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.

Adhura

Vampire Owl: It has been long enough since you reviewed a short-film.

Vampire Bat: I would say that the frequency of movie reviews at Movies of the Soul has decreased overall, and it is not just with the shorter versions.

Vampire Owl: I have found you to be too far away from cinema these days than ever.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have been busy. There has been other work in between.

Vampire Owl: But I am glad that we are back to watching movies as it used to be.

Vampire Bat: This is just a small break, and you can’t expect me to review movies as much as I used to be.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that this short-film has proven to be an inspiration to bring you back to the movie reviewing world, and there will be more to get you back.

Vampire Bat: It is somewhat true. But even then, that would depend on the availability of time.

Vampire Owl: Still, you remember that we have found more in short-films than the rest.

Vampire Bat: With Bengali short-films, I am sure that I can find more.

[Gets some banana chips and three cups of Munnar tea].

What is the movie about? :: It is the time of Durga Puja at Kolkata, as the City of Joy prepares for the festival. It is on one of those days that Sudipto (Praveen Srivastava) couldn’t help noticing a beautiful girl on the other side of the road where he awaits his friend to arrive on his motor-bike to provide him a ride to his office. He keeps finding the girl at the same place at the same time, and she is revealed to be Mira (Amita Bharat). As days pass, he feels that he has fallen in love with her at the first sight itself, and soon, he feels the need to gets closer to her, and desperately wishes to express his feelings for her. His friend, Bunny (Dhruv Jha) is a mutual friend to them both, who has feelings for her too, but decides to sacrifice his own feelings for Sudipto. Soon, he decides that it is time for him to propose, but then, there is a twist that awaits him.

The defence of Adhura :: Based on the Micro Story, One Rainy Day by Reetwika Banerjee, the movie is nicely brought together as an interesting short-film. With a good cast and a lovely song in between, the movie nicely brings the romantic side to full strength. It has that kind of a romantic side which some movie can only bring with a full-length. We remember that the movies like Ennu Ninte Moideen and Annayum Rasoolum took about three hours to show that there is romance out there, especially in the eyes of the male lead. This short-film takes only a few moments to do the same. We can see that the male lead, Praveen Srivastava has done an excellent job in that case – the feelings, from innocent love to heartbreak that tends to follow. The rest of the cast, Amita Bharat, Dhruv Jha and Ajoy Chakraborty, all feel so natural, something for which many bigger short-films struggle with the cast.

Soul exploration 1: The irony of love at first sight :: The story has the strength inside to keep the romance going, and nicely takes it to that final twist. It is the love at first sight, that takes on through that beautiful song, and into those final moments of agony. It is more of less the futility of what is often reflected in the feelings of infatuation that can be seen here. As love develops for beauty without knowing a person, the result, as it is always possible, could be disaster. There is the feeling of romance, but it is only half-baked, as we go deep about what has caused one to fall in love. We see the same with the protagonist, who is innocent in his dreams, but fate has that special to be more cruel that one can guess. It assures that there is no such thing as love at first sight which can stay, and there is no strength in such romance that is built on weak pillars of infatuation.

Soul exploration 2: There is no seeing behind the masks of others :: People are rarely those whom we think that they are, and most of them have a twist in waiting for us. We think that things are straight forward as it seems, but they are not. You see people with many faces, like personalities in Split, or a terrible secret to hide like in Pet. The mask that a smile brings is stronger than any other. There are not many people who are not wearing masks, and it is the tendency that comes out of innocence to believe that the masks are real faces. True love has it difficult during these days, and it is sad to say that even friendship has to struggle to find the right one. Sometimes, we are just not that good to see through people, and love is just one of those things that take the sight away from us – for, people always say that love is blind, and some others learn how bad the blindness is.

How it finishes :: Adhura might feel a little long for a few, but its shots make sure that they have our attention. Simple and yet immediately catching our attention, this one has all that it takes to keep things strong throughout its run-time in its story. You feel that you have watched what could be the perfect, cute, love story, but then you know that you have been slowly moving towards a twist which was destined to turn things upside down. This surely has the firepower to go full movie, with necessary elements added – maybe something in the lines of Premam with different stages of realization of the protagonist. With such a good cast, maybe it could go ahead of a number of other movies which have dealt with a similar theme as a full movie.

