The Green Knight

Vampire Owl: I have read about this particular tale during my graduation.

Vampire Bat: It has not been surprising that all vampires learn BA English Language and Literature, and most probably, also its post graduation.

Vampire Owl: Well, vampires do learn more than they need.

Vampire Bat: Yes, almost all the undead has double post graduation.

Vampire Owl: This film still comes as a surprise though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we were not expecting any more of such movies on Amazon soon.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and with one of those tales from our British Literary History studies.

Vampire Bat: That makes the world feel quite small.

Vampire Owl: Well, you know that is never large enough for a demonic invasion.

Vampire Bat: In that case, there is not enough for the eaters of multiple realms.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of Vagamon special tea].

What is the movie about? :: The setting is in Camelot, the castle and court of the legendary King Arthur (Sean Harris), who has now turned old, and hopes that someone else could take over his place, someone worthy enough, even though there are many knights of the roundtable who could hold that position to take over the country. It was a long time ago that he taken the sword Excalibur out of stone, and claimed his throne with the help of one great sorcerer – but things are not the same again, as there is a certain amount of darkness that had engulfed the country, which seems to continue through the Christmas season which had just started, as the power of the king is at the all-time low. The king’s nephew, Sir Gawain (Dev Patel) have been leading a life of no knight, even though he is supposed to become one very soon. He goes through all the hedonistic activities as he can, and wakes up in a brothel alongside a common woman whom he fell in love with, despite having royal blood running through his veins.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Gawain gets the scolding from his mother due to the same reason, but on one Christmas day, he attends the feast at the great round table of the knights with King Arthur, who gives him a better status, as he is the son of his sister, and a possible choice for the throne at some point of time. It is then that a strange creature in armour, riding a horse comes into the court and talks of a game. Calling itself the Green Knight, the creature tells him that any knight in the court can land a blow on his body and win his green axe, but the same person will have to come to the Green Chapel on the very next Christmas dar, and he will have to receive the exact same kind of blow in return. When the fight begins, the Green Knight gives up, and Gawain comes with a blow so hard that it severs the knight’s head. Then the knight rises and leaves with his severed head, after reminding him of the deal.

And what more is to be done with this adventure related to one green knight? :: Gawain spends the rest of the year merry-making with his common woman love, Essel (Alicia Vikander), but his mother Morgan le Fay (Sarita Choudhury) knows that he has to keep his end of the bargain and face the Green Knight at some point. So, finally when the next year’s Christmas season arrive, he starts his journey towards what seems to be his destiny. During his journey, he comes across a battlefield with dead bodies everywhere, and is ambushed by a group of people who ties him up and steals anything on him that seems valuable. But Gawain manages to get free and go after them. But random robbers on the road won’t be the major problems that he will have to face during this quest. This quest is woven out of magic, and it won’t end like a usual adventure ends for a knight who comes up with random acts of courage and honour. After all, these are the times when knights are always supposed to do better than earlier.

The defence of The Green Knight :: The movie maintains its dark elements really well instead of turning this into a light fantasy as one would expect as far as King Arthur and the related stories are concerned. The dark atmosphere does help in transporting us to an uncertain world of mystery rather than the usual space of certain heroes and villains placed on opposite sides. The setting, especially the landscape is incredibly beautiful, and the same can be said about the buildings around too, as the feeling of a medieval world is nicely recreated – the touch of magic can also be felt in between. One wouldn’t agree if there is a talk about this world not being filled with magic. The background music also adds a lot to this particular world. It had to be so, as any tale related to King Arthur has that feeling in the background. The film works as the coming of age story of a knight, which is nicely portrayed by Dev Patel in what might be among his best roles till now. The rest of the characters are just the path for him towards the final destination.

The claws of flaw :: The Green Knight, as it moves away from the usual fantasy adventure with a knight trying to meet his destiny, the darker side is added, and the same might not be what people might be looking for. The film also drags in between, as we have a certain time period in which nothing much happens, and the same could have been trimmed to make this film shorter. One can feel that there are too many dialogues here, and some of them seem to be pointless – they could have been replaced by some more of action, which is rather difficult to come by in the middle stages. The final moments are also not that strong as one would have expected in the beginning stages. The messages here could have also been clearer, and some elements of coming of age might have looked better if used in a more innovative manner. The opportunities to add more to the tale and expand the same have been many, and here we see no strengthening additions.

How it finishes :: Making a film out of a chivalric romance work of unknown authorship, written in the late fourteenth century, and make it suitable for this age is no easy task, as the same is not a huge adventure with big monsters that appeal to the big screen and the masses. I do remember reading about this work as part of my studies as well as the later teaching process at the college. Well, British Literary History is quite fascinating, and these are some of the earlier works which we go through in the syllabus after that Anglo-Saxon literature being looked at. So, this work is more or less like nostalgia for me. Even if the question papers in this part of the world do not really ask any question related to this one, we are all aware of the tale’s worth, and the same has been reasserted with this film, that seems to have done justice with the original thing. This is certainly not your usual fantasy adventure, and as long as you can look past the same, this will work really well for you.

Release date: 24th September 2021 (Amazon), 27th August 20201 (India)
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: David Lowery
Starring: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Erin Kellyman, Barry Keoghan, Atheena Frizzell, Nita Mishra, Tara McDonagh, Helena Browne, Megan Tiernan, Emmet O’Brien

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous English film review here.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Peninsula

Vampire Owl: So, we do have the return of the zombies after a long time.

Vampire Bat: Well, Train to Busan always deserved a sequel.

Vampire Owl: We remember that it was the one movie which took us to Korea.

Vampire Bat: It led to our first Korean films on Movies of the Soul.

Vampire Owl: I remember that there are many other films which followed.

Vampire Bat: That was our entry into South Korean movies.

Vampire Owl: Only to have movies in many other languages follow.

Vampire Bat: South Korea should be among our dream nations too.

Vampire Owl: As far as Asian nations are concerned, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have visited only Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in the east so far.

[Gets a marble cake and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: As a zombie outbreak occurs in South Korea, nobody has any clue about how it started, even though a particular bio-facility is suspected, and there is also no idea about how to contain it. There was pandemonium breaking loose in South Korea though, as people were believing in rumours circulating online, and traveling to safe areas further south – in the end, no place was safe, except for, maybe North Korea. As Captain Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) of South Korean Marine Corps drives his family to safety, he ignores everyone seeking help on the way, suspecting that they could all be infected. But the infection has also spread in the ship, and more and more people are transformed into the zombie-like state. His nephew and sister are among the people who are bitten and lost to the disease. As they are re-routed to Hong Kong, while the world nations try to quarantine South Korea in whichever ways possible.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: South Korean refugees were no longer accepted in other countries, and the quarantine continued for four years, without any break in between. Later in Hong Kong, Jung-seok and his brother-in-law Chul-min (Kim Do-yoon) are recruited by some Chinese gangsters for a mission which includes retrieving a truck containing millions of dollars from South Korea. They would be paid half of the money if they come back with it alive. As they are certain that they won’t be given refugee status, and are going to be discriminated, they decide to take the offer. They go in at night hoping that they can stay undetected from zombies and most of the ships patrolling the peninsula, and for others, they can pay cash. With the help of the gangsters and their influence, they manage to get there and also find the truck, following it up with the murder of the zombie driver. But this mission won’t be that easy as they thought, as there is something else.

The defence of Peninsula :: Train to Busan was a favourite, and as Peninsula maintains the same spirit up to an extent, we can say that there is enough around here too – the focus on action would be the big change around here. The setting of the post-apocalyptic South Korea is also worth seeing with some fine visual quality. The devastated city is a scene to remember at night as well as the day. The film offers a lot of zombie action as expected, and the fighting sequences happen naturally, as it has always happened with Resident Evil and its sequels, even though this is a more believable one in comparison. The zombies remain as good as they were, even though the attention is less on them this time in comparison to the first film. Well, the world has changed, and we are into another environment now. There is enough action, and some emotions to be added here, and things work well. It is an interesting, thrilling ride from the beginning to the end.

The claws of flaw :: Peninsula wouldn’t get the appreciation that Train to Busan had gathered long ago, as there is not that much innovation being added here. It could have been stronger with the continuation of the original tale. We know that there is a lot that can get added to a post-apocalyptic world, much more than what is seen here. With all the vehicular mayhem that goes on in the end, things do get a little confusing with so much of fights between everyone. The graphics goes closer to a video game than the live action movie at times. It was surely built for the big screen, no doubt about that. The inspiration from other similar post-apocalyptic films to create this particular world cannot be ignored either. The possible messages about selfishness and sacrifice are mostly not there to stay, and are often lost. The focus on the story is not that much maintained when providing too many zombies to kill on the road.

Performers of the soul :: The cast here is led by Gang Dong-won, who manages to stay ahead with ease. He has his moments from the beginning stages itself, mostly emotional, even though that changes later. Lee Jung-hyun is the next one to catch our attention, as she plays the strong mother who has had to make some tough decisions, and lives with a purpose for her children. She goes strong with the emotional side, and becomes part of the big action very soon too. Kwon Hae-hyo adds a funny side at the same time too. Kim Do-yoon plays the brother-in-law role in a believable manner. Lee Re gets a lot of action with the vehicular mayhem, and its a glorious drive through the zombies as far as she is concerned. Those scenes could be taken right into a video game at some point. Lee Ye-won plays the young child in an interesting role. Kim Min-jae and Koo Kyo-hwan plays the two major antagonists, and they do the job well enough. Kim Kyu-baek also adds some humour here.

How it finishes :: We have waited for very long to have a sequel to Train to Busan, and here we have it – that film along with The Wailing are the two first Korean movies which I had reviewed, and that was indeed a game changing moment, the next Korean film reviewed being The Divine Fury coming much later. When Peninsula makes sure that the same zombie feeling returns, there is the similar feeling. We get to see the zombies in Korea yet again, and during the time of Corona virus pandemic, we are seeing the viral apocalypse again. It does feel different when we look at it now, after going through the COVID-19 pandemic, and seeing the viral outbreak unfold before our eyes. The movie continues the journey through the world of zombies in a way that keeps us interested, and I would recommend this film for all fans of the first one too. After all, what is better than a group of fully powered zombies in this world of quarantines and lock-downs? Especially when they come with so much of action on the streets. Well, zombies are forever too, just like vampires and werewolves.

Release date: 15th July 2020
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho
Starring: Gang Dong-won, Lee Jung-hyun, Lee Re, Kwon Hae-hyo, Kim Min-jae, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Do-yoon, Lee Ye-won, Jang So-yeon, Moon Woo-jin, Kim Kyu-baek, Bella Rahim

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Meander

Vampire Owl: I remember having met an elf with a similar name.

Vampire Bat: Well, this is certainly not a fantasy movie.

Vampire Owl: Elves are as real as we are. None of us are fantasy.

Vampire Bat: Well, for humans, we are all fantasy elements.

Vampire Owl: The girl on the poster does look very much real.

Vampire Bat: You surely cannot say the same about her surroundings.

Vampire Owl: The poster here doesn’t seems to mean anything.

Vampire Bat: It could be a reflection of the useless lives that the humans lead.

Vampire Owl: Well, with the terrible mindset that they have, what else can they do?

Vampire Bat: They could always choose to be extinct and save the planet and the other life forms that live without hate.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Lisa (Gaia Weiss) who works as a waiter is seen lying in the middle of a road in the countryside until a car arrives from a distance. She starts walking, but the man in the car, Adam (Peter Franzen) who works as a night watchman offers her a lift, as there is nobody nearby, and there is no hope of finding civilization soon enough. They seem to get along well enough, and Lisa is disappointed about her daughter’s death – she realizes that the girl would have been nine years old on that day if she was alive. There is the feeling of melancholy that runs through her, and she hopes that she could die one day and unite with he daughter again. It is then that it turns out that the man who is with her is a murderer, and the police is in search of him, as she realizes the same from the news on the radio. But the realization comes a little late, as he slams her head against the dashboard of the car, leaving her motionless.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Lisa wakes up in a small room which seems to have no way out. She is clothed in a strange suit which tightly fits her body, and a strange light-emitting device is attached to her wrist. Later, a door on the side opens and reveals a narrow tunnel through which she crawls with great difficulty, and the door closes right behind her, leaving her trapped inside on her all fours. She has no option, but to continue crawling, trying to find and exit which could lead her to freedom. The device on her wrist also seems to have a timer and alarm, as it seems to remind her of time running out, as she has to go squeeze through extremely narrow passages, as she moved towards light. As the roof of the tunnel comes down, almost catching her buttocks stuck within, that would be only the first of the challenges that she would have to overcome, soon to be followed by a rotten body, water, acid and others.

The defence of Meander :: Almost whole of the movie has just one setting around here, and it has also dealt with the same effectively. There are some fine traps in here, and the more terrifying thing is that they are all within a crawlspace, with the chance of escape being really minute – I wouldn’t give most of us any chance with this, but we root for the lady in distress here, as we are more confident about her getting through, even though not as much as Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider would. Here, in between, we come to know that there is more to all of these than what meets the eye, and that there is something beyond our comprehension, most probably supernatural or paranormal at work. The same is revealed in the end, and it means that we have further scope for a sequel here. After all, this kind of a premise, like that of Prometheus and Alien Covenant, even though lesser in grandeur, can have many different paths to follow. The mysterious feeling never really leaves us.

The claws of flaw :: Meander is surely not the usual kind of a movie, and it goes divergent from even any other possible film who can deal with a similar circumstance. It doesn’t have much more than what it provides here, and leaves us with minimal settings. People who don’t wish to see one person trying to fight it all to make the way out of a long crawlspace won’t find this one to be of their type. Even though this is supposed to be science fiction, the same type of elements show less of a presence around here. We also feel that this could have been better, more direct in what it does, because you know how these have worked really well with the video games. There could have been direct ideas provided here, and even though there could be symbolism being connected here, there is not much that we can use directly. We do have many films with one actor getting all the focus, and others being almost absent – Sunny is a recent example, and this one could have done more with the one character other than the trap escape acts.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has only two actors, and it is more or less about Gaia Weiss, who is there for the whole of the movie, and works through it very all, as her character keeps trying to survive against all odds. She nicely fits in here, and one would feel that if there is a full action film coming soon, she could be right in there, doing a great job. She plays the character that has do the impossible, and she does some fantastic work as the one person who goes through all of these. To add to it, there is also an emotional side to her character, which is also portrayed well. Peter Franzen also has some work to do, but he has a very less time on the screen. Basically, we can say that everything is left to Gaia, and she becomes the sole pillar on which the movie depends on, as far as performances are concerned. She never looks like she is going to lag with that much of a weight on her. Not many people could have handled the same so well too.

How it finishes :: Meander makes a fine French movie that has different elements coming together even with almost everything set in one particular place. It is all about survival, set in a seemingly difficult situation, much scarier than The Shallows where we know the enemy, and much hopeless than The Platform in which there was at least the certainty of food and a possible companionship. Unlike the rest which has some hope for its protagonists, this one is at an advanced level of leaving almost no chance to survive, like a hopeless level of The Maze Runner. As a film which gives you claustrophobia, this one is surely an experiment which you might want to remember for long. As the lady moves through this particular crawlspace world, you are into some slow and effective moments of thrills, unlike the ones that we usually see elsewhere. It is that tale of survival which once again has the protagonist fighting against all odds, and we are all hoping for her to survive.

Release date: 11th October 2020
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Mathieu Turi
Starring: Gaia Weiss, Peter Franzen

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous French film review.

<— Click here to go to the first French film review on the site.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Those Who Wish Me Dead

Vampire Owl: Can someone wish that the undead be dead?

Vampire Bat: Well, that would be something the werewolves would do.

Vampire Owl: Do they still try to make sure about it?

Vampire Bat: They haven’t been that dumb for some time.

Vampire Owl: You mean that werewolves are no longer dumb.

Vampire Bat: Let them make a claim related to that.

Vampire Owl: Well, zombies did make such a claim, and they are surely dumb.

Vampire Bat: Zombies never get to eat enough brains. You can’t blame them.

Vampire Owl: Werewolves don’t get enough of full moon either.

Vampire Bat: Let us not blame them for wishing us dead, at least for now.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Hannah Faber (Angelina Jolie) who used to be smokejumper is struggling with her past after facing a forest fire and failing to prevent the deaths of three young campers and another smokejumper. She ends up being posted at a fire lookout tower in pretty much a remote location. At the same time, Owen Casserly (Jake Weber), who works as a forensic accountant, watches the news about the death of his boss and family in what seems to be a gas explosion, and panics, ending up leaving his city with his son, Connor (Finn Little) who is confused about is happening. The house was originally destroyed by assassins Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult) who were sent by highly influential people who wants to destroy the evidence of what Owen knew and had informed his boss. As they come to know that Owen had left his home with his son, they start another hunt with the clues which they were able to find at his house.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Owen hoped to find refuge with the one man whom he hopes that he can trust, his brother-in-law, Ethan Sawyer (Jon Bernthal), a Deputy Sheriff, who used to be Hannah’s ex-boyfriend. As they are attacked by the assassins, they are forced to drive down the cliff, leading to the death of Owen. Now, only Connor has the much valued evidence against the gangster Arthur Phillip (Tyler Perry). Connor who keeps on running ends up meeting Hannah, who he doesn’t really trust in the beginning, but decides to go with her anyway, as he runs out of options. It turns out that her tower was just hit by a lightning, and they no longer have any option for communication. At the same time, the assassins get another warning from their boss, and as they need to finish what they started as soon as possible, they set fire in the forest as a distraction and goes on looking for the boy at all possible locations, with time running out.

The defence of Those Who Wish Me Dead :: There is always chance for having more and more thrillers which are lesser known, but has enough strength inside to make an impact, thus keeping us interested. This film tries to be one of them, and succeeds up to an extent. This is also a film which we never knew that it had released, but thanks to Amazon Prime Video, we know. The film has engaging moments, as there is the boy being hunted, and we also have a protagonist with a troubled past who is trying to save him as well as others who also comes in. The setting used here is really good, as we have a huge forest area, a small town, and fire that burns them all. The situation has been nicely managed around here, as far as the environment is concerned. It also manages to have an emotional side to go with things. It could have also suited a slasher horror film well too – we have watched films like Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight and Hoax a few months ago.

The claws of flaw :: Those Who Wish Me Dead doesn’t make full use of what it has in the hands. It also stays rather slow during most of its time, and it doesn’t seem to be in a hurry at any moment. It also misses the opportunity to bring some horror in between, and with a quicker pace, it could have achieved much more, after all, we have people who are supposed to be expert assassins fighting some local people. The slasher elements could have also made some impact around here. The intensity could have been much higher as we see how things are progressing around here. Angelina Jolie still has what it takes, but we do feel that she wants to let it go, and Nicholas Hoult, if used as the sole assassin, could have scored much more here. We do miss those days when these two people could have done things which nobody else could do, and that reminds us that we are also getting older – how has the world changed in more than one way, right? Well, all these do make the film feel much longer, even as it is not that long.

Performers of the soul :: Angelina Jolie is the name which makes you watch films during these days too. If there was no COVID-19 pandemic, and if this had released in the theatres here, just her name would have brought the audience to the multiplexes, that much has been her star value around here. She continues to come up with the fine performances, even though there is that tired look which seems to be that much associated with her as much as the character with which it connects really well. Nicholas Hoult who is the next best known name with films including X-Men franchise, Jack the Giant Slayer, Warm Bodies and Mad Max: Fury Road to his name, surprisingly doesn’t get a boost to his role, and is limited to the usual assassin that we see – well, that much is done pretty well. Aidan Gillen plays the other assassin well enough too. Medina Senghore as Allison is the strongest character around here, and Jon Bernthal as Ethan has his moments here too. Finn Little has some good moments as the child actor.

How it finishes :: Those Who Wish Me Dead adds to the list of the usual thrillers with some fine setting to go with it. It had the scope to be more, but that chance is not taken. It would have made more impact if the theatres were open around here, even though one can’t be sure if it is to get a chance for a release here with so many Malayalam films getting ready for release as soon as the COVID-19 numbers get lower. We do have to appreciate the fact that they are indeed releasing these movies on Amazon Prime Video which most of us have better access, as there is almost nobody who doesn’t order from Amazon these days and most of the people do have the Prime account. After all, these are the days when we are hoping for better times, and some good movies can help us to keep life going better. There is nothing like a tale of survival against all odds that can keep us going during these days. So, until things get better, we still have these around.

Release date: 14th May 2021 (USA), 17th September 2021 (Amazon)
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Finn Little, Aidan Gillen, Jake Weber, Medina Senghore, Jon Bernthal

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mortal Kombat

Vampire Owl: Do you remember us watching Mortal Kombat on VCR a long time ago?

Vampire Bat: Yes, a long time ago for humans, just a little bit earlier for us.

Vampire Owl: Yes, immortality has an effect on the perception of time.

Vampire Bat: Yet, those were the days when humans had tapes instead of CDs.

Vampire Owl: Mortal Kombat had also inspired many grand stage fights between vampires and werewolves.

Vampire Bat: Yes, thanks to our special powers, we won most of them against brutal strength.

Vampire Owl: Our battles were more or less immortal combats though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, immortality makes sure that death is near impossible.

Vampire Owl: Actually, having such tournaments are good options in our realms too.

Vampire Bat: Well, tournaments no longer have value among elders.

[Gets a red velvet cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: In Japan during the seventeenth century, a group of assassins ruthlessly attack a family, and their leader Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) murders everyone except for their child, who is taken by the God of Thunder Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) to safety. Back to the present, the terrifying realm of Outworld has defeated Earthrealm in nine out of ten competitions of Mortal Kombat, and with one more victory, they could claim and rule Earth. The Outworld has never felt that they have come so close to gaining the ultimate victory. But, an ancient prophecy says otherwise, asserting that the blood of the family which fell centuries earlier could unite a new group of warriors who can defeat the fighters of Outworld. Aware of this, Shang Tsung (Chin Han) sends his warriors to make sure that there are no warriors left to fight them, and Bi-Han who is now known as Sub-Zero is assigned the job to find certain people who have a certain mark to identify them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The identification mark happens to be a dragon tattoo which has been on these people for a long time. A former professional MMA fighter called Cole Young (Lewis Tan) has such a mark, and a person named Jax (Mehcad Brooks) meets him and his family who are attached by Sub-Zero. Jax fights valiantly, but losses his arms to Sub-Zero’s cold, and is considered dead by the Outworld. Another person who is on the hunt is Mileena (Sisi Stringer) who wants Earth to be captured at any cost. Outworld is ready to break all the rules to make sure that they win this last battle. Cole searches for a woman named Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) to whom Jax had pointed much earlier, and upon discovering her, he learns about something sinister which has been going on in the background. She talks about Mortal Kombat, which might be a reality soon, and assures him that they have been chosen to fight for Earth against some unknown species from another world. But that might not be all.

The defence of Mortal Kombat :: This film is nothing less than a return to nostalgia, not just as the adaptation of a game which we have been playing so much from the early days of Windows, as it also contributes as the reminder of that movie which came to the cassette shops, and had us cheering for each action move on display. Well, this film is not that much far away from what we had seen then, as far as action sequences are concerned – we also have the superior computer graphics and with the better cameras, we have some visual grandeur on the screen as expected; a case of higher quality return of childhood as we look at it. The locations are nicely shaped using the special effects. The final battle with Scorpion and Sub-Zero around brings some quality final moments. We can consider this as a beginning, and hope to see more of the fights, with some real tournaments happening in different worlds. The origins of the new age adaptation has been set well, and with one fine sequel, the level of the whole thing could be raised.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about that fact that Mortal Kombat could have been better, especially with so many of options being available. There are so many characters in the game who could have been taken into this film, but only a few were used. Some of the very interesting characters are also killed too early. The individual battles could have actually lasted much more, and some special and unexpected moves could have been added around here. A little bit more of attention could be taken in the clothes of the characters too, and they could have stayed close to how they were in the game. GI Joe had also experienced similar problems, but that franchise never really had this much of variety and worlds to be displayed on the screen with grandeur. It is a shame that some of the battles finish too easily, when we know that there are so much to be done with fighters keeping on battling each other without holding back. You could have always added some game elements according to the requirements.

Performers of the soul :: Lewis Tan as Cole Young leads the way well, even though Jessica McNamee playing Sonya Blade seems to be the real leader around here throughout the first half of the film, as she nicely suits the role so well. Bridgette Wilson would still be the perfect Sonya, as we are all fans of that older version and go on to miss Kitana and Johnny Cage characters for now. Mehcad Brooks as Jax is another determined character who keeps his moments, and Josh Lawson as Kano adds to the same from the other side. The best looks still goes to Mel Jarnson playing Nitara, even though she is there for only a short period of time. We would have loved to see more of her around here, as the winged creature is a thing of Gothic beauty rather than anything else. Sisi Stringer as Mileena brings a side of horror very well. Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero makes the right antagonist, and the ice-filled moments of action are joy to watch. Chin Han and Tadanobu Asano leaves us something to look out for with another possible movie based on the same video game series. Ludi Lin and Max Huang are good additions as the trained warriors too.

How it finishes :: Mortal Kombat does have some special place in our hearts, as it was one of those earlier games which we played and continued to enjoy for a long time. Among these games, it was Mortal Kombat 4 which had our best attention, as it had high graphics requirements, and we actually had to go somewhere else to play the game. The characters of Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Quan-Chi and Raiden were among the favourites then, and it was only later that characters like Mileena were of interest. Among the games, this one does have a legendary status, even though just like the other game adaptations including Need for Speed, Hitman, Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider, Warcraft, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Doom, Blood Rayne, Max Payne, Assassin’s Creed and many others, this one also failed to gather much of critical appreciation. Yes, Resident Evil has grossed so much that nobody can question that particular franchise, but we know that adaptations require more.

Release date: 23rd April 2021 (USA), 11th September 2021 (Amazon)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Simon McQuoid
Starring: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, Hiroyuki Sanada, Matilda Kimber, Laura Brent, Sisi Stringer, Mel Jarnson, Nathan Jones, Daniel Nelson, Angus Sampson, Damon Herriman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godzilla vs Kong

Vampire Owl: These are not the monsters we expect around here.

Vampire Bat: Well, we cannot stop any of them from entering the realm.

Vampire Owl: So, you mean to say that there is no active vampire defence against monsters.

Vampire Bat: Whatever remains will only be active against werewolves.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that a transformed ape and lizard won’t count.

Vampire Bat: We can ask Doctor Frankenstein to try and contain the radioactivity.

Vampire Owl: I am afraid that it won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: We are already prepared for the huge impact.

Vampire Owl: These are sacred lands. There should be no fight for supremacy here.

Vampire Bat: This is just a temporary space. They will pass through this area, through the portal.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Five years have passed after Godzilla defeated the legendary monster, King Ghidorah and all the other monsters had bowed down to him, accepting his supremacy as the great king of the monsters. He is limited to a small space within the Skull Island, as a dome is created to hold him inside, so as to avoid any contact with Godzilla who wouldn’t appreciate the fact that there are two titans. A deaf and mute child, Jia (Kaylee Hottle) is the only person who could successfully bond with Kong, who is not really happy to be restricted to a small space, which he often tries to damage when he is angry. Jia is also the adopted daughter of the Kong expert Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), and she hopes that they can hold on to Kong as much as possible, and avoid the epic clash which could happen between the two. Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), tries to get into a facility which is attacked by Godzilla at the same time, and that gets everyone worried, as Godzilla has never attacked without a reason.

So, what happens with the events here as something big is coming up? :: Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) feels that there is something wrong here, as Godzilla should have attacked only because there was a reason for the same, and something sinister is happening within. Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir), the CEO of the organization recruits Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), to lead a journey into the Hollow Earth, the homeworld of the Titans, which could have enough energy to fuel the planet and bring a defence against Godzilla. Nathan is not sure about as his books related to same was poorly received by everyone, and going into such a world would mean death, but as he understands that he has developed HEAVs, some specialized crafts able to withstand the high pressure which is exerted by the gravity field. Ilene understands that there is chance for Kong to find a new home in Hollow Earth, and agrees to the idea. But this journey is not that direct as they thought, as there are other motives for the rich businessman behind all these.

The defence of Godzilla vs Kong :: As expected, the film focuses on the action, with huge monsters ruling the screen, asking for bigger screens to watch it with the best effect, and we already had similar feeling with earlier films of Godzilla and King Kong, as well as the unrelated robot v/s monster battles of Pacific Rim. Among the monsters, it is Godzilla who continues to impress us more, as Kong continues to bring the feeling of enlarged ape rather than the alpha creature, still pretty good enough. The grandeur of Godzilla continues to impress us in many ways, and there is no dinosaur from Jurassic World that could stand up to that glory. When these two collide, there is the classic battle of the highest level indeed. There are so many great battles, and one final one with one extra human made monster – as we know, the worst of them are human or created by humans, proven through centuries, and if you have watched the Russian alien film, The Blackout, you will know what humanity is capable of, and this thrilling ride with great visuals asserts it again.

The claws of flaw :: The focus on giant action means less attention on the other things, and it is also not something which was unexpected. The building of the monster is something that was unexpected, and human greed is once again explored in a more predictable manner rather than anything else. There is no absence of Seven Deadly Sins as far as science is concerned, and it is as if they have taken that one directly from religion. The repetition that we feel here is more or less what was expected, but something which has less innovation except for Godzilla fighting Kong and having a mechanical monster also to join the fight. The evil plans of corporates in hold of scientific inventions is expected, but it is still good to see the evil being shown again. Maybe, they could have been shown as more evil that what they seemed, because it was leading to human extinction in one way or the other. This looks like we would need another sequel to use the film to its best advantage.

Performers of the soul :: Unlike what was expected, it is Millie Bobby Brown is the one who has the best of our attention. She plays who seems to be the only really smart person around here, as she seems to figure out what is happening before anyone, the so called smart scientists and researchers figure out things, and throughout the film, she seems to be the only real hope for the world. Rebecca Hall and Alexander Skarsgard plays the usual scientists being misguided into something which they wouldn’t have wanted if they had some common sense about what they giant corporations really wanted, but they play along well enough. Brian Tyree Henry plays the other smart person around, and it is being displayed nicely too. Shun Oguri and Demian Bichir plays the villains quite well, and they are more or less the usual villains that we have in this kind of films. Eiza Gonzalez also plays a meaty role, and she could be one strong action star with works in full scale action thrillers, for we know how effective she was in her small role in Hobbs and Shaw.

How it finishes :: Godzilla vs Kong is the kind of film which should be watched on the big screen, but with the COVID-19 pandemic’s second arrival ending that opportunity, and the fear about the same will keep it to the smaller screens for us, except for others who can afford a grand home theatre at home. It is exactly what you would expect from a monster film, and you might have already guessed that with ease from the experiences from the movie’s predecessors. When monsters of such grandeur collide, you know that there will be a spectacle on the screen, and the quality of this glory will be dependent on your screen and your audio devices. Even though we are missing it on the big screen, we can still appreciate the fact that it is not available on an OTT platform in India, and they have chosen the one which is used the most by people here, Amazon Prime Video. Let us hope that after The Tomorrow War, there will be more Amazon Original Movies coming soon, for we are without the multiplex experience now, and might stay so for some time.

Release date: 14th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video), 31st March 2021 (USA)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Eiza Gonzalez, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir

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<— Click here to go to the previous high rated movie.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shershaah

What is the movie about? :: Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra) had always wanted to be part of the military force, and achieves the same dream many years after he started thinking about the same. He has been someone who remained strong from childhood itself. He gets assigned to keeping an eye on the terrorist activities in the border area of Jammu and Kashmir area. Things seem safe and under control when he goes there, but as expected, there is always more than what meets the eye as far going close to the borders is concerned. They come against the first group of terrorists quick enough, and Vikram is blamed for not following the orders by Captain Sanjeev Jamwal (Shiv Pandit), even though everything ends perfectly. But Sanjeev still thanks him for saving his life in the process and making sure that the fight ended with them on the winning side, with no casualties at all – they end up being very good friends.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, there is something more terrifying going on in the background, with acts of terrorism ready to come across the border, and part of it also having roots already. At the same time, there is a flashback of the soldier’s life when he was at his earlier ages. While studying in Punjab University, he had fallen in love with Dimple Cheema (Kiara Advani), who hadn’t noticed him earlier, but had later gone to become his fiance. She had managed to get approval from her father only by telling him that if she won’t get to marry him, she will never marry anyone in her life. He also feels that he should join merchant navy instead of army to get a better salary so that he can get Dimple’s father to agree, but moves back on the same because his dream still drives him forward. She decides to wait for him, as he goes to be part of the army, and she would make sure that there are no more possible alliances being discussed at home.

And what more is to follow around here? :: Back at the camp, there seems to be many battles going on, and not just the small infiltration by the small scale terrorists. Vikram is quick to establish himself as a skilled soldier, and he is also good friends with the local people of Kashmir, due to which some people agree to become informers for him. He is also in charge of some risky operations in the process. There is also a bigger battle in store, as the Kargil War is about the begin. Despite being able to go back home on leave, Vikram has to return very soon, and join his team. Vikram is not someone who would stand back, and it seems that the enemy is crossing all limits, forcing them to quicken their actions. It would be a war which was to decide the future concerning two nations, as well as Kashmir, and the question remains about what is to follow in this for Vikram, as people back at home continue to worry. And then, there are more tales to come.

The defence of Shershah :: When we have war tributes in here, there was always something for us to watch, and this one also stays close to that idea. We also need acts of bravery to keep our world intact. There are some fine actions here which will be remembered, and are going to stay in our memory for the best. The combat scenes are all good, and there is something for our patriotic hearts, which stay on after the film ends too. The emotional side also remains strong, and we feel as part of the moments which the soldiers live through. It is always nice to have good movies dealing with the characters and subject. There are also some visuals of the world around them which never ceases to show the beauty of Kashmir. Along with the same, there is also the war during which the newer generation needs a reminder because even we were too young during the situation in Kargil, or were not born yet – we do get a reminder. You are always happy, and often in bliss to get the same in the name of the country.

The claws of flaw :: When we consider this movie as a work about a war hero, it could have been much more, with better elements of realism having scope to be present. After all, we have had many war movies before, not just in Bollywood, but also in Hollywood, even those works which were awarded well nationally and internationally. The background story, especially the love story remains too weak, and the same adds as an unnecessary part to an otherwise straightforward story of bravery in the border. Focusing on the romantic angle with songs never get old, and as far as love and songs being inserted somewhere when it should be kept at minimum, there is nobody in the whole world matching Bollywood. We do have the predictable moments in here too, and the film chooses not to go for innovation, going through the safe paths rather than anything else. The dramatic moments could also make way for more realistic style in comparison. There were immense possibilities regarding the same too, and there are moments which remind us of the same.

Performers of the soul :: Sidharth Malhotra handles things right, and he has blended into this role quite well too. This is a different kind of role compared to the type of roles in which I had seen him before. He looks very good in this role, and he is even more than that. In the scenes of war, he does the best, and he gets to be inspirational in the display. Kiara Advani is pretty good in what she does, but the love story is rather weak, and not that much suitable in the totality of the scheme of things. She could have got a better role if it was the college time period being shown with less focus on the romantic side, but romance always comes out of somewhere in these films, and that will continue to be the greatest cliché of all time. The other performers are also good, but they don’t really get that much to do. Shiv Pandit is the one who gets our attention the best among them, and there are a few more actors playing the soldiers that have something in here.

How it finishes :: It is always good to provide some tributes to the war heroes, and in doing the same, Shershaah does succeed. The movie still didn’t have that much of a promotion as Toofaan had in this part of India, and that is a shame, because the film should have released with more people knowing about its presence on Amazon Prime Video, the OTT platform which most people uses around here. Still, they would sooner or later understand that this is an interesting, as well as entertaining war drama. There is also a strong emotional side to the same. Being a tribute to the brave soldier who was awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, the great award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War, the film has those perfect moments which will work for the patriot among us. You can never have enough of films on our soldiers, and we pay our respect to the man of valour. Therefore, we watch this movie on Amazon Prime Video, and stay safe from COVID-19 for now. Happy Independence Day and Happy Onam in advance.

Release date: 12th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Shiv Pandit, Jaaved Jaaferi, Nikitin Dheer, Himmanshoo A Malhotra, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar, Sahil Vaid, Raj Arun

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

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

<— Click here to go to film reviews from other OTT platforms.

Also, look out for the best of the year so far.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kuruthi

What is the movie about? :: Ibrahim (Roshan Mathew) lives in the pain of having lost his wife (Navya Davy) and daughter (Aiza Hassan) to a devastating landslide which killed twenty four people during the heavy monsoon rains and the resulting floods in Kerala. He hopes that he would be united with his wife and daughter in heaven soon enough, while his community is blaming the United States, Israel and the North of India for their plight while trying to recover from the remains of the earlier destruction. Most of the local people including Ibrahim’s good friend Kareem (Shine Tom Chacko) has moved to an area further away from the devastated area, but two families have remained at the same place, and Sumathi (Srindaa) who lives with her brother Preman (Manikandan R Achari) at the nearest house is only happy to help them whenever required. Is then that on a usual night, the town Sub Inspector Sathyan (Murali Gopy) comes into the house with a young murderer, Vishnu (Sagar Surya) whom he hopes to protect from religious violence, as this murderer himself was part of a similar religious crowd long ago.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But for the same, he has to fight the biggest religious fundamentalist that he has ever known, Laiq (Prithviraj Sukumaran), who had already attacked the police earlier with his violent group of religious fanatics. He is also the son of the man who was earlier killed in the violence, and he seeks revenge in the name of religion, community and family, while Ibrahim finds it difficult to understand the neverending hatred in his eyes. He makes a grand entry with his friends, and knows that his prey is there. He had come back from Paris earlier after getting into trouble there, and now he only knows vengeance. Laiq gets into the house with the help of Kareem, and with another helper, they manage to outsmart the police officer, ending up stabbing him. As Ibrahim sees the violence, and takes the policeman’s gun and forces Laiq and his friends to go outside, the dying policeman makes him swear an oath on his holy book that he will protect the man at any cost. But that wouldn’t be acceptable to those who just went outside.

The defence of Kuruthi :: Thrillers have been the need of the COVID-19 times, and here, one more gets added. With just above two hours of run-time, this movie manages to go through the thrills in the darkness. What is striking about this film is that it deals with the hatred which has always existed in the mind of man, something which has spread in the minds over humanity, leading to the idea of the “other”, thriving through the world. But the characters in the film are not just motivated by the same, and are instead having their own reasons for what they are doing during the one fateful night. Due to the same, there are some unexpected twists along with those which people can guess, and we also have some very strong dialogues going on here. Some of them might be very much memorable too. The performances also fuel the film really well, and it often comes from those characters who are considered to be lesser, but with less number of characters here, they all have roles to play in what happens in an eventful night.

The claws of flaw :: There were many routes for this particular thriller to follow, and the trailer had suggested many. The film follows its own, and not every moment of the same seems to go in the right direction. It does misses many opportunities to create the elements of fear when the protagonist is locked inside the house with other characters, and when it could have done better, it tries to go without taking risks. There is also a scarcity female characters in the movie, and other than Srindaa, there is only a new face, Navya Davy in a flashback along with a child actress. It also seems to be in a hurry to finish things, rather than using the atmosphere in the best possible ways. Being caught in an area like this would have brought the chance for more thrilling and scary circumstances, but while looking at philosophy, the movie seems to forget the same. It could have done that at least with the total run-time being increased by a few minutes. Well, we know where vengeance can lead a movie when there is something more to fuel the same.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran who was last seen in Cold Case, another thriller which released in Amazon Prime Video, is once again strong, and even though menacing from the beginning, he could have shared this more with Shine Tom Chacko. The purpose seems to be more or less as adding the star value rather than getting him more to perform. The evolution of Roshan Mathew from that very small role of Adi Kapyare Kootamani and the student role of Aanandam has been a thing to remember, and the same will be much talked about after this film too. He is the protagonist in the film, and how the film moves on, depends on his actions. He has that pain in his eyes which is reflected in his actions. It is nice to see Shine Tom Chacko getting some nice roles, but as he was last seen in a smaller work in Operation Java, this is also a comparatively smaller screen-time, even though he has a presence throughout the film. Murali Gopy has a role which is quite easy for him, and even though he is there only for a short period of time, he leaves a mark with his actions and dialogue as he has always done.

Further performers of the soul :: It is also good that Srindaa is doing roles like these instead of silly stuff like Aadu and minute as well as useless things like in Sara’s, as her work was becoming more and more of clichés. Here, she is amazingly strong in her character, and she is the only female character in the whole movie’s present. After the grandeur of Kammattipaadam, we have seen very less of Manikandan R Achari when we think how much he has been capable of doing, and he contributes well too. Then, Mamukkoya in a serious role is memorable here with a touch of humour, and we have seen the same effect with so many of actors who were focusing in comic roles in the past – he also gets the best dialogues here. Sagar Surya whom we recognize from his light-hearted comic role in Thatteem Mutteem series in Mazhavil Manorama is also here, doing the serious role, which he does in a fine manner. It is nice to see such names familiar to families coming to the big screen. Naslen K Gafoor whom we remember from Thanneermathan Dinangal also has a strong role here to play, further away from the funny side which he had then, and the same is done effectively here.

How it finishes :: Kuruthi, even though feels like a full thriller, it is surely more than just that. It seems that during COVID-19 times, ideas of making a good thriller has also been worked on, really well. Along with the same, it also takes on a society which is driven by hatred rather than anything else, as people are divided on different lines here. It shows the people who acts differently under strange circumstances, and it also has a little bit of humour in between the bleak times, and that is a nice surprise. Kuruthi is indeed a film that tries to speak about how people have been divided, and it ends without hope for the future – the bleak times of our world, with its uncertainties get reflected here, and the same is done without COVID-19 being the villain. Well, you don’t need a virus to end the world, as you always have humans. If you have seen the Russian film, The Blackout, you will have an idea of what a virus really would be, if an alien was to look at Earth before planning a full-scale invasion of the planet. Well, the only war which you win with hatred, is that which the future generations will lose, and you can see the signs if you look backwards in history. Back to the present, you fight on social media, you battle on those Youtube comments like you are brain-dead. What is the point?

Release date: 11th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Manu Warrier
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Roshan Mathew, Shine Rom Chacko, Murali Gopy, Srindaa, Manikandan R Achari, Mamukkoya, Sagar Surya, Navas Vallikunnu, Naslen K Gafoor, Navya Davy, Aiza Hassan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Toofaan

What is the movie about? :: There are some usual days in the big city, as Aziz Ali a.k.a. Ajju Bhai (Farhan Akhtar) is fighting in the streets – there is no hesitation for him in going on beating people mercilessly, and even getting beaten up in the process. After the fight, and after being hit on the head during the process, he goes to hospital where Dr Ananya (Mrunal Thakur) asks them to get out, as she doesn’t want to treat gangsters who keep causing trouble in the city. Soon, Ali begins to develop an interest in boxing, which seems unusual in the beginning for his friends, but he is indeed very serious about it. Even though he has the strength, and wants to keep fighting, lacks the accuracy and technique. It is the same reason why he goes on a trial without any plan, and gets beaten by perfect shots from the seemingly weaker opponent despite going strong in the initial stages. Nana Prabhu (Paresh Rawal) is the coach who makes the difference around there, and Ali hopes that he could train with him some day, and become a great boxer like Muhammed Ali.

So, what happens with the events here? :: It turns out that Nana is the father of Ananya, and after some continuous attempts, decides to take him in, much to his own surprise. But it takes a lot of time and effort to gain the next level of his attention. He has to spend most of his time fighting the lower level of boxers, and he keeps training at all times, leaving his recent life behind. He is very quick to go through the next steps, and at the state level, he is given the title “toofaan” while going through the state championships, quite an easy path to the finals. But things won’t go that easy when Nana finds out that Ananya is in love with Ali. He no longer wants to do anything with any of the two, and Ananya decides to leave their home. This brings the twist, and the later stages of life now has to be dealt in a different manner. But the journey forward won’t be easy for them, and it will make them take some desperate actions in the process, which wouldn’t provide the best results. Yet, they have to make sure that they did make a good attempt.

The defence of Toofan :: As this is a sports drama based on boxing, there is no shortage of action around here, and the fights don’t begin in the ring as far as this particular film is concerned, as the underdog, as expected, had to come from the streets. It is the kind of idea that never gets old, as everyone loves comebacks, not just of one kind, but of different styles. The pattern seems perfect here, and there is the inspirational element at work, even though too much of motivation cannot be good. The emotional moments are pretty much working, even though they are somewhat moving in an expected manner, and predictability is also there in the rest of the things – we still have our dose of inspiration, action and emotions. Some dialogues can be remembered, even though it is the trailer that has the best. The romantic side remains cute, even though often seeming like forced in here. We have watched films like Brothers, and so this one nicely holds on to similar idea with ease.

The claws of flaw :: The sports drama genre has had a lot of repetition in the past, and if you look at Malayalam film industry, there have been two, Finals and Kho Kho, which could deviate from the usual path of the sports drama movies. In comparison to these films, there is a lot of cliches in this one, and from the beginning itself, there are so many things which go on the predictable lines. The songs and dance steps also come out of nowhere, and it is time for the industry to keep them to minimum – they are not mandatory in any case. Having a movie like this without a romantic angle between the main characters was also a possibility here, and maybe that seemed to be too unusual a diversion against the safe path here. It is time that films like these go less predictable, and move out of pattern to bring a higher level of sports drama, for such an improvement is the need of the time – until then, we will adjust with this one in the usual model and hope for the better versions.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has to depend almost completely on Farhan Akhtar, as he is the one name that can bring the audience to this path to watch the flick. He has some fine moments for the audience, even though we have already seen a number of them before, in different forms. There are those happy moments and those highly emotional, sad moments. The moments in the boxing ring are indeed good ones too – those were expected though, as we have seen the trailers. The last movie I watched with him in the lead was Wazir, and that was indeed a good one – well, I haven’t been into Bollywood films much, and this is more a come back for me as a Bollywood film reviewer more than for anyone else. As his character does go for a comeback, the motivation stuff comes into the picture again. Well, sports drama has been meant for the same for a long time, and it is that spirit which Farhan Akhtar maintains here, and it is always better than rich people going on trips to Europe just because they have too much money and they can claim to reclaim their lives.

Further performers of the soul :: Paresh Rawal also does a great job as the boxing coach and trainer. Then, he is also that father figure who is to remembered in another way. As he has done many times, he does again, with emotional moments in this film. He remains completely natural in his act here. Mrunal Thakur is the usual leading lady, and goes through the romantic side that we keep seeing in similar films. She does have a lovely presence though, and plays nicely to the requirement of the movie, and there is lot of positivity brought here by her – she has the same in different stages of life. She would be even more suited for a feel-good movie, and with her face and expressions, is immensely suitable for the same kind of a film. She does remind one of Aditi Rao Hydari at some points. Vijay Raaz is the other most notable face, even though he is not there throughout the film. There are many other characters who nicely play along here, and they all become part of the whole – the signs of the same are present in the beginning itself.

How it finishes :: Toofaan adds to the long list of sports drama movies which have graced the Indian film industries, and does add some entertainment, even though there is no innovation regarding the same – we usually know what happens with the storylines of these films without thinking too much about the same. The thrills that the boxing sport provides is much more than any other, and in that way, this movie manages to come up with more, with the action background always having scope, while the emotional side comes up to add another angle here. With the release being postponed multiple times, and finally releasing in the OTT platform of Amazon Prime Video, it does have enough to keep us interested in the sports, and while the Malayalam movie Godha has us taken to the world of wrestling in a different way compared to Dangal, this one goes the boxing path, and when the sports which are less appreciated get some attention, it is always good. The first Bollywood film I watched after a long time did work for me here.

Release date: 16th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 161 minutes
Directed by: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Paresh Rawal, Mrunal Thakur, Vijay Raaz, Mohan Agashe, Hussain Dalal, Darshan Kumar, Supriya Pathak

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hindi film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous English film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Tomorrow War

What is the movie about? :: From a distant future of war and destruction, we come back to December 2022, as a biology teacher and Iraq War veteran, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt), is highly disappointed during the Christmas season, as he fails in his dream, which was to get a job at a research center. As he watched the FIFA World Cup with his family at a Christmas party, he was shocked to see a few soldiers from thirty years into future arrive in the middle of the ground. They warn everyone that humanity is facing extinction while facing a group of aliens unless they get some help for this timeline. The world’s militaries respond with drafting, and a huge number of well-trained people are sent into the future, but less than 20% survive, and there is always the need for more people to be sent to future. There are lots of rebellions against the war, because people feel that they are going to die anyway, and there is no need to finish one’s life much earlier. Everyone is depressed because there is the clear idea that it is the alien group that is going to win in the end, and there is no real hope related to that.

And what more is to follow? :: As the hope remains low, there is not much that there is left to be done, but the drafting goes on, and Dan is also chosen to fight in the war of the future. His family is not happy with what has happened, and his wife Emmy Forester (Betty Gilpin) hopes that he can find a way to bypass the drafting with the help of his father James Forester (JK Simmons), a former veteran soldier who has turned an anti-government activist after the Vietnam War. But he has to go anyway, and joins the team which is undergoing basic training under the troops from the future. But there is an emergency as there is an attack going on in the future, and without any further training which was to last about seven days, they are sent forward in time to Miami Beach but the coordinates get messed up, with most of the members of the team dying. Soon, they are ordered by Colonel Forester (Yvonne Strahovski) to rescue the nearby lab personnel and recover their research data before the area is bombed for clearance from alien infestation.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The team does manage to complete the mission, and they barely escape from the situation. Charlie (Sam Richardson), a techie, and Dorian (Edwin Hodge), a third time traveler into the future are the two survivors who are able to make it to the camp. Now, there is a lot to be done in a future, which seems to point towards human extinction, and the alien control over the planet one way or the other. In the new world of the future, they have to capture a female alien, and the types are rarer than the males which are basically everywhere. As they are living in a future where there are not many safe areas, with most of the continents already infested by the creatures which have reproduced enough to limit the human activity to certain areas, a research into causing the aliens to go extinct instead of humanity is a near possible adventure. The question also remains if there is a future that they can save, and if all these are worth the pain which they take.

The defence of The Tomorrow War :: There is an interesting future in store within The Tomorrow War, as this film with both aliens and time travel have you interested in the science fiction elements yet again. This is a combination which has worked really well before, with films like Edge of Tomorrow, working so well with the audience – being in a tomorrow with a war going on against aliens is a fair deal as far as any sci-fi fan is concerned. There is a lot of action in store here, and the alien detail is nice, even though having similarities with the Alien franchise which we have been missing since Prometheus and Alien Covenant, two films which had us asking for more. The visuals of the future Earth is also very nicely detailed, and the destroyed cities make us want to have more battles with aliens out there. The post-apocalyptic side of the film remains strong, thanks to all the action and the special effects, with the visuals never ceasing to remain stunning. This one can also have a prequel about the coming of the aliens, and maybe bring a franchise into motion.

Positives and negatives :: This is the kind of film which could have scenes which the Russian movie The Blackout had in its early stages, and that particular flick’s first half could actually be one interesting prequel to this one, with connections being made to the colder areas of Russia. There was surely scope for more terrifying sequences with aliens. To add to it, the pseudo-intellectuals can always find a reason to blame this film, but I am yet to discover what exactly would be their reason this time, for they have all randomly bashed Hollywood action films which were nothing less than grand. After all, it is not easy to make a film like this, and if Bollywood would try anything close, they can do nothing else than mess it up completely, with a long line of cast which is there in the name of nepotism instead of skills and quality. There are a few things which can be predicted here, and some of them come naturally to us, and not as surprises. There could have also been a few sequences about the missing years of alien attack, and a clearly defined theory about what has happened with the aliens.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt whom we had last seen in Avengers: Endgame and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gets to save the world again, and this time against the aliens. We could be having another Guardians of the Galaxy or Jurassic World in his usual roles, but this one has indeed established another memorable action role for him. Yvonne Strahovski is very much suitable to action flicks and thrillers, as we have seen before with The PredatorI, Frankenstein and Angel of Mine. But her presence in the future feels kind of restricted. Betty Gilpin has very less to do in comparison. JK Simmons has some nice moments to be added in the end. Others like Edwin Hodge and Sam Richardson are good additions to this kind of a movie. Others like Mary Lynn Rajskub, and and Seychelle Gabriel also have limited presence, but one would want them to have extended roles to play here. The film could have expanded rather than keeping its focus into the personal side in an alien invasion situation which is moving towards human extinction as well as the end of the world as we know it.

How it finishes :: The Tomorrow War will remind the audience of Edge of Tomorrow, even though the core idea remains different, and the film lacks someone like Emily Blunt in its full run. There is no denial of the fact that the film is complete entertainment, and you don’t really need to listen to some self-proclaimed great critics who write for some newspapers – they are more interested in providing lower reviews to science fiction in comparison to Bollywood nonsense as most of them are not able to understand the idea or enjoy the grandeur on the screen. You can only guess who impressive this would have been on the big screen, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the kind of films which can stun us with what is displayed on the screen with the special effects and maybe even a little bit of 3D effects. As of now, it seems that it is better for us to remember that feeling and enjoy the film on a laptop with Amazon Prime Video. After all, we are all restricted in that case, but not restricted as far as enjoying action-packed science fiction is concerned.

Release date: 2nd July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Chris McKay
Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Betty Gilpin, JK Simmons, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge, Jasmine Mathews, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Keith Powers

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Wonder Woman 1984

Vampire Owl: It has been too long since we wanted to watch Wonder Woman.

Vampire Bat: I thought that we wanted to watch Black Widow more.

Vampire Owl: Yes, that too, but this is a sequel, and we will end up forgetting the first film.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is like we have almost completely forgotten Avengers too.

Vampire Owl: Nobody forgets the Avengers.

Vampire Bat: Everybody forgets everyone, not just Avengers. It is only a matter of time.

Vampire Owl: Vampires have their memories towards eternity.

Vampire Bat: Not at all vampires. There are levels.

Vampire Owl: Levels like in Super Mario?

Vampire Bat: Not exactly. But existence for a long period of time matters.

[Gets some french fries and three cups of grape juice].

What is the movie about? :: In 1984, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) works at the Smithsonian Group in Washington DC, and in a flashback, we see that when she was little, she had taken a shortcut to win a tournament among the Amazons. There, Antiope (Robin Wright), the general of the Amazon Army had told her there are no shortcuts, and everything has to achieved with honesty, and her mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the queen of Themyscira had agreed on the same. Even though Diana is doing the usual kind of job in the 1980s, she is also going through the superhero stuff. In the same city, Barbara Minverva (Kristen Wiig) lives, and as a new recruit to The Smithsonian, meets Diana. Barbara is not popular at all, and she feels that nobody likes her. People usually walk around her as if she doesn’t exist, and she is highly disappointed about that kind of treatment with even her name being forgotten.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Barbara becomes friends with Diana very soon, and they notice one item, a stone that contains a Latin inscription which claimed to grant the holder one wish. Barbara wishes that she becomes as good as Diana in all ways, while Diana wishes that Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) comes back to her. They see both wishes being fulfilled very soon, as Barbara finds herself stronger and sharper, as well as liked by everyone around her – she finds out that even her body structure has undergone some change, and she is no longer the clumsy person she used to be, along with finding herself able to lift heavy objects. At the same time, Steve has returned as his soul has possessed another man (Kristoffer Polaha) whose original form can be seen in the mirror reflections. The confusion of entering a new world is with Steve, but with Maxwell Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal) trying to get that stone, it will be the least of their problems.

The defence of Wonder Woman 1984 :: We do feel that the original essence of Wonder Woman is maintained up to an extent, even though it is indeed faded when do a comparison with the previous film. There are some fine action sequences, even though we should have had more grandeur. The best fight is the one in the White House, and showing the helplessness of superheroes making connection with the audience works most of the time. It manages to keep its level high enough among the other DC movies if we make more comparisons with more. The characters in the film are nicely linked with the tale’s progress, and how it finally sets things well for a possible sequel later. There is the message that goes against selfish motive, and going for your desire without thinking about others – against those people who are completely into their ambitions as if people around them do not matter. The setting of 1980s also work really well, and there is a lot of background here that works nicely.

The claws of flaw :: A movie on Wonder Woman can always be better, and there is no doubt about it, for we know what happened in the first film. There could have been more fight scenes around here, and the action could have been bigger. The last fight with the two characters in strange costumes makes things rather weird instead of making everything better in quality. Cheetah should have been a case of terror much earlier as the only character worthy of giving a fight, and should have really had a costume to go with the villainy. The fun that superhero movies usually have, and the dark side that the DC films have had, are not here to make the impact on both sides. The film only gets more and more predictable in its run, and its more and more so by the end. There are moments when CGI doesn’t look that good, especially when the protagonist in the air. There are moments when the movie also feels stretched, and this time even the cameo between credits feel unnecessary.

Performers of the soul :: Gal Gadot, as we always know does remain the strength of the movie, even though there is the feeling of tiredness here in comparison to original Wonder Woman and Justice League. She manages this role very well, as we would expect her too, and the feeling that Wonder Woman brings is different from Marvel’s Captain Marvel – a feeling which is not always easy to manage, but is done really well here. Among these lady superheroes, the gap between Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel is rather too high, with latter as a character is not the person we love. Kristen Wiig does make a pretty good villain character as she handles the spirit, but not much of a Cheetah that we had expected, despite the first half of the movie had her nicely set, even though in a predictable manner. Pedro Pascal does well as the villain who causes the big trouble. Chris Pine returns, but despite everyone having needed the same, this is short-lived.

How it finishes :: This version of Wonder Woman doesn’t match up to the original, and that point is made clear very early into the movie itself. Well, we are sure that it is not possible to match the skill of Marvel here, but we did expect an exception in this case, which didn’t happen though. There was the chance of making some great action sequences here, but they are limited, and Cheetah itself could have been further grand. When we consider the grand scheme about the last movie, this one surely trails behind. But with the entertainment that the movie provides, it is always nice to have another superhero during these times of trouble. The film also has its moments, and we get this on Amazon Prime Video at a time when we are in lockdown. During these times of COVID-19, stay at home, and thus stay safe. After all, entertainment keeps more people at home than anything else. At the same time, let us hope for a better tomorrow.

