Yuvam

What is the movie about? :: Aby Mathew (Amith Chakalakkal) is a young lawyer who practices under Advocate Sreekanth Panicker (Indrans) who takes on socially relevant issues, and according to petitions of social interest, trying to win cases in favour of public. Vinu Janardhanan (Nirmal Palazhi) and Paul Varghese (Abhishek Raveendran) also works in the same office, and shares the house rent with Aby. For the last few months, Aby has been a fan of the news reader of a popular channel, Nimisha Madhav (Dayyana Hameed). They end up meeting at a news conclave at which Aby questions the Chief Minister, DK Sreenivasan (Saikumar) about the harthal his party had recently conducted, leading to the loss of crores. Aby and Nimisha meets again after the latter has an accident, and they fall in love. But things get complicated as Aby decides to take the case of a former KSRTC employee who was denied pension for months. After the death of this employee, Aby and his friends decide to take this case very seriously.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But the Transport Minister (Jaffer Idukki) has the plans to privatize KSRTC, and Ragesh Joseph (Kalabhavan Shajohn), the local MLA is playing a major role in the same. The court decides that someone has to take charge of KSRTC and prove that it can be a profitable firm, and it advises the government to let the petitioners take charge of the department for six months to make sure that it achieves the target. The government is not really happy about it, but to the suprise of everyone, Chief Minister approves it, being confident that nobody can save KSRTC, and after things worse get under the new people in control, they can easily sell it to the corporates, along with the acres of land which the transport corporation owns all around the state and neighbouring states. Now, it remains to be seen where the fate of state’s road transport corporation and its employees stand. But the path won’t be that easy even with everyone trying their best.

The defence of Yuvam :: Yuvam‘s strength lies in its message which almost everyone who understands the need for reformation of the system can follow. It calls on the young generation to bring that much needed escape from a world caught it political games meant for power and corruption. The two problems that it displays are the common ones, and it successfully makes one feel the need for a change from the usual political parties’ corrupted move forward. The song “Chemmaname” stands out, and when we consider the films so far, it is indeed the song of the year, with nine more months to go for anyone to replace it. Films with social commitment are rare to see even during these days of COVID-19, reminding us that people still haven’t learned their lessons well enough. You can remember the movie Nirnaayakam which dealt with a similar problem, but that one was further implausible. Yuvam, even with making one feel that things went too easily, does make us believe that things are possible.

The claws of flaw :: The whole idea could have been planned much better. There were so many things that could have been included here as far as dealing with the common problems like KSRTC income loss and harthals are concerned. It could have been further emotional and inspirational to create a feeling that would stand much longer. But if you are slave to a political party, and do not understand that the development of the nation and its people matters more than the party itself, there is no point in watching this movie. There is a certain amount of social consciousness in requirement from the audience here, because otherwise the whole idea would be lost. The romantic side is also left behind too early, and the film could have actually been longer in that case. The comic side is also less effective, and even though this also gives the feeling of that everyman’s fight against system, there is the absence of anything special, and predictability is surely there – it should have added some special ingredient instead of moving along the usual lines.

The performers of the soul :: Amith Chakalakkal leads the way here in grand style, just like he did with the earlier movie with him in the lead, Vaarikuzhiyile Kolapaathakam. Just like that one movie which grabbed one’s attention when least expected, this film also does almost the same thing, that too at a relevant time when election is here, and different political parties are throwing trash at each other, leaving the voters to look forward to options like Twenty 20 and other independents. This movie with Amith in the lead would have attracted more audience than that previous one if it was not for the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting fear of people, especially the family audience. He also has fight scene, and it is done in a more realistic way, even though one would still wonder if it was that easy to fight against the corrupted politicians and their goons, because if that was the case, one can be sure that people would have done that a long time ago. But we have no doubt that Amith will have some even greater movies to follow.

Further performers of the soul :: Dayyana Hameed is an actress whom we have seen before, but never as much as we have seen her in Star Magic, the television show in Flowers channel. Dayyana is surely an actress to look out for, and we have seen some of her performances in that particular programme before, and teasers and songs also provided us an idea. Even though we loved to see her on the screen, she doesn’t have that much of time on the screen, especially as the film is too short to show everything it should have shown. Nirmal Palazhi handles the small amount of working comedy in the film. Saikumar as a villainous figure is strong, but there is not that much of a terrifying impact that this character makes like Jagathy Sreekumar did in Passenger a long time ago in a similar social thriller with messages. Kalabhavan Shajohn and Jaffer Idukki also have the menace limited. Abhishek Raveendran provides some good support. Yet, one person who gets a lot of attention is Indrans with yet another impressive serious role, even though it is not for long.

How it finishes :: Yuvam takes the side of the youth as well as the common man with ease. It shows the fight of everyman against a system which has been corrupted by politics. It reminds us more than once about the fight against the usual politics and its corrupted side, and the battles that non-political organizations have put forward – it is something which will only grow stronger if the politicians don’t mend their ways; AAP did it long ago, and Twenty 20 is doing it now. The movie released in the theatres earlier in February, but I haven’t considered visiting the theatres as an option after Forensic became the last one I watched in the theatres before COVID-19 and following lockdown, but thankfully it did have the television premiere today noon on Mazhavil Manorama. When you get to watch a good movie in just more than a month after its release in theatre on television, it is fair deal as you don’t have sit with stranger for two hours or so. Yuvam is a film worth that time, indeed. After all, every movie cannot release on television like Kilometers and Kilometers.

Release date: 12th February 2021
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Pinku Peter
Starring: Amith Chakalakkal, Dayyana Hameed, Nirmal Palazhi, Indrans, Abhishek Raveendran, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Nedumudi Venu, Saikumar, Baiju Ezhupunna, Jaffer Idukki, Chempil Asokan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guests

Vampire Owl: I think that these people are more ghosts than guests.

Vampire Bat: The guests can be ghosts too. Sometimes, the ghosts are guests.

Vampire Owl: So, we the vampires are not guests?

Vampire Bat: We can only become guests with multiple level acceptance.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about having the need to be invited into a home.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we were rarely invited, and even Uncle Dracula was avoided.

Vampire Owl: Now, that is indeed atrocious, and it is also a case of racism.

Vampire Bat: Humans are born as racists, just like they have that inherent evil.

Vampire Owl: I hope that they learn from us, for here, all vampires are equal.

Vampire Bat: Yes, even zombies and werewolves feel so.

[Gets an vegetable samosa and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: Katya (Angelina Bit) is a young girl who works as waitress at a restaurant which is not too busy a place. There she meets a special group of youngsters who have a different hobby, which is to organize parties in other people’s empty houses. They leave the place the same it used to be, after the party is over. They keep asking Katya for such a place, and she finds for them, an old summer cottage on the coastal area, where nobody really lived. The abandoned house, in which a spiritualist salon was running a long time ago, seemed to be an excellent place, with the Gothic looks making it even better – the location is also within what seems to be an area with a lot of trees, and one would require a vehicle to reach there. They reach there and has everything set, and it is then that they meet Andrey (Yuriy Chursin) who claims to be the owner of the house and asks them to get out. But they attack him and throws him into the cellar, continuing the party.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Later, it is revealed that Katya used to work in the same house as a cleaner a few months ago, and was in love with the man who had lost his wife and child in an accident. She did make some advances to him, but he had rejected her which sent her to a time period of depression. Another realization that comes upon them is that there is something terribly wrong with the house. They do find a book on demons out there and even tries to summon one without success. There is something moving around the house, and two of their friends go outside are missing. Even the man whom they had locked in the cellar is missing. Now, they begins to wonder what is going on in there. With something terrifying and sinister walking in the shadows of the night, is it possible for them to escape from the terror which seems to await them? Will they die at that night itself, or will they live to fight another day? Are they going to see the demons described and drawn in the book, face to face?

The defence of Guests :: The one thing that stands out as far as Guests is concerned, it is the setting, not just the mansion, but also the area around it. One would really want to have a movie at this part of the world set in such a world of terror. We have that haunted feeling here right from the beginning stages itself – it has to be noted that the movie itself is dark right from the beginning, and the dark clouds are more or less the foreshadowing of something which is supposed to happen very soon. The demons, even though in the shape of a woman and a child, are well-designed. The feeling of melancholy which is prevalent in this movie is also something worth noticing. The scary moments are more or less related to the atmosphere itself, and we can feel the danger lurking in each corner of that old, abandoned home with a past related to the summoning of demons, as well as the practicing of occult in such a way that it is so serious and facing an inescapable situation.

