Black Widow

Vampire Owl: I hope that we are not speaking about the spiders here.

Vampire Bat: No, none of us vampires are related to spiders, you know.

Vampire Owl: The witches take in a lot spiders.

Vampire Bat: Most of them are killed by the cats in there though.

Vampire Owl: But they are essential part of the dark magic.

Vampire Bat: It is not dark magic, but black magic.

Vampire Owl: You feel that there is a difference between the two.

Vampire Bat: Yes, darkness is not necessarily black, as it can come in different colours.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about darkness being reinvented by the vampire elders.

Vampire Bat: The source is the portal though.

[Gets a paneer momo and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz) are undercover agents of Russia known elsewhere as the Red Guardian and Black Widow, just a few years after the fall of the Soviet Union. Everything seems to be too natural for them, as a family with parents and two children. The agents successfully disguise as a normal American family in Ohio with their two daughters, and after stealing SHIELD intelligence, manage to escape to Cuba, after going through a tough chase. Soon enough, they are trained vigorously for their possible future missions for this secret organization known as Red Room. Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) who had their training in the Red Room to become assassins, continue in their missions to become successful and highly skilled fighters in their own ways. Natasha has become a fugitive for violating the Sokovia Accords, some time after joining the Avengers, after she had left her own team of assassins much earlier to join SHIELD.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Natasha escapes to a safehouse in Norway, while Yelena comes in contact with a former Black Widow who provides a synthetic gas that neutralizes the chemical mind control agent on her, which leads her to understand her actions and move to hiding. She attempts to stop the Red Room, this organization which has been creating assassins by manipulation of the mind. Natasha believes that she had destroyed the Red Room a long time ago, but it seems that it is not the case, as she is hunted by an unknown figure for the vials which were sent to her by her sister. She manages to escape and meet Yelena, only to be attacked by more female assassins, part of the Black Widow programme in the Red Room. Yelena had hoped that someone from Avengers would help her to get rid of the Red Room and free the black widows, but it seems that the superhero team no longer holds strong, and they have to find a few other more effective options.

The defence of Black Widow :: The movie fits in nicely within the list of superhero movies with its own fine deviations. The action scenes definitely make the point, and the two leading ladies make the best part of the movie, and some fine humour is also added in there well. There are surely some fine scenes which stand apart from the others, and not all of them are at the best for the intensity or the use of special effects. The fight scenes when the two sisters meet, and when the black widows fight, are among two of the best. The visuals are really good, as you would expect from a movie like this. The emotional moments are also pretty much working. The film is a fine part of the cinematic universe, but at the same time, it is also good enough to stand alone here. In the end, you do know where to place this movie, and with the final moments after the credits, the same is assured yet again – it is once again that time when you don’t take the eyes away from the screen.

Positives and negatives :: The movie does have perfectly suited cast to work in its favour with a lot of efficiency. The new additions to the cinematic universe are indeed among the best, and we see them joining and blending in so well. We do have hope that there could be a new beginning for the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the new entries, even though the Corona virus pandemic threat is forever, and can affect its run in the future too. There are still times when the movie seems to go up and down, seemingly following an inconsistent pattern – the tale could have followed a more straight forward pattern rather than going on like the tides. There could have also been more training sequences of the black widows, and more of their missions might have done the movie more good. A little bit more of Avengers could have also provided the movie with positives. After all, we are never short of hope, as far as superheroes are concerned.

The performers of the soul :: Scarlett Johansson leads the way, as one would expect. We have seen her do what she has done the best in the previous movies. Florence Pugh is the one who comes up with some fine surprises, and if there is another Black Widow, it could only be her – she makes a perfect one indeed. She would have made a fine addition to the team of Avengers on another day, maybe as part of another dimension in future. The action works for both of them really well, and there is also that humour that comes nicely with them around. It is also nice to see Rachel Weisz in such a memorable role again, as she is one actress who was also part of our childhood for quite a long time. David Harbour brings an extra amount of humour in between too, and even when serious, he adds a certain amount of the same. Olga Kurylenko is also present, even though we don’t see much of her, at least not the face. She remains one action star that we can always trust on, one of the last references being the lesser known film, The Courier.

How it finishes :: We know where these Marvel movies go, and this one does have its deviation which seems to work efficiently by its own. As the new action-packed addition to the grand list, it is an entertaining ride that one wouldn’t want to miss, as we already have that feeling of requiring more of Avengers after Infinity War and Endgame. The superheroes and saving the world have been gone for rather too long, and here we have it back in the form of Black Widow. We have been wondering which the movie would bring that power back, as we around here don’t really watch the series. This one also has its own fine surprises to add to the same, as this one is really a fine mixture of things. It is not that easy to make an enjoyable film which can match the predecessors anymore, as Marvel has come up with some of the best already. Well, this some proof about the about the fact that there is always chance to keep the momentum going.

Release date: 9th July 2021
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Cate Shortland
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Olga Kurylenko, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, Rachel Weisz

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Don’t Breathe 2

Vampire Owl: Do you remember when was the last time we had gone on a trip that had visions that made us forget to breathe?

Vampire Bat: That was to the Lake of Blood, a long time ago.

Vampire Owl: It is actually called the Lake of Death.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but it has so much of blood, and we cannot avoid that name.

Vampire Owl: The trips have been banned for some time.

Vampire Bat: A trip to Munnar always makes things better.

Vampire Owl: You cannot always trust the highlands.

Vampire Bat: What about some lakeside time at Kumbalanghi?

Vampire Owl: Well, the only trip we might be getting is with corona virus.

Vampire Bat: That is more of a visit and not a trip.

[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Eight long years have passed after the incidents of the first film, and things have changed now. Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) the blind Navy SEAL veteran has recovered from his injuries, and now lives with his daughter Phoenix (Madelyn Grace) and a ferocious dog to take care of them and the property. He tells Phoenix that her mother had died in a terrible fire in their old house, after which he has been taking care of her. He keeps training her in the name of surviving. His only contact in the society is Hernandez (Stephanie Arcila), a former US Army Ranger and a good friend of Norman. She is the one who always takes Phoenix outside for some fun. It is the same time when a lot of news about abductions by organ trafficking gangs among others are coming up, and Norman feels that it is not safe at all. She finds Raylan (Brendan Sexton III) in the washroom, but he is scared away by the dog. But it seems that he doesn’t stop following her. Hernandez feels that the girl should be out more, and that Norman should stop thinking about his past wars and be nicer to people.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Hernandez feels that the man whom he had met earlier was just a weird man, and there is no shortage of such people in the area. But she comes up against the same person much later on the road, and feels that there is more to him than what meets the eye. Soon, she is killed while on the way back home, by the same people. Norman is against her going to school, choosing homeschooling over her meeting more people outside. Soon, a group of led by Raylan reaches their home, and after killing the dog, kidnaps the girl. He tells her that it is not him that she needs to be scare of, but the man next to her. He adds that he is her real father, and that the blind man took her home to replace his own dead daughter. She resists, but is choloroformed, while Norman is left to die after they set fire to the house. He escapes with the help of the dog which the intruders had brought with them. Even though Raylan was looking for his daughter, he does have another motive. What would that be?

The defence of Don’t Breathe 2 :: There are some fine action sequences with interesting use of darkness, as everything is set in two different buildings. The fight scenes have enough to stay in our minds, even though not as much as the first film. Some of the memorable scenes include the blind man’s use of the environment to survive and continue to combat against all odds – it is a much more difficult task for him in comparison to the first movie. The environment has been well-created, and you do feel that presence of evil at all times. Almost everyone in the film is evil, and it is a reminder of inherent human evil itself – you know that people need to be dead to be not evil anymore, as we don’t usually see good people around. The small number of people whom we meet here are reflections of the same evil, with some of them being a little evil, others more evil, and the rest being completely evil. The other characters are not present in the movie, and the girl remains the only hope for a deviation along with the children with whom she play at times.

The claws of flaw :: It is clear that this movie doesn’t maintain the quality of the first film, and it does struggle to live up to the novel idea and quality that it had maintained. The idea of transforming the blind man into saviour might not be interesting for everyone, and he also seems to do a little too much for a man for his situation. He doesn’t seem to have much of a way forward around, as far as the character is concerned – there is no strong motive to support a further character development, with material seemingly less in comparison to the earlier movie. The first film served better as a horror film focusing on survival, but this one moves too much away from that genre which served so well. With a grand change in the character, this is something which struggles to take control of the deviation well enough – maybe it requires another sequel to deal with that, but that would make one wonder what is to be done next. You know that there are better possibilities with horror characters like this one, but the studio seems to think in a different way so as to make the person useful as a protagonist instead.

The performers of the soul :: It is once again the performance of Stephen Lang as the blind man which keeps the movie going – he does seem to play a more tired person here though, as there seems to be a struggle here which is more than the first movie. With a drastic change coming upon the nature of the character, the man does take it with him well enough, even when that often leads to a struggle. He excels in the action scenes, and is good enough to take it to the next level, rising about the others who are part of the fights. Brendan Sexton III makes a pretty good antagonist, even though the idea focuses more on action rather than anything else. Madelyn Grace plays the child well, while Stephanie Arcila’s short presence is memorable enough. Christian Zagia plays a thug with a conscience pretty well. Even then, it is Fiona O’Shaughnessy who seems to be more evil than any other, as she is one mother whom the sons and daughters won’t appreciate for selflessness – there seems to be a certain amount of witch-likeness in her.

How it finishes :: The fans of the first movie will find it difficult to miss this movie, even though it is weaker in comparison the earlier flick. There is no real horror or the surprise element, but the film scores in action. An old and blind man with a special set of skills is someone of interest as he looks forward to save his daughter, and he is also an iconic character. The memories of the earlier movie also keeps us interested well enough. Among the horror movie sequels, this is the one which we have waited for, more than the other usual ones like The Conjuring, Annabelle, Insidious, Sinister etc. After all, Don’t Breathe had the skills to go divergent, and this one takes the path set by that particular movie. It means that you can be assured that this movie has a nice enough background to build on, and cannot go too wrong with this character at the core. Even though it didn’t release here in the theatres at that times, the movie is now available on Netflix, which is a fine relief for us, as we have been waiting for so long.

