Connect with us

Movie Reviews

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil movie review: This Prithviraj Sukumaran, Basil Joseph-starrer is a total laugh riot

Published

on

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil movie review: This Prithviraj Sukumaran, Basil Joseph-starrer is a total laugh riot

When there is a wedding, there are obviously several families involved, a tense bride and groom, friends who provide emotional support, and relatives and others trying to resolve the numerous issues that crop up as the wedding nears. Director Vipin Das’ Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil involves all that along with copious amounts of humour added to the proceedings. Also read | Aadujeevitham The Goat Life movie review: Prithviraj Sukumaran delivers extraordinary performance in Blessy directorial

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil movie review: The film features Prithviraj Sukumaran, Basil Joseph, Nikhila Vimal, and Anaswara Rajan and marks Yogi Babu’s debut in Malayalam cinema.

The director’s previous film Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey also centred on marriage and was a black comedy but this one is a comedy drama that’s centred around Vinu Ramachandran’s (Basil Joseph) wedding.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India’s general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

The premise

Vinu works in Dubai and after suffering from a heart break-up for five years, he finally decides to get hitched. It is all thanks to his future brother-in-law Anandan, (Prithviraj Sukumaran) who constantly advises him to forget his ex-girlfriend Parvathy and marry his sister Anjali (Anaswara Rajan), that Vinu agrees to get hitched. As Vinu grows closer to Anjali, he develops a very strong bond with Anandan whom he considers an elder brother and confidante.

He soon learns that Anandan has had some issue in his marriage and as a return favour, convinces him to get back with his wife so they can all be one big happy family. However, fate seems to have others plans for both Vinu and Anandan and Vinu’s past life and wrongdoings come back to haunt him right before marriage. A shocking revelation throws their friendship and Vinu’s marriage in jeopardy and everything he touches turns to disaster. What is this revelation? And does Vinu finally get married to Anjali?

Advertisement

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil is a Vipin Das-directorial that has been written by Deepu Pradeep. Both the director and writer seem to be in complete sync as the comic caper they have delivered is a laugh riot, despite some of the cliches. Pradeep has written a wedding drama that has humour interwoven beautifully into the situations that arise at every turn. He establishes the comic factor right from the get go and as the film progresses you see various characters being slowly introduced to take the story forward. So if you have Yogi Babu at one point, then you have his office colleague at another.

The performances

While one may say there are too many characters at one point, it luckily doesn’t spoil the narrative of this wholesome family entertainer. As for Vipin Das, he has on board a talented cast who have made this film all the more festive thanks to their strong performances.

Prithviraj Sukumar, who is a co-producer on this project, comes off the back of his serious survival drama Aadujeevitham (The Goat Life) into this comedy drama. The role of Anandan requires perfect comic timing and expressions to suit the funny situations, and the talented Malayalam star has shown that he can deliver in such a role too. Prithviraj has tried to break out of stereotypes time and again and this film shows that he can not just essay roles with emotional depth but light-hearted ones as well. In fact, he seems to have thoroughly enjoyed playing Anandan in this film.

Final thoughts

In Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil, Das has once again teamed up with Basil Joseph with whom he worked in his 2022 blockbuster, Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey. Basil is known for his restrained performances where the humour comes off his expressions and dialogue delivery. And he is a delight as Vinu, someone who lacks confidence and believes he’s a lion though he’s just a cat. Nikhila Vimal and Anaswara Rajan have smaller but impactful roles while the rest of the large cast deliver what is required.

Advertisement

Music director Ankit Menon, who has worked with Vipin Das earlier, has scored the music for this film. He has combined some new age beats along with traditional music, like the wedding song. If we saw Ilaiyaraaja’s Tamil song from Guna (1991) being the highlight of the recent Manjummel Boys, in this film it is the Tamil song Azhagiya Laila from director Sundar C’s Ullathai Allitha (1996) that is the highlight.

