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.

Captain Phillips

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There are only two a few movies which delivers almost in the same manner as the critics say; and we have had two in the gap on one month, which were Rush and Gravity; to that list, here comes Captain Phillips. It is easy to brand a movie as bad and the flick can easily live up-to that bad reputation; but when the critics say a movie is exceptional, there are only a few movies which actually prove them right for the common audience, and Captain Phillips is such a movie. There are so many movies branded as bad by the critics which were actually either good or bad, and there were others which were somehow branded good; but when we talk about this movie along with the other two I mentioned earlier, there would be a uniformity in this branding, and they are exceptional, no matter how we look at them; and who looks at them from which angle and on which day. Welcome to the thirty days of awesomeness from Hollywood, with the exception of Runner Runner – this was a month which started with the first two movies rating 57/200 together, and the last two rated 177/200; it is a strange month indeed!

Our first idea was to leave this movie behind, but that had to change. It was not just the reviews that did it, as it was more about the brilliance of Rush which we had earlier ignored brought to me. It almost completely took away the need to watch a movie which worked on familiar or more interesting background. So this is more of a biopic of Captain Richard Phillips, who was taken hostage by Somalian pirates in the Indian Ocean in 2009; we used to wonder – how is it going to work out? We had already watched a Tamil movie in the form of Maryan which had a hostage situation involving armed men from Sudan. Even as it turned out to be good, there were lot of things lacking in there as it scored just with the visuals, music and the right cast. It had stuck to the love theme in quite an unrealistic manner, and there it lost the footing a bit. Here we have another situation, and here we have Tom Hanks, along with the most realistic portrayal which is more focused on one thing rather than too many unnecessary exaggerated things which were praised to the heavens in the form of love and a lot like the same.

Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is the captain of MV Maersk Alabama in its journey from Oman to Kenya. There is the high chance of being attacked by pirates of Somalia, and they take enough precautions, even keeping two groups of pirates away as they use deception of an airstrike arriving and also the waves of the ship itself to keep the groups away. The first group gets frightened and the second gets the boat’s engine out of order. One of the two groups of pirates return on the next day led by Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) in a faster boat, carrying a quickly prepared ladder. In spite of the valiant efforts of the crew with pumps and waves, they get on board with the rusty ladder, after taking advantage of a faulty pump, capturing the captain and two others while the rest of the crew keeps themselves safe in the ship’s engine room. Muse hopes to keep the ship for asking for insurance money from the shipping company, and in case of a failure he has to answer to his bosses. About fourty or fourty five minutes into the movie, the ship has already been captured by the pirates.

As the crew capture the pirate leader, they are able to get the pirates into the ship’s lifeboat, but they manage to take Phillips with them as they go into the water in hope for getting some ransom money for the captain. The second half of the movie is about the life in that one orange boat and the efforts of the navy to get the captain back. The ship keeps following the lifeboat until the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge arrives, followed by two other ships of combat. The pirates also lose contact with their mother boat and decides to go all the way to Somalia which the U.S. Navy ships can’t allow. As the pirates know that they have come too far to quit right now, the navy is ordered not to let them get to the land at any cost. Phillips’ efforts to reason with the pirates is in vain and so is his effort to swim away from them to one of the ships. They ask for money in millions for which the navy asks for time. Meanwhile, the SEAL shooters are trying to get shots to take down the pirates. The hostage situation gets worse as the pirates gets impatient and restless. The question would be about how they take care of the situation keeping the hostage alive and how the captain himself manages to keep him alive and in his senses.

As you might have already guessed, this is the movie of Tom Hanks. He depicts his character with such sincerity which is rarely seen on screen. I have known him for Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Appollo 13, Catch Me If You Can, Saving Private Ryan and The Terminal, but from now on-wards I shall know him first for this movie than any other. Yes, there are many other movies of class, but this is the one for now, to be discussed a lot and to be thought about a lot along with all that admiration which it gained with the claps in the theatre, even as it was not that loud as what Rush has managed even with a lesser audience. Tom Hanks is Richard Phillips, a man in charge of a ship and the captain who is taken as a hostage in a lifeboat, beaten up and almost killed by the pirates. There is no doubt left in the mind of the viewers about that. He lives through that experience rather than act with the tide. The portrayal of the leading character is worth the applause as he is a common man, an average person who does nothing heroic to be exact, just what is necessary and what was indeed the right thing. He doesn’t create a spectacle, but lives through that perfectly.

