Jalsa

Vampire Owl: I am glad that they are still releasing movies on OTT platforms.

Vampire Bat: Yes, otherwise, we would go to some air-conditioned theatre and catch the corona virus pandemic.

Vampire Owl: And we have Amazon Prime Video getting one more.

Vampire Bat: It is indeed the best platform as more people have Prime.

Vampire Owl: Well, the theatres can have the mass masala movies.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we can have the dumb fans limited to the theatres that way.

Vampire Owl: Well, we all know the taste of the brainless.

Vampire Bat: Well, the human brain is more ridiculous than ever these days.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that you have ever trusted a human brain to be good.

Vampire Bat: If you are talking about good as in good v/s evil, the answer is a clear no.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Maya Menon (Vidya Balan) is a very successful journalist based out of Mumbai. After many years of success, she continues to be among the biggest names in the field, as her name is on many hoardings and she also brings trouble to the big names which she interviews. Ruksana Mohammed (Shefali Shah) works as domestic help at her home, and focuses the most on cooking. Shefali’s daughter, Alia Mohammed (Kashish Rizwan) happens to be that kind of an eighteen year old daughter who pretends that she is always studying very hard at night, but spends most of her time with her boyfriend, as her father also works at night like her mother. On that eventful night when she hopes to enjoy her life on a lie, she is hit by a car after running away from her boyfriend all of a sudden and landing in the middle of the road. The boyfriend gets on the motorbike and gets away as soon as possible, and so does the person who was in the car.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Rohini George (Vidhatri Bandi) is a trainee who works at the same online news portal where Maya is leading the team. She joined the team just recently, and is hoping to crack some case which will make her really popular, and lead to an increase in her salary. Hailing from Cochin, Rohini wishes to bring her mother to Mumbai after she has settled down there. She lacks in confidence, but is determined to make a difference. She follows the same case, and gets to know about the boyfriend. Maya is angry about the same and asks her to stop investigating the case. But it won’t move out of Rohini’s head at all. At the same time, there is the remorseful boyfriend who wanders around, and Maya’s boss who is adamant on letting this episode go behind. The police officers ask them to take some money and leave the case. Everyone here seems to be worries about something, but Maya and Ruksana are more worried that anyone else – where will this problem end?

The defence of Jalsa :: There is a certain amount of serenity about this movie even though the tension is there at all times. It deals with the moral conflict in a very smooth manner, as none of the characters here seems to be evil, with everyone trying to come up with a solution which is good for everyone. Everyone is facing that moral problem due to different reasons, and we can feel the strength of the anxiety related to the same. The emotions are running strong in the background for sure, even though it never comes to the front that often. It is also that kind of a movie which starts strong, and then focuses on the proceedings slowly, and bring everything back to where it started by the end. The performances are what makes things better, as there is always someone around here to raise the level of the movie. The movie also keeps away from the usual Bollywood things, and without adding those extra unnecessary elements, it becomes something realistic, and a movie which is for the intellectual emotions.

The claws of flaw :: The movie has a little bit of complicated collection of events which seems to be stuck together. It gets quite slow at times, and often has moments which we could have done without. It also comes to a much expected end too slowly, and one often feels that there is a little bit of too much time taken to reach this particular end. A stronger and more emotional ending was the need of this film. The movie is also not something that can run for more than two hours – this is the kind of thing which should be over in one and half, and the rest is just a stretch. With this length, it keeps adding something or the other without strengthening the stronger points. Even though this is a fine deviation in Bollywood, it should have more courage to get it deeper, and with the same, a few dull and unnecessary moments of not much worth could have been removed. It could have also explored the story of the young and inexperienced reporter even more. Some better visuals of the world other than the very expensive flat could have also helped.

The performers of the soul :: Vidya Balan is once again doing the job so well with sincerity and quality. He plays the confident journalist who leads with a trauma with morality tormenting her more than anything – it is something which she seems to do with ease, and if the pace of the movie was better, she could have come up with something even sharper. Shefali Shah plays the mother figure to many children really well too – duped by her children, but always seeing the best in all kids. But these performances were quite expected, and the one which stands apart is that of Vidhatri Bandi who plays a young girl from Cochin who has come to Mumbai to become a famed journalist – the girl does remind one of so many similar people in Kerala itself, those who needs a boost of confidence while going through the tough times. I do feel that I would exactly be like here when caught in such a situation. The movie begins with Kashish Rizwan’s work, and despite playing a character in bed for most of the film, she remains notable from the beginning. The actors who play the police officers also come up with some believable work.

How it finishes :: Jalsa makes a solid point with its proceedings. There are moments that make one think and wonder about different elements. Kaanekkaane is a movie which dealt with similar themes, as its world also revolved around one accident. It was a much more emotional tale with even bigger performances, as we look back at it. If you have watched the movie C/O Saira Banu, it also deals with a similar accident from another point of view – these are the movies which you should watch, and you will feel that this particular movie has surely had some inspirations from there. Just like those two movies, this movie is also an emotional thriller, and has the emotional moments helped by a few twists which serve as interesting subplots. Well, the tale that we have at the centre will surely remain something of relevance, and can bring more movies in Bollywood – we can hope that there is no superstar leading the way in them though, as in that case, it would get to be really absurd, leading to a wrong turn.

Release date: 18th March 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Suresh Triveni
Starring: Vidya Balan, Shefali Shah, Rohini Hattangadi, Vidhatri Bandi, Manav Kaul, Iqbal Khan, Surya Kasibhatia, Shrikant Yadav, Ghanshyam Lalsa, Gurpal Singh, Shafeen Patel, Kashish Rizwan, Vijay Nikam, Junaid Khan, Trunshant Ingle, Monu Gurjar, Uday Vir Singh

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Woman in the Window

Vampire Owl: There is a vampire in the window if you look around from here.

Vampire Bat: It is only a picture of the vampire in that mansion.

Vampire Owl: Why would someone put a picture up like that?

Vampire Bat: Maybe it is someone who wishes to be popular.

Vampire Owl: I should put my picture on the window too.

Vampire Bat: We are not that kind of vampires.

Vampire Owl: We are still the kind vampires around here.

Vampire Bat: Why should vampires be kind?

Vampire Owl: Kindness is a quality which can be used to fool people easily.

Vampire Bat: Vampires do not fool people. Humans do. They lie, cheat, steal and murder all the time.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Anna Fox (Amy Adams) lives alone in an apartment in Manhattan, New York after being separated from his husband Edward Fox (Anthony Mackie) and daughter Olivia Fox (Mariah Bozeman). She always try to cheer herself up despite the loneliness, and has good support through the phone. Anna suffers from agoraphobia, leading to a lot of anxiety about her surroundings and she observes her neighbors from a second-story window, and that includes the Russell family who recently moved in across the street. She has a large number of medications to take on a daily basis, and also goes on with a lot of alcohol consumption. David Winter (Wyatt Russell) is her tenant who lives in the basement area of her home, and often helps her with some househould work as well as repairs. She does feel lonely at times, and has talks with Ethan Russell (Fred Hechinger), the boy who lives as part of the Russell family, and is upset for some strange reasons – she tries to use her skills as a former child psychologist here.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Anna continues to see the world around her in suspicion and feels that her neighbours are up to something all the time, and that Ethan suffers due to the same. Soon, she also comes across Ethan’s mother, Jane Russell (Julianne Moore), who has some good moments of talk with her, making her happy and relieved. This leads to her believing that Ethan has an abusive father. One night, Anna hears a scream from the Russell family home and then sees Jane being stabbed to death in the living room, but she is not able to find who exactly did that. She has a camera, but forgets to take a photo in panic. She contacts the police, but they do not believe her, and tells her that everyone in the family is just fine. At the same time, Alistair arrives at her home along with his wife, who is a different woman from the one she had met earlier. The police as well as the neighbours tell her that she is hallucinating and making up things, and David also has the same opinion. But she decides to keep spying on the Russells, but it won’t be an idea which will help her.

The defence of The Woman in the Window :: Here, we do have a murder happening, without the surety that it is real, and one would wait for the twist which is to happen at some point of time, as there is the feeling that something is not right, throughout the movie. It puts almost everyone in the line of doubt, and one keep guessing, only to find out that there are not enough clues to completely focus on one suspect. The movie does mix agoraphobia well with the happenings, and we know that it is something that needs serious attention. It is the kind of thing that many of us do feel, and while reading about the same, I have felt that I did have similar problems on many occasions too. I have felt my world to be unsafe with no escape, and had continuous fear and discomfort with regular nightmares for months, as I kept at home for a very long time, and very rarely, I did go out, and that too only with people by my side. Therefore, I was able to connect to this lady very well, and there are moments which make us believe that one of them could be speaking the truth, but that person actually changes as movie progresses.

The claws of flaw :: The Woman in the Window is quite a slow movie, and that is indeed strange, because there were so many occasions here where some more material could have been added to strengthen it further. It could have also focused completely on agoraphobia, and also divide the world into reality and hallucination – it instead focuses on dialogues and what the main character is doing without focusing on the relevant. The time that it takes to start moving is also a little too much, and the revelations could have been made in a more powerful manner, for here we just have it done quickly. It could have also speeded up things at least during those moments which are rather thrilling. The focus on the killer is also a little too less, and we end up not watching enough of his actions of terror and the murders also stay a little too much outside focus. The whole movie focuses on one place with one type of action being focused, thus maintaining the unity of action and the unity of place among the three classical unities talked about by Aristotle, but by doing the same, this movie doesn’t really focus that well on both to elevate the movie, and thus rather brings it down.

The performers of the soul :: If there is a movie starring Amy Adams, I would rarely choose not to watch it, and a thriller does suit her as much as the many genres which she has explored in the past in her career. Nocturnal Animals and Arrival had some fine work being done by her, and both of them were movies which were slow enough too, and you do remember her as a Disney princess too. The superhero movies fans would recognize her more from Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League – well, she is a well-known actress in this part of the world too, and she surely deserved a quicker movie rather than this one. Gary Oldman plays the man who seems to be full of mysteries, and also the one the protagonist feels, is a murderer. He surely has his secrets, and the role is played with a certain amount of class being added there. Julianne Moore seems to be there more as playing a guest role rather than anything else, but we remember her for that scene. Fred Hechinger plays the boy well enough, while Wyatt Russell has his moments. Brian Tyree Henry has memorable times as the detective too.

