8 : 20 Malayalam Movie Review

Even with the flaws and loose ends in the screenplay, 8:20 directed by Shyaam stands out for a treatment and story that is quite unique in Malayalam. I would not say the story resembles any English films but definitely the treatment and situation is inspired from a popular Hollywood franchise. No major star presence is there and the movie has very limited characters. In spite of these, 8:20 is an average thriller that will engage you if the wafer thin suspense element is not known to you. So the crux here is that suspense part which should remain as it is till the end and if that is revealed to you by someone before watching the film, you can stay away as that would make the movie an uninteresting one.

The story is a one day incidents from the life of Shyam and Ruchi whose marriage has been decided by their parents. Shyam is interested in music, dance, drinking and roaming with his friends but her fiancee want him to clear the supplementary exams which is his last chance to qualify. The film begins from 8.20AM on a particular day and follow their life and reach a stage in the half way mark. Post intermission too, the film begins on the same way just like it all started but as said earlier, that element of suspense makes me put a full stop here on the synopsis side.

Scripting could have been a bit more crisp and those college situations and humour could have been presented in a much better way instead of following the cliched route that made it boring and at the same time irritating as well especially those non vegetarian jokes. Still i would definitely recommend this film for a one time watch and coming from a fresh pair of hands in the directorial side, the treatment do make us sit through this two hour movie.

No stars are present on the acting side. Arjun Nandakumar and Avanthika enact the roles of Shyam and Ruchi respectively and they were upto the task of presenting those characters with the right emotions. Vijayaraghavan as Ruchi's father was impressive though in terms of screen presence, the character had very limited scenes. Bijukuttan handled the comedy side and it was a repetition of some of his earlier flicks. Majority of his jokes fell flat without making any impact. Poojappura Ravi and N L Balakrishnan for whom this should be his last movie getting released are also present with brief roles.

Technically there is nothing remarkable but all areas like cinematography,
editing and music doing a fair bit of share contributing to the overall technical side in their own way. Background score could have been bit more racy but it was okay. Overall, 8:20 is an experimental theme that has not failed but end up as an average outing coming from a first time director. I go with two and a half out of five as my personal rating for the film.

Rating - 2.5 / 5

Nagaravaaridhi Naduvil Njan Malayalam Movie Review

Social messages through the medium of cinema is a good thought and if it can succeed or result as an eye opener for the public, well and good. Nagaravaaridhi Naduvil Njan is one such movie that touch on one such menace or problem that is very much relevant in the present day life especially in Kerala. Yes, we are talking about how daily waste is disposed of creating too much of a problem to everyone. Scripted by Sreenivasan who himself plays the lead role and directed by Shibu Balan, the film tried something good for the society and the public but how it is achieved was too much to digest and far from convincing.

Venugopal after spending twenty five years in Saudi Arabia returns to his home and to make his life move forward takes up a job in a flat as its security. His daughter who is too studious as she wants to clear her entrance and pursue a career as a doctor lets him know that if she is not able to clear the exams, she will be forced to commit suicide. Venugopal does not have an option to go for a payment seat and hence decide to dispose of his five cents of land in town that is now a pile of waste being disposed by the residential people there. Film focus on how he succeed in clearing of the debris amidst stiff opposition from the colony people.

The film is a family drama and try to explore problems faced by the common man in their day to day life. Screenplay by Sreenivasan lacks that charm that was there in Chinthaavishtay
aya Shyamala or a Vadakkunokki Yanthram. Appreciating the noble intentions of conveying a good message to the public which is good but the way it is executed and how things end did not make a safe and intended landing for the movie. Bringing a political angle and a murder and also connecting the protagonist into that drama was a half baked one and did not succeed. Towards the end, the protagonist describe how he clear of his waste and also use the same for agricultural purposes where vegatables are cultivated for his own use was something which we all can take a cue from it but for that we need not watch this film, may be a good documentary on waste disposal would serve the purpose.

On screen, Sreenivasan as Venugopal was okay in that role while Sangeetha was a good choice as his better half but the script did not gave her much presence to bring out something best from the actress. Innocent, Lal, Vijayaraghavan, Manoj K Jayan and Joy Mathew are also part of the supporting actors and they were good in their respective characters. On the technical aspects, cinematography was okay and edits were also fine. Music is by Govind Menon but songs nevertheless did not have any importance in the film. Background score is by Ouseppachan and i did not find it that impressive.

