Bacurau

Vampire Owl: Now, we have time for Portuguese movies too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and this one is not really from Portugal. It is Brazilian.

Vampire Owl: Well, we have always loved most of the things which are Brazilian.

Vampire Bat: You are saying that mostly related to the football team.

Vampire Owl: It is something that one would say during the FIFA World Cup.

Vampire Bat: Well, in that case, Brazil is not the only team in the picture.

Vampire Owl: Actually, nothing matches the fan support of Argentina and Brazil even during these days when the European teams are gaining the fans.

Vampire Bat: Yes, even though Germany, France, Spain, Italy and England got quite a good number of fans, and increasing.

Vampire Owl: Let us now dedicate this movie watching adventure to the Brazilian football team then.

Vampire Bat: I am very much in support of such a thing, but it is to be noted that Movies of the Soul doesn’t get much of the views from Brazil or Portugal, even though the former is picking up these days of Corona Virus and lock-down.

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

What is the movie about? :: After the death of her grandmother Carmelita (Lia de Itamaraca), Teresa (Barbara Colen) comes home to her village in Brazil after a long time to find that something is not right, and it is not the same as she had left it then. Some of her old friends like Acacio (Thomas Aquino) are still there though, and there has not been much modern development out there. Bacurau, a small fictional settlement in Brazil’s remote backcountry doesn’t get much of an attention from anyone in the city, as nobody really comes that way. It doesn’t work even as a tourist destination with so many hills and forests around. Even those who are contesting for the mayor spot just comes there with some books and medicines, and after a few minutes, just leaves the place. It is so remote that if someone comes in an advanced car or bike, people would be feeling that there is something wrong, or something special is going to happen out there.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Even though there was a death recently, they have no time for mourning as the water supply has been cut off with water tankers coming that way having holes on it, animals from the forest are running through the streets, and their place has disappeared from all satellite maps completely. Soon, there is no network connection in their mobile phones either. Along with the same, some strangers are walking arouns with guns, and an Unidentified Flying Object has been located nearby. It had to do something with people who were not from around the settlement, and not even from further out in Sao Paulo, Brasilia or Rio de Janeiro. What could be happening around here? Can there be something sinister in play here? Will it be the work of something paranormal or that of influential people who have some evil plans?

The defence of Bacurau :: The visuals of a fictional, remote, Brazilian village makes an impact, and so does the people there, most of them being simple, likable people. The movie does get into the mood of a thriller in the later stages, and there is some nice shooting to go with it as the action begins. With danger getting closer, there are some stranger, but effective measures taken, and the whole situation changes. During the time of Corona Virus, this is more relevant, as people are quarantined into small towns and villages. There is the question about what one can do while facing an armed attack at the same time – with no defense against the human predators, what would the people who are locked in like animals do? The terror created colonialism and terrorism has a new face, as people are not considered to be humans, but things to be hunted and killed. When someone chooses your home as a shooting range with a racist ideology, there is nothing else to do, but to fight back, and the movie shows the underdogs coming up with the same, nicely.

The claws of flaw :: There is the chance of people having doubt about this movie in the beginning, wondering where the tale is heading, and only after establishing everything that we see a certain change beginning to happen. When a lady gets a lift with a truck driver and they are traveling in a road in the middle of nowhere, you feel that this is going to be a very slow, clueless, award movie in which nothing much happens, and you have to find meaning for everything after spending days thinking about it, but you have to get over that feeling to start enjoying this movie which is much more. It doesn’t follow the pattern of the usual action adventure thriller, and never does it try to explain everything which is happening around there, thus making it not a movie for everyone. Some sequences seem to be unwanted, and it surely drags in the beginning, taking time to get into its world. After avoiding some unnecessary sequences and shortening the run-time, this could have a better one to look out for.

Performers of the soul :: Berbara Colenmight seem like the main character in the beginning, but she is not – it is to be noted that she does come up with a simple and serene performance though. Then there is Sonia Braga, but she is not the leading lady either. Thomas Aquino also has a big role to play here, but he remains just one of the characters when we consider the film with its totality. Silvero Pereira as Lunga comes into the picture late, and has his own moments to steal some of the show. But one has to feel that this is a movie without one protagonist or an antagonist, as there are many characters spread throughout the movie – in the beginning, we think that one person is the star, and then we see the focus shifting from there, and other characters are thrown into the picture with chances of being the leader, but the same keeps changing all the time. There are moments when one feels that there is something here that people from other parts of the world might end up missing. Well, the approval rating of 90% based on 125 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes should mean something more.

How it finishes :: Bacurau is the first Portuguese movie that I have watched, and I have been wishing to watch one for a long time. The movie is Brazilian and not Portuguese in identity, and is thus closer to Latin America than Europe, providing a different experience. It is great to see a new world displayed in the movie, with all its simplicity, and the natural problems which come with the same. The action comes in the later stages, and the movie turns into a thrilling adventure without any warning. Bacurau might be a good choice to start watching as far as those different or rather strange movies are concerned. There are times when we think that Bacurau is not just a small town in the middle of nowhere that struggles to be displayed on the map, but a reflection of what can happen to people when facing the inherent cruelty from the rest of the human beings who consider themselves to be very much superior in race, technology, colour, strength or anything else.

Release date: 25th September 2019
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles
Starring: Sonia Braga, Udo Kier, Barbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira, Karine Teles, Julia Marie Peterson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Njan Prakashan

What is the movie about? :: Prakashan (Fahadh Faasil) is someone who is looking for easy money instead of going for the profession that he is skilled in – the job of a male nurse in one of the hospitals in the state or even the nation doesn’t seem to appeal to him, as he wastes his days doing nothing useful other than complain. His hope for a better job sees some light when he once again meets his former lover Salomi (Nikhila Vimal) who studied in the same nursing college. He was consistently avoiding her as she wasn’t that rich as he expected her to be. But the information that she is leaving for Germany to work at a salary of above three lakhs, his love for her quickly returns to him. He hopes to marry her and go to Germany, only to divorce her and marry someone from a rich and reputed family later. For achieving the same, he begins showing his love towards her and her family in different ways.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Now known as PR Akash after changing his original name, he is determined to leave for Germany, whatever happens. He seeks the help of his father’s former student Gopalji (Sreenivasan) who is a labout supplier, and even learns German after shifting to the city. For achieving his German dreams, he even pretends to be an orphan and secretly marry Salomi at the register office. He even tries and succeeds in getting the remaining cash which is needed for her to leave for Germany. Everything seems perfect until her father lands in the hospital. Twist of fate lands him at another place, as a male nurse to a rich child Tina (Devika Sanjay) who has been an eternal pain to her nurses until they left, and he also comes across Shruthi (Anju Kurian) who is struggling to keep her life going after the death of her father. For him, Germany no longer is the option or the dream.

The defence of Njan Prakashan :: There are some wonderful performances to power this movie, and along with the same, it also holds a mirror in front of the society – it is more or less a satire, as we see more than one people you know in the form of Prakashan. Our protagonist is someone who is not willing to work hard thus choosing any chance for easy money, complaining about one thing or the other, being sceptical and jealous about others, and more. We do meet people having these qualities often, which is why the movie becomes a reflection of those around us. The movie as a satire is funny, but not throughout, and it leaves us with some questions, along with invoking the emotional side slightly as well as brutally. As the movie reaches the end, it becomes that morality tale which has the lesson being taught as it finishes. The second half of the movie is top quality, racing ahead of the first, towards glory in the end with the climax and beyond.

The claws of flaw :: Njan Prakashan could have been more natural and it would have been as good as Maheshinte Prathikaaram – instead, this one has been polished, and certain cliches have been added, with the progress being more or less in an old format. The repetitive mode of comedy is rather strange considering the fact that these moments have a lot more to contribute to the overal quality of the movie. The first half of the movie is kind of dull in most parts, with jokes being present at times, and it doesn’t work at some points either. If the first half was reduced in length and more was added to the second, that would have helped the movie further. There is also the absence of some good songs, which should be the selling point of such flicks. We also see no attempt to capture the beauty and tranquility of the villages, as the same could also been positive addition to the movie. The talk about migrant labour population also gets nowhere in the end.

The performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil is once again the man to look out for, as there are shades of Maheshinte Prathikaaram in his character, and the same is combined with the other side of his character in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. Fahadh easily manages this role with every ingredient that the character needed, and it comes as no surprise for us, considering the variety he has been bringing until his last movie, Varathan. We see him excelling in the natural fun moments as well as those strong emotional moments. The change that comes within the character is also nicely displayed by him, and is complete by the end. He also gets to show some shades of his character in Oru Indian Pranayakadha, the earlier combination between him and the same veteran director. The role from Carbon should also be coming to one’s mind as part of those different, yet similar faces of the man who has shown us many faces on the big screen.

Further performers of the soul :: The two heroines of the movie are Nikhila Vimal and Anju Kurian. Nikhila who had her first lead role in Love 24×7 was last seen in another wonderful performance in Aravindante Athidhikal. Anju’s lead role in Kavi Uddheshichathu was a memorable one. The former leads the first half while the latter influences the second. Both are perfectly suited for their roles, and we look forward to seeing them in more movies. Devika Sanjay who plays Tina in this movie with her debut, makes her first one grand, without doubt. She is someone for the future of the industry without doubt. The different shades of a lone school girl is nicely portrayed by her. Sreenivasan remains strong throughout the movie, even though one would feel that his character could have been a lot funnier consider the role and the setting.

How it finishes :: Ente Ummante Peru, Thattumpurath Achuthan, Pretham 2 and Njan Prakashan have been the Christmas moves, and all of them have been doing pretty good, with Odiyan also staying there. Well, the best of the year, Joseph is not finished yet, and we know that there are so many options out there. Among these movies, Njan Prakashan surely has an advantage, because of how it ends, and regarding how it can be connected to the common man’s life. As the year comes to an end, there are things that we need to make sure about, before taking those new year resolutions. Njan Prakashan is that kind of a movie which helps one to do that with ease. The change that needs to happen, is clearly shown in this flick, as we look forward to another year, a better one, with better us.

Release date: 21st December 2018
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Sathyan Anthikad
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Nikhila Vimal, Anju Kurian, Sreenivasan, Aparna Das, Aneesh G Menon, Sabitha Anand, KPAC Lalitha, Veena Nair, Manjula, Manjusha, Jayashankar, Munshi Dileep, Devika Sanjay, MG Sasi, Shania D’Souza

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Odiyan

What is the movie about? :: Manikyan (Mohanlal) is the last among the odiyans, a group known to know sorcery and had shape-shifting abilities. The skill is passed to him by his grandfather after his father and mother were not ready to stand it, and left the village with their daughter, hoping for a better social and economic status elsewhere. Manikyan is one of the most well-known figures in the village of Thankurissi in Palakkad and also beyond the borders in the Tamil-speaking areas near the Western Ghats – some people consider him to be famous, and the others feel that he is a notorious figure. He is known to lurk in the shadows, with darkness as his ally. As it was the time when there was no electricity in the villages, it was easy for him to induce fear into the minds of the victims. He would take different forms, most commonly that of a bull or a buffalo, to torment those who are given as targets by people who pay a fair amount.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manikyan’s biggest enemy in the village is Ravunni Menon (Prakash Raj) with whom he has had his problems since childhood. Ravunni’s interest and unrequited love for his cousins Prabha (Manju Warrier) and Meenakshi (Sana Althaf) only makes things worse as Manikyan has been working in their family household and taking care of them for generations. Ravunni decides to make things troublesome for his cousins as well as Manikyan, and with the death of Prabha’s husband Prakashan (Narain) and Meenakshi’s husband Ravi (Kailash), he succeeds in putting the blame on Manikyan. With electricity coming to the village, and almost everyone blaming him for the two deaths, Manikyan is forced to leave for Varanasi. As he is wandering around there, something changes, and he feels the need to return. What would that mean for everyone in the small village?

The defence of Odiyan :: The legend of the people from Kerala folklore with shape-shifting abilities deserved a movie, and it is always nice to have such an adaptation which has its roots in our own historical fantasy. The action scenes are nicely done, and the scenes involving the titular character in the darkness will make sure that we are interested in the whole thing. The setting nicely helps the progress of the movie, and all locations provide some nice visuals. Compared to the 150 crore grand movie Pulimurugan with Mohanlal fighting the tiger, Odiyan is surely a better flick which has a nice background as well as setting – there is also no bad jokes, and the acting itself is of a superior level when we compare the two. Odiyan has moments of class, and it is the quality which that highest grossing Malayalam movie missed in more than one way.

The claws of flaw :: The trailer as well as the hype created with the information provided regarding the movie, might be the one thing which works against the movie more than anything else. The expectations had gone so high that greatness was expected without excuses, and that was one thing which caused so many of early negative reviews. There is no denying the fact that this legend could have been used in an even better way, reducing the mass elements, and adding more mystery, sorcery, twists and horror. The movie is also too long, and the first forty-five minutes might be the least interesting part of the flick. A better beginning would have helped to keep the interest going, and the non-linear narrative disrupts the flow. Flashbacks are good, but not when they are used at inappropriate timings. The final fight could have been better edited. The background music might catch our attention, but the songs never really manage to do so.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in more than one avatar during two different ages, displays top form as usual. There are not just the action scenes that make an impact, as the emotional side is also strong with him – the strength as well as the helplessness of the main character is shown nicely here. We remember how he could be both in Villain having the same pair in the lead. Maybe, he could have had more with the shape-shifting idea, resembling that of a werewolf, but that much is not there for him to use his full potential. His last movies Drama and Neerali didn’t make that much of an impact, but I would say that they were better than the common opinions; the case here is also not so different, as Odiyan is certainly better than Pulimurugan, and the hard work that Mohanlal has put in to become this character from the folklore is worth the appreciation.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier’s previous movie Mohanlal was not really something to be appreciated, whether it was about the flick or regarding her own performance. But she is back once again with her work in this movie. The comments which were made about her one dialogue in this movie is rather strange, because it is a perfectly suited one for the moment – it once again shows that a lot of our viewers are struggling with understanding characters. The lack of empathy that our audience shows at times is rather strange and unacceptable. Prakash Raj is a strong villain indeed, but could have had better dubbing. Sana Althaf has a nice role after Basheerinte Premalekhanam, and she also has her moments. Kailash, Sreejaya Nair and Narain are there only for a few minutes, but they do leave us with something to remember. Siddique, Innocent and Nandhu do provide some good support too.

How it finishes :: Odiyan becomes the second high budget and the most awaited movie of the year after Kayamkulam Kochunni which had great success already. Despite negative opinions, Odiyan also had a strong weekend, with the only challenge coming from Hollywood, in the form of Aquaman, which has lesser number of shows. There is the need for movies like Odiyan, because only such flicks can assure that we will have better exploration of the myths and legends of the lands. We also need people who are ready to go through the less traveled path – we know, as Robert Frost has said, that would make all the difference. Your level of enjoyment would be different according to your expectations from cinema, but Odiyan is surely a movie which you can’t ignore, and is definitely a movie which is better than the highest grossing Malayalam movie of all-time, the Mohanlal starrer Pulimurugan.

