Puthiya Niyamam

puthiyaniyamam (2)

Vampire Owl :: I have been waiting for this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it should have released last year.

Vampire Owl :: As the trailer has come out, my desire to watch this movie has only increased.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, the trailer has been an interesting one too.

Vampire Owl :: Mammootty’s next movie after Pathemari here, and that too a thriller. I don’t think that things can get any better.

Vampire Bat :: And his next movie should be White with Huma Qureshi; that should be something of variety.

Vampire Owl :: It is because you have less time these days that I was afraid that we might miss this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Well, we should never keep away from watching a movie like this.

Vampire Owl :: It is like our duty to Malayalam Cinema, right?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, something like that.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Louis Pothen Narimadan (Mammootty), also known as LP among friends, is a film critic, television presenter and sculptor, and above all that an advocate who deals with cases of divorce, even though he tries his best to make sure that separation of a family is avoided whenever possible – at times, he is also interested in being a social activist. A person who is secular in nature, he is married to Vasuki Iyer (Nayanthara), a Kathakali artist who is a strong believer in God. Their families are not in connection with them after this inter-caste marriage even though Louis and their daughter are often invited to his ancestral place. But Louis’ family does reconcile with the new bride; yet things do take a terrible turn to make a negative impact.

So, where does life go from there? :: Things don’t go that well within the family in the later stages though. Vasuki has her systematized delusions about people, as she doubts the fish-seller, vegetable vendor and others who are part of their daily lives. She is overly concerned about the safety of her daughter and she keeps forcing Louis to keep making sure that they are safe, forcing him to buy a car and drop the child right inside the school compound every day. Louis is worried about the change in character of Vasuki, and even the child notices the same. One day, after a Kathakali performance, Vasuki meets Jeena Bhai (Sheelu Abraham), the city police commissioner who offers her help if there is any need. She decides to talk about her problems to the cop.

The defence of Puthiya Niyamam :: The climax is the highest point of the movie, as the final moments become a lot more interesting. There is one twist in the end for which you can wait, and it is the kind of waiting which you can wait with expectation to find something interesting. The messages are there, and there is also the presence of some moments for family watch. The visuals are pretty much interesting, even though the same could have been used better to display the city. The music is just okay around here. You will find interesting moments for the fans in the end, and there will also be some dialogues which will keep them interested – well, they will clap anyway, but some are worth it. The fact that there is no overdose of emotions here, is also a positive here. The fact that this doesn’t become the usual revenge story is also good.

Claws of flaw :: The first half is pretty much not good. It drags and nothing much really happens; even the comedy itself is forced. More focus could have surely made things better with the things before the interval. The movie takes too much time to get to its main points, and it has to wait till the end to bring that big moment. The movie also takes the chance to deviate from any idea that people had from the trailer; it is not really a positive thing because there was scope for more from that trailer. A lot of extra characters including Aju Varghese is wasted, and the comic side never really gets going, which affects the flow in the first half. More could have been done with the central idea of the movie too. The thrills are also too less even though this one was called a thriller – there is a shift in focus which makes the genre move away. We also needed more of Mammootty.

Performers of the soul :: Most of the screen presence is with Nayanthara who is there for most of the run-time of the movie, and she has given a very interesting performance in her character here. The mystery of the character’s change is well-portrayed here. Mammootty is there from the beginning itself, but takes over the movie’s universe only by the end; at some point you feel that he is there for the sake of being present only, but he will make amends in the end, and you need to wait for that. You still won’t get Mammootty as the protagonist or a full movie presence though, but as I said already, waiting will make things happen in the end – good things happen to people who wait; I have that kind of an experience myself. Bhaskar the Rascal had them working together nicely, and now this one has them doing the same very well. The rest of the cast does not much.

How it finishes :: The fans have been the curse of this movie; a lot of dialogues were not clear because they were making noise inside the theatre. If the focus of the fan clubs is to disrupt the dialogues of their own superstar and throw waste inside the theatre, it is time that they cease calling themselves fans. Yes, this is not the first time, but while watching a thriller, such lack of quality among people who call themselves fans will only cause problems to the flow of the movie. I think that it is time that celebrities have a say about this; do they want fans who keep saying the same thing all the time or people who appreciate their performances? Well, blind support to an actor isn’t going to make his name better – people will say his name and add the word “fans” to the end, and call things pathetic – it is the duty of a responsible fan to make sure that it doesn’t happen!

