Shang-Chi

Vampire Owl: Let me know when Marvel has actually finished with the superheroes.

Vampire Bat: You do think that it is a possibility?

Vampire Owl: Yes, everything comes to an end, in one way or the other.

Vampire Bat: Not everything. We are immortals, so you should know.

Vampire Owl: Marvel is not immortal. There are no vampires among them.

Vampire Bat: There are vampiric superheroes and villains though.

Vampire Owl: But they are not real, you know.

Vampire Bat: They don’t consider us as real either.

Vampire Owl: Who cares about the evil humans think about?

Vampire Bat: We should care about them as they possess the evil of science, and sooner or later, they will come to get us through that portal on the north.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung) had discovered the mystical power of ten rings which granted immortality and the strength resembling a god. He could have used these powers for the good, but instead had chosen to get richer and even stronger, being left with almost nothing to conquer as he had all nations under his control directly or indirectly, within a few years. Later in the 1990s, he travels to a magical forest, which he also required to be in his control. Therem he is stopped by the guardian of the forest, Ying Li (Fala Chen), who stops him, and the two ends up falling in love. As he is not accepted in the village, the two leaves the village and returns to the city. Back to the present, Xu Shang-Chi a.k.a. Shaun (Simu Liu) has grown up, and is best friends with Katy (Awkwafina), both now living carefree life at San Francisco in the United States. They do valet parking for a living, and Shaun doesn’t want to remember much of his martial arts training of early childhood as things seem to go in a natural way in the city.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, he is attacked by a group of assassins on a bus. The attackers take his pendant, and he does feel that he need to find his sister, Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), and save her. Even though he decides to run away soon, Katy manages to convince him and accompany him on the journey after the awakening on a darker past. As he reaches the place where Xu is staying, she turns out to be a thankless moron of a sister, who forces him into a battle with her, which she cheats to win. She also abandons him to fight on his own, until she finally has a change of heart to become less of a deserter. Now, it seems that it was their father who had sent these people to take the two pendants, which he wants to use for some strange and evil plan. But Xu is that kind of a person who feels that she will build her own empire that rivals her father’s, and Shaun would be caught between the two, not looking forward to goodness in anyway.

And what more is to be added to this world of possible chaos and destruction? :: It doesn’t matter how much they fight, as the father finally returns to take them to their original home, and make his son the grand successor, and the holder of the ten rings. Wenwu who wishes to reunite the family again, uses the pendants to bring to life, a magical map leading to that old, enchanted forest – Ta Lo. He tells them that he feels that he could hear his wife calling from the village where he has been held captive. He intends to make them release her, or he will burn the village to the ground. But the two children don’t really have anything to do with it, and they are locked up in the dungeons. There, they meet a former actor who was imprisoned for impersonating Wenwu. There, they find a possibility for some future plans, as there is a magical creature which can lead them to the magical forest through an easier path, which is a little bit too dangerous though. Can they get there before the evil father does?

The defence of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings :: There is a lot of action around here, as one would expect from a movie like this. The same is nicely supported by the visuals and the special effects contribute very well. The final battle with the dragon is so much full of grandeur. There are also some nice details with the magical world and the fantasy creatures present in the village which has all the most beautiful secrets that we find around on the screen. It is the kind of mythological and magical world which we connect with the medieval model with castles and dungeons like so many of the films from Hollywood have done so far. This is the divergent one in that case, and we never really have enough of this. Well, the world surely needs to be different in each and every case, and that would provide us with the feeling of seeing a different civilization every time with its own attributes in Age of Empires and its sequels, or different magical races in Age of Wonders and its sequels. Nowadays, globalization has brought too many similarities, making landscapes looking so similar to each other.

Positives and negatives :: As this movie is releasing rather late in comparison with the others, one can be sure that there are indeed repetitions which are to be found around here, even though there is a certain flavour added which makes them feel somewhat new. Yet, a little predictability will provide some resistance and won’t go away at all. There is always something about different worlds coming together, and evil trying to get into another realm to capture it – the same has been the idea of so many wonderful video games too. The father-son battle is also a usual thing, and even though repetitive as it is, there is something divergent about it for sure. Simu Liu nicely becomes the fine protagonist that we have all wanted around here, and Awkwafina as well as Meng’er Zhang comes up with some fine support in the process. Tony Leung makes a strong villain too, and he surely has more than what meets the eye. Florian Munteanu as Razor Fist also has his moments, and so do Michelle Yeoh and Fala Chen as the fighter motherly figures.

How it finishes :: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings keeps on moving the Marvel Cinematic Universe straight forward after Infinity War and Endgame provided us with what seemed to be a grand end. There is the feeling of something more magical about this particular movie than any other in the franchise, maybe with the one exception of Doctor Strange, which was all so much of magic and sorcery. You can only enjoy the beauty created by magic around here, instead of the science that has run through Avengers all the time and begged for attention. It is always nice to see magic having the upper hand over science, which has been all about war, death and terror. After all, the Corona virus is also a product of science, and we have failed to stop it completely. The mythology of the Dark Gate and The Great Protector told in this movie also further helps in understanding the terrible nature of humanity, and how the whole world should be a better place without their ambitions and hatred that always prevails.

Release date: 3rd September 2021
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
Starring: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, Tony Leung

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Old

Vampire Owl: I wonder if they are trying to say that Uncle Dracula is old.

Vampire Bat: Everybody knows that he is very old.

Vampire Owl: But nobody ever dares to mention that.

Vampire Bat: Why should they keep mentioning that when it is well-known?

Vampire Owl: There might be vampire apprentices who wish to know.

Vampire Bat: They are have joined as vampire apprentices because they know.

Vampire Owl: They still don’t know enough, do they?

Vampire Bat: Well, you can’t expect them to know that much until they reach the next level.

Vampire Owl: You know that Uncle Dracula is planning to dismiss those partial vampires before reaching the next level, so that he doesn’t have to give them a bigger salary.

Vampire Bat: It is expected from the oldest miser in the realm. His habit goes back by so many centuries and vampire resurrections.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of mint tea].

What is the movie about? :: Guy Cappa (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Prisca Cappa (Vicky Krieps) are going through a situation which makes a divorce on the way. They decide to go on a vacation with their children Maddox Cappa (Thomasin McKenzie and Embeth Davidtz) and Trent Cappa (Alex Wolff and Emun Elliott) for the one last time, and then talk to them about the upcoming separation. Prisca does seem to have a medical condition, but is adamant about the divorce. The family is treated very well at the beach resort which they visit, and the children are really happy to be there, despite having to listen to their parents shouting at each other regularly. The next morning, the manager of the resort invites the family to a beach located further away, where not many people goes. They are taken to the area with a few others, who also join them on the journey. The others are also really happy to be there, as it seems like a really beautiful area, with no rush at all, a world where they could actually do whatever they wanted.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: But the place doesn’t seem to be that serene as they had thought earlier, and earlier told by the van driver (M Night Shyamalan), who is not ready to come to the beach with them, even though the tourists surely need some help. They find a fully naked woman (Alejandra Useche) in the sea, and they soon realize that it is a dead body. Agnes (Kathleen Chalfant), who is oldest member of the group dies, and the children quickly turn into teenagers, making them difficult to recognize even for their parents. Kara (Eliza Scanlen), the smallest among children come up with the biggest surprise. At first, it seems like a problem with the kids, and the old woman seems to be just having those old-age diseases. But it soon seems that everyone there are aging rapidly, like one year in every thirty minutes. They try to get out of there, but ends up having blackouts and waking up where they had started. Almost everyone out there seems to have a medical condition out there. When they have injuries, they quickly heals. The dog out there also dies.

What more would happen in a situation from where there might be no escape? :: Jarin Carmichael (Ken Leung) and Patricia Carmichael (Nikki Amuka-Bird) are from the medical field, but they don’t seem to have any clue about what has been happening. Brendan (Aaron Pierre), a famous rapper is also there, but it seems that he has been there for longer than any of them, and has no clue about what is happening around there. Prisca is revealed to have cancer in her stomach, which also grows very quickly, and it has to be taken out. Charles (Rufus Sewell), a surgeon with schizophrenia is the only person who seems to be qualified enough to save her, but is not in a state which will prove to be helpful to anyone. His wife and Kara’s mother Chrystal (Abbey Lee) has low calcium level and is continuously suffering as she gets older. They think about swimming all the way around the beach, but that seems to be a really difficult task, and a person had already died while swimming.
Climbing the steep hills also seems to be a difficult task, as they are not really the healthy adults required at the stage. Now, is there a way out before all of them will be dying soon enough?

The defence of Old :: M Night Shyamalan always has something different for us, and he seems to choose from such topics or materials which possess such a scope. This seems like a divergent thriller for sure, and has some interesting moments in the form of not just an adventure and struggle for survival, but also as a distant science fiction. As it nicely moves towards what awaits us, we are surely engaged early. The strange incidents at the beach also keeps us guessing, and the characters from different backgrounds nicely adds to the same. Along with the same, the scenery is nothing less than enchanting, and it surely feels like that unexplored beach which we really needs to explore, even if it means that we are all going to get older quickly and die around there. Well, all of those rich celebrities having crores which they need to somewhere might really want to check out this place – after all, they escape nicely from India whenever there is a problem here. In the current situation, being a big film star, cricketer, politician or political businessman is necessary to survive around here, unless you are a government-salaried employee.

Positives and negatives :: The execution cannot be considered as that perfect, as there seems to be some problem with how it has been edited, and regarding how a few things seems to be intentionally left out, but as we see the aging process done so well, there is a lot of smartness involved. Some dialogues also seem to be strange, and a few male characters seem rather unnecessary in comparison to the female characters who come up with something to note throughout the movie’s run. There could have also been something special added around here, as it is a movie set on a strange beach. But none of these seem to matter when we look at the entertainment level of the flick. The best performers here are the children jumping to their teenage – Thomasin McKenzie, Alex Wolff and Eliza Scanlen are the ones we look out for, as they deal with their too quick a jump. Vicky Krieps and Gael Garcia Bernal makes a good couple around here too. Abbey Lee’s work is also notable, as she plays one character who has always been in trouble. In the end, the movie seems to come up with the message that we don’t really have that much time as we think in our lives, and it is always best to do what we need to do as early as possible – instead of gaining regret late.