Overall Sreenivasan's attempt to bring up a movie with a socially relevant plot is appreciable but at the same time, the writing demanded a much more care in how it was to be executed to make the story looks convincing for the audiences and in this aspect, Nagaravaaridhi Naduvil Njan directed by Shibu Balan doesn't succeed. I am going with two out of five as my personal rating for this movie.

Rating - 2 / 5

Aamayum Muyalum Malayalam Movie Review

"Form is temporary but class is permanent". These words are quite frequently used in sports and more in the game of cricket but when it comes to filmy world especially Mollywood we cannot relate these words going by the results of some of the recent movies of some established and famed directors of the 80's and 90's. Priyadarshan is one such director who lost his touch somewhere and is literally struggling to come up with something that is close to his best.

Priyan's latest work Aamayum Muyalum is one such movie that clearly shows the director has nothing left in his armour and is running out of steam with below average movies that cannot make much of an impact. It is basically the choice of selection of stories & scripts and their execution in the present day world where movie narration has come a long way from those days that is going against him. But again was expecting a bad and disappointing movie but it is not the worst from the director and is far better than many of his last few ventures.

In Aamayum Muyalum, the director is in reverse gear mode as he makes a rehash of his own Bollywood film Malaamaal Weekly unlike taking Malayalam scripts to Bollywood. Again slapstick humour that is one of his trademark genre is the backbone of Aamayum Muyalum and some of them work while others literally makes you irritated and bored. The main positives are few good performances and the visuals.

The film begins with the voice over of Mohanlal who introduce various characters in the film. Set in Gowlipadam, a village in between the border areas of Kerala and Karnataka where all the people are too innocent and are controlled by a lady head named Bhandaaramma (Sukanya). Kesu played by Nedumudi Venu is a lottery agent who realise that one the lottery he sold has won prize of five crores. He is desperate to get that ticket back and somehow finds the man whom he has sold it. But situation turns bad as the winner has more or less informed most of the folks in the village. Rest of the film is a run by the entire people of the village to get their share in the prize money.

Its the script that gets loose particularly in the post intermission session that works against the film. Having seen many of Priyadarshan's previous flicks where slapstick humour, loud comedies and dramas unfold, it is too easy to guess where the film is heading upto. Here beyond a particular point and once the movie looses the steam, things get unnecessarily stretched making Aamayum Muyalum a never ending drama.

There is a huge star cast and supporting actors and among them Nedumudi Venu as Kesu and Innocent as Nallavan, a milkman gets the maximum screen presence. Both of them did their part as usual but Innocent at times went overboard. Jayasurya is more or less reduced to the sidelines while Piya Bajpai the heroine doesn't have much to do. Mamukoya, KPAC Lalitha, Sukanya, Ambika, Kochu Preman, Idavela Babu and Harisree Asokan are also part of the cast. Nandu's character which is pivotal to the overall storyline was an interesting one. Anoop Menon appeared in an extended cameo and was good and funny in that role of the Lottery Inspector.

Just like any Priyadarshan movie, here in Aamayum Muyalum too, the technical side is one of the highlights with good frames captured by the man who wielded the camera. Art department and costumes too contributed their share in a positive manner. At two hours and forty five minutes, the film definitely demanded some trimming from the editing team. Songs crooned by MG Sreekumar were not that bad with the visuals on the big screen.

Overall, Aamayum Muyalum is not the worst film of Priyadarshan comparing with his previous few outings but at the same time it cannot entertain the audiences completely. Some of the humour and situations did evoke laughter while others fell flat. I am going with two out of five as my personal rating for the movie and still waiting for Priyan to make a big comeback and surprise the audience before it is too late.

