Nightmare Alley

Vampire Owl: This could be the name of one of the halls in the castle.

Vampire Bat: There are already enough alleys with nightmares around here.

Vampire Owl: You think that vampires are affected by nightmares.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we just consider them as dreams.

Vampire Owl: Nightmares are just small part of the dreams.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t use the word “nightmare” anymore. It is overused.

Vampire Owl: We are the true nightmares, the living dead ones, right?

Vampire Bat: You feel that the nightmares can be true?

Vampire Owl: Now, you are acting like Dr Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: You mean, like Mr Frankenstein! No, never!

[Gets an aloo paratha and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 1939, and Stanton Carlisle a.k.a. Stan (Bradley Cooper) wanders around different cities of the United States of America, and while going on as a free guy, a drifter, gets a job at a big carnival which seems to have lit up the world of night beautifully. There, he notices a geek show in which he sees a man eating a live chicken. This performance which is also known as freak show, is always about a single man called a geek who chases live chickens and finally has him killing the bird and eating it alive. It was something common among circus and carnival professionals to be part of a troupe that included geeks. The geeks were often heavy alcoholics or drug addicts, and instead of money, liquor was used to pay them for the performance. In this case, the man who was part of the performance is seen to be further deranged than he is supposed to be. While he is working, Stan is told that the geek is now running around within their attraction, and they have to somehow catch him before he ruins the performances.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The geek seems to be hiding in a scary attraction, and attacks Stan, only to be taken down. He is taken into a cage, and he seems to be too violent and mentally disturbed to be fit for any show, seemingly getting close, but being out of death for now. But they keep him locked up with the feeling that people will love to look down on him and forget their own misery. It seems that many people like to enjoy that particular show, and is a major attraction which nobody wishes to miss, even though it is indeed costlier. After helping them to find the geek, Stan is offered a full time job at the carnival instead of that temporary one which was provided to him earlier. He is only happy to be with them as he has nowhere to go anymore. After using their tub, he begins working with the clairvoyant performer known as Madame Zeena, originally Zeena Krumbein (Toni Collette) and her alcoholic husband, Peter Krumbein a.k.a. Pete (David Strathairn). Zeena definitely feels that there is more to him than what meets the eye.

And what more is to follow in this interesting world? :: Mary Margaret Cahill a.k.a. Molly (Rooney Mara) also helps them at times, as Pete often losses control after drinking too much. But Molly also performs as the “Electric Girl Unforgettable”, seemingly taking electricity through her in one of the other star performances. Stan seems to be falling in love with Molly slowly, but steadily. The team of clairvoyance uses gestures, some coded language and certain cold reading tricks to make their work more effective. There are some fine guesses which work out of effectively at times, even though Pete is not fond of her pretending to speak to the dead. Pete shows the methods to Stan too, and he seems to be a very quick learner. Stan understands that the geeks are originally alcoholics whom he has forced to stay with opium-laced alcohol which has been affecting the minds of the geeks terribly. Most of them were affected by the First World War one way or the other. These geeks are nicely taken into the carnival where they become nothing less than slaves due to their addiction gone terribly wrong.

Then you look forward further in this movie, and what awaits us? :: As they are going on with the carnival, Germany has just started the invasion of Poland, setting the beginning of the Second World War. Things still seem to go normal at the carnival, as a new geek takes the place of the previous one who is dead. Stan asks Molly to leave the carnival with him, and start a new grand performance with him, which everyone in the United States of America, and all around the world will remember forever. But she is not ready to leave with him, as she has been a part of this performance and this particular place for quite a long time. Soon, Pete who keeps drinking more and more, finally dies out of alcoholic consumption. It is then that a sheriff comes there and threatens to close the illegal performance which has cruelty to humans and animals, while Molly who performs her act in her undergarments is to be arrested for too much of cleavage and thighs, thus enough indecency to be in the prison. Stan saves her and the whole carnival from the sheriff using the skills he had learned from Pete. As the sheriff leaves, Molly agrees to leave the Carnival with him, but what would the future hold in that case?