How it finishes :: The Woman in the Window is the slow thriller that just manages to keep you interested by throwing something in here and there, serving well as the psychological thriller that it is. You do have the doubt about whom you should doubt, even though there is no specific assertion on where you should concentrate that particular feeling. My first thought was that this could be a movie like The Voyeurs, but that is not the case – being a psychological thriller, that path could have also been taken, but The Woman in the Window takes the safe one, lacking in courage and thus being not ready to take the tougher step. But it is nice to see that it still works, and has enough steam to keep it going – the usage of the word “steam” is more relevant than it seems, as it is not innovative or better equipped as some of those newer films are. Well, it can always do better, and if you are standing at the window, witnessing something terrifying, this won’t be the rest during most of the times. The Woman in the Window doesn’t seem to think that further on the same.

Release date: 14th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Joe Wright
Starring: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Fred Hechinger, Wyatt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julianne Moore

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

No One Gets Out Alive

Vampire Owl: I used to say this to some of the vampire apprentices.

Vampire Bat: How long ago was that? We haven’t had apprentices for a long time.

Vampire Owl: I don’t count the centuries anymore.

Vampire Bat: You can still count the years well enough.

Vampire Owl: The years mean too much counting for my liking.

Vampire Bat: Well, you don’t really get older every year. You are immortal.

Vampire Owl: Immortality only stops the body from getting old.

Vampire Bat: You cannot continue to take it as a curse.

Vampire Owl: We don’t get to be that evil as humans. It is a curse.

Vampire Bat: We are better without human level of evil. It is too much to handle.

[Gets a sweets puffs and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Ambar Cruz (Cristina Rodlo) is an undocumented Mexican immigrant, and has no id which restricts her. She moves to Cleveland after the death of her mother, whose illness hadn’t allowed her to lead a normal life. She finds a place to stay at a cheaper rate than usual, with Red (Marc Menchaca) as the caretaker of the boarding house which has a few floors where only her and Freja (Vala Noren) are staying. It seems that Freja is not the kind of person who wishes to talk to people much, but Ambar does hear her crying from her room. She has to pay a good amount of money in advance for the apartment and gives a co-worker the remainder of her savings to obtain a fake ID that will allow her to continue working, but her newfound friend cheats her and leaves with the money. It also seems that Red has a sick brother Becker (David Figlioli) who bangs his head against the door all time, and it is not that only strange sound in the building.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Ambar’s slow working speed doesn’t allow her to get any appreciation from her boss, and as she continues to ask him for some advance pay, she is fired from the job. Now, with no money to pay, the only way forward for her is to get a refund from Red who is hesitant to provide the same. She doesn’t have anything to do with the building either, as she begins having some strange visions, which are nothing less than nightmares. But she returns to ask for the refund again, as she needs the money after being left on her own, not able to contact her distant relatives and having no money to survive, after losing the job. Soon, two Romanian women also seem to join the boarding house, and Red assures her that he will get her the refund from their deposits. She has some relief when she hears that, but that doesn’t stay as a few sinister secrets about the boarding house is revealed to her. Now, this will no longer be all about money and job.

The defence of No One Gets Out Alive :: This movie manages to be effective in more than one way. It is indeed an effective horror film with its own twists, but one can also safely say that No One Gets Out Alive is more than that. It also shows the struggles of an immigrant, which is depicted on the other side of the horror in a way that we appreciate the same. The movie plays with the lights and uses darkness effectively to make the horror effects get better. The eerie feeling is maintained well throughout the movie, and so is danger lurking at the corners of darkness. The film provides the scares in not just one way, but further, as we know that hopelessness can lead to desperate measures being taken. connects the whole thing to the monster nicely, and we see the creature as the movie nears the end. They seems to have worked with this one seeing a possible sequel, as there is that box, and a monster which is nothing less than an ancient demon which reminds us of how Sinister had prepared its premise and proceedings.

Positives and negatives :: There is always something special that can be done about strange houses with secrets, and this boarding house could have brought more innovation to the same. This one has a few things predictable instead, even though it does bring the much unexpected twists too. It also brings to us, some of the creatures from myths which we have no idea about. The creepiness that this movie maintains remains worthy of appreciation at all times, thanks to the atmosphere and surprises that one boarding house brings. The movie is based on a horror novel by British author Adam Nevill which was published in 2014. Having such basic material means that there has been something to work on, and develop all the time. The human antagonists in this movie are more disturbing than the creature that does what it is supposed to do – it is basically a good turn towards truth, as we knew this all time. Demons are evil because they have no choice, but humans are evil because they choose to be evil, for their selfish needs – that much is once again clear, as depicted in this movie. You can often trust a demon more than a human.

The performers of the soul :: Cristina Rodlo plays the lead here, and it seems only perfect that a Mexican-born actress is chosen for the role. There is something that makes her suitable for all the horror too, seemingly suiting the scream queen situation really well. Other than that, she also deals with the emotional sequences with great skill. I had earlier read the name as Christiano Ronaldo, with a spelling mistake – now that sounds as strange as the monster that we see in this flick. The monster is an entity in itself, and maybe, we can use it as another character of interest, with its origins tale also being told from an archeologist’s point of view. The girls other than the main character could have been used better, especially the Romanian girls who do seem good to contribute further towards the movie – they all look perfectly suited to live through a horror film. Marc Menchaca as Red does come up with a strong performance too, while David Figlioli as Becker manages to be all about muscles, becoming a near unstoppable villain.

How it finishes :: No One Gets Out Alive works well with its horror options, and serves more than what meets eye. The title nicely serves the purpose too, as the film deals with that kind of a monster. Moving away from the usual demonic spirits of The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun, Insidious, The Curse of La Llorna and others, we have the variation of a creature here, that makes grand appearance as the movie moves towards the end. Here, we have a horror movie with a human touch, as it shows the struggles that the main character, an immigrant, has to go through. We don’t usually get such a good, detailed background story for the protagonist – here, the focus is mostly on her rather than anyone else. Even though Corona virus pandemic might have other ideas every time, we are always looking for some horror with monsters too. After all, the big monsters from other worlds are as significant as the human monsters and the little viruses causing trouble. As you understand the same, you take this horror into heart.

Release date: 29th September 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Santiago Menghini
Starring: Cristina Rodlo, Marc Menchaca, Joana Borja, Victoria Alcock, Phil Robertson, Moronkẹ Akinola, David Barrera, David Figlioli, Vala Noren, Alejandro Akara, Mitchell Mullen, Jeff Mirza

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nobody Sleeps II

*Full title: Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight Part Two

Vampire Owl: I don’t sleep much these days at night.

Vampire Bat: Vampires don’t really need to sleep at night.

Vampire Owl: We have the right to sleep whenever we want to.

Vampire Bat: What about sleeping in the coffins during daytime?

Vampire Owl: We have evolved much beyond that, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but it is more than that. It is a custom.

Vampire Owl: Well, we are not people of customs and traditions anymore.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but at least during the blood moon, we don’t sleep.

Vampire Owl: I would partially agree to that.

Vampire Bat: Let us see how Uncle Dracula thinks about it. He is now holding on to traditions more than ever.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three glasses of oreo shake].

What is the movie about? :: Adam Adamiec (Mateusz Wieclawek) is a rookie police who has just reached the police station after completing his usual job of buying the groceries, after the terrifying events of Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight. There he finds Zosia Wolska (Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz) and the two monster-like big men locked up in separate cells. The men look like they don’t care about anything, and sits there peacefully, while Zosia is clearly disturbed. He comes to know that the girl came to the police station last night, bloody and dirty, with a strange look in his eyes, and she was also saying that the guys in the cell were murdered by her in self-defence, while also talking about the strength of a meteor or comet. She had also accused the guys of murdering her friends, and cops had found bodies out there. Special Forces were coming from Warsaw to investigate the matter. With one police officer dead, the cops really need the answers, and they take her to the crime scene to get some idea about what happened last night.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: When Sergeant Waldemar Gwizdala (Andrzej Grabowski), the police officer who is with her has a stomach upset, and returns from the restroom, the comet breaks, and it seems that he was brutally murdered. Nobody has any clue of what happened there, as he is not reachable on the mobile phone, and there is no reply of the police radio either. This means that Adam has to go and check there with the police officer at the desk, Wanessa (Zofia Wichlacz). Even though Adam wishes to go back to the police station and wait for the Special Forces to arrive, while Wanessa calls the Territorial Defence Force, and they slowly move to the location. Wanessa’s deduction is that the girl killed the police officer and escaped. But Adam feels that there is something more at work as the senior officer was ripped apart into two pieces. The two understands that more people will be killed now, as there is a killer running around, and the forest makes it easy for the person to hide without being detected. The earlier incidents could be repeated many times. But can they stop the seemingly unstoppable force?

The defence of Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight Part 2 :: The movie nicely uses the one probability of having a sequel, even though it seemed to have ended with the first one. It can also have another sequel as things seem to end here. The slasher elements of the first movie are carried over here, and goes on as a regular slasher with its monsters at work. The movie’s shorter length also comes as an advantage, as it gets into action very soon, and there is no time wasted. This film also seems to go a little bit divergent with its monsters, and even though the idea is good, it never really gets the strength with was required. It also provides some explanation to the transformation of people into evil monsters, and the dark atmosphere is interesting, even when not used to the best advantage. Even though it might look strange with the twists, they are there to make some impart. Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight Part 2 is surely having the idea of building a franchise, and for that more focus on the storyline might be needed, but I would expect that to arrive anyway.

The claws of flaw :: We have already watched Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight, as the first movie had also released on Netflix, and this one doesn’t have that much of slasher strength as it had. The previous movie’s quality as a slasher movie is somewhat taken away by this sequel which focuses on some strange things instead. The elements of fear are replaced by just random gory moments which also pales in comparison to the first movie. The shift of focus brings light into a few other things, but by doing the same, some other elements do suffer from a loss in quality – the basic slasher things needed more. Bringing elements of terror when least expected, required to be in focus too, especially with one monster wandering around through all areas. The killers from the earlier film could have also been used, as it doesn’t seem to work that efficiently by turning new people into monsters. After establishing something, the film seems to take it away, decreasing the strength of the franchise itself. There is also not much of performances here to elevate it otherwise.

