: It was exactly two years and three months ago. It was one of your zombie minions – I threw him into the sea. He is now serving as an underwater undead pirate.

Vampire Owl: Now I know that I counted it correctly; one of my minions really missing!

Vampire Bat: Yes, you are good at Mathematics. It is as evil as you are.

Vampire Owl: Do you know how difficult it is to get a good zombie minion during these times when Lich Queen controls so many of them?

Vampire Bat: Dude, even Gru has better minions for his evil plans.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Hide and Seek biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Glenn Arias (John DeMita) is the kind of person whom almost everyone is after, lead by the United States government. He is the typical death dealer with no remorse, and has nothing good in mind. He used to be an arms dealer who had his wedding ceremony bombed by the United States drones, after which only an arm of his wife in a few minutes lasting marriage, was left for him. The only two people survived that drone assualt were Maria Gomez (Cristina Vee) and Diego Gomez (Fred Tatasciore), both now working for him to teach governments and people a valuable lesson that they would never forget. For the same, it is not guns, bombs or drugs which he intends to use, as his hate goes further deep down – his idea is on biological warfare, and to avenge his terrible wedding day, he plans to go to any end.

So, what happens next? :: It is this death merchant who has Chris Redfield (Kevin Dorman) on his trail, as the one who was acting as their informer at Glenn’s organization had gone missing. As the special agents try to get into the mansion, they are welcomed by the undead as well as traps, with only Chris surviving in the end, despite being shot at by Glenn, and chased by an army of zombies which is destroyed by the reinforcements. At the same time, Rebecca Chambers (Erin Cahill) is working as a professor at a university, developing vaccines againt possible infections. Now dedicating her time for this cause only, she studies a new virus known as Animality virus or the A-virus which is more than anything which has been witnessed before. This particular virus has the ability to stay dormant inside human body, and can respond to a trigger and start spreading.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: The facility conducting the experiments is soon attacked by a team sent by Glenn, lead by Maria. The virus is spread through the air turning everyone there into zombies, while Maria collects details of the research. Only Rebecca survives with the help of a vaccine which she had developed, and Chris arrives in time with his team to save her from the remaining undead. It is a battle that they can’t win by themselves, and for further information and support, they contact Leon S. Kennedy (Matthew Mercer) who is considered to be an expert in the matter. But they soon realize that nothing really happens without Glenn, Maria or their wide-spread well-wishers knowing, and they will have an army after them. Can the three figure out what the death merchant is planning before time runs out for them, their city, their country and humanity as well as all life on Earth?

The defence of Resident Evil: Vendetta :: Here is a boon for the Resident Evil fans who had thought that the movie franchise had ended too early with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, as we have this animated movie to bring back a few memories from some time ago, and develop a few others. The thing about these animated versions of the games is that they are closer to those survival horror adventures on your computer or gaming device. This one, therefore becomes the movie that you didn’t watch from the series as well as the game that you didn’t play from the franchise. As this animated movie joins the list, there is a lot of action in store, and some nice animated creatures to go with it. We get to have our heroes battling an evil villain looking forward to use the zombies to end everything, and there are some stylish moments and a few good dialogues to go with it, Resident Evil style! This one makes things about not Alice as the centre of everything, but more.

The claws of flaw :: The one thing that you will notice is that the focus is all the time on certain characters, and even they were to have better moments in this one. Sometimes, you wonder if this is a collection of cutscenes coming from between the action in the games – well, that could be tried with these. The tale is also the rather predictable one with one villain and a lot of undead, which has become more of a stereotype with all being saved in the end by the heroes we know. There is also that moment of strange desire for wedding just because a girl looks like dead wife to someone – it just doesn’t suit around here surrounded by problems of life and death for people and survival or extinction for humanity. The movie has also decided not to use its big monster to its advantage from early on itself. It could have also used the shots bigger in scale, and scarier in essence to make things work more “evil” in a terrifying way.