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil is a complete laugh riot, coupled with splendid performances, that families will thoroughly enjoy. Prithviraj Sukumaran has another winner on his hands.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Movie Reviews

'Thalavan': A well-crafted investigative thriller with strong performances from Biju Menon, Asif Ali | Movie Review

Published

on

'Thalavan': A well-crafted investigative thriller with strong performances from Biju Menon, Asif Ali | Movie Review

‘Thalavan’, directed by Jis Joy and starring Biju Menon and Asif Ali, has hit theatres today, delivering an entertaining investigative thriller. Recently, Malayalam cinema has seen an influx of police-themed movies, raising the question of what ‘Thalavan’ has to offer. Biju Menon’s last release, ‘Thundu’, another police movie, received a lukewarm response at the box office, so audiences were curious about ‘Thalavan’. This film is well-crafted and contains enough substance to be considered a solid investigative story.

The story revolves around two police officers, Jayashankar (Biju Menon) and Karthik (Asif Ali), and how one becomes a suspect in a murder case. While the movie may not be excessively gripping, it certainly manages to capture your attention. From the outset, the film dives into the investigative phase, immediately hooking you to the story. There is also an ongoing ego clash between the two officers, though this subplot doesn’t significantly impact the main story.

Continue Reading

Movie Reviews

Atlas: Jennifer Lopez learns to trust AI in Netflix sci-fi thriller

Published

on

Atlas: Jennifer Lopez learns to trust AI in Netflix sci-fi thriller

2/5 stars

Mere months after Hollywood’s actors and writers reached an agreement with studios to protect their likenesses and creative output, it appears Netflix is already doubling down on its advocacy of artificial intelligence.

The streaming platform’s new science fiction thriller, Atlas, starring Jennifer Lopez and Simu Liu, might as well bear the tagline, “How I learned to stop worrying and love AI”.

It is set in a near future when Earth is at the mercy of the world’s first “AI terrorist”. Lopez’s jaded heroine must overcome her distrust of technology and put her life in the hands of a sentient machine to save the planet from Armageddon.

Humanity’s relationship with technology has been a fertile topic for sci-fi writers since the dawn of the genre, with the fear of artificial intelligence eclipsing our own at the heart of some of its best works, from 2001: A Space Odyssey to The Matrix.

Atlas adopts a decidedly more positive stance, suggesting that humanity’s continued survival relies on achieving synergy between man and machine.

Directed by Brad Peyton, responsible for the forgettable Dwayne Johnson vehicles San Andreas and Rampage, Atlas takes its narrative cues most obviously from James Cameron’s 1986 classic Aliens.

As in that film, a female protagonist with prior experience of a non-human threat accompanies a squad of heavily armed marines on an off-world combat mission.

Advertisement
Simu Liu as Harlan in a still from Atlas. Photo: Netflix

Rather than extraterrestrial xenomorphs, the antagonist is rogue android Harlan (Liu), who has vowed to stop humanity destroying the Earth by any means at his disposable. When the rest of the squad is wiped out upon arrival, it falls to Lopez’s data analyst Atlas Shepherd to take up arms herself.

Her survival relies upon forming a successful neural link with an AI-powered mech suit named Smith (voiced by Gregory James Cohan), something she is initially loath to do because of her innate distrust of technology – the result of a tragedy from her past.

Lopez has built a career playing mature, feisty women navigating a male-dominated world, and is absolutely in her element here.

Despite appearances from Sterling K. Brown and Mark Strong in supporting roles, it is Shepherd’s frosty banter with Smith that provides the film’s strongest relationship in an otherwise effects-heavy, overlong action thriller offering few surprises.

A still from Atlas. Photo: Netflix

One could argue that the film is allegorical, addressing society’s attitudes towards any number of marginalised demographics.

At a time when AI is becoming frighteningly ubiquitous in daily life, however, Atlas perhaps should be taken at face value, while its overwhelmingly positive stance is cause for genuine concern.

Advertisement

Atlas is streaming on Netflix.

Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook
Continue Reading

Movie Reviews

‘The Village Next to Paradise’ Review: Somali Family Drama Doubles as a Potent Portrait of Life in the Shadow of War

Published

on

‘The Village Next to Paradise’ Review: Somali Family Drama Doubles as a Potent Portrait of Life in the Shadow of War

Mo Harawe’s debut feature The Village Next to Paradise is a haunting offering. The film, which premiered at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section and is the first Somali film to ever screen on the Croisette, presents a compelling narrative of one family’s survival in a sleepy Somali town. But it’s the devastating backdrop against which their drama plays out that lingers long after the credits roll. 

The siren wails of drones soundtrack each scene of Harawe’s film, which opens with footage of a real-life report of a United States drone strike on Somalia. Since the U.S. began using drones in the East African country in the early 2000s, Somalis have suffered at the hands of an enveloping and ravenous counterterrorism operation. According to data from the New America foundation, there have been more than 300 documented uses of drones resulting in hundreds of known civilian deaths.

The Village Next to Paradise

The Bottom Line

Uneven but affecting.

Advertisement

Venue: Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard)
Cast: Ahmed Ali Farah, Ahmed Mohamud Saleban, Anab Ahmed Ibrahim
Director-screenwriter: Mo Harawe

2 hours 13 minutes

The fatal impact of contemporary warfare organizes life in Paradise village, a locale whose name seems more melancholic with time. Marmargade (Ahmed Ali Farah), a principal character in Harawe’s languorous film, makes money doing odd jobs, but one of his most lucrative gigs involves burying the dead. Some of the people for whom he finds a place in the sandy terrain died of natural causes, but many of them are victims of foreign airstrikes. When this business slows, Marmargade reluctantly smuggles a truck full of goods — the contents of which play a pivotal role later — to a nearby city. 

Because Marmargade knows the realities of living in a place shrouded by the shadow of death, he strives for a better life for his son Cigaal (Ahmed Mohamud Saleban), a buoyant kid who thinks nothing of the constant buzzing coming from the sky. When the local school cancels classes for the year because of chronic absenteeism among the teachers, Marmargade works to send Cigaal to a school in the city, where safety is more than an illusion. But Cigaal doesn’t want to leave his family, friends or his life in the village. When Marmargade proposes this new life to him, the child rejects the idea. 

Advertisement

The main narrative of The Village Next to Paradise revolves around the conflicting desires within this makeshift family. Marmargade lives with his sister Araweelo (Anab Ahmed Ibrahim), a recently divorced woman who wants to build her own tailoring shop. The two have the kind of fractious relationship resulting from years of mistrust. She thinks her brother should be honest with Cigaal instead of trying to trick the young one into going to school. Marmargade wants his sister’s financial support more than her advice. After she refuses to lend him the money for tuition, Marmargade makes a series of decisions that threatens all their livelihoods. 

Harawe’s film contains many admirable elements. With its unhurried pacing and tender focus on a single family, The Village Next to Paradise recalls Gabriel Martins’ 2022 feature Mars One. And the way Harawe structures the film around a broader geopolitical conflict resembles the role the Chadian civil war played in Mahamet Saleh Haroun’s  2010 film A Screaming Man, which also premiered at Cannes. The cinematography (by Mostafa El Kashef) offers truly striking images that conjure up the ghostly atmosphere of this village without turning its people into caricatures for a Western gaze hungry for a particular kind of poverty porn. 

But The Village Next to Paradise is also hobbled in places by its meandering narrative and occasionally wooden performances from Harawe’s cast of local nonprofessional actors. The sharpness of Harawe’s vision is dulled by a story that takes one too many detours before settling into itself. Characters with dubious relevance are introduced and then dropped, while ones who come to play crucial roles don’t get an appropriate amount of screen time.

The film becomes more dynamic in its latter half, when Marmargade’s desperation leads him to questionable decisions that clash with Araweelo’s desires. Indeed, it’s also during these parts of the film that Harawe pulls the strongest performances from his actors, who otherwise struggle to shake off an understandable stiffness. 

Despite these flaws, Harawe’s film does have a real staying power. The Village Next to Paradise orients itself around a quiet optimism and surprising humor that mirror real life. There are moments throughout that serve as a reminder that even in places where death feels close, hope for tomorrow is still alive.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending