Cadaver

Vampire Owl: I have got some doubt if they are talking about us.

Vampire Bat: This is surely not about the undead. You can have my assurance.

Vampire Owl: Well, dead people have no rights in the human world. So, we cannot be sure.

Vampire Bat: Such doubts that you have are usually wrong.

Vampire Owl: This is just our second Norwegian film to be watched.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the last one, Lake of Death was a good one, right?

Vampire Owl: There is something sinister about these movies. I can feel it.

Vampire Bat: You can reserve your feelings for later, after watching the film.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but I am a vampire of extreme doubt, you know that.

Vampire Bat: Yet, you remain the leader of a large vampire battalion.

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

What is the movie about? :: One of the big Norwegian cities was hit by a nuclear disaster, and people struggling to survive with devastation all around. There is no hope for future in this post-apocalyptic situation – food is very difficult to find, and there is also no electricity. Dead bodies could be seen in different parts of the city with devastated buildings, and the climate seems to be very rough, as news about nuclear disasters, conflicts and possible world wars are everywhere. Leonora (Gitte Witt) and Jacob (Thomas Gullestad) live in this particular city with their little child, Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman). The child has regular nightmares, as they live alone in what seems to be an abandoned apartment. They understand that they cannot just hang in there with nothing left other than each other. It is then that they find out that there is a theatre play happening nearby, with a free meal. They understand that it is their chance to have some food for the family, and decides to go there at night, even though they do have some initial doubts about the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Leonara hopes that these are the signs of things getting better, and her optimism leads them to the thaetre building – she feels that even if the meals are not enough, they could still have some fun, which the child desperately needs. Even though Alice is first refused entry, the hotel director, Mathias (Thorbjorn Harr), personally gets there and allows the child inside. The building seems to the one last thing standing tall in between all the destruction around. They are all happy to see what is like a new world for them, with a lot of food and it is more like a festival. Everyone seems starved, and they all eats as much as they want. There are other people who are also there for the first time. Mathias tells the guests that the play will be performed by using the whole hotel without curtain, seats and intermission. Everything during the night would be part of the show, with spectators given masks to wear, and the actors would be without the masks, as they move around.

And things can get only stranger in this world of chaos :: The performance starts all of a sudden, without a warning. The guests have the option to attend any performance at any part of the huge building with so many rooms and floors. Everyone keeps looking for things that would catch their interest, and there are so many different spaces without masked people. As everyone keeps walking around, soon Leonara and Jacon understand that Alice is not with them anymore. They remember seeing her just before, but now she seems lost. They keep searching for them, while others also seems to have lost people who were with them. Soon, it seems that there are no more spectactors, and all of them seems to have disappeared without trace. The show still seems to continue in the same manner, but without people. There are some strange trapdoors and creepy rooms around, while things only get more sinister as they keep moving on. It seems that we have more than what meets the eye with this particular building and the show – how dangerous is it?

The defence of Cadaver :: There seems to be so many mysteries hidden in this particular world, and after the initial introduction to the world of chaos hit by an apocalyptic world, we have a terrifying post-apocalyptic world outside, and we are then introduced into something even more frightening inside a building, that is two levels of horror unleashed without warning. The world inside is creepier than one can imagine. The structure, with its creepy corridors, rooms, paintings, darkness – this old-style building is something which will stay in our minds for a very long time. The terror that the movie brings feels much realistic than it is supposed to be, because it is more or less a reflection of humanity and the inherent evil that has led it for a long time throughout history. People have always been evil, as William Golding had shown in Lord of the Flies, a long time ago – it is the same reflection that we see here. As we look at where humanity has reached as of now, what happens in this film is only a little distant probability, for modernity has taken a part of everyone’s soul, as people go for riches above everything else.

Positives and negatives :: The film could have made itself a bigger blood and gore fest with terrifying secrets being brought to light on after the other, but it gains some remarkable ground in its current form. There were more opportunities in between, with all those strange acts being possible with this premise – the film could have used it for the better. The conclusion is pretty good, there are some moments in between that seems to stretch the movie rather than doing anything else. There is also a little bit of predictability, but we can go past that quick enough. Yet, when you are transported into this particular world, you are more or less in a mystery which seems to get thicker and thicker as time passes. When you have a horror thriller set inside a strange building which is part of a post-apocalyptic world, what can be there other than consistent scope of danger? Well, that much has been achieved really well with this particular movie which thrives on its atmosphere again and again. The idea of survival of the fittest, when applied here works remarkably well. The performances are pretty good, but that is not the focus here.

How it finishes :: This Norwegian film seems to rise above the usual horror flicks, as it rises above the genre which has depleted some of its strengths due to modernity and the lack of belief in traditions. The way in which Cadaver uses its scares should come as inspiration to Hollywood too, as one cannot always depend on The Conjuring, Insidious, Annabelle, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe among others to do the thing, and even come up with more and more sequels, for originality matters. Cadaver is innovative enough to create something special out of an already terrifying premise, and the ability to display some extra skills to keep the audience engaged makes sure that this is one of the most effective horror flicks of these times. The atmosphere, setting, situations – all seems to come together so well. If you haven’t watched this one, you are missing the opportunity to watch a well-made horror movie making unexpected impact. This is indeed a film to stay with you even after the whole thing ends – as effective as you can expect from such a world of mystery.

Release date: 22nd October 2020
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Jarand Herdal
Starring: Gitte Witt, Thomas Gullestad, Thorbjorn Harr, Tuva Olivia, Kingsford Siayor, Maria Grazia Di Meo, Jonatan Rodriguez, Trine Wiggen

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Peninsula

Vampire Owl: So, we do have the return of the zombies after a long time.

Vampire Bat: Well, Train to Busan always deserved a sequel.

Vampire Owl: We remember that it was the one movie which took us to Korea.

Vampire Bat: It led to our first Korean films on Movies of the Soul.

Vampire Owl: I remember that there are many other films which followed.

Vampire Bat: That was our entry into South Korean movies.

Vampire Owl: Only to have movies in many other languages follow.

Vampire Bat: South Korea should be among our dream nations too.

Vampire Owl: As far as Asian nations are concerned, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have visited only Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in the east so far.

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

What is the movie about? :: As a zombie outbreak occurs in South Korea, nobody has any clue about how it started, even though a particular bio-facility is suspected, and there is also no idea about how to contain it. There was pandemonium breaking loose in South Korea though, as people were believing in rumours circulating online, and traveling to safe areas further south – in the end, no place was safe, except for, maybe North Korea. As Captain Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) of South Korean Marine Corps drives his family to safety, he ignores everyone seeking help on the way, suspecting that they could all be infected. But the infection has also spread in the ship, and more and more people are transformed into the zombie-like state. His nephew and sister are among the people who are bitten and lost to the disease. As they are re-routed to Hong Kong, while the world nations try to quarantine South Korea in whichever ways possible.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: South Korean refugees were no longer accepted in other countries, and the quarantine continued for four years, without any break in between. Later in Hong Kong, Jung-seok and his brother-in-law Chul-min (Kim Do-yoon) are recruited by some Chinese gangsters for a mission which includes retrieving a truck containing millions of dollars from South Korea. They would be paid half of the money if they come back with it alive. As they are certain that they won’t be given refugee status, and are going to be discriminated, they decide to take the offer. They go in at night hoping that they can stay undetected from zombies and most of the ships patrolling the peninsula, and for others, they can pay cash. With the help of the gangsters and their influence, they manage to get there and also find the truck, following it up with the murder of the zombie driver. But this mission won’t be that easy as they thought, as there is something else.

The defence of Peninsula :: Train to Busan was a favourite, and as Peninsula maintains the same spirit up to an extent, we can say that there is enough around here too – the focus on action would be the big change around here. The setting of the post-apocalyptic South Korea is also worth seeing with some fine visual quality. The devastated city is a scene to remember at night as well as the day. The film offers a lot of zombie action as expected, and the fighting sequences happen naturally, as it has always happened with Resident Evil and its sequels, even though this is a more believable one in comparison. The zombies remain as good as they were, even though the attention is less on them this time in comparison to the first film. Well, the world has changed, and we are into another environment now. There is enough action, and some emotions to be added here, and things work well. It is an interesting, thrilling ride from the beginning to the end.

The claws of flaw :: Peninsula wouldn’t get the appreciation that Train to Busan had gathered long ago, as there is not that much innovation being added here. It could have been stronger with the continuation of the original tale. We know that there is a lot that can get added to a post-apocalyptic world, much more than what is seen here. With all the vehicular mayhem that goes on in the end, things do get a little confusing with so much of fights between everyone. The graphics goes closer to a video game than the live action movie at times. It was surely built for the big screen, no doubt about that. The inspiration from other similar post-apocalyptic films to create this particular world cannot be ignored either. The possible messages about selfishness and sacrifice are mostly not there to stay, and are often lost. The focus on the story is not that much maintained when providing too many zombies to kill on the road.

Performers of the soul :: The cast here is led by Gang Dong-won, who manages to stay ahead with ease. He has his moments from the beginning stages itself, mostly emotional, even though that changes later. Lee Jung-hyun is the next one to catch our attention, as she plays the strong mother who has had to make some tough decisions, and lives with a purpose for her children. She goes strong with the emotional side, and becomes part of the big action very soon too. Kwon Hae-hyo adds a funny side at the same time too. Kim Do-yoon plays the brother-in-law role in a believable manner. Lee Re gets a lot of action with the vehicular mayhem, and its a glorious drive through the zombies as far as she is concerned. Those scenes could be taken right into a video game at some point. Lee Ye-won plays the young child in an interesting role. Kim Min-jae and Koo Kyo-hwan plays the two major antagonists, and they do the job well enough. Kim Kyu-baek also adds some humour here.

