Dredd

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It was in 1995 that Sylvester Stallone had impressed us as Judge Dredd, even as most of us watched it much later. That was a movie which was fine, but was a commercial and critical failure; here the story of the same Dredd has been remade, even as the plot is entirely different and so is the style – but the result in the box-office was the same. The critical success it received was well deserved though. The British comics of 2000AD has surely done us a favour with this character, as proved by this movie. Its financial disappointment is quite depressing, to be honest. Knowing that it was released in the year when The Avengers grossed so much, leads to further despair. It is due to the same reason that I chose to like the page for its sequel (https://www.facebook.com/MakeADreddSequel) and also signed the official 2000AD petition (http://2000adonline.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a6e40236aa24d482cfff600d2&id=62906ebdcc) as we never really had enough of Dredd in the one and half hours of mayhem which this movie provided us with. There had to be the demand for more, and there is; if you see the number of likes and the number of petitions – the movie has risen, but as it didn’t rise when it was in the theatres, the effect will be so much less. This realization about the awesomeness of the movie has made people know what they have missed.

We have to bring back Dredd, and watch Dredd 2 in the theatres first show. It is a hope, considering the box-office failure that it was. But why should we cheer for that sequel? The reasons are supplied unlimited. When the judge, jury, police and executioner are all the same, during a distant future when America is an irradiated wasteland, with one city surrounded by deserts beyond its walls; the cursed Earth supporting a cursed city stretching from Boston to Washington DC, an unbroken concrete landscape, 800 million people living in the ruins of the old world and the mega structures of the newer world, it is Mega City One – The place where the judges are everything when it comes to the law. These men from the Hall of Justice are the only group fighting for order among the chaos and destruction as the crime rates go up. They serve justice hot, at the right place at the right time, with no remorse or regret – like the man said in the 1995 movie, “It’s impossible! I never broke the law, I AM THE LAW!” Dredd is a legend, and he is a Robocop in many ways, still human enough to be liked and loved. The movie didn’t get that love from the audience, but there is a lot more than just the viewers that define this movie. Living in an uninhabitable wasteland with huge Mega-Cities in the middle, taking his awesomeness to the world of evil, Dredd needs all the attention!

Along with so many crimes reported daily there is also a new drug in the market called Slo-Mo has been introduced, and it slows the user’s perception of time to one percent of the normal one. These drugs are slowly becoming more and more viral. The Chief Judge has given Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) the job of evaluating a new recruit Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a powerful psychic who had just failed the aptitude tests to become a Judge, and she asserts that her failure was only marginal. Among the large number of crimes, Dredd lets Anderson choose one scene, which had the drug lord Madeline Madrigal (Lena Headey), a.k.a Ma-Ma’s men throwing three rogue drug dealers down from the top floor of a 200 storey residential building, after having them skinned and infused with the Slo-Mo drug. They arrest a man named Kay (Wood Harris) whom Anderson finds out to be the murderer who had tortured and thrown the people down. But the drug lord seals the building down and stops all communications, leading to Dredd and Anderson being caught among the criminals who are asked to take them down by the drug lord. They manages to call for some help, but the help is unable to get in, and what they would get are in the form of a group of corrupt judges paid to take them down, and to add to it, Anderson is captured, leaving Dredd in a situation against all odds.

The movie’s strength is clearly Karl Urban. He fights through his duties as the masked keeper of justice with so much power. Even after covering most of his face with that mask, he still displays a lot of his acting skills. When he is done, one has to agree that he is the law and there is no other law. He has been provided an ideal world here, and without doubt, it has been utilized. His performance in Pathfinder had gone unnoticed, and Doom and And Soon the Darkness didn’t add that much. There is a lot of bad luck involved with Dredd too, as the movie had to share the screen with many other movies when it was released. But that wouldn’t make him as Dredd, an unnoticed hero – for he is indeed brilliant as the provider of infinite justice. He has made Dredd the hero which one had expected. Sylvester Stallone’s Dredd had his own style, and this one has another, and I have to say that I am able to consider this one as the more suitable Judge, even as the one from the 1995 movie was also strong enough to make the needed impact. As that movie failed in what it wished to achieve, it was necessary that this leading actor do a splendid job, and thanks to Karl Urban, that problem is solved. One has to respect the fact that he has kept the helmet on throughout the movie, unlike the previous Dredd. The only scene where he is without it is in the beginning, and then too, there is no face, as the shot is from the back. Still, he has been that good that we can now recognize a masked Karl Urban.

Olivia Thirlby’s Judge Cassandra Anderson is exceptional. There is the need for a warm applause as this performance is considered. The Darkest Hour‘s Natalie has come a long way to become a character who needed not the damsel in distress tag nor the punisher lady tag, but a huge amount of dynamic transformation opposed to a more static character of Judge Dredd. Being beautiful is just one of those exceptional things, and the beauty with the gun goes through a world of bildungsroman throughout this battle. As Dredd has conquered his remorse and regret to become the one true upholder of law with all his experience, the young lady, the rookie has to deal with all the emotional sides in this movie. Anderson is a lovable character from the beginning itself, as even when she is said to be a psychic, the look in her eyes show how much of struggling character she is, and there is no wonder she couldn’t keep up with the other cadets in the tests. The presence of psychic abilities might have made her more of the same. Each and every time, she is forced into the minds of others, and has to live with it, a pain which she has to endure and keep with her as a souvenir. One has to wonder what the pain of being a psychic is, and Anderson is its beautiful personification.

She is there to help in the battle of good v/s evil, but has to suffer as she has to live with the memories, and has to go through alien worlds which has secrets which she doesn’t want to reveal, and the horror which she doesn’t want to face. In the battle with Kay’s mind, she has to come out victorious fighting his erotic imaginations of violent sexual liaisons with her; fighting her own naked and helpless images in his own homeland of mind; his own self-proclaimed messed up head which scores in the beginning by makes her undress. But she fights and succeeds, thus proving her superiority as a psychic, and throws away the thoughts about her as the weak link, in the first step of her move towards being a judge. The second step is achieved when she escapes from her captors and the third when she arrives at the right moment when the corrupt judge is about to shoot Dredd. By that time, she has evolved, and Dredd himself realizes that she is ready. She is no longer that person who hesitated to shoot, and failed to use her psychic powers to the maximum advantage. She had become the most extreme of the dynamic characters, and the true Judge Cassandra Anderson, the upholder of justice. Olivia Thirlby has gone through that transformation in such a way that makes one feel the need to watch her in the same role in a sequel – another reason to get Dredd 2.

Meanwhile, Lena Headey’s Madeline Madrigal is a charming evil villain who has a devilish beauty associated with her even with the scars on her face. She is a villain one would love to watch on the screen. The use of 3D is efficient, and the presence of slow motion sequences with the help of the Slo-Mo drug further helps the movie. These are still not the usual pathetic slow motion stunts, as they are designed to work with the drug in such a way that both the action sequences and the plot involving drugs benefit. The action scenes without the drugs are also equally good. The villain’s introduction throwing the drops of water from a bath-tub shows how well the slow motion sequences can be used and how much it can add rather than take away. In simple words, this is how a Dredd movie should be, and this is how a superhero of truth should be depicted. There should be more to follow, even as there is only some hope left of a sequel. There should be Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby in that sequel, as they have made themselves that part of this movie that cannot be avoided. They have given this movie life, and this work already had so much life which means that it is more alive than most of the movies out there. We are being bombarded with those superhero movies, but actually what we need is this story of Dredd. Just remember that he is the law, and he needs his time.

Release date: 21st September 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Pete Travis
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris, Domhnall Gleeson, Warrick Grier, Deobia Oparei, Langley Kirkwood, Edwin Perry, Karl Thaning, Michele Levin, Francis Chouler, Daniel Hadebe, Rakie Ayola

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The Wolverine

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The sixth movie of the X-Men film series has been released on that day on which I had to submit my thesis, which I found to be a reason to identify myself with the Wolverine; with immortality reigning both in my that thesis of mine and also through the blood of our leading character in this movie. The fact that this movie follows the events of the 2006 movie and the worst one of the series, X-Men: The Last Stand was depressing, but not many people can deny Wolverine a.k.a Logan a visit after how well X-Men Origins: Wolverine turned out to be. It was when X-Men: First Class released, that the realization about how much we miss this character flashed through the mind which was full of absurdity. The movie was still good, and if we think about how much bigger that movie would have become with this character, there might be shocking box-office figures expected. This is the impact Wolverine brings with him, and he is that character who has the status that almost rivals most of the individual heroes like Spider-Man, Superman and Batman, and clearly makes an impression which none of the X-Men can make alone. This is that movie which can take all the other English movies out of the theatres here, and from the bookings happening right now, that is quite likely.

So, this installment of the movie series comes up without the X-Men tag added to its title, and it is clear that this is more about Wolverine than anything else, and there is enough power in it to survive without that tag. Chronologically, this is to be considered X-Men 4 though, as this doesn’t follow X-Men Origins: Wolverine as some had thought it would. Logan (Hugh Jackman) has been living the life of a recluse after the death of Jean Grey which was a major part of the events of X-Men: The Last Stand which practically ended the need for the existence of X-Men as there was a period of relative peace which followed. But there is no peace of mind for Logan as is frequently troubled by hallucinations nightmares about Jean, whom he was forced to kill, and a lesser memory from the Nagasaki bombing of 1945 where he saved the life of a Japanese soldier. He maintains very less contact with the human world, and stays in the wilderness most of the time. One day, during a fight with a group of hunters in a bar, he is found by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), another mutant, representing Ichirō Yashida, the man whom Logan had saved earlier. He is asked to go to Tokyo so that the dying man can possibly thank him and bid adieu, to which Logan reluctantly agrees.