Release date: 18th December 2021 (Netflix); 13th August 2021 (USA)
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Rodo Sayagues
Starring: Stephen Lang, Madelyn Grace, Brendan Sexton III, Bobby Schofield, Adam Young, Stephanie Arcilla, Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Steffan Rhodri, Diaana Babnicova, Christian Zagia, Rocci Williams

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Theerppu

Vampire Owl: So, we get to watch another one on OTT.

Vampire Bat: Well, OTT can take much more.

Vampire Owl: Some of the best of Prithviraj has come on OTT.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why these platforms shouldn’t have the best.

Vampire Owl: There are not many movies which we have been waiting for this year.

Vampire Bat: That hasn’t stopped us from watching more.

Vampire Owl: Yet, that hasn’t been enough.

Vampire Bat: I believe that the best of the movies have already released.

Vampire Owl: So the creativity is no longer strong as it used to be?

Vampire Bat: Human creativity has been corrupted terribly.

[Gets a paneer pizza and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: Ram Kumar Nair (Vijay Babu), a business tycoon has decided to host a meeting with an old friend whom he would be meeting after a very long time, surprising his wife, Mythili Ram Kumar (Isha Talwar) who has never seen him as someone who values friends, family and relatives above money. Even the servant at their resort is suprised by this particular decision. It turns out that this was also going to be a business deal. Later, it is seen that Abdulla Marakkar (Prithviraj Sukumaran), an eccentric man meets his old friend, Parameshwaran Potty (Saiju Kurup) who is also accompanied by his beautiful and commanding wife Prabha Nair (Hannah Reji Koshy). Prabha is skeptical and develops an instant disliking to Abdulla as she realizes that there is a troubled history running between Potty’s two friends, and it could be too personal to talk about even among friends. It turns out that Potty and Prabha are going to meet Ram in the upcoming meeting which is supposed to solve all their monetary problems which mounts to many crores. Their only other friend is Kalyan Menon (Indrajith Sukumaran) who is the DIG of police.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Ram shows the couple the resort which depends on historical exhibits to attract the foreigners. Soon, it turns out that Ram is only interested in Prabha with whom he has been chatting on Instagram for a long time. It is his sexually motivated interest in Prabha which seems to have brought her and Potty an invitation for a business meeting, and not the old friendship from school which was lost a long time ago. Due to his his infatuation with Prabha, Ram makes fun of Potty and decides to rename the couple’s brand with Prabha as the CEO, also contributing with three crores for the purpose. In comparison to Prabha, Ram considers his wife Mythilli more as a business partner whom he married for the purpose of growing his company. The richer and smarter Mythilli considers Ram as a womanizer who doesn’t hesitate to spend his money for women whenever there is a chance. Aware of her image of voluptuousness that has interested Ram, Prabha doesn’t reject his sexual advances, much to the dismay of Potty, who feels that soon, his wife will be living with the billionaire.

And what is to follow as events get more complicated? :: They are also expecting Kalyan Menon, who is also a partner of Ram in his business deals, but he is delayed by a far-right political organization conducting a programme, which could lead to riots in the city. They are also not able to get Kalyan on the mobile phone, as he remains busy – while awaiting him, they find another person on the door who decides to come in. It is Abdulla Marakkar who has come in, with the reminder of the terrible past of cheating which has been forced upon him and his family, as revenge seems to be closer to him than ever. He would make this a circus of horror with doors locked, and a working antique double-barreled gun in his hands. He would find the special exhibits of the resort including what is claimed to be that bat used by Kapil Dev in 1983 World Cup, spectacles used by Mahatma Gandhi, wine possessed by Saddam Hussein and many more to be interesting, but not that much as the terrible past which was handed over to him by the family of Ram. Considering the situation of Prabha, on which side would Potty stand, and when will Kalyan come to make his own contribution?

The defence of Theerppu :: The movie does have some interesting references running through it, and the expectations that rises in the beginning gives enough hope to keep the audience interested in watching the rest of the movie. The visuals are really good, and world which it creates for a resort of antiques works like a dream. The location works in favour of the mood of the movie. The serving of the basic idea of revenge also stands apart from the usual movies which would have a quick or brutal resolution to the fire of vengeance that would run deep. The cast works perfectly in favour of the movie, as Prithviraj Sukumaran makes an attack like in Kuruthi, and despite the late entry, Indrajith Sukumaran makes an impact. Vijay Babu seems to suit the role really well, while Saiju Kurup once again makes a slow, but effective work. Isha Talwar goes through a smooth journey as the main lady character. Hannah Reji Koshy of Darwinte Parinamam and Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu has a role to remember here, and among the newer actresses, she definitely requires more roles. Siddique’s role in the flashback remains a thing of interest as usual, with the veteran actor showing the same strength.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s final statement seems to be problematic as it seems to be further away from the reality that we have known through these times. The weak cannot defeat the powerful in the ways shown in the movie, that is for sure, as the rich and the influential would always find a way. There are many paths which it could have taken to come up with a better idea with its premise. It could have worked as a more serious drama or thriller without seemingly moving through an ordinary path full of pot-holes which needed some better directions. It does seem lost at times, and confused with where it is actually going. The flashback scenes, despite looking fine, often struggles to provide the desired effect, and some of the characters from the past do not stay, despite seemingly having the power in the beginning stages. The present does not take the effect of that treachery of the past with that much strength because the connection is not that well-made, and the less required deviations are rather easily seen as we look.

How it finishes :: Theerppu is a movie which could have surely been something more with the long line of strong cast and the visual style which it had developed with the premise. The trailer had provided the effect of watching something in an international level, but that losses some power beyond the visuals. Clearer ideas and a focused journey would have made this a more interesting work in the end, especially because there are too many layers at work as far as this film is concerned. We have had many interesting stories of revenge in the past, and even the very successful serial killer movies in Malayalam like Anjaam Pathiraa have pointed to the acts of vengeance. Yet, this is the movie in which revenge gets divergent and ends in a different manner than what is commonly expected. It makes sure that entertainment will be provided with such divergence. You can always watch Theerppu for that kind of a chance which does not hesitate in moving away from the regular.

Release date: 30th September 2022 (Hotstar); 25th August 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Rathish Ambat
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Isha Talwar, Indrajith Sukumaran, Vijay Babu, Hannah Reji Koshy, Saiju Kurup, Siddique, Sreelakshmi, Srikant Murali, Mammukoya, Suzanne Bernert, Lukman Avaran, Shaju Sreedhar, Alancier Ley Lopez, Aswin Kumar, Poojappura Radhakrishnan, Shameem Rein, Vinod Vaswani

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

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

<<< Click here to go to the previous Malayalam film review on same OTT.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sweet Girl

Vampire Owl: I remember having met a sweet witch.

Vampire Bat: I do not remember any witch being sweet at all.

Vampire Owl: He had some of the sweetest magic potions.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t buy potions without approval of Vampire Senate.

Vampire Owl: I have paid all the taxes along with the price.

Vampire Bat: You will still have to pay the import duty.

Vampire Owl: But we belong to the same realm.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but not the same territory.

Vampire Owl: Now, we are having taxes like humans?

Vampire Bat: It is still very much less in comparison to some of the nations in the world of evil humans.

[Gets a raspberry cake and three cups of orange tea].

What is the movie about? :: Ray Cooper (Jason Momoa) jumps off the top of a building while being chased by the police, and it is followed by a flashback. His wife Amanda Cooper (Adria Arjona) gets really ill with a rare form of cancer. The survival expert, Ray hopes that he can do all that is possible to save her. But it is soon revealed that the life-saving drug called Infirmam was taken off the market due to Bio Prime CEO Simon Keeley (Justin Bartha) paying the manufacturers to delay the production. This also means that there was going to be an indefinite delay, and Amanda doesn’t have that much time. He watches congress woman Diana Morgan (Amy Brenneman) going through a live devate with Simon, and there he seems to be talking about much their company is dedicated to saving lives at less cost, and on how much they have sacrificed in the form of money and time. He makes a call to the live debate, and as Simon doesn’t seem to care that much about bringing the drug back to the market, Ray threatens to kill him if his wife dies because of this negligence.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon enough, Amanda dies, and Ray is left with his daughter Rachel Cooper (Isabela Merced) to go on with the pain and grief. A few months later, Ray gets a call from a journalist Martin Bennett (Nelson Franklin) who claims that he possesses evidence related to the unethical practices and criminal activities on the side of Bio Prime. They meet on a moving train, but a hitman Amo Santos (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) attacks them, killing the journalist and stabbing Ray. Rachel who had followed them also gets knocked out in the process. Even though further investigations reveal nothing about what had happened with Bio Prime or in the train, and with no information about the hitman who attacked them, Ray still continues to track Simon and his company. He manages to sneak into a charity programme and interrogate Simon, only to be attached by the bodyguards whom he manages to kill along with his gaurds. The only other responsible name that he gets is that of the chairman of the same company, Vinod Shah (Raza Jaffrey). FBI Agent Sarah Meeker (Lex Scott Davis) is in charge of the case.

And how far can this go as we keep moving forward? :: Ray and Rachel go on a long ride through less taken roads, trying to get away before the police officers or the assassins get to them. Rachel tries calling Sarah, hoping that she will look into Bio Prime before her father comes up with something terrible again. Sarah is able to get the trust of Rachel like a mother figure. Meanwhile, they are attacked by mercenaries who seems to have found them much to their surprise. Ray fights them and after a small fight, ends up killing them too. At the same time, the same hitman who had attacked them on the train is after them too. Their only option here seems to be to find Vinod and hope that it ends with them. But Santos has other ideas about it, and Vinod knowing anything more than what Simon knew seems not possible at all. How far does all these secrets go? Who might be the last link behind all of these? Will the father and daughter duo survive against what they seem to be completely incapable of handling? Is there a thing like hope for them?