Release date: 16th December 2020 (United Kingdom), 25th December 2020 (United States), 15th May 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Without Remorse

 

What is the movie about? :: A group of US Navy SEALs are led by Senior Chief John Kelly (Michael B Jordan) through Aleppo in Syria, while the Syrian Civil War is at its peak, and ISIS has a considerable presence in the country. In between all the destruction that they see around them, their mission is to rescue a CIA agent who was earlier taken hostage by ISIS members. But they are shocked and surprised as they come across what seems to a Russian arms depot and not an ISIS safehouse, and the people they were fighting seemed like experts. It turns out that Deputy Director Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell) knew that the mission involved fighting the Russian military, and the team, without knowing what they were facing, only manages to survive and escape with the hostage before an airstrike is called on the location. But only three months later, the military officers who were involved in the operation are murdered one after the other, while John spends his time at home with his pregnant wife Pamela M Kelly (Lauren London) after retiring from the force.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It turns out that John’s home is also attacked at night, and even though he is able to kill one of the attackers, his wife and the unborn baby are killed, while he ends up in critical condition at the hospital. It turns out that it was a group of Russian FSB operatives who attacked them, and it turns out that it is a retaliation for what happened in Syria. But, Robert is not interested in going through the investigation, as even though it is a foreign attack on the US soil, CIA considers the scores settled, with no need to escalate it as an international problem between two nations and their allies around the world. There is also nothing to link the FSB members to the Russian government either. Lt Commander Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) helps John with the needed information, and he takes matter into his hands, as he tracks down the Russian diplomat who issued the passports to the FSB operatives He forces him at gunpoint to provide the name of the surviving assassin, before killing him.

And what else is to happen here? :: John does get the escaped name as Victor Rykov (Brett Gelman), but is sent to prison for what he had done. He also has a fight in the prison, but gets himself in control as he is given an audience with CIA and the rest of the US Department of Defence. United States Secretary of Defense Thomas Clay (Guy Pearce) decides that he would send John with the other operatives to find Victor, as his anger, determination and need for vengeance can be used effectively even though nobody else is certain about it. But even though they travel to Russia in a cargo plane undercover, they are discovered by a Russian fighter plane which shoots them down. This leads to the relation between the United States and Russia reaching a new low after Cold War. They just manage to escape as the flight lands in the sea, and John’s doubts about Robert gets to a new high as he hadn’t taken the same flight with them. Even though he repeats that he knows nothing, there is the feeling that there is something clearly wrong about this particular mission.

The defence of Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse :: We always love to have a movie with a high revenge element turn into something with an international conspiracy. There is enough suspense being built here, and we have some twists to add to it, as many things here are not exactly as what they seem. The action is good, and it is mostly focused on shooting, with the support of some explosions, and the feeling of war is always there, even when it is not really on the screen. The sequences are nicely done, not just with the fights, but also with the settings, reminding one of those nice first person and third person games which we have played in the past – after all, the gamers of early 2000s will surely remember games like Rainbow Six and what followed, including Rogue Spear, Take Down, Raven Shield and others which are also based on the works of Tom Clancy, and took the shooters to another level during the time of release. The movie version is quick and keeps up the pace throughout its run-time here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t add that much new as one would have expected. It could have managed to get rid of some of its predictability here, and there doesn’t seem to be an attempt to add more to the plot, as a deviation from the book has happened as the makers have tried to change the setting to contemporary times. The hero is also a little bit too strong for this kind of a movie, even though he is still not seen as a superhuman as some of our good old blind fans would have liked – they still have Bollywood to have such dumb movies of non-acting megastars. Some of the twists that await us can be sensed, and we have a number of moments when things could have gotten much better. Also, if you are looking for the usual kind of full of action or full movie, that is not going to happen – it is a trend among the viewers from this part of the world. This is certainly the movie which we would have wanted to see as a better one.

The performers of the soul :: Michael B Jordan with his strong performance leads the way here, even when the character does make us feel that there was much more deserved rather than following the safe path. The action as well as emotional side seems to work well for him here, and gets some fine battle scenes to work in his favour. You are often reminded of Will Smith in Gemini Man too. It is said that Keanu Reeves was also offered the main role here, and that would have been nice too, considering what he has been doing in the John Wick series as the hitman without limits. Beyond the protagonist, the one person who makes a big impact is Jamie Bell, who is the kind of person that suits this kind of films, and if a sequel is being made, he deserves to be there. Lauren London doesn’t have much to do in here, and the only female character who gets any importance is Jodie Turner-Smith who plays Commander Karen Greer, and it is played well. Guy Pearce does his job in a neat manner too.

How it finishes :: Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse gets its release in Amazon Prime, and this is indeed the right time to be on OTT at least in India, as this is the season of COVID-19 again, and not many Indian films are releasing on any of these platforms anymore. With the novel on which it is based, written in 1993, and set during the Vietnam War, this one takes a move forward in the timeline, placing itself in the contemporary times as it serves as the origin story of John Clark, a character that is repeated in the other works of the series. There seems to be quite a good number of differences which are to be noted. The fans of the book might or might not like them, but as far as most of us around here are concerned, we haven’t read the work. I would consider this one to be an interesting movie with focus on origins. The opportunity for the sequel can also be seen here, and we can wait to see how another film can build on this.

Release date: 30th April 2021
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Stefano Sollima
Starring: Michael B Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Luke Mitchell, Jack Kesy, Brett Gelman, Colman Domingo, Guy Pearce, Lauren London, Todd Lasance, Cam Gigandet, Jacob Scipio

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Gemini Man

What is the movie about? :: Henry Brogan (Will Smith), is a fifty one year old former Marine Sniper who had managed to go through the terrors of war in different wars in which United States of America was a part of. After finishing his assignments, he has been working as an assassin for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). As he is sent on a mission to assassinate a terrorist on board a bullet train, and after he successfully makes the hit a few milliseconds before it enters a tunnel, he decides to quit the job. But his old friend Jack Willis (Douglas Hodge) tells him that he was tricked, and the person he last murdered was not a terrorist, but a Russian molecular biologist and a Russian operative Yuri Kovacs (Ilia Volok) has proof about it. Janet Lassiter (Linda Emond), the director of the DIA who comes to know about Henry realizing the truth, decides to get him assassinated, and so does Clayton Varris (Clive Owen) the director of GEMINI, a top secret black ops unit.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Meanwhile, while spending time on a fishing boat, Henry realizes that Danny Zakarewski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who was supposed to be the cute, friendly neighborhood boat rental manager is also a fellow DIA agent who retired from Navy earlier. During the same night, everyone who came close to Henry are killed, and Danny herself is almost killed, but manages to fight off the assassin after getting an early warning from Henry. Both Danny and Henry escape to Colombia with Baron (Benedict Wong), who was in the military with the latter, and is now working as a tour operator. With the assassins failing to kill both of them, Clayton sends another one after them, this time, someone who is an expert, and won’t stop until he completed his mission. Meanwhile, Henry hopes to find Yuri and talk to him about the assassination of the molecular biologist and the twist of fate which had followed.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: When the assassin reaches the house, and when Henry comes face to face with him, he realizes that it is just him, about thirty years ago. He resembled Henry very much that Danny ends up asking if he had a relationship when he was young, to which he answers that the closest he was to a woman was with her. Testing the DNA samples of both men, Danny realizes that the assassin is a younger clone of Henry. The clone possessed the same skill sets and even had the allergies from the former assassin. Henry manage to meet Yuri in Hungary who talks to him about the cloning project and the man he assassinated was one of the project’s main scientists. The idea was to produce clones without pain and emotions so that they can be perfect killing machines, and nobody would come looking for them either – there would be nothing much that could be taken from them if captured either. Now, time starts running out for them.

The defence of Gemini Man :: There are some interesting ideas used here by the movie, reminding one of the science fiction action thrillers of a much earlier period, like The 6th Day which had cloning at the core, and the main character being cloned. There are some fine action sequences to go with it, and as the story goes on, we see some humour in there, and the bonding scenes between the main characters are nice. Mary Elizabeth Winstead does have that kind of a combination with Will Smith – she is looking so different from her earlier adventures that it is difficult to recognize her, but she is really good here. The best action sequence is the one involving shootout and motorbike chasing sequences which come quite early into the movie. In the final moments, there are more to add to it though. There is also the question about morality being asked in the end, but that is just a little addition which comes towards it.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much of a suspense or twist in the movie, but there was scope for a lot – The 6th Day had something grand going on underneath, but this one is just too direct with the plans. There are also moments when the strength of Will Smith as the action hero shows signs of fading, even as he does quickly go back up. The movie could have the two going against each other for a long time, until all of a sudden, the big revelation is made as a twist, but this one chooses to go forward with everything well known. Gemini Man could have been John Wick on another day, but not on this day, and with the movie seems to be having a finish with no opening for a sequel, this particular hitman might not be coming back to provide anything more to us. Considering what we have, it doesn’t try to achieve something special, going through the predictable path.

The performers of the soul :: Will Smith guides this movie in his usual style, and we know that the role of assassin suits him well. We had seen him last in Aladdin, where he served as the genie from the lamp. But this one should point directly to Suicide Squad, the highly underrated beauty of a movie where he played expert marksman and assassin, Deadshot, as part of the team of dangerous criminals set to save the world. The character is very much suited to him, and he delivers in usual style, even though it is not that much there with the younger version of him. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been a common name in horror movies, a scream queen who was last seen with full strength in the post-apocalyptic psychological horror thriller which gained much critical and audience acclaim, 10 Cloverfield Lane – with this one, she proves to be fine action material too, maybe the right choice for a Mission Impossible movie. Clive Owen makes a pretty good villain at the same time.

How it finishes :: With the eternal action hero Will Smith and the Scream Queen turned action star Mary Elizabeth Winstead does move this film forward in style, but with the inability to innovate, and the hesitation to try something different, Gemini Man doesn’t rise above its limitations at all times. We know the kind of movies Ang Lee has come up with, from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Life of Pi, and in comparison, this one doesn’t gain the needed strength. But as an entertainer, you cannot question the quality of Gemini Man, because it delivers just that with ease. This surely is your usual kind of an action adventure movie, with the protagonist being hunted by the group he used to be working with, and he has to get away and find a solution – for the same, he has his very small list of allies, not numbering more than two. So, enjoy this one within the genre.