How it finishes :: By this time, you should have understood that Resident Evil never ends – there will never be a real final chapter, and the zombies will only keep coming towards you for one eternity, and the next. It is surely a wonderful thing for us fans, as it was one game that has been with us for so long since we were playing those demo games from IT magazines – those were the days. Resident Evil is something that deserves to be part of our lives for long or for eternity, like Harry Potter is for some people, and Hunger Games or Divergent is for others. Getting itself another animated movie from Japan, Resident Evil is much more, even though there will always be a certain group of people who won’t know or prefer this – well, it is your decision, but I would go for Resident Evil, now and whenever possible, as it was a big part of my childhood.

Release date: 25th August 2016
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Takanori Tsujimoto
Starring: Kevin Dorman, Matthew Mercer, Erin Cahill, Kari Wahlgren, Arif S. Kinchen, Cristina Vee, Karen Strassman, Arnie Pantoja, John DeMita, Fred Tatasciore, Jason Faunt, Jason Hightower, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Tony Oliver, Matthew Mercer, Alexander Polinsky

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deadpool 2

What is the movie about? :: Years after murdering the man who gave him the mutant superpowers the hard way in the first movie, Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is working as a mercenary, but on his own terms, while mocking Wolverine. He hopes to start a family with his girlfriend Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). But it is then that one of his targets whom he missed, manages to strike back, killing Vanessa in the process. Wade is quick to kill the man who is responsible for her death, and even tries to kill himself in an explosion; but he grows back as Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) takes him to join the X-Men, with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) not being fond of the not-so-superhero joining the team. But Colossus has him as a trainee and lets him join them on their very next mission.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After a vision of Vanessa, and trying to put his heart at the right place, he decides to help the X-Men to deal with a teenage mutant Russell Collins a.k.a. Firefist (Julian Dennison) who has gone violent at an orphanage for mutants. X-Men join with human soldiers to gain control over the mutant who is looking highly unstable. As Deadpool realizes that Russell was abused and tortured by the orphanage staff, he decides to help him, and ends up killing one of the staff members too, before being stopped by Colossus. Russell and Wade are taken to an isolated prison for mutants, known as Icebox. Collars are used to negate their powers, and without them, Wade slowly and steadily begins to go back to his previous state, with tumout growing inside him – he gets weaker than ever.

And what is follow with the events? :: It is then that a cybernetic soldier Cable (Josh Brolin) whose family is murdered by Russell in the future, travels back in time to kill him before he becomes that brutal murderer. Wade tries to defend Russell against Cable, but denies any attachment to him so that the boy could be safe inside the prison without him. Wade ends up outside the prison, and after having a vision of Vanessa again, decides to help Russell, no matter what happens. For the same, he assembles a team which he calls X-Force – Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Peter (Rob Delaney) and Vanisher (Brad Pitt) are hired to be part of the group, as they hope to stop the mutant warrior from future. But Russell has his own ideas to stop Cable, and it will not prove to be nice for the newly formed X-Force.

The defence of Deadpool 2 :: This one’s capability to bring some entertainment can never be questioned, especially with the comic side, and some action to go with it. You can see that it refers to movies in both Marvel and DC Universe, with references including the latter being so dark. The movie does have some nice main characters, other than its superhero and a kid who is conveniently placed in the middle of everything – it has one lady whose superpower is luck, and one of the most powerful mutants, along with a time traveler mutant warrior from the future – these two are of more strength than anyone else, and you can do nothing but to love them so much. Deadpool 2 is that kind of a movie which won’t apologize for its nonsense which is surely there, and is it is that kind of fun nonsense that we need to be prepared for, unlike our usual Thor: Ragnarok, Logan, Captain America: Civil War or Black Panther from Marvel.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Deadpool 2, just like Deadpool, is not the superhero movie for the kids and families – it just not the right kind of film. The violence and gore remains rather not that good, that too with the whole thing being censored to arrive at this level. Unlike the other superheroes, Deadpool is surely that kind of a person whom we can’t admire – he is that selfish hero in one way or the other, that we need to see dead; but he just doesn’t. This movie surely has no real respect for anyone either, and that is reflected on the character as well as the dialogues of the main character. Some of the dialogues which seem to be close to being funny never really gets there, and there are those jokes which go wandering away, leaving no effect at all. The action sequences could have been better too, and the emotional side struggles, thanks to some stupid dialogues in between.