Performers of the soul :: The movie misses Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz in her original state – she was more or less the perfect scream queen, and her work with action as well as emotions proved to be advantage for that particular film. Then there was also Aniela Turek and Michał Lupa, a group which could perform in a way that was suited for a slasher horror better than any other. Mateusz Wieclawek leads the team, but not as the leader. He manages to work on the character okay in the beginning, struggles later. Zofia Wichlacz plays the police officer with all talk about being brave, but is actually a selfish coward – it is established pretty well by the middle of the movie, and she does the job okay in beginning, but is wasted later. The performances don’t really raise the level that much at any point though, and with a shorter run-time, we don’t really get to know these characters much either. It is more or less like going through the usual slasher horror with gore as fast as possible instead of taking care of the characterization. There is also some trouble with how the transformed characters are dealt with.

How it finishes :: The movie should have kept itself very serious, because the whole thing has been established already. It seems to have the base, but from there, the deviation losses its effectiveness soon enough. There was scope for grandeur, but the same is not taken. One has to remember how Fear Street: 1994 came up with perfect sequels in the form of Fear Street 1978 and Fear Street 1666 – this required such treatment, for one never know when there are thoughts about coming up with sequels. Humour, when not used effectively, can only prove to be negative in a violent horror movie. Well, the fact that it still works is because it has tried well enough with the base set in the first movie. There can always be more to be done with this particular idea, and we can only hope that a sequel can make things better. After all, some sequels which was part of long lasting franchises have been very effective. This Polish film franchise deserves to make a comeback now, or later.

Release date: 27th October 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Bartosz M Kowalski
Starring: Zofia Wichlacz, Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, Wojciech Mecwaldowski, Mateusz Wieclawek, Sebastian Stankiewicz, Andrzej Grabowski, Izabela Dabrowska, Lech Dyblik, Robert Wabich, Michal Zbroja

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Whole Truth

Vampire Owl: There is a lot of talk about truth going on around here.

Vampire Bat: It is something that humans never try to speak.

Vampire Owl: Humans haven’t been close to truth for a long time.

Vampire Bat: Truth just doesn’t suit them. They are basically liars. You cannot blame them for going back to their basic nature.

Vampire Owl: Their basic nature is related to robbery and murder.

Vampire Bat: It is really difficult to talk about human nature. They are pure evil.

Vampire Owl: Yes, which is why many witches travel to their world and try to kill a few of them or transform them into better creatures like cats and dogs.

Vampire Bat: It is the same reason why we don’t have Vampire Cats anymore.

Vampire Owl: Human existence has no real meaning related to anything other than evil.

Vampire Bat: If Corona virus makes them go extinct, it can be called a pure evil thing.

[Gets a marble cake and three glasses of mango shake].

What is the movie about? :: Mai (Nicole Theriault) is living happily with her two children, Pim (Sutatta Udomsilp) and Putt (Mac Nattapat Nimjirawat) in the city of Bangkok, until she meets with an accident on her way back home from office, on the same day that she received a promotion at her office. She is now in a coma, and even though out of critical situation, has to stay in the ICU. It is then that their grandparents come to visit them – Phong (Sompob Benjathikul) and Wan (Tarika Tidatid) takes them to their ancestral home. The house is quite a large one, and Phong says that Wan is not really well, and due to her dementia, she also needs some taking care of. At the same time, Mai has some severe injury to her brain, and it will take some time for her to get better. Until then, the two siblings will have to stay in their ancestral home, even though they are not really comfortable about it. They take everything from home, and place them at the new place, as they feel that they are for a very long time. But this doesn’t seem that good a place for them.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, the cat which they brought there from the original home is no longer found. They are also able to find a hole on the wall, which the grandparents don’t find to be present. They blame the children for making up things which are not there, and advises them to stop looking for cats. There is something going on in the house, and it feels really strange for the siblings. When Putt looks through the hole, he sees a strange girl on the other side, and it does seem like a strange house on the other side there. At the same time, Fame (Sadanont Durongkaweroj), a boy who studies with Pim, comes to the house and warns them about leaking a video of her showering in the gym. He is also not able to see the hole on the wall either, but is pulled to the wall, hurting his nose. He leaves the place with a broken nose, telling Pim that he will leak her naked video on the internet. As the grandmother reaches home, she sees the blood on the floor and losses her mind for a few minutes. Pim and Putt understand that things can get only worse from there, as there are some secrets out there.

The defence of The Whole Truth :: Even though this particular movie is from Thailand, there is the feeling of watching a Korean film – that kind of quality is here with the visuals. It also gets into action quite fast, and we are glad to follow it around early enough. The idea of the hole in the wall which provides some strange visions is nice, especially with the arrangements on the other side. The feeling of danger is always effectively there. This does bring some scares, but the film is more about mystery, revealing a few things about human nature, rather than anything else. The theme of the movie is related to how people only give half truths, manipulating everything to suit their own versions. The film also has a nice way of revealing everything, through visions and incidents. The way that it keeps us in suspense is good, as we are not really sure which way it is to go, not just about the ghostly figure, but also about how the leading lady’s situation would be, in the school – there are even twists about her life there, and the supernatural only comes later.

Positives and negatives :: The Rings creature feeling is there for sure, as if to provide something like a repetition, for that is one demonic presence which everyone has liked for a long time. There were also so many more possibilities for the incidents of the movie to progress, and it could have used better clarity at some parts. The ending could have also been more direct. There are moments when it makes us feel that this is going to be like The Visit, but it is surely not going that way. Also, the movie’s drama feels a lot like Indian films at times, and therefore, it is more relatable to our audience. The ghost here more like the past which continues to haunt us, reminding us of a few dialogues in Crimson Peak. The idea of the ghost trying to tell the truth, or rather the whole truth is not something new, but this one takes different steps towards it. The way in which this movie changes your expectations in between, is also notable. There is no early clue about what we have in the end, for the twists work in that way, and make this one effective.

Performers of the soul :: Among the performers, it is Sutatta Udomsilp who stands the strongest, as the elder grandchild and sister who has to stay strong in the absence of her mother. She reflects a number of scream queens which we have seen in Hollywood movies, and still has a lovely touch of divergence that relates her to horror movie stars of Bollywood too. She expresses herself incredibly well throughout the different events, from the emotional ones to the scary ones. Nicole Theriault has only the first few minutes as the mother, as she gets to face the car accident too soon, waking up much late. Mac Nattapat Nimjirawat plays the young brother figure who is weakened, pretty well. Sompob Benjathikul plays the grandfather figure with a lot of strength, while Tarika Tidatid fits into the grandmother role with ease. Sadanont Durongkaweroj plays the usual creepy boy who reminds one of the Drishyam boy who got buried under the police station, after capturing the video of the showering girl. Thasorn Klinnium, who is only there for a few minutes, also has her contribution.

How it finishes :: The Whole Truth is the first Thai movie at Movies of the Soul, and it did come late, when we look at the foreign language movies at the website. Even though there have been many movies which came close to becoming the first, this one finally made it way here through Netflix. It is rather surprising that we have already had Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and Indonesian movies here to add to a South East Asian list, there hasn’t been any from Thailand. This movie changes that in style. Movies like Furie, Impetigore, The Wandering Earth and Train to Busan were all movies which had something special in their own ways, coming from different countries and languages. The Whole Truth proved to be a fine example with which to start Thai films. When we had visited Pattaya and Bangkok, we did really want to watch a movie or two, but that didn’t happen because of the busy schedule of the trips. At least, that desire is fulfilled for now. As we go through the beginning of the new year, let us hope that more wishes can be fulfilled in 2022.

Release date: 2nd December 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Wisit Sasanatieng
Starring: Sutatta Udomsilp, Tarika Tidatid, Sompob Benjathikul, Sadanont Durongkaweroj, Steven Isarapong, Thasorn Klinnium, Mac Nattapat Nimjirawat, Keetapat Pongrue, Nicole Theriault

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Pale Door

Vampire Owl: How pale is the door?

Vampire Bat: It cannot be that pale as the door to Uncle Dracula’s door.

Vampire Owl: It won’t be as pale as life itself.

Vampire Bat: Life will get better after Corona virus ends.

Vampire Owl: There is no life after COVID-19 ends.

Vampire Bat: How can you be so sure about?

Vampire Owl: The world has now become more evil, you know that.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but that is related to the humans only.

Vampire Owl: The realms are going to collide at some point of time.

Vampire Bat: When they do, we will be ready to face the evil humans and their weapons including hatred and fear.

[Gets some French fries and three glasses of pista shake].

What is the movie about? :: One day, a home is raided by a gang of thieves who are heavily armed. Two children survive the terrifying incident, while the parents are shot dead. The house is also burnt down, but the two boys decide to move on with the help of an acquaintance. The younger of the two brothers, Jake (Devin Druid) is working in a saloon, while Duncan (Zachary Knighton), the elder brother is leading the Dalton gang, a group of robbers who come up with some big heists all the time. When one their gang members die in a gang fight, they are in need of more manpower for a train heist which might be the best of their career. Even though Duncan is not sure about allowing his younger brother to involved in anything related to guns, Jake doesn’t back down, and the gang finally decides to take him because of the urgent requirement. They find the train heist to quite an easy job, and they find the chest which was being guarded there, and manage to escape with the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Instead of finding any gold or money in the chest, they end up finding a young lady tied up inside. The girl introduces herself as Pearl (Natasha Bassett), and tells them that her home is in Potemkin, from where she was taken by these people. She also promises them some fine reward if they take her home. As the gang also wants to have some treatment for the wounded Duncan, they decide to go to her town which is closer than the rest of the civilization. As they reach the town, they try to find a doctor first, but there is nothing in the place, but woods with one small cottage in between, much to their dismay. Pearl does offer them help, as they are forced to follow her deep into the woods, and she tells them that they live in a brothel. As they are welcomed at the brothel by the one who seems to be their leader, Maria (Melora Walters) also promises that they will have the reward soon enough. But soon they realize that there is something different about this brothel, and they won’t really like that.

