Cross the Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Atlantics

Vampire Owl: Have you tried flying over the Atlantic Ocean?

Vampire Bat: Why would we do that when we have so many portals?

Vampire Owl: Do all these portals serve as gateways now?

Vampire Bat: Not everyone. But the rest are also being repaired by Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: I don’t know why you keep calling that inefficient person for repairs.

Vampire Bat: Well, you don’t get many undead doctors with multiple skills.

Vampire Owl: But most of his qualifications are fake, and I am sure about that.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that all of these will be important related to this movie.

Vampire Owl: There seems to be something strange about this film though.

Vampire Bat: It is not set in France or even Europe, and that does make a difference.

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

What is the movie about? :: In a popular suburb of Dakar, the capital and largest city of the African nation of Senegal, people are forced to work on the construction site of a futuristic tower, without payment even after long hours of continuous toil. The high-rising ultra-modern tower is exactly the opposite of the rest of the city which is seen around there. The tower keep getting taller, but there is no hope for the people working there, as they go on for days without getting paid the proposed wages. As there is no hope for people like them, the only option remains running away from there and finding a job elsewhere, maybe in another nation. Adding to that, the climate change has led to a consistent decline in rainfall and a certain increase in temperature. The climate change and further environmental concerns also greatly impact the very weak economy and the already struggling population. The city no longer remains an option for the young man Souleiman (Ibrahima Traore) who is in love with the charming young lady, Ada (Mame Bineta Sane) who is from the same neighbourhood.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The workers decide to leave the nation by sea, in search of a brighter future in Spain, and Souleiman accompanies them so that he can come back and try to marry his lady love who is to be married to Omar (Babacar Sylla), a rich man who seems to be the better option for Ada in the eyes of everyone. Ada’s family has almost everything set for the big function, which they hope to arrange in a few days. Spain is quite far away, and it is to be a tiring and risky journey, but that doesn’t hold Souleiman back from making the choice. Ada is highly disappointed about the fact that Souleiman decided to leave without giving her an idea. Her friends like Mariama (Mariama Gassama) does try to console her, and even for her friends, Omar is the right person for her, while Souleiman is just a hindrance in front of her objective of marrying the right man. But would he choose to wait for him for years instead of getting into wedlock? Would that be the right decision, or is it something that would go as far as eternity?

The defence of Atlantics :: There are two sides to this movie, one being the social commentary which is not far away from life, and the other one is something which you wouldn’t expect from a movie like this, a supernatural drama which is rather unpredictable. Unlike what the posters seem to suggest, this is a movie which cannot be restricted to such smaller displays. The problems of poverty, unemployment, class divide, forced migration, lack of hope and many others are shown in the movie, even though they are not always staying in the front. The visuals feel different, and beautiful even in the absence of any spectacular scene being made. We do feel the culture of the area, and there is also that feeling of inherent terror of not being among those who are supposed to be born into the advantage. It also reminds one of the 2013 Tamil movie, Maryan, the Dhanush starrer set in Kanyakumari and parts of Sudan, which had the habit of growing on you, after watching the same, a reminder that the tale of the subaltern remains the same at all places.

The claws of flaw :: You do have so much scope as far as this movie with such a setting is concerned, and the movie doesn’t use its core elements well enough. It is also quite slow, especially in the beginning stages. There was enough with this idea to speed up things, but the movie decides not to take it. The handling of pace would have a much bigger role to play inthe middle stages of the flick. The idea itself could have been clearer, and it might have helped to add some extra polishing here, but the movie doesn’t use the same either – you feel that there could be something bigger at moments, but that is not provided here. They could have also made sure that the story-line made more sense for everyone. The strange feeling of this movie might not be interesting for everyone, and it makes very much a subjective experience leading to polarised opinions among common men despite winning it completely with the critics. It is also quite surprising that their possible destination is Spain, as the location makes it a difficult place to reach by the sea.

