Kong: Skull Island

Vampire Owl: Oh, Mr. Kong. I have heard that the humans used to call him King Kong. What happened to the king title?

Vampire Bat: Well, it seems that the humans has once again decided that only the mankind is the king and ruler above all species on Earth.

Vampire Owl: It is absurd. We are cent percent better than them. These people got such a huge mountain of ego that jumping off it to their sensible side is rather suicide.

Vampire Bat: What can we do? They are just proud of one thing or the other all the time. Then there are a few others who kill their own kind in the name of animals.

Vampire Owl: I don’t understand these humans. I actually understand werewolves better, which should be why are having a war with them.

Vampire Bat: Even humans never understand each other.

Vampire Owl: I would have been surprised if they did.

Vampire Bat: They even form teams to kill each other.

Vampire Owl: I wish werewolves had such teams, but they are so united.

Vampire Bat: Maybe Kong could work to get rid of those really bad ones among them.

[Gets three cups of strong tea with Mariegold biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: We see that two fighter planes which were going through combat in the air crashes on an unknown island. The American soldier named Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly) and a Japanese soldier named Gunpei Ikari (Miyavi) who have been fighting each other as the World War II was coming near the end, continues the combat, this time on the ground. While Gunpei manages to get the advantage with his samurai sword, a giant hand emerges from under the cliff, and the two gets back in shock. Later, in the year 1973, a team is sent by the United States to an island in the South Pacific known as Skull Island intending to discover what awaits inside before its Cold War opponent the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics decides to find its secrets first. The newfound opponent getting there before them was something that they couldn’t agree to, and due to the same, a former British Special Air Service named Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) is hired as the tracker to guide the new expedition.

So, what happens next? :: William Randa (John Goodman) is in charge of the operation, and intends to prove something, and Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) who has suspicions that there some secret warfare going on, also manages to join the gang to know what war is coming up after the failure of the Vietnam war. When a team lead by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) joins the expedition, her suspicions increase. As the team drops explosives at different part of the island according to the plan by the seismologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) to map out the island, they face something which they had not witnessed before, a giant creature which reveals itself as a huge ape, of the size of a skyscraper – the creature attacks the helicopters, easily destroying all air units, killing a number of men, and the others crashing at different parts of the island.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Preston feels that there is more than what meets the eye about this island, and when confronted, William reveals that he has been tracking these monsters for a long time, and there is a secret government wing which deals with these supernatural creatures, and they have been trying to get enough proof about the same, so that this possible threat against humanity could be dealt with, in one way or the other. He asks Preston to get him out of there, so that he could prove to the outside the world that such creatures exist, and there is reason for humans to be afraid of the monsters, thus proving that he has always been right, and not a nutcase. But Preston is more interested in something else, to kill the giant ape which murdered his soldiers – he would not stop until he sees the monster dead. The other team meets Hank Marlow who had survived on the island from the Second World War times, and he tells them that it is not Kong whom they should be worried about, as there are more, including the Skull crawlers – well, will anyone survive all these horror?

The defence of Kong: Skull Island :: You know what to expect of this movie, and you know that there is no chance of such a movie doing terribly – well, this one really manages to work on that formula so nicely. There is no shortage of fun in an old-fashioned tale about an island full of monsters, and will some skill, they have brought more quality into that idea. The special effects are too good, and CGI, as usual is nothing less than grand – we see more than one creature causing trouble, and we see the monsters battling each other, as we had seen in the last Godzilla movie, and this one doesn’t have that dark setting; the whole setting on the island is just some great joy to watch. We are also have a certain improvement from the 2005 version of King Kong, and this feels so much bigger on the screen. You will end up asking for more of Kong after this movie, and we have the monster who is capable of more than just destruction. Here, you will get to witness the monster power and all the action with less drama.

The claws of flaw :: You will always want more with a monster movie with the giant ape. The human characters are also very less significant in this movie which provides them only secondary or even lower status compared to the monsters on whom the movie is all about – we have so many of them here, but not much is there to be done with them. We would have also wished for more monsters – Kong could have used all the space used by humans too, because they do less and be the bad side of the movie, despite a lot of talent being present there. They could have at least thought and talked further about a philosophical side like Godzilla of 2014 did. We also wanted terrifying sequences with those which were called skull crawlers, or even other creatures who had the scope to unleash terror. Getting closer to simple monster horror would have been the best point of this movie, but this one chooses to go around on so many occasions – we can forgive most of them, but the viewers have to wonder what would have happened otherwise.

How it finishes :: Kong: Skull Island leaves us with the idea that there are some lines which shouldn’t be crossed, and that humans are not in control of nature or Earth, as they think – there will always be enough within this world to teach humans one lesson or two. We had seen the same in the movie Godzilla when balance was brought, and humanity was saved as monsters battled each other. There is even more to come in that case with Godzilla: King of the Monsters coming up in 2019, and the two movie series combining to bring Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020. Well, the monsters are going to attack our theatre screens more and more, and lets get ready for the same by watching Kong: Skull Island, which is the one King Kong movie which will take you back to your childhood, and enjoy this new, superior take of the myth with all that nostalgia and also the newly found glory with the best of visual effects, and the wonderful evolution of the tale of the giant ape. Well, when a monster calls, you have to listen and see the wonder that he is.

Release date: 10th March 2017
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly, Eugene Cordero, Miyavi, Richard Jenkins, Marc Evan Jackson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Non-Stop

non-stop (2)

That prayer for release :: People have many reasons to pray for, but one thing that I have prayed for is the release of Non-Stop. We have known that it did release in India on a much later date than its United States release, and thanks to the PVR Cinemas website which thinks that I am from Bangalore and shows me the timings there (when not showing the Chennai timings), I know that it did release there and still not here, just like a number of other movies including I Frankenstein, Ender’s Game, Oldboy and Prisoners making one wonder what is wrong with these people. For a movie like Non-Stop which has someone like Liam Neeson doing what he does the best, one has to be surprised that it took so much time to grace the theatres here, and now it has come with Bangalore Days, and one is left to wonder how stupid is that. Well, it is there in not many theatres and so I guess it is not really another official release. It just proves that multiplex owners are lacking in common sense, and this absence hurts them in collections as well as the movie fans. Well, everyone has a reason to pray, and the prayers are answered now.

What is it about? :: William Marks (Liam Neeson) is an air marshal who is more of an alcoholic after the depression over the death of his daughter. As he travels from New York to London and with the flight travelling away from coast and over the Atlantic Ocean, he gets text messages from an unknown source stating that one person will die every twenty minutes unless a sum of one hundred and fifty dollars is transferred into a specified account. He attempts to find the truth with Jack Hammond (Anson Mount), the other air marshal on the plane, but that doesn’t go on well as Jack is killed. Now, with the help of the person sitting next to him, Jen Summers (Julianne Moore) and an air hostess Nancy Hoffman (Michelle Dockery), he goes on trying to find the person who is behind the threat. But the people in the flight gets suspicious as he doesn’t reveal anything, and those on the ground are pretty sure that he is hijacking the plane and not investigating anything. Between all these, and also with a bomb discovered in the middle, can the air marshall come up with enough to save one hundred and fifty passengers on the plane?

The defence of Non-Stop :: The best defence of the movie is Liam Neeson; while Arnold Schwarzenegger might have lost his touch because he is old, this man is getting better as he is getting old, which is why he doesn’t need to be in any of The Expendables. We are given one of the last action heroes that we will have, without martial arts flurry or special effects overdose, and he himself is a living defence. He takes us into the middle of the thrills just a few minutes after the flight takes off, with the stranger striking, and that too with a dual nature of being the investigator as well as the suspect. The thrills stay from then to the end, and even as it leaves us to make some guesses, it certain that the best guesses are not the result. There are so many suspects for us that we can start from one end and continue to the other, just like our protagonist is doing in the movie. It remains intense as well as entertaining, never ceasing to be the thriller that it is supposed to be. It has nicely used its setting to have an advantage over what would have happened if it wouldn’t have occurred anywhere else. The movie has managed that all that was expected of it, and with no denial of the same, comes its defence.