The performers of the soul :: The movie is about the two people more than anyone ele – these two have played two big characters on the big screen in two different movies. Ryan Reynolds has been Green Lantern before, and it is that DC Universe that he makes fun of in this movie as Deadpool. Then there is Josh Brolin whom we last saw as Thanos, and here he is, as Cable, in the same Marvel Universe. Both of them are really good, making this movie better than what it really is, with its low level plot that doesn’t raise the bar. Zazie Beetz is great fun in this movie, and you also love Brianna Hildebrand who has less time on the screen, but has that special effect when there. Morena Baccarin is another actress whom we wanted to see more here, and as lovely as she is here, there is only less time for her to show here skills. The rest of the cast is just mostly okay.

How it finishes :: Deadpool was never known to be the superhero that someone would wish to admire for anything other than saving the day. Being a rather selfish hero, this one was never supposed to appeal to the usual superhero admirers – even with that selfless act added in the end. There seems to be no real attempt to make this one feel better than the first movie, and there is certainly no special ingredient added to it. But we can safely say that it will provide some entertainment with the funny side and the action that comes with it. The family audience will surely have to choose Avengers: Infinity War over this one or one of those Malayalam movies in the theatres. Well, the ‘A’ certificate is sure to make that happen easily.

Release date: 18th May 2018
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Stefan Kapicic, Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Bill Skarsgard, Rob Delaney, Brad Pitt (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shikkari Shambhu

What is the movie about? :: Philippose (Kunchacko Boban) is a thief who works close to two other thieves, Achu (Vishnu Unnikrishnan) and Shaji (Hareesh Perumana). The three had made an attempt to steal a golden cross from a church in Kunnamkulam area, only to fail in the attempt and escape to the highranges. They decide to stay hidden in a remote place, and the news that there is a tiger attack in Kuruthimalakkavu, makes them travel all the way there disguised as hunters. They also have their eyes set on the statue in the village temple which is said to date back long, and is valued at crores. They are welcomed by the group of villagers lead by the Panchayat President Sudhakaran (Maniyanpilla Raju) and the local priest Father Luko (Johny Antony), and are offered five lakhs to catch the tiger. The three feels that this is a big opportunity for them to make some quick money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The three lives in the fear of being attacked by the tiger, and along with their adventure, Achu falls in love with the daughter of the Panchayat President, Revathy (Alphy Panjikaran) who is a college student. At the same time, Philippose has his interest set on Anitha (Shivada Nair), who is one of the more active and stronger women in the area. They do end up capturing the tiger, but it turns out that this doesn’t stop the killings. It won’t put an end to their problems either. So, is there one more tiger that they need to handle? Can another Shikkari Shambu incident of pure luck save them? But even luck has its limits, as the three friends attempt to make one last stand to save the village as well as get the money that they wanted. This is the time for them to find all their courage, but are they up to it? How many people will have to die before they can?

The defence of Shikkari Shambhu :: The movie has the formula that works, right out the movies like Ordinary, which was acceptable to so many types of audience. There is a lot of entertainment in store, beginning with the comic side that runs through, and also the mystery to come to light along with the big twist to arrive by the finish. The visuals are stunning, and it is not limited to the beautiful “mazha” song which has already become the best song of the year without doubt. When you look closely, you see that Shikkari Shambhu is surely better than Pulimurugan, even though that much of a box-office collection is not there to be taken – this one is still more fun, has a better story, and there are cent percent better female characters, along with coming up with better songs and visuals. Well, you begin laughing from the very beginning itself, and when you see that happening in a multiplex in a mall with the family audience, the movie has won the hearts.