After reaching Japan, Logan comes across Yashida’s son Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada)and his grand daughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), both seemingly having problems with the relationship with eachother. Yashida offers Logan the opportunity of a transfer of mutant powers to get rid of his immortality and die in peace instead of living in nightmares and pain. Logan refuses to transfer his powers to the dying man, and is later informed that Yashida has died. During the funeral, he saves Mariko from the assassins of an enemy clan with help from Kenuichio Harada (Will Yun Lee), an archer and Mariko’s lover. They get onboard a train and more opponents are encountered in a fighting sequence which involves combat even on the top of the train. While fighting, Logan is shot multiple times and finds out that he is not healing instantly as he used to, and has to be taken care of by a doctor. With another mutant, Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) chasing him for his powers, and Mariko being hunted by her own father for the control of the family business empire, Logan has more to deal with this time, at a time when he is losing his powers and has become incredibly close to mortality. But this would lead to that moment which he needs to get rid of the psychotic monster that his lover was, from his head. It might be worth fighting for.

It is fair to say that Hugh Jackman controls this movie and makes the whole thing work as if he is playing that much of a superhero as Spider-man, Superman or Batman. Wolverine has turned out to be the one mutant who can work out alone and be the saviour of the world alone. Hugh Jackman has achieved all these alone, and from what it seems, this could get a better box-office collection that X-Men: First Class which had so many more mutants with interesting powers. I would consider that one the better movie, but this one has Hugh Jackman and he has done magic with his character, something which would depress the audience if someone else was to play the Wolverine, from what it seems right now. The possibility of a stand-alone expansion to X-Men has been wonderfully done through his character. X-Men: The Last Stand might have dminished the scope of the whole franchise, and had made X-Men: First Class suffer; but the case of the movies featuring Wolverine as the hero would be different, and Hugh Jackman scores again and again right there. He was there as Leopold in Kate & Leopold, as Gabriel Van Helsing in Van Helsing, and as our favourite robot-controlling boxer in Real Steel. But what Wolverine does, stays not only with one movie, as the man has made the character bigger than what one mutant could ever be, and that is worth all the respect.

Haruhiko Yamanouchi as Ichirō Yashida brings surprises, and be ready for it. Tao Okamoto as Mariko Yashida brings a kind of serenity to the world which is otherwise full of heavy action and hidden evil. Rila Fukushima as Yukio adds to the martial arts segment of the movie, and as a mutant, she is one of the main three gifted people in the movie, and may be the more physically trained and skilled one among them. Will Yun Lee as Kenuichio Harada and Hiroyuki Sanada as Shingen Yashida also adds to the martial arts powered action sequences. Meanwhile, Svetlana Khodchenkova makes an entrance as Viper, a poisonous mutant immune to toxins, resembling a snake in many ways. She is seen as the most powerful and the most vigorous enemy of Wolverine and Mariko until the Silver Samurai finally shows up covered in adamantium armour and holding an adamantium sword of immense power. Famke Janssen is also there as Jean Grey, but more as a hallucination or nightmare for the protagonist, but still the character portrayed better than X-Men: The Last Stand. This is hundred percent a better Jean Grey than that of the third movie of the X-Men franchise. It is a vital presence, even as it is not real. There is also a post-credits scene involing Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto respectively.

Even in the presence of the psychological elements, the movie runs on its action sequences, and some of the one-liners as the others lack innovation. The battle of the claws against the swords of the samurai makes an impact, but I would still prefer the usual mutant battles, or the Wolverine v/s Sabretooth head-to-head combats. The action sequence on the bullet train came as no surprise, and it was indeed powerful. The most interesting thing is that all these action sequences and interesting dialogues happen around Wolverine, and the whole situation is about him, just like the title suggests. Everyone else just revolves around the character, and with Hugh Jackman holding one end strongly, there is no need for anything spectacular. There was always the need for balance, and it is attained by the Wolverine suffering from that pain which Louis de Pointe du Lac seemed to suffer in Interview with the Vampire, the only difference being the lack of need for blood which is replaced by the need for combat. As Louis wished for death as he hated his inability to act, Wolverine hated his life as he had acted in such a way that he lost control of his world even as he saved the same. Both were reborn as hunters, weren’t they? Both were seemingly indestructible, and both were clear misfits in a world which had no place for them.

There are a few things one has to be aware of; this one is not an origin story, but still it moves on like one, with a good amount of slower moments. The 3D was almost unnecessary. It also has a predictable climax and not too surprising twist which supports it. There is the absence of an imposing villain, as the one expected challenge for Wolverine is unleashed only the end, but that too within limitations. There is so much left on the shoulders of Hugh Jackman. But still the man with the claws cannot be resisted. X2: X-Men United would still be the best of the franchise, followed by X-Men: First Class, the first entry of the series, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But there will be more hope about X-Men: Days of Future Past which combines the cast of all these movies. For now, The Wolverine will do just fine at the box-office, as this week doesn’t have many powerful competitors around here, which has caused Pacific Rim to bounce back. Turbo, Despicable Me 2 and Man of Steel hasn’t left the theatres too, but they should worry this one less. We need X-Men, and we need Wolverine, and therefore we will need to watch this movie – even with varying thoughts about the X-Men movies which we can agree to disagree on. I would still miss Nightcrawler and Shadowcat, and that fact diminishes this X-Men world.

Release date: 26th July 2013
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Famke Janssen, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, Patrick Stewart (cameo), Ian McKellen (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
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RED 2

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There are a few movies which reduce the chance of White House Down doing a good job, and among them the one which is the most similar in what happens on the screen, is RED 2, which can take out the take-over movie with its big cast. The closeness in the Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb ratings might also help in creating that big doubt in the minds of the viewers which is affected by Bruce Willis to attract them to this one, and I would say that even without that drag, this holds a clear edge over its only “same genre competitor” around here. You might already know that Red means “Retired Extremely Dangerous”, as a group of retired secret agents try to make an impact when forced out of retirement by several reasons, the most prominent one being them or their best friends being hunted to be shot at sight. While having such a title thrown towards the protagonists, they do the same designation of being extremely dangerous, a favour – they do what they do the best and what they were always expected to do throughout their lives. They react in such a way that the tables are turned on their enemies, and in the process, saves the day. This one will not have Karl Urban as William Cooper and that is a shame. But the entry of Anthony Hopkins, Lee Byung-hun and Catherine Zeta-Jones would add something else.

So we know that “the best never rest”, and once again Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is hunted and prevented from leading a normal life. Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) is still by him as the old best friend who saves Frank after faking his own death. Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) is with them, and after falling for Frank’s adventures, she is now eagerly looking forward to more dangers which could make her feel special. The gorgeous Katya (Catherine Zeta-Jones) getting back to his life, and being mentioned as “Frank’s Kryptonite” makes Sarah jealous and possessive and she herself tries to get into the middle of the action. He is supposed to be hunted, but actually supported by Victoria Winters (Helen Mirren), and is followed by Han Jo-Bae (Lee Byung-hun) who has taken the contract to murder Frank. In their mission, they come across the information about Dr. Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) who would be needed in for their objective to be a success, but is currently in a lunatic asylum. Frank would need to bring them all together, and know who is on his side, how can be with him, and who might end up trying to kill him in order to survive the battle, thus creating a complicated situation, nothing that a retired, extremely dangerous man can’t solve again.

Bruce Willis continues with what he has been doing in the best way, and the triangle featuring him, Mary-Louise Parker and Catherine Zeta-Jones makes the funnier scenes of the movie. Jason Statham’s Frank Martin might be proud of this Frank, the older and the funnier one who has got no car to race. This Frank is there beating up people quite a lot, shooting them and bombing a lot of the world around him. Do they get stronger when they get older? Some might wish to ask so, and Die Hard fans would have to wonder if this is the series which might take Bruce Willis away from them in a crisis of retirement. There is no need to be doubtful though, as this is one man who might be retirement-proof in his real life too. Mary-Louise Parker’s character has only gotten funnier in this sequel, and comes up with some of the funniest moments, sometimes with the dialogues, but mostly just with the expressions. Her character makes so many attempts to prove her better than the possible weakness of her man, and by doing the same, she does the stranger things which adds to the fun element.

Catherine Zeta-Jones would have been not that easy to recognize for her earlier fans, of The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment, and seems to have qualified for being still extremely dangerous, doesn’t matter if retirement is knocking at the door. A few memories do keep coming back from those days of early movie watching experience in the absence of the big screen. Those were the days, and she was there on the small screen. Despite of the loss of her older self, she still competes with Helen Mirren with the screen presence, but not with the action sequences. Marvin Boggs’ character continues the job John Malkovich did in the first part, but unfortunately there is no pig this time and we miss him saying “Frank, I never thought I’d say this again. I’m getting the pig!” But, the man still carries the movie forward with his funny one-liners and those comic scenes which never look out of place. There might be no occasion that won’t suit him, and if there is any character who can use a spin-off movie, here is one.

Lee Byung-hun remains the Storm Shadow in essence here too, and may be even as the better ninja than G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its sequel which was released earlier this year. He remains the character that he has been in that movie and as the assassin, he continues the same. Anthony Hopkins, our own Hannibal Lecter makes a personal impact on this one, not that big as The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal or Red Dragon, but still something that comes as a pleasant, evil surprise of good quality. Being in the lunatic asylum is one of those common things, and here there are more characteristics for him, of qualities strange enough to be another man of surprising variations. In many ways, these two were needed, as the movie is too much inclined to the funny side otherwise, not that they are completely against contributions to the comic side, but there is the need for the twists, thrills and awesome action. This is Expendables with such a huge cast, but in many ways funnier and the comic side being very effective, if not too effective. May be that movie could have been called with something similar to being retired, and extremely dangerous again.

