Coma

Vampire Owl: I have been in a vampire coma for quite a long time.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that the coma about which they are talking about here is not the same at all.

Vampire Owl: Well, all comas are pretty much similar in nature when you look deep enough.

Vampire Bat: At least, you should understand that being in a coffin and resting is not really the coma which is supposed to be significant.

Vampire Owl: What about that case when we were attacked by the werewolves and I went into coma?

Vampire Bat: You went for rest, and you had asked for it. There was no real coma.

Vampire Owl: Well, it is quite unfair, you know, for vampires not really having real comas.

Vampire Bat: Why would you want to go on a coma? It is quite absurd.

Vampire Owl: I had placed a bet with Vampire Penguin.

Vampire Bat: I thought that you were finished with that nonsense already!

[Gets an apple cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Viktor (Rinal Mukhametov) awakens on a bed inside a strange room, and he is surprised to find that there is something wrong with the objects in the room, and as he walks out, he finds out that everything around there is weird, with people as well as the objects – the rules of gravity itself doesn’t apply there as buildings from different parts of the world also seems floating around along with the usual kind of buildings and roads. As he walks around and witnesses more strange things, he is attacked by a creature, but is saved by a group of people and he accompanies them as they run away from what seems to be monster with no real shape. The newly found friends explain to him that he should be in a coma in original life, and what they are experiencing are the memories of the people who are in coma. Building, objects, people or whatever they remember are there in this world, but in a chaotic arrangement. Whatever is not remembered, doesn’t exist there at all. The new world had picked up these memories like radio signals.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The one whom Viktor meets first is Fly (Lyubov Aksyonova) a soldier who seems to have healing skills, and explains to him on his newly found situation in between San Francisco Bridge, St. Peter’s Basilica, Burj Khalifa, Kremlin, Big Ben and others. The mixed up memories being more and more chaos to world as not much makes sense in this new world. He feels that this is all just a dream, and he would wake up from it at some point, but Fly tells him that it is not going to happen, and they are all stuck there, in the world of coma, and they are all hunted by the creatures known as reapers, which make their existence there as unsafe, until they find a new place of refuge. If they die in that particular world of coma, there would be no return to the real world for them, and they decide to play it safe. Fly feels that Viktor will play a major role in making sure about their safety, but not everyone is that confident about it.

And what more is there in this strange world which seems to have no meaning? :: The leader of the military team is Phantom (Phantom) who has developed his strength and agility, while Spirit (Polina Kuzminskaya) has developed mind power. Almost everyone out there seems to have developed some powers during their stay at the place. Yet, Viktor seems to develop none despite all the hype surrounding him, and the only thing he remembers about him is that he used to be an architect, and had a car accident which brought him into the coma. Still, they have to keep searching in different memories which have become entangled as so many people in coma have left their part in there. With reapers everywhere hunting for people who have reached this world, they are indeed running out of time. The creatures can sense them, and there is a good chance that they will be turned into one of the monsters. But they really have no option, but to try, right? Can they figure things out and finally get out of the coma, or will they meet their ends there itself?

The defence of Coma :: You will notice in the beginning itself that this is a movie which looks just fantastic, with a magnificent world with great detail. There seems to be a lot of top level work done in the designing and graphics departments. We have many areas in this movie which can make a nice wallpaper, from the simplest to the most complicated details. There are so many places which look stunning with real world mingling into the artificial. We do see a fantasy world with a remarkable, yet chaotic design. The reapers also make interesting creatures, nicely suitable for the world that they are part of. You will also come across some fine twists, and there is more than what meets the eye about this idea and the world which has been created here. Even the real world outside coma has its own charm, and the actors do a pretty good job in total. Even though Rinal Mukhametov does pretty good, the two people who catch our attention more are Lyubov Aksyonova and Anton Pampushnyy who have some fine moments even though they don’t really make the protagonists or antagonists here.

The claws of flaw :: There are many movies that this one keep reminding us about. It has the elements of dreams replaced by comas on one side, and we are into another world which feels longer even when the real life’s time is shorter in duration. The Matrix also comes to your mind, with the possibility of a chosen one, and a world being created where the impossible seems to be possible while you have logged into the coma instead of the world of the matrix code. It doesn’t really keep up to the pace maintained by those science-fiction movies from the past either. The movie also has some confusing moments, and unlike the other movies of the genre, the flashback and the explanations are not that well done – we feel that when we look for more of knowledge about the laws of that particular world. The action sequences could have also been better used, as we find the same limited, just like the horror related to those creatures who also weaken over time.

