Reminiscence

Vampire Owl: I do see my long lost memories on a screen.

Vampire Bat: Do not tell me that this is about another invention of Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: He is too much addicted to the present to go into the past.

Vampire Bat: His addiction is with the impossible future.

Vampire Owl: There is no future that is impossible for Sir Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: Do not call him that. He was never knighted by the Count.

Vampire Owl: The knighthood is not a thing of title anymore. It is something of action.

Vampire Bat: There is no action can he can come up with to deserve it.

Vampire Owl: You will know it once he is done with the grand experiment.

Vampire Bat: You call what he is doing in the so called laboratory an experiment. I call it a death wish without limits.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: In a not too distant future, climate change has led to the sealevels rising, resulting in a flooded Miami. The temperature has risen so much that people prefer to go through most part of their lives at night. Sooner or later, the sea is supposed to claim the whole city. Nicholas Bannister (Hugh Jackman) and Emily Sanders (Thandiwe Newton) used to serve in the military forces, but is now running a business which helps people to relive their memories in a world which has no hope about the present or the future. Most people come there because they cannot live in a present which feels disastrous, and wishes to go through their past lives again and again, often due to nostalgia, and at other times because of a loss. Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) is their latest customer who wishes to find where she kept her keys, from her memories. As the memories do get visualized every time to help Nicholas guide the customers through their past, him and Emily gets to watch most of the things which the customers have gone through.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: After Mae leaves her earrings behind, Nicholas finds her in the nightclub, and they start a relationship, but Emily doubts her and wonders if she has some other motive in being with him. Later, one day, Mae disappears without a trace. Nicholas tries to find her by reliving his own memories of their relationship. It is something that could trap him in the memories forever, but he continues to do so for months. Emily is disappointed about his transformation, and asks him to move on. He feels assured that someone so much in love won’t disappear all of a sudden, and something might have happened to her, while Emily feels that their business is going down as customers as decreasing. He does find her earrings in a gutter, making him believe that she cam back for him, but Emily assures him that a lot of things ends up out there, and it could be from a long time ago. When prosecutor Avery Castillo (Natalie Martinez) calls him to retrieve the memories of a suspect. But it is not something that he will like.

The defence of Reminiscence :: There was always supposed to be something about Reminiscence, as we know that it is about memories, love and a mystery which will bring the twists. The concept is brilliant, and from an apocalyptic world, it moves to science fiction, and then to a mystery with ease. It is the kind of world which we will have sooner or later, sea taking over the land as a result of global warming, and this one also has the smartness show it as a gradual thing, and not as something happening in a few days or months. Well, it is a reminder to us that we are moving slowly towards that possible end, and none of us are doing anything about it, as the rich already have their Elysium and control of most of the money, while we are fooled easily. The journey takes you through what can be called a complete package. This one is not predictable at all, and there are some nice surprises in store – the twists add to the melancholy, and as the protagonist says, there is no happy ending in real life, but we understand that there can always be beauty even in the sadness. The ending of the movie, even though not a happy one, is a beautiful one indeed.

Positives and negatives :: Reminiscence does make us feel that we have seen some of it before, as it is surely a collection of different elements merged into one – yet, you see that final moments of it feels very much unique and incredibly touching. There are some slow moments in the middle, which might be the scenes which pull this movie a little bit backwards by not adding the needed ingredients there. When thinking about the memories and a future, you are quickly thinking about Total Recall and Ghost in the Shell, but they were all action, as you look at them. This movie also has its fine dose of action sequences, and there are twists and thrills awaiting in the memories along with the charm of love. There are not many science fiction thrillers which are able to create such an emotional effect on audience, and that too related to love. Lisa Joy’s one and only full-length feature film is here to stay in the heart. You avoid that tendency to slow down, and you have a work which you can watch, and be touched in multiple ways.

The performers of the soul :: Hugh Jackman is fantastic in this movie which has him in a role which has emotions running through him so well. He also makes a charming pair with Rebecca Ferguson, a couple like we haven’t really seen before. On one side, we have the long living mutant, Wolverine with healing powers and on the other side, we have the assassin from Mission Impossible series of movies – two people of action are the people in love here. There is no other two performers who could have made this work so beautiful. While the thrills are effective and the mystery is present throughout the film, it is the romance that makes the apocalyptic future’s science fiction a thing to remember, and the dialogues from these two are to stay with us for a very long period of time. It is the kind of tale which would have everyone asking for a happily ever after, unlike those half-baked romantic nonsense served as if there is true love being shown. Negative shades are also not new to Rebecca who played the full, strong antagonist in Doctor Sleep. Thandiwe Newton is also a powerful support while Cliff Curtis’ villain is strong enough. The other thing you note here is the perfect melancholy on the face of Angela Sarafyan.

How it finishes :: I will never understand why this movie didn’t do that well at the box-office, for it is a lovely and divergent take at the same time. The mixture that this film provides is something which is suitable for everyone, with different genres touched with the power of human memories and emotions. There is the feeling of mystery that goes through this world which seems to be almost apocalyptic with a realistic feeling, and the science fiction elements nicely blend in here to make the journey better. Also a romantic movie, this one focuses on that side with supremacy in the final moments. You will find this movie to be a lot better than what the reviews say, and there is that beautiful feeling of abiding sadness and a bliss of true romance which follows you from different directions. It has that kind of performers who keeps you so engaged in it, more than how it would have been with any other. Reminiscence is the kind of movie I would recommend for most people, and it would have even done better if it had released here before the Corona virus pandemic, for the admirers of Wolverine would also love this particular avatar.

Release date: 20th August 2021
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Lisa Joy
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Natalie Martinez, Marina de Tavira, Angela Sarafyan, Daniel Wu, Mojean Aria, Brett Cullen, Javier Molina, Sam Medina, Norio Nishimura, Nico Parker, Roxton Garcia

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Doctor Sleep

What is the movie about? :: The terrifying events in the haunted Overlook Hotel which formed the movie The Shining has passed, but Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) hasn’t taken himself out of it completely. When he was a child and lived with his mother Wendy Torrance (Alex Essoe), he had the worst of the visions, but could manage to lock down the the spirits from the hotel in an imaginary space in his mind with the help of Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly), a benevolent spirit from the hotel which continued to help him, even after many years. As the hotel had closed down after the incidents, the ghosts, if let out, would try to feed on his psychic ability, his “shining”, as they are left with no other options. He is also warned that he should only keep his ghosts there, and not the memories. But this doesn’t go well for Danny with his life, as he gets to a new low with alcoholism, as it seemed to help him suppress his pysychic abilities, and he decides to escape from this lifestyle.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As he moves to a new town, a much smaller one, he finds a good friend in Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis) who was also an aloholic, and sponsors him with a job and a place to stay in. He makes new friends in a group meant for the alcoholic survivors, and manages to begin as an entirely new person there. He becomes an attendant for the elderly, and becomes known as Doctor Sleep, as he helped the old people to die in comfort as they reached the end of their days, with his shining. He also begins receiving some messages through telepathic communication from Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), a young girl who seems to have a shining which might be more powerful than anyone ever lived during his time, as she reaches him from a long distance away. Her parents are afraid of her abilities, but manage to raise her as a usual child, due to her skills in hiding her shining in front of others outside, including school. Danny and Abra continues to make connection by telepathy.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: It is then that the True Knot, a group of psychic vampires led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who extend their lives towards immortality by the psychic power of young children, gets short of the much needed essence, and decide to go on hunting all around the nation. With the shining essence which serves as the steam for their existence facing a shortage, she and her partner Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon) adds the teenage psychic Snakebite Andi (Emily Alyn Lind) to her group, as she has an expertise in cheatign people, and because they can use their skills of manipulation. They turn her into a psychic vampire after feeding her the steam of Violet (Violet McGraw), a young girl whom they murdered, and had stored her essence for later use. While the group finds another boy with shining, and brutally murders him while feeding on his essence, Abra finds them, and she comes face to face with Rose, an act which sets the vampires on her trail. Danny feels the need to save her, but can he fight this centuries old cult of vampires?

The defence of Doctor Sleep :: There is balance being maintained in Doctor Sleep, as instead of getting into horror, which was the easiest step, the movie chooses to build each character really well. The case of the mind is nicely told, and we understand what each character is going through, and at the same time, we know their worlds really well. Unlike The Shining, the movie has different people and different world coming together, and we see the minds too, in an adventure which seems to be so well-designed to suit the taste of more than one kind of audience. That doesn’t take away the horror elements from Doctor Sleep, as they are present, and so are those thrilling moments. The different settings used by the movie, from the outskirts to the hotel with the spirits, are really good. The final fight scene of the movie is brilliantly worked out, and Rebecca Ferguson shows mastery out there as the psychic vampires rise above the blood-thirsty ones here.

Positives and negatives :: There was a challenging task ahead for the director here, to keep the movie close to the 2013 novel by Stephen King and the 1980 movie which deviated from the Stephen King novel – it was a difficult task, but it seems to have been done with some extra care. But the movie would have done better if it had followed the 2013 novel, because the younger audience who watch these movies more do not care that much about a 1980 version, and some others might have forgotten about the movie – if it had shortened its length and had stayed close to the 2013 novel version, there was chance for better success for this flick which didn’t come close to staying in the theatres as much as we wanted. The number of release centres which it had managed were also less, and it didn’t reach some towns at all. The movie might feel too long for some, but unlike some of other adaptations from novel which turn out to be too long, this one doesn’t drag.

Performers of the soul :: Ewan McGregor nicely makes the character a favourite, as we get to know the child from shining shown as the adult, and he fits in very well. Rebecca Ferguson plays the antagonist here, and this is one villain that you don’t need to miss, as he works this one towards perfection. When you are in a horror movie, there are antagonists which you imagine, but not this one, as she plays another character whom we get close to, someone who is not the usual evil prey. Most of the audience know her the best from Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible – Fallout; she was also there in the science fiction horror in space, Life. The Swedish actress would be someone perfectly suited for thrillers, whether action thrillers or horror thrillers, and we see her becoming the character in such a way that we can’t separate her from the antagonist. Kyliegh Curran as the girl with the most shining is solid, while Emily Alyn Lind adds a beautiful evil charm.

How it finishes :: It is not easy to come up with something like a perfect sequel after a long period of time, like thirty nine years after a movie releases. If you have watched It, you know that the sequel came in just a few years, and the second chapter never really came close to being as good as the first one. Pet Sematary, with its sequels and reboots have also just managed to be good enough. But Doctor Sleep, the sequel of The Shining has excelled in doing the job. It is indeed a shining sequel, and it might be the best, a movie can have as its sequel, especially a psychological horror film. Even Hannibal couldn’t get such a sequel, and we know where The Ring franchise went. The Conjuring had the best one as the first movie, and so did Insidious. Therefore, what Doctor Sleep has achieved with one of the best movies of the year is something that we need to appreciate. Here is one psychological thriller you shouldn’t miss even in the name of Corona virus.

Release date: 8th February 2019
Running time: 181 minutes
Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Emily Alyn Lind, Zahn McClarnon, Carl Lumbly, Jocelin Donahue, Bruce Greenwood, Robert Longstreet, Alex Essoe, Carel Struycken, Zackary Momoh, Jacob Tremblay, Henry Thomas, Bethany Anne Lind, Catherine Parker, Violet McGraw, Selena Anduze, Met Clarke

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hobbs and Shaw

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins in London, with a group of MI6 agents trying to recover a deadly virus, Snowflake, which is good enough to cause a global pandemic, bringing humanity closer to the sixth extinction. As they retrieve it from the global terrorist organization Eteon, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), an Eteon soldier fitted with advanced cybernetic implants arrives and kills all agents except for their leader, Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby). She injects Snowflake into herself to keep it away from others’ reach and escapes from the scene. Brixton frames her as a traitor who killed her team and stole Snowflake, and it leads to her being on the run from more than one intelligence agency. Both Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. The Rock) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) are given the duty to track her down and find Snowflake before it gets to Eteon or some other terrorist group.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It turns out that Hattie is the younger sister of Deckard, and after talking to their mother Magdalene Shaw (Helen Mirren) in prison, he finds it his duty to protect her. As expected, Luke and Deckard can’t get along, and that does cause problems as far as the mission is concerned. They do find her in the end, and even though she is taken to the CIA office, Brixton arrives with his team of mercenaries and captures her. Luke and Deckard manages to save her after trying to defeat Brixton in hand combat without any success. They manage to get away, and decide to find a way to get the virus out of Hattie who only seems to have a few days remaining. They figure out that she has to be killed needs to use an extraction device from the Eteon factory in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Brixton frames them as terrorists, and makes things further difficult.

