The Equalizer

the_equalizer (2)

Vampire Owl :: So much violence in the human world. Can’t we watch something else rather than this movie with a gun on the poster?

Vampire Bat :: But I thought you liked violence.

Vampire Owl :: I like a violent me, but not people shooting each other. In the end, we will fail to know who shot who and I have to hit my head on the wall hoping for some vampire enlightenment to pour into my brain lighting it up.

Vampire Bat :: Then, there is Bollywood with this weekend’s movie Happy Ending.

Vampire Owl :: No! Shoot me, thats better. Get the tickets! Get the tickets!

Vampire Bat :: But you don’t like the violent stuff.

Vampire Owl :: I don’t want to die a slow, painful death with some Hindi romantic movie showing for nth time whatever they have doing for years.

Vampire Bat :: But we are not sure about it yet. There are some bad opinions…

Vampire Owl :: I shall hear nothing of Bollywood anymore. If you talk about it again, I am deaf. If you talk about it twice, I am dumb too.

Vampire Bat :: I think that it is a pretty good idea.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) has retired from his busy job as a secret government agent and is living his life in peace after the death of his wife. He spends his time working in a hardware store and giving no clue to anyone about who he has been. He becomes friends with Ralphie (Johnny Skourtis) a trainee whom he helps to become a security guard, and then there is this teenage girl whom she regularly sees at a tea shop he visits. The girl is Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a teenage prostitue who reveals her real name as Aleena, is mistreated and beaten up by her pimp ending up in the ICU – Robert decides to take things into his hands, and to give the girl who loves music and books, a better chance at life. He goes to the pimp Slavi (David Meunier), and offers him 9800 dollars to leave her alone. But as he refuses and uses more foul language about her, Robert kills him and his goons. But the leader of this Russian mafia group, Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich) sends his right-hand man Teddy (Marton Csokas) to find and eliminate the killer, and here starts another game.

The defence of The Equalizer :: This movie seems to be trying more to be an origin story, and therefore a few problems of the same can be avoided with ease. There is the perfect setup for the sequel which seems to be everywhere on the news. The movie has some nice dialogues, and the action is not overdone – our protagonist doesn’t try anything too much. He just does what he does the best, and continues to excel at it. There are some nice, beautiful shots from the skyline, and the cinematography keeps catching our attention – there is the stylish sequences which are used too; they are all so good, and makes things interesting when things cool down. There is also that dark and gloomy atmosphere that runs through the movie – check out for our protagonist’s attack at the pimp’s room and the warehouse, both of them done with so much of stylish violence and innovation, even as the latter might be a bit too long for some people. The cast also contributes nicely, and the message to do the right thing is strong in here.

Claws of flaw :: There is that drag in between, and makes one wonder why it was so. There are empty slots where something could be used for fill the space. The story is also rather predictable with the hero going on for having revenge due to something bad done to his younger friend, and being awesome as he is, becomes successful in the same – just like John Wick; that was a revenge seeking former assassin for the dark side, while this one being a similar person who was working for the government. It is something we have seen a lot of times in a different manner. There is a lot of violence out here, and some of it might seem unnecessary for a few people. Even then, there are lots of things which seem to be missing, but I would blame the censor board here for that – they should have got rid of some violence. Well, on television, I have seen the scary parts removed from horror movies and bikini scenes removed from James Bond movies. So, I am not surprised even though I understand the difference.

