Adios

Vampire Owl: So, there is a goodbye related to this title.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the movie is about the death of a child and the following vengeance.

Vampire Owl: Well, there is nothing that catches the audience better than a revenge tale.

Vampire Bat: I agree to that. They are repeated so many times, and still they are so popular.

Vampire Owl: What is surprising is that some good movies become random tales of revenge as it progresses to the end.

Vampire Bat: Yes, Anjaam Pathiraa showed such a tendency, but Forensic was beyond it, with a psycho killer with no motive other than the murder itself.

Vampire Owl: I have always felt that such tales should be a sub-genre with further divisions following it.

Vampire Bat: I feel that that this setting in Sevilla in Spain is perfect too.

Vampire Owl: Well, I did love that setting in Italy too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the setting of Piranhas. That would be a suitable setting too.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three glasses of pineapple shake].

What is the movie about? :: In a neighbourhood of Sevilla in Spain, there is an area where police, law and order ends up having no power at all. In a newly re-established underworld of drugs and organized crime, Juan Santos (Mario Casas) is a con man gets out of the prison to celebrate the First Communion of Estrella Santos (Paulina Fenoy), their only daughter, with his wife Triana (Natalia de Molina). His uncle Andres Santos (Vicente Romero) and nephew Chico Santos (Mauricio Morales) do come to him on he day of function with a gift, and calls him back to the world of crime, but he is not ready to do that, thinking about his wife and daughter. But on the same day, there is an accident after the party, and after being hit by another car, they are injured, but their daughter dies. The police officers Manuel Santacana (Carlos Bardem) and Eli (Ruth Diaz) who arrives nearby at a murder scene to investigate the killing of four Romanians who were drug traffickers, realizes that the murder is connected to this accident.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Discovering that the car that caused the accident which killed Estrella is the same as that of the killers of those Romanians, Juan meets his mother Maria Santos (Mona Marinez), former Santos’ family mob boss who expelled from the locality by two rival families Fortuna and Taboa. She also seeks vengeance for her grand-daughter, as Andre and Chico also offers their help. A drug addict named Maravilla (Pilar Gomez), tells the cops that it was done by Fortuna family, and even though a strong police force is deployed, the boss Gordo Fortuna (Moreno Borja) escapes from the area. Juan tries running after him, but it is of no use. But there is more than what meets the eye, and the Santos family will not have many chances to regain their lost glory – finding those who were responsible for the death of Estrella Santos, the youngest member of the family, would be a nice start. But, as things go further complicated, there is no hope for them without making friends out of enemies, and vice versa – can Juan be successful in finding the person who caused the death of his only daughter?

The defence of Adios :: There is the early feeling of what is to come, from the beginning itself – the feeling never goes away. The feeling of sadness that runs through this movie is strong, and we feel that not just from the parents of the child meeting accident, but also from the lady police officer who is in charge of the case. The visuals of the city are beautiful, and there are some moments of intensity related to some action and there is suspense with twists to come in the later stages. With the movie not being the usual revenge thriller where the protagonist goes on fighting random people and beating them, this one stays close to a certain amount of realism here. The background music also adds to the charm really well, and there is something about all the music which is played in this movie. With the visuals combining with the same, we have the feeling of being taken to this world, many kilometres away from us, that historical city from where Ferdinand Magellan departed for the first circumnavigation of the Earth – one of the cities of Western Europe which I would visit before most of the others if given a chance.

The claws of flaw :: Adios could have done better with its side of crime, and one wouldn’t doubt that. There is a lot more to explored for sure, as such families of crime are involved. Ruth’s character could have also had an interesting background story, as the need was ascertained during the time when she was talking about kids to the protagonist’s wife, and something was left to be said, as one could observe from that shower scene. The use of another title for the English version was also not needed, as people are well aware of this particular title. It could have simply gone for more action sequences, as the vengeance element was always going to feel the need for more strength. Guns could have been there at all times to bring the power up further. Some parts of the film could have also used some polishing, especially related to the police and the prison, as well as the other gangs which could have unleashed themselves on the streets, which never really get to have the big action out there.

Performers of the soul :: She might not be playing the protagonist in this movie, but Ruth Diaz is the one actress who scores above everyone else, as far as performances are concerned. There is a certain amount of sadness, and melancholic determination in her, which we find early enough – she feels like a beautifully crafted, complicated character with a long past of suffering whenever we look at her. Her expressions nicely support the same, and it seems that her looks also support the same. Natalia de Molina’s suffering is rather easily visible to the outward eye, and it is the kind that we know about, and she goes through that with the character really well. She plays the wife and mother in a believable manner too. Mario Casas plays the main character well, and we know that he is fit for this from the first moments than anything else. He displays the anger mixed with sadness quite well. Mona Martinez who plays the mother figure for the mob family is as solid as one can get. Vicente Romero and Mauricio Morales who play the other family members also support well here.

How it finishes :: Adios finishes well, and in the end, we are glad to have watched another version of a tale of vengeance. This would add to the entertaining during the time of Corona virus lock-down with ease. There is a certain amount of realism in the way this movie progresses, and as it doesn’t unleash a father-figure in unrealistic ways like we had seen in the Malayalam movie, The Great Father and many others from films in different languages, this one surely is a welcome flick. I would hope for more of similar movies which keep the momentum going without losing the realistic side. I would also love to keep such lovely music going on in the background. Let us hope that sooner or later, with the COVID-19 coming down at a later stage, we can have things to be better for the people related to the cinema industry who are suffering at this stage, and also the people who are running the theatres or working there. Let us hope for the best in the month of July.

Release date: 22nd November 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Paco Cabezas
Starring: Mario Casas, Natalia de Molina, Ruth Diaz, Mona Martínez, Carlos Bardem, Vicente Romero, Paulina Fenoy, Mauricio Morales, Sebastian Haro, Pilar Gomez, Mariola Fuentes, Consuelo Trujillo, Pablo Gomez-Pando, Carlos Cabra, Juan Carlos Villanueva, Moreno Borja

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Breakdown Forest

Vampire Owl: I see that we have another German movie here after Kidnapping Stella.

Vampire Bat: Well, good German movies have been hard to find from here.

Vampire Owl: You have found so many of such movies so far. You can find more.

Vampire Bat: Finding and watching such movies has been a programme of the COVID-19 lock-down, and it has been tiring.

Vampire Owl: We are not supposed to be tired as far as movies are concerned.

Vampire Bat: Well, you just can’t decide when to get tired.

Vampire Owl: Vampires don’t get tired that easily, especially the chosen ones like us.

Vampire Bat: It is fate. People used to believe that vampires don’t get infected with the Corona Virus, but that has been proven wrong.

Vampire Owl: That was just some random bat virus which was not named.

Vampire Bat: Well, you never know that!

[Gets a vanilla cake and three glasses of mango shake].

What is the movie about? :: A police officer Leon Kamarowski (Bartholomaaus Kowalski) wakes up to find himself alone and vulnerable in a dense forest, and despite making different attempts, is unable to find out where he is, and how he landed there. He meets another person very soon, and he is also suffering from the same situation. Soon, they are captured by a group of people, and they are also trying to figure out what has been happening around there, as there are many other people who have been forced to be there like them, with no clue how they got there. It seems that there is a plan to create an almost invincible superman from the genes of these people who have gathered in the forest, and someone is watching them. There is a pure racist ideology behind all of these, as they consider a number of people there to be subhumans with no hope or rights. There is also the presence of some unknown military out there, seemingly trying to make an example out of them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, people also pay to be in the forest to hunt down these people for entertainment. Samira Ribbeck (Micaela Schafer) who is part of the powerful Ribbeck family responsible for putting people into this situation, is also waiting for her chance. Sajoscha Petrosevitsch (Patrick Roy Beckert), an assassin also wakes up at another part of the forest, and comes up against different people who have no idea why they are there or where they are. Claude-Germar Wischnewski (Curd Berger) who leads a group of survivors tries to make sure that all of them survives, and finds a way out of the forest. But with so many strong and influential people around, the question remains if there is a chance for them to defeat the forces and find the path that leads outside. The people in control are sure that death is the only way out, and it has been proven before many times. So, is there a real chance for any of these people out there?

The defence of Breakdown Forest :: The idea of Breakdown Forest is established very strongly in the early stages, and it only gets even further strong in the later stages. We have an idea behind all of these, and there is danger prevailing at all times. It makes us wonder about how far a racist ideology based on the Nazi thoughts from the Second World War can go, even though more than seventy five years have passed since the suicide of Hitler and the surrender of the Nazi German Empire. The action also takes over pretty quickly, especially with the shooting and all. The setting helps the case really well too. Some of the one-liners are there to stay, and so is are some of those violent, bloody moments. It also gives us the feeling of a video game at times, as people with guns are left in a forest to be hunted by others. This is why Breakdown Forest can surely have a sequel – something which focuses on its ideology even more and finishes this forest practice of the movie without giving a chance for returning.

The claws of flaw :: Breakdown Forest is not a movie which keeps a high level at all stages. It has an interesting idea behind it, even though not a new one as we look back at many movies including the historical as well as the superhero stuff. The movie could have developed same in a better way. There is so much to talk about regarding the film’s path forward, but it never really focuses on the same, and instead chooses to go on without that innovation which was there to be taken. The characters are also not focused well enough. There are moments when we feel that this is when the movie gets to a higher level, but that doesn’t happen, and it stays where it has always been. This experience in the forest could have surely been terrifying, and we wanted some ideological horror and bloody sequences with heavy action sequences, but the flick chooses to stay usual.

Performers of the soul :: The movie doesn’t focus on its characters enough, especially when we were expecting the same. Most of the characters seemingly played by some actors and actresses who would be able to make a bigger impact on other day, goes away too easily and too quickly. The fire that seemed to be ready for them is just not there. Bartholomaaus Kowalski and Claude-Oliver Rudolph are pretty good in leading the way here, and you see that they are capable of doing the same in so many occasions. Micaela Schafer was the one who was supposed to bring the grand twist, but she doesn’t really get any of the action as she is killed soon enough – the character was supposed to be the difference maker, but is done soon, and that is the biggest disappointment in this film. Maybe, the film needs a sequel to explain some of its actions which works against it. The support from the cast is pretty much okay, and there is just some trouble here and there.

