Io

Vampire Owl: We are watching another movie quick enough.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is surely a plan of Vampire Fate.

Vampire Owl: So, you mean to say that Fate is a vampire too.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not. Fate meets all requirements for the same.

Vampire Owl: For something to become a vampire, first it needs to exist.

Vampire Bat: Fate’s existence has been proven over the centuries.

Vampire Owl: But has Fate ever lived in a physical form?

Vampire Bat: Yes, Fate is already part of the air we breathe.

Vampire Owl: That sounds like the Corona Virus.

Vampire Bat: After all, this Corona Virus pandemic itself is a work of fate itself.

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

What is the movie about? :: When the Earth was going to be destroyed mostly due to pollution resulting from human activities, many scientists had started working on a power station that could be sent to space to harvest geothermal energy from other planets. But it would be too late, as people were dying in their sleep, while some others were suffocating in the streets, with the blood in their veins turning black due to a higher level of pollution. The change in atmospheric composition due to the same led to many spaceships with people flying into the sky and then into space as an act of Exodus turning the power station into a colony, like a lifeboat floating about another celestial body. For the same, they had chosen the fourth largest celestial body among the moons in the solar system which has the highest density among them, and has the lowest amount of water around. Discovered in 1610 by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei and named after the mythological character Io, a priestess of Hera, Jupiter’s volcanic moon, Io now has a higher significance for humans.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Most of the people on Earth had already fled, but a very few still try to survive on its surface. Sam Walden (Margaret Qualley) is one of those very few humans who have some hope left about Earth, and she chooses a high altitude area where the air is somewhat breathable, even though she does make some visit to the highly polluted areas with masks to collect some samples. She is also raising bees, hoping that they can help clean the air, but is asked by her boyfriend who lives on the Io station to join him, as they are planning to live at a newer, greater place, with no hope left for Earth which has fallen to human greed. Sam’s hopes are ruined when her bees are killed by a terrible storm which also destroys some of her equipment and sources of power. But she does maintain some hope, as she continues to be in contact with her long distance boyfriend from Io, and tries to carry on with her objective, even though without that much of a plan this time.

And what more do we see here in a wold without hope for future? :: At the same time, a man named Micah (Anthony Mackie) arrives there on a balloon, and asks for her father and scientist, Dr Harry Walden (Danny Huston) – but he is not there, and she assures him that he will be back soon, maybe the very next day, after some field work. He decides to wait, as Harry was someone who believed that there was hope for humanity on Earth, and he needed to meet the man. But the problem here is that Harry has been dead for a long time, and she has been lying all the time. Micah was brought here by the message from Harry which had further brought him hope – the message was sent by Sam, and this would lead to a crisis, as both of them will have a few things to realize, and the same is to be done together. Is there hope left for Earth, or can they make another choice? Where will they end up in the end, dead or alive while fighting for survival in a dying planet?

The defence of Io :: Here is another post-apocalyptic movie which has the expected stuff, even though not with the action-filled adventure of a science fiction. The emotional moments are serene, and effective, and the cast is perfect for the same. Margaret Qualley’s face has that kind of melancholy going through her, which brings the feeling effectively, whether it is about loneliness or the loss of hope – yet, there is some hesitation, something which Eva Green didn’t have even for a bit in the science fiction drama, Proxima. Anthony Mackie provides the support well enough, even though Margaret eclipses everything around with a certain beauty of hopeless sadness that always surrounds her. The visuals of post-apocalyptic world is done just in the right way, and there are areas where it does have some fine work in store. The references to the mythology are good, but can feel overdone to a number of people who are not familiar with the same. The feeling of failure of faith, belief and hope feels natural too.

The claws of flaw :: Io is indeed a slow movie, and never does it pick up the pace, even though there were many opportunities to do so, especially considering the fact that this is a post-apocalyptic world that we have in store here. For such a world, there is so much potential, even in isolation, as we have seen in many other movies which have setting after the destruction of Earth due to one reason or the other. The best of science fiction had a chance to come in on many occasions. This definitely depends on what you are expecting from a movie like this, as this is not your usual stuff with the same idea at all. The romantic is also not that good, and the film could have easily gone on without it – after all, this is not that kind of a flick. The movie also deserved a better ending, considering how it had built up slowly towards that finish. It could have also had some fine visuals of space with Io out there, along with some moments at the space station, as they have come this much already, when you look at it.