The claws of flaw :: Some people ask for logic, and it is a surprise that they would ask for it in this movie which has remained as close to the same as it could, under the circumstances and the environment. They are mostly the fanboys and fangirls who are actually more interested in seeing motor-bikes turning into bikes and huge super-bikes running on a small thread as in Dhoom 3 or complete nonsense as in Krrish 3. They make dumb Bollywood movies grand success by lending their eyes to stuff that could go straight into the garbage can, and when there are Hollywood movies which keeps its logic working according to the setup of the movie, they say that the movie is stupid, but it is not for the common viewer to pay any attention to such stuff. The climax and the ending are of lower quality, compared to the movie as a whole, especially the first half and the first part of the second. This one does remind the viewer of Die Hard and its sequel, with a man against all odds and a flight with hijackers involved. Flaw finders can run around this one, but can’t take away the quality that it has maintained throughout the movie.

Performers of the soul :: The man whom we loved in Schindler’s List is now one of those super action stars whose movies we can watch without bothering much about the entertainment factor. There were always Taken, Unknown, The Grey and The A-Team which defined the same. He was one star that we could trust with no doubts, and even the more complicated Chloe turned out to be pretty good. He has been Zeus, he fought the Nazis, secret organizations, terrorists, wolves in different movies and even manage to hold one Victor Hugo classic on his shoulder, now how can one doubt him? We never did, which is why we chose this one over Maleficent. Julianne Moore comes up with a character who helps our protagonist, but not without creating that needed shadow of doubt which follows her, and she has carried it with her not lacking in what is needed. Michelle Dockery has smaller, but quite important role as the air hostess, and happens to be the most beautiful person on that dangerous flight. These are actually the three people who we mostly notice, and talking about the villains who come out as a surprise would be a crime.

Soul exploration :: When we were there to watch the movie, it was going to be cancelled, with not enough audience for a show to run, which is eight according to them. But thankfully, some people who couldn’t get the tickets for another movie (Bangalore Days) did save the day, and it is thus evident that one movie helps the other, like the Malayalam movie Drishyam helped three movies in our local theatre during its run, Our Indian Pranayakatha, 1983 and London Bridge. Supported by the hopes of scoring at the expense of another movie, Non-Stop could have done much better with an earlier release, as it asks the viewers questions about how safe they are, and how true can the assurances of the government be. We already know how media goes after breaking news twisting the facts, and how the appearances can be deceiving no matter how close a view we can manage to get, and a further display of the same also comes with this movie. The questions that the movie asks may feel to be without answers, but I guess that is how it is supposed to be. No matter what changes, there are a few questions that we can never manage to answer, and there something that will never get better.

How it finishes :: Non-Stop won’t do that good here with its horribly late release and in the presence of Bangalore Days which is expected to be good and if it is not, will be hailed so by the fans and the youth; we know how fan-boys and fan-girls work. The challenge from its Hollywood opponent will also be high, especially as it has the power of being new. But it is certain that there will be a lot of people who really want to see Non-Stop and with the face of Liam Neeson on the poster, this should bring a few people in, that’s all. This weekend’s winner in Kerala will surely be Bangalore Days though, and questioning the same would be just madness. There are positive reviews out already, the lowest ones being around average or just above average. Non-Stop is that movie which I had missed, and was sure not to get an opportunity to watch again on the big screen, but I guess I can just be glad that I had this chance out of nowhere. Liam Neeson is made for the big screen, he is that good and I made sure its on th big screen.

Release date: 14th March 2014 (India); 28th February 2014 (US)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Jason Butler Harner, Anson Mount, Lupita Nyong’o, Omar Metwally, Jason Butler Harner, Corey Hawkins, Frank Deal, Shea Whigham, Bar Paly, Jon Abrahams, Quinn McColgan

non-stop copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.