Release date: 14th December 2018
Running time: minutes
Directed by: VA Shrikumar Menon
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Innocent, Prakash Raj, Siddique, Manoj Joshi, Nandhu, Narain, Kailash, Sana Althaf, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sreejaya Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shikkari Shambhu

What is the movie about? :: Philippose (Kunchacko Boban) is a thief who works close to two other thieves, Achu (Vishnu Unnikrishnan) and Shaji (Hareesh Perumana). The three had made an attempt to steal a golden cross from a church in Kunnamkulam area, only to fail in the attempt and escape to the highranges. They decide to stay hidden in a remote place, and the news that there is a tiger attack in Kuruthimalakkavu, makes them travel all the way there disguised as hunters. They also have their eyes set on the statue in the village temple which is said to date back long, and is valued at crores. They are welcomed by the group of villagers lead by the Panchayat President Sudhakaran (Maniyanpilla Raju) and the local priest Father Luko (Johny Antony), and are offered five lakhs to catch the tiger. The three feels that this is a big opportunity for them to make some quick money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The three lives in the fear of being attacked by the tiger, and along with their adventure, Achu falls in love with the daughter of the Panchayat President, Revathy (Alphy Panjikaran) who is a college student. At the same time, Philippose has his interest set on Anitha (Shivada Nair), who is one of the more active and stronger women in the area. They do end up capturing the tiger, but it turns out that this doesn’t stop the killings. It won’t put an end to their problems either. So, is there one more tiger that they need to handle? Can another Shikkari Shambu incident of pure luck save them? But even luck has its limits, as the three friends attempt to make one last stand to save the village as well as get the money that they wanted. This is the time for them to find all their courage, but are they up to it? How many people will have to die before they can?

The defence of Shikkari Shambhu :: The movie has the formula that works, right out the movies like Ordinary, which was acceptable to so many types of audience. There is a lot of entertainment in store, beginning with the comic side that runs through, and also the mystery to come to light along with the big twist to arrive by the finish. The visuals are stunning, and it is not limited to the beautiful “mazha” song which has already become the best song of the year without doubt. When you look closely, you see that Shikkari Shambhu is surely better than Pulimurugan, even though that much of a box-office collection is not there to be taken – this one is still more fun, has a better story, and there are cent percent better female characters, along with coming up with better songs and visuals. Well, you begin laughing from the very beginning itself, and when you see that happening in a multiplex in a mall with the family audience, the movie has won the hearts.

The claws of flaw :: The tale could have been better in the middle parts, and there was scope for more with this trio trying to make something out of their stay in a village haunted by wild animals. There is the feeling of the movies like Ordinary, and a little bit of Romans in this one, and you will also think that this flick is a little too long. A bit shortened, this one could have done without some moments. The tiger doesn’t come up well enough to create an impression either. The fact that this movie didn’t have its shows in a number of theatres including Carnival Cinemas Angamaly and Carnival Cinemas Muvattupuzha, was surely a terrible thing, as we can be sure that so many people wanted to watch this movie after being addicted to the “mazha” song which is undoubtedly a pleasure to look out for, on the big screen. A little more care, and this one could have done even better – it could have had the special ingredient and could have attempted a deviation from the usual path.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban handle this role with ease, and we remember that he played a thief in his last movie of 2017 too, in Varnyathil Aashanka. This character does work for him very well, and never does he need to try more. The song “mazha” itself seems to be custom made for him, something which makes the viewers immediately interested in the flick itself. Shivada has a fine role here, paired opposite Kunchacko Boban, making this her one more notable role after Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam. Her character is strong, determined, and with those qualities that surely make this one a different role for her – there is more than what meets the eye to the strength of this particular female character. Vishnu Unnikrishnan, after Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, continues to be the boy next door, carrying most of charm into this one too.

Further performers of the soul :: Alphy brings good work in her first full role, paired opposite Vishnu as the movie progresses. She is sure to stay there in the industry with some good roles to come. Hareesh Perumana scores the best in this movie, and you don’t need to think twice before asserting the same. We know that he has always been good, no matter what people will say about a movie as a whole. He has been having a good time in the Malayalam movie industry, and this one has him controlling the funny side, rising above everyone else. The movie’s advantage is that he is there throughout the flick. Two directors Johny Antony and Aji John plays interesting roles in the movie too, and the former provides some fun moments which scores big. Salim Kumar has only a smaller presence as a police officer, but when he is there, the whole theatre has no problem in getting into a laugh riot.

How it finishes :: Sugeeth has had a good run with Kunchacko Boban in the lead, beginning with Ordinary and the last one being Madhura Naranga. With a title that reminds us of the comics character who used to be very special for us, Shikkari Shambhu once again brings us one of the better family entertainers of our times, with the content that is suitable for almost all kinds of audience. After the depressing Daivame Kaithozhaam K Kumaraakanam which claimed to be a family entertainer, but ended up being a miserable copy of ideas from other movies creating a mess, the viewers will find Shikkari Shambhu to be a relief among the flicks which are never really what they claim to be. But Shikkari Shambhu is surely the one movie which you would love to go through more than once for its comedy, which will be a big asset to our comedy channels in the future, unlike Aadu 2 which was surely overrated. I hereby leave you with a lovely song from the movie:

Release date: 20th January 2018
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Sugeeth
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Shivada Nair, Alphy Panjikaran, Hareesh Perumana, Johny Antony, Aji John, Salim Kumar, Sphadikam George, Maniyanpilla Raju, Krishna Kumar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rock Dog

Vampire Owl: Do you think that this dog is as emotional as a rock?

Vampire Bat: If it was so, the same wouldn’t have been part of an animated movie.

Vampire Owl: Okay, so the dog is as strong as a rock.

Vampire Bat: This is not really a supernatural movie. So leave that out of your mind.

Vampire Owl: Maybe, he is fan of The Rock?

Vampire Bat: Almost everyone is a fan of Dwayne Johnson. But not the animated cat.

Vampire Owl: At least tell me that he is a Rocky fan.

Vampire Bat: Dude, they are referring to the music.

Vampire Owl: Oh! My relationship with music is as bad as my friendship with the Vampire Crocodile.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this movie would help a little.

[Gets three cups of ginger tea with a piece of ghee cake].

What is the movie about? :: In a village known only by the name Snow Mountain, a dog named Bodi (Luke Wilson) is supposed to be the next guard, guarding the sheep there from the wolves who wish to eat each and every one of them. His father Khampa (J. K. Simmons) hopes that some day, he will take over the place to become the tough guard whom every wolf will be afraid of. But Bodi doesn’t even come close to looking like a tough guard dog, and keeping the wolves out is rather something which seems impossible. But Khampa is sure that the bad wolves led by Linnux (Lewis Black) will return one day or the other, and orders everyone to be vigiliant if they are to stay alive. To avoid making any noise, he has banned music there, locking up every musical instrument, and also keeps some of the sheep disguised as dogs so that the wolves will think that there are many of them, and they are all alert.

So, what happens next? :: Bodi keeps failing the training, and even fails to work with his father’s special movie known as the Iron Paw that was to be the one thing which would give the dogs advantage over the wolves who are wild are huge in number. To add to it, Bodi also becomes interested in rock music, after listening to the rock legend Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard) through a radio which falls down from an airplane. As he steals something from all those musical instruments which were locked up by his father and starts playng, there is the realization among everyone that he is not going to listen, and he would never be the guard dog who is to save the village from the wolves. Even after trying many methods to change his son, he finds none of them working. The village elder Fleetwood Yak (Sam Elliott) asks Khampa to let Bodi become whatever he wants, and do whichever thing he finds comfortable in his life. Khampa lets him go on one condition that he will return for guard duty if he fails in becoming a popular musician.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Bodi leaves Snow Mountain, but is followed by a few wolves who wish to take him hostage so that they can use him as the key to attack Snow Mountain. But Bodi survives by luck and reaches the centre of city – There he finds a band which consists of a fox Darma (Mae Whitman), a goat named Germur (Jorge Garcia), and a snow leopard named Trey (Matt Dillon). He is humiliated by Trey, who defeats him in a guitar contest, and tells him to go and learn from him favourite rockstar who has a certain god effect among the music lovers. Bodi sets off to the rockstar’s house at the exact moment, but little does he realize that the man is not what he thought he was. Mr. Scatterhood is a Persian cat who lives a lonely life, having no companion other than a robot. He has a high security setup which is meant to keep everyone away. Can Bodi, chased by wolves, make the fan-hating rockstar at least look at him? And who will save the Snow Mountain?