Release date: 12th February 2016
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: A. K. Sajan
Starring: Mammootty, Nayanthara, Aju Varghese, Baby Ananya, Sheelu Abraham, Rachana Narayanankutty, S. N. Swamy, Sreelatha Namboothiri, Pradeep Kottayam, Ponnamma Babu, Sadiq, Jayaraj Warrier, Sohan Seenulal

puthiyaniyamam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mythri

mythri!

Vampire Owl :: I thought that you were not going to watch this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, all the masala was doing bad for my health. So I decided to go masala free, and I guess this movie achieves that status with ease.

Vampire Owl :: This is a new idea. I wonder how this one came up.

Vampire Bat :: Well, it is because more people have watched a lot of masala movies and let the movies with good themes die. It is up-to us to make amends.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, they have to learn from Lady Death. She uses no masala at all. She just takes those souls and sends the order to hell to cook them without masala.

Vampire Bat :: You still holds on to that one? Yes, but be aware than Mohanlal has only a smaller role in this one rather than being there on all posters around Kerala.

Vampire Owl :: I can relate to that. I have seen that so much among these vampires too. Everything got a poster of Uncle Dracula and there are even those programs about which he has no idea about.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I remember a few of those.

Vampire Owl :: We will still give this a try because the Kannada version of the movie got great reviews.

Vampire Bat :: That might not define much in Kerala, but lets see.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Siddharth (Master Aditya) spends his time playing pranks, but is a bright student. His mother (Anu Joseph) is working at a factory while a criminal and politician called Kalaprathapan (Kalabhavan Mani) has his eyes on her after saving the boy from the police station. But situations land Siddharth in a juvenile home. He is a big fan of Puneeth Rajkumar (Himself) who is conducting a Kodipathi program on television and is looking for kids to participate in a junior version of the game. With the help of his fellow in-mates, he manages to somehow send the messages and get selected. As the strict warden is finally impressed by the boy whom he had considered the scum of the Earth, Siddharth gets permission to go to Chennai for the show accompanied by him. Meanwhile, his enemies at the juvenile home returns and a DRDO scientist called Mahadevan (Mohanlal) also comes to the scene.

The defence of Mythri :: You have to call this one a sincere effort without doubts. This surely will have a nice impact on the audience and one has to appreciate the intentions behind it. The movie tells the tale of the rise of an underdog from the middle of nowhere to the helm. The social message is powerful with relevance throughout the nation, and even though this is not a full entertainer, there is still a little bit of the same, and there is that intensity and the strength of emotions which drive a good number of those scenes. The way in which the story is told also makes a positive impact. It has the power to touch the soul, but the impact could have been heavy if it was completely remade for the Malayali audience. Yes, changes are there, with more Malayalam actors added, but a few more could have done better, and the title could have been just Mythri with no extra additions.

The claws of flaw :: The question is about the path used by this movie, for it is the Slumdog Millionaire model that has been used here, and the ending also reminds one of the Malayalam movie, One Man Show just a bit. There is also the Malayalam touch missing in this movie, and it might have hurt the chances to be more successful among the Malayali audience. This is more like something which is not ground-breaking for the Malayalam movie industry which has had so many movies with social messages. The feeling of dubbing doesn’t help the cause too. There is also a movie scene shooting which is done mostly in slow motion and with the heroism even though it is still a film within a film. The songs also come out of nowhere for no reason, and there are those dance steps which are also overused for the Keralite viewer preferences. And yes, you won’t see that much of Mohanlal in this one as in the posters.

Performers of the soul :: Puneeth Rajkumar is not really a name much known among the Keralite audience, but he surely has a left a mark here, enough to be remembered by the viewers. He is also the one who does the Kannada version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and so the right person to do this role. But no Malayali can watch this without thinking about Suresh Gopi in Ningalkum Aakaam Kodeeswaran because he has become that name related to this programme’s real Malayalam version as well as the philanthropy. What would have happened if Suresh Gopi was there with Mohanlal doing what he has been doing the best? One has to wonder – it would have surely brought the crowd in for this one. But be assured, for this wonderful actor whom we have here is very good in this. There are no clues given when questions are wrong in this case, but questions are easier for this competition!

