Cinderella

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Vampire Owl :: You know that I can’t watch Cinderella.

Vampire Bat :: What? From where did you find a reason this time?

Vampire Owl :: It is one of those Happily Ever After stories. I don’t believe in that. And vampire owls don’t read fairy tales.

Vampire Bat :: But it has enough changes making the movie different.

Vampire Owl :: I have known changes, like in Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Maleficent and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Vampire Bat :: No, not like them. There is no darker interpretation for this one, and there are no monsters or black magic.

Vampire Owl :: I think you should have watched Focus instead of this one. Without the dark side, this is like children’s movie.

Vampire Bat :: No, the story has evolved; it is made better without losing the core.

Vampire Owl :: I have absolutely no idea what you meant by that.

Vampire Bat :: I say that you read my review and see if you still want to skip this movie.

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: The great fairy-tale gets another treatment as things change for Ella (Lily James) with the death of her mother and everything gets a lot worse with her father’s second marriage which is followed by his death. The new step-mother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett), who comes to reside with them along with the two daughters of her own, Drizella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) turns out to be very unlike someone they were expecting as a mother figure. The two sisters were not any better either, as they detested her and the new house; even their new cat Lucifer proves to be an enemy for Ella’s rat friends. As the attitude of the new mother gets worse everyday, Ella who is now called Cinderella due to her life close to the cinders, our protagonist only has the faith in magic, as well as her belief in courage and kindness to bring her the twist to her tale.

The defence of Cinderella :: Among the fairy-tales, Cinderella is surely not the easy one to adapt and come up successful because the idea of a Prince Charming and the thoughts about the evil step-mother won’t sell that easily these days for the adults, and it is too simple a story and not something that can have too many additions without affecting the essence. This is a season when the new age evil want to shoot down Prince Charming because he is a good person; some people really can’t stand extra goodness because it is not in them. During such a season, this movie manages to rise and fly high, for which a lot of applause is deserved. With an amazing world already made with splendour, what you should keep in mind is that this is still a fairy-tale, and the soul goes directly to the original story. You have to keep that in mind, and keep a part of your mind for believing in magic.

Positives and Negatives :: Unless you have had a highly uninteresting and ridiculous childhood, you are going to love this movie. Yes, Cinderella is also nostalgia, and you have to repsect your own past without which you are nothing – remember and admire those tales which shaped your early lives. It is a fairy tale and if you want Cinderella to be too much like a modern age character, go and stick to your limited list of movies – but let me tell you; this is the best portrayal of Cinderella ever. Yes, the fairy godmother needed more screen-time and polishing, and there could have been a little more of interactions between Cinderella, sisters and the step-mother added. But then you see the costumes, especially that of Cinderella going for her moment with the prince – it is stunning, and how good Lilly James looks in the same makes one wonder if Cinderella is indeed real.

Performers of the soul :: Lily James is stunning as Cinderella, and it is like she beautifully carves herself into the character. There is the scene when she is magically dressed in that stunningly beautiful blue dress, and you need to think of nobody else as the titular character. Then there is her again in another blue dress, this time a normal one by the end – here she is the happy young girl and she looks amazing there. She completely takes over all those emotional moments, whether it is of sadness, joy, hopelessness, love or sympathy, and it is a blessing for the audience to see her as Cinderella on the big screen. Then there is Cate Blanchett with a believable step-mother role which she does to perfection, and the two sisters are also very good here. Richard Madden is a fine Prince Charming and Helena Bonham Carter needed to be there for more, but is fine when she is there, and the narration is interesting.

Soul exploration :: Selflessness, sympathy, forgiveness and simplicity which Cinderella displays in this movie are something rarely seen in this world. The tale once again tells the story of the protagonist who is mistreated, rising above the limitations. No, this is not a story of one girl, but of a large number of men and women who are mistreated because of any reason. Prince Charming is just a symbol of glory in attainment; it could have been anybody else, like Princess Beautiful or any other thing which can be personified into something else. But the fact remains that the movie brings that idea to us only by polishing this movie and keeping the soul of this fairy tale alive. It could have gone darker like in Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Maleficent and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, but chooses to keep the soul the same, and still make that great impact. And yes, do believe in some good magic.

How it finishes :: Along with all those things for which you admire Disney, add this one to that list. There was also a short animation movie called Frozen Fever which worked like a little sequel to Frozen – it was shown before this movie, and there were no usual trailers. As it comes with Cinderella, Anna and Elsa makes things perfect with the birthday pary of the former. “Making Today a Perfect Day” is not “Let it Go”, but it is still so much fun with out favourite characters right there on the screen. Disney never ceases to bring more and more magic to us, right? This was such a nice pleasant surprise for the audience and everyone seemed to love it. You can add Cinderella to your list of best Disney movies without much thinking twice about it. The fact that it still stays at the theatres even after two big Malayalam movies released, points to the truth that it is special. Courage and kindness – take these two things home from Cinderella.

