Replicas

Vampire Owl: Do you think that there will be people like us forming replicas?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I am sure that there will be at least a few, but not with the same vampiric characteristics and skills.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that a vampire can be cloned?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but the resulting person can only be a human, because vampiric traits cannot be taken into a clone.

Vampire Owl: So, you are saying that a vampire when cloned, becomes human?

Vampire Bat: I would think so. It is what Doctor Frankenstein said.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t listen to the mad doctor in this particular case.

Vampire Bat: Maybe, you can see what happens in this movie.

Vampire Owl: Keanu Reeves is back with another science fiction movie?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it hasn’t managed to have many positive opinions, but I have a feeling that we are going to like it. After all, there are more people like our Frankenstein.

[Gets a paper roast and three glasses of pineapple juice].

What is the movie about? :: William Foster (Keanu Reeves) and Ed Whittle (Thomas Middleditch) are scientists working for a a rich and influential American company set in Puerto Rico. This research firm known as Bionyne Corporation has been known for trying the impossible, with the amount of money they have put in to the scientific research which would help many people in the United States of America, and all around the world. Their attempt to transfer the mind of dead soldiers into a robot codenamed 345 keeps failing, and with the last attempt, it shows self-destructive behaviour, and the scientists are forced to stop the experiment until they find the missing link which would help them to connect the brain with the new robotic body. William and Ed tries to find a solution using their skills in defining neural pathways and human cloning respectively.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Jones (John Ortiz), their boss warns them about stopping this project and firing them, because those who had invested in this project needed results, and not just progress. William decides to go to a boating trip with his wife Mona Foster (Alice Eve) and three children Sophie Foster (Emily Alyn Lind), Zoe Foster (Aria Leabu) and Matt Foster (Emjay Anthony). But the trip turns to be a disaster, as a tree falls on the car, and the vehicle which losses control crashes into a river, leading to the death of William’s wife and children. But William doesn’t want to give up, and he calls Ed with the necessary equipment, hoping to bring his family back again. But will that work out as he expect them to? Is he good enough to do what he had earlier tried, this time with his family? Will the returning members of his family be the same? What will the company think if they find out what he has beeing trying to do?

The defence of Replicas :: The idea that lies beneath is movie is really strong, and serves well enough to keep the movie going – we have seen the dead person’s mind being transferred to a robot before, in movies like RoboCop, a franchise which has had some interesting movies, and a not that interesting reboot. We had also seen similar elements in Ghost in the Shell, and therefore, the scope was surely there. The movie’s best moments include the scene in which the wife is taken out of the pod, the man taking the corpses of his family and placing it on the side of the river, the moment when the wife knows what is happening, and also the final moments of the movie which has an interesting twist. The movie does have its thrilling moments in between, and the last few minutes are even quicker in action. After all, you know what Keanu Reeves is capable of.

The claws of flaw :: The opinions about the movie hasn’t been that good, but it is mostly because people have been overthinking this idea. After all, this is science fiction, and we are not really bothered about the science part as much as fiction, because most of us leave it with the tenth standard of plus two. Most of us haven’t used most of the advanced science and mathematics which we learned during those later years of school in life, and having chosen another stream, frying the brain with such things are indeed useless. But, there is no denying the fact that Replicas could have been better if it had dealt with the problems of cloning – instead, everything seems to be too easy here, and finally, our protagonist has a fine solution to all of these, and it all seems to be custom made for him, with him getting all that he wanted. After all, he is not John Wick, at least for now.

Performers of the soul :: Keanu Reeves has been a man known for Speed and The Matrix, and recently, very much as the hitman in John Wick, as he kept on murdering people one after the other as the popular assassin. Other than the action thrillers, he has suited the best for science fiction movies, and we have already seen that some movies actually combined these genres to make the best out of his works. He has no problem in working with role either, as he remains solid. Alice Eve is the perfect choice to play the cloned wife, as she gets that kind of a look in her face perfectly, and we remember how well she had dealt with her role in Star Trek Into Darkness – she gets into science fiction very well. Thomas Middleditch played his role, just okay while John Ortiz makes a pretty good villain. Emily Alyn Lind who was seen in Doctor Sleep also does good with the other kids, even though they are not significant around here.

