Possessor

Vampire Owl: We do feel that we are possessed very often.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but they are gentle spirits of the forest.

Vampire Owl: There are gentle possessors. Possessing another person’s body is evil.

Vampire Bat: The gentle spirits of the forests have the right to possess.

Vampire Owl: It is not that gentle a possession. I know that.

Vampire Bat: There is a deal between Vampire Elders and the Spirits. You have to honour that as part of our allegiance.

Vampire Owl: There is no honour among non-vampire entities.

Vampire Bat: Honour is just a word. The definition goes by our actions.

Vampire Owl: Possession of another person’s body is not an act of honour.

Vampire Bat: Well, honour depends a lot on the opinions anyway.

[Gets some potato chips and three glasses of Spanish delight shake].

What is the movie about? :: In a certain alternate reality, Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is living as an assassin, but that requires her to take control of others’s bodies to carry out the murders which have become part of her life. The agency of the assassins use an implany installed in the captured host’s brain to control the person, and Vos’ consciousness is inserted in there. Vos decides how to go through the murder using the new body. After the job is completed, she forces the host to commit suicide, or get shot by people, which is the basically the only way for her to get back to her own body. She is considered to be one of the best assassins the group ever had, but as she spends too much of time in the bodies of others, imitating them, she struggles with her identity, and often fails to understand who she really is. She has to practice in her real life to speak normally, just like she has to practice before taking the identity of others. The memories of the murders which she had committed continues to haunt her at all time, spoiling her limited time with her family.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who is in control of the agency, is confident about Vos, but hopes that she is detached from her family, which would make her an even better assassin, as attachments are holding her back. She also holds on to lot of her memories from the past. She is forced to take the next assignment too early despite not being that stable – this time, she has to take the body of Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) and murder the host’s lover Ava Parse (Tuppence Middleton) and his future father-in-law John Parse (Sean Bean), who is a wealthy CEO – the large amount of money and the properties are the target here. In the end, the CEO’s stepson would be taking over the company, and this would also bring the agency a lot of money. But the mission is only a partial success, as Ava is dead, but not the main target, John Parse survives. Vos is not able to escape from the body either, as she cannot make him commit suicide. She understands that she cannot leave this body due to a damaged implant, and she is now strong enough to overpower his will. Now, an inside crisis begins.

The defence of Possessor :: Possessor does have some fine ideas behind it, and we feel them to be strong in the first half of the film. The initial scene is quite a strong one, and it is what makes us very much interested in seeing what is to be followed. There is the courage to go divergent, which is seen here, even though the same losses the strength after showing so much strength in the beginning. The question is indeed asked about identity here, and the problems when one person tries to becomes someone else. It tells the viewers that the basic nature always wins, and you just cannot try to be another person like acting a role. The movie does remain dark throughout its run, and there is nothing like hope of positivity being thrown here, even though we feel that there is a family with a child involved, and there would be a “happily ever after” coming up soon. Well, we know that reality is a dark, tragic space where people are only interested in selfish deeds, and therefore, this movie more or less reflects the same. After all, humanity is not of hope in the present, past or the future.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t really have the strength to go through this idea with the visuals, which could have been better, and the action could have been stronger too. The science fiction elements could have also been used with clarity around here. Some more clarity would have only helped the movie, and as it moves towards the end, the focus seems to be somewhat lost, even though the beginning stages were making us wishing for the better. Too many images come and go here, but without them coming together well enough, this cannot be considered as the best of use of the available resources. You can always have a Hitman, John Wick, Gemini Man or Anna doing their job, but not without some fine visualizations. The early death of Tuppence Middleton is also disappointing, considering the fact that she was one nice addition to the film. In the end, one does wonder if all these were for this one thing, as you were expecting that grand finish, and not something like this.

Performers of the soul :: Andrea Riseborough’s performance is the one to remember, and there is no doubt about the same. Her work is limited due to some strange visions and the lack of clarity which the movie has. Christopher Abbott does a pretty good job, but having the mind-controlled, confused character not leaving out the complication at any moment, leaves him limited too. Tuppence Middleton is the actress whom we had seen in a supporting role in Jupiter Ascending, and she has the skill to come up with something notable out of nowhere – it is no exception here. She is lovely, but we don’t get to see her for more, as her character is killed, and we see another work from her vanish too early for our liking. Sean Bean is very good yet again, and when he is there, we love how things proceed. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays another complicated character who has a few moments to remember. Rossif Sutherland’s role is rather limited here, and when we begin to feel that Kaniehtiio Horn was going to show promise, her character is also killed.

How it finishes :: Possessor seems to be the one movie which is more critically acclaimed and award-winning at the film festivals. The movie is interesting, and does have its moments, but one might not find it as that grand as those critical appreciations suggest. As I had written in the earlier paragraphs, the idea is very good and so are the messages, but they could have shown in a better way, and some of the characters could have also been used in better ways rather than just killing them. Yet, we are interested in the divergent idea and the path less taken, as we look forward to seeing such risks being taken further. If you like the difference in ideas being taken into consideration without holding back, this would appeal to you. Other than that, this one goes on a slow journey which begins strong, and gets weaker by the end, not strengthening its possibilities. So, it is a personal decision to be made on watching this film, and as these are the times of Corona virus pandemic, most decisions are indeed personal in nature, as solitude comes with different pandemics of the world, and the quarantine that follows the same.

Release date: 2nd October 2020
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Brandon Cronenberg
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Tuppence Middleton, Kaniehtiio Horn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland, Sean Bean, Raoul Bhaneja, Gabrielle Graham, Gage Graham-Arbuthnot

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Birds of Prey

Vampire Owl: There are not many kinds of vampire birds.

Vampire Bat: But not all of our birds hunt.

Vampire Owl: You stopped letting the birds hunt?

Vampire Bat: Well, the sky needed to be safer for the gargoyles.

Vampire Owl: You are calling for the gargoyles during a pandemic?

Vampire Bat: They are made of stone, and immune to any pandemic.

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that these can’t catch the virus?

Vampire Bat: They are immune to the injection too.

Vampire Owl: That saves us some vaccines.

Vampire Bat: I would have loved to believe that the undead are basically immune, as the virus cannot affect the dead even after rising from the grave. But the research from Doctor Frankenstein says otherwise.