How it finishes :: M Night Shyamalan seems to be the right kind of director who comes up with the movies which feels so beautifully strange – the last one I remember is The Visit, a movie which remained divergently different in its own way and style. We also remember how well he managed to finish with the two movies of one interesting series, Split and Glass, with some special qualities. This one is based on Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy, which he received as a gift for the Father’s Day a few years ago. Even though most of us do not know that much about the original work, we can be sure that he has managed to recreate the world in his way, as he has done in many other films. Well, if Shyamalan would do a movie on Corona virus pandemic, that would be very special, unlike any other film on the same topic. When we consider the same, we know that this movie surely has something special from his imagination, adding to the original material – as we won’t be reading that one, for now we will just have to think it is so, and enjoy the very interesting adventure here.

Release date: 23rd July 2021
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: M Night Shyamalan
Starring: Vicky Krieps, Gael Garcia Bernal, Abbey Lee, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, Aaron Pierre, Embeth Davidtz, Emun Elliott, Alejandra Useche, M Night Shyamalan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that they want the ghosts dead.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that vampires are not included in the list of ghosts.

Vampire Owl: So, they wish to kill us in some other movie.

Vampire Bat: Still, not as much as they have murdered their own kind.

Vampire Owl: That was not enough for an extinction event though.

Vampire Bat: Humans will be extinct sooner or later.

Vampire Owl: Have you checked all possible extinction events?

Vampire Bat: Yes, humans are part of nine thousand out of ten thousand of them.

Vampire Owl: They do have a fair chance to go extinct then.

Vampire Bat: Yes, good for the world around them, right?

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: It is shown that there is a hunt for a supernatural entity which leads to the death of the man who tried to trap the creature. This leads to his daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) inheriting the farm. As a single mother, she struggles to pay the rent for her apartment. Her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) are not that fond of the happenings around there. The three moves to the house with the farm which is passed on to them. The new town where they live seems to have earthquakes at all times despite having no seismic activity recorded – there is no volcano around, and not even some loud noise in this town where nothing much happens. Trevor is infatuated by Lucky Domingo (Celeste O’Connor) who works at a nearby diner, and seeing a vacancy there, joins the place for work. Meanwhile, Phoebe joins the class of Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), who is there just for the sake of it, and plays movies for the students.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She also meets Podcast (Logan Kim), another student who is interested in science as much as she is. The three becomes infatuated with a device which Phoebe finds at home, and it turns out to be a ghost trap. Gary who has been a fan of the Ghostbusters for a long time, tampers with the trap with the help of his students, releasing one of the spirits that scares them and immediately flies into the nearby closed mine – the locals used to believe that the place was haunted too. Callie and Gary seem to instantly attracted to each other as the three comes to the inherited home in the middle of nowhere to find clues related to ghosts. Meanwhile, Trevor and Lucky on a trip with their friends also come across a spirit which they seem to dismiss as some random smoke coming out of the abandoned mine as part of some natural process. But a word seems to stay stuck with them.

Now, where would the ghosts lead further in this tale? :: Soon, Phoebe discovers a secret laboratory underneath the outhouse on the side of their house, and it seems that there was more to her grandfather than what met the eye of the villagers who called him the dirt farmer who farmed nothing other than dirt. He was doing some special work indeed. It turns out that the ghost of the grandfather is still there, and he hopes that his grandchildren will take over the Ghostbusters procedures. Phoebe seems to be able to enjoy that prospect very much. But will the very young new generation be good enough to come with a new level of ghostbusting while working against all odds? With a new terrifying evil ready to be unleashed, how good can a group of kids leading a team be? With the evil predating everything that they know, how good can modernity work against such evil grandeur of ancient times?

The defence of Ghostbusters: Afterlife :: The movie would be very interesting for those who grew up watching the original movies of the 1980s – seems like some doses of nostalgia being in store here and there. The setting at a town in the middle of nowhere with some nice locations which are even more remote – things one get better from there. The humour works well in here too. The action is big enough, and there is a lot happening in the final stages with the fights going on against the creatures from the other world. The special effects are pretty well done, even though not with every ghost – the final demonic arrival is a sight to be appreciated though, with the background effects also playing some fine roles. Mckenna Grace remains the soul of this movie, and the one child ghostbuster that you are going to remember for long, with moments to remember. Carrie Coon – Paul Rudd moments also bring some unexpected fun. Celeste O’Connor – Finn Wolfhard team is also an enjoyable one around here.

The claws of flaw :: Anything that is specifically intended for the old fans of the franchise which started in the 1980s won’t work for us, as the series didn’t have much of a fan base in this part of the world which was more into those spirits of Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and others. It was also a reason for the reboot making no impact around here. This one which take place more than thirty years after the 1980s works seem to do better, but doesn’t make an impact around here either. Well, with The Conjuring having brought its own methods of hunting spirits, this method would surely seem less effective – this still seems to be twilight times of The Conjuring franchise and that brings some chance for another sequel. There could have also been some deviation from what seems to be less suited moments around here. It could have also been less inclined to be suitable for children, as ghosts have evolved enough during these days. The beginning stages also take some time to get going, thus stretching the movie to something above two hours.

How it finishes :: Ghostbusters: Afterlife works well with its elements, and seem to know the strength to use to the advantage – the same is done in most parts, even though the film doesn’t go on to become the perfect return vehicle for such ghosts of many people’s nostalgia. Not to be confused with Resident Evil: Afterlife, this movie has enough hunting of ghosts to keep us interested. With another sequel, much more can be achieved by this particular franchise, which seems to have enough family-friendly ghosts in action. Well, this is one film with ghosts which can be watched with all kinds of people as audience. One one side, we have The Conjuring, Insidious, Ouija, The Curse of La Llorna, Sinister, The Nun, Annabelle and team, and on the other side we have this one which is not really for the scares, but has its own ghosts to keep the haunting going strong. Well, as much as we need those other films, this one is in requirement too – no doubt about that.

Release date: 19th November 2021
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, Paul Rudd

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Quiet Place II

Vampire Owl: Well, this one is quite a place.

Vampire Bat: They are talking about quiet places only.

Vampire Owl: Well, our castle is quiet enough, especially during day time.

Vampire Bat: There is too much of murmuring in there.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about the intellectual voice transfer.

Vampire Bat: How can you give it such fancy names?

Vampire Owl: It is the name which the vampire elders preferred.

Vampire Bat: The vampire elders are too old to call anything by any name.

Vampire Owl: It is also another Dr Frankenstein approved thing.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein can’t even approve himself as a doctor.

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

What is the movie about? :: Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt), Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) and their children, along with other spectators, witness the arrival of a strange object resembling an asteroid landing on Earth, while attending a little league game. Even though it lands some distance away from them, it scares them due to the size and sound being involved there. People in the town seems to be already in a state of panic. The police seems to be heading there, but already, some strange extraterrestrial creatures are attacking people. As the aliens cause chaos everywhere, the vehicles on the street are out of control, and people look for shelter. It turns out that the creatures are extremely hostile, tearing people into pieces using their extreme speed and strength, while being protected by what seems to be armoured skin. But the creatures are blind, and yet with hypersensitive hearing, would attack anything that makes even the slightest noise. The police seems to be ineffective against them, as their skin can stand the gunshots with ease.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: An year later, the alien creatures have brutally murdered most of the Earth’s population. With her husband dead while trying to protect her, Evelyn tries to survive with her kids, while their Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds)m their dumb and deaf daughter discovers a high-frequency audio feedback which can make the aliens vulnerable, and the same could be transmitted from her implant through a microphone. Her son, Marcus Abbott (Noah Jupe) also hopes to make something out of it, while also searching for a new home. On the way, the group accidentally triggers a sound alarm, alerting the creatures. At the same time, Marcus also steps into a bear trap and screams, thus alerting the creature again. They manage to one creature using the audio device and gun, while escaping from the other. They are taken to a soundproof hideout by one of their old friends, Emmett (Cillian Murphy) who lives in an abandoned steel foundry.

And what more is to follow in a world infested by ruthless alien creatures? :: Emmett had turned cynical and with no hope at all about future after all members of her family died, leaving him to survive for no reason. He feels that the humans who are left are not worth saving at all, even if there is something left. He also asks them leave the very next day, but after hearing the song, “Beyond the Sea” which according to Emmett has been playing continuously for four months, Regan feels that it is a signal which is telling them where to look, and it is on an island. She wants to go to that tower and use her high-frequency signal there, using it as a special weapon against the alien creatures. But it won’t be that easy, as the path in that direction is infested by many creatures, and Regan’s idea of going alone wouldn’t get the support of anyone. Yet, she would leave, and Emmett, with some love left for his old friends, will have to find her. Now, the question remains if her journey is really worth it. What awaits her near the tower? Is it going to work?

The defence of A Quiet Place Part II :: Just like the predecessor, this movie also depends on the same strength of sound effects which the predecessor displayed a few years ago. The alien creatures are also as good as they used to be, maintained the strength yet again. We also have more hope than there used to be. Emily Blunt continues what she was doing in the first film quite well, and she does have the warrior strength which she had displayed in the movies like Edge of Tomorrow and The Huntsman: Winter’s War. There is no loss of determination in her character here too. It is up to Millicent Simmonds and Cillian Murphy to become that characters who further to save the world though, and they are very much effective in doing the same, despite the early doubts put in there. Noah Jupe also joins well with newly found courage and wisdom in the character. Djimon Hounsou plays the man of another lands with authority. John Krasinski appears in the flashback moments, as the director also gets the acting in here again. Scoot McNairy as the leader of bandits could have had more screen space too.

Positives and negatives :: The movie still doesn’t bother to come up with any science fiction explanations about the origins of the creatures – people might have expected that, but they do get a flashback about their arrival with objects from space, which proves that they are indeed from another planet, moon or some interstellar object beyond our understanding. The movie is also in short of dialogues to keep the aliens away, but there is surely more than what we had in the first movie. The strength of the family and the importance of not giving up, also comes into the picture here. There is the idea that there is always hope for humanity, even though one does wonder if the aliens bringing extinction to humanity would have been the right thing to do, considering what mankind has done to their own people as well as the environment around them. Well, we don’t really know what the aliens were up to, as the focus is not on those scientific elements yet again, but we can be sure that there could be a sequel explaining all of these. One more sequel showing the ultimate battle of humanity against the creatures, and we can be done with it.