Even as we would never come to know the exact events of the Maersk Alabama hijacking and the Richard Phillips hostage crisis of 2009, the film’s version shall stand as the version that we know. It might not be perfect or close enough that perfection which one can imagine while watching such a movie inspired by true events. The movie has to be applauded for how much it has kept close to a realistic depiction of a ship hijacking and a hostage crisis though, without any exaggeration or stuff for the fans. In spite of the same, the movie is still thrilling, something I had my doubts about. The movie does have the moments of slowing down and repetitions, which can’t be denied, but those moments are very less. The climax scene is really good, and Tom Hanks as well as the actors who played the pirates go through that tense situation very well. The movie does put a strong value on the lives of one human, and places it as the central point. One would be left to wonder how many governments of the world would value the lives of their citizens this much. By the end, the humanity shall turn out victorious as most us already know from what we read from the internet.

Taking the action back from the thrilling climax, I would say that the moments in the ship was the best. What came between the time from the arrival of the SEALs and the negotiation with the pirate leader was a bit of slow and slightly dragging – still not something worth putting the blame on. Here we also have the realistic depiction of piracy, and it is a good reminder to those pirate loving fans of Pirates of the Carribean fans. There is no Captain Jack Sparrow when talking about it, and its time one stops heavily romanticizing vampires, werewolves and pirates just because some books or movies had such depictions. But the movie doesn’t fail to bring out how much of a situation the pirates are caught within, between their bosses and the risk of being murdered or caught by the armed forces. Piracy might remain a cause of concern for a long time, and this movie takes a realistic look into it, asserting the need to get rid of it. One last word would be about Barkhad Abdi who played the pirate leader Abduwali Muse – a great effort indeed; smart, intense and still funny at times; saying that he loves America and wants to live there for the rest of his life. This one is surely a strong contender for some Academy awards next year – along with Gravity and Rush.

Release date: 11th October 2013
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Chris Mulkey, Yul Vazquez, Max Martini, Omar Berdouni, Mohamed Ali, Issak Farah Samatar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Croods

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This one brings back the memories of The Flintstones and Prehistorik, the first one being one of the most watched cartoons of that long lost childhood while the second one was among the first computer games I ever played – still, surely not the first ever. Both of them can be thus said to belong to my pre-historicism. Even as they could be categorized into the same category as cavemen, based on those ideas which originate out of assumptions about something which would never be known as how it exactly used to be, one could dare to say that this one is different – as a story of a predecessor of the modern family and as what came before what was to follow in a world of chaos, disorder and confusion which was not caused by the humans at that time; but now, as the nature has no need to cause the same as humans have themselves become the cause; this story is nothing less than an adventure rooted on more than one philosophy, and a tale of prehistoric truths belonging more to this age than any other, thus creating that connection which the audience could decipher in a three dimensional world of the theatre. They are no longer the stock characters, but the audience are – with their thoughts about specific individuals having certain ways of doing things, and what they are creates that infernal stereotype.

This movie was actually troubled by the large number of trailers which they showed right before the movie, and the interesting fact is that none of them were of English movies; for they were Hindi and Malayalam, and I shall not be depressed and say that they made no impact either, as I might just watch a few of those movies whose trailers were shown – something about which I can be sure as long as those Hindi movies are concerned and about the Malayalam movies, there would be more uncertainty surrounding them. But this long a trailer show was a first time experience for me, and I shall surely be ready to face such a thing from the next time onwards. But the positive impact is that the interval time had no advertisements, and still never did it impress me as the time taken for the second half to being again was long enough. To be frank, this not a movie which deserves an interval – it is quite short and continuous, and there is no loss of flow as it goes on like a river during the monsoon; full and powerful. It could have never inspired an interval with its length, but as we are so much used to having the first half and the second half, it is quite natural to be upset without a break in the centre and therefore it is justified.

The way in which the early prehistoric humans might have looked and behaved has been pretty much similar in most of the depictions in many ways. Their association with caves and pre-historic creatures have been commonly shown. This movie is about a family of Neanderthals who keep themselves confined to a cave as much as possible so that they could be safe from the outside world of predators. They are actually the last of the families out there to survive, as the others have already fallen victim to the creatures of the world as well as the deadly diseases of the age like common cold. Their survival can be attributed mostly due to the strict rules of the overprotective father and leader, Grug. Eep is the cavegirl, his daughter and the protagonist who forms the centre of the movie. The rest of the family includes Grug’s wife Ugga, his daughter Sandy, his son Thunk, and also his mother-in-law whom he always wished dead – the disapproval is more of a two-way procedure than anything else. He keeps telling his family that all the new things are bad, and so is the outside world which is extremely dangerous and they should keep themselves to a cave to survive. Considering the end of their neighouring families, he might be justified by most of his family members.