The claws of flaw :: Guests doesn’t make the best use of what is there to be taken, even as a wonderful atmosphere is established so early. The idea of partying in houses without people in there is rather strange, and not really that much acceptable, however we look at it. There is also that lack of punch in the ending, which could have been something better. Except for the main characters, the rest of not really likable, and even when they get killed, we don’t feel for them at all. The movie should have taken things more seriously, and added more of the terrifying moments, because they have two demons in the form of mother and child along with an unsettling atmosphere – we know what such an environment can do with movies like Crimson Peak, and the usual kind of movies like The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun and Insidious have also used the quick scares nicely to get them into the chilling atmosphere, but this one seems to feel that it has enough, and doesn’t try for more.

Performers of the soul :: Angelina Bit who plays the main character becomes another classic option for becoming a scream queen in many horror movies in different languages. There is a certain amount of dark melancholy surrounding her, and we understand that she is possessed by that sadness which itself could become a monster – she plays that well enough even though we have seen the same thing done better before. We see how she becomes a perfect part of this situation in the haunted house of demons. Yuriy Chursin as Andrey is the other person who comes up with a pretty good performance. He plays another man filled with almost the same type of sadness. The rest of the cast is the kind of thing that we see in most of the horror movies, as there is nothing special about them, while they play along within the movie. The rest of the characters are not human, but demons, along with the house itself which seems to have something to say.

How it finishes :: Russian horror movies seem to choose the settings wisely, and do score well enough from the same. Guests, even though doesn’t possess the needed strength with its tale, and goes through a struggle to raise the level of its horror, does have enough out there to keep things going. The same is supported by the ambiance, which is the one thing that raises this to a higher level. During the time of Corona Virus, we are never short of horror movies, even though the idea of terror did change in the last few months – it was no longer about the ghosts, but related to the pandemic. But horror will live on, as there will always be abandoned houses supposed to be haunted, and the traditional ghosts and demons cannot vanish that easily. Fear will keep coming in different forms to produce more of horror – until then, you can be happy enough with little horror movies like Guests.

Release date: 7th March 2019
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Evgeniy Abyzov
Starring: Angelina Bit, Morgan Berry, Yuriy Chursin, Mikhail Bachelor, Greg Chun, Elisha Gaikal, Ben Diskin, Mariya Lisovaya, Anar Khalilov, Mikhail Mescheryakov, Jessica Rau, Jonathan Meza, Marina Panferova, Jamie Rapaport

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Piranhas

Vampire Owl: I has been wondering why there has been no Italian movie on the website so far, even with French, Spanish and German being there.

Vampire Bat: You have to note that I don’t have any Portuguese movie either if you are looking at the Western Europe.

Vampire Owl: Still, it is different about Italian. Bicycle Thieves from Vittorio De Sica is your favourite, and you have studied it in college.

Vampire Bat: I would say the same about Life is Beautiful from Roberto Benigni too.

Vampire Owl: But we still had to wait for so long to get an Italian movie here.

Vampire Bat: I do not intend to write about movies from each and every part of the world.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but you have to agree that this one was long due.

Vampire Bat: Well, I did have my plans of writing one earlier.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and I had guessed that long ago.

Vampire Bat: There are no awards for guessing this one though.

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

What is the movie about? :: The movie is set in Naples, the third-largest city of Italy after Rome and Milan, and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. A group of teenage boys from one of the thickly populated neighbourhoods in Naples, hope to gain power, fame and easy money, and for the same, they enter into the city’s world of crime which is rather complicated. Nicola (Francesco Di Napoli), who lives with his single mother and younger brother, feels that there is no option left for him, but to choose crime as a real opportunity, as the group moves through the streets as gangsters would. Nicola falls in love with an aspiring model who works in her father’s restaurant, Letizia (Viviana Aprea) whom he helps in the street once and again meets her at the swimsuit of a beauty contest which she losses, and he helps her out in the following brawl. Soon, Letizia returns the same affections, and they start a relationship, with the support of his friends who are happy to see him with a girl.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As they try to take control of different areas, Nicola finds it difficult to be with Letizia because she is living in another part of the city which has the presence of a rival gang who wants his gang to keep away. Still he does manage to sneak into her room at times, beginning a part-time live in relationship. Nicola and his friends dive deeper into the world of crime with guns received from one of the notorious dons of the area, and they begin to show no regret after crimes. Nicola’s mother (Valentina Vannino) is not exactly happy about it, but doesn’t say much about it, as his idea itself seems to make her happy, as extortion by gangs at her shop seemed to bother him more than anything else. But with more and more of teenagers’ gangs being formed, and the youth committing further crimes, how long can he hold on a gang within a world of crime? Is survival an easy enough thing here?

The defence of Piranhas :: The movie is undoubtedly good looking, as far as the locations and visuals are concerned here. Naples is indeed a fine place to wander around, and we see different sides of the beautiful city, even though we have only been familiar with the other cities like Rome, Venice, Florence and Milan which we have seen on television, but never this charming city. At the same time, we wish the nation of Italy with its grand history and culture a speedy recovery from the Corona Virus which seems to be happening right now too. The tale also progresses in an order which makes the new generation attitude and their loss of innocence if there was something like that, feels very much close to reality. If you notice the first scene, there is something that reminds you of William Golding’s Lord of Flies, both the film and the movie, as we notice the return of inherent evil in people, and as it returns to the kids who claim to be fifteen year old youth, we understand that evil has been invoked in them too early, and we just can’t trust the children to be good and display innocence any more.

The claws of flaw :: Piranhas doesn’t move away from the usual gangster movie mode, and there are many occasions when you keep feeling that you have seen these before, and at different times, and it has nothing new that you would want to treasure. It also doesn’t manage to explore that much, and extend its strengths a gangster movie, with something seemingly pull it back, which is why even with a run-time of one hour and forty five minutes, it does feel to be longer. It doesn’t try to venture that deep as a movie about youngsters becoming criminals and wandering in the streets. We have had many Malayalam movies dealing with the same topic emotionally as well as in a funny way. Piranhas could have ended with a bigger scope, but it chooses not to do that, and it doesn’t deal with its female characters that well either, as it chooses to keep them down and without significance throughout the time when there was chance for them too.

Performers of the soul :: As the feeling of Lord of the Flies seems to be invoked here, there is much to do for the young cast, and they do not stay far behind with the same – it seems to come naturally to them here. As the leader of the junior gang, and the one to take the big decisions every time, Francesco Di Napoli’s character steals the attention more than anyone else, and he does manage to come up with a straight-forward performance here which rises above everyone else with ease. He does seem to be in control at all times, as he tries to do whatever an older crime boss would do, and in the final moments of the movie, we see that he is more or less a young gangster who has gone through his coming of age moments, and it is where his bildungsroman reaches to final point. Viviana Aprea is a lovely addition to the movie, and she is someone whom we can see with passionate and true love for the main character, but can’t follow the same well enough due to her lover’s gangster kind of life which threatens to separate them forever. The supporting cast does a pretty good job too.

How it finishes :: Piranhas does make an interesting gangster movie which follows the usual style of such movies, but doesn’t work on the same idea that much as one would have wanted it to. As the first Italian movie which I watched since Life is Beautiful a long time ago in the order of its release, and after Bicycle Thieves if we considered the order of release, this one made an interesting watch. There is a certain amount of reality in these movies, and that feeling keeps on going throughout the run. There is no melodrama, but we do feel with the characters, and everything remains so subtle. It is the same reason why I decided to choose an Italian movie to watch for this time of Corona Virus. I hope that all my reader are doing okay during this season of terrible crisis with one virus trying to kill us and our spirits in more than one way. But we will survive, and we shall go past these terrible times – we are all together in this! Stay safe and watch more movies!