The claws of flaw :: The tale could have been better in the middle parts, and there was scope for more with this trio trying to make something out of their stay in a village haunted by wild animals. There is the feeling of the movies like Ordinary, and a little bit of Romans in this one, and you will also think that this flick is a little too long. A bit shortened, this one could have done without some moments. The tiger doesn’t come up well enough to create an impression either. The fact that this movie didn’t have its shows in a number of theatres including Carnival Cinemas Angamaly and Carnival Cinemas Muvattupuzha, was surely a terrible thing, as we can be sure that so many people wanted to watch this movie after being addicted to the “mazha” song which is undoubtedly a pleasure to look out for, on the big screen. A little more care, and this one could have done even better – it could have had the special ingredient and could have attempted a deviation from the usual path.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban handle this role with ease, and we remember that he played a thief in his last movie of 2017 too, in Varnyathil Aashanka. This character does work for him very well, and never does he need to try more. The song “mazha” itself seems to be custom made for him, something which makes the viewers immediately interested in the flick itself. Shivada has a fine role here, paired opposite Kunchacko Boban, making this her one more notable role after Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam. Her character is strong, determined, and with those qualities that surely make this one a different role for her – there is more than what meets the eye to the strength of this particular female character. Vishnu Unnikrishnan, after Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, continues to be the boy next door, carrying most of charm into this one too.

Further performers of the soul :: Alphy brings good work in her first full role, paired opposite Vishnu as the movie progresses. She is sure to stay there in the industry with some good roles to come. Hareesh Perumana scores the best in this movie, and you don’t need to think twice before asserting the same. We know that he has always been good, no matter what people will say about a movie as a whole. He has been having a good time in the Malayalam movie industry, and this one has him controlling the funny side, rising above everyone else. The movie’s advantage is that he is there throughout the flick. Two directors Johny Antony and Aji John plays interesting roles in the movie too, and the former provides some fun moments which scores big. Salim Kumar has only a smaller presence as a police officer, but when he is there, the whole theatre has no problem in getting into a laugh riot.

How it finishes :: Sugeeth has had a good run with Kunchacko Boban in the lead, beginning with Ordinary and the last one being Madhura Naranga. With a title that reminds us of the comics character who used to be very special for us, Shikkari Shambhu once again brings us one of the better family entertainers of our times, with the content that is suitable for almost all kinds of audience. After the depressing Daivame Kaithozhaam K Kumaraakanam which claimed to be a family entertainer, but ended up being a miserable copy of ideas from other movies creating a mess, the viewers will find Shikkari Shambhu to be a relief among the flicks which are never really what they claim to be. But Shikkari Shambhu is surely the one movie which you would love to go through more than once for its comedy, which will be a big asset to our comedy channels in the future, unlike Aadu 2 which was surely overrated. I hereby leave you with a lovely song from the movie:

Release date: 20th January 2018
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Sugeeth
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Shivada Nair, Alphy Panjikaran, Hareesh Perumana, Johny Antony, Aji John, Salim Kumar, Sphadikam George, Maniyanpilla Raju, Krishna Kumar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Villain

What is the movie about? :: Mathew K Manjooran (Mohanlal) is the ADGP in the city who has been out of action for about six months following a road accident which lead to the death of his wife and only child. He is looking forward to take voluntary retirement from service on the day on which the murder of three big names in the city occur in an abandoned mansion. Therefore, it becomes the final case that he has to take care of, even though he is forced to carry it over through for a few days after his retirement, as requested by his colleagues in the department. In this twisted case which includes a police officer Vinod Abraham (Kottayam Nazeer) as one of the dead, he is provided assistance by H Sreenivasan (Renji Panicker) who was first given the investigation charge, along with two subordinate officers Harshitha Chopra (Raashi Khanna) and Iqbal Mohammed (Chemban Vinod Jose) who are now part of the city task force which he had started long ago.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: The one who used to be one of the strongest arms of law, has undergone quite a change in the recent past, as Mathew seems to be more of a tired and philosophical man these days. The one thing that he does hold on to is his love for Shakespeare, with a reflection of the same in his life, as he remembers Lady Macbeth’s words about all the perfumes of Arabia, has his own hesitation related to vengeance like Hamlet, fights a possibility of being drowned in madness like King Lear, and has his own Brutus in the police force, as does Julius Ceasar – he is also the Prospero of his own Tempest. He figures out that there is someone trying to get their attention, and at the same time, another murder of three people takes place. Meanwhile, the clues seem to lead to Shaktivel Palanisamy (Vishal) and Shreya Venkatesh (Hansika Motwani). But they wonder about how the six dead people are related.