Even as the movie keeps scoring with its action sequences and the funny dialogues, there is that feeling of the imitation of the first movie, and the predictability keeps on getting higher and higher. Even the climax is too predictable for the usual movie watcher’s liking. As our characters are played by those celebrities who are basically more royal than the others, they keep the viewers interested, but this kind of movie needs its own dose of little shocks, and RED 2 does have it, but not that powerful a thing of the royalty’s standard. There is no situation where the audience is supposed to be terrified or feel for the heroes. There are frequent one-liners which clear any doubt in the minds of the viewers, and with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins guiding the gang, and Lee Byung-hun following the path in a majestic manner, there is the reconquest of whatever is lost, and whenever the movie is about to drop down in its level, something new comes up, once in the form of Catherine Zeta-Jones and at another occasion in the form of Anthony Hopkins; the rest is well managed by the one-liners which drops a comic bomb which handles and stabilizes the situation.

RED 2 is stretching its arms towards that weekend box office victory here, but surely on a limited level. The movie edges over White House Down, and can pretend to be competent against Pacific Rim, Despicable Me 2 and Man of Steel as this is the new entrant in the game and the reviews are not completely out yet, and Turbo belongs to an entirely different genre and attracts another type of viewers. There was still hope for more, that is for sure; RED had come up with the right platform of origins which could have been exploited further. At the same time, it had also used up a lot of resources, and the need of this sequel was for creativity, which has successfully arrived partially. But when one is looking for fun, there is hardly any opportunity to care and think more, and RED 2 gives that unlimited fun which is not without the flaws list. If this movie belongs to that genre which is pure entertainment, you are welcome to forgive its flaws. I would say that I have forgiven and forgotten the same and got into that roller coaster ride of entertainment which this movie hides behind its pillars of old age. May be it is time for most of you to give it a try, and the rest can wait for the year has a lot more in store.

Release date: 19th July 2013
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Dean Parisot
Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, David Thewlis, Neal McDonough

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@ Cemetery Watch
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White House Down

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So here is the fight we have been talking about for a long time, as the 120 minute long Olympus Has Fallen has finally met its archenemy, its evil twin brother who is longer by 17 minutes. The ruler of the underworld compared to the shorter one’s claim over Mount Olympus, has arrived in the form of White House Down. As I had already written about Olympus Has Fallen (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/olympus-has-fallen/), and it was the first one to be released, it is that movie which I would consider the prototype for the list of White House attacking movies which can get a little longer as long as this one is not annihilated in a battle here against the opponents RED 2 and Turbo, along with already existing Pacific Rim and Man of Steel; not to forget the movies in all those languages including Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. The former had no tough competition when it was released though, with a few weeks delay after the United States release. The delay has followed this movie too, along with the image of white building going down and only one man standing as a barrier in front of the ultimate success of the terrorists. It had fallen earlier, and now it is down, and there is no doubt about the fact that the first of the two had the best title, but the second has got the name which can connect better with the audience and stays close to action.

So the seat of the President of the United States of America needs to be saved again. Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) was the former secret service agent in our last adventure of this type and here, John Cale (Channing Tatum) is a U.S. Capitol Police officer looking to be part of the secret service. John already has trouble connecting with his daughter Emily (Joey King), and believes that he can impress her by getting a job with the Secret Service and also by taking her to the place, but fails in the interview is conducted by Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a former college acquaintance of his who knew him to be disrespectful to the authority and irresponsible, unable to stick to what he is doing and thus not good enough for the job. He tells Emily that there is still chance and they join with a tour group around the White House. Soon, there is a bomb explosion which separates the father and daughter, followed by a group of armed mercenaries taking control of the White House. The President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) is in trouble, and we know that his only hope is the man who was refused his chance to be the saviour once, and the action begins in a few minutes. The situation is pretty much similar to Olympus Has Fallen, as one might have figured it out by now.

That fictional protagonist portrayed by Bruce Willis in Die Hard, John McClane doesn’t really seem to leave this world of the one-man shows, as here comes another one of too similar a name, John Cale – what he does is no different either. McClane’s marriage and the relationship with his children in a constant state of crisis, and his disregard for authority keeps him close enough to trouble – not the kind of things Cale can disagree with. Here, we have the typical Die Hard protagonist who is just at the wrong place at the wrong time, and continues to be there so that he can save the day with almost no outside support at all. Being the lone wolf who is the right person to do it, the two Johns are one and the same, and if this new John is a cheap imitation of the old, that is for the audience to decide. Strangely enough, Channing Tatum has to battle Bruce Willis in the multiplexes here for the supreme position, as RED 2 is surely attracting enough people, and the elder legend is surely the more popular and the more talked about figure in this part of the world. It is louder and less interesting than the first four Die Hard movies most of the time, but it is better than the fifth movie of the series by a long distance. This could have been Die Hard 5, if Olympus Has Fallen can’t be the same, and even if that position is abdicated, there is always the chance to call itself Die Hard 6.

6.5 out of 10 in IMDb and 48% rating in Rotten Tomatoes for Olympus Has Fallen, and 6.3 out of 10 in IMDb and 48% rating in Rotten Tomatoes for this one clearly describe these two movies, and gives a vague report about how close their impact has been, and how much such a theme can affect the audience and the critics. It is a good thing that they are three weeks apart in their attack on the brains of the viewers, as they could have even destroyed one another if released close enough. Gerard Butler’s 300 + Gamer effect would surely give the former an advantage, but Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman would not stand a chance against the invisible fan club of Jamie Foxx which is bigger than it would seem to be from the surface, thanks to that strange effect which Django Unchained had created. This is how these movies come so close to being the same on impact. But our new movie seems to be struggling to fight against this week’s wave as well as the existing waves. There are less number of shows, and there is the need for a twist of fate for this one to bring the fight of money to its twin brother. But it has already proved that fight is on, even as victory is not within sight; the battle shall go on even as the causalities won’t be that interesting for this side.

This is closer than the similarities between the volcanic eruption related Volcano and Dante’s Peak, and the Earth-bound asteroids showing their power in Deep Impact and Armageddon. Even as Gerard Butler wins the battle as the hero and gets all the attraction, Channing Tatum does a great job in this one, but the movie remains lesser than him and Jamie Foxx. The two actors are undoubtedly bigger than the movie as they do defy the movie in what they do and so does the whole world inside the movie in one way or the other. The whole scenario might be stranger in this movie, but Foxx handles it so well that even the situations which seems to be going the wrong way turns out to be funny and interesting – those moments when Olympus Has Fallen takes the back seat. But there is still too much about his character, and there is too much of a strange ruler in the person, may be being closer to Django than the President of the United States. But people do love that kind of a President in the movies, that is for sure. Joey King’s character is cute and interesting most of the time, but annoying at times; there is no controlled environment out there and in the middle of such a hostage situation, that should be more than just agreeable, for kids no longer remain kids these days, and Lord of the Flies was never belonging that much to fiction.

Jason Clarke does manage to make a powerful impact at the same time, and being the stylish evil guy who takes over the place, he comes with some very good fight sequences with the hero. His presence would seem to extend the world from beyond the two-man show. James Woods works his villainy as the mastermind behind all these next. This movie also loses in violence, something which was not expected in the beginning, as right from the bomb explosion, something nasty was expected to come up, but it goes on more as destruction for the sake of demolishing rather than creating that impact of shock in the senses. There is no shortage of action sequences though, and the attempt to escape with a presidential limousine, the fall of the airplane and helicopters and tank v/s rocket launcher battle, they all make the destruction list go high. With the former Duke from G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Django of Django Unchained has held this one from falling deep, but its success in its genre won’t reflect in its box-office collection. That episode of the life of this movie is with the audience and until now, from what can be read, there is trouble for this one in catching up-to Olympus Has Fallen, or even most of the much expected movies of this season. These are bleak times indeed, but this movie has wasted its chance and therefore, blaming the audience or other movies is not the thing – a little adjustment might have saved this one as it is a good addition to its genre.

The movie lacks in a number of things compared to Olympus Has Fallen, as the most important thing is patriotism, and the next but almost equally important thing may be in being clever – there has been more silliness in this one, but there has still been enough control between the two sides of mindless action and saving the world. Emmerich’s works have been interesting, from Independence Day to The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 and my personal favourite, The Patriot. But he had to deal with being there second, and that would have been difficult. To add to it, the movie’s need to match up with the other White House take-over would have created a situation from where there is no escape. This movie is thus a wasted opportunity on one side, and a work which could live even with all its flaws on the other hand. It is on this dual nature that this movie can work on, but that won’t help its cause. It needed something special, and it has managed to achieve the same only through its leading actors, but even in their case, this is not their best performances. When White House Down looks up from its world deep down the underground, Olympus Has Fallen might be looking from the top of the Mount Olympus which it had created from its success at the box-office, and in the OHF v/s WHD battle, the war of the down-fallen houses, we have only one winner, and its name starts with O.

Release date: 19th July 2013 (India); 28th June 2013 (United States)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, James Woods, Michael Murphy, Joey King, Rachelle Lefevre, Nicolas Wright, Jimmi Simpson, Lance Reddick, Barbara Williams

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Hunger Games

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As we wait with that patience which would be intolerant in the absence of the movies like Pacific Rim for the arrival of that possible sequel of magnificent wonder and unparalleled inspiration, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and HBO Asia finding it a part of their interest to show its prequel on a number of occasions, it is only a matter of a few micro-seconds when that expected decision is taken to write on this movie which began the adventures of Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire – the beautiful protagonist of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy on screen. The question would remain though, about how much of an impact these movies can create, on those undesirable factors which prevail throughout the current world, even as the movie is set in the future. On my records, this is among the best movies of 2012, sharing the honour for third place with The Cabin in the Woods, but in a perfectly assigned scoring system which I would implement when I came back from the grave, this might come fourth. But isn’t it catchy enough already with its name itself – the games of hunger, or the games for getting rid of hunger, in a future dystopia where inequality thrives with its roots going deep into the soil of human nature? Well, the games would continue in November 2013 and until now, there is this completed game.