Release date: 12th February 2019
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Claudio Giovannesi
Starring: Viviana Aprea, Francesco Di Napoli, Alfredo Turitto, Ar Tem, Carmine Pizzo, Ciro Pellechia, Valentina Vannino, Ciro Vecchione, Luca Nacarlo, Mattia Piano Del Balzo, Pasquale Marotta, Adam Jendoubi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vijay Superum Pournamiyum

What is the movie about? :: Vijay (Asif Ali) represents a generation of young men who were forced to do engineering even as they want to do something else. He struggled hard and finally managed to pass the exams after multiple efforts. But his dream is to become a chef and for the same, he keeps trying. But his father Chandramohan (Siddique) is convinced that he shouldn’t do cooking after studying engineering, and gets him a job in a call centre. He meets Reshma (Viviya Santh) there and falls in love, only to end up realizing that she was cheating on her – his expression of his anger becomes viral on Youtube, and he also losses his job. His parents feel that the only way to make him responsible is to get him married to a rich and educated girl who would also be able to provide him with financial support. Finally, they find such a family and a girl.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This leads them to the house of Venugopal (Renji Panicker) who wishes to see his daughter Pournami a.k.a. Pinky (Aishwarya Lekshmi) married as soon as possible. Being an MBA holder and wishing to become a successful entrepreneur, she has the record of failing in every business she tried to begin, and in the process, losing the money her father invested in her ventures. As the two meet and talk, the door of the room which was being repaired, gets closed and is automatically locked. As the two are locked inside with the carpenter being called for, they are left with a few hours to talk about their past, present, future and ambitions. This talk changes the journey of life for both of them. They don’t find them as good match for each other and are not in a mood to marry soon, but destiny has other plans.

The defence of Vijay Superum Pournamiyum :: Remake of a Telugu movie Pelli Choopulu starring Vijay Devarakonda and Ritu Varma which is also known to have a Hindi remake called Mitron, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum does manage to make it completely Keralite with its moments nicely reflecting life easily. The feel-good elements work nicely, and the movie is light-hearted throughout its run, despite having moments which could have driven it through another path. The first half is full of fun, and the second one comes with an emotional touch as expected. With a simple plot, the characters are of interest right from the beginning itself. There are things that you can relate to, and it is a fine watch for the family audience in more than one way. The messages are good, and these also go for all kinds of audience of the present age.

The claws of flaw :: The second half, except for the final moments, doesn’t have the fun as the first half had. The radio talk sequence also could have something better to replace it, as it made things look too easy in the end. There is too much of a journey on the expected path, and the divergence could have been shown in a better way. There is the confusion, inability to talk about one’s love for each other, business deals relating to wedding and more, all of them going in a predictable manner. After the food truck business started, there was actually scope for more too. The songs are okay, and there is a nice one; the background music is good enough to give the feeling – there are those strange and ridiculous dance sequences in one song though, which don’t even come close to being funny. There are times when the movie seems to get into the melodrama mood, which was kind of out of place. Well, this is the first big Malayalam movie of the year, and you can expect more every time.

The performers of the soul :: Asif Ali plays the immature youth unable to do anything positive in life, and lacking confidence – it is something that he does with ease and in a believable way. We remember how he did the confused young man roles in the movies like Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Avarude Raavukal and Adventures of Omanakkuttan. The irresponsible youth role was safe with him even in the earlier movies like Kavi Uddheshichathu..? and Anuraga Karikkin Vellam. Aishwarya Lekshmi coming out of the Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, Mayaanadhi, Varathan trio of big hits critically appreciated, does another fantastic job in portraying the lady who is set to leave a mark – she is once again a long way ahead of the rest, getting into her role so well. She has all those moments in control, no matter what is thrown at her.

Further performers of the soul :: Siddique and Renji Panicker handles the father roles here really well, with former going through his familiar territory nicely and latter doing what he has been doing so well since Om Shanti Oshana – the father who is very much caring for his children and supports them in more than one way. Another father figure who is there for a lesser amount of time is Devan who has not a lot to do. Aju Varghese has only a smaller role, but it is significant, and the funny side is strong during his presence. Balu Varghese and Joseph Annamkutty Jose support with enough jokes to add to the fun too. Shantikrishna has another mother role which she continues after the recently released Ente Ummante Peru in which she was there only for a few minutes. Darshana Rajendran also has some friendly, cute support in store for the protagonists. Then there is KPAC Lalitha doing the perfect grandmother yet again.

How it finishes :: As the third movie that united Jis Joy and Asif Ali as director and leading actor, following Bicycle Thieves and Sunday Holiday, this movie was expected to have something special in store. Bicycle Thieves was a dumb movie with foolish twists which were not needed, but Sunday Holiday had nice feel-good factor in store. With Vijay Superum Pournamiyum too, it was the same thing that the audience expected, and it is the same that they received, but in an even better package. Njan Prakashan is still running in the theatres with strong feel-good elements and Ente Ummante Peru had no shortage of the same; Thattumpurath Achuthan despite lagging behind had also tried the same – in this season of feel-good supported by Christmas and New Year, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum has its own high position to be proud of.

Release date: 11th January 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Asif Ali, Balu Varghese, Aju Varghese, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Siddique, Darshana Rajendran, Devan, Joseph Annamkutty Jose, KPAC Lalitha, Maya Menon, Renji Panicker, Shantikrishna, Austin Dan, Viviya Santh, Shaheen Siddique, Rajesh Sharma, K. S. Chithra, Harisanth Sharan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Maradona

What is the movie about? :: Maradona (Tovino Thomas) is a young man who finds some illegal ways of getting easy money every time, and for his support, there is his childhood friend Sudhi (Tito Wilson). Breaking law came easy to them, and they did the same without any regret. Both gets in trouble as they end up in a dangerous situation involving a lawyer as well as a rich politician. The influential people are looking for revenge on the young men, and it sets Martin (Chemban Vinod Jose) and his aid Anto (Kichu Tellus) are after them. They search for Maradona and his friend throughout Kerala, and follows the trail to the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. While Sudhi travels to Kanyakumari with a journey to the South, Maradona seeks refuge in the flat of his distant relative at Bangalore. Martin searches and finds the links getting close to finding both of them at different points.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Maradona is not happy with his stay, but he has nowhere to go. The result is that he finds his own moments of happiness in the flat. Soon, he finds new friends in the nearby homes including a girl who works as a home nurse at the adjacent flat, Asha (Sharanya R Nair). The relationship goes further, as both can’t help falling in love with each other. But with the people chasing him getting closer, Maradona will have think about more than just love to make something good out of life. Is there a chance for a happy ending for Maradona? What can satisfy the people who are chasing him? Hope might be the thing with wings, but is Maradona good enough to have some? How much more trouble can he take after being injured in a clash?

The defence of Maradona :: The movie’s game is that of life, and the man named after the great footballer needs to score his goals – life is a tough game, and we can see the same reflected without exaggeration here. The visuals are nicely captured, and the songs are lovely to listen here. The “Kaadhale” song along with its visuals are nothing less than the bliss of solitude, as Wordsworth would compare. The thrills are present with a chase going on right from the beginning. The action scenes are good, and as a movie with more, we see the drama and the romantic scenes working very well too. Above them all, we see the gradual transformation of the character as he goes through the situations which he hasn’t been familiar with. It is a coming of age story in a different way, and there is nothing here that restricts the movie’s slow, but steady movement towards the same.

The claws of flaw :: The movie feels a little bit stretched with its idea, and even then, a flashback to the flawed hero is not that much there. The title Maradona might have mislead many people, but there is absolutely no presence of football in this one; it is just that people kicking others are present all the time. There is also more scope for Maradona, not just with its thrills and action, but also with the cute romantic side – more of the comic side could have made the presence felt right there. The ending might seem a little bit too far-fetched for a movie like this, and it is more or less an attempt to quickly move towards a happy ending loved by the audience, something which Mayaanadhi never really tried to achieve. Dealing with a certain divergence, this one could have thrived on it, but takes a step back as it moves towards the end – there is no doubt of the same being enjoyable though.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino once again scores as the flawed hero – the question here once again whether his flaws lead to his fall or can he rise above it? There are similarities to his character in Mayaanadhi, but clearly, this role is tougher, and there is no asking for sympathy – all actions of this particular character are intentional, and most of them are not good even for the standards of the typically bad hero. The movie celebrates his deeds, whether good or bad, and it is on his character that the movie progresses. We also see the gradual change that come across the character – it is also nicely shown by him. We have the character that is close to life, and we never doubt the flawed hero’s reality that is displayed here, no matter how much it stays away from the usual heroic stuff.

Further performers of the soul :: Chemban Vinod Jose as strong as he has always been, playing an antagonist without backing down at any moment. He has his own moments here too, showing more than one side of the character. Tito Wilson with the Angamaly Diaries fame excels once again, and his supporting role is once again natural and realistic. Sharanya R Nair is the new face in this flick, and this addition to the list of heroines nicely makes her presence felt. All her work here is nicely balanced, and we are glad to welcome her into the industry, being confident that there is a lot more for her to contribute. Leona Lishoy also makes her presence felt with her supporting work again. The cuteness factor does help, but it is not restricted to that, and we see her going through the different emotions at various points of time without any problem that a newcomer would be exhibiting, and all’s just natural.