The defence of Villain :: There are thrills in store with Villain, and there is some suspense over how things are going to come down. The first half has us guessing about more than one thing not just about the murderers, but also about the protagonist. We feel that there is a link coming up between everything, and things are set very well by the end of the first half. The thrills are there, and the twists are provided a little too early unlike The Great Father. The mass elements also take the backseat for most of the time, which is a great thing here. There is also the case against vengeance here, as we hear about it eating up the one who seeks it as much as those who end up on the receiving end of an act of revenge. You will notice that the emotional side is very strong with this one, as we feel the grief as much as the protagonist does on the big screen. Villain is also a very good-looking movie on the screen, as there is so much of visual beauty, and the locations seem to be nicely chosen. The songs are also sweet.

The claws of flaw :: If the identity as well as the motive of the murderers was left for a big twist in the end, that would have served this movie a lot better. This is the kind of premise that can support more twists in between, and the movie doesn’t use its resources to the best effect. The movie also needed a flashback from Vishal’s character’s angle, to really explore his perspective instead of taking a few things for granted – it is the same with Hansika’s flashback which relates to him. Also, the movie is a little too long, when you look at it. The scissors could have been put on some of the flashback sequences, and they could have been restricted to the songs and a few dialogues – we see have seen that done very well with the movie Memories. The idea about killing out of love and killing out of hate is very good, but not done in the way it could have brought the best effect. The talk about “the grey” side between black and white is also not used to its best advantage in the final scenes.

Performers of the soul :: The tranquility among the waves inside his mind, which is wonderfully depicted by Mohanlal with this character is the best thing about this movie. The serenity that is reflected on his face which has the feeling of pain visibly hidden, is nothing less than beauty to watch. He has two looks in this one, a side of the confident police officer determined to fight crime, having the look with the mustache, and also the side of the tired former police officer trying to solve one final case with just hope, having the look with the white beard. The latter one goes deep, and the pain that this particular avatar seems to possess, got the ability to break your heart with an abiding sadness if you get too close to the character with a case of empathy. Coming right out of a good run with Udaharanam Sujatha and C/O Saira Banu, Manju Warrier plays the wife of Mohanlal’s character, and she has handled it without trouble, even though the same is not a long one. The girl who plays their daughter was also very good, strong and energetic all the time.

Further performers of the soul :: Vishal and Hansika Motwani make fine debut in the Malayalam movie industry, even though a number of their sequences do give way for style over the rest. The former seems to have perfect hold of his character, while the latter, along with looking good, comes up with good support, despite given not much of a character development. We feel that Vishal could have been here earlier. Srikanth has much less to do than expected, and has a little too stylish a villain as his character. Aju Varghese has a rather small appearance as in Loham, while Renji Panicker and Siddique have no problems in doing their job here. Also, one can’t help not loving Chemban Vinod Jose as a police officer once again. He is at his best when he is playing a thief or a police officer, and he scores high here too. Whether it is about playing the good guy or the bad guy, whether it is about doing a funny role, or a serial villain, he has been so good these days. Coming out of a thief role in Varnyathil Aashanka, here he is doing protagonist’s support with ease. Also, another person to note is Raashi Khanna who began with Madras Cafe getting to play a smart cop here, and that works, a long way ahead of the other supporting female cops in our movies.

How it finishes :: The one movie to which this flick seems to have the most similarity, might be B. Unnikrishnan’s own movie, Grandmaster. But the reflection of sadness in this movie, and the situation of the protagonist is more comparable to that of Sam Alex in Jeethu Joseph’s Prithviraj starrer thriller, Memories. But you can easily notice the difference in treatment here, as things go more philosophical in nature, and the same replaces the powerful suspense and twist that Memories had, and the identity of the killers and the motives are revealed rather too early. But Villain is never short of being entertaining. It is surely better than the two huge Mohanlal blockbusters of last year Oppam and Pulimurugan, but is nowhere near Drishyam with the same. Villain is the kind of movie that would work with almost every kind of audience, and it is one more reason for you and your family to not miss this engaging thriller.

