America Mappillai

What is the story about? :: Rangarajan (Raja Krishnamoorthy) and Vasantha (Leela Samson) along with the children Ganesh (Arjun Chidambaram) and Sunanda (Namita Krishnamurthy) seems to be living pretty much a good life until Ganesh gets very much afraid of being forcibly married to Mythili (Gayathri), the daughter of Ragunanthan (Delhi Ganesh). He plans with his friend, Michael (Rakesh Ram) to get rid of that problem, and finally decides to tell his parents that he is gay and has a boyfriend named Karthik (Gokul Anand). He hopes to bring Karthik home, and make everyone believe the same, but as he is actually homosexual, hesitates in acting as Ganesh’s boyfriend, but the confusion which this situation was to create had only begun there, with more to follow.

How is it different from what you see all the time? :: Unlike the usual series that we get to see around here, this one is more or less direct, even when it keeps the limits – there is no unnecessary melodrama that comes in here. There are moments when you think that the drama is going to reach another stage, but thankfully, it doesn’t. There are moments when it thinks divergent so well, and we can applaud on its ability to do so, without making things complicated at all. Being simple and powerful is surely not an easy thing to do, but America Mappillai does manage to do so. It also rises above the usual predictability factor to deviate the experience to the new path, the one which is not usually taken. We are no longer slaves to that repeated world of usual serials, as we have programmes like this.

What is so special here? :: The characters are indeed special – with so much of a simple story here, they had to be better, and they really are. They are the ones that keep this story going, and the actors and actresses have done a very good job with their characters. Well, even those who are there for only those smaller roles do nicely. Some moments just go cute even when least expected. Each episode comes in the name of a colour, and the reflection of that particular colour can be seen nicely. With a usual home and its people facing different and rather complicated situations, the series try to do something difficult, but that is achieved without alienating the family audience – there is always that kind of a risk and this one nicely goes past the same without trouble. Maybe this would mean that ZEE can come up with an interesting one in Malayalam too, later.

How things have been getting further divergent :: Nowadays, ZEE is targeting the young population as they are coming up with new and original shows on ZEE5. Well, ZEE Entertainment has been known for its traditional approach, as we know the channel for bringing us all the entertainment in the old fashioned way. Well, now we see that things have changed, with welcome divergence. We also see that ZEE is focusing different language based content too, and it is the privilege that we get here by using the ZEE5 app. The app has a fine collection of television shows, originals and movies in different languages, and it is always fun to get it in the language that we want them to be using. The collection is interesting, and one would need to take a look to know more.

The problem of being in doubt :: As it was with Hamlet and many others, the protagonist is in doubt. Well, you can say that he is in more than just doubt – he doesn’t want to be committed for more than one reason. Along with the same, he is also bothered about what people would think, and still wants to do things according to his desires. It is a certain confusion that most of the people are facing these days, with unnecessary inputs from many relatives causing further trouble. Among these relative concerns, a job and marriage are two of the most significant things that keep ringing into one’s ears. The idea is that not having a job or not being married is just not the right thing, especially if most of the relatives of the same age has already done these. Well, this comparison can cause problems, as it does for our protagonist here too.

Soul exploration :: As the series shows, the idea of being divergent is difficult to accomplish. Whatever be the idea, people usually find it difficult as part of a society. The world has its own written rules, anything that doesn’t match that, is in trouble. It brings that confusion which never really ends, and even with the seemingly happy ending of this series, we can expect that to come back at some point. As we do know, there are no happy endings in real life, and there is certainly no happily ever after. This series makes sure that it gets close enough to that by giving that feeling of all coming together well enough, and satisfies the audience who wishes to have something similar to that. With the short length and good work from the cast, the series makes sure that this gets its point right there, without going away from the core.

How it finishes in the end :: Well, America Mappillai is a series that can’t be ignored. As ZEE5 brings this new kind of entertainment outside the usual and expected path, we are sure to be in need to try the same with premium subscriptions, seeing how it is supposed to work so well to bring all the fun. Praveen Padmanabhan who has directed the episodes seem to have made sure that it will work well with almost all kind of audience. Give it a try and download the ZEE5 app to watch the show as well as others. It can bring more to your world of entertainment, and there is a good chance that the next most interesting series in your own mother tongue will be there. This is the time to spend some time to explore #ZEE5 and #ZEE5Originals with #AmericaMappillaiOnZEE5.