How it finishes :: We have waited for very long to have a sequel to Train to Busan, and here we have it – that film along with The Wailing are the two first Korean movies which I had reviewed, and that was indeed a game changing moment, the next Korean film reviewed being The Divine Fury coming much later. When Peninsula makes sure that the same zombie feeling returns, there is the similar feeling. We get to see the zombies in Korea yet again, and during the time of Corona virus pandemic, we are seeing the viral apocalypse again. It does feel different when we look at it now, after going through the COVID-19 pandemic, and seeing the viral outbreak unfold before our eyes. The movie continues the journey through the world of zombies in a way that keeps us interested, and I would recommend this film for all fans of the first one too. After all, what is better than a group of fully powered zombies in this world of quarantines and lock-downs? Especially when they come with so much of action on the streets. Well, zombies are forever too, just like vampires and werewolves.

Release date: 15th July 2020
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho
Starring: Gang Dong-won, Lee Jung-hyun, Lee Re, Kwon Hae-hyo, Kim Min-jae, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Do-yoon, Lee Ye-won, Jang So-yeon, Moon Woo-jin, Kim Kyu-baek, Bella Rahim

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Terminator: Dark Fate

What is the movie about? :: The movie is set after the events of Terminator: Judgement Day, as three years after defeating the T-1000 and preventing the unleashing of the artificial intelligence Skynet, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and John Connor (Jude Collie) are spending some time on a vacation far away from home, so that nobody can find them. They live with the feeling that there is no immediate threat from the future as they made sure that there would be no Skynet as the reason for the same no longer exists. Suddenly, another T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sent from the later time line before Skynet’s fall in the future, arrives and kills John in front of her. Meanwhile, with Skynet no longer a threat, the future is altered significantly, as in present time, two more people are sent from the future with assigned missions.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: An advanced Terminator model, the Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) is sent back in time to Mexico City with the mission of murdering one girl, and an a cybernetically-enhanced soldier Grace (Mackenzie Davis) is also sent to the present from the future to protect her. The two people from the year 2042 converge on one girl Daniella Ramos (Natalia Reyes) who is the new target. The machine kills her father Ramos (Enrique Arce) and brother Diego (Diego Boneta), but Grace manages to save her only to be attacked by the highly advanced terminator’s cybernetic endo-skeleton and shape-shifting liquid metal exterior, cornering them on a motorway. But they are saved by Sarah who arrives there in time, and sends the terminator to the backfoot, but fails to finish it off, as it moves to access the database to plan a more accurate attack.

And what else is to follow? :: With the terminator not on their direct trail as of now, Grace, Daniella and Sarah locks themselves in a room, and have a better understanding of the situation. Sarah has been hunting terminators who arrive from the future, as she would be texted their location from some unknown private number and coordinates which were also written above Grace’s abdomen. Grace comes from an altered future in 2042 in which there is no John or Skynet, but there is an advanced artificial intelligence known as Legion which was particularly designed for cyber-warfare. With Legion taking control of all servers resulting in a nuclear holocaust and the death of most of the population, the machines started hunting the surviving humans. With no food, shelter or hope to stand against the highly advanced machines, there is a new resistance, and Grace is a soldier who was seriously injured in a fight and was turned into a cyborg – now she has the toughest mission ahead!

The defence of Terminator: Dark Fate :: Arnold Schwarzenegger returning as the favourite Terminator never gets old, as it has had a great role to play in our childhood. With him returning, Terminator: Genisys was also a lot of fun. Here, the terminator stuff continues to be there with the same strength. There are those high powered and intense action sequences which are there throughout the movie. There are fights on the motorway, inside a factory, on a dam, and even in the air, with an airplane at the centre. The visuals are all nice, and there is also some humour with this one. The idea of the machines having a conscience is also there. The visions of a devastated future is nice, even though we have already seen things like that before, not just with Terminator movies, but with other action and science fiction titles. This movie does keep the Terminator franchise going well, and bring more sequels within this time line.

The claws of flaw :: We can see the case of repetition here, as the Terminator franchise struggles to add anything new to what was already there. There is the feeling that we have seen all these before, and we keep wondering if there would be different artificial intelligence systems known as Skynet, Genisys and Legion along with different people to be protected like John Connor and Daniella Ramos, known just by different names, varying only by ethnicity, gender etc. The idea is very close to expiry date if something innovate is not added – machines taking over the world and time travel are two very common things unlike how it was during the time of Judgement Day and Rise of the Machines. There is the need to take this to the next level with an advanced level of thinking rather than keeping the same thing happening again and again – maybe the time travel idea can be done with, and we can move to that future infested with deadly machines.

The performers of the soul :: Arnold Schwarzenegger once again carries another movie of the franchise on his shoulders – he has been doing this forever, except for being a very small part of the Christian Bale and Sam Worthington starrer, Terminator: Salvation. Arnold once again makes this movie better, and he never ceases to amaze us in the franchise. As he makes a return to the screen later in the movie, things get even more interesting. The same can’t be said about Linda Hamilton though, as her character and dialogues are badly written. Using the lines of the terminator, and fighting terminators at that age is absurd, unless you are a machine like Arnold plays. The character is too much of an exaggerated version, even though that can be added to some dumb fun. Mackenzie Davis is delightful to watch though, and she makes a great character, and fantastic during action sequences, proven from the first moment she lands. Natalia Reyes excels as the chosen, confused girl, even though not that much as the leader. Gabriel Luna makes another good terminator.

How it finishes :: The Arnold Schwarzenegger – Terminator childhood nostalgia should be the one thing that keep the audience here interested in the movie. But the audience is still limited, and in towns like Kothamangalam, there is zero female audience for this movie, as it was with movies like Aquaman – a surprising case which makes one wonder if the Hollywood movies except the Avengers stuff have been reduced to male audience in towns further away from Cochin. Well, if the focus was given on Arnold instead of getting Linda Hamilton more screen time, the problem would have been solved in this part of the world. After all, the effect that Arnold had created is greater than the same created by any other superstar has been creating these days. With Terminator: Dark Fate, it would have its audience for sure, and the same would have higher numbers in the multiplexes in the cities, as the Terminator franchise can grow from this with the new time line, moving towards the future.

Release date: 1st November 2019
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Tim Miller
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta, Linda Hamilton, Alicia Borrachero, Enrique Arce, Steven Cree, Tom Hopper, Jude Collie

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and earlier one.

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

9

What is the movie about? :: Dr Albert Lewis (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is a very successful astrophysicist who have had a love for science since his childhood. He didn’t have that family life that he wanted though, as his wife Annie (Mamta Mohandas) died with childbirth, and his son Adam (Master Alok) is a known menace in the neighbourhood as well as school, leading to multiple change of educational institutions. As Adam was involved in another incident which left his cousin on a wheel chair, even the relatives are hostile to the boy. With Adam being expelled from his school in the middle of the term for another fight with a student, he gets an assignment from his mentor, a world famous scientist, Dr Inayat Khan (Prakash Raj). The idea is to watch, analyze and record the scene of a huge comet from the Himalayas, where it would bring a different scene altogether. With his team mates and Adam, he reaches the place, and stays at a remote guest house owned by his mentor.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It turns out that this comet is not your usual one. It produces an Electro Magnetic Pulse which would disrupt the modern day life – there would be no electricity, internet or mobile phone; modern day vehicles wouldn’t be able to provide transportation. It would be more or less like going back to nature, without having those facilities which people hold dear. There is panic all around, and Albert who reaches the seemingly Victorian-styled huest house makes sure that there are enough candles and lanterns. He also makes some adjustments to an older vehicle and makes sure that it works even though the usual transportation shuts down. As the shut down occurs, the sky turns red. Albert who is watching the amazing sight comes up again a stranger, Ava (Wamiqa Gabbi) who is lost in the woods. He takes her to the guest house, but there seems to be something special about her. She seems to be holding on to some secrets – what would they be?

The defence of 9 :: There are so many things being dealt with, in this movie which is a combination of genres. The horror in this movie is nicely done, and we have the same with a seemingly Victorian Gothic setting which has everything for a horror thriller. The supernatural, death and decay, ancient beliefs, unsolved mysteries, nightmares, hallucinations, large old building with only a few people, darkness, loneliness, fear – they are all there, and at the same time we wonder if some alien terror is going to be unleashed or if the world is going to end. The mystery element is also nicely made up, and it goes right through the movie. The darkness is the most beautiful thing in the movie, and you fall in love with night here. There is quality in how the setting has been used, with the beautiful as well as creepy visuals; the sound effects are also lovely. There are many Hollywood movies that comes to your mind, and also that same quality.

The claws of flaw :: The story here is not that easy to digest for everyman. It just puts too many things in here and also has an ending which is left open as well as unclear. It is also too long and has too many scenes with the apparition of one dead wife appearing, a case of terrible repetition which could have been avoided. The ending could have also been more direct – even though having multiple interpretations is not that bad, the horror feeling that was established earlier should have been allowed to continue to make an impact and leave the theatre with the audience. After all, the audience have gone through all these, and one of those interpretations just nullify the same. It is the supernatural of the movie that rises above everything else here, and the same should have taken full control and came to a conclusion in the end – well, when there is a chance to go full Gothic in a setting like this, I would take it.