How it finishes :: Breakdown Forest is a movie with an idea which stays behind the gunshots and all the action. With such an interesting setting, we are always expecting a lot. One might end up feeling that it doesn’t deliver up to that expectations, still the film manages to be entertaining enough with everything that comes together. During the time of Corona Virus, watching good movies from other languages has been a fashion, and you can also add this film to that list, as it entertains as much as most of the other movies. I would suggest some of the movies in other languages too, as you reading about this particular flick. There are some interesting Romanian, Serbian, Russian, French, Korean, Dutch, Spanish and Chinese movies on this site too, and you might want to take a look at those COVID-19 special films. As you read about those movies, let us hope that this pandemic will also come to an end, and things will go back to us watching all the cinema at the theatres!

Release date: 20th June 2019
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Patrick Roy Beckert
Starring: Bartholomaaus Kowalski, Claude-Oliver Rudolph, Curd Berger, Patrick Roy Beckert, Micaela Schafer, Ralf Richter, Mathieu Carriere, Martin Semmelrogge, Elena Carriere, Philipp Berka, Heiko Bender, Alessandro Alex Ali, Uwe Choroba, Jannik Duren, Askim Ali Erdogan, Uwe Fellensiek, Sandra Schmidt, Jasmina Rode-Kircher

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

15 Minutes of War

Vampire Owl: This is till longer than our last war against the werewolves.

Vampire Bat: That was not a war, but an ideological difference problem.

Vampire Owl: Okay, then what about the war against the zombies?

Vampire Bat: There has never been a direct war with the zombies.

Vampire Owl: You are denying the existence of life-threatening situations.

Vampire Bat: I am only denying its status as something it is not, and not its existence.

Vampire Owl: Okay, what is this particular war about?

Vampire Bat: The movie itself is about a hostage situation and not a war.

Vampire Owl: It seems that nobody got time for a real war.

Vampire Bat: Yes, everybody is busy with the war against the Corona virus which seems to be a long and tiresome process.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: In February 1976 in French controlled Djibouti, a school bus suddenly sees a number of gunmen and is taken hostage. After continuing to drive to the border of Djibouti attempting to cross the Somalian border, only to be stopped just before that, as the border security forces of Djibouti shoots it on the wheels, leading to them to halt just before the border, with the Somalian forces looking on from the other side, ready for anything including a full shootout with their neighbours. A negotiation doesn’t seem to be possible, as they intend to take the bus to the other side of the border. The terrorists won’t show any mercy as they don’t care about the children at all because they are white, and are most probably all French. They would be happy to see some of them dead, and didn’t care if the kids are hungry or not. This creates a crisis on both sides of the border, with each second being important.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Francois Simon (Claudio Dos Santos), the bus driver is asked to inform the military and police that any attempt to come near the bus will lead to the death of the kids. Jane Andersen (Olga Kurylenko), one of the teachers of the students’ class rushed to the scene evading the barricades, and asks the terrorists to let her help the children, as they let her stay on the bus as long as she doesn’t create any trouble there. This becomes a crisis which is to be dealt with extreme care, as the life of children are at stake. Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale a.k.a GIGN, an elite police force from Paris specialized in counter-terrorism and hostage rescue reaches there with the intention of freeing the school bus with zero hostilities among children. They are lead by Andre Gerval (Alban Lenoir) who decides to hide behind the rocks around the bus, and wait for the signal from Paris. But will that be coming in time?

The defence of 15 Minutes of War :: It has to be noted that the movie doesn’t even take fifteen minutes to begin the initiation of action with the school bus abduction happening so early. The situation of the hostages and the terrorists are presented well, and the movie is always in control regarding the same. Saving innocent children from terrorists and criminals never really loss its value in movies, for having little kids in the captivity of cruel, remorseless men with guns is something that has everyone tensed, even those who do not care about the movies of this genre. The location has some nice visuals with the shades of the sand having one green bus in the centre. The action is all nicely done, and the tension has been built really well. The final shooting is something which has us at the edge of the seat, and as there is a large amount of uncertainty in play here, 15 Minutes of War has us hoping for the special skill or at least the miracle or luck to help the kids.

The claws of flaw :: Most of the big action, as said in the title is limited to the last fifteen minutes or rather been ten and fifteen minutes here. The movie doesn’t really rush around here, and there is a certain amount slowness that we can find, as it changes focus towards people outside the bus a little more than expected – it should have kept more within the bus unless there were some plans being made about the possible attack on the bus to kill the terrorists and free the children. There are movies which have dealt with the hostage crisis even better, when we look back further, and they had all focused more on where the hostages were held, and in this case, that was even more needed. Some people can choose to be on the side of the terrorists citing reasons from the past, but anyone who holds children at gunpoint to get what they want can only be pure evil, and someone creating terror on the innocents will be called by one name only.

Performers of the soul :: When the Olga Kurylenko is attached to a title, you feel that it could be an interesting thriller, for the Bond girl from Quantum of Solace has been a name associated with some of the most entertaining titles. From the video game shooters made into cinema like Hitman and Max Payne, to Centurion from the past and Oblivion in the future, both history and science fiction had some fine movies for her. Johnny English Strikes Again had her with the gun in a different way while The Courier had her back to action thrillers. We now await more of interesting titles with her in the lead, like The Translators, Empires of the Deep and The Bay of Silence, all supposed to have their own dosage of thrills. If you go in between, you will see Mara and The Emperor of Paris. So, there is not doubt about her skills in movies like these, and she continues her fine form. Alban Lenoir is the next one to catch our attention, and he is very good here.

How it finishes :: Originally titled L’intervention, the movie makes another fine French war thriller which will catch your attention by keeping the tension going, with a thrilling beginning itself. Well, when you see a school bus with white children in what seems to be an African country, and you have also seen that this is an action movie with a hostage crisis right in the middle – that is a heads up with only a few seconds advantage, as the movie takes you on the bus with the children so well. There has been the absence of movies featuring hostage crisis well enough, and this one does manage to solve that absence up to an extent. This is also among the three movies of Olga Kurylenko which I watched in the recent past, and I have to say that all of these have been eight plus out of ten movies for me, and that would make me consider the leading lady as one safe bet as far as movies are considered, both English and French in language spoken.

Release date: 30th January 2019
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Fred Grivois
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Alban Lenoir, Kevin Layne, Michael Abiteboul, Sebastien Lalanne, David Murgia, Guillaume Labbe, Vincent Perez, Josiane Balasko

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hit-and-Run Squad

Vampire Owl: It is time that we also have our hit-and-run task force here.

Vampire Bat: We, vampires do not use those vehicles running on diesel, petrol or electricity. So why do we need that?

Vampire Owl: We still have a lot of hit-and-run situations.

Vampire Bat: Situations from vampires flying around as bats?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and also those which are gliding from the mountains.

Vampire Bat: Those are not really hit-and-run situations.

Vampire Owl: Someone hit me hard yesterday night and I fell on the ground. I couldn’t even get the vampire insurance. It was such a situation.

Vampire Bat: But, I see that you are okay now, even before twenty four hours passing.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but it was a mid-air collision, and my first one.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that you are going to get used to it.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Eun Si-yeon (Gong Hyo-jin) used to be an elite police officer who wanted to keep hunting for criminals with such enthuiasm which was never seen before in the police department. But due to circumstances, she finds herself relegated to a hit-and-run task force, but that wouldn’t stop her from hunting for those who violated the law with the same energy and fury. Seo Min-jae (Ryu Jun-yeol) who is the youngest of the same task force, has to join with her after they solve they go through their first hit-and-run case, which he solves without following an procedures, as he gathers clues and decipher them in his way, much to the surprise of Eun who has always followed the procedure and exact ruls whenever a crime was involved. Even though hesitant at first due to being forced to be a part of something she considered to be a lesser work, she is soon ready to be involved more in the programmes of the department which works efficiently.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But her real purpose still remains the same, as she remains in the hunt for the race track driver and rich businessman who has a lot to hide, and the city police commissioner is also involved with him in this illegal activities. Being a businessman more and the driver less, the hope lies in finding those clues somewhere around the track, but they are being destroyed quick enough – the next chance for the same is on the speeding roads. Seo is also after him for a hit-and-run case, but Eun is after him for more than just that. As Jung Jae-cheol (Jo Jung-suk) goes on with his usual kind of activities under a cover, can Eun Si-yeon or Seo Min-jae find a way to lock him without having a chance to escape? Being someone who can even threaten the police officers with his influence, is he a man whom they can handle even after trying so hard? What would the police commissioner have to say about this as he is also involved?

The defence of Hit-and-Run Squad :: The movie has some action sequences, with car chases being done well, and there is also some fine emotional sequences as far as Hit-and-Run Squad is concerned. It is kept simple, and good for the families without much of the violence which would have been present in such movies on other day – blood and gore takes the backseat in this Korean movie for a change. Hit-and-Run Squad even has a feel-good factor to add to its qualities, and it is not something that we expect with this kind of a movie. When you are sitting during a lock-down, as the world is struggling to fight against a virus, and you look forward to this particular movie because it is a crime thriller with action, and at the same time, it also makes you feel good. The performances are also up to the mark, not really overdoing it, or trying to bring pure evil characters as in other movies of the genre. This one is surely for the family watch – the police movie for everyone.

The claws of flaw :: Hit-and-Run Squad is fixed on doing the usual, and therefore we have the feeling that all these have been seen before, adding to a certain amount of repetition. It doesn’t add much of the twists and turns in between, and even limits the car chases when there was the opportunities to have them throughout the flick. There were more opportunities, but the movie decides to follow the procedure and do nothing more – when we consider this movie, it stays at the safe zone. When staying in that zone, it brings its own limitations to the picture. There is no innovation added here, and we are sure that the movie could have had more inside. There are some interesting characters who could have been further explored, and the emotions could have also had further depth. We also feel that there are so many ways this movie could have scored more, gaining points at regular intervals, and it chooses not to, as it takes things easy.