How it finishes :: Replicas is the kind of movie which we usually miss at the theatres because there are not many screens being assigned to it, and it is also the kind of movie which the critics tend to bash by trying to find some science in it, when what the usual audience wants from a science fiction is only a very minute amount of science – otherwise, it would be too boring for the common man. I found the movie to be an entertaining one, and the thrills felt real, as we wanted to know the consequences of the protagonist trying to play god like Frankenstein did in a novel, many years ago. The emotional sequences also connect very well, and Keanu Reeves could easily pull this off, but he couldn’t satisfy the critics enough, as it seems from the low rating the movie received. During this lock-down season, try giving Replicas a chance, and lets see how much you agree to the critical opinions.

Release date: 11th January 2019
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emily Alyn Lind, Emjay Anthony, Aia Leabu, Nyasha Hatendi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Criminal

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Vampire Owl: I am suffering from a thriller overdose.

Vampire Bat: And also the science fiction overdose. This movie is both, just like many other flicks which we have been watching in the recent days.

Vampire Owl: Why is it that there are not enough of such movies made here, and we have to keep depending on the Hollywood all the time?

Vampire Bat: We are specialised in drama, aren’t we?

Vampire Owl: And the romance. You see the latest one, the sequel to Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.

Vampire Bat: You mean Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Who makes sequels to a dumb movie?

Vampire Owl: A sequel to a super-hit dumb movie.

Vampire Bat: Which is the dumb movie which is not a super-hit in Bollywood?

Vampire Owl: I can only remember Besharam and Tamasha.

Vampire Bat: I am not letting them doing a science fiction thriller. It would mean the beginning of the end.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with biriyani rice and gravy].

What is the movie about? :: Xavier Heimdahl (Jordi Molla) is a newly turned anarchist, a former businessman looking forward to bringing the downfall of all world government and initiate a reign of chaos. For the same, a hacker known by the code name “the Dutchman”, Jan Strook (Michael Pitt) is forced to create a computer program that would be able to bypass all security features, and get to the nuclear defense codes of as many nations as possible. But fearing for what will happen afterwards, Jan panics and contacts Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) who is a CIA agent based in London. Even though Bill manages to get the money and also make the deal with Jan, he is unable to get the money to him, and also safely transport the hacker from the safehouse, as he is captured by the group of terrorists and murdered while trying to extract information.

So, what happens next? :: Now, the situation is that nobody knows where Jan is, and very much desperate to get to the hacker, the senior CIA agen Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) contacts Dr. Micah Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been running a number of experiments related to implanting memories on human brain. Micah agrees that theoretically speaking, he could transplant the memories of a dead man into the brain of a living person who volunteers for the experiment, but it has never been tested before, and nobody can figure out how it turns out to be for the receiver of these memories. A criminal Jerico Stewart (Kevin Costner) seems like the best option for the same for Micah, even though Quaker wants an agent to do the same. But an early childhood brain trauma makes Jerico the best choice according to Micah, and so they go forward with the same.

And what follows the transfer :: They bring a reluctant Jerico to the laboratory and conduct the experiment. In the beginning, it seems unsuccessful, and Jerico doesn’t respond to the questions asked related to Bill. But Jerico escapes the captivity, and memories of Bill begins to flash through his mind. As the memories keep coming to his mind, he keeps experiencing different emotions as well. Meanwhile, Jan decides to sell his program to the Russians believing that CIA is not ready to pay him, and has decided to back out of the deal. At the same time, Xavier and his henchwoman Elsa Mueller (Antje Traue) are looking forward to capture Jerico and find out where Jan is hiding, but it is the CIA who gets to him first. But the question remains if Jerico can remember the significant things, and even if he does, will he tell the CIA or the terrorists the truth?