A post-apocalyptic situation has lead to the nation of Panem consisting of a wealthy city of Capitol and twelve poor, struggling districts. As a punishment for a past rebellion and riots, each district is forced to provide a boy and a girl as tributes to compete in a virtually created environment in the form of a real world where they would have to struggle for survival, and the last man or woman standing would be rewarded. The tributes are supposed to be between the ages of 12 and 18 and are selected by the lottery method which they called the Reaping. These tournaments of magnificence are called the Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her family come from District 12, a coal-mining district which is incredibly poor and less populated, having not a good record or good chance at the annual games. They struggle to survive in situations of hardship. When her sister Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) is chosen to fight till death in her first Reaping, Katniss volunteers to take her place in the games. Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), a baker’s son, is chosen as the other district tribute. Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol in a luxury train and is provided with high level accommodation and the facilities which would have been unknown to them in their district.

They are accompanied by their mentor and past Games victor, an alcoholic Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). They are informed that they should make them likable enough for the sponsors to send them anything helpful during the match. The find the tributes from Districts 1 and 2 who are trained to win the tournament from the early age itself, and have a big chance of murdering the rest of the participants early. Katniss and Peeta succeeds in making early good impressions with their first public appearance as well as the interviews, and the former does exceedingly well with her archery skills. Peeta’s love for Katniss is also revealed during the period of preparation. About half the tributes are killed in the beginning of the game itself, and Katniss, while on the run forms an alliance with a little girl Rue (Amandla Stenberg) from District 11 as the others come up with their own unholy alliances. After her death, Katniss joins with Peeta and tries to survive with only a few contestants left. This process is affected by a number of interventions by the tournament controllers and their plans to keep the tournament at a level which would be the most favourable.

With no surprises, this is Jennifer Lawrence’s movie, as the whole world is centred around Katniss Everdeen. This is third movie of hers that I had the opportunity to watch, after X-Men: First Class and House at the End of the Street, and doubt me not when I say that I shall also watch Silver Linings Playbook. She has set new standards for the leading character of a movie which is a deathmatch with the rules of the last man standing, something which takes a gamer back to that game mode in Unreal Tournament, and whatever followed as the other first-person shooter computer games. Even with doing nothing spectacular, she keeps her character strong, powerful and attractive. Katniss’ extraordinary display of courage is not only portrayed through her one huge life-changing decision to replace her sister and save her life, but also in her words,from the moment she is chosen as the tribute and her existence was possibly going to be a very short one: “No. You can’t. Not like when dad died. You’re all she has. No matter what you feel, you be there for her, you understand. Don’t cry. Don’t cry”. She traverses around that forest with her bow and a quiver of arrows like Artemis, the Greek Goddess of hunting. Josh Hutcherson progresses in the role of Peeta in the exact same way as the viewer would expect.

Meanwhile, Donald Sutherland as President Coriolanus Snow delivers those powerful quotes to be remembered: “I mean, why do we have a winner? I mean, if we just wanted to intimidate the districts, why not round up twenty-four at random and execute them all at one? It would be a lot faster. Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. Spark is fine, as long as it’s contained. So, contain it”. This dialogue defines the movie in a scene – what The Hunger Games is all about. As the primary antagonist of the series, and the autocratic ruler of the Capitol and all of Panem, it also defines the character and lest us know what to expect from him in the upcoming movies. There is a lot more to come from him, and one can be sure that some of those moments won’t leave one that easily. Foxface is the female tribute from District 5 played by Jacqueline Emerson is the next interesting character, even as the tribute makes very less impact on the storyline. Alexander Ludwig’s Cato and Isabelle Fuhrman’s Clove makes the skilled and heaviy trained District 2 tributes who work as the major antagonists inside the tournament.

The movie lacks in the intense action sequences and use of good special effects and CGI which could have made this one even better, and the slowness gets a little uninspiring at some moments. But what it losses in its lack of pace, action and effects is gained by some great acting and its own powerful theme. Katniss herself is a symbol of a rebellion for the twelve poor districts against the rich Capitol’s oppression, and even as this movie only begins a procedure, and Katniss has only become the shadow of what she can do later, this is one message against inequality and oppression which the movie has conveyed wonderfully. “War, terrible war. Widows, orphans, a motherless child. This was the uprising that rocked our land. Thirteen districts rebelled against the country that fed them, loved them, protected them. Brother turned on brother until nothing remained. And then came the peace, hard fought, sorely won. A people rose up from the ashes and a new era was born. But freedom has a cost. When the traitors were defeated, we swore as a nation we would never know this treason again. And so it was decreed, that each year, the various districts of Panem would offer up in tribute, one young man and woman, to fight to the death in a pageant of honor, courage and sacrifice. The lone victor, bathed in riches, would serve as a reminder of our generosity and our forgiveness. This is how we remember our past. This is how we safeguard our future.”

What is said in these lines are the lies that the common man is forced to believe; and as the dictator himself says, it gives them hope which rises over their fear. But this is that fake hope which helps them to rule over the common man and continue to be rich at their cost. The need for rebellion is asserted, as it is the Capitol that rules them all, and it is that one city that has everything, and when the rebellion for their own basic needs is termed as treachery and the people branded traitors. The theme of self-sacrifice is there, as Katniss’ substitutes herself and becomes willing to die for her younger sister, like Jesus did for the atonement of the sins of humanity; Peeta also rises from under the stone, and the symbolism of bread prevails throughout the movie. The human battle for survival, the influence of the media and the need for freedom are also seen throughout the movie. There is the rise of the underdog, a common popular thing, and his defiance which changes the world upto an extent, and will define it further. The movie strikes, and it inspires, and Jennifer Lawrence does the rest. This is one movie which makes you think on many lines, and the most significant thought is defiance. Remember the story of the demi-god Theseus and the Minotaur, in which the Minotaur is fed with a certain number of boys and girls from the city, for there are some cycles which need to stop.

Release date: 23rd March 2012
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Willow Shields, Dayo Okeniyi, Isabelle Fuhrman, Alexander Ludwig, Paula Malcomson, Jacqueline Emerson, Leven Rambin, Dayo Okeniyi, Jack Quaid, Amandla Stenberg, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Underworld: Awakening

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The first impression all those mindless critic-believers would have about this movie is nothing more than a bulk of disbelief inspired by the support of the people who are paid to write, something which has plagued the movie world as a hellish hound spreading pseudo-love for movies as a plague which has exterminated most of the better movies which was released in the last few years, and supported senselessness. Sometimes, one would wonder if they need Tarantino’s name in the director’s column and only then can they give a good review; so goes the cynics, the masters of annihilation of the better ones. Unfortunately, this one is not even directed by Len Wiseman, the director of Underworld: Evolution, the previous movie which had Kate Beckinsale playing the same character. But that hasn’t affected this vampire-werewolf world too much. The same director and the same actress had the movie Total Recall working for them in the same year, and just like Mila Jovovich and her husband in the Resident Evil series along with The Three Musketeers, all of these movies having one thing in common – a gorgeous, stong and agile female protagonist who moves around kicking and punching the opponents, along with dodging bullets and arrows spinning around them as if she was a spinning delivery by Shane Warne of Muttiah Muralitharan.

This fourth installment in the Underworld series, and the major protagonist, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is captured and imprisoned by the humans, and most of the vampire population has been exterminated with the few remaining blood-suckers living underground as survivors and rebels. The lycans are supposed to have been extinct for years, or so the world is forced to believe. Selene escapes from the medical facility where she was cryogenically preserved as a female vampire specimen. She finds out about Eve (India Eisley) a vampire-werewolf hybrid and the daughter of Selene and Michael. The vampire mother and daughter is escorted by David (Theo James) to his vampire coven where his father Thomas (Charles Dance), an elder vampire is sceptical about the whole thing. But the problem remains that the lycans had never been extinct and they are looking to develop a drug which could make lycans immune to the deadly effects of silver on them and also to enhance their physical abilities, for which they need to capture Eve and take her apart. Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea) and his son Quint Lane (Kris Holden-Ried) look forward to capturing the young girl and using her genetic code to achieve near invincibility for the lycan race.

So Kate Beckinsale’s Selene has returned to once again with that the skintight latex outfit, a costume which defines the movie outside its mythology, and it is one situation comparable only with Milla Jovovich’s Alice in Resident Evil: Retribution and also Sienna Guillory’s Jill Valentine in the same movie. Alice and Selene has so many things in common though, as both of them gets the infected other, the species who are leading her own to extinction, in black skintight costumes and displaying all the athleticism – the two leading actress portraying them married to the same director who directed their most popular movie series, and the three characters, Alice, Jill and Selene are portrayed by the actresses whose age difference in one as of this exact moment. Kate Beckinsale wins the battle of whom being the better destroyer for sure, which is why Underworld series survive. Just like Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, this movie revolves around her, and she is the undisputed sun of this solar system, even as there is a hint that another sun is to rise in the form of Eve, and this would be a system of not one, but two stars providing the resources for survival. The possibility of a Jill-Alice, Claire-Alice or Ada-Alice world or the combination of all is the next possible thing though, and this sharing of Underworld is rather distant.

