Those Who Wish Me Dead

Vampire Owl: Can someone wish that the undead be dead?

Vampire Bat: Well, that would be something the werewolves would do.

Vampire Owl: Do they still try to make sure about it?

Vampire Bat: They haven’t been that dumb for some time.

Vampire Owl: You mean that werewolves are no longer dumb.

Vampire Bat: Let them make a claim related to that.

Vampire Owl: Well, zombies did make such a claim, and they are surely dumb.

Vampire Bat: Zombies never get to eat enough brains. You can’t blame them.

Vampire Owl: Werewolves don’t get enough of full moon either.

Vampire Bat: Let us not blame them for wishing us dead, at least for now.

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

What is the movie about? :: Hannah Faber (Angelina Jolie) who used to be smokejumper is struggling with her past after facing a forest fire and failing to prevent the deaths of three young campers and another smokejumper. She ends up being posted at a fire lookout tower in pretty much a remote location. At the same time, Owen Casserly (Jake Weber), who works as a forensic accountant, watches the news about the death of his boss and family in what seems to be a gas explosion, and panics, ending up leaving his city with his son, Connor (Finn Little) who is confused about is happening. The house was originally destroyed by assassins Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult) who were sent by highly influential people who wants to destroy the evidence of what Owen knew and had informed his boss. As they come to know that Owen had left his home with his son, they start another hunt with the clues which they were able to find at his house.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Owen hoped to find refuge with the one man whom he hopes that he can trust, his brother-in-law, Ethan Sawyer (Jon Bernthal), a Deputy Sheriff, who used to be Hannah’s ex-boyfriend. As they are attacked by the assassins, they are forced to drive down the cliff, leading to the death of Owen. Now, only Connor has the much valued evidence against the gangster Arthur Phillip (Tyler Perry). Connor who keeps on running ends up meeting Hannah, who he doesn’t really trust in the beginning, but decides to go with her anyway, as he runs out of options. It turns out that her tower was just hit by a lightning, and they no longer have any option for communication. At the same time, the assassins get another warning from their boss, and as they need to finish what they started as soon as possible, they set fire in the forest as a distraction and goes on looking for the boy at all possible locations, with time running out.

The defence of Those Who Wish Me Dead :: There is always chance for having more and more thrillers which are lesser known, but has enough strength inside to make an impact, thus keeping us interested. This film tries to be one of them, and succeeds up to an extent. This is also a film which we never knew that it had released, but thanks to Amazon Prime Video, we know. The film has engaging moments, as there is the boy being hunted, and we also have a protagonist with a troubled past who is trying to save him as well as others who also comes in. The setting used here is really good, as we have a huge forest area, a small town, and fire that burns them all. The situation has been nicely managed around here, as far as the environment is concerned. It also manages to have an emotional side to go with things. It could have also suited a slasher horror film well too – we have watched films like Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight and Hoax a few months ago.

The claws of flaw :: Those Who Wish Me Dead doesn’t make full use of what it has in the hands. It also stays rather slow during most of its time, and it doesn’t seem to be in a hurry at any moment. It also misses the opportunity to bring some horror in between, and with a quicker pace, it could have achieved much more, after all, we have people who are supposed to be expert assassins fighting some local people. The slasher elements could have also made some impact around here. The intensity could have been much higher as we see how things are progressing around here. Angelina Jolie still has what it takes, but we do feel that she wants to let it go, and Nicholas Hoult, if used as the sole assassin, could have scored much more here. We do miss those days when these two people could have done things which nobody else could do, and that reminds us that we are also getting older – how has the world changed in more than one way, right? Well, all these do make the film feel much longer, even as it is not that long.

Performers of the soul :: Angelina Jolie is the name which makes you watch films during these days too. If there was no COVID-19 pandemic, and if this had released in the theatres here, just her name would have brought the audience to the multiplexes, that much has been her star value around here. She continues to come up with the fine performances, even though there is that tired look which seems to be that much associated with her as much as the character with which it connects really well. Nicholas Hoult who is the next best known name with films including X-Men franchise, Jack the Giant Slayer, Warm Bodies and Mad Max: Fury Road to his name, surprisingly doesn’t get a boost to his role, and is limited to the usual assassin that we see – well, that much is done pretty well. Aidan Gillen plays the other assassin well enough too. Medina Senghore as Allison is the strongest character around here, and Jon Bernthal as Ethan has his moments here too. Finn Little has some good moments as the child actor.

How it finishes :: Those Who Wish Me Dead adds to the list of the usual thrillers with some fine setting to go with it. It had the scope to be more, but that chance is not taken. It would have made more impact if the theatres were open around here, even though one can’t be sure if it is to get a chance for a release here with so many Malayalam films getting ready for release as soon as the COVID-19 numbers get lower. We do have to appreciate the fact that they are indeed releasing these movies on Amazon Prime Video which most of us have better access, as there is almost nobody who doesn’t order from Amazon these days and most of the people do have the Prime account. After all, these are the days when we are hoping for better times, and some good movies can help us to keep life going better. There is nothing like a tale of survival against all odds that can keep us going during these days. So, until things get better, we still have these around.

Release date: 14th May 2021 (USA), 17th September 2021 (Amazon)
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Finn Little, Aidan Gillen, Jake Weber, Medina Senghore, Jon Bernthal

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mortal Kombat

Vampire Owl: Do you remember us watching Mortal Kombat on VCR a long time ago?

Vampire Bat: Yes, a long time ago for humans, just a little bit earlier for us.

Vampire Owl: Yes, immortality has an effect on the perception of time.

Vampire Bat: Yet, those were the days when humans had tapes instead of CDs.

Vampire Owl: Mortal Kombat had also inspired many grand stage fights between vampires and werewolves.

Vampire Bat: Yes, thanks to our special powers, we won most of them against brutal strength.

Vampire Owl: Our battles were more or less immortal combats though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, immortality makes sure that death is near impossible.

Vampire Owl: Actually, having such tournaments are good options in our realms too.

Vampire Bat: Well, tournaments no longer have value among elders.

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

What is the movie about? :: In Japan during the seventeenth century, a group of assassins ruthlessly attack a family, and their leader Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) murders everyone except for their child, who is taken by the God of Thunder Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) to safety. Back to the present, the terrifying realm of Outworld has defeated Earthrealm in nine out of ten competitions of Mortal Kombat, and with one more victory, they could claim and rule Earth. The Outworld has never felt that they have come so close to gaining the ultimate victory. But, an ancient prophecy says otherwise, asserting that the blood of the family which fell centuries earlier could unite a new group of warriors who can defeat the fighters of Outworld. Aware of this, Shang Tsung (Chin Han) sends his warriors to make sure that there are no warriors left to fight them, and Bi-Han who is now known as Sub-Zero is assigned the job to find certain people who have a certain mark to identify them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The identification mark happens to be a dragon tattoo which has been on these people for a long time. A former professional MMA fighter called Cole Young (Lewis Tan) has such a mark, and a person named Jax (Mehcad Brooks) meets him and his family who are attached by Sub-Zero. Jax fights valiantly, but losses his arms to Sub-Zero’s cold, and is considered dead by the Outworld. Another person who is on the hunt is Mileena (Sisi Stringer) who wants Earth to be captured at any cost. Outworld is ready to break all the rules to make sure that they win this last battle. Cole searches for a woman named Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) to whom Jax had pointed much earlier, and upon discovering her, he learns about something sinister which has been going on in the background. She talks about Mortal Kombat, which might be a reality soon, and assures him that they have been chosen to fight for Earth against some unknown species from another world. But that might not be all.

The defence of Mortal Kombat :: This film is nothing less than a return to nostalgia, not just as the adaptation of a game which we have been playing so much from the early days of Windows, as it also contributes as the reminder of that movie which came to the cassette shops, and had us cheering for each action move on display. Well, this film is not that much far away from what we had seen then, as far as action sequences are concerned – we also have the superior computer graphics and with the better cameras, we have some visual grandeur on the screen as expected; a case of higher quality return of childhood as we look at it. The locations are nicely shaped using the special effects. The final battle with Scorpion and Sub-Zero around brings some quality final moments. We can consider this as a beginning, and hope to see more of the fights, with some real tournaments happening in different worlds. The origins of the new age adaptation has been set well, and with one fine sequel, the level of the whole thing could be raised.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about that fact that Mortal Kombat could have been better, especially with so many of options being available. There are so many characters in the game who could have been taken into this film, but only a few were used. Some of the very interesting characters are also killed too early. The individual battles could have actually lasted much more, and some special and unexpected moves could have been added around here. A little bit more of attention could be taken in the clothes of the characters too, and they could have stayed close to how they were in the game. GI Joe had also experienced similar problems, but that franchise never really had this much of variety and worlds to be displayed on the screen with grandeur. It is a shame that some of the battles finish too easily, when we know that there are so much to be done with fighters keeping on battling each other without holding back. You could have always added some game elements according to the requirements.

Performers of the soul :: Lewis Tan as Cole Young leads the way well, even though Jessica McNamee playing Sonya Blade seems to be the real leader around here throughout the first half of the film, as she nicely suits the role so well. Bridgette Wilson would still be the perfect Sonya, as we are all fans of that older version and go on to miss Kitana and Johnny Cage characters for now. Mehcad Brooks as Jax is another determined character who keeps his moments, and Josh Lawson as Kano adds to the same from the other side. The best looks still goes to Mel Jarnson playing Nitara, even though she is there for only a short period of time. We would have loved to see more of her around here, as the winged creature is a thing of Gothic beauty rather than anything else. Sisi Stringer as Mileena brings a side of horror very well. Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero makes the right antagonist, and the ice-filled moments of action are joy to watch. Chin Han and Tadanobu Asano leaves us something to look out for with another possible movie based on the same video game series. Ludi Lin and Max Huang are good additions as the trained warriors too.