Performers of the soul :: The cast is an unknown one, even for us who watch a lot of movies, including English, and those multiple foreign languages. But it is to be noted that they are often better than most of those so called superstars who are sons and daughters of those bigger superstars who bring them into the movie industry just because they can do whatever they please – the terrible plight of Bollywood; but here, we have a skilled cast. Mame Bineta Sane who plays Ada leads the way with ease here. Amadou Mbow also follows the procedure well to make his role memorable enough. The characters played by Aminata Kane and Mariama Gassama are also memorable as you look at them. Babacar Sylla as Omar makes a usual character which you see in the romantic movies with separation as a major theme, and he does his job quite well. In this movie, you feel more or less like the setting itself becomes a character, especially the tower and the sea, which reflects the human situation there in an interesting manner, as you look deep.

How it finishes :: As a movie which was selected as the Senegalese entry earlier for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards, this movie does make a pretty good impact, as it already did in the Cannes Film Festival. It is also said that the former United States President Barack Obama had named this film among his favorite films and television series of 2019 in Twitter. It would be difficult to bring the supernatural even in the normal situations, and this one tries to do the same against all odds in a situation which is based on multiple real life themes, but manages to come through well enough in the end. You are sure to feel that there is more than what meets the eye, as far as this movie is concerned. It is surely not your usual kind of film, and this divergence definitely sets it apart. This is the time when we celebrate the variety, and for the same, the movie becomes the kind of flick that one should watch and take the ideas back home.

Release date: 29th November 2019
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Mati Diop
Starring: Mame Bineta Sane, Amadou Mbow, Nicole Sougou, Aminata Kane, Traore, Coumba Dieng, Ibrahima Mbaye, Diankou Sembene, Abdou Balde, Babacar Sylla, Arame Fall Faye, Ya Arame Mousse Sene, Babacar Samba, Astou N’Diaye, Khouda Fall

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sibyl

Vampire Owl: I have heard that name before, and not just once.

Vampire Bat: Yes, if you go back in history, sibyls were oracles in Ancient Greece.

Vampire Owl: They had prophesied at holy sites of Greece, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, and their prophecies were supposed to be influenced by the gods.

Vampire Owl: I guess that they also lead to the foundation of many great cities.

Vampire Bat: Yes, because they go a long way back, with Heraclitus mentioning them in the 5th century BC itself.

Vampire Owl: Well, when gods speak through these women, you are forced to accept that it is the truth.

Vampire Bat: What they spoke were also collected in Sibylline Books. The Romans had them.

Vampire Owl: I have seen them at other places too, I am sure about it.

Vampire Bat: Michelangelo shows five sibyls in the Sistine Chapel ceiling. There are other similar art works, and has references in the works of Shakespeare. It is to be seen how this relates the movie here or if it is just a name used for the sake of it.

[Gets an marble cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A popular psychotherapist Sibyl (Virginie Efira) decides to quit her job and become a famous writer as she always wanted to. Her job no longer interested her, and work satisfaction gets to zero despite her patients feeling otherwise, not being able to continue without her expertise in their lives. As Sibyl begins to turn away patients, she has a lot of time, but no inspiration, reaching the writer’s block earlier than she had expected. It is why when she gets a call from Margot (Adele Exarchopoulos), a young new actress caught in a dramatic affair with a popular actor, Igor (Gaspard Ulliel) in the same movie, who is living with the film’s director Mikaela Sanders (Sandra Huller). This seems to be a complicated enough tale for a story as far as Sibyl is concerned, just like the newspapers finding entertainment from the lives of these celebrities who make news from the dress they wear, places they visit, food they eat and the people they meet.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The celebrity life becomes something special for the new writer, as far as entertainment is concerned, as she asks Margot about the minute details of their life, and records them using her mobile phone’s sound recorder to listen to the same later. Becoming further interested and immersed in Margot’s life, Sibyl begins to use Margot’s life as the main source material for her novel, finally seeming to get the inspiration and ideas that she always wanted, and at times, it also reflects moments from her own life. But where will that lead her, Igor and Margot, as Sibyl also has a one night stand with Igor while trying to help them to focus on the film instead of being uncomfortable with each other? None of them are really happy as they try to move to the end of shooting schedule because the film has already been delayed enough for different reasons. Now one has to wonder if it is the movie or the novel that completes first, whether it is the releasing or publishing that will bring the people earlier – Sibyl and Mikaela would definitely want things to speed up.