How it finishes :: Coma will be liked by the fans of science fiction who had earlier liked films like Inception which had set a different trend going with its release. Even the love for The Matrix which we have missed for a long time can trigger the interest in this movie, even though this is not that innovative as that flick which changed our idea about science fiction action a long time ago. Still, this movie might need a sequel to further develop its idea to a better state. The world does require better utilization here, because this one feels more or less like an origin story. Well, we are never really without need for some good science-fiction movies, as it is one genre for which the demand never gets too low. After all, Russia has brought us interesting science-fiction before, and most of the time, it has been about aliens. Here, we see the attempt to go divergent, seemingly inspired from some of the ideas on dreams and machine simulation.

Release date: 29th November 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Nikita Argunov
Starring: Rinal Mukhametov, Lyubov Aksyonova, Anton Pampushnyy, Milos Bikovic, Polina Kuzminskaya, Konstantin Lavronenko, Rostislav Gulbis, Leonid Timtsunik, Vilen Babichev, Evgeniya Karatygina, Alexey Lubchenko, Sergei Gilev, Oleg Akkuzin, Igor Sigaev, Albert Kobrovsky

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ema

Vampire Owl: I almost didn’t notice the absence of one “M” here.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this is not the Emma we know from the novels or its adaptations.

Vampire Owl: I had guessed the same because this was a Spanish one from Chile.

Vampire Bat: Even though a movie with the real Emma Woodhouse did release this year.

Vampire Owl: Yes, the movie which has the girl from The Witch, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, Anya Taylor‑Joy who was also seen in Shyamalan’s Split.

Vampire Owl: I haven’t read the Jane Austen novel yet, and that is a disappointment.

Vampire Bat: I would definitely agree to that, because I consider it to be her best work.

Vampire Owl: Even better than Pride and Prejudice, the much appreciated and adapted one?

Vampire Bat: Yes, indeed. My doubt is just regarding this Ema with a missing “M”.

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

What is the movie about? :: Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo) and her husband Gaston (Gael Garcia Bernal) were leading a fine life and had dance as part of their world. But their adopted son Polo (Cristian Suarez) is the big problem which they invited into their life, and he has an attitude bigger than her mother who has already been strange enough as far as Gaston is concerned. The boy was becoming more and more violent every day, and had caused a fire which had burned the face of Ema’s sister. Polo was not asked to change, but was sent back to the orphanage from where he came from, but Ema just can’t stop thinking about him, even though Gaston blames her for making the boy what he had become. They do not hate each other yet, but are not able to stop blaming each other for the situation where they had reached, from a premise which was good enough for both. It has been a long way down, and it was achieved too quickly.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Ema is quick to begin some new relationships, as she plans to file for a divorce, and the lawayer she chooses is Raquel (Paola Giannini). At the same time, she becomes very close to Anibal (Santiago Cabrera), a firefighter, and she also begins to live with Sonia (Giannina Fruttero), leaving her husband behind after a talk related to the boy who set fire to the house. She had also left the dance troupe run by her husband, and Sonia was with her along with a few friends in doing the same, as they begin dancing in the streets, following the form which her husband considered to be inferior. They find joy in the same, while Ema plans to get closer to Polo, even though the child security services forbids her from going anywhere near him, as he is now adopted by a new family where he is having a good life. But Ema is not someone who would stay behind, as she has her own plans with her life, and would stop at nothing to get what she wants. But will she choose the right path for the same?

The defence of Ema :: Whenever you look at the movie, it is a visually beautifully thing, whether the dance moves or the world which they live in – the flames are also as beautiful as it can get. The world is full of some lovely colours, and the streets with the buildings have some special charm – this is the first movie from Chile that most of us would be watching, even though we might have watched Spanish flicks from Spain and Argentina before, and in that case, this is a special experience too. The dance moves are particularly charming, as the lead character is specialized in the same, along with her friends too. The music is also lovely. There is the idea of parenting and motherhood being talked about, even though the mother-son relationship remains strange throughout the movie’s run. The twists happening throughout the movie which comes to that even more weird end is indeed a satisfactory thing. There is that wonderfully strange feeling which runs through here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie might feel too strange for most of the people, and it does travel a twisted path which doesn’t really bring the justification or poetic justice as one would expect to have. There is no positive message given here even though you did feel that there would be something coming up soon. The flick also feels rather indirect on many occasions. You also see that it is difficult to care for the characters here, and the motives are rather strange, not just for the main character, but also for a kid. We don’t really like the people in here, and when it applies to so many people, we will see this to be too uncommon. Some characters just feel unnecessary in the scheme of things. The manipulation seen here seems to be too complex as well as strange. It is also the kind of movie which cannot be put into any category. Some of the imagery are rather going too far, and a few of the dialogues could have been avoided.