Release date: March 2018 – April 2018
Running time: 10-15 minutes per episode
Directed by: Praveen Padmanabhan
Starring: Raja Krishnamoorthy, Leela Samson, Arjun Chidambaram, Namita Krishnamurthy, Gokul Anand, Rakesh Ram, Gayathri

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Power Rangers

Vampire Owl: I don’t really know these people. Are they from the shooting range?

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you haven’t watched the 1995 Power Rangers movie? I thought we all had.

Vampire Owl: I already have too many superheroes, and they all have better names.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you don’t remember Gabrielle Fitzpatrick as Dulcea.

Vampire Owl: Who in a ranger world is she?

Vampire Bat: I believe that you liked her a lot.

Vampire Owl: You talk about the girl in green.

Vampire Bat: Yes, she is the one. I see that you remember now.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that she was no Poison Ivy of Batman.

Vampire Bat: Your superhero encyclopedia surely needs some special attention, and so does your memory.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A high school football star Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery) gets dismissed from the team and has to go for detention after a prank fails miserably. It disappoints his father Sam Scott (David Denman) that he wasted his opportunities and reached this miserable state of life. There he comes up against Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler), a nerd whom he saves from a bully. Billy asks for his help, and offers to deactivate his ankle monitor as well as lend him his van in return. Jason decides to help him even as he is doubtful about it. There, after providing some help to him at an old abandoned gold mine, he runs across Kimberly (Naomi Scott), his crush from the school, who is taking a bath in the nearby river – she tells him that she often goes through the place, as her home is on the other side. At the same time, Billy uses some explosives to break part of the rock in the quarry.

So, what happens next? :: The blast gets the attention of Jason and Kimberly, as well as two other students, Trini (Becky G) who is spending her lone time away from the family, and Zack (Ludi Lin) who lives nearby, taking care of his sick mother. There they pick up five pieces of rock, each having a different colour. They are chased by the mine’s security, and their car gets hit by a train, but they wake up at their houses, feeling different, and rather a lot powerful. They five teenagers return to the mine to find answers to what they are going through, and they find a space ship and inside, Alpha 5 (Bill Hader), a robot. He introduces them to the consciousness of the person known as Zordon (Bryan Cranston) who is supposed to have been a power ranger until he and his team of rangers were betrayed by another team member, the Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) who is also on Earth. He tells them that they are chosen.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: With the new power rangers being chosen, he tells them that it is only a matter of time until Rita finds her full strength, gets to the Zeo Crystal which will help her to destroy all life on Earth. The teenagers leave, but reluctantly come back as Jason convinces them that they need to try so that their powers don’t go wasted. They keep training with Alpha 5 and the simulations of Rita’s minions, but they are unable to morph, which means that they will have no power ranger suit or armour. Zordon is disappointed that the chosen ones are acting more like kids, and have no sense of purpose. Meanwhile, Rita awakens and goes on a killing spree, collecting all the gold that she can on the way, looting people and places, hoping to summon her favourite minion, the giant winged monster known as Goldar (Fred Tatasciore) made of gold. Can the rangers be good enough to stop her before she gets what she wants?

The defence of Power Rangers :: The new version is surely an improvement from the tales which have been going through, and with the improvement, this brings the nostalgia from the childhood, when we watched the rangers and felt that they were so good. The movie is light-hearted, and would appeal to kids more than anyone else. The movie does have the right cast at the top though, with Dacre Montgomery as the hero and leader, bringing the charm, while Naomi Scott, brings a beautiful presence supported by the right performance – we see more of Power Rangers in these two than anywhere else. RJ Cyler provides the comedy along with an emotional side. There are some nice action sequences, especially in the end, and we see another grand battle between the good and evil, with destruction all around. There are also some messages in the movie about superpowers and responsibilities, like the ones you find in an earlier Spider-Man, a later Iron Man, or even in the ideology book of Captain America.

The claws of flaw :: One has to admit that the nostalgia related to Power Rangers is applicable to less number of people. Not many people were qualified enough to get this deep into superhero stuff of Hollywood during that time, as some thought that it was for children, and other felt Hollywood to be clearly beyond them. This movie also has a tale which has been going on and on with not just this movie, but also with many others, whether it is of Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or that long list of superheroes from Marvel and DC – Power Rangers won’t sound that good, and will never be that effective with lesser known cast and teenagers there in the suits. When Avengers and Justice League will fight to save the world from alien trouble with better budget, one has to feel that this one will struggle forever – to go with it, the yellow and black rangers are not likable at all. The villain also seems to have replaced her fiery elements with something else – wonder what it is.

