Night at the Museum III

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A flashback :: Merry Christmas, everyone. The Vampire Bat is back flying in the theatres again. I haven’t watched a movie in the theatre since the eighth of December which had me watching the movie Seconds, and the reasons are specified here at my other, and nowadays the more active blog (http://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/the-loss-of-power/). The period of eighteen or nineteen days is a long time for me – like a part of an eternity. So on this day of the return to theatre, or most specifically, the multiplex, lets start with the flashback for this third movie of one of my favourite franchises – I am sure that a lot of people from India can use this. This is the story of Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), who has been the night guard for the Museum of Natural History, and it is where history comes alive, or rather the museum exhibits comes to life at night, and all of them show the characteristics of the respective historical person as if this is the same person who had lived and died years or centuries ago. Our protagonist, with his museum friends have saved the day (or night) twice already.

What is it about? :: We go back to the discovery of the tablet of Ahkmenrah in Egypt, and then come back to the present, which has our protagonist working for an event which is lead by Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), and followed by a few of his other favourite exhibits. But there is corrosion in the tablet, and as it gets worse, it affects the exhibits. This leads to the failure of the event, as all of them goes out of control and causes destruction, making the visitors flee in fear. Larry decides to take things seriously, and learns that they should ask for further details from the father Pharaoh who is in the British Museum of Natural History. As Larry makes his way to the museum with the tablet and the son Pharoah and friend Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), a number of other exhibits have also sneaked in to help him and have a share in the adventure. With time running out and everyone getting weaker, can Larry lead his team to the aim, unsure of what has awaken at the new place?

The defence of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb :: Here is your history teacher of the week, or a reminder of the subject. The movie assures you of lots of fun, and a little more knowledge of history – something that India needs desperately, to have its residents know its history and respect its years long culture instead of going for the money machine. You are in no way going to sleep through this history class, and that is a guarantee – not a first for me though, because I have always enjoyed those classes. The Pompeii scene, the inside the picture shots as well as the theatre moments are very nice. There is some fine use of effects too. Rebel Wilson also has some very nice moments which are not to be missed, and Robin Williams continues to touch you as Teddy, with this one last performance. Here is something for the perfect Christmas family weekend, as long as too much thoughts are not there and a heavy judgement is not passed.

Claws of flaw :: This one stays in the shadows of its predecessors, refusing to come out of it and innovate. A lot of it seems recreated from its predecessors. There was actually not much of a need for this movie, as the previous movie had a nice, happily ever after ending to it, and it was something that we could think about and have a certain amount of joy. Instead, here it is forced to an end which is mixed happy, and there is not even a powerful villain – it was what made the second movie the best of the series; it had one great villain and some nice support for him. Instead, we are taken to the “Save tablet” campaign and some jokes fired at us don’t even come close to working. This is also more childish than the previous movies, especially with the new Neanderthal’s relationships and the repetitions. The family drama doesn’t have the power that it needed, even as we do get the father-son problems and message in the end. May be, with the loss of power of tablet, some energy was also lost.

Performers of the soul :: Ben Stiller makes things work and it seems incredibly easy for him as he once again takes over that one memorable night guard. He also has another role which is less impressive, still stupid and funny. The movie also has Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney in one of their last performances, and the former once again has that nice and interesting role of Theodore Roosevelt which he does to perfection. The team of Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan works fine, but not as much as the previous movies. Dan Stevens makes a good beginning, not that much in the final scenes. Rebel Wilson does a very good job, but is restricted by the less amount of time she has on the screen. Mizuo Peck once again does her character making a good impression, and Rami Malek with Patrick Gallagher completes the team. There are moments of almost every character, and the Hugh Jackman + Alice Eve cameo was also nice.

Soul exploration :: I have always loved this franchise, and thought Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, the second entry was the best of them all, and this movie doesn’t change that idea. Yes, this could have been better, but the idea is still there, and history is once again alive. The three movies combined is a good history lessons which ends with this one. There have been a certain dislike for movies teaching history, and this seems to come from a few people who were sleeping during their history classes at school all the time. This doesn’t take a straight path as Mr. Peabody and Sherman did with sharing knowledge of history or the bonding between a father and son. But still, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb does a fair job in the same. All the history enthusiasts should make sure that they watch history come alive for the one last time, and for others, lets give something to history along with all the fun and entertainment.

How it finishes :: Along with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Penguins of Madagascar, Exodus: Gods and Kings and Interstellar, this one joins the show as the only Hollywood movie to release on the Christmas day here. One certain advantage that Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb has is that it has the Christmas spirits than any other movie. People might not want to cause further brain damage by watching the Christopher Nolan flick, especially with the family, and Penguins of Madagascar is just another animation movie. The final movie of The Hobbit franchise needs knowledge on that special world, and the Biblical Epic takes its liberties and also makes limited impact on a lot of people. So, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb has a bloody big chance here – light at its heart, but still powerful in its messages and the strong lesson about history. It might not break any records worldwide and might not do well in North America, but has the heart to thrive in this part of the world. You need this movie for Christmas, no matter what other movie has released with a bigger fame.

Release date: 25th December 2014 (India); 19th December 2014 (US).
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Dan Stevens, Ben Kingsley, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Rebel Wilson, Skyler Gisondo, Rami Malek, Patrick Gallagher, Mizuo Peck, Dick Van Dyke as Cecil Fredericks, Percy Hynes-White, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Andrea Martin, Rachael Harris, Brennan Elliott, Kerry van der Griend, Matthew Harrison, Jody Racicot, Randy Lee, Darryl Quon, Paul Chih-Ping Cheng , Gerald Wong, Anjali Jay, Matty Finochio, Crystal the Monkey, Hugh Jackman (cameo), Alice Eve (cameo)

nightathemuseumiii

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

About Time

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Vampire Owl :: I waited so long for this movie to get released in India that I got very old.

