Movies for Holidays

As the season of holidays is coming up during April and May after the early lockdown for Corona virus pandemic, there are a few movies which we can look forward to. Even though the theatres are closed for now along with the schools and colleges, we can be sure that we will go past the epidemic and come strong during the next month, or maybe even earlier. Some movie releases might be missed in the mean time, but as we follow the instructions of the health department and come back stronger, there will be more movies for us to watch in the theatres. The summer holidays will have a lot of these, are some might even have a late release to go with it.

1. Black Widow: Marvel might have lost some of its greatest heroes in the form of Avengers, but it is not yet over for them, as this time we go back and follow the events of Captain America: Civil War, with Natasha Romanoff finding herself against a conspiracy. Well, we never really had enough of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, and she was surely the one superhero who needed a solo movie over the much overrated Captain Marvel. The potential for a character like this is so much, and it could rise above the usual superhero stuff with ease. Whatever those people with superpowers could do, Black Widow can surely do better and in a smarter way, and you no longer miss all Avengers.

2. The Personal History of David Copperfield: We are never really short of watching the novels of Charles Dickens on the big screen. Coming from the greatest novelist of Victorian Age dealing with the common man, all these novels make great impact on the big screen. Even though my favourite novel remains A Christmas Carol and The Great Expectations has been one novel which works really well on the big screen along with Oliver Twist, this one also would have enough for us. It is never too late to go through Dickens’ most autobiographical novel even when not on the pages.

3. The Green Knight: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a tale from English medieval period which gave its poet the name, Gawain Poet. One of the best known tales about King Arthur, and the version known to us being written in Middle English, the movie takes us back to the Arthurian Legend. The movie has Alicia Vikander, and that is a name we would love to have in a medieval setting. The legend of King Arthur, his knights, queen, the sword in the stone Excalibur and the final resting place Avalon have always inspired literature lovers, and may this movie also do the same.

4. Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea: The Malayalam movie with Mohanlal in the titular leading role is also something much awaited, even more than the overrated Bollywood movies – it has made that kind of an impact already, and even though a similar movie out of history Mamangam didn’t receive that much of an appreciation, one can only keep waiting for this one considering the grandeur and the effort. I also have my own doubts about it, but I am also hoping for the best – it should release next month itself, as the theatres here have closed due to Corona virus this month.

5. Artemis Fowl: Somewhat taken from Eoin Colfer’s works of the same name, the movie takes one back to the world of a twelve year old criminal mastermind. A much known book here is not something that we have followed much at this part of the world, even though it has been well known. The movie becomes an opportunity to get back to this. A thriller fairy tale and the conflict between good and evil never gets old. The whole setup leading to the movie does look good. Now, it is to be seen how well the movie turn out to be – it also needs to be seen if this is released here.

6. Spiral and Run: We also need the regular dose of horror movies and thrillers, and these two seem to come up with some of it. Both movies seem to have something grand in store, with very much sinister secrets out there. It seems that we will know very less about these, but sometimes, it is the beauty of the same. Lets have more of similar movies, as long as they release here – we are surely going to have a rush of movies as the theatres come back to life next month, and we can hope that these would also join in between all the rush which has been happening.

***All the images used on this blog post were taken from the official Facebook pages of the movies and the actors or actresses performing in them.

**And belated happy birthday to me.

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TeNy

Age of Thrillers: Death Trail

As the year began, it became clear that the Malayalam movie industry was attempting to go through a path which it had earlier tried and succeeded, but later left behind – creating an age of thrillers around a death or a few murders. The success of the Kunchacko Boban starrer Anjaam Pathira might have set the thriller wagon moving, as Anveshanam is also on the trail, even though not becoming that much of a success both commercially and critically with a slow moving drama side keeping it away. Now, what the audience is waiting for happens to be Forensic, the Tovino-Mamta starrer with a well accepted trailer.

Anjaam Pathira made the impact with a series of murders happening, and policemen getting murdered one after the other. It used the darkness effectively, and the suspense was nicely maintained, even though it gave away its strength a little too early in the second half, making it a revenge drama too easily. But Anjaam Pathira found it easy to make the impact that Memories did a long time ago, even though not that much in quality – it has set the wheels of the thriller wagon moving. There was something about Anjaam Pathira in the trailer itself, and it is still running strong in the theatres even with some movies with bigger stars also showing presence there.