The defence of Rock Dog :: There are not many other animated movies which have managed to pull something out with what seems to be so less in hand. We have our protagonist who tries to go beyond what he is supposed to be, chasing his dreams, as many other animated movie characters have done in the past. There is also one rockstar who reminds us of so many celebrities in our world. With the funny side as well as the inner messages, this one scores over many other animated movies which have got the appreciation of the critics, including the overrated Brave, happiness magnet Trolls and the last year’s nomination Kubo and the Two Strings. We see the main characters, the rock dog, the rock cat, the sheep and the wolves, and we enjoy watching what each of them do, and how everything turns out for all. It surely turns better than what the critics had told you, and you get to go searching for what you really need in your life – and most probably go against what society tells you.

The claws of flaw :: Just as expected, this one also doesn’t move that much away from its predictability, and it also takes too much time to get into the action – considering its extra short run-time which doesn’t even reach one and half hours, it makes the movie even shorter after that. It is based on the Chinese graphic novel named Tibetan Rock Dog by Zheng Jun, and one has to wonder if this lives up to that, and whether it could have done better with the material already in hand. The animation also seems a little strange considering how much it has developed – here, it seems to be animated in a rather lesser way when we look at some parts; it is more because of the quality which has been brought in animation with flicks like FrozenMoana, Zootopia, Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon, Inside Out, Kung Fu Panda and many others. Rock Dog is not really rocking when we consider that department deeper. Also, for most of us, rock works less.

How it finishes :: We keep seeing the animal world taking over, with them reigning all over with the animation – there is Sing, Zootopia, and others which has them all over as Cars have the vehicles power going on. Sing even has the music as do Rock Dog, and there is the presence of a few things common which you can search and find or ignore as you wish. The critics may not have been that lenient with Rock Dog as they have been with certain other movies, which rather surprises a lot of us, but everyone can surely watch this movie with the same feeling as they approach most of the other animated movies, as I can surely say that Rock Dog is not that far behind as you think, and when thinking about it from another angle, there is more than enough to keep this as interesting adventure with moments which are to be remembered – rocking at times, as a few people I know would describe it.

Release date: 24th February 2017
Running time: 80 minutes
Directed by: Ash Brannon
Starring: Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J. K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, Sam Elliott, Liza Richardson, Ash Brannon, Will Finn, Julie Craig, Deng Feng, Kellen Goff, Jennifer Hale, Matthew W. Taylor

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Paippinchuvattile Pranayam

What is the movie about? :: Very close to the city, but still, very far away from the urban setting, there is the small island which is known by the name Pandarathuruthu, and the first half of that name itself is enough to know how that place is considered to be, by not just the people from outside, but also those who live there. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge has said in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the people of the island also faces the same situation – “Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink”, surrounded by salt water, and having only a few boats – as all roads lead to Rome, all of those boats get them to the city, and nowhere else. This is the tale of the simple people in that particular place, where everyone spends more time waiting for water in a long queue in front of the common tap at the centre of the island, rather than doing anything else. The rest of the people do simple jobs, including fishing, painting and also a little bit of farming which doesn’t need much of fresh water.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is around that place of local gathering around the tap meant to collect water, that Govindankutty a.k.a Govutty (Neeraj Madhav) and Teena (Reba Monica John) falls in love. While there is the scarcity of water there, one can see no difficulty in getting some love, as far as these two are concerned. Govindankutty leads a happy life with his good friends Ayyappan (Sudhi Koppa) and Bashi (Rishi S Kumar) earning enough through painting work and a few dance performances when opportunities are available. There is not much of a complaint from them about their lives, despite the unavailiability of water bothering them all the time. They know that people have tried to bring better facilities to the island before, but nothing has happened with those politicians who keep making excuses, and life goes on. Any further attempt would be waste of time, according to them.

And what is to follow in this small adventure at the island? :: Babumon (Dharmajan Bolgatty) is the one to suffer the most, as no girl wishes to get married to someone without access to drinking water. Teena’s parents are also not ready to get her married to Govindankutty, and they are also looking for someone who got access to clean water, from anywhere outside the village. Despite his mother (Sethulakshmi) asking for the bride, Teena’s parents (Jaffer Idukki and Thesni Khan) are not ready to accept the proposal. It is more or less the reflection of their realization that nothing good can happen in Pandarathuruthu and the people of the island will never have access to clean water. But when one tragedy strikes, they have to think differently, and understand that it is the time to act. It is upon the youth to make the difference, but are they up to it? One journalist named Shyam Prakash (Aju Varghese) is ready to help them, but will that be enough?

The defence of Paippinchuvattile Pranayam :: There are moments in Paippinchuvattile Pranayam that keep rising like the certainty of tides – we see them coming and going. The humour is present here and there, and the lead has a good chemistry going on in movie’s favour. Some good visuals of the place will have our attention, and we see the huge buildings of the city on one side and this small world on the other. The music is good, even though they are used without care at some places. There are messages in store, and we have social issues being discussed, after the lack of availability of clean water in many areas. There were those islands around Cochin which had problems in getting drinking water, something we have been reading about since childhood. Even though a lot of problems have been solved now, it remains something that is present at one place or the other. Paippinchuvattile Pranayam adds something there.

The claws of flaw :: With a little more than two hours of length, some parts of the movie do make us feel a certain amount of drag. There is also the whole thing not used to its advantage, as this one could have been funnier, as well as having a thrilling end which could be a lot more of a difference maker with its ideas. The final moments could have been polished to bring an effect which would have made this one a social thriller with romance to go with it. The romantic side also makes way for the rest of the things too easily – there is not that much of strength with it if we consider the fact that the title Paippinchuvattile Pranayam as well as the expectations were all related to that only. There is also the need for the ability to relate to the problems of the common man, without which, this movie can go flying far away; this one would be more for the common audience, the everyman who can reflect these elements better as well as the invisible villains.

Performers of the soul :: Neeraj Madhav right out of Lavakusha and Oru Mexican Aparatha this year leads the way, and he is comfortable in being this kind of a hero, as all things are in control here. Reba Monica John seems naturally suited for this role, and is there throughout, winning points with big smiles and enchanting expressions, unlike that small presence which she had in Jacobinte Swargarajyam despite being the leading actress there too. As one might have figured out with the trailer and songs, she fits in, even without that many dialogues. Sudhi Koppa is the one actor who supports so well as he rises to the occasion, and he does a fantastic job with those emotional side, more than that comic side which was there earlier. We already saw him in Alamara, Lakshyam and Udaharanam Sujatha in notable roles this year among the others, and he gets his best here. Dharmajan strengthens the funny side, which would have struggled a lot without him. Aju Varghese has a smaller role which is managed easily. Sarath falls prey to a badly written negative character.

How it finishes :: Among those movies about common people made with what seems to rather lower budget, Paippinchuvattile Pranayam will surely have a good position. It is always nice to see tales being made about common men and not those money laundering bourgeoisie class attached to pubs and parties. It can’t claim to be perfect or close to being perfect in what it deals with, but it is as close to reality that we can get, and it is close to the heart of everyone who feels for those who are in need. But concerning others who have no heart for the sufferings of others, this wouldn’t be the movie. This is the age of superheroes with Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League running in the theatres, and one can go for them without thinking too much, for the big entertainment. But if you care, try giving a chance to the smaller movies about everyman, like Paippinchuvattile Pranayam. In simple words, call it “Love, water & other social issues”.

Release date: 24th November 2017
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Domin D’Silva
Starring: Neeraj Madhav, Reba Monica John, Aju Varghese, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Sarath Appani, Sudhi Koppa, Sruthy Jayan, Jaffer Idukki, Rishi S Kumar, Tesni Khan, Sethulakshmi, Indrans, Anoop Chandran

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ima

Vampire Owl: I always knew that this was going to happen; I actually thought that it could happen much earlier.

Vampire Bat: What exactly are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: A movie on IMA – Indian Military Academy, about the training and other incidents at the place.

Vampire Bat: No, this is not about the officer training Academy of the Indian Army at Dehradun.

Vampire Owl: You mean that this about the same, a new academy based out of somewhere else?