The defence of Sweet Girl :: Jason Momoa is here doing what he does the best, without the superpowers of Aquaman and outside the team of Justice League. Isabela Merced has a point as the daughter figure. She plays a character who is more matured than anyone else of her age, and has her own ideology. This is also one strong character that she can happy that she played. The twist also works like a dream for her, and she rises above everyone else with ease here. She does remind one of Chloe Grace Moretz, like someone who could rise above the senior stars when provided with an opportunity. Then there is Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as the hitman and Amy Brenneman as the congress woman who are all doing what they do the best. The action sequences are all good, and both the father and daughter do their job well. The twist basically comes a shock, even though there were some red herrings here and there – that should work for most people. The movie, just like it begins well, ends without overdoing it, but being mostly satisfactory.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have been quicker here, as there is a lot action to be done. The twist in question here doesn’t seem to be that effective for everyone, as the willing suspension of disbelief might have its problems with how the action sequences have been going on here. It does take a little too much time to get to the twist, which should have been revealed earlier for the audience to adjust to the whole new situation it had created. The loopholes are surely there, especially in the second half of the movie. The movie does seem to be confused about how to respect the genre, and the world it had built earlier. The feeling of half-bakedness does bring some trouble. There was the chance to come up with better dialogues and better emotional moments too – the emotions are there, but with the twist, some emotions feel as if they didn’t exist at all. With that particular twist, it also feels that some of the length of this movie was for no reason, as a number of things didn’t happen as it was shown.

How it finishes :: Sweet Girl is more of less the movie that can go in the path of Hitman, Transporter, John Wick, Mechanic, Accountant, Equalizer, Kate and others while having its main lead going through the impossible to reach the other end. It would require a sequel for that, as it had that twist which changed things a little too much. There will be opinions against this one for sure, as the twist would take away something which the fans would have wanted in the climax, but the film did require something divergent to set a path different from the usual movies dealing with this kind of thing – you can’t just complain for taking the risk and bringing more to ponder about. With lots of action around, a few things can be forgotten, and others can be appreciated – what is to loved and hated might still be different for different types of people. I would be asking people to watch this one without looking at the spoilers and come with your opinion. We are never really less in need of action thriller with a huge mission in hand, right?

Release date: 20th August 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Brian Andrew Mendoza
Starring: Jason Momoa, Isabela Merced, Adria Arjona, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Amy Brenneman, Raza Jaffrey, Justin Bartha, Lex Scott Davis, Michael Raymond-James

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Heaven

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Uncle Dracula is going to heaven?

Vampire Bat: I am sure that vampires have a different afterlife.

Vampire Owl: You mean beyond heaven and hell?

Vampire Bat: Somewhere in between, to be exact.

Vampire Owl: Are you talking about the purgatory?

Vampire Bat: I wouldn’t know before death, but there would surely be blood.

Vampire Owl: Well, as long as there is blood, I am okay with it.

Vampire Bat: You don’t really take the blood substitute anymore?

Vampire Owl: Until Doctor Frankenstein invents the perfect substitute, I won’t.

Vampire Bat: Then, be assured that it will a long wait, because that pseudo-doctor and scientist with fake degree is involved.

[Gets a paneer puffs and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: A group of NCC cadets discover a dead body in the forest area where they were camping for the holidays from their school. The first police officer to the scene is Bijoy Kuruvilla (Sudev Nair), and the dead person is identified to be Fabian John (Deepak Parambol), with the help of the forensic experts who are led by Narayana Swami (Joy Mathew). According to the descriptions from the witnesses and circumstancial evidences, the police discover the murderer to be none other than Peter Kurishingal (Suraj Venjaramoodu), another police officer. Then, the movie gets a flashback when Peter is in charge of a police station in a village. He had only recently lost his wife, and has a number of cases for investigation, which he takes very seriously so that he can use them to forget the grief of loss. His mother Mariyam Kurisingal (Vinaya Prasad) takes care of his only son, as he remains mostly busy as a strict police officer. But things get worse as he comes up against a case which would prove to be personal for him, as a family is murdered, and along with them, he also find his son’s dead body, much to his shock.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Peter’s subordinate Sukumara Pillai (Alencier Ley Lopez) is posted in the case with the new officer in charge of the investigation, Inspector Kishore (Padmaraj Ratheesh) who seems to be solving the case rather quickly, and a man named Stephen (Jaffar Idukki) confesses to have committed the crime with an immigrant labourer from West Bengal, as part of an attempted robbery. Peter has his doubts, but as one of the victims is his son, his superior officer Revathi Subramaniam (Abhija Sivakala) declines him an opportunity to be part of the investigation team, but lets him have a look at it as part of a parallel investigation for which he would be solely responsible. Soon, he discovers that the man who is accused of murder, Stephen actually had nothing to do with it. This home named Heaven, where the murders took place, seem to have more than one secrets to be discovered. His discoveries soon lead to him taking over the case after joining back on duty. But it remains to be seen if he will like what he would discover.

The defence of Heaven :: Here is one more addition to the smart thrillers of our times with some fine red herrings. The investigation shown in the movie feels solid, and so does the emotional side. The movie achieves its motives without exaggerating anything at any moment. There are twists till the end of the movie, and we see that it has nicely solved the puzzles to come strong in the end with enough strength. The realistic mode is maintained while bringing up the thrills and twists, and it surely feels like something which could happen during these days when different crimes are part of the news more than ever. Even the police procedures seem to be much accurate, and it doesn’t seem to venture into those areas where the smartness of the audience is questioned; maybe it is because the film chooses to have no such superstars who have so many fans wishing for their favourite actor to destroy evil like a fallen angel. Well, this movie is also something with fallen angels, but it knows how to keep it realistic. This is the kind of film that can teach valuable lessons for Bollywood which has its non-performers coming out of nepotism, not able to emote.

The positives and negatives :: The visuals are really good, and the camera is particularly good in capturing the emotions of Suraj Venjaramoodu, with all the grief which is part of the character’s life. The moments after the son’s death is as emotional as it can get, and it is only matched by the determination in his face that comes up later. There are the inner and outer battle shown here are with their own relevance. Heaven does not hesitate in going through the emotional path of the police officer and his investigation, just like it was seen in the movie Memories which had that abiding sadness in it which would return to haunt the viewer. The movie could have actually focused on the darker side even more. The return to the initial moments come rather too late, and due to the same, people might have actually forgotten the events which had happened earlier. The movie does slow down after the deaths and following emotional troubles, and it could have used a serial killer instead of the usual vengeance ideas being repeated. The music doesn’t feel as that great in comparison to some of the other thrillers which dealt with similar themes.

The performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu handles the regretful cop role really well, and it reminds us of his earlier movie Pathaam Valavu, where he had also lost his child. The helpless and lack of hope can be seen on one side, while there is smartness on the other. He is the police officer and father to remember. The emotional struggle which was best displayed in Kaanekkaane, and added with mass in Jana Gana Mana and Driving License works really well here too, as he is indeed one of the best actors to go through a strong emotional side. The biggest support to him is provided by Alencier Ley Lopez who makes a fine cop in a supporting role; I had felt that John Luther could have really used him as a police officer too. The actors like Sudheesh and Jaffer Idukki add more of an emotional side to the film with their shorter presence. Vinaya Prasad also has the emotional grandmother role. Padmaraj Ratheesh and Sudev Nair also makes some fine police officers. Abhija Sivakala as the superior police officer is also solid. Deepak Parambol’s as well Nimisha Sajayan’s smaller roles are effective too. The collection of performers here makes sure that there is something interesting about all of them.

How it finishes :: Heaven gets into the list of interesting thrillers including the recently released Twenty One Grams and Solamante Theneechakal, as well as many others which came earlier. After all, the thrillers of this world mean more than just Drishyam. The movie working a lot better than the heavily hyped movies like CBI 5: The Brain is a reminder that we have some new names who can do the same thing better. Well, this is the kind of film which can never work for Bollywood as the sons and daughters of superstars would not agree to act in movies which cannot progress without throwing hundreds of villains around. Movies like this should open their eyes to the idea that there is the need for more thinking differently, or the drought in Bollywood of blockbusters is going to continue forever. Bollywood’s fight with its own incompetence might be forever, but during those times, Malayalam movie industry, just like the other South Indian film industries, is coming up with some fine works of quality which are to be remembered.

Release date: 19th August 2022 (Hotstar); 17th June 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Unni Govindraj
Starring: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Sudev Nair, Sminu Sijo, Sudheesh, Joy Mathew, Alencier Ley Lopez, Jaffer Idukki, Vinaya Prasad, Abhija Sivakala, Deepak Parambol

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pathaam Valavu

Vampire Owl: So, there is the tenth turn where the twist lies.

Vampire Bat: We vampires are not worried about the turns. We fly over them.

Vampire Owl: Humans do not fly, but their spirits do float.

Vampire Bat: We don’t have the spirits. But we fly.

Vampire Owl: Where do you think a vampire’s spirit cross over to the other world?

Vampire Bat: I am expecting a river of blood there too.

Vampire Owl: So, you think that there will be blood on the way there.

Vampire Bat: Blood will be part of our afterlife as it is now.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that blood also has the spiritual significance.

Vampire Bat: Vampires have been spiritual for a long time.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Sethunath (Indrajith Sukumaran) is the officer who is in charge of the Kattappana police station. His wife Suja (Swasika) is pregnant, and Sethunath rarely comes home due to his busy work. After a long time, he finally decides to take a few days off. It is then that he is asked to bring a prisoner who got out on parole and did not return – Solomon (Suraj Venjaramoodu) was arrested as part of a sensational case, and him not returning came as a surprise for most of the police officers. Sethunath visits Solomon’s house with a few other officers in company, just before he goes on a fifteen days leave, as his superior officer as Shihab Ali (Major Ravi) asks for one last duty to be finished. The team gets to Solomon’s home and also finds him, but fails to capture him. But he is caught by Xavier (Nisthar Ahmed) who has a large estate in the area, and they transfer him to the police. On the way back to the police station, there is a landslide on the tenth turn, and the team is forced to stop and have tea and snacks. There, Solomon tells Sethunath his story.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Solomon was someone who survived one of the biggest landslides the highranges had ever seen, at the age of six. He lived as favourite of the locals, especially of the local priest (Sudheer Karamana) who has served as his local guardian. He falls in love with Seetha (Aditi Ravi), who elopes with him with the help of her sister, Anitha (Krittika Pradeep), and in the process, gets disowned by her rich and influential family. They soon have a child too. Varadhan (Ajmal Ameer), the local police officer who was supposed to marry her is particularly angry with them, especially as his next marriage reached the verge of divorce. He also gets transferred to the highranges soon, with a fight breaking out between him and Solomon, and this leads to Varadhan being relieved of duty and going home early. It is then that their child also goes missing, and the dead body is found between the rocks on the next day. Varadhan becomes the usual suspect for the locals, and there is fear in his eyes. His senior officer asks him to go on leave, but he is determined not to go from there. But where does this lead Solomon?