How it finishes :: There is something about the movie chosen by Tovino Thomas, for they bring the difference almost every time. Maradona also shows such qualities, with the seemingly usual characters and usual tale choosing to go through a divergent path, with quite a different treatment. This one might not be the movie for everyone, but just like Tharangam, it chooses to make something more out of what seems to be a usual story. In a monotonous world, there are only a few movies which try to experiment with its content, covering the possibility of predictability so well – Maradona will be remembered as one of those movies. With some moments which can stay in our minds for long, this one will continue to be the one movie which will go on into the Onam vacations despite nature having its own way with the never-ending rainfall.

Here is a video song from the movie:

Release date: 27th July 2018
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Vishnu Narayan
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Chemban Vinod Jose, Tito Wilson, Sharanya R Nair, Leona Lishoy, Shalu Rahim, Kichu Tellus, Parthavi, Niranjan Harish, Hari Thampuran, Nistar Ahmed, Jins Baskar

<— Click here to go to the previous reviews, both English and Malayalam.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kamuki

What is the movie about? :: Achaama (Aparna Balamurali) was born to a school teacher Varghese (Baiju) in a auto rickshaw, and continued to be a headache for her parents from childhood to youth. But her elder sister proves to be a hard working girl who stands on her own feet at an early age, but causes trouble for her parents when she marries someone against their will. Achaama decides to be an obedient girl for some time, but soon chooses against it as she joins MSW at Sree Shankara College, Kalady. Her idea of MSW is to have full fun as she considers it to be an easy course with much less to study, and joining Achaama is her childhood friend Jeena (Kavya Suresh) who hopes to go abroad and earn some extra money, working with some NGOs after this course.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: At the college, Achaama meets Harikrishnan (Askar Ali), a blind student who is her senior. Harikrishnan has been working hard to overcome his problems to do academically better than most of the other students around, who are there only for having some fun. Even though she doesn’t realize it in the beginning, she is attracted to the person who manages to go on with his life without any complaints, and never stepping back. Despite making that promise to her father that she won’t marry against his wishes, she finds that determination under threat. But can the love story of Achaama and Harikrishnan have a happy ending, considering their differences and all the other factors which seem to be good enough to finish the relationship before it even begins?

The defence of Kamuki :: In the medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer’s work The Canterbury Tales, The Merchant’s Tale section, the proverb that love is blind was found – it becomes further direct with this movie, as the protagonist himself is blind. The dialogues about Deepika Padukone, new generation MSW students and blindness are perfectly hitting the right spot, even though they are somewhat not used according to the situations. It is Aparna Balamurali who rises above the limitations of this movie, and the flick uses her skills to make sure that this becomes entertaining in one way or the other, as it struggles with its story which doesn’t have much in there. There is the message about rising above your disabilities and problems with a positive attitude towards life, to make the impossible possible, but the same could have shown in a better and more effective manner too. Yes, some of the comedy can be termed good enough and the music is pretty good.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is like an unstable thing which keeps showing the signs of falling apart all the time – there is no real direction, and we can never see an attempt to keep things together. The whole movie is spread in all directions, and we are often confused about where it is headed with that love story which gets more added, making the mixture look confusing. The love story in this movie itself seems half-baked, and that never really becomes strong enough to justify the title. The final moments seem to be forced to make things better, but we never get it in full strength or in a believable manner. The dramatic side is weak, because after some time, we just stop caring for the main characters. There needed some better effort in dealing with this kind of things, and we see no signs of things getting any better at any stage, as the path chosen is ordinary.

The performers of the soul :: Aparna Balamurali is indeed the one who saves this movie from drowning, when there were many chances of the same. Whenever the movie struggles, there is something from her that keeps it floating just above trouble. This one never really gets near her role in Maheshinte Prathikaaram, or even the work in Oru Muthassi Gada, but one can only blame the movie’s lack of stability for the same. Whether it was in Sunday Holiday, Sarvopari Palakkaran or Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, she has been doing a good job with her characters. Well, even with movies that refuse to rise, she gets them to do better than they are, and it is the skill that she possesses better than any other actress in Malayalam movie industry. This movie can also thank her for the same.

Further performers of the soul :: As it is said above, and just as it is expected, this one is more of the Aparna Balamurali movie, as Om Shanti Oshana was Nazriya Nazim movie. Askar Ali has his moments here and there, but never really leaves much for the viewers. Kavya Suresh has her own moments too, as the supporting cast did for Nazriya in Om Shanti Oshana – she looks nicely suitable for this role. Rony David who is best known for his role in Aanandam, once again leaves a mark. Baiju’s role is as funny as one would expect from a father character with daughter problems and high expectations. Pradeep Kottayam has some comedy to go with it. We can also find some okay performances from some lesser known actors who play those characters which come and go without contributing that much to the story.

How it finishes :: We can see that Kamuki tries to be different in love, but this particular divergence here is never really believable or interesting except in moments. There was a certain amount of hype about this movie, and the trailer was quite interesting – we just can’t see that level being reflected in the flick, and that is a shame. You can watch this one for Aparna Balamurali though, as she keeps saving the day again and again. We have had movies like Aravindante Athidhikal which dealt with a simple thing on one side, and there was Uncle on the other side which dealt with the complicated on the other side – then we have the movies like Kamuki which won’t fit in both categories. Kamuki could have been something better, and as it is now, it is almost there, becoming an okay watch for these holidays.

Release date: 11th May 2018
Running time:122 minutes
Directed by: Binu S
Starring: Askar Ali, Aparna Balamurali, Rony David, Kavya Suresh, Pradeep Kottayam, Baiju, Rosin Jolly, Ullas Pandalam

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aravindante Athidhikal

What is the movie about? :: The movie is set up in the area around the Mookambika Temple in the Udupi district of Karnataka. Abandoned by his mother in the temple premises at an early age, Aravindan (Vineeth Sreenivasan) was adopted by Madhavan (Sreenivasan) who made sure that he grew up to be an energetic and educated young man. Madhavan and Aravindan are running a lodge near the temple, and are trying their best to keep up with the rising competition in the name of religious tourism and spiritual journeys, a case in which religions and regions and competing which each other to bring new holy places into the picture. Meanwhile, Girija (Urvashi) and her daughter Varada (Nikhila Vimal) arrives as his new guests at the lodge. Due to some unexpected circumstances, Varada’s performance at the temple is delayed, and in the mean time, Aravindan and her become very good friends.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As a few days pass and she has to leave due to the death of her uncle, Varada feels that Aravindan should give up simply waiting for his mother and start searching for her – Varada herself takes it as her duty to find her with the help of some of Aravindan’s friends. While practising at Sreejaya Nair’s (Janaki Subramaniam) dance academy at Kumbakonam, she is still looking for clues to find the one lady who abandoned her child at the sacred place, and never really looking back. But the question remains if it is easy to find such a person with no solid clue except for some drawings which Aravindan has been preparing since childhood. Well, Varada is not someone who could be disheartened that easily, and will come back to Mookambika for their team’s performance, and there will be at least one good news for Aravindan. What could that be, in the sacred lands?

The defence of Aravindante Athidhikal :: The movie is perfectly targeted at the family audience rather than anyone else, and the whole thing seems to be well directed towards the particular direction. The music is very good and suits the mood of the movie, as it supports the emotional side, and brings us to that final feel-good factor. There are some nice shots of Mookambika and its surroundings, and we feel the mood of the sacred town more than once. We have some interesting characters too, some who wishes to fly on the wings of hope, and others just keep the hope at home, for without it, there might be no tomorrow. As President Snow says in The Hunger Games, it is hope that remains the only thing stronger than fear – we need it, and people decide on how much. Well, there is no shortage of hope in a holy town. With some simple funny moments and the strong emotional side, this movie gets home without trouble.

The claws of flaw :: The story might feel a little outdated for some people, as old wine in a new bottle, but if that wine is still not that bad, one has to wonder why the audience wouldn’t like to have some. The movie also ends rather too soon, and we know that it is the finish when the credits start rolling. We could have also had more with its core tale, which can go beyond the usual stuff, but that attempt is not made here. With a holy town in the middle and the same made colourful, maybe we could have had things to go a level further up – but the movie is satisfied with just this much. There is no dramatic twist that awaits you in this movie, as it keeps the journey straight and simple, or rather too direct for some people. If you are looking for that extra dose of melodrama, it is not going to be there because we see the attempt to have things going closer to reality than anything else.