Vampire Bat: This has no relationship with the military.

Vampire Owl: So, this is about Indian Medical Association? Thus it could be based out of anywhere.

Vampire Bat: I see that your Malayalam has hit a new bottom. You don’t even know what “ima” means?

Vampire Owl: I am one of those evil people who read and talk less of mother tongue.

Vampire Bat: Oh! I am sure that it makes you more evil than most of the villains.

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

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of Madhavan (Pratap Pothen) and Radhu (Menaka Suresh), a couple in their fifties, who are living all by themselves in a house in their village, disconnected from the busy world. They have nobody for help, and their best friends are their two pets, a parrot and a dog. Their best access to the town is through a rowing boat, and they rarely go out that far. Radhu is blind, but she is very much adjusted to live in the house without her sight, accustomed to each corner and each object there. Madhavan has his own eye problems, and has only a terribly blurred vision without his glasses – the spectacles are the first thing that he searches for, right after he wakes up; not tea, newspaper, his loved ones, or anything else. It is only after he puts them in front of his eyes that his day begins.

So, what happens next? :: It is just the love for each other that they need in this life. They balance each other and their life, which goes on as they are there for each other. But there is a complication when Madhavan’s glasses are broken. He finds himself more vulnerable than ever, and he feels more blind than his wife. But when there is the love for your life on your side, there is no need to panic. True love is the one in which both always care for one another. There is no blindness that can stop the light from coming in and staying in their lives, and they will realize that again. It is those little things in life that makes one feel the love again, and being together for eternity is what fairy-tales have wanted us to believe. These two need no fairy-tales, Shakespearean Sonnets, or tales of true love to bring certainty, as they know that they have each other, forever.

Soul exploration 1: True love and where it stands beyond lust and infatuation :: These days, one can only keep wondering where the true love lies. It is mostly in those movies which are rather overrated in the name of love, but the same is not reflected in our lives – sometimes the so called love is compared to leaving the one whom he or she is supposed to marry on the location of wedding itself, but that would be nothing less than lust and infatuation. True love is a case of understanding and care which has to be there all the time. But the new generation struggles to find the same, giving into those things which have no part in the soul, like beauty and wealth. When providing support to the better half isn’t the first thing to do in marriage, it is no real life after wedding at all. True love is when it is a person whom one loves, and not his or her money or body. When souls unite, everything is else is just optional.

Soul exploration 2: Love as a journey of togetherness for eternity :: Through marriage, one also promises to take care of the other until death, and it is something which has to be done all the time. The older generation, despite having their own problems, seemed to understand it better, no matter the degree of love which they show. Whatever problem one has, the other has to nullify the same. It is those who are ready to take this step, that needs to be in such a relationship – it is the others who marry in the name of the spouse having a big job, wealth in the name of cash, big house, luxurious car or property that won’t understand this idea of eternity. But there are those people who look for these features on the one they are to marry, and some people even ask for a government job for the groom – some people just never consider goodness to be a positive thing in a relationship.

How it finishes :: The movie’s cast is rather small, as except for Pratap Pothen and Menaka Suresh, there are no real human presence – the exceptions there are the one who delivers the newspaper in the morning and the one who rows the boat. It is the pair that excels above everything else in this movie. Also, the visuals are too good, with the simplicity as well as the beauty that it possessed. What we have to note is how a simple incident in the lives of two simple people has been made so interesting in such a less run-time. It is also the kind of life that we hope everyone would have, and we feel that maybe this little short-film about the love and care for each other that a couple shows, will stay in the mind of many more people and inspire them to be of love and support for each other, living up to the wedding vows which they exchange. It is the message that a messed up world needs, and it is what everyone should take home and keep with them.

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

Vampire Owl: Humans can love like this? I wouldn’t believe that.

Vampire Bat: Human capability for love is very much there, but it is just that they won’t try that hard to love.

Vampire Owl: These humans are rather too selfish. When was the last time love was really love?

Vampire Bat: It is easier to hate due the inherent evil in man. It was proven in The Belko Experiment too.

Vampire Owl: But they find writing about love to be rather easy. They even make so many movies with love being the theme, like Anarkali, Ennu Ninte Moideen, London Bridge, Premam, Kismath, Thattathin Marayathu, Basheerinte Premalekhanam, Madhura Naranga, Om Shanti Oshana and all.

Vampire Bat: Romantic movies are the easier ones to make. It is the reason why Bollywood have so many of them.

Vampire Owl: Moonnamathe Vazhi was a nice romantic short-film and so was The Story of 90 Coins, I remember.

Vampire Bat: You remember Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol injecting romance into family drama and CIA: Comrade in America doing the same into communism; Sakhavu also did the latter.

Vampire Owl: Still, there is nothing like Brooklyn with its romance.

Vampire Bat: And Crimson Peak with its good old Gothic Romance Horror.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 10th June 2017
Running time: 11 minutes
Directed by: Liju Krishna
Starring: Pratap Pothen, Menaka Suresh

Watch the movie Ima here:

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Tiyaan

What is the movie about? :: Pattabhiraman Giri (Indrajith Sukumaran) is living a happy and normal life with his wife Amba (Ananya) and his only daughter, Arya (Nakshatra Indrajith). They belong to a small group, including Malayalis who reside in a small village, somewhere in North India. He comes from a long line of Brahmins who have a huge legacy. But the respect and the admiration that he has in the village due to his good nature, closeness to God and kindness lands himself in trouble as Mahashay Bhagavan (Murali Gopy), a famous godman with millions of followers wishes to build an ashram there. While a number of people are forced to run away from the village in one way or the other, a few others like Jayanthan Nair (Suraj Venjaramoodu) decides to become the poweful godman’s latest disciple, and find a place to stay within his ashram after selling his assets to the spiritual organisation and being assured of some monthly earnings.

So, what happens next? :: Mahashay, whose original name is Remakant, was a disciple of the great spiritual guru, Vasundhara Devi (Padmapriya Janakiraman) who was found dead in her ashram, after which the man has been everything about the organisation. He is so powerful that almost every V.I.P. in the belt worships him – the Chief Minister himself visits him so often, and has declared his victory even before the election began as he has the blessings of this godman. With all these people in his pocket, the police is also helpless, focusing more on dealing with smaller cases, or those which will make the politicians happy, making the common man suffer in the absence of law and order. He has branches of his ashram in different parts of India, and has spread abroad a lot during the recent times. He has everything planned all the time, and keeps getting what he wants.

And, what is to follow next in this tale? :: Pattabhiraman is determined to keep his ancestral home at any cost, and he finds it his duty and privilege to do the same. Mahashay provides him with time until Shivaratri to come up with the right decision, which is to leave his place and go back to Kerala after accepting the compensation and the blessings from him; otherwise, there is only the curse that will await him. Almost everyone who is left in the village has accepted this new godman as their new saviour and guru, as they feel that it is the only option as well as the right choice for the future. It is during these troubled times that he comes across Aslan Mohammed (Prithviraj Sukumaran) who offers him help. One day, while looking for Aslan and not finding him, Pattabhiraman is told the tale of Aslan by another man, Jameel Askari (Shine Tom Chacko). Aslan might not be the man whom Pattabhiraman thought he was, but can he be of help?

The defence of Tiyaan :: The thought-provoking moments of Tiyaan are intense, with that intensity like never before. The dialogues are stronger than ever, and we feel all the correct emotions in each of them, whether it is anger, hate, fear or grief. There are signs of what is to come from the beginning itself, and we feel how this is going to be something different, and it is. The whole thing remains a thought-provoking saga, and we are left with hope in a world which doesn’t have much of the same with almost everyone being hypocrites. There might be complexity within, but the final message is rather too simple, with all religions leading to one God, and love being the path. There are only some people who use the name of God in vain, and use it to hate and kill others; but our culture has always been in favour of diversity, and in our world, we have always been one. It is only the corporate side and the rest who are seeking mileage political or social, spreading the hate, as it is shown in the movie – it is all for the rich and influential as the rest suffers. The visuals are really good too.