The defence of The Pale Door :: The movie does have a lot of action with the gun shots, and the witches are also there, which makes this a divergent type of film in comparison to those usual films which have one of these. The transform between the western heist and the world of magic and witchcraft is nicely done with the surprise working well. The message of evil being present at all times, and the final moments after building the atmosphere works pretty well, even though it doesn’t become a full horror movie at any moment as expected. There are moments which come back to the main characters as revelations about the past, and the setting within the forest brings the need for being frightened, in a strong enough manner. Placing the outlaws against the witches is a pretty good idea, as we look at it, and can also have an extended version of the same in a sequel, as the latter can go on forever, and be back for more innocent blood to sustain them. A successful mixing of these genres is exactly what has helped around here.

The claws of flaw :: The problem with this film is that it is too slow for our liking, and there are more dialogues than action on many different occasions. The movie is also really slow to go through its problems, and the beginning moments have too many scenes which keep on dragging the film until we reach the much needed action. Even though the witches are shown in their true forms, there could have been more especially related to one of them bathing in the blood of the victims, a moment that reminds of the ancient legends. The moment required an extended version, and also the hunting which the witches come up with. Just like the vampires, the witches are always capable of more, and this one doesn’t touch those abilities enough around here. The idea of witchcraft always have enough strength to rise as strong as the vampires and zombies who have ruled the world of cinema for quite a long time, and this time, they don’t go for where the strength lies the most – instead, the safe side seems to have more of an attention than anything else.

Performers of the soul :: Devin Druid as Jake and Zachary Knighton as Duncan are given importance in brotherly bond, but beyond that, they don’t work that much within limitations. Stan Shaw as Lester makes a strong impact among the group in comparison. Bill Sage and Pat Healy are fine in what they do. Melora Walters does make a fine witch with a mission here, and there is the past that is related to her, and works fine enough. Natasha Bassett makes a fine witch for the future, and might be one of the most charming of the group. There are other witches added around here, and Ashley Couch appears in the blood bath, the one which had the scope to be the most notable scene in the film, but the same gets limited – she still has one’s attention there though. As a film which deviates to witchcraft early enough, there could have been more focus on each witch character here, but the same is not provided that much of a significance around here. But the witches don’t get their due, and that is somewhat a shame, considering the possibilities.

How it finishes :: The movie seems to have done pretty well as a low budget horror movie, and has enough to keep itself strong with the big reveal that comes later. There is not that much to make a heavy entertaining impact, but the film manages well enough with what they have. Maybe, if this had left idea of the wild west behind, and focused on the witches and their past, with the forest being the permanent setting, things could have been better. Even a medieval setting in England could have lifted this one better. Yet, there is something about the film and its witches which will keep it going. During the time when the Corona virus pandemic is coming up its omicron variant, one can say that this kind of a variant can also serve the purpose. At a time when the supernatural are going down due to the strength of COVID-19 and the evil that the humans are bringing, we all need our original demons, witches, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and zombies – let us take these witches for now and enjoy what we can, while staying safe during the omicron-active Christmas season.

Release date: 21st August 2020
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Aaron B Koontz
Starring: Devin Druid, Zachary Knighton, Melora Walters, Natasha Bassett, Tina Parker, Ashley Couch, Bill Sage, Pat Healy, Stan Shaw, Noah Segan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Don’t Listen

Vampire Owl: We, vampires don’t really need to listen because we know.

Vampire Bat: Still, we don’t know everything.

Vampire Owl: I know almost everything, and I am sure about that.

Vampire Bat: Your certainty of knowledge only creates doubts.

Vampire Owl: My doubts are the results of me knowing, and nothing more.

Vampire Bat: You should at least listen to Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula is no longer a proper source of knowledge.

Vampire Bat: I feel that you are thinking about starting a revolution.

Vampire Owl: Nonsense. I am not a revolutionary. I am beyond that.

Vampire Bat: Okay, let us see how far you can take that.

[Gets a vanilla chake and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: Daniel (Rodolfo Sancho) and Sara (Belen Fabra) moves into a new house with their son Eric (Lucas Blas), and hopes that they would have a happy time there, as it is a big house in the beautiful countryside. But things don’t turn out to be that good as they had expected. In this old house in a rural setting, they are not longer happy. Daniel and Sara still plans to restore and sell the house, and they don’t care much about the voices which Erice talks about, and the fact that he cannot sleep much either. Soon, a psychiatrist who comes to help Eric dies, seemingly in the same way as Eric was drawing. Eric also had the feeling that the voices were making him draw things. The boy continues to make problems at the school too, and keeps waking up at night, screaming aloud. The problems continue in the house with further weird occurrences, and soon Eric is found dead in a swimming pool just outside the house on a strange night. This separates the two who can no longer handle the pain of losing the child.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Sara is not able to handle it anymore and moves to her parents’ place, but Daniel decides to stay in the house and renovate it to sell it some day. Sara hopes that he will leave the house with terrible memories and follow her back to the city soon enough. That night, when he records a voice message and sends it to Sara, there are many voices in it. Right in there, he hears the voice of Eric, asking for his help. The same frightens him and he meets a supernatural investigator specialized in electronic voice with a paranormal touch. He is the one who is supposed to have gone through so many of similar paranormal events and have written books related to the same. Even though he is reluctant to believe the depressed father in the beginning, he finally decides to have a look, and travels to the place with his daughter, hoping to find something. Everything seems normal from a distance, but as they go inside, there are a few things that need to be taken care of.

The defence of Don’t Listen :: The atmosphere is well created for the movie, with everything happening in a house in the middle of nowhere. This is a house with a past, and it is located perfectly away from civilization for the people other world to make an appearance. Visually, it has a fine score, and it also scores well with the sound effects that asserts the supernatural presence strongly. The movie had also got into action quite early. It does have its scares, and there are some effective ones around here that does have the repetitive elements, but do work as we would have wanted it to. There are some interesting moments in the end, and there is a twist to go with it too. The haunting of this particular house and the people associated with it does have a different touch at times, along with the added history. It is to be noted that the movie has managed to achieve most of its positive things without using much of the gory elements, and with a simple tale. You have watched Hollywood do this before, and now we have the same in Spanish.

The claws of flaw :: This is another movie which reminds us of the usual horror films of Hollywood, even though not exactly the same as The Conjuring, The Nun, Annabelle, Sinister or Insidious – the common ones of our times which people try to watch all the time. It doesn’t move that much away from the usual path here too. The ideas of witchcraft and possession could have been much stronger here. The tale could have been twisted at many points, but they go for the safe background story yet again. The film is also slow in parts, and when there were so many opportunities to minimize such problems, it doesn’t make the best use of them. There were moments of horror which could have been better used, and the atmosphere could have been heavily worked on. After all, we have gone through so much of horror already, and there are enough resources to elevate the level of horror. Without thinking enough about the same, a horror film is more of a work of mystery, and that is the pothole where the movie almost fell during an earlier point.

Performers of the soul :: Rodolfo Sancho plays the father figure, and the one who is looking to get his son back in whatever way possible – the good father is played well, and he goes through the horror elements well too. The final moments have him at his best too. Belen Fabra plays the mother with less to do, but the two make the family well enough. Ana Fernandez is the one who catches our attention the most though, and she also plays the smarter character around there. She takes on the supernatural rather sensibly, and there is the bond with the father that runs through. She should give a try with Hollywood horror too. Ramon Barea is more or less the usual paranormal activist that we see around, and he suits the role very well – very much with experience. The kid has very less to do in comparison, as death comes rather too fast for him. As it is in most of the horror films, it is the demonic presence that maintains the scary work.

How it finishes :: Don’t Listen makes an attempt at the usual horror, with some differences which comes with the “voice” idea. One would have wished for it to bring more horror, but it does have some fine points. We do need our horror movies at regular intervals. It is good enough to watch one more horror film, while waiting for Ezra to be remade for Bollywood. We cannot be sure about that remake’s quality, but from the trailer, it is certain that it is done well enough. Corona virus pandemic has unleashed a different kind of horror into our world, and the usual horror is currently of lesser significance, but we await the return of the monsters of the night, as well as the demons which are part of our life. As we are certain that they will slowly and steadily return to haunt us, Don’t Listen is a pretty good reminder that we can go back to that at some point. Until we get to that particular horror, let us be safe from the present terror, the COVID-19 pandemic. We do have too many horror movies to watch in our short life time.

Release date: 24th July 2020
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Angel Gomez Hernandez
Starring: Rodolfo Sancho, Ana Fernandez, Ramon Barea, Bethlehem Fabra, Lucas de Blas, Nerea Barros, Javier Botet , Viti Suarez, Ruben Corvo, Jorge Oubel, Peter van randen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aarkkariyam

What is the movie about? :: Ittyavira (Biju Menon) is a retired mathematics teacher who is spending his time alone in a village in the district of Kottayam. At the same time, his daughter Shirley (Parvathy Thiruvothu) and her second husband Roy (Sharafudheen) are living in Andheri, Mumbai, and are planning to come back to Kerala after some time, despite the COVID-19 restrictions being further imposed everywhere. The coming of Corona has kept all of them in their own space, without much contact with outside world, and the spread of Corona virus had also brought some financial crisis to Roy and Shirley. The former’s business was already failing and there is no success in mutual fund either. The two manage to come all the way to Kerala to Shirley’s hometown and meet Ittyvira, who is really happy to see them. But they are also not able to meet their daughter, as the borders are closed. They apply for permission, but soon, a nation-wide lock-down is imposed, and they are all stuck there in their home in the village.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The lock-down changes their lives by a long way, and the restrictions reach their place too. The already interior home now feels even more away from civilization. This is the time when people were only beginning to understand the COVID-19 situation, and everyone was expecting all these problems to be solved as the virus would eradicated in the end of lock-down. One of the consignments of Roy is now stuck with the customs, and without that, there is nothing much that can be done. Now, the only way to get some quick money so that they can pay back Vyshak (Saiju Kurup) is by selling the ancestral lands, and it is Ittyvira who provides them that idea. But there are some complications related to the same, as there seems to be some secrets from the past which need to be taken care of. Roy begins to feel uncomfortable about the same, but there is nothing that he can do, other than worry about the same.