Performers of the soul :: You just cannot take your eyes off Mariana Di Girolamo playing the titular character Ema here. We have a very complex character here, but she has made it feel perfect, and with the dance moves she has further perfection in moving her body around with the delightful music. She seems to be come the character with such precision that if we look at her on Google otherwise, it feels that she is an entirely different person, nothing from her beyond the movie coming into this particular character. Gael Garcia Bernal has a lesser role in comparison, and he manages that fine. This makes Paola Giannini the next person whom we get to focus on, and she is lovely as her character who goes through another path, but nicely has herself attached to the main character with the help of a little bit of manipulation. She is also joy to watch, while Giannina Fruttero seems to play another character which has some more change than one would expect – we see her contributions to be delightful too, as female characters score high in this movie, thanks to the performances.

How it finishes :: Not to be confused with Jane Austen’s Emma, this Ema comes with something very much divergent when you look at many other movies which have dealt with a premise like this, with an adopted child as the centre of attraction. The film’s biggest advantages are its visuals, music and an unpredictable character in the centre who is more than what meets the eye. Ema might not be the movie for everyone, but it is the kind of film that we would consider to be a successful experiment, even with its troubles which comes from the same areas where it has its positives. Chile is another South American country that you feel the need to visit, and you get to see some of it in this movie, even though the film doesn’t go on to show us the glorious side much – until we visit those charming areas like Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral, Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts, Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception on San Cristobal Hill and many others, we will be happy with having watched one Chilean movie, and another Spanish film to the credit.

Release date: 26th September 2019
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Pablo Larrain
Starring: Mariana Di Girolamo, Gael Garcia Bernal, Paola Giannini, Santiago Cabrera, Giannina Fruttero, Josefina Fiebelkorn, Paula Hofmann, Paula Luchsinger, Antonia Giesen, Catalina Saavedra, Mariana Loyola, Susana Hidalgo, Cristian Felipe Suarez

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Abigail

***This Russian movie is officially the 600th movie review on this website, and it is not the post number, which is much higher. This count does not include the posts with television series reviews, yearly round-ups, introductions, movie previews and genre or language based ranking lists. Thanks to everyone who supported me with likes, shares, comments, follows or just randomly spreading the word.

Vampire Owl: I am going to choose this as the name for the next vampire child.

Vampire Bat: You have started naming vampire children?

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is a new business which I have started.

Vampire Bat: You mean that you have started a new business, hoping for more of new vampire children.

Vampire Owl: I had to start a new business. Everything else was dull due to the Corona Virus which the humans are spreading.

Vampire Bat: You can watch this fantasy adventure movie with magic to have more names.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I could have named even that virus. Corona is such a weak name. COVID is even weaker.

Vampire Bat: I would suggest not to use the names which will come first in the school register. The children will curse the one who named them.

Vampire Owl: I would name them with an Z in the beginning.

Vampire Bat: The names are to be liked by the parents too. Do remember that.

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

What is the movie about? :: Abigail Foster (Tinatin Dalakishvili) lives in a town which is supposed to have had an epidemic spreading, and was sealed by the government. Her father Jonathan Foster (Eddie Marsan) was one of the people who were supposed to have fallen ill, and had a chance to infect many others, leading to him being taken away at a time when Abigail was only six years old. As Abigail grows up, and has some time with the local children, she is forced to face one of the officers who were dealing with the disease control programmes, landing her in trouble. The nation calls for complete obedience during the time of the pandemic, and so any action which can possibly lead to the spread of diseases wouldn’t be tolerated. This perfect subordination is supposed to be the one thing that can stop the epidemic from becoming something which would cause the deaths of many thousands of people.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Abigail understands that one of the masked officers is Roy (Petar Zekavitsa), her uncle who had disappeared on the same night when her father was taken by the authorities. Going against the authorities to find her father, Abigail learns that her city is actually place full of magic, and the authorities are trying to stop the people with magical abilities to share it with others or to display it in public. There was no epidemic other than magic which they wanted to cure. She also discovers that there are some special magical abilities in herself, and along with the search, she also has to keep herself safe from the officials who will hunt her down too. But there might be more secrets to be unveiled than she could handle. Can Abigail come out strong from this adventure in which she faces more and more hurdles? Will someone be ready to help her, going against the authorities who wish to suppress all magic?

The defence of Abigail :: The special effects score the highest in this movie, successfully recreating a world of magic, even better than most of the much acclaimed movies – the movie is a visual stunner, and let nobody tell you otherwise as it would be a lie. The action sequences are mostly supported by magic, which gives a fantastic feeling on the screen. The music also nice to hear, and they seems to have used special care in the use of background music according to the circumstances. It also adds to providing strength to that steampunk feeling which was already attempted through the visuals – yes, you have to love the world in display here, whether it is real or magic. After all, such a world provides the needed escapism, as everything comes together in the end, as it leads to one grand battle which you can remember and recollect. The escapist fantasy might be what prevents you from thinking too much, and getting immersed into its created universe.