The performers of the soul :: Vineeth Sreenivasan and Sreenivasan plays the family again, and even though adopted this time, they are no less father-son in effect. Both have their roles nicely matching them, and got their characters as no challenges, doing well at all moments, whether it is about adding some extra fun moments or to contribute to that deep emotional side. Well, we always have certain minimum expectations when the two come together, and it is once again proven that the duo has the strength to keep the whole thing close. These are times when the family movies are needed, and there are no people better than these two to do so. The presence of the family audience in the theatres is more due to the two being there rather than anything else. Urvashi is there with some fun moments after some break, and Aju Varghese along with Bijukuttan further contributes to the funny side with ease.

Further performers of the soul :: Nikhila Vimal has come back to Malayalam movie industry after Love 24×7, and it feels great to have her back at a time that we seem to need someone like her – she has the type of skills that are above the usual actresses that we have here, most of them seemingly here due to recommendation or by having someone in the cinema field. Nikhila stands tall with her performance here, and each moment, whatever it deals with, she scores. She is a wonderful talent that all of us need here, rather than in another industry. After her introduction, it is more about her rather than anyone else. Sreejaya Nair is a nice addition to this tale, and in between, we have Vijayaraghavan, Premkumar and Kottayam Nazeer contributing to the fun. Baiju and Sneha Sreekumar are there for initiating the comic side, as we see in the beginning. KPAC Lalitha is again there playing a mother figure.

How it finishes :: Well, Aravindante Athidhikal is that kind of a movie that is determined to touch your heart, and also leave a smile on your face in the end. It is the feel-good movie that can rise above the others due to its ability to keep things direct and enjoyable throughout its run-time of two hours and two seconds, a length that leaves no chances to drag in between. It is rather surprising that this movie had less publicity compared to the other movies released on the same day, Avengers: Infinity War, Uncle and Thobama. Well, Panchavarnathatha and Mohanlal are still running too. You are not going to regret watching Aravindante Athidhikal on the big screen, and watching with family would be a wonderful experience – well, this is the holiday season, and watching this one with family might be the right choice. After all, feel-good never leaves our industry, as there is always more of the kind.

Release date: 27th April 2018
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: M Mohanan
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Nikhila Vimal, Aju Varghese, Sreenivasan, Prem Kumar, Vijayaraghavan, Urvashi, KPAC Lalitha, Baiju, Sneha Sreekumar, Bijukuttan, Sreejaya Nair, Kottayam Nazeer, Shanthi Krishna, Devan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Descent into Darkness

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the famous quote which has been very much applicable to us?

Vampire Bat: There has been more than one of them that applied to us.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about the one which was regularly referred to, during our first few classes for vampire apprentices.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about one of those quotes about darkness, aren’t you?

Vampire Owl: Yes, it was also written on the first page of our vampire texts.

Vampire Bat: I didn’t realize that you actually read those books.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I read them when I want to sleep. Reading them gives me sleep at times when it evades me.

Vampire Bat: Now you are talking like one of those strange school kids.

Vampire Owl: Well, the quote was about the need for vampires to get into that darkness.

Vampire Bat: Yes, about descending into darkness.

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

What is the movie about? :: Sorgoi Prakov (Rafael Cherkaski) arrives in Paris from an Eastern European country, to make a documentary about the European Dream, in the lines of the American Dream which is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, that proclaims that all men are created equal” with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In the beginning, his journey through the capital of France seems to be all going well, with wonderful places to visit and people being very nice to him. It seems to him that his European Dream is going to work so well. There seems to be happiness all around, and Paris seems to be the perfect place to begin his European Dream. It makes him believe that he has taken the right decision to go on this journey, and that things can only get better. But it turns out that it is the other way around.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: Things were certainly not going to get any better for him, as there was always the chance for all going worse, with some bad decisions, and bad luck – being at the wrong place at the wrong time was just one of the villains. He does get beaten up by people who tries to steal his camera, which is broken, because of which he has to buy another one. He runs short of money, as he doesn’t hear from his producer, and has to adjust in many ways living in the city. He still thinks that everything is in control, but it turns out that not much remains in his hands. The artificial world of pubs and parties with drugs and alcohol adds to him being further away from the reality, creating one of his own, which includes brutality in his madness. His world changes, and he goes on becoming the exact opposite of what he was, bringing in a European Nightmare instead of European Dream.

The defence of Descent into Darkness :: The movie’s highlights come in the last few minutes, with the madness reaching a terrible level. The last scene at the house brings the best of them all. It deserves applause about how those scenes are managed in a realistic, but cruel manner. In the end, we realize how the world changes people, and the idea about hope is mostly that much of a lie, as this party culture with alcohol and drugs contribute to making a person worse through pubs and all their unnecessary additions to the life of youth. The performances are good, not just with the lead, who excels, the rest also follows up well even if they are only those smaller roles. The alternate title of the movie somehow reflects The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, a book, by Jeremy Rifkin. But in the end, we know that there is no big dream that can be achived by a common man all by himself.

The claws of flaw :: The accent used in this movie might feel a little difficult to understand for people at this part of the world at some points. There are moments in there which seems to be added for the sake of being there, or maybe to have the flick at a good length in totality. We also feel that the movie could have been really scary with its madness, and while some are surely part of the madness in a depressing manner, others are just funny – but it gets really better in the end. The dark humour is somewhat there, and the cultural differences might be bringing it down for our audience here. There is also the feeling of the need for more after we watch the trailer, and the expectations were surely bigger. The movie also misses out on having a memorable female character; even as the movie was based on one person in particular. Someone whom he meets in the city, maybe? Or someone whom he decides to murder?

The newfound love for the subgenre :: There are not many people who love to watch the found-footage horror around here, and I am myself a new person interested in the genre. When a found-footage horror movie can catch your attention, you know that it is going to get better for the genre here. There was The Last Witch being an interesting one made in low budget in the genre, and now there is this one. We remember the movies like Cannibal Holocaust, The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, [REC] and Cloverfield which were talked about a lot, with The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity becoming the representations of the subgenre a lot. With this movie showing signs of some smart plans, maybe, we are awaiting more to come in the found-footage horror, and the best might be yet to come, as did horror with The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe last year.

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

Vampire Owl: The strange things that humans do these days. Even Doctor Frankenstein is better.

Vampire Bat: Their control over their own mind and heart is rather questionable.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that most of these humans are already insane.

Vampire Bat: Well, they are better blood-suckers than vampires are, and they have proven the same with their wars.

Vampire Owl: There is the certainty of evil in them.

Vampire Bat: They possess inherent evil, and still call themselves to be of neutral alignment between good and evil, while holding that evil in mind.

Vampire Owl: I am pretty sure that they are more aligned to evil than our kind ever had been.

Vampire Bat: I would rank them with werewolves and dark elves, and at times with the zombies.

Vampire Owl: With their latest technology, they are already zombies enough.

Vampire Bat: Yes, more or less like your zombie minions.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 15th December 2017 (World-wide release on Amazon Video, POV Horror Roku, POV Horror Amazon Fire TV, and all Android devices)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Rafael Cherkaski
Starring: Simon-Pierre Boireau, Elodie Bouleau, Rafael Cherkaski, Roland David, Charles Dhumerelle, Xavier Kerf, Corentin Koskas, Denis Larzilière, Loïc Lefebvre, Philippe Pasquini, Omar Salim

<— Click here to go to the previous review. Movies of the Soul recommends Thor: Ragnarok as the movie not to be missed this year.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Tell Me How I Die

Vampire Owl: This looks more like one of those “death-star” experiments from Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: Well, he doesn’t work with the humans anymore, and so this can’t be his work.

Vampire Owl: I never understand what he meant by “death-star” though. Isn’t that a Star Wars thing?

Vampire Bat: Well, he is the star and others die. That could be one of the reasons.

Vampire Owl: I certainly wish that it was the other way around.

Vampire Bat: A dead Frankenstein is surely not a good Frankenstein, especially when he returns again. So, you can stop thinking about it that way.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that he has traveled beyond the boundaries of life already.

Vampire Bat: He has even told me how you die.

Vampire Owl: What? That is impossible. I would prove him wrong.

Vampire Bat: Which is why he mentioned only about Lady Death being involved.