How it finishes :: Mortal Kombat does have some special place in our hearts, as it was one of those earlier games which we played and continued to enjoy for a long time. Among these games, it was Mortal Kombat 4 which had our best attention, as it had high graphics requirements, and we actually had to go somewhere else to play the game. The characters of Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Quan-Chi and Raiden were among the favourites then, and it was only later that characters like Mileena were of interest. Among the games, this one does have a legendary status, even though just like the other game adaptations including Need for Speed, Hitman, Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider, Warcraft, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Doom, Blood Rayne, Max Payne, Assassin’s Creed and many others, this one also failed to gather much of critical appreciation. Yes, Resident Evil has grossed so much that nobody can question that particular franchise, but we know that adaptations require more.

Release date: 23rd April 2021 (USA), 11th September 2021 (Amazon)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Simon McQuoid
Starring: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, Hiroyuki Sanada, Matilda Kimber, Laura Brent, Sisi Stringer, Mel Jarnson, Nathan Jones, Daniel Nelson, Angus Sampson, Damon Herriman

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godzilla vs Kong

Vampire Owl: These are not the monsters we expect around here.

Vampire Bat: Well, we cannot stop any of them from entering the realm.

Vampire Owl: So, you mean to say that there is no active vampire defence against monsters.

Vampire Bat: Whatever remains will only be active against werewolves.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that a transformed ape and lizard won’t count.

Vampire Bat: We can ask Doctor Frankenstein to try and contain the radioactivity.

Vampire Owl: I am afraid that it won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: We are already prepared for the huge impact.

Vampire Owl: These are sacred lands. There should be no fight for supremacy here.

Vampire Bat: This is just a temporary space. They will pass through this area, through the portal.

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

What is the movie about? :: Five years have passed after Godzilla defeated the legendary monster, King Ghidorah and all the other monsters had bowed down to him, accepting his supremacy as the great king of the monsters. He is limited to a small space within the Skull Island, as a dome is created to hold him inside, so as to avoid any contact with Godzilla who wouldn’t appreciate the fact that there are two titans. A deaf and mute child, Jia (Kaylee Hottle) is the only person who could successfully bond with Kong, who is not really happy to be restricted to a small space, which he often tries to damage when he is angry. Jia is also the adopted daughter of the Kong expert Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), and she hopes that they can hold on to Kong as much as possible, and avoid the epic clash which could happen between the two. Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), tries to get into a facility which is attacked by Godzilla at the same time, and that gets everyone worried, as Godzilla has never attacked without a reason.

So, what happens with the events here as something big is coming up? :: Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) feels that there is something wrong here, as Godzilla should have attacked only because there was a reason for the same, and something sinister is happening within. Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir), the CEO of the organization recruits Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), to lead a journey into the Hollow Earth, the homeworld of the Titans, which could have enough energy to fuel the planet and bring a defence against Godzilla. Nathan is not sure about as his books related to same was poorly received by everyone, and going into such a world would mean death, but as he understands that he has developed HEAVs, some specialized crafts able to withstand the high pressure which is exerted by the gravity field. Ilene understands that there is chance for Kong to find a new home in Hollow Earth, and agrees to the idea. But this journey is not that direct as they thought, as there are other motives for the rich businessman behind all these.

The defence of Godzilla vs Kong :: As expected, the film focuses on the action, with huge monsters ruling the screen, asking for bigger screens to watch it with the best effect, and we already had similar feeling with earlier films of Godzilla and King Kong, as well as the unrelated robot v/s monster battles of Pacific Rim. Among the monsters, it is Godzilla who continues to impress us more, as Kong continues to bring the feeling of enlarged ape rather than the alpha creature, still pretty good enough. The grandeur of Godzilla continues to impress us in many ways, and there is no dinosaur from Jurassic World that could stand up to that glory. When these two collide, there is the classic battle of the highest level indeed. There are so many great battles, and one final one with one extra human made monster – as we know, the worst of them are human or created by humans, proven through centuries, and if you have watched the Russian alien film, The Blackout, you will know what humanity is capable of, and this thrilling ride with great visuals asserts it again.

The claws of flaw :: The focus on giant action means less attention on the other things, and it is also not something which was unexpected. The building of the monster is something that was unexpected, and human greed is once again explored in a more predictable manner rather than anything else. There is no absence of Seven Deadly Sins as far as science is concerned, and it is as if they have taken that one directly from religion. The repetition that we feel here is more or less what was expected, but something which has less innovation except for Godzilla fighting Kong and having a mechanical monster also to join the fight. The evil plans of corporates in hold of scientific inventions is expected, but it is still good to see the evil being shown again. Maybe, they could have been shown as more evil that what they seemed, because it was leading to human extinction in one way or the other. This looks like we would need another sequel to use the film to its best advantage.

Performers of the soul :: Unlike what was expected, it is Millie Bobby Brown is the one who has the best of our attention. She plays who seems to be the only really smart person around here, as she seems to figure out what is happening before anyone, the so called smart scientists and researchers figure out things, and throughout the film, she seems to be the only real hope for the world. Rebecca Hall and Alexander Skarsgard plays the usual scientists being misguided into something which they wouldn’t have wanted if they had some common sense about what they giant corporations really wanted, but they play along well enough. Brian Tyree Henry plays the other smart person around, and it is being displayed nicely too. Shun Oguri and Demian Bichir plays the villains quite well, and they are more or less the usual villains that we have in this kind of films. Eiza Gonzalez also plays a meaty role, and she could be one strong action star with works in full scale action thrillers, for we know how effective she was in her small role in Hobbs and Shaw.

How it finishes :: Godzilla vs Kong is the kind of film which should be watched on the big screen, but with the COVID-19 pandemic’s second arrival ending that opportunity, and the fear about the same will keep it to the smaller screens for us, except for others who can afford a grand home theatre at home. It is exactly what you would expect from a monster film, and you might have already guessed that with ease from the experiences from the movie’s predecessors. When monsters of such grandeur collide, you know that there will be a spectacle on the screen, and the quality of this glory will be dependent on your screen and your audio devices. Even though we are missing it on the big screen, we can still appreciate the fact that it is not available on an OTT platform in India, and they have chosen the one which is used the most by people here, Amazon Prime Video. Let us hope that after The Tomorrow War, there will be more Amazon Original Movies coming soon, for we are without the multiplex experience now, and might stay so for some time.

Release date: 14th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video), 31st March 2021 (USA)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Eiza Gonzalez, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous high rated movie.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Tomorrow War

What is the movie about? :: From a distant future of war and destruction, we come back to December 2022, as a biology teacher and Iraq War veteran, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt), is highly disappointed during the Christmas season, as he fails in his dream, which was to get a job at a research center. As he watched the FIFA World Cup with his family at a Christmas party, he was shocked to see a few soldiers from thirty years into future arrive in the middle of the ground. They warn everyone that humanity is facing extinction while facing a group of aliens unless they get some help for this timeline. The world’s militaries respond with drafting, and a huge number of well-trained people are sent into the future, but less than 20% survive, and there is always the need for more people to be sent to future. There are lots of rebellions against the war, because people feel that they are going to die anyway, and there is no need to finish one’s life much earlier. Everyone is depressed because there is the clear idea that it is the alien group that is going to win in the end, and there is no real hope related to that.

And what more is to follow? :: As the hope remains low, there is not much that there is left to be done, but the drafting goes on, and Dan is also chosen to fight in the war of the future. His family is not happy with what has happened, and his wife Emmy Forester (Betty Gilpin) hopes that he can find a way to bypass the drafting with the help of his father James Forester (JK Simmons), a former veteran soldier who has turned an anti-government activist after the Vietnam War. But he has to go anyway, and joins the team which is undergoing basic training under the troops from the future. But there is an emergency as there is an attack going on in the future, and without any further training which was to last about seven days, they are sent forward in time to Miami Beach but the coordinates get messed up, with most of the members of the team dying. Soon, they are ordered by Colonel Forester (Yvonne Strahovski) to rescue the nearby lab personnel and recover their research data before the area is bombed for clearance from alien infestation.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The team does manage to complete the mission, and they barely escape from the situation. Charlie (Sam Richardson), a techie, and Dorian (Edwin Hodge), a third time traveler into the future are the two survivors who are able to make it to the camp. Now, there is a lot to be done in a future, which seems to point towards human extinction, and the alien control over the planet one way or the other. In the new world of the future, they have to capture a female alien, and the types are rarer than the males which are basically everywhere. As they are living in a future where there are not many safe areas, with most of the continents already infested by the creatures which have reproduced enough to limit the human activity to certain areas, a research into causing the aliens to go extinct instead of humanity is a near possible adventure. The question also remains if there is a future that they can save, and if all these are worth the pain which they take.

The defence of The Tomorrow War :: There is an interesting future in store within The Tomorrow War, as this film with both aliens and time travel have you interested in the science fiction elements yet again. This is a combination which has worked really well before, with films like Edge of Tomorrow, working so well with the audience – being in a tomorrow with a war going on against aliens is a fair deal as far as any sci-fi fan is concerned. There is a lot of action in store here, and the alien detail is nice, even though having similarities with the Alien franchise which we have been missing since Prometheus and Alien Covenant, two films which had us asking for more. The visuals of the future Earth is also very nicely detailed, and the destroyed cities make us want to have more battles with aliens out there. The post-apocalyptic side of the film remains strong, thanks to all the action and the special effects, with the visuals never ceasing to remain stunning. This one can also have a prequel about the coming of the aliens, and maybe bring a franchise into motion.