How it finishes :: The movie nicely continues the world which was left by the first part – the expansion that this world receives is almost as good as the first. Things continue to be kept simple as it used to be, in a post-apocalyptic world infested by ruthless alien creatures. The possibility of terror is always there, and we keep remembering about 10 Cloverfield Lane which dealt with similar creatures, but with not much of the visuals. The idea of the divergent horror movie is maintained here, as it was seen in Malignant, The Witch, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Don’t Breathe, It Follows and Lights Out. A Quiet Place Part II continues a world of divergence which in this case has the aliens bringing all the horror and very less science fiction. These are the movies which keep the horror alive in different patterns, and with noises at the very centre of everything. Even though it is currently on Amazon Prime Video, this is one movie which could have feel better on the big screen, as there is so much of silence and the sudden sound effects that make the big impact – moments which one needs to live through rather than just get hold of.

Release date: 28th May 2021
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou, John Krasinski

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sweet Girl

Vampire Owl: I remember having met a sweet witch.

Vampire Bat: I do not remember any witch being sweet at all.

Vampire Owl: He had some of the sweetest magic potions.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t buy potions without approval of Vampire Senate.

Vampire Owl: I have paid all the taxes along with the price.

Vampire Bat: You will still have to pay the import duty.

Vampire Owl: But we belong to the same realm.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but not the same territory.

Vampire Owl: Now, we are having taxes like humans?

Vampire Bat: It is still very much less in comparison to some of the nations in the world of evil humans.

[Gets a raspberry cake and three cups of orange tea].

What is the movie about? :: Ray Cooper (Jason Momoa) jumps off the top of a building while being chased by the police, and it is followed by a flashback. His wife Amanda Cooper (Adria Arjona) gets really ill with a rare form of cancer. The survival expert, Ray hopes that he can do all that is possible to save her. But it is soon revealed that the life-saving drug called Infirmam was taken off the market due to Bio Prime CEO Simon Keeley (Justin Bartha) paying the manufacturers to delay the production. This also means that there was going to be an indefinite delay, and Amanda doesn’t have that much time. He watches congress woman Diana Morgan (Amy Brenneman) going through a live devate with Simon, and there he seems to be talking about much their company is dedicated to saving lives at less cost, and on how much they have sacrificed in the form of money and time. He makes a call to the live debate, and as Simon doesn’t seem to care that much about bringing the drug back to the market, Ray threatens to kill him if his wife dies because of this negligence.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon enough, Amanda dies, and Ray is left with his daughter Rachel Cooper (Isabela Merced) to go on with the pain and grief. A few months later, Ray gets a call from a journalist Martin Bennett (Nelson Franklin) who claims that he possesses evidence related to the unethical practices and criminal activities on the side of Bio Prime. They meet on a moving train, but a hitman Amo Santos (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) attacks them, killing the journalist and stabbing Ray. Rachel who had followed them also gets knocked out in the process. Even though further investigations reveal nothing about what had happened with Bio Prime or in the train, and with no information about the hitman who attacked them, Ray still continues to track Simon and his company. He manages to sneak into a charity programme and interrogate Simon, only to be attached by the bodyguards whom he manages to kill along with his gaurds. The only other responsible name that he gets is that of the chairman of the same company, Vinod Shah (Raza Jaffrey). FBI Agent Sarah Meeker (Lex Scott Davis) is in charge of the case.

And how far can this go as we keep moving forward? :: Ray and Rachel go on a long ride through less taken roads, trying to get away before the police officers or the assassins get to them. Rachel tries calling Sarah, hoping that she will look into Bio Prime before her father comes up with something terrible again. Sarah is able to get the trust of Rachel like a mother figure. Meanwhile, they are attacked by mercenaries who seems to have found them much to their surprise. Ray fights them and after a small fight, ends up killing them too. At the same time, the same hitman who had attacked them on the train is after them too. Their only option here seems to be to find Vinod and hope that it ends with them. But Santos has other ideas about it, and Vinod knowing anything more than what Simon knew seems not possible at all. How far does all these secrets go? Who might be the last link behind all of these? Will the father and daughter duo survive against what they seem to be completely incapable of handling? Is there a thing like hope for them?

The defence of Sweet Girl :: Jason Momoa is here doing what he does the best, without the superpowers of Aquaman and outside the team of Justice League. Isabela Merced has a point as the daughter figure. She plays a character who is more matured than anyone else of her age, and has her own ideology. This is also one strong character that she can happy that she played. The twist also works like a dream for her, and she rises above everyone else with ease here. She does remind one of Chloe Grace Moretz, like someone who could rise above the senior stars when provided with an opportunity. Then there is Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as the hitman and Amy Brenneman as the congress woman who are all doing what they do the best. The action sequences are all good, and both the father and daughter do their job well. The twist basically comes a shock, even though there were some red herrings here and there – that should work for most people. The movie, just like it begins well, ends without overdoing it, but being mostly satisfactory.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have been quicker here, as there is a lot action to be done. The twist in question here doesn’t seem to be that effective for everyone, as the willing suspension of disbelief might have its problems with how the action sequences have been going on here. It does take a little too much time to get to the twist, which should have been revealed earlier for the audience to adjust to the whole new situation it had created. The loopholes are surely there, especially in the second half of the movie. The movie does seem to be confused about how to respect the genre, and the world it had built earlier. The feeling of half-bakedness does bring some trouble. There was the chance to come up with better dialogues and better emotional moments too – the emotions are there, but with the twist, some emotions feel as if they didn’t exist at all. With that particular twist, it also feels that some of the length of this movie was for no reason, as a number of things didn’t happen as it was shown.

How it finishes :: Sweet Girl is more of less the movie that can go in the path of Hitman, Transporter, John Wick, Mechanic, Accountant, Equalizer, Kate and others while having its main lead going through the impossible to reach the other end. It would require a sequel for that, as it had that twist which changed things a little too much. There will be opinions against this one for sure, as the twist would take away something which the fans would have wanted in the climax, but the film did require something divergent to set a path different from the usual movies dealing with this kind of thing – you can’t just complain for taking the risk and bringing more to ponder about. With lots of action around, a few things can be forgotten, and others can be appreciated – what is to loved and hated might still be different for different types of people. I would be asking people to watch this one without looking at the spoilers and come with your opinion. We are never really less in need of action thriller with a huge mission in hand, right?

Release date: 20th August 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Brian Andrew Mendoza
Starring: Jason Momoa, Isabela Merced, Adria Arjona, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Amy Brenneman, Raza Jaffrey, Justin Bartha, Lex Scott Davis, Michael Raymond-James

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nightmare Alley

Vampire Owl: This could be the name of one of the halls in the castle.

Vampire Bat: There are already enough alleys with nightmares around here.

Vampire Owl: You think that vampires are affected by nightmares.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we just consider them as dreams.

Vampire Owl: Nightmares are just small part of the dreams.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t use the word “nightmare” anymore. It is overused.

Vampire Owl: We are the true nightmares, the living dead ones, right?

Vampire Bat: You feel that the nightmares can be true?

Vampire Owl: Now, you are acting like Dr Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: You mean, like Mr Frankenstein! No, never!

[Gets an aloo paratha and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 1939, and Stanton Carlisle a.k.a. Stan (Bradley Cooper) wanders around different cities of the United States of America, and while going on as a free guy, a drifter, gets a job at a big carnival which seems to have lit up the world of night beautifully. There, he notices a geek show in which he sees a man eating a live chicken. This performance which is also known as freak show, is always about a single man called a geek who chases live chickens and finally has him killing the bird and eating it alive. It was something common among circus and carnival professionals to be part of a troupe that included geeks. The geeks were often heavy alcoholics or drug addicts, and instead of money, liquor was used to pay them for the performance. In this case, the man who was part of the performance is seen to be further deranged than he is supposed to be. While he is working, Stan is told that the geek is now running around within their attraction, and they have to somehow catch him before he ruins the performances.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The geek seems to be hiding in a scary attraction, and attacks Stan, only to be taken down. He is taken into a cage, and he seems to be too violent and mentally disturbed to be fit for any show, seemingly getting close, but being out of death for now. But they keep him locked up with the feeling that people will love to look down on him and forget their own misery. It seems that many people like to enjoy that particular show, and is a major attraction which nobody wishes to miss, even though it is indeed costlier. After helping them to find the geek, Stan is offered a full time job at the carnival instead of that temporary one which was provided to him earlier. He is only happy to be with them as he has nowhere to go anymore. After using their tub, he begins working with the clairvoyant performer known as Madame Zeena, originally Zeena Krumbein (Toni Collette) and her alcoholic husband, Peter Krumbein a.k.a. Pete (David Strathairn). Zeena definitely feels that there is more to him than what meets the eye.

And what more is to follow in this interesting world? :: Mary Margaret Cahill a.k.a. Molly (Rooney Mara) also helps them at times, as Pete often losses control after drinking too much. But Molly also performs as the “Electric Girl Unforgettable”, seemingly taking electricity through her in one of the other star performances. Stan seems to be falling in love with Molly slowly, but steadily. The team of clairvoyance uses gestures, some coded language and certain cold reading tricks to make their work more effective. There are some fine guesses which work out of effectively at times, even though Pete is not fond of her pretending to speak to the dead. Pete shows the methods to Stan too, and he seems to be a very quick learner. Stan understands that the geeks are originally alcoholics whom he has forced to stay with opium-laced alcohol which has been affecting the minds of the geeks terribly. Most of them were affected by the First World War one way or the other. These geeks are nicely taken into the carnival where they become nothing less than slaves due to their addiction gone terribly wrong.

Then you look forward further in this movie, and what awaits us? :: As they are going on with the carnival, Germany has just started the invasion of Poland, setting the beginning of the Second World War. Things still seem to go normal at the carnival, as a new geek takes the place of the previous one who is dead. Stan asks Molly to leave the carnival with him, and start a new grand performance with him, which everyone in the United States of America, and all around the world will remember forever. But she is not ready to leave with him, as she has been a part of this performance and this particular place for quite a long time. Soon, Pete who keeps drinking more and more, finally dies out of alcoholic consumption. It is then that a sheriff comes there and threatens to close the illegal performance which has cruelty to humans and animals, while Molly who performs her act in her undergarments is to be arrested for too much of cleavage and thighs, thus enough indecency to be in the prison. Stan saves her and the whole carnival from the sheriff using the skills he had learned from Pete. As the sheriff leaves, Molly agrees to leave the Carnival with him, but what would the future hold in that case?