Performers of the soul :: Gong Hyo-jin as Eun Si-yeon remains the top performer in this movie, and she certainly looks much younger than she is, going through the determined police officer role in a cool and controlled manner, still remaining tough, maintaining protocol, as well as having a high level of values. Ryu Jun-yeol is on support when we look at him, and he works best in the emotional sequences rather than anything else. Jo Jung-suk plays the one who is being chased by the police, and he has no problems in playing that particular role, maintaining the same level throughout the movie. Yum Jung-ah who plays a senior police officer has even a bigger role to play than it seems to be in the beginning, and she plays the character with more than what meets the eye really well. The same can be said about Jeon Hye-jin, the chief of the hit-and-run task force. Lee Sung-min has a fine role, and a good job done, to add to the performances category here.

How it finishes :: Hit-and-Run Squad is like a usual police movie with most of the ingredients working well, and you might have witnessed similar things before, and enjoyed well enough. It is the usual story of the rich and influential keeping on getting away, and the police officers looking out to do their duty and bring these people to justice. It is also a movie done without much of terror or blood and gore added in part like a crime thriller which we usually see whether it is Korean or Japanese movie. As everything is kept simple, and the movie having certain movement towards drama, the movie becomes an emotional action adventure. If you need to watch a Korean family action thriller without having worried about something inappropriate might come up, this is the film that you need, and it is the movie that has no risk out there for you. Choose to watch Hit-and-Run Squad with family, and we can say that rarely with movies of this type.

Release date: 30th January 2019
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Han Jun-hee
Starring: Gong Hyo-jin, Jo Jung-suk, Ryu Jun-yeol, Yum Jung-ah, Jeon Hye-jin, Son Seok-koo, Lee Sung-min, Kim Go-eun, Lee Hak-joo, Ryu Kyung-soo

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Queen of Spades

Vampire Owl: The Russian movies do come back to us like never before.

Vampire Bat: Well, it took some time for me after watching Battleship Potemkin.

Vampire Owl: That was part of your syllabus, and it was a study rather than anything else.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but it was also one of those old silent-era movies which I liked.

Vampire Owl: We still have Abigail and The Iron Mask among the new ones.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I witness how things have changed so much now.

Vampire Owl: Well, the vampires do not change even as the world does.

Vampire Bat: We are not the products of the world well-known, but that of another world beyond human comprehension.

Vampire Owl: At least, this one is a horror movie, and so different from all the Russian movies which we have watched so far.

Vampire Bat: Well, I do have my willing suspension of disbelief ready and working well.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Olya (Angelina Strechina) and Artyom (Daniil Muravyev-Izotov) while traveling with their mother Tatiana (Violetta Davydovskaya) has an accident, as Tatiana losses her focus on the road because of the two children fighting on the backseat of the car, leading to the car crashing into a river off the bridge. Even though the river had recorded very low temperature during the time, Olya and Artyom do survive the crash, but the former doesn’t like the boy who is her step-brother, because she detests his father, her step-father too. Igor (Valeriy Pankov) takes the kids to a boarding school which had recently opened at a building which had been an abandoned mansion for a long time, dating back to nineteenth century and beyond. He is a teacher there, and also in charge of the welfare of the two children according to the advice of Tatiana’s second husband. The mansion is rather huge and isolated from the rest of the world, and it also has certain areas where the students are strictly prohibited from visiting.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There, Olya rejects the offer to share a room with her brother and chooses to do so with Alisa (Anastasia Talyzina), the supposed-to-be hottest girl in the school and Sonya (Alyona Shvidenkova), the girl who kept eating something or the other all the time. They do get along well, but Artyom doesn’t, and one day, he ventures out at night to the forbidden area, following a figure which seemed like his mother. As Olya, Alisa, Sonya and two of the boys also follow him, as they are lead to a closed door. As soon as they open it, Artyom runs in there, followed by the others, to find a strange chamber which had items from two centuries ago and also elements of some pseudo-science. They remember the ancient legends about Countess Obolenskaya a.k.a. the Queen of Spades (Claudia Boczar) who would grant them a wish, and then she would kill her. They all decide to make a wish, as they didn’t believe the legend.

And what is to follow further in this tale about the Queen of Spades? :: But things are not the same once they made the wish. One of the boys who accompanied them on the day, Kirill (Vladislav Konoplyov) finds his wish granted, much to his shock. His father’s girlfriend is brutally murdered, and after committing the murder, father commits suicide. He had wished for her to die a painful death, and is terrified. Sonya would be the next one to face the terror. But at the same time, Artyom manages to see his mother, and is addicted to the figure he sees in all reflections, whether it is on water or on the mirror. He soon gets a weird doll which the dead countess had. When the students looked in the internet at the original history behind the countess, they realize that she was someone who murdered nineteen children, orphans whose souls also becoming part of the house – she was coming up with some strange occult practices including the sacrifices of the children, and was murdered by the peasants blaming her as a witch. Now, will she come for them all?

The defence of Queen of Spades: Through the Looking Glass :: The atmosphere used by the movie is splendid, and the second only, may be to Crimson Peak, the grand Gothic spectacle from Guillermo del Toro – this one even has a stronger legend in the background too, with a Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory model in the background. We also have a mirror world in there, and we have a creepy one out there, which is very effective in providing another perfect atmosphere, even though there is the certainty of inspiration from other movies which released earlier in different forms while dealing with a similar idea or two. Angelina Strechina is a perfect addition to this horror movie, seemingly establishing her as a possible scream queen in the future. She has the skills to be a part of many more horror movies, and with a better English dubbing, she can do even better. The ending of the movie leaves scope for sequels to come later.

The claws of flaw :: It has to be noted that Queen of Spades: Through the Looking Glass doesn’t use its wonderful atmosphere to its best advantage. The movie could have done even more with such a setting, as there was scope for more terror using the same. If you see whatever is happening around, and the power of the legend, you can hope for more. The kid is also pretty much irritating, and some of it might have to do with the English dubbing – there are moments of scare with which he is involved, but it never reaches the level of The Prodigy ot Orphan, at least as far as spooky children are involved. There are also similarities to movies like Mirrors and The Woman in Black which can come to the mind at times. There could have also been better support from the rest of the cast, and we can also see that the story isn’t told in a way by which it can rise above the creepiness within the movie, and it could have also added some more horrors which are not atmospheric.

How it finishes :: Queen of Spades: Through the Looking Glass is one of those Russian movies which you can watch to be taken into that atmosphere or mystery and horror which is there right from the moment when the students set their foot in the residential school set in an area far away from the towns and cities. Its effect might be reduced for people these days only by that understanding that being isolated is the best thing that can happen during the time of Corona Virus. Almost all the horror movies have that kind of a feeling now, with people wishing that they could be with the ghosts rather than with a virus. These days, the horror movies have been weakened beyond all means. It has been even reflected in the response to the usual horror movies like The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun and others, which could have had better reception and appreciation if release a long time ago. Queen of Spades: Through the Looking Glass also gives that feeling.

Release date: 13th August 2019
Running time: 83 minutes
Directed by: Aleksandr Domogarov Jr
Starring: Angelina Strechina, Daniil Muravyev-Izotov, Claudia Boczar, Valeriy Pankov, Vladislav Konoplyov, Vladimir Kanuhin, Anastasia Talyzina, Alyona Shvidenkova, Darya Belousova, Vladimir Koshevoy, Dmitriy Kulichkov, Tatyana Kuznetsova, Violetta Davydovskaya, Igor Yashanin, Yan Alabushev

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Son

Vampire Owl: And we have another Spanish movie, but this seems different.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this one is from Argentina, and so it is not like the other movies we watched earlier, from Spain.

Vampire Owl: Okay, so just like the one Porutuguese movie on this site is from Brazil and not from Portugal.

Vampire Bat: Yes, people tend to have such confusions when someone is mentioning the language used.

Vampire Owl: So, we are seeing a rise in French, Spanish, Korean and Chinese movies in comparison to the other foreign languages.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and I don’t think that you would be surprised about the Korean ones.

Vampire Owl: It is not surprise, because Korean films have been here for a long time.

Vampire Bat: We haven’t focused on the rest, even though we should have.

Vampire Owl: Well, times have changed, and things can be different.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we can further work on watching more such movies.

[Gets an orange cake and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: Lorenzo (Joaquin Furriel) is a fifty year old Argentinian painter who has been trying to rebuild his life, as he hasn’t been that successful with his career or the personal side, even though there has been no doubt about his talents. Julietta (Martina Gusman), his former student and love interest is now living with his friend Renato (Luciano Caceres), while Lorenzo marries a much younger Sigrid (Heidi Toini), a Norweginian biologist doing research in Argentina, who approaches him for an experiment, and later decide to move in with him. But there is a certain amount of anxiety related to the child going on there, and Lorenzo and Sigrid seem to be going apart. Sigrid who is a biologist, wants to have the baby at home, citing the possible infections in a hosptial, and for the same, she brings a Norwegian mid-wife who assisted in her mother’s delivery a long time ago. The baby is born, but the relationship between its father and mother is strained, and there is something strange going on with both of them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: It turns out that Sigrid doesn’t go out of her room or shows the baby to anyone else. She stay inside with the baby, and she is the pediatrician with the support of the mid-wife, much to the dismay of Lorenzo who doesn’t get to spend any time with the child, even after six months. She doesn’t allow him to take the boy to the hospital which makes him further depressed. When he finally takes the child to the hospital, she files a case of domestic violence, and makes sure that he can’t come near her or the baby. After that, she asks for divorce, and tries to keep him away using anything within the law that gives her the advantage as a woman. Now, the question remains if Lorenzo can finally meet him, because he feels that the boy who is with Sigrid is not their son, but somebody else. Is it the truth or just a feeling that he has? Is there a big mystery surrounding these incidents, or is he just hallucinating, as he is a person with a long history of being an alcoholic?

The defence of The Son :: The movie surely keeps one guessing, and there is a certain amount of skill being displayed here on not letting us know exactly what is happening. We are not sure whose side we should be on, because strangest of things do happen. But there is something about her which is not usual, because it is clear that she is playing the victim card as a woman to blame her husband for fake domestic abuse and everything else. As a biologist, something strange is going on with her, and we are still left in the dark about what is going on – with that, the movie is successful. The film also deals with the possibilities that someone could make use of, as far as laws helping a particular gender, religion, race or any such category is concerned – especially in the name of helping a group which seems to be brought into submission. It also talks about how judgmental people happen to be, as far as some cases are concerned, taking only one side with the help of law. At the same time, we have the suspense and twists in there.