But this shall not be accepted by all, as this irritates the bored and highly adventurous young cavelady known by the name Eep as she keeps looking for an opportunity to do something new and find new things, and when the family falls asleep after dark, she ignores her father’s advice and runs out of the cave when she sees a light moving outside the cave making her feel that the sun has come down. She might have been troubled just as the Greek hero and adventurer Ulysses or Odysseus, just as Lord Alfred Tennyson had mentioned, it little profits an idle king, and same should be the case of a cavegirl. She cannot rest from travel either, and even with an experience which is an absoulute zero, she has decided “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”, and travel beyond the horizons to the end of the world. She is the pathfinder, lightseeker and the follower of the sun, even as they never worshipped the forces of nature. The situation of herself and her family is later described as “not dying” rather than living, by herself. But the other members of the family have been quite happy with that stuff about not dying, the only person with a slight doubt might be the oldes of them all, Eep’s grandmother.

Seeking the source of light which is synonymous to the sun for her, she meets Guy, an intelligent caveboy who doesn’t live in a cave, and neither does he believe in finding such a dark shelter without light. She is incredibly fascinated with the fire he manages to create and is eager to find more, and even own some fire as her own. He tells her about his new finding that the world is going to end, with earthquakes, volcanic erruptions and other not-so-good things and asks her to join him in his journey towards safety where they could survive. She refuses as she thinks about her family and Guy leaves, after giving her a loud noise-making shell to call him if she ever feels the need for help in a world of natural destruction and chaos. Grug, who had been desperately searching for her, finally finds the young lady and brings her back home, and what she tells them about the end of the end of the world is not believed by them due to the fear of the other and the new. But in a few minutes, an earthquake then occurs, leading to everyone running for the cave, only to be saved by Grug moments before their home and the cave is destroyed by huge falling rocks. When they climb over all the destruction, they discover a land with new types of vegetation, lots of colours and greenery, much different from their usual surroundings of rocky and desert-like terrain with no variety.

Grug is forced to take his family into this comparitively darker, but beautiful woods to find a new cave for them to be safe from the new dangers. While becoming aware of the strange world which surrounded them, the family are chased by a big saber-toothed cat and also by a swarm of red, piranha-like birds who act more like insects than good little flying creatures despite of their cuteness. Finding no solution to a possible question of death, Eep uses a bone from an unknown creature to sound a horn similar to that which Guy gave her. Guy is actually quite close to them and runs to them, creates a torch of fire, and scares the birds away at the very last moment. The rest of the family are incredibly impressed by the fire, having never such a light-giving, heat-giving and life-saving thing before, that they almost set fire to the forest playing around with it. After feeling impressed with Guy’s intelligence, or more of his usefulness in a strange world of unpredictable horror, they decides to use his ideas to save them from possible end. Grug puts him locked in a hollow log and carries him, as they travel to a cave of a nearby mountain mentioned by Guy as their final destination where they could be safe. Remember Ice Age: Continental Drift – for it is the same division of the landmasses that is happening in the background.

It is this journey towards the expected salvation that they undertake together, and even as Guy and the family finds themselves separate from each other in many ways, they co-exist and help each other in moving towards a world which is no less than what is undertaken in The Pilgrim’s Progress by Christian in a work which centres itself in his journey from his hometown, the “City of Destruction” (this temporary world filled with devastation), to the “Celestial City” (the world that which is to come a.k.a Heaven) on the top of Mt. Zion. The Guy is the Evangelist, the Interpretor, the Faithful as well as the Hopeful – they are all inserted into one, for his faith is his ideas and intellect, and his hope is his belief in himself as well as in something which is far beyond his comprehension, that is the light or the word of God. But such an interpretation is not easily comprehensible as the movie is not perfected enough in such a way. If the movie’s childishness was lessened without affecting the funny moments or the philosophy, the movie might have been a perfect depiction of a wonderful journey, and a flawless allegory of this world and world which preceeded. But for now, lets enjoy the movie with all its fun and its effective 3D elements without any expectation to tickle the logic, but still staring at the easily visible message of mutual understanding and co-existence, exploration & knowing & accepting the world for all that it is.

Release date: 19th April 2013 (India); 22nd March 2013 (United States)
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Kirk DeMicco & Chris Sanders
Starring (voice): Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.