Release date: 27th October 2017
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: B. Unnikrishnan
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Raashi Khanna, Vishal, Hansika Motwani, Aju Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Srikanth, Siddique, Renji Panicker, Anand, Idavela Babu, Kottayam Nazeer, Balaji Sarma, Antony Perumbavoor, Sai Kumar, Irshad, Sanju Shivram, Vishnu Govindan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thrissivaperoor Kliptham

What is the movie about? :: David Pauly (Chemban Vinod Jose) and Joy Chembadan (Baburaj) have been enemies since childhood. There was a certain incident over a girl in their school which had turned the two against each other on an eventful rainy day. The two have fought each other for so long that the city of Thrissur knows their rivalry very well, and knows what would happen if the two were to come face to face. With Joy being accused of messing up David’s betrothal ceremony, the latter decides that it is time to settle the scores by dealing the final blow which will be fatal for his opponent from school days. For the same, he calls up his friends, but ends up being in a fight with Joy’s hired goons. It is during that time that Girija Vallabhan (Asif Ali) enters the situation. He is a young man who lives in the outskirts of Thrissur city, and is in a struggle with his uncle Chandu Menon (Sunil Sukhada) who doesn’t allow him to take the profit from their family property, or sell it.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Bhageerathy (Aparna Balamurali), a bold and angry young lady and auto rickshaw driver also become part of their lives, as she is seen almost everywhere in the city. Vallabhan who visits the city, also ends up meeting her, as well as David, as part of some not so pleasant events. He decides to join the gang of David, and after being hit by a flying stick during a fight between David and Joy’s team, gets the chance, and he has never been happier. But it is short-lived, as they are caught by OK Sehladhan (Sreejith Ravi), who is a friend of Joy, and had studied in the same school. After getting out of the police station, the gang decides to have revenge on Joy by messing up his jewellery shop inauguration, for which he has invited a famous movie star from North India, Nilina Mehndi (Shilpi Sharma). With no chance to match up with Joy who deals with gold, David’s team tries to use both brain and brawn to mess up the enemy. But are they good enough for that?

The defence of Thrissivaperoor Kliptham :: There is some nice humour in between here, which brought the theatre alive on a number of occasions. We see a lot of interesting moments in the early rivalry between the characters, and the first few minutes are among the best, and this one surely knows how to begin nicely, and catch the interest of the audience early enough. You will find even a few messages in this one, which come at the end. There is the need to forgive, and the realization that what you are luckier than you think you are, in life, and those who are deprived of what you have, are so many – a few things which we wanted were just trivial; the movie asserts. The first half is superior to the second by a long way, and the expectations are high at the interval. An effort at feel-good elements is also there by the end, when you look closer. The visuals of the city are really good, as the essence is nicely captured here. The songs are just okay, and there is not that much to gain there.

The claws of flaw :: There is the curse of the second half which troubles this movie, and the problems begin right when the latter half starts. It seems to be everywhere, not certain about which direction it is heading to. Even in the climax, except for coming up with that message for not just the audience, but also for the characters in the movie which undergo change, there is not that much to talk about. There is also the presence of some irritating sequences, and also those which could have been just avoided – that way, the movie could have gone with a run-time less than two hours, making this a little, funny movie with a message in the end. One also has to wonder where this movie would have reached if it had maintained that funny side it had displayed in the first few minutes – but Thrissivaperoor Kliptham had chosen to be cursed in the second half, and it had to come down; which sorcerer or witch had cursed a movie which had so much potential? Well, it might be a wizard that we don’t know.