The defence and flaws of Nightmare Alley :: The movie has a beautiful world belonging to the past in store for us. Even though slow at times, it is an effective movement forward, which we are all going to enjoy. The time period during the Second World War is beautifully created, and we become a part of it. Even though there is the common idea that this is a psychological thriller, the movie is more of a drama rather than anything else. It might be due to its jumping through the genres that the movie feels slow, and the over all length does feel as a little too much for our liking. It is not the kind of world with which the director, Guillermo del Toro is at full strength – this could be the same reason why the director’s other movies continue to stay a few levels above this one. But the performances from Bradley Cooper and Rooney Mara are too good, and they have us interested here throughout the movie. The others who don’t have a full run in the flick, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette and others also have a fine run when they are around here. The movie also has a fine message running through here about what awaits an over-reacher who find evil to be okay.

How it finishes :: Nightmare Alley does have that feeling of watching the movies of Guillermo del Toro like before. Still, it doesn’t have any haunting creatures like in Crimson Peak or the huge robots fighting giant monsters like in Pacific Rim. This is also no Pan’s Labyrinth or The Shape of Water. The director does take a divergent path with ease, and successfully goes through the whole thing and keeps us engaged in the same. A movie without any supernatural element for him, and he still continues to be the visionary director like nobody else. The movie is based on the novel of the same name written by the American writer William Lindsay Gresham published in 1946, and how well it has taken the spirit of the book will be known only to those who have read the book. The movie was nominated for four Oscar Awards, including the Best Picture, at the 94th Academy Awards held in Los Angeles in March 2022. Well, one would only feel that this is only deserving, as this is a film is a world which is for us to be immersed in, at all times.

Release date: 17th December 2021
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Mary Steenburgen, Ron Perlman, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, David Strathairn

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Matrix: Resurrections

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the first time that we watched The Matrix?

Vampire Bat: Yes, you understood twenty five percent of the movie then.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that I understood more than fifty percentage of it.

Vampire Bat: You still had to read details about the story a hundred times.

Vampire Owl: I don’t remember having read the plot even once.

Vampire Bat: I remember that you did the same for the makers’ other film, Jupiter Ascending.

Vampire Owl: I don’t even remember watching that movie.

Vampire Bat: It was on the same day that you attended Mr Frankenstein‘s Grand Exhibition.

Vampire Owl: Dr Frankenstein has thousands of exhibitions every year.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about that many fake science exhibitions.

[Gets a paneer fried rice and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a game designer and the creator of a very popular video game series called The Matrix, which already had three games in the franchise. The game is based on his memories as Neo, which is not clear, but he does feel that there is a lot in his head which feels real. He is mostly happy with his life, as living as a famous game designer seems like a pretty good option. He keeps coming across a woman named Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) who is a married woman with two kids, and she seems to be based on a main character whom he had designed for the video game, Trinity. He becomes friendly with her, and he likes him, but doesn’t seem to remember him at all, just like he is not sure how she became a part of his game. He struggles to separate his life and these strange memories, and his therapist gives him some strange pills in support. A young lady named Bugs (Jessica Henwick) finds this game simulation which is running an old code in a loop based on the time when Trinity had found Neo. With the help of a programme which has embodied Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in a new form, she starts searching for answers, as Neo was supposed to be dead. Two of them combine the forces looking for Neo and finds him in the end.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The machines sent by Bugs save him, and he is taken to her ship known as the Mnemosyne. He is taken to the new city of the human resistance, where a lot older Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) awaits them. She is not happy that Bugs brought Neo to the area which is now a safe house, and tells her that she and her crew of Lexy (Erendira Ibarra, Sequoia (Toby Onwumere), Berg (Brian J Smith) and others are now grounded with the ship. It turns out that sixty years have passed in the real world after the war between humans and machines had ended. Except for Niobe who now takes the decisions around there, mostly adamant and foolish, while everyone else from the original human resistance are now dead, including Morpheus as he was known, and had led the resistance earlier. She tells them that there was some peace achieved through his sacrifice, which lasted for some years, but eventually, things got worse. Now, can Trinity be freed? Can there be peace again?

The defence of The Matrix: Resurrections :: You know the thing about The Matrix, which means that you mostly know what can happen with this version too – the trailer had set the expectations going well. There is a lot of action for sure, and you do enjoy it, even though these are not things which you haven’t seen before – the fights go on in a stylish manner within the movie, and there are also some nice worlds built around here. The advanced special effects and computer generated imagery means that this particular world looks even better than how it used to be earlier. Here we have Keanu Reeves doing what he has been doing the best again, which is always a thing of quality – outside the world of John Wick, Neo is indeed an iconic character and we are never tired of watching him around there. The new additions of the cast are very much suited to this situation of post-apocalyptic science fiction action. After all, we know that this is the kind of situation which could happen at any point of time, with machines taking over being the best option for any apocalyptic event – the extinction of human kind is not something that we can resist. Then, this is a world which has no shortage of style.

The claws of flaw :: The Matrix: Resurrections which comes as the very late addition to the list of movies in a franchise which was far above the others of that time, doesn’t manage to live up to that hype or the grand expectations which were always present. When Neo is coming again after a long time, you expect that this is going to be something above all, but with the lack of innovation, they try to share the qualities that makes Neo with a female characters, which is pretty much the dumbest decision that they can do with some dumb romance added to a film which could have stopped that with the third movie and a few deaths. Actually, the third movie of the franchise served as such a fine ending, and this often keeps feeling a lot unnecessary. One has to wonder if any action sequences in this movie will be remembered much in comparison to the earlier movies, among which all of them had some special moments of fight scenes. The beginning is also too slow, leaving the film too long with so much of initial moments good enough to be cut. One would guess that this one is more intended to make some quick money on the fame which those classic movies had, but that attempt seems to have failed in rising up to the expectations too.

The performers of the soul :: We know that this has been the movie which made Keanu Reeves the huge star all around the world, even though I have always remembered him facing the devil in Constantine and Devil’s Advocate more than any others as well the vampire as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula of 1992, and maybe a few older people might go for Speed as the initial big thing from him. The new generation surely had John Wick with its sequels, and I do like his science fiction works like Replicas too. Yet, this is the one role in which almost everyone of my age would have wanted to see him again, and he is here, with the same strength that he had at that earlier point. Carrie-Anne Moss is someone whom we remembers for this franchise itself, and it is always good to see her back – she has become part of this world again really well. Yet, the actress who makes the most impact is Jessica Henwick, who played second fiddle in Underwater nicely, and she is indeed lovely – the baton should be passed on to her soon enough. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II doesn’t stand up to Laurence Fishburne, but remains okay. Erendira Ibarra also has a notable role. Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris are villains for the sake of being, as machines rule over them. Priyanka Chopra Jonas is there for the sake of being there.

How it finishes :: The big question about this particular movie is whether it was actually needed at all, for these are not the times when the first three movies came into existence, and the adaptation to the new audience who have witnessed all of these already, and then again through other movies would have had some strange feeling about watching this one. You are coming up with a sequel so many years later, and it would require something more than what was already seen, and this one falls flat on innovation. But, there is a lot of entertainment with the action happening all around, and nostalgia is something that sells, which means that we can always watch this version of The Matrix too, and hope that a great worthy sequel will be made at some other point of time. Until then, let us be happy enough with this one, and hope that the Corona virus would stop coming again and again, as watching movies like this at the theatre can mean more, even though I would always prefer the OTT versions. After all, becoming poor by paying so much for the movie tickets, parking and food after being in a traffic jam for such a long time, followed by dumb fans in a theatre is terror, no matter which one is the flick.

Release date: 22nd December 2021 (Theatre); 12th May 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Lana Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Stowaway

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Doctor Frankenstein had a stowaway on his Ultimate Machine of Nightmares?

Vampire Bat: Why would someone want to have a ride of nightmares?

Vampire Owl: I guess they wanted to witness the greatness of this invention by the greatest scientist of all times?

Vampire Bat: Why are you not understanding that he is not a real scientist at all?

Vampire Owl: You are saying this because you studied arts only.

Vampire Bat: I am well aware of the way of science. Mr Frankenstein has no role in it.

Vampire Owl: You should understand that he can teleport you in a second or two.

Vampire Bat: Even those witches of the north can do that.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about teleportation to another realm.

Vampire Bat: He just creates a virtual reality within his laboratory and pretends that it is another realm. He cannot even teleport Uncle Dracula’s lost fangs.

[Gets a paneer masala dosa and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: A two year mission to Mars has been approved for the spaceship, MTS-42, which has the mission commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette), biologist David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim), and the ship’s doctor and researcher Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick) on board. They are taking the first steps to call Mars the second home, and each of them is very good with the needed abilities and extended training. Everything seems to go fine with the launch, and they are all glad to be on the way to a great expedition. Soon after the takeoff, they discover a launch support engineer, Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson), an unexpected traveler who seems to be caught and fallen unconscious between the two modules of the ship. As he falls down, the device that scrubs carbon-di-oxide from ship’s air is destroyed. They use use emergency lithium hydroxide canisters to get rid of the carbon-di-oxide from the air, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Marina is not sure about what has happened here, and wonders if something strange is going on in the background.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Michael wakes up and wants to go home, but everyone knows that a return is not possible now. He slowly adapts to the situation, as the company promises to help his sister to go through her life in his absence with guidance and monetary support. David begins cultivating his algae experiment of the ship before reaching Mars, as there is the need for some extra oxygen, but it is also not that much effective. The damage done to the carbon-di-oxide scrubbing device seems to be permanent, and their life support seems to be in trouble. If they are not able to find another method for the supply of oxygen, they are going to fall short of breathable air. The only option seems to be a spacewalk to climb the tethers of the spaceship and recover liquid oxygen from the upper stage of the rocket. Even though the other two are okay with it, Zoe is not ready to sacrifice Michael to make sure that they have enough oxygen for their journey, and the commander decides to wait for ten days to come up with a solution. But can they have one in time?