The defence of Pathaam Valavu :: This is a thriller that also goes on the path of a revenge with the support of flashbacks. There are moments of excellence, and unexpected elements of humour are also present with some flashbacks. The visuals give a beautiful feeling to the happenings around here too. The emotional side does the job well, and in between, the cute moments also get something to work on. It is the kind of the movie which could have gone The Great Father way, with the father of a child doing unbelievable acts in stylish dresses as if he was a rich monkey man, but manages to keep things realistic instead – well, you don’t want exaggerations when dealing with this kind of topics. Dealing with the life of the common man which is filled with simple happy moments of family, and turning it into moments of worries have been used effectively in Drishyam and Drishyam 2 along with the remakes – the same idea still continues to work. In the end, it also gives a social message, and finishes well as if poetic justice would return with a little help provided.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does start slow, as nothing much happens in the first thirty minutes or so, as it takes a little bit more time to establish itself. There is also some slow motion forced in there, against the overall mood of the movie. The loss of thrills to emotions can also be seen at times here. There is a lot of predictability that comes to the scene during the later stages of the movie, despite having the twists to provide the power. Some of the clues are also given in the early stages of the movie itself , which is re-established in the later stages too. The clues should have been hidden to keep the audience guessing. The red herring which the movie provides losses the steam because of the unexpected clues which are left in the process of moving the tale forward. The audience had the right to guess the killer differently, but such an opportunity is ruined too early. If the opportunity was better used, this movie could have been something bigger.

The performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu remains the strongest element of this movie, and manages the emotional side really well yet again. He has been doing such roles with perfection for some time now, with its highest point in Kaanekkaane, and most recently in Jana Gana Mana. Yet, the one performance from him which would stay with me even more is from Finals. Indrajith Sukumaran has displayed a certain amount of skill in portraying the police officers, last seen in Night Drive – there is the feeling of not exaggerating the cop role when he is playing the role; it has been there since Angels. Aditi Ravi has been an underrated actress, and her realistic performance as a mother is a reminder of her skills. Her recent release, 12th Man did not give her enough opportunity, and it was only Alamara which used her potential well enough. Ajmal Ameer gets a good role in Malayalam movie industry after a long time, and he did come up with a fine performance until the character was just pushed to the background for seemingly no real reason.

How it finishes :: Pathaam Valavu becomes another interesting addition to the long list of engaging thrillers. It does have the moments, and there are other areas where it could have scored more. Yet, one thing I won’t get is that people call movies like these as one-time watchable; well are all movies not to be watched once? There is absolutely no point in keeping on watching a movie again and again, except for the jokes and songs. There have already been two fine thrillers in this year in the form of John Luther and Twenty One Grams, and this one, even though not that good as the two murder mysteries, still serves its purpose with effectiveness. It is also a reminder that we no longer need those big names to play the central character and make the movie a success. We are no longer in that age of superstars, even though fans can still disagree and go to the theatres as a crowd, providing money to their favourite heroes.

Release date: 22nd July 2022 (Manorama MAX); 13th May 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: M Padmakumar
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Aditi Ravi, Ajmal Ameer, Sudheer Karamana, Baby Kanmani, Swasika, Sohan Seenulal, Aneesh G Menon, Jayakrishnan, Major Ravi, Nisthar Ahmed, Abhinav Raj, Binu Adimali, Shaju Sreedhar, Idavelu Babu, Joy John Antony, Sudheer Paravoor, Nandhan Unni, Krittika Pradeep, Pria Menon, Thushara Pillai, Anjana Appukuttan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Keedam

Vampire Owl: The name of this movie is interesting.

Vampire Bat: I also support people to use similar names for their movies.

Vampire Owl: We should also grow some vampire pests at home.

Vampire Bat: Uncle Dracula managed to get rid of the pests after a long struggle.

Vampire Owl: We should use the pests to our advantage.

Vampire Bat: You can’t control these pests at all. Only the witches can do it.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that they might use the pests against us?

Vampire Bat: They are good with such small creatures.

Vampire Owl: Well, I would expect an attack at any moment.

Vampire Bat: You should have faith in at least some witches. We are not so different from each other.

[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Radhika Balan (Rajisha Vijayan) lives with her father, Retired Advocate Balan (Sreenivasan) while working as a cyber-security expert at her own start-up company with her partner Vijay (Rahul Riji Nair). She is good friends with CI Charles (Vijay Babu), whom she helps as part of an investigation. Radhika is adamant that one’s privacy should always be respected and that their firm should only help people who have compromised their privacy due to hacking or carlessness. It is then that she accidentally calls a wrong number and Kili Biju (Mahesh Nair) who is on the other side continues to bother her on phone. He gets her name through True Caller App and finds more information about her by searching her name on Facebook. She is frustrated and decides to complain to the police, and things go out of control at the police station. Biju’s friend Thurumbu Aji (Renjit Shekar Nair) is a man who has been on the criminal records for a long time, and was also involved in a murder case – he decides to lead his friends (Anand Manmadhan and Arjun Ranjan) in an attempt to make Radhika’s life a living hell, and doesn’t leave her father out of it either.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: They follow her at her home and office, and also goes on to destroy the reputation of her father – it feels like wherever she goes, they are present at the location. When they decide that they are finally done with Radhika and her father, she decides that this is not the end. She decides to get into their privacy by hacking their mobile phones, so that they won’t think about doing this to anybody else again. Vijay is worried about her actions, and the same is the case of her father, but she is not ready to go back on it. She manages to get into the phone of Biju, and even though it is only revenge that was looking for, she comes across the information that could mean more than that. It turns out that even though they live as scrap-dealers, there is more to them than what meets the eye. They are involved in gold smuggling and other illegal activities, and they work as carriers for different people in different areas. Radhika might be dealing with a little bit too much, and it will be of the best interest for everyone if she backs down, but will she? What will Aji and his group do when they find out that she is spying on their crimes?

The defence of Keedam :: We can see that Keedam chooses a realistic character who doesn’t create any magic within a thriller unlike what is often expected. The female protagonist here does what she has always done the best, and she does the same in style. The messages about cyber security is more or less of a reminder of the world that we are living in, and leaves the idea that we need to be more careful when we are using any electronic device. There are some defining moments here which makes things more interesting. The final moments are indeed thrilling, even though the much needed final closure was not there to be taken. The divergence that the movie possesses is to be appreciated, and unlike some other industries, Malayalam seems to have all those movies, with the makers moving from one category to the other with relative ease, and even coming up classic stuff in between. The father-daughter relationship is shown well, reminding one of the same in Helen and Uyare with Lal-Anna and Siddique-Parvathy, even though the father figure here is more worried and weakened, and still doesn’t trouble her with his lectures much.

The claws of flaw :: Keedam doesn’t use its resources to the best advantage – the premise was so good, and there were so many paths which it could have travelled; there is no limitation in the cyber world. Cyber security is no longer the topic of a selected few, and the rise of Jio and the spread of COVID-19 did change the situation for internet and its unlimited resources which came upon unsuspecting people all of a sudden – most of them were easy prey to cyber problems as they were not ready, and the youth just fell into the mobile gaming trap. The film could have dealt with such problems more effectively like Operation Java. Often, there is the feeling that something is missing in between. As it follows this particular pattern, there is the unconvincing feeling coming up at times. The ending could have also been better, and it didn’t need the forced extra scene there. The movie had also started with Hindi lines with the beginning credits, and that provides the feeling that someone speaking Hindi was involved in crimes or that this happens outside Kerala and Tamil Nadu, a rather strange to do, whatever be the reason.

The performers of the soul :: Rajisha Vijayan who could be a part of the much acclaimed Jai Bhim after the sports drama Kho Kho, once again does an excellent job in another role of interest. There are not many roles which she can’t do in the industry, as she rises above the other actresses with movies having her as main protagonist. She gets into this character which is very much different from her much appreciated roles in June and Finals, and always looks comfortable with the same. Rahul Riji Nair who directs another film with the same lady lead has things in control as the actor too. Sreenivasan is present in the father role, and has done the character of a concerned father well. Vijay Babu plays a sensible police officer with all the qualities which are needed with it. Manikandan Pattambi of Marimayam fame manages the negative character well, and it is his dialogue which seems to give the title to this movie. The rest of the antagonists of the group have managed their roles well, and in a realistic manner, led by Renjit Shekar Nair. For this movie, the choice of antagonists did work in its favour, even though in the end, there should have been more in store for them.
How it finishes :: Keedam is a movie which could have achieved so much more – there was so much potential considering the topic which it was dealing with. But with its idea and the protagonist to be noted, there is another step in the right direction, and it remains very much interesting at the same time too. It is another reminder of Malayalam movie industry’s courage to venture into unfamiliar territories, as it had already done with the superhero stuff in Minnal Murali stuff, while also having one of the most human films in the form of Madhuram releasing in different OTT platforms within the gap of a few days. Rajisha Vijayan might be the best actress we have in Malayalam film industry now, and we know that people don’t get Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress on debut movies just like that as she did in Anuraga Karikkin Vellam. She has dealt with sadness, depression, anger, fear, love and friendship with so much effectiveness in her movies. The movie could have had more for her, but as it seems now, is an entertaining thriller which also has a realistic side in parts.