The claws of flaw :: Abigail doesn’t know how to progress through the story, as it keeps falling down from the heights which it climbs. Even with a grand beginning, there is no real effort to keep it rising. Some of the dialogues feel strange, and not suiting the movie and its mood in any way. Some of them are exactly opposite of what a situation would demand. A certain problem with the dubbing might be the case here leading to the mess. They could have surely made this better with all the resources which they had, and such a fine start which was there. The confusion in the story can be seen at different places, and the focus does shift too often. By the time everything comes together in the end, some people might have lost interest, unless they were immersed in this escapism. Maybe many years later, there can be a reboot which solves the problems of this movie, or even a sequel or a prequel which explores this particular world really well.

Performers of the soul :: Abigail doesn’t thrive on its performances much, and it uses the visuals to hide any flaw out there, not just with this, but also the other elements which are all inferior to the visuals and special effects of the flick. The protagonist is played by Tinatin Dalakishvili who is okay for most of the time, and she does have her moments, but also gets some terrible lines in the movie, which is rather disappointing, whichever way we look at it, because we do see talent in her, and she never gets to use it here. At the same time, Eddie Marsan is perfect as the father figure, whenever he is there. Gleb Bochkov as Bale doesn’t impress much, while Ravshana Kurkova manages to do well enough as Stella, but she is side-lined, which is rather disappointing. Overall, the cast struggles to stay around the average level, and even though there is a rise on occasions, there is also the fall, which can be felt more in this movie.

How it finishes :: Abigail is a movie which is rather unknown around here, and as a Russian movie, I don’t think it managed to get a dubbed or subtitled release at this part of the world – even I am heard about this film for the first time rather too late. It is a movie which had a grand idea behind it, and with the support of the fantastic visuals and lovely music, could have brought an epic on the screen, but as of now, it has managed to be a pretty good work – not the best which you will find, but one of the interesting fantasy movies with a steampunk setting, and magic all around. This is also the second Russian movie which I have watched after the 1925 Soviet silent film Battleship Potemkin directed by Sergei Eisenstein, the great pioneer in the theory as well as practice of montage. Watch Abigail, and wander through another world of magic, which you have known in the other grand worlds of fantasy – forget the negative reviews, and see how much this world can take you in, and have you interested.

Release date: 23rd August 2019
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Aleksandr Boguslavsky
Starring: Tinatin Dalakishvili, Gleb Bochkov, Rinal Mukhametov, Artyom Tkachenko, Ravshana Kurkova, Ksenia Kutepova, Olivier Siou, Cecile Plage, Nikita Tarasov, Petar Zekavitsa, Nikita Dyuvbanov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mooniloraal

Vampire Owl: But there are only two of us.

Vampire Bat: When we are there, the presence of four can be seen.

Vampire Owl: I don’t understand. How can there be four when we are only two people?

Vampire Bat: You need to count the guardian angel too.

Vampire Owl: Doesn’t that make the total as three?

Vampire Bat: No, my guardian angel and yours. It makes a total of four.

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that vampires also have guardian angels? It is never mentioned in the books at the great vampire libraries?

Vampire Bat: Yes, guardian angels are provided without discrimination.

Vampire Owl: Is it a new guardian angel or is it the same as we had before we died and became undead?

Vampire Bat: You are surely angelophobic. The fear for angels is quite common in the case of owlish vampires.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: The three are best friends – Sam (Don James), Jithu (Steve Antony) and the more philosophical of them, Vishnu (Johns Mathew) who is living with the realization that change is necessary, and will happen, as they ponder about their life at Winnipeg in Canada, far away from home. It is a friendship which has been going on for a long time, and is what they consider is forever. Sam and Vishnu meet a restaurant over a cup of coffee, after which they go on a ride in former’s car who tells his friend that their destination is a place where he hasn’t gone, but needs to go at some point. The road through which the car goes is something of scenic beauty, and they enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way, and Vishnu is interested in the surprise which is in store for him in between the busy and rather too modern life they are living.

So, what happens next? :: Their families need them to come back home leaving their life away from home and settle down at their hometown, but they have settled down rather too much to make their return. On their way, their car meets with an accident, but there seems to be no big problem after the collision. At the same time, Vishnu gets a call from Jithu talking about the death of Sam which had just happened in a car accident. This leaves Vishnu confused about the person who is with him in the car and their destination. A rather weird and frightening feeling comes up right from within him. He then shouts to get the car stopped and runs away only to reach a cemetery which has only fallen leaves and tombstones to give company. So, is it true that Sam had died in a car crash? If it is so, who is the one with him? Which kind of demons or spirits are Vishnu hiding from? What is the thing with being at a cemetery far away from the city?