Vampire Bat :: May be it just didn’t release in Cochin or we were on a trip when it released.

Vampire Owl :: But I got very old, nevertheless.

Vampire Bat :: Aren’t we already centuries old?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but I still got a lot older, and this time it is depressing.

Vampire Bat :: Didn’t your great ancestors have the power to go back in time and change the release date and screens of a movie?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, he could predict the situation that the worst movies will get released and there was nothing that we could do. He used to be a fan of an old form of vampire theatre. It was like, for tragedy everybody laughed and then he tried to change the meaning of tragedy and they just cut his head. He could travel in time no longer.

Vampire Bat :: So, he was the first revolutionary against bad drama, that theatre which represents movies now.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but the point is that he got his head cut off. You know the fans these days and what can happen to us.

Vampire Bat :: That is a fair point.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson), a young man is told a family secret at the age of twenty one – that all the men of their family have a special gift, which is the ability for time travel, something which he needs to unlock and try now. But he will only be able to go back to his own experiences, those memories which he can remember well enough. He decides to use this newly found ability of his, to improve his chances of getting a lover. As he falls for his sister’s friend, Charlotte (Margot Robbie) who spends her holidays with them, he uses the time travel ability to make her fall in love with her, but understands that it will never happen as she will just keep making excuses as she already made her decision on him. But later, he would meet Mary (Rachel McAdams) by fate and both are interested in each other, but losses her while trying to help his friend by time travel. But he would use his skills to recreate some events which will take him back to meeting her and both once again fall in love with each other. But his time travel adventures doesn’t end there.

The defence of About Time :: This movie manages to be the smart and cute, happy and heart-warming love story that stands above most of the romantic love stories with its theme as well as its presentation, which is closer to true love and family relationships that it can get, making one wonder if Hollywood actually cares about such things when making movies of this genre – but About Time says, it was about time. The movie is powered by its powerful emotions, and leaves one with a sense of responsibility towards life and also to one’s own family. The movie flourishes in its emotions and runs strong like a river during the monsoon, whenever the family stuff comes to the scene. The romantic comedy is not far behind, as there are moments there, which makes us remember that it is not far away either. The movie has its layers, and each one has something there, hiding some messages which we can take home. The combining of sci-fi-, rom-com and family drama works like a dream here.

Positives and Negatives :: Yes, finding negatives with this movie has not been too difficult with the critics, but it is not easy as far as I am concerned. Yes, the combination of three genres might be strange at times, and the movie not be what some people had expected with its family drama which overtakes the romance and the science fiction most of the people wanted to watch. You can find the time travel paradox and also ask a few question about that, but that is never expected to take the centre stage. The exact central point of the movie is its message for life. About Time is powerful in its heart and soul, and that much you have to give to the movie, no matter what else good or bad you can find here. Keep your own heart and soul at the right place while watching this movie, and these are the kind of movies which can rise above the limitations of a usual romance-sex-comedy.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has a brilliant performance from Domhnall Gleeson, but wait till Rachel McAdams arrives to take your beath away, and the chemistry between the two works like a true love dream. This lady was also there in The Time Traveler’s Wife, but I would say that this is a lot better movie and she is too good in this one. She might have looked better as the younger self in that movie, but look out for her performance in this one. Yes, the presence of the same lady lead might have confused a few, but About Time reigns supreme if there is a war of the romantic time travel fiction. Then there is the surprise package in the form of Bill Nighy as the father, that dad that everybody would want to have, and I would die and be reborn to have. He is someone who has known to love his son and has always found the little joys of his time with his son worth living. He has wonderfully portrayed the perfect father for whom we reserve our tears. Margot Robbie also gets attention in her smaller role, and Lydia Wilson as the sister of the protagonist – Kit Kat is lovable.

Soul exploration :: About Time leaves us with a strong message to live in the moment, and there are things that cannot be changed. Even if you had a certain time travel ability, the things that are to happen, will happen; those things that you have changed were supposed to be changed, and this knowledge whether it can be changed or not can be obtained only by trying, and it is a need to try. It is never late to appreciate life, and the best things come to those who wait, and not those who feel the emergency and hurry up on life. It shows that true love waits, and no matter how much you think that some thing are less important, they are not. It is our responsibility to know that family always comes first, especially with the kind of parents who have cared for you. This is as close to a righteous romantic comedy as one can get, with emotional, love for family and true love. This tale uses the science fiction elements to support this cause.

How it finishes :: Even as this is a romantic comedy, I would advice watching this one with family – it is because its message of love transcends and chooses to rise higher as well as deeper, making it a powerful family movie in its core. It take its elements of true love and science fiction and it digs deep, and comes out of it as a movie for everyone who loves one’s family. I suggest you get a fictional time machine which you can use to erase your questions about many things and replace it with a positive attitude about life. I thought I could do that, but I have come too far to do that. I haven’t listened to myself enough for that throughout my past. But this movie reminds me that, it is never too late, and may be, I will have a chance at everything when the wheel of time turns. Life will give you that opportunity, and I can choose to listen to those idiots, backstabbers and supposed to be successful people (or parents of successful people), waiting for my opportunity. It has to come, because life goes on and you shouldn’t worry too much about the past.

Release date: 3rd November 2013
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Lydia Wilson, Margot Robbie, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Lindsay Duncan, Richard Cordery, Joshua McGuire, Tom Hughes, Vanessa Kirby, Will Merrick, Lisa Eichhorn

abouttime

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

In Fear

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Vampire Owl :: But I do not know the meaning of Fear.

Vampire Bat :: Then what do you call that expression when you were chased by a dog last month?

Vampire Owl :: I was simply giving the dog a lesson in running.

Vampire Bat :: Then when you jumped over the wall, it was a lesson in high jump?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but it was a poor little creature with such a small brain. It couldn’t jump over the wall.