The defence of Stowaway :: The space and the spaceship around here are indeed well-detailed, and there is one final adventure to be done as the movie gets near its end, which provides a charming view of space. The world here has good detail, both outside and inside the spaceship. There is always the question about the significance of life of a person when it would mean the death of three others who are more important not just for one mission, but for the entire humanity. This something about the talks here, as there seems to be no clear solution for a problem. There are many routes which this movie seems to take too. The movie does talk about the importance of faith, belief and hope in life, even though it is indeed a double-edged sword which can end up ruining everything like a person too much motivated by a motivational speaker. Well, after all, we know that the life itself is about some tough choices that we make, and in the end, we are all just going to die a terrible death and lie a few feet under.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is surely slow, and never does it even try to get any faster, which is rather strange, as we look at all those possibilities which have been avoided. It doesn’t try to be that entertaining either, as the speed is never that much to keep us that much engaged with the possible thrills. There is that drag which is felt because the film has too many moments and dialogues which could have been avoided – a two hour movie was not needed to deal with this kind of a theme which never chooses to go bigger. The movie’s question does feel strange too, about humanity and all, because science has already brought extinction upon humanity, and most of the human beings do not deserve to saved. And, we all know that humans are not going to make that much of a sacrifice after thinking too much – so much of thoughts better lead to brutal murders. We don’t know that much about mission being undertaken here either, except for where it is headed, and related to some of the possibilities after reaching the destination.

The performers of the soul :: Among the performers, Anna Kendrick is the only one face that we seem to recognize at first sight. We have seen her in very less number of movies in the last few years, but as we see her again, she seems to be another actress who seems to get younger as time progress – we recognize her as almost the same as in those much earlier movies. Despite not being the commander, she is the true protagonist and heroine of the movie, and the one who is ready to make a different at any cost – she does the lady with the most conscience in a wonderful way. Toni Collette has been there for longer, but most of us have seen her in movies which are rather too old, which means that recognizing her would be difficult. She says good as the commander who has to take some very difficult decisions. Daniel Dae Kim plays the man with his own assumptions about success of the mission quite well. The only other character and the one who brings the change to the mission is Shamier Anderson, a job quite well done.

How it finishes :: There has been no shortage of interesting journey through space which Hollywood has undertaken – it was at times complicated like Interstellar, with great visual splendour of space like in Gravity, hope for colonization of another world like in The Martian, horror inside the spaceship like in Life, terror in space colonies like in Doom: Annihilation, searching for secrets of humanity like in Prometheus, more on drama and romance like in Passengers or even going the fully entertaining in Star Trek way. The Chinese had The Wandering Earth and the Koreans had Space Sweepers, now we have this one. Stowaway is closer to the genre of drama instead of becoming the thriller. It still has enough of the engaging moments, and also has the moral questions running through. Even though most of us will not get to space and will face the human extinction event, we will clap to the rich people going to space and living happily ever after, following the discoveries similar to that in this movie are made. Until then, we will watch similar movies again and again, adjusting to the interesting moments that they provide, as the apocalyptic event awaits with a terrible beauty ready to be unleashed.

Release date: 22nd April 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Joe Penna
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson, Toni Collette

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Outside the Wire

Vampire Owl: The area beyond the Greater Cemetery is now considered outside the wire.

Vampire Bat: Do you feel that there is a war coming soon?

Vampire Owl: Well, humans are building more weapons of war.

Vampire Bat: You are thinking that those weapons are meant for us.

Vampire Owl: After they are done with most of their own, yes.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that most of their weapons will have any effect on us.

Vampire Owl: The weapons of mass destruction will erase the world as we know it.

Vampire Bat: Such a destructive and disappointing species.

Vampire Owl: I will ask Doctor Frankenstein to come up with an invention which can go back in time and brutally murder all those human scientists whose inventions led to these new generation of weapons.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein‘s time machines made of vampire steel are as much fake as humanity’s love for each other.

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

What is the movie about? :: The year is 2036, and there is a violent civil war going on in Eastern Europe between pro-Russian fighters and the local resistances in Ukraine, a struggle which seems to be nowhere close to reaching an end. After years of war, the United States has finally deployed their peacekeeping forces, and among them are the robotic soldiers known as GUMPs. But the team is ambushed, much to the dismay of the human soldiers. While disobeying a direct order, a drone pilot, Lieutanant Thomas Harp (Damson Idris) deploys a Hellfire missile against a suspected enemy missile launcher. The commander on the ground wanted time to save two marines who were caught in the danger zone, but Harp had felt that if he choose to delay the drone strike, all forty of them would die, and an attack would actually save thirty eight of them. But the senior officers do not believe in the same and considers him responsible for the death of those two soldiers.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Despite not being court-martialed, Harp is redeployed to on-site combat duty at Camp Nathaniel, where the United States military forces have set a base of operations for the war in Ukraine. He is supposed to work with Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), who seems to be very strict as well as experienced, but turns out to be a very advanced android super soldier, the first of his kind – experimental, but a seemingly perfect prototype machine masquerading as a top level human officer. At the base, this is a secret known only the the commander of the camp, Colonel Eckhart (Michael Kelly), and now Harp. Leo has come into existence only five years ago, but is already programmed to be an effective killing machine. Their ultimate aim is to stop the terrorist known as Victor Koval (Pilou Asbaek) from gaining control of a vast network of nuclear missile silos which were left in the Ukrainian SSR possessing most of the nuclear weapons of the Soviet Union.

And what more does the future hold in a world of chaos and destruction? :: Russia has lost any control which they had over the rebels, and the new powerful terrorist is very close to controlling most of Ukraine and also those missile launcher facilities – it would prove lethal for world peace as much as it would mean for Ukraine and its remaining resistance. It could be the end of the world with nukes in the hands of such a terrorist who doesn’t even have religion or any of the morals to control him. They come across a reported attack on a truck with was providing aids, leading to a stand-off between the United States soldiers and the local militias. But the armed locals and the pro-Russian insurgents are the least of their problems as the trained spies and snipers of Victor Koval are there, which means that the possible event which could lead to the end of the world is closer than they thought. Then, what if the most dangerous man in that part of the world also manages to get the secret codes to the nuke? After all, he would do anything to get them – paying in billions, using brutal force or anything.

The defence of Outside the Wire :: We notice that Outside the Wire has created a fine world for the science fiction elements to start working effectively, early enough. The visuals are really good in this war-torn world In the beginning, there is the feeling that this one would go through action-war mode, but that idea which was earlier challenged with a few machines and later made clear, has a few interesting points for everyone to ponder about. It talks about war and the human need for the same with effectiveness, and we do understand that all sides are almost the same and loves to see collateral damage with the death of so many civilians. There is the fine display of hidden hatred being displayed around here, and we see a lot of the true nature of humans, even the machines who are created by them. These are also the kind of things which would happen at some point of time in future, and we are all with knowledge about the world descending into chaos sooner or later. The action is very good for most of the time with melee combat and gunshots being there, and we are glad to see different elements coming together. Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris do some good work here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t make the best use of its resources, as we see a world in not so distant future, with advanced technology and interesting weapons. The war machines could have been used with more effectiveness, as we see a lot of fights struggling to go big on different occasions. The world of war which has been created here could have more of similar products of science and technology at work. The basic idea that the movie was trying to prove could have been clearer, but here they choose to make things rather easy. There is no big action moment that stands out around here, even though there are so many human and machine soldiers around here. At times, the movie just seems to move around without much of a clue, and the ideas about the use and effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence never really gets as strong as it should have been. It does keep one wonder about how well Will Smith has performed in so many science fiction action movies in the past, the one man who would have fit in here so well, and even brought a lot of audience to this lesser known film.

How it finishes :: When we look close, Outside the Wire seems to be a movie which has predicted the Russian invasion of Ukraine in another form. The movie deals with the interesting scientific concepts and also talks about the human greed and their never-ending need for more wars, even though the fact that the film has focused only one side feels rather strange – humans have always wanted war, and they have always hated each other, which means that this is not something restricted to a nation or two and their allies. We have always been looking for science-fiction doing their best, as we never stop wondering about a post-apocalyptic future with science playing a major role in ending the world as we know it. As science has been continuously contributing to making the global warming worse and developing enough weapons of mass destruction, along with helping the Artificial Intelligence and other machines to take over, we are all looking for the apocalyptic event, and this one surely has shades of the same.

Release date: 15th January 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom
Starring: Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Emily Beecham, Michael Kelly, Pilou Asbaek, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Henry Garrett, Enzo Cilenti

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Halloween Kills

Vampire Owl: So we are having Halloween two times again.

Vampire Bat: We have the movie as much as we have the festival.

Vampire Owl: I don’t even remember much about the earlier movies.

Vampire Bat: Well, that was indeed too long ago for anyone to remember.

Vampire Owl: Well, we vampires remember things from hundreds of years ago.

Vampire Bat: That won’t include things like these.

Vampire Owl: These are all parts of life too.

Vampire Bat: World within movies don’t count as part of life.

Vampire Owl: What about the realistic ones which stay close to life?

Vampire Bat: Maybe we can say so about a few vampire movies.

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

What is the movie about? :: Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton and Thomas Mann) is left for the dead, but is found by Cameron Elam (Dylan Arnold) who seems to be coming right out of a break-up. Forty years earlier, he had accidentally shot his partner dead while trying to save him from the psycho serial killer, Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle). Even though he was against the execution earlier, this time he hopes to finish him off. Meanwhile, the survivors are celebrating the fortieth anniversary of Michael being caught, and all of them surviving against all odds. As he seems to be spotted in a car again, Tommy Doyl (Anthony Michael Hall) with the other survivors, supported by the people of the town, comes together to try and hunt him. Allyson Nelson (Andi Matichak) and Karen Nelson (Judy Greer), along with the heavily injured Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) are left in the hospital, and seems to be an easy target for Michael, but the town tries to rely on the strength in numbers to find and kill the killer.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: It seems that Michael is going towards his childhood home, but on the way, he leaves a trail of bodies including those who had started hunting for him. The bodies keep coming to the hospital where Frank and Laurie are admitted, and they also come to know that Michael is on the hunt again. The people of the hospital also promises to come together and end the legend of Michael Myers for the last time despite the police officers telling them that they got this under control. At the same time, Michael murders the present owners of his house who were expecting children for the Halloween night. Meanwhile, people misunderstands another person who escaped with Michael as the killer and goes on a rampage against him. But Laurie and Karen are sure that this person is not him – nobody can stop Tommy though, who is determined to stop what he calls ultimate evil. Are any of these people good enough to stop the danger that lurks in the shadows with a white mask?

