Beyond Skyline

Vampire Owl :: What do you think awaits us beyond the skyline?

Vampire Bat :: The aliens. We know that from the first movie.

Vampire Owl :: Well, those creatures didn’t gain that much of a positive opinion that time.

Vampire Bat :: You know that all movies can’t be Alien Covenant or Prometheus.

Vampire Owl :: But movies certainly can be something in between them.

Vampire Bat :: An alien movie can still just be one, and not try for more.

Vampire Owl :: It is more or less like meeting the minimum requirements.

Vampire Bat :: Well, the minimum requirement for an alien movie is to have aliens.

Vampire Owl :: The need is more for having an alien invasion.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, that surely works better in most cases.

[Gets three cups of tea with paneer puffs].

A flashback to the first movie :: The first movie told the story of Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and Elaine (Scottie Thompson) who had flown to Los Angeles for Jarrod’s best friend Terry’s (Donald Faison) birthday party. Celebrating with Terry’s wife, Candice (Brittany Daniel), and his assistant, Denise (Crystal Reed), blue lights came down from the sky, hypnotizing anyone who looks at them, and the same had them immobilized as if they were zombies to be easily collected by the machines from the sky emitting the lights. After a series of events and attempts at survival, Jarrod and Elaine were sucked into the ship too. Inside the alien spacecraft, she saw that human brains were taken into machines to power them. Jarrod’s brain, inserted into a new alien body, gained control of the body instead of working otherwise, and came to the aid of a pregnant Elaine and their unborn child. This was were the first movie ended.

What is the movie about this time? :: Mark Corley (Frank Grillo), a police officer, gets his son, Trent Corley (Jonny Weston), out of the prison after he gets into trouble again. The two seems to be sorting things out in the underground metro when something strange seems to happen. It is then, at the same time that the alien invasion takes place. One after the other, people are mind-controlled and taken into their spaceships by the aliens. They seem to escape, but after a tactical nuclear attack by the aliens, Mark, Trent, a transit worker named Audrey (Bojana Novakovic) and a blind homeless man named Sarge (Antonio Fargas) are all taken by the aliens into their spaceship. The machines inside the spaceship seems to work hard with taking the brains out from the survivors, and Mark goes on searching for son, while being hunted by the creatures all around.

So what happens next with this tale of alien invasion? :: Going further into the ship’s closed area, he meets Elaine and her transformed boyfriend Jarrod from the first movie. It seems that even though Elaine is just three months pregnant, her pregnancy has reached its end as she gives birth to a daughter while she dies. Now, the destruction of the spaceship becomes the priority. As Jarrod fights the alien creatures, Mark rescues Audrey while Trent’s brain is taken and Sarge dies. Jarrod is killed when he fights the alien leader, but successfully crashes the ship in the forest area of Laos. There, Mark and Audrey with the child comes across Sua (Iko Uwais) and his sister Kanya (Pamelyn Chee), who are escaping from both aliens and local military men who are trying to take advantage of the situation. They take them to an underground lair full of survivors, and there they find out that this kid might be the key to their survival against aliens.

The defence of Beyond Skyline :: The visuals are good; they are not perfect as a big budget alien movie, but they are nice to watch. The creatures remind us of Predators, and the insides of the spaceship looks better than the outside. Some good action sequences are also there, and the final battle is nicely done. The cast is one big positive of this movie, as the man who played one of the villains in Marvel Universe, was Crossbones in Captain America: Civil War, and the one who was the spine of The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year is at the top of the game here too. We saw that he could go through that action thriller with ease, and this is no different. Bojana Novakovic whom we had seen in The Devil, is not that far away here either. She is part of the action early itself.

The claws of flaw :: There is too much repetition in here, and there is no attempt to add something new here. The aliens could have had further detail, and something special could have added with an origin story. Some moments don’t really have the seriousness that they deserve, and there is a little bit more violence and gore than one would expect from a usual alien invasion movie. The energy as well as the feeling of danger and fear that an alien movie should display, is not always there either. It could have ended differently though, as the final scene predicting the next part seems to too usual – can’t people come up with something other than this to end a movie? Well, the plan seems to be to keep close to the usual alien stuff a little too much – it is surely the safer thing to do, but the question remains if we really need more and more movies doing the same?