Performers of the soul :: Denzel Washington – sometimes just that name is enough; there are not many people who can doubt that. He goes through The Equalizer with so much power, as if it could be another vigilante movie franchise starting from now. It is once again impressive how he works – this man with a gun, do people need a lot more? Well, there were two in 2 Guns, but one will do here. He is going to turn sixty this year, not something that we can discover without wikipedia. From the first movie I watched with him being part, The Bone Collector; through my favourite movie, The Book of Eli and now standing in The Equalizer; nothing much has changed. It is always great to see Chloë Grace Moretz – she brings such charm to the screen like nobody else. Unfortunately, even as she is undoubtedly the heroine of the movie, our girl is there only for a few minutes in the beginning, and for an even shorter time in the end – it is a case of sadness which we are left with, along with her smile in the end. Marton Csokas is an interesting villain too, just not getting enough of it.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s opening has these lines from Mark Twain – “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”. It is the same thing that the protagonist is trying to achieve in this movie – to use his skills to use for the common man. Even in the beginning, we can see that he is trying to help people as much as he can, without going the violent way. For the same, he later transforms, just like the books that he reads – from the retired old man who reads The Old Man and the Sea, through the hopeless knight in Don Quixote and in the end to The Invisible Man who goes through the city unnoticed, and helping the innocents – a Ghost Rider kind of figure who gets rid of the evil souls without any superpowers, but with the skills reminding one of Liam Neeson of Taken. Somewhat Bryan Mills, John Wick and Jack Reacher, this is another guy who has too many skills.

How it finishes :: The end result is that unexpectedly The Equalizer turns out to be better than John Wick, and it is not something that I had expected. Both had their own problem with a certain amount of drag, and the problem of not evolving for the century enough. But even in the troubles, The Equalizer is the superior one; even as there is no doubt about the fact that John Wick will win the box-office battle here, and the credit would go to Keanu Reeves who is more accepted that the big action protagonist more than Denzel Washington, thanks to The Matrix, Constantine and Speed. Gone Girl and Interstellar still stays in our theatres, the latter with so many shows. Dumb and Dumber To won’t pose that much of a challenge though, with lesser opinions and a lot lesser screens. Do give this movie a chance, and as far as you want an action movie without too much of mindless and dumb action, but still doing justice to the genre, this will be the right choice.

Release date: 21st November 2014 (India); 26th September 2014 (USA)
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chloë Grace Moretz, Melissa Leo, Marton Csokas, David Harbour, Bill Pullman, Haley Bennett, Vladimir Kulich, David Meunier, Alex Veadov, James Wilcox, Mike O’Dea, Anastasia Mousis

thequalizer

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Carrie

carriee

You will know her name :: Yes, the movie did finally release here this week, and the name is Chloë Grace Moretz, but the name you might want to remember should be Carrietta N White, or rather the young, strange but gifted girl whom most of the horror fans will know simply as Carrie. Now, that should go back to Stephen King’s first published novel of the same name, and also to the first adaptation of the same belonging to 1976. It was my next favourite novel from the man after Salem’s Lot, The Shining and The Running Man. The early adaptation also make it to the list of my favourite horror movies of all time, even as I would consider it more of a thriller. But talking about this movie, there was just limited hope, as the original was too brilliant. Another thing is that the incidents of the movie belongs to another time, and taking the plot and dragging it by its tail to this era was not going to work that well despite the fact that they got Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore at their best. So the question would be about how much they can make out of this limited scope.

What is it about? :: Margaret White (Julianne Moore) is a mentally unstable woman who tries to murder her child at birth, but decides to raise her as she is too fanatically religious in a strange and ridiculous manner. Later, her daughter Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz), grows up to become a shy, under-confident, introvert girl despite having some strange power over things around her. She is regularly teased by her schoolmates, especially Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) who even uploads the video on youtube. Their gym teacher Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer) comforts Carrie and punishes the girls who trouble her, but Chris refuses to accept the punishment believing that Carrie has always been asking for it, and is banned from the prom. As she seeks revenge, Margaret continues to try to discipline Carrie in a ridiculous manner. Carrie learns about her power of telekenesis and tries to learn to control it. Another mate, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) regrets teasing Carrie and tries to make amends by asking her boyfriend, Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), to take Carrie to the prom which she accepts – but it will change the lives of many people, forever.

The defence of Carrie :: The story of Carrie has been brought into a new world with camera phones and the internet. But the essence of the story remains the same. It would have been difficult to keep up with the original which was so much loved, and a story which was so much read and admired, and this movie had to struggle to keep up. The movie scores with more pace and also by creating a creepy atmosphere. The thrills does work and it is successful in throwing surprises to keep it interesting. The best scene of the movie is indeed the climax, with a bloody Carrie standing on the stage with her arms stretched and the blood leaving her body upwards, and later in the middle of the road splitting the path. The final scene of destruction by telekinesis is the only real scene of gore, and it has been well created yet again. The scenes of Carrie being teased, and the moment of realizing her power are also well portrayed. The movie doesn’t try to stay with the original in speed, and it tries to rush, and there lies both the positives and negatives of it.

The claws of flaw :: The movie tries to rush through its plot as if to extend no more than one hundred minutes of length. The movie starts with Carrie being born, and she rushes to be the shy adult girl and quickly goes on to discover her powers and speeds up to the prom. There is not much characterization going on right there, as most of the characters remain predictable and one-dimensional. Everyone except Gabriella Wilde’s Sue Snell remains the same, and remains doing what they have been doing from the beginning. Carrie learns, but that doesn’t really change her either. She is also too X-Men type, and she is that Jean Grey which most of us might have been missing since she was turned into some strange creature in X-Men 3: The Last Stand. The movie is also somewhat outdated to be set in the present background, of belonging to 2013 – yes, there are the new gadgets added, and Carrie is humiliated with the help of a smartphone and youtube. But all the incidents seem to tell us that a setting much older would have been more suitable. To add to it, an ending which has Carrie rising is rather stupid, and she should have remained dead, to be awesome.

Performers of the soul :: Chloë Grace Moretz steals the show with a performance that makes this movie rise above where it is. It should be of no surprise as she did the same, at a much younger age in Kick-Ass, and in a much smaller role in Dark Shadows. With an acting career at the age of seven, she continues to strike gold, this time at the age of sixteen. Julianne Moore also makes a fine mentally troubled mother, but there could have been ever more dimensions to the character – this one is approached in a rather lazy manner by the writers. Portia Doubleday and Gabriella Wilde could have switched characters though, as the latter could have been a better nemesis to the lady in trouble, like Sara Paxton did as Rachel Witchburn in Sydney White, and what we had seen in Mean Girls with Rachel McAdams as Regina George. Meanwhile, the former tries to come up with pure evil, but ends up being just another bad girl trying to be so evil, and succeeds in the same only with her actions, and to be frank, she doesn’t have that evil aura. Gabriella could have nailed that role, but here she had to be the bad girl turned good due to conscience attacks.

Soul exploration :: The movie is a story of a girl who is bullied throughout her life, and in that manner, takes on a social cause. In another scenario, we could have thought about the Bollywood movie Table No.21 which had taken itself as a story against ragging. Carrie is nothing less, as for such a character who is rather nice and God-fearing, the whole world becomes a challenge. She becomes a misfit and a medium for the disgusting new generation to make fun of. The new generation has been moving further and further away from conscience and goodness, and Carrie is indeed a martyr of a new society which finds fun in being rude and evil. To add to it, she has a mentally unstable mother who pretends to be some kind of pure believer, something which is nothing less than a case deserving to be in mental asylum. She did become an alien for many, who could have done so well if they could have just left her alone rather than being bothered. Carrie tells its viewers to respect people for what they are, and sends a message against bullying and ragging.

How it finishes :: If one has not watched the original or read the books, this should be a very interesting Carrie White, and Chloë Grace Moretz might be the only Carrie they know, as well as their favourite one. Sissy Spacek is not going to be forgotten though, that is for sure. Carrie is going to be a more interesting source of telekinetic powers than the other superheroes who possess something similar. Being locked up under the stairs, Carrie becomes no Harry Potter, but gets something better than being invited to Hogwarts, something which doesn’t spawn sequels and a guy without nose. Moving things around is no magic, and our girl is no mutant – there is no background story about her or her mother, and that should make some people unhappy and the rest rather more joyful about the mystery. Even if we leave the superpower side behind, Carrie is the story of many students who have been bullied, and as long as ragging and all such stuff exist somewhere, Carrie’s tale of revenge is of extreme relevance.