The defence and flaws of Nightmare Alley :: The movie has a beautiful world belonging to the past in store for us. Even though slow at times, it is an effective movement forward, which we are all going to enjoy. The time period during the Second World War is beautifully created, and we become a part of it. Even though there is the common idea that this is a psychological thriller, the movie is more of a drama rather than anything else. It might be due to its jumping through the genres that the movie feels slow, and the over all length does feel as a little too much for our liking. It is not the kind of world with which the director, Guillermo del Toro is at full strength – this could be the same reason why the director’s other movies continue to stay a few levels above this one. But the performances from Bradley Cooper and Rooney Mara are too good, and they have us interested here throughout the movie. The others who don’t have a full run in the flick, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette and others also have a fine run when they are around here. The movie also has a fine message running through here about what awaits an over-reacher who find evil to be okay.

How it finishes :: Nightmare Alley does have that feeling of watching the movies of Guillermo del Toro like before. Still, it doesn’t have any haunting creatures like in Crimson Peak or the huge robots fighting giant monsters like in Pacific Rim. This is also no Pan’s Labyrinth or The Shape of Water. The director does take a divergent path with ease, and successfully goes through the whole thing and keeps us engaged in the same. A movie without any supernatural element for him, and he still continues to be the visionary director like nobody else. The movie is based on the novel of the same name written by the American writer William Lindsay Gresham published in 1946, and how well it has taken the spirit of the book will be known only to those who have read the book. The movie was nominated for four Oscar Awards, including the Best Picture, at the 94th Academy Awards held in Los Angeles in March 2022. Well, one would only feel that this is only deserving, as this is a film is a world which is for us to be immersed in, at all times.

Release date: 17th December 2021
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Mary Steenburgen, Ron Perlman, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, David Strathairn

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Avengers: Endgame

What is the movie about? :: After the events that lead to the defeat of Avengers in Avengers: Infinity War, Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) keep drifting in space with no power and many light years away from Earth until being rescued by Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). They re-unite with the remaining Avengers on Earth – Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner a.k.a. Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), James Rhodes a.k.a. War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). While Tony Stark has lost all hope that any difference could be made, and retires to a cabin in the woods with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), the others confront an injured Thanos (Josh Brolin) living in a hut in a far away planet. There is nothing that they can do though, as Thanos destroyed the infinity stones after use, so that the situation would remain as it was intended to be. An angry Thor beheads Thanos.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Five years later, Scott Lang a.k.a. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) escapes the quantum realm and finds out that something strange has happened in his world – as he figures things out, feels that there is a way that what Thanos did could be undone. He feels that quantum realm can be used for time travel, and one could travel to the time when Thanos didn’t have the infinity stones. Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff accompany him to where Tony Stark settled down, but Tony is not sure about doing it because he is afraid of something worse happening to his family, with everyone he love dying. So, the Avengers decide to go on with the experiments related to time travel with Bruce Banner who repeatedly says that it is not his field of expertise, and never had even a slight clue about the same. The experiment remains a failure with no traveling through time happening.

And what else is to follow? :: But Tony decides to change his stance as the idea seems to have a better chance of working, with the feeling of a need to bring Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) back. After talking to Pepper, he decides to go on with it, and the remaining Avengers once again assemble. They decide to go back in time to those exact moments when the Avengers came across the infinity stones. What they have will be just one chance to set things right, because if they miss the exact opportunity, there are not enough particles to return to the present time. So, they are divided into teams, with Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk and Ant-Man in one time-line divided into three, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow, Nebula and War Machine (Don Cheadle) in another divided into two and Thor with Rocket in the last one as a team. But the question remains about how they can achieve all these stones without being in conflict with the past, and without Thanos knowing.

The defence of Avengers: Endgame :: Another spectacle has come from Marvel, and it is also nothing less than an adventure that is to be kept close to the hearts – there is the grandeur on the big screen, and there are emotions along with a certain funny side that we can’t live without as far as a Marvel movie is considered. The final battle raises the level of the movie like never before, and it is Captain America with the hammer that steals the show, and Iron Man with the final punch that ends it. Thor is once again joy to watch. The visuals continue to be stunning, and the action sequences only keep getting better. There are adventures in the past too, and we see the beauty of different worlds in different planets. The ability to make the audience feel the pain, but also to quickly bring some humour, this one never really holds back.