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

Vampire Owl: So, I see that this is your first review of a Bengali movie of any kind.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and the fourth one that I have watched.

Vampire Owl: Interesting. I remember that you also started reviewing movies in foreign languages this year.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this has been an interesting year. Just like the last year, so many things happened around here.

Vampire Owl: Who would have thought that Take Off would be our favourite movie of the year?

Vampire Bat: A lot of things including this review were not on our list. I am sure that there is more to come this year with more than two months left.

Vampire Owl: I can already say that you are going to review more Bengali movies.

Vampire Bat: That would depend on the permission given by time.

Vampire Owl: Time is a fraud. He would never stop for us.

Vampire Bat: Unless, we go so fast that it would make us feel that he has almost stopped.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Watch the movie Adhura here:

Release date: 24th September 2017
Running time: 19 minutes
Directed by: Abhijit Sinha
Starring: Amita Bharat, Praveen Srivastava, Ajoy Chakraborty, Dhruv Jha

<— Go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pokkiri Simon

What is the movie about? :: Simon (Sunny Wayne), known more as “Pokkiri” Simon after the name of the Vijay movie is the leader of the Vijay fans association of the locality. His two best friends, and members of the association are “Hanuman” Biju (Jacob Gregory) who spends most of his life’s time trying to become Vijay’s bodyguard, and “Love Today” Ganesh (Sarath Kumar) who has the nickname after one of Vijay’s earlier movies. They spend almost all of their time, talking about Vijay’s movies and celebrating whenever one of his movies get a release in Trivandrum. On the other side, there are Surya fans including “Singam” Suni (Sajid Yahiya) who continue celebrating the latest sequel to Singam. There is also some compeition between them, and the gang of Vijay fans lead by Beemapally Noushad (Saiju Kurup) who has his own fan association based around the mosque. Both of them tries to make the best out of ten year celebration of Pokkiri, and lands in the police station.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Landing in the police station is nothing new for them, as SI Sathyan (Baiju) finds it easy to catch them for making nuisance all around the theatre in the name of fan club based activities. The one to save them each and every time is CI Alex John (Dileesh Pothan), a police officer from a rich family having an eye on politics. Simon’s father Yesudas (Ashokan) is also a police man, but just like his mother and sister, has not much of an opinion about him. Simon and his friends who do no job, and wanders all around the locality as considered to be nuisance rather than anything else. The only thing Simon manages to do outside the friends circle in the fans association, is to write random PSC examinations, including the police tests to satisfy his father. The only thing they wait for is to watch another Vijay movie – without the same, there is no life for them.

And what else is to follow with the fan adventures? :: The parents of Simon have lost hope in him getting a job, and they wish to get him married. But the problem is that he wants to marry only the girl whom he saw whistling during a Vijay movie. Simon soon finds her again while playing cricket on the beach. Deepa (Prayaga Martin), who is the daughter of a rich sea captain, is the girl whom he wish to marry. Using the plans from a former scientist of ISRO, Seetha Raman (Nedumudi Venu) who turns out to be a Vijay fan too, Simon tries to get her attention, and finally manages to win her love. But things are not that smooth, as there are people like Arjunan Pillai (Shammi Thilakan) and Indran Pillai (Marshal Tito Wilson) who are running all kinds of criminal activities in the city. The young blood of the fans association manages to make both of these brothers angry, and it is no more about sweet love.