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

What is the movie about? :: A number of years have passed after the defeat of Enchantress in the hands of the team of supervillains, Suicide Squad, and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has broken up with Joker (Jared Leto), and despite going through the procedure many times, this time she believes that they are separated forever. She remembers her time as psychiatrist and also her time before that, as she tries to go on with her lonely life, and for the same, she also gets a hyena, but nobody really believes that she really broke up with Joker. She doesn’t really have any good friends, but everyone seems to know her for the association with Joker. To announce her break up to everyone, she blows up Ace Chemicals were she had her best time with Joker, and this time, she gets the attention of everyone. Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) is the first one to come after Harley for exploding Ace chemicals, and others who have held a grudge against her also follows. Ending the relationship with Joker does have its own negative effects for her.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A good number of people now wants her dead, or at least punished for what she had been doing. This includes not just the criminals and police, but also anyone on the streets whom she had offended – it includes a large number of people. Without Joker’s protection, she finds it difficult to move around safely. But she figures out that she will live her life her own way this time. The biggest mafia leader of the area is Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), the crime lord who wishes to have full control over the Gotham City. Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) earlier worked as a singer in his club, but gets a promotion as his driver during important meetings, after he sees her fight on he streets. Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), the right hand man of Sionis losses a diamond which was supposed to be very important to him, and it turns out that it was taken by Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a young pickpocket who doesn’t hesitate to steal anything from anyone on the streets. The girl also swallows the diamond before being taken to the police station.

And what else is to follow with this strange series of incidents in Gotham City? :: At the same time, a vigilante known as The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) also appears on the streets, killing people all around the city, and nobody really knows what she is after. It does gives more of a head ache to Renee though, as she has been someone not able to get the credit even after working so hard in the police department. With murders happening with crossbows, and Harley also on the loose, Sionis wants the diamond back as soon as possible. For the same, he asks the help of every mercenary in the city, including Harley, who had also started calling herself a professional mercenary with her previous experience in Task Force X, the government funded group of criminals and supervillains. Harley breaks into the police station, and a number of mercenaries also follow her, but she manages to escape with the pickpocket kid, only to be continued to be hunted throughout the city. Dinah and Renee want to save the kid too, but time is running out.

The defence of Birds of Prey :: The film scores with its cast as expected, and while Margot Robbie has already proven herself as the crazy lover of Joker with a PhD in Psychiatry and experience with treating the craziest, Mary Elizabeth Winstead who is known more as the scream queen of horror flicks, has done fine work here – others are okay, even though I wouldn’t consider them to belong here as much as these two manages. The final fight scene scores high with the ambience being used there, and it is something which suits a horror movie more. There are also some humour added here and there, and for that too, the film is highly dependent on Margot Robbie, who seems to have got into that character so well again, and that makes one wonder what would have happened if Joker was also there. The fight sequences are nice, mostly when related to her, and even though left with less number of scenes, Mary Elizabeth Winstead also drops in nicely. The film is also full of colours, and they provide a special feeling to the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The absence of at least a cameo from Joker does have some effect on this film which could have used a little bit more of madness, as there seems to be a little bit too much sanity in here. Along with the same, the character of Rosie Perez seems to be weaker in comparison, and Ewan McGregor plays not that strong a villain as one would expect, with him being only a billionaire with a lot of henchmen – nothing more for him here. Some moments in the movie are also too silly, even when staying within the limits of silliness, and could have been avoided. The movie could have been shorter that way, and it should have stuck to Quinn to make that happen in a better manner. It is also a little bit too violent without reason, a quality which is not the best explored by a DC film. The film also leaves a question if it was trying to be a little bit of Charlie’s Angels by focusing on it as an action movie, but it is understandable, because Harley Quinn is that kind of a character, and only a little bit of the metahuman strength is unleashed here by anyone.

How it finishes :: DC Extended Universe always required more films which though differently, and this is surely one of them. There is a space being left behind after Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame nicely finished the biggest events of Marvel Extended Universe, and now it is up to DC to do the same and bring something grand, despite Justice League not doing that well as it should have managed, and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice failing to gain appreciation. Unlike what was expected, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are the hopes of DC, and I would say that Suicide Squad was one too, even though many people were not really able to get their heads into it. Taking Harley Quinn out of it, and making this film will only help the next part of the second film on the squad when released, for Birds of Prey is a fun-filled entertainer which maintains the same feeling up to an extent, even though not beautifully poetic as that film happened to be. Once again, fun is guaranteed for sure.

Release date: 7th February 2020
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Cathy Yan
Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bob Biswas

Vampire Owl: I am interested in this from the trailer itself.

Vampire Bat: There is a lot to be interested about, in there.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I feel that this could be my favourite film of this lead actor.

Vampire Bat: Abhishek Bachchan has been in need of such roles for long.

Vampire Owl: It seems that everyone around knows this particular character though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the titular character is from a film which we didn’t watch.

Vampire Owl: Well, as this is a spin-off, I guess that it is fine enough.

Vampire Bat: You can always have more though.

Vampire Owl: I wonder if that would be possible with more theatre releases.

Vampire Bat: We have shifted to OTT from theatres. The rest will be history.

[Gets some French fries and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Bob Biswas (Abhishek Bachchan) is a former insurance agent who has been in a comma for years, and has now come back to his senses, only to find out that he doesn’t really remember anything, despite the best efforts of everyone around him. He is told that he has a wife, Mary Biswas (Chitrangada Singh) along with their daughter Mini (Samara Tijori) and son Benny (Ronith Arora). It turns out that he has earned almost nothing from his work as an insurance agent, and he also understands that they are still living in a small rented home. Mary and Benny tries their best to make him remember his past through different incidents which serve as catalysts. Mini spends all her time studying so that she could become a doctor at some point of time. She is so much focused on the same that she even looks out for drugs which help her to concentrate better on her studies. As she finds a new kind of drug which can help her in examinations, there is also the addiction that comes with it. She wanders through risky territories searching for the same.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: One day, two strangers, Jishu Narag (Bhanu Uday) and Kharaj Sahu (Vishwanath Chatterjee) approach him, and ask him to get back to what he has been doing the best, which is assassination of chosen targets. He doesn’t really believe them though, and keep on going with his life, as well as meet some possible clients as an insurance agent. Soon, he finds himself murdering a man in the neighborhood, as that person was disturbing his daughter with his loud singing, and this comes as a surprise for him. He continues the murders, as a dealer of the drugs, Bubai (Purab Kohli) and his henchmen also become his victims, with him regaining his lost talents. Later, there are other targets added to his list. Indira Verma (Tina Desai) is in charge of the investigation about a few murders which have happened around. She suspects that Bob and Mini have something to do with them. Meanwhile, there is a war going on between different gangs, and some police officers are also part of it. Still, it is yet to be seen if something can be done about it.