Vampire Bat :: You didn’t take the flying classes when all the other owls were doing that, and now you want to pretend to teach others running.

Vampire Owl :: It is actually okay because you can’t fly either. You should attend my classes too. It will help you to run away from a bad movie.

Vampire Bat :: But this is still a good movie. This is simple, raw horror.

Vampire Owl :: I have watched this and won’t approve. I am bigger horror than this little movie.

Vampire Bat :: I would have made a bet for three hundred zombies that you can only say that about this movie.

[Goes to watch ISL].

What is it about? :: Tom (Iain De Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert) are on their first trip after falling for each other, and even as they are planning to go to a music festival with friends, Tom suggests that they rest in a hotel on the way, to which Lucy agrees, despite having promised her friends that she would be there early. They follow a vehicle to the hotel where they were planning to stay, and after showing them the directions, that person drives off. They move on and looks for directions, but following them doesn’t lead them anywhere and it seems that they have seen the same place again and again – it is as if they are trapped in a maze. The rain starts pouring and Lucy keeps seeing a masked figure while going through the path and they are attacked once. They end up giving lift to another person called Max (Allen Leech) who claims to have been attacked too, but the tension only gets higher as there seems to be no way out of there.

The defence of In Fear :: Most of the movie is in the middle of nowhere and we have so much action inside the car which turns into a claustrophobic world, especially with the third person around. There is already a spooky atmosphere created as the darkness falls and the rain pouring, with nowhere to go. It is smart in its anxiety and tension, and the feeling of being nowhere in hopelessness is disturbing. Being in small pocket road with no lights and no signs of civilization around, having no idea how to get anywhere? Everyone needs to be scared about this, especially as some masked villain is ready to pounce if you stop the car – he might even find a way to stop the vehicle. You have the right to be scared here. The stuff is believable too, as this goes on without anything out of the world added to it. There is less stupidity from the characters as they seem to act more as anyone would have, if caught in such a situation. It is good to see something different being tried in the horror genre.

Claws of flaw :: The movie is not for everyone, especially as there is almost no jump scare at all. There is no big scary killer who keeps coming at you and creating all those gory scenes out of nowhere. The locations are limited, and there is darkness around. There is not much of a backstory, and things happen straight. There are minimum resources used here, and there is no murder shown happening on the screen – there is not even a cut on the screen even as there is blood after the cut. There are just three people in this movie and for most of the time, we see only two of them. Some horror fans can find this method uninteresting, and a few others might be more disappointed about the same. The power of the villain is not much, and the ending is actually a little too uninteresting, even as it has the mind not to bring something up in hope for a sequel. The inside the car setting might also disturb a few. There are still a few things unanswered, and the moments of stupidity does come into play when the protagonists are out of the car. There is nothing big in the plot either.

Performers of the soul :: There are just three people acting in this movie, even as there are others who we do from a distance; nothing much here is about another person other than what we hear our leading actors talk about them or contact them through the mobile phone – yes there is a scarecrow if you want to add him to the actors. Among the three, Alice Englert is the pick. The last time I had seen her was in Beautiful Creatures, and even as I did think that she was good, I doubted about her being in a horror movie – but then, I was wrong, and this young lady who was just nineteen when this movie premiered, has just nailed the role of the young damsel in distress in a believable manner. I couldn’t feel anything else but be surprised about the fact that she had made her character so much believable rather than becoming another lady in a horror movie. Iain De Caestecker comes only second, and becomes the weaker character leaving him with less scope. Allen Leech is good, but still not up-to the movie’s power.

Soul exploration :: The soul of the movie is in its atmosphere, and the success of the same is in creating that situation which can haunt any other person. It is a case of genuine fear, as it makes way into our known world. Ever got your car’s tyres punctured in the middle of nowhere at night, or have you ever got lost your way somewhere while taking a shortcut and there are no lights anywhere? There is no range in your phone with GPS already stopped working and rain also stops pouring down. So where do you go from there? In Fear has that situation and successfully drops us into the world of fear and nothing else. Fear might want many things, but this movie proves that what it actually needs is a realistic situation and happenings that can be connected by the audience. A better working of the plot and a better development of the situation could have done a even more for this movie, but for now, there is some realistic horror in its core.

How it finishes :: In Fear is a movie so much less known, and its existence might be something that so many people are unaware of, unless Alice Englert’s filmography keeps catching too much attention. It is a movie which has pretty much low rating at IMDb, but is something which has good ratings from critics. That should explain a few things. No, this doesn’t have the entertainment side working much, and its horror is something of the mind. It has less for the majority of the viewers who would hope for something that thrills outside the borders of realism. But this movie doesn’t have that, as the choice to go with realistic things can gain more critics and lose more viewers. But In Fear still maintains enough to gather the usual fans, at least in my opinion. For the same, one has to think more than what is seen on the screen.

Release date: 20th January 2013
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Jeremy Lovering
Starring: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech

infear

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Enemy

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*The Soul Exploration paragraphs can have spoilers and therefore read wisely.

Vampire Owl :: I haven’t even heard about this movie.

Vampire Bat :: It is quite natural. It never came to our theatres.

Vampire Owl :: Then I need a DVD of this one. A movie that doesn’t come to our theatres is always worth a watch.

Vampire Bat :: I was going to recommend it to you, anyway.

Vampire Owl :: Everyone is creating one protest after the other. May be we should protest against the wrong movies being shown on the theatres.

Vampire Bat :: We shall call it the Hug of Movies.

Vampire Owl :: No Kiss of Movies? Okay, we will hug the movie DVDs of those movies which never had the chance to release here, and are so awesome.

Vampire Bat :: The change should start by not releasing some of those dumb movies just for the simple reason that they are too stupid for the human brain.

Vampire Owl :: I think you watched a Bollywood action movie in the last few days and is waiting to write a review on it.