The performers of the soul :: Prithviraj takes another divergence and another risk with this movie, but this doesn’t trouble him that much because he has been to such a situation before. He has played the protagonist looking for answers, who would be wandering through mystery and horror in different films. We have seen him in the dark flicks like Memories, Adam Joan7th Day and Ezra, making nice impact. The Hollywoodish feeling that he maintained even in last year’s Ranam and Koode are also to be remembered. Prakash Raj is just there for some time, and there is just him going through the long talk and no action. Mamta Mohandas is just there for the song with very short flashbacks and to keep coming back as apparitions in stylish clothing – there could have been more. Mamta is not someone who is to be restricted to that, as we feel that the flashback is more relevant than ever in this movie.

Further performers of the soul :: At the same time, Master Alok brings a fine performance as the child in trouble, and we see something that makes him right for the genre. Back after the much appreciated Godha, Wamiqa Gabbi is fantastic as the mysterious girl who turns out to be more than just a damsel in distress troubled by a piece of comet. There are fine moments which reflects the creepy side is a beautiful way, as she walks through the huge building as lights are turned off, staring outside from a bath-tub and coming up with a mysterious, creepy smile on more than one occasion. She seems to blend into the Gothic horror so well, and I will be glad to see her in a full-horror movie. You look here, and feel that she could be in something like Crimson Peak. Rahul Madhav and Adil Ibrahim are there in smaller roles, and we also see some unknown actors who are there for a short period of time leaving something nice behind.

How it finishes :: It can be seen that 9 goes through different genres at the same time. There is science fiction and the supernatural, as the movie is a psychological horror thriller with a scientific background. It is the first big movie to combine all these well, and one of the first movies to deal with some science fiction of such grand scale. There are questions that go unanswered with the same, and there are moments when we feel that the grip is lost – it could have surely been better, but as it is now, makes an interesting watch. 9 is surely an effort in the right direction, and we can hope to have more movies of the same kind after this. If a combination like this can have everything in the right quantity and quality, there is no limit to how good it can be. Until such a movie is made, we can go to the theatres and enjoy 9 this week.

Release date: 7th February 2019
Running time: 149 minutes
Directed by: Jenuse Mohamed
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Prakash Raj, Wamiqa Gabbi, Mamta Mohandas, Master Alok, Tony Luke, Vishal Krishna, Rahul Madhav, Adil Ibrahim

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mortal Engines

What is the movie about? :: Far into the future, following an event which caused the destruction of most of Earth, cities exist here and there, with people and resources associated with them, and they move on wheels looking for options. Among them are the predator cities which feed on those smaller cities, capturing the people and taking their resources in a world which has nothing much left after that event which ended the normal flow of events. The big predator city of London chasing a small mining town is one of those events that is shown in the beginning itself. Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), the man in charge has things going his way, but all of a sudden, a masked lady comes from the group of the people from the captured town and stabs him, only to be stopped from doing the same again by Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), thus Thaddeus surviving with a wound which could be treated easily.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The woman is identified as Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) who wants to murder Thaddeus who was responsible for killing her own mother and giving her the scar on the left of her face. As she fails in doing the same, Tom chases her, but is thrown out of the city along with her by Thaddeus who suspects that he knows something about his secret past. The two are forced to team up and try to survive together in a world which has nothing to provide hope for people left alone. The scorched grounds leave them with no resources to survive, and they end up being captured by slave traders. While Hester is being displayed on stage and sold to the highest bidder, Anna Fang (Jihae), an outlaw who fights against Thaddeus shows up, and saves her from slavery. Hester escapes with Tom, but someone else shows up.

And what else is to follow here? :: Shrike (Stephen Lang), the last of an undead battalion of soldiers shows up and goes for Hester. Thaddeus counts on the undead soldier to kill her, while she continues running with Tom and Anna. Shrike will not stop until he gets what he wants. It turns out that there is more than what meets the eye about Thaddeus and his own daughter Katherine Valentine (Leila George) figures that out with the help of an apprentice engineer Bevis Pod (Ronan Raftery). There are more evil plans at work, and if they don’t figure out the same soon enough, there is going to be terrible consequences. Thaddeus has a weapon that can make the worst happen, and the seriousness regarding the same won’t be understood by most people, except for our protagonists – but will they be too late with this? Will London gain superiority over each and every other city?

The defence of Mortal Engines :: The visuals are the best thing about this movie. The post-apocalyptic world and the machines are amazingly good, and far above the quality of some of those other flicks which claim to be grand visual treat. The colours are very nicely used, and the world detail gets full marks. You will find the big explosions in the climax to be too good, visually as well as in relation to the sound effects. There are some fine action sequences, and the thrills are present throughout the flick. Even with all these in the front, there seems to be something that lies beneath – the idea about the rich and the powerful feeding on the poor, and the desire for more power and control. One can see how important war becomes, even after there was a destruction of the world which came so close to destroying humanity itself to be replaced by another species.

The claws of flaw :: People might want more to be explained with this movie, and more could have surely been shown directly. The story surely could have used more focus, and the whole world itself could have had some smart explanations. Even the predator cities could have had their parts shown more clearly, and the same could have been part of big fights with other cities all around the world – it would have made the audience more familiar with the idea before the whole thing developed further. Those who are not used to watching this kind of movies won’t be that comfortable – well, this is a movie which has released even outside the main cities, and so that could have helped a lot. The steampunk genre can always use more of everything, as the possibilities are endless that way – genres of fantasy, horror and historical fiction could have been here stronger.

The performers of the soul :: Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw is surely the one person who steals the show so well, not just with the action sequences, but also with those emotional moments – the scar or the red scarf that hides it elevates the level of her character with the looks itself. She does have a grand introduction too, as that sets the events of the movie going forward in a nice manner. Hugo Weaving plays a powerful villain here, and one has to love his plans regarding the world. Robert Sheehan just got a certain secondary level of job to do in comparison to Hera. Jihae makes some impact with the action scenes. Leila George plays her role in an interesting manner. Meanwhile, you will feel that Stephen Lang’s undead soldier Shrike might be the one character to remember for long.

How it finishes :: Mortal Engines, not to be confused with that terrible Mortal Instruments, will be another interesting visual treat full of action, which you just can’t ignore this weekend. With the other English movie of the weekend being The Possession of Hannah Grace, and Robin Hood already out of the equation, this one should be able to spend some good time out there. It boasts of coming from the makers of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and that is more than one reason to be hopeful about this particular flick. There is no doubt that it will provide some nice entertainment, and we can only be glad that a sequel can make this even better. Let us have more movies like this one, even better done. We remember Mad Max: Fury Road, and we know where it can go.

Release date: 7th December 2018 (India); 14th December 2018 (USA)
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Christian Rivers
Starring: Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, Stephen Lang, Colin Salmon, Mark Mitchinson, Menik Gooneratne, Mark Hadlow, Kee Chan, Sophie Cox, Caren Pistorius

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Quiet Place

What is the movie about? :: Years into the future, Earth has been taken over by strange creatures which has been murdering humans at will. They can be seen almost everywhere, ready to finish off any human that they can detect. These creatures which have hypersensitive hearing, attacks by listening to the noise, as they are blind. Due to their impenetrable armored shell along with the strength, speed and reflexes, the creatures have been almost impossible to kill, as they spread all around the world, leading to the near-extinction of mankind. There are only a few survivors here and there, and all of them are able to do nothing, but keep running with all that they can gather, and that too, without making any noise to ensure their survival in a world which brings death to the noise makers.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is during these times of trouble that the Abbott family which includes the couple – Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) along with their deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and sons Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward) go through the abandoned supermarkets of a town for supplies. The family is very careful that none of them makes any noise that can bring one of the creatures – they use sign language instead of talking so that there is no chance for trouble. As the little boy Beau is attracted to a battery-operated space shuttle toy, he couldn’t help giving it a try, and attracted by the noise, the creatures finish him off, despite Lee’s best efforts to save him from the terror.

And what is follow with the events? :: The family of four is traumatized by the event, and they decide to survive, as they live in the countryside with all preparations to make sure that no sound goes outside the house. They live in regret of not being able to save their family member, and comes close to distracting the creatures more than once, yet surviving through the situations well enough. But the problem arrives when the due date of pregnant Evelyn arrives, and they have to go through the whole thing without making a sound. The system that they had built is not without defects, and one small mistake could result in the death of all of them. With an enemy that seems to be invincible, and knowing whatever sounds they make, can they survive through these troubled times and maybe even provide a fight?

The defence of A Quiet Place :: The idea can be considered too good here, as we are taken to that world which follows a near-extinction event for humanity, with only a few survivors, and you see that death comes naturally, and life is eternally difficult. There is heavy intensity that we feel with this movie, and the horror is real, as it makes us feel so much, even the grief of the characters. The credit to the horror’s strength goes to silence, and what comes after it. There are the creatures being different and scary when we look at them visually, but it is the right use of special effects that brings glory to this one. The feeling of danger here is so real too, and each moment has the same – one wrong step, and you are gone; this one has such a low amount of hope than any other horror film with complete human extinction easily possible.

Positives and negatives :: There is certain mystery about the creatures, which can take all the terror further, but some people would still want more information related to them. We don’t know where they come from, if it is a Pacific Rim moment with them coming from under Earth or in space ships like Alien or Independence Day, and there is also the option of an incoming wave of demonic monsters from hell. There are not many dialogues in this movie, as the sign language seems to take over, but we have those subtitles which make sure that there is no problem. As silence is the master here, all those other sounds contribute to the story better than dialogues, and adds to the horror like no visual can, and it is a certain beauty of another kind. There is also the strength of family being depicted here, and the idea of sacrificing one’s life for the others and not giving up, can be seen right in the core of this movie.