Release date: 17th January 2014 (India); 18th October 2013 (USA)
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Gabriella Wilde, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Belkin, Karissa Strain, Katie Strain, Samantha Weinstein, Cynthia Preston

carrie copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Dark Shadows

darkshadows (16)

✠ The rating given to this movie might shock a few mortals, but as this blog written from the Vampire Bat’s perspective, he has decided to take control to fulfill his partially broken promise to that Count who lived as a recluse inside a coffin in a castle. Yes, the Vampire Bat doesn’t broke promises, or rather doesn’t break anything other than may be, his own teeth – blame the root canal offers from local dentists in that case. To add to it, the Vampire Bat shall write this review on a Wednesday, as he was born on such a day. He is mentally depressed after writing a test, and after asserting what he had found out that each and every other person of his world wants the questions from the syllabus while he wants the same from outside. May be he never belonged to the world of humans, and should rather fly away one day. But the depressing side is that he can’t fly – so he will write a bloody review about one of his favourite vampire movies, and undoubtedly his favourite blood sucking movie of 2012. Yes, this is that movie.

Count Dracula: Here you are again. I think that your review of Dark Shadows has been pending for long. Do you have it with you? Its time Barnabas Collins gets his due. He is one of those few vampires who could see McDonalds and feel the presence of Mephistopheles. He is our saviour against Twilight and Mortal Instruments creatures of pseudo-darkness.

Vampire Bat: I can see that you feel the need for some good vampires like Barnabas Collins and Victoria Winters. I love that scene when he sees M for McDonalds: Over 1 billion served. He was accidently quite right about the fast food and the beverages being the demons who suck the soul out of our insides, leaving us nothing of much use. Twilight and Mortal Instruments are the result of the same fast food, as they mess up our brain rather than the stomach.

Count Dracula: So what do you think about this vampire and his family? I did feel the presence of other wonderful forces of the supernatural right from outside the theatre where it was showing – I was wandering around in the mist until I crashed on the wall of that place, it was not good for my fangs, but still felt good for the presence.

Vampire Bat: Barnabas returns 196 years later, after feeling the wrath of unrequited love from a witch, Angelique Bouchard who cursed him into a bloodsucker, killed his parents and also forced his true love to commit suicide. She is a witch who curses his family and gets him buried alive in the middle of a forest, takes over his family business and puts his descendents into ruin. The worst thing is that the witch is still alive, using her magic to identify herself as her own descendants. This love has always been so overrated, right?

Count Dracula: Yes, even with me it is the same. I already feel a lot of love for Angelique Bouchard. Eva Green is that good, and I still can’t forget The Dreamers. I can remember my first infatuation with a witch already. Why would he not return the love baffles me. Whom does he have instead?

Vampire Bat: There is Bella Heathcote taking rebirth, from Josette du Pres to Victoria Winters. She appears as if an enchanting fairy vampire, not as some random Bella. But the two characters you will surely love are Michelle Pfeiffer’s Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Chloë Grace Moretz’s Carolyn who asks “are you stoned or something” to which the recently risen Barnabas says “they tried stoning me dear, it did not work”. To add to it, he calls a lava lamp “pulsating blood urn”, and the crane as “a giant dragon with millions of teeth and a thousand shining eyes” – you have to love him. His seriousness is awesome!

Count Dracula: I have felt that myself, rising from the grave and seeing the world different. I know you feel the change each and every day. The world is indeed to fast, and I am sure that most of us hope that each and every day we go to sleep, we never wake up again. I wish for the sunlight to disappear, and you hope for the day to end, and there is not much different in how we see the world, and we are as outdated as Barnabas Collins; it is just that we have no lover witch.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have always thought that, and Dark Shadows makes sure about the same. Moretz is wonderful in the movie, and the way she says “I’m a werewolf, okay? Don’t make such a big deal over it” to her mother, and always special mention needs to be for Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Meanwhile, if you don’t like Bella Heathcote in this movie, you have to be blind – not that closing of eyes you do with sunlight, but the real blindness of the physical world.

Count Dracula: You make the point there. I have read about the many faces of Johnny Depp too, and I shall not doubt him at any moment. This face is my favourite indeed, and then comes that Jack Sparrow followed by the crow-carrying head in The Lone Ranger. Then comes Sweeney Todd and The Hatter – who won’t love Alice in Wonderland by the way, and they were two special characters. I am not going to count the faces of such a versatile actor, as that won’t even please my coffin. Instead tell me more about Eva Green.

Vampire Bat: Her character has angel in her name and some strange love which keeps her in the attitude that “If I can’t have you, my love, I’ll destroy you!” – not that much of hatred as she keeps him alive; should be too much admiration. She tries everything she can, but true love finally wins – not really a surprise, isn’t it? Eva Green is fantastic in the movie, as she is beautiful, charming and perfect as the pretty witch. The cast itself is the real strength of the movie. With such awesome names involved with it, who would not wish to watch this movie? The comedy is also well done.

Count Dracula: That sounds like interesting stuff. A vampire movie with all of these? That should cure me from the death strike which fell on me with Twilight and Mortal Instruments. I shall have a new life of blood. You should have reviewed this one much earlier – remember how long ago I had told you to do the same?

Vampire Bat: Despite the good box-office returns, the ratings haven’t been good with it. I would think that it is the result of an anti-vampire sentiment and possible cruelty which has been unleashed on vampire movies due to terror which was Twilight and all the sequels that followed tried desperately to destroy man’s faith in vampires. No wonder Byzantium didn’t release at this part of the world. There is only one chance for us to reclaim that lost faith, or rather two – release a movie from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, or create the much needed sequel to this movie which has left a good chance for another story by the end of it.

Count Dracula: It is much needed, that is for sure! These undead creatures are bothering me too much just because they had to watch Twilight. Even the wolves no longer listen to me – they think I am going to wear their skin as clothing and call myself a werewolf. See how these movies are badly affecting my children of the night. We need that, or I might have to turn my whole castle into a one big coffin.

Vampire Bat: There is less hope for both of them. The problem about having a Vampire Chronicles movie is that nothing can live up-to the awesomeness of Interview with the Vampire. The scope of a Dark Shadows sequel is less, due to the lack of need and the not that positive critical reception. One day, we will take over as official undead reviewers with bad teeth, and then we can change the whole thing.

Count Dracula: Then we shall stick with this Barnabas as the vampire hero of this century so far. The last century’s control was disputed, but for this one, it has become pretty clear, the only challenge being from Selene and the next closest was indeed Rayne, but they were rather the heroines who enchanted us. I shall pray for the rise of more vampire in movies and literature which are as good as Barnabas.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is worth your time for sure, especially as you have not much to do, and all the souls are going to love it. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you, especially the dark shadows if you got what I meant.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie mostly due to the great performance of Johnny Depp in his new avatar, and then due to the good work put into it by Eva Green with great support from the rest, especially Bella Heathcote, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Here, we have that true vampire comedy movie which adds almost every ingredient correctly, thus making this a great choice, and the reason why you need to go back in time and check the theatres.

✠ I don’t know about that television show or soap opera on which this movie is based, and that might not be necessary, but if you love vampire flicks and bloodsuckers in literature, you will like Dark Shadows which keep the worlds of Twilight and Mortal Instruments away. Even if you don’t care much about the same, the comic side of the movie will keep you interested. Still, there is so much seriousness underneath striving for true love, which makes this a wonderfully layered movie. I am pretty sure that whatever you like and wherever you are from, most of you will at least like this one as an average movie, and there are not many places where you can have this much vampire fun along with looking at such a great cast. Behold the beauty of the shadows of this movie, and you might end up loving it along with Bella Heathcote. This one won’t even make Count Dracula think twice, and in that case, long live Barnabas Collins, who has survived a witch’s love and watched his own dark shadows in a coffin for such a long time.

Release date: 11th May 2012
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Bella Heathcote, Eva Green, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller

darkshadows copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.