The claws of flaw :: The film does have a certain amount of slow pace associated with it, but it is mostly solved by the short length of the movie. The feeling of danger is also absent in this movie, as we only suspect people being possessive, or having some minute problems, and nothing more. The ending also feels rather incomplete – it leaves too much for the audience to think about, and we feel like we left that movie without watching it completely. The movie could have been closer to horror rather than the other genres, but it doesn’t try to use the horror at all. Even those movies which don’t have any such inclination will try to do that, and this one leaves the idea behind completely. We feel that there is so much more that this movie could have done, as the stage was all set, and there was something in the background trying to take over at all times. There was enough around here to bring a special ingredient into the picture, which is not really there.

Performers of the soul :: Joaquin Furriel’s performance is the one thing that elevates the movie to another level. He looks solid as the painter and the one who is in some kind of problem almost all the time. We can relate to him as he seems to face situations which make no sense for him at all, even though he does leave enough for us to doubt him too – we lie there in between. Heidi Toini is very good as she goes on looking more or less like a psychotic person of science, someone who seems to be in control of everything biological, looking at even doctors as if they are not necessary. Martina Gusman also comes up with some quality performance as she tries to help the main character – the same can be said about Luciano Caceres in a lesser way, as he is not there for that much time in comparison. Then we only have Regina Lamm who speaks only in Norwegian, and we know nothing much about that – maybe someone who knows the language will bring some light into that if required.

How it finishes :: The Son might not be the first Spanish movie on this website, but is certainly the first Argentinian film around here. Despite a certain amount of weirdness associated with this movie, The Son does have enough to keep us guessing, as we wonder what is going on here, at all times. It also reminds us that things are not usually what they seem to be, and when one takes the side of a person who is also supported also by the law in the name of gender, race, religion or anything else, you have to look deep into it because things are not always what they seem to be. As of now, all the Spanish movies which I have watched did leave me with the same feeling. It should have more to do with my choice of movies, but it has been there. After all, the Spanish Football Team is also my favourite international team, and it is also a nation which I have always wanted to visit; you can add that feeling to both Spain and Argentina – maybe, one day, very long after the Corona restrictions, I will.

Release date: 2nd May 2019
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Sebastian Schindel
Starring: Joaquin Furriel, Heidi Toini, Martina Gusman, Luciano Caceres, Regina Lamm

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kidnapping Stella

Vampire Owl: So, these people have made a movie about just one kidnapping?

Vampire Bat: You are saying that one won’t be enough?

Vampire Owl: No, I am saying that it can be like a vampire movie made out of one blood-sucking event, which won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: It is a remake of the 2009 British thriller movie, The Disappearance of Alice Creed.

Vampire Owl: Okay, the one starring Gemma Arterton, the lady vampire from Byzantium.

Vampire Bat: The whole vampire team is indebted to her for the work in that movie.

Vampire Owl: It is my second favourite vampire movie after Interview with the Vampire.

Vampire Bat: If you add Let Me In, it could go to the third spot.

Vampire Owl: Do you realize that you haven’t reviewed a full-length German movie yet?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but there has been a short-film which left enough for us to think about.

[Gets an vancho cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: There is some big preparation going on with the two former convicts named Vic (Clemens Schick) and Tom (Max von der Groeben) getting something ready inside a building, just before they get prepared to commit some crime. Stella (Jella Haase), the only child of a wealthy businessman is their target, as they hope to become rich with the money of her father. This act and the resulting ransom is supposed to make sure that they won’t have to go to work for a long time. For this, they come up with some very careful planning, and leave no chance for them to escape, as they undress her and keeps her in a red tracksuit, blindfold her, tie her to a bed, and keeps her in a soundproof room, with no chance for her to even move more than al ittle. To conceal their identities, the two also wear masks while talking to her. There is a certain amount of risk involved with her knowing their identities, because she is pregnant with Tom’s child, as they were in love some time ago.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Stella tries hard to escape from her bondage, but there is no positive result for those attempts, as far as she is concerned. Tom does have a soft corner for her as he comes to know that she is pregnant only at a later moment when they threaten to cut off one of her fingers in front of the camera, while making a video which is to be shown to her father so that he would finally agree to give the ransom money to them. But the problem here is that during one of those vulnerable moments, she finds out that one of the kidnappers is Tom, and almost manages to overpower him to get hold of the gun. But Tom handles that situation as well as a few others which follow. Soon, Vic starts to have some doubts about Tom and Stella, as he is no longer the person whom he met in the prison – he is not sure if Tom can be trusted either. Now, it is to be seen how the two manage to keep the situation going. Can they get the money, or will the girl end up being dead? What will be the priority for Tom now, as he knows that she is pregnant with his child?

The defence of Kidnapping Stella :: You will notice that Kidnapping Stella, just like The Disappearance of Alice Creed and its earlier remake Reckless, doesn’t waste its time in getting into action. There are a few minutes when nobody talks about anything, and then we are quickly into the action when the girl is kidnapped and tied up without any chance to escape even from the bed where she is tied up. We do not have any subplot to take the focus away from the main thing, and even though there is a possibility of some flashback, we never really go towards it. You do have some twists, even though not used to the full effectiveness. A kidnapping scenario is also shown without any pretensions, and without showing it as someone who is locked in a random room giving them an easy journey throughout the abduction. The kidnapping programme is quite a solid one, and even though becoming only the third version of the same tale, you have to appreciate them doing this situation well enough here along with maintaining the thrills.

The claws of flaw :: If you have watched The Disappearance of Alice Creed or its Dutch remake, there is nothing much that you can find here to keep you interested, because you have seen all these in more critically appreciated movies, and the performers who have gained better applause not just in one film, but also many others. This movie also doesn’t seem to have gathered that much of an attention or appreciation as those movies which released much earlier. This one is also quite slow at parts, and for a movie which doesn’t have that much of a run-time, it is definitely a strange thing, no matter how you look at it. The movie could have used some more intense moments to make things feel better. As most of the movie is set within a small area, there was scope to bring more. When you have a film with kidnap as the main thing or rather the only thing, you would expect that something else would be there to be taken. There is always the chance for improvement as far as remakes are concerned, but we doubt if that chance was even thought about here.

Performers of the soul :: One cannot deny the fact that this movie misses someone like Gemma Arterton who has been one class actress in different roles, the best of them that we remember being Byzantium, the highly underrated and under-watched vampire movie coming from the director of the highly appreciated Interview with the Vampire. We can only guess that it would have been a fantastic performance. Jella Haase is pretty much okay as the kidnapped girl, but she doesn’t seem to raise that bar that much. The two kidnappers are actually very good though, and Clemens Schick as Vic, the tougher one comes up with a work that will make us attached to the situation here. Max von der Groeben as Tom, the guy who is caught between two sides also have our attention – he wants to do more than one thing, as there is the need to save his former lover and their unborn baby along with getting all that money from her father. There is no other character here, and these three makes the performers list fully.

How it finishes :: The movie originates from The Disappearance of Alice Creed, a 2009 British movie, which also had another remake in the form a Dutch movie named Reckless. From the reviews which we have read about this version here might be the film with the lowest rating, while the other two movies seem to be quite ahead. But for most of us who haven’t watched those two movies because we never really had much of an experience with Dutch movies and as the British movie was released a long time ago, Kidnapping Stella is going to be an interesting experience. There are enough thrills around there, and it surely feels more than the usual hostage movie. Matching The Disappearance of Alice Creed was always going to be a tough task, as it had Gemma Arterton who has been in all kinds of movies with all the glory, a performer who is difficult to match. You are free to watch all the three versions in different European languages and decide the best for yourself if you feel the need to disagree. Otherwise, you can just enjoy this newer version.

Release date: 12th July 2019
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Thomas Sieben
Starring: Clemens Schick, Jella Haase, Max von der Groeben

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Extreme Job

Vampire Owl: So how extreme is this job going to be?

Vampire Bat: This is actually supposed to be a comedy movie.

Vampire Owl: Well, comedy movie can also be extreme.

Vampire Bat: This one has an undercover operation, and so that is possible.

Vampire Owl: We have had some interesting Korean movies.

Vampire Bat: And there will be more, especially when it is Korean.

Vampire Owl: When we began watching these movies during lock-down, we never thought that it could get this far.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that there is more to come with this Corona Virus.

Vampire Owl: As long as there is the guarantee of fun, I am in.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we need a funny side like this movie has, during these terrible times.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: A group of young narcotics department detectives led by Captain Ko (Ryu Seung-Yong) fails a mission which was supposed to be easy. While doing the same, they end up almost killing the person they were supposed to arrest and bring to the police station – along with the same, they also end up causing an accident involving many cars which hit each other. They have one last chance to prove that they are good enough, as they have to do undercover surveillance of an international drug gang which has been gaining in strength. They decide to buy a chicken restaurant just opposite to where the gang stays. But it is not that good a decision, because the place doesn’t have customers, and only the gangs ask for deliveries at times. Captain Ko is determined, but his performance hasn’t been up to the mark, as he gets demoted, and some others get promoted – even those who are much younger and less experienced than him. They feel that it is their last chance.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But the police department hesitates to give them money because the team lead by Ko produces no positive result at all. So, they find a way themselves as Ko takes money from his retirement fund, and pose as a family which wants to run the business. The team which consists of him, Detective Jang (Lee Hanee), Detective Young-ho (Lee Dong-hwi), Detective Ma (Jin Seon-kyu) and Detective Jae-hoon (Gong Myung) are ready to run the business with no customers as they could watch the gangsters and plan their next move. But surprisingly, new customers begin to come into the restaurant, and they keep sending them away in the name of renovation. But they would have to serve at some point, or their cover would be blown. There is not much going on at the place where the gangsters are staying, and with no other way, they decide to cook some chicken so that everyone would accept the fact that they are really running the restaurant. But that would lead a twist of fate they didn’t expect as undercover gets more about it.

The defence of Extreme Job :: The best thing about Extreme Job is its funny side, and it is the first time that I am watching a really funny Korean movie, and the film works really well with its humour – you will notice it at the begining itself, with all those characters bringing the comic side at the start. Even the action which has some martial arts moments, is also nothing less than funny. The silliness with effective humour that this movie shows reminds us of some of the cult classics of our times, the earlier Bollywood flick Andaz Apna Apna and the later Malayalam movie CID Moosa. When we talk about the latter, we also have a similar seemingly incompetent people on an investigation, but they end up solving the case, bringing a surprise – even though, the luck involved here is rather less. The movie also goes through the action quickly, even when nothing much happens around. The chicken-related jokes work really well, as you will see.