The defence of Bob Biswas :: There is something not Bollywood-like about this movie, and that is indeed the strength here. Shot in the city of Joy, Kolkata does give this film some real life with the visuals and the lifestyle. There is always something different about a movie which is shot in Kolkata, and it is not just about Hindi films – we feel a lovely divergence, and a joy which comes with the nickname of the city itself. This kind of setting also suits the film’s genre-blurring, as it is partly a thriller and at times it is drama, with a good dose of action coming at times and getting stronger by the end of the film, as the mystery is finally unveiled almost completely. The emotions run high around here, as much as the mystery which has the need to get solved early enough. There is also a good amount of humour in store here, especially with some black comedy, often related to murders and death. The same is more or less about Abhishek Bachchan, who has done a job which one would love to remember him for – not like the highly forgettable sequels of Dhoom, which have gained all the money at the box-office.

Positives and negatives :: Bob Biswas can be felt as a little bit slow, and kind of lengthy, considering the fact that in the early moments, it doesn’t pick up the pace. Even when it gets into that crime memory quick enough, the overall pace is still the same – yet, there is beauty in this slow pace. There are also reminders of Hollywood movies here, like The Accountant, John Wick, Gemini Man and Hitman, but nothing much is that clear about the origins and rise of this particular assassin, and instead of making this one an origin story, everyone is more concerned about making sure that this one keeps going towards a possible sequel. The subplot doesn’t really work that much, and the movie could have done well without the same. The Kolkata settings could have also been used in the form of some trams at night, the crowded railway stations and the charming old buses, all good enough to contribute to a tale like this. Also, too many characters are dead very easily, and we also have the absence of a single strong villain here, despite menace being always there. Those who seems to be good enough for the same are also dead early, much to our dismay.

The performers of the soul :: This is Abhishek Bachchan’s best movie in a long time, and one can only be glad to see him in this particular avatar. He has blended in nicely into this character with some special problems. Chitrangada Singh plays the lady lead really well too, and we don’t see her that often these days. Samara Tijori who plays the daughter, also has some interesting work to do, even though the character doesn’t get the dimensions as it deserves. She could surely be a talent for the future. Tina Desai’s work comes as the big surprise, as we have been remembering her for the much underrated, but very much memorable thriller, Table No. 21 which also had a song to remember with her around. One has to wonder why she didn’t get that many big roles, as she makes a solid police officer here too, reminding one of Tapsee Pannu in Naam Shabana and Baby – maybe her character could also have a full-length action movie spin-off at some point of time. We note the other characters too, but not that much individually in comparison to these.

How it finishes :: Bob Biswas is known to have come from the movie Kahaani, but I haven’t watched that particular film, and have manage to watch only its sequel. My only relation there is with Kahaani 2, which proved to be a pretty good movie. This movie is also strong with its themes, as guilt and remorse keeps on running through here, with a church and a cemetery at the centre. The message about one’s terrible crimes coming back to haunt the person is evident, and we see the man going John Wick in style, making the final moments of the film very much enjoyable. Unless you are looking for the traces of a Vidya Balan film from a long time ago while making comparisons, this one is surely a fully enjoyable journey despite the slower pace at parts. There is always something about this film, and you have to keep the Bollywood-style requirements away, as this one completely moves away from that mindless comedy. With the theatres opening again, these OTT films have to be very good to keep one watching things online, and Bob Biswas succeeds in doing the same.

Release date: 3rd December 2021 (ZEE5)
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Diya Annapurna Ghosh
Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Chitrangada Singh, Paran Bandopadhyay, Purab Kohli, Barun Chanda, Bhanu Uday, Amar Upadhyay, Kanchan Mullick, Samara Tijori, Ronith Arora, Ditipriya Roy, Karanuday Jenjani, Vishwanath Chatterjee, Kunal Verma, Pabitra Rabha, Yusuf Hussain, Tina Desai, Rajatabha Dutta

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cadaver

Vampire Owl: I have got some doubt if they are talking about us.

Vampire Bat: This is surely not about the undead. You can have my assurance.

Vampire Owl: Well, dead people have no rights in the human world. So, we cannot be sure.

Vampire Bat: Such doubts that you have are usually wrong.

Vampire Owl: This is just our second Norwegian film to be watched.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the last one, Lake of Death was a good one, right?

Vampire Owl: There is something sinister about these movies. I can feel it.

Vampire Bat: You can reserve your feelings for later, after watching the film.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but I am a vampire of extreme doubt, you know that.

Vampire Bat: Yet, you remain the leader of a large vampire battalion.

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

What is the movie about? :: One of the big Norwegian cities was hit by a nuclear disaster, and people struggling to survive with devastation all around. There is no hope for future in this post-apocalyptic situation – food is very difficult to find, and there is also no electricity. Dead bodies could be seen in different parts of the city with devastated buildings, and the climate seems to be very rough, as news about nuclear disasters, conflicts and possible world wars are everywhere. Leonora (Gitte Witt) and Jacob (Thomas Gullestad) live in this particular city with their little child, Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman). The child has regular nightmares, as they live alone in what seems to be an abandoned apartment. They understand that they cannot just hang in there with nothing left other than each other. It is then that they find out that there is a theatre play happening nearby, with a free meal. They understand that it is their chance to have some food for the family, and decides to go there at night, even though they do have some initial doubts about the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Leonara hopes that these are the signs of things getting better, and her optimism leads them to the thaetre building – she feels that even if the meals are not enough, they could still have some fun, which the child desperately needs. Even though Alice is first refused entry, the hotel director, Mathias (Thorbjorn Harr), personally gets there and allows the child inside. The building seems to the one last thing standing tall in between all the destruction around. They are all happy to see what is like a new world for them, with a lot of food and it is more like a festival. Everyone seems starved, and they all eats as much as they want. There are other people who are also there for the first time. Mathias tells the guests that the play will be performed by using the whole hotel without curtain, seats and intermission. Everything during the night would be part of the show, with spectators given masks to wear, and the actors would be without the masks, as they move around.