How it finishes :: As a science fiction movie, Beyond Skyline will not contribute much to the scientific side or bring that much of a variety, but it is surely an improvement from its predecessor. We have better cast as well as a lot more action with this flick. It is that kind of a movie which provides you with a chance to use your willing suspension of disbelief again, and along with the same, it just keeps within the limit without going absurd. You might be able to find those bigger alien movies at higher budgets, but this one is not short of its fun and entertainment, with its aliens knowing where to head to, just like its humans. Maybe, with another movie in the franchise with higher budgets, we can have a lot more. It is what Beyond Skyline is about, to be bring the fun in between, with the resources that it possesses, never stepping back with the entertaining side.

Release date: 15th December 2017
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Liam O’Donnell
Starring: Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Callan Mulvey, Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Pamelyn Chee, Betty Gabriel, Antonio Fargas, Lindsey Morgan, Valentine Payen, Samantha Jean, Jacob Vargas, Jonny Weston, Joanne Baron, Karen Glave, Tony Black

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Get Out

Vampire Owl: This reminds me of the first two words Dracula uncle told me. It is nice of them to make a movie titled the same.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about what happened when you applied for apprenticeship with the wrong biodata.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I wasn’t trained in vampiric language at that time, and messed it up.

Vampire Bat: You could have just used the universal blood language at that time. It was an official language too.

Vampire Owl: I was just glad that I could get these two words from him without thinking that much about the same.

Vampire Bat: It was all that you were looking for?

Vampire Owl: Well, we are all satisfied with what we have, aren’t we?

Vampire Bat: Yes, we are happy with what we are, and what all exist for us.

Vampire Owl: It is something that we need to to teach the humans.

Vampire Bat: Unfortunately, even after being just mortals, they learn nothing about what could face them in the afterlife. The Lego movie characters know better.

[Gets three cups of evening tea with a piece of mango cake].

What is the movie about? :: A photographer named Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) have been in love for a few months, and they decide to visit her parents at a far away place, in the countryside, where they own a huge area of land of and property by the side of a lake. Chris is a little bit concerned about meeting her conservative parents because he is black, and her parents seem to be having a white legacy going with her grandfather having lost to Jesse Owens in front of Hitler during the Berlin Olympics of 1936. But the parents seem to be happy with their relationship, Dean Armitage (Bradley Whitford) and Missy Armitage (Catherine Keener) welcomes him to their home as part of their family, even though his brother Jeremy Armitage (Caleb Landry Jones) does come up with some strange remarks which they don’t mind that much.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The servants at the house who are black, act rather too strange towards him, with Walter (Marcus Henderson) and Georgina (Betty Gabrietl), both doing strange things and also talking as if there is some hostility in the air. Chris has a strange feeling about the happenings at the place, and has a walk at night, during which he is hypnotised by Missy who is a psychiatrist, after which he feels no desire to smoke. He also seems Walter and Georgina doing some strange things, and Jeremy even tries to put a headlock on him, making him really uncomfortable. There is an annual gathering supposed to happen at the place too, during which a lot of guests seem to have special interest in him, except for the only black man in the group, Logan King (LaKeith Stanfield) who also acts strange. He talks about the same to his best friend, Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery) who asks him to get out of there.

And what is to follow with a twist of events? :: Chris also meets a man called Jim Hudson (Stephen Root), who is blind, but appreciates his work with photography, as he has his assistant who describes them to him. With all focus on him only, Chris asked about how it feels to be an African-American, but he passes the question to Logan who seems to have a certain problem answering the question, and when Christ tries to take his photo, gets angry, asking him to get out of there. Logan, bleeding from his nose, seems to feel better after a session with Missy, and Chris keeps narrating the happenings to Rod, who tells him that those people there might be brainwashing the black people with Missy’s hypnotizing ability, and keeping them as slaves, or even sex slaves, which at first seems funny, but Chris realizes that there is more to this strange behaviour of the people than what meets the eye.