The defence of Sibyl :: Here we have a complex movie which has elements that go deep into a person’s eventful mind. The main character, even though specialized in dealing with such minds, is not a strong enough person in herself. As the complicated psychologist, the confused writer, the lustful lover and the struggling mother, all of these going safe with the leading lady who plays the main character, the only thing that the movie and the rest of the characters need to do is to follow her. She has easily risen above the level of the whole movie itself, as she is as much natural as she is a complex personality. There are questions about relationships and professional life, as well as love and career, as people struggle to keep both going in the same pace. There are a few dramatic, emotional and romantic moments which stand apart, and we have other moments which come as a mixture of different feelings. The visuals of France are very good as expected.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about the fact that Sibyl does drag right from the beginning. The slow pace comes on to pull it back a little bit, but we can go past it eventually. The beginning itself was not that great, and the interesting moments takes a little bit extra time to come on the screen. Adele Exarchopoulos who was part of Blue Is the Warmest Colour is also not used well enough in this movie, and she deserved a role close enough to having a similar interest as the main character here. The twenty six year old actress earned such international attention and critical appreciation for that role, that being in a drama movie like this one, she could achieve even more. Adele is indeed that kind of a performer, and she is forced into the shadow of the main character here. The film could have also had some more action in between, and we are left with needing even more.

Performers of the soul :: It is Virginie Efira’s performance that elevates this movie to another level, and we can be only glad that we could witness he same, as it has many sides to it – she plays a character having so many sides, and all of them are indeed interesting. The forty three year old actress brings both experience and style into this movie, and it has to be noted that she looks at least ten years younger in this movie, as there is a certain amount of youthful vivacity in her, and this enthusiasm catches our attention more than anything else. Playing a complicated character like this required quite some skills. Adele Exarchopoulos is more or less known for Blue Is the Warmest Colour, a movie which has been known for its controversy, but was appreciated more – yet, it has to be noted that she doesn’t have that much of a work to do here while Virginie scores highly with each and every moment she is on the screen. But she remains close to her character, and so does Gaspard Ulliel. The rest are just smaller parts of the movie’s proceedings.

How it finishes :: Unlike the other French movies which I have reviewed on this page, this is one film which provides us with the feeling that it is clearly not American or British – maybe, the French feeling is there throughout it, somewhat the same being already there in Portrait of a Lady on Fire which made us feel the same less because it was more or less historical drama. Sibyl is not the kind of movie that everyone would love to watch with a psychotherapist with a complicated past trying to write a novel in which the characters who are from real-life, and they also have some similar problems. There is also the question about the meaning of life being asked, as many events happen with hope not being the strongest thing. The movie makes an interesting slow journey through the lives of these people, who become more or less like the common people rather than the big complex personalities which they seem to be in the beginning, and the movie comes to a simple end.

Release date: 24th May 2019
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Justine Triet
Starring: Virginie Efira, Adele Exarchopoulos, Sandra Huller, Laure Calamy, Gaspard Ulliel, Niels Schneider, Paul Hamy, Arthur Harari

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Viral

Vampire Owl: This title should be reserved for a vampire movie, and not the flicks like these.

Vampire Bat: They are using this title for parasitic worms, and not zombies, unlike what you think.

Vampire Owl: What? There are no zombies in this one?

Vampire Bat: There are people mind-controlled by worms which develop a parasitic relationship with the brain.

Vampire Owl: Oh! I had sent my zombie minions to watch this one thinking that it was a zombie movie.

Vampire Bat: It is okay. They can’t differentiate between the two with their infected brains.

Vampire Owl: I hope they don’t. If they get something to use against me, there will be trouble – I haven’t even paid them their wages for very long.

Vampire Bat: What? Where does all the money you earn as a senior vampire associate go?

Vampire Owl: I am building an ark as part of my plan to take over the world.

Vampire Bat: Please make sure that the world doesn’t take over you.