More Performers of the soul :: We will remember Puneeth Rajkumar for quite a long time for sure. Mohanlal has an appearance which lasts not more than half an hour, and his extended cameo is something which makes an excellent impact. The kid, Aditya manages to do a fantastic job, and it is nice to see him go on to do even better as movie progresses, along with the actor who did his best friend and a brother-like figure called Johnson, the actor named Jagadish giving fine support to the boy. Kalabhavan Mani is pretty good as the villain. Atul Kulkarni leaves a mark as the warden too. It was also good to see Anu Joseph with Oridathoridathu fame who has done a memorable job here, and along with her, Archana also does a good job; one is present on in the beginning and the other just at the end. Bhavana makes an even shorter appearance, and so does Sajitha Betti.

How it finishes :: There wasn’t enough hype surrounding this movie and not much promotions took place, which has surely worked against it; if you consider the rush for Jurassic Park, Premam and then look at this one, there will be a clear picture. It had gone on to become a wonderful success in Kannada, but the same can’t be said about its status here. But it still remains the duty of the movie fans to give a chance to this movie with a social message along with those mass entertainers and full superstar flicks. The movie makes a point against judging people by where they stand as of now, and on the basis of which class they belong to. Mythri is a reason for you to watch a movie in the theatres with full family, and take a message home despite its inability to connect completely with the Keralite audience.

Release date: 12th June 2015
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: B.M Giriraj
Starring: Mohanlal, Puneeth Rajkumar, Master Aditya, Anu Joseph, Archana, Kalabhavan Mani, Atul Kulkarni, Bhavana, Sajitha Betti, Jagadish

mythri

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Elysium

elysium (1)

So here comes the movie which I have been waiting for, since the day it released in the United States, and then again starting another big wait from the day in released in the United Kingdom. This was also the movie I was looking forward to watch in 2013, after Pacific Rim. Other than the presence of Matt Damon, the other interesting thing about this movie was what was told in the brief summary associated with it, and surely that name. The name was quite familiar in relation to some of the stories related to Greek mythology which I had come across during my childhood. Yes, that varied vision of paradise had left a mark, and here is that name revisited through this movie, not as what comes after afterlife, but all the same which are enjoyed during this life. The movie is set in 2154, when a group of wealthy people left the Earth after coming to know that their kind had destroyed the planet with greed and lavishness. With all the resources that remained on Earth, they created Elysium, a luxurious space station just outside the planet’s orbit to live a life free of disease and pollution. The lived a life of comfort assisted by robots and superior medical care, while the people of Earth were made to live on a devastated land, policed by robots sent from Elysium and deprived of their rights.

Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) is a former criminal on parole working in Armadyne, the same company which built Elysium. But he is exposed to lethal radiation during an accident and is left with just five days to live. All is not well in Elysium either, as Elysian Secretary of Defense Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster) orders a mercenary on her payroll, Kruger (Sharlto Copley) to shoot down civilian shuttles full of illegal immigrants trying to make it to the city of their dreams. Elysian President Patel (Faran Tahir) condemns her action on the basis of human rights which leads to a cold war between the two. As Jessica looks forward to having more power and keeping it, makes a deal with Armadyne’s CEO John Carlyle (William Fichtner) to create a program that can shut down, reboot and override Elysium’s central computer in order to make her the new President. Carlyle creates the program in his office on Earth, encrypts it and uploads it to his brain so that he could take it back to Elysium for secret deployment. With the help of his friend Julio (Diego Luna), Max seeks help from a skilled smuggler Spider (Wagner Moura) to go to Elysium and get cured, to which Spider asks for Max to steal some information from Carlyle. He agrees, and supported by an enforced exoskeleton, he goes on a mission which could change the life of a lot of people.

Coming from Neill Blomkamp who gave us District 9, this movie is somewhat a let-down, and it struggles to keep its standard as high as that wonderful flick. Still, it is certain that the base of both of these movies are the same, and both deals with somewhat the same issue, which is the difference between the oppressor and the oppressed, the privileged and the under-privileged, the powerful and the subaltern. The 2009 movie had aliens coming to Earth and living on the planet only to become second-rate citizens, while our 2013 movie has humans going to a space station and making the rest of their kind second-rate citizens or rather the lesser species – almost the same thing. The protagonist is from the subaltern group this time though. Both are about the horrible divide between people, sometimes about the rich and the poor, and otherwise racial or ethnic in nature. The evil of the multinational corporations as well as the government funded policing of groups which are different in some way or the other, also exists. Elysium makes a good attempt to carry on that idea of divide which formed the skeleton of District 9, and adds more elements of science fiction and powers it using the expensive fuel of post-apocalyptic fiction which sells, and in the process it hurts the inner core.