Positives and negatives :: This is the kind of film which could have scenes which the Russian movie The Blackout had in its early stages, and that particular flick’s first half could actually be one interesting prequel to this one, with connections being made to the colder areas of Russia. There was surely scope for more terrifying sequences with aliens. To add to it, the pseudo-intellectuals can always find a reason to blame this film, but I am yet to discover what exactly would be their reason this time, for they have all randomly bashed Hollywood action films which were nothing less than grand. After all, it is not easy to make a film like this, and if Bollywood would try anything close, they can do nothing else than mess it up completely, with a long line of cast which is there in the name of nepotism instead of skills and quality. There are a few things which can be predicted here, and some of them come naturally to us, and not as surprises. There could have also been a few sequences about the missing years of alien attack, and a clearly defined theory about what has happened with the aliens.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt whom we had last seen in Avengers: Endgame and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gets to save the world again, and this time against the aliens. We could be having another Guardians of the Galaxy or Jurassic World in his usual roles, but this one has indeed established another memorable action role for him. Yvonne Strahovski is very much suitable to action flicks and thrillers, as we have seen before with The PredatorI, Frankenstein and Angel of Mine. But her presence in the future feels kind of restricted. Betty Gilpin has very less to do in comparison. JK Simmons has some nice moments to be added in the end. Others like Edwin Hodge and Sam Richardson are good additions to this kind of a movie. Others like Mary Lynn Rajskub, and and Seychelle Gabriel also have limited presence, but one would want them to have extended roles to play here. The film could have expanded rather than keeping its focus into the personal side in an alien invasion situation which is moving towards human extinction as well as the end of the world as we know it.

How it finishes :: The Tomorrow War will remind the audience of Edge of Tomorrow, even though the core idea remains different, and the film lacks someone like Emily Blunt in its full run. There is no denial of the fact that the film is complete entertainment, and you don’t really need to listen to some self-proclaimed great critics who write for some newspapers – they are more interested in providing lower reviews to science fiction in comparison to Bollywood nonsense as most of them are not able to understand the idea or enjoy the grandeur on the screen. You can only guess who impressive this would have been on the big screen, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the kind of films which can stun us with what is displayed on the screen with the special effects and maybe even a little bit of 3D effects. As of now, it seems that it is better for us to remember that feeling and enjoy the film on a laptop with Amazon Prime Video. After all, we are all restricted in that case, but not restricted as far as enjoying action-packed science fiction is concerned.

Release date: 2nd July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Chris McKay
Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Betty Gilpin, JK Simmons, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge, Jasmine Mathews, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Keith Powers

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Wonder Woman 1984

Vampire Owl: It has been too long since we wanted to watch Wonder Woman.

Vampire Bat: I thought that we wanted to watch Black Widow more.

Vampire Owl: Yes, that too, but this is a sequel, and we will end up forgetting the first film.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is like we have almost completely forgotten Avengers too.

Vampire Owl: Nobody forgets the Avengers.

Vampire Bat: Everybody forgets everyone, not just Avengers. It is only a matter of time.

Vampire Owl: Vampires have their memories towards eternity.

Vampire Bat: Not at all vampires. There are levels.

Vampire Owl: Levels like in Super Mario?

Vampire Bat: Not exactly. But existence for a long period of time matters.

[Gets some french fries and three cups of grape juice].

What is the movie about? :: In 1984, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) works at the Smithsonian Group in Washington DC, and in a flashback, we see that when she was little, she had taken a shortcut to win a tournament among the Amazons. There, Antiope (Robin Wright), the general of the Amazon Army had told her there are no shortcuts, and everything has to achieved with honesty, and her mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the queen of Themyscira had agreed on the same. Even though Diana is doing the usual kind of job in the 1980s, she is also going through the superhero stuff. In the same city, Barbara Minverva (Kristen Wiig) lives, and as a new recruit to The Smithsonian, meets Diana. Barbara is not popular at all, and she feels that nobody likes her. People usually walk around her as if she doesn’t exist, and she is highly disappointed about that kind of treatment with even her name being forgotten.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Barbara becomes friends with Diana very soon, and they notice one item, a stone that contains a Latin inscription which claimed to grant the holder one wish. Barbara wishes that she becomes as good as Diana in all ways, while Diana wishes that Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) comes back to her. They see both wishes being fulfilled very soon, as Barbara finds herself stronger and sharper, as well as liked by everyone around her – she finds out that even her body structure has undergone some change, and she is no longer the clumsy person she used to be, along with finding herself able to lift heavy objects. At the same time, Steve has returned as his soul has possessed another man (Kristoffer Polaha) whose original form can be seen in the mirror reflections. The confusion of entering a new world is with Steve, but with Maxwell Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal) trying to get that stone, it will be the least of their problems.

The defence of Wonder Woman 1984 :: We do feel that the original essence of Wonder Woman is maintained up to an extent, even though it is indeed faded when do a comparison with the previous film. There are some fine action sequences, even though we should have had more grandeur. The best fight is the one in the White House, and showing the helplessness of superheroes making connection with the audience works most of the time. It manages to keep its level high enough among the other DC movies if we make more comparisons with more. The characters in the film are nicely linked with the tale’s progress, and how it finally sets things well for a possible sequel later. There is the message that goes against selfish motive, and going for your desire without thinking about others – against those people who are completely into their ambitions as if people around them do not matter. The setting of 1980s also work really well, and there is a lot of background here that works nicely.

The claws of flaw :: A movie on Wonder Woman can always be better, and there is no doubt about it, for we know what happened in the first film. There could have been more fight scenes around here, and the action could have been bigger. The last fight with the two characters in strange costumes makes things rather weird instead of making everything better in quality. Cheetah should have been a case of terror much earlier as the only character worthy of giving a fight, and should have really had a costume to go with the villainy. The fun that superhero movies usually have, and the dark side that the DC films have had, are not here to make the impact on both sides. The film only gets more and more predictable in its run, and its more and more so by the end. There are moments when CGI doesn’t look that good, especially when the protagonist in the air. There are moments when the movie also feels stretched, and this time even the cameo between credits feel unnecessary.

Performers of the soul :: Gal Gadot, as we always know does remain the strength of the movie, even though there is the feeling of tiredness here in comparison to original Wonder Woman and Justice League. She manages this role very well, as we would expect her too, and the feeling that Wonder Woman brings is different from Marvel’s Captain Marvel – a feeling which is not always easy to manage, but is done really well here. Among these lady superheroes, the gap between Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel is rather too high, with latter as a character is not the person we love. Kristen Wiig does make a pretty good villain character as she handles the spirit, but not much of a Cheetah that we had expected, despite the first half of the movie had her nicely set, even though in a predictable manner. Pedro Pascal does well as the villain who causes the big trouble. Chris Pine returns, but despite everyone having needed the same, this is short-lived.

How it finishes :: This version of Wonder Woman doesn’t match up to the original, and that point is made clear very early into the movie itself. Well, we are sure that it is not possible to match the skill of Marvel here, but we did expect an exception in this case, which didn’t happen though. There was the chance of making some great action sequences here, but they are limited, and Cheetah itself could have been further grand. When we consider the grand scheme about the last movie, this one surely trails behind. But with the entertainment that the movie provides, it is always nice to have another superhero during these times of trouble. The film also has its moments, and we get this on Amazon Prime Video at a time when we are in lockdown. During these times of COVID-19, stay at home, and thus stay safe. After all, entertainment keeps more people at home than anything else. At the same time, let us hope for a better tomorrow.

Release date: 16th December 2020 (United Kingdom), 25th December 2020 (United States), 15th May 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Without Remorse

 

What is the movie about? :: A group of US Navy SEALs are led by Senior Chief John Kelly (Michael B Jordan) through Aleppo in Syria, while the Syrian Civil War is at its peak, and ISIS has a considerable presence in the country. In between all the destruction that they see around them, their mission is to rescue a CIA agent who was earlier taken hostage by ISIS members. But they are shocked and surprised as they come across what seems to a Russian arms depot and not an ISIS safehouse, and the people they were fighting seemed like experts. It turns out that Deputy Director Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell) knew that the mission involved fighting the Russian military, and the team, without knowing what they were facing, only manages to survive and escape with the hostage before an airstrike is called on the location. But only three months later, the military officers who were involved in the operation are murdered one after the other, while John spends his time at home with his pregnant wife Pamela M Kelly (Lauren London) after retiring from the force.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It turns out that John’s home is also attacked at night, and even though he is able to kill one of the attackers, his wife and the unborn baby are killed, while he ends up in critical condition at the hospital. It turns out that it was a group of Russian FSB operatives who attacked them, and it turns out that it is a retaliation for what happened in Syria. But, Robert is not interested in going through the investigation, as even though it is a foreign attack on the US soil, CIA considers the scores settled, with no need to escalate it as an international problem between two nations and their allies around the world. There is also nothing to link the FSB members to the Russian government either. Lt Commander Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) helps John with the needed information, and he takes matter into his hands, as he tracks down the Russian diplomat who issued the passports to the FSB operatives He forces him at gunpoint to provide the name of the surviving assassin, before killing him.

And what else is to happen here? :: John does get the escaped name as Victor Rykov (Brett Gelman), but is sent to prison for what he had done. He also has a fight in the prison, but gets himself in control as he is given an audience with CIA and the rest of the US Department of Defence. United States Secretary of Defense Thomas Clay (Guy Pearce) decides that he would send John with the other operatives to find Victor, as his anger, determination and need for vengeance can be used effectively even though nobody else is certain about it. But even though they travel to Russia in a cargo plane undercover, they are discovered by a Russian fighter plane which shoots them down. This leads to the relation between the United States and Russia reaching a new low after Cold War. They just manage to escape as the flight lands in the sea, and John’s doubts about Robert gets to a new high as he hadn’t taken the same flight with them. Even though he repeats that he knows nothing, there is the feeling that there is something clearly wrong about this particular mission.