[Gets three cups of self-made tea with Good Day biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A group of youth from different parts of the state comes together at a medical facility for the drug trials, which turns out to be the easiest way to make some quick money. They get all the facilities until the trials end, but till then, they are not supposed to leave the facility or communicate through mobile phone to anyone. Anna (Virginia Gardner), a waitress looking for better options and more money also joins the team of young people at the facility. The other people participating in the experiment includes Den (Nathan Kress), Kristen (Kirby Bliss Blanton), Marcus (Mark Furze), Scratch (Ryan Higa) and others. They are told that they can choose to leave before taking the drug, but will not be allowed to leave the premises once they take the required dose. The officials confirm that this restriction is placed for their own safety because there is the possibility of some strange side-effects.

So, what happens next? :: This drug which could be unsafe, has some of the testers in doubt, but these experiments have already been done before, and people have walked out; there is also the presence of specialists, which meant that precautions were enough. So, everyone in the group decides to take the drug and enjoy the facilities provided there. Kristen and Marcus are the first two people to feel the effects of the drug, as they see the future, or rather go through it, to come back to the present again. They are confused, with their life repeating before them more than once. But they go and see those in charge, and are assured that this is quite normal and natural after taking the drugs. Only some people in the group are expected to have these effects on them, and so the two are told not to speak about this to anybody else, as they awaited more results.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Anna is the next one to see the future, but this goes further as she sees each and every person among them dying a horrible death. But the result is that she is sedated and tied up so that there is no panic among the others. Meanwhile, Den, Kristen, Marcus and Scratch plans and escapes from the facility, only for Den to make them come back for the others, especially Anna, who might all die inside there if the vision Anna had indeed was about future. Their worst fear comes true as the others are killed by a stranger. Anna manages to get herself free from the restraints and they unite, except for Scratch who never got back inside. Anna keeps having visions of them being killed, and Scratch finds something which he was not supposed to find. They discover that Dr. Jerrems (William Mapother) who is in charge had locked himself inside a bunker, and the serial killer on the loose is someone who was earlier experimented on, and now he wants revenge on everyone.

The defence of Tell Me How I Die :: We have another tale of people being used for testing drugs having unexpected effects on the volunteers. The idea is expanded cleverly here, and with the interesting developments in the first half, gets our attention right where it needs to be. We are given the license to expect the terror to be unleashed in one way or the other. With its limited resources, the movie has surely done well enough, one has to admit – there is nothing that big being tried here, and we notice the same easily. Even for a movie that is not known to have that much of a budget, this one does look good – there is nothing to blame visually here. The movie also has the potential to develop its main character in such a way as to make a big serial killer out of it with a possible sequel. Kirby Bliss Blanton whom we know from The Green Inferno, and the protagonist Virginia Gardner are the pick of the cast here.

The claws of flaw :: What we feel the first time after watching this movie is that it had so much scope with its idea, and the basic thing could have been explored further. There is even a serial killer, the villain who is on rampage, and he gets his kills so easily – but the movie doesn’t bring him as a scary figure or try to make him a character whom nobody is going to forget. There could have also been a better way of seeing future, and the same could be used to bring effectiveness to the cat and mouse game between the killer and his possible victims. There is also an ending which is not that effective, and we have a certain amount of confusion about how things turn out in the end. We demand more, without doubt, especially after everything is set up nicely with a sequence of events – we ask for scares, and big twists which can turn things upside down as the core is revealed, but the choice taken here is not to do anything special and just go on, which is rather surprising.

How it finishes :: There has been many experiments which have been the theme of movies like Ex Machina and Morgan, but both those movies were about creating something new, while this one is focused on enhancing human abilities. Once again, we have people trying do the strange and the unpredictable in the name of science, crossing some areas which were not supposed to be crossed. Tell Me How I Die is going to be just another one of those stories which will have our attention, and keep going through the same. It will be an interesting choice for some time-pass, and maybe it will have us watching more of similar movies again. After all, the world is never really that short of such ideas. There are always smaller movies which tries to get through with an interesting idea – you can surely add this one to that list of movies which try to do more with what it got.

Release date: 2nd September 2016
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: D.J. Viola
Starring: Virginia Gardner, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Nathan Kress, Ryan Higa, Mark Furze, Ethan Peck, William Mapother, Marnie Alexenburg, Mark Rolston, Katie Booth, Christopher Allen, Shaun Brown, Julia Ling, Daisun Cohn-Williams, Barry Habib

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ 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.

Lavakusha

What is the movie about? :: Two jobless youngsters who would later be addressed as Lavan (Neeraj Madhav) and Kushan (Aju Varghese), meets in Chennai city, and becomes very good friends. The problems that both of them face, are almost the same, and after being kicked out of their place for not paying the rent, the two decide to return to Kerala, hoping to find something better in their home state. As the lazy people that they are, they can’t stop thinking about earning maximum money with the least effort. It is during their journey back to Kerala that they come across a number of strangers on the train. There is a girl named Sheethal (Deepti Sati), and a man who identifies himself as Venkat (Biju Menon). In an attempt to get the attention of the girl, they cross the way of a group of people smuggling gold in the train who threatens to kill them.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After being captured by the smugglers, the three escapes, and Venkat reveals himself as Joy Kappan, a senior police inspector. A series of confusions follow, and it ends with Joy being able to seize all the gold, and the smugglers escaping. Inspired by the turn of events, Lavan and Kushan decides to become private detectives. But living in a rented house, they are once again very close to being kicked out – it is then that they come across Joy again, who gives them a task to perform. They are to find and take out a huge amount of gold which is stored inside a reputed institution in the middle of the city. As they feel the need for an adventure, the two men agree and goes on the mission. But there are more twists to their mission than they think that there is, and there is more to the truth than what meets the eye.

The defence of Lavakusha :: There are enjoyable moments here and there in this one, and after the comic side gets awakened early, there is also the presence of twists later. It is in the final moments that everything comes together, and we get to see the movie rising above the possibility of just ending up as a foolish thing. The movie is clearly dependent on the trio of Neeraj Madhav, Aju Varghese and Biju Menon, and the three remains the pillars of this flick which leaves less for the rest. The former two get to begin and go on with the humour without restrictions. Even then, it is the second half which manages to use its resources better, improving as it moves towards the finish. You will see the signs of the same by the interval itself. When you are looking for some fun of the simpler kind, Lavakusha might be exactly the movie to turn to.

The claws of flaw :: Lavakusha never really uses its cast to the best possible advantage. When we have a leading cast like this, one has to wonder why there is inability to use it to the full advantage with fun. The jokes often struggle to identify as what they are actually supposed to be – even without logic and with foolishness allowed in there, we see struggle. We see that none of the characters are never really well established for the audience – that applies even to the leading characters. It is for the same reason that there are too many ups and downs in this movie, and the momentum that is often gains is not maintained and carried on to the next moments. The first sequence of the movie itself is rather not needed, and the same thing is repeated again in this movie, without bringing any chance for laughter. The music in this movie is rather forgettable – there is nothing to keep us there with that too. You will also find that the female characters also have less screen presence.

Performers of the soul :: It is Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav whose combination works really well to make things better. Even the comedy which might have gone over our head otherwise, works well, thanks to how well the two manages everything together. Aju Varghese has been present throughout the year’s movies from Aby and Alamara earlier to right now, while Neeraj Madhav comes out of that impressive performance in Oru Mexican Aparatha – we have seen them together at their best in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Kunjiramayanam; this movie is not of such level, but together, they are not behind, at any point. You will notice that the former has a more responsible character in comparison, but then too, you will know that it is only by a small distance. You will feel that this particular combination also meant that the expectations were a little too high with this one – well, it is no surprise, right?

Further performers of the soul :: The movie focuses mostly on the characters played by Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav, but the only one with heroic quality in this movie is played by Biju Menon – he gets to be the hero in the movie lead by the two youngsters. As concerning the titles, Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Lakshyam and Sherlock Toms, he had caught our attention with three different roles in the year, and here he gets another one to perform – there is no difficulty for him here, and he has all under control. Sadly, Aditi Ravi is restricted to a smaller role which could have been developed instead of a few other things in a movie which is rather so long for its content, and even Deepti Sati’s presence seems to be strange when she disappears and appears; there even seems to be a certain lack of efficiency in dubbing for her. Vijay Babu and Major Ravi are good with their work at the same time.

How it finishes :: Lavakusha could have been a nice action comedy in Hollywood style – our heroes could have gone through this in Get Smart model, becoming the unlikely saviours when the others in the investigation turn hopeless. Two police officers in undercover mode, finishing their missions in a funny and interesting way was the need here, but that much work isn’t done, and there seems to be not that much focus on attention either. Even with such a longer run-time, this one couldn’t build up enough. Still, this makes mostly an entertaining watch for the weekend. It could be an interesting time-pass movie without doubt. You can also feel a little bit of Tharangam in this one. As of now, Parava seems to have the lead as the most interesting one in the last thirty days. Just like the other Biju Menon starrer in the theatres, Sherlock Toms, this one attempts to combine comedy with the twists, and by the end, you will feel that it is the latter that has caught your attention, unlike what you were expecting.