Kate Beckinsale once again proves that she is the one suited for this role as Selene, one of the most attractive, gun wielding “good” vampires the movie world might ever bring to the human eyes. Lori, the undercover agent and the fake wife of Total Recall proves the same later, and what Anna Valerious proved in Van Helsing lives on with this version of the vampire named after the Greek moon goddess. Here, the superhuman powers make her close enough to a demi-god, even as the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia wouldn’t dare to agree. There is no brother for this Selene in the form of the sun-god Helios, and there is no sister in the form of the goddess of the dawn, Eos. She is still that nocturnal creature, despite of her ability to move around in sunlight. She is also the hunter, Artemis and also almost Aphrodite in beauty. As we consider the fact that she was a cryogenically frozen female vampire specimen until waking up, there is the multiple assertion of her continuity from where she stopped, as she has not changed a bit from her earlier appearance which was six years earlier through Underworld: Evolution. She didn’t seem to have a aged a bit, and there is absolutely no loss of touch with the character which has been the most popular lady vampire for quite a long time, and Isabella Swan’s transformation into a pale creature won’t change a thing.

Selene’s atheleticism and vampiric nature is perfectly portrayed by Kate Beckinsale as defends the hybrid daughter and her own kind against the lycans and humans with such fury and aggression which can make even Count Dracula passive. Along with the blue eyes, that face and all the expressions in the movie points to that one mythical creature only, the vampire, or as John William Polidori would say – The Vampyre. Forget Vacancy and Click, as this is the movie which she would be identified with, and that blue-eyed face and the short black hair falling on the face at regular intervals; that is the image which comes to the mind with the name Kate Beckinsale, and it is that impact that Selene has created from this wonderful actress, and that beautiful awesomeness of a gorgeous vampire lady is her gift to Selene in return. That wouldn’t make her any less attractive not as Selene, but the vampire lady is the one archetype which would stay there for a very long time. It has to be something all the lunar goddesses of history have to approve. None of those action movies Underworld, Van Helsing, Underworld: Evolution, Total Recall and Underworld: Awakening has recieved a Rotten Tomatoes rating above 40 percent, which is a sign of not the weakness of these movies, but the lack of strength in the critics to take them to the soul.

The action sequences and the 3D support Kate Beckinsale in her quest to get Selene to new heights, and they are of incredible power with that dark background. There is the excellent usage of the visual imagery and the special effects, and it had to get the maximum out of the fight sequences which it does. One can still complain about the story being ordinary and the movie being too short, but those have helped in making this one more interesting for those who haven’t seen the earlier movies of the series. There is no special talks about the motivatios and inspirations of the two species, and there are no long dialogues about the origins and history. It might have gone unnoticed, but India Eisley also scores within the limits of her character, as Eve has only begun. We haven’t seen enough of that one vampire hybrid for sure. Michael Ealy and Theo James plays the role of the allies of Selene, with the expected results. Stephen Rea has that powerful existence on the other side of the realm, unlike his vampiric presence in Interview with the Vampire, then to become a European vampire who becomes an enemy of the main vampire character, Louis de Pointe du Lac, and here to become the rival of the beautiful vampire protagonist, Selene. Kris Holden-Ried makes another powerful villain who makes one feel that he is never without lycan effect at any moment. Charles Dance scores with his presence as the Vampire Elder alone.

When Underworld: Evolution and Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance had the same rating with critics, and The Lone Ranger managed a better rating, there was always something wrong, and the former was a pure eye-opening moment for this Vampire Bat looking for the “movies of the soul”. Even Snow White and the Huntsman had a rating near fifty percent which created that realization that all these paid reviews are just for a specific group of people, and there is a bigger division of people who are misguided with the same, thinking that these are for them. This higher rating for the movie will make for the lies which have haunted this movie and the whole series as a whole. If the critics rating is seventeen percent and I give it a ninety two percent, that should make the situation a healthy ninety nine, with that remaining one percent donated to charity. It is the duty of the Vampire Bat, and his honour as part of the “movies of the soul” to immortalize Selene, and that vampire world which righteously fights the lycans long before Twilight came up with such an idea which would pervert the vampire world and destroy the image of all vampires before the humans. It is on this realization that this review has originated, and with that idea, it shall wind up. There will be a fifth movie in the series, and the Vampire Bat shall eagerly wait for it – there is nothing of humanity and there exists no critical force that can end his craving.

Release date: 20th January 2012
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Theo James, Michael Ealy, Stephen Rea, Charles Dance

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pacific Rim

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The fictional stories concerning the aliens from outer-space have always been with us through those books, movies, cartoons and comics right from the childhood. Alien, Predator and Event Horizon were among the best feeders of outer-space horror. It was just a few weeks ago, that the audience accepted the friendly neighborhood alien in Man of Steel, and the same space travel thing was explored thrice in the last few months, with Star Trek: Into Darkness, Oblivion and the weaker of the group, After Earth. Well, this time, from the depths of abyss comes the alien creatures, not from the sky, but from underneath the oceans to the above world. The first choice of looking for alien life form was always beyond the stars, which is actually quite surprising. For the common man, it should not have been so, but unfortunately they have been loaded with ideas of life on other planets by science even as the fact remains that they have never seen any of these planets or stars in the way they are taught in the school. I would have preferred not to study the same and choose only art and literature, but unfortunately, education is clearly biased towards science. What this study of science does is that it unintentionally makes religion the more believable thing around for the intellectuals of the highest class. It is on a blind faith of technology and scientific extremism that the concept of space aliens are based on, and it is this same thing that Guillermo del Toro has annihilated here; not that it was not done before, but this time, it is in the form an incredibly powerful spectacle.

Del Toro’s work has always come up with beauty in horror, and this movie is no exception. The movie plunges into the depths of the theme of alien invasion and comes up with that pure awesomeness which The Avengers missed by some distance and Transformers: Dark of the Moon missed by quite a million light years. This is what Transformers should have been, but unfortunately that series lost all the good things with the second and third parts of the movie. Pacific Rim shows how a fighting machine should be. From the man who gave us Pan’s Labyrinth, at least this much was expected, and he has delivered it, with fantastic power which would make this the movie of the year so far, and may be even the best science fiction action move in two years. I didn’t really free myself from his Hellboy II: The Golden Army when I went to see this one, thanks to the television channels; and not to forget Blade II. There is one warning though, as this is not recommended for the movie cynics – they are the kind of people who will dislike this movie and come up with weird unimaginative reasons which are less significant than the smallest robot’s toe. If this movie can’t leave a smile on your face by the end, there is no doubt that such people belong to the Kaiju group, as the monster sympathizing kids who can’t bear to see their little dinosaur things losing to robots.

The movie takes the viewers to the future, when the planet is under attack by Kaiju, a name they call for the gigantic monsters continuously emerging from a portal beneath the ocean. After a number of attacks and destruction, the humans understand that it is not going to stop. To combat these big monsters, all the nations unite and use all their remaining resources to create the giant robots called Jaegers, each controlled by two (or more) pilots whose minds are joined by a neural bridge, as it would be too huge for two of them. But,The plot follows Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), a former Jaeger pilot who had lost both his machine and his brother while fighting. He is called out of retirement by Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) and is teamed with a rookie Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) in a last effort to defeat the monsters. At a time when Jaeger program is being decommissioned, and walls are built to protect the cities from the monsters, there is chance for one final attempt on closing the portal and saving the world with only four last robots remaining. As the monsters continue to evolve and adapt to the methods chosen by humans, the survival of both the man and the machine was becoming difficult, and with bigger and stronger monsters coming up, and the robots only getting older, the situation had turned clearly in favour of the monsters who are found to be controlled by minds and on a mission to colonize Earth.

Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi gives the movie that right dose of memory, as they give to their giant machine in the story. Idris Elba gives a powerful performance throughout the movie. There is no romantic side to this story, and the feelings are of brotherhood and respect rather than some silly emotions of infatuation. The rest goes to the robots, except for some funny scenes. The movie is a fantastic visual treat, as if a wizard has combined his powers with a sorcerer of the other world. This is not a dark movie, as that ghost has currently gripped every story which is detached from the real world. There is beauty even in the monsters and the destruction that takes place, something which Transformers and The Avengers missed out on the artistic side. There is pure poetry in motion throughout the sequences involving the robots and the monsters. They are all beautifully done, with each minute detail given importance. There is even detail on the tiny insects which feed on the monsters – not that tiny when the humans see them though. The fight scenes are powerful and stylish, with 3D coming to the aid at the right moments. The cynics can stop asking scientific questions about the invasion as the creatures come out of portal underneath the ocean and not from underneath Earth in its literal sense. It might be surprising that just a portal answers so many questions, and in this case, it does. Another thing to be noted is that times flies throughout this movie, and one gets too busy with the movie that it goes unnoticed.

This is obviously different from Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy and therefore it is a crime to expect the same kind of thing here, even as there is the clear “del Toro tag” throughout the movie. Each and every detail of the robots and the monsters is to be looked at, for they are not simple giant robots and gigantic monsters. Gipsy Danger, the old model which saves the day differs considerably from Crimson Typhoon, the three armed robot with three pilots. The Russian robot Cherno Alpha gives another feeling at the mean time, and Striker Eureka comes up with its robotic structure almost the exact opposite. Coyote Tango, piloted by Stacker Pentecost has a lesser appearance. Even the monsters are never the same, as some of them can spit acid, some of them can fly, and some of them can move at lightning speed – none of them looking the same. The climate, and the whole setting of the fights also seem to assert this powerful detail which has been running through the movie. Another point is the use of collective memory, as a shared group of memories, only this time, it is really what it means literally. There is that world of shared memory and shared folders which we found easier to attach with the computers and electronic devices – it has such a powerful significance; and such a thing would solve the differences and save the world threatened by humans.