The defence of Aarkkariyam :: Aarkkariyam would seem to be a usual film in a village setting, but it is surely more than that – we get the idea only later though. Every moment in this movie nicely contributes to keep it going, and it is not that long either with each second in there used in an interesting manner. It does have that fine punch at the interval, something that makes the film take another route from the second half. The title itself is a worthy one here, as we keep wondering who all knows about a number of things including a sinister event and a person who was involved in the same. The performance of the three main characters elevates the film further, and the supporting cast is also interesting. The surroundings are nicely created, and the feeling of Pala-Kanjirappilly area is given with the rural touch everywhere, from the people to the environment. The film also focuses on the different opinions that different people would have about one person, and how polarized the same happens to be – how one can pretend to be good among the common people.

The claws of flaw :: Aarkkariyam is not the kind of movie which you would expect, as it has a certain deviation in store there. It is also slow at times, and there are lots of moments when nothing happens, even though they do contribute to the mood. There is also the presence of some usual cliché stuff here, but the same will go on and pass. Even if it feels like family drama, it doesn’t suit into that genre completely, and one would have doubt about the kind of audience it is actually looking for – even though we can keep it for the common audience in general. A little bit more of the moments in Mumbai and their return to hometown as well as a few twists in between would have helped more, even if it would deviate further away from the genre. It was an opportunity for something more, and there was the chance to be a classic, but the film manages to keep it going straight and without adding any special ingredient into it – maybe because there was the feeling that it was not needed, like Kungfu Panda would agree.

The performers of the soul :: This movie, as expected has Biju Menon with a performance to remember, and that too with a different kind of work. He has embraced this role like Vijayaraghavan did, as he moved from the usual kind of hero to the senior roles. Much elder to Biju Menon, he would be the one we would expect in a role like this, something which he has done in earlier films, but not as the protagonist like we see here. We know that other older superstars are still playing the characters of lower age group, but Biju Menon has had the courage to take it to the next level. If we remember his last few films, we will see that this difference in looks has come unexpected, and by a long way. Even as everything is kept simple about the character, there is always something to remember with this act. There are also those simple dialogues will stay, and sometimes come back – it is one realistic performance to remember as we look at it.

Further performers of the soul :: The movie is indeed about Biju Menon, but others do play their part too. Parvathy Thiruvothu once again has a role to remember, as she blends in here nicely, just like she has done so many times with ease not limited to her most appreciated performances in Uyare, Charlie and Ennu Ninte Moideen. She does get pushed to the background though, as the film progresses. It is also nice to see Sharafudheen in a serious role this time. We have been so much used to see him in those comic roles, except for that villainy in Varathan and the psychotic side in Anjaam Pathira, but those were kind of exaggerated when we have a look back – this is really a fine change here from the early comic side in Premam and the same later in Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela. The two match with their performances, and the cast has worked really well. Saiju Kurup plays the supporting role in the usual kind of way, but could have been part of more of the action too. Shoba Mohan is the only person here who gives the feeling that we have seen the person before.

How it finishes :: The first movie directed by cinematographer Sanu John Varghese is not something that we can leave behind. This is the kind of movie which I would have surely watched in the theatre early enough, if there was no COVID-19. It was a good decision to release this one on Amazon Prime Video along with Neestream, Roots Video and Cave OTT platforms because most of us were always going to watch it on Prime Video only – it is still difficult to find the movie there because of the spelling required to be exactly as it is when searching, and surprisingly it is also not on the list of the new film releases on Amazon. But we do get to it anyway, and during this time of lock-down and triple lock-down in Kerala, this is the kind of movie that reminds us of last year’s lock-down exactly as it is, and it is more or less a realistic experience that we go through – the kind which we had seen in Joji, and also in Nayattu even though this one keeps the thriller side at a distance.

Release date: 1st April 2021 (Theatre), 19th May 2021 (Amazon Prime Video, Neestream, Roots Video, Cave)
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Sanu John Varghese
Starring: Biju Menon, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sharafudheen, Arya Salim, Ganga G Nair, Saiju Kurup, Thejaswi Praveen, Shoba Mohan, Jacob George, Pramod Veliyanad

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Charlie’s Angels

Vampire Owl: I remember having watched those two older versions.

Vampire Bat: You mean the movies with Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu.

Vampire Owl: Yes, during those times, it was a change from the usual action movies which we managed to get locally.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I watched the movie at a time when the CD versions were just getting to be popular, replacing the video cassettes.

Vampire Owl: We have to go, like twenty years backwards. We are really old, aren’t we?

Vampire Bat: It is still a very small number of years in vampire time.

Vampire Owl: That is true, but when we look at the actresses involved here, we know that there is more to it than just vampire time.

Vampire Bat: Unless they come with something like Charlie’s Vampires.

Vampire Owl: I don’t think that they would want vampires doing this job.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not, especially if they start running out of the usual options.

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

What is the movie about? :: John Bosley (Patrick Stewart), a senior operative, plans and executes a mission with his angels perfectly, and soon, enters retirement, with a programme which appreciates what he had done for a long time during his stay in the organization. Meanhile, Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), an engineer working under the millionaire Alexander Brok (Sam Claflin), wants to take a secret out regarding their new project Callisto, and their head of development, Peter Fleming (Nat Faxon) who is planning something sinister. She understands that the device which was supposed to be used for clean and cheap energy, has potential to be weaponized, and some people already have eyes on that. She has a meeting with Edgar Dessange (Djimon Hounsou), and the two angels operatives Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) and Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) has an eye on them in case something happens.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But, they are attacked by an assassin known only as Hodak (Jonathan Tucker), and are chased all around the city by him, until they end up in a river, and Edgar is dead. Rebekah Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) who is in charge, gets them together, and their injuries and troubles are taken care of by the person whom they referred to as the Saint (Luis Gerardo Mendez). They decide to sneak into Brok’s corporate headquarters so that they can steal the remaining Calisto prototypes before someone manage to use it, and make copies of it. Along with Elena, the other two angels also gets in using different ids, but despite their best efforts, they fail. Fleming has the only existing Callisto models, and they find him traveling to Istanbul, Turkey – they decide to follow them, with Elena also given the angel equipments, to serve as the electronics and computer expert, or rather the hacker. But can they find out the real villain here?

The defence of Charlie’s Angels :: Elizabeth Banks not only acts in this movie, but is also the director, and she has nicely managed to make this version of the angels a very entertaining one. There are some nicely managed action sequences, as heists, explosions and chases become just part of this movie which also manages to have a certain amount of humour maintained throughout its run, and its two hours of run-time ends quickly enough. Most of the credit for the same goes to Naomi Scott, both directly and indirectly. The visuals are good, with some interesting locations being explored by the camera along with the angels. It has to be said that was high time they had another movie in this franchise, as we always have space for films like these which takes things lightly, along with the serious ones which get all the sequels – Mission Impossible kind of stuff. This one is sure to make you ask for a sequel, not making one waiting too long.

The claws of flaw :: Considering the fact that this is a movie which has arrived years after the earlier version, there was a lot of time to bring some innovation, but there is no such thing being attempted here. The movie focuses more on action thriller cliches to make the best out of its material, but it should have opted for changes. The plot also has its own predictable elements, and the twist that it has is rather minute, and is not there to stay. As usual, there is the new recruit, the rookie who will learn things, and finally join the team, as beating up some evil men becomes a reason for them travel all around the world at a time when there was no COVID-19 – maybe they wouldn’t do that these days. You might also miss the great popularity of Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, the three leads of the original version, as the actresses who play the same roles in this movie are those whom most of the film lovers of this part of the world might not be familiar with, except for Kristen Stewart.

Performers of the soul :: Elizabeth Banks, the director plays a major role in this movie, and does that well, and most people will always remember her for the role in the dystopian science fiction thriller, The Hunger Games, and its sequels. But the one who catches our attention the most is Naomi Scott, who plays the girl who changes from being clueless to becoming the angel. She was recently seen in Aladdin, and she was there in Power Rangers with Elizabeth Banks, playing one of the protagonists and the antagonist respectively. Ella Balinska is the next one to catch our attention, a relatively new face to most of us, who hasn’t really watched the movies in which she acted, and she makes one fine angel. Kristen Stewart was the one person whom I doubted when playing an angel because I had only seen her in the Twilight series and Snow White and the Huntsman, but she is surprisingly good here, and along with the other angels, she brings a lot of the funny side into action. Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Tucker are the appreciable male members of the cast.

How it finishes :: When we compare this new version of Charlie’s Angels to the old ones, this one seems to have a certain advantage with what seems to be a very energetic young cast and more fun than those which we had watched a long time ago, but we remember that we also loved them, and had that novelty with bigger names related to it. Not many movies which come back after a long time makes an impact, unless you have a Stephen King novel for support like Doctor Sleep. The movie is one light-hearted, quick, smart and humorous adventure which you will remember for long, and even bring a certain amount of nostalgia related to those older versions. There are only a few movies like Jumanji which can effectively use action and comedy, and Charlie’s Angels is a movie which has risen again to try and do that, and even though not as good as that movie on a game, this one is also a lot of fun to watch.

Release date: 15th November 2019
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks
Starring: Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo, Nat Faxon, Patrick Stewart

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Courier

Vampire Owl: Did you collect your parcel from the Vampire Courier Service?

Vampire Bat: No, I didn’t. What did it have?

Vampire Owl: How can I know? I was just notified that you had a courier.

Vampire Bat: Okay, so they don’t deliver at the vampire castle.

Vampire Owl: No, not after the Corona Virus crisis.

Vampire Bat: So, they think that the vampire castle is infected beyond redemption.

Vampire Owl: Yes, they think so because of the large number of human visitors who were at the castle last month.

Vampire Bat: Well, nobody trusts the humans these days.

Vampire Owl: I don’t remember the last time any of our people trusted them.

Vampire Bat: When we keep them away, things will get better, and the couriers will be delivering at home.