Positives and negatives :: The battle that was going on in Avengers: Infinity War continues, with almost the same people on either sides – but here, it becomes bigger because everyone comes together at the same place, and the intensity is more, as both sides know what would happen in case of a loss. There is no lack of style, and the ending is just too good. It is certain that we would continue to remember and stay in love with these characters. Still, the movie is three hours long, and it could have beem shortened in the first thirty to forty five minutes with less wandering around with Avenger guilt. Captain Marvel continues to be the misfit in this franchise, as she is always given an entrance as the end approaches, and with that new hair cut, looks even more weird. Well, this is the kind of movie that you would watch more than once, and so come up with more.

The performers of the soul :: Avengers: Endgame is also supported by some fantastic acting. The scene is lead by the big three in their own emotional moments, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr. The funny side is also maintained by Chris Hemsworth, as Thor gets another side to work on. Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner have their emotional moments too, while Brie Larson is wasted as that superhero who keeps making grand entrances, and is of no prolonged value. Mark Ruffalo’s brain and strength mix is interesting to watch. Paul Rudd is fun to watch, and the lighter moments of the movie are handled well by him. Josh Brolin’s villain character has changed here, as we can see the need to change that balance-seeking anti-hero to someone seeking mass destruction and complete annihilation – but there is no change in the ultimate requirement, which is rebirth.

How it finishes :: For all the fans of this wonderful franchise, this is one grand end that we have all waited for – Avengers will no longer be the same after this with the big three, Captain American, Iron Man and Thor no longer being available to be part of the team. But this is the grand ending that we have all wanted for a long time. There is a lot of everything in this movie, and is a fitting end to something Marvel has been building for a long time – you remember the time when you watched the first Avengers, and you see how much things have changed with the movie’s world as well as the characters. It has been a great run, and even though I loved Avengers: Infinity War more than this one, there is not much separating the two. We love this final movie, no matter who we are, and what our preferences are – Avengers: Endgame has assured everyone about that, and it is clearly reflected in the collections, a record-breaking one, even in India.

Release date: 26th April 2019
Running time: 181 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Benedict Wong, Danai Gurira

<– Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Avengers: Infinity War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Vampire Owl: Are they as cool as our guardians?

Vampire Bat: But we haven’t really appointed any guardian for the New Vampire World.

Vampire Owl: I was referring to ourselves as the guardians.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that we are qualified enough to take over as the guardians anywhere.

Vampire Owl: It is relevant that we refer to each other as guardians.

Vampire Bat: Does that accomplish anything?

Vampire Owl: Well, with great power comes great responsibilities.

Vampire Bat: You haven’t been responsible since the last red moon.

Vampire Owl: Which is exactly why I need this.

Vampire Bat: You really don’t need a reason for that, and there is absolutely no need for prior experience in the same.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Star-Lord Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) have improved their positions as the Guardians of the Galaxy, and are more famous than ever. Due to the same, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) the leader and the high priestess of the golden people known as the Sovereign, assigns to them, the task of protecting their high-powered batteries from a monster out of space – she assigns the same to the Guardians as she hesitates to waste the life of anyone belonging to their high class species. In return, the high priestess had offered Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sister who was caught trying to steal the same batteries. The Guardians are successful in stopping the monster finding its weakness, and are given the thief in return, along with a display of high priestess’ contempt for them. Nebula does maintain her hatred for her sister and continues to thrive on the same.

So, what happens next? :: But it turns out that they are chased by a group of drones remotely controlled from Sovereign, as Rocket had stolen a few batteries for himself, much to the dismay of Peter Quill and Gamora. They are very much in trouble, but are saved by Quill’s father, Ego (Kurt Russell) who destroys each and every drone before the Guardians crash on to a nearby planet. There, Ego accompanied by Mantis (Pom Klementieff), an alien with empathic powers, greets the Guardians and reveals to Peter who he is. Quill, Gamora, and Drax travels with him to his planet, while Rocket, Groot, and Nebula in bondage stays behind with the ship being repaired. Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) who is living a life in exile, is contacted by Ayesha to punish the Guardians for their crime. With his team, he makes a quick visit to Rocket and captures him, only to be replaced as the leader by Taserface (Chris Sullivan) in a mutiny supported by Nebula who gets herself free.