How it finishes :: Io is the post-apocalyptic science fiction drama which deviates from the usual path, and seems to be proud of it all the way. After all, it shows what could happen at some stage later, and therefore being realistic is an understatement. The fall of humanity and Earth has been predicted for a long time, and this Corona Virus has asserted the weakness of science in front of most of the enemies whom humans are going to face, and clearly none of the advancements of science can save them. Considering the same, Io is indeed a realization, of the weakness and hopelessness of mankind. You have to move with slow and abiding sadness of the movie to like this version of post-apocalyptic science fiction – otherwise, you might not find this particular version to be interesting. During this time of COVID-19, you know that we might not be that powerful to even delay our extinction for a limited period of time and we are certainly not the saviors of our planet, but the ruthless destroyers.

Release date: 18th January 2019
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Jonathan Helpert
Starring: Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie, Danny Huston, Tom Payne

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Avengers: Infinity War

What is the movie about? :: Following the events of Thor: Ragnarok which ended with the destruction of Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Heimdall (Idris Elba) faces Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his Black Order, a group of ruthless aliens that work for him, referring to themselves as his children in space. With the support of Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary), Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon) and Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw), Thanos has no problem in overpowering his opponents, even the Hulk with his bare hands. Along with the brutal murder of Asgardians, Loki and Heimdall are also killed, while Hulk is transported to Earth at the last moment. Thor is left to die, while Thanos sends his minions to Earth seeking the two infinity stones, the Time Stone in the hands of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Mind Stone possessed by Vision (Paul Bettany) – the possession of them all would make him a god.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: There is no delay in Thanos’ minions reaching Earth, as Doctor Strange and Wong (Benedict Wong) team up with Iron-Man (Robert Downey Jr) to defend the artifact, later joined by Spider-Man. But Strange is captured and taken into the spaceship, with both Iron-Man and Spider-Man on the trail. Their plan is to take the battle to the world of Thanos, which is located on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. Meanwhile, Vision who is spending some free time with the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) in Scotland is attacked by the two other minions of Thanos, who almost kills the two before Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) interferes. They decide to retreat to Black Panther‘s (Chadwick Boseman) territory with War Machine (Don Cheadle) and the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), where they hope to safely separate the Mind Stone from Vision and destroy it.

And what is follow with the events? :: As Shuri (Letitia Wright) looks forward to remove the stone safely from Vision, Thor is discovered by the Guardians of the Galaxy, as they respond to a distress call from the Asgardian spaceship. As the god of thunder and lightning awakes, he enlists Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) to accompany him to Nidavellir to retrieve a powerful weapon strong enough to kill Thanos. Meanwhile, Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) travels to Knowhere to find the titan of chaos himself and try to stop him while looking for the Reality Stone. Even with two infinity stones, his own brutal strength, and deadly minions, Thanos is a force that seems unstoppable, and being close to gaining the Reality Stone and Soul Stone from other planets and Mind Stone and Time Stone from Earth, can anyone stop the juggernaut of Thanos?

The defence of Avengers: Infinity War :: The movie is very quick to get into action, and there is no shortage of the same in this one, as each character gets a lot to fight for. The battle sequences are as grand as they can get, in different locations, different continents and different planets. Unlike the usual superhero stuff from Marvel, this one can also boast of a strong emotional side, but we can also see that it never really losses its funny side in between all these involving dead superheroes and a possible end of the world. The balance that this movie has managed is marvelous, and we will have to applaud the same many times with what is reflected on the big screen. Even the villain here has such an idea which resembles that of Ra’s al Ghul, a plan which can seem noble to more than one person – having a strong villain is one thing that we all wished for, with superhero movies.

Positives and negatives :: Well, Avengers: Infinity War had a task like never before, to bring all those superheroes as well as heroes together for one battle in which even all of them won’t be enough against one mighty supervillain – we remember what the small team of Avengers did in the first two movies, and what an even smaller team of Justice League did earlier. But this has so many heroes, and we have so much to notice, that some people who are not aware of the franchise’s stars might have trouble keeping up, but they will also enjoy this tale of infinite heroes, as much as it is a story of infinity stones. The movie can be considered quite long for a superhero movies, but considering its grand scale and the number of memorable characters and moments, it is well justified. There is also something which is not to be missed after all of the long credits go off in the end, and you might want to keep your eyes on the big screen for longer.

The performers of the soul :: The heroes are all here, strong and determined, as Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr never really meets up after Captain America: Civil War – they never even calls each other, but the characters remain the same, providing the same for us – the former’s entry is grand. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange remains one divergent superhero here, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor remains a strong point as usual. While we talk about how good the superheroes are, the movie is dependent on the supervillain to do the trick better, as we enjoy the moments with him on the big screen like never before for any Marvel villain. Josh Brolin’s Thanos is not just a villain for the heroes to fight, as he is a death-bringer and a man of chaos, but with order written all over his ideology, thus making him a strange as well as difficult character to show on the screen, but there never really is a problem here – another rare case of the villain getting the claps when between superheroes desperately trying to save the world.