Soul exploration 1: A case of reality and illusion :: Coming up with the tagline “The Strangest Imagination is Reality”, the movie exactly about the same, bringing a mystery in which one is doubtful about what is reality and what an illusion would be. Along with the illusions spread by media and fake news, we also have our own personal illusions which come back to us depending on the situations – on some cases, it is even bigger. The line between reality and imagination is so thin in so many cases that illusions tend to take over. We ourselves have had such feelings more than once, but we are hesitant to talk further about it in fear of the world. We live in that kind of a world where logic gets a better spot compared to imagination and creativity; money gets more value than values – it is a world which is closer to chaos than order, even if it pretends to hold on to the latter.

Soul exploration 2: Friendship and alienation in a land far away :: It feels strange being away from your roots, and even if it is to another city just a few hundred kilometres away, there is that feeling to get back home – the nostalgia and homesickness are things that humans usually can’t live without. It makes people do stranger things, and despite denying the same, there is that feeling about our own lands that come back – unless you are orcs forced to leave your world like in Warcraft, or humans looking for hope in new planets like in the case of Pandorum and Passengers. You have seen similar complications in the underrated Ivide too. In a land a long way away from home, it is friendship that matters the most, and here we have three of them, and their friendship which has something strangely working within – it is what becomes nicely solved by the end. Alienation in an alien land is another level, when you look at it.

How it finishes :: Not to be confused with the 2006 movie Moonnamathoral, Mooniloraal is a short-film which keeps you wondering about what is to happen next. It is the perfect example of another short-film which is smarter than a good number of those full-length movies which have been arriving in the theatres with the labels of being thrillers. Malayalam short-films are coming up with more ideas these days, and Mooniloraal is the reflection of something that has even enough to be made into a full-length movie, as we notice the friendship, thrills and twists maintained in the right balance bringing the clarity between the two, but certainly not radically ending the cycle – it is fittingly established that there are a few things that will never end. Mooniloraal from Triune Productions is the kind of movie that brings the twists nicely, but not without leaving clues – the final twist brings things together, and we once again understand that there is more than what meets the eye.

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

Vampire Owl: This is why I told you that I am not going to the lands of the dark elves even if it is on a diplomatic mission.

Vampire Bat: Dark Elves play no role in such cases.

Vampire Owl: Dark Elves use dark magic to cause disruptions in the bridge connecting life and death, leaving some souls trapped in between. It is a crime.

Vampire Bat: But how is it related to this short-film?

Vampire Owl: Didn’t you see the supernatural forces affecting even technology? It is something which only the Dark Elves can do, joining magic with science.

Vampire Bat: You don’t have any proof for that. The other world always finds a way.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but when they are aided by Dark Elves, it is easier. As the Wood Elves, or the High Elves – they will tell you the stories.

Vampire Bat: There is caste-related violence going on between the three groups of elves – do you think that any of them will tell you the truth about the other?

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that they are no more united against the joint forces of orcs and goblins?

Vampire Bat: Well, you need to read The Great Vampire Imperial Times at some point. These days, they even have a special offer for free coffins.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 25th January 2017
Running time: 19 minutes
Directed by (DOP): Jessay Gopuran
Starring: Don James, Steve Antony, Johns Mathew, Rosamma Nelson (voice)

Watch the movie Mooniloraal here:

Other recommended short-films from India: Red Jacket, Mangalyam Thanthunanena, Moonnamathe Vazhi, Invisible Actor, Grace Villa, Culprit, Ima, Mrithyumjayam.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Cinemakkaran

What is the movie about? :: Alby (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is the son of a Jacobite Christian priest (Renji Panicker) who had the wish to make him a priest when he grew up, for which he had done so many prayers alone and also with his son. But Alby’s interest is cinema and cinema only, and he has been working as assistant director in a number of movies, but hasn’t been able to go further than that with his life. Things are even more complicated in their family as he is in love with Sarah (Rajisha Vijayan), who is the daughter of a rich fisheries owner and businessman (Lal), despite actually supposed to marry Gonzalez (Jacob Gregory) who has a job offer in Italy. As Alby is a Jacobite and Sarah a Catholic, both families are against the relationship which seems to have been going on for a long time, but they just don’t care and decide to start a life of their own after a quick run-away marriage and getting a flat at a low rent.