And, what is to follow next in the galaxy? :: Ego’s planet is revealed to be his own, and seems to have no other life form other than him and Mantis. He reveals himself as a celestial creature, something like a god, and shows his ability to manipulate matter to his son. He tells Peter that despite assigning Yondu to deliver him as a boy, that never happened, which is why their meeting took so long. Ego lets him know that he had been searching for his son all around for a very long time, but couldn’t find any success with the same until then. Meanwhile, Drax gets closer to Mantis who seems to have something to tell him. At the same time, at the other planet, Rocket, Groot and Yondu are imprisoned by Taserface as he kills the men loyal to Yondu. Nebula takes a spacecraft to go and find Gamora and kill her, while Taserface decides to finish off the executions on the next day. Gamora also feels that there is something strange about Ego – what would that be? Can the other guardians escape captivity in time?

The defence of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 :: The best thing about this flick is that it can stand alone, and not just as the volume two. The visuals are undoubtedly great, and the fact that it is in 3D adds to the same. The music is also really good, and it keeps the whole thing going along with the humour which scores even better than the previous movie. With some wonderful action sequences to go with everything else, you are certain not to miss the entertainment factor in this one. Running just over two hours and a quarter, this movie has absolutely no moment which makes you think about not having watched this one. The emotional side is also too good, and it is also another improvement from its predecessor. The most interesting characters in this one are Karen Gillan’s Nebula and Michael Rooker’s Yondu – there is no prize for guessing which one is the cutest one, for that one rules the poster at more than one place.

The claws of flaw :: One has to say that three years means a little too much of a gap between two superhero movies, especially with this tale and heroes not that much popular ones at least in this part of the world – people seems to have forgotten most of the action from the first part, but thankfully, this one can stand alone except for very few occasions. The regular viewer is certain to wonder who was defeated in the first part and for what reason was there for the same to happen. Also, the movie hesitates to explore the universe beyond, and it was something that could have been easily done with Sovereign added – more is always possible in this case when we see the premise again. We know what the game Mass Effect had achieved with a universe like this, and that proves the same – even though there is the comic book base, more could have surely been done differently in a world without boundaries.

How it finishes :: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is certain to be a very entertaining superhero movies to all kinds of audience, with the world or rather the galaxy needing to be saved once again. There are so many interesting superhero movies coming up, some of which we have already seen the trailer including Thor: Ragnarok and Wonder Woman, we are certain to have a big year here. This remains one immortal genre, and with superheroes all around, we will keep having more movies to follow. As they keep coming, this movie improves on the original Guardians of the Galaxy, and becomes the entertainer that needs to be watched in 3D on the big screen to get the maximum effect. Visually too good a movie and with good humour and emotional side, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 becomes one the rare sequels which become better than the first movie – it is something which superhero movies have struggled to even as there are exceptions. Well, it is the time when Alien Covenant is running the show on other planets.

Release date: 5th May 2017
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

10 Cloverfield Lane

10cloverfieldlane-1

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.

American Sniper

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Vampire Owl :: Yes, I have heard that they are showing all those Oscar nominated movies there in the multiplex, or at least those which they have chosen.

Vampire Bat :: Some of the movies have made a return while the others have arrived for the very first time. Which one would you choose?

Vampire Owl :: I choose none. I shall not watch award movies. It has been a policy – an owlified policy.

Vampire Bat :: But some of them are certified good.

Vampire Owl :: I don’t fall for such certification. I have been a prey to such opinions for too long a time. And what is Guardians of the Galaxy and Interstellar doing there? They should have tried for those movies which didn’t release here instead.

Vampire Bat :: But most of the movies in that list never released here, and without the Oscar nominations, might have never even come near here.

Vampire Owl :: Still, I say no to any of those movies. I am a stubborn Vampire Owl. It is in my blood, my pure, centuries old bloodline.

Vampire Bat :: I shall go for American Sniper then.

Vampire Owl :: And make a pick for these Oscars. Lets see if your prediction powers work after centuries of experience.

