Adhisiya Manithan (Surprising Man)
Director: Velu Prabhakaran
Adhisiya Manithan is a weapon of mass destruction. An interrogation technique that would send shock-waves in Abu Dhabi. A Chinese torture trick that would have the People’s Republic of China impeaching itself. Velu Prabhakar, the director, does the unthinkable and creates a radically entertaining sequel to Nalaya Manithan – a reinterpretation of Michael Miller’s Silent Rage that in 1982 saw Chuck Norris destroying that which science had created. In this, a group of sexually-frustrated South Indian teenagers awkwardly try and escape from it. Released in 1990, Adhisiya Manithan takes off where its sequel left us – a dystopian place where general surgeons are confused for scientists. A darkly-lit deserted mansion where men trim their beards everyday no matter how crazy the situation gets. A spooky neighborhood where women are invited for five reasons – show skin, scream, save skin and show skin again.
Låt Den Rätte Komma In (Let The Right One In)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
The title “Låt Den Rätte Komma In” is more than just a magnificent textual interpretation of the film’s synopsis. It is a statement of purpose that can be used under any circumstances. Want your heart and your home to be whitewashed with beautiful colours and love? Let the right ones in. Want to hire people who would help your organization grow? Find the right ones and let them in. Need someone street smart to rob your grandparents’ home off stuff that they should have handed over to you long time ago without every getting caught? Make duplicate keys and let the right one in.
Director: Christopher Smith
Severance is a hilarious film that takes its content very seriously out of the love it has for us. Not everyone might know how it feels to work in the corporate world and hence it would have been very difficult for some of us to appreciate the dismemberment of its frequent inhabitants. Thankfully, filmmaker Christopher Smith is a very kind man. His film about an outing to stimulate corporate synergies that turns into a bloodbath in the backwoods is the best documentary that has never been made. You don’t need to know how it feels to work for a corporate company before watching the film. You get the hang of it after watching it. The featured characters are caricatures we might have seen at our workplaces. With the exception of clandestine drug addictions and varying levels of sexual frustration and social insecurities, they are all one and the same. And like so many of us who have worked for conglomerates, these sales team members – working for a major military defense corporation – spend most of their time complaining about being treated unfairly at the workplace.
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane
Director: Jonathan Levine
Emmet is Mandy Lane’s platonic best friend. He is the nicest guy in the whole wide world. He doesn’t love Mandy just because she turned into the most attractive post-pubescent girl in town. He loved her deeply even before that summer. He even tolerates her stupid friends who bully him. He really is a nice guy. Emmet and Mandy Lane are anomalies. At school. In their homes. With their friends. Without the comfort of each other, they would be lost. Unfortunately, like how Harry Nilsson once sang, “two can be as bad as one. It’s the loneliest number since the number one”. It’s the sort of loneliness that can lead to not just heartbreak, but also severe breakage of noses, kneecaps and skulls.
Pathimoonam Number Veedu (House Number 13)
A horror film is much scarier if we can relate to the characters in it. This is why most Indians preferred Bandarinathan’s version of Omen (Jenma Natchathiram) to Richard Donner’s original version. Since we feel so precious about ourselves most of the time, we are more connected to performers who remind us of people we have encountered, more so in horror films since we judge them based on the flashes of trauma, both physical and emotional, they help us theoretically experience. The psychotic babysitter in Jenma Natchathiram is scarier to us because she is brown-skinned just like our long-lost ayyas/ayyaammas (Tamizh slangs for babysitter). Even the possessed child was creepier in Jenma Natchathiram because he acted like one of those kids we were friends with in school, but later forget all about them because we weren’t sure if he was violently abused by his parents or merely amused by their idle threats.