Release date: 11th October 2019
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Linda Emond. Ralph Brown, Douglas Hodge, Ilia Volok

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Charlie’s Angels

Vampire Owl: I remember having watched those two older versions.

Vampire Bat: You mean the movies with Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu.

Vampire Owl: Yes, during those times, it was a change from the usual action movies which we managed to get locally.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I watched the movie at a time when the CD versions were just getting to be popular, replacing the video cassettes.

Vampire Owl: We have to go, like twenty years backwards. We are really old, aren’t we?

Vampire Bat: It is still a very small number of years in vampire time.

Vampire Owl: That is true, but when we look at the actresses involved here, we know that there is more to it than just vampire time.

Vampire Bat: Unless they come with something like Charlie’s Vampires.

Vampire Owl: I don’t think that they would want vampires doing this job.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not, especially if they start running out of the usual options.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: John Bosley (Patrick Stewart), a senior operative, plans and executes a mission with his angels perfectly, and soon, enters retirement, with a programme which appreciates what he had done for a long time during his stay in the organization. Meanhile, Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), an engineer working under the millionaire Alexander Brok (Sam Claflin), wants to take a secret out regarding their new project Callisto, and their head of development, Peter Fleming (Nat Faxon) who is planning something sinister. She understands that the device which was supposed to be used for clean and cheap energy, has potential to be weaponized, and some people already have eyes on that. She has a meeting with Edgar Dessange (Djimon Hounsou), and the two angels operatives Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) and Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) has an eye on them in case something happens.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But, they are attacked by an assassin known only as Hodak (Jonathan Tucker), and are chased all around the city by him, until they end up in a river, and Edgar is dead. Rebekah Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) who is in charge, gets them together, and their injuries and troubles are taken care of by the person whom they referred to as the Saint (Luis Gerardo Mendez). They decide to sneak into Brok’s corporate headquarters so that they can steal the remaining Calisto prototypes before someone manage to use it, and make copies of it. Along with Elena, the other two angels also gets in using different ids, but despite their best efforts, they fail. Fleming has the only existing Callisto models, and they find him traveling to Istanbul, Turkey – they decide to follow them, with Elena also given the angel equipments, to serve as the electronics and computer expert, or rather the hacker. But can they find out the real villain here?

The defence of Charlie’s Angels :: Elizabeth Banks not only acts in this movie, but is also the director, and she has nicely managed to make this version of the angels a very entertaining one. There are some nicely managed action sequences, as heists, explosions and chases become just part of this movie which also manages to have a certain amount of humour maintained throughout its run, and its two hours of run-time ends quickly enough. Most of the credit for the same goes to Naomi Scott, both directly and indirectly. The visuals are good, with some interesting locations being explored by the camera along with the angels. It has to be said that was high time they had another movie in this franchise, as we always have space for films like these which takes things lightly, along with the serious ones which get all the sequels – Mission Impossible kind of stuff. This one is sure to make you ask for a sequel, not making one waiting too long.

The claws of flaw :: Considering the fact that this is a movie which has arrived years after the earlier version, there was a lot of time to bring some innovation, but there is no such thing being attempted here. The movie focuses more on action thriller cliches to make the best out of its material, but it should have opted for changes. The plot also has its own predictable elements, and the twist that it has is rather minute, and is not there to stay. As usual, there is the new recruit, the rookie who will learn things, and finally join the team, as beating up some evil men becomes a reason for them travel all around the world at a time when there was no COVID-19 – maybe they wouldn’t do that these days. You might also miss the great popularity of Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, the three leads of the original version, as the actresses who play the same roles in this movie are those whom most of the film lovers of this part of the world might not be familiar with, except for Kristen Stewart.

Performers of the soul :: Elizabeth Banks, the director plays a major role in this movie, and does that well, and most people will always remember her for the role in the dystopian science fiction thriller, The Hunger Games, and its sequels. But the one who catches our attention the most is Naomi Scott, who plays the girl who changes from being clueless to becoming the angel. She was recently seen in Aladdin, and she was there in Power Rangers with Elizabeth Banks, playing one of the protagonists and the antagonist respectively. Ella Balinska is the next one to catch our attention, a relatively new face to most of us, who hasn’t really watched the movies in which she acted, and she makes one fine angel. Kristen Stewart was the one person whom I doubted when playing an angel because I had only seen her in the Twilight series and Snow White and the Huntsman, but she is surprisingly good here, and along with the other angels, she brings a lot of the funny side into action. Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Tucker are the appreciable male members of the cast.

How it finishes :: When we compare this new version of Charlie’s Angels to the old ones, this one seems to have a certain advantage with what seems to be a very energetic young cast and more fun than those which we had watched a long time ago, but we remember that we also loved them, and had that novelty with bigger names related to it. Not many movies which come back after a long time makes an impact, unless you have a Stephen King novel for support like Doctor Sleep. The movie is one light-hearted, quick, smart and humorous adventure which you will remember for long, and even bring a certain amount of nostalgia related to those older versions. There are only a few movies like Jumanji which can effectively use action and comedy, and Charlie’s Angels is a movie which has risen again to try and do that, and even though not as good as that movie on a game, this one is also a lot of fun to watch.

Release date: 15th November 2019
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks
Starring: Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo, Nat Faxon, Patrick Stewart

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

MIB International

Vampire Owl: This particular franchise has been so old that I am beginning to feel young.

Vampire Bat: Do you know that we have a group, Vampires in Black?

Vampire Owl: We do? What do they do?

Vampire Bat: They wear black, and wander around the castle, as if black is the coolest colour a vampire can wear.

Vampire Owl: So, this VIB does nothing of use.

Vampire Bat: Well, MIB has had another sequel, and so we might be up for more.

Vampire Owl: I think that we should run VIB parallel to MIB because I have so many ideas related to it.

Vampire Bat: What kind of idea do you have?

Vampire Owl: It is regarding a group of vampires wearing black, and facing aliens.

Vampire Bat: I think that people won’t need many more of that, unless created with some really good content.

[Gets a ghee cake and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Molly Wright (Tessa Thompson) is someone who had witnessed her parents’ memories of aliens erased by agents of Men in Black while she helps an alien escape. As her memories of aliens stayed, she started looking for employment in the secret organization which she found out about, but finds out that there is no chance. Everybody thinks that she is delusional, and that there is something really weird about her. With no friends and no life of her own, she finally manages to find the Men in Black after tracing an alien who is taken away by the agents. She discovers the headquarters of the organization quite fast, enters without any hesitation, and makes a fine impression on Agent O (Emma Thompson) who heads the team in United States of America, and after naming her Agent M, sends her to work in London as a probationary agent to know how much she is capable of.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There, Agent M meets High T (Liam Neeson), head of the London branch, and Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), the two of whom are supposed to have stopped an invasion of the Hive, a parasitic race at the Eiffel Tower, many years ago. After that, while High T leads the force, Agent H had become irresponsible, leading to T having to cover up all his failures. M meets H, and manages to go with him in his meeting with his close friend and alien royalty who is killed by some mysterious alien twins able to manifest as pure energy, which the agents are not able to counter. Before dying, the alien royalty provides M with a strange crystal, telling to her that it won’t be useful giving it to H because he had changed after the incident during which he saved the world. It turns out that the crystal is not just the usual thing, and that there is something special about it, but they will have to find it the hard way, while the agency is not happy about the royal alien being killed. So, what is next for the two against all odds? Can they save the world?

The defence of Men in Black International :: As expected, the special effects with the action sequences score more than anything else, and the CGI elements are at fine work here, making the alien presence have glory – after all, the technology has improved so much, and this was to look better in each and every movie. The location explored are really nice, especially Marrakesh in Morocco which provides the best visuals around. MIB does manage to continue as how it used to be in essence, with a big universe with unlimited number of aliens to be saved these days. There is some humour present, even though most of them don’t work, or are repetitive. We can hope to have another movie in the franchise though, including these new characters and some of the old ones, which can prove to be interesting with some extra innovation, for we should never be short of smart ideas as far as alien invasion is concerned.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much different here as far as the plot idea of the Men in Black series is concerned, as each movie works on a similar thing every time, and the disadvantage here is that it lacks those stars whom we have associated this movie franchise with, and there is absolutely no emotional connection here – that side is almost completely done with. We develop no feelings for the protagonists here, and therefore the concern is rather less. There is not much to save here compared to those original movies which we had, and the villain reveal was rather unnecessary, because we could have guessed that from a long time ago, and it was certainly not that good a choice. The twist was pretty much unnecessary, and the best characters in the movie go unexplored. There is also absence of humour, as the funny side here is rather minimal, and it rarely works, leading us to question the direction it is going.

Performers of the soul :: Men in Black will miss Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones this time, and there is no doubt about the same. It might be due to the same reason that we have a pair which worked so well with Thor: Ragnarok to get out of the Avengers world with that grand finish in Avengers: Endgame, and come to this franchise. Yes, they will have their roles to play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Thor and Valkyire, but their combination doesn’t work that well in this movie, even though they are okay together for most part of the movie. Chris Hemsworth does take a little bit of the early Thor attitude in here too, as the proud MIB agent. Tessa Thompson is fine here, but a younger actress playing this role would have been more appropriate. Rebecca Ferguson, the Mission Impossible and Doctor Sleep girl has fine run in her smaller role, while our TakenNon-stop action star Liam Neeson is a fine addition to the movie here, but they could have used him in a better way, at least by the end scenes.

How it finishes :: Men in Black International continues that same format which it had been following for a long time, and through that idea which has been well-established, it manages to be entertaining – after all, there is also the presence of the big names like Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson and Liam Neeson who are there to keep us entertained. There is not much that we will find new in this movie, or to be greater than the previous movies in the franchise, but you have the guarantee because it is this particular franchise that we are talking about. But, it could have had a movie like Charlie’s Angels had, a long time later, but falls short due to the absence of that humour and an energetic cast. Yet, it is the movie that you watch for being Men in Black with all the aliens and saving the world stuff.

Release date: 14th June 2019
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: F Gary Gray
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, Emma Thompson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.