Vampire Bat :: I have only watched The Grand Budapest Hotel among the movies which have received nomination for the best picture. Lets see how American Sniper adds to it.

[Goes to the theatre].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the real life story of a man from Texas, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), who becomes sad and outraged at the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings and decides to join the United States Navy and be of service to his nation which has been a target of external terrorist forces. He undergoes the training and finally becomes a United States Navy SEAL sniper. After meeting Taya Renae (Sienna Miller) at a bar and falling into a relationship, he marries her, only to be posted at Iraq for the war against terrorism after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Beginning with sniper shots on a woman and a child who were trying to attack the troops with grenades, he feels the pain, but continues to go on and become the most known sniper and the one with the most kills. The biggest challenge for him would be take out an expert enemy sniper who wanders around in the shadows – but there is also his family back home.

The defence of American Sniper :: I was skeptical about watching this movie, and I had wondered how it will go as an American war movie, and this one completely managed to rise above my expectations. The movie nicely combines so many elements of the war and successfully comes out as an anti-war movie. Everything is shown with so much passion and detail. The message is clear and against the ever-lasting devastation that the war causes and the darkness of nothingness that terrorism can lead to. Bradley Cooper is the man who steals the show with almost every second as this is a movie about his character and what he has done. He also has gained a lot of weight for the role as it seems and is known. He does deserve the Academy Award for the Best Actor, and an absence of nomination would have surprised me a lot. Sienna Miller joins in and does her job in so much of a believable manner.

Positives and Negatives :: The negatives are hard to find with American Sniper. May be you can find something if you have a problem with realistic depictions, or may be you can dig deeper than me find something else. May be for some of you, there was not enough entertainment. But it was there for me, and there might have been a very minute drag here and there, but I never felt that. If you need to create controversy out of something which is not there, I am not giving into it. You might have your bloody agenda, but for one second, think about it from the point of view of a soldier – it is what the movie is about. You can complain that the end was too soon, but the movie was never really about the end, but the soul of this flick itself was the world that it portrayed. As it takes us to the battlefield and the clear flow of emotions back home, one has to accept and admit that this was the best way things could have been linked and shown on the big screen in a realistic manner.

Soul exploration :: Well, the movie leaves the question about who can be blamed. Can you blame a soldier for doing what he is supposed to do to support his troops and help his fallen comrades? Do we even think about what goes through the mind of a trooper as he obeys an order from the top or when he has to make a choice between saving his people and humanity? What are those things that he has to live with in the end? With those things that he did or with those things that he couldn’t do? Forget this sniper being American, and think beyond the limits of nationality. What about an Indian soldier who gets killed by a terrorist at the border? What about our unsung heroes who deserves better than being shot at by a militant from the other side of the border? Lets forget all the politics behind this and the setting and think about it from the point of view of a soldier who sets off to serve his nation. They deserve the salute for keeping the nation and its citizens first, despite the nationality. It is on their blood that each nation stands, and for trauma that they face and for their selfless service, they should be treated the best, not some random cricketer.

On the Academy Awards :: ***These are my hopes on the 87th Academy Awards which you can avoid, if you want to! As the date for the Academy Awards is coming near, The Grand Budapest Hotel remains the only other movie amond the list of nominations for Best Picture that I have watched, and even as I haven’t finalized on a rating, I would give a 92/100 for that, and consider American Sniper a well-ahead movie. I was hoping to watch The Imitation Game the most among those movies which were in the list, but missed that. I couldn’t come close to being interested in Whiplash, and I have decided against an overdose with the other movies which do provide me with a good timing. May be I don’t want to destroy that good experience that American Sniper has given me. I am afraid in that case, because my taste often creates a case of wonder for myself.

The Waiting Continues :: I do hope that Bradley Cooper does win the Best Actor Award for this movie, and Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl because I have that feeling that those were the performances which can’t be easily matched. I also hope that How to Train Your Dragon 2 win the Best Animated Feature Film Award instead of the overrated Big Hero 6 which thinks that it is Frozen with some irritating hero fans. Captain America: The Winter Soldier should also win something for the Best Visual Effects compared to the other overrated nominations – that is my hope. Well, American Sniper does deserve a lot more than just some nominations and a few winnings, as it deserves big – and that something that I would surely like to see after watching this movie. May this movie has more people with brain and heart watching at the multiplexes rather than the narrow minded ones! India needs a movie like this, and the only one which I can remember that stays strong is Tango Charlie.