The defence of Criminal :: There is a wonderful premise in store with Criminal, and it also finishes off well with a nice twist, and a fine ending which is going to appeal to most of the people. The pace is good, and we get into all the action very early, which makes sure that we are interested in what is to happen at the next moment, as things keep going out of control for the protagonists and the world almost ready to descend into chaos. Kevin Costner comes in a role which we are sure to remember more than any other in the recent past, as this one seems to suit him so well at all points. Gal Gadot has a nice emotional role to perform as we see her after all the action in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Antje Traue whom we had seen in Man of Steel and Pandorum gets another tough role to perform, and she might be the strongest of them all. There is also the strength of having Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones in two major roles.

The claws of flaw :: With its tale, Criminal could have surely achieved much more – it is something that we can all be sure about without doubt. The story could have been further developed into something bigger, dealing with brain and memories as Hollywood find it fit. This is an idea which has survived enough to be capable of bringing more, and that could have been something under focus. This is the kind of idea which could even be rather scary when we look at it. To add to the same, most characters are not dealt with well enough either, and there the focus goes limited. It was also strange to see Ryan Reynolds who has been two Marvel superheroes, Deadpool and the Green Lantern being being used so less, with his character dying so early. Alice Eve whom we last saw in a big movie in Star Trek Into Darkness, also gets much less here.

How it finishes :: For some reason, Criminal is a lesser known science fiction thriller around here, but it could have given many other movies a fight at the box-office if it had gained some hype here. Yes, Criminal is a lot better than some of those movies which gained too many positive reviews than they should have. Most of these faults which seem to have been found are not really that much of a problem if you take a deeper look at it and feel what you are really looking for from this movie within its genre. At the same time, Criminal also asks some very interesting questions about what makes a person – is it his memories, his emotions, or what he or others think that he is? Well, maybe all of them along with the situations – but there is a chance that none of them well. Go and see how it is made with the main character in this movie.

Release date: 15th April 2016
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Ariel Vromen
Starring: Kevin Costner, Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, Michael Pitt, Jordi Molla, Antje Traue, Scott Adkins, Amaury Nolasco, Ryan Reynolds, Colin Salmon, Tommy Hatto, Robert Davi, Richard Reid, Natalie Burn, Lara Decaro

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Night at the Museum III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Men in Black III

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What is MiB3? :: It is the third movie in the Men in Black series which comes as quite a surprise as the first movie released in 1997 and the second in 2002; now with fifteen years gone after the first movie and ten years passed after the second, one would easily think that the series based on Lowell Cunningham’s The Men in Black comic book series might have been done and can return only as a reboot or a perfect remake. But what happened in 2012 was indeed surprising as the alien-dealing protectors of the Earth has returned once again – five years between the first two movies, and ten between the second and the third, and Mathematics doesn’t favour a fourth, but I am not the one who would believe in numbers. One thing about which we can be sure as long as this series is considered, and it is that the movie was a hit even before it was released – I would have been surprised otherwise, and the men dressed in black has scope for even more sequels.

The Setting :: Men in Black (M.I.B) is a top-secret non-government agency that deals with extraterrestrial alien invasions, connections and refugees. It keeps the details of all the aliens who come to Earth and helps those who wishes to make a living on the planet, and at the same time fights any possible alien invasions or other kind of threats to the planet (May be they know about Superman’s presence too). The agency operates from an underground base of operations about which not even any of the world governments or spies are aware of. MIB agents use certain kind of devices called neuralyzers to wipe out the memories of the witnesses who have seen or felt any kind of alien presence, and thus keep their secret alive and away from being noticed. Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J (Will Smith) are the top operatives for this organization and our protagonists once again, with another adventure which comes from outside Earth.

What is it about? :: Boris the Animal, the last of the alien species called Boglodites which consumed all planets in their path, escapes from a prison in moon. He is seeking vengeance on Agent K, who had shot and separated his left arm and imprisoned him in the year 1969. It is seen that one day, K just vanishes and there is no clue about him – it is as if only J remembers that he existed. He finds out that J died in 1969 and Boris the Animal as well as the whole species of Boglodites remain free and ready attack Earth. As it was K who came up with a shield to safeguard Earth and annihilated the Boglodites, it is found out tht Boris went back in time to murder K and thus make sure that he kept his left arm as well as his freedom, along with his race with all the power. Now J has to travel back in time at a time when time-travel is illegal and thus risky, and stop the current age Boris from uniting with the Boris of 1969 and killing K as well as saving Earth from the invasion.