The defence of Get Out :: The movie has its viewers feeling that there is something coming, right from the first sequence itself, and it keeps throwing something again and again on the way, to make sure that the audience is kept excited about what is to come. There is a big mystery ready to be revealed, and throughout the movie, there is the feeling of weirdness and danger which is nicely reflected through more than one character. The early feeling of waiting for the suspense to reveal itself has its replacement in the form of thrills and a certain amount of horror that get stronger by the end. We know that there is something eerie about it, but then we realize that there is even more to come as the movie progresses towards the end. There is tension that is shown between the characters here, and there is something like a rising intensity about it – we feel that this movie is getting better and better towards the end, as we know that something unexpected is to happen, and things are going to go bad for the protagonist, and then towards terrible.

The claws of flaw :: The humour doesn’t work much, and it also gets pretty much violent in the end, something which we weren’t expecting that much considering the first half. We do look at the huge amount of critical appreciation, and expect something even bigger, like a masterpiece, but we will only get this movie – on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie manages to have an approval rating of 99% based on 269 reviews; it is something that we don’t see that often, for things tend to come down a few days after a movie’s release. Metacritic has adjusted with an 84, but something like 99 is what keeps the expectations at a top level. People who have no understanding of the movie’s basic premise will find some trouble too. There is the certainty of some missing logic, with the way the movie becomes something not that natural by the end, which will raise some eyebrows here and there. If you are expecting the twist to be like The Skeleton Key, you are in for a surprise, with doctors and medical science being attached here, even without that much of a deep explanation.

How it finishes :: With Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams staying strong as the leading actors, we have a movie to look out for, right here. It is a flick which is not that well-known around here with a rather unknown cast for our audience, and not much of a title that grabs attention, but there will be a lot of fans for this one from here later, that is for sure. The opinions on this one are going to be divided here though, as the racial stuff is not going into the roots with our audience – maybe the caste would do if we make a similar movie here. The movie seems to reflect how things are, when we see another person as “the other“, as someone who really doesn’t belong to our group, and there are some people who pretend to accept them, even though they really don’t. People are such good actors in real life these days, aren’t they? We see so many of such people in this flick, and then there are others who just hate those who are different – the world still needs change for sure, and you see the need stored right within, with a smart horror thriller here. At the same time, lets hope that the viewers take something out of this movie and be better towards the others, the different, those who are not like everyone else.

PS: Check out the review of the latest release, Sunday Holiday.

Release date: 24th February 2017
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lil Rel Howery, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Catherine Keener, Betty Gabriel, Marcus Henderson, Erika Alexander, LaKeith Stanfield, Stephen Root, Geraldine Singer

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Purge: Election Year

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Background to the movie :: This tale, at its background, has the group which is known as the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA), whom after taking control of the American government, establishes a new state. They go on to legalize what they called “The Purge” which would take place every year from seven in the evening of March the twenty first to seven in the morning of March the twenty second, during which all crime including murder and robbery becomes legal. With an emergency broadcast, the Purge begins, and with the same, unleashes the terror. Only the government officials with the authorization levels that are ten or higher are provided immunity from the Purge, and all police, fire, and emergency medical services remain unavailable for the twelve hours of time. There is only chaos in the streets, and people unleash themselves on others, and most of the time, it is the poor who suffers, with not enough money to pay for their security.

Flashbacks of the Purge :: The first movie was set in the year 2022, with James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), a seller of top security systems, returns home to spend the night of Purge locked inside his home with his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their two kids, Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and Charlie (Max Burkholder), but finds themselves in trouble from the purgers who are looking for a wounded man (Edwin Hodge) whom they had given asylum inside their home. The second movie, The Purge: Anarchy was set exactly an year later, with Sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) looking for vengeance against the man who killed his son, a married couple Shane and Liz (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) trying to escape from the purgers as their car breaks down during the beginning stages of the Purge and the mother and daughter duo of Eva and Cali (Carmen Ejogo and Zoë Soul), all whose paths cross at some point on that eventful night of chaos.