The claws of flaw :: Tiyaan is too long a movie, and this much of a length doesn’t work in favour of such a flick. It is predictable at parts, and the flashback story is not that interesting. There are those parts of the movie which could have had more focus on them than the rest, but the movie just leave some of them behind. The philosophical side just hesitates to go any deeper, and the mass takes over when things could have been rather natural and realistic. One can only wonder what more this flick could have achieved with the material that it possessed, and considering the way it began and set everything ready by the interval. The final scene about the link between the two protagonists from the past might actually be the lowest point of the movie, and it was never needed to exist. Even though this is a Malayalam movie, there is less presence of the language, and the common audience will have trouble with the same.

Performers of the soul :: The movie focuses on Indrajith in the first half and on Prithviraj in the second. While the former returning after Lakshyam has quality time on screen in those beginning stages, the latter returning after Ezra finishes off in style, and also brings something for the mass in the second half. The fact that even after the performances, considering our common nature, some fans will also have to write imposition to remember the message for daily life. There is one dialogue from Indrajith about what is spoken by God and what is added by humans for their convenience – that one stays for so long. Then there is Prithviraj talking about selfish people and the rest of the world, so much charm there. Murali Gopy’s godman act is something that will be remembered for his way of bringing that character to its full strength right from the beginning. We also see Indrajith’s daughter Nakshatra doing so well, and Ananya is there in a short role done fine. Suraj Venjaramoodu does nice when he is there, and the same can be said about Shine Tom Chacko.

How it finishes :: On one side, we get those movies made in a hurry as if they have just got the dates of superstars and there is no time – on the other side, there are movies like Tiyaan which seems to be well-thought, and made to suit the times. They could have done without those overdone action sequences and the larger than life flashback which serve as nothing less than road blocks on a long journey. It is the messages that balance the equation, and when they rise above the rest, brings the thoughts that our world needs, and our people have been waiting for. As the message that all religions are one, leading to one final destination, spreads, there is no longer the need for change of faith, for it is replaced by change of mind – there is no more conversion, but transformation of the soul. There are the good and evil in each religion, and then there is God who plays no part in the terrible acts of people who claim to be like the Almighty One, or as following his path. There was Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, and now there is this movie – divergent ways are surely back!

Release date: 7th July 2017
Running time: 168 minutes
Directed by: Jiyen Krishnakumar
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Indrajith Sukumaran, Shine Tom Chacko, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Murali Gopy, Ananya, Padmapriya Janakiraman, Ravi Singh, John Kokken, Mridula Sathe, Rahul Madhav, Ranjeet, Amit Tiwari, Nakshatra Indrajith, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Paris Laxmi, Bhavika, Anand Attukal, Adesh S Nair

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

What is the movie about? :: Prasad (Suraj Venjaramoodu) and Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan) are in love after a certain misunderstanding between them. Living near Vaikom at a village where the caste feeling is high, both are at trouble due to Sreeja’s father and relatives being fully against the marriage and threatens them. The result is that both of them runs away from the place after their wedding, and goes to a remote place in Kasargod where they have bought some land and a place to stay, hoping to get into agriculture. But it turns out that there is no water available there, and things once again takes a twist. They decide to get a loan against her gold ornaments, but her necklace ends up being stolen when in the bus, messing up with their plans. This theft was committed by a man known by the same name, Prasad (Fahadh Faasil) whom Sreeja had seen devouring it to escape being caught with it.

So, what happens next? :: So, the KSRTC bus driver, conductor and the travelers join to take the man to the nearby police station. It is more of a remote area, which doesn’t have leaves too many options for the police than to wait, as Sreeja is certain that the man had stolen her necklace and the thief tells the police that he has stolen nothing, and is working at a road-side eatery making porottas. But when the police asks for an id, he has none, and so they decide to keep him at the police station and wait. With no other option left, the couple also has to wait to find a way to find the necklace from him, as nothing could be proven otherwise. The police officer in charge of the case, A.S.I. Chandran (Alencier Ley Lopez) assures them that the thief is a smart one, but he solves such cases all the time, and will get them their necklace. So, who is the smartest of them all – is it the thief, the couple or the police officer?

The defence of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum :: The question of Dileesh Potham brilliance rises again, and we can see that there is something about it everywhere that fuels this movie. It is a fine narration that takes the story to another level, as we have the perfect example on how to make simplicity so interesting. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is once again an everyman movie like Maheshinte Prathikaram, and those elite classes will not get their due here – there is almost no person in this movie who can be put into that “rich” category, which brings us the real movie for the people, which has never been the self-proclaimed “local” movies. The humour is also working, and they are also based on simple things of life – still there are twists. Once again, we see that the visuals are nice, as you know who in charge of them with the camera. The music is good, with “Kannile Poika” nicely visualized. There is the message hope and forgiveness, even though they are not readily visible.

The claws of flaw :: The movie might feel a little bit slow and a little bit dull at moments of the first half, as we expect it to be fun-filled entertainer like Maheshinte Prathikaram which had absolutely no moment which will make us doubtful. The emptiness that you feel in between, and the repetition that might seem to occur are also certain to be seen. You do feel at times, that this has a little too much of a remider of Action Hero Biju – so, if you don’t like that movie, there is a chance that Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum will not be that interesting to you too. The story also doesn’t have that much in it to talk about, as things are rather simple, and the whole thing is focused to particular places. If you are looking for the usual kind of a movie, this will not claim to be one, which might be a good thing for a few, and not an interesting thing for some others. There could have been a bigger punch by the end, which is not there.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has his second movie running in the theatres at the same time, as Role Models is already there, having released for Eid with Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran – his earlier movies were Take Off and Maheshinte Prathikaaram, and it has been a fine run which continues into this movie too. Fahadh’s work, no matter how good or bad a movie is always something to look forward too – after all, this one is really good. There is a certain balance in his work, and even the simplest emotions from him brings the claps from the audience – the thief’s smiles score big. Suraj Venjaramoodu brings a performance which brings him back to the “fortress of seriousness”, with a full role rather than what he had in Action Hero Biju – he even has the romantic side to explore nicely. The National Award Winner for Best Actor in 2013 is the hero in this one, even though the term has less potential in a realistic story having no heroism.

Further performers of the soul :: Nimisha Sajayan makes a good debut with this movie too, as her work is simple as well as memorable. We see her taking it further with some realistic emotional scenes. It will be nice to see her in a different performance in one of the upcoming movies, and I remember having read that she has signed for another movie already. The next memorable character in the movie is played by Alencier Ley Lopez, who plays the police officer again after Njan Steve Lopez, and combines forces with Fahadh Faasil and Dileesh Pothan once again after Maheshinte Prathikaaram. You remember Vinay Forrt becoming the officer in control of things in Kismath where almost everything happens in the police stations – Alencier gets to do the same, but he has another mode on with Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. There is also the presence of some lesser known faces, who all do a fine job – it seems that the right ones are chosen for sure.

How it finishes :: We have all known what Dileesh Pothan is capable of, with his Maheshinte Prathikaaram, the National Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam and also for Best Screenplay. The same combination of him with Fahadh Faasil returned here, and as expected there is something for us to be impressed, as we were waiting with expectations being a lot high. The movie with a realistic side will always have more for us than what any of those big superstar movies possess. It is the same realization that makes a lot of people to arrive at the theatres on a rainy day, defying all odds to get a ticket for this rather simple a movie – even the advance bookings have been even more. When the first movie was a success, the second movie has become a bigger challenge, as he has to match the glory, and here, with his brilliance continuing, Dileesh Pothan has kept Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum working, even though not as much as Maheshinte Prathikaaram.