The defence of Pokkiri Simon :: There are some funny scenes here which will work, thanks to the long line of interesting cast managing to keep things strong. There is also the reference to Vijay movies, along with something for Pulimurugan. One can be sure that those who follow Vijay movies will find this one more entertaining, and so will those who watch Tamil movies very often. Yes, the fan stuff scores. There is also that part of the story that goes on like the common man’s life, and you will find one final twist waiting for you. If you like Amar Akbar Anthony, I am sure that you will have no problems in finding this one good enough. This movie also follows the same pattern, with the life of the common people with some comedy in the first half, and the second half having a twist, when the unexpected person becomes the villain; from being one of the best among good people in the flick, as he joins the other villains who have been there – in this case too, it is related to a missing girl.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s weakest point is the romantic angle, and the same never really gets going. One can safely say that it even stumbles on many occasions even without starting to get better. The songs also suffers the same fate. There was the feeling that this movie would also focus on the good deeds done by fans in the name of their favourite stars, but that is not there – instead, they do the comparison of stars to gods as a justification which might be the strangest that you would ever get. It is rather bizarre during these days when superstar godmen who reflect gods get convicted. There are also many characters who don’t get what they deserve, as they exist and go on without making the desired impact. The people who don’t follow many movies, and don’t watch much of Tamil cinema will have less to take home. Also, you will find that the movie could have managed all its elements, bringing them together in a better way. It could have been a better movie to become a better tribute to Vijay.

Performers of the soul :: The friendship of the three characters played by Sunny Wayne, Jacob Gregory and Sarath Kumar is undoubtedly better than the same shown in Amar Akbar Anthony. The latter two takes it more on the funny side, while Sunny Wayne is very good playing the main character. He has provided us some good work with Annmariya Kalippilaanu and Alamara, but for some reason, they don’t go on to stay at the theatres like some of those overrated movies with no content do. Marshal Tito Wilson from Angamaly Diaries is also there, playing one of the two antagonists, and he is surely a strong point here, joining Shammi Thilakan who scores on the evil side. Dileesh Pothan is a perfect addition as the police character who impresses with his different side, and Baiju and Ashokan plays two different cops in support well. Prayaga Martin only has a character existing there to be part of that bad romantic side, and she never gets in form – in the end, she disappears like Namitha Pramod in Amar Akbar Anthony. Before that, there are some terrible moments for her, including one song.

How it finishes :: Pokkiri Simon should be a must watch for Vijay fans, and for the rest, it could provide some time-pass. Following the pattern of Amar Akbar Anthony more than any other, we can also see a little bit of Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan mode in here. There are those jokes, and also the dialogues which are from Vijay’s popular movies. The director’s previous movie, Darwinte Parinamam was also an underrated movie, and this one also has elements of silver lining even when the clouds are dark, but it isn’t lifted high enough from there. If you are a fan and you can relate to this, that would be great, for there seems to be an attempt to make this one a colourful and quick entertainer. One thing is for sure, and it is that unlike those movies which have claimed to do great with similar cast, this one surely manages to do better – Pokkiri Simon does that for the fans.

Release date: 22nd September 2017
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Jijo Antony
Starring: Sunny Wayne, Jacob Gregory, Prayaga Martin, Sarath Kumar, Dileesh Pothan, Nedumudi Venu, Ashoka, Baiju, Shammi Thilakan, Marshal Tito Wilson, Bitto, Thara Kalyan, Saiju Kurup, Pradeep Kottayam, Sajid Yahiya, Rohni, Vijay Menon, Tanuja Karthik, Sinoj Varghese, Anjali Aneesh, Jude Anthany Joseph, Hena, Sudeep Kopa, Govindan Kutty

PS: Velipadinte Pusthakam, Adam Joan and Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela seems to stay on… 🙂

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chunkzz

What is the movie about? :: Romario (Balu Varghese), Riyas (Ganapathi), Yoodas (Vishak Nair), and Athmaram (Dharmajan Bolgatty) are best friends, also known as Chunkzz. They are all studying in Adi Shankara Institute of Engineering Technology at Kalady, near the town of Perumbavoor. Romario, Yoodas and Athmaram are studying in the Mechanical engineering department and hoping to find at least one girl in their class – none has entered their department yet except for teaching; some students have even declared the place “no entry for girls” as they are confident that there would be none. But Riyas who is in the Computer Science department has problem in the same, as he is seen wandering around with the girls of his class all the time. The four friends study almost nothing at the college, and struggles to pass the exams by copying in one way or the other.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that the twist occur, when Romario’s father Varkey (Lal) has his friend Pappichan’s (Siddique) daughter, Riya (Honey Rose) get admission in the same college for the final year, as she had to face some problems at the institution where she was studying in Bangalore. She has returned home with her best friend Sherine (Mareena Michael Kurisingal) who seems to be hiding something too. Riya’s arrival at the Mechanical engineering department changes things, with her being established as the new or rather the only Mech Queen in the college. The four are completely after her, and she spends her time enjoying her time as the newly established queen of the department. But things change after a trip to Goa, which has more twists happening around. So, what is the role of the new queen in the lives of the Chunkzz?