The defence of Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse :: We always love to have a movie with a high revenge element turn into something with an international conspiracy. There is enough suspense being built here, and we have some twists to add to it, as many things here are not exactly as what they seem. The action is good, and it is mostly focused on shooting, with the support of some explosions, and the feeling of war is always there, even when it is not really on the screen. The sequences are nicely done, not just with the fights, but also with the settings, reminding one of those nice first person and third person games which we have played in the past – after all, the gamers of early 2000s will surely remember games like Rainbow Six and what followed, including Rogue Spear, Take Down, Raven Shield and others which are also based on the works of Tom Clancy, and took the shooters to another level during the time of release. The movie version is quick and keeps up the pace throughout its run-time here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t add that much new as one would have expected. It could have managed to get rid of some of its predictability here, and there doesn’t seem to be an attempt to add more to the plot, as a deviation from the book has happened as the makers have tried to change the setting to contemporary times. The hero is also a little bit too strong for this kind of a movie, even though he is still not seen as a superhuman as some of our good old blind fans would have liked – they still have Bollywood to have such dumb movies of non-acting megastars. Some of the twists that await us can be sensed, and we have a number of moments when things could have gotten much better. Also, if you are looking for the usual kind of full of action or full movie, that is not going to happen – it is a trend among the viewers from this part of the world. This is certainly the movie which we would have wanted to see as a better one.

The performers of the soul :: Michael B Jordan with his strong performance leads the way here, even when the character does make us feel that there was much more deserved rather than following the safe path. The action as well as emotional side seems to work well for him here, and gets some fine battle scenes to work in his favour. You are often reminded of Will Smith in Gemini Man too. It is said that Keanu Reeves was also offered the main role here, and that would have been nice too, considering what he has been doing in the John Wick series as the hitman without limits. Beyond the protagonist, the one person who makes a big impact is Jamie Bell, who is the kind of person that suits this kind of films, and if a sequel is being made, he deserves to be there. Lauren London doesn’t have much to do in here, and the only female character who gets any importance is Jodie Turner-Smith who plays Commander Karen Greer, and it is played well. Guy Pearce does his job in a neat manner too.

How it finishes :: Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse gets its release in Amazon Prime, and this is indeed the right time to be on OTT at least in India, as this is the season of COVID-19 again, and not many Indian films are releasing on any of these platforms anymore. With the novel on which it is based, written in 1993, and set during the Vietnam War, this one takes a move forward in the timeline, placing itself in the contemporary times as it serves as the origin story of John Clark, a character that is repeated in the other works of the series. There seems to be quite a good number of differences which are to be noted. The fans of the book might or might not like them, but as far as most of us around here are concerned, we haven’t read the work. I would consider this one to be an interesting movie with focus on origins. The opportunity for the sequel can also be seen here, and we can wait to see how another film can build on this.

Release date: 30th April 2021
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Stefano Sollima
Starring: Michael B Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Luke Mitchell, Jack Kesy, Brett Gelman, Colman Domingo, Guy Pearce, Lauren London, Todd Lasance, Cam Gigandet, Jacob Scipio

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<— Click here to to go to the previous Hollywood review.

<— Click here to go to the previous big Amazon prime release.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deep Blue Sea 3

Vampire Owl: I remember watching this particular movie’s first part some time ago.

Vampire Bat: It has been quite some time since that one released.

Vampire Owl: Yet, sharks have been things of interest.

Vampire Bat: They have been present since the Jaws franchise.

Vampire Owl: Jaws was the source of such early shark stuff.

Vampire Bat: Well, the sources were so limited then.

Vampire Owl: Things began to change with the vampire shark.

Vampire Bat: We don’t accept vampire sharks here.

Vampire Owl: But there is one living near the corner.

Vampire Bat: It is actually the vampire dolphin in disguise.

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

What is the movie about? :: Dr. Emma Collins (Tania Raymonde) works for the protection of Great White Sharks whose population has declined steadily in the last few years, as she stays on an artificial island near South Africa. There are lots of sharks around, whom Emma takes care of, herself. She is supported by Eugene Shaw (Emerson Brooks), Spinnaker (Alex Bhat) and Miya (Reina Aoi). Nandi (Ayumile Qongqo) and Bahari (Siya Mayola) makes the final couple who live there are part of the floating village, ready to go under the ocean soon enough. Nandi wishes to leave the island before it is completely submerged in water, but Bahari’s attachment to home keeps them there, and they also provide help for Emma and her team, while going through the usual fishing jobs. It is then that Dr. Richard Lowell (Nathaniel Buzolic) tries to find the offsprings of the bull shark from the earlier movie, Bella – these sharks have been threatening humans for some time now, and his team tries to put an end to the terror.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But it is not that easy as it seems. There is something more about these sharks than what meets the eye, as these weaker sharks take on the apex predators Great White Sharks, and kills them with ease – most of the other aquatic creatures keep away from these, and there is trouble in the waters for sure, and it is no natural. With the sharks seemingly more intelligent than ever, it might be the humans in the trouble. The mercenaries led by Lucas (Bren Foster) would take control and have what he is sent there for, in one way or the other. The story goes back to the first movie, when the sharks were being experimented, and made to develop better brains, in order to cure diseases in humans, especially those related to brain. Now, the question remains about what the sharks can do, and the mercenaries might end up doing. Either way, survival won’t be that easy this time for anyone.

The defence of Deep Blue Sea 3 :: We always need our daily dose of terrifying creatures, whether it is about sharks, crocodiles or alligators – they mostly work the best, when they are in water. Ocean always has had more possibilities of horror from the early periods of classical antiquity itself. The sea monsters have only managed to get better. There are some nice shocking moments around here too, as there are quick attacks by sharks, along with some nice blood and gore everywhere to be found, as we know what the shark attack can do from the previous movies. The setting is also really good, and it helps the cause, as the terror here is something which can work out better in this place in the middle of the ocean, with nowhere to go, as the sharks are good enough to come and attack with all the intelligence they have received from the genetic engineering programmes.

The claws of flaw :: It seems that there can be no sequel that can match the original Deep Blue Sea, which became the new Jaws in no time. But this one does give a try, especially with the leading female lead coming up with such an interesting performance – a better quality in graphics would have helped the scenes of her fighting the sharks more. The sharks should have looked at least close to how well the world around them looked. The tale could have also followed a different pattern than what was expected too. There could have been better planning here, and the scope could have left for a sequel too. The predictability factor should have been decreased with better attention. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the movie never seemed to have got going as it would have otherwise, as there is always chance for a little more of shark attacks in this part of the world where such attacks are not something people have experienced.

Performers of the soul :: Tania Raymonde leads the team here, and she does that with a smart and realistic performance. She looks perfect in this role, and even though one can have some doubts in the beginning, she is so solid that one wouldn’t doubt her as the character that she plays, a strong female lead who keeps the whole movie on her shoulders is quite rare when we look around. There is the connection with the sharks, and she can also give a fight on the land, as it is seen in the final moments of the movie. Emerson Brooks supports her well, and that includes the performance as well as in the form of the character. Reina Aoi makes the cute character who tries to survive even as she is not made for the same, and even though that feels like a stock character, she does well – the same can be said about Alex Bhat playing the typical nerdy character once again trying to survive. Bren Foster makes a pretty good villain while Nathaniel Buzolic is limited despite the good start.

How it finishes :: Deep Blue Sea always has your attention, even when they are not working as good as they are supposed to be. This movie might not be your favourite shark movie, but it might be one among your interesting titles, even with its troubles. During the time of COVID-19, a shark might still be the least of your worries. After all, you don’t really get them on the Indian shores. Still, the climate is changing, and you can be sure that this is not the final word on the same. Until then, we can hope that the Corona Virus pandemic is going to really disappear at some point. After all, we need to go back to our usual ways – there is no hope in being hopeless forever. One virus, and we are all down without a clear path ahead – this certainly shouldn’t be forever. Going deeper into the year 2021, maybe, we will know it better. Until then, we can still hope.

Release date: 28th July 2020
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: John Pogue
Starring: Tania Raymonde, Nathaniel Buzolic, Emerson Brooks, Bren Foster, Alex Bhat, Reina Aoi, Siya Mayola, Ayumile Qongqo, Brashaad Mayweather, Ernest St Clair, DeVille Vannik

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Underwater

Vampire Owl: I am sure that this not the best time to go underwater.

Vampire Bat: Why would you think so?

Vampire Owl: Because there is Corona Virus underwater.

Vampire Bat: They are actually everywhere. You are never safe from them.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that they have infected the underwater kingdoms too.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that they can’t go that deep.

Vampire Owl: An emergency has been declared in twenty one underwater kingdoms.

Vampire Bat: It should be due to the election process.

Vampire Owl: The virus might have spread during the elections.

Vampire Bat: Well, I wouldn’t deny that possibility, because the election process is the perfect super-spreader in any realm.