[Gets a chicken puffs and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: A young woman is tied to a chair at the middle of a parking lot and from the blood on her body, it seems that she was brutally tortured. As she struggles to breathe, she is about to be run down by an accelerating car when it goes to a flashback. Gary Oldman (Ezekiel Mannings) is one of the most powerful crime lords who has his business running in the United States of America and Europe, someone whom nobody dares to question or testify against, until Nick Murch (Amit Shah) makes the decision to go to the police, after witnessing a murder committed by him. For the interpol and the FBI, this is the first time that someone came forward to testify against the much feared crime lord, as usually only the dead bodies remain whenever someone tries to do something like that. The crime lord’s seductive, psychotic and manipulative daughter Alys Mannings (Calli Taylor) would not tolerate the fact that her father was arrested from a church, and was put on house arrest while he awaited trial.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The interpol officers lead by Agent Simmonds (Alicia Agneson) takes Nick to a safe house where they are supposed to stay and contact the court using the live stream video, but when a courier (Olga Kurylenko) rings a bell to deliver a package, things begin to go differently. The courier is the same lady who was tortured in the beginning of the movie, and it turns out that the parcel which she brought with her was something which would mean death. Simmonds shoots her, and turns rogue, trying to kill Nick, and blame it on the courier, who manages to attack her back, and almost kill the agent. Nick escapes from the floor with the help of the courier who seems to have some skill in fighting, but they are caught in the underground parking lot, surrounded by men who wants to kill them. They keep on running through different levels of the parking lot, as more and more men who seems to be mercenaries keep coming. Can Nick somehow manage to testify at the court with the help of the stranger?

The defence of The Courier :: A fine package of action can be seen in the form of The Courier which has all its fights set in just one place where the two protagonists as well as those who are trying to kill them are set – the movie keeps the three classical unities of place, time and action, with everything happening at the same place, and ending, with only one mission to save the witness. Olga Kurylenko is the one person who keeps the action at top level, and even after these many years, she remains a level apart from the other actresses, except for Rebecca Ferguson who is the perfect action impossible girl who also was the psychic vampire in Doctor Sleep. The action sequences are all made in a believable style, as we see her fighting – landing the punches, kicks, gunshots and bike stunts in a parking lot so well in this ride full of thrills. The stunts are all stylish and believable here, with no exaggeration at all.

The claws of flaw :: The Courier is a movie which always had a lot of scope, and could have had a better background tale for it too. There could have been more use of the motor-bike, and also something more about her past and her new life as a courier, which can be linked to The Transporter considering what she does, and to Die Hard considering the fact that they are locked in a building, and has to survive – Olga Kurylenko is Jason Statham, Bruce Willis and even Tom Cruise at some points, but it is good to see the lady action star coming up with more in a realistic way, as you are not supposed to look for something exaggerated around here, for that is not the kind of action which we have here. The dialogues could have been better, and with one of them, they could have explained the Kevlar jacket and a little more. Maybe it could have also had its antagonist to do more, and as it was quite a big building, possibilities were endless.

Performers of the soul :: Olga Kurylenko is a name not unknown to us, as we have seen her in a lot of movies, and she has handled the action genre really well throughout the years – she is someone who means business as far as fighting is concerned. The last one of them was on the funny side with Johnny English Strikes Again, but she had movies like Hitman, Max Payne, Oblivion, November Man, Centurion and the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. Age is showing on the Bond girl, and she is not that lean figure anymore, but her skills with action sequences have only gotten better here. Alicia Agneson looks fine as the special agent when she is there, but her stay is limited, leaving us with hope to see more of her another day. Meanwhile, Calli Taylor has some nice moments, and you cannot doubt her about not being a crime lord’s daughter here. Gary Oldman makes a solid crime lord, and we feel that he is capable of lots of evil, and can always find opportunities for evil with him around. Amit Shah also does a fine job, and adds some humour too, and nobody should be confused about the name.

How it finishes :: Happening at a place within a limited time with one motive, this movie which would make Aristotle happy with its unities, manages to be higher than the level of many other action movies of the same kind. The reviews about this movie hasn’t been that good, but after you watch this movie, you will understand that there is not much that this movie could have done to make them feel better, as this is one wonderful action fest full of thrills, and Olga Kurylenko is the one lady action star who could pull this off so easily. You can always trust Olga to do that, and for the same reason, you can go for this one without second thoughts like I did. I am sure that the audience from this part of the world would like it even more. Just forget those reviews, some of which are not even explaining why they didn’t like this flick, and enjoy The Courier like you would have enjoyed most of those action movies with a male lead.

Release date: 22nd November 2019
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Zackary Adler
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Alicia Agneson, Gary Oldman, Amit Shah, Greg Orvis, Craig Conway, William Moseley, Dermot Mulroney

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Girl on the 3rd Floor

Vampire Owl: What shall we find on the third floor?

Vampire Bat: What if there is no third floor?

Vampire Owl: If there is someone on the third floor, there would be that floor, right?

Vampire Bat: The movie itself seems to depend on illusions and hallucinations, and so we cannot ignore that possibility.

Vampire Owl: Well, death can also be an illusion. Not everyone really dies.

Vampire Bat: And not everyone really lives. I have heard that.

Vampire Owl: I have read some highly polarized reviews on this movie, and so I will also be having some doubts before watching it.

Vampire Bat: Maybe it is a case of the movie being watched only by two entirely different levels of auidence?

Vampire Owl: Well, maybe we can serve as that missing level.

Vampire Bat: This one has CM Punk, and so with all those WWE memories, we need to.

[Gets a marble cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: Don Koch (CM Punk / Phil Brooks) wants to have a new beginning in life, as things don’t go that well as expected and his wife Liz Koch (Trieste Kelly Dunn) is carrying. According to him, the mother and the child would enter a new house which he bought in the Chicago countryside, and he himself would be renovating it. Without any professional help, he stays at the new house, and prepares it. He meets their religious neighbour Ellie Mueller (Karen Woditsch) from whom he understands that the house has a terrible past, and he even hears some strange sounds inside, pointing to supernatural interventions. He also meets Sarah Yates (Sarah Brooks) who is supposed to be living just near the house, and almost starts a relationship with her, only to try and keep her away after one night in the name of his wife and unborn child.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Don meets Sarah again on the next few days, but decides to avoid her and keep her out of the house, even though she seems to try to visit him every day. He calls Liz’s friend Milo Stone (Travis Delgado) for helping with the work, as the house seems to have a lot more to be done every day, with more and more faults being exposed, and part of it actually falling down – even the piping and electrical lines don’t seem to work well enough. But, as Milo finds out about Sarah, he is not happy at all, as he knows much about Don’s earlier life and how he used to be a cheating husband and a hedonist with no control over his activities. Sarah takes Milo to the basement and murders him with the help of a girl with a distorted face, coming out of the walls of the house. She also manages to kill his dog which seems to be watching everything. Don doesn’t have any idea what is happening, and there is more to the house than what meets the eye.

The defence of Girl on the Third Floor :: There have been many similar movies resembling Girl on the Third Floor in the past, but this might easily be the simplest of them all. The movie does provide the feeling that the house is alive from the beginning itself, and there are those moments which keep us guessing, on the edge of the seats. There is always something within the walls of the house, and it includes a walking, mutilated corpse – but what we see more are those coming out through the holes on the wall and the plugpoints, none of them giving an idea that the terror will be over anytime soon. Danger is established as a part of living in this particular house, that too without showing the mutilated figure much, and there is no violent shaking or shadows telling tales – this haunting is realistic and there is not much of special effects used here either. There are some messages to go with it too.

The claws of flaw :: Girl on the Third Floor is quite slow with its proceedings from the beginning itself. At no point does it seem to try to speed up things, quite satisfied with the pace with which it is working. Even though it is okay to go that slow in the beginning stages, the same can’t be said about the later situation, when picking up pace was needed towards the end. There is no big scare jump in the last few minutes unlike what was expected with all these established much earlier. The movie also ends with scope for a sequel with the process seemingly going on to continue, but there is no real explanation for that. There is no big cast to support the movie, and there is zero humour here, providing nothing to support in between. Parts of this movie can also be confusing for some people, as not many things are that direct in comparison to the usual horror movies with a haunted house at its centre and a mysterious girl.

Performers of the soul :: CM Punk a.k.a. Phillip Jack Brooks is not the person you have known as part of movies, or even television series and short-films. He is a mixed martial artist, but he is best known for his time in WWE, where he had some of the biggest matches in the industry written by his name. In wrestling entertainment, his four hundred and thirty four day WWE Championship reign happens to be the longest of this century. He had retired from all professional wrestling in early 2014, continuing in mixed martial arts, but he still has that skill for cinema shown by WWE stars, particularly The Rock whose recent movie, Jumanji: The Next Level was a big entertainer. CM Punk doesn’t disappoint in this flick, as he plays the role really well, and so does Trieste Kelly Dunn who plays the pregnant wife with all the worries. Sarah Brooks is really good as the girl in the house, and she has the mysterious person here under control.

How it finishes :: Girl on the Third Floor, despite its simple appearance, has enough to keep it going forward within the horror genre. With its setting and led by a WWE superstar, there is enough fuel that is in store and is used well. There is only limited resource that gets burned, and still, the effect is more. The usual Insidious and The Conjuring more of scares are not to be expected, as there are more like The Nun and Annabelle to support such cases. This one is rather the old style movie with a haunted house which doesn’t spend time scaring its protagonist all the time, but instead gets through him in parts, slowly and steadily. It is the house which preys the on a hero’s flaws, and as that includes overconfidence and arrogance, things take a turn for the worse. That would be a reason for a ghost to act on it, and you can’t really blame the supernatural being in that case. Along with this, you can also watch other lesser known horror movies like In the Tall Grass.