And things can get only stranger in this world of chaos :: The performance starts all of a sudden, without a warning. The guests have the option to attend any performance at any part of the huge building with so many rooms and floors. Everyone keeps looking for things that would catch their interest, and there are so many different spaces without masked people. As everyone keeps walking around, soon Leonara and Jacon understand that Alice is not with them anymore. They remember seeing her just before, but now she seems lost. They keep searching for them, while others also seems to have lost people who were with them. Soon, it seems that there are no more spectactors, and all of them seems to have disappeared without trace. The show still seems to continue in the same manner, but without people. There are some strange trapdoors and creepy rooms around, while things only get more sinister as they keep moving on. It seems that we have more than what meets the eye with this particular building and the show – how dangerous is it?

The defence of Cadaver :: There seems to be so many mysteries hidden in this particular world, and after the initial introduction to the world of chaos hit by an apocalyptic world, we have a terrifying post-apocalyptic world outside, and we are then introduced into something even more frightening inside a building, that is two levels of horror unleashed without warning. The world inside is creepier than one can imagine. The structure, with its creepy corridors, rooms, paintings, darkness – this old-style building is something which will stay in our minds for a very long time. The terror that the movie brings feels much realistic than it is supposed to be, because it is more or less a reflection of humanity and the inherent evil that has led it for a long time throughout history. People have always been evil, as William Golding had shown in Lord of the Flies, a long time ago – it is the same reflection that we see here. As we look at where humanity has reached as of now, what happens in this film is only a little distant probability, for modernity has taken a part of everyone’s soul, as people go for riches above everything else.

Positives and negatives :: The film could have made itself a bigger blood and gore fest with terrifying secrets being brought to light on after the other, but it gains some remarkable ground in its current form. There were more opportunities in between, with all those strange acts being possible with this premise – the film could have used it for the better. The conclusion is pretty good, there are some moments in between that seems to stretch the movie rather than doing anything else. There is also a little bit of predictability, but we can go past that quick enough. Yet, when you are transported into this particular world, you are more or less in a mystery which seems to get thicker and thicker as time passes. When you have a horror thriller set inside a strange building which is part of a post-apocalyptic world, what can be there other than consistent scope of danger? Well, that much has been achieved really well with this particular movie which thrives on its atmosphere again and again. The idea of survival of the fittest, when applied here works remarkably well. The performances are pretty good, but that is not the focus here.

How it finishes :: This Norwegian film seems to rise above the usual horror flicks, as it rises above the genre which has depleted some of its strengths due to modernity and the lack of belief in traditions. The way in which Cadaver uses its scares should come as inspiration to Hollywood too, as one cannot always depend on The Conjuring, Insidious, Annabelle, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe among others to do the thing, and even come up with more and more sequels, for originality matters. Cadaver is innovative enough to create something special out of an already terrifying premise, and the ability to display some extra skills to keep the audience engaged makes sure that this is one of the most effective horror flicks of these times. The atmosphere, setting, situations – all seems to come together so well. If you haven’t watched this one, you are missing the opportunity to watch a well-made horror movie making unexpected impact. This is indeed a film to stay with you even after the whole thing ends – as effective as you can expect from such a world of mystery.

Release date: 22nd October 2020
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Jarand Herdal
Starring: Gitte Witt, Thomas Gullestad, Thorbjorn Harr, Tuva Olivia, Kingsford Siayor, Maria Grazia Di Meo, Jonatan Rodriguez, Trine Wiggen

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rogue City

Vampire Owl: A rogue city is what we can call a city belonging to the werewolves.

Vampire Bat: You are classifying a whole species into rogues.

Vampire Owl: I think that this should have been done as a declaration a long time ago.

Vampire Bat: Vampire Elders have been against the same since last war.

Vampire Owl: They can say anything, as they are too old to take a strong stand.

Vampire Bat: We cannot devalue the werewolves that much.

Vampire Owl: We have done that for zombies, and so we can do the same everyone.

Vampire Bat: Well, not for the witches, for we can never do that.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I know. It is never the good time to blame a witch.

Vampire Bat: At least we get to agree on one thing in the end.

[Gets a French Naugha cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: Marseille is caught in the middle of gang wars, as there is something dreadful happening at all times. There are drug deals, smuggling, murders and robberies related to these gangs, which has put a lot of pressure on the police force. A new police chief arrives, and the risk for the police force has never been this high in an already dangerous city which cannot afford mistakes from the side of cops. There are always talks about honour, honesty, courage and other qualities along with quotes from the Holy Bible and other literature, but none of these matters as there seems to be a war going on at all times, sometimes directly, and at other times, hidden for normal view. There is no love, but there is war, and everything seems to be fair in that, and one often wonders which side a person is on, or who is at risk of being killed by which gang. To this uncertain future of violence, a few people seems to be able to make some changes.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, there is a shoot-out at a party, and Mario Costa (Moussa Maaskri) who is in charge of the investigation fakes a report that the man whom they got in custody attacked him, and was shot dead in the process. At the same time, there are rumours about top secret information being provided to the gangsters by some corrupt police officers. The people who were killed in the shoot-out were part of an Arab gang who were trying to increase their influence among the territories of other gangs. They hope to find out what the dead man was doing in the club, and a determined officer Richard Vronski (Lannick Gautry) is determined to find out what really happened with the shooting, and he also hopes to find the rat in the police force and deal with it himself rather than waiting for the superior officers to make a move. But it seems that all of these is bigger than them, and they might be fighting something which they don’t really know that well.

The defence of Rogue City :: There seems to somewhat a realistic mode being followed in this particular movie. We have a city in France that has gangster infestation, and some of the police also takes sides, leading to so many gunfights between the sides. There is a lot of action that goes on here, and most of it is related to gunshots between police and gangsters, as well as in between them. There are also some twists related to the same being added here. It also maintains a certain amount of the dark mood here, as almost everything about this movie is grim, and that close to reality. The visuals of the city are beautiful, and even in the darker shades of the nights, they have our attention. It does remind one of some of the films set in other parts of Europe with terror awaiting in the streets. The melancholy feeling runs through here, and the same never leaves the film behind. The actors and actresses nicely get into the scheme of things.

The claws of flaw :: The film does provide the feeling of not being polished enough, and it moves on in a rather raw state. It doesn’t provide that much focus towards the thrills and twists when there was so much of chance. The film also moves in a slower pace than one would expect it to. With a shorter run-time, maybe it would have worked better, as some of the scenes and dialogues pass on as the extra thing rather than anything else. The characters that we have here are also not given that much of a depth, and some of them seems to be there to fill up the spaces more than anything else. There is surely more talent and more opportunities here to be explored. The ending is also not that satisfactory, as if all these had to come to this for no real reason. This film really needed to know where to stop, but it goes on adding something or the other, seemingly because there was the feeling that a little more is needed.

Performers of the soul :: Lannick Gautry plays the main character, and indeed the most solid one among the police officers as well as the gangsters. This is the one character who has that kind of a determination which we associate with some of the tragic heroes we have come across in our own films here too. David Belle is the most noticeable actor here, and we remember him the most in Brick Mansions where he combined forces with Paul Walker. But for some reason, his special physical discipline and fight technique of parkour is not used here – the same could have added a lot to the film, and changed the action scenes completely in a stylish manner. Barbara Opsomer is the next person to catch our attention – she is there in the background for most of the time, but has a big influence on the scheme of things as it nears the end. We remember Jean Reno the most for that funny role in The Pink Panther, and he has a solid presence here, and so does Moussa Maaskri. Jeanne Bournaud, Stanislas Merhar and Kaaris, all has something notable to leave for us.

How it finishes :: Rogue City, also known as Bronx has another crime thriller drama going on well with it possesses. It could have used its elements to create a better effect, which it doesn’t, but it remains pretty much solid and realistic during most of its run-time. For those who are interested in this genre, this will something of higher significance. After all, these are the days in which the value of human life is priced at a much lesser amount. With Corona virus on one side, and the even more lethal humans with no remorse on the other, we need movies like this one as a reminder. We had seen a different version of younger gangsters in the Italian film Piranhas, and this one is the more advanced, darker version, also resembling the Spanish film, Adios. There is no change in the basic idea that Lord of the Flies had provided us long ago though, for the inherent evil always has a big enough role to play, and people tend to move too much into the dark grey area.

Release date: 30th October 2020
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Olivier Marchal
Starring: Lannick Gautry, Stanislas Merhar, Kaaris, David Belle, Patrick Catalifo, Jean Reno, Claudia Cardinale, Catherine Marchal, Erika Sainte, Barbara Opsomer, Ambre Pietri, Jeanne Bournaud, Moussa Maaskri, Francis Renaud, Gerard Lanvin, Eriq Ebouaney

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cross the Line

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Spain has become my dream country again?

Vampire Bat: I thought that you were going to Romania.

Vampire Owl: All vampires are supposed to have some interest in Romania.

Vampire Bat: Does that lead to an interest in Spanish movies?

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why it shouldn’t.

Vampire Bat: Well, we already have some interesting Spanish favourites.

Vampire Owl: This seems to be the more critically appreciated type.

Vampire Bat: That doesn’t guarantee that this could be your type of a movie.

Vampire Owl: There is no my type of movie unless I make one.

Vampire Bat: Well, vampires don’t make movies, but do watch them.

[Gets a pineapple cake and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: Daniel (Mario Casas) is a shy and good-mannered man who is working at a travel agency in Barcelona. He is very much interested in his job, and loves his family consisting of his father and sister. After their father dies, Dani’s sister Laura (Elisabeth Larena) arranges a trip around the world for him from his own company, as he was the one who was taking care of their father, and might be missing the presence of their bed-ridden father. He is not really fond of the trip though, and he is not interested in changing his lifestyle either. He hopes that he can cancel the trip because there is a two week window, and therefore he just accepts the idea. It is then that he comes across a girl at a restaurant and cafe where he often spends time over a burger, and meeting this girl, Milagros (Milena Smit) changes how things would go about in his life from then. She borrows a small amount from him, and is not happy because she really wants to give it back to him.

So, what happens with the events here as some twist is coming up? :: She keeps asking him to come with her for the money despite him not wishing for it to be returned. They take a walk through the street to the place where she works. Finally, as she is a tattoo artist, decides to give him a tattoo instead. He is reluctant again, but finally decides to go for one due to her consistent persuasion. He becomes interested in her, and therefore, he continues to follow her when she asks for his company. But as he goes to her apartment, her interest in him stays only for a few minutes. Soon, things take a twist, and things are not as what he had thought they were. He would commit a murder due to the circumstances, and soon people would be after him, and it won’t be about just police looking for the murderer. These are not the circumstances which he thought he would have to go through at any point of his straightforward life, but he would have to work through it. Now his life has changed, but unlike what his sister thought, it is not for the best.

The defence of Cross the Line :: The film has managed thing nicely with less resources, and it something which we can appreciate. We can also see the beautiful colours on the screen as well as the spaces which also have that beauty about it. There is some nice music being used here, and the sound effects are really good. The film also serves as a morality tale in disguise, as it talks about what can happen when one crosses the line, hence the title being justified here. There is the side effects of what can happen when one immediately begins to trust someone, especially someone beautiful – you should always have limitations in a world like this, where things are not the same as what seem from outside. The situation of such a person is shown perfectly, without the addition of melodrama or extraordinary elements, and a change coming upon him is also visible. All these happen very quickly, and lasting only about three hours, there is no time being wasted here. It is a continuous busy ride from the beginning, even though the elements of thriller come up later only, and we stay close to the protagonist.

Positives and negatives :: Cross the Line, originally known as No Mataras, is no usual thriller, as it goes on from a drama to thriller half way, more or less like Drishyam and its remakes which changed the mood at the centre stage. So, there is that certain diversion, and some people might have wanted the mood in the beginning to continue, and others might have wanted a full thriller, but this one depends on that twist of events to make things happen. It also has no character development of others as it is completely focusing on the protagonist all the time, giving no importance to others except for in moments. It also ends too soon, and the ending could have had a certain amount of extraordinary, as this film is not something which is not scared of taking the risks. Along with that, Barcelona is among the top ten cities which I want to visit in my life, and in Western Europe, it is the first place which I wish to travel to, and I would hope that the same could be achieved some day, but after COVID-19 pandemic, you never know where you will end up.

Performers of the soul :: The performance from Mario Casas won him the Best Actor Award at the Goya Awards, Spain’s prestigious national annual film awards, and it is no surprise when we watch the film. The performance is realistic, and as far as performances from actors in foreign films are concerned, I would consider his work to be among the best, and something which should have all that appreciation. I had also loved his performance in Adios which released earlier. Along with the same, Milena Smit was also nominated for Best New Actress Award, coming very close to winning that one – when we look at her work here, even though not lasting throughout the film, is really good. She excels with her emotions, and I would love to see more of her in other movies, maybe in Hollywood too. The situations without money and clothes would seem to make her vulnerable, but it can be seen that her character dictates things even when it doesn’t seem so – a character at the strongest when dumped in a relationship, or when fully naked. Fernando Valdivielso was also nominated for Best New Actor there, and he had some good short time in the film too. Elisabeth Larena is a strong name in the film too, and in a film which is dominated by the main actor, she has her moments.

How it finishes :: The movie focuses on one character, and it has two others who are there for enough time to call them as providing support, and with these itself, the film manages to do very well. Serving as a message to what could happen if you cross the line, and also showing how much it can change a person, the film does the same very effectively. The thrilling moments of the film are supported really well by the music that runs in the background. The tension-filled atmosphere being nicely built, this is the kind of film that stays with you for the experience. With seemingly lesser budget and minimal characters, what the film has managed needs to be appreciated. One can be sure that there are many things that can be learnt from this particular film, and this one with its ending seems to taunt us to ask for a possible sequel too. Well, with films like these, it is only fair to hope for more, as it was short and we would have wished for it to go on for more.

Release date: 16th October 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: David Victori
Starring: Mario Casas, Milena Smit, Elisabeth Larena, Javier Mula, Fernando Valdivielso, Aysha Daraaui, Javier Mula

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the first Spanish film review here.

<— Click here to go to the first big budget Spanish film review here.

<— Click here to go to the most popular Spanish in this part of the world reviewed.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chehre

Vampire Owl: How many faces do we see here?

Vampire Bat: The faces of humans do not matter at all.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that it would matter to us more at some point.

Vampire Bat: The human identity is no longer significant in a world of chaos.

Vampire Owl: Well, at least we can know the lying faces early.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is the only thing that humans do throughout their lives.

Vampire Owl: I did trust too many humans, and that has made a mess. They are the true villains of all realms.

Vampire Bat: Humans are all about lying, cheating and stealing. Being the villains of the universe comes naturally to them.

Vampire Owl: Well, I would say that demons are better.

Vampire Bat: Let the zombies for eat their brains then.

[Gets an orange cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Sameer Mehra (Emraan Hashmi) is forced to travel through some strong winter in the mountains. He wishes to go to Delhi, but is forced to stop in the middle of nowhere, as the climate only gets worse, and his car is stuck, with trees right in the front. He searches for a hotel or a guest house to wait until the tree is removed by the authorities. He then comes across Paramjeet Singh Bhullar (Annu Kapoor) who asks him to join come to a friend’s place until things get any better, even though there are not signs of something like that happening. He is taken to the house of Jagdish Acharya (Dhritiman Chatterjee), and he also meets Hariya Jatav (Raghubir Yadav) there. Anna (Rhea Chakraborty) is already present there, helping everyone in the building, who are pretty much old. The mobile phones have no network connection out there, and the landlines also do not work, much to the dismay of Sameer who wishes to connect to his wife.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The group of old men is also joined by Lateef Zaidi (Amitabh Bachchan), who reaches there despite the snowfall getting much worse. Sameer is surprised to see everything that happens around this house in the middle of nowhere, which is nothing less than a grand mansion of some older time period. They tell Sameer that they meet there and play a strange game in which these retired professionals of law conduct mock trials. They take some very old well known case and go on with the same. In the beginning, they talk about the case of Phoolan Devi, but later chooses Sameer as the accused. Sameer says that he hasn’t committed any crime, and is ready to face anything that is put in front of him. He is confident that he will win the game, and none of these people are good enough to pose any challenge to him. But there is more than what meets the eye to these people in the mansion.

The defence of Chehre :: What works really well for Chehre is its setting in the middle of nowhere, with snow all around, and the building is also a thing of visual splendour which we cannot avoid. Everything is perfectly suited for what is to happen next in the film. It also seems to come up with a message, even though it seems to be confused about where that is leading. But it never leaves the messages behind, that is for sure. The film does stand for the right judgment and the need for justice to be served, even though it seems almost impossible to be done when law has its loopholes. The cast is also nicely selected here, and we see the signs of the same at different moments. It does need some courage and skill to create something like this which go highly unconventional, and one cannot deny the fact that there is some good research done in the background – the risk does have its own effectiveness to go with it.

The claws of flaw :: The initial introductory dialogue by Amitabh Bachchan during the beginning itself is one of the least interesting starts to a film, and it keeps us wishing to fast forward throughout those dialogues. There are many other dialogues which were not necessary, and often goes out of the equation, seemingly just for the sake of bringing them. Too much speech here adds to the struggle, which also lengthens the film too much. When you keep talking too much without coming up with any action, people can only be confused. Preaching doesn’t always get you were you want. It also struggles to use most of its elements in the best possible manner, even though there were indeed the available opportunities. This could have been something like Pink, or something stranger than we could ever imagine, but the same is not done here. There was even scope for bringing something supernatural into the scene.

Performers of the soul :: Amitabh Bachchan controls things around here, and he makes things clear from the beginning itself. We have seen him doing this a lot, in different movies belonging to various decades. The rest of the support including Annu Kapoor, Dhritiman Chatterjee and Raghubir Yadav are very much suitable for how the game moves on. They are all different when we look at them, and have some interesting perspectives. Emraan Hashmi is also pretty much suitable for this kind of role. Siddhanth Kapoor plays a mute role, a notable one indeed. Rhea Chakraborty shows some promise, but the role is not carried on that much, even though the world could have had more for her. Krystle D’Souza makes a bigger impact, as she blends in very well to the character. There is a certain amount of mystery about her character, and even with some predictability, leaves one with more than what originally meets the eye.

How it finishes :: Chehre is a mystery thriller which can surely boast about its moments, and even though known as an uncredited adaptation of a German novel named A Dangerous Game by Friedrich Durrenmatt, makes its point well within its adapted environment. During the days of COVID-19, containment, quarantine and lockdown, we all love to watch movies set in remote worlds. It is a fine decision to release this movie on Amazon Prime Video, some days after its release in the theatres, as we are yet to see the theatres being opened here. We do know that the movie could have been much better, but for now, we adjust with what we have, and enjoy it in moments. After all, the world as we know it also has had its own limitations in the last one and half years. Nothing is the same any more, and we enjoy what we have here, with less than three months to go to end another year of virus and all kinds of terror to behold.

Release date: 30th September 2021 (Amazon), 21st August 2021 (Theatre)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Rumi Jaffery
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Emraan Hashmi, Krystle D’Souza, Rhea Chakraborty, Annu Kapoor, Raghubir Yadav, Alexx O’Nell, Sameer Soni, Dhritiman Chatterjee

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bhramam

What is the movie about? :: Ray Mathews (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is a blind musician who hopes that he will be known among the great pianists of the world. It is when he crosses the road and gets hit by Anna’s (Raashi Khanna) scooter, that there is the beginning of a romantic relationship between the two – then, it is revealed to the audience that he is not really blind, but is only acting as if he cannot see. Uday Kumar (Shankar Panicker) who was one of the big superstars of an earlier time asks him to sing at his home for his wedding anniversary with his wife Simi (Mamta Mohandas). But when Ray reaches there, he finds out that Uday is lying there dead, and Dinesh (Unni Mukundan) is also there with Simi. He sees that the two are trying to get rid of the body and the clues, as they feel that he won’t know as he is blind. Soon, Uday’s body is found in the container terminal road, and a story is created about how he was murdered by his driver.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As Dinesh is the police officer investigating the case, Ray is not able to tell anything to the police, but his arrival at the police station creates suspicions for both Dinesh and Simi. Dinesh’s wife Swapna (Ananya Nair) feels that her husband can find the murderer with ease. Dinesh has further doubts about Ray’s eye sight after searching his place, but as him being a witness only helps them, they decide not to do anything. But it is then that Ray witness another murder that Simi commits, and she decides to visit him at his place. Then, she would realize that he is not really blind, and due to the same, she has to take better precautions. At the same time, Anna is worried that Ray hasn’t shown up for a long time. A worried Dinesh wants Ray dead, and a boy in the neighborhood has proof that Ray is not really blind. All these lead to a sequence of events which means that life won’t be the same again for the people involved.

The defence of Bhramam :: Bhramam, even though not an original story, is executed really well. The strength of the cast is one advantage that this film can be proud about. The recreation of the tale in this particular setting is very good – the choice of Cochin and its surroundings, especially Fort Cochin makes it a better visual treat than one would expect. There have been similar visual splendour before, but not in a way that it suits the whole thing so well. From reading about the original film, there seems to be some differences here, but nothing that someone who hasn’t watched the Hindi version can confirm. As it stands, the film does rise above the expectations which the trailer had created, especially with the black humour and the twists that it provides. There is always something different that we can expect with Bhramam, as it moves forward, as it never hesitates to move away from the usual and the predictable.

The claws of flaw :: There can be comparisons between Bhramam and the original version which was in Hindi, and we know that original can often have the advantage, but as I have not watch that one, it won’t be my job to do. There are surely some moments in this film which could have been better, and the beginning moments could have had an extension, as they were indeed cute. Some more changes could have also been added to make this not that exact an adaptation. It could have managed to get more out of the last moments too, as scope was always there. The social commentary could have also been stronger, even though the presence is felt on some occasions. Some occasions could have also had better clarity, and a few scenes could also take better strength. As a film on a musician and a pianist, this could have also had more songs to add to the quality.

Performers of the soul :: After Cold Case and Kuruthi, Prithviraj Sukumaran has another release on Amazon Prime Video, the only OTT platform, where he had fresh releases. In comparison with the other roles in these movies, this does take a fine deviation for him, and this is further away from what one would expect from the trailer. The black comedy factor does work well for him. Unni Mukundan has had a certain amount of break time after the release of Mamangam much earlier. In the role of a police officer, he makes a fine comeback, even though this role doesn’t demand that much. Shankar Panicker has a small role, as he plays a superstar of the past himself with ease. At the same time, Jagadish comes up with a role which we don’t usually see him doing, and supporting him are Sminu Sijo and Aneesh Gopal, who have some fine contributions to provide here – the three are basically the unexpected turning point providers in the film.

Further performers of the soul :: Mamta Mohandas had her voice in Sunny, after having her full works in Forensic, Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel, 9 and the quick appearance of Johny Johny Yes Appa. She is back here, playing the main role, and she has done the same in a believable manner, leaving not much to the doubts. It is always good to have her back, and it doesn’t matter how many times we miss her due to her health related reasons. Raashi Khanna has her second Malayalam film here after Villain. This is a more notable role as we look at it, and she holds on to the cuteness factor from the beginning stages, even though she has to make way for Mamta later, only to have something to add in the final stages of the film. Shine Tom Chacko also makes an appearance in a cameo, but it is a role which defines many things in the film. Nandhana Varma plays the role of the daughter of the superstar, and that also is a notable one. Valsala Menon plays a neighbour of importance too.

How it finishes :: Bhramam is the remake of the much appreciated Hindi movie, Andhadhun – basically one of the many remakes as the same film is remade in different languages. Those who have watched that critically acclaimed movie, can know the quality of this version better for sure. When we consider this film as a stand-alone work, it is also a very well done work. After all, keeping up the quality is often difficult with remakes, unless there is something like a Drishyam which can come in many languages, and can even come up with the right sequel. For now, we can be sure that Bhramam which is taken out of Andhadhun works really well in this form too, and if there was ever any doubt about that, the same was not needed. We cannot blame ourselves about the same though, as doubting is in our blood, and trusting people to make things better is never really that easy.

Release date: 7th October 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Ravi K Chandran
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Raashi Khanna, Unni Mukundan, Mamta Mohandas, Shankar Panicker, Ananya Nair, Sminu Sijo, Sudheer Karamana, Aneesh Gopal, Valsala Menon, Nandhana Varma, Jagadish, Rajesh Raj, Master Avyukth Menon, Shine Tom Chacko (cameo)

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

@ 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.

Intuition

Vampire Owl: I remember having an intuition myself.

Vampire Bat: Vampires don’t have intuitions, for we have the vampire sense.

Vampire Owl: I thought that it was called the vampire instinct.

Vampire Bat: It was changed after the film, Basic Instinct released.

Vampire Owl: I didn’t find anything wrong about that movie.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but vampires used to be very prude at that time.

Vampire Owl: It was because of Doctor Frankenstein. He had his strange habits.