So, what happens next? :: Their immediate neighbours are Sudheer (Vijay Babu) and Nayana (Anusree Nair) who make a rather rich couple having some easy time compared to the struggles of the newly-wed protagonists. Alby has no job and no hope in the cinema industry even after years, and the bank manager (Joy Mathew) has already threatened him to renew the loan he had taken, or the gold ornaments he had given would be sold. With the families not close to them, and his friends not able to, or ready to help him, Alby decides to take a risky step here, and that would be to steal from his neighbours. But that doesn’t go that well as he had planned, and it lands the police inspector Manikandan (Prasanth Narayanan) at the apartments. The cop has his own style of investigating, but how does it lead to Alby being in big trouble as his plan never really was to take the money for himself, and with the money still there when the police looks for it?

The defence of Oru Cinemaakkaran :: We have a tale that has its own unexpected twists here, and it goes on with some nice fun elements in the first half, and fine suspense factor in the second. The movie’s attempt seems to be to bring more than one genre into action. Most of the viewers, especially the family audience of the festival season might still love the first half more. The deviation from the movie-making is rather good considering the fact that it would have been a rather predictable tale with one wishing to be someone huge in the film industry. There are some nice songs to go with this movie, and they are all nicely taken visually too. The lead pair is really good together, and there are those sequences involving them which are certainly the highlights of this movie. They have also nicely transformed the simple things into more interesting factors, and it is the way in which most of the things which are presented that needs the applause.

The claws of flaw :: The movie, unlike expected, is not about what happens with a person going through his movie experiences, and that is certain to have a lot of people confused, or even disappointed at some point. If you were expected something like Udayananu Tharam or Padmasree Bharat Dr. Saroj Kumar, that is surely not going to happen. There is also the deviation in the second half leading to those twists, which is rather too much of a divergence, that affects the overall stuff and its quality. With its funny and exciting beginning, we would expect things to go deeper and stronger, at least with its comedy. Also, the movie could have just ended nicely without trying too much of unnecessary things – we find the need to fill in for some missing logic, and those wastage of characters that remain rather underdeveloped. We needed more here too, that is for sure.

Performers of the soul :: After Kunjiramayanam and the smaller roles in Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Oru Muthassi Gada as well as playing the titular character in the underrated feel-good movie, Aby, Vineeth Sreenivasan is back playing the protagonist once again. We see him being comfortable throughout the movie, and he has this character completely in control. We see the humour as well as the emotional side working so well for him here. Rajisha Vijayan who had won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, also had a formidable presence in Georgettan’s Pooram, and this one also has her playing a Catholic girl falling in love with someone outside her caste as Elizabeth, Merlin and Sarah respectively. She remains simple, and strong in her display of character here. There is a certain amount of happiness that she spreads with her incredbly cute performance here.

Further performers of the soul :: There is not much difference in Renji Panicker’s role here, as he had played the father of a jobless son who doesn’t listen to anyone in Georgettan’s Pooram too – he played a Mar Thoma priest then, and is playing a Jacobite priest this time; it seems that there are not many people who can play the role of a priest or a father than him. Here, we have him doing them both very well as expected, even with lesser screen presence. Lal makes an impact for the short period of time when he is there too. Vijay Babu, despite having a nice character to play, gets to be there for lesser period of time too. Anusree is good in this role, and we have her playing the city girl for a change. Noby Marcose and Hareesh Perumanna share some moments of fun in this one, and Prasanth Narayanan comes rather late, as if he was called as an extra add-on in the form of a rather strange character. We expected Jacob Gregory to stay though.

How it finishes :: When you have someone like Vineeth Sreenivasan in the lead, or even has his name associated with a movie, you can be sure that there will something in there, and it is on him and Rajisha Vijayan that this movie depends the most. For this Eid festival season, we are sure to have an interesting list of movies beginning from Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran to go for even more to come in the weeks to follow. As more movies are to follow like Role Models, we have Oru Cinemakkaran seemingly attracting more audience. As of now, it seems that we will have the holidays extended to Tuesday, and as the vacation is longer, we are certain to have more viewers, and a bigger need for more movies to choose from. There has been a shortage of Malayalam movies, and this one will stay for longer considering the need to have more and more of these.

Release date: 24th June 2017
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Leo Thaddeus
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Rajisha Vijayan, Renji Panicker, Anusree Nair, Lal, Vijay Babu, Kottayam Pradeep, Prasanth Narayanan, Noby Marcose, Hareesh Perumanna, Joy Mathew, Sasi Kalinga, Jaffer Idukki, Jennifer Antony, Jacob Gregory (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fan

fan

Vampire Owl: We are looking forward to our fans. I am going to call them my friends, brothers and potato chips.

Vampire Bat: No, we are not. Our policy is against having fans.

Vampire Owl: Oh! What about one special fan?

Vampire Bat: No, especially not one special fan.