At the same, Anveshanam‘s journey could only make itself a pretender to the thriller genre, as it became more drama and less thriller, struggling to create the suspense and thrills, with audience not taken into account as it goes through a slow journey. Set in a hospital, it tests the patience of the audience a little too much that at some point, most of the people would stop caring about the main characters. It also doesn’t end with the right points in the best way, as the struggle continues. Pretending to be a thriller is one of the worst things that a movie can do to its fans, especially with such a talented cast doing so well. Thriller movies not done well make rather too negative impact.

The case of serial killers has always impressed the audience, and Anjaam Pathira is something which couldn’t use its ripper well enough, with Forensic, one can be sure that there is something bigger coming up. The trailer seems to promise a lot more than the usual investigation thriller in Malayalam. There is the extra expectation coming up from the writers of 7th Day. Tovino Thomas in such a role was always going to be interesting. Along with the same, we have Mamta Mohandas and Reba Monica John in the leading female roles. The premise looks too good to avoid, and this is the kind of movie that the thriller fans would be looking forward to on any day.

We await the release of Forensic this March, hoping for the best, with scope for bringing thrillers to the next level. With the number of Hollywood movies getting released here on the decrease, the need for thrillers can only be met by movies like these. Horror hasn’t been getting its due, and it becomes a necessity for thrillers to step up and take the spotlight. It might not be that easy a task, but the audience deserve more from an industry which has evolved so much over the years, and has a the talent and realism which Bollywood never really had with its mass masala and the eternal love for sons and daughters of superstars being the actors who get all the big movies.

Watch the trailers of the three thrillers below:

Forensic

Anjaam Pathira

Anveshanam

 

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TeNy

2019: Songs for the Soul

There are those songs which are there to stay. This year, we have many more of similar songs, some of them raising the level like never before. Some of those songs are close to the themes of the movie, and the rest can stand alone, making an impact separately. Well, we can be sure that these songs are ahead of the ones from last year, those which had released at the same initial period of time. Talking about this year’s songs, we can also be certain that there is more to come, especially with some big releases coming up including Mamangam already having one hit song in the bag.

6. Nee Hima Mazhayayi (Edakkad Battalion 06)
This movie is known the best for this wonderful song rather than anything else. The flick which is centered on an army officer played by Tovino Thomas also made sure that the successful Theevandi pair of him and Samyuktha Menon came together again. The film might not have managed to get the same appreciation that the song got, but it could manage that fine opening, and some reviews which could support it. Also, there is no question about the grand feeling that this movie songs, with the visuals and the words used. Nithya Mammen’s voice has caught a lot of attention with it.

5. Pavizha Mazha (Athiran)
The Fahadh Faasil – Sai Pallavi starrer was something that caught attention through days and week, reminding one of A Cure for Wellness and Shutter Island. Athiran was one movie which came to the theatre without much hype, and refused to go, even after the flicks which released after it had gone early. Along with Uyare, this became one of the longest running movies of the year, and in malls, it never really stopped having the interested audience. The song is also nicely visualized, and it gives a great feeling while driving through the rain and listening to the song on a starry night.

4. Aalolam (Love Action Drama)
This movie had marked the return of Nayanthara to Malayalam cinema after a very long time, under the direction of Dhyan Sreenivasan. Even though the movie did make one feel strange with its treatment of the subject, and the humour was rather too stupid, this song does give a nice feeling – maybe could have worked even better if it was in a serious feel-good romantic flick. This one might have been missed if it was seen in the movie, as such beauty often gets hidden in the foolishness and strange behaviour of the main character – but we can always take it out and enjoy.

3. Parakkam Parakkam (Finals)
In one of the greatest sports drama movies of all time in Malayalam or maybe even South India, there are two beautiful songs, both in the first half of the movie. There is the absence of the terrible melodrama that are common in most of similar movies. The usual routes taken by sports drama are also avoided. If this going to be the usual stuff, that would have been very disappointing, but with Rajisha Vijayan around, who is well supported by Suraj Venjaramoodu and Niranj Maniyanpillai Raju, the movie gets its wings with ease. There is no usual greatness of the protagonist being shown with a thrilling match in the end – this movie is much more.

2. Uyiril Thodum (Kumbalangi Nights)
The best of the year came early with Kumbalangi Nights, and its song also gets the best out of the mood. Set in the island village of Kumbalangi, the movie is as close to a realistic world as it can get, and we have the feeling of seeing real people in realistic circumstances. It is the kind of movie that is not usually seen, but this one finds it easy to capture the attention and love of people. The beauty of visuals can also be seen in the movie as well as this song in particular. Kumbalangi is a place to look out for, as beautiful island near Cochin, and this movie makes things even better – the numbr of tourists visiting the place should have seen a rise.