Rating - 2 / 5

Cousins Malayalam movie Review

The posters were too colourful and the same thing goes for the songs and its visualisation, big and lavish sets and last but not the least, eye candy costumes. So all in all, Cousins directed by Vaisakh tried to convey or gave a picture to the audience to be a colourful and mass entertainer trying to cash in on the festive season. But sadly, the film apart from generating a few laughs and fun here and there doesn't offer anything good and disappoints. May be for viewers looking for pure fun with a logicless and brainless story might find Cousins a one time watchable flick that doesn't offer any fresh air.
The film revolves around four cousins Sam, Jojy, Pauly and Tony played by Kunchacko Boban, Indrajith, Suraj Venjaramud and Joju George. Sam face a medical case connected with his memory where a particular phase of his past life haunt him as a result of an accident. The four cousins decide to venture into a journey to visit places that played a major part in Sam's life to get this condition cured. But things get worse and the movie narrate the incidents that lead to Sam's present situation.
Script by Sethu have tried its best to retain the fun element to make the film an entertaining one and with the four protagonists doing the humour part, there are occasional moments of comedy to tickle our funny bone. But the film looses the plot somewhere especially in the second half. Ultimately everything turns too predictable and boring. On the direction side, Vyshakh follow the same pattern and style he used for movies like Seniors and Mallu Singh.
Acting wise, Kunchacko Boban, Indrajith, Suraj and Joju did their part required in a colourful masala film. Female leads Vedika and Nisha Aggarwal were ok in their limited roles. Miya appear in a cameo while director Renji Panicker too appear in a friendly cameo. Pradeep Rawat with the dubbed voice of Shammy Thilakan was not a bad casting while P Balachandran's role was a funny one.
Gopi Sundar did the background score and it was ok for this film. Songs tuned by M Jaychandran were already on the hit charts and along with the visuals and choreography they looked fine on screen. Cinematography was decent while the cuts were ok. So Cousins turns out to be a colourful mass film but it is an old wine in an old bottle film that was a disappointing one for me. Being vacation time and a festive season, there will be takers for these genre of movies but i cannot recommend it to anyone. So the choice is yours. My personal rating is two and a quarter out of five.
Rating - 2.25 / 5

PK hindi movie review

Forget the results and success, each time an Aamir Khan movie releases, you can expect the unexpected and there are tons and loads of expectation on his films and the situation is all the more at its peak as the actor is reuniting with none other than another hit maker director Rajkumar Hirani. In PK, these two names synonymous with movies with quality as their trademark symbol come together for the second time in their successful career.

PK is a beautifully crafted movie that is totally a different one in terms of storyline and with solid performance from Aamir Khan to back it, the film hits the right chord among the audience. Rajkumar Hirani comes up with another film that has fun and entertainment but at the same time try to pass a strong message to the society.

Just briefing about the story which i will try my best to ensure that nothing is revealed to act as spoiler. PK ( Aamir Khan) lands up in our world in a desert in Rajasthan and gradually becomes part of our daily life. But he questions the belief and custom we follow in the name of religion, God and human Gods. The rest i am leaving it to you to watch and see for yourself on big screen. The first half concentrates on fun element while the latter half takes a small u turn and gets into a serious mode retaining the fun part.

The treatment especially towards the end has definitely shades of the Munnabhai series where the protagonist tries to prove his point to the public but in no way it is a copy or inspired versions of those films. As said, the plot is something unique in its own way that makes a connection with the viewers right from the word go. Rajkumar Hirani on the direction side has done his part and his vision and what he wanted to convey is there on screen crystal clear. His trademark style of narrating a story of victory for goodness and passing good messages to the people is visible in PK as well.

On screen, Aamir Khan is the perfect cast as PK. This character is definitely one of his best in his career and PK the movie is driven largely by the sheer screen presence of AK, the actor. He speaks in Bhojpuri language and the dialogue delivery by the actor was too good evoking laughter in us. Anushka Sharma as Jaggu supported Aamir Khan and complimented him in the film's overall perspective. Sushant Singh Rajput in a brief role as Sarfraz was impressive and the same goes for Sanjay Dutt. Boman Irani and Pareekshit Sahni who are the regulars in RKH movies is also part of the cast. Technically the film stands out with good cinematography and smooth cuts. Background score and songs were also good and jelled well with the film.

So overall, PK doesn't disappoint and offer a pleasing movie experience with good doses of spoofs, comedy and sentiments. He came and he conquer our hearts and make us think. Yes PK from Rajkumar Hirani with Aamir Khan for me is a must watch film and my personal rating is four out of five. Enjoy the fun ride and be ready for a little surprise in the end.

Rating - 4 / 5

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review

Having thoroughly enjoyed the first two parts of The Hobbit trilogy, the third of the series was a fitting and perfect finale for me. Peter Jackson's prequels to the Lord of the Rings series was highly engaging films with good use of visual effects, grand and beautiful canvas to narrate the plot along with good and solid performances from the actors to support the above factors. Situation in The Battle of the Five Armies is not much different from the previous two movies and in terms of action, the third part scores more though some might feel the war and battles is an overdose.