Release date: 20th March 2015 (India); 13th March 2015 (US)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Ben Chaplin, Sophie McShera, Hayley Atwell, Helena Bonham Carter

cinderella

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chappie

chappie (2)

Vampire Owl :: I thought you were going to watch Cinderella.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but then Chappie was there and that show started earlier by ten minutes.

Vampire Owl :: That name actually makes me depressed.

Vampire Bat :: It happens when you say that in Malayalam.

Vampire Owl :: Do you know that India actually lost against Australia?

Vampire Bat :: Did they? I thought some extra-efficient online Keralites once again saved India by abusing Mitchell Johnson and the Australian Cricket Team.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, just like Maria Sharapova lost to Serena Williams and the Pakistan Hockey Team played bad after the abuse by Keralites.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, everybody losses to Serena Williams. It is quite natural. And Asia is not a hockey powerhouse anymore.

Vampire Owl :: Damn! The cent percent literacy is wasted.

Vampire Bat :: Cent percent literacy! It is the literacy for abuse!

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: As the South African police at Johannesburg a group of advanced robots from weapons and ammunition manufacturer called Tetravaal, the crime rates are brought to a new low, and as expected the criminals and their bosses are concerned. The inventor is Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) who seems to be getting most of the appreciation much to the dismay of another engineer, Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman) who wishes to send his own robot model named Moose into operation. But as it is very costly and is highly equipped with too much firepower needing full human control, it is rejected until further notice. But when our inventor creates an artificial intelligence which is rather too human, things take a twist, and things are no longer in his control. A group of criminals also decide to take control of a robot.

The defence of Chappie :: There are some good ideas running through this movie, and it becomes evident right after the first few minutes of Chappie. The robot instantly becomes interesting even with the scope for improvement always there. There are lots of action sequences in the movie, and there is a certain amount of emotional strength whenever a different kind of thing comes to existence and tries to cope with the world around, which works in this one too. There are thoughts left behind, and there is the social message which we can take home, even though it rarely becomes the big thing in this movie. There are surely some good performances to support this one.

The Claws of Flaw :: Chappie doesn’t really use its strengths to its advantage, and has problems with dealing with its central ideas – not really there in making them work completely and bringing things to the right finish. Instead, the movie is too addicted to consciousness, a lot more than Transcendence did, and it is like one can never die as the same keeps getting transferred from one body to the other. The character of our dear robot never really gets to display the awesomeness, and the criminal characters are not really up-to the mark either. Along with reminding us of Transcendence, this one has its own Robocop elements to add to the same. It is a big surprise that still this couldn’t better than what it really is.

Performers of the soul :: Sharlto Copley gives voice to biggest performer of the movie, which is the one robot with its name as the film title. He was there in the same director’s District 9, Elysium and now this one – here in the non-human form for the first time. Hugh Jackman is good, but in a different avatar, and doesn’t impress at all times – still, makes a fine villain. Dev Patel is so natural in this movie, and as he plays the second most significant character in the movie after our own protagonist robot, does very well. This role seemed to suit him so well, and he manages it with ease. Yolandi Visser was nice in a special avatar, and Sigourney Weaver leaves no impact in her less significant role.

Soul exploration :: Chappie does focus so much on the soul elements. There seems to be questions asked, but none of them are direct, and the answers are never really there. There is the talk about making the robot which is more like a human, and also the transfer of human consciousness to robots as well as the consciousness of one robot to the other – they seems to get things working all of a sudden and keep doing the same without fail. The idea of the robot consciousness developing from nothing to a new thing is interesting, but one has to wonder if that was given enough significance in the right manner and was portrayed with enough attention to the details. It is like they speeded up a few things to reach the desired end, which is not what the viewers really wanted.

How it finishes :: Chappie doesn’t finish that strong as expected, and it leaves me with the thought that may be Cinderella or Focus might have been a better choice. They are still running though, and the choice stays. As the maker of District 9 and Elysium, this is another step downward for the director, Neill Blomkamp – it is also evident in the opinion of the critics. In the movie poster, they label Chappie as humanity’s last hope, but that makes one wonder if that really matches the movie. No, this robot is not really humanity’s last hope; there is no point at which he proves to be that unless you take a few characters as “the world” – yes, there are things that he can do, but in his absence, may be things would have just gone on and on. You can watch this one for the ideas, and not for many other things.