1. Parayuvan (Ishq)
This movie provides the best feeling when we are traveling in a car at night, like the protagonists themselves do. The music and the voice in the song comes up with a feeling out of this world with ease. The movie is surely not something great, as it often goes some other way, but it is another song which touches soul – this is something completely different from what we have heard, it feels new, but feels perfect for the old soul. Try listening to this one while traveling in car on a rainy day; maybe even a KSRTC bus would do. This also feels closer to the music of Ranam.

*See the year’s best movies.

TeNy

2019 and its Movies

This year surely has been an interesting one for Malayalam movie industry. There are movies like Mamangam and Edakkad Battalion coming up, and there could be a great change to the list, but we already have some highly appreciated movies on the top. The next three months are going to be crucial with some very interesting titles getting ready to be released. We also have had some nice songs this year, but we will talk about them later. The following are the movies which have created great impact in Malayalam movie industry, and I would consider them to be among the best, rising above the level created by the movies last year.

5. Uyare: Parvathy leads another movie to positive criticism as well as positive word of mouth, as both the critics and the commoners approved of this movie as among the best. Telling the tale of an aspiring pilot who became a victim of acid attack, Parvathy excels in this role, as she did another real-life inspired movie, Take Off. There is fine support from Tovino Thomas, and Asif Ali is also there along with Anarkali Marakar. This inspirational story was one flick which couldn’t take any negative opinions, and ran in the theatres for a very long time, gaining more and more audience as time passed.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/05/26/uyare/

4. Virus: The medical thriller is a step forward for Malayalam cinema, as this movie provides a fictionalized account of how the state of Kerala valiantly dealt with the Nipah Virus outbreak which claimed the lives of a number of people in the North of Kerala, especially Malappuram and Kozhikode. A huge number of leading actors including Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Indrajith Sukumaran, Asif Ali, Joju George, Parvathy, Poornima Indrajith, Rima Kallingal, Sreenath Bhasi and others. The movie is an emotional and thrilling ride, as well as a tribute to those who suffered and lost their lives while trying to save the Nipah infected patients. It is a welcome experiment like never before.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/06/08/virus/

3. Unda: This Mammootty starrer was made fun of due to its simple and yet strange title, something which the film makers wouldn’t have thought about on another day, related to another movie with the same theme. Dealing with the problems faced by cops who travel to a Naxal infested area, the movie doesn’t take sides, but satirizes the situation really well. Mammootty stays strong in this movie, and plays the vulnerable cop and leader nicely, and there is a lot of support here, starting from Shine Tom Chacko. The way in which the movie deals with its situation is worth one’s attention. It is that kind of a movie which could have a sequel with another mission for the police force.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/06/16/unda/

2. Finals: Rajisha Vijayan already had another movie centered on her, June – she had also won the Best Actress Award from the State Government in her first movie itself. Finals is a step forward for her, even though it is not fully centered on her character. The other two giving her support are Niranj Maniyanpillai Raju and Suraaj Venjaramoodu, both also coming up with some fantastic performances. The former surely has a long way ahead for him after this emotionally strong performance, and the latter is once again a revelation in this kind of role – we saw him providing such emotional performances in Action Hero Biju and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, and here we are even more glad to have him here.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/09/14/finals/

1. Kumbalangi Nights: The best movie of this year won’t have the haters that the top ten movies usually have from the mindless fan boys who decide to have their part. Taking a perfect setting of the model tourism village Kumbalangi, and thriving through its beauty, this one comes up with a beautiful tale of the common man, powered by some fantastic performances lead by Fahadh Faasil, Shane Nigam, Soubin Shahir and the rest of the perfectly chosen cast. Unlike some of those movies with place names in their titles, this one is very much close to perfection – it has the spirit of its surrounding, and the people who live there. It is a tale of redemption and hope like no other.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/02/09/kumbalangi-nights/

It would be nice to know your choices for the best Malayalam movies of the year so far. Even though there have been these brilliant movies, there was no shortage of some terrible movies, which would be nice to know about too. The hope once again is to move away from those usual terrible movies starring superstars without any content. We are always looking forward to experimentation, and lets hope that such experiments prove to be interesting, and inspire many more of such movies.