One question shall haunt me for a long time though; to watch this movie two or three more times or to be so satisfied with this spectacle that I take a break from watching movies. There are moments which can make one feel that it is the ultimate satisfaction, and as long as science fiction movies are considered, this is close enough to the same. There are all the morals and the inspiring factors in place, but there is no preachy side to this one. The moments to watch out for should be I. The first battle between Gypsy Danger and a monster (just because it is the first fight), II. The return of Gypsy Danger to the field (that moment of sudden appearance), III. The battle in the air (when the sword takes over), IV. The final underwater climax battle (from the moment the first monster strikes). There is no forgetting the use of ship as a weapon during that moment of awesomeness. This could be better summarized by saying that the movie has a very good beginning and a fantastic last fourty five minutes. It takes you to another world, where these monsters are real, and they can be beaten. There is inspiration, and there is the ability to keep you on the edge of your seats; there is the message of never-ending hope and the assertion of faith and belief. Along with that there is the rain and the water of the ocean which seems to have a purifying effect in 3D. The movie has a lot of trust and sharing of other’s memories going on, which points a lot to the current world. So what can we expect from a possible sequel than pure awesomeness? This one was a safe bet for me though, as there is one director who has never come close to disappointing me, and he is directing this movie.

The fact remains that Pacific Rim will continue the winning run of Warner Bros, and the reason for its success at this part of the world should be the trailers and the posters at the multiplexes which does nothing less than being impressive. Another thing is that the early reviews have all been very positive, and those which are negative, I wouldn’t call them reviews, as none of them has come up with any valid argument to not recommending this movie. It is a known truth that people love some random human being in a metal suit as they have appreciated Iron Man, and they also love robots, considering the huge success of Transformers with nothing much to offer in the last two movies of the series. Pacific Rim has both of them, and with the right people to handle the same. Considering the kind of audience the movie attracts, the only movie which can give some challenge is The Wolverine, as the release of White House Down next week here won’t change a thing, thanks to Olympus Has Fallen. R.I.P.D. and The Conjuring will attract only selected viewers, and RED 2 has a chance of making lesser impact than expected here. Then there would be The Smurfs 2 which would take not much of the audience of this movie away from action. The movie would stay in the theatres here till August unless The Wolverine comes up with a miracle, or there is an influx of Hindi and Malayalam movies of high quality.

Release date: 12th July 2013
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Rob Kazinsky, Max Martini, Ron Perlman, Robert Maillet, Heather Doerksen, Burn Gorman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Despicable Me 2

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In spite of knowing the critical annihilation and the box-office devastation which has created that horrible shadow of death over this movie’s major nemesis, and one of the only two Hollywood movies which released here for the last two weeks, I took that huge step to watch The Lone Ranger ahead of Despicable Me 2 which had to be the obvious choice with a better critic’s love at rottentomatoes and a better audience love at IMDB. It mainly because they said the same about two other Johny Depp movies, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Alice in Wonderland, and I watched both of the movies, and understood how much subjective their ratings were, and how much they differed from me according to the likes and dislikes; and as my opinions are considered, I would stay away from those not so interesting ideas and leave myself to the mercy of the movie directly. I had this feeling; may be The Lone Ranger is too good for the critics to take? I always knew they had their own preference except for the few. So what if the movie hit an area which made them give such low ratings?

There are many side to it though, as at that moment, I hadn’t remembered how well they had negatively rated Ghost Rider 2, as that was a memory which I successfully erased by planting better images of awesome movies. It was a much needed intellectual operation, I assure you, for without the same, I wouldn’t have given away so much to the multiplexes with such an animated ease. Well, I was half-wrong as The Lone Ranger was not that good and still not too bad, and then I had to follow it with Despicable Me 2. How can one say no to Gru, the super-villain who adopts three girls and turns good, just like the good old Megamind who turned good after adopting the lady and the city. We had both of them saving the day against a villain each, who had the advantage on that side. There are so many thing about bad turning good, and one of them is that it brings the message of hope, and with Despicable Me 2, it continues. Well, being despicable has never been an option, and it has ornated the villains for quite a long time. Both Gru and Megamind are just the lighter shades of the same evil which failed miserably in its attempt to maintain its legacy, and instead had to turn to where the really belonged, to goodness.

A giant magnet steals a secret laboratory which had a chemical compound wihich could turn any creature into mindless, indestructible killing machines. The Anti-Villain League (AVL), a secret organization working to keep the super-villains under control, is worried about the machines going into the wrong hands. The former super-villain Gru is asked to help on the matter. Even as he rejects the offer, there is a later reconsideration as his business is going a strange way and his scientist friend who misses being evil also leaves him. Gru takes over as an undercover agent in a bakery selling cupcakes along with the established secret agent Lucy Wild who becomes his love interest later. He doubts one of the owners of a restaurant in the same mall as one of those fiery villains of the past who is supposed to be dead. But the suspicion eventually falls on the wig-maker Floyd Eagle-san who is found to have some of the chemical compound inside the walls of his shop. Gru has to come up with his own theories, get back his love and also find a number of his minions who have gone missing for sometime. It is up-to him to save the world from whatever plan an evil mastermind has already made and is working for.

Gru rules the show yet again, and is second only to our own Megamind, and the minions come next to the elves of Rise of the Guardians. The latter almost ties with the saber-toothed squirrel of the Ice Age series and the penguins of the Madagascar series. Gru’s relationship with the kids and his response to his own feeling of love are the highlights of the movie, and other than that, there is nothing innovative nor extraordinary – but the way in which the legacy of the first movie is maintained, is applaudable. The minions keep bringing the laughter and the smile to each and every person in the theatre, and the age difference doesn’t really matter. They get more and more adorable as the stupid little things, a replica of the Vodafone Zoo-zoos, as they keep on talking in a strange language, and doing the deeds of stupidity with success and still remain an integral part of all the evil and good plans. From the first moment of the title sequence itself, they would seem to make us believe that it is their movie, and they are there till the end, and considering the fact that they are many and they look the same, this is the “minion” movie. The name itself takes me back to that game Overlord, one of my all-time top ten games, and thus it is a gamer alert & game reminder movie for me too.

Just as Gru would always be the same except for the alignment, the same is the case of the kids and the minions. But, there is no doubt about the fact that Gru has turned a little more of the big loving, caring, possessive father figure, but that signs were always there in him, even as villain, and now with the absence of evil, that is one thing he can focus on with full concentration – along with being not that good a businessman as he claims or wishes to be. Being a spy could replace the same, but here it came as the second preference. Unlike Megamind, Gru is not a villain who directly makes one think about all the possible themes and motifs, as Despicable Me has always remained intellectually inferior to Megamind, but as a family movie, it had scored a bit more, and the kids are expected to prefer this one for its too simple a story and the little ones who they can easily identify with; for the parents, they can give the kids some of the best moments through this movie, and that too in good 3D and lovable characters.

“When the world needed a hero, they called a villain” – it is that tagline which can work with so many movies starting with Megamind. It has not been too long since Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire came up with those lines of heavy significance: “Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.” Despicable Me 2 presents us with a Gru is more fun when he acts kind of evil or when he acts like a kid. Considering the belief that humans are inherently evil, this works perfectly well. But then the question remains if he should have been good or evil, except for the fact that he is very much capable of goodness. It is a question that might never have an answer, as both the goodness and the evil is necessary for a possible sequel later. But with a new member added to the family and their world being made complete, the possibility is less. One more sequel can still do this series good, as there is a lot more life left in this as long as the audience’s love for the characters are concerned. They would love to have another, and that might be an assurance.

Does this successfully become preachy and work out a legacy which can match this movie with Megamind? The answer is no, and if there was any of the same about good and evil, it gets washed away by the heavy dose of fun. The spin-off movie titled Minions, featuring the Minions as the major characters is scheduled for a release on December 19th, 2014 – I wouldn’t expect that to come up with anything other than fun though. Just like this movie, it won’t leave you with a question “to watch or not to watch”, as nobody will have to tell you to go for that one, considering how much of a success this is turning out to be at this part of the world. But that would be another movie of pure entertainment fueled by extreme silliness, presented in a lovable manner. There exists a group of people who can be made to laugh only by the minions, and such a species would always need them. For the people who want a different minion, there is always the movie, Megamind – undoubtedly the best animated movie in many ways, and all the reasons for it to be called so, is to be explored individually by troubling the intellect, and supported by the fun.

Release date: 3rd July 2013
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Starring (voice): Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Warm Bodies

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Welcome to Zombieland – not as the name of the movie, but as a world with is not only a “zomcom” like Go Goa Gone, or “romcom” like all those pathetic movies which have eaten the brains of Bollywood and still continues to do so; for this one from Hollywood is everything at once, “zomcom”, “romcom”, “zomrom”, or even “zomromcom”.  This movie is a pleasant surprise, in a world where teenagers wish to lose their humanity and be the Twilight vampires, this one comes up with something different. It is the story of a zombie who reclaims his humanity, and leads to a transformation among his own zombie people. The first question that should come to one’s mind is about how much it would work in a world of movies and literature where the vampires are glorified, and the werewolves are also given their due with the cross-connections (thanks Underworld and Twilight), and zombies are still shot on the heads with no hesitation. As the question remains about this prejudice, this movie comes with a pleasant surprise which reverses both the zombie situation as well as the supernatural glorification giving the world back to humans. There might still be no zombie wishing for a human to bite them and turn them human, but as we have seen in Daybreakers, there is always the scope to try the reverse transformation.

There is the direct, secure packing and sending of the viewers into a post-apocalyptic world instead of any explanation of what caused the same, which is actually a good movie, as there are always the logic-seekers who would find something wrong in turning these zombies into human. The human survivors who keeps getting lesser in numbers have retreated and have barricaded themselves inside a walled area surrounded by our dear little protagonist zombie and his friends. Most of them are still in comparatively human phase compared to the horrid skeletal structures called Boneys attacking anything that lives, which they become after they lose all hopes (another moment of reminder about Daybreakers, where vampires degenerate into subsiders, the psychotic bat-like creatures). So when the zombies increase in population to infect most of the world and the human supplies get low; Julie Grigio (Teresa Palmer) and her trained friends go out to the zombie world to get something from the abandoned buildings. They are attacked by a group of zombies, but she is saved by R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie who narrates to us, and from whose angle we see the world (not before he eats her boyfriend’s brain though).