The defence of MiB3 :: Well, this third movie of the series is almost as good as its predecessors, just trailing by may be a few points. It has a lot of fun, and works right as an action comedy. There are also the good special effects an nice CGI, even as there is nothing spectacular, nor there is the need for much. It is one of the best alien comedies too, and as a movie which doesn’t take itself seriously, it scores correctly. It also has a good number of aliens in store, not that you haven’t seen them already, but for those who might have not, and also for those who might have forgotten these two gentlemen in black, there was that “setting” section. Its combination of science fiction with comedy and the introduction of time travel makes it a fine combination of things. There are also those gadgets which looks interesting even if they belong to 1969 which is more of our 2069 in one way or the other. Like it, because even Batman comes only in black, or as they say in that Lego Trailer, very very dark grey.

The claws of flaw :: There is usually a curse associated with the third movie of the series, as they might not be the best of the franchise – I expect such things to happen in case of another sequel to Taken, and it has already happened with Blade 3, Alien 3, Species 3, Jaws 3 and a lot of other movies which you might recollect with a few seconds of thinking. Don’t think like that, for this one survives. But after waiting this long, does this get any better? The answer would be no. And does this offer anything new other than time-travel added? Once again a big no. Couldn’t they have come up with something other than time-travel for this third movie? I did think about it with no answers. There is no new addition or interesting stuff to suit the age, and there are moments when one wonders which direction this is going. Add Alice Eve’s hairstyle to an alien world – thats shocking indeed. The characters of Boris and Griffin were a little less interesting compared to the potential they had.

Performers of the Soul :: Will Smith has another one in his pocket, and a lot of us remember him as Agent J. He goes through the movie with ease, just like the previous movies of the series. Tommy Lee Jones is fine with the time when he is there, as his younger version is played by Josh Brolin who perfects the character. So, there are obviously three of them this time, and joining them is the present version of Agent O (Emma Thompson) and the lady’s 1969 version played by Alice Eve whose hairstyle shocks us to that extent that we wonder if she is actually an alien. But they are both good at what they have been doing in the movie, especially our older version. Jemaine Clement as Boris the Animal is good, but not that awesome a villain as one was expecting. Michael Stuhlbarg’s Griffin add more funny dimensions, but there was scope for more with that character. There is also that twist in the end in which all the cast do a wonderful job.

How it finishes :: Men in Black 3 tries to extend the range of the series, and is successful in it. But with the lack of innovation and repetitive stuff, one has to wonder how far the franchise can stay alive. There is always the Will Smith factor to save it though. He doesn’t seem to age much, and he has the energy in him to bring more out of Agent J. May be one of the later movies in the series can come up with our favourite moment in an alien movie history, and as Griffin says, “unless this is the one where…” – as long as there is scope for aliens, there is hope. This one had no particular aim or reason for existing in an year in which The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises were always supposed to rule and become the movies of the year, along with a Hobbit and a Bond dropping in. It does finish tenth in the list of highest grossing movies of the year, but I would rather be surprised that it grossed more than the movies like Prometheus, Dredd and John Carter by a big margin. For now, it is yes for Men in Black 4.

Release date: 25th May 2012
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Hader, David Rasche, Emma Thompson, Alice Eve

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Raven

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“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore — While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door”. These are the first few lines of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poem, The Raven, which we had to study as a part of our American Literature syllabus for the partial fulfilment of the Masters Degree in English Language and Literature. Even as I found the process of doing seminar about Emily Dickinson more fascinating in this particular paper, my favourite work of that one paper was undoubtedly this poem about this black creature. Later in the poem, we have a better sight of the magnificent dark bird: “In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door — Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door — Perched, and sat, and nothing more”. The poem created such a great supernatural environment with the raven’s unexpected visit to a man who is mourning over his lost love.