The defence of Chunkzz :: The best of comedy set in an engineering college is usually considered to be in Koothara, which lost its charm, and stooped very low after its focus shifted in the second half, and then there was Happy Wedding and Aanandam which was trip-based – Chunkzz attempts to make its entry there and is mostly successful in bringing the funny side to the front. There is the attempt to bring comedy all the time, and even with emotional sequences, the same is tried – one can say that there is no real sad moment even when the characters go through some bad phase, for the overall mood never really changes. There is also a twist in the end, which despite providing the feeling of villainy, does work, and something like that was required to end this movie well enough – Happy Wedding also has a twist in the end, even though it was a rather cute one then.

The claws of flaw :: The silliness factor might feel to rather too much in this movie, and there is exaggeration in the name of comedy for sure. Despite beginning everything in the engineering college, it deviates quite a lot, and as it moves towards the end of the first half, the idea of the mechanical engineering department itself has vanished. So, if that is your aim, and it is mechanical engineering tale that you are focusing on, the movie you are looking for might be Queen directed by debutante Dijo Jose Antony that is to be released later, with a lot of new faces coming up. There is a also that kind of comedy which is rather forgettable and outdated – there is nothing fresh added here, and by the end of the first half to most of the second half, we keep seeing those predictable moments coming up again and again. The repetition here is something which we will find hard to appreciate. There would have been no shortage of some good comedy with that college setting, but they say no. Yes, as expected logic goes for a long walk far away, and the jokes doesn’t rise to the best of standards.

Performers of the soul :: When we look at the cast, and see the progress, we understand that this movie would be dependent on Balu Varghese to do more than the rest – he is more of the protagonist, as it is based on his life that everything follows. He is surely in control of this one, even though his character goes too low on too many occasions. Vishak Nair of Aanandam fame gets his next big noticable role here, and he has no problems in joining the funs. Ganapathi adds to the crew in style, while Dharmajan has his next biggest role in recent times after Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan and Pretham, which he handles in his usual funny way – there are some nice dialogues given to him, which stay a level higher. The four are responsible and are leading the battle against the two other rather bigger releases this weekend, Sarvopari Palakkaran starring Anoop Menon, Aparna Balamurali and Anu Sithara, as well as Varnyathil Aashanka which has a long list of performers lead by Kunchacko Boban.

Further performers of the soul :: Hareesh Perumanna extends his own comic style, but here we see him having so less to do, just like the case of Kadam Katha which released last weekend – one just got to wonder why he is not there for more. Then there are the two veterans, Lal and Siddique who are in control of their moments – the former has more fun to provide with his role. Honey Rose does very well coming back from Avarude Raavukal; her work as the Mech Queen at the college is better than the rest. Mareena Michael Kurisingal returns after her most noticable role in Aby this year earlier after having her first heroine role earlier than that in Mumbai Taxi. Even though she plays the secondary role, surely gets her own moments without doubt. It would have been nice to have her in the college too. Kailash, Shammi Thilakan and Anjali Aneesh are also there in notable roles in the movie.

How it finishes :: Chunkzz is not different from the director’s earlier movie, Happy Wedding. Even in the absence of the big stars, it rested on the talent that could handle the comic side really well – Siju Wilson, Sharafudheen and Soubin Shahir. This time, it is up to Balu Varghese, Vishak Nair, Ganapathi and Dharmajan Bolgatty to do the same. When the previous movie had Anu Sithara and Drishya Raghunath, this one has Honey Rose and Mareena Michael Kurisingal, the latter having played a role in the previous movie too. Even the run-time is so similar at just above two hours. There is just not that much of a different fun in this one, as nothing more is there. If you are expecting the same only, you can go for this one without second thoughts. But just like it was the case of Happy Wedding, there is nothing much to take home, and not much that will stay. This would be more for the youth of this generation rather than families.

