Shadow in the Cloud

Vampire Owl: I wonder what is stopping them from understanding this shadow?

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you know this shadow?

Vampire Owl: Yes, it should be Uncle Dracula trying to get some moonlight.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think so. He prefers darkness over any light.

Vampire Owl: Well, he is now being lunar powered.

Vampire Bat: What? You mean, like those werewolves and witches?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the technology in the cells in now shared.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that Doctor Frankenstein did another experiment.

Vampire Owl: Yes, now the advantage that the werewolves had over us is gone.

Vampire Bat: Advantage? The barbarians can make any empire fall at some point.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: During the final stages of the Second World War, the Flight Officer Maude Garrett (Chloe Grace Moretz) finds herself assigned to a B-17 bomber named a The Fool’s Errand, but as she boards the airplane with her orders, nobody in the crew is happy to see a young woman being assigned to what seems to be a tough and dangerous journey which lies ahead. She feels that she saw something on the side of the flight, which resembled an unidentified creature, but people have a difficult time believing her as they had reached a lot of height. After being left in the turrey for takeoff, she is not able to get back to the flight, as the hatch is stuck and nobody is able to open the door. They keep trying from above and below, but as she begins demanding that she be taken out immediately, they cut off the communications to her, and goes on checking her credentials, if she is really a flight officer like she claims to be.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But it turns out that there is something else happening in the flight. After seeing a Japanese plane close to the flight, she is attacked by the creature, a gremlin, but somehow manages to fight it off. The crew finds out that nobody by her name exists in the force, and feels that she could be an imposter, or an enemy spy who boarded the flight with some sinister plans. There was a bag which she had brought with her, and the crew begins to wonder what its content could be. But Maude continues to try and make them believe what she had earlier said. It is then that the gremlin returns, and they are also attacked by Japanese fighter planes. Now, they have more than one thing to worry about, but the question remains if they can trust her enough to have her fight with them. As of now, it seems that only Staff Sergeant Walter Quaid (Taylor John Smith) seems to believe her up to an extent. Can the crew survive this?

The defence of Shadow in the Cloud :: The music in the beginning itself provides us with that fun feeling, and it comes right after a short animation video regarding the gremlins. The movie focuses on that kind of entertainment, which is not that much based on finding the reason behind everything. Without that much of thinking involved, this movie can be nicely set on that flight during the Second World War, which serves as a nice setting for the same, and it makes the whole thing feel divergent. It does the same by leaving all the accuracy behind, but gets to be fun enough even with that loss – criticism would find fault out of many things. The film is surely good looking, and the plane is also stylishly designed. The soundtrack is really good, and it provides a special feeling to the action. The title of Shadow in the Cloud is justified nicely too. It is the kind of movie which you watch when there is a lot of time to spare, and need quick entertainment.

The claws of flaw :: The movie requires to focus on the entertainment and nothing the rest of the things around. When one searches for logic in this one, it won’t suit the movie much, as there are lots of things which seems to be out of it. There is World War, Japanese fighter planes and strange things happening at such a height – when the leading characters falls down from the flight, she gets blown up by an exploding plane and she falls into the plane, and she also beats up a gremlin with her own hands – I thought we were done fighting on the top of flights, but these people are still having that. The movie is also too short – even then, the movie takes a little too much time to get going in the first few minutes, which are full of dialogues. Talking about too many things might be one of the problems, as the movie does lack focus. It could have actually focused on being the monster movie in such a height, and there could have been some real terror being unleashed, but the same is certainly not the case here.

Performers of the soul :: There is absolutely no doubt about what Chloe Grace Moretz is capable of, as she has been showing the same in some of those big movies, most of them underrated due to no reason. Her performance is somewhat pulled back due to some bad dialogues and writing – if this was a better work in totality, the work would have been noted further. If this movie used more sense, the result would have been outstanding for her. Almost every movie which Chloe has acted in, you see her doing a fantastic job, and you find it difficult to not like the movie – it is certainly an advantage which the makers of her films have. When you have acted in such a young age, some of the acting skills are lost when you get old – we have seen the same in Malayalam movie industry, some child actors have become pain to watch when they became older. But Chloe is clearly an exception, as she is too good. The rest of the cast is only there to support her.