Release date: 13th October 2017
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Gireesh Mano
Starring: Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Biju Menon, Deepti Sati, Aditi Ravi, Vijay Babu, Major Ravi, Sinoj Varghese, Anjali Aneesh, Ashwin Kumar, Janardhanan, Neena Kurup

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Parava

What is the movie about? :: Irshad a.k.a. Ichappy (Amal Shah) and Haseeb (Govind V Pai) are friends from a neighbourhood in Mattanchery, and also goes to the same class until the former fails in a subject to stay back in the class for an year. Their main time-pass together is breeding pigeons for the big pigeon race which is held every year. With different gangs with older people trying to do better in the competition every year, the two boys find it tough to keep their birds from being stolen or the cages destroyed at night by some other gang. Still, they don’t back down, and also don’t miss some chance to have fun with romancing a new beautiful girl in the school, participating in the usual sporting events, or watching one of those movies which they are not allowed to watch. But in the end, everything comes to the pigeon race, which stands tall over other sports, whether it is cricket or football.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: While the newer generation seems to have some fun out there, we have the youth, who have had a terrible flashback. The same which includes Shane (Shane Nigam), Hakeem (Arjun Ashokan), Mujeeb (Jacob Gregory), Imran (Dulquer Salman) and a few more, has had a brutal and bloody side written all over it with one incident on the beach with a group of drug addicts (Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi and others). Such an incident wasn’t known to happen in the locality for so many years. This has kept Shane silent and uninterested in almost everything which has been going around for a long time, including the fights with the rival team leader in the pigeon race (Shine Tom Chacko). The same had left Irshad as the last hope for parents, and his hope is on his pigeons. What would happen when things get intertwined?

The defence of Parava :: There is the bold choice of subject being taken here, on the lines of Guppy, which is not known for its box-office success. The visuals of the place takes over, and with some nice music, gives us the feel of the neighborhood. Yes, these locations like Mattanchery and Fort Cochin, or even Thoppumpady and Kumbalangy can give that kind of a feeling if captured on the camera well enough. There are some cute moments involving the pigeons as well as those situations in school which evoke laughter. The funny side is strong with the kids, and the emotional side runs parallel, and gets into form when needed. The strength of the cast assures that the same happens well. We see the happenings as simple, and the movie as a feel-good entertainer, knowing its strength in its cast. Even its extended cameo is placed exactly where it could do the best impact; one would have felt the need to add it in the beginning or the end, but this one appears at the right place.

The claws of flaw :: Parava does stretch itself a little too much than needed, as it should have been shorter with the realistic world which it gets to have – but the positive thing is that it holds ground, and never gets to be the long dragging thing which was Annayum Rasoolum. There is also the absence of notable female characters who are able to make any impact on the flow of the tale, other than being the reason. There is no real heroine in this one, and there is no leading actress to talk about either. Also, when there was the chance for the movie to become another Maheshinte Prathikaram or Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum with its reflection of reality, it just doesn’t take it, and floats away. Even Guppy was simpler, with simple people and their simple dreams. The movie could have also shortened the final fight scene and finished it with a final shot of them playing on the ground; this one extends both scenes.

Performers of the soul :: As it was Chethan Jayalal for the movie which was less watched in the theatres, but appreciated later, Guppy, we have Govind and Amal doing the job. Among the two, one can’t stop noticing the shades of Chethan in the former. You feel the strength of the skills from an upcoming generation right here in this movie, as the two handles not just the funny moments, but also the emotional side without holding back at any moment. Whether it is about those lighter incidents at school or those harder situations in the reality of life, they remain solid, and holds the movie together. They rise above everyone else, as they have more screen presence as well as more situations, none of which goes missing from them. You see scope to make more movies with children at the centre after this one, maybe even come up with many sequels of Philips and the Monkey Pen.

Further performers of the soul :: Among the elder cast, it is Shane Nigam who shines, taking it to the next level from Kismath and C/O Saira Banu, two fine movies which he has been part of, after the smaller role in Kammatipaadam. He has his best moments with one of sadness and final release of anger. Dulquer Salmaan who is restricted to less than half an hour, gets a strong character, but we lose him as we get to know and love him. More of Dulquer’s character would have been good, but we adjust with what we can have with a big cameo. Jacob Gregory also has less of the funny side to explore here unlike expected, and Siddique does the classic father role with ease. Soubin Shahir and Sreenath Bhasi brings the negative shades smartly, while Shine Tom Chacko is there in another noticeable role with his pigeons. Among the female characters, it is Srinda who gets the better.

How it finishes :: Parava is that kind of a movie which attracts us towards it, right from the first sequence involving the kids and the fish, and towards that final fight scene. It has to be noted that how well Soubin Shahir in his first movie as a director takes something which is lesser known in other parts, and elevates it to a higher and more popular level – there is nothing huge being added to the mixture at the same time. As a feel-good entertainer, this one makes us forget its tendency to stretch, and makes us feel as part of the place ourselves, whether we have visited the place or not. We need experimentation like this one to make sure that the wings of our industry stay stronger, as this one releases with Pokkiri Simon. After all, we expect our pigeons to improve and do better every time. Parava is that kind of a movie, which makes on feel that there is surely something to keep close to heart.

Release date: 21st September 2017
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Soubin Shahir
Starring: Shane Nigam, Govind V Pai, Amal Shah, Dulquer Salmaan, Jacob Gregory, Shine Tom Chacko, Harisree Ashokan, Jaffer Idukki, Indrans, Srinda Ashab, Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi, Zinil Zainudeen, Arjun Ashokan, Siddique, Len Prasad

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Viral

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mrithyumjayam

Vampire Owl: I am sure that they are talking about us.

Vampire Bat: Why would you think that when going through a non-vampire movie?

Vampire Owl: Because it seems to be about someone who defeated death.

Vampire Bat: We haven’t defeated death; at least not yet.

Vampire Owl: Dude, we have come back from the dead. Anyone would coming back from the grave as a miracle and a victory.

Vampire Bat: It might be a case of victory for us, the same is not the defeat of death.

Vampire Owl: Why wouldn’t death be defeated by our victory?

Vampire Bat: We haven’t left the world of the dead. We are still connected to it. We never came back to the living, and we are just undead.

Vampire Owl: Does that really make a difference?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it surely makes a lot of difference. Death is only a passage, and we went through one of it to another stage – it is different from coming back.

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

What is the movie about? :: The idea of becoming a respected gangster is to kill the most feared gangster of all-time. But the question remains about what would happen if that man of terror is considered rather immortal? The doctors had told him that he would die in a few months, and he has gone one to live for so many years, and that too at the top of the food chain, doing his business with ease. He was stabbed multiple times, and has so many scars on his body. He was also shot so many times, and people say that he even took bullets on his head and still managed to be what he is now. There is also a tale which goes about twenty years back, about him being surrounded by fifty people armed with weapons, and he murdered them all without even a stick in his hands. He is also known to possess special weapons which are so sharp and poisoned that he can deliver the fatal blow in a second or two.

So, what happens next? :: The movie tells the story of a young man named Appu (Jitin Puthanchery) who has always wanted to be a gangster. He was born into a mafia family, and had grown up listening to their big tales of crime. These tales were talked about a lot of the common people who feared them, and there were even books and movies in their name. All these has made the young man want to be more and more like them. For the same, he takes on the mission, and it is to murder the man, Mrithyumjayam (Selvaraj Raghavan) known more to everyone as the the gangster who can’t die. It is his uncle (Sudhish Gopinath) himself who gives him with this objective even though he and his people have the doubt if he is really ready. But he decides to take it on – but the question remains if he can kill the man who can’t die? Can he accomplish what so many people and diseases couldn’t, and thus rise above the legend of the immortal gangster?

Soul exploration 1: Desire to follow the wrong path to fame :: Well, what people want is more about fame and money, and for the same, young people tend to take the wrong path, as they just seem easier – there is no need to study, and there is absolutely no need to follow the rules. This quick need for money and fame are driving forces behind them taking the terrible path. Once they take this path, there is no changing, and there is no coming back. We can see the protagonist in this short-film too, taking the same road, inspired by his own people and also by movies. Well, considering the state of our own movie industry, there seems to be too much criminal activities there too. It is a sad thing, as common people tend to lose their interest in movies too – you can see that the theatres are not that full as they used to be, and there are shows getting cancelled, or movies getting completely removed from a theatre. In the end, the wrong path can never be justified, and it all comes together to haunt you.