Performers of the soul :: Aparna Balamurali is surely having a nice run, with fine performances in Sarvopari Palakkaran and Sunday Holiday already in the theatres with a fine feel-good run, extending from her work in Oru Muthassi Gada and Maheshinte Prathikaaram. Here, once again, she is good, playing a strong character, and she successfully rises above the flaws in making of the character – she also has rather less presence here with the focus being on the gangs. Asif Ali’s adventure goes back to Adventures of Omanakuttan and that smaller role in Take Off, and Avarude Raavukal. Both Asif and Aparna had their combination working in Sunday Holiday. The point to be noted here is that despite him being claimed as the hero, he is not really one, and as the hero who is not really the hero, he has nicely managed his work in the movie. Shilpi Sharma has less presence here, with a few scenes and one song, and looks very good throughout, in her first Malayalam movie.

Further performers of the soul :: Chemban Vinod Jose continues his journey through Thrissur which was going great in the satirical fun movie Varnyathil Aashanka. One can say that he is the one hero that this movie has, more heroic in character than anyone else. It is him who deserves the best applause in this particular flick, whether it is about the serious scenes or those funny moments – these days, whatever be the character, we love to have his presence. Unlike a few years ago, we see very less of Baburaj in movies these days, and it is very good to see him back, and for some reason, he is also given lesser of the funny side. You will also find Vineeth Mohan of Adi Kapyare Kootamani fame here in a good, smaller role. Rony David and Irshad provides some good company to the protagonist, while Vijayakumar and a few others nicely work on the other team. Rachana Narayanankutty and Zarina Wahab are in one scene each, and if you miss those scenes, you miss them.

How it finishes :: Movies based on Thrissur has been many more this year, with Georgettan’s Pooram and Varnyathil Aashanka there with this particular movie, and even Sarvopari Palakkaran was set mostly in Thrissur despite beginning from the Kottayam side; Jomonte Suvisheshangal was also based there. Among all these movies, this is surely the movie which has captured Thrissur in the best way. After drawing some good audience even further away from the city in which it is based, there is something about this movie that has attracted the audience to watch it. Thrissivaperoor Kliptham is surely a movie which could have improved itself in the second half on its journey towards the climax, but beginning so well, and with help of humour, this one manages to keep itself as a movie which provides some entertainment, and the performances from the cast support the whole thing very well.

Release date: 11th August 2017
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Ratheish Kumar
Starring: Asif Ali, Aparna Balamurali, Chemban Vinod Jose, Shilpi Sharma, Vineeth Mohan, Baburaj, Vijayakumar, Rachana Narayanankutty, Rony David, Zarina Wahab, Sunil Sukhada, Jayaraj Warrier, Sreejith Ravi, Sudheesh, Meghanadhan, Nandhu, Irshad, Neeraja Rajendran, TG Ravi, Sneha Sreekumar, Manju Sunichen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Red Jacket

Vampire Owl: Revenge has been my motivation to live for centuries.

Vampire Bat: But we don’t really live – as we were already dead and transformed into vampires long ago.

Vampire Owl: I was referring to life on this world after death.

Vampire Bat: Even that way, I am sure that all of your human enemies should have dead by now. It has been centuries!

Vampire Owl: Yes, but revenge is still sweet, and I have a Hamlet type problem, but I need to have it.

Vampire Bat: Well, in that case, the only option is to ask Doctor Frankenstein to bring them alive. But I am not sure how far he will be able to go.

Vampire Owl: No, because in case of a failure, I will be forced to take my revenge on the doctor too.

Vampire Bat: Don’t you realize that revenge never really bring anything in the end?

Vampire Owl: I am not sure, but revenge has been quite a popular thing in vampire history too.

Vampire Bat: Let me tell you that it is of no good. You waste your life trying to do it, and it is a terrible loss.

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

What is the movie about? :: There is a man in red jacket who is killed by another man working under him, who wishes to take his place, not by slowly working his way up, but by simply getting rid of his boss. The killer establishes himself as the new boss and take the dead man’s red jacket for himself. He gets to live the dead man’s life and establishes himself a big shot in the city, and years later, as someone even having the chance of becoming an MLA or a minister at some point – he keeps growing with the city. It is after these many years that we see Vetri (Kowshik) who is looking for revenge against a man called Gaja (Gani) who had killed his father twenty years ago, pointing back to the incident which was shown in the beginning of the movie. He has already failed many times to have his revenge, even hiring contract killers to do the work but for no use, and this time, he feels that he will do it directly.