Vampire Bat :: No, but I will leave you with a review of Enemy.

[Switches on the laptop].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of Adam Bell and Anthony Saint Claire (both played by Jake Gyllenhaal), the first one being a history professor and the other being a small time actor, both looking exactly the same despite having no real connection or relation with each other. The former’s girlfriend Mary (Melanie Laurent) is troubled and worried as Adam finds this man who looks like him in a movie and is determined to discover more about him. He even searches and finds the man’s number to call him and talk to him about the same, and hopes to meet him one day as curiosity keeps building inside him. Anthony’s pregnant wife Helen (Sarah Gadon) is also worried as a stranger who sounds like her husband calls home, and she is surprised as well as shocked by the similarities between the two, or the lack of any difference as she visits the university to see this man who looks the same. The men will one day meet in a hotel room only to bring further deviations in their lives.

Positives and Negatives :: The movie deals with the conflicts of the mind and leaves with a powerful message against adultery. It checks the extra-marital affairs and asserts that it is never too late to come back and be truthful to one’s partner. Here, it is shown as a situation of the mind which should be overcome within oneself rather than asking help from someone else, as long as one can. The atmosphere that the movie uses is perfect and how it shows everything is very powerful, even as not that effective for everyone as some might find is strange and not easily understandable, even coming up with too obvious explanations not doing justice to this movie’s twisted power. Even its slow progress, this is never the slowing down or the loss of power here, and I haven’t seem it happening like this so efficiently on so many occasions. There is a lot to think about in this case, that is for sure, and for the same, watching this movie becomes more necessary. I would recommend this to anybody who wishes to watch and give it a long, deep thought.

Performers of the soul :: Jake Gyllenhaal comes up with a stunning performance as two characters who look so much the same, but are yet different as themselves. He has to portray this doubleness which is less easier to do that most of the other roles that he has been doing, and one has to wonder if most people could have accomplished this with so much power. Even with his amazing work in the movie, what strikes the most though, is the extreme sadness and a terrible pain of the soul in the eyes of Sarah Gadon as she plays the character of the pregnant wife; an image that we cannot get out of our heads, especially because the movie never comes with a perfect explanation of things and our idea about all these is just what we can make out of it. But the tears on her face tells things and make everything more clear. Compared to them, Melanie Laurent does less, and mostly graces us with her beautiful presence.

Soul exploration 1: The choice of curiosity :: It is the curiosity that works both ways. Mark the words in the movie; “chaos is order yet undeciphered”. This curiosity had once made him to cheat on his wife, and has now forced him to think about himself. The transition from his wife to his girlfriend and then back to his wedding woes is because of the choice that he made – the curiosity that makes the protagonist search for the other person who looks like him is actually a search into his own mind which has to spots, one for his wife and the other for his girfriend, one with his desire to be an actor and the other with the reality of being a History professor – and he adjusts with the latter in the end, the thing that is actually him rather than what he wants to be just because of some obsession – something that can be equalled with his girlfriend too, all because of a second phase of curiosity.

Soul exploration 2: The fear of oneself :: The movie has two people who are basically one single person, and this manifestation of the other is just the one person that we see. Our potagonist is scared of himself, his other side which he wants to control, but is not within his power. Along with his fear of commitment, this fear about his other face troubles him throughout the movie, the result of which is reflected in him knowing about another person who looks and sounds like him and when he meets him, he is too scared. He knows that one of his faces is a mistake, and it is only in the end that he realizes that the right thing is to be with the wife rather than anybody else. This act of leaving his girlfriend – the extra-marital affair is portrayed as the death, both of his other side and the lover outside the marriage. Who is a man’s biggest enemy? He himself is, and it is the fear of that enemy that he conquers.

Soul exploration 3: The web of life :: The movie is about people caught in the webs of busy city life and hoping for a relief. There is repetition after repetition, and the images of giant spiders show this, especially the tarantulas which feed on the protagonist’s mind, and each big decision that he makes seems to have a spider, a negative thing. Even watching a movie is a first in his monotonous life. The web is actually as complicated as the life itself, and adultery becomes part of such a life. If another spider of adultery weaves a web in the life of the protagonist, it is up-to the wife and her love for the man that can crash it destroy those webs, saving him from the capture and the predator can no longer feed on him. The power of the webs created by the giant things need time to destroy, and the effort taken is also supposed to be enormous.

Release date: 8th September 2013
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Kedar Brown, Darryl Dinn, Stephen R. Hart, Jane Moffat, Joshua Peace, Tim Post, Misha Highstead, Megan Mane, Alexis Uiga

enemy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Seconds

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Vampire Owl :: I can’t spare seconds. No, I am owlifying right now. Don’t you realize that?

Vampire Bat :: Seconds? What about seconds? I am talking about sparing hours for the movie called Seconds.

Vampire Owl :: I doubt if I am available. I am at work. I have already prepared the giant globe of domination to owlify the world. I just need a suitable power source. I can’t risk losing my focus due to a movie now.

Vampire Bat :: I see this as your evil plot to blame me after I watch this movie alone.

Vampire Owl :: I don’t understand why I would do that. You are the movie watcher and I am the side-kick for now. But after owlification, all of you will be my side-kicks.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t see how your plan is going to work. Lets watch the movie instead. This will make four Jayasurya movies in a month in the theatre. Isn’t it something new?

Vampire Owl :: Four? That is shocking – even I can’t play four roles in my life.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Iyobinte Pusthakam, Lal Bhadur Shastri, Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla and now Seconds.

Vampire Owl :: I see the level of movie coming down with each of them. This is why you should place your head on the rails for that movie train too.

Vampire Bat :: Even the boogeyman has been more generous with movies.

[Starts the car].