The performers of the soul :: Emily Blunt leads the way in this one, and most of the viewers from this part of the world would remember her from Edge of Tomorrow, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Sicario and The Girl on the Train – very unlike those characters there, this one has her struggling for survival with her family. There are moments which some other actress couldn’t have done this well, but she excels here without displaying any signs of stepping back. John Krasinski has a touching performance here too, and with him being the real-life husband of Emily Blunt, the pair has no problem with facing the post-apocalyptic event as on-screen couple too. The two kids, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe make sure that they contribute very efficiently to the scheme of things.

How it finishes :: The movie’s simplicity is so much effective like no other usual horror film. Through the lines of 10 Cloverfield Lane, this one is mostly set within an area, and there is the possibility of terror being present all around. With some wonderful performances from every name on the list of actors, this one makes sure that John Krasinski who has also acted in this one, is one director that we need to trust, and the short one and half hours of the movie makes sure that there is no moment which goes wasted. The horror here feels real, artistic and innovative, and lets enjoy this divergence as we did with those other well-received horror movies like The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Don’t Breathe, It Follows and Lights Out. After some time, A Quiet Place makes sure that horror is alive, and there is more than one idea behind the genre. Why wouldn’t you watch this one at least now, a month and half after its release? The movie deserves it.

Release date: 6th April 2018
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thor: Ragnarok

What is the movie about? :: Two years have passed after the Battle of Sokovia which happened in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has allowed himself to be imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur (Clancy Brown) in his dark lair. The demon warns him about what is to happen to Asgard in the absence of its ruler, Thor’s father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) after he will be able to combine his crown of fire with the eternal flame that burns beneath the city. The prophecy about Ragnarok which was to be the terrible fate of Asgard in the twilight of the gods, seems to be getting close to becoming true, and Thor fights him to prevent the same. After defeating him and taking his crown, Thor believes that he has prevented Ragnarok only to find his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on the throne, taking the form of Odin, after feigning his own demise. Getting his statues built, and having theatre performances about his own heroic sacrifice, Loki’s fun ends with Thor’s demand to find their father.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: With the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), they find Odin in Norway, only to be notified about what is to happen next, with his first-born, the Goddess of Death, Hela (Cate Blanchett) returning from exile following his weakening and death. The powerful warrior goddess who had conquered the nine realms with Odin, was imprisoned and her tales of battle erased after her ambition grew rather too high. As they come across each other, Hela destroys Thor’s hammer, and leaves the two brothers outside the bridge between the two realms to die as if in a void, but they end up on a planet called Sakaar. Meanwhile, Hela who has arrived in Asgard destroys everyone who stands against her, including the military. After appointing the demoted Asgardian Skurge (Karl Urban) as her executioner, and with her army revived from the tombs, her plan is to begin again from where Odin decided to stop the bloodshed, and conquer more realms.

And what else is to come? :: Hela and her newly recruited undead army are temporarily stopped though, by Heimdall (Idris Elba) who takes away the sword that controls the passage to the other realms. Meanwhile, Thor is captured by Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson), who takes him to Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who rules the planet, and conducts a competition of gladiators in a grand arena where he has his own champion who he expects to win every time. After agreeing to participating in the competition, Thor is surprised to find that it is his old friend, the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) whom he has to fight. So, the question remains if he can find his freedom by winning the battle against his Avengers team-mate, or get the same done in some other way. With Hela continuing her hunt for the missing Asgardians who might have blocked her way to conquest of all realms, it seems that time is running out.

The defence of Thor: Ragnarok :: There is no shortage of fun in this third movie about the god of lightning – the action is too good, with those stylish sequences which are supported by some wonderful music; then there are the jokes, which are many, and most of them are certain to work without any trouble. We have been missing both Thor and the Hulk, and their absence in Captain America: Civil War was noticed a lot more than one would have thought. The arena battle between Thor and Hulk is among the best of battles, and so is the final battle which is powered by lightning and all things of wonder. The use of Norse mythology can never get any better, and this is surely one of those movies in which gets the eminence back to Marvel, rising over the challenge which Wonder Woman had created, and continuing the humour-action entertainment that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had brought earlier this year with ease.

Positives and negatives :: One can find it easy to claim that Thor: Ragnarok is never really serious, as even with those problems which can cause extinction and end of worlds, there is humour coming in so often. There is no serious feeling about terror coming all the way here, and the possible death and destruction won’t make anyone too scared or disappointed – it can’t be related with the lack of moral side though. The dark humour is more suitable for Iron Man considering his bourgeoisie scientist attitude which makes him the millionaire which Batman would never want to be – The Dark Knight would surely choose “Iron Man sucks” as his password, like in The Lego Batman Movie if they were part of the same universe. The action could have focused a lot more on the villain, as she has the power to do a lot more every time. Unlike what one would have thought, Thor no longer provides that many morality messages like Captain America would have done if he was a God of Thunder, Lightning or Strength, not necessarily the Lord of Moral Science.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Hemsworth has come a long way from being Thor in that first movie, and it is evident in each moment, as we keep identifying him with this role, and vice versa more often. He has a fine combination with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, as the green monster as well as the scientist has been successful in making things better for this movie which is clearly the Thor movie, with Hulk having rather too less in that category. Tom Hiddleston is at his usual best as Loki, while Tessa Thompson gets to have some of the glory too, being a very welcome addition to this franchise – one can’t help noticing a little bit of Michelle Rodriguez in the Resident Evil, Fast and Furious model. Cate Blanchett shines as the unusual female villain that Marvel needed, but one can be sure that Charlize Theron would have been a great option to be the Goddess of Death too. Karl Urban plays a different role in this one, and it is definitely stylish. Idris Elba nicely suits in his character again, and Jeff Goldblum brings more fun.

How it finishes :: This third movie of Thor has so much of what you might have only dreamed about. Following more of the model of Guardians of the Galaxy with the Avengers touch rather than what would have been the usual Thor style, Thor: Ragnarok becomes a treat to watch in more than one level, rising above many other superhero movies, easily establishing its domination over DC as it did with so many movies, as we see them waiting to retaliate with Justice League. As the Norse gods of Asgard can’t skip the Ragnarok, it is also not appropriate for you to decide to miss Thor: Ragnarok – after all, there is more than one prophecy to be fulfilled, and there is also Avengers: Infinity War coming up in 2018, and its untitled sequel in 2019, which are going to be two of the biggest among them all. If you have read about these two movies, you will know how many of our heroes, we are expecting there. It might be the biggest comics based superhero thing of all-time. But for now, this movie is something that all of you would love a lot, no matter whom you choose as your favourite superhero – it is just pure gratification.

Release date: 3rd November 2017
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Benedict Cumberbatch (cameo)

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Viral

Vampire Owl: This title should be reserved for a vampire movie, and not the flicks like these.

Vampire Bat: They are using this title for parasitic worms, and not zombies, unlike what you think.

Vampire Owl: What? There are no zombies in this one?

Vampire Bat: There are people mind-controlled by worms which develop a parasitic relationship with the brain.

Vampire Owl: Oh! I had sent my zombie minions to watch this one thinking that it was a zombie movie.

Vampire Bat: It is okay. They can’t differentiate between the two with their infected brains.

Vampire Owl: I hope they don’t. If they get something to use against me, there will be trouble – I haven’t even paid them their wages for very long.

Vampire Bat: What? Where does all the money you earn as a senior vampire associate go?

Vampire Owl: I am building an ark as part of my plan to take over the world.

Vampire Bat: Please make sure that the world doesn’t take over you.

[Gets three cups of Wayanad tea with Patanjali Doodh Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Emma Drakeford (Sofia Black-D’Elia) and Stacey Drakeford (Analeigh Tipton) are two sisters studying at the same institution – the former is rather the studious kind and the latter the hyperactive one who keeps bringing some trouble to her sister. The former is attracted to their neighbour studying in their school, Evan Klein (Travis Tope) while the latter finds her boyfriend in the local boy CJ (Colson Baker). Their father, Michael Drakeford (Michael Kelly) who is teaching at the same institution has problems with his marriage, which he is trying to sort out from a distance. Meanwhile, there is news about a terrible virus causing some parasitic infection. But the United States government is confident that there is nothing in that virus that they can’t handle, and is keeping a close watch on people who travel from outside the country, and those who go out.

So, what happens next? :: When Emma’s best friend Gracie Lemay (Linzie Grey) manages to get the same infection, things turn upside down in their small town which is not prepared for such a thing. It seems that Gracie is going to die, and her parents provide the information that she is going to get better, but both is not correct, as something worse than death awaits them. The infection also spreads through another students whom she is contact with. The infection spreads wide from all corners of the continent and nation, and there is soon a quarantine on the whole county as with many other places in the country, as their father is stuck on the way trying to get their mother from the airport. Their mother can’t get out of the airport either. He asks them to stay at home, but they go for a party only to find out the infected there, unleashing terror, which seems to have Stacey affected, but she doesn’t show the signs then.

And what is to follow in the events to follow? :: They waste no time in getting back to their house and lock it up, only to know that things are only getting worse. The military is there and restrictions are made, with nobody allowed to be outside the limits of the town. Almost everyone stays at home, but that doesn’t really stop the infections from spreading, and nobody is safe. They keep listening to the news which brings them further hopelessness with events all around the globe including governments bombing a full town or city to contain the infections, and also see their neighbours being captured by the military who takes them away. The soldiers keep checking if there is any infected in the homes, and considers it against the law to have one inside, and when broken, would have serious consequences. With every attempt to escape quarantine not being fruitful, can the two sisters do the impossible? They have no idea what they are up against – nobody does.