Vampire Owl: But they are all poor, brainless zombie minions in my case.

Vampire Bat: It is the same problem with the fans. They are also mostly brainless.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have seen them posting “bomblastic”, “elastic”, “fanta-stick”, “amaze-singh” and all for their favourite stars’ movies even before the flicks release.

Vampire Bat: You do see the problem, don’t you? And after the dumb movies release, they abuse people who say that a dumb movie is not good enough.

Vampire Owl: Yes, the lack of brains. Can they grow some? We can provide the nutrients.

Vampire Bat: We are still discovering a special magic for the same.

[Gets three cups of tea with tapioca chips].

What is the movie about? :: Gaurav Chadana (Shah Rukh Khan) is a big fan of the popular Bollywood superstar Aryan Khanna (Shah Rukh Khan in the second role). He has managed to keep a certain obsession with the superstar for such a long time, that he often forgets everything else in his life. His career or the people around him rarely becomes his priority in a life filled with strange obsession. Even though a lot younger, his face has some similarity with that of Aryan, and that helps him to win local competitions and talent shows talking, acting and dancing as Aryan. He has a crush on the girl in the neighbourhood, Neha (Shriya Pilgaonkar), but his big passion and admiration is for the superstar whom he had grown up watching. He has been thinking about the same only, and one day goes on a journey to Mumbai in order to meet Aryan in person.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Gaurav reaches Mumbai, and resides in the hotel room where Aryan had lived long ago before becoming a star, and begins his attempts to meet the superstar – but he just can’t get past the top-level security. As a younger rising superstar makes some rude remarks about Aryan, Gaurav gets into his place, posing as his fan, and beats him up – he also makes him apologize for talking against Aryan. But as the video is uploaded on the internet for the world to see, Aryan retaliates by getting him arrested. After getting beaten up by the police, Gaurav is only so happy to meet Aryan for the first time in his life. But Aryan scolds him, and tells the boy that it was he who got him arrested, and it is better for him to leave for Delhi. An angry Gaurav is not happy about it, and decides to retaliate – but how? And where will this angry revenge lead?

The defence of Fan :: This is the movie of Shah Rukh Khan as he single-handedly makes this movie successful, as he conveys the message against dumb fan worship perfectly. It is him versus him in two roles; Shah Rukh Khan against Shah Rukh Khan as both wins here – two grand performances here. Everyone else might be there, but the focus is always on him, and he plays these character with such honesty that one really feels the need to applaud now and then. He also makes us see that these fans make their own families and loved one suffer, and it is a major really relevant in this age. The whole thing is done nicely and quickly, with no drag. There are no silly songs to slow down things, and there is no dumb humour which had the chance to be here. So, this one becomes Shah Rukh Khan’s best performance in the last few years, and one of his smartest movies in the same period of time. Yes, Waluscha de Sousa and Shriya Pilgaonkar are good too, but this is a Shah Rukh show in full power.

Claws of flaw :: Even though one side of the movie feels so real, there are part of the movie that are overdone, especially with a simple boy from a common family with so less number of friends able to cause this much trouble to a very influential superstar – something which would be near impossible to do undetected in real life. Some sequences do make one wonder if this particular person has been doing the same for many years – maybe he has a habit of bothering people all the time, but sometimes, fans are really good at that, aren’t they? There was the need to keep this one completely within the realistic angle, and the failure to do so has also hurt here. This could have also been done as a thriller, with the superstar as well as us knowing what hit the man only later. To add that, the fans who usually watch a movie twenty five times might have not watched this movie either.

Soul exploration :: There is one major reason why this won’t be a major hit like the other movies of Shah Rukh Khan or even the rest of the big names – it is because this is the most honest attempt by any actor in Bollywood to make people understand the evil that exists in the form of fans. This is not brainless thing like Chennai Express or eternally overrated like Dear Zindagi; for the kind of audience that likes Dilwale and Happy New Year, this was not the case. People still want a million sequels to Dhoom and Krrish and its keeps being proven again and again. This is the only reason why this movie didn’t gross more than these other movies; the increasing need for people to grow brains is there. Without that, when the zombie apocalypse finally arrives, there will be nobody to eat these people – just think how sad that will be for the zombies; no you only think about yourselves. Brains and fans – too far away from each other, unless one day, there is no hate and abuse, but only the desire to do good in the name of the superstar.

[A few minutes after the movie].

Vampire Owl: There is another way, you know.

Vampire Bat: No, whatever you are thinking about, drop that idea right now.

Vampire Owl: We could be someone’s fan. Then we can do no job throughout our lives and tell everyone that we are fan club secretary of Transylvania wing.

Vampire Bat: Did you not understand anything from this movie?