So, what is to follow in this tale of revenge? :: With the help of his friend Reddy (Peekay), he decides that he will make one move against the killer of his father, who has gone on to become bigger than his father had ever been, with newspapers and magazines talking about the man all the time. It has been the only thing that kept him moving forward in his life, and there is nothing that he wouldn’t do to restore his father’s place. But is he strong enough to do that, and is someone as powerful and experienced as Gaja going to fall for the trap set by the young man? Reddy had already warned him against the possible consequences and did set up someone from Gaja’s group of men to help him when there – but will all these be for nothing in front of an enemy who seems rather invincible? Is the need for revenge bigger than everything else in human life? What happens when it become bigger than life itself for the youth?

On Red Jacket and beyond :: The tale of revenge has been nicely packed, and we have some nice moments and dialogues to go with it. There are also some interesting twists to come, and it keeps us guessing about what is to happen next, with the revenge as well as what could follow after that. The same is well-supported by a fine cast which goes so nicely with the tale. With so many short-films around, there is some fine work by the team here to make this an interesting and entertaining twenty minute run. In the end, we will only wonder about what it means to have revenge – isn’t there another reaction to our action, which will once again keep the chain of events going? It is a series of events that never ends, and it won’t matter what we think about revenge, or about how it can end, as it goes on, like the certainty of the tides. Well, an act of revenge can be nothing less than opening a door to another beginning, which will leave scope for another attempt at retribution, and it can get nastier, and costlier as it repeats itself.

Soul exploration 1: The need for revenge :: The central theme of Red Jacket remains about revenge, which runs directly through its centre. The movie is powered by the need for vengeance, and it drives its protagonist through troubled waters, as he never thinks about another way out – he is far beyond redemption as this need takes over him from all possible directions. Revenge has been something for which people have striven for, rather so much – but, we see that the protagonist’s friend himself ask is it isn’t better to make things better by beating their enemy through business, but our young protagonist immediately says no, as the idea of revenge has been more about one thing in our culture, and it certainly involves self-destruction along with destroying one’s enemy. It is the same thought that drives our hero here, and there are no thoughts about the consequence of the action – a reflection of the arrogant youth of all times.

Soul exploration 2: The need for power :: The movie’s title is the next thing that becomes the focus, as red jacket is the one worn by the men in power. It stands out in almost every shot, and it gets special attention in those moments when everything else is shot in black and white. When it is there, you see it as the symbol of power, and the one thing that everyone wishes to wear, but those who wear it are all murdered – as with great power comes those who wish to take it away from you. When you are that much visible, it makes you a target. Yet, people wants to hold on to those positions of power, which provides them power over others – people feels the need to have more of fame, and there is no clue of what they are facing. What do people attempt to achieve with social media? That should be exactly the same thing, and as much as power and fame feels good, it also has the other side which has the power to end everything which is not permanent.

How it finishes :: Red Jacket is the first short-film from the team behind it, and has been made in both the Tamil version which I watched, and a Kannada version – but after watching this one, we are sure that there are more to come following the tale. The same will make it to the list of my favourite Indian short-films among those I have come across in the last few years. It deals with the idea of revenge in a way that makes it a highly intriguing run throughout those twenty minutes. The subtitle option is also available, and by the end, the message is loud and clear about revenge, that those who take up the sword and live by it, will die by the same; for violence never really solves anything, but makes way for more of blood to flow. The release date of the short-film is pending, and will be updated when it is announced. When it is up for everyone to watch, do make sure that you don’t miss the twenty minute long saga of revenge. UPDATE: Movie released, and can be watched from the below link.

Release date: To be announced
Running time: 20 minutes
Directed by: KV Raja Saravanan
Starring: Kowshik, Gani, Prashanth, Peekay, Arun, Chethan, Rafeek, Chida, Santosh


@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.