The claws of flaw :: With this idea, the movie could have surely done better, not just with the comedy, but also with the mission, with some fine sequences of action added in between. We have those moments when the movie seems to run out of its ideas, and it has to come up again with some else to keep it going. The final few moments go in a rather predictable manner, and it is the usual fight that ends everything. There is also no doubt about the fact that it could have been funnier, and more of comic situations could have added related to chicken, restaurant and cooking. Some of the moments in between could have had more of a flavour of comedy too, and a funny coating could have been better at some points. Some more of the city could have also been added here, and we are seing more scope here. It could have also been shorter, because there is not that much material in here to add to such a length. We are never really short of ideas, right?

Performers of the soul :: The cast chosen to play the misfit police officers is really nice. Ryu Seung-ryong leads the way in this movie with the comedy as well as a certain emotional side to go with it. He has many fine moments with his co-workers, and there some with his wife too, which are also funny. Lee Hanee manages to be the funniest around there too, as some of her expressions are just too good. The way she looks at people also adds it to that funny side. There is the love-hate relationship between her and the fellow detective played by Jin Seon-kyu, and it is really good – latter has some very funny moments added in the last few moments of the film. Lee Dong-hwi and Gong Myung very much supportive too, and we see them all coming up with some very interesting moments in the last few moments of the movie. From Kim Eui-sung who plays the Police Superintendent to Kim Ji-young who plays the chief’s wife, there is a lot of good work being done here by the supporting cast which doesn’t go unnoticed.

How it finishes :: Extreme Job makes an interesting comedy action thriller, and the kind that leaves us with a pretty good mixture of everything. It is no wonder that it is the second most viewed film in South Korean history, as it provides that kind of a feeling – it is never serious, but we love the characters in it seriously. During the days of COVID, it is the kind of movie that we can watch for some extra amount of fun. The movie once again proves that you can look forward to South Korea for all kinds of movies, even though we often consider some genres to be special coming from the Korean side. If I look back at the first two Korean movies which I reviewed, they are Train to Busan and The Wailing. Those have been the movies from South Korea which we were watching – then there was Old Boy long ago, and you know what were looking for from South Korean movies, and it is an interesting thing that there is more than that for us.

Release date: 23rd January 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Lee Byeong-heon
Starring: Ryu Seung-ryong, Lee Hanee, Jin Seon-kyu, Lee Dong-hwi, Gong Myung, Shin Ha-kyun, Oh Jung-se, Kim Eui-sung, Song Young-kyu, Heo Joon-su, Kim Ji-young, Kim Jong-soo, Yang Hyun-min

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sibyl

Vampire Owl: I have heard that name before, and not just once.

Vampire Bat: Yes, if you go back in history, sibyls were oracles in Ancient Greece.

Vampire Owl: They had prophesied at holy sites of Greece, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, and their prophecies were supposed to be influenced by the gods.

Vampire Owl: I guess that they also lead to the foundation of many great cities.

Vampire Bat: Yes, because they go a long way back, with Heraclitus mentioning them in the 5th century BC itself.

Vampire Owl: Well, when gods speak through these women, you are forced to accept that it is the truth.

Vampire Bat: What they spoke were also collected in Sibylline Books. The Romans had them.

Vampire Owl: I have seen them at other places too, I am sure about it.

Vampire Bat: Michelangelo shows five sibyls in the Sistine Chapel ceiling. There are other similar art works, and has references in the works of Shakespeare. It is to be seen how this relates the movie here or if it is just a name used for the sake of it.

[Gets an marble cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A popular psychotherapist Sibyl (Virginie Efira) decides to quit her job and become a famous writer as she always wanted to. Her job no longer interested her, and work satisfaction gets to zero despite her patients feeling otherwise, not being able to continue without her expertise in their lives. As Sibyl begins to turn away patients, she has a lot of time, but no inspiration, reaching the writer’s block earlier than she had expected. It is why when she gets a call from Margot (Adele Exarchopoulos), a young new actress caught in a dramatic affair with a popular actor, Igor (Gaspard Ulliel) in the same movie, who is living with the film’s director Mikaela Sanders (Sandra Huller). This seems to be a complicated enough tale for a story as far as Sibyl is concerned, just like the newspapers finding entertainment from the lives of these celebrities who make news from the dress they wear, places they visit, food they eat and the people they meet.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The celebrity life becomes something special for the new writer, as far as entertainment is concerned, as she asks Margot about the minute details of their life, and records them using her mobile phone’s sound recorder to listen to the same later. Becoming further interested and immersed in Margot’s life, Sibyl begins to use Margot’s life as the main source material for her novel, finally seeming to get the inspiration and ideas that she always wanted, and at times, it also reflects moments from her own life. But where will that lead her, Igor and Margot, as Sibyl also has a one night stand with Igor while trying to help them to focus on the film instead of being uncomfortable with each other? None of them are really happy as they try to move to the end of shooting schedule because the film has already been delayed enough for different reasons. Now one has to wonder if it is the movie or the novel that completes first, whether it is the releasing or publishing that will bring the people earlier – Sibyl and Mikaela would definitely want things to speed up.

The defence of Sibyl :: Here we have a complex movie which has elements that go deep into a person’s eventful mind. The main character, even though specialized in dealing with such minds, is not a strong enough person in herself. As the complicated psychologist, the confused writer, the lustful lover and the struggling mother, all of these going safe with the leading lady who plays the main character, the only thing that the movie and the rest of the characters need to do is to follow her. She has easily risen above the level of the whole movie itself, as she is as much natural as she is a complex personality. There are questions about relationships and professional life, as well as love and career, as people struggle to keep both going in the same pace. There are a few dramatic, emotional and romantic moments which stand apart, and we have other moments which come as a mixture of different feelings. The visuals of France are very good as expected.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about the fact that Sibyl does drag right from the beginning. The slow pace comes on to pull it back a little bit, but we can go past it eventually. The beginning itself was not that great, and the interesting moments takes a little bit extra time to come on the screen. Adele Exarchopoulos who was part of Blue Is the Warmest Colour is also not used well enough in this movie, and she deserved a role close enough to having a similar interest as the main character here. The twenty six year old actress earned such international attention and critical appreciation for that role, that being in a drama movie like this one, she could achieve even more. Adele is indeed that kind of a performer, and she is forced into the shadow of the main character here. The film could have also had some more action in between, and we are left with needing even more.

Performers of the soul :: It is Virginie Efira’s performance that elevates this movie to another level, and we can be only glad that we could witness he same, as it has many sides to it – she plays a character having so many sides, and all of them are indeed interesting. The forty three year old actress brings both experience and style into this movie, and it has to be noted that she looks at least ten years younger in this movie, as there is a certain amount of youthful vivacity in her, and this enthusiasm catches our attention more than anything else. Playing a complicated character like this required quite some skills. Adele Exarchopoulos is more or less known for Blue Is the Warmest Colour, a movie which has been known for its controversy, but was appreciated more – yet, it has to be noted that she doesn’t have that much of a work to do here while Virginie scores highly with each and every moment she is on the screen. But she remains close to her character, and so does Gaspard Ulliel. The rest are just smaller parts of the movie’s proceedings.

How it finishes :: Unlike the other French movies which I have reviewed on this page, this is one film which provides us with the feeling that it is clearly not American or British – maybe, the French feeling is there throughout it, somewhat the same being already there in Portrait of a Lady on Fire which made us feel the same less because it was more or less historical drama. Sibyl is not the kind of movie that everyone would love to watch with a psychotherapist with a complicated past trying to write a novel in which the characters who are from real-life, and they also have some similar problems. There is also the question about the meaning of life being asked, as many events happen with hope not being the strongest thing. The movie makes an interesting slow journey through the lives of these people, who become more or less like the common people rather than the big complex personalities which they seem to be in the beginning, and the movie comes to a simple end.

Release date: 24th May 2019
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Justine Triet
Starring: Virginie Efira, Adele Exarchopoulos, Sandra Huller, Laure Calamy, Gaspard Ulliel, Niels Schneider, Paul Hamy, Arthur Harari

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Blackout

Vampire Owl: I usually have my own personal blackouts, and here we get one in a movie.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that the movie deals with a more serious issue.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I know that it deals with aliens causing blackouts.

Vampire Bat: Indeed. But there should be more about than what we know.

Vampire Owl: We have known aliens very well, for there is nothing better than Alien.

Vampire Bat: We will always have more than one type of alien.

Vampire Owl: Yes, we will always have predator and the others.

Vampire Bat: There could be millions of types of alien species out there, and the movies come up with only a few.

Vampire Owl: I hope that this one will be an interesting one.

Vampire Bat: Russian movies have been doing something special every time, and so this one might also bring something like that.

[Gets a green apple cake and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: Something has gone seriously wrong with Planet Earth. Nobody is sure about what has happened, but there is a total blackout with all electronic equipment ceasing to work, and the communication with different part of the world is lost, except for a small circle in a part of Russia. All of the world’s major cities have fallen, and the troops which were sent outside the small circle do not usually come back either, and the survivors make the defence of the area strong by upgrading the existing forces and technology, while looking through the areas just outside the borders. But nothing gives them a clue about what has changed the world they knew, and what is happening now. There seems to be some strange forces at work outside, and many suspicions are there, including alien attack, demonic presence, humans with a weapon with they have not known about before, and many others. The religious groups all around the world feel that the end of the world is near.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There are terrifying sights of corpses everywhere, and it doesn’t seem to have stopped with anyone, except for one person whom they see, that manages to run through the bullets without being hit even once. The biggest problem is that they still have no idea what they are dealing with, and what kind of enemy is present on the other side. There is a man whom they see at times, a bald man who keeps covering his face, and seems to have some sinister motives, but disappears too soon for people to find him close enough. Who or what is destroying everything on Earth, seemingly attempting to end all traces of civilization and life? What has happened outside the area which has electricity? How long will the final outpost of mankind and the last hope for humanity survive against all odds? What can stop this unknown enemy who knows everything about the survivors, but nothing is known in return? Is surrendering to fate even an option for the remaining small number of people?