Soul exploration 2: A new generation lost in desire for more :: The new generation seems to find these things rather cool – there is the glorification of violence in the movies like Django Unchained, Kill Bill and many others which seems to show the same as the only solution to problems. This has made the youth choose the same to get what they want to have. The inherent evil in man just makes things easier – it is only that special push that most of them need to go against law, and you will feel such things happening with ease when you read the newspapers these days. The need for becoming the gangster which the protagonist in this movie has, does seem rather foolish and due to dumb reasons; he doesn’t even seem to be ready, but we see that he is ready to kill when there is the need. The most terrible acts of violence seems to be ready to come out when there is a chance – the question remains if it is how our new generation is turning into!

How it finishes :: Mrithyumjayam is taken in such a stylish way that you will have the feeling of this being more global in character – the black and white on the screen works nicely for the movie, and throughout the movie, it provides that kind of a feeling which keeps us immersed right inside. The only colour used otherwise is red, and that is nice to see – the only exceptions are the colours shown on a television screen and on the protagonist’s shades. The first thing that the movie reminds us of, is Sin City. It is actually nice to see that our own people are capable of making short-films like this – it is actually worthy enough to make a full length movie, with this particular gangster’s legend going on, leading the rise of a new one, and showing how things change, but the core remains the same while history repeats itself without any kind of remorse as it sheds so much of blood.

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

Vampire Owl: Throughout my life, I have never wanted to be a gangster.

Vampire Bat: It is a good thing because Werewolf Anger would have killed you otherwise. He hates gangsters.

Vampire Owl: Do they make him angry too? Like vampires, zombies, wood elves, dark elves, high elves, satyrs, orcs, goblins, halflings, witches and centaurs do?

Vampire Bat: He is always angry. He just hates the gangsters.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that he hate them so much that no gangster will ever see the light of the day in his territory?

Vampire Bat: Yes, something like that, but only until the Lich Queen re-animates their remains. She raises the undead from such people.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the gangsters never really die either?

Vampire Bat: As long as the Lich Queen gets her hands on them.

Vampire Owl: So, there is really the defeat of death.

Vampire Bat: As I said earlier, this is not the defeat of death either, but the opening of another passage while traveling to the other world.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 30th January 2016
Running time: 15 minutes
Directed by: Dominic Arun
Starring: Rafeeq Aman, Dominic Arun, Ananthu Balachander, Sudhish Gopinath, Anil Narayanan, Jitin Puthanchery, Selvaraj Raghavan, Shabin, Nandhan Unni, Balu Varghese

Watch the movie Mrithyumjayam here:

PS: Check out the reviews of the latest movies in the theatres, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Basheerinte Premalekhanam.

<— Go back to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sunday Holiday

What is the movie about? :: Unni Mukundan (Sreenivasan) is a lecturer teaching in the commerce department of a reputed college in Aluva, who is more interested in giving lessons about life to his students on Sundays, and also to convert his script into a movie. He has been wandering around with his movie dreams for quite a long time, but nobody has accepted, or even considered reading his script. Nobody even believes that he has a good enough story, and most of the popular directors refuse to see him, consider him as just one of those people bothering them with something which will waste their time. It is during those times that Unni comes to know that a popular and highly successful director, David Paul (Lal Jose) has been admitted in the nearby hospital. He decides to make use of that opportunity, and visit him to tell the story. Even though David is initially reluctant, he decides that it will not hurt anyone to just listen during free time.

So, what happens in the story within the story? :: It is the tale of Amal (Asif Ali), a youngster who has been in love with Sithara (Shruti Ramachandran) ever since they had known each other during childhood. It is a relationship which their families which are related to each other, approves of, but only until Sithara gets a proposal from a doctor, something which neither her parents or the opportunist lady herself wishes to let go. As she immediately chooses the newly found love who earns in big numbers, the jobless young man leaves his town of Thalassery to the city of Cochin, as there is a small job set for him at the place. He reaches there and finds himself selling CDs and DVDs of devotional songs, and at the same time, meets a girl named Anu (Aparna Balamurali) who is also doing some selling door to door. The incidents which are to follow affects his life, and the heart-broken one gets something to cheer him up for the rest of his life.

The defence of Sunday Holiday :: You are sure to find happiness in the little things of joy that the movie brings, and even though its humour is not leviathan or anything, it is on those little things that the same also concentrates. We have some nice visuals of the places, and the city from high up, is always a joy to watch. The combination of Asif Ali and Aparna Balamurali also proves to be a very nice one. There are also messages to take home in this movie, as it tells the audience to forgive and move on, and to be concerned and kind to others. A moment featuring Sudheer Karamana and Siddique explains that the best. The movie also asserts goodness in those people who act more angry and frustrated than loving. The final twist is good, but the fact that this had to be a movie within a movie is more tiring than helping the cause. Well, feel-good surely feels better to have rather than mixing meaningless twists to a tale which can’t take it, and therefore Sunday Holiday will stand tall over the director’s earlier flick.

The claws of flaw :: It is certain that you will find not much which will give you the feeling of freshness here – there is the kind of story with feel-good factor that has been flourishing for years, and it is the thing that Malayalam movie industry has found easy to follow. It is up-to us to wonder why there is no experimentation with the kind of genre which has worked so well even without that much of a budget. Is it because the same is considered the safe bet, and therefore doesn’t require any more attention? The movie also has sequences which contribute so less to the movie, and there are also those characters without whom movie could have gone foward, along with those tales of some which don’t get to be close to where we had wanted them to. The songs also seem to be added more than needed, as with a certain drag in the middle, we feel this movie to be longer than it really is.

Performers of the soul :: We were waiting for Thrissivaperoor Kliptham starring both Asif Ali and Aparna Balamurali, and here we have this one starring both of them. The former is coming out of two underrated movies, Adventures of Omanakkuttan and Avarude Raavukal, both being divergent in their own terms, and had potential for even more – both were not short of fun if you look at them.The latter is coming right out feel-good success stories, Maheshinte Prathaikaram and Oru Muthassi Gadha, playing three roles in two flicks, and awaiting the next, Sarvopari Palakkaran. She played a girl from Idukki, from Cochin (Ernakulam), Kannur (Iritty) in this one and is now set to play characters from Kottayam (Palai), and Thrissur – well, all seems to work so well as far as Aparna is concerned. With shades of her character in the realistic Dileesh Pothan movie, she is the pick here. Asif Ali’s character though, is closer to his work in Avarude Raavukal, and he is natural in doing the same.

Further performers of the soul :: As Asif Ali plays the young man in need for confidence and change, Aparna is the muse that he was in need to write the rest of his tale on the book of life. Shruti Ramachandran of the Pretham fame is also here doing not much, restricted to the beginning and the end of the flick – see does give that ghostly look in the end for sure. Sreenivasan, Lal Jose and Asha Sharath’s characters work outside the tale, which means that they have much less to do except for the beginning, before the interval, and just after the tale finishes. The two actors whom we are sure to notice, and will ask for them to be present more are Sudheer Karamana and Siddique – no surprises there when you remember how it has been working with the previous movies. Bhagath Manuel also gets to do a good role, even though it doesn’t become the sidekick role as much as expected. Dharmajan is in hold of the comic side, and the rest only has to follow.

How it finishes :: Sunday Holiday is surely an improvement for the director who had earlier directed the movie Bicycle Thieves which is more or less a shame for the Italian classic with the same name, something to which almost everyone at the theatres agreed, watching that movie with so much high expectations after positive reviews. With no other Malayalam release, this is a weekend which only has Tiyaan and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum from last two weeks giving it some challenge, and therefore, its place should be safe, even without trying that hard. Along with the other two movies having Asif Ali which released last, this becomes another feel-good flick than anything else – I wouldn’t rate this one above those two though, with its problems in the middle part. Still, we all need feel-good movies which leave something for life all the time, and so Sunday Holiday becomes a good movie to watch this weekend, whether it is really Sunday or not.

Release date: 14th July 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Asif Ali, Aparna Balamurali, Shruti Ramachandran, Lal Jose, Bhagath Manuel, Sudheer Karamana, KPAC Lalitha, Asha Sharath, Sreenivasan, Siddique, Sunish Kumar, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Vinaya Prasad, Nirmal Palazhi, Sethulakshmi

@ Cemetery Watch
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