The defence of Viral :: As many other movies including the many movies of Resident Evil, Viral uses the idea of a virus outbreak to end the world, and with the same, it does a nice, and a more realistic job. There is nothing exaggerated tried here, and we also have the support of the emotional side along with the horror and thrills to make this one a balanced movie dealing with these things. This one’s use of the parasitic worms to control the humans from inside while multiplying, provides a more terrifying feeling as we see them travel inside the skin. The movie also nicely builds its story from the beginning unlike other horror stories, and the protagonists seem to be a lot more likable with their sibling bonding side. The movie has the advantage of Sofia Black D’Elia who, along with being the prettiest person around, also has full control of her work, never straying. Analeigh Tipton comes second, and does pretty well with her big and rebellious sister role.

The claws of flaw :: There are those stupid decisions being made by the protagonists – there is possible virus outbreak outside and you might die, and still our people have no problem in going to a party and socializing with others who might be infected; well, party might be the most important thing for a new generation in some areas, but one would think that life is something of more significance. You are also very much provided with the idea that this movie could have been something bigger, and it keep you wondering about what kind of terrible attacks could have been witnessed on screen, and what all desperate measures the protagonists would have taken to escape them. All these could have been done quicker, without providing significance to a few repeated dialogues – well, we ask for the best from a virus outbreak causing end of the world, don’t we? Infections can bring more on the screen than people not infected.

How it finishes :: Despite reminding of other movies dealing with a terrible infection striving for the end of the world, Viral is also an interesting take on the same. It might feel like a deviation from the usual zombie horror, with people not being control of their minds, but the difference is that there are those worms in control right inside. There is one thing about which you will be sure about more than the rest – it will be about the need to see Sofia Black D’Elia in more horror movies, considering the way she has handled this one. Then there is another thing – this movie is surely a fine way to spend some time with a certain amount of thrilling moments of horror, which rises further above the opinions about it seen online. Also read the reviews of the movies in theatres right now, Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Varnyathil Aashanka, Clint, Sarvopari Palakkaran, Chunkzz, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.

Release date: 29th July 2016
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Sofia Black D’Elia, Analeigh Tipton, Travis Tope, Colson Baker (Machine Gun Kelly), Brianne Howey, John Cothran Jr, Michael Kelly, Stoney Westmoreland, Linzie Grey, Judyann Elder, Philip Labes

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Resident Evil VI

Vampire Owl: I am pretty much not in support of this franchise.

Vampire Bat: What? But you do like this kind of action, and praised the first movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but this is becoming a little too much. Too many zombies are being killed, and my team of zombie minions have given a petition.

Vampire Bat: And what was the petition about?

Vampire Owl: It was about saving the remaining zombies of the Resident Evil by an airlift.

Vampire Bat: But they are brainless zombies and this is a movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but killing so many zombies is nothing more than racism leading to genocide.

Vampire Bat: But they are just infected humans mutating into zombies.

Vampire Owl: In the end, there is no real difference, you know.

Vampire Bat: Okay, you can accept the petition and decide to watch this movie only in parts.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with special dosa].

What is the movie about? :: Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up in the ruins of the White House, after being betrayed by Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) again. She is attacked by the Umbrella employees as well as giant flying creature which seemed to have taken the mutation to another level. Once again on the wrong side of success, it is The Red Queen (Ever Gabo Anderson) who appears in front of her and gives her the clue on how to save humanity, and build a future that seemed near impossible some time ago. It means that Alice has to returned to where it all started in the first movie of the franchise, to the Hive in Raccoon City within forty eight hours, as the Umbrella Corporation has successfully developed an airborne antivirus, which has the power to kill each and every organism infected by the T-virus – but there is only those two days left before the last human settlement is destroyed.

So, what happens next? :: Alice, despite the fear that this particular antidote will kill her too, decides to make this journey to end all of these, and after fighting through Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) and his team that captures her, goes through to reach a human settlement which has managed to keep the undead creatures away until now. There she is captured by the team of Doc (Eoin Macken), Abigail (Ruby Rose), Christian (William Levy), Cobalt (Rola) and Razor (Fraser James) who don’t believe her until her old friend Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) shows up as part of the group, once again alive and ready for battle. The group makes a stand against the group of armored vehicles and the army of undead lead by Alexander and defeats them, although Cobalt is killed and the man in charge of the Umbrella operations escape. Soon, more of similar groups seem to be coming in their direction.

What is to follow in this final chapter? :: With almost no defence left against the bigger horde which is to follow, Alice decides to go to the Hive, and the rest of the group decides to go with her. There they will face more horror, starting with the mutated dogs which kill Christian. It will be followed by more, and Red Queen will reveal something else to the group, a secret that will show the true nature of the Umbrella Corporation which has always wanted to play God, and deal with the people whom it considered to be below them. The Red Queen reveals that even though it could never hurt an Umbrella employee, it was also programmed to value and protect human lives, which is why it is helping Alice to get into the Hive and get her hands on the anti-virus; after all, she is the only who seems to have the skill and capability to do the same, as she has proven many time before. But with only a few minutes of time left, can Alice do what she needs to do?

The defence of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter :: This movie continues what the franchise has been doing for so long, with all the action going on, and those zombies hungry for more coming after the survivors. This movie is also the best reviewed one in this franchise by the critics, which do seems strange – maybe they considered the fact that this is the last movie of the franchise, and they will have to review the movies of the series no more; still this improved opinion can be taken in consideration for the defence of this movie, as this final flick is not that far behind in action at any point of time. Milla Jovovich is at her best with what she does, and as Kate Beckinsale does to the Underworld franchise, she makes things work so well, and seeing Ali Larter again adds to the happiness. This time, people have reason to fight, and so the battles go great. The world also remains really good, and the post-apocalyptic setting has us a lot interested, and the same can be said about the return to the underground facility where all started in the first movie.

The claws of flaw :: One would be surprised to see so much of repetition in this movie, as the whole thing just seems to go on and on rather than bringing something out of the box in a last movie, for which the franchise will be remembered for long – we can’t really say that this will stay the last movie for long though, considering that ending which doesn’t really end the whole thing, with scope always there for a new beginninng out of this. Those who have played the video games might have wanted more, and the same is the case of those people who were already planning to not like this movie. The character of Claire is underused, and some of the best characters from the franchise, Jill Valentine played by Sienna Guillory, Ada Wong played by Li Bingbing, Chris Redfield played by Wentworth Miller and Leon S. Kennedy played by Johann Urb were not there, and we could find no clue of what happened to them, which is real disappointment, as a movie fan as well as a gamer. It could have also used better twists in there.

How it finishes :: This is a franchise that has been entertaining us since 2002, and fifteen years later, with six movies to boast about, the whole thing is finally coming to an end. This series which started with Resident Evil went on to bring Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Resident Evil: Retribution and now, finally Resident Evil: The Final Chapter to finish off the big video game’s movie adaptations. The games have a total count that is going to touch thirty, sooner or later, and I am pretty sure that we are not done with that – I particularly remember Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and along with Silent Hill, this is another survivor horror game adaptation that I have close to my heart; this might not be among the best movies of the franchise, but still, after Need for Speed, Hitman: Agent 47 and Warcraft in the last three years, another action-filled and interesting video game adaptation is here.

Release date: 27th January 2017
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, William Levy, Iain Glen, Lee Joon-gi, Fraser James, Rola, Ever Gabo Anderson, Matthew Santoro

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

10 Cloverfield Lane

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Vampire Owl: I have an intense desire to say no to this movie.

Vampire Bat: Why would that be so? Is it your death anniversary?

Vampire Owl: No, it is because I have watched the 2008 movie called Cloverfield.

Vampire Bat: This is the sequel for that movie, but is not really a continuation of the same.

Vampire Owl: That makes things quite bad.

Vampire Bat: A spiritual successor to the 2008 movie, as they say.

Vampire Owl: I couldn’t stand the 2008 movie. It was as terrible as the usual found foootage movies.

Vampire Bat: And we do wonder why the critics like such an immature genre so much.

Vampire Owl: You call it a genre? I call it a disaster.

Vampire Bat: Well, this one is not found footage. The camera is good here and they use it well this time.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with jackfruit chips].

What is the movie about? :: Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) drives through the countryside after having an heated argument with her lover whom she was hoping to marry, but meets with an accident on the road and losses consciousness. She wakes up with injury on her leg, chained to a bed in a cellar with no idea where is she is or how she reached there. Her questions are answered by a man called Howard Stambler (John Goodman) who comes there and unchains her. He tells her that he saved her life, as it was certain death out there. The world has been devastated by a massive nuclear or chemical attack, most possibly by aliens or maybe even from an enemy country. The air outside is contaminated and people are all dying out there. All those whom she loves should have already died and there is no hope outside.

So, what happens next? :: Michelle finds it difficult to believe him at all. Then she meets Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), how is Howard’s employee, who had helped him build this bunker and had forced his way in there when something terrible seemed to happen outside. She realizes that Howard has been planning this for a long time, as he got ready to face the apocalypse – he always believed that the world was going to end soon, and he had to surive; this idea from him had even kept his wife and daughter away from him. Howard shows Michelle two dead pigs outside the bunker with terrible sores on their bodies which seemed to prove that the air is contaminated. But at the same time, she sees the pick-up truck which had hit her car causing the accident, and it makes her wonder if it is all something planned to keep her a captive.