The people of the story :: An insurance agent, Veeramani (Jayasurya) lives in an agraharam with his wife (Anusree Nair) and is troubled by the lack of confidence and due to a certain amount of fear that he seems to have, he struggles to sell and achieve his target. He gets an appointment with a psychatrist and hopes to solve his problems. Meanwhile, a sales manager named Teena (Aparna Nair) is hoping to pay off her family’s debts which has risen up to a sum of twenty five lakh rupees which is clearly beyong her abilities. At the same time, a wedding photographer called Feroze (Vinay Fort) is trying to reach somewhere high in his profession with good contacts and is also hoping to buy a building for a new shop. A goon who spends most of his time in jail, Thampi (Vinayakan) is the next person on the list, and he wanders around having drugs. There is the point of view of each of these characters taken into consideration, and they are brought together in a lift.

What is it about? :: The movie is about the above mentioned people coming together in a lift of a big apartment building in the city of Cochin, and three of the four people are murdered on the location. We are only shown that Teena murders Thampi, as the other killings occur when lift gets stuck in the middle with no power. The prime suspect is Teena as expected, but the question remains if it was Thampi who murdered the rest and tried to kill Teena as he is the typical bad guy and criminal. Out of the two other people, it seems that only Veeramani has a chance for survival. As the investigations progress, the answer to all the question lie somwhere in the flashback. But there seems to be no link between these people, and the question remains about the motive as it doesn’t seem to be there at all. Four strangers in a lift, and three dead; not the best case to solve for any police team – how will it go this time?

The defence of Seconds :: The movie starts with a full power sequence, a death and the murder which happens; from there, it goes on to the usual stuff which gets the power back in the second half, and ends nicely with a twist. The struggling middle manages to connect the beginning and the end to create the desired effect, even as the theatre response still seemed pretty bad. Its non-linear pattern of narration is actually nicely woven to create the desired suspense, even as the frequency of the same could have been reduced along with the repetitions that we notice. The reason why we avoid some of the faults is due to the hope that the mistakes are corrected by the next movie. Malayalam movies still have a lot to explore in the thriller territory, and let this movie be another step in the same direction – a very small one. The cast performances are also a plus for sure. Lets categorize this one as an action-drama-thriller; should work better that way.

Claws of flaw :: Seconds struggles to keep the audience interested, as it doesn’t have that much of a powerful characterization, and neither does it gives us the characters to cheer for. It also works on the drama side too much, and its thriller side is virtually absent throughout the half sans the first few minutes. There is a lot of drag between the first nice sequence and the final ones, as what comes between is just ordinary drama that we see too many times at different occasions. In that case, we can consider the movie to be too long, as without a better characterization, this show of the life of characters is rather dull. We could have gone from the first sequence to the second half without bothering much about the life of these characters, but that certainly wouldn’t have been possible considering the already short length of the movie – there comes the need for a longer investigation and more thrills. It is a problem with the plot as a whole, but it is good as parts. There is also too much of the breaking of narrative and the re-telling of the same scenes which affect the flow.

Performers of the soul :: Making us wonder if there was clumsiness or laziness in characterization as well as the script, the four protagonists emerge here, and among them, Aparna Nair needs the most applause as she does her job with a fine touch. It is nice to see her in a major role after some time. In a role that is no challenge to him Jayasurya also excels. Vinay Fort is very good, but is often undone by the character’s lack of stability. Vinayakan also goes through his role with ease like nobody else. Salim Kumar just has a cameo in which nothing much is to be done, and Indrans and Sasi Kalinga are also limited to a few minutes on the screen. Anusree also has less dialogues and presence. Shankar Ramakrishnan is okay. May be the actors had a better chance with a better characterization and a better idea about what the makers were trying to achieve with the mixture of things.

How it finishes :: The movie leaves one with a strange feeling, like it seems that the movie is okay, but there is so much of incompleteness about it, and it did contribute with some boring moments to add to the already monotonous life. The movie should have been more clear in what it tries to achieve. Its power is the suspense and the twist about the murder mystery, which should have been further explored – here, the investigative side is too weak. The message here is still about the looks though, on how it can be deceiving, and how each second affects the life of a person according to one decision that he or she makes during the same. This could have been better than Angels, and still it isn’t – but the fate for both movies seems to be the same, especially with Lingaa and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies coming next weekend, and the former is expected to take a lot of audience away as it focuses on a similar audience. But lets hope for the best.

Release date: 5th December 2014
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Aneesh Upasana
Starring: Jayasurya, Vinay Fort, Aparna Nair, Anusree Nair, Ambika Mohan, Vinayakan, Indrans, Salim Kumar, Riyaz Khan, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Sasi Kalinga, Narayanan Kutty

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Exodus

exodus ()

Vampire Owl :: No, I have suffered too much with that earlier movie called Noah. No more!

Vampire Bat :: But, I would say that Noah has set such a terrible standard that it will be almost impossible for any other Biblical movie to come under it.

Vampire Owl :: I doubt that. The worst movie in any category is yet to come. There is always disaster in waiting. It is like a werewolf waiting for a full-moon when getting the release date.

Vampire Bat :: I see that your negativity about movies is increasing like your zombie minions’ doubts about your inability to owlify the world.

Vampire Owl :: I don’t understand why you doubt about categorizing Noah as the worst movie of the year. Along with bringing an aversion to Darren Aronofsky, I don’t see any other movie which put Christians, Athiests, Hindus and Muslims in the theatre to sleep with no discrimination. It has done India some favour with reflecting the unity in diversity, but in the end, it is just boredom for everyone, even for the categories with reservation.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I did see the reaction in the theatre, but as you said, the worst movie list is still open.

Vampire Owl :: I think that you should close the yearly list right now. Now we know what movies to watch each weekend, and I don’t see any other movie coming close to as ridiculous as Noah.

Vampire Bat :: But we are not sure about it yet. There are some differing opinions…

Vampire Owl :: I shall hear nothing of Exodus anymore. I am going to some place peaceful; like a cemetery, I guess.