Release date: 25th October 2019
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Travis Stevens
Starring: CM Punk, Sarah Brooks, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Elissa Dowling, Karen Woditsch, Tonya Kay, Travis Delgado, Marshall Bean, Bishop Stevens, Anish Jethmalani

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Balan Vakeel

What is the movie about? :: S Balakrishnan (Dileep) is a lawyer who works under the reputed advocate Pramod Sujanapalan (Arjun Nandakumar). But he hasn’t been able to achieve much in his professional career due to his stammer, even though he was known to be a smart & intelligent person during his college days. His father and mother (Siddique and Bindu Panicker) are concerned about him, but are sure that he can only be a failure in life, with former also being a chain smoker who tries different drugs. His first successful case is that of Ansaar Ali Khan (Aju Varghese), a local goon who is involved in a robbery case. Ansaar doesn’t have the cash to pay as his fees, and therefore provides him with a place to stay at low rent. But this new place has Irumbu Babu’s (Bheeman Raghu) presence, and he considers it to be his own room and wants him to leave. But it will be the smallest of his problems.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that his brother-in-law P Mohanan Pillai (Suraj Venjaramoodu) comes up with a plan to make some easy money. He asks Balakrishnan to be a part of it, and she accepts the same reluctantly. He sends a notice to a given address asking for compensation in the name of a woman (Priya Anand) who claims to have been abused by the person at the address. But it turns out that it is the address of the DGP of Kerala Police, KE Eapen (Renji Panicker) who is suprised to get the same. The charge of investigation goes to Indhulekha Marar (Lena) who gets only a limited amount of time to solve the case. Meanwhile it turns out that the person whose name is in the letter is Anuradha Sudharshan (Mamta Mohandas), a woman who is completely unaware of this. There seems to be some conspiracy behind all these. But there is no clue regarding where to begin.

The defence of Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel :: There are the twists in store in Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel for sure, and there is mystery awaiting to be revealed, related to a conspiracy. We also have incidents which seems to reflect reality, but there is the certainty of exaggeration regarding the same. The emotional flashback in the movie becomes effective with the last twist, but otherwise it feels strange, and makes you wait the whole time trying to find something out of it. There is also the presence of a fine cast to support everything out there, making sure that they manage all that this movie can provide. There is some good humour out there, even though not throughout the flick. It is seen more in the initial stages, starting from the introduction of the main character itself. The interval punch is strong enough to make one interested in the second half, even though the first half wasn’t that much there.

The claws of flaw :: It can be seen that there is no attempt to make this movie go through a fully entertaining path, and there is no plan to make this a perfect journey as an investigation thriller either, as this is caught somewhere in between. The jokes are also just partially effective, and we see that the funny side in the name of children hitting older men, people falling on electricity lines and surviving, a drug addict father instead of the usual alcoholic one etc – they are just there for the sake of adding some strange funny side. There is also the presence of some unnecessary mass scenes, and the hero sending people flying around comes in, and the struggling protagonist that we wanted to watch from the trailer is lost. Having such a protagonist beating up people all of a sudden works against the overall mood of the movie, and what we know about the protagonist. The songs are not that good either.

The performers of the soul :: This seems to be a movie nicely made for Dileep, as he has this in control, just like many other movies of the same kind. There is no problem here, as he had played advocate trying to serve justice before in Passenger, and there was Mamta Mohandas there too, with the same name for her character, Anuradha. Well, Passenger is a movie long way ahead of this one, without doubt. Mamta Mohandas is here for a full role unlike what she had in 9. There is not much for her to do regarding the investigation here though, as she is the victim and there is the protagonist to save the day. A little romantic side added there seems to be rather forced though, as this movie could have done without it. The focus on its main idea would have been enough, and trying to play cupid between the main character didn’t do both of them any good.

Further performers of the soul :: Siddique’s father character is kind of strange, but brings the funniest moments of the movie with ease. There is his comic timing that lightens up the movie really well. Aju Varghese is the next person in the comedy department, and it works well for him most of the time too – he does get some memorable funny ones. Suraj Venjaramoodu also has the comedy working in his favour, even though at parts it seems out of order. Priya Anand gets another smart role after Ezra and Kayamkulam Kochunni, but with lesser time spent on the screen. Veterans like Ganesh Kumar and Renji Panicker right there, doing what they do the best in police roles. Another person who shines so well inside the uniform is Lena, who is also there Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam, and mystery-solving journey of puzzles which is also running in the theatres.

How it finishes :: For B Unnikrishnan, this movie comes after Villain, which was a smart one for sure. Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel does take the path of Vikadakumaran and Jolly LLB, a trend related to a struggling lawyer whenever the same is the protagonist. This one has its moments of thrills and twists are brought into the scene, but there is not doubt about the fact that this could have done better. There is the fine premise already set, and the idea that has scope for a lot, but it is not utilized in the best way. Maybe we have to wait to get something better out of a story related to courtroom, and we can do that. Until then, lets watch Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel and enjoy the interesting side. For those who wants the more realistic side, there is always Kumbalangi Nights & June running, and seemingly good enough to keep doing the same for a long time.

Release date: 21st February 2019
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: B Unnikrishnan
Starring: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Priya Anand, Aju Varghese, Siddique, Ganesh Kumar, Renji Panicker, Bindu Panicker, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Saiju Kurup, Vamsi Krishna, Harish Uthaman, Lena, Arjun Nandakumar, Pramod Sujanapalan, Bheeman Raghu, Veena Nair, Pradeep Kottayam, Thesni Khan, Sajid Yahiya

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Joseph

What is the movie about? :: Joseph George (Joju George) is a retired police officer spending his time with alcohol and cigarettes. He doesn’t have much time for the outside world except for some of his friends from police department, and lives alone in his house. He is a brilliant police officer who never really managed to use his skills to the best effect. He has suffered losses in his family life too, with his daughter Dayana Joseph (Malavika Menon) being lost to an accident a few years ago. He is separated from his wife Stella (Aathmiya) who is now married to Peter (Dileesh Pothan). When Stella meets an accident and dies, it sends him into further depression, as he had always loved her, despite not being able to express his feeling well enough. As an expert investigator who still helps the police department with finding clues to twisted cases, he feels something strange when standing near the place where Stella had the accident.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Joseph finds a few things to be out of place there. He tries to read all the reports together, but is able to feel that this is more or less a planned incident rather than an accident. He calls his friends in the police department who are also retired, and Sudhi (Sudhi Koppa) who was a senior of his daughter in the engineering college, and is now working in the cyber wing. The result is that Joseph finds something shocking behind all these. There is one link between everything, and the roots go deep, and long. To solve this mystery and bring those behind the crime to justice, he would have to travel through those paths less traveled, and take that kind of a risk which someone else wouldn’t even think about. So the question remains if he is ready to do that, and can his friends support him in the same?

The defence of Joseph :: There are many other movies, and then there is Joseph. The movie thrives on the strength of its emotions, and with its investigation, there is even more. There are some twists to follow, and the music nicely supports the mood as well as the elements of mystery that goes right through. The songs are pretty good, and we are sure to enjoy listening to them. There is also one thing that we can value the most, and it is staying close to reality. Joseph has no exaggeration, something which similar thrillers with superstars would have. As there are no superstars who want to beat up their villains, we have a story here which is very much believable. There is no action here, and the police officer here does nothing physical – he is just the smart one, and yet not the perfect one in any way. He is with his flaws, and he is an everyman police officer in whom we can find someone whom we know.

Positives and negatives :: Considering the mood of this movie, it is Memories that we remember before any other movie, with one protagonist, a police officer who has lost his wife and child looking forward to solve a murder mystery or two. The next movie that it reminds us of, is Angels, a movie which had its own twisted ending – something we were not expecting at all. The idea in that movie as well as that of Apothecary can find the reflections here. There might be certain doubts about the genre, as the movie goes on between more than one of them. People can feel that the flashbacks were somewhat longer, but they are all beautiful – almost every moment of this movie has beauty in one way or the other. The visuals are nice, and the feeling of terror that is shown is real, that too without showing anything disturbing with blood and gore.

The performers of the soul :: Joju George is indeed the biggest asset of this movie, as he comes up with a terrific performance as the protagonist, the man with the scar who has lost almost everything he held close to his heart. There is abiding sadness on his face which strikes the hearts of the audience very hard. There is a beautiful scar that he leaves in our souls, and it is due to a performance that stays with us for long. With his career best performance, he has our admiration, and the choice for the protagonist here is perfect, with no seeking perfection to become a hero – Joju’s police officer is the common man, and someone whom we can relate to, because he is not in the sky, but on Earth. From the beginning to the end, we are into his journey, from those simple moments in life to the complex times. Along with the same, we also carry the weight of his emotions, as the character gets so close to the depth of our souls. We, with our waxen winged hearts, like Icarus, burn in the fire of those emotions, and we are delighted about the same.

Further performers of the soul :: Dileesh Pothan, the master of Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is one the other side, showing the enduring sadness from another side, and he contributes with the same as does the rest of the supporting cast. Irshad and team bring nothing less than some wonderful support. Aathmiya also has a memorable performance in there as the wife, and it is also an emotionally touching role from her side. Malavika Menon has a rather small, but notable role here. Johny Antony is once again good in the role of a priest after doing the same in Shikkari Shambhu. You also notice how solid Sudhi Koppa is once again – we had seen the range of his performance in Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam, and here he plays a solid police officer in the cyber wing. His character can actually have a spin-off – I might be asking for a lot, but that is certainly a nice possibility.

How it finishes :: Joseph is that kind of an emotional investigative thriller which will stay with you for so long, and the melancholy that it provides will stay strong. The sadness that this movie possesses has the power to take over you too, as the feelings of the protagonist here are the same as any other common person would have. There is a certain amount of skill in the way in which the whole thing is presented, and we have the kind of protagonist who stays close to life rather than go for the exaggerated heroism. The way in which the whole story is built, will have you interested in each moment, and as the final scenes point to something that needs our attention, everything comes together and we have the best Malayalam movie of the year so far – Joju George can be proud of this one.
Release date: 18th November 2018

Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: M Padmakumar
Starring: Joju George, Dileesh Pothan, Madhuri Braganz, James Elia, Sudhi Koppa, Johny Antony, Idavela Babu, Irshad, Aathmiya, Malavika Menon, Jaffer Idukki

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Johny Johny Yes Appa

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of three brothers, Peter (Tini Tom), Johny (Kunchacko Boban) and Philippose (Sharafudheen). Having a strict award-winning teacher of the nearby school as their father (Vijayaraghavan), there is a struggle in living upto the expectations. Johny ends up being the father’s favourite son by choosing a twisted path to success, and the result is that Peter suffers. In the end, Peter is thrown out of home, and Johny maintains the image of a nice guy even though he is actually a skilled thief. Johny becomes active in social activities and the good image is maintained, especially in the church where he is a very popular person. But during the nights, he continues to steal, and gives no clue to the police regarding his presence in those robbed houses.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: At the same time, Johny is in love with his childhood friend Jaisa (Anu Sithara) who has decided that she would marry him only. Even though her education is only until the ninth standard, her father Chavaranprackal Jose (Kalabhavan Shajon) is so rich that he could buy most of the educated men in the town as possible grooms for his daughter. But she is desperately in love with Johny, much to the dismay of Jose who doesn’t consider the man to be worthy. Everything goes according to the plan until he comes across Adam (Sanoop Santhosh), Nandana (Anikha Surendran), Amala (Mamta Mohandas) and Sujatha (Lena). It is then that things begin to change, and there is the twist of fate that would mean problems for the image he has kept for so long. It would mean that he has to come up with something special, but can he?