Even as this movie takes the title from the same poem, and carries over the same darkness which the poem had in itself, the movie is not directly related to the poem, as it rather fictionalizes the final days of Poe’s life until his mysterious death instead of taking the poem’s imagery forward, and at the same time, gives our poet the powerful image of a crime solver. The use of the image of a literary figure can always be interesting, and as this one poet is considered, he was that big an influence in our question papers that it was quite difficult to take a decision to skip his poems – for that would leave us with not much to score in the exams. There might be many differences between a crow and a raven even as they look the same; as we consider the two movies The Crow and The Raven, they also belong to two different worlds, united only be the presence of murders, deaths and the dark side in both the movies. As the 1994 supernatural action movie is concerned, it remains one of my favourites, but I can’t say the same about The Raven with its investigative thriller atmosphere even as I have my own reasons for liking it.

The story takes us back to the nineteenth century, when Poe (John Cusak) lives his life filled with alcohol claiming to have used up all his literary abilities, and the only other thing he is interested in is the love for one woman, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve). He is loathed by the lady’s rich and influential father (Brendan Gleeson) though. Meanwhile, a group of cops find two dead bodies of a woman and her daughter, and detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) finds out that the crime resembles a murder in the short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue written by Edgar Allan Poe. As more incidents follow, Poe is called to the police station and is asked to help the cops in solving the strange case. At the same time, Emily is kidnapped by the killer who asks Poe to publish a new story. The murderer keeps leaving Poe clues until he gets to that one final clue which would reveal what has lead to this situation, and also that mystery behind the killer should be removed. But as Emily is buried under the ground in a coffin and time keeps running out, Poe is left with less to think and more to act.

I might have to agree that this didn’t work as well as I supposed it would, even as John Cusack and Luke Evans have come up with very good performances and so did the villain who shall not be revealed here. Cusak plays the man who invented the detective genre and blessed us with the best of the supernatural, with so much ease, even as the question remains about how much the character in the movie has deviated from the original person except for the mustache. May be the movie tried to bring too much of the characteristics of the man into one movie which is a suspense thriller with an unnecessary romantic background, thus making it a little too much of a mixture. Poe might not have liked it, but as an admirer of his work, I do; and there is no suspense about it. Alice Eve once again gives her best along with being out of the league, making her way towards the character as she should have. She plays more of a lover of Poe as a poet and his ideas, and plans to marry him despite of the disapproval of her father; and this is one love story which doesn’t have a good beginning or a happy ending.

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! — Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted — On this home by Horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore” – the lines from the poem matches with the depiction of Poe in the movie too, as he accepts his dark imaginations in the movie, and asks if imagining is also a crime. He is shown as a man with no money or fame left, even as The Raven remains one of the most famous works. He finds solace in alcohol as well as his love, and attempts to publish articles instead of fiction which both the editor and the admirers want, and would be something which can bring him fame and fortune again. As he says “Nevermore”, we can see that his character mostly reflects the same man who is the protagonist in his most famous poem. He is there to prove his lines, “And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted – nevermore”! So as the title is concerned, we can identify the man more with the protagonist of the poem of the same name, which is more Poe than anywhere else.

The Raven has its own collection of blood and gore, with even a huge mechanical axe-like device used by the murderer to cut a man into two halves, as the machine swings to and fro like a pendulum coming down towards the victim second by second – from Poe’s another work, The Pit and the Pendulum. The whole atmosphere is full of shadows and darkness creating the much needed creepy world. The villain is someone who knows Poe’s imagination more than he himself does, and his characters and stories too well. There is even that question about Poe inspiring those murders. The inspiration for the movie might be many slasher movies which came earlier, that is for sure. There lies the agony, and the sadness which arises due to the fact that this is just a random fictionalized story with lots of areas which could have been better. There could have been further logic and strong connections, but The Raven has taken the easy way out, with three of the skilled leading actors and an addition of the dark atmosphere supported by blood and gore, trying to work the mystery of a literary figure and his works. It does work in parts most of the time, but as a movie which requires that standard of the poem whose title has been taken, there should have been a lot more.