Vampire Bat :: I think that it is a pretty good idea.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Ancient Egypt had grown vast and wide beyond the banks of the river Nile, and was going through its best times, but mostly based on the blood and sweat of its Hebrew slaves. As much as the great Egyptian Empire spreads and developed, so much more pressure came on its slaves who continue to suffer more. Under the rule of the Pharaoh Seti I, the empire continues to thrive. There seems to be glorious days which goes on and on. Moses (Christian Bale) and Ramses (Joel Edgerton) grow up like brothers in the palace even as it is certain the latter shall go on to become the Pharaoh. It is like they do have each other’s back until that realization come upon them one day. The truth that was hidden for long will come to light, and being considered a Hebrew spy won’t do Moses much good. He would soon be banished from his world, but that wouldn’t be the end of him, as God has plans for him and his people as he will liberate them from the yoke of slavery and lead them to the promised land. But what does the Pharaoh say about this?

The defence of Exodus: Gods and Kings :: It is our duty to support the big epic stories on the screen, and in that case, we have an automatic self-defence here. We need our faith, the beliefs of the past to keep us going, and I am sure that Exodus: Gods and Kings will only be a positive factor in the same unlike Noah which came up with so much negativity about the same. This is also a visually stunning movie, unlike any Biblical movie that has come so far, and the splendour and awesomeness of the Ancient Egypt is shown with full strength like never before. The cities, the statues and monuments, the troops, the Pyramids and the location near the Nile – they are all breath-taking. There is a good amount of detail put into all of that. The plagues are also nicely shown on the screen with the visual effectiveness, especially the river of blood and the thunderstorms. The cast also works nicely. There is an effort taken to add some imagination and more realism too, even as not all of it have worked. Still a spectacle is guaranteed on the screen, and God is clearly shown to be on the side of the poor and the powerless.

Claws of flaw :: The inaccuracies are there; yes, there are too many liberties being taken, especially with the portrayal of God (somehow reminding me of Waiting for Godot) and the way in which the plagues appear, rather like intending to connect them in one way or the other to various other factors. There are many moments which got the differences seeming easy to detect here, and the certainty is there about criticizing the same – but nothing really in a bad way (Noah had brought new “bad” or the “terrible”). I won’t list them here as I would continue this one as more secular than religious in nature. I am not an Old Testament expert anyway. The biggest problem after the God depiction is the Red Sea scene which had a lot more scope as a direct miracle with the special effects. The characterization is also incomplete; there is no real effort put into concentrating on Moses as a person, and that affects most of the other characters too – but they are not strangers to the audience, are they? The ending is also not where it should have stopped. The ending was to be after the sea-scene, and this one goes on to stop in the middle of nowhere. There was no point in rushing through things here either.

Performers of the soul :: You know that this is supposed to be depending heavily on Christian Bale who has to keep it going, and it does. He doesn’t fail to deliver yet again, and even when the characterization seems to bring things down, he continues to strengthen things. A special mention is needed for María Valverde who looked lovely and too good for her character, even though having a comparatively minor role which she did to perfection and remains memorable. Joel Edgerton does a commendable job the pharaoh, and he has his moments as much as the protagonist has, plus when they are together, there is even more power on the screen. Sigourney Weaver is limited here in another small role. The rest of the actors playing Hebrew characters pale in comparison to the power of Christian Bale’s Moses, even as Ben Kingsley does seem to have the opportunity to be the next most noticed person there, and Aaron Paul comes after that. But this movie is more Moses’ movie than Noah belongs to its titular character, and so we can understand the limitations of the rest of the cast, except for the antagonist.

How it finishes :: Coming from the disappointment of watching Noah, I wondered about the possibility of this being a good one, but I had more expectations about this movie. Noah had hit the bottom of the movie ocean with its terrible attempts to make something ridiculous out of the void of nonsense created by itself. Despite this movie being better, I do wonder why this couldn’t have been even better, coming from a director like Ridley Scott whose Prometheus had me incredibly interested like Alien and there is no need to talk about Gladiator which is there in almost every poster of this movie with the lines “from the director of Gladiator” becoming its biggest promotion. There was going to be believers and non-believers coming to watch this movie, and it had to use its epic elements to better use to make sure that both were nicely satisfied, and this one just makes the touch instead of grabbing and using its available elements. One has to admit that it is still with enough strength to survive though, and when it gets weak, we remember the pathetic and boring experience which was Noah, and we get happier. This time, the one whom I ask to accompany me won’t feel the need to shoot me on the head.

A look into the status :: Exodus: Gods and Kings releases in India a week before it does in the United States – well, you know that it is usually the other way around; with rare exceptions like The Amazing Spider-Man 2. You know about the recent ones The Equalizer and John Wick coming late here too. Now that is a twist of events, and it is a good thing as it won’t collide with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies next week, followed by Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and then Into the Woods on the Christmas weekend, even as I am doubtful about the last movie’s fate here. Now you know the schedule for every weekend of December – these are the four movies which we have this month, and with one gone, there are three more to go, among which I hope that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will go on to become the second highest grosser of the year if not the first, as far as it doesn’t go The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 way and doesn’t make that much of an impact. For now, Exodus: Gods and Kings has fertile grounds in the theatre, with not much of a challenge, and hope it makes good use of this advantage.

Release date: 5th December 2014 (India); 12th December 2014 (USA)
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, María Valverde, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul, Indira Varma, John Turturro, Hiam Abbass, Kevork Malikyan, Anton Alexander, Golshifteh Farahani, Tara Fitzgerald, Ben Mendelsohn, Dar Salim

exodus

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Penguins of Madagascar

penguins (1)

Vampire Owl :: I have received a letter from the vampire penguin.

Vampire Bat :: What does it say?