The defence of The Blackout :: The first thing that you notice about this particular movie is that it looks fantastic on the screen, in more than one way. We have a futuristic world with a nicely detailed future city, as well as the weapons being more high-tech than normal. The detailing in all of them are really good too. The background music is really good, and it gives us that feeling of some futuristic danger. The environment is also nicely created, and we have some fine fight scenes, all of them too good. The idea is also working really well, as this one goes beyond the usual style of terror from the paranormal and the supernatural, as Russian movies seem to do that quite often these days. There are lots of fight scenes going on here, and there is one scene which comes in the beginning, as all the soldiers and automated turrets are focusing only on one thing, the darkness – it is one intense sequence, and nothing which comes later in the movie matches that.

The claws of flaw :: The problems that we see with The are a few, one of them surely being its length, as it does have a little stretch in between with moments which were not needed. Then, the ending is also not that good, and we cannot approve of the final moments with the film’s idea of a hero being different from what we understand. The truth is that the characters which they fight in the end has better points to make, and those who pretend to be heroes or heroines have no idea about what is the best for the planet or about how to ensure human survival. We differ in opinion right there, and the female characters are rather forced into action here, and how they change all of a sudden become a little bit strange. There were also many ways in which the movie could have gone forward too. It seemed to be creating a certain amount of mythology involving a higher being, but it is not done in the best possible manner. There is always more to have with an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic movie, as we see the possibilities being endless.

Performers of the soul :: The characters were well established in the beginning, and bringing some fine performances, until in the end, they are everywhere. The two women Lukerya Ilyashenko and Svetlana Ivanova had their characters perfectly defined in the beginning, but as the movie progresses, they become some strange civilians, and in the end, they become not so much of that they were – both actresses are caught by the flaws in characterization. The main male actors Aleksey Chadov and Pyotr Fyodorov also have problems from the same, but they work really well until those last moments. Except for those last few moments, there is nothing much being lost in the acting department, because there is a flow which leads to that ending. Kseniya Kutepova is another solid female around here, as she leads her forces towards the possible victory against the impossible enemy. The non-human entities also have their moments with the performers being good.

How it finishes :: It is nice to be in contact with some Russian movies, which seem to be rising above Hollywood which is more or less depending on the same formula, even though not as much as Bollywood. Among such movies which don’t think about coming up with different ideas, this Russian film does seem to feel the need, and does manage to do things well enough. We all had our experience of lock-down and did hear about quarantine – this one does provide a similar kind of an effect even though for slightly different reasons. A little more care with the ending, and its ideology by the finish, would have surely made this movie very much closer to reaching the highest quality. But until then, The Blackout is there for some entertainment from the future, and it has those edge of the seat moments like some of those self-proclaimed fantastic action movies from Hollywood never really had. I would go for more of movies like this one.

Release date: 21st November 2019
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Egor Baranov
Starring: Elena Lyadova, Svetlana Ivanova, Pyotr Fyodorov, Konstantin Lavronenko, Aleksey Chadov, Kseniya Kutepova, Filipp Avdeev, Ilya Volkov, Artyom Tkachenko, Sergey Godin, Ksenia Kutepova, Anastasiya Venkova, Angelina Strechina, Aleksandr Nedorezov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ashfall

Vampire Owl: Do you know what actually happens when ash falls in a graveyard near the vampire castle?

Vampire Bat: I do not see vampires being related with the ashes.

Vampire Owl: Well, we do rise from the ashes quite often.

Vampire Bat: So, we are soon going to have a Vampire Phoenix?

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t dare to stop a phoenix from becoming a vampire.

Vampire Bat: Do you understand that the ashfall in this movie title refers to a volcano?

Vampire Owl: The last time I heard about a volcano, it was in Bali, Indonesia.

Vampire Bat: This one has Mount Paektu, a real active volcano in Korea.

Vampire Owl: Well, we have been watching Korean movies, and now lets know the volcanoes around there too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, these days, we do tend to get more familiar with the locations in other parts of the world, and not just the United States with the Hollywood movies.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three glasses of vanilla shake].

What is the movie about? :: Mount Paektu, an active volcano in the China–North Korea border, erupts all of a sudden, leading to many earthquakes in the Korean peninsula. It affects both nations in the peninsula severely, leaving not much of the North Korean capital behind in between all the destruction. It had one of the most violent eruptions in the last five thousand years in around 946, and with this one, the volcano seems to bring even more. The highest peak of the Changbai and Baekdudaegan mountain ranges, is supposed to have a certain mythical quality of spiritual significance, but this time it is about survival, as eruption is too close. To prevent the upcoming disaster, Jeon Yoo-kyung (Jeon Hye-jin) plans an operation based on a theory by Professor Kang Bong-rae (Ma Dong-seok), who had studied the volcano with special focus on its possible eruptions. But it is a theory which only has around three and half percent chance of success.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But they decide to go with the mission because there seems to be no other way of saving the Korean peninsula and all those people who are caught in there with nowhere to go, as other nations evacuate only their citizens. At the same time, Jo In-chang (Ha Jung-woo) who was almsot discharged from the army, is assigned to be the leader of a special forces team supposed to complete the mission, even though their elite military support is lost on the way. Lee Joon-pyeong (Lee Byung-hun) who has been part of the Korean People’s Army in North Korea as a spy is asked to help them, even though he is now in the North Korean prison, and needs to be rescued from there. Meanwhile, Jo In-Chang’s pregnant wife Choi Ji-young (Bae Suzy) is left alone in Seoul, and hopes to go with the United States evacuation as part of a deal made by her husband with the South Korean government. But with a nuclear warhead needed to be stolen from North Korea for the mission to succeeed, things are not that easy.

The defence of Ashfall :: There is more than one thing about Ashfall, as we are not just watching a disaster movie with one volcano all prepared to burst and kill most of the people with an earthquake to go with it. There is also a certain amount of international politics being referred to, with North Korea, South Korea, China and the United States of America involved here. Along with the action, we also have a funny side with this movie, as humour which comes in here and there is mostly working. The emotional side is also very strong, and after having some of it in the beginning, it is a touching end to this flick. The characters are all interesting too, as we get to see more of them in an emotional way. The CGI effects are really good especially with volcanic eruption and earthquakes to be displayed here, and we get to see some fine visual effects on the screen. This one is the kind of holiday entertainer which all age of people can watch – a clean one indeed, as it is a suitable flick for everyone, entertaining very well.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have brought more of the volcano into the picture, and it should have been shown as threatening on more occasions, generating fear. We could have had the feeling of terror, and death could have been hanging around there further. There are other moments which could have been cut instead, to shorten the movie further. Sometimes, the comic side comes in when it is not the right to make an entrance, but we forgive that because it ends up being funny enough. Even with some interesting characters making fine impact, we still have some others who are just there for the sake of it, even though we do feel that they are important when it begins. The characters could have surely been smarter, as they are trained so well, and even though they are not the ones who fight in the front-lines, could have better idea about what all have been happening around. You shouldn’t look for a full disaster movie, and if you do, there will be disappointment, as this one is a mixture of different things, and the disaster is mostly in the background.

Performers of the soul :: The cast does a fine job, especially with the dramatic side present here. The performances are good enough to make you care for most of the characters out there, and even without that possible volcanic eruption, the possibility is there. Ha Jung-woo and Lee Byung-hun do make a good combination here, and their scenes together are very good, whether it is related to the action with all the shooting around, or with the comedy, they work really well. The next person who makes the impact is Ma Dong-seok who plays the scientist who comes up with the almost impossible idea, and it is nice work done there. Bae Suzy has some nice emotional moments, but part of it is a little bit overdone, maybe to bring some more humour in there. Jeon Hye-jin also has some solid work being done here, with all the responsibility related to the character too. There are also many others who play characters which come and go, but they are pretty good too.

How it finishes :: Korean movies almost always have something special as they have been proving for long, and this one is no exception. It is nice to see that Russian, Korean and Chinese movies are taking the usual thing shown in Hollywood to another level, in one way or the other. The visual effects is just one the things related to that, as the movie also thinks in a rather divergent way. We know that movies like The Wandering Earth, The Divine Fury and The Blackout have already taken the divergent path with space having another dimension, exorcism having another mode and alien invasion having another style respectively. This movie becomes another reason why Korean movies always needed a release here – such films which families can watch and enjoy a lot will get its own audience here. At some point of time, Korean movies need to be in the multiplexes, and even those movies which don’t win the Oscars.

Release date: 19th December 2019
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Lee Hae-jun, Kim Byung-seo
Starring: Lee Byung-hun, Ha Jung-woo, Ma Dong-seok, Bae Suzy, Jeon Hye-jin

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Influence

Vampire Owl: So, another foreign movie here? There has been so many.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have felt an interest in watching those movies.

Vampire Owl: Are the usual types of movies not in the list anymore?

Vampire Bat: Yes, they are there too. But these need our attention even more because they are having some fine movies without many people knowing.

Vampire Owl: There are some English movies which are less known in this part of the world too, if you can remember them.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but you should realize that we get more supporters these days from locations further away from home.

Vampire Owl: Yes, people are rarely appreciated at their hometown, right?

Vampire Bat: You can say that. I have had that feeling for a long time too.

Vampire Owl: At least we vampires are true brethren supporting each other.

Vampire Bat: Yes, doing a lot better than zombies eating each others’ brains.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Alicia (Manuela Velles) is a nurse who moves from the city to the little town in the north-west of Spain where she used to spend her childhood. She is greeted there by her sister Sarah (Maggie Civantos) who has been taking care of their mother Victoria (Emma Suarez) with the help of a nurse, Anna (Marta Castellote), as the old lady has been in comma for some time now, after having many other diseases earlier. As Alician is a nurse, she could work in the nearby hospital, and also take care of her mother. Alicia is accompanied by her husband Mikel (Alain Hernandez) and their daughter Nora (Claudia Placer) who gets admission in the nearby school. Nora doesn’t have a good time with her new classmates, as everyone considers her to be a weird girl who came from a distant place. Her only friend is Luna (Daniela Rubio) who is an outsider.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Mikel doesn’t manage to get his usual job as an electrician, and works at the port, handling fish. Alicia doesn’t like being back in the old home, because after the death their father, Victoria had been acting strange, and being abusive to them. But these memories are not the only thing hurting her, as there is a strange presence in the house, and it is somehow related her mother and the strange practices she had directly on indirectly related to witchcraft and demon worship. It also turns out that Victoria had written all her property in the name of Nora, much to the dismay of Sarah who used to take care of her mother until then. At the same time Nora begins acting strange, and she also gets to be terribly violent at times, punching another girl in the school repeatedly. Alicia attributes this to the black magic used by Victoria, and feels her mother’s presence even when she is in comma. Now the question remains if she can save her child, husband and sister from certain terrible evil.