So, what is this particular movie about? :: In the year 2022, just after the events of the first movie, we see a family being tied up at their home by a group of purgers. Soon, we are led to a situation, eighteen years later, which is seventeen years after the events of the second movie. Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), the girl who was part of the family which was attacked by the purgers in the first sequence of the movie, has grown up to be a senator, and brings the fight against the Purge, as she seems to be the one predicted to win the next presidential elections. The common man has also started to believe that the Purge is part of the economic agenda of the New Founding Fathers who are looking forward to eliminate the poor in favour of the rich. The crowd believes that they are reducing unemployment and poverty, only by replacing the lower class with corpses, and she is only gaining more and more momentum when the next Purge is announced.

So, what is coming up after this situation? :: The NFFA, lead by Caleb Warrens (Raymond J. Barry) knows that she is a threat to their organization, and has to be eliminated, which is why they decide to revoke the Purge rule that protects the government officials above the ranking of 10, keeping nobody immune. Roan decides not to back away into a safe place and stays at home so that she could face the Purge just like common people much to the dismay of her head of security, former police officer Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo). They set up tight security at the house, but mercenaries sent by the NFFA manages to get through into the house, and both of them run away to the streets. Surrounded by purgers, they are saved by a convenience store, owner Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson) and his assistant at the place, Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) who are out to guard their store. Together, they hope to stay alive.

The defence of The Purge: Election Year :: This one surely has the idea strong, and the strength in its core is without doubt. It surely has a lot in its mind and soul, which we can find if we look deeper into the movie. There is also the right use of thrills, and with its violence and twisted world makes one feel that it is more horror than any other genre, and it does look good. The action is good and the thrills feel real – the whole thing is extremely relevant to our current world too, as we see the ruling governments forcing things upon the people which benefit the rich who only gets richer. With such a situation, there is the worry about what the rulers won’t do for the rich and the influential, who power the political parties. A number of dead common people are of no concern to the government, and this is exactly what the idea of Purge talks about, except for the fact that it only happens brutally, and once in an year – in our world, it happens all the time and not many people care.

Claws of flaw :: Unlike expected, this one doesn’t manage to be an improvement on its predecessor – there was the idea which could have powered it to that status, but we see that the movie decides to go on predictable lines on more than one occasion instead of developing completely on the big idea. This could have done more with its theme, as a lot of people were sure to have such an expectation. The movie is also violent and won’t suit the taste of everyone, even though one can be sure that an idea like this can be even more violent. The doubtful will also won’t like this movie that much, and the same is the case of people who are looking to move forward without thinking – I am sure that there are such people around in need of the action mayhem and lots of blood, but despite the bloody background of the idea, this movie holds on to the idea rather than its gore.

How it finishes :: Making its point just like its predecessors, this one also leaves an opening for a fourth movie despite having all in the story to end the franchise as a trilogy. Just like the previous movie, it is powered by the performance of Frank Grillo, and Elizabeth Mitchell is excellent as the other lead character. There is one thing that a person who watch this movie can admit with ease, and it is that there is enough evil in this world for humanity to go for a purge – so much is the hate that each and everyone got for the others. And there is the second thing, and it is that there is nothing that the politicians won’t do to oppress the poor, and provide the rich with all they need to make them richer – we see them all the time, and the always rising petrol and diesel prices are just one example of the same. The purge is always there, in one way or the other, and we are all suffering, going to suffer more.

Release date: 1st July 2016
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Julian Soria, Betty Gabriel, Terry Serpico, Raymond J. Barry, Edwin Hodge, Kyle Secor, Liza Colón-Zayas, David Aaron Baker, Christopher James Baker, Brittany Mirabilé, Juani Feliz, Christy Coco, Roman Blat, Jamal Peters, J. Jewels, Matt Walton

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.