Release date: 20th March 2015 (India); 6th March 2015 (US)
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, Watkin Tudor Jones, Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Brandon Auret, Anderson Cooper

chappie

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Insurgent

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A Flashback to Divergent :: I have noticed a number of people in the theatre being clueless about this, and therefore, lets take a flashback ride to the first movie. You can choose to skip this paragraph if you needn’t. In Divergent, within a future post-apocalyptic world of dysopian nature, the known human society is divided into five different factions according to the qualities of each person: they are Dauntless (the brave), Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest) and Erudite (the intelligent). There are tests done for the same and those who don’t fit into the factions or the Divergents are left with no part in the society. But one young lady called Beatrice Prior will join Dauntless despite being a Divergent, and will go on to stop the faction Erudite and its leader Jeanine Matthews’ attempt to take over as the leader of them all.

What is it about? :: Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) continues her hunt for power, as she finds an artifact box with the symbols of all factions. She needs to open it as the box is believed to have a message from the founders of the city, and she hopes that it can solve the problems of the Divergents restoring the remaining factions with her as the leader. But only a strong Divergent can open it as the procedure involves going through the simulation which includes the challenges of all the factions. Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller), and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) are on the run, but Jeanine’s team reaches them – they separate as Tris and Four leave for Candor after going through the Factionless which is lead by Four’s mother Evelyn Johnson-Eaton (Naomi Watts). But things surely seem to be heading for a war.

The defence of The Divergent Series: Insurgent :: The idea has already been set, and so Insurgent has it easy to work with. The detail of the environment is very good, and it is good to watch he dystopian world in 3D. The special effects never cease to catch our attention in this movie. The action sequences remain interesting, and the audience only end up asking for more of the same. The idea of being Divergent is taken to another level, and there is twist at the ending which leaves us hoping for more in the sequel – hope the next movie delivers a lot more. The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1 will get released next year and The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 2 in 2017, and lets hope that this works very well as there seems to be something big coming, as the impression has been made.

The Claws of Flaw :: Insurgent is a step backward from Divergent, and it is not divergent in its treatment of the subject. It doesn’t go on to establish itself as a special dystopian movie as we had expected with the ending of the first movie. The first one had established the world, but this one actually has almost nothing related to a dystopia which is provided directly and we are left to pick up a few things here and there. The message is not that powerful here with the divergence and the society. Instead, this movie tries to hold on to predictability and last minute escapes. The movie should have dared to go outside what it has established and could have brought more here. Instead, the movie manages to go on and on with the idea that we already have. There is no real attempt to change the society in a big way other than trying to bring the dictator down. Divergents are also just declared special!

Performers of the soul :: It can be safely said that it is Shailene Woodley who saves this movie from going further down its level. She has given her best here, carrying this movie forward as the Divergent protagonist. She has only made things better here, and she is the one who provides this movie with any opportunity to match up-to its predecessor even though Insurgent doesn’t end up doing so. Among the new additions to the movie, Naomi Watts stays ahead of the others, as is very much convincing and interesting. Theo James just manages to be okay playing the support. Ansel Elgort has a forgettable outing there as the strange brother character. Kate Winslet manages to be just an okay villain while Miles Teller is very good here.

Soul exploration :: Just like its predecessor, this movie also focuses on what it takes to be different or divergent, and focuses on the journey that occurs due to not agreeing to the norms of the society. In a world where moving away from the accepted norms of the society is a crime, one heroine continues to rise. This divergence leads to revolution and a change of order. Identities change here, and being smart comes with the extreme desire to rule over the others, which the intelligent faction in the movie displays. They are the masters of science and cannot stand someone else who is better than them, just like the Divergents who are good in more than one skill, and from their jealousy, the movie moves forward to the next level.

How it finishes :: The movie is based on the book of the same name, which is the second book in the much talked about Divergent trilogy written by Veronica Roth, even though the fans here seems to be lesser in number. The first one was an interesting movie itself, and the second one nicely follows the path which was set up by its prequel without doing anything special, which makes Divergent the better movie without doubt. This actually became the first Hollywood movie I watched this month, and may be the only one of its kind which I managed to review. Yes, my movie watching adventures have been decreasing, thanks to the censor board banning movies, and some of them not even making all the way here. There are also personal reasons, but I am going to find time for the same here and there as long as the bans and the selections of movies by the theatres make more sense.

Release date: 20th March 2015
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoë Kravitz, Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd, Daniel Dae Kim, Keiynan Lonsdale, Suki Waterhouse, Rosa Salazar, Emjay Anthony, Janet McTeer, Jonny Weston

insurgent

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

NH10

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Vampire Owl :: I heard you were not anywhere close to here, and just a few hours ago, you were watching a movie here?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I was on a trip, but now I am here, and I am back after watching NH10.