Vampire Owl: Yes, I understood the easy way.

Vampire Bat: Who are you going to be a fan of?

Vampire Owl: What about Uncle Dracula?

Vampire Bat: Dude, his existence is Z-level secret. That creepy old dude Van Helsing will come back from the dead if he knows that Uncle Dracula is alive and has a fan-base.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t want that. He smells bad.

Vampire Bat: So, keep it a “no fan” area. Keep every fan away.

[Gets on the Vampire Bat Mobile and travels to the tree-top].

Release date: 15th April 2016
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Maneesh Sharma
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Waluscha de Sousa, Sayani Gupta, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Deepika Amin, Yogendra Tiku

fan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Specials: Remake Saga

temporary

*With two of the four remakes of Drishyam still pending and scheduled to release next month, I take this opportunity to remember a few of the Hindi movies which were remakes from Malayalam, with most of the better known ones from Priyadarshan. So, as we wait for the release of the much awaited movie remakes starring Kamal Haasan and Ajay Devgan, let us have a look at one of those remakes. Even though a good number of them worked in both languages, here I choose a movie which still remains a much loved title in Malayalam, but the same can’t be said about its Hindi remake. Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam and Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar are the two movies I am writing about.

Even though the setting look different, they are the same with the situations in both movies. Actually, the protagonist enters the scene earlier in the case of the Hindi version. The sequences do look exactly the same though, beginning with the eviction notice and going on with talks about the problems of the house, related to the marriage of the female family members and the other financial problems which have been created and the chances of any of the troubles getting over. These things actually do remain the same everywhere even though the cultural differences and changes in the tones of characters according to the language can also be seen.

The Malayalam version has better known actors playing the supporting roles, and as the scene shifts to the city, the changes are more easily visible – both cities are nowhere close to being similar in the soul as each has its own identity. You can see that from the way characters interact and even from the looks of the building which the protagonist owns. There is a gap of fifteen years between the movies and the changes are clearly seen; so are the differences in language and culture. This raises the question if this remake would have worked better if done a few years ago and with even less similarities with the original. The good thing about the remakes of Drishyam is that the gap between the original and the last released remake won’t be more than two years.

The Malayalam version also had Mohanlal who is a big difference between the two versions – it would have been easier to guess though. Even with some dialogues which seems to be exactly translated with such clarity like using a good translating software, there is no match for that time period which was like the golden age of Malayalam cinema. The version is also longer at the beginning stages; if you check at 35 minutes of the Malayalam version, the Hindi version has only reached 29 minutes or slightly shorter with the story reaching the same point. But you won’t feel that so much time has passed, and it is the skill of the legendary actor to keep the audience interested, and things are closer to the life of the 1980s. Then in the end, the Hindi version gets longer by around 40 minutes.

The slight changes occur when the run-time gets to half an hour with new characters included as they lead to some more situations; those having no place in the original. The Malayalam original also has fun right through it, even though the Hindi remake has more ups and down with its progress, and makes less sense. Sreenivasan was that big boost to the original that the remake misses despite the presence of Paresh Rawal. He comes with that hilarious performance in a song which can never be matched. The jokes become less effective as the original was so simple and right out of the heart. The veteran actor Thilakan was another big positive along with the songs.

The extra sequences that the Hindi version adds nothing good to the movie, as some of them actually remind the viewers of older Malayalam movies like Shubhayathra, Minnaram, Chandralekha and Vandanam, which might have been added to bring some extra humour. Chandralekha-inspired money lending sequence is rather too ineffective in this movie unlike it was in the Malayalam movie. This actually means that the Malayalam version gets ahead and now the remake from Bollywood is lagging. Releasing too late, the remake had to do something special, and not add things from other movies. There was also the social satire element of the Malayalam version which doesn’t become that effective here.

Hera Pheri was actually that remake of Ramji Rao Speaking which did some justice to the original. I liked how it worked with Garam Masala (Boeing Boeing), Hungama (Poochakkoru Mookkuthi), Dhol (In Harihar Nagar) and Hulchul (Godfather) even though, in almost every case, the original scores better. But here, even with the jokes, the effect is less, as Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar doesn’t do the same for Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam even though it should still be okay for those who haven’t watched the original or the scenes from other Malayalam movies. I don’t have much of a positive opinion about Bodyguard and its remakes though. About the nonsense movie Pokkiri Raja and its remake Boss, there is no need for any opinion. The ratings are very low for our movie here, but this remake isn’t that terrible as it shows, when we think about those movies and compare. But with Drishyam, there seems to be some very nice effort put in there made, and you will know if you have watched the trailers. I will be watching both the remakes, and I really hope that they do justice to the original – if they do, it is going to be awesome!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.