How it finishes :: We have loved our heroes, and we have wished for more and more of them, and this movie might be something which makes that wish come true, and also has us waiting for more with a second part. The one year wait is quite long though, but we will have movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel in between. As they arrive, Avengers: Infinity War is indeed the biggest superhero movie until now, and its scope is as infinite as its title suggests. It will be difficult for Justice League to go over the bar left by this Avengers movie, as they have only begun, and with Marvel having reached this far, there will be struggle to meet the expectations – we can only try to imagine how grand the second part of Avengers: Infinity War can be, as this one already calls for a second watch with its magnificent world that goes far beyond expectations. These heroes have been part of us for so long, and we will keep watching them on the big screen in grand fashion, as we need them and their world for the best of entertainment.

Release date: 27th April 2018
Running time: 149 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Peter Dinklage, Terry Notary, Michael James Shaw, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Carrie Coon, Benedict Wong, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Captain America: Civil War

captainamerica.

Vampire Owl :: We have missed too many big Hollywood movies this year. It is a case of heavy disappointment.

Vampire Bat :: You are talking about missing The Jungle Book more than any other.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, we missed the nostalgia. There was the same thing in Malayalam too.

Vampire Bat :: But we won’t miss this one at all. The Captain is here at the local theatres this time. Captain America movies have always been among the best superhero flicks, and you know how Avengers come up with the big action all the time!

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1398-captain-america-civil-war

The two movies which constituted The Avengers series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had managed to be special treat for the fans. There is no chance for questioning Marvel this time either, with another action-packed movie here which features most of the superheroes excluding the Incredible Hulk and the hammer-wielding Thor. With the Avengers supposed to be grouped into two teams under Captain America and Iron Man, the expectations were set high, and this movie delivers too, following the path of the two earlier Avengers movies as well as the two Captain America flicks, as the story continues from where it had left things, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

As the Avengers are going through one of their routine missions, things don’t really go on as planned and an explosion occurs, killing a number of Wakandans. Later, the U.S. Secretary of State, Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) tells them about the United Nations plan to come up with the Sokovia Accords signed by 117 nations, which will bring a certain amount of control in the functioning of Avengers to avoid loss of human life and property. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) who is saddened by his own creation of Ultron, destruction of Sokovia and isolation from Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) comes up with the decision that they have to sign the Accords, and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) supports him on this, along with Vision (Paul Bettany).

But Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has no faith in the government or an international organization, as Captain America turns from being the patriot to the insurgent while trying to protect his old friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) who is once again termed as “the Winter Soldier” and is blamed for an explosion which follows. A revenge-seeking T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) also joins Tony Stark’s team which also has James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and he recruits a young Peter Parker (Tom Holland). But the truth about Bucky is more than what meets the eye, and to defend the same, Captain America will need the support of his other allies which will include Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner).

Among all the superheroes that Marvel has created, Captain America has remained the most interesting one; the two movies of the Captain has been among the best movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with Captain America: Civil War, the three movies make a fine trilogy of action thrillers. As it has been in the previous titles, Chris Evans makes an amazing Captain America. Just as the title suggests, this one easily becomes his movie. Elizabeth Olsen once again has a special charm as the Scarlet Witch while Paul Rudd brings more entertainment even though he arrives late. Robert Downey remains solid as Iron Man. The next two characters we notice the most are nicely played by Anthony Mackie and Chadwick Boseman.

Even though The Hulk and Thor are not present here, this movie brings more superheroes, some whom the fans might already know and the others being mostly unfamiliar to most of the audience outside North America and Europe. The new additions include the Black Panther and Spider-Man, while Ant-Man, Falcon and Vision get to be part of some full Avenger action. Ant-Man adds some nice fun as the movie nears the end while the young Spider-Man and all the jokes related to this version of the superhero remains just irritating. There have been many versions of Spider-Man before, and this one here remains the least impressive of them all. The Black Panther remains special though, and the character is a smart addition.

The story doesn’t have the strength here, but the action sequences and the visuals make up for it. Still, the previous Captain America and Avengers movies had better thrills, story-line and there were even bigger action sequences. But this one here has the biggest group of superheroes, and with so many of those interesting characters present, the movie becomes a treat to watch. Unlike the previous movies, the focus too shifts to the relationships between the main characters, from between Captain America and Iron Man to Vision and the Scarlet Witch, there is a powerful emotional side to this flick, and there is also the testing of loyalties as well as old friendships. The battle is not against the villain this time, but between themselves and their own people.