The defence of 10 Cloverfield Lane :: There are so many questions in 10 Cloverfield Lane, and there are twists all around, as the suspense is maintained right till those final moments in the bunker. Throughout the movie, there is the question if there is some attack going on outside the bunker, or is it just a lie used to keep the girl a captive – there is also the doubt about what all are outside – are they aliens, demons or an enemy nation bringing the war to the United States? You don’t know the exact answer for most of the movie. Despite this lack of answer, there is always the feeling of danger – we never really get to see the outside world till the final moments, but there is so much tension that we know that something really bad is going to happen, and the only question is if it is from an outside force or from the humans inside. The doubt is if they are safe inside the bunker or outside it. This is the mystery that you need.

The claws of flaw :: There will always be people who wishes for this movie to go the usual way, and there will be the fans of the first movie looking forward for this movie to follows the same path – but both of them are not going to happen here. There are also moments when you feel that the movie is stretched, and also those scenes outside the bunker which won’t do that much justice to this movie as a whole. There could have also been more scares, even without seeing what happens outside. There could be darkness and there could easily be nightmares that could have ruled the world underneath – but 10 Cloverfield Lane takes a more direct approach which is effective in another way, but without the quick and surprise scares. This movie also asks you to get into the setting, which you will need to do to get the maximum effectiveness – with the minimum resources and maximum effect, that may not be possible for everyone.

Performers of the soul :: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is the kind of actress whom you can choose for this kind of a movie without second thoughts – she has been nothing less than amazing in this role which had so much focus on her, as the central character – the leading lady as well as the protagonist; the survivor who needs to make it through the whole thing. Most people must have seen her as Bruce Willis’ popular character John McClane’s daughter Lucy in Live Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard, the two of the last Die Hard movies. We remember her more for Final Destination 3 though – yes, the one with the roller coaster ride, and one of those five movies in which they all die a painful death. She is perfectly suited as the horror queen for this kind of a setting. John Goodman also brings a fine work here, and keeps us guessing about his past as well as the intentions. John Gallagher Jr. provides the needed support.

How it finishes :: The best thing about this movie is that it is not a direct sequel to the 2008 movie, Cloverfield. It would have been such pain to watch this one as a similar found footage horror movie which is the cheapest genre available. With this one daring to be different, and developed from a script titled The Cellar, manages to be a movie which has only a supernatural invasion as the one thing that joins the two. There is also the third movie in the franchise coming up in 2017, titled God Particle, which has a team of astronauts on a space station with Earth having disappeared – this one seems to be more or less a spiritual successor too, and lets see how it goes. As we wait for the next movie to come, we can watch 10 Cloverfield Lane and enjoy the variety in horror – there is always the need for the same, and this movie delivers that.

Release date: 11th March 2016
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr., Suzanne Cryer, Bradley Cooper (voice)

10cloverfieldlane

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Remaining

theremaining (2)

Vampire Owl :: This movie seems to be about the end of the world.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it is about that and also what happens during this ultimate horror being unleashed on Earth.

Vampire Owl :: Do you think that mankind has a chance to see this possible end before they kill each other with their deadly weapons?

Vampire Bat :: I strongly believe that mankind will destroy itself in wars before God decides to bring his wrath on them.

Vampire Owl :: It is a strange thing, isn’t it? People blame God and sometimes the religions a lot, but can’t even love their own people even when they are outside the beliefs.

Vampire Bat :: A lot of things that these humans do are strange. If we think about them, we will only have a lot of negativity in our lives.

Vampire Owl :: For now, I will only hope that at least this movie happens to be good.

Vampire Bat :: Well, the movies about the end of the world are usually better than those which talk about the things like romance, which are mostly fake and exaggerated.

Vampire Owl :: Lets watch this soon, before mankind kills each other. Otherwise, there will be nobody left to read your review.

Vampire Bat :: Lets go for the movie right now!

[Gets a cup of tea with butter cookies].

What is it about? :: Dan (Bryan Dechart) and Skylar (Alexa Vega) are getting married and the friends are enjoying the occasion. The occasion is well-planned and the wedding ceremony goes great. Among their friends, Tommy (Johnny Pacar) has been in love with Allison (Italia Ricci) for quite some time, but she is in a relationship with Jack (Shaun Sipos) who is another person in their friends circle. Everything after the ceremony also seems to be going on well with an abundance of joy, and while people are having fun, suddenly some people start dropping down dead. With some people in the party dead in a second and the others having no idea what to do, Dan, Skylar and Jack run out of the building, in hope to find Allison who had left earlier. Outside the building, they find terror being unleashed in the streets with chaos and destruction all around.

So what is this sudden death and panic all about? :: The incident is associated with rapture which is related to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to Earth, and all the believers who are dead as well as the good believers among the living have their souls taken into eternal life. Skylar finds the reference to the same in the Holy Bible, but is attacked by a winged demon which is unleashed on Earth for the end of days. Joined by a girl called Sam (Liz E. Morgan), the find sanctuary in a church where a lot of others including Allison have also found shelter. There they find Pastor Shay (John Pyper-Ferguson) who tells them that he has been a pastor only by name and he has used his title only for his comfort, and took God’s name just for the sake of doing it. Surrounded by demons, and Skylar fatally injured, time runs out here.

The defence of The Remaining :: There is a certain amount of mixture with the genres with the horror elements, the thriller side and the disaster moments which make the most of it. The drama side is also present as the survivors ponder over their lives, the flashbacks and what remains their hope. There are also some elements of the found footage genre which are well-used. Some scary moments will justify the same, and that makes one wonder if this could be made into a video game; something in which survival is impossible – the certainty of death which prevails in this movie works very much in its favour, as death is the safe place to go, as always. The performances are pretty good even though there is nothing extraordinary around here. Italia Ricci is the one who gets the most attention, and I have felt that Liz E Morgan provided the most interesting performance here.

Claws of flaw :: The special effects are kept minimal here, and one might think that there is not enough disaster here for a disaster movie, and not that much horror that such evil mentioned in the movie could bring. A collection of better horror and disaster elements might be required by many. People might also have problems with its idea, and it won’t always be easy to take the right point of the theme for everyone. There is also the presence of some cliche elements here and there, but horror needs them up-to an extent. In the end, you will ask why this one couldn’t be better, especially as it has the theme and everything else ready right here. There seems to be a problem here about understanding what exactly should be the focus, but that only shows at times; there are questions like we had gone through in The Lazarus Effect.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s idea of rapture is rather far-fetched for most of the main Christian congregations. I haven’t heard about this myself except for the meaning of that word in the dictionary. But lets leave that behind and take the right point out of it, and take the secular meaning here. We know that unlike the Western idea about secularism which goes for the separation of the religion and the state, the concept of secularism in India has equal participation of all religions instead. Taking the exact meaning of this movie through its context might be easier, but what I have thought about more is about what I can take out of it for use in the common man’s life. The questions that we can take back home are about being the good person related to all religions – are we really good just because we keep visiting the religious places?

Further soul exploration :: No, the questions don’t end there, as more needs to be asked. Does goodness come naturally by saying that we believe in God and are part of certain religious groups? What does it take to be a good person in a materialistic world which has comfort written all over it, and people are just by the monetary gains rather than the goodness factor? Do we have what it take to be a good person instead of being the great achiever – why are stories of achievers considered inspiring instead of tales of good men and women? Shouldn’t good people be given all the attention rather than those who are branded as achievers only to mock and abuse those who are struggling in their lives? How many people go for a good man or a good woman in wedding without looking for the high salary, family status and dowry? Lets give these questions a few thoughts.

Release date: 5th September 2014
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Casey La Scala
Starring: Alexa Vega, Italia Ricci, Johnny Pacar, Shaun Sipos, Bryan Dechart, Liz E Morgan, Kimberley Drummond, John Pyper-Ferguson, Erin Murphy, Kim Pacheco, Hayley Lovitt, Mary Austin, Judd Lormand, Rusty Martin Sr, Katie Sawhill, Defecio Stoglin, Kaitlyn Christian

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Divergent

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Dystopia, the weakness :: The more relevant opinions should say that the weakness that haunts the world is more related to vampire romance, something which completely destroys the purpose of existence of vampires, no wonder Louis de Pointe du Lac felt that his life was pointless, and Anne Rice might have had a good idea what was to come next when she sat down to write Interview With the Vampire and all those works which followed in The Vampire Chronicles. Now, dystopia has risen to a level which is close to the vampire romance, and thanks to The Hunger Games, the scope for such fiction is proved immense; one has to agree that even Stephenie Meyer’s The Host and its movie adaptation had an extended feeling of dystopia enforced by the aliens. My first idea of dystopia came from Stephen King’s The Running Man which I read long ago, and that 1987 movie of the same name, Arnold Schwarzenegger and María Conchita Alonso. A dystopian America sells quite well. Even mindless movies like Escape from New York worked very well (questioned only by its own sequel Escape from L.A.) and now we know what a safe territory is, even safer than some vampire romance which can coin the terms like “still a better love story than Twilight“.

What is it about? :: The story is set in a future Chicago as the world has transformed into a dystopia inside walls. The society has been divided into five factions with five different qualities, Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (fearless). The factionless were to live a hopeless life. Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) has grown up in Abnegation with her parents and brother, and it was the faction that run the government. Its selflessness was proven by their work in taking care of the poor, the sick and the factionless. To the surprise and sadness of their parents, her brother chooses Erudite and she chooses Dauntless, even as she does know that she is a “divergent” who has different qualities and such a person is considered a threat to the current social order in the dystopia. Christina (Zoë Kravitz) and Al (Christian Madsen), two former Candors, and Will (Ben Lloyd-Hughes), a former Erudite joins her friends group as she struggles to go on with an environment with which she is not familiar. She starts off at the bottom of the list threatened to be thrown out, but slowly begins to make her way up with the help of the instructor Four (Theo James). Soon, there will be more secrets to be unveiled though.