The defence of The Influence :: This movie thrives on its setting, which is very good for a horror thriller. The environment provides the feeling of danger being present there at one corner or the other. The visuals are nicely done, and we are easily immersed in this world, even though not that much with the characters. Most of the scary scenes are left to the end, but there are some moments being provided in between, to keep it going. The idea of black magic works pretty well, even though not fully used here. The children with evil inside are nice to watch, and the creepiness depends a lot on them, just like we had in The Prodigy. There is also the presence of some fine imagery including the head of a goat, book on black magic, terrifying artifacts and more. The Influence can have that horror influence on us with what we see on the screen, and it is more or less symbolic as we look at some of them which feels special.

The claws of flaw :: The Influence is a slow moving horror movie, and it doesn’t bring the scares when needed, until everything is reaching the end, and that does lead to a certain drag, which moves on like a curse on this movie – it is solved only by the end. It is the kind of movie which needed a speed booster, and when we feel that it has speeded up, it slows down, and it is a procedure which repeats itself. In between the slowness, it doesn’t being the class in there, or something which would make the slowness enjoyable, maybe with the haunting. The characters are not the kind with whom we are attached that much, and we also wonder about their actions here. The movie had raised the expectations of its viewers, but doesn’t reach there, and instead becomes a horror thriller which deals with the basics that a horror movie might have, that too slowly.

Performers of the soul :: Manuela Velles plays the main character, and she does well, matched only by Maggie Civantos who plays her sister. Both sisters have some good moments together, and the emotional scenes are handled really well by the two actresses here. They take the movie emotionally forward, with Maggie bringing more of the feelings out there, but the one who gets more space is Manuela – she is not that far behind, as you will notice here. Both do prove that they fit into the horror genre well. I don’t know if the Spanish movies have their own scream queens, but it seems that they will not be short of those who are specialized in horror. Claudia Placer who plays the child might be a fine choice for a future run. Daniela Rubio also makes a fine team with her, as the two become fine evil kids in action. Alain Hernandez who plays the husband is okay, while Marta Castellote who plays the nurse needed more screen space. Emma Suarez is also fine with all the evil inside, projected well.

How it finishes :: Originally titled La influencia, this movie does have an impact as a horror thriller which works on a special setting. When entering into the usual horror world of Sinister, The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun and Insidious, and the unusual world of Lights Out, Don’t Breathe, It Follows, A Quiet Place and The Autopsy of Jane Doe, you have to be innovative, or you have to do the best with what you have – The Influence only does the same only upto an extent, and saves its world only in the end. It is the movie that you will want to like, as you enter the house with the protagonists, and you are with them, but in the middle, there is some of that being lost, and in the end, more is being gained. Therefore, it is a movie with its own ups and downs, and you will want to watch this movie as much as any other Hollywood horror movie with the usual stuff. After all, from the movies which I have watched so I far, there is no Spanish horror movie which didn’t have my attention with the setting.

Release date: 11th October 2019
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Denis Rovira van Boekholt
Starring: Manuela Velles, Maggie Civantos, Claudia Placer, Emma Suarez, Alain Hernandez, Daniela Rubio, Ramon Esquinas, Marta Castellote, Mariana Cordero, Felipe Garcia Velez, Sofia Tolina, Berta Sanchez

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Torpedo U-235

Vampire Owl: Do you remember when was the last time we saw a torpedo in a movie?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it was in The Wolf’s Call, a French movie.

Vampire Owl: This one wouldn’t have that one being launched, I guess.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this one seems to show the need to deliver the torpedo.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that this movie is set during the Second World War.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it seems to have fictionalized history well enough.

Vampire Owl: For some reasons, the name of Hitler is coming back at different places.

Vampire Bat: Yes, after all, the Second World War is the event most learned in classes.

Vampire Owl: Well, he is the best known figure of that particular war, isn’t he?

Vampire Bat: Yes, everyone I have seen in the vampire world knows that man.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: The Second World War is at its higher points with Hitler’s power unmatched by anyone else, and during these times, commander Stan (Koen De Bouw) and his weird group of resistance fighters are given the mission to deliver a stolen Nazi submarine filled with atomic uranium, which can be used for weaponization. This amount of uranium, if captured by the Nazis again, could lead to terrible consequences. Therefore, the team would do anything to get it to the United States, while Nazi Germany would do anything to make sure that it doesn’t. The team has to get this boat from Congo, and they are given some time to study about the submarine, the German u-boat, short form for undersea boat. But they have to start the journey too early, because they are discovered by German Destroyer ships from a distance, with information about their mission being leaked. Due to the same, Stan is also forced to take his daughter Nadine (Ella-June Henrard) with them, whom he was planning to leave at a safe place in Congo.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Stan himself has a past with the Nazi death squads, as he had tried to save a few Jews who were running away from Hitler’s Jewish Holocaust, and he had lost his wife and son in the process, left only with Nadine – the girl is in love with Filip (Joren Seldeslachts), another member of the crew, a relationship which Stan doesn’t approve of. The team also has help from a German captain who knows the u-boats in and out, as well as an African man who was left inside the submarine while loading the supplies from outside. These two are to become two important people who would be instrumental in ensuring the team’s survival. During the first and Second World Wars, the u-boats were efficient weapons against enemy naval warships, best used in enforcing blockades. They were not that into direct battles, and attacked merchant convoys bringing supplies from parts of the British Empire, and from the United States to Europe, but in this case, it has to prepare for battles too – can they survive?

The defence of Torpedo: U-235 :: The movie has some nice visuals, not just outside, but also inside the u-boat submarine which has some nice detail, even though not as much as we had seen in The Wolf’s Call. But it is always nice to see one of those older type of submarines both inside and outside. The movie seems to be made in a low budget considering its content, and has done pretty well to rise above those limitations. There are some fine action sequences, most of them involving guns, but there are not too many – we do have torpedo launches too, as we see two submarines going against each other, a submarine against a destroyer, and a submarine against a fighter plane. The feeling of the Second World War and the Nazi terror is maintained throughout the movie – there is a Nazi threat over the head at all times. It is the kind of thing that can keep almost any movie alive. This is the kind of movie which could have another mission with another movie in this franchise with fictionalized World War bravery.

The claws of flaw :: The movie has a little too many dialogues, and often it gets far above the action which happens. The romantic and emotional side of the movie including the girl is rather dull. The romance becomes a rather unnecessary addition which doesn’t seem to have much of the romantic elements, and the emotional side gets rather too weak because of this love story that works in between. The funny side is also not used to its best advantage, and the final moments seem a little bit forced – for some reason, they wanted to save the girl’s life; maybe the shortage of female characters went to far ahead, and for the same, they want to do the impossible defying logic. The film surely could have had a better climax and ending, because so much was established in between, with the scope seemingly reaching a new level. Maybe they felt that there was enough already and didn’t want to try too hard – well, that is true as we look and understand that it has enough to be an action thriller mostly set inside a Nazi submarine with atomic submarine inside it.

Performers of the soul :: Ella-June Henrard plays a character who seems to be there just because they needed a female character in a movie full of men – she doesn’t get to do much until the movie gets towards the end, and most of the time, serves as just a distraction. When such a decision was made, it needed to have better quality with opportunities as well as the performances, and without the first one mentioned, we can’t really have the second one. Maybe they wanted to give her something, and provided her the perfect shot even though she was not really supposed to be part of the team. A Belgian actor Koen De Bouw plays the main character, a Nazi hater with a rough past, and he does very well, while a German actor Thure Riefenstein plays the German u-boat Captain who displays some hope for humanity during a time of terrible crisis and hostility against humanity. Joren Seldeslachts who plays the love interest of the girl is caught in that romantic side, but otherwise it works well for him too. The next one to make an impression is the man from Congo who is left in the submarine as it dives, and he is one force who will be noticed for sure.

How it finishes :: Torpedo: U-235 serves the purpose in having another fictionalized account of war, and it is always better to have this one instead of movies like Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds because this one at least has some control over its history and doesn’t decide to kill Hitler in ridiculous ways. There are similarities which can be found here related to the latter. Our movie here has some fine content, and it has a thrilling adventure which could have been better – it doesn’t use its submarine to that much of an effect like The Wolf’s Call did. But you are not short of entertainment, and there is also a certain amount of humour in store along with the seriousness related to the atomic uranium, and the danger of traveling under water with such scary stuff, along with being chased by powerful German submarines, fighter planes and destroyer ships. When you make a World War II movie well enough as this one, there is entertainment, and we are glad to have the same to go through such edge of the seat moments.

Release date: 23rd October 2019
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Sven Huybrechts
Starring: Koen De Bouw, Thure Riefenstein, Ella-June Henrard, Joren Seldeslachts, Sven De Ridder, Stefan Perceval, Bert Haelvoet, Rudy Mukendi, Gilles De Schryver, Robrecht Vanden Thoren, Vic de Wachter, Martin Semmelrogge, Stefan Weinert

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Balkan Line

Vampire Owl: So, we are travelling further through unexplored territories.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that we should have travelled through these movies much earlier.

Vampire Owl: A Russian and Serbian collaboration is the kind of movie that we needed.

Vampire Bat: We have had a good dose of movies with collaboration already.

Vampire Owl: But, we are never short of having more and more of those.

Vampire Bat: These are all a result of the Corona Virus lock-down though.

Vampire Owl: We always have the chance to watch more movies during times of crisis.

Vampire Bat: It is nice to have some stories set somewhere around the Balkans.

Vampire Owl: There is some history about that place that we need to read about too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, our history texts in this part of the world don’t have enough information about it, and it is quite disappointing.