The movie is also thought-provoking to an extent, even though that side never really gets the spotlight. It has all the entertainment that one needs for the weekend, but adds a little bit too much that is not really needed, from Spider-Man who was just there for the sake of being present, to some of those emotional sequences which often seem a little bit too much. The movie never really needed to go childish with Spider-Man. It surely has an advantage over Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as expected, but could have still been an even better movie. The potential for this movie was so much, and just enough of the entertainment is delivered here. With two parts of Avengers: Infinity War to come, one has to wonder what all these events will mean for the team of superheroes. You need to be ready 😀

Release date: 6th May 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl

captainamericacivilwarr

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ant-Man

ant-man!

Vampire Owl :: Are you sure that there is no Vampire Ant?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it says in all vampire books, that due to the complete absence of alienation, an ant cannot be a vampire. Neither can the bees, wasps and termites. Alienation is the first step to becoming a vampire. The idea of eusociality doesn’t work with vampires at all.

Vampire Owl :: It is good. In the presence of a Vampire Ant, we would have had to sponsor his ticket according to the new Vampire Brotherhood rules and regulations.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, a Vampire Ant seems like an impossible thing, as of now.

[Gets the tickets].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/917-ant-man-movie-review.html

When we consider the superhero movies, Marvel is a name which has proved to be the most trustworthy one in the last few years. All the movies from Marvel Studios have kept a certain standard. Even though Ant-Man is a name which is rather unheard among the common audience outside the English-speaking world, the superhero character has been there for very long. With the reception that this movie has received, we can be certain that it can have a good position among the other movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even though the same can’t be said about how it has managed in this part of the world.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has just been released from prison and is hoping to lead a life away from crime for the sake of his daughter. As he is a post-graduate in electrical engineering, he hopes that he can find a job easily, but things are not easy as his criminal record keeps him away from settling down. A police officer named Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) is engaged to his former wife, which just makes things worse. So, he decides to go on a heist with his former cellmate Luis (Michael Peña) and his friends. They choose the house of a rich old man who is known to have a vault and as Scott has done this before with perfection, they depend on him.

Meanwhile, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) was part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. and had been responsible for the technology of shrinking sub-atomic particles and making Ant-Man possible. But he had quit because he understood that people were trying to copy and recreate the technology. He knew that such an invention will be incredibly dangerous if gone into the wrong hands. As his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), and his former assistant and student, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) did come so close to duplicating the same technology, he is alarmed again, and hopes to make sure that it never happens. For the same, Hope helps him, and he needs a volunteer to wear the Ant-Man suit.

At a point, the lives of these two people come together, and the story of another superhero officially begins. Actually, the movie takes too much time to get to that new tale. The real Ant-Man is not even there until the second half of the movie – there are just people and two suits. There is too much of a delay here, and it can happen with origin movies, but this one has too much of time without interesting things happening. But things get a lot better in the second half, which is full of action, and there are some very nice sequences in the smaller world involving the ants and the hero himself. Things do get to have a better direction after that.

The final action sequences are very interesting, and the ending is nice. If the theatre won’t stop with the credits, you will surely want to see the scenes which come with the final credits. Even though Marvel has indeed brought us a smaller superhero and destruction is also lesser, the scope of this one is reduced for the same reason. The superhero power itself is weird, and the action makes too much way for drama, as the dialogues are rather a lot. The movie is rather too goofy, and celebrates its inability to provide more to ponder about or even to leave a message. The seriousness never really coming to the front and the absence of a menacing villain may be some of the major reasons for the same.

You can choose to enjoy the humour though, even as it is only partially working. This movie surely needed to be more serious. The ants should not have been portrayed as random cute creatures even when made bigger. This universe of Marvel works better with its chaos and destruction, as it is where the strength should have been derived from. Yes, there are talks about the chaos happening in the world, but that goes on with the light tone of the movie, and we are not really bothered if it happens or not, as there is nothing to make us feel it the same way. Paul Rudd is perfectly suited for the role though, and Evangeline Lilly plays the second biggest character on the good side well.

Ant-Man still continues to keep the Marvel Cinematic Universe going. It just can’t go on without the regular problems of an origin story, and is not without repetitions. The basic formula remains the same, and the differences are made only according to the character of the new superhero. But still, it should interest the regular viewer of superhero movies. It does seem a little overrated right now, as it is nowhere close to being the best from Marvel. Captain America: The Winter Soldier remains the most seriously awesome movie of the universe, and Ant-Man is just some good entertainment without many thrills and no twists. I watched this movie as one of the seven people in the theatre, out of which four came only later. The multiplexes do have been attendance though – still not that much as a usual Marvel movie.