Release date: 16th January 2015
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Max Charles, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Navid Negahban, Eric Close, Eric Ladin, Rey Gallegos, Brian Hallisay, Ben Reed, Elise Robertson, Keir O’Donnell, Marnette Patterson, Leonard Roberts, Sammy Sheik, Mido Hamada

americansniper

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Vampire Owl :: But we were expected to have watched Guardians of the Galaxy last week, right?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but with Hercules being postponed for some dumb movies, this also seems to have been delayed.

Vampire Owl :: So Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which was to release this Friday should release next weekend.

Vampire Bat :: And movies like Lucy will go missing.

Vampire Owl :: We have a long life-span. We can wait, may be it will release many months later.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with immortality having its glitches.

Vampire Owl :: Are we going for Into the Storm?

Vampire Bat :: May be no?

Vampire Owl :: Fine, I thought I would need that for the owlification list.

Vampire Bat :: It does have more shows, even as critics have annihilated it.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Twenty six years after he was abducted from Earth by space pirates, Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) steals an orb for which many others are making similar attempts. His successful stealing of the item meant that there was a huge bounty on him set by the leader of the space pirates, Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and an assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is sent after him by Ronan (Lee Pace), a member of the scientifically advance war-loving race called Kree. Two bounty hunters – a humanoid tree Groot (Vin Diesel) and a genetically engineered raccoon called Rocket (Bradley Cooper) are also after the man who stole the orb, but a complicated fight with Gamora and Quill leads them to prison from where they come up with a plan, and supported by Drax (Dave Bautista) who is looking for revenge against Ronan, break out of the prison. They would initially look to sell the device, but after knowing how dangerous it is, they will have to join forces to save the galaxy against the man who look forward to destroying it, as he take the orb from them.

The defence of Guardians of the Galaxy :: This movie is all about the entertainment, and there would have been no doubt about that one. It is that fun ride which makes one laugh, go through the thrills and also add some emotions to the same. The characters are superb, and they remain interesting and most of the situations become further interesting due to them, and each has some special characteristic, and belong to a different species. That should remind us gamers about Mass Effect, one of those awesome games set in space, with the need to save the known universe from a group of alien invaders known as the Reapers (without that much detail and other stuff). But this movie is light and without the complications, and there it scores with the common audience. The visuals are great too, with the spaceships and awesome gadgets being used, and the world of space nicely using the power of technology to its advantage, and 3D is pretty much effective too. The computer-generated stuff rarely gets this good, one has to admit. You won’t need the super-powered heroes for this one!

The claws of flaw :: Guardians of the Galaxy has pretty much a predictable run with what is has, and it remains what we usually see. The movie has a lot more to do before it establishes itself completely, and I would guess that the same would be done in the sequel which is supposed to come out in 2017. There is a lot of background to be established, and this movie is without much power in its plot. The movie could have taken a few more minutes to establish a better universe and work on the worlds that exist within the same. The galaxy could have been better known before there were guardians for the galaxy, and these guardians themselves are misfits and outlaws who turn heroes, something which we have seen so many times. It has a good amount of silliness, which does work with its universe of aliens and spaceships, but not without them. This one has a long way to go before becoming something like the game Mass Effect with its character and universe. There is a lot of thinking to be done.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt makes his character impressive, no doubt about that one, but the one who struck me more was Zoe Saldana as the green lady Gamora. She was blue in Avatar and was in space before in both Star Trek movies, and here she is green, and she plays that character to perfection. Dave Bautista makes a very strong appearance here, and his quiting WWE drama was rightly for this movie’s promotion – and it is good to see him having such nice role which suits him, along with making another comeback to WWE some time later. Interestingly, there is also a funny side to this tough character. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel gives voice to the two other guardians, and Cooper’s Rocket might be the fan favourite in this movie with the funny lines and the interesting moments. Karen Gillan’s Nebula came up as another surprisingly interesting character. Lee Pace’s Ronan is a strong villain, and makes a powerful impact, but the character Thanos leaves us wishing for more which could come to us in an upcoming sequel.