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

What is the movie about? :: Norah Price (Kristen Stewart), a mechanical engineer wakes up in the morning only to find that the underwater research and drilling facility where she is staying and working is beginning to fall apart. Within a few seconds, Kepler 822 facility which is operated by Titan Industries at the bottom of the Mariana Trench has water coming in, and with great difficulty, Norah manages to seal herself inside the safe part of the facility and finds Rodrigo Nagenda (Mamoudou Athie) and Paul Abel (TJ Miller), as they make their way to escape pod bay. They find the captain W Lucien (Vincent Cassel) along with a researcher working as an intern, Emily Haversham (Jessica Henwick) and also another engineer Liam Smith (John Gallagher). They are not able to communicate anymore, and the escape pods are no longer an option. Their only option is to walk to the next area through the ocean floor and try to contact outside world from there.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The idea is indeed a risky one, but there doesn’t seem to be another option, as they would have the thermal reactor exploding very soon. They continue on their journey only to have the first person imploding due to a faulty helmet. The rest of the team finds a distress signal underneath, and goes to check out what seems to be an escape pod. But the only thing they find out is a dead body, and an unidentified creature which doesn’t seem to be of any known definition – a new species which seems to have some interest in human flesh. This leads to many doubts about the cause of the earthquake-like incident which destroyed most of the drilling facility and killed most of the people there. They had also come across some other strange sounds, and this could be even a pre-historic species which had come out from the ocean floor. Now, what would this mean for chances of their survival?

The defence of Underwater :: This is one of those movies which gets quickly into action, as we get the explosion of the drilling facility so early, without introducing us to anyone or anything. There is the feeling of terror spread throughout the world in here. The initial and the final moments are the best, and it is up to Kristen Stewart to make sure about it. Life so many leagues under the ocean is indeed a scary one, and this situation makes the whole thing the thriller that we had expected. There is fear at all corners here, but this could have actually been another franchise like Alien – yet, the movie doesn’t strive that much for the same. The movie has also included the elements from the weird tales of HP Lovecraft, which comes as a fine addition too. Underwater, despite the scope for improvement, is a movie that everyone should love at least up to a certain amount – it is a movie with the minimum guarantee, and with the sound effects nicely added, is worth more.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about the fact that this movie could have used its resources better, to expand the idea well enough to bring an even bigger adventure, something of grand epic proportions. In the middle period, the movie does slow down, and the action could have been more, and could have had further intensity. The creatures could have been better defined, and there is too much of darkness for us to see them clearly, and provide that fear factor. The scenes under the ocean could have been clearer, because we are watching a movie, and not trying to know how it looks underwater without light. When you are waiting to see those monsters coming towards you, it is not nice that you don’t really get to see them with all the possible glory. If you think that the underwater world is not supposed to bring a visual splendour with terror, that is not the right way of thinking – after all, horror can be beautiful on many occasions.

Performers of the soul :: Kristen Stewart steals the show here, unlike what she did with her earlier movies like Twilight and its sequels, as well as those roles like that of Snow White which never had us wishing to see more of her. Underwater has her in a tough role, she does the job really well. The movie is centered around here, as she saves the lives of as many people as she can, when it is possible – there are also those ideologies that guides her really well. Jessica Henwick is also an appropriate addition to this movie, and her depiction is as realistic as her character can get. Vincent Cassel as the captain is quite a solid one. The other characters are of lesser importance when we consider what they do in this situation of crisis. It is to be noted that there are only six remaining human characters in this movie after the early incident. The ocean itself is the only other character and environment around here, later replaced by the creatures as antagonists.

How it finishes :: Underwater makes an interesting adventure under the ocean, and the idea makes one feel that there should be a sequel to this one, which is going along similar to the Alien method, with humanoid creatures not from outer space, but out of the ocean floor. This is time period when we have been worried more by the viruses than the bigger creatures, and so the impact of such huge monsters are rather less in comparison to the microscopic ones. As we face this year with more variants of the microscopic organisms coming up, let us make sure that we stay safe, with all the COVID-19 precautions. Considering what people have been during Christmas and New Year, one would feel that the virus has been gone for long. But, we know that it is not the case, and we have to remain careful at all times. It is more of the responsibility of each individual rather than the government.

Release date: 10th January 2020
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: William Eubank
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Jessica Henwick, Vincent Cassel, John Gallagher Jr, Mamoudou Athie, TJ Miller

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Gemini Man

What is the movie about? :: Henry Brogan (Will Smith), is a fifty one year old former Marine Sniper who had managed to go through the terrors of war in different wars in which United States of America was a part of. After finishing his assignments, he has been working as an assassin for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). As he is sent on a mission to assassinate a terrorist on board a bullet train, and after he successfully makes the hit a few milliseconds before it enters a tunnel, he decides to quit the job. But his old friend Jack Willis (Douglas Hodge) tells him that he was tricked, and the person he last murdered was not a terrorist, but a Russian molecular biologist and a Russian operative Yuri Kovacs (Ilia Volok) has proof about it. Janet Lassiter (Linda Emond), the director of the DIA who comes to know about Henry realizing the truth, decides to get him assassinated, and so does Clayton Varris (Clive Owen) the director of GEMINI, a top secret black ops unit.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Meanwhile, while spending time on a fishing boat, Henry realizes that Danny Zakarewski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who was supposed to be the cute, friendly neighborhood boat rental manager is also a fellow DIA agent who retired from Navy earlier. During the same night, everyone who came close to Henry are killed, and Danny herself is almost killed, but manages to fight off the assassin after getting an early warning from Henry. Both Danny and Henry escape to Colombia with Baron (Benedict Wong), who was in the military with the latter, and is now working as a tour operator. With the assassins failing to kill both of them, Clayton sends another one after them, this time, someone who is an expert, and won’t stop until he completed his mission. Meanwhile, Henry hopes to find Yuri and talk to him about the assassination of the molecular biologist and the twist of fate which had followed.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: When the assassin reaches the house, and when Henry comes face to face with him, he realizes that it is just him, about thirty years ago. He resembled Henry very much that Danny ends up asking if he had a relationship when he was young, to which he answers that the closest he was to a woman was with her. Testing the DNA samples of both men, Danny realizes that the assassin is a younger clone of Henry. The clone possessed the same skill sets and even had the allergies from the former assassin. Henry manage to meet Yuri in Hungary who talks to him about the cloning project and the man he assassinated was one of the project’s main scientists. The idea was to produce clones without pain and emotions so that they can be perfect killing machines, and nobody would come looking for them either – there would be nothing much that could be taken from them if captured either. Now, time starts running out for them.

The defence of Gemini Man :: There are some interesting ideas used here by the movie, reminding one of the science fiction action thrillers of a much earlier period, like The 6th Day which had cloning at the core, and the main character being cloned. There are some fine action sequences to go with it, and as the story goes on, we see some humour in there, and the bonding scenes between the main characters are nice. Mary Elizabeth Winstead does have that kind of a combination with Will Smith – she is looking so different from her earlier adventures that it is difficult to recognize her, but she is really good here. The best action sequence is the one involving shootout and motorbike chasing sequences which come quite early into the movie. In the final moments, there are more to add to it though. There is also the question about morality being asked in the end, but that is just a little addition which comes towards it.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much of a suspense or twist in the movie, but there was scope for a lot – The 6th Day had something grand going on underneath, but this one is just too direct with the plans. There are also moments when the strength of Will Smith as the action hero shows signs of fading, even as he does quickly go back up. The movie could have the two going against each other for a long time, until all of a sudden, the big revelation is made as a twist, but this one chooses to go forward with everything well known. Gemini Man could have been John Wick on another day, but not on this day, and with the movie seems to be having a finish with no opening for a sequel, this particular hitman might not be coming back to provide anything more to us. Considering what we have, it doesn’t try to achieve something special, going through the predictable path.

The performers of the soul :: Will Smith guides this movie in his usual style, and we know that the role of assassin suits him well. We had seen him last in Aladdin, where he served as the genie from the lamp. But this one should point directly to Suicide Squad, the highly underrated beauty of a movie where he played expert marksman and assassin, Deadshot, as part of the team of dangerous criminals set to save the world. The character is very much suited to him, and he delivers in usual style, even though it is not that much there with the younger version of him. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been a common name in horror movies, a scream queen who was last seen with full strength in the post-apocalyptic psychological horror thriller which gained much critical and audience acclaim, 10 Cloverfield Lane – with this one, she proves to be fine action material too, maybe the right choice for a Mission Impossible movie. Clive Owen makes a pretty good villain at the same time.

How it finishes :: With the eternal action hero Will Smith and the Scream Queen turned action star Mary Elizabeth Winstead does move this film forward in style, but with the inability to innovate, and the hesitation to try something different, Gemini Man doesn’t rise above its limitations at all times. We know the kind of movies Ang Lee has come up with, from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Life of Pi, and in comparison, this one doesn’t gain the needed strength. But as an entertainer, you cannot question the quality of Gemini Man, because it delivers just that with ease. This surely is your usual kind of an action adventure movie, with the protagonist being hunted by the group he used to be working with, and he has to get away and find a solution – for the same, he has his very small list of allies, not numbering more than two. So, enjoy this one within the genre.

Release date: 11th October 2019
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Linda Emond. Ralph Brown, Douglas Hodge, Ilia Volok

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Curse of La Llorona

What is the movie about? :: The legend of La Llorona or the weeping woman goes a long way back in Latin America, especially Mexico. It told the story of a woman who found her husband with another woman, and drowned her children in the nearby river to punish the husband. Later she drowned herself, but according to the local legends, she is supposed to kidnap children and drown them. Unaware of this legend, in 1973 at Los Angeles, Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) investigates the case of Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velasquez) whom she suspects is abusing her two sons, Carlos (Oliver Alexander) and Tomas (Aiden Lewandowski). Despite the mother wishing to keep her sons locked in a room for their own safety, Anna takes them to a child-services shelter. There, Tomas seems to sleepwalk and Carlos follows him until they are attacked by a woman wearing a white gown.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The two children are found dead by the police, after being seemingly drowned in the river. Patricia is immediately taken into custody by the police for committing the crime, but she blames Anna for the death of her children and tells her that the same will happen to her children Chris (Roman Christou) and Samantha (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) too. She claims that she had things under control, and had almost saved her children from the Curse of La Llorona when Anna came in, and decided to destroy everything. Chris who wanders near the crime scene finds himself marked by La Llorona (Marisol Ramirez), with burns on his hands similar to that of Patricia’s children. The very next day, the creature also grabs Sam and leaves identical burn marks on her hands after luring her to the area near the swimming pool at their home.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: Patricia has an alibi for the time of her sons’ deaths, and tells Anna that she has shown La Llorna her children, and it will come after Chris and Samantha, and after they are taken by the evil spirit, she will have Carlos and Tomas back with her. When Anna realizes the grave danger that they are in, the spirit had already started working its evil, with Chris almost being taken to the river and Samantha almost drowning in the bath tub only to be saved by Anna. Even though a non-religious person, she is forced to seek help from Father Perez (Tony Amendola), with her being branded as a child abuser by her own colleagues Donna (Irene Keng) and Cooper (Sean Patrick Thomas). But church won’t be able to help her in such a short period of time, but there is a former priest who might be able to – Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz) – but this creatures is pure evil; can that be done?