The defence of Divergent :: Another world awaits you in Divergent, a world which you are not unaware of, but it is still a world which you will enjoy once again – it is that kind of a world which gathers a dimension for just curiosity itself and thrives on it like Count Dracula on drop of blood. In the beginning itself, they show a huge fence, seemingly electrical along with skyscrapers which seems to have survived some Armageddon which ravished a lot of the known world. Its themes are many and its world nicely detailed with some nice effects added here and there. The post-apocalyptic city is really nice, with a train running through the centre and buildings connected with some kind of mechanical technology. The action sequences are nice and realistic, and the final combat scenes are well done. There is melee combat as well as shooting, and a lot more during the time of training for the fearless ones. The idea of the divergent among the factions is nicely developed out of something which we are all familiar with – the rebellion in the dystopia. The leap of faith moment and the initiation in style are two things I loved more than the rest.

The claws of flaw :: This movie is quite a lot like The Hunger Games, and explores a similar setting with a dystopia and training of young people to be capable for violence and if possible, inflict death upon the enemies. There is no deathmatch here, but there is that capture the flag (Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena fans check!). Being alienated is becoming far too common a thing these days as corruption in politics, the worst of such thing inflicted upon us by Kristen Stewart’s Isabella Swann. The movie’s faction choosing ceremony reminds us of the four houses of Harry Potter, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Hufflepuff. Remember the choosing of jobs in City of Ember? That should be another memory slowly coming out forced by the incident. The movie could have tried something innovative to have its own identity which would look entirely different from the rest. But taking the safe path was going to be more suitable for the first movie of a possible trilogy with a possible extensions due to divisions. But one can be sure that all the flaws of the whole franchise might be lesser than those from just one half of any movie of the Twilight series, especially the latter ones. Mortal Instruments: City of Bones did come with more flaws, but that was pure nonsense.

Performers of the Soul :: There was the awesome Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games, and one might not be able to place anyone else in her place with a similar setting around. But Shailene Woodley is very close, and she is so good as the character that one feels almost of the same feeling for Beatrice Prior that was felt for Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire. Shailene has almost everything that the Twilight heroine lacked, and she makes sure that Beatrice is never out of control. She fits into that world right from the beginning and gives us one of the best female protagonists in a dystopia. She has great moments and wonderful lines in a movie which depends so much on her performance and she delivers. She is not just the cute face right there. It is sad that Kate Winslet had so less to do in a role which was about being a mastermind villain from the faction of intelligence. The same can be said about Maggie Q who is just there to be there! Ashley Judd’s existence itself is her presence in the movie. Theo James does his role nicely, and finishes strong as the trainer and the lover. I will leave special mention for Zoë Kravitz as Christina who looked and acted wonderfully throughout the movie.

Soul exploration :: The movie has a lot of themes being explored in it, both directly and indirectly in its world. The whole division into four factions according their qualities and job is more like the ancient caste system itself, but lets not go further into that. In the case of factions, there are people who think different and has the ability to go against this order which forms the core of this dystopia – they are the divergents, to be better known as the rebels. As such a world is lead by the sympathetic faction, one can only wonder how long before two others, the brains and the muscle power can take over. So we need the divergents. What about our current society? Don’t we need them as a dystopia always threaten to happen in one place or the other? Haven’t such “different” people contributed a lot more to the world than the normal ones? When I was in school, I was to expect to join one of the two factions, engineering and medicine, with the two hidden faction, commerce and management – where did I join? Well, I had to diverge, and that had to be dauntless. That was just an example, but lets choose to be different rather than fit into groups with difficulty. Lets just not take the violence in the movie with it.

How it finishes :: Based on Veronica Roth’s Divergent, the movie present us with another dystopian world to ponder over. Even as I haven’t read any work by her, this does seem to work quite well. Being the opposite of utopia, dystopia always had the power to keep the readers and viewers interested. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin told us the story of a world which is slave to logic and machines, completely against any kind of creativity. George Orwell gave us more in his Nineteen Eighty-Four. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World might be the title which comes to the mind of most people. Remember Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange too. There are lots of such novels which has explored the themes related to dystopia in a powerful way. Divergent takes a leap into the same, but not exactly in the same way. I don’t know about the book, but the movie does fine as it throws at the audience everything it got. The visual media has been nicely used for the same purpose. It released here late, and as this is a festival season full of regional movies, the movie won’t do that well here, and the shows are limited too – quite the bad time of the year to release this one here!

PS: Don’t read the name as “Detergent” because one of my friends did! 😀

Release date: 11th April 2014 (India); 21st March 2014 (US)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Neil Burger
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Maggie Q

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Elysium

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So here comes the movie which I have been waiting for, since the day it released in the United States, and then again starting another big wait from the day in released in the United Kingdom. This was also the movie I was looking forward to watch in 2013, after Pacific Rim. Other than the presence of Matt Damon, the other interesting thing about this movie was what was told in the brief summary associated with it, and surely that name. The name was quite familiar in relation to some of the stories related to Greek mythology which I had come across during my childhood. Yes, that varied vision of paradise had left a mark, and here is that name revisited through this movie, not as what comes after afterlife, but all the same which are enjoyed during this life. The movie is set in 2154, when a group of wealthy people left the Earth after coming to know that their kind had destroyed the planet with greed and lavishness. With all the resources that remained on Earth, they created Elysium, a luxurious space station just outside the planet’s orbit to live a life free of disease and pollution. The lived a life of comfort assisted by robots and superior medical care, while the people of Earth were made to live on a devastated land, policed by robots sent from Elysium and deprived of their rights.

Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) is a former criminal on parole working in Armadyne, the same company which built Elysium. But he is exposed to lethal radiation during an accident and is left with just five days to live. All is not well in Elysium either, as Elysian Secretary of Defense Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster) orders a mercenary on her payroll, Kruger (Sharlto Copley) to shoot down civilian shuttles full of illegal immigrants trying to make it to the city of their dreams. Elysian President Patel (Faran Tahir) condemns her action on the basis of human rights which leads to a cold war between the two. As Jessica looks forward to having more power and keeping it, makes a deal with Armadyne’s CEO John Carlyle (William Fichtner) to create a program that can shut down, reboot and override Elysium’s central computer in order to make her the new President. Carlyle creates the program in his office on Earth, encrypts it and uploads it to his brain so that he could take it back to Elysium for secret deployment. With the help of his friend Julio (Diego Luna), Max seeks help from a skilled smuggler Spider (Wagner Moura) to go to Elysium and get cured, to which Spider asks for Max to steal some information from Carlyle. He agrees, and supported by an enforced exoskeleton, he goes on a mission which could change the life of a lot of people.

Coming from Neill Blomkamp who gave us District 9, this movie is somewhat a let-down, and it struggles to keep its standard as high as that wonderful flick. Still, it is certain that the base of both of these movies are the same, and both deals with somewhat the same issue, which is the difference between the oppressor and the oppressed, the privileged and the under-privileged, the powerful and the subaltern. The 2009 movie had aliens coming to Earth and living on the planet only to become second-rate citizens, while our 2013 movie has humans going to a space station and making the rest of their kind second-rate citizens or rather the lesser species – almost the same thing. The protagonist is from the subaltern group this time though. Both are about the horrible divide between people, sometimes about the rich and the poor, and otherwise racial or ethnic in nature. The evil of the multinational corporations as well as the government funded policing of groups which are different in some way or the other, also exists. Elysium makes a good attempt to carry on that idea of divide which formed the skeleton of District 9, and adds more elements of science fiction and powers it using the expensive fuel of post-apocalyptic fiction which sells, and in the process it hurts the inner core.

This is undoubtedly Matt Damon’s movie, and one has to doubt it would have worked this well without him. In the dystopic future where Earth has become nothing more than a big slum of devastated towers and a collection of small ghettos. He plays a former criminal who wishes to go to Elysium so that he could save his own life, but later he transforms into something more, as the saviour of not only his friend’s daughter, but also of millions who can’t afford the riches of the new first world. He is a confused revolutionary and a saviour who doesn’t decide his change, but rather it happens to him. He becomes what the nun who raised him had told him when he was a child – for he became someone special, an act which is supported by flashbacks which works, but not the way the audience might have wanted. This might be his best performance since the first three movies in the Bourne series. The character should have done better with a little more attention to his thoughts and change rather than just making him change as if it was there in him since childhood. Surely, he could have had more to work with, and this movie’s overuse of brain has seriously worked against the character of Max, which could have been drawn from another level.

I am rather surprised that Jodie Foster is not the main villain in the movie, as I thought this was going to be her wonderful performance in the form of another great villain, from what it seemed in the trailer. We wanted that villain, and in the beginning stages of the movie, we also get the feeling that it is how it is going to be. It is a shame that she doesn’t impress at all this time. But there would be Sharlto Copley rather than Jodie in a performance which is quite strange even though good. But this is one character who shouldn’t have had this much screen presence even as the man seems to live in the character and keep it a level above most of the movie. In a movie which is something more than a science fiction, this is not the main villain we want, for this is a more suitable secondary villain character. The need for a more powerful in intellect and yet normal in muscular strength villain was there, and this need is not fulfilled. Its good to see Alice Braga after her last action movie Predators, to which I hope there will be a sequel. She plays the childhood friend of Max, and the one who has a deep impact on him. Despite the smaller screen presence, she makes a very good impact. William Fichtner could have made a great major villain, but his character dies too early for us to get a glimpse of a possible evil. He still symbolizes the corporate evil, the power of the multi-national entities which became inter-planetary entities.