Release date: 4th August 2017
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Omar Lulu
Starring: Balu Varghese, Honey Rose, Mareena Michael Kurisingal, Lal, Siddique, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Vishak Nair, Ganapathi, Kailash, Harish Perumanna, Anjali Aneesh, Shammi Thilakan

<— Go back to the last review

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Vampire Owl: They once tried to do an autopsy on me, these humans.

Vampire Bat: You mean after you died on that wonderful day.

Vampire Owl: Yes, they wanted to know the cause of my death.

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

Vampire Owl: I didn’t allow them because I was not dead anymore.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that your vampire transformation was rather too fast.

Vampire Owl: It is because I transformed myself into a vampire. I had chosen my next life.

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about? There has to be a vampire to make one out of you.

Vampire Owl: I was bitten on the soul, as it passed to the other dimension after death, and with the same, it returned to get back to my body.

Vampire Bat: It is very much interesting and impossible. Only a vampire assassin can confirm this.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with paneer paratha].

What is the movie about? :: There is the location of a terrible homicide, and the police officers are left with no clue. The clues are of people trying to escape from the house and not of anyone trying to break in. There are also no prints of anyone who are not part of this home either. Then in the basement, they find the body of a beautiful, unidentified woman, completely naked and it seemed that someone had tried to bury her. They refer to her by the name Jane Doe (Olwen Catherine Kelly), a name which is commonly used to refer to a dead body or a hospital patient whose identity can’t be found out that at the time. Sheriff Sheldon Burke (Michael McElhatton) is left clueless, and has no idea how to face the media with one unknown naked dead body and all the people in the house dead. So he decides that in one way or the other, the identity of the naked corpse had to be found by the morning so that the investigation can proceed.

So, what happens next? :: Meanwhile, a coroner in the town, Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and his son Austin (Emile Hirsch) who is a medical technician who has been assisting for a long time, are having just another day with a corpse. The experienced Tommy is quick to find the cause of death of the man, and as it proves once again to Austin that things are more than what meets the eye, with the burns not the real cause of death even though fire did cause all that was to follow. Austin’s girlfriend Emma (Ophelia Lovibond) arrives at the location, and is curious about everything that happens in the morgue including a bell tied to the ankle of a corpse – it is revealed that the bells were used to signal if someone was not really dead even though proclaimed so. Austin was supposed to go for a movie with Emma, and they are planning move away soon, but their plans are spoiled by sudden, unexpected arrival of the sheriff.

So, how does the mystery reveal itself in the morgue? :: With the need for cause of death by morning, Austin decides to stay and help his father and join her later, much to the dismay of Emma who asks him to tell Tommy about them moving away to another city. With her and the sheriff having left, they are left in charge of the corpse which looks perfect from the outside. There is not even a scar on the body, and there is visible mark to indicate what might have casued the death. There would be nothing more than a beautiful sleeping beauty without clothes, if the eyes were closed. Despite her body looking so fresh, the eyes do look as if she has been dead for very long. But as they checked further, they found that her bones were broken from the inside and her tongue was removed. The soil on her body also seemed not from that area. But it is not all, with more strange things being found and stranger things actually happen in the morgue.

The defence of The Autopsy of Jane Doe :: The success of this movie depends on that feeling of curiosity and uneasiness that it successfully builds on its viewers, and also plays with their imagination to keep them guessing about what this particular naked body might be all about, and what kind of mystery and horror that it holds inside it. There is that certainty of terror that awaits to be unleashed inside this unblemished body, and the beauty that is seen outside hides something more than a secret, which is to threaten humanity – it has our attention right from the beginning itself. You feel the discomfort, and at the same time, you are the edge of your seat, and it is a perfect setting at this morgue, and the perfect mystery has the claws and the fangs to make your fear come at you with all the needed strength. The performances are also good, from those who are there whole the time to those who just come and go – the girl chosen to play the corpse is also rightly chosen with all the features. There is also vengeance and sacrifice to go with it, as we get to know an ancient evil with a twist.