And what more is to happen? :: For the same, they are helped by Madam M (Eiza Gonzalez), who is Deckard’s old flame, as well as a robber who lives in Russia – she also provides them with some special, powerful weapons. This leaves them with even lesser amount of time to get the virus out of Hattie. Brixton is also searching everywhere for the virus that he feels will change the world forever. With no option to save her, and after getting all the information from the creator of the virus, Professor Andreiko (Eddie Marsan) they decide to have her transferred to Brixton and then go after her in the factory where it was created, as it is the only place where it can be extracted. With time running out, they get their resources ready, while Andreiko is captured by Brixton. It is a tough task ahead for the two people who just don’t want to see each other – can they defeat Brixton, the man who is more like a superhuman with all the implants, or will death be unleashed on common people?

The defence of Hobbs and Shaw :: This is one movie in the Fast and Furious franchise that could do without its “FF” tag, as it has a story which can stand alone, and with its main characters and all the action around, has such great strength beyond the franchise. It is so good even without those scenes of racing in the streets, even though there are also present. The great action sequences go a long way beyond our expectations. The movie has the chases, hand to hand combat, a vertical walk and a grand final battle which has a group of cars against a helicopter. The best thing about the movie is that it knows where to draw the lines, and how to make things believable, helping the willing suspension of disbelief – it is something that some of those dumb masala Bollywood movies can never do. This one begins well and ends well, and in between has a lot to remember. The visuals are stunning, and the best is in store in the end, at Samoa.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has a certain amount of humour in there, and not all the comedy works here. Sometimes, the comic side tries to come in when not needed and the least expected – sometimes, we just love to avoid it as not being part of this grand adventure. All parts of the movie are also not at the same level, leaving us with ups and downs. The use of family idea gets repetitive, but is once again used effectively with the scene shifting to Samoa bring one more family together. Well, we know how much Fast and Furious 6, Fast and Furious 7 and Fast and Furious 8 talked about family, and that is one element which comes up in anything related to the franchise. There is also the talk about people being above technology, and regarding the final setting and The Rock who comes up with such a situation, it becomes believable. There are moments when we feel that it is this movie that needs the sequel and not the original series – Vanessa Kirby might be one strong reason for that.

The performers of the soul :: Fast and Furious franchise is known for its protagonists who have no hair on their head – this one does the job without Vin Diesel though. This is that kind of an occasion where it works perfectly without him – the contrasting styles of the two actors playing the two real different characters become perfect here. Dwayne Johnson brings the power of the Rock or rather Hercules in the last few scenes as we also have Roman Reigns joining in to give a reminder of that WWE world which we have loved for long. Jason Statham’s protagonist who comes with a different style of action has us asking for more. Vanessa Kirby is too good in the action sequences too, as she brings everything into the scene perfectly – Mission Impossible: Fallout had here doing less action, but not this time, as she has some fine sequences of action which we are going to remember. She can surely have a lot more action movies. Idris Alba does a great job playing the villain too. Elza Gonzalez has a small, but noticeable role.

How it finishes :: We have always wanted more of the Fast and Furious franchise, and this one makes sure that there is more, and that too with the two superstars who could be even bigger than the whole movie. With Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham launching the right punches, this one offers even more than what we thought it would deliver. A complete entertainer from the beginning to the end, Hobbs and Shaw is a movie that you shouldn’t miss, as far as you are looking for a grand action thriller. There will be more fast and furious movies coming up, but this one will be remembered for what has brought to the screen in a grand fashion. We are gladly past the boring street racing saga to aim at something higher. Creating a spin-off out of a successful franchise and making it as big as the original series requires some fine skills, and here the same is on display. Hobbs and Shaw will keep the expectations high until the next movie in the franchise arrives.

Release date: 2nd August 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba, Eiza Gonzalez, Eddie Marson, Helen Mirren, Cliff Curtis, Roman Reigns, Josh Mauga, John Tui, Lori Pelenise Tuisano

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.