[Gets three cups of Wayanad tea with Patanjali Doodh Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Emma Drakeford (Sofia Black-D’Elia) and Stacey Drakeford (Analeigh Tipton) are two sisters studying at the same institution – the former is rather the studious kind and the latter the hyperactive one who keeps bringing some trouble to her sister. The former is attracted to their neighbour studying in their school, Evan Klein (Travis Tope) while the latter finds her boyfriend in the local boy CJ (Colson Baker). Their father, Michael Drakeford (Michael Kelly) who is teaching at the same institution has problems with his marriage, which he is trying to sort out from a distance. Meanwhile, there is news about a terrible virus causing some parasitic infection. But the United States government is confident that there is nothing in that virus that they can’t handle, and is keeping a close watch on people who travel from outside the country, and those who go out.

So, what happens next? :: When Emma’s best friend Gracie Lemay (Linzie Grey) manages to get the same infection, things turn upside down in their small town which is not prepared for such a thing. It seems that Gracie is going to die, and her parents provide the information that she is going to get better, but both is not correct, as something worse than death awaits them. The infection also spreads through another students whom she is contact with. The infection spreads wide from all corners of the continent and nation, and there is soon a quarantine on the whole county as with many other places in the country, as their father is stuck on the way trying to get their mother from the airport. Their mother can’t get out of the airport either. He asks them to stay at home, but they go for a party only to find out the infected there, unleashing terror, which seems to have Stacey affected, but she doesn’t show the signs then.

And what is to follow in the events to follow? :: They waste no time in getting back to their house and lock it up, only to know that things are only getting worse. The military is there and restrictions are made, with nobody allowed to be outside the limits of the town. Almost everyone stays at home, but that doesn’t really stop the infections from spreading, and nobody is safe. They keep listening to the news which brings them further hopelessness with events all around the globe including governments bombing a full town or city to contain the infections, and also see their neighbours being captured by the military who takes them away. The soldiers keep checking if there is any infected in the homes, and considers it against the law to have one inside, and when broken, would have serious consequences. With every attempt to escape quarantine not being fruitful, can the two sisters do the impossible? They have no idea what they are up against – nobody does.

The defence of Viral :: As many other movies including the many movies of Resident Evil, Viral uses the idea of a virus outbreak to end the world, and with the same, it does a nice, and a more realistic job. There is nothing exaggerated tried here, and we also have the support of the emotional side along with the horror and thrills to make this one a balanced movie dealing with these things. This one’s use of the parasitic worms to control the humans from inside while multiplying, provides a more terrifying feeling as we see them travel inside the skin. The movie also nicely builds its story from the beginning unlike other horror stories, and the protagonists seem to be a lot more likable with their sibling bonding side. The movie has the advantage of Sofia Black D’Elia who, along with being the prettiest person around, also has full control of her work, never straying. Analeigh Tipton comes second, and does pretty well with her big and rebellious sister role.

The claws of flaw :: There are those stupid decisions being made by the protagonists – there is possible virus outbreak outside and you might die, and still our people have no problem in going to a party and socializing with others who might be infected; well, party might be the most important thing for a new generation in some areas, but one would think that life is something of more significance. You are also very much provided with the idea that this movie could have been something bigger, and it keep you wondering about what kind of terrible attacks could have been witnessed on screen, and what all desperate measures the protagonists would have taken to escape them. All these could have been done quicker, without providing significance to a few repeated dialogues – well, we ask for the best from a virus outbreak causing end of the world, don’t we? Infections can bring more on the screen than people not infected.

How it finishes :: Despite reminding of other movies dealing with a terrible infection striving for the end of the world, Viral is also an interesting take on the same. It might feel like a deviation from the usual zombie horror, with people not being control of their minds, but the difference is that there are those worms in control right inside. There is one thing about which you will be sure about more than the rest – it will be about the need to see Sofia Black D’Elia in more horror movies, considering the way she has handled this one. Then there is another thing – this movie is surely a fine way to spend some time with a certain amount of thrilling moments of horror, which rises further above the opinions about it seen online. Also read the reviews of the movies in theatres right now, Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Varnyathil Aashanka, Clint, Sarvopari Palakkaran, Chunkzz, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.