So, this R who has been trying quite hard to seem more and more human, has now a girl with brain for company; a brain he doesn’t want to chew on. He keeps her safe in a permanently grounded airplane and the bond makes him move even further towards humanity. Affected by the fact that R killed her boyfriend, the girl of brain leaves the brain eater and manages to reach home safely. But the problem remains that the whole thing has caused such a chain reaction in the zombie society that more of them seem to show the signs of humanity including R’s best zombie friend M. But the Boneys seem to detect this life and is all set to attack both the remaining zombies with their superior strength, agility and the lack of humanity. It is up-to R to get to the human world and find the girl, along with using all the memories from that brain of her boyfriend which he has been chewing on for quite a while. As vampires and zombies are practically the same, and there has been quite a lot of popularity for Twilight, this should have been received better, but these coffin-less, fang-less poor corpses haven’t got the attention they deserved in this part of the world, and it is our supernatural duty to give it to them. I would believe that there are many different ways to read this movie. [Preachy-philosophical stuff ahead: Uninterested people are expected to skip to the third-last line of the last paragraph after the next].

✠ As the reversal of situation: It is the reversal of the vampire addiction and the overdose of humanity in vampire fiction. As the zombies have been portrayed as the most mindless attackers even in the recent World War Z as well as in the collection of Resident Evil movies and games, this could inject an amount of thoughts which might make people value their human existence. Daybreakers couldn’t achieve this and there was no attempt either, as the vampires were more powerful, intelligent and also always winning. Teresa Palmer has looked more like a blonde Kristen Stewart throughout the movie and there are times when she sounded similar enough, but this is undoubtedly better characterization and a better performance in a well created movie. This character is surely one of brains, and not Bella, and can thus create a good replacement for her, and surely there are expressions – the character doesn’t fall for the supernatural like Bella did, as she is clever enough to value her humanity, and neither does she asks him to turn her into a zombie; may be she realizes how gorgeous she is too. Nicholas Hoult’s R is a more hardworking type of undead, even as this one also worries incredibly about keeping his girlfriend safe. When blood-drinking is replaced with brain-eating, there is another psychological impact which brings people back to their human nature.

✠ The old Shakespare and the Fairy Tale: The R should surely stand for Romeo and Julie for the one Juliet, with forbidden love set in motion. R just remembers the first letter of his name, and the lady can surely use a “T” if needed. They do see each other by the balcony, and trust me, there is no sad ending this time. In one way, it is the drama of the dead and in another way, this is the fairy tale of the dead/undead. There has been so much the need for the superman and the knight in shining armour that here, the need to be alive takes that place, and the need to have a beautiful girl with brains. This tale involves the brain used for thinking instead of satisfying the hunger, and the drams taking over the void initiated by one huge nightmare. It is up-to the zombies to connect with the human world, as the humans would do about the Supreme Being, and the ones who give up the hope and belief would be left with their skeletal structures, with no faith and no real life. There is always the hope for a better place, and for the zombies, humanity is one of them, and one man-zombie gets connected to that world by chance.

✠ When most of us are zombies: The middle group represents most of us, when we move on through life doing what the others, the zombie friends do; when we join the course they join, and when we study what we don’t want to study, and live a life of survival which everybody does. But when we choose to be different, we are the zombies for the others, and in our own point of view, we are the chosen ones to be alive. We are not them, and what they feel important can’t be of any significance to us, and vice versa. R became alive when he chose to be different, and one has to wonder if he is one of those people who had chosen to pursue arts instead of the professional courses, and made him realize how important it is to be different, and how much is there to know and understand instead of feeding on those brains symbolizing logic. He understood what creativity is, and its pure awesomeness above logic. It is choosing that good path to be different that matters, and for all the others who take that different evil path, there is the world of the walking skeletons. The advantage of this gained humanity is that one would know its value and it won’t be wasted on anything silly. It is our choice, and out of the knowledge of the Supreme Being, and the world would become more of truth and wisdom. The opportunity to reclaim the lost humanity is to be embraced.

✠ The value of humanity and faith: By the end of the movie, it is the human contact and never ending faith that saves the day. There is always the need to take that leap of faith at some point of life, and the strong belief in God and being humane are all that matters. If a zombie could go beyond his needs and prevent himself from devouring what he needed for diets, where does the humanity lie? Does the zombie’s need to feed strike lower than the human need for war and destruction? When an undead creature could come up with so much faith, why is it that humans fail miserably? This is where the questions begin and answers hide behind the bushes. The movie might not interest those who are looking for quick undead action, but this clever twist to the old myth of undead is a must watch for all those who feel like a zombie, or has the desire to see humanity in action at its base level in the most humane way. After watching this movie, some of you might surely hesitate a second before shooting an undead during the next zombie apocalypse. From what this movie has achieved, that much I am sure about; the rest is for you to decide.

Release date: 1st February 2013
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry, Dave Franco, Cory Hardrict, John Malkovich

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cloud Atlas

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If Cloud Atlas could be termed an anthology movie, it should be my all-time favourite in that genre, but it follows that path which moves the film back and forth through centuries and through different stories of this world. At one moment, you identify with one person, and the next moment, you see another world, one might be of the early nineteenth century, and the next one of a post-apocalyptic future which goes further beyond this century. I would prefer this method more than the typical anthology method which has even made an impact in Malayalam movies with Kerala Cafe and 5 Sundarikal, as this is more intellectually effective, as we moves through the minds and souls of all these characters at the same moment, and they are with us until the end of the whole movie-watching experience. All characters and locations stay with us together, like a mixture which resembles the real life. It is adapted from a 2004 novel by David Mitchell of the same name. The movie features multiple stories set across six different ages when the mankind has to face entirely different things, and faces them individually, and still most of them resemble each other with each action which was done in one century has indirectly affected the other, even as there is no direct relation between all these.

✠ Segment I: @South Pacific Ocean, in the year of Our Lord, 1849: This tells the story of Adam Ewing, a man with a powerful conscience who witnesses the whipping of a slave, Autua with digust. The slave later sneaks aboard Ewing’s ship in an attempt to escape from the world of pain and torture and attain freedom. Ewing helps him out, but not without doubts in his mind. Meanwhile, Doctor Henry Goose, his physician, slowly poisons Ewing, claiming that he is treating the man for a parasitic worm ever since he had collapsed seeing the whipping of the slave. He aims to steal Ewing’s valuables one by one. ***[Spoiler Warning for the next two lines]*** But when the doctor is about to finish the man with a fatal dose of poison, Autua intervens at the exact moment and saves Ewing. Returning to the United States as a changed man and with a clear idea in his mind, Ewing with the support of his wife Tilda, denounce her father’s involvement in slavery and leave San Francisco to join the movement against slavery. It is quite touching as a story, but the effect is limited – still works fine as a story which will inspire what is to follow. I wouldn’t go on to rate these stories considering them as part of an anthology though, and therefore you shall see none here. Still, this movie has the most clear message of them all, with no piece of ambiguity added at any point.

✠ Segment II: @Cambridge, England and Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, in the year of Our Lord, 1936: Robert Frobisher, a bisexual English musician, finds some work with composer Vyvyan Ayrsand after leading a life of high immorality and the worst possible scandals if discovered during the Victorian Age in Britain. He helps him to compose his own masterpiece, which is refered to as “The Cloud Atlas Sextet”. He is also attracted to the composer’s wife, a feeling which is mutual and has a relationship with her too. But Ayrs wishes to take credit for the work as his own, and threatens to expose Robert’s scandalous and immoral background if he tries to stop him. ***[Spoiler Warning for the next two lines]*** Robert who has read a partial copy of Ewing’s journal, shoots Ayrs and flees to a hotel, where he finishes the musical work. He then shoots himself and commits suicide just before his lover arrives. This is a story of lesser, or may be the least effectiveness, and I would consider this the weakest of them all. This one doesn’t even have a worthy character who could make an impact, and thus works as the story which prevents this movie from becoming the masterpiece, still holding itself together to prevent falling into that abyss.

✠ Segment III: @San Francisco, California, in the year of Our Lord, 1973: Here, a journalist Luisa Rey meets an old man, Rufus Sixsmith who was the lover of Robert Frobisher in the earlier segment of 1936. He is now a nuclear physicist who tells Rey about a hidden conspiracy regarding the safety of a new nuclear reactor run by a powerful man named Lloyd Hooks. He is assassinated by a hitman Bill Smoke before he can give her a report that could prove the same. But she is helped by another scientist at the power plant. But she is chased by the assassins and involves herself in a life or death situation. There would be no spoiler spoiled in this paragraph, and what connects this story to the first one is that common factor of lineage which goes back to the slavery and its abolishment, as well as “The Cloud Atlas Sextet” which makes its entry here too. This story is more of a continuation and the carrier of the earlier legacy of the two segments even as most of these things remain indirect and not easily noticeable. This is also Halle Berry’s best performance throughout the movie as she appears in entirely different roles in the segments.

✠ Segment IV: @England/Scotland, United Kingdom, in the year of Our Lord, 2012: Timothy Cavendish has his own problems when Dermot Hoggins, a gangster author whose book he has published, murders a critic and is sent to prison, and the gangster’s brothers threaten him regularly to get his share of the profits. Cavendish turns to his brother Denholme for help even as they don’t like each other that much and were not on good terms, but the brother tricks him into hiding in a nursing home, and it turns into a kind of prison for him, as he is held against his will, but he escapes with a number of inmates who shared his vision of freedom. The connection is established when Cavendish receives a manuscript of a novel based on Rey’s life. This is a touching, as well as funny story, which starts off slowly, but by the end, it leaves a profound influence on the viewers. This can be considered as the only story which has that lighter side in the serious world which tries to tickle the intellect throughout. The terms cute and sweet can also be linked to this one by the end of the segment.