The defence of The Curse of La Llorona :: The movie works at the first level because of the danger than puts in here, the fear of children dying, and the terror the parents are forced to go through as their little children are going to be taken away by some evil entity through violent actions finalizing in murder. The appearance of the evil hands and the face in the bathroom might be the scariest scene in the movie, and the final moments also have some terrifying moments. The movie does have its own random scares to add to the quota. The creature here is nicely detailed, and one can’t deny the weeping woman’s existence as a quality evil spirit in the conjuring universe. It makes sure that the curse just feels strong enough, and at times, one feels confident that there is no escape from it. The darkness is used nicely, and the sound effects are utilized well in this horror movie too.

The claws of flaw :: The Curse of La Llorona does have a curse, it is that the story is not developed much, with the main characters themselves being random people in a horror movie, as we have nothing much to go with them. The back story could have also been told in a better way. At a running time of less than one and half hours, it couldn’t really stick to the necessary, even though the length makes sure that there is no boring moment at all. Still, the wrath of the weeping woman is released a little too a late, and the final scenes of banishing of evil are also a little too short for our liking as we are used to longer periods of exorcism and similar events. If it was marketed more with the tagline of The Conjuring, the movie would be ran more at this part of the world too, as clearly many people didn’t knew that. This is also one legend and one evil spirit that requires further attention with better display on the big screen.

The performers of the soul :: The director, Michael Chaves will also be directing the next movie in the main series, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, and so this one should come as a sample of what is to come later this year, whenever the Corona virus decides to step back with its dose of horror. Linda Cardellini does the role of the concerned mother well enough, and the terror of losing her children in always there to be seen. Patricia Velasquez also has the same fear, and she goes through the same kind of terror, and a certain amount of mental instability is also there related to her character, and she supports the same really well throughout the flick. The two mothers make the two important adult protagonists in the movie who are there from the beginning of the flick to the very end. The two children also come up with some nice performancs, especially Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen. Raymond Cruz brings some fine moments in the last stage too.

How it finishes :: The Curse of La Llorona manages to be better than what the common reviews claimed about it. The movie manages to be another interesting member of the Conjuring universe with Annabelle and The Nun already becoming successful spin-off films, with the former being a series. This is another one of that kind of movies which are successful in horror, even though they won’t stay for long – in this case, the image of the weeping woman is there to stay. It will remain there just like the Annabelle doll. In between all the horror that Corona virus brings in real life, the weeping woman becomes another image of horror to add to the season. It will not have that much of a power as COVID-19 with its real life prospects in being terrifying like a virus pandemic of such fearful grandeur and dark fate, but we know what supernatural is of a different level.

Release date: 19th April 2019
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Michael Chaves
Starring: Linda Cardellini, Patricia Velasquez, Raymond Cruz, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Roman Christou, Marisol Ramirez, Irene Keng, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tony Amendola, Oliver Alexander, Aiden Lewandowski, DeLaRosa Rivera

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Annabelle Comes Home

What is the movie about? :: Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) continues their paranormal investigations, and manage to take the Annabelle doll home, as it had been terrorizing those who had kept it at home. During their return home, they are forced to stop the car near a cemetery, and the spirits summoned by the doll almost kills Ed. The couple are quick to take the doll to the artifacts room and is blessed by Father Gordon (Steve Coulter) before any other terrible events happen due to the demonic connection that the doll makes. The doll is kept inside a glass case, and a warning sign is provided outside, so that nobody would even think about opening the case, in case they get inside the artifacts room ignoring the warning given outside. At the same time, they continue the paranormal investigations, and add more items to the artifacts, filling the space with remains of the supernatural.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Judy Warren (Mckenna Grace) doesn’t have a good time at school as students lead by Anthony Rios (Luca Luhan) makes fun of her in the name of her parents’ paranormal investigations, and even refuses to attend her birthday party in the name of the same. Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) is the one in charge of babysitting her, and she is only happy to listen to the stories about spirits and exorcism. Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela Rios (Katie Sarife) also comes to visit her, as the two try to make cake for Judy early, even though the birthday party is still scheduled a few days later. But Daniela’s aim is not the birthday, as she is haunted by the guilt of driving the car when her father was killed in an accident. As the Warrens are believed to have connections with the death and the undead, she hoped that something there would help her.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: When Mary and Judy are outside the house, Daniela offers to check the cake, and at the same time sneaks into the room where the artifacts are kept, hoping to find something to connect to her father. Only a message from her father could comfort her and save her from the guilt. While trying to find something that could help her and failing in doing so, she opens the glass case where Annabelle doll was held, and leaves it open, as the spirit is unleashed, looking for a human soul. Mary Ellen’s crush Bob Palmeri (Michael Cimino) arrives outside at the same time, and finds himself facing another spirit which Annabelle had awakened among the others. The house soon finds itself infested by more than one spirit, with Annabelle, the Bride and the Ferryman only some of them, as night arrives. Each space seems to be taken over by a spirit, as they try to find a solution.

The defence of Annabelle Comes Home :: We are never short of a little bit of horror, as there has been the need. The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, The Nun, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation and now this one has left us full of this franchise which never really seems to leave us. There is enough horror in store in this movie too, with danger lurking behind the doors, windows, curtains and within the shadows. There is also more than one spirit in store here, and the room of artifacts is once again clarified to be the one place nobody should be visiting even during day time. The movie does mark a certain return to form for the franchise, as within this movie, we can see hope for further spin-off versions. Well, the doll is nothing that never ceases to catch our interest, even more than Chucky, the Child’s Play doll of our childhood. The characters of this movie are also nicely worked out, with the older people left out, and those who have no prior knowledge of such terror being forced to face it. As usual, we have those nice sound effects as bonus.

The claws of flaw :: Annabelle Comes Home has the predictability which has been there with the horror movies up to an extent, but it does rise above the same on occasions. Even with the repetitions, we have enjoyable moments, but it seems to keep some of those with pride. The movie does take a little bit of too much time to get into the horror mode, and considering the fact that this is a movie franchise which has had a lot of time already, and understanding the idea that Annabelle needs no more time to begin the hunt, we could have began this earlier in style. Even then, the story isn’t developed that much, as all these converge into one point. Annabelle doll could also be scary with its moments, and there should have been the realization that it should be the scariest among them all, as it is the movie of the doll, and not of the other demonic abominations which could have had smaller space in comparison.

The performers of the soul :: In a horror movie, you often look forward to the performances of the ghosts, demons, vampires, zombies and werewolves instead of the humans, but here, we are blessed with the younger actors who can act, and adds as a bonus to the flick. Mckenna Grace, the child actress seems to be perfect fit for a horror movie, as she displays the skills here. She already has some horror movies to her credit and more is to come up – for the common audience here who rarely watches Hollywood movies, she played the childhood of Captain Marvel’s titular character. Madison Iseman who played Bethany in Jumanji is also here, along with Katie Sarife, all of these having good scope for future considering their performances. Patrick Wilson and Vera Fermiga have very less to do this time, as facing the demons in the house is left to the teenagers.

How it finishes :: Annabelle franchise has another interesting movie, and The Conjuring franchise also has another welcome addition. But it has to be said the horror genre hasn’t been that powerful these days, with what strength was displayed by The Conjuring when it released in 2013 not staying. As long as you are a horror fan and a fan of the franchise, this one should stay to keep the momentum going for the series, but a lot of these have been getting repetitive. Still, this one manages to continue to be strong, and we can watch it and enjoy the movie with the doll. But we are always looking for more, and now at the time of the Corona Virus, the evil spirits are not the ones which are the scariest among them – and even a medical thriller like Virus can be scary; so we are to work more and find better ideas to make such premises work better, and until then enjoy this movie.

Release date: 26th June 2019
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Gary Dauberman
Starring: Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Michael Cimino, Paul Dean, Steve Coulter, Luca Luhan, Anthony Wemmys, Alison White, Stephen Blackehart, Sade Katarina, Kenzie Caplan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Charlie’s Angels

Vampire Owl: I remember having watched those two older versions.

Vampire Bat: You mean the movies with Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu.

Vampire Owl: Yes, during those times, it was a change from the usual action movies which we managed to get locally.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I watched the movie at a time when the CD versions were just getting to be popular, replacing the video cassettes.

Vampire Owl: We have to go, like twenty years backwards. We are really old, aren’t we?

Vampire Bat: It is still a very small number of years in vampire time.

Vampire Owl: That is true, but when we look at the actresses involved here, we know that there is more to it than just vampire time.

Vampire Bat: Unless they come with something like Charlie’s Vampires.