Release date: 1st July 2022 (ZEE5); 20th May 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Rahul Riji Nair
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Vijay Babu, Sreenivasan, Manikandan Pattambi, Renjit Shekar Nair, Anand Manmadhan, Mahesh Nair, Rahul Riji Nair, Arjun Ranjan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Innale Vare

Vampire Owl: Is this movie about yesterdays?

Vampire Bat: From the title, it seems that yesterdays are important.

Vampire Owl: Our yesterdays are pretty much far away.

Vampire Bat: The vampire yesterdays have always been centuries away.

Vampire Owl: Not all centuries are the same.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but they are all short for us.

Vampire Owl: Not just for us, but for all immortals.

Vampire Bat: Depends on how we will take the immortality.

Vampire Owl: Does this movie fit into our immortal calendar?

Vampire Bat: It is something which is yet to be seen.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of chocolate tea].

What is the movie about? :: Adhi (Asif Ali) is a superstar who is now going through a struggling phase as an actor. His movies haven’t been getting the success that they used to have, and he no longer remains the crowd-puller despite having so many fans and fan clubs. Due to his lavish lifestyle, he also has a lot of debts to be paid. Due to the same reason, he is forced to act in many advertisements, most of them which he doesn’t like at all. He is in love with Aishu (Reba Monica John), whose family doesn’t approve of such a relationship, as Adhi does have other affairs too – he is almost living together with a married actress named Karthika (Athulya Chandra), and he successfully keeps that a secret. Jomi (Rony David) handles things for him as the efficient manager, but the debts seem to get worse, as money lenders even reach his home and take away his cars. Both Aishu and Karthika are infatuated with him, and is not ready to leave him at any cost. Karthika knows that she is not the only one for him, but finds comfort with him in the absence of her husband who never bothers to call her or come home.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: At the same time, a stranger who identifies himself as Sharath (Antony Varghese) is following him. He seems to collect information about him through cameras and hidden voice recorders. Aadhi who one day comes to know that Karthika is carrying his child, tries to get there as soon as possible, and finds a lady who calls herself Shaani (Nimisha Sajayan), and she offers him a lift. She asks him to come to her home and see her husband once, and adds that she is ready to give him the car so that he can go wherever he wants to. Finding this to be a comfortable option, he gets to her apartment, only to find himself locked inside one of the rooms. It is later revealed that Sharath and Shaani has other plans for him. It seems to be motivated by money in the beginning, but there seems to be something different about these two. Yet, the need to save a house from being taken away by the bank seems to be a priority. But they don’t seem to know that Adhi has no money. How can any of them get what they want at this stage?

The defence of Innale Vare :: The movie doesn’t exaggerate things, and seems to go on without adding the unnecessary things including those highly emotional and romantic songs which would have been there for the taking. The tension and anxiety are maintained most of the time, and there are enough twists to keep things going around here. There is a certain amount of mystery about a lot of things around here, and the same is solved in the end, as different sides seem to come together. The idea about how technology can be used to make a person disappear by impersonating him or her will also keep us interested – Cold Case had also dealt with some part of the same, and this one takes it to another level. The messages from this type of movies might to be more careful about what we choose to do, no matter which side we are on, for even the most social ones can suffer – it is also easy to misunderstand someone. Yet, the movie’s main message seems to be that if we try to know people, everyone is good, as it seemed to be in most of the movies of the same director that came much earlier.

The claws of flaw :: The movie surely had a lot to do with its premise, and it doesn’t manage to come up with enough on most occasions. It seems to have struggled hard to make it a feel-good movie, wandering a long way away from where it seemed to be heading in the earlier stages. For an effective thriller, this one needed to keep a certain amount of its darkness as an interesting element which contributes throughout its run. There is almost no intensity with this thriller, and the characters seem to be not motivated enough to do most of the things – they seem to let things go on without trying hard. It is also too long with its content which is not strong enough to withstand time. The final twist and ending could have used some polishing, even if the purpose was to leave with a happy finish. There are too many repetitions around here too, and predictability also has a role to play. Some of the moments are shown just for the sake of being there, and in the process, it elongates the movie to a length that would have been stronger for more content.

The performers of the soul :: Asif Ali who finally has his first direct OTT release, does a good job, as things happen around his character. It is not that much of a big or challenging role though. It is good to see Antony Varghese in a role with a difference, which he seems to find okay. Nimisha Sajayan disappoints for most part of the movie though, in a work which seems to be unnatural. Even for the audience, she seems to be overacting in front of the police in scenes, but the cops within the film don’t seem to find it so – there is also that certain expression she seems to maintain, which doesn’t suit here, as much as in her earlier movies. Rony David is really good in another supporting role, and Irshad does the police job well again. Reba Monica John’s role is unfortunately a little bit too small, but she proves to be suitable in that one. Athulya Chandra does job well, as she seems to reflect the character in concern really well. Nandu is there in a small role, and so are a number of performers who make the smaller contributions.

How it finishes :: The fact that the director switches from feel-good movies like Sunday Holiday, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum and Mohan Kumar Fans, the effect seems to be lesser than what the genre deserved. His first movie and the only thriller, Bicycle Thieves was one of the worst thrillers which graced Malayalam movie industry with a twist which was as dumb as it could get. This one is surely much better than that, but one has to wonder about the purpose of making feel-good thrillers – most of the time, such combinations form a strange paradox which is not acceptable. When actors play actors, there seems to be something lacking too, and the same was seen in movies like Driving Licence too. But the makers do manage to bring things together as the movie nears the end, and this seems to be the kind of thriller which would also make the family audience happy, as such light thrillers are not easy to find. Well, if this kind of thrills happen in real life, there would be terror guaranteed, but not that much in this case.

Release date: 8th June 2022 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Antony Varghese, Asif Ali, Nimisha Sajayan, Reba Monica John, Rony David, Nandu, Irshad, Athulya Chandra, Anand Bal, Siddique Ismail

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Black Island

Vampire Owl: Are we talking about the island near the Northern Witches territory?

Vampire Bat: That one is called the Dark Island of Magic.

Vampire Owl: Well, that depends on the translation.

Vampire Bat: Let the vampire elders deal with the translation of ancient languages.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein is good with languages.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that Mr Frankenstein was talking about computer languages.

Vampire Owl: He has worked with the Northern Witches in relation to creating new magic potions through scientific experiments.

Vampire Bat: This is why I told you that he is a pseudo-scientist of no real value.

Vampire Owl: You should say the same thing when he wins the Vampire Nobel Prize,  and gets elected to the Vampire Science Academy.

Vampire Bat: There is no Vampire Nobel Prize for pure nonsense.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Jonas Hansen (Philip Froissant) is an orphan who lives under the sponsorship of the last member of his family. He recently lost his grandmother to the attack of a dog on a beach, while his parents had died in a car crash caused by another driver, both incidents seemingly having something strange about it. Nina Cohrs (Mercedes Muller) who lives in the island is instantly attracted to Jonas, and they become good friends. Most of the girls of the island do have some attraction towards him. It is that kind of a place where there is not that much of a modernity – beautiful scenery seems to make the best out of tourism, but even then, not many tourists visit the area. The place doesn’t have a lot of things happening around there either, and it remains a place of serenity throughout the year. Helena Jung (Alice Dwyer) takes over the German classes in an island which is located far away from the mainland in Europe. She is the replacement for a teacher who just had an accident, and would take a lot of time to make a return.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The new teacher feels like someone whom everyone would like, and she remains friendly with almost every student. She asks the students to call her by her first name when they are not at the educational institution, or when nobody else is listening. She also shows great interest in making the students write poetry and improve their creative writing skills, and with the friendly attitude, becomes a favourite of almost all the students. Soon, Helena seems to get really close to Jonas, or rather too close for a teacher and student, while Nina maintains a certain amount of dislike for her. Nina’s suspicions are at place, but the relationship between the teacher and the student only becomes more intimate. There are too many secrets related to the new teacher, and any attempt to venture any deeper into it will put Nina in peril. But can she stay away from this mystery as she cares too much about Jonas? Will Jonas really understand what is going on here? What is the motive of Helena, and why would she choose to be in a remote island instead of the city from where she arrived?

The defence of Black Island :: The movie does work as a mystery thriller a few minutes into action itself. There is the eerie feeling that spreads through the movie especially due to the setting on an island which reminds one of that strange world surrounded by water shown in Sacrifice. The twists await us, and the movement forward, even though slow, is rather smooth. It also makes sure that there is no falling into that usual pit of nonsense with the relationship at the centre. The visuals are really good, as we are introduced into a world with natural beauty within, and surrounded by beaches and crystal clear ocean water, reminding us to go for a journey soon enough. Well, after that COVID-19 scenario, travel hasn’t really opened up for most of us, and it is nice to see this world of beauty at least on the screen. The atmosphere does suit the thirst for revenge, and we know that this kind of a world can have even a serial killer on the loose with maximum effect. There will be the moments to cherish right in between.

The claws of flaw :: This is not the kind of idea that one would need to appreciate for theme – elder teachers falling in love with too young a student is not something that should be encouraged, even with seemingly decent movies like Premam which would use pretensions to play with the minds of the unsuspecting people – as part of a plan of vengeance, that wouldn’t look that bad in this case; there is enough of a past around here. Still, the relationship should have looked more convincing, and the things around here looks rather too easy. These are the kind of things which are to be dealt with more intensity. The movie also kills off one of the most interesting characters in there rather too early. The investigation into all of these should have also been stronger, and people in this movie are not as smart as they should have been. The moments which are of importance here should have also been edited better, showing them as the parts which shouldn’t be missed. The movie could have also picked up pace too.

The performers of the soul :: The movie is mostly an Alice Dwyer work, with her as the centre of attraction. There are still moments when one would feel that she could have been completely into this case of revenge, but at times, she seems be not in focus at more than one thing. It could be more because of her character not being written with that vision that a revenge-seeker should have. A stronger character would have been better for our eyes and the rest of the senses. Yet, she maintains that mystery about her well, especially during the first half of the flick. Mercedes Muller plays a strong role, and she is lovely in her infatuation towards her long-time friend. She seems to be the one intelligent and determined person like nobody else in the movie, and she surely required a screen presence throughout the movie. Philip Froissant plays a usual character who surprisingly has too less to do other than listening to his teacher who became the lover and the friends around him – he is reduced into a person of not that much of importance. The other performers are of not that importance in this small world.