Release date: 24th July 2015 (India); 17th July 2015 (USA)
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip Harris, Anthony Mackie, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Michael Douglas, John Slattery, Hayley Atwell, Abby Ryder Fortson, Gregg Turkington, Martin Donovan

ant-man

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Age of Ultron

ageofultron (1)

What is it about? :: The movie begins with the team of Avengers including Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) attacking a Hydra fort which is concentrated around a town in Eastern Europe. They manage to recover Loki’s Scepter and get out of there, even though they meet two enhanced humans, the Maximoff twins (Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who offer tough resistance with their special superpowers. But an attempt by the two part-time superhero scientists of the group to use the artificial intelligence within the artifact goes the wrong way as it unleashes what they called the Ultron and it takes over almost all the available information in the internet including the protected information. The new creation attempts to get stronger with one aim in mind – the extinction of mankind.

The defence of Avengers: Age of Ultron :: This second movie is a big improvement from the first movie, even though there will be big fan boys of the predecessor who will find it very difficult to accept the same. Here, we see more brains than any usual Marvel movie. There is improvement in almost every department, with the characters, special effects as well as the action sequences. The addition of the two new characters, Quick Sliver and the Scarlet Witch in the form of the Maximoff has powered the movie big time. Even the dialogues get better with this one as the funny as well as the thought-provoking moments work wonders, and there is more strength in each department added separately. The action and the dialogues are given so much attention that we feel that just the minimum plot is needed. This looks so good and works so good, and the defence says that you money will be well spent as sparks fly with maximum strength.

Positives and Negatives :: Some of these can give the feeling of being repetitive, and even with a small presence of this repetition, if you feel more than a small amount of the same, it is because you don’t see the big complete picture here. The plot about having the artificial intelligence seeking the destruction of mankind and the loading of consciousness happen to be too common these days, but this has managed to handle the same very well so that the feeling of having gone through this is minimal. It takes a big effort to improve from a movie which was so loved, and the success of Avengers: Age of Ultron comes as a lesson to many superhero movies which are waiting to be released. You can say that there was too much action and so many superheroes, but count them as positives. The only one thing which we miss from the previous movie is the presence of Tom Hiddleston as Loki – but considering how the Marvel Universe is progressing, he should come back only in another story.

Performers of the soul :: What you have to love here is that Jeremy Renner finally gets his due, as Hawkeye becomes that identity of the group who is more human that anybody else, and helps his team to come back together. To be frank, all the characters get some extra in this one, and the only person who might have got slightly lesser in significance might be the Iron Man itself, but then, he comes up with moments of his own – for he is Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans’ Captain America still remains the most likable character in movie and he is so much the man to admire. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulky side continues being the better one and the romantic elements are rather unnecessary, as it also makes Scarlett Johansson less Black Widow and more Natasha Romanoff when not needed. You also have to love how Cobie Smulders makes an impression in what seems to be a smaller role, and Samuel L. Jackson continues to make the big impact – well, he is the fury with all the fury!

Further Performers of the soul :: Anthony Mackie as Falcon has a small presence while Don Cheadle as War Machine gets more even though not anywhere close to the Avengers and the big newer additions to this movie. The two artificial intelligence creatures are well-portrayed, but if you ask me about the best addition to this sequel, I would go for the enhanced twins. I remember last seeing Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen together as husband and wife in Godzilla, and now we have them as the twins. Even though the former has some very nice moments of action, it is the latter who steals the show as the character we know in the comics as the Scarlet Witch. When the former depends on the slow motions sequences which are created to indicate his speed as the Quicksilver that he is in the comics, the latter has her much weirder skills as she goes on and makes the character a joy to watch – she is so perfect in this avatar; check her expressions and movements while in action, and you have to love this casting.

Soul exploration :: While it will be interesting to see what Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch will have to offer for the Avengers in the next movies, let’s get into this movie’s soul. The first movie was too simple, and it was like there is an alien invasion coming up and a superhero team has to save the world just like that – but here we have a movie which is more than just mindless superhero action – this one has space for thoughts, and an expansion of the movie’s ideas in our own way. The movie asks one major question about chaos and order, and where the truth and a perfect righteous situation lies – in the acceptance of order or in the chaos that comes with a revolution? Another question is if the human extinction is the only right way to peace. We all want a better world, are we prepared to change? There are times when you have to feel the mankind itself is too less worthy. Do we find peace these days? We haven’t even evolved out of religious, caste-based and ethnic hatred, and we always have new ones coming up.