Release date: 29th July 2016
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Sofia Black D’Elia, Analeigh Tipton, Travis Tope, Colson Baker (Machine Gun Kelly), Brianne Howey, John Cothran Jr, Michael Kelly, Stoney Westmoreland, Linzie Grey, Judyann Elder, Philip Labes

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sing

Vampire Owl: I remember singing once as a part of group song competition; that was long time ago.

Vampire Bat: And what happened? Did you get a prize?

Vampire Owl: They told me never to sing again.

Vampire Bat: They have surely saved the whole vampire community by saying so.

Vampire Owl: Music has never been my field of interest. My relationship with it is truly bad.

Vampire Bat: Which is why nobody is asking you to sing anything again.

Vampire Owl: I still sing motivational songs for my minions.

Vampire Bat: You are motivating your brainless zombie minions with terrible music?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and I appreciate their brainless situation.

Vampire Bat: I believe that they appreciate you singing something they don’t understand too.

[Gets some jackfruit chips and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A koala bear named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) owns a theatre in the middle of the city, catching everyone’s attention. It was bought by all the money his father had earned by washing cars, because father wanted only what his son wished for the most, a wish which is all about music show. Despite working so hard, none of his shows become success, and Judith (Rhea Perlman), the representative of the bank, is after him to pay back the loan which he had taken, without which they would be forced to take over the theatre. He comes up with one final idea to save his theatre, which is about hosting a singing competition. He intends to provide the winner with a prize money of one thousands dollars, but the iguana who works as his assistant, Miss Crawly (Garth Jennings) ends up adding two more zeroes to the end of the amount in the fliers before they are distributed.

So, what happens next? :: The extra zeroes bring the motivation for the animals in the city, as a long line is set in front of the theatre. Moon feels that this is going to be his first and the greatest success story, and he selects his group of contestants from the audience – There is Johnny (Taron Egerton), a teenage gorilla who wants to be a singer unlike his family which is full of criminals led by his own father (Peter Serafinowicz). Then we have Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a porcupine teenager who performes with her boyfriend Lance (Beck Bennett), but only the girl is selected for the programme. Mike (Seth MacFarlane), an arrogant white mouse who earns everyone’s appreciation and thinks that he will win the tournament easily, is also selected. Another selected contestant is a housewife and mother of twenty five piglets Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) who is paired with Gunter (Nick Kroll) who is more of an entertainer.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Then there is Meena (Tori Kelly), an elephant teenager who has a stage fright, but gets in as contestants a giraffe and a group of frogs who were also selected, back out. Even though Buster understands that the flyers show a huge amount, he decides not to back out. He remains optimistic that he can somehow manage the money, and convinces his best friend, a sheep named Eddie (John C. Reilly) that there is a change that his grandmother and former opera singer who performed at same theatre, Nana Noodleman (Jennifer Saunders) could provide them the needed cash. Even though Eddie’s doubt remain, Moon gets word from Nana that she will come and see their performance. Now, it is up to Moon to get the best performances from a rather inexperienced and confused group of contestants who have their personal problems to deal with too. Can he do it? Can they do it?

The defence of Sing :: There are some nice visuals as you would expect, and there is the inspirational side, as the movie has protagonists with self-doubts, which are removed in the end, and everyone gets to show their skill on the big stage – something which rarely happens in our world, but we are happy that it turned happy for everyone at least in the animated version. The funny side is really good – for example, see a koala doing a car wash. The movie actually gets too good in the end, and we appreciate how things go in the final moments more than any other. The final message is indeed to believe in yourself, and to go for one’s dreams without second thoughts – no matter what the others think of you. Well, dreams got long legs and huge wings, which makes it easy for them to fly away, but we keep trying to grab them, and succeed at times. It is something which has been a common thing in the animated movies, but it works for sure, almost every time. We should get to do what we love, but do we?