Vampire Owl :: I saw the SMS and thought you were travelling through NH10.

Vampire Bat :: You make too many guesses. You even read conclave as con-cave, and delegate as Delhi Gate. You need to think about this seriously.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, we owls find our own meanings and spellings rather than be dominated by any bat community. Do you know what the werewolves are doing these days?

Vampire Bat :: Don’t you think that we are too divided instead of becoming one Night Creature nation?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, the werewolves were the first to invent the Wolfine tapioca chips maker, which is one of the reasons why they think they are a superior community.

Vampire Bat :: First to invent what?

Vampire Owl :: You won’t understand. It is a complete wolf thingy. I am still working on it with the experts.

Vampire Bat :: Can you just go and watch this movie which I recommend?

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: Meera (Anushka Sharma) and Arjun (Neil Bhoopalam) are part of the metropolis and have their lives among the skyscrapers. But after an incident involving a number of unknown men at night, Meera is traumatized and even gets a gun for protection. But as they go on a trip to make up for the trauma, things only get worse. As they stop at a restaurant, a woman asks Meera for help. But she refuses and the unidentified girl and her lover are soon taken away by a group of goons despite Arjun trying to interfere. As they continue on their trip, Arjun notices the car of these people and gets out of the car to follow them hoping to scare them with the gun and thus stop them, despite Meera’s protests. But things change as they witness a case of honour killing, and it is then they are the ones who are hunted, and there might not be enough bullets in the gun for all villains.

The defence of NH10 :: This is like the first full horror slasher movie of India with a message. The movie keeps asking the question if people are actually safe beyond the lands where law has a role to play – are women safe? Does the weak or the less privileged ones, both men and women has a role to play in a society which is becoming more violent and mindless even in a modern world? How long is the list of the modern age subaltern? Is there a certain kind of automatic mindwashing that goes on which makes one hate the other religion or community? Shouldn’t human life be the most valuable thing and not rules or community/religious beliefs? Yes, the questions are endless. What this movie also brings is some violence which mostly stays off the screen, which is actually a nice idea. The thrills are always present and the twists also arrive to make the desired impact. This is also realistic for most of the run-time.

The Claws of Flaw :: The movie’s ending is rather dull, with just some adrenaline rush and everything finishes with the revenge. I did feel that it should have been better thought out and executed in a more interesting manner than quickly going through it. There are also some dumb actions done by the characters, about which I won’t talk much to give too much of the idea out. The songs are ridiculous, and it is totally unnecessary in a movie like this – why would they even think about putting music in between is totally beyond my comprehension, and if those songs were at least good for something, we could have at least be happy to listen to them separately. The darkness doesn’t look that good too, and it could have been better handled with some of the camera shots.

Performers of the soul :: Anushka Sharma manages to come up with a fantastic job and this is the kind of role that I haven’t seen her playing before. She has that scared look on her face for most of the movie, and then there is the anger, frustration and the moment when she knows that she needs to have that revenge – she looks so good. I haven’t watched all her movies, but I find it easy to say that this might be her best performance, and that much is the mark that she leaves on us. Yes, I can’t claim perfection, because there are dumb things that her character does, just like the others – something that the horror slasher movies cannot live without; Hollywood has its horror character doing similar things. She is too good here, and the rest of the characters seem like those of lesser power.

Soul exploration :: The question asked here is about the difference between what is built as an utopia in the cities and the dystopia outside the boundaries of the metropolis, that we see as a universe of development. Are we looking to divide the known world into two, one of development and the other hardly seeing any? I have been thinking about the same during a number of visits that I have made around India – why is the gap too much? Shouldn’t the difference in development be not that much? Shouldn’t we strive to fly high above the differences? And honour killings in this century – it is a strange world, indeed as there is absolutely no honour in killing. Human life should be the most valuable thing of them all. There is no substitute for it; each person has the right to life, no matter how he lives his or her personal life.

How it finishes :: NH10 doesn’t seem to have attracted that many audience here, but that shouldn’t define the quality of this movie. That may be because this was not the kind that they had expected. It has been some time since I watched a movie at the theatre, and tomorrow, it is to be a month since I have reviewed a movie here – I couldn’t let that happen, and so here is the review. This is also the last day on which I can watch this movie because it will change here on Friday and no remains of this movie shall be left here. I would suggest that those who still have this movie at their nearby theatres do give it a try, because it shows that there is promise coming from this year, as we have already watched and were impressed by Baby. It is not flawless, but it is a good and interesting deviation from the regular Bollywood – you don’t get to watch movies like this too often.

Release date: 13th March 2015
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Navdeep Singh
Starring: Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Darshan Kumar, Deepti Naval

nh10

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.