The defence of Johny Johny Yes Appa :: The movie has a high amount of dramatic irony in store, as nobody knows about the secrets of this particular person. As a family-friendly movie, it has that kind of jokes, and there is the deviation towards bringing a message or two too. The jokes are working, and we have the same in a regular dose especially in the first half. The emotions also run strong, and the family audience will be able to connect to that too. The songs are pretty much okay with this one. We also see the small twists here and there, and some good visuals support the flick well enough. There is no problem here that would prevent the family audience from taking over this movie, even though Kayamkulam Kochunni is still running extremely strong, all set to go over the big movies like Premam, Oppam and Drishyam, even though Pulimurugan has set that seemingly unattainable score with the box-office collections of Malayalam movies.

The claws of flaw :: The movie seems to deviate a little too much in the second half, seemingly changing the whole things a little too much than one would expect. There are times when one ends up thinking if this was one complete story or combined from different things, creating a Frankenstein monster with technology added to the whole thing in the end. It is the director of Paavada and the script writer of Vellimoonga who have joined forces here, and the expectations were high with this one too. But we can see that so much is not there, even though the improvement from Kunchacko Boban’s earlier movie of this month, Mangalyam Thanthunanena is clearly visible. We could have used better story with a better protagonist whose actions made better sense. The thief whom we cheer for could have better defined qualities, and we wonder why his world doesn’t fly high as it should have.

The performers of the soul :: This movie depends on Kunchacko Boban to keep things going smoothly, and to provide it with that effect that can bring all those family viewers in. His best of the year was Shikkari Shambhu which was a fun-filled entertainer with all needed elements. But other than that, it was quite a dull year for him even though Panchavarnathatha did come close. Kuttanadan Marpappa struggled to fly high enough, and rest of the movies were not even close to being memorable. It is to the same list that this movie brings some more of light as the attempt is to keep the darkness away. Kunchacko Boban has no problem at all, as far as this particular movie is concerned. He goes through this one with ease, as not much is asked. He also has that kind of a character which gets the right amount of claps in the end, no matter what path he travels earlier.

Further performers of the soul :: The one who scores big in this movie is indeed Tini Tom who has the funny as well as the emotional sides going strong for him. It has to be noted that he was there in three movies with Kunchacko Boban this year itself. He does the work naturally here, and so does Veena Nair who plays his wife. Mamta Mohandas has only very less time to be there. Anu Sithara has the role done really well, and she seems to suit this kind of characters so well. Sharafudheen makes the funny side seem so easy, coming right out of the villain role in Varathan. Kalabhavan Shajon and Abu Salim add even more fun to the whole thing. Anikha is back again after The Great Father, but doesn’t contribute much. Lena is solid again after Aadhi and Ira. Nedumudi Venu seems to be there just for the sake of being present, giving us only a few minutes of him. Sanoop Santhosh of Philips and the Monkey Pen fame does leave a mark again.

How it finishes :: This is the season of the thieves, and Johny Johny Yes Appa joins Kayamkulam Kochunni and Aanakkallan to make more than one theatre full of thieves and nobody else, unless there is Halloween and one serial killer joins the team. There has always been one thing about Kunchacko Boban, and it is certainly what brought us to watch this flick. His movie would be something to watch for the family audience every time, and even this time, the focus is on that group only. The fight is still more this time, and the flick would struggle to keep going. But it is still a safe bet, and the weekend should have more for this movie with the family audience being a stronger presence during this week with the Sunday as a bank holiday. There could have been more with this one, but there is just enough, as you would notice easily.

Release date: 26th October 2018
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: G Marthandan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Anu Sithara, Tini Tom, Kalabhavan Shajon, Sharafudheen, Mamta Mohandas, Vijayaraghavan, Veena Nair, Geetha, Sanoop Santhosh, Lena, Abu Salim, Nedumudi Venu, Jaise Jose, Anikha Surendran

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Neerali

What is the movie about? :: Sunny George (Mohanlal) is gemologist who works for a reputed firm. He is an expert in the science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials, and is considered to be someone at the top of the company heirarchy with his experience and connections. Working at Bengaluru, he only makes some visists back to Kerala when possible. His wife, Molykutty (Nadhiya Moidu) is pregnant with twins after a long wait, and as the date approaches earlier than expected, it calls for an urgent visit back home. The other two girls in his life, Naina (Parvatii Nair) and Lekshmi (Megha Mathew) are attracted to him, and the former is so attached to him that she is not willing to let him go. But Sunny sneaks out of the office and travels to Kerala in the pickup truck of Veerappa (Suraj Venjaramoodu) who has his own problems. To add to this, they are quietly followed by a team of goons lead by Rajan (Dileesh Pothan).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: They are traveling through the highranges, and all of a sudden, they come across someone crossing the road, and while trying to save the man, hits on the side of a truck, leading to Veerappa losing control of the vehicle. They go all the way down, and stops at the edge of the cliff further below the road. The two are stuck inside the vehicle, with just the back tyres stuck on a log. With the front side of the pickup truck suspended in the air, they have no way of getting out. Veerappa is seriously injured and cannot move, while Sunny’s attempts to get back to the cliff bear no fruit. Veerappa’s mobile is stuck in a precarious position while Sunny’s mobile has no outgoing facility because of Lekshmi forgetting to pay the bill despite being assigned the task. The two incoming callers Naina and Molykutty are in no mood to hear what he has to say as the former thinks that his intention was always to cheat her and the latter feels that she is going to die. Is there a chance for escape though?

The defence of Neerali :: A good survival thriller is something that we have all lacked for a long time – Hollywood had so many of them including The GreyThe Shallows, The Martian, Everest, Gravity, 127 Hours, The Revenant, Buried and others, while Bollywood had that less known little flick known as Trapped. There are moments that has us on the edge of the seat, and the question mark about more than one thing is always present. We also have interesting questions being asked here, about relationships and on what it takes to survive, even though they are not taken that much further. There are moments when movie go a little philosophical, and we see a little bit of magic realism with the protagonist’s father making an appearance with a gun pointed at him. There is no heroism from the protagonist this time, and it is a clear bonus, and having a the main character as a helpless and rather realistic one is always better than having those supercops and superfighters. The visuals are nice too.

The claws of flaw :: We can see that Neerali was aiming for more, but it is not that much there as a survival movie – so many things could have added to this tale of survival, and we could have had the protagonist facing more, and getting out of all those troubles in a believable way. We know how well the mobile phone can be used in a survival thriller as proven by the movie Buried. The idea to bring back the Nokketha Doorathu Kannumnattu model with Mohanlal and Nadhiya is still something to be questioned, as all the references fall flat, and fails to make any positive impact – the same only gets irritating. The first half had actually promised more than what the second half could deliver. Adding some better music would have been nice too. There are also a few things that are left untouched in the end, and one is left wondering if it was done intentionally, and if it was done so, one has to wonder about its effect.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal does a great job as the protagonist in peril as expected, and it is on him and his character that the whole thing is centered on. Its own his actions that most of the happenings in the movie proceeds – the decisions that he make would decide not just his life, but also that of others. We see the helplessness as well as the abilities nicely reflected here. We would have still wanted to see him as a more close to life character here though. Suraj Venjaramoodu is the other character whom we see here with Mohanlal for more time that anyone else, as the traveler and partner in distress, hanging above death staring from underneath. His character isn’t given that much of a depth, and we know him mostly from the dialogues made in the vehicle. He looks good here, and the kid who plays his daughter has also done a natural job. But we know that Suraj could have had more with at least some nice dialogues inside the pickup truck hanging from above.

Further performers of the soul :: Nassar has an appearance which last a few minutes while Dileesh Pothan is wasted in a role which doesn’t go anywhere – something that we don’t see with him on the screen often. Nadhiya Moidu is the biggest disappointment in this movie, as the pair never connects to the audience and the same can be said about her character – it is clearly overdone, and we feel that her presence is more as a necessary pregnant character rather than anything else. There is nothing good that she adds to the movie, and Girly Mathew of Nokkatha Doorathu Kannumnattu gets the bad name because of the attempt to drag that feeling into this flick in which the same doesn’t belong at all. Parvatii Nair does her job really well though, and she seemed to blend in so well into this character with certain problems for herself. Megha Mathew who was there for only a few minutes also leaves a mark, as we notice the same early.

How it finishes :: We can see that Neerali ventures deep into that survival thriller territory, which Malayalam cinema industry hasn’t been that interested in exploring. With some more of imagination, the movie could have done very much better – this one is still a thriller with its moments, but more could have been achieved. Yet, we can hope that there will be more of similar movies to come, and that the genre could get a much needed boost. Next time, when someone makes an attempt at this, it could go deeper. Until then, let us be glad that this movie has made an attempt at variety, and could do without much of heroism or style from the protagonist, leaving us with more of a human world rather than that of strange superheroes made from the so called superstars. Neerali brings the divergence, and we appreciate the same.

Release date: 13th July 2018
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Ajoy Varma
Starring: Mohanlal, Nadhiya Moidu, Parvatii Nair, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Dileesh Pothan, Megha Mathew, Saikumar, Nassar, Santhosh T Kuruvilla, Bineesh Kodiyeri

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.