The claws of flaw :: There are moments when you feel that this movie focuses a little too much on the much smaller audience. It is also not less depressing to see a reality show, as any programme like that only takes commonsense for a ride – we had too many of them in our televisions here, and we have wanted to get rid of each one of them at one moment or the other. There is not that much of a story here to make the big impact either. You will also see that this one doesn’t become a game changer, and falls behind the much appreciated flicks like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Inside Out, Despicable MeHow to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. There was the sure chance to compete with all these movies with a bigger plot and a bigger message – Sing doesn’t really do that, or even try, despite being such an entertaining treat as a whole; maybe it took a few things for granted too easily.

How it finishes :: Sing is part of an year which had some smart movies with talking animals, and also had Zootopia winning the Academy Award for the best animated movie of the year. It seems that animals who talk bring the best out of animation, and gets appreciated by critics and judges better. With a colourful movie which touches the emotional side, and having some nice messages with the wonderful songs, Sing adds to that list, getting in there in style. Well, there is not much of a life without animated movies these days – there are so many of interesting movies of the genre, going through Frozen, Big Hero 6 and Inside Out; Sing actually makes sure that the possibilities always exist, and we can only have more and more. You get to watch them with all the glory on the screen, and you can’t help not getting a copy of such movies to keep for the next generation. An animated world is a beautiful world, and it feels eternal.

Release date: 21st December 2016
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Garth Jennings
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Saunders, Jennifer Hudson, Garth Jennings, Peter Serafinowicz, Asa Jennings, Nick Kroll as Gunter, Beck Bennett, Jay Pharoah, Nick Offerman, Caspar Jennings, Leslie Jones, Rhea Perlman, Leo Jennings, Laraine Newman, Adam Buxton, Brad Morris, Bill Farmer, Oscar Jennings

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Drishyam

drishyam!

The vision right here :: Translated as “The Sight” or may be as “The Visual”, and produced by Antony Perumbavoor under Aashirvad Cinemas, Drishyam is that movie which gave me big trouble in writing the title in English; whether it was Dryshyam, Dhryshyam or Dhrysyam with a lot of variations replacing one “y” or the other with “i” or both with “i”. But about the decision to watch the movie, there was absolutely no doubt. This movie released on a Thursday, a day before the flow of the weekend movies started, and had already come up with good reviews from both the critics and the audience. There was absolutely no reason why I wouldn’t watch this movie, as there were so many people asking about why I haven’t watched this movie, and I decided to book a the tickets, and there was never a better decision in the recent times, as the tickets for the movie was sold out everywhere in a flash, and much faster than Dhoom 3 – its trailer had said that the year would end with a “dhoom”, and now we know that they were talking about Drishyam, and not on some weird movie with strange characters doing stupid things on motor-bikes.

What is it about? :: Georgekutty (Mohanlal) is an orphan who has studied only till standard four, and Rani (Meena) is his wife, a simple woman who failed in standard ten. They have two daughters, Anju (Ansiba) and Anu (Esther Anil) and are leading a happy life in a village background. Georgekutty is a simple farmer who runs the business of a cable television business named after his wife along with being a farmer; he is loved by most of the people of the village has the image of a nice, innocent man. Still, he doesn’t back away from having opinions about most of the things of the world, which makes him the enemy of Sahadevan (Kalabhavan Shajon), a local cop. But as a simple incident changes their life, they are forced to prepare for the worst, and save their family together, as the common man who lags in education decides to take on the law which comes after them. Will they succeed in their mission or will the family break apart due to the power of external force lead by the Inspector General herself? Anything more said about the movie is rather giving away too much, and the rest is to be seen.

The defence of Drishyam :: Here is another thriller on the cards, after having Mumbai Police and Memories this year gaining critical acclaim as well good box-office collections. The thriller genre is indeed gaining the support of the audience, and even Up and Down: Mukalil Oralundu and Silence had enough of the average stuff inside them. Memories might still be the best investigative thriller this year for every one, as long as this one categorizes under a family thriller. The movie’s first half is a full family drama with light shades until the one major incident that happens just before the end of the half, taking the tension into the space after interval. There is the simple life of ordinary people close to nature portrayed throughout, something which is of goodness and dedication. The second half brings the thrilling twist to the world as the darker shade creeps in under the disguise of law. There is so much brilliance and beauty in the way the story is told, especially in the second half. There is the mixing of the right features that make this one a movie for more than one kind of person.