Positives and negatives :: There is a lot of gore here, and people can feel uncomfortable, especially with the autopsy being performed on the dead body along with the details also being talked about. But what you get here is the closest to some original horror, far away from those which you keep watching all the time. Maybe something bigger could have been made out of how the movie began, and with where the tale goes, but as it is, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is one smart horror movie like Don’t Breathe and Lights Out in the last year, and divergent in its core like It Follows, The Witch and Occulus. Some people will also find the movie to be slow at parts, but one has to admit that certain slowness helps in building all the pressure to come to that revelation by the end. There is also no walking corpse in this one, and that is new, for a horror movie which centers around a corpse to have it staying on the table all the time – but the evil is unleashed without having to do that. One location, one corpse surrounded by others, two people, and all the horror is here for you!

How it finishes :: There are those usual horror movies which depend on the usual tale, the usual settings and the usual kind of proceedings with scares, and then there are movies like The Autopsy of Jane Doe which decide to think differently. It is indeed a must watch for all horror movies, specifically those who are tired of going through the same tales about ghosts haunting people and houses all the time. In between all these horror movies which seem to be so close to each other in material, The Autopsy of Jane Doe becomes the movie that thinks differently, and is surely the kind of flick that a real horror fan would watch without any delay. This might be a lesser known horror movie, and surely won’t be the big horror franchise that The Conjuring and Insidious series of movies had gone on to be contribute and become; but our movie here is certainly a flick that will be remembered for long, and might even become a horror classic a few years later. Andre Ovredal’s first English movie here is the one that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Release date: 21st December 2016
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Andre Ovredal
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Olwen Catherine Kelly, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Parker Sawyers, Jane Perry, Mary Duddy, Mark Phoenix, Sydney

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pink

Vampire Owl: You know, Lady Death was very much interested in this colour.

Vampire Bat: Why is she interested in colours, when she has been colour-blind since her resurrection from the other world?

Vampire Owl: There are just rumours regarding the same, as she was referring to this movie.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that the news about this movie had reached the land of the dead?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the land of the dead as well as the land of the undead.

Vampire Bat: It is quite an achievement for a human movie.

Vampire Owl: Except for those movies in which vampires are shown to be bad.

Vampire Bat: Almost all of them think that vampires are bad because they don’t understand our culture.

Vampire Owl: They instantly hate anything and everything that they can’t understand.

Vampire Bat: It is quite natural for a race which has fought each other for so long.

[Gets three cups of Ceylon tea with Arrowroot biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the tale of three indepdendent women, Minal Arora (Taapsee Pannu), Falak Ali (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea Tariang (Andrea Tariang), working hard and self-sufficient, living in South Delhi. While Minal and her family are from Delhi itself, Falak is from Uttar Pradesh and Andrea from Meghalaya. They go through a happy life with their little moments of fun, and care for each other, but things quickly take a twist, with people looking at them in a rather strange way. Their landlord is asked to get the three girls out of his home, and when he doesn’t do the same he is attacked by two young men who reminds him of the same. Andrea sees that she is being stalked by unknown people and Falak ends up losing her job; Minal gets it even worse, as a flashback goes to what had happened a few days ago.

So, what happens next? :: The flashback incident involves Raunak Anand (Raashul Tandon), Vishwajyoti Ghosh (Tushar Pandey) and Rajveer Singh (Angad Bedi) who had met the three girls at a rock concert. Rajveer was hit on the head with a bottle by Minal which left him in a hospital, and that had put his friend Ankit Malhotra (Vijay Verma) on a revenge trail, causing a lot of trouble for the girls. This person who has decided to teach the girls the worst lesson possible, will not stop at anything, as the boys are quite rich and powerful, with influence among politicians as well as the police. Troubled with all which have been going through, the girls still refuse to complaint, but Minal, despite all the warnings about what could happen if she approaches the police, goes to the police station. The result is that she is kidnapped and molested by the men who are after her.