The defence of Halloween Kills :: Even though the full essence of a slasher movie is not here with Halloween Kills, there is enough of kills to give some justice to the genre – the elements of old style horror has been mostly lost with the new generation horror, and so that is not something new for our eyes. Having a killer for Halloween never gets old, and after all, Michael Myers is a serial killer of legendary status along with Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th, Freddy Krueger of A Nightmare of Elm Street, Ghostface of Scream, Jesse Cromeans of Chrome Skull, Ben Willis of I Know What You did Last Summer, Rusty Nail of Joy Ride and Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. All these killers belong to a league of their own, and we enjoy watching them do what they do the best. The background music is effective, and there are some fine creepy scenes which lift the movie. The setting of night and the atmosphere are well created too, and the elements of nostalgia will work very well for the older fans.

The claws of flaw :: It is disappointing to see that this movie depends too much on nostalgia – getting old people to fight the seemingly invincible antagonist is a dumb idea; bringing the old woman back for Terminator: Dark Fate was as foolish as we know it; brining Arnold Schwarzenegger was okay as he was at least a machine from the future and not a human. Now, if this movie is going to have Jamie Lee Curtis kill the murderer in a sequel, that is going to be as foolish as Linda Hamilton – Sarah Connor nonsense. The movie could learn something from My Bloody Valentine which used its modern makeover with its scream queens Jaime King and Betsy Rue so effectively, leaving some iconic scenes which could rise above even that original film from 1981. Halloween franchise actually have had so many earlier movies to learn from and bring innovation, but has none of these done, not even close to getting as much as Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street could do with the sequels and reboots. You cannot live with a well-known killer alone. There’s Someone Inside Your House, Malignant and Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight made it clear.

The performers of the soul :: Andi Matichak and Judy Greer who plays daughter and mother steals the show here. The former seems to have a fine path ahead of her to become a scream queen of high quality, as she seems to have been enrolled into the slasher world effectively through this franchise. She would shine in an action and adventure movie with the same effectiveness, seeing her determination and attraction towards action. Judy is not far behind in that case, and as an actress whom we have been seeing for long, gets into the genre well too. Jamie Lee Curtis remains useless as the character who remains in the hospital all the time, and the makers should stop putting old people like her and Linda Hamilton in front of serial killers just because they were featured in earlier horror movies of the same franchise – the antagonist Michael Myers is ageless, but these people are not, and nobody is going to believe that the senior citizens are the only ones who can stop of a nearly supernatural serial killer who can kill as many people whenever he likes. Will Patton’s role is also limited into the hospital soon enough.

How it finishes :: The movie manages to manage as another pretty good slasher with its antagonist, kills, use of darkness and some nice music in the background. But the movie that one would be worried about might be Halloween Ends, which will be the final film of the franchise as it seems. From the description, it seems to bring a senior citizen against the seemingly unstoppable serial killer – if you ask me, it is something which is really cruel, unless she somehow defeats the killer, which calls for that much of a willing suspension of disbelief as in the mass masala movies. It is also disappointing to see that a grand serial killer like Michael Myers is not given the story that he deserves. It makes me wonder if this is the worst film of the whole slasher series. The reboots can learn some thing from the new Wrong Turn. Yet, we have this one becoming a natural serial killer journey with lots of murders and bodies piling up everywhere. If that is all which we need, there is no need to look further. We can watch the terror which started a long time ago unleashing again.

Release date: 15th October 2021
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Starring: Andi Matichak, Judy Greer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Will Patton, Thomas Mann, Anthony Michael Hall, Kyle Richards, Dylan Arnold, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Stephens, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Airon Armstrong, Christian Michael, Carmela McNeal, Michael Smallwood

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Antlers

Vampire Owl: I haven’t seen a more interesting poster in a very long time.

Vampire Bat: Horror does need such posters to show divergence in fear.

Vampire Owl: Fear should always be the same, right?

Vampire Bat: Unless you are a vampire, or maybe zombie.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about a different smell of fear.

Vampire Bat: You should be aware of the fear potions of the witches.

Vampire Owl: Those potions never really work.

Vampire Bat: I know that you trust the pseudo-scientific elixirs of Mr Frankenstein better.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has opened portals with elixirs.

Vampire Bat: Those were ancient portals found hidden in the caves beneath the castle!

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

What is the movie about? :: In the beginning, there is a warning that Mother Earth has been pillaged, with her life’s blood taken away, and this terrible act has awakened a spirit which needs to be feared – it would seek the lost, frail and the depraved, and asks the viewers to hope and pray that it won’t take one among them. The scene cuts to Cispus Falls, a small town in Oregon which feels dark with an eerie feeling. There, in an inactive mine, Frank Weaver (Scott Haze) runs a meth lab within an inactive mine which used to serve the town’s economy a long time ago. Frank and his co-worker hears some strange noises from within the mine, and goes on to check the same. As they doubt that it is an animal and tries to escape, find themselves attacked by an unseen creature. Frank’s son Aiden Weaver (Sawyer Jones) waits for him outside the mine, failing to understand what has happened inside. His elder brother as Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T Thomas) is considered to be strange by his classmates and teachers, but Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) who teaches about myths and fables is determined to help him.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Julia remembers the abuse she suffered as a child in the hands of her alcoholic father who was also mentally ill – she feels that he is also suffering from something similar. Paul Meadows (Jesse Plemons), her brother is the local sheriff – she had abandoned him a long time ago, but has now returned home from California following the death of their father. She feels that she shouldn’t have left the place, and tries to help another person as she can, this time, Lucas. She tries to bond with him, but there is no success at all – she tries to visit his house, but leaves after hearing some strange noises from inside. Lucas seems to have some some mystery locked within his house, and also takes dead animals and birds to his home. He stays awake at night and makes strange drawings. Julia feels that she really needs to get to the bottom of this, and also informs her brother, who reaffirms that Frank was considered fit to be the guardian of the two children after the mother’s death – now, what would she do?

The defence of Antlers :: It can be seen that Antlers does take the deviation from the usual horror, and this divergence is taken seriously throughout its narrative – it lets the surroundings contribute to the same really well. The environment and the setting serve effectively for the movie too. The small town with its dark and wet weather really suits the situation presented around here, and there is enough of the woods to keep one going in the mood of terror. The idea of the “diabolic wickedness that devours humans”, the spirit that takes many forms, makes a powerful myth around here. There is also a connection made to the destruction of nature which the humans managed to come up with. One wouldn’t be able to blame the monsters considering how evil the humans happen to be at every point. We also have the moments of scares, and that gets stronger with the understanding that there is a seemingly unstoppable force of nature at work. Add the performance, especially from children, and things only get much darker and scarier in nature.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about the fact that Antlers had the premise to be something greater, but doesn’t use the same to the best of advantage. We do see the moments which we feel could have been better. When you have such a near-unstoppable monster at the centre, there are many things that can be done – it could have surely been designed better too. The emotional side doesn’t seem to work that much, even though we are waiting for those elements to be effective too. The myth could have also been given a boost with certain elements from the past, and a history to be remembered. One can generate enough fear out of that too. The scope for sequel at the end seems to be forced, as if there was a certain need rather than anything else. One can feel the need to remind the viewer of a myth that goes missing, but that requires more of a better origins story with roots in a mysterious past – let the horror run through there too.

The performers of the soul :: Keri Russell has been among my favourite actresses from a long time ago – she carries a certain amount of charm with her roles, even though horror hasn’t been the genre we would remember her the most for. She would make it to the list of performers who don’t seem to age much as years pass. She blends in really well as this protagonist who has her own problems from childhood itself. Jesse Plemons supports her really well as the brother figure and the policeman. Jeremy T Thomas gets his moments as the struggling child who is forced to make too many decisions at such a young age. Scott Haze gets into the terrifying moments around here well. Sawyer Jones plays the other child of significance in a role which brings a fair challenge to him. Amy Madigan ends up having a smaller role to work with than what was expected. Rory Cochrane’s work is another thing of support here. The monster when shown, works as a performer by itself.

How it finishes :: Antlers keeps on moving the world of horror forward in a different path for a change, and the world of fear continues to make its points in one way or the other. One does feel that the Malayalam movie Odiyan could have learned a few things from this one with the creature attacks and the atmosphere to make it darker – if you see the looks, there seems to a visual connection. The earlier divergent horror movies like Malignant, Lights Out, It Follows and Don’t Breathe had scored better, but this one tries to make it count. Maybe, something like the creature in this movie is the need of environment itself to take care of the humans who are destroying nature as we have known it. Well, Corona virus did try, but they were not successful in getting rid of humanity and its use of science to destroy environment. It does make us feel that there can be the moment when nature can get it back running – The Blackout surely made us think about human extinction. Until something like that happens, let us enjoy this horror out of nature.

Release date: 29th October 2021 (Theatre); 15th December 2021 (Hotstar)
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Starring: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, Amy Madigan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Army of the Dead

Vampire Owl: We are the Army of the Dead. This movie should be about us.

Vampire Bat: We are not the Army of the Dead. We are the Army of the Undead.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that they are different from each other.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is also an Army of Darkness, you know.

Vampire Owl: Okay, still it is the dead that becomes the undead.

Vampire Bat: Well, death is a beginning, and for the undead, it has already begun.

Vampire Owl: I think that you are pointing to the zombies as the dead.

Vampire Bat: Yes, without full brain acitivity, they are to considered dead rather than undead, as we look closer at them.

Vampire Owl: Well, not all of the dead are undead, we can be sure about that.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this one has some fine zombies though.

[Gets a vegetable pizza and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: A convoy coming from Area 51, the highly classified United States Air Force facility located within the Nevada Test and Training Range collides with the car of a newly married couple on a highway near Las Vegas. The high level of secrecy surrounding the base had already brought enough conspiracy theories to the scene including UFOs and aliens which are regular part of such talks. This time, the package which was part of the convoy is revealed to be a zombie, a very strong muscular creature which escapes, and during the process kills all the soldiers, among which some of them are infected and transformed into similar creatures, seeking to attack more humans. The zombies do head to the city, and infect most of its population. The United States military faces suffer heavy casualities, and is forced to retreat while facing the ever increasing hordes of zombies which are not that easy to kill as they only get stronger. The government decides to do what they considers to be the last resort, to deploy a tactical nuclear strike on the city to end the zombie threat forever, even though there are protests against the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Later, the very rich and influencial Japanese casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his associate Martin (Garret Dillahunt) asks a former resident of Las Vegas and earlier mercenary, Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) who is currently working at a burger joint to take over a job to recover two hundred million dollars from his casino vault in the quarantined Las Vegas. The time is running out, with the nuclear strike coming up. Ward agrees and recruits his former teammates Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera) and Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) as the maim mercenaries, along with a helicopter pilot Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), a safecracker Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighofer), and a sharpshooter Mikey Guzman (Raul Castillo), who also brings his associate Chambers (Samantha Win). Martin also joins them to make sure that there is access. They have a thirty two hour window to do what they have done the best in history, and even though they cannot fly in due to flight restrictions, they can fly out in one of the rescue helicopter located at the top of the casino.