The Battle of the five armies begins from where The Desolation of Smaug ended. Angry dragon spit fire in Lake Town forcing people of Lake Town to flee for their lives. Bard somehow manage to kill the dragon therby making the huge wealth in the mountain open to anyone. Thorin Oakenshield is already there in Smaug's castle staking his claim for the gold and also the precious Arkenstone but the people of Lake Town too want their share of gold for rebuilding their life. Elf's army and Azog's army also come into picture to stake their claim for the treasure. This leads to an intriguing and interesting battle on cards and Peter Jackson opens up his movie for an epic battle between all these groups.

The film begins well and engages the viewers straightaway but somewhere in the middle portion the momentum gets lost and proceedings becomes dull but it gradually picks up the pace and the final one hour it is a highly engaging action with war & battle pictured in the most brilliant way. The romance between Fili the dwarf and Taureel has little space in this battle drawn movie.At two hours and twenty five minutes, its a lengthy drama that has its ups and downs but overall it was a pleasing and satisfying ending to the three part Hobbit series which ultimately lead us to Lord of the rings series.

On the acting side, Martin Freeman playing the character of the dwarf Bilbo Baggins this time has very little to do and even then he acted out that part well to make us like him. Thorin had a different tone to his character unlike the previous version and Richard Armitage did the character given to him with total conviction. Luke Evans as Bard was the pick of the lot among the actors doing a fine job. Rest of the characters like Wizard Gondolf played by Ian Mckellen, Lagolas portrayed by Orlando Bloom and Evageline Lilly as Taureel were also interesting ones along with a host of other actors.

Technically the film is rich with good visual effects and production values to boost the battle scenes. Cinematography was nice with not so bad cuts. Background score was also impressive in creating the mood for the different scenes. Use of 3D was just ok but couldn't make much of a difference or create a big impact.

Overall, The Battle Of The Five Armies is a must watch movie if you have seen An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug. Peter Jackson deserves credit for making this fantasy film to such an epic proportion to end the series on a high. I will go with three and a half out of five for this final hunt for the hidden treasure in Smaug's castle.

Rating - 3.5 / 5

Lingaa Review

For fans of the superstar, there are enough punch lines and stylish mannerisms of the actor to satisfy them but still overall i would say K S Ravikumar has failed in his attempt to present and utilise Rajnikanth to the maximum unlike the way he did in blockbusters like Padayappa and Muthu. The film is highly logicless and that is on expected lines and who cares for reality, story and logic in a Rajnikanth film but the execution of this plot lacked charisma suiting the image of Thalaivar. Linga turns out to be a disappointing and below average film.

Rajnikanth plays a dual role here where in the present day, he is brought to open a Kovil near a dam and we are also taken to the late 1930's where the audiences are introduced to the character of Raja Lingeswaran who fights and work for the welfare of the people. The story is narrated with the backdrop of a dam that forms pivotal to the overall story line.

The film has some good quality scenes especially the flashback story where care has been taken to make and provide a feel of that era. Colour tones and costumes play its part in making the period look real and credit for that goes to the director as well. Story is not something new, its just a rehash with the backdrop and characters changing.

Direction i would say was good but Ravikumar could not utilize the screen presence of Rajni much. May be the expectations we have with the comparisons of the duo's previous flicks had a bearing on me arriving at this conclusion. Action scenes were poorly executed and the use of graphics were disappointing. The climax scenes and the bike scene was a total letdown.

On screen, Rajnikanth was in his elements and at the same time in the safe zone for the most part. He essayed both the characters with equal conviction and it was Lingeswaran the flash back character who scored the maximum but in terms of style it was Rajni in the present scenario that won the race. Anushka was good but Sonakshi Sinha was a let down. Telugu actor Jagapathi Babu as the antagonist promised much but with a poorly written character for him, he was unable to make his presence felt. Santhanam handled his humour as usual.

Cinematography and edits were fine but VFX failed. Rahman's background score was neatly packaged but the songs were not upto the standards already set by the maestro. A hardcore Rajni fan will find the film a watchable one but definitely Lingaa is not the film to celebrate Superstar's birthday for which it needed something big. I go with two and a half out of five for K.S.Ravikumar's
Lingaa.

Rating - 2.5 / 5