How it finishes :: Shadow in the Cloud makes a fine display of what fun movies can be, with an interesting setting added to it. It is a shorter movie of less than one and half hours which throws logic and accuracy out through the window, and seems to be very proud of such an action. Even if you are not too fond of this kind of movies, you can watch the film for Chloe Grace Moretz, the child actor who has been doing so well also as the leading lady in the last few years. If this movie had released before COVID-19 pandemic, may be a lot of people would have watched and enjoyed the movie – it would have ben such a nice time-pass thing. If you are supposed to remain in home for two to three months without break, you will watch anything, but entertainment like this is a mood booster – not that much of a thing for the brain though. Do give it a chance, and see how it will turn out to be, according to your preferences and demand.

Release date: 12th September 2020
Running time: 83 minutes
Directed by: Roseanne Liang
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Taylor John Smith, Beulah Koale, Nick Robinson, Callan Mulvey, Benedict Wall, Byron Coll, Joe Witkowski

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Batman v Superman

batmanvsuperman (2)

Vampire Owl :: I am not in favour of such people who claim to have powers above our kind. And they call superheroes only to fight each other? Strange, isn’t it?

Vampire Bat :: I don’t think that you should mind; Superman is from far beyond our realm; he is not even part of a known planet.

Vampire Owl :: Still, I think that there is going to be too much of a superhero crowd here.

Vampire Bat :: I had reserved that dialogue for Captain America: Civil War, and when there are X-Men around.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1355-batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice

There are not many movies which the audience has been waiting for, during this year, as much as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This follow-up to Man of Steel has taken almost three years to be finally there for the audience to enjoy the weekend, and this time, it is for Easter. With movies like Wonder Woman, Justice League Part One, The Flash, Aquaman and Justice League Part Two lined up to follow, this one had to arrive at least now, to create that much needed base for Justice League and the other lesser known heroes to the fans outside North America and Europe.

Time has passed after the battle between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) which spread chaos and destruction all around the city of Metropolis. There were a lot of casualties, and the wound was not healed with time, as the new superhero had transformed into a controversial figure, with some people appreciating his presence as the savior of mankind while the others finding him as a threat and the false god – someone who is more of an alien than a man for the people on Earth. ­The television channels take over that particular topic and as it continues to be the hot item for discussion, there is someone who is a lot mad at this superhuman.

Batman (Ben Affleck) is a very unhappy man, as Bruce Wayne had his own troubles with that particular battle between the two aliens. After twenty years of fighting crime in Gotham City, he feels that it is his chance to avenge this alien for the death and destruction which he showered upon humanity with one big battle. At the same time, Clark Kent finds Batman as that kind of dangerous vigilante who should be stopped from taking law into his own hands when police should be handling such cases. With Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) also feeling the need to get rid of Superman, he will find a way to make the two heroes battle each other while having another plan in his mind.

The number of people waiting for this movie has been very high, even more than the grand wait for Captain America: Civil War. The need to watch the two big superheroes going against each other was what everyone really wanted to see. Even though that surely happens, it is not exactly what the movie is about. There is too much of time taken in this movie to get to that, and the basic idea is also not about their dislike for each other. With Wonder Woman not that much utilized, the movie’s aim just becomes establishing something like a base to bring the Justice League idea into the scene, even though that is not done with full strength either.

The movie is still with some very nice moments, and the action sequences work pretty much fine around here. It is also one of those rare opportunities to see Batman and Superman, along with Wonder Woman together in a movie – there are the others too, like Aquaman, The Flash and The Cyborg, but they are just present there in some videos. Batman also has too many dream sequences to make one wonder what the motive behind the same might be. The viewers do end up wishing that something better was created out of the material with two superheroes having similar thoughts of saving the world, but being so different from each other that it creates tension.

Unfortunately for the movie, the villain played by Jesse Eisenberg is just not menacing enough – this is not the Lex Luthor whom we had wished to see around here. Both Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck plays the too simple superheroes here, as they just go through their plans without much of the thoughts behind them – the audience might have felt that there could be more behind their ideologies, but things seems to go rather straight and clear with this movie, which troubles the cause. Amy Adams as Lois Lane has things going better, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is the one who scores the most as any superhuman – at least her side is rather clear here, and it is one character that never goes down the level in this movie.

This one might also be the worst movie from Zack Snyder who has directed movies like 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch and Dawn of the Dead. The best thing about this movie though, is that the audience is going to be treated with some bigger movies with roots in this particular flick; Gal Gadot is sure to be an awesome Wonder Woman in the big movie which is to arrive, as that is proven here with ease. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is surely not that bad, but it is not up-to the expectations either. You can still watch this one for the action sequences, and also for having that base for what is to follow with the movies which are on the list to arrive.