Soul exploration :: The movie is all about saving the world from the evil forces, and there is not much to think about it in a complicated manner. There is the orb which gives great powers and the most evil of them all wishing to take control of it to cause destruction and chaos all around. The heroes are all former outlaws who have lost something and are not really good or bad, but capable of goodness. The movie is sure to leave the audience happy and with no signs of disappointment, and there its success lies. If you have loved The Avengers, there is not much doubt about falling in love with these heroes who are in no way super with their powers, but do take their chances. They make up a strange team and become the guardians, and with a little expansion of the world that was in this movie, that too in detail, would work wonders for this franchise in the next entry of the franchise. That should be the masterpiece.

How it finishes :: Into the Storm has more shows, but Guardians of the Galaxy should surely hold strong in this part of the world in the absence of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which is yet to find its release here. The demand for disaster movies is not that much as it used to be, and storms come nowhere near things like the end of the world and global destruction. The found footage category doesn’t add anything positive either to an already dying genre of movies which has nothing else to offer other than destruction. But Guardians of the Galaxy belongs to that immortal genre which can prove interesting even after a lot of repetition added to it. Because of the same, Marvel gets another movie and a beginning to another franchise which they can use nicely as the success of The Avengers has been repeated here, even as this one doesn’t seem to be good enough to break those records. This is another big superhero movie indeed, and that too in space.

Release date: 8th August 2014 (India); 1st August 2014 (US)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Mikaela Hoover, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Ophelia Lovibond, Gregg Henry, Peter Serafinowicz

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Hangover III

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There was the age of the wolf-pack, with its own lone wolf with a beard. They have extended that age so much that the first movie had to suffer the consequences of getting the bad name of not inspiring worthy enough sequels. No, the sequels are not that horrible, but they are just faded visions of what the original was, and considering what Dude, Where’s My Car? happened to be, and the memory loss being shown in an even better way before the series, these two sequels struggle to keep up with them. Well, stupidity might save one or two movies, and the same theme which doesn’t have that much chance of repetition can’t be that much of a saviour, but as long as this part is concerned, it has just managed to make it interesting enough. It surely trails in comparison to the other Hollywood movies in the theatres right now, but it has surely made it into the good movies list, and the moments when it was going to go down can be forgiven. It has fought hard, and it has made sure that it won’t lose. As most of the shows are now already nearly booked and full around here, I guess it will have a good run here.

Welcome the wolf-pack again, for this should be their final battle in the big screen together in a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2, “it ends” style unless they decide to expand the triology many years later or create a spin-off or a reboot; Bradley Cooper as Phil Wenneck (the unproclaimed, but still the seeming leader of the lost wolf gang), Ed Helms as Dr. Stuart Price (the dentist-doctor with a gorgeous Thai connection) a.k.a Stu, Zach Galifianakis as Alan Garner (former member of a lone wolf-pack) and Justin Bartha as Doug Billings (the man lost and found in Las Vegas and to be lost again). Well, they surely must have had a death wish, not only in the movie, but also outside, as they were on a battle against Fast & Furious 6 which had already accumulated enough people to watch the movie with its first trailer itself. There were people who forgot everything else just for that one racing-action-adventure movie, and unfortunately, this movie doesn’t create that high an impression, and it also fails to invoke curiosity, thanks to the second installment of the series which preceded this. But the gang is still up for a fight, and they will surely win territories especially because the Vin Diesel starrer was released one week earlier at this part of the world.

After being arrested in Bangkok, Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) escapes from prison through a tunnel he made in the The Shawshank Redemption style using a prison riot as cover. Meanwhile, Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis) has gotten mentally worse and tries buying a giraffe as a friend but it gets beheaded under a bridge causing a Final Destination 2 situation on the highway minus the horrible deaths. His father is shocked and angry at him and dies of a heart attack. After the funeral, Alan’s old friends Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper), Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) and Stuart Price (Ed Helms) make a return to find out that he is kind of out of control and decides to get him to rehabilitation centre. But they are captured by Marshall (John Goodman) and asks them to return the gold Chow had stolen from them, along with the robber himself, as Alan was the only one in contact with him through letters to and from the Thai prison. He also keeps Doug as a prisoner so that they won’t stray away from their path. Now they have three days to find the person or their friend dies, an equation which is simple enough.