How it finishes :: Avengers: Age of Ultron is a spectacle of a very high quality, may be matching that of the immortals of Asgard, and you need to watch this one at the theatre itself. I was not surprised by the houseful shows of this movie at the local theatre too, as this is that good, even in the non-3D version which was there. Yes, it is quite understandable that Fast and Furious 7 managed to be pretty much okay and for the love for the series and Paul Walker, we just can’t stop thinking about that movie. But after two weeks, the big one has released, and this might the highest grossing movie of 2015 if surprises won’t jump in. Well, it will be more of a shock to me if this one won’t end up as the movie which brought the most money for its makers. Avengers: Age of Ultron deserves your presence, and there is absolutely no need to wait for anything else right now. Mark my words, and don’t listen to the lesser mortals, for the Vampire Bat finds this one better than its predecessor, and this is like the heaviest action ever.

Release date: 24th April 2015 (India); 1st May 2015 (US)
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Cobie Smulders, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hayley Atwell, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, James Spader

ageofultron

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Captain America II

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Our own superheroes :: Its been some time since the 2012 superhero movie The Avengers got so much more attention than it deserved and ended up being the highest grossing movie of the year and the third highest grossing film ever. Surprisingly, it even impressed the critics, and even as it was a well made fun ride, I wondered how it managed to do this much just by having some superheroes fighting aliens in the middle of the city. Unlike what some of the fan-boys might say, I have felt that Captain America: The First Avenger was the best superhero movie from Marvel, a title which it takes over from X2: X-Men United and to which Ghost Rider had a distant claim only to be devastated by the sequel. As Thor came so close and yet spoiled the opportunity to be the best, and so did X-Men: First Class and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I have to admit that Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier is my new favourite Marvel superhero movie, and that title should be safe unless The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes up with something too good which is rather unlikely. So this sequel is better than the original and all the other movies in the franchise – that should inspire you to read this further!

What is it about? :: Captain America a.k.a Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is called to rescue the hostages from a SHIELD ship under the control of Algerian pirates in the Indian Ocean. There he notices that the mission of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is different from that of him, and she is collecting data from the ship’s computers. After telling Steve about the secret weapon of SHIELD to destroy its enemies and a failed attempt to decrypt the data, Fury is attacked, and dies after telling Steve not to trust anyone and giving him the USB data. Hunted by the SHIELD, Captain America and Black Widow got to join forces to find information about the data and stumbles upon a supercomputer which tells them that HYDRA still exists not as itself, but within SHIELD, like a parasite, and Captain had never put an end to it during the Second World War. As they say “if a head is cut off, two more will take its place”, and this time they are choosing a different path of war. With the help of Falcon (Anthony Mackie), they have to stop HYDRA from deploying their secret weapon through SHIELD, but the question remains if they can take on the Winter Soldier, a metal armed expert fighter who is more of a ghost entity coming out of nowhere.

The defence of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier :: One of the best fights of the movie is in an elevator, and there are so many more to follow. There is Captain America taking on the advanced machines of SHIELD, and when the Winter Soldier comes up, it goes to a new level, and Black Widow joins the party at regular intervals to boost things up, and so does the new addition – Falcon. The action sequences continue to be strong, and the final battle is incredibly stylish for a movie which was turning into more of a thriller. But the movie doesn’t go on to become that action movie which is expected from any random superhero who possesses the skills that the normal human being lacks, and instead it becomes an espionage action thriller which keeps the viewers guessing, and you can see that the twists are delivered with great punch. The whole conspiracy thing is wonderfully managed, and there is a certain amount of skill involved in doing the same. The dialogues are also cleverly done, and the witty lines are sure to stay in our minds for a very long time. Well, Captain America often becomes self-defending, and you will know about it when you watch.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has turned so much into the thriller genre that the usual superhero fans might find it a little strange. Captain America has turned himself into more of a super soldier rather than a superhero, and it will please a lot as well as disappoint a few, such is this genre. But, yes he is super and there is no denying that. It has successfully become better than its predecessor too, something which only X2: X-Men United could achieve as far as Marvel is concerned. Its intelligence should upset a lot of people who are looking for mindless action too, but those who were looking for stupidity like Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3 are going to be too disappointed. Yes, bring your brains with you – don’t leave them at home like you did while watching some superstar Bollywood movies. Except for the Dark Knight series, I wonder if the viewers are ever expected to use their intellect much in a superhero movie, but now we know that superheroes have moved out of the world of children almost completely. Now they make us thinkers along with entertaining the crowd.