Vampire Owl: I don’t think that they would want vampires doing this job.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not, especially if they start running out of the usual options.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: John Bosley (Patrick Stewart), a senior operative, plans and executes a mission with his angels perfectly, and soon, enters retirement, with a programme which appreciates what he had done for a long time during his stay in the organization. Meanhile, Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), an engineer working under the millionaire Alexander Brok (Sam Claflin), wants to take a secret out regarding their new project Callisto, and their head of development, Peter Fleming (Nat Faxon) who is planning something sinister. She understands that the device which was supposed to be used for clean and cheap energy, has potential to be weaponized, and some people already have eyes on that. She has a meeting with Edgar Dessange (Djimon Hounsou), and the two angels operatives Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) and Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) has an eye on them in case something happens.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But, they are attacked by an assassin known only as Hodak (Jonathan Tucker), and are chased all around the city by him, until they end up in a river, and Edgar is dead. Rebekah Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) who is in charge, gets them together, and their injuries and troubles are taken care of by the person whom they referred to as the Saint (Luis Gerardo Mendez). They decide to sneak into Brok’s corporate headquarters so that they can steal the remaining Calisto prototypes before someone manage to use it, and make copies of it. Along with Elena, the other two angels also gets in using different ids, but despite their best efforts, they fail. Fleming has the only existing Callisto models, and they find him traveling to Istanbul, Turkey – they decide to follow them, with Elena also given the angel equipments, to serve as the electronics and computer expert, or rather the hacker. But can they find out the real villain here?

The defence of Charlie’s Angels :: Elizabeth Banks not only acts in this movie, but is also the director, and she has nicely managed to make this version of the angels a very entertaining one. There are some nicely managed action sequences, as heists, explosions and chases become just part of this movie which also manages to have a certain amount of humour maintained throughout its run, and its two hours of run-time ends quickly enough. Most of the credit for the same goes to Naomi Scott, both directly and indirectly. The visuals are good, with some interesting locations being explored by the camera along with the angels. It has to be said that was high time they had another movie in this franchise, as we always have space for films like these which takes things lightly, along with the serious ones which get all the sequels – Mission Impossible kind of stuff. This one is sure to make you ask for a sequel, not making one waiting too long.

The claws of flaw :: Considering the fact that this is a movie which has arrived years after the earlier version, there was a lot of time to bring some innovation, but there is no such thing being attempted here. The movie focuses more on action thriller cliches to make the best out of its material, but it should have opted for changes. The plot also has its own predictable elements, and the twist that it has is rather minute, and is not there to stay. As usual, there is the new recruit, the rookie who will learn things, and finally join the team, as beating up some evil men becomes a reason for them travel all around the world at a time when there was no COVID-19 – maybe they wouldn’t do that these days. You might also miss the great popularity of Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, the three leads of the original version, as the actresses who play the same roles in this movie are those whom most of the film lovers of this part of the world might not be familiar with, except for Kristen Stewart.

Performers of the soul :: Elizabeth Banks, the director plays a major role in this movie, and does that well, and most people will always remember her for the role in the dystopian science fiction thriller, The Hunger Games, and its sequels. But the one who catches our attention the most is Naomi Scott, who plays the girl who changes from being clueless to becoming the angel. She was recently seen in Aladdin, and she was there in Power Rangers with Elizabeth Banks, playing one of the protagonists and the antagonist respectively. Ella Balinska is the next one to catch our attention, a relatively new face to most of us, who hasn’t really watched the movies in which she acted, and she makes one fine angel. Kristen Stewart was the one person whom I doubted when playing an angel because I had only seen her in the Twilight series and Snow White and the Huntsman, but she is surprisingly good here, and along with the other angels, she brings a lot of the funny side into action. Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Tucker are the appreciable male members of the cast.

How it finishes :: When we compare this new version of Charlie’s Angels to the old ones, this one seems to have a certain advantage with what seems to be a very energetic young cast and more fun than those which we had watched a long time ago, but we remember that we also loved them, and had that novelty with bigger names related to it. Not many movies which come back after a long time makes an impact, unless you have a Stephen King novel for support like Doctor Sleep. The movie is one light-hearted, quick, smart and humorous adventure which you will remember for long, and even bring a certain amount of nostalgia related to those older versions. There are only a few movies like Jumanji which can effectively use action and comedy, and Charlie’s Angels is a movie which has risen again to try and do that, and even though not as good as that movie on a game, this one is also a lot of fun to watch.

Release date: 15th November 2019
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks
Starring: Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo, Nat Faxon, Patrick Stewart

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

MIB International

Vampire Owl: This particular franchise has been so old that I am beginning to feel young.

Vampire Bat: Do you know that we have a group, Vampires in Black?

Vampire Owl: We do? What do they do?

Vampire Bat: They wear black, and wander around the castle, as if black is the coolest colour a vampire can wear.

Vampire Owl: So, this VIB does nothing of use.

Vampire Bat: Well, MIB has had another sequel, and so we might be up for more.

Vampire Owl: I think that we should run VIB parallel to MIB because I have so many ideas related to it.

Vampire Bat: What kind of idea do you have?

Vampire Owl: It is regarding a group of vampires wearing black, and facing aliens.

Vampire Bat: I think that people won’t need many more of that, unless created with some really good content.

[Gets a ghee cake and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Molly Wright (Tessa Thompson) is someone who had witnessed her parents’ memories of aliens erased by agents of Men in Black while she helps an alien escape. As her memories of aliens stayed, she started looking for employment in the secret organization which she found out about, but finds out that there is no chance. Everybody thinks that she is delusional, and that there is something really weird about her. With no friends and no life of her own, she finally manages to find the Men in Black after tracing an alien who is taken away by the agents. She discovers the headquarters of the organization quite fast, enters without any hesitation, and makes a fine impression on Agent O (Emma Thompson) who heads the team in United States of America, and after naming her Agent M, sends her to work in London as a probationary agent to know how much she is capable of.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There, Agent M meets High T (Liam Neeson), head of the London branch, and Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), the two of whom are supposed to have stopped an invasion of the Hive, a parasitic race at the Eiffel Tower, many years ago. After that, while High T leads the force, Agent H had become irresponsible, leading to T having to cover up all his failures. M meets H, and manages to go with him in his meeting with his close friend and alien royalty who is killed by some mysterious alien twins able to manifest as pure energy, which the agents are not able to counter. Before dying, the alien royalty provides M with a strange crystal, telling to her that it won’t be useful giving it to H because he had changed after the incident during which he saved the world. It turns out that the crystal is not just the usual thing, and that there is something special about it, but they will have to find it the hard way, while the agency is not happy about the royal alien being killed. So, what is next for the two against all odds? Can they save the world?

The defence of Men in Black International :: As expected, the special effects with the action sequences score more than anything else, and the CGI elements are at fine work here, making the alien presence have glory – after all, the technology has improved so much, and this was to look better in each and every movie. The location explored are really nice, especially Marrakesh in Morocco which provides the best visuals around. MIB does manage to continue as how it used to be in essence, with a big universe with unlimited number of aliens to be saved these days. There is some humour present, even though most of them don’t work, or are repetitive. We can hope to have another movie in the franchise though, including these new characters and some of the old ones, which can prove to be interesting with some extra innovation, for we should never be short of smart ideas as far as alien invasion is concerned.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much different here as far as the plot idea of the Men in Black series is concerned, as each movie works on a similar thing every time, and the disadvantage here is that it lacks those stars whom we have associated this movie franchise with, and there is absolutely no emotional connection here – that side is almost completely done with. We develop no feelings for the protagonists here, and therefore the concern is rather less. There is not much to save here compared to those original movies which we had, and the villain reveal was rather unnecessary, because we could have guessed that from a long time ago, and it was certainly not that good a choice. The twist was pretty much unnecessary, and the best characters in the movie go unexplored. There is also absence of humour, as the funny side here is rather minimal, and it rarely works, leading us to question the direction it is going.

Performers of the soul :: Men in Black will miss Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones this time, and there is no doubt about the same. It might be due to the same reason that we have a pair which worked so well with Thor: Ragnarok to get out of the Avengers world with that grand finish in Avengers: Endgame, and come to this franchise. Yes, they will have their roles to play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Thor and Valkyire, but their combination doesn’t work that well in this movie, even though they are okay together for most part of the movie. Chris Hemsworth does take a little bit of the early Thor attitude in here too, as the proud MIB agent. Tessa Thompson is fine here, but a younger actress playing this role would have been more appropriate. Rebecca Ferguson, the Mission Impossible and Doctor Sleep girl has fine run in her smaller role, while our TakenNon-stop action star Liam Neeson is a fine addition to the movie here, but they could have used him in a better way, at least by the end scenes.

How it finishes :: Men in Black International continues that same format which it had been following for a long time, and through that idea which has been well-established, it manages to be entertaining – after all, there is also the presence of the big names like Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson and Liam Neeson who are there to keep us entertained. There is not much that we will find new in this movie, or to be greater than the previous movies in the franchise, but you have the guarantee because it is this particular franchise that we are talking about. But, it could have had a movie like Charlie’s Angels had, a long time later, but falls short due to the absence of that humour and an energetic cast. Yet, it is the movie that you watch for being Men in Black with all the aliens and saving the world stuff.

Release date: 14th June 2019
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: F Gary Gray
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, Emma Thompson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

It: Chapter Two

Vampire Owl: Have you met the vampire clown?

Vampire Bat: We have a vampire clown now?

Vampire Owl: Yes, even the zombies have their own clowns in a zombie-infested theme park, and it was necessary for us to arrange one.

Vampire Bat: Now we have to pay him too. Being a clown is not even a real job in the vampire world with base in horror.

Vampire Owl: It is okay, because he will be playing the It clown only.

Vampire Bat: It clown is a creature that vampires shall not accept as their own.

Vampire Owl: But he has become a trend, and we have to accept him as our own too. This is not child’s play.