How it finishes :: I have come across some of the interesting German movies in the last few years, and they seem to keep a certain level with the thrillers. Whether it was Blood Red Sky, Freaks or Breakdown Forest, there is some attempt at thinking differently instead of going with the usual things. Well, horror movies and thrillers are the only things which seem to keep me going in this world of chaos and hopelessness. There has been the down-feeling which came with the Corona virus which doesn’t seem to leave, and it feels worse as we are going back to the society. Still, when we see the hatred that is seen in movies like these, we feel that this is real, a reflection of the society that we know, the one full of liars and cheaters. We have to accept horror as a normal part of life, more real than romance and drama which are considered too real. With some more focus, this movie could have done better, and as of now, it goes on as a thriller which also a work of drama and mystery that takes over on many occasions. The movie works better than what some of the reviews had talked about.

Release date: 18th August 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Miguel Alexandre
Starring: Jolene Andersen, Alice Dwyer, Susan Angelo, Hanns Zischler, Mercedes Muller, Jonas Hansen

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

<<< Click here to go to the first German film reviewed here.

<<< Click here to go to the first full-length German film reviewed here.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Don’t Kill Me

Vampire Owl: At some point, a werewolf asked me not to kill him.

Vampire Bat: So, you have started fighting werewolves on your own.

Vampire Owl: No, it was an arena battle during the last carnival.

Vampire Bat: Why would you kill a werewolf on an arena?

Vampire Owl: It was part of a great, memorable drama.

Vampire Bat: I knew it. You wouldn’t even slay a zombie juggernaut.

Vampire Owl: Why would I? Let them eat the brains of evil humans.

Vampire Bat: All zombies are not interested in human brains. Some of them just sleep in their graves at all times.

Vampire Owl: They are not undead – they are just the dead.

Vampire Bat: Well, zombies do have the right to make their choices too. Some of them even fall in love.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Mirta (Alica Pagani) is madly in love with her boyfriend and drug addict Robin (Rocco Fasano) who is detested by her parents. One day, she decides to have drugs with him, and an overdose leads to the death of both of them. But soon enough, she finds herself waking up in the tomb. She escapes from her tomb in the mausoleum where she was laid to rest and starts walking towards her home. But she understands that she is dead, and leaves the house soon enough. The police informs her parents that someone has stolen her parents. She knows that her body has started decaying, and there are also people hunting her. A strange person also visits her home, and says that they are going to protect the living from the dead – he adds that the parents are going to see their child very soon, but she won’t be the person whom they knew earlier. Soon, she ends up committing her first murder, and after eating the man, feels much better.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: But soon enough, she will understand that there is something more going on out there. There is a sect that has been hunting her kind from 1600s – destroying those who come back to life instead of staying dead, known to the secret organizations as the overdead. The group seems to be heavily organized, with lots of money, weapons and other resources. Mirta does find some help, but she wishes to go back and find Robin, hoping that he will also wake up at some point, as they died in almost the same way. But she is captured by the group, and is put in chains. It is then that she realizes that Robin has also come back to life. But that would also leave her with more revelations about what has happened with her life. It will also mean that she will have to make her own decisions against her heart. Where will that lead her in the end? Is there a war coming between the humans and the overdead? Will she choose one of those sides?

The defence of Don’t Kill Me a.k.a. Non Mi Uccidere :: This is a movie which comes up with some fine surprises, and even shocks in relation to its zombie world. It doesn’t hesitate to try something different, and take a few risks with its progression and scenes. The ability to stay unique in a world of repetitions is to appreciated. There are a few bloody moments in the final scene of the movie, and that result of an undead fighting the hunters has some quality setting which is going to stay for long. The moments of the protagonists meeting after dead are strangely interesting too, and there was that twist that worked out there. The bath scene seemed to point to some of the tales of the witches from the past, and maybe this will also come up with more links if there is a sequel. The visuals are really good here, not just with the scenery, but also with people and objects. The environment has worked in favour of the movie too. The message here seems to be about being careful about whom you are obsessed with, and that it is not about looks in a relationship. The movie also encourages one to take the path required instead of going with the flow.

Positives and negatives :: Don’t Kill Me does more than what was expected from it, and we are only to witness the same. It doesn’t overuse any of the special effects, and keep them to the minimum, but in an effective way. The idea here seems to be about using lower budget to achieve more. It does leave a few things to the imagination, without trying to explain them all. It could have also linked its sequences better, instead of seemingly straying from the path to come up with one scene or the other. Despite the zombie existence, you would still imagine Alice Pagani in a vampire movie, because the looks seem to work well with such an option – the Gothic world seems to suit her well. I would like to see her as part of an Underworld movie at some point of time. She is also suitable for the mood of Byzantium and Interview with the Vampire. The ability to move away from silly romance and keeping it natural also helps here – this movie could have easily been Twilight, but thankfully it is not. This one is a serious adventure at hand. The blood and gore is present, and still continues to be in control.

The performers of the soul :: The movie has its soul fixed on Alice Pagani, an actress who has made the transformation into the undead very smooth and believable – you don’t become the undead that easily and make it feel natural. She has this one in control throughout its run, as the confused youngster in love who doesn’t know much about what she has been forced to go through. Even in a decayed zombie form, she remains beautiful, and displaying the human confusion seemingly in an attempt to retain her humanity. She is there in every key moment of this movie, as if she is this movie, and it is all about her. Despite the thriving human beauty, she will make a fine undead, maybe even a vampire – Hollywood should have her. Rocco Fasano, for most of the movie, is the Robert Pattinson of this movie, the much liked Edward Cullen who is without his Twilight – has the looks of the undead working for him. They have some interesting scenes together, but there are not that much either – the romance doesn’t get overdone, and that is a nice way to keep away from the commonly expected undead infatuation.

How it finishes :: There are the usual romantic zombie movies like Warm Bodies which try to go the Twilight way, and then there is this one, which tries to be as divergent as possible. It knows that it has to be innovative in the zombie horror genre, as the idea has been repeated too many times. This is the realization which makes the whole thing better. One can only feel that Andrea De Sica is a visionary director who has brought another zombie origins story which can have a prequel or a sequel according to the need, as this one doesn’t end here at all. Italian movies have had some quality works in the last few months, like Security and A Classic Horror Story, both of them coming up with their own divergence in the process. When we look at these movies, despite the genres to which they belong, there is no exaggeration at all. Well, you know how wrong you can go with the zombies, and how much nonsense can be added in the name of the undead – here, we get them in our world, without those unnecessary ornaments or overdose of romance. The low ratings seem to be from those who expected a Twilight, but the beauty of this movie is that it is not here.

Release date: 21st April 2021 (Italy); 21st February 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Andrea De Sica
Starring: Alice Pagani, Rocco Fasano, Silvia Calderoni, Fabrizio Ferracane, Anita Caprioli, Sergio Albelli, Giacomo Ferrara, Esther Elisha, Kateryna Aresi, Francesca Alice Antonini, Federico Ielapi, Marco Boriero, Marco Matteo Donat-Cattin, Marco Pancrazi

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

<<< Click here to go to the first Italian film review here.

<<< Click here to go to the last Italian film review here.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rise of the Black Swan

Vampire Owl: I have missed the Vampire Swan for quite a long time.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that we haven’t really employed one.

Vampire Owl: There was the one which stood guard near the vampire canteen.

Vampire Bat: It was the Vampire Duck, on temporary service.

Vampire Owl: You had ducks as temporary vampire guards?

Vampire Bat: Well, there was the zombie threat and we were in short of troops.

Vampire Owl: Still, why didn’t anyone choose a majestic black swan instead?

Vampire Bat: Well, the ducks charged less, and zombies never know the difference.

Vampire Owl: They would have known if they had reached the castle during the attack.

Vampire Bat: Even then, the zombies would eat only the brains of a duck.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Black Swans is an American private military company owned by the family of William Lewis (Tom Wilkinson) and his children Grace Lewis (Ruby Rose) and Oliver Lewis (Owain Yeoman). British Army’s Special Air Service Commander George Clements (Andy Serkis) gives them the mission to clear a remote village somewhere in Georgia for a transnational gas pipeline. But the villagers are not ready to leave their homes, and the Black Swans brutally murder all the men, leaving the women and children to run for their lives. But the atrocities committed in the village were filmed secretly, and red notices are served following the accusations of crimes against citizens of different countries. The international law demands that the United Kingdom extradite the three accused – William, Grace and Oliver to the Hague for a trial. The Prime Minister Atwood (Ray Panthaki) asks Clements to kill William and anyone who comes against them so that the involvement of the government is covered.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: William had already become too rich and influential with his mercenary business, buying new homes and business. The team attacks the mansion of the Black Swans and Clements personally murders William, only to find that Grace and Oliver are not there anymore. It seems that they had all of these planned, and Grace always knew what was coming to them. Tom Buckingham (Sam Heughan) who is planning to propose to Sophie Hart (Hannah John-Kamen) is one of the special troops who attempted to raid the mansion, and fought off a good number of Black Swans who were guarding the area. He decides to go to Paris on romantic trip with her, as there is a doubt which remains among both of them about their love affair, and both do wonder if they love each other than much to get married. But that really doesn’t really seem like a good idea, as he notices someone who looks like Grace inside the Eurostream train going to Paris.