Alan has an e-mail from Chow talking about them meeting in the city of Tijuana in Mexico. Stu and Phil attempt to drug Chow and capture him, but when he finds it out, they reveal to him about the deal with Marshall and the need to save Doug. Chow agrees to take the gold back to the man, but it is stored in the walls of the basement of a Mexican villa that he used to own before he was captured by the police. Stu, Alan and Phil goes on the robbery mission with Chow and successfully find and take out the gold from inside the walls. But Chow cheats them, as he locks them down in the basement, alerts the security, and escapes with Phil’s own vehicle. They are arrested, but are surprised when they are taken back to the house from where the stole the money. There they meet Marshall again who tells them that Chow had lied to them amd the villa never belonged to him, and the gold which they were stealing belonged to Marshall. But he gives them another chance, as they already found Chow and they might be the only ones who might know where to look for him. So the wolf-pack is out there again, this time with less clues.

One thing that might be clearer than most of the things out there must be the fact that there is no real hangover in this one and therefore the title is of lesser significance and this one belonging to the series is more of a less suitable thing. But still, arguing that this movie is the result of two hangovers that happened earlier, and mostly the first one, this is that part of the series which is an extension. It has both the first and the second parts in it, and it tries to build on those two, and without them, this movie is absolute nothingness. The movie successfully deviates from the original formula, but that has done not much good, except for bringing a little dark shade associated with what was otherwise good fun. This dark side is rather an eclipse and with it should this movie series end, as it is known. But they have given themselves a scope for another movie with that end, and it is not a good sign. It should have ended with the scene before the closing credits, but it chose to bring a hangover element to this movie after it had successfully finished. That was one of the worst things ever, as a happy ending which is really an end, would have done this series a lot of good. Now someone might think about building on it and make it miserable without knowing that all good things must end well.

There is lot of fun, but it should still be considered as a lazy effort, with nothing special to offer, and what it has done is that it has alienated the common viewers who loved it even further more. The essence of losing one person has been kept in there though, as one person is destined to be lost in every movie of the series, and this time, it is again Doug which gets his “I am lost, please find me” score to two out of three, which is very good as he has much less to do even as an important member of the wolf-pack. There is too much of Chow instead, which is surely funny, but at times it does get irritating. The most laughter-deriving character is still that of Alan, and there is nothing changing that this time too. For the Malayalam movie watchers, there is a little bit of Jagadish from In Harihar Nagar in Alan this time, and it can be identified by the way in which he cries with no reason. 2 Harihar Nagar and In Ghost House Inn had made better sequels in Malayalam, but this one doesn’t do that much good to the original. The lack of innovation haunts this movie in its soul and the jokes might not be enough for all.

Behold the negative reviews though, for how much can something go on with a group of alcoholic drug addicts who mess up things because of their own fault only. The repetition always have its limitations, and the lack of repetition leads to a diversion from what made this series a grand success; such is the confusion and thus the complication. There is a limit to what drugs and alcohol can achieve, even in the movies. With the signs, “Alcohol is injurious to Health”, “Smoking is Injurious to Health” and “Drugs Kill”, the movie might have been against the use of the drugs which started all the trouble in the first place, but in many ways, it also glorifies the same, just as the Malayalam movie Spirit glorifies alcohol consumption throughout the first half. The comparison is surely far-fetched, but when you deconstruct them, there is a seventy five percent chance that you come up with the same conclusion once in a while. As this is an R-rated comedy, one has to wonder how much the censor board has cut just to make it adjustable to this world. One has to wait for the DVD to know exactly how much of the movie has gone to the grave, never seen by the people of this part of the world. Still, this time it looks less cut and that is a surprise!

Release date: 31st May 2013 (India), 23rd May 2013 (USA)
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Heather Graham, Jeffrey Tambor, Justin Bartha, John Goodman, Jamie Chung, Lela Loren

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.