Positives and negatives :: We are indeed caught in that world of uncertainty which no real assurance of what is to happen next, as an illiterate village guy takes on the educated smart people, but still there might be a little dragging in the first half, and it is just after the interval that the movie actually takes off as it is. The songs are just ordinary, but the performances are top class. The first half does have some ineffective jokes, and there is too much coming from a man who learns how to beat the police with the help of movies. You can actually come up with the need for disbelief, but considering the world that we love in, nothing is impossible, and as the demonic Overlord would say, evil always finds a way. Power and influence always got the upper-hand, and when the common man fights for his family and his world, it is always something that inspires millions. As George Orwell will give us through his Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. That should be another reference to the 2009 movie Ividam Swargamanu, which itself is mentioned in this movie as our hero goes to work on his land. Let’s add that this one is more emotionally touching and less complicated than that one.

Performers of the soul :: There are many directors who might have the best records for many, but for Jeethu Joseph, it is a perfect record when I look at it, with the most interesting thriller of a decade Detective, the best family drama of its age Mummy & Me, the funniest movie of last year My Boss and the best investigative thriller of this year, Memories – there is his perfect record, none of the movies deserves below 80/100 in my opinion. Even with the lesser number of movies, he is already among the best, no doubt about that. Mohanlal is back with a role where he perfectly fits in, reminding us of his performance in Ividam Swargamanu, or rather a role which is even more worthy of being loved – once again the farmer who fights for his small world. There is no longer a hero who transforms into a superhero who beats up the opponents, and he excels as the common man. It is good to see Meena back opposite Mohanlal after Chandrolsavam (2007) and the performance of Kalabhavan Shajon in a negative role is worth mentioning. Asha Sharath also remains strong throughout her presence. Meanwhile, the kids are just brilliant, and they are strong pillars of this movie – I hope that they will stay for long.

Soul exploration :: In its soul, Drishyam is more or less Ividam Swargamanu, even if not so in the presentation as well as the genre. The two characters instantly likable, and we are on their side right from the beginning to the end. Here Mohanlal plays Georgekutty who fights the law for his family in the place of Mathews who fights the law for his land. Both are quite innocent characters who are looking to save their respective worlds. Both movies have the protagonists who are not that educated common men who are on the back-foot most of the time. But this movie has the whole thing more under the control of the protagonist, and the external help he receives is much less. There is no law being used in the favour of him, but there is surely the appropriate use of media. Georgekutty is better planned, all by himself throughout the movie, and even as he suffers more, right from the beginning to the end, everything has been under his control. There is no real corruption in this movie, but there is just power and influence which troubles the common man. The end is indeed a very good, and not without the twist that was needed.

How it finishes :: Drishyam is indeed the winner of the weekend and the movie of Christmas. The movie is in many ways the triumph of goodness when placed against all kinds of problems. There is always evil and sin which often takes many forms and can sometimes rise above the law, and all that decisions belong to the fine thread that fate has woven for each man and woman unless Grimm Reaper decides to cut that thread with his scythe. But the movie ends up as the victory of the common man in his ability to do the right thing. The movie also asserts that there is nothing like family. The real immediate world is family, and without love and mutual co-operation, there is no such world in reality. We do not live for the moment or anything, as we live for the world, which is family – and most of us might have troubles with our blood, but none of them can stand the power of time, and problems and our struggles bring us together. It is never too late to find our little world as well as our role in it. Drishyam is the visualization of the struggle of a common man for the family, and there is brilliance in store.

Release date: 19th December 2013
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Kalabhavan Shajon, Siddique, Asha Sharath, Ansiba, Esther Anil, Roshan Basheer, Koottickal Jayachandran, Neeraj Madhav, Irshad, Kunchan, Antony Perumbavoor

drishyam copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.