Performers of the Soul :: Chris Evans once again excels in the role of that superhero who is ideologically superior to any superhero of Hollywood. He has become part of the same character and most of us would tend to forget that he was once the Human Torch in Fantastic Four and its sequel – this would always be the role that he would be known for, and this movie gives him more possibilities, and he holds on and improves his performance as the super soldier. When surrounded, he asks “Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?”. Scarlett Johansson remains awesome as Black Widow, and she has a great role to play in this one – she even has some nicer lines like “I only pretend that I know everything” or “Was that your first kiss since 1945?”, and its time her character gets a movie of her own, may be with Hawkeye by her side. Sebastian Stan proves to a fantastic choice for the Winter Soldier too. Samuel L. Jackson is awesome as usual, and the one thing you will know about his car after taking a lot of hits is that the only thing that is left working is the air conditioning, so says the computer. Anthony Mackie’s Falcon comes as another boost to the movie. Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill and Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter comes up in small, yet significant roles which we can hope to be developed later.

Soul exploration :: Unlike the other superheroes, Captain America is not just a superman or any similar person. He is an idea, something which is more intellectual and not physical, standing for truth, justice and honour. His battles are not against the usual villains who come to take over the world or commit crimes with superpowers or manpower, as his enemies are ideologies, of hatred, fear and slavery; it used to be HYDRA earlier and it continues to be same opponent, but with an outer layer of coating. He is also different that he has to fight war in another age along with belong to that era. Thor and Superman belonged to other worlds, but one can always go back and the other has been here since childhood. But Captain America is a man from the past, frozen both physically and mentally to awaken in another age, nothing less than an alien world. But he adapts and maintains all that he had in the 1940s. The world he comes across as an alien is the same which we have now, as we are fed with lies as truth remains hidden. Forget the wars and the media response; forget the lies concerning politicians and elections; we are told that someone lands on moon or there is water on Mars – and we are forced to believe the same or we are labelled as inferior people – nobody needs proof of that.

How it finishes :: There have been two types of superhero movies, one from The Dark Knight side and the other from The Avengers side. This movie seems to be placed right between them, and at the same time, having a life of its own. This movie has brain, and a lot of it, as it keeps itself out of both the mindless action with the light side as well as the fear generation of the dark side, keeping a bit of both, but not enough to be labelled. The result here is that the latest movie from Marvel can take on both sides, even as I doubt if it can be as successful as any of the two. Captain America is not your typical superhero, and the only thing that should work in favour of him in coming up with a great box-office should be the fact that this is vacation time, both for schools and colleges – most of them to be exact. We watched the movie with a huge crowd and that world was almost full, something which was not visible in the case of the first outing of the same hero or the random wanderings of the rusty vain man in iron. You might want to watch the first movie too so that you can enjoy this without doubts, or may be keep someone who watched it on the next seat. And you may want to choose 2D if there is that option to skip 3D!

Release date: 4th April 2014
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Hayley Atwell

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Runner Runner

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✠ This was a week blessed by no releases which came out with a good critical reception, and the after-effects of that movie Besharam was haunting me. It re-iterated the need for a good movie, and I had high expectations about this flick, but those waxen wings were burnt yet again, and therefore it is necessary that Count Dracula take over half of those expectations. This has been a bad beginning to a month which starts with Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday right on the second day, and considering the fact that I had to watch Besharam on that day was sad, and as I add this movie’s score to, the total should be 57/200 which is undoubtedly the worst beginning I ever had to a month this year. With that sadness concerning a month which might not rise in quality much if an average is taken, I have to take you back to the legendary vampire.

Count Dracula: So you are back. You had Jumper, Sinister, Offender, Parker, Looper and now Runner; that too twice. The names of the movies are indeed strange. Among those movies ending with -er I would have preferred those less complicated ones like Hellraiser, Dreamcatcher, Outlander and the inverted version ending with -re, possibly with the word “vampire”.

Vampire Bat: I can see that the absence of Twilight movies are bringing you back into this world. Yes, the title is Runner Runner, and it is good that they had chosen such a title, as the movie drags a lot in between and it is a good thing that people get to know that it is running.

Count Dracula: Do you mean to see that a movie which was so much awaited, a flick which has Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton is quite bad and doesn’t deserve to be watched?

Vampire Bat: That would be pure nonsense. I am surely recommending this one, even as not that much as most of those other movies of the earlier weeks; and this movie might be the winner of this week which was plagued by Besharam and is not supported by any superstar movies from Malayalam industry. Runner Runner might not win by a big margin considering the number of people who were present in the theatre even during the best time of a semi-holiday, but if there is a movie which needs some appreciation among those released this week, it is this movie. The critics might have panned it a little too much in my opinion, for this is no Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance.

Count Dracula: Why did you have to remind me of that movie? Wasn’t the reminder about Twilight and Besharam enough for the day. You always ruin my day like those wood elves. I need to eat a hobbit, but that would take some time too.