Vampire Owl :: It says that he is happy to announce the release of Penguins of Madagascar, a movie that make all the undead penguins proud, and he wants us to watch it in the name of the Universal Vampire Brotherhood.

Vampire Bat :: But I have already watched it.

Vampire Owl :: What? Then why did I see no opinion?

Vampire Bat :: Because I delayed it so that there would be gap between the posts.

Vampire Owl :: It is totally unfair. Now as the Vampire Penguin has demanded it, I have to watch it alone. What happened to watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1?

Vampire Bat :: Skipped it. Waiting for some inspiration for me watch it. Nobody has that much of an opinion and I have already read that book and has less hopes about this one.

Vampire Owl :: And then you watched the Penguins alone. A cruel move against me there.

Vampire Bat :: You can watch it with your zombie minions. It has some good ideas for owlification.

[Leaves for the bus stop].

The background :: Do you remember those penguins of the Central Park Zoo? Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private proved to be the smartest creatures around. They have been helping our heroes of the Madagascar series, Alex the lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the hippopotamus. We have had no option, but to love the penguins throughout the series. They have been too good, and it is clear that they always deserved a spin-off movie for themselves. Well, this is not just that spin-off, but also the sequel to Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted as the action continues from the circus itself as they go on to celebrate Private’s birthday. It is not really the continuation though, as Madagascar 4 is scheduled to be released on May 18th 2018, but as that date is too far away, lets be happy with this arrangement of the penguin characters for now.

What is it about? :: In a flashback, we see that somewhere in Antarctica, three little penguins, Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), and Rico (Conrad Vernon), save an egg from seals and end up floating far away on an iceberg. The egg hatches and becomes Private (Christopher Knights). Back to the present, as they go to steal from the United Sates treasury to enjoy Private’s birthday after the events of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, the get caught by Dave (John Malkovich), an octopus who lives in the human costume of Dr. Octavius Brine after having to be transported from zoo to zoo due to new cute penguins coming. He is now looking for revenge on all penguin kind. As they try to escape, the Penguins are saved by a special force known as the North Wind, lead by, a wolf named Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch), a seal named Short Fuse (Ken Jeong), a polar bear named Corporal (Peter Stormare), and an owl named Eva (Annet Mahendru). Due to some differences, the two teams decide to chase the villain through their own paths; will they succeed?

The defence of Penguins of Madagascar :: Once again, just like the other movies of the Madagascar series, this is lots of fun. There are some genuinely funny moments in this one, and they are just meant for evoking the laughter, making this one a big fun ride, and people are certain to be entertained. The penguins as well as the special animal forces are admirable characters, and this is an opportunity for us to know those characters whom we liked a lot in the franchise in a much better way. The family audiences with kids are going to love this one, that is for sure, and might not want to miss this one. The moments which involve the meeting of the two groups as well as the same with the villain along with that moment when all three groups meet are hilarious. The message is also nicely given, about the appearance not being that much of a factor. Even as the movie doesn’t go on to be one of the top three animated movies of the year as expected, it is really a powered entertainer.

The Claws of flaw :: It is pretty much sillier even considering the fact that it is an animated movie, and the predictability factor is once again big. There is nothing like the final extravaganza that the last movie in the franchise had offered, and even in 3D, this one offers much less compared to what was expected. There are ordinary moments in the movie too, and there are scenes which are extremely dumb, and the presence of those moments which fail to click are also present here and there, but they can still be avoided. This one is also weaker than the three other Madagascar movies, all of which are worth an eighty five and above in the score. This movie actually feeds on that impact that those three movies had created, and ends up extending the fanbase of the franchise. There are moments which are just created for the sake of being there, and the plot never really shows much scope, ever. There is repetition, no doubt about it. There is a chance that this will make the penguins less interesting with too much attention given here.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s first attention is on brotherhood for sure. But it is not the major theme here, as it focuses more on appearances as we can see right from the beginning. The penguin named Private is actually considered to be too cute, and the others feel that the only thing that he can do is to distract the opponent for the rest to take the appropriate action. The same is the case of all four penguins as far as the other animals and birds are concerned – they think that the penguins are too cute to do anything strong and significant. Most of the people here base their assumptions based on the looks and nobody really cares to give these people a try. But everything would change in the end, and it is to this finish which says that appearance doesn’t define the quality or brilliance of a person that the movie strives to reach. It is the appearance itself that creates the villain here, and the movie focuses so much on the same. Penguins of Madagascar never retreats from that aim as we see the traits everywhere.

How it finishes :: The big surprise here was that this movie had shows at more multiplexes than The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. That was surprising because it was clear that it really is the movie that everyone want to watch, its popularity only matched by just another sequel which would be the last part of The Hobbit which is also coming up. I would guess that the multiplexes decided to go completely with the family audiences this time instead of choosing the movie which the youth have been waiting for so long to watch. It is the same reason why the movie has evaded me so far, and another reason is that I know the story and don’t find the first part of the book interesting; even the last book as whole is the least interesting of the series. Yes, I wanted to watch it, but as the time came, I ended up choosing another movie again. Well, there is still time, but I do feel that many others have also done the same, which is why Penguins of Madagascar is doing well here.

Release date: 28th November 2014 (India), 26th November 2014 (USA)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Simon J. Smith, Eric Darnell
Starring (voice): Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare, Werner Herzog

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla

mathaikuzhappakkaranalla (2)

Vampire Owl :: This sounds like Lal Bhahadur Shatri’s continuation. I am not coming.

Vampire Bat :: There is just Jayasurya playing a very good guy, otherwise this should be different. Anyway, you didn’t watch even that movie yet. There is also a shot of Jayasurya and Bhama having tea together. Remember the word “tea”.