***Click here to go to the most recent movie review.

TeNy

Best of 2017 in a Flash

2017 had its own interesting flicks to make things better, and among them, here are those which I found to be the best Malayalam movies of the year. Even though there might not have been a movie which would break all records, or would be considered as one of the greatest of them all, we surely had some excellent works. We all need more movies to be released so that the choices increase, but it is up to us to make sure that most of them will be watched, and will not get the negative result that they don’t deserve. These six are surely the kind of flicks that you can choose to watch without second thoughts.

1. Take Off :: Quoting from my own earlier post here: “This one is Malayalam movie industry’s answer to Airlift, but takes the time to get more out of the emotional side with a first half which establishes the main characters and the situation of the protagonist really well. Taking a page out of a real incident and adding the needed creativity, Take Off becomes the movie that is not easy to find fault with. There is Parvathy as the protagonist doing an excellent job, and there is Fahadh Faasil who gets things to be more intense in the second half. Kunchacko Boban remains serene with his act. The positive opinions received are all deserving.”
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/26/take-off/

2. C/O Saira Banu :: Quoting from my own earlier post here: “This one is an interesting movie which moves from family drama to its twists after the half time. It deals with some interesting incidents which have happened in our society, and also leaves with a message along with an ending which comes as a pleasant surprise with a nice turn of events. It questions not only a past, but also the present and the future in a prejudiced society that we live in. Manju Warrier and Amala Akkineni are the ones who shine in this movie which will work for not just one category of viewers. Along with Rani Padmini and How Old Are You?, this one will be on the list of the best works of Manju Warrier after her grand return.”
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/18/co-saira-banu/

3. Sakhavu :: There is the strength of ideology behind this movie, and it goes towards taking a righteous stand, especially when a political leader is concerned – on what the left ideals really mean, if they are implemented in the right way. The message is strong, and there is the presence of feel-good elements. Here, Nivin Pauly comes in two roles, and among the two, it is the new-age role that suits the best for him – the other role also demands him to play the elder version of the character, which also leaves a mark. There is the new generation social worker portrayed nicely with all the shortcuts of life which are taken, and there is the maturity of the old generation comrade, who has struggled so hard with everything in life for the party as well as the society.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/04/15/sakhavu/

4. Godha :: One quality that Godha has retained from the same director’s Kunjiramayanam is its quality in simplicity; as we look through these two movies, we see simple things made beautiful or memorable. The latter was all about making its comic side more and more effective while the former here works on delivering the inspiration on the big screen. In a world which is being swallowed by those sporting events which has more money and bigger heroes, there are the sports other than cricket which struggles to find a path towards attention, and Godha has certainly caught your eyes. Tovino has another big movie with Wamiqa debuting great in Malayalam.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/05/19/godha/

5. Tiyaan :: The thought-provoking moments of Tiyaan are intense, with that intensity like never before. The dialogues are stronger than ever, and we feel all the correct emotions in each of them, whether it is anger, hate, fear or grief. There are signs of what is to come from the beginning itself, and we feel how this is going to be something different, and it is. The whole thing remains a thought-provoking saga, and we are left with hope in a world which doesn’t have much of the same with almost everyone being hypocrites. There might be complexity within, but the final message is rather too simple, with all religions leading to one God, and love being the path.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/07/08/tiyaan/

6 Mayaanadhi :: As this one brings a new love story of this age, the melodrama never finds a seat. There is a realistic approach in this movie, and we never really gets tired of the same, even when the movie seems to get slow in between. We see how much people need each other, when things get better, or when they get terrible. The protagonists are two people who have struggled with their lives, and their world is something which is not difficult to relate as we understand their circumstances. There is the overall sadness in this movie, which seems to reflect on the depressing human condition which remains the same, no matter how the world changes. There are also some harsh realities reflected too, with either fate being so cruel, or the society being against the individual. Tovino and Aishwarya makes a wonderful pair.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/12/23/mayaanadhi/

***The images used in this blog post are from the official Facebook pages of these movies. Also read about this years movies, Hey Jude, Aadhi, Street Lights and Shikkari Shambhu. Also read about the best of music.