Vampire Bat: That should be mainly because I am not here to make you listen to what you want to hear. But let me tell you that this movie scores with its cast. Its greatest advantage remains Justin Timberlake. He was good in Bad Teacher, and I loved his performances in Friends With Benefits and In Time. Here also, he is really good, but his character is let down by the story which goes on through the predictable lines and even as they seem to promise for some surprises at times, there is nothing risky in a gambling movie, and when they don’t dare to do that in a movie which is all about taking risk and gambling, that is a real shame.

Count Dracula: It doesn’t make any sense that you have not started talking about Gemma Arterton. What about her? Her presence in Byzantium makes me wish to go back to the civilized world again. I had heard that they didn’t release that movie in your land. They should be really evil, as it is one of the best things which has happened to the vampire world since my last bloodbath.

Vampire Bat: Yes, she has been an unavoidable force for me from the days of Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and finally Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters this year. But I didn’t like her that much in this movie as I expected. She was pretty and did all that she was supposed to do, but one has to wonder what purpose has her character really served in the movie by coming out of nowhere at regular intervals. Yes, she makes me ask for sequels to both Prince of Persia and Hansel and Gretel, but not for this one.

Count Dracula: You don’t need to say that Ben Affleck was good, as I have known that already. I am not predicting what you saw in the theatre, or what was to happen, but I am pretty much confident about that. I am not sceptical about his upcoming role as Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel either, as most of the people are. He has been Daredevil and he can be Batman. Matt Murdock can be Bruce Wayne, and not every Batman needs to be the same.

Vampire Bat: You are very good at taking words out of the mouth of others, and this is no exception. Yes, the three people forms the pillars of the movie, and the two male characters run the show. Gemma’s character could have had a lot more to do, but I guess we can’t have a Gretel or Tamina every time. Still, there is no denying that the scope for such a character in a movie like this is almost limitless.

Count Dracula: I am not a gambler, my friend. Neither am I a gangster. So, my interest in such a movie is limited. I am rather a vampire who often forgets to brush my teeth and visit a dentist. How did the gambling side work out with you? And does it have enough blood?

Vampire Bat: No, it is far behind in action, and therefore also the blood. Its adult certificate is for the sexual content which is censored at this part of the world, and the near absence of clothes is more of fashion, and I didn’t see those people who came to watch the movie with families leaving, and therefore the lingerie stuff should be okay with them. I would wonder if the gambling side worked at most of the theatres in this part of the world though, as most of us are not aware of the thing properly. But did Justin Timberlake’s character narrate between action to make it known better? I don’t think so.

Count Dracula: So tell me how does it end? Don’t throw the spoiler at me, but still let me know about it. I shall buy only the DVD of that movie, and I have to know the whole thing a little better.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is about a student who loses all his money to an online gambling game, and after coming to know that he was cheated, goes to Costa Rica to find the owner of the site and confront him only to taken to his side. He is romantically linked to the former lady love of the man and is bothered by the FBI to assist them in finding proof for taking the lord of gambling into custody. There are enough suspicions and double-crossing stuff to deal with, and the climax is pretty good.

Count Dracula: So, Runner Runner is worth a watch, and I surely have to get that DVD. I shall look for it the next time I go to the goblin market. If I can’t find it there, it shall be upon you to get that to me.

Vampire Bat: I shall still recommend this one if you are going for a movie this weekend. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie in the form of a DVD, as an uncut version, and if you also live in such a part of the world where the options are the same as mine, go for this movie in the theatre. The beauty of Costa Rica and the three leading actors might be enough to make your day as this is a shameless week for us as far as movies are considered.

✠ For a Malayalam movie fan, this flick brings back the memories of Jose Praksh’s “muthala kunjungal”, for our dear antagonist has crocodiles as pets and feeds them very well, and there is a scene involving him almost feeding his opponents to the creatures in water. Well, this movie doesn’t go to crocodiles of Lake Placid, nor does it goes to the dinosaur of Jurassic Park. With a better plot and a better characterization of Gemma’s character, the three could have done wonders here. Do keep the ears ready for some good lines in the movie, and be prepared for half a fun ride which might be enough for some and not at all working for others. The movie is that much of a gamble that you have to take as it happens inside, and there is a big chance that this will come up okay, and a slight chance that this won’t work at all – there is much lesser chance of this impressing you to the core. Next time, I hope that when they make a thriller, there would me more risks taken and big twists explored, rather than going in a straight path as if it is a drama movie. It is a short movie, both in content and in running time, and may be it is for the good.

Release date: 4th October 2013
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Brad Furman
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, David Costabile, Sam Palladio, Oliver Cooper, Ben Schwartz

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.