Vampire Owl :: So what? I don’t need to watch feel-good. I can sense them. They are all going to be the same.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that you are prejudiced?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, and it has saved me from watching bad movies. But I see that it is not working for you, and the same is spreading for you and affecting me.

Vampire Bat :: Then what are you going to do now as you are free?

Vampire Owl :: I am going to visit the Thommankuthu Waterfalls and think about more ideas on owlifying the world. The tea there is good; it helps one to think.

Vampire Bat :: What about your zombie minions?

Vampire Owl :: They have been called for some work at the Dracula Castle. We can’t deny the services when Uncle Dracula asks, can we?

Vampire Bat :: He gets all the movies at the castle. He is one lucky guy, isn’t he?

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: The story is that of an auto-driver in Thrissur called Mathai (Jayasurya) who is too good a man at heart and wants to solve all the problems in the world in whichever way possible. He spends his time trying his best and often gets into trouble for the same, never really giving him a positive effect, but he keeps trying again and again as if his life depends on him; he hopes that one day, everything will be awesome. His fiancee Anna (Bhama) is an assistant to a leading advocate in Kottayam, and as he comes to bring her back to Thrissur on a harthal day, it seems that he has lots of time in hand and wanders around in the area. At the same time, Nandakumar (Mukesh) is a heart surgeon who lives with his wife and child and is always having problems in his life due to his mother-in-law creating troubles. When Mathai comes to visit the doctor whom he had once helped when in trouble, the wife and child were no longer with him due to an issue concerning a wedding anniversary, and he decides that he should solve this problem for the doctor. But is a simple man like Mathai good enough to solve the rich woman’s ego?

The defence of Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla :: The movie is both a preacher and a family counselor as it keeps trying to bring up all the problems in the family life and solve it from the beginning to the end. This is kind of a pre-marital course, and one has to say that it will be very of nice of the church to cancel the pre-marital course and use this movie instead, or it can directly give approval to anyone who has watched this movie – may be they can show the movie tickets to get approval. Yes, it is that kind of a movie, and not like Lal Bahadur Shastri as one might have expected. There is the good attempt to make things work and make it connected to the family audience. It starts off well, with our protagonist involving in the problems of one of his acquaintances and try to solve things only to make it worse. It is actually more funny in the first half. The cast has managed things well, and there is some humour lurking around all the time. Note that there is no romance in this one despite having the pair of Ivar VivahitharayalJanapriyan and Oru Black and White Kudumbam.

Claws of flaw :: The preachy nature of the movie often works against it, as people can get irritated at times, especially when the emotions fail to work and the humour almost disappears. Then it gets weaker, and makes so much of a lesser impact, and ends the movie in a predictable manner, with not much to cheer about – it is kind of a forced end, as if the classes are dispersed after all those lessons taught, and now it is time to go home and try the same. There is nothing that we haven’t seen before; remember the Mohanlal-Meera Jasmine starrer Innathe Chinthavishayam in which the hero and heroine attempted to save the marriages of three women? Yes, it is the same thing here, as our hero and heroine tries to unite a doctor and his wife. But this is not that good as the Mohanlal starrer, and is also restricted to two houses in action. Yes, there is the Aristotlean Unities at work here, of time, place (somewhat) and action. If you liked Innathe Chinthavishayam, there is a chance that you will like this one, otherwise, it is questionable – with no innovation and no good script.

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is the character we are talking about in the title, and he once again shines as the simple character full of goodness – check Lal Bahadur Shastri and Apothecary models, and he once again uses the Thrissur slang like in Punyalan Agarbathis and it works like a dream for him. Mathai is another character in the comfort zone for him, and it is him who handles things here in the movie with the best quality. The feeling of the common man or the guy next door might be something that comes naturally to him. Bhama doesn’t lag behind in that, and even as she comes into the picture in a big way only in the second half, she joins the preaching and does fine. She also seems comfortable in this simple role. Mukesh is fine and has no challenge here at any moment; this is something that a versatile actor like him could do with ease. Lakshmi Gopalaswami is fine with her predictable character. Sreejith Ravi was very good in another avatar here, and he handles a lot of humour in this one and never falters – his character could have had a better handling though.

Soul exploration :: Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla has its own value in the contemporary society. People can question the product, but not the intentions, and scope for giving a good lesson, and this is where Akku Akbar gets the applause. The Dolphins did do the same, but it came too late to make that movie better. But our movie here shows how the world is changing in favour of ego and selfishness in a relationship, which in turns destroys it as the unconditional love itself is taken out and the whole thing remains as nothing more than a contract for mutual satisfaction. The movie has a husband who is a very busy surgeon having no time for family and a wife who want her husband to prefer her lavish parties over saving a human life. The advice that the wife gets from her mother contributes in the worst possible manner. There is also the idea of having a high status in a society and developing hatred for the common man. In the name of status and money, people tend to become less human, not just towards the outsiders, but also to one’s own people. Well, what is this “maintaining status” than showing off?

How it finishes :: Akku Akbar has to be appreciated for taking this topic which never losses the charm and the value in a society which keeps going further down with its family values in an age of ego leading to divorce. It is something which should be saved from the attack of the new generation movies which often ends up working in the exact opposite manner. But one can only wish that this was told in a better way rather than being too preachy. Our audience don’t accept such things, because it is like being told what to do. There is too much of it. If it was told in another way, things would have worked so much better, there is no doubt about it. Coming from a director who has been doing movies with family themes so well, let’s hope that he will come up with something a lot better next time. Until then, Angels seems to be the winner, even as there will be the question about how much it can score at the box-office seeing the status at the theatres. Penguins of Madagascar will take some family audience away from this one too, that is for sure.

Release date: 28th November 2014
Running time: 110 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Akku Akbar
Starring: Jayasurya, Bhama, Mukesh, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Sreejith Ravi, Thesni Khan, Sasi Kallinga, Jayaraj Warrier

mathaikuzhappakkaranalla

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.