Coming from the man who directed V for Vendetta this is surely a let-down. May be the movie confuses itself a bit about what it tries to achieve, but this is still a good flick for the literature enthusiasts, especially fans of this one poet and his works, even as there can be disappointment about the changes in depiction of the poet, and the lack of anything amazing in the story that made him a crime solver. There was a lot more scope to this idea of the fiction which has been explored here. I liked this movie because I could connect it with Poe’s works which I had to study and it was easy to remember more about him with this movie, even as it would have helped me much better if the movie had released in 2011. This movie is my nostalgia, of my time reading Poe at college. I can’t say the same about others though, and for those who don’t know Poe or haven’t read any of his works, this is better to be avoided. The other choice for you is to read his works, something which might be a tough ask in a world which is ruled by fiction of no real quality. Still, I would suggest you read the poem The Raven, about which I managed to write a lot in my exam, and a reading of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel with it might prove further interesting.

Release date: 9th March 2012
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: James McTeigue
Starring: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jimmy Yuill, Kevin McNally, Sam Hazeldine, Pam Ferris, John Warnaby, Brendan Coyle

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Star Trek II

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Star Trek might be one of the most popular franchises based on its theme, but this surely is my first encounter with it. But the situation seems to be all set to change, as this movie surely seems to have increased its fan base by one on this day. Still, throughout the ages, Star Wars had been a favourite – but I had to miss this one at that time. Now, I am surely into this series, and its main aim, that is exploration and not invasion, destruction or colonization. There is the need to watch the Original Series, and it would add to my list. For now, this movie has come early to this part of the world, compared to its United States release. Even as it is the twelfth Star Trek movie and works as the sequel to the movie Star Trek which was released in 2009, this one still works well as a stand-alone version, with not much questions remaining unanswered. This could have have been the first movie of the series and might have still worked here, and that was evident from the reactions of the people in the theatre hall, and there is no visible doubt about the fact that it was their first Star Trek experience, and they clearly enjoyed it. This one might not do as good as Iron Man III or The Dark Knight Rises, but is still a formidable force in a world which is not used to such an environment in a movie.

In Star Trek: Into Darkness, the spaceship USS Enterprise is sent to explore another planet, but finds a volcano which is very close to going off and wiping out its primitive inhabitants. Nobody is supposed to know anything about it, but as the first officer and good friend Spock’s life is under threat, Commander Kirk is forced to reveal the Enterprise to the planet’s civilization to rescue him leading to the indigenous people worshipping the ship as God as the crew leaves. It was a heavenly object to a group of people who were in such early stage of their civilization that they hadn’t even discovered the wheel – they get to see a space ship instead and be stunned. As a result, Kirk is relieved of command, and Admiral Pike takes over the command of the Enterprise. But, later a meeting is called as the result of a bombing, and a resulting shootout leads to the death of Pike ultimately leading to Admiral Marcus sending Kirk to take out the terrorist who has taken shelter in the homeland of the war-loving Kilgons. The Enterprise is supplied with seventy two long-range photon torpedoes to be fired at the terrorist’s hidden location once they can locate him. As he fails to have enough information, chief engineer Montgomery Scott refuses to take the unidentified weapons aboard the ship and is thus forced to resign. The Admiral’s daughter, scientist Carol Marcus also joins the crew, under a false identity.

But the ship is stuck at the Klingon homeworld as there is malfuncion in the ship’s core, and they are saved by the same man whom they were planning to capture, whom after surrendering, reveals his real identity as Khan, a genetically enhanced superhuman, who has been in cryo-sleep for three hundred years after fighting an unsuccessful destructive war on Earth, and his success could have deprived the Earth or even the whole galaxy of most of its population. When he says “My name is Khan”, I wonder if something comes to the mind for the Bollywood fans – but in this case, there would be no possible second half of that sentence. This man would indeed be another name for terror without any boundary. As Carol and McCoy look into one of the torpedoes, they realize that each of them contain a genetically enhanced superhuman in cryo-sleep, the remaining members of Khan’s diabolical crew. Khan explains to Kirk that Admiral Marcus used Khan to develop advanced weapons to start a war with the Klingons, while keeping his crew as hostages. Kirk understand that they might be in big trouble, as none of the possible solutions might work out, as they are stranded in space.