Release date: 30th June 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Alencier Ley Lopez, Nimisha Sajayan, Soubin Shahir, Shince Mathew, Jithin KC, Vettukili Prakash, Sreekanth Murali

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kavi Uddheshichathu?

kavidudhesichathu-1

What is the movie about? :: The action takes place at a village called Allimoola which is known for the game of volleyball, and its crazy fans, as well as the players who have dedicated their lives towards the game – but it is all in the past now, with the new generation of youngsters looking only for the easy ways to make money, without doing anything really valuable to the society. The women of the village considers the game to be a big wastage, and the men are no longer interested in it as part of their lives. There are only those players of the past who keep talking about their lost glory. Still, there is a section of people who believes that the game is in the blood of the villagers and they don’t believe that they game can ever disappear suddenly – they are hoping for the emergence of better players from the place who can rise above the best.

So how are things moving forward in this movie? :: It is the richest guy in the village, Vattathil Bosco (Narain) who conducts the tournaments now, in memory of his father who used to do the same years ago. But unlike his father, he has no real interest in the game, and only wishes to show the power of his money and wants to be more and more famous, but gets not much of respect from the villagers. He is in love with Lillykutty (Sija Rose), the sister of Kavalam Jimmy (Asif Ali), who is his major opponent in life, a story of dislike which has been going on for many years. Meanwhile, Jimmy is in love with Jasmine (Anju Kurian), who is the sister of Bosco. Jimmy and his friends, including Karala (Balu Varghese), Dineshan (Sudhi Koppa), Aneesh (Benson), Charles (Abhishek) and Sukoor (Ganapathy) form the better known faces of youth in the village who do simple work to make their living.

So, what happens next? :: With the love story of Jimmy and Jasmine being known to people, things get further complicated. At the meeting where the decision on the tournament was to be made, the two opponents end up betting against each other – what they ask for is the hand of the other person’s sister in marriage. The whole village consider takes this in the sportsman spirit, and decides that time has come to celebrate the tournament this time. Looking for a sponsor, Jimmy and his friends find one in Gladys (Lena) who doesn’t like Bosco’s family. Bosco finds a new ally and the team’s coach in Noble Jacob (Saiju Kurup) who had problems with Jimmy and his friends earlier. Joshy (Bijukuttan) arranges a special coach for Jimmy’s team, Minnal Simon (Biju Menon) who is a drunkard and is ready to lose the game for money. So, where does things go from here?

The defence of Kavi Uddheshichathu? :: You know that there will fun around with this movie as you look at the title itself. There is that nostalgia of those old village movies that runs right through this movie, and there is also that feel-good effect that gets to the highest level in the end – it might be what the movie has been aiming for all the time. The locations are nicely captured, with the movie being shot at Iritty in Kannur district, located on the banks of Valapattanam River. The entertainment is guaranteed here, even though it is not provided without the breaks in between. It is the middle part as well as those moments with Biju Menon that stays the strongest here. There is simplicity all around this movie, and even the bad guys in this movie are not that easy to be hated – this is that kind of a comedy movie which leave one without much to think about, and focuses more on what is there to bring some laughter.

The claws of flaw :: There could have been a more interesting story-line, without doubt – instead, this one goes into the territory which Karinkunnam 6s had explored just a few months earlier. The climax is rather predictable, even with an extra dose of feel-good added in the end – everything gets sorted out in the end, and there are no more enemies. There is a certain amount of emptiness in the movie at times due to the same reason – the effort here seems to be to make the feel-good comedy thing work all the time rather than focusing on anything else. We are also left too far away from the characters – there is no real feeling for the character even in a funny way as they do the predictable on the screen. There is also the lack of a strong enough climax that could have finished this the way it should have done – instead this one floats all the way there.

Performers of the soul :: Even though he arrives late, Biju Menon is the soul and heart of this movie – coming after one and half hours in a movie which has only about forty to forty five more to get to the finish, he raises the level of the comedy in this movie. Asif Ali does his job naturally, and there was nothing huge there for him to perform. Narain looks perfect for this role, but it is not really so when he goes on as the character; there is a consistent struggle with comedy going on here, and it never ends until the movie finishes. Lena plays a strong and admirable character with ease. Anju Kurian makes a beautiful addition to this movie, and even in a movie that focuses more on its male stars, leaves a mark; and also leaves the big smiles behind. Sija Rose is also notable in the small role. Among the supporting cast, Balu Varghese stands out, even though the viewers might have expected more from him. Dinesh Prabhakar and Veena Nair forms a nice combination too.

How it finishes :: Thomas Liju Thomas, the director of this movie had already come up with a short-movie, Ramaniyechiyude Namathil before this. It was a critically acclaimed short-film which had managed to grab a number of awards and honours. It is known for winning the first prize in the “Shoot an Idea” competition which was organised by Kappa TV. In his first full-length movie, he has made sure that it remains a complete entertainer, and finishes with a feel-good effect. It did appeal to the audience with its simple jokes, which is undoubtedly the reason why it ran for quite some time in the local theatres as well as multiplexes. Without too much application of brain, this one can work very well with the comic side, even though not that much as a sports movie – the sporting event is just a reason for things to come together; you know what you are going for in this movie instead. Well, simplicity works and so does feel-good, as already proved this year in Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho and Oru Muthassi Gadha.

Release date: 8th October 2016
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Thomas Liju Thomas
Starring: Asif Ali, Anju Kurian, Biju Menon, Narain, Lena, Bijukuttan, Balu Varghese, Sija Rose, Sudhi Koppa, Benson, Abhishek, Ganapathy, Bindu Panicker, Sneha, Saiju Kurup, Manoj Guinness, Akku Melparamb, Chithra Shenoy, Dinesh Prabhakar, Veena Nair, Pradeep Kottayam, Sasi Kalinga, Balaji Sharma, Prasanth, Arul Mash, Alleppey Ashraf, Tom Joseph

kavidudhesichathu

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho

kochavvapauloayyappacoelho

Vampire Owl: This is one long list of people. I know some of them, I think.

Vampire Bat: You know Paulo Coelho for sure.

Vampire Owl: Yes, he is a much talked about figure in the New Vampire World.

Vampire Bat: The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage – you know them.

Vampire Owl: I know more than that, and I shall read more of it.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that your reading habit is coming back.

Vampire Owl: So, how is he related to this movie?

Vampire Bat: It is for us to find out by investigating while watching this movie.

Vampire Owl: It is one title of a movie that is sure to catch your attention too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, even we wonder what it is about, and the curiosity catches the audience.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Ayyappa Das (Rudraksh Sudheesh) is a kid who has always had the dream to travel in an airplane. He has been growing up thinking about nothing other than this one thing, and almost everybody in the village knows that. There is one toy that he always has with him, and that is a tiny model of an airplane. He and his best friend, his cousin sister Ambily (Abeni Aadhi) spends their time hoping to find him a chance, by praying to different dieties. He had two chances to go in the plane though, the first one spoiled by a disease, and the second one when his father died, having taken visa and paid for the airline tickets in both cases. With his father dead, his chances for traveling in an airplane seems to have reached a new low, but he still believes that there is some chance here or there and is not ready to give up.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The other significant character in this movie is Kochavva, whose real name is Ajayakumar (Kunchako Boban). He is a very helpful person, and is loved by almost everyone in the village. A man known for his good heart and the intense desire to help people in need, everyone calls him by the name Kochavva, no matter they are older or younger to him. Having given up his love Anju (Anusree) due to the goodness in his heart, he is the man who is now going to help Ayappa Das in getting closer to his dream. One day, while teaching children swimming, Kochavva tells everyone about how significant swimming is, and how it can help one to achieve more, along with doing it as an exercise. Ayappa Das sees it as an opportunity to travel in an airplane by going for competitions outside Kerala.

So how is the dream to be achieved? :: The problem is that Ayappa Das is afraid of water, and it is not just some fear – it goes deeper. When almost every kid in the village was taught swimming by Kochavva, he had always stayed away – he has often felt water as death. The movie goes on to bring to its viewers on how the boy managed to overcome his fear of water, and how Kochavva uses the quote from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist – “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” to make him believe in himself, and also in the rest of the people around him. With his dream of traveling in an airplane on the line, can Ayyappa Das finally become the person that he and Kochavva want him to be? Is it possible for him to finally achieve that one thing which seemed to be not happening as everything in the universe earlier seemed to conspiring against him?