And, what is to follow next in the tale that goes deep? :: Minal is shocked, but doesn’t have the time to think or react, as she is arrested by the police on the very next day, as she is accused of prostitution as well as attempting to murder Rajveer. Andrea and Falak remain rather clueless about what to do in the police station, and at home, they find Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan), their neighbor at their door. He helps them and even decides to take up their case, returnning back to his life as a criminal lawyer years later. He had left his job due to declining mental health and also because of his wife Sara (Mamta Shankar) being bed-ridden. In the court, he would have to face Rajveer’s lawyer, a younger and healthier Prashant Mehra (Piyush Mishra) who would go to any length to show his loyalty for the money which received as fees. So, where does the fate of the girls stand?

The defence of Pink :: The movie smartly chooses not show the incidents until the credits show up – it is a nice move to establish the idea that “no means no”, which is rather the one thing that gets the focus because we are there without getting much of an idea about how things really happened. It helps us to come to a viewpoint without taking sides, and it is the smart way to proceed. Pink is the kind of movie that is needed, for it shows how much of a hypocrite the society aspires to be. It has different rules for the boys and the girls, rich and the poor and also for people from one part of the nation and those from some other area. The movie shows how difficult it is to get rid of those prejudices, no matter how smart and educated you are. The movie’s biggest asset in establishing its ideas is Amitabh Bachchan, who is so good that you feel the need to clap again and again – you saw his grief in TE3N already, and this one once again shows the determination in grief that powers his character to become more than what the lawyer has been. The girls are all good, just playing to the need, raising the level so much at some scenes in the court.

The claws of flaw :: The movie before the courtroom drama begins, doesn’t manage to be that interesting, with the whole thing taking so much of time to get going. Maybe things could have been made more tense in the first half to keep one feel the tension. People would also feel not that happy with Amitabh Bachchan being there to save the girls – but you will have to admit that it is him who takes it to the next level as far as performances are concerned. Also, the talk about the girl being from North East, is not taken that much further, maybe because the cultural identity is a little bit less important, just as the fact that the men in question as just too rich an influential – these two things come into the picture and just disappears, but needed better mention here. There is another question which should have been raised in this movie – “Why should anyone drink at all?” It could have been great if the message should have also been against alcohol consumption, rather than having things as okay if everyone is allowed to drink. There is even more that Pink could have achieved, but it chooses to finish with just one message that takes off.

How it finishes :: The big thing about Pink is that, the movie is surely what you call the giant leap – something which has been very much difficult for Bollywood which has been caught in repetitions for such a long time; it might be the only thing that is repeated, with consistency in repetition like no other. Pink not only makes the giant leap, as it also gets to the other end with ease. The movie which was widely appreciated by both the common audience as well as the critics, and had also the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues – it is good to watch this movie and understand why there is so much appreciation going around. When people say that Pink is the kind of movie that everyone needs to watch, they are surely not wrong. It is the kind of movie that not just Bollywood needs to save its face, but it is also the one that the society needs – it is bigger than what would be the biggest cinematic experience we have for a society which needs its lessons regularly.

PS: There are three movies for this Eid, Role Models, Oru Cinemakkaran and Avarude Raavukal – do check the reviews on the same.

Release date: 16th September 2016
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Andrea Tariang, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Angad Bedi, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Piyush Mishra, Mamata Shankar, Arjun Chakrabarty, Mamta Malik, Dibang, Tushar Pandey, Raashul Tandon

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Arrival

arrival-1

Vampire Owl: We are all awaiting their grand arrival, sometimes without even closing our eyes.

Vampire Bat: I don’t understand. Who exactly are you talking about? There are no names on this guest book for quite some time. If this is an unofficial meeting coming up, you will still have to inform Uncle Dracula through the telepathic connection.

Vampire Owl: The ones who shall not be named, those whom nobody shall dare to name.

Vampire Bat: If you can’t name then, I won’t be able to wait for them. It makes no sense at all.

Vampire Owl: It is because you are a man without faith. It makes you spiritually poor.

Vampire Bat: I have more faith than you and your brainless zombie minions combined.