Chris Pine as Commander James T. Kirk has come up with full power, as the character scores both with its negatives and positives. Each decision he takes seem to change him and lead him to the moment of the ultimate sacrifice. Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the chief medical officer – this could have been a longer role, even as there are some good memorable lines from him, for the Native American Viking of the Pathfinder, as well as the shooter of Doom had never really attached to the minds of the viewers as they never clicked as action movies, even as I have always felt the first one was superior stuff and the second one was quite fine. Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura also has quite a smaller role, even as it is significant. Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock steals show in many ways, as the one who chooses not to feel, but still has the feelings for his best friend, and finds his logic at the right moment, sometimes evoking laughter and sometimes saving lives. As half-Vulcan, half-Human, neither belonging to here nor there, but having the qualities of both, the man is more Vulcan among a group of humans and not really of his own species, thus more of an outsider even when considered more belonging to the group than anybody else.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan makes the perfect augmented villain of another timeline; condemned, frozen and now back in business. He is highly effective in his powerful superhuman role which is threatened only by the fear of the death of his comrades. He makes Peter Weller’s Admiral Marcus a lesser and weaker warmonger, another role which has been done according to the need. Talking about Alice Eve, the name reminded me more of the two superhuman, but gorgeous women – Alice of Resident Evil and Eve of Species; a bond with the T-virus and with the alien DNA respectively, both seemingly having all positive effects on beauty as well as strength and aggression. Both Milla Jovovich and Natasha Henstridge had made their roles memorable enough to make the characters that popular. Leaving the unreal superhuman element aside, one also can’t stop thinking about that 2010 romantic comedy film She’s Out of My League, when a gorgeous Molly McCleish was out of the league of an ordinary Kirk Kettner. Well, here she proves the same by being out of the league with those looks, and there should be a lot more coming for her in a sequel.

Still, I wouldn’t disagree on the fact that there is exaggeration involved here; thinking about that romantic comedy, exaggeration is never out of the equation, and it is time the common movie watcher of this part of the world who rarely checks the names of the leading actresses know a few names other than the usual leads; its time someone other than Megan Fox and Paris Hilton is known to the lesser movie watching world. The best extentions of the procedure of knowing go only from Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Meg Ryan, as far as Keira Knightley, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Further into the movie, it is no surprise that here she no longer does the same with a romantic character, but with her role as Doctor Carol Marcus – and she is surely the eye candy in this movie, but she is not simply that. She is the balance between the evil of her own father and the righteousness of the crew of The Enterprise. It is her help that leads to the discovery that changes the whole situation of being misguided into the abyss and it is her presence that leads to their ship getting an extension of lifeline which is instrumental in the final battle.

Star Trek is not just a movie – it is a spectacular environment created by the wonderful special effects and the 3D which works correctly. It works so well, right from those moments in those bright, coloured planet with dazzling red coloured trees and the natives painted white, who throws their spears at our heroes, or rather the viewers, thanks to the 3D. The movie is about authority, and also about personal relationships, as well as the collision between the worlds of emotions and logic. The job is done professionally, and it is evident in the ratings in IMDB as well as the critics ratings. Its background philosophy has also worked out well, and there is no doubt that this ship is heading towards a sequel. This encounter between the different worlds, and the species, not as the usual alien invasion is something which is worth more what The Avengers and The Transformers were worth. This is so much like that one game which I felt more than anything else, which was Mass Effect. Commander Shepard might be Commander James T. Kirk, Garrus Vakarian – Commander Spock, Ashley Williams – Doctor Carol Marcus/Nyota Uhura, Kaidan Alenko – Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy; the Reapers could be Klingons or Romulans – such a connection has helped me in liking the movie even more with relation to my favourite game.

Release date: 10th May 2013
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Bruce Greenwood, Noel Clarke, Peter Weller

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.