There is action and there is the hidden theme of the lack of humanity and the division between humans. But the action is mostly of inferior quality and the social message is not that powerful as one would expect to. I would consider Oblivion a far better flick intellectually, and District 9 a far more effective movie with its social message. As far as entertainment is considered this won’t be a Star Trek: Into Darkness nor a Prometheus visually. Elysium is another one of those escapist fantasies for sure, but its bridge towards the social message is not that much a perfectly crafted link. Another factor should be that of blood and gore which comes in abundance here, and gets itself an adult certificate with the same, but still doesn’t manage to do it well enough. One has to applaud the visuals though, as the world of Elysium as well as that of Earth are well-detailed, and the robots as well as the flying machines are well-designed and works very fine. The action sequences are lesser, but still not too exaggerated. The movie’s confusion about where it belongs is clearly reflected in all those things which happen throughout its own little world. One has to applaud the idea, but still be confused about its effect on oneself, and how to think about this movie. The emotion couldn’t be felt deep enough, and my friend had recommended a seventy three for this, but I thought I should add a little more to the rating.

While the movie drags a bit, and keeps itself in a loop in which it gently repeats itself, there is still enough in its soul to keep us interested and make a good influence. The only movie of this year to which the action of this movie can be compared is World War Z; yes not to Oblivion which had another post-apocalyptic world with a supposed colony of humans in another place as Earth has gone down due to many forces of destruction (a theory which is proved wrong in a twist of fate which is found later). This drags like World War Z and gets the loop working as the same movie. This could have done with a better route in the script, and Jodie Foster as a different, but still the major villain. It is sad that all the potential had this movie only up-to this level – no, I am still glad to have watched this movie, but this should have been a great work on the screen, but it has missed that opportunity, and that is kind of saddening. May be they could have stuck to one thing in this movie rather than making it a masala social message, or may be there could have been a better balance; I wouldn’t be sure, but let me tell you that I was hoping to come out ready to give an eighty to eighty nine for this movie out of hundred, and seventy seven is a disappoint if we look at it that way.

Release date: 27th September 2013 (India); 21st August 2013 (UK)
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Alice Braga, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, Brandon Auret, Josh Blacker, Emma Tremblay, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Valentina Giros, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Faran Tahir

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Cloud Atlas

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If Cloud Atlas could be termed an anthology movie, it should be my all-time favourite in that genre, but it follows that path which moves the film back and forth through centuries and through different stories of this world. At one moment, you identify with one person, and the next moment, you see another world, one might be of the early nineteenth century, and the next one of a post-apocalyptic future which goes further beyond this century. I would prefer this method more than the typical anthology method which has even made an impact in Malayalam movies with Kerala Cafe and 5 Sundarikal, as this is more intellectually effective, as we moves through the minds and souls of all these characters at the same moment, and they are with us until the end of the whole movie-watching experience. All characters and locations stay with us together, like a mixture which resembles the real life. It is adapted from a 2004 novel by David Mitchell of the same name. The movie features multiple stories set across six different ages when the mankind has to face entirely different things, and faces them individually, and still most of them resemble each other with each action which was done in one century has indirectly affected the other, even as there is no direct relation between all these.

✠ Segment I: @South Pacific Ocean, in the year of Our Lord, 1849: This tells the story of Adam Ewing, a man with a powerful conscience who witnesses the whipping of a slave, Autua with digust. The slave later sneaks aboard Ewing’s ship in an attempt to escape from the world of pain and torture and attain freedom. Ewing helps him out, but not without doubts in his mind. Meanwhile, Doctor Henry Goose, his physician, slowly poisons Ewing, claiming that he is treating the man for a parasitic worm ever since he had collapsed seeing the whipping of the slave. He aims to steal Ewing’s valuables one by one. ***[Spoiler Warning for the next two lines]*** But when the doctor is about to finish the man with a fatal dose of poison, Autua intervens at the exact moment and saves Ewing. Returning to the United States as a changed man and with a clear idea in his mind, Ewing with the support of his wife Tilda, denounce her father’s involvement in slavery and leave San Francisco to join the movement against slavery. It is quite touching as a story, but the effect is limited – still works fine as a story which will inspire what is to follow. I wouldn’t go on to rate these stories considering them as part of an anthology though, and therefore you shall see none here. Still, this movie has the most clear message of them all, with no piece of ambiguity added at any point.

✠ Segment II: @Cambridge, England and Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, in the year of Our Lord, 1936: Robert Frobisher, a bisexual English musician, finds some work with composer Vyvyan Ayrsand after leading a life of high immorality and the worst possible scandals if discovered during the Victorian Age in Britain. He helps him to compose his own masterpiece, which is refered to as “The Cloud Atlas Sextet”. He is also attracted to the composer’s wife, a feeling which is mutual and has a relationship with her too. But Ayrs wishes to take credit for the work as his own, and threatens to expose Robert’s scandalous and immoral background if he tries to stop him. ***[Spoiler Warning for the next two lines]*** Robert who has read a partial copy of Ewing’s journal, shoots Ayrs and flees to a hotel, where he finishes the musical work. He then shoots himself and commits suicide just before his lover arrives. This is a story of lesser, or may be the least effectiveness, and I would consider this the weakest of them all. This one doesn’t even have a worthy character who could make an impact, and thus works as the story which prevents this movie from becoming the masterpiece, still holding itself together to prevent falling into that abyss.

✠ Segment III: @San Francisco, California, in the year of Our Lord, 1973: Here, a journalist Luisa Rey meets an old man, Rufus Sixsmith who was the lover of Robert Frobisher in the earlier segment of 1936. He is now a nuclear physicist who tells Rey about a hidden conspiracy regarding the safety of a new nuclear reactor run by a powerful man named Lloyd Hooks. He is assassinated by a hitman Bill Smoke before he can give her a report that could prove the same. But she is helped by another scientist at the power plant. But she is chased by the assassins and involves herself in a life or death situation. There would be no spoiler spoiled in this paragraph, and what connects this story to the first one is that common factor of lineage which goes back to the slavery and its abolishment, as well as “The Cloud Atlas Sextet” which makes its entry here too. This story is more of a continuation and the carrier of the earlier legacy of the two segments even as most of these things remain indirect and not easily noticeable. This is also Halle Berry’s best performance throughout the movie as she appears in entirely different roles in the segments.

✠ Segment IV: @England/Scotland, United Kingdom, in the year of Our Lord, 2012: Timothy Cavendish has his own problems when Dermot Hoggins, a gangster author whose book he has published, murders a critic and is sent to prison, and the gangster’s brothers threaten him regularly to get his share of the profits. Cavendish turns to his brother Denholme for help even as they don’t like each other that much and were not on good terms, but the brother tricks him into hiding in a nursing home, and it turns into a kind of prison for him, as he is held against his will, but he escapes with a number of inmates who shared his vision of freedom. The connection is established when Cavendish receives a manuscript of a novel based on Rey’s life. This is a touching, as well as funny story, which starts off slowly, but by the end, it leaves a profound influence on the viewers. This can be considered as the only story which has that lighter side in the serious world which tries to tickle the intellect throughout. The terms cute and sweet can also be linked to this one by the end of the segment.

✠ Segment V: @Neo Seoul, Korea, in the year of Our Lord, 2144: Sonmi-451 is a genetically-engineered clone server at a restaurant who is interviewed just before her execution. She tells the story of her release from her life of servitude and modernized slavery by Commander Hae-Joo Chang, a leading member of a rebel movement known as Union. While they are hiding from the troops, she watches a film based on Cavendish’s adventure thus making a connection to the previous segment. It is revealed to her that the clones like her are killed and “recycled” into food for future clones who becomes the server in the restaurants later without themselves knowing anything about it. Just like the people of 1849, she also decides that the system of such a dystopian society based on slavery and exploitation of other living beings is evil and not to be tolerated, and how she changes the world or at least make it aware of what is happening under the mask of a righteous and perfect world forms this story of revolution, an element which has existed throughout the segments. She is a representative of all ages, and she is that vision of the past that future has upheld with pride.

✠ Segment VI: @The Big Island, in the year of Our Lord, 2321: Zachry is just another random person who lives with his sister and niece Catkin in a primitive society after most of the humanity has died in an apocalyptic event which is not mentioned, but a possible nuclear warfare and related massive destruction can be guessed. Sonmi-451 of the previous segment is worshiped as a goddess and her broadcast is part of their sacred texts. Zachry is plagued by strange visions of a figure who creates fear in him, and leads to him running away from problems all the time, something which haunts him throughout his life, as he couldn’t save his own people from death due to his fear and hallucinations. They are also attacked by a fierce cannibalistic group regularly. One day, his village is visited by a more modern individual, part of the society which had more access to the technology during te apocalypse, and this changes his life forever. There is also an epilogue in which more of who tells these stories and from where – all these are revealed to the viewers. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are there for all the segments, and have done a great job in fitting in. The same can be said about Hugo Weaving, and Doona Bae is highly impressive in Segment V. The movie is not for everybody, but it is a wonderfully crafted work of art made from a work which was near impossible to adapt on screen, as something which inspires one continuously as long as he or she is able to stay with it, and there are good intentions related to this one, and the viewers can’t simply deny that.

Release date: 26th October 2012
Running time: 172 minutes
Directed by: The Wachowskis – Laurence Wachowski and Andrew Paul Wachowski [segments 1849, 2144, 2321], Tom Tykwer [segments 1936, 1973, 2012]
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Star Trek II

startrek (13)

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.