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TeNy

Best of First Quarter: 2017

People will say that it is just too early to choose the best of movies. But it is never really early or late to choose your favourites, as I am choosing the best six Malayalam movies of this year from those which I have watched – I did go for almost all of them, except for some movies which instantly give that impression that we shouldn’t watch them; there are still moments when I had decided to go for them too. The last year had movies like Pulimurugan, which became the first ever 100 and 150 crore grosser in Malayalam movie industry, doubling the collections of the previous gross topper, Drishyam and its quick followers Premam and Oppam. So, what can this year bring for the industry? Lets begin with the big six movies, and the names can already be guessed by my friends on Facebook who should have seen my writings and preferences already.

1. Take Off :: I am pretty sure that most people will agree to this choice, as long as they are not the extreme case of fans. This one is Malayalam movie industry’s answer to Airlift, but takes the time to get more out of the emotional side with a first half which establishes the main characters and the situation of the protagonist really well. Taking a page out of a real incident and adding the needed creativity, Take Off becomes the movie that is not easy to find fault with. There is Parvathy as the protagonist doing an excellent job, and there is Fahadh Faasil who gets things to be more intense in the second half. Kunchacko Boban remains serene with his act. The positive opinions received are all deserving.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/26/take-off/

2. C/O Saira Banu :: This one is an interesting movie which moves from family drama to its twists after the half time. It deals with some interesting incidents which have happened in our society, and also leaves with a message along with an ending which comes as a pleasant surprise with a nice turn of events. It questions not only a past, but also the present and the future in a prejudiced society that we live in. Manju Warrier and Amala Akkineni are the ones who shine in this movie which will work for not just one category of viewers. Along with Rani Padmini and How Old Are You?, this one will be on the list of the best works of Manju Warrier after her grand return. She is indeed the lady star who can hold a whole movie on her shoulders in the absence of any big male star.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/18/co-saira-banu/

3. Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol :: Following Jomonte Suvisheshangal, and becoming only the second movie to release after that long lasting theatre strike, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol is a very well made family movie which is sure to appeal to the audience, and along with Mohanlal being at his best, there is also a strong supporting cast which includes Alencier Ley, Anoop Menon and Kalabhavan Shajohn who bring the fun element into the movie. Aima Rosmy Sebastian of Jacobinte Swargarajyam fame has a charming presence, and gets to do more this time. The movie’s message is strong, and cent percent applicable to the present world. Yes, family means everything, and with a superior second half, this movie successfully reiterate the same without melodrama. The family audience will love the grapes.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/01/22/munthirivallikal-thalirkkumbol/

4. Aby :: Aby is an interesting new addition to that list of movies which proves to be inspirational for an upcoming generation with big dreams. Look out for Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese, Mareena Michael Kurisingal and the supporting cast who make a simple story work really well in a way that it touches your dreams to make them wish to fly higher. How the story ends makes sure that we leave with a smile in the end. We do realise that we will not fly high as the protagonist does, but we can appreciate the fact that we could have and someone will. What is it with Malayalam movies and inspiration? We are having so many of them, and may this one also leave a nice impression. More and more of inspiration will be interesting thing, that is for sure.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/02/24/aby/

5. Ezra :: Ezra does limit its scares, which is rather surprising – but while doing the same, it does take a divergent path, and undoubtedly scores with its visuals and sound effects, but one wonders why it hasn’t used all the arms and ammunition in its arsenal to create a huge scary experience that will keep you unsettled for a very long time. Even though it is a nicely done movie with an interesting narrative, I wouldn’t say that it will make you remember any of its scary moments. Ezra is worth watching for being different, and it buys and sells no white sari like the usual Malayalam horror movies have been doing beyond centuries. Prithviraj Sukumaran has chosen the right horror movie for sure.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/02/12/ezra/

6. Alamara :: Alamara brings some simple, feel-good fun with its usual tale of a married couple having problems due to their families going against their relationship; with a big almirah in the middle of all these as silent witness to this mess of a family life. There are some really funny moments in this flick which also leaves one with a message. Aditi Ravi looks really beautiful here, and makes her presence felt in this one, and it is Manikandan R Achari as the protagonist’s favourite mama who leads the way in the comic department, supported well as usual by Aju Varghese and others making this one a cute watch. Just like Ann Maria Kalippilaanu from the same director, this one also deserved more attention than it receieved.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/19/alamara/

***The images used in this blog post are from the official Facebook Pages of the movies as well as the leading actors and actresses mentioned here.

This week’s movies are The Great Father and Georgettan’s Pooram. Do they deserve to be somewhere in this list, or maybe in one which is a little bit longer? If you are looking forward to a Hollywood 2017, read this!

TeNy