✠ Segment V: @Neo Seoul, Korea, in the year of Our Lord, 2144: Sonmi-451 is a genetically-engineered clone server at a restaurant who is interviewed just before her execution. She tells the story of her release from her life of servitude and modernized slavery by Commander Hae-Joo Chang, a leading member of a rebel movement known as Union. While they are hiding from the troops, she watches a film based on Cavendish’s adventure thus making a connection to the previous segment. It is revealed to her that the clones like her are killed and “recycled” into food for future clones who becomes the server in the restaurants later without themselves knowing anything about it. Just like the people of 1849, she also decides that the system of such a dystopian society based on slavery and exploitation of other living beings is evil and not to be tolerated, and how she changes the world or at least make it aware of what is happening under the mask of a righteous and perfect world forms this story of revolution, an element which has existed throughout the segments. She is a representative of all ages, and she is that vision of the past that future has upheld with pride.

✠ Segment VI: @The Big Island, in the year of Our Lord, 2321: Zachry is just another random person who lives with his sister and niece Catkin in a primitive society after most of the humanity has died in an apocalyptic event which is not mentioned, but a possible nuclear warfare and related massive destruction can be guessed. Sonmi-451 of the previous segment is worshiped as a goddess and her broadcast is part of their sacred texts. Zachry is plagued by strange visions of a figure who creates fear in him, and leads to him running away from problems all the time, something which haunts him throughout his life, as he couldn’t save his own people from death due to his fear and hallucinations. They are also attacked by a fierce cannibalistic group regularly. One day, his village is visited by a more modern individual, part of the society which had more access to the technology during te apocalypse, and this changes his life forever. There is also an epilogue in which more of who tells these stories and from where – all these are revealed to the viewers. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are there for all the segments, and have done a great job in fitting in. The same can be said about Hugo Weaving, and Doona Bae is highly impressive in Segment V. The movie is not for everybody, but it is a wonderfully crafted work of art made from a work which was near impossible to adapt on screen, as something which inspires one continuously as long as he or she is able to stay with it, and there are good intentions related to this one, and the viewers can’t simply deny that.

Release date: 26th October 2012
Running time: 172 minutes
Directed by: The Wachowskis – Laurence Wachowski and Andrew Paul Wachowski [segments 1849, 2144, 2321], Tom Tykwer [segments 1936, 1973, 2012]
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Dark Knight Rises

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The one thing I am certain about this movie is that it is the one I have waited eagerly in 2012, and what I might differ in opinion with a few is that this is not among the best movies of the year. There is another element in which I would agree on, and it is that this is not the best of the series, and where I disagree is at the level of quality of each movie of the Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, with my favourites going in the same path as the timeline, as Batman Begins is my favourite, followed by The Dark Knight and this one, both separated by not much. But I wouldn’t do that without reasons. Ra’s al Ghul v/s Joker v/s Bane is a battle which has a clear winner for many, but The first one is a villain with something special, a big idea. But Batman Begins succeeds in its story, and the Scarecrow is a better villain than Two Face for sure. Both the Two Face and Bane were not used to their potential, and this is where the first movie of the series scores, as it built this triology out of nowhere, with nothing to support it at a time when Spider-Man and X-Men had the status of being the better loved heroes around here.

Without Batman Begins, there is no dark knight, a term which became incredibly popular and was even used with Novak Djokovic, not that much of an expected winner caught between the rivalry between Rafael Nadal who had clay in his pocket at that time, and Roger Federer who ruled the rest of the clay-less world. Therefore, it is just natural to pay the due respect to that movie which started them all. The Dark Knight had all its fame and glory only due to what the beginning had given its viewers, and I have to admit that I didn’t realize that the first time. But as long as the long list of origin stories are concerned, from X-Men Origins to the recently released Man of Steel, Batman Begins has a high place. The Dark Knight Rises continues that legacy which was handed over to it by the more critically acclaimed and more hyped second movie, and has completed the trilogy in style. The problem which this movie has to face is the long trail of near-perfection in the superhero genre that its predecessors had left for this one, and the same thing is both the good thing and the bad thing for this movie; for this one could improve on box-office, as it went on to overtake its predecessors and become the eighth highest grossing movie of all time grossing over a billion United States dollars. But it is to be noted that unlike its predecessors, the film was not nominated for any Academy Awards.

Eight years have passed after Harvey Dent’s death and the covering of the existence of the Two Face. The organized crime has almost been wiped out completely. Feeling guilty for covering up Dent’s crimes and framing Batman for the same, Gotham City’s Police Commissioner James Gordon writes a resignation speech which revealed the truth concerning the two, but decides not to use it at the last moment. Batman has disappeared and Bruce Wayne has kept himself away from all the action. It is at this moment that a burglar Selina Kyle appears, known to most of the fans as the Cat Woman. Bane’s appearance is the other major thing which changes the scenario, as he intends to fulfill Ra’s al Ghul’s mission to destroy Gotham City and thus fulfill the aim of the League of Shadows. He punishes Batman and breaks his back, and then puts him in a prison from where escape is almost impossible. The fellow prisoners tell him the story of Ra’s al Ghul’s child, born in the prison and cared for by a fellow prisoner before escaping, the only prisoner to have ever done so – Batman assumes the child to be Bane, and his actions the revenge for what Batman did to his father.

Meanwhile, Bane traps Gotham police underground and destroys all the exits. He converts Bruce’s own reactor core into a nuclear bomb and uses the bomb to hold the city hostage and isolate Gotham from the rest of the world. Using Gordon’s speech which he had stolen, Bane reveals the cover-up of Dent’s crimes telling the people that the whole police action and passed laws based on Dent’s act was a lie and releases the prisoners from different jails. There is a kind of revolution and the wealthy and powerful have their money and property taken away, are dragged from their homes, and forced to trials presided over by Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a the Scarecrow, where any sentence means death on most occasions and otherwise exile. After months of recovery and training both the body and the mind to face Bane, Batman manages to escape the prison and reach Gotham City, and enlist the help of Cat Woman and the others. But with a pseudo-revolution on the run, and all the criminals on the streets with no police force to stop them, Batman has more than what he would wish for this time. It is up-to him to stop the man who broke his back with relative ease, and to prevent whatever Ra’s al Ghul had intended to do.

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne a.k.a Batman continues his conquests, and here his performance is lowered only due to the absence of a villain who was as good as those in the first two movies, and there is no intellectually superior mastermind who decides who lives and who dies, and there is no wretched of the soul who is half Loki and half Lucifer, made with everything evil and everything psychotic. Instead he has a militant who is more of a physical threat than mental. Unfortunately, his thoughts and decisions are not his alone and himself outsmarting Batman was not something for which he could take credit, and at that point, he loses his significance and still not his presence and power. Still, Tom Hardy’s Bane is excellent in what he does. Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle a.k.a Cat Woman becomes a revelation in the movie, and it is evident that she has trained extremely tried and tried her best to fit into that costume which so much physically demanding. Marion Cotillard outshines herself in the second half, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake comes up with a pleasant performance. Michael Caine and Gary Oldman plays the two normal characters in the movie who makes any impact.

Christopher Nolan did make Inception just a few years before this with that touch of brilliance, it was what stood between the two sequels; it was something which further accelerated the expectations. Here, we get some of it, and considering the fact that Batman has undergone evolution and there is no real base for the same, and there is no end to this superhero, we have to respect this title despite of the hype. It has done all that it could do, but it did nothing spectacular, and yet, this is very well done. It was a good decision to continue the Ra’s al Ghul legacy, and it was hundred percent a good decision not to make this in the 3D – full marks to that. There are movies that are to be enjoyed for fun, and even with all the entertaining elements in this movie, it scores slightly higher at the intellectual level rather than how it is supposed to happen in a regular superhero movie. The movie also leaves open slots, not just for a sequel, but also for a Cat Woman and a Robin spin-off as well as Justice League of America movie, in the model of The Avengers. It is certain that we haven’t seen even a little bit of what the DC’s cinematic universe has to offer its viewers. There is a lot coming, that is for sure with this one being the third highest grossing film of 2012 and also the third highest grossing superhero film of all time.

There is no doubt that the caped crusader has grown enough to lead the Mount Olympus of superheroes as the Zeus of this generation, with his biggest arch-rival Superman failing to live up-to the hype, and his next best rival Spider-Man slowly fading from the scene – both of them coming up with below-the-bat reboots which fails to challenge the Man-Bat. These three are challenged not by those superheroes of childhood, The Phantom and He-Man, but by the man they call Iron Man and his gang of Avengers, as well as X-Men, but they all follow a different path. The world’s greatest detective with the Bat logo has nothing to worry about his position right now, but in case of a reboot, it is all upto him to lose, as the rest have only gotten better. The concept of billionaire playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist itself already has been challenged by Iron Man, and with Man of Steel all the dark elements; The Amazing Spiderman has conquered the heroic elements, and whenever the abilities are glorified, there was X-Men First Class, with Wolverine to follow this year. Therefore, this domination of the dark knight is in a precarious position, and as this end to the trilogy was not as perfect as expected, there is surely a storm coming, and it would consist of more than one superhero. The only fear that I have is that can the Batman remain Batman for long, or will he be completely transformed into the dark knight, and Superman into the man of steel? It is that question which will be answered in a decade.

Release date: 20th July 2012
Running time: 165 minutes
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Juno Temple

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.