Release date: 25th March 2016
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Michael Cassidy, Kevin Costner, Christina Wren, Michael Shannon, Carla Gugino, Robin Atkin Downes, Patrick Wilson, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Patrick Leahy, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Soledad O’Brien, Anderson Cooper, Nancy Grace, Charlie Rose

batmansuperman

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

300: Rise of an Empire

300!

The Legacy of 300 :: There is the legacy that 300 had left behind when it released in 2006. I managed to watch it much later though, as this practice of multiplexes and new Hollywood movies instantly reaching here was not that normal at that time, unless the name of the movie is something like Avatar or may be if the title of movie has a certain 007 in it. Well, it has now reached that state when I have watched one of those movies even before its release date. Thanks to the special shows in the multiplexes the evening before its original release date which is in this case, February 7th. While King Leonidas said in 300, “This is Sparta!”, we are to be sure that there will be not much of that warrior city-state this time as we know that the best of them are already dead and they could be in mourning. This one involves more of the Athenians, of that land which would later have Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (as the Spartan Queen would say: there is no Athens, there is only that idea; there are only Athenians). But we were to be sure about two other things, there will be rivers of blood with some splashes and there will be not much loss of the stylish combats, no matter where it is fought or with whom it is fought; that is a safe bet indeed.

What is it about? :: The most courageous 300 men are dead. Even as Xerxes took a big hit on his face which somewhat disfigured and proved that even a god-king can bleed, he is extremely proud of his bloody achievement of slaughtering the outnumbered opponents. But the story doesn’t follow a direct and straight narrative, as it has the story of Themistocles, a politician and the commander of the Athenian army at the centre of the plot. But there are also the stories of Artemisia and King Xerxes as well as his father Darius, how the god-king became a reality and how the lady general of the Persian army became the sadistic creature that she turned out to be. As the Spartans fight the Persians on land, Themistocles leads the Athenians on a war at the sea. Even as the Greeks do score victories over the better-built and vastly numbered Persian ships by using superior tactics, terrain and weather conditions, they realize that it is only a matter of time until the Athenians begins to loss just because of being outnumbered and lacking in military training. They are still the more scholarly of the lot and the best naval power among the Greek city-states, and so may be they will hold on for enough time for the reinforcements to come from the other Greeks or even Sparta themselves – who knows?

The defence of 300: Rise of an Empire :: The first thing to think about as well as notice is the visual awesomeness of this movie. Yes, there is lot of special effects going on, and 3D nicely supports them – special mention for the blood and the rain. There are so many of the mighty ships of the Persians which are nicely detailed as nothing less than huge battering rams on water while the Greek ships are nicely detailed, smaller and quicker suiting the Athenian tactics. The battles are nicely done, not only with the ships, but also with the swords, bows and arrows and even the fire elements. The power of the seas, thunder and lightning, the foggy side, the carnage and the flowing blood – they all contribute to the beauty of the movie, and there is no stylish method which is forgotten in this worthy sequel. There is that spectacle you have been waiting for, something which is not easy to make with a ship full of one-sided ideas about blood and violence. The story is also nicely mixed, even as some people won’t like the way in which the story moves. Some part of this movie is a prequel to the original, and it is partly a sequel while some events happen at the same time as the events of 300. The story of Artemisia and Xerxes makes a nice addition to the whole thing.

The positives and negatives :: When our pretty antagonist said “Today we will dance across the backs of dead Greeks” she was pretty much serious. There is lot of blood everywhere in this movie, and lot of people loss their arms and legs; the rest just has a sword going right through them or ripping them apart. It is so bloody that one day, Count Dracula himself might wish to begin a vampire settlement somewhere around there – why wouldn’t he not want a sea of blood? Sometimes, one may think that there is too much of the CGI blood that it is somewhat funny as body parts keep flying around. Well, this movie goes only on one direction, which is to become that action movie, that sword flick which intend to bring on stylish action supported by a lot of blood and violence, and it has succeeded in the same. In the words of the Spartan Queen: “It begins as a whisper; a promise; the lightest of breezes dances above the death cries of 300 men. That breeze became a wind. A wind that my brothers have sacrificed. A wind of freedom; a wind of justice; a wind of vengeance”. Yes, it is war, and there might be more to come. But if the viewer is looking for anything else in the same, there comes the sadness; but what else would anyone who has known anything about 300 want? That was evident from the multiplex which had zero female presence, and there was almost nobody who was older than what would be a middle age, even when the seats were almost full.