This is undoubtedly Matt Damon’s movie, and one has to doubt it would have worked this well without him. In the dystopic future where Earth has become nothing more than a big slum of devastated towers and a collection of small ghettos. He plays a former criminal who wishes to go to Elysium so that he could save his own life, but later he transforms into something more, as the saviour of not only his friend’s daughter, but also of millions who can’t afford the riches of the new first world. He is a confused revolutionary and a saviour who doesn’t decide his change, but rather it happens to him. He becomes what the nun who raised him had told him when he was a child – for he became someone special, an act which is supported by flashbacks which works, but not the way the audience might have wanted. This might be his best performance since the first three movies in the Bourne series. The character should have done better with a little more attention to his thoughts and change rather than just making him change as if it was there in him since childhood. Surely, he could have had more to work with, and this movie’s overuse of brain has seriously worked against the character of Max, which could have been drawn from another level.

I am rather surprised that Jodie Foster is not the main villain in the movie, as I thought this was going to be her wonderful performance in the form of another great villain, from what it seemed in the trailer. We wanted that villain, and in the beginning stages of the movie, we also get the feeling that it is how it is going to be. It is a shame that she doesn’t impress at all this time. But there would be Sharlto Copley rather than Jodie in a performance which is quite strange even though good. But this is one character who shouldn’t have had this much screen presence even as the man seems to live in the character and keep it a level above most of the movie. In a movie which is something more than a science fiction, this is not the main villain we want, for this is a more suitable secondary villain character. The need for a more powerful in intellect and yet normal in muscular strength villain was there, and this need is not fulfilled. Its good to see Alice Braga after her last action movie Predators, to which I hope there will be a sequel. She plays the childhood friend of Max, and the one who has a deep impact on him. Despite the smaller screen presence, she makes a very good impact. William Fichtner could have made a great major villain, but his character dies too early for us to get a glimpse of a possible evil. He still symbolizes the corporate evil, the power of the multi-national entities which became inter-planetary entities.

There is action and there is the hidden theme of the lack of humanity and the division between humans. But the action is mostly of inferior quality and the social message is not that powerful as one would expect to. I would consider Oblivion a far better flick intellectually, and District 9 a far more effective movie with its social message. As far as entertainment is considered this won’t be a Star Trek: Into Darkness nor a Prometheus visually. Elysium is another one of those escapist fantasies for sure, but its bridge towards the social message is not that much a perfectly crafted link. Another factor should be that of blood and gore which comes in abundance here, and gets itself an adult certificate with the same, but still doesn’t manage to do it well enough. One has to applaud the visuals though, as the world of Elysium as well as that of Earth are well-detailed, and the robots as well as the flying machines are well-designed and works very fine. The action sequences are lesser, but still not too exaggerated. The movie’s confusion about where it belongs is clearly reflected in all those things which happen throughout its own little world. One has to applaud the idea, but still be confused about its effect on oneself, and how to think about this movie. The emotion couldn’t be felt deep enough, and my friend had recommended a seventy three for this, but I thought I should add a little more to the rating.

While the movie drags a bit, and keeps itself in a loop in which it gently repeats itself, there is still enough in its soul to keep us interested and make a good influence. The only movie of this year to which the action of this movie can be compared is World War Z; yes not to Oblivion which had another post-apocalyptic world with a supposed colony of humans in another place as Earth has gone down due to many forces of destruction (a theory which is proved wrong in a twist of fate which is found later). This drags like World War Z and gets the loop working as the same movie. This could have done with a better route in the script, and Jodie Foster as a different, but still the major villain. It is sad that all the potential had this movie only up-to this level – no, I am still glad to have watched this movie, but this should have been a great work on the screen, but it has missed that opportunity, and that is kind of saddening. May be they could have stuck to one thing in this movie rather than making it a masala social message, or may be there could have been a better balance; I wouldn’t be sure, but let me tell you that I was hoping to come out ready to give an eighty to eighty nine for this movie out of hundred, and seventy seven is a disappoint if we look at it that way.

Release date: 27th September 2013 (India); 21st August 2013 (UK)
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Alice Braga, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, Brandon Auret, Josh Blacker, Emma Tremblay, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Valentina Giros, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Faran Tahir

elysiums copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.