And what more is to follow in this dangerous journey of another king? :: Soon enough, the train is hijacked by Grace and her group of Black Swans with the support of Oliver. Tom manages to escape from the train and starts sending updates his good friend and fellow special troops officer Declan Smith (Tom Hopper), who informs the authorities about what has happened within the tunnel. Major Bisset (Noel Clarke) who is the commanding officer of the operation wishes to save as many hostages as possible, while this becomes breaking news in the television channels all over the United Kingdom, and many speculations arise as the news reaches world-wide. Clements is also sent to the location by the Prime Minister with only one aim, to finish off Grace who knows everything about their secrets. Tom is determined to save Sophie, but she refuses his aid and is not ready to leave the train as there are so many passengers in there who needs some medical assistance. Grace asks for a ransp, of $500 million from the company which wanted to have the villages cleared, Britgaz. But can she get that, and can the hostages be saved?

The defence of SAS: Rise of the Black Swan a.k.a. SAS: Red Notice :: As expected, this one serves as the action thriller which it was supposed to be. It provides some of the very engaging moments with so many lives at stake. Ruby Rose remains strong in another action movie role, like she had done in John Wick. She continues to excel in the action scenes, and remains strong with a certain psychotic side. Sam Heughan remains strong in the role that is about saving too many people. Hannah John-Kamen also does a fine job, while Andy Serkis and Tom Hopper remains good. The settings serve really good, and being caught in a train within a tube full of mercenaries ready to kill, serves the purpose well. The movie surely feels somewhat old fashioned, but maintains a certain amount of standard related to that, even though it never goes down to that level of those silly mass masala movies of Bollywood or some of those overrated high budget movies of the South. The world here surely keeps itself from going down from the suitable level.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does remind us of many other movies, even though it is not of that much strength as some of the others. For most of the film, people seem to reiterate the fact that the main character here is trained, and isn’t too much bothered about his presence on board the train. There is also a certain amount of silliness with the movie’s primary antagonist and her actions, and even though she is menacing, is not even. They surely had the budget to add some special scenes around here too, and also some spectacular action sequences which are not usually seen. A little bit of exaggeration, especially related to action scenes was expected, and the same is present around here. The predictability factor is also present without doubt, and we know mostly what is going to happen around here. You have the specially trained hero trying to save the people inside a train from a group of mercenaries led by a merciless maniac.

How it finishes :: As this movie is known as SAS: Red Notice, it is not to be confused with that particular movie which has the big names like Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot in the lead. This one is also an action movie, but surely more serious than that one. This is also an entertaining ride as much as that one though. As a movie based on the novel with the same name by Andy McNab, whether it satisfies the fans of the books is yet to be known. But as of now, we can enjoy the work done here, thanks to the lot of action that goes on around here. We are never short of a possibility of a terrorist attack happening at any part of the world, and so we are looking for a lot of saviours in action. It is the kind of movie in which we go with the flow of action, and get immersed in the adventure that we witness around. Well, after all, most of us might not be traveling in the Channel Tunnel in our lives, and a lot of us most probably won’t be inside a high-speed train or travel underwater – let us enjoy what we see on the screen in that way too.

Release date: 12th March 2021 (UK); 5th November 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Magnus Martens
Starring: Sam Heughan, Ruby Rose, Hannah John-Kamen, Anne Reid, Andy Serkis, Tom Hopper, Noel Clarke, Owain Yeoman, Ray Panthaki, Tom Wilkinson, Jing Lusi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Red Dot

Vampire Owl: It is nice to have a Swedish movie on the list too, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, we only have Norwegian from Scandinavia until now.

Vampire Owl: Well, Netflix knows how to choose the right movies.

Vampire Bat: We have known that the best with Minnal Murali premiering there.

Vampire Owl: So many interesting movies in foreign languages too.

Vampire Bat: Those are the kind of collections which Amazon Prime Video should have too.

Vampire Owl: They could always have more of those lesser known foreign movies.

Vampire Bat: Scandinavia is a fine area to build a castle right now.

Vampire Owl: There should be our kind already in existence there.

Vampire Bat: Why don’t you take a trip there and find out?

[Gets a sweet puffs and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: David (Anastasios Soulis) proposes to his girlfriend, Nadja (Nanna Blondell) in public on the day of their graduation at the university. She accepts it gladly, even though the proposal turns out to be very much awkward, despite having a certain amount of cuteness related to it. They make a promise that they will always be together, no matter what happens. But one year and half later, due to the need to study and work at the same time, they are no longer happy at their apartment in Stockholm, the busy capital of Sweden. Soon, she finds out that she is also pregnant, and she is not sure if they should be parents, as she is studying to become a doctor – this would not be helpful for her future either. She feels that if she has a child any time soon, she will end up being a housewife taking care of the kid, as David is working all the time. Despite being assured by their neighbour that they will be great parents, she doesn’t inform David about the pregnancy, and decides to keep it a secret as long as possible.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: David arranges a trip to the northern lights so that they can have some happy time together. This is also the one tour which they are having after a very long time. On the way, they meet two locals, Jarmo (Kalled Mustonen) and Rolle (Tomas Bergstrom) at the gas station, but are comfortable with their presence and their strange dialogues about the dog and the lady. While leaving too soon, David’s car also leaves a scratch on the pick-up truck of the locals, but they go on moving without saying anything about it. Einar (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) seems to be the only person who is friendly to them, as he runs the inn where they are supposed to stay. He says that the people there are not used to seeing interracial couples. Nadja soon finds their car scratched, also leaving few racists words, which makes her angry enough to leave a scratch on the truck of the locals which they earlier encounter, as she is sure that they are the ones who did it. But the two locals seem to be much surprised by the same.

And what awaits them with the northern lights in the wilderness? :: David feels strange about the actions of Nadja, but she feels that this is how one should deal with racists. After a long drive, they finally reach an area beneath the northern lights, and it gets really cold. There, she reveals to him that she is pregnant, and that makes him very much nervous, as he is not sure what is to be done next. But their conversation about it is soon interrupted by a red dot on the wall of their tent, which keeps moving. They first feel that it is a prank done by some local kids with a laser pointer. But with a jolt, they soon understand that it is a laser view from a gun, as they are shot at. Nadja is sure that it is the brothers who are attacking them in revenge for her action, and David remembers that he had seen a weapon in their truck. Their dog which tries to find the attackers, is killed and as they return to the camp after searching for it, finds its head, a trap, and their belongings including the mobile phone missing. With the snow coming down slowly, they have to somehow make it out of there, but can they? Is there hope within so much of cold?

The defence of Red Dot :: The movie uses its landscape to its advantage, and the locations here are all beautiful enough. Whether it is the beauty of nature or the terror of it, we have things going well. Scandinavia is the area which almost everyone wishes to wish to visit, and maybe spend most of the life – I would have done that if there was the opportunity, and there is no shortage of such motivation with the world for eyes within this film too. It also has some interesting twists in the last few moments of the film, and also leaves a message that many things are lost as people just randomly points a few actions as a result of racism, often because it seems to be the easiest thing to do, along with adding things as misogyny or part of religious beliefs – sometimes, things are just personal to the core, and nothing more than that. As the movie is less than one and half hours long, things don’t get dragged or slow down at any point of time. There is no loss of pace at any moment, and it takes the deviation from the usual well enough, but never turning to melodrama even when it could have used the chance.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have achieved more with a couple being hunted in the snow, with no hope seemingly around. It also seems that none of the characters are likable, with a mostly irresponsible couple, and the lady seemingly attributing most things to racism, and randomly blame the mentality. The snow as well as the red dots could have been used more, and there could have more twists over the incidents. There are times when the movie seems to be unwilling to take the risk with most of the things. The romantic side is often forced rather than having any intimate or lovable side to the same. When thinking about Vikings from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, we are always expecting an intense ride with the movies from there, even with the realization that it is not that age any more. There were so many moments for some horror to be added here and there, and this could have transcended the genres with ease. Some more red blood on white ice along with some shocks added here and there would be been worthy enough – more action too.

How it finishes :: The movie has the strength throughout its run, thanks to the performances which are appreciable – there are only a few characters of significance in this movie, and they had to do well, which does happen around here. With people being hunted, this would feel like Wrong Turn in the snow at some point of time, but that idea is lifted during the last few moments of the film. Maybe, we could also have a similar movie shot during the corona virus times, hunted in the lockdown, with nobody around to help. At least, the viral pandemic did provide us with opportunity to watch movies like this one on the OTT platforms. It is always better to have them on the laptop screen, as you can also type on another laptop at the same time. I would also like not to know how much the popcorns, puffs and tea would cost in a multiplex after the lockdowns. Yet, we all know that the rise in petrol price won’t serve the purpose at all, and hope is only with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Hotstar, Sony LIV, Manorama MAX and others.

Release date: 11th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Alain Darborg
Starring: Johannes Kuhnke, Nanna Blondell, Anastasios Soulis, Kalled Mustonen, Tomas Bergstrom

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Matrix: Resurrections

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the first time that we watched The Matrix?

Vampire Bat: Yes, you understood twenty five percent of the movie then.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that I understood more than fifty percentage of it.

Vampire Bat: You still had to read details about the story a hundred times.

Vampire Owl: I don’t remember having read the plot even once.

Vampire Bat: I remember that you did the same for the makers’ other film, Jupiter Ascending.

Vampire Owl: I don’t even remember watching that movie.

Vampire Bat: It was on the same day that you attended Mr Frankenstein‘s Grand Exhibition.

Vampire Owl: Dr Frankenstein has thousands of exhibitions every year.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about that many fake science exhibitions.

[Gets a paneer fried rice and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a game designer and the creator of a very popular video game series called The Matrix, which already had three games in the franchise. The game is based on his memories as Neo, which is not clear, but he does feel that there is a lot in his head which feels real. He is mostly happy with his life, as living as a famous game designer seems like a pretty good option. He keeps coming across a woman named Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) who is a married woman with two kids, and she seems to be based on a main character whom he had designed for the video game, Trinity. He becomes friendly with her, and he likes him, but doesn’t seem to remember him at all, just like he is not sure how she became a part of his game. He struggles to separate his life and these strange memories, and his therapist gives him some strange pills in support. A young lady named Bugs (Jessica Henwick) finds this game simulation which is running an old code in a loop based on the time when Trinity had found Neo. With the help of a programme which has embodied Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in a new form, she starts searching for answers, as Neo was supposed to be dead. Two of them combine the forces looking for Neo and finds him in the end.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The machines sent by Bugs save him, and he is taken to her ship known as the Mnemosyne. He is taken to the new city of the human resistance, where a lot older Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) awaits them. She is not happy that Bugs brought Neo to the area which is now a safe house, and tells her that she and her crew of Lexy (Erendira Ibarra, Sequoia (Toby Onwumere), Berg (Brian J Smith) and others are now grounded with the ship. It turns out that sixty years have passed in the real world after the war between humans and machines had ended. Except for Niobe who now takes the decisions around there, mostly adamant and foolish, while everyone else from the original human resistance are now dead, including Morpheus as he was known, and had led the resistance earlier. She tells them that there was some peace achieved through his sacrifice, which lasted for some years, but eventually, things got worse. Now, can Trinity be freed? Can there be peace again?