Vampire Bat: Well, I am sure that he was not the kind of clown the vampire elders had approved.

Vampire Owl: But he is trending on Vampire Twitter, and it has been so for the last one year.

Vampire Bat: What? Even the vampires are letting a clown trend when we have pure non-vegetarian vampires!

[Gets some tapioca chips and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: In 1988-1989 time period, in the streets of a small and lesser known town Derry, a his six-year-old child was taken into the sewers and eaten by Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard), and a team of children had forgotten their fears to destroy the creature, and send it into hibernation for twenty seven years, hoping that it would starve and die during the time period with no option available. The team of children known as the Losers swears a blood oath that they shall be returning to to the town of Derry as adults if It returns to haunt the place ever again. Twenty seven years later, a young man is murdered by a clown which is said to have eaten his heart. A young girl who was watching a match in a stadium is also lured by It, and murdered under the seats of the gallery. Derry town now has more than what it can handle.

So, what happens with the events here? :: This ancient cosmic evil which preys upon children and possessing a large variety of powers including the ability to shapeshift, manipulate and create illusions has gone unnoticed by the police and the people in charge there, but the same cannot be said about Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) who discovers clues to the presence of the creature. As the only person left in the town out of the children’s team serving as the town librarian, he decides to call the other members of the gang. Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) who has been going through sexual and physical abuse in the hands of her husband is only happy to come to the town, while the successful novelist Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) is quick to respond. A frightened Stanley Uris (Andy Bean) commits suicide and a lonely Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) is only happy about a get together. Others, Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) and Richie Tozier (Bill Hader) also reach there, but are they good enough to face this advanced It?

The defence of It: Chapter Two :: Even in the absence of the quality of the first movie, the second one manages to stay floating against all the ice it had created in the water as hurdles including the dumb humour, silly bonding among friends and the not so scary frightening scenes. There are moments of horror which works in the movie, and in the final fifty to fifty five minutes of action, almost everything works as far as the scares are concerned. The adult replacements are good, but not that much as the children, and not all of them works accordingly. The clown remains a fantastic figure of horror, and it is only when the creature comes out there with all its glory that we realize that there is something special in this movie – whenever It is there, the movie raises its level, and the so called adults don’t really live up to the quality of the clown. Among the scary scenes, the most notable one might be the creepy old woman thing, and then the murder of the two kids.

The claws of flaw :: It can be seen that It: Chapter Two fails to meet the standards of the first movie which had that first scene of the child taken into sewers being among the best scenes ever in a horror movie. It also had a projector scene to stay in our memory along with others. Yes, the old woman scene is creepy, and there is some continuous dose of horror in the last few minutes, but they are more or less for the quick scares rather than being there to stay for long. There is no scene as in the first movie to remember in this second film in comparison, and it also drags a lot. There is a lot of slow movement inside the movie during the first half, and it is during the last one hour or so that the movie picks up its pace. It should have had that kind of horror which keeps us awake at night in the darkness like Lights Out could do when lights were turned off, but this second movie focuses too much on other things, as the bonding is too much and the humour is dumb.

Performers of the soul :: With its flashback, this movie is more or less drama than horror, as the children keep coming back to this film too, with its flashbacks. The young generation of the cast continues to score over the older ones, especially Sophia Lillis who becomes Jessica Chastain as an adult, and stay pretty well throughout the movie. James McAvoy is also very good, and is the next notable character in the flick. Jay Ryan is the one who seems to be completely different from his childhood avatar, and manages to be just okay. James Ransone provides the fun here, even though the humour itself is not that much working. Bill Hader with the comic side is also only somewhat working. Isaiah Mustafa does a good job as the one who brings them all together, the confident one among the Losers. Andy Bean is wasted while Bill Skarsgard as the clown continues to entertain – maybe some more kids would have added more here.

How it finishes :: It: Chapter Two is too long a movie, and has most of its best moments directed to the final one hour. A lot of the movie was rather not needed, including the first scene and the hallucinations when the protagonists come together. The collection of artifacts could have also been shortened to make this a one hundred and twenty minutes movie, which would mean an accurate movie filled with horror at all spaces. Still, with whatever we have, rooted in the Stephen King novel of the same name, the film takes the scary elements to the screen well enough. The predictable moments, silly jokes, and the overdone friendship can be avoided though, and we can quickly move towards the last few minutes to enjoy this movie at its best. After all, an evil clown like this is not to be left behind – for terror is real, whether there is Corona virus or not.

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, James Ransone, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, Bill Skarsgard, Andy Bean

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Angel of Mine

Vampire Owl: Which type of mine are they talking about?

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that the usage is like that here.

Vampire Owl: I can think of a copper mine, gold mine or coal mine.

Vampire Bat: This is not a movie about that kind of a mine.

Vampire Owl: Okay, you are talking about a highly explosive land mine.

Vampire Bat: It is the thing which is used to refer to a something belonging to speaker, and will be related to nothing else.

Vampire Owl: It is disappointing. I was reading about the Romans using caltrops which were like land mines without explosions.

Vampire Bat: This movie surely has an angel belonging to the speaker, who is a mother, or rather mothers.

Vampire Owl: So, it is a daughter that they need.

Vampire Bat: Exactly, for it is about mothers and daughters.

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

What is the movie about? :: Lizzie (Noomi Rapace) and Mike (Luke Evans) used to be husband and wife, but now they are looking for divorce, after having a strained relationship for years after the death of her second child a few days after birth, in a fire happening at the hospital. They are also fighting for the custody of their son Thomas (Finn Little) which has him disgusted, especially at the attitude of his mother, who hasn’t been the same after the death of his little sister. Lizzie who is working at a beauty parlour is not happy at what has happened, but doesn’t do anything to change things around, not socializing with people much, and trying to evade even people close to her. But as one day, when she goes to the birthday party of her son’s friend Jeremy (Indi Serafin), thinks change, as she feels that a girl Lola (Annika Whiteley) whom she sees there, is her daughter whom she thought, had died in the fire at the hospital.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Lizzie cannot sleep or concentrate in her work, because she feels that she cannot be wrong in this, and that Lola is really her daughter named Rosie. Initially, she doesn’t say this to anyone, and tries to get into the house where her possible lost daughter is staying, becoming friends with Claire (Yvonne Strahovski) who is planning move into another city, thus leaving her home open for sale. Lizzie poses as a buyer, and also makes use of his son’s friendship with the boy there. Claire’s husband Bernard (Richard Roxburgh) also hopes that she buys the house as soon as possible, and this allows Lizzie to be closer to Lola. Even though she seems to keep a distance in the beginning, can she keep herself away as the family is moving to their new home soon? Will Claire also know about this, and how will she react to Lizzie’s guess work? Is Lizzie out of her mind, as she once used to be?

The defence of Angel of Mine :: There is something about Angel of Mine which will keep you want to know what happens next. It is not just the need to know the truth about the death of a child and also on the life of one, but also about how Noomi Rapace and Yvonne Strahovski are going to handle this, and how their characters will go through this, as this is very much performance-oriented. The former has another huge performance of her career, and the latter follows really well. There are those twists which are more dramatic rather than thrilling here. The final moments are nice, and there is a fine emotional touch running through the whole movie – there is nothing that touches one’s feelings more than a mother’s love, other than the emotions of a mother who has lost her child. Here, we have the mother who has also lost her husband and is almost losing her other child, and has no social life at all – it is where emotions run high.

The claws of flaw :: The movie remains slow throughout its run-time, and there is nothing in there to make rise above that lack pace. The struggle to accelerate can be seen on many occasions, but it can’t escape the drag which it possesses from the time when this was supposed to be interesting – it could have been even one big thriller after that moment of feeling, but after that it doesn’t use those wings to fly, but stays grounded. Making this movie fast-paced was the first step towards getting more people to watch the whole thing without looking at somewhere else, because it is that kind of a topic, with some of the best acting performance lead by Noomi Rapace. The movie should have also added something in there as a clue, and this could have been more like an investigative thriller with the mother searching for her daughter who was supposed to be dead, but this movie never rises to that level, which sadly seems to be intentional.

Performers of the soul :: Noomi Rapace might be one of the most versatile actresses we have ever seen, first noticed with the Swedish movie adaptations of the Millennium series by Steig Larsson – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. For the common Hollywood audience, she is known to have played Madame Simza Heron in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in Prometheus, the latter being one of the most solid performances in any alien movie, making us disappointed not to have her in the sequel Alien: Covenant. The Secrets We Keep and The Price are two more thrillers which are to come from here. While she is indeed brilliant here, we also have something of similar class from Yvonne Strahovski, the lady we know from I, Frankenstein among the demons. Luke Evans, the DraculaHobbitFuriousNOL star is just there for namesake and nothing more.

How it finishes :: A remake of the 2008 French film titled Mark of an Angel, this version has also managed to have almost the same number of positive opinions from the critics, as the new version is supposed to have stayed close to original as much as possible. With Noomi Rapace around, one has to believe that the English version has to be stronger, as she has the habit of making everything better than they are supposed to be, as even the already wonderful Alien: Covenant was lifted to another level with her at centre of everything. Angel of Mine is the kind of movie which begins very slow, and keeps everything going without accelerating at any moment, with a realistic ending, keeping it close to life throughout its run. This is the kind of movie which is the best for the lovers of drama, and from a distance, it is also a partial, slow thriller. You can watch Angel of Mine and see how things work without pretensions.

Release date: 30th August 2019
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Kim Farrant
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Yvonne Strahovski, Luke Evans, Richard Roxburgh, Rebecca Bower, Annika Whiteley, Finn Little, Emily Gruhl, Rob Collins, Indi Serafin, Tracy Mann, Richard Roxburgh, Mirko Grillini

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.