Vampire Owl: Well, the beautifully carved tombstones at my favourite cemetery has better faith.

Vampire Bat: This does make me wonder what you mean by the words “faith” and “arrival”.

Vampire Owl: Maybe, you can take some lessons from this movie.

Vampire Bat: Movies with messages and lessons are the best. Let us see how this one goes.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with special samosas].

What is the movie about? :: A linguist, Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is teaching at the university when she hears an alarm. Twelve alien spacecrafts have landed on Earth, at Maracay in Venezuela, Montana in the United States, Kujalleq in Greenland, Devon in the United Kingdom, Kenema in Sierra Leone, Khartoum in Sudan, Punjab in Pakistan, Siberia in Russia, Hokkaido in Japan, Shanghai in China, and also in the Black Sea and the Indian Ocean. The United States Army Colonel G.T. Weber (Forest Whitaker) contacts Louise to help the nation and the planet Earth as a whole by joining a team which includes people specialised in different fields including a theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner). The idea is to understand the reason behind the arrival of the aliens.

So, what happens next? :: At a military camp in Montana near one of the spaceships, the military look forward to knowing if the aliens are really hostile, or are they just trying to make peace with the humans. This can only be done by entering the spaceship at a certain point of time, coming face to face with the creatures. The aliens are nicknamed by the group as “heptapods” due to having seven legs, and the team starts making contact with them. The language of the aliens is something which corresponds to nothing else, as they write some strange circular symbols on the glass which separated them and the humans. Louise puts in a big effort to understand what these symbols mean by connecting them to the basic vocabulary.

What follows the arrival :: Louise also seems to have visions of her daughter at the same time, and it seems to connect with her process of knowing the new language. The nations and their leaders become restless as time passes, and all the spacecrafts remain at the same place without moving an inch. With the curiosity at its peak, the answer from the aliens on what they want seems to be “offer weapon” which alerts all countries. There is the fear of an upcoming threat from the aliens with some new advanced weapons, and some nations even mobilise their military as if to defend against a potential attack. China takes it one step further, as it gets ready to attack the aliens from its territory, and asks other world leaders to do the same. But Louise is convinced that there is something more to this alien arrival – what can it be? Can she stop a war?

The defence of Arrival :: We might have seen many alien invasion movies, but Arrival is the flick that successfully thinks differently with the basic idea. It is science fiction, and it has creatures from other planet, but it so close to life; it is something that not many movies of the same genre will find difficult to achieve. There is also a lot of beauty on screen, and the performances that support the whole thing. The feeling of a possible disaster runs throughout the movie, but there seems to be not more than one explosion in the whole movie. Amy Adams remains the big strong point of the movie, and along with Nocturnal Animals, this is another movie in which she scores amazingly high. Between Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the upcoming Justice League, she has got two perfect movies in there. Jeremy Renner and the visuals nicely compliment the same.

The claws of flaw :: A lot of people are certain to find Arrival to be kind of slow for their liking. There are too many things happening in this movie, and a lot of them are emotional, plus there is almost no big action sequence or destruction which people expect from these type of movies. Don’t judge this movie by the positive or negative opinions though, as Arrival is a kind of personal experience which needs the movie to be watched. It is also a little bit too philosophical – even though it is not that bad, that feeling is not there throughout the flick. A quicker pace, and a more twisted revealing of the surprise would have helped better too, but as this is based on a short story, it is up-to those who have read the tale to make a better analysis inside. The movie could have also been darker in its theme along with speeding up things. I am also sure that people would have expected more considering how the first half was going.

How it finishes :: Based on a science fiction short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang which had won the 2000 Nebula Award for Best Novella and the 1999 Sturgeon Award, Arrival might be the alien movie and the science fiction flick which you might have been waiting for, with a desire to concentrate less on action. It has won eight OScar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards as we look at them – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing. Well, if these are not reasons enough to make you watch this movie, one has to wonder what else would have. I would wish for a nomination for Amy Adams for the Best Actress too, with this one and Nocturnal Animals too, but we can’t get them all, can we?

Release date: 11th November 2016
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma, Mark O’Brien

arrival

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.