The defence of Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho :: With the whole tale based on and hoping to thrive on Paulo Coelho’s popular and best known quote from The Alchemist, there was something inspirational coming up for sure, and it could be seen from a long distance – it is the same that is delivered here, with the protagonist’s hope to achieve his biggest dream, but at the same time, there is the assertion on goodness which is in keeping one’s dreams as second priority for the sake of others. The village setting nicely supports the whole thing, and with a certain light-hearted momentum, this one manages to move towards becoming that motivational movie which is expected. “Neelakkannulla Maane” is an amazing song, which might be the best of the year so far. Everyone needs an inspirational movie, and when it is based on dreams, the feel-good effect only gets better, and surely there is more approval for such an idea.

Claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t have a full flow if we look at it, and it does drag at parts. There is also that ending which could have been something bigger, but it is not. We could have had the effect of many other motivational movies like Mili, Rani Padmini and Su Sudhi Vathmeekam, but that didn’t happen here. There are points when the pace comes down, which shouldn’t have been the case. There is no shortage of inspirational movies in Malayalam, and so this could have done better to keep itself strong, but it has managed to be surely better than the partially inspirational movies from Bollywood like Dear Zindagi which cares only about the new generation richer class minority who moans for no valid reason. The amount of humour is also a little too less considering the scope which was there – with Suraj Venjaramood and Aju Varghese there, one has to wonder why the funny lines were kind of hard to come by. The final cameos were not needed either.

How it finishes :: As Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho marks the return of Udaya Pictures which was the first ever movie production company in Malayalam cinema, this one is also the seventy fifth movie of Kunchako Boban who has brought his legacy strongly. He is very good here, playing a role in which seems to be very comfortable – it is a simple role, with the protagonist driven by the simple need to help others as Fahadh Faasil’s character was driven by the simple need for revenge in Maheshinte Prathikaram. In the movie, it is the kid, Rudraksh who steals the show though. With some funny moments here and there from Suraj Venjaramood and Aju Varghese not being used to the best effect, this is one movie which thrives on the feel-good factor and positive messages, for which one should feel the need to watch Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho. This is where you see intelligence in simplicity.

Release date: 9th September 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Sidhartha Siva
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Anusree, Rudraksh Sudheesh, Suraj Venjaramood, Aju Varghese, Nedumudi Venu, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Abeni Aadhi, Muthumani, Mukesh, Sudheesh, Irshad, Musthafa, Maniyanpilla Raju, Mithun Ramesh, Biju Menon (cameo), Parvathy Ratheesh (cameo)

kochavvapauloayyappacoelhoo

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guppy

guppy-1

Vampire Owl :: Oh, you mean the Vampire Guppy.

Vampire Bat :: There is no Vampire Guppy. Fishes don’t become vampires. None of us are interested in water including you.

Vampire Owl :: But all I have been hearing about in the last few days is related to the great bath.

Vampire Bat :: That is just the blood bath. Fishes don’t live in blood.

Vampire Owl :: It is really unfortunate. We could have used some fishy help. There are already too many things fishy with the humans.

Vampire Bat :: Still, we can watch this movie. I have read that this is one of the better human movies.

Vampire Owl :: If it is a better movie, I am sure that most of the fan-boys and fan-girls haven’t watched it yet.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it is universal law; the quality and the fans won’t go together.

Vampire Owl :: Which is why good movies need us.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, we watch more good movies, and it is our superpower to differentiate between the best and the worst of them.

[Gets three cups of tea with jackfruit chips].

What is the movie about? :: This the tale of a boy named Michael (Chethanlal), who is known to everyone as Guppy, as he has a collection of the small fish called guppy and earns money by selling them to the customers in need. The boy has one dream, that of buying an automatic wheel chair for his mother (Rohini) who can’t walk after the stroke she suffered with the death of his father. The death of his father left his mother on the wheel chair, and she never let him go to the sea which took the man. The seaside village has people who admire his hardwork, and tries to help him in achieving his dream. The two people supporting him the most are Paappan (Alencier Ley Lopez) who runs a shop where Guppy also works, and Lalichan (Sudheer Karamana) who provides him the help needed to grow and sell the fish from the village office where he works.

So what happens next? :: Everything remains simple in this beautiful, scenic village by the side of the sea. The boys are all after Aamina (Nandana Varma) who is the grand daughter of the man who works at the railway gate (Sreenivasan), but the man makes sure that nobody gets to see her by covering her face with a purdah. The boys are happy spending their days in the usual way though – there is nothing special happening as life goes on as has been for a long time. But things don’t go well for him as an engineer Thejus Varkey (Tovino Thomas) comes to the his village for constructing a railway bridge. From the beginning itself, the boy and the engineer doesn’t like each other, and a certain rivalry begins between the two. Both are determined not to yield to the other. The story goes on to tell us how the differences go and how things get for the two.

The defence of Guppy :: There is a certain amount of artistic feeling that we get with the visuals of this movie, and how the incidents are set in motion. Remember Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and Riders to the Sea? There is something special with the movies with this type of setting as long as they are done well enough; there is the struggle, there is the hope and there is the attempt to survive. The relationships and emotions are just on another level, even when the special situations are not attempted. There is no clear protagonist and antagonist here, and no hero and villain to be exact, as we see the flow of emotions making people do things which they wouldn’t want to do on another occasion. There is something so poetic about the life and situations here, and we move through the same, with some beautiful shots of the sea and the shores, along with some nice music.

Claws of flaw :: The characters might not seem that well developed for everyone throughout the movie. There are some of them who are there just for the same of being there. One might notice that there is a little bit too much time taken to get us into the whole thing. There is also a certain amount of drag in between, and the movie is a little bit too long for this kind of a subject. Going at a better pace would have made this movie feel even better. The number of songs could have been reduced for the same reason. The ending might not satisfy everyone, and there are things that the viewers won’t be clear about – the movie leaves one with enough to guess and more to think about. The key is to get the connection with these characters in the movie, and only after that can one get the full feeling of this movie – therefore, this movie needs its own thinking audience.

Performers of the soul :: All of us will notice how amazing a performer Chethan is with this movie, even though it is not the first time that he has brought the surprise right to us. He excels with those emotional moments, and this is more of a controlled performance which raises no questions. Tovino Thomas is not far behind here, as this character simply adds to his wonderful works, as he scores throughout this movie. There is no shortage of skills here, as we see him in this new avatar. Alencier Ley Lopez and Sudheer Karamana are there to bring some fine support to the cast. Rohini is there to add to the same, and Sreenivasan brings even more here. Sreenivasan’s role is of the most significance after the main characters too, and he remains comfortable throughout the flick. Noby Marcose adds some fun here, and the director of Maheshinte Prathikaram, Dileesh Pothan is also present in a notable role.

How it finishes :: Guppy goes through to tell its viewers the need for forgiveness. As long as that quality can get all the needed attention, life gets better. But the first kind of people whom we need to forgive are those who are yet to watch this movie. It is never too late to watch and support good movies, and with its well-designed world, Guppy provides us with more than just good times. We remember that Annmariya Kalippilaanu was another such movie that too many people missed! Guppy is the kind of movie which has the moments which will stay with us for long. It is close to the heart, and it is more about how life goes on, and how things change for the good and the bad, and Guppy shows us that it is never about being restricted to black and white, good and evil – it is more like being different people and going through our lives to get to the other end. But there is the need to be good to others, to forgive mistakes to make things better for everyone.

Release date: 5th August 2016
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Johnpaul George
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Chethanlal, Sreenivasan, Rohini, Alencier Ley Lopez, Sudheer Karamana, Dileesh Pothan, Sudhi Koppa, Noby Marcose, K. L. Antony Kochi, Poojappura Ravi, Nandana Varma, Chempil Asokan, Bijitha Bhanudas, Vijayan Karanthoor, Antony Kochi, Devi Ajith, Vijilesh

guppy

Btw, do watch Pulimurugan if you haven’t yet!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.