The defence of The Matrix: Resurrections :: You know the thing about The Matrix, which means that you mostly know what can happen with this version too – the trailer had set the expectations going well. There is a lot of action for sure, and you do enjoy it, even though these are not things which you haven’t seen before – the fights go on in a stylish manner within the movie, and there are also some nice worlds built around here. The advanced special effects and computer generated imagery means that this particular world looks even better than how it used to be earlier. Here we have Keanu Reeves doing what he has been doing the best again, which is always a thing of quality – outside the world of John Wick, Neo is indeed an iconic character and we are never tired of watching him around there. The new additions of the cast are very much suited to this situation of post-apocalyptic science fiction action. After all, we know that this is the kind of situation which could happen at any point of time, with machines taking over being the best option for any apocalyptic event – the extinction of human kind is not something that we can resist. Then, this is a world which has no shortage of style.

The claws of flaw :: The Matrix: Resurrections which comes as the very late addition to the list of movies in a franchise which was far above the others of that time, doesn’t manage to live up to that hype or the grand expectations which were always present. When Neo is coming again after a long time, you expect that this is going to be something above all, but with the lack of innovation, they try to share the qualities that makes Neo with a female characters, which is pretty much the dumbest decision that they can do with some dumb romance added to a film which could have stopped that with the third movie and a few deaths. Actually, the third movie of the franchise served as such a fine ending, and this often keeps feeling a lot unnecessary. One has to wonder if any action sequences in this movie will be remembered much in comparison to the earlier movies, among which all of them had some special moments of fight scenes. The beginning is also too slow, leaving the film too long with so much of initial moments good enough to be cut. One would guess that this one is more intended to make some quick money on the fame which those classic movies had, but that attempt seems to have failed in rising up to the expectations too.

The performers of the soul :: We know that this has been the movie which made Keanu Reeves the huge star all around the world, even though I have always remembered him facing the devil in Constantine and Devil’s Advocate more than any others as well the vampire as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula of 1992, and maybe a few older people might go for Speed as the initial big thing from him. The new generation surely had John Wick with its sequels, and I do like his science fiction works like Replicas too. Yet, this is the one role in which almost everyone of my age would have wanted to see him again, and he is here, with the same strength that he had at that earlier point. Carrie-Anne Moss is someone whom we remembers for this franchise itself, and it is always good to see her back – she has become part of this world again really well. Yet, the actress who makes the most impact is Jessica Henwick, who played second fiddle in Underwater nicely, and she is indeed lovely – the baton should be passed on to her soon enough. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II doesn’t stand up to Laurence Fishburne, but remains okay. Erendira Ibarra also has a notable role. Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris are villains for the sake of being, as machines rule over them. Priyanka Chopra Jonas is there for the sake of being there.

How it finishes :: The big question about this particular movie is whether it was actually needed at all, for these are not the times when the first three movies came into existence, and the adaptation to the new audience who have witnessed all of these already, and then again through other movies would have had some strange feeling about watching this one. You are coming up with a sequel so many years later, and it would require something more than what was already seen, and this one falls flat on innovation. But, there is a lot of entertainment with the action happening all around, and nostalgia is something that sells, which means that we can always watch this version of The Matrix too, and hope that a great worthy sequel will be made at some other point of time. Until then, let us be happy enough with this one, and hope that the Corona virus would stop coming again and again, as watching movies like this at the theatre can mean more, even though I would always prefer the OTT versions. After all, becoming poor by paying so much for the movie tickets, parking and food after being in a traffic jam for such a long time, followed by dumb fans in a theatre is terror, no matter which one is the flick.

Release date: 22nd December 2021 (Theatre); 12th May 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Lana Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Snake Eyes

Vampire Owl: I remember a time when all vampires played with GI Joe toys.

Vampire Bat: Well, that was a very short period of time.

Vampire Owl: Yet, those were some wonderful days.

Vampire Bat: If I remember correctly, those were nights. When we were awake.

Vampire Owl: Both days and nights belonged to games.

Vampire Bat: You mean to include computer games too.

Vampire Owl: Yes, that would make this a very long list.

Vampire Bat: I would start with Age of Empires and Age of Wonders for that.

Vampire Owl: Yet, there was no game like Unreal Tournament 99.

Vampire Bat: Only to be permanently addicted to Mass Effect later.

[Gets a milk peda and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A young boy witnesses his father being murdered by a group of armed people, after their leader determines his fate by rolling a dice. Many years later, he has grown up to a skilled martial arts fighter Snake Eyes (Henry Golding). As he keeps winning all the fights and changing cities, a rich Yakuza boss named Kenta Takamura (Takehiro Hira) disovers him in a fighting arena in Los Angeles. Even though he doesn’t like the offer in the beginning, the idea of being able to find the people who killed his father makes him interested. But when he is asked to murder Tommy (Andrew Koji), who despite being Kenta’s cousin, had broken trust, he refuses, and even helps him to escape. Both Tommy and Kenta were next line to become leader of their clan, and the latter tried to have the former killed. Kenta’s plan was discovered before it could materialize, and Tommy had him banished. As Snake Eyes cannot go back to Los Angeles as he would be hunted by the Yakuza, he is taken to Tokyo instead.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Tommy who feels that he owes a blood debt to Snake Eyes, takes him to his ninja world. Sen (Eri Ishida), Tommy’s grandmother who leads the ninja clan agrees to let him join the group under some conditions, even though the head of secutiy, Akiko (Haruka Abe) is not fond of anyone from outside joining them, as it would be an unusual practice. He is supposed to go through three challenges, first two challenges to cleanse him of ego, anger and fear, and get him ready for the third one. Tommy also lets him know that failure means death. He will only has a few days to train for the same. With no recorded history about him and being known only by a strange alias, Akiko continues to doubt him. But she is still confident that Snake Eyes will fail the first test itself, as at least eighty percent of them fail every time. Tommy feels confident that Snake Eyes will be among the passing twenty percent, but there is certainly more than one twist to it.

The defence of Snake Eyes :: There is a lot of fighting going on in this tale inspired from a toy line, and the reboot has started off pretty well with hope for something big to be seen in a sequel with so many characters to come. Four of the most interesting characters, Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes, Scarlett and Baroness have been introduced, and we can keep hoping for more. The sword fights show a certain amount of quality here, and it is not all that we see here, as we have something more in an year which provided us with Mortal Kombat. The final battle is a big one, and it has everyone going after one another. The location of the ninjas is nicely chosen too. Well, one always feel happy about watching Japan on the screen – Tokyo is nothing less than a dream city. When you look at origin stories, starting with the tale of the two ninjas seem to be the right choice, especially as the earlier movies didn’t focus enough on the two. From this beginning, the movie seems to assert that it won’t go the Transformers way, bringing more confusion as the film franchise progresses.

The claws of flaw :: Even with its twists, there is a certain amount of predictability associated with it. The hero here is the one whom we wish to have on the side of the Cobra though, as Storm Shadow is hundred percent a better person of quality than Snake Eyes by any means – it is how things are shown here. We would have wished for Snake Eyes to stay in the Cobra even as the toy storyline states otherwise. Well, just one person is responsible for all these, and he seems to be the good guy in the end. A better introduction for the characters of GI Joe and Cobra would have been better – just having Scarlett and Baroness is not good enough, and the two ninja brothers have only started. Cobra could have actually had a better job to do here too. The idea of vengeance could have been portrayed better, and instead this one seems to go here and there, not sticking to a particular plan, just like the main character himself who seems to be the most clueless one. Maybe, he intends to set things right with a sequel if there is one.

The performers of the soul :: The two leading actors, Henry Golding and Andred Koji seems to be perfectly suited for the roles, and they seem to go on with the action sequences with relative ease, especially the latter who seems to blend in from the beginning itself. Rachel Nichols who played Scarlett has been replaced by Samara Weaving, and it does seem to be a nice change – there is still only a little to be done for her here, even though she gets some of the action. Sienna Miller has been replaced by Ursula Corbero, and let us hope that this time the story won’t have the dumn romance angle, and what was ridiculous about the character played by Sienna won’t be repeated here – Ursula does make a fine entry here, and there is some nice action for her too. Haruka Abe nicely blends into her role of the security in charge of the ninjas, while Takehiro Hira has his interesting moments as the antagonist. The two masters played by Iko Uwais and Peter Mensah remains interesting too. Along with the same, Eri Ishida as the grandmother comes as a surprise package in the action scenes too.

How it finishes :: It seems that this movie will serve as a new beginning, with the origins stories coming one’s way. The earlier movies of GI Joe were entertaining for sure, but it never really used the strengths to the best advantage, and there was even some strange romantic sides to them. This movie could serve as a better beginning for a franchise reminding us of all the toys that we had during our childhood – I still have them in the showcase of the house. Well, there are not many movies which can bring such a nostalgia from figures – actually, there is no other which I can remember. In that case, this film would serve nicely to bring more into the series. Let us hope that this new coming won’t be confused as the earlier journey with the toys. But as this is based on toys, we can only hope for the best, not for it to haunt us. Until then, let us be prepared by watching this movie on Amazon Prime Video in advance. You always have space for movies like these, at least as the big entertainers full of action and style.

Release date: 22nd July 2021
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Ursula Corbero, Samara Weaving, Haruka Abe, Takehiro Hira, Iko Uwais

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.