And what is with the humans and the zombies which we have around here? :: As they are not able to find a way inside, Scott searches and finds his daughter Kate Ward (Ella Purnell), and offers her his share of the millions, asking her to help him get into the city. Kate directs them to Lilly (Nora Arnezeder) or coyote, a smuggler who knows the city. Burt Cummings (Theo Rossi), an abusive security guard who knows exactly what happens inside with the zombies. When Kate understands that Geeta (Huma Qureshi) also went into Las Vegas with two others, she feels that she should also be inside. Being the badly raised dumb kid that she happens to be, she stops at nothing to get what she wants, and the returned father figure can only agree. When inside, the common zombies are not the only ones that they have to face, for there are zombie animals too, including a zombie tiger. There are also a different kind of zombies, which are not the usual mindless ones. They are smarter, faster and better organized, with a mark on their territories. It won’t be that easy to dupe these zombies. Can they get what they want and make it out?

The defence of Army of the Dead :: It is clear that we haven’t had a full fun zombie movie like this one for a long time, and there is a lot of entertainment with the action, thrills and even a certain amount of horror that has been going on with the undead creatures. It also has some humour in between, and a fine detail of the post-apocalyptic world as well as the zombie attacks with descriptions to support them. Among the performers, Dave Bautista and Ana de la Reguera are at the top, with Nora Arnezeder and Matthias Schweighofer following closely. The man who is known as Batista in WWE is another one of those ring performers who has done so well in cinema, after Dwayne Johnson’s classic performance, and also John Cena up-to an extent. Ana de la Reguera and Nora Arnezeder are perfect lady soldiers who know exactly what they are doing. The movie, with its ending, also leaves something for a possible film in the future. Even though it is pretty much a long movie, you don’t really feel the length, as there is so much of action going on at all times, and we are indeed taken to this world of post-apocalyptic chaos.

Positives and negatives :: There are moments which this movie could have avoided to cut down the length, and it also kills one of its interesting characters too early – Samantha Win played quite a strong soldier who is lost before the big battles begin. Ella Purnell, even if meant to be irritating, plays the character that causes the death of most of the character – one of the most foolish characters ever in an action movie, for only horror films have dumber characters suiting them. Huma Qureshi is also here, but she is also wasted in a character which provides nothing good to the movie – without her, the film could have been shorter as there was no need to spare some time for the unnecessary. At least half of the characters are not made to be memorable either. This is also a movie about which not many people knows, and that is a disappointment – it could have had some advertisements in this part of the world, as it is something which will appeal to our audience too. Zombies will catch our attention as much as any undead creature rising from the dead.

How it finishes :: With the title, one wouldn’t really know if this is about vampires, zombies or ghosts, but the zombie idea also does work that effectively as any other monster, proven already in Warm Bodies, World War Z and so many Resident Evil films which kept coming back again, one after the other. This one makes a fine progress with the story, even with some predictability in store, and as it does have a lot of action to go with it. The movie is indeed an all-rounder, and you can feel that quite early itself. Even though the corona virus pandemic didn’t create the zombie apocalypse as a gamer or zombie-movie lover would have anticipated, it is only safe to say that there is always hope for something like it in the future. When that zombie pandemic happens, we will have watched some quality undead hunting movies like this one, and we will be ready. After all, Zombieland already has us partially prepared for the big event. For the rest of the procedure, the next sequel of this particular movie will keep us prepared.

Release date: 14th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Dave Bautista, Ana de la Reguera, Ella Purnell, Nora Arnezeder, Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighofer, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raul Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Garret Dillahunt

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dune

Vampire Owl: A movie set in the future is the need of the hour.

Vampire Bat: There is no future that Uncle Dracula hasn’t seen.

Vampire Owl: Yet, he decides not to share the vision of future with us.

Vampire Bat: There is no future that we need to know.

Vampire Owl: You are more afraid of the future than the past now?

Vampire Bat: Everything except the present is to be feared.

Vampire Owl: You feel the need to prepared for a future you don’t know.

Vampire Bat: I am always prepared for that fearful future.

Vampire Owl: You can never be enough prepared for the same.

Vampire Bat: Which is why you need to be afraid of the future.

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

What is the movie about? :: The year is 10191, and in Caladan, the homeworld of House Atreides, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), the Duke of House Atreides is asked by the emperor of the Known Universe to replace House Harkonnen as the rulers of Arrakis, a desert planet which serves as the only source of spice, an incredibly valuable substance that improves human abilities and helps them to go on interstellar travel faster than light safely. But the brutal race of Harkonnens in their homeworld, Giedi Prime won’t be that happy about it as they had held the area for about eighty years. Beast Rabban Harkonnen (Dave Bautista), the leading fighter among them is certainly not happy, but it turns out that the emperor means something else with these actions. Leto does feel that there is something wrong about all of these, and that the emperor has some sinister motives, but decides to form an alliance with the native fighters known as Fremen instead of enslaving them, thus bringing a twist to the plans.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) is the heir to the throne of House Atreides, and is worried about the recent happenings, as he had also come up against many nightmares about the planet which his people were going to invade. Paul’s mother Lady Jessica Atreides (Rebecca Ferguson) is a part of the Bene Gesserit, a group meant only for women, whose members have advanced physical and mental abilities – the group is not happy about Jessica having a male child instead of the female one which she was supposed to have. They are hoping for a perfect messiah-like superhuman who can guide humanity to a better future, and wonders if Paul is the one, even though he surely has a long way to go. House Atreides takes control and arrives on Arrakis, and the people there seems to appreciate them, especially Jessica and Paul. The terrain and the buildings in the place seems to be completely different, and Paul feels that Bene Gesserit is planting unnecessary superstitions about a messiah there too.

And what more can we expect in this world which has so many secrets in store? :: Paul understands more and more about the planet, its deep-rooted trees, sandworms and strongly held strange beliefs. Dr Liet Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) who serves as the judge of the change and the imperial ecologist talks to them about the dangers which exist there. Leto has a talk with Stilgar (Javier Bardem), the leader of the Fremens, and it goes on well. During a flight above the sands, they come against one of the sandworms coming towards a spice harvester which had almost finished harvesting. The group rescues the crew members, as the sandworms take the harvesting machine. They understand that the equipment out there are not good enough, and will not help them to bring the spice production back strong – they feel that they are destined to fail, and then someone else will take over. Meanwhile, at Salusa Secundus, the Imperial Army Planet, certain preparations are going on, and certain terror awaits.

The defence of Dune :: This movie, as any other story in a future set in another planet would come up with, has a grand spectacle in store, as far as the visuals are concerned. These worlds become part of you as it would do each and every time in Star Trek, Alien or the computer games like Mass Effectspace exploration never gets old. The special effects are used very effectively and the world detailing is really good – the details do not stop at the world with its buildings and people as it goes further with so many things established in this first movie which seems to serve as the pillars to what is to come later. There are also lots of action sequences, and we have that feeling of Game of Thrones coming back here after such a long time – well, War of the Roses can keep showing up in many movies and series in style. Based on one of the world’s best selling and the most appreciated science fiction novels, you would have always known what this movie would be capable of, with the use of new technology. The movie also serves as a reminder that the wars are forever, as long as any humanoid is alive in this galaxy or the others.

Positives and negatives :: The movie does remind you of a few others, but that is understandable as the story of human greed for power has remained the same throughout years. The film is also long, and the run-time might not be acceptable to most people as there are many scenes which seems to slow down things much. The movie is also not an easy movie to follow if you keep your eyes off the screen during regular intervals – there are many characters who are to be remembered and there are so many dialogues coming not just in English. The movie feels like that kind of a movie which will require you to have a bigger screen. This is also like a few drops of water in an ocean, as the world here seems to be huge, and there are so many books in this series which can be made into spectacular movies. The movie did have its own adaptations earlier, but this one right here might be the biggest of them all, even though one does feel at times that things could have been more direct – Jupiter Ascending, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and John Carter, two highly underrated inter-planetary movies could do that.

How it finishes :: Dune begins the journey of an epic really well, and has us waiting for the next movie in the series. As it is based on a 1965 epic science fiction novel by the American author Frank Herbert, there will always be questions about how much the adaptation had done justice to the original work. As I haven’t read the book, that wouldn’t be on my list of things to do, but I am sure that this movie is indeed a remarkable work that one will remember and shall wait for a possible sequel. The book did have five sequels after the first one – Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune. The sequel to the first movie and featuring the second half of the first book, Dune: Part Two will be releasing next year. So, this is not the end, but the beginning, and we can always hope for the tale to be continued in a better way as the basic origin story has been established well. The same would be in theatres unless corona virus will have another ride on its pale horse.

Release date: 22nd October 2021; 25th March 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 156 minutes
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Charlotte Rampling, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Candyman

Vampire Owl: I have heard about this particular person.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you know the Candyman.

Vampire Owl: Yes, he used to give us sweets in the cemetery.

Vampire Bat: So, he was then called the Sweetman?

Vampire Owl: He was surely not sweet. He was nowhere close.

Vampire Bat: This is actually news for me. Usually witches give sweets.

Vampire Owl: Witches are no longer interested in the old style.

Vampire Bat: I hope that you are not going to summon the Candyman.

Vampire Owl: Why wouldn’t I call him?

Vampire Bat: There is no reason why we need to have an extra monster around here. Even Uncle Dracula won’t like that.