How it finishes :: The world has surely changed from those times when Power Rangers were there earlier. Now we have a long list of superheroes, and there is no shortage of people with superpowers wandering around on the screen – this would be the cause of Power Rangers no longer being an effective franchise at the box-office here. There is the nostalgia for sure, but this is just one of those lesser group of heroes to whom people have that feeling for. Power Rangers: The Movie of 1995 might be the one thing which would have gotten these superheroes those fans, especially considering the fact that this along with Starship Troopers, Waterworld and Vampires were a few of those Video CDs available during those times – also, a lot of the youth of that time liked Gabrielle Fitzpatrick more than the movie, as for some, she was more joy to watch. Therefore, Power Rangers had that less power here, but it is an entertainer, and can be watched without going too deep.

Release date: 24th March 2017 (US) 31st March 2017 (India)
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Becky G, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Elizabeth Banks, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, David Denman, Caroline Cave, Anjali Jay, Patrick Sabongui, Erica Cerra, Kayden Magnuson, Fiona Fu, Sarah Grey, Emily Maddison, Jaime Callica, Matt Shively, Garry Chalk, Fred Tatasciore

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Love 24×7

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What is it about? :: Roopesh Nambiar (Dileep) is a well-known television presenter and anchor working for a popular channel called Naalamidam. He enjoys almost a celebrity status among the people with his special shows. Kabani Sugathan (Nikhila Vimal) is a trainee who joins the channel, and very soon, the two become very close to each other, falling in love. Umar Abdullah (Sreenivasan) is a godfather kind of figure for them, and also their superior. Dr. Sarayu (Suhasini) is a family friend of Roopesh and Kabani’s stay is arranged with her. With her husband dead and son living the United States of America with his wife and child, she feels lonely, but is happy with the company of her old friend Dr. Satheesh (Sashi Kumar) who is a divorcee. Things seem happy, but is it really so?

The defence of Love 24×7 :: The biggest advantage of this movie is the first half which never drags or bores even for a second. There is a happy feel-good thing going on here and with some nice jokes within the limits, this movie keeps our interests high going into the second half. The first one hour and a few minutes can be considered as realistic and charming happy hours which do this movie a lot of good. The performances make sure that things work as expected. There is the presence of not many cliches here, and despite a big tendency, this one doesn’t go the way of another movie with Dileep and the same theme – Swa Le. There is a certain message against the coporate culture and capitalism, and even though that too struggles, it is the better one among them all; the rest are incomplete and meaningless.

The claws of flaw :: The characters are not without faults. Kabani remains the most developed character here, but that too is not without a struggle. The second half starts going down, and the latter part of the second half goes a lot further down. The climax has the incompleteness of the main plot, and chooses to complete the secondary plot and gives us the idea that it will complete like the secondary one some day later. It is like completing the secondary mission in a computer game and failing to finish the main objective, which will be considered a loss in that case. Well, the message that the life repeats itself has very rare chance of happening, and so this incompleteness waiting for a complete flourish and finish later is unreal. The messages which seem to be incompletely told are all pretty much ridiculous.

Performer of the soul :: I had missed Dileep’s earlier movie, Chandrettan Evideya due to having some exams, but I did hear from my trusted sources that it was a nice change for Dileep, and this one also proves to be the same. His last movies from Kammath & Kammath through Sringaravelan and Nadodimannan reaching Villali Veeran and Ivan Maryadaraman is not kind of Dileep that we wanted. They were all too repetitive, and going down in quality even as simple comedy movies – terrible jokes were increasing. But this movie bring the man back to the audience with that change which is readily acceptable. There is no need for big performances here, and it is a role which should have come easy for an experienced actor like Dileep, and he just manages things. Yes, Dileep is back and has moved away from the fake entertainers brought to the audience in the name of comedy.