Performers of the soul :: The best and the most gorgeous performer of the movie is indeed Eva Green. No, I had not doubt about that earlier either, even as I did wonder about Sullivan Stapleton’s Themistocles which was nice, but he wasn’t to be a Leonidas. Lena Headey’s Queen Gorgo also has so much less to do, and same is the case of Rodrigo Santoro’s Xerxes who is still the unconquered nemesis. Yes, everyone had to make way for the stunning performance of the one who had showed us the dark side as the witch in Dark Shadows, making that image more powerful, relentless and furious in this one holding severed heads, sometimes kissing them or otherwise presenting them to her king. Throwing the losing commanders of the Persian Army into the depths of the Aegean Sea is just one of Artemisia’s hobbies. Whenever she is on the screen, there is so much strength in the movie and when she is not there to be found, the whole thing turns less interesting. May be there could have been even more of her, as she keeps at least one step above the movie all the time. But while the movie tries to make too much attempt to make everyone feel that it is better than the original with a certain complexity, her character losses some of the glory, but Eva is still there, so no worries! In the current timeline of the Persian invasion after the death of the 300, there are no damsels in distress; Gorgo and Artemisia joins the bloodbath as they go through the Persian Immortals and the Greek Hoplites respectively, sending them to their watery graves.

Soul exploration :: The movie has the Athenian democracy and the Spartan monarchy (or oligarchy) in the picture – both against the tyranny of their opponents. While the former has mostly scholar, sculptors and farmers with voluntary military service, the latters are warriors born to live and die on the battlefields prepared to serve mandatory military service. While the former focuses more on naval warfare due to the strategic location their city, the latter has dominance on land combat. There is one thing in common though, which is the Greek concept of freedom and the desire for a united Greece at least during a foreign invasion (Peloponnesian War would later place them against each other, when the Persians are not invading with a huge army and navy). The movie ends at the Battle of Salamis, or rather continues as the combat never really finishes. It becomes no Battle of Thermopylae though due to its setting. But one thing that this movie tries different from its predecessor is that it doesn’t really go one-sided; it has the side of Xerxes who is tormented and made to become the god-kind, and also the side of Artemisia who is abused and left for dead in her childhood only to come back and become the harbinger of death and destruction herself. It also makes an attempt to sound intellectual by bringing the Athenian idea and ideology into the scene, even as that doesn’t really work due to the half-baked nature and the narrative giving no place for the same. But it doesn’t really go either. Ancient Athens was still the city of freedom and the centre of art and learning, and that should be evident with the name it got from the goddess of wisdom.

How it finishes :: 300: Rise of an Empire shows Popmeii and The Legend of Hercules how it should have been done. The problem with this movie would be about how well it can match its predecessor. The best lines are already taken by the predecessor, like
“Immortals; we put their name to the test”.
“You have many slaves, Xerxes, but few warriors. It won’t be long before they fear my spears more than your whips”.
“Xerxes dispatches his monsters from half the world away. They’re clumsy beasts, and the piled Persian dead are slippery”.
“Now, as then, a beast approaches; patient and confident, savoring the meal to come. This beast is made of men and horses, swords and spears. An army of slaves vast beyond imagining, ready to devour tiny Greece, ready to snuff out the world’s one hope for reason and justice”.
“The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, even a god-king can bleed”.
“Freedom isn’t free at all, that it comes with the highest of costs. The cost of blood.”
Meanwhile, the best lines of this sequel outside the three I have already mentioned is “Better we show them, we chose to die on our feet, rather than live on our knees”.
But as there was hope for Greece when everything was against the city-states, lets hope for the best in a future sequel, and may be wear some clothes or at least get better clothes. Persia might have never managed to conquer Greece, but in just about one hundred and fifty years, the Greeks would go on to conquer the whole Persian Empire under Alexander the Great and the name of the king will still be Darius – there lies the irony of it.

Release date: 7th March 2014
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Noam Murro
Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, David Wenham, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan, Yigal Naor, Andrew Pleavin, Ben Turner, Ashraf Barhom, Christopher Sciueref

300 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.