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

What is the movie about? :: Sherman Fields (Michael Hargrove) is known for giving kids candy and has a hook for a hand, often leading to the children being scared of him. He is accused of putting a razor blade in a piece of candy, and the police tracks him, beating him down mercilessly, as the man finally dies. Many years later, Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is living a happy life with his girlfriend Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris), and both are into different kinds of art forms. One day, her brother Troy Cartwright (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) tells them a horror story to pass time. It is about many brutal murders which occured in a city. It is related to the legend of the Candyman, but the story is distorted, blaming the main character of the story for everything terrible that had happened. Anthony hopes that he could do better with his skills in painting. He is asked to do better, as he has to be part of the upcoming summer show, even though he continues to blamed as standing where he had started after leaving the college.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Anthony goes to the place where these incidents had occurred and meets William Burke (Colman Domingo) who tells him the story of Candyman, who is originally Sherman who was falsely convicted and murdered by the police. It is said that if someone says “Candyman” five times to a mirror, his spirit can appear and murder the one who summoned him. Anthony is inspired by what he heard, and makes a Candyman-legend connected painting, “Say My Name”. But the piece of art is mostly ignored by the public, and is not appreciated by the critics. Jerrica Cooper (Miriam Moss) is the first one to try summoning the Candyman, and she is killed along with her boyfriend and art dealer Clive Privler (Brian King) at the art exhibition venue. At the same time, Anthony begins making strange portraits of unknown people. He becomes more and more obsessed with Candyman as well as the incidents which happened in the city, but it turns out that it could also be the other way around.

The defence of Candyman :: This sequel to a movie which most of us in this part of the world haven’t watched, holds its ground for most of the time. There is an interesting use of the properties in the movie too, and it never gets clueless like a movie which felt so similar – Black as Night. The story is told nicely, and we get so many clues about the antagonist in between, put before us in an interesting manner. There is also a social commentary related to this, even though one feels that it would have been more effective if brought forward a few years earlier. Saying a name in front of a mirror five times, and unleashing the murderer is quite an interesting thing. After all, we are all looking for different kind of monsters every time, and one more supernatural murderer can only do good here. By using the idea of a person with candy for children combined with brutal murders by a supernatural entity, things can only get interesting. A past that is ready to haunt all, and mystery that needs to be solved – both are here.

The claws of flaw :: One would expect this to be as good as Get Out, but this one pales in comparison to that film which seemed to have a similar background. Even though there is some twist present, most of these things are happening according to plan in a predictable manner. If we are to look for innovation, we can only be disappointed. The movie could have also had a psychological side to be added here, as the main character would have been a good option for such a thing. A murderer like this could have always been scarier, with better use of the darkness. We could have also had a fine murder investigation happening around here, instead of leaving the murders as they have been. There also seems to be a little too much of generalization of almost everything – people and worlds cannot be considered in a general manner anymore, as individuality has a fine role to play even in the days of globalization. The movie also had so many opportunities to add some horror here and there, and it hesitates on many occasions.

The performers of the soul :: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who played The Black Manta in Aquaman has the leading role here, and he manages the confused main character pretty well. Unlike what we feel in the beginning, he is not really the hero that would be expected here, and is rather the weaker character. There is almost nothing that is done from this particular character to make things better, successfully unleashing evil instead. Teyonah Parris seems to be the stronger and more intelligent character in comparison, but doesn’t serve that much of a purpose other than being the non-believer of the supernatural, until she comes of use in the final moments. Colman Domingo is the one who rises above all, and plays the one memorable character that we would have loved to lead a fight. Vanessa Williams has a rather small role, while Kyle Kaminsky and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett are rather irritating in their characters. Miriam Moss and Brian King almost strikes, but gets their characters dead soon enough. Michael Hargrove is notable in the small role too.

How it finishes :: Candyman comes as a sequel, and even though those who have not watched original might still enjoy it, an idea about the previous movie can only help the process of watching this one. This one does have its moments, especially in the beginning, as we are quickly moving towards what could be some big horror being unleashed by calling out the name. We have seen better movies dealing with similar elements of horror, but this one does manage to be divergent enough to catch our attention. There is no doubt about the fact that this could have been better, but it manages to go on without leaving that much to complain in between. After all, this movie also has its limitations, which it seems to have overcome with some clever writing adding in here and there. With an appropriate sequel, the movie could get rid of its problems to be unforgettable, for the scope is there, strong and premise has more in store for multiple films.

Release date: 27th August 2021
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Nia DaCosta
Starring: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Kyle Kaminsky, Vanessa Williams, Rebecca Spence, Brian King, Miriam Moss, Michael Hargrove, Christiana Clark, Heidi Grace Engerman, Breanna Lind, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Torrey Hanson, Cedric Mays, Nancy Pender, Pam Jones, Virginia MAdsen, Tony Todd

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deep Water

Vampire Owl: So, how deep is the water?

Vampire Bat: Maybe the water is not really deep at all.

Vampire Owl: A vampire shall not check the depth of any water source.

Vampire Bat: You mean not even the rivers of blood?

Vampire Owl: I am not really fond of dried up blood.

Vampire Bat: Those have now become the plains of blood.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that zombies have rivers of brains.

Vampire Bat: It is a myth. In that case, they wouldn’t be desperately searching for more.

Vampire Owl: All horrors surely go deep.

Vampire Bat: There is already the presence of enough horror in the depths.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Vic Van Allen (Ben Affleck) and Melinda Van Allen (Ana de Armas) are a seemingly normal couple living in a small town, Little Wesley, Louisiana. They also have a daughter, Trixie Van Allen (Grace Jenkins), but are not in love anymore, at least according to Melinda; yet they stay together. Melinda has many lovers though, and she maintains different relationships without deserting the family of which she continues to remain a part. Many people in the neighbourhood as well as their babysitter Chelsea (Juliet Brett) do consider them to be strange, but they go on with their regular lives with ease. Her new lover is Joel Dash (Brendan C Miller), who is forced to leave the party which they attend, after Vic tells him that he had killed one of the former lovers of Melinda. It feels like a believable story as the person had gone missing a long time ago. Kristin Peterson (Rachel Blanchard) from the neighbourhood tells him that now everybody has heard about that tale of murder. But people around him wouldn’t believe that, as they have known him for very long as a nice and forgiving person.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: While Vic seems to like a woman named Kelly Wilson (Kristen Connolly), but not thinking further about it, Melinda’s next lover is Charlie De Lisle (Jacob Elordi), who works as a piano teacher. But during a party, he is soon found dead in the house’s swimming pool, and Melinda suspects Vic of murder this time, as he had shown signs of being jealous, and was the last person to come out of the pool where they were celebrating. Kelly tells Vic that her husband Don Wilson (Tracy Letts) keeps telling everyone that Vic murdered the man by drowning him in the pool, and he also talks to Melinda about the same. Kelly also apologizes to him for her husband who comes up with some crazy theories, and he is concerned about the previous murder which Vic talked about too. Melinda and Don had even hired a private investigator named David Ricigliani (Joel R Martinez) who pretends to be a psychotherapist, but Vic is smart enough to figure him out. But that only increases the tension which is already present around there. How would the family go on from here?

The defence of Deep Water :: In the beginning, the movie might seem to follow a regular pattern, and might end up as a usual erotic thriller, but soon we come to know that this will not be the same. The movie picks up pace and brings the clues that we will be up to something divergent soon, and it is only a matter of time until we know that things are not really what they seem to be. If this was Deep Blue Sea or Dark Water, that would been another case – we have a combination of those movie names which seem so familiar. As this is based on the 1957 novel of the same name written by Patricia Highsmith, there is the material already set to go. The change from the plot of the original work is also something to be appreciated, because the movie adaptation changes seem to work perfectly for the leading cast, especially related to how things come together so well – otherwise, the proceedings of the movie wouldn’t have provided a meaning in the end. Then, you have to love the weirdness here, and it is never boring.

Positives and negatives :: The movie could feel like a little bit too long as it takes its own time to make things move through the path of a thriller, a psychological thriller. The leading man might feel to be the stoic one in the beginning, but people would find it the hard way that he is exactly not that. It could have chosen the full serial killer mode at some point of time, but it chooses not to go that dark in its tone. You do have Ben Affleck right at the core then, and he brings the special element as one would have hoped from him, even with that lack of interest shown in the beginning. Then there is Ana de Armas, this time with the black hair, has more than one surprise almost every time – she goes on around here with such vivacity which is unmatchable. With them around, one can look out for the psychological thriller as much as any other genre. You think that you know them, and their world – but this is not the universe where the predictable keeps happening, and deviations around here are going to keep you interested.

The performers of the soul :: Ben Affleck basically has a role reversal from what he had gone through in Gone Girl, and this time, as he would take a few actions related to the future of their marriage. He was also a favourite Batman for me for sure, and the roles to remember seems to come from him when least expected. Ana de Armas whom most of us know the best for her role in the Keanu Reeves starrer Knock Knock, surprisingly seems to have got younger and more beautiful here, and manages to go through this particular role with perfection. The Spanish actress who was also part of a Bond movie earlier, seemed to blend into this role as if it is custom-fit for a grand performance from her. It is evident from the very first moment when she is seen, and then right after the first party. Grace Jenkins who plays the daughter also has her own little moments. Kristen Connolly who is best known for The Cabin in the Woods also has a nice short role in here. At the same time, Tracy Letts plays the man of many doubts really well.

How it finishes :: Deep Water feels like one strange psychological thriller which takes the divergent path, the one which is not often explored this well. The emotions go strong and weird and you come across that kind of a couple who cannot be considered normal in any sense, even for the standards of some of those strange films. When you have much more than what meets the eye, it is more about the minds than anything else. With much less of a predictability factor, the movie is a fine work on the psychological side, as you keep looking forward to what happens next. Last year, Amazon Prime Video had The Voyeurs as one of the biggest exclusive releases, and this time after Kimi, this one stays a step ahead. As most of us continue the trend of not going to the theatres anymore, this release in the OTT platform adds to the interesting list of movies that we have watched at home. After all, home is the best place to watch movies these days, as we avoid the Corona virus as well as those overpriced petrol prices, parking fees and food.

Release date: 18th March 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Adrian Lyne
Starring: Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas, Grace Jenkins, Kristen Connolly, Tracy Letts, Dash Mihok, Dash Mihok, Jacob Elordi, Lil Rel Howery, Brendan C Miller, Jade Fernandez, Finn Wittrock, Michael Braun, Devyn Tyler, Michael Scialabba, Jeff Pope, Paul Teal, Juliet Brett, Damon Lipari, Joel R Martinez, Jaren Mitchell

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.