The lady soul :: The rest of the cast also evokes our interest. Among them, you notice a beautiful face you have never seen before. The newcomer Nikhila Vimal does very well in a role which demanded more than one mode of performance, and in every case she manages her side with utmost sincerity, as it seems – a quality rarely found with a new actress. She is there are the struggling newbie from a rural background and then as the news anchor in a leading channel; the former remains her finer territory. Emoting without any impediment and the slang working very well for her, she adds to the list of the interesting new faces in the Malayalam movie industry. Seemingly very natural in her beauty and the performance, her only problems come from the story and the characterization, because it is clear that she has given a notable performance. The final few moments do her as well as her character no favour though.

The other performers of the soul :: We have Suhasini back in Malayalam movies again; even though she was there in Kalimannu, she hasn’t been that much present in a big way in the Malayalam movies since 2009 flick Makante Achan. It is good to see her doing an interesting and emotional role again. Sashi Kumar also looked so good in his performance, as with him, there was a certain amount of charm even to a character which was going to go unnoticed in a normal situation of events. There is a certain search about the cast done whenever the actors list is provided, and this one has lead me to a movie called Kaya Taran directed by this same actor, and reading on the same gives a feeling to know more about the work. Sreenivasan and Lena Abhilash has the roles which are no trouble to them.

How it finishes :: The director of this movie, Sreebala K Menon is also an author who won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for ‘Best Humor’ for her work – 19, Canal Road in 2005. She is also known to come up with some socially relevant short films and documentaries. She has worked as the assistant director in a number of movies, and it is time to welcome her to the Malayalam movie industry and Love 24×7 will do just fine. Love 24×7 should do okay this weekend because none of the Malayalam movies have managed to really meet the expectations. There are movies which can be watched, but none to create that impact which should be part of the festival season. Let us hope that these Malayalam movies stay enough for people to watch at the theatres itself.

Release date: 18th July 2015
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Sreebala K Menon
Starring: Dileep, Nikhila Vimal, Anjali Aneesh Upasana, Idavela Babu, Lena Abhilash, Suhasini Maniratnam, Manju Pillai, Thesni Khan, Sashi Kumar, Krishna Prabha, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Sudhi Koppa, Sidhartha Siva

love24x7

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hate Story II

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Vampire Owl :: But I didn’t watch the first movie of this franchise.

Vampire Bat :: No need. This will not be connected to the prequel even that much as Sachin Tendulkar is to Maria Sharapova.

Vampire Owl :: That is indeed reassuring. Isn’t this Surveen Chawla the one who paired with Sreesanth in Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena?

Vampire Bat :: And in many Hindi serials with unknown people and those which none of us watches. She even hosted a television show called Comedy Circus Ke SuperStars.

Vampire Owl :: So this will create something new for the erotic genre in India or recreate whatever the first movie did?

Vampire Bat :: I would think that the only eroticism will be in the poster and the songs. She should be shooting people all around.

Vampire Owl :: So it should be cheating by the posters?

Vampire Bat :: Just like any other movie around here. Every movie pretends.

Vampire Owl :: At least we can watch the movie for her.

Vampire Bat :: Well, she is incredibly cute, even with a gun.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: The scene shifts to Mumbai where Sonika (Surveen Chawla) who is attending regular photography classes. After the death of her parents, Mandar Mahatre (Shushant Singh) had become her guardian and is keeping her as a mistress. Mandar is a powerful political leader in Mumbai who is feared if not respected by all. She is forced to succumb to his demands until Akshay (Jay Bhanushali) comes to her life, and the two photography classmates become lovers. But as our villain understands that she is with some random guy, they are forced to run away to Goa, but that doesn’t stop our villain from going there and attempting to kill them both. She ties Akshay to the seat of a car and drowns him in a river while he buries the girl alive in a cemetery, but is found by a man who comes there to mourn a death. As she is shifted to the hospital, there are attempts to murder her, but soon she gets out of trouble and begin planning her vengeance. As expected, she starts from the lesser ones to go to the big fish, and the question remains if she can be good enough to take on such a powerful man who controls a lot of things in Mumbai including the police.