[Gets an blueberry cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: The events in the movie happen during the Kosovo War which was fought between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanian rebel group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with further air support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the Albanian Army which was there to provide support on ground. The NATO military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had reached a another level during the Kosovo War with their bombing of the country without the approval of United Nations, and in opposition to Russia and China, in the name of humanitarian intervention for Albanians who were forced to move out of their homes. As the disastrous bombing which caused many civilian deaths and mass destruction is almost over, Slatina airfield in Kosovo is taken over by terrorists led by a ruthless Albanian warlord, Smuk (Aleksandar Sreckovic). There is an operation planned by the Russian intelligence to capture the airfield from the terrorists, and a team is formed for the same.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As the Yugoslavian army had retreated following the merciless NATO bombing, the terrorists from Albania had taken over most of Kosovo. The Serbian minority in different parts of Kosovo remains unprotected from these terrorists targeting them, as these criminals plundered, murdered and raped through the area, and the duty of recapturing this particular airfleld came to the Russian intelligence officer Aslan-Bek Evkhoev (Gosha Kutsenko) and a former paratrooper-turned-mercenary Andrey Shatalov (Anton Pampushnyy) with their teams. At the same time time, Jasna Blagojevic (Milena Radulovic) whom Andrey had met and saved earlier from the terrorists who were targeting Christians, especially Russians and Serbians, was also taken as a hostage, and after they take over the airfield, they would have to defend it after being outnumbered heavily. Can they do it at a time of hostility when neither side will dare to stand back, whether it is about showing bravery in war or ruthlessness in genocide?

The defence of The Balkan Line :: It has to be noted that The Balkan Line is a movie with many moments which rise above those scenes from war films which are overrated. The final one hour is a real treat to watch, and the final forty five minutes make a blast like no other. With those action sequences, the movie scores higher than ever, and the last stand in the airport is a glorious one, with almost every soldier catching our attention. There is an act of bravery or brutal strength that will stay. The actors are all perfectly chosen for their roles, and they have given almost everyone something to cheer about. As this seems to have fictionalized moments too, there is no need to think too much about how accurate this is because two sides will always have different tales to tell and can make movies out of them, but what is shown on the screen is excellent work. There is no doubt about the quality of action that we see on the screen, and the thrills are too good with high intensity.

Positives and negatives :: The Balkan Line is a little too long for a movie of the genre, and it does drag in the beginning stages, but it does pick up the pace quite well. This much of a grand finish might not have been expected in the middle stages of the movie. There might be questions about historical accuracy, but as it seems, a lot of this movie is fictionalized, especially the main incident in the end having not much of a historical background. After all, there is always more than one side to history, but we can always come up with tales of heroes, especially those who were not real – but there could be some truth to things in parts. This movie is more or less about the fictionalized fight in the last moments, and that glory can easily take away the rest of its problems. With that, I would say that I am glad to have found this movie, with one of the best entertainment in the final one hour. We are completely into that battle in and around that airfield which is a glorious one indeed.

Performers of the soul :: The movie seems to have a team of Serbian and Russian actors working here, and they manage to do the job fine for a war flick. Among them, Anton Pampushnyy plays the most notable role, as he has those moments which are the most memorable for us, including that incident involving him saving the passengers of a bus after a priest is murdered by the terrorists. He remains solid as his character, and Gosha Kutsenko who is the leader of the gang maintain the same solid structure here. Ravshana Kurkova who plays the sniper of the team makes herself perfectly suitable for the action, and never stays behind, matching up with everyone around. Milena Radulovic who plays the doctor with some special interest in the man who saved her life, is another one to look out for – from witnessing the death of her pregnant patient and moving through hostage situations, there is the feeling of melancholy on her face, which reflects the situation of the world around her quite well. The rest of the case supports well.

How it finishes :: It is always good to watch movies like The Balkan Line because we no longer has NATO or the United States saving the day here, like almost of all alien movies and war movies are concerned. This way, we also get a different perspective of things, even if these are somewhat based on a few incidents during a war which happened some time ago with a fictionalized side. Then there is also the need to watch movies in other languages, and Serbian is also one of them, after watching The Whistlers, a Romanian movie. There seems to be some fine Eastern European movies which one would need to watch, and The Balkan Line is one of them. After all, we also have Novak Djokovic, one of the best on the tennis court, an entertainer who has not many parallels – this movie is also one fine entertainer, and it has moments which will establish itself as one of those interesting war movies, even though not as much as American Sniper and others which have followed the wars with full realism.

Release date: 21st March 2019
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Andrey Volgin
Starring: Anton Pampushnyy, Ravshana Kurkova, Milena Radulovic, Gosha Kutsenko, Miloa Bikovic, Gojko Mitic, Sergey Marin, Nodari Janelidze, Kirill Polukhin, Dmitriy Frid, Svetlana Chuykina, Aleksandar Sreckovic, Miodrag Radonjic, Nikola Randelovic, Roman Kurtsyn

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bodies at Rest

Vampire Owl: Can the bodies be ever at rest as long as the undead are there?

Vampire Bat: We have never been at rest, as far as I know.

Vampire Owl: The castle is witness and proof to that particular statement.

Vampire Bat: I guess that they didn’t have a vampire or zombie to turn them.

Vampire Owl: Even a sorcerer or a witch could do that. Necromancers were actually available for consultation.

Vampire Bat: Even Dr. Frankenstein was available for the bodies.

Vampire Owl: Well, I wouldn’t recommend Mr. Frankenstein to do that again.

Vampire Bat: He is known for that one event involving the creation of life.

Vampire Owl: Yes, he is notorious for the same, and it is not a good sign.

Vampire Bat: Still, he is the one I look forward to, for creating dumb creatures with no teeth, those which walk like zombies.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: A much respected pathologist Chen Jia Hao (Nick Cheung) and his assistant Lynn Qiao (Yang Zi) continue to work late at a public morgue on the evening of Christmas, as people begins to celebrate. Even though it is the time to rejoice, there is not much of a crowd outside due to the thunderstorms occuring outside, and people being advised to stay at home at least for the night, or until a notice comes from the authorities. It is then that three armed criminals come into the morgue, demanding that the doctor and his assistant give them a bullet from the dead body of a girl was shot dead earlier. They beat up the elder security guard known to everyone as Uncle Jin (Shu-liang Ma), and the doctor seems to have been left with no option, with phone cables being cut, mobile phones taken, and nobody left inside the building, as it is Christmas evening with a terrible weather making everyone leave early.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The three men who goes under the names, Santa (Richie Jen), Elf (Carlos Chan) and Rudolph (Jiayi Feng) manages to get a bullet from the doctor, but it turns out that it was not one from their gun. The doctor had managed to trick them into believing that he had taken the bullet out of the girl’s dead body, but he hadn’t. After the criminals leave, he takes the body from her back, and manages to break out of the room where they were locked in, only to be chased by the returning criminals again, as he tries to sneak out of there with his assistant and the injured security guard. But the criminals are quick, and they want to get that bullet to remove any proof, because this case has many implications. Can there be hope for the trio to escape and give the bullet to the police, before the criminals catch up to them? Are there other secrets which are to be revealed as time passes? Will this really be a Christmas night with joy, or is there unlimited terror awaiting them all?

The defence of Bodies at Rest :: The movie does have an interesting premise, with three people being caught in a morgue with three masked killers ready to shoot at them, unless the decide the give away the evidence of a murder – it is the kind of thing that keeps us interesting from the beginning itself. As the movie begins, there is a fine shot of the Chinese city that displays the beauty of modernity at night with the lights, and also showing the severity of nature with thunderstorms coming in strong and seemingly without an end – it is more or less an early reflection of what is to follow, as the thriller unfolds. The action scenes in the movie are all believable, as they fight normally, and both the doctor and his assistant while trying to resist, get themselves on the receiving end of the punches and kicks. There are some twists to be revealed in between, and you are in full support of the two protagonists to make it out, while the three classical Aristotelian unities of place, time and action are maintained, with everything happening in the morgue at a night, focusing on one bullet and dead body, having only minor exception.

The claws of flaw :: Bodies at Rest could have done more, and there is absolutely no doubt about it here – there are enough dead bodies in the morgue to assure that, and there is enough going on inside and outside which could have further contributed to increasing the level of this movie. A morgue is always a place of eerie and fear, and with some dead bodies, the same could have been achieved – even the corpse of the girl doesn’t serve as a reason for adding some terror in here. It would have had many places to hide, and even the morgue could have had secrets to be unveiled. The two protagonists, especially the girl could have found more spaces to escape through, as she is quite small. A better connection between the doctor and the main antagonist could have also been nice. The villains often end up being funny, and that is not too good considering the fact that they are wearing the masks, holding the guns, and are ready to murder anyone to take the bullet out of the dead girl’s body.

Peformers of the soul :: Nick Cheung plays the main character here, the one who qualifies as the protagonist from the first scene itself. He is very good, as we see the doctor handling things so well, and he goes through the character nicely. The man who is ready to take a hit to save the forensic evidence has you supporting him throughout the movie. There is also a flashback about him which is discussed here, and it becomes linked to the criminals who have something more to hide than the case of one bullet inside a young girl. Yang Zi is a lovely addition to this movie, and one has to say that she provides some surprises that we love. It has to be said that she fights incredibly well, as she runs away from the criminals, and she brings kind of an escape attack every time here. The three criminals are played very well, and Richie Jen stands out among them as the leader and the focused one. Carlos Chan and Jiayi Feng supports well enough to keep the team going. Shu-liang Ma who plays the security guard gets less to do, but does it okay.

How it finishes :: Bodies at Rest tries to compete with other thrillers which seem to make something out of an idea which feels great from the beginning itself, and the action is well restricted to a single place during one night with all the focus there. It does succeed in doing that up to an extent, but one is not supposed to expect something like The Autopsy of Jane Doe, for this is not that kind of near-perfect thriller. We do have an urge to watch these kinds of movies, with people locked in a morgue full of dead bodies and criminals hunting them, all being something that catches our attention and interest easily. Even though the reviews haven’t been that kind to this one, this Chinese movie is something that will keep you interested throughout the movie, and even before the attack on the morgue – it has that kind of a perfect setting to begin things. Bodies at Rest is only the fourth full-length Chinese movie I watched, and it was surely worth the one and half hours of run-time.

Release date: 16th August 2019
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Renny Harlin
Starring: Nick Cheung, Richie Jen, Yang Zi, Carlos Chan, Jiayi Feng, Shu-liang Ma

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.