The defence of Hate Story 2 :: Well, our heroine no longer uses her body or sexuality to take revenge. She doesn’t go to that level of the protagonist of the first movie and just goes on to murder people – not in that much of a bloody fashion as Killl Bill, but she does finish them off nicely. Surveen Chawla is the highlight of the movie, but the erotic scenes are rare, and even absent in the case of the movie without the songs. It is in those songs that such scenes occur and so do those bikini scenes. Some of them even waits till the movie to end until coming up. So one can watch it not as an erotic movie as the songs will be available on television (haven’t checked them myself yet). Yes, she doesn’t stand with a bare back and a gun and neither does she appear like in some other posters which seems to have offended a few. I would say that the poster gives a different opinion about the movie, and being erotic is not one of the strong points of the movie. But the songs are really good, and they are nicely picturized without losing the mood of the movie except for one which comes with the hallucination. This should have enough to satisfy the fans of Surveen as well as the revenge movie fans. Unlike Ek Villain, this is also more original in its soul.

Claws of flaw :: With choosing to do away with the erotic scenes which actually powered it before the release, the strangest thing in the movie is Jay Bhanushali coming back from the dead as the glowing avatar as part of her hallucinations. I do wonder why they even had to think about it. Then the romantic side comes up with him at the wrong moments, and in the end it also helps to add a few more erotic scenes in a small screen with the credits. But most of the photos on the posters never really happens in the movie. Even with those which happen, they are in the songs, and that would give rise to the question if getting some video songs later will be enough. It has so much less erotica and compared to its predecessor, it even lags in the thrills and the cast performance – even the dark shades becomes less and the story is just average. It is not something that we haven’t seen before, and adds to the large number of revenge movies which are part of our movie collection. It is really a predictable end that awaits the audience too, and you know what it will include. We needed a lot more and with the kind of views that the trailer had, a much better movie was expected.

Performers of the soul :: This movie is about Surveen Chawla and the character that he plays, and it is the story of her hatred which can only be destroyed by the taste of vengeance. She is nothing less than wonderful on her debut. I was pretty confident about her being good as this had to completely depend on her. She maintains her level through different emotions, and her transformation is good. She is comparatively better as the lover and the one facing her own troubles, and I would guess that the face suits a damsel in distress. But the same can’t be said about the rest of the cast who falters. Jay Bhanushali struggles and it was a bad idea to bring him back as hallucinations, as he was quite good until then – later he was made an illusion with the support of music and the time of entrance is mostly terrible too. As the movie was about the heroine, it is still mostly fine. Sushant Singh is okay, and there are moments when he is very good. But overall, he had the potential to be a better villain which is ruined by some lazy writing and leaves the movie to our heroine as expected, and thankfully, she excelled. Sunny Leone is there just for the item song “Pink Lips”, which is also okay, but the song scene springs out nowhere and disappears without trace.

Soul exploration :: The movie asserts the need for revenge, but its hatred is weaker than the prequel even with the presence of a villain worth hating, right from the beginning to the end, at no point stating otherwise with his action or speech. What our protagonist does is actually something that she should have done a long time ago. She is scared, but as she comes back from the dead, she becomes fearless. Near-death experiences do bring the best, doesn’t it? Or is it the love that guides her? I would say a little bit of both, but she becomes the revenge seeker without remorse. It has its messages about the evil that is in the society and its ability to destroy the life of a common person, but doesn’t really work on it further. The movie has the hero being murder by water, the heroine attempted to be killed under earth, one villain killed by fire and the another one by air – good use of the elements, I would say, but I do wonder if that was actually meant to be so. Ek Villain and Hate Story 2 are still signs that the thriller genre is doing fine in Bollywood, and it is actually a good sign – along with the matching fact that the heroine gets murdered early in the former and the hero in the later.

How it finishes :: I hope a certain lack of more ideas could be forgiven as I was having heavy fever while watching this one at the theatre. Well, fever is such a mortal thing and it can’t stop the Vampire Bat, even as there is no denying that things got worse after watching the movie – the air conditioner and the fan stopped in the theatre, still the fever got worse. I guess as far as I can walk, I can go to a theatre and watch movies. I had thought a lot of things about this one while watching, but I guess I can always come up with more in detail later at http://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/. Still, I can say for sure that if you liked Hate Story‘s first entry, you can go for this, but remember that this not that erotic and there is no working on the same lines as the prequel except for the fact that there is revenge by a female protagonist. I haven’t been a fan of Surveen Chawla, but if you are, I guess you will surely need to try this one – otherwise, just try your luck. This is a movie which can go either way for the audience, and it is more of an opportunity which could have been better used.

Release date: 18th July 2014
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Vishal Pandya
Starring: Surveen Chawla, Jay Bhanushali, Sushant Singh, Mika Singh, Siddharth Kher, Rajesh Khera

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.