Vampire Bat: Well, he is creating a COVID-19 vaccine with zero side effects.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that there can be a vaccine which works with vampires.

Vampire Bat: A vaccine among the undead has its own possibilities. We are forever, and there won’t be the need for a second dose.

[Gets a red velvet cake and three glasses of pineapple shake].

What is the movie about? :: Francisco Juanez (Joaquin Furriel) had solved a case involving a serial killer who murdered young girls just recently. The murderer had killed himself before being caught. Due to an injury caused to a police officer on duty, a new recruit, Manuela Pelari (Luisana Lopilato) is assigned to investigate the murder of a woman who was assaulted with a sharp weapon. She is considered to be a VIP case, and the police are not able to find the weapon, as Francisco joins the team. The dead woman is Gloriana Marquez (Delfina Chaves), the daughter of a business magnate with many media connections, political contacts and the support of many big businessmen, and the police needs to be very careful about this case, or things could go out of control for the department whose reputation is at stake. Their first suspect is her boyfriend who has been in a relationship with her for two years, and was also the first person to find her body. Then her best friend is also added to that list.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, the head of the police department asks Manuela to keep an eye on Francisco who hasn’t been himself since his wife died, and it seems that the man who murdered her was killed earlier, and they suspect Francisco on that particular case. Manuela doesn’t believe that he might have committed the murder, but decides to investigate anyway. At the same time, the investigation on Gloriana’s death seems to go in a complex path. More information is added to Gloriana’s life is revealed by talking to her close contacts. Manuela tries to find where Francisco happened to be, at the time when the man’s murder had taken place. At the same time, the dead man’s family hopes to have vengeance, as they are sure that it was Francisco who murdered him. They are just waiting to pounce on the police officer as soon as there is clarity on who was really responsible for the death. El Zorro (Abel Ayala), his brother is ready for blood. Minerva del Valle (Maite Lanata) confesses to the murder of Gloriana, but Francisco is not convinced, or is he?

The defence of Intuition :: This one works as an interesting investigative thriller, without any doubt at all. Everything here seems to be perfectly arranged, and there is fine quality about how things go forward. There is no exaggeration being added here, and even if this is about a strange investigation, there is so much that we feel is close to reality around here. With two murders being investigated at the same time, and with the police officer also being a suspect, this one has more to guess than what originally meets the eye. The main character also serves as a mystery all by himself. The visuals are really good, and we see the beauty of the Argentine city with some good shots, just as it shows the area outside the urban area. The background score is also very much suitable and keeps us interested. There is also more about the murders than what meets the eye, and twists are there while suspense is maintained throughout the film, making one wonder who is one which side, and how all these would be coming together. It keeps you interested in what is happening, even when things get slow.

The claws of flaw :: There are moments when it seem a little confusing, and there are more dialogues than it was needed. There was no need to complicate things beyond the need for the case itself. The pace keeps getting higher and lower, even though the pace is mostly slow. The beginning stages are also badly used, and it doesn’t have much to do with the later case, and if they couldn’t use that to their advantage, it could have been removed – a serial killer would have suited this film really well too. This kind of initial cases not that useful for plot has been seen in different movies all around the world, for example, the Malayalam film, Abrahaminte Santhathikal. All these distractions occur when the better thrillers like Memories, Forensic and Anjaam Pathira focuses on what is to follow rather than providing an introduction which seems to be of grand focus, but doesn’t come into the picture after that except for some mentions. In the end, one feels that there is some missing out on the thrilling elements which should have been there in the film.

Performances of the soul :: The performances here and very good, and that includes so many of them who are involved. Joaquin Furriel whom we know for his film, The Son, leads the way as a police officer with a mystery surrounding him, and at the same time, also makes a perfect and determined cop. There are some nice dialogues to add to the same too. Luisana Lopilato matches the same in skills, and she remains solid as the rookie police officer too. She could have been parts of similar Hollywood films at some point of time, because she has that kind of a performance delivered throughout the film. Their moments together are really good, with some moments as well as dialogues to remember. Maite Lanata plays another character who is connected to the crime, and she plays well into the mystery of the whole thing. Her interrogations have more than what seems when we look forward to find more than what meets the eye. Rafael Ferro plays the cop with his own secrets very well. Abel Ayala’s character has short stay, and so does Delfina Chaves, whose death sets things in motion here.

How it finishes :: Intuition makes it to list of interesting Spanish films to watch, especially those thrillers that we would like to watch carefully. These are the kind of thrillers which have something special about them for everyone if we look at them closer. Even with its slower pace, and some complications, it manages to be another thriller with more than one mystery to be solved. As the first Argentine original Netflix film, it does have the quality to go to the international audience. Based on the novel called La Virgen en tus Ojos in Spanish and translated as The Virgin in your Eyes, written by Florencia Etcheves, it also works as a prequel to the 2018 thriller Perdida a.k.a. Missing. As the original novel is in Spanish, the idea about the book that we can have here is minimum, but without that, we can surely enjoy the movie, and can see how it has managed to work here. When we think about Argentina, the first thing that comes to our mind is surely the Argentinian football team with Lionel Messi, and Maradona from the past, and maybe the fans should also have a look into the Spanish films from Argentina and enjoy them.

Release date: 28th May 2020
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Alejandro Montiel
Starring: Luisana Lopilato, Joaquin Furriel, Rafael Ferro, Delfina Chaves, Maite Lanata, Marita Ballesteros, Juan Manuel Guilera, Sebastian Mogordo, Abel Ayala

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Courier

Vampire Owl: Did you collect your parcel from the Vampire Courier Service?

Vampire Bat: No, I didn’t. What did it have?

Vampire Owl: How can I know? I was just notified that you had a courier.

Vampire Bat: Okay, so they don’t deliver at the vampire castle.

Vampire Owl: No, not after the Corona Virus crisis.

Vampire Bat: So, they think that the vampire castle is infected beyond redemption.

Vampire Owl: Yes, they think so because of the large number of human visitors who were at the castle last month.

Vampire Bat: Well, nobody trusts the humans these days.

Vampire Owl: I don’t remember the last time any of our people trusted them.

Vampire Bat: When we keep them away, things will get better, and the couriers will be delivering at home.

[Gets a chicken puffs and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: A young woman is tied to a chair at the middle of a parking lot and from the blood on her body, it seems that she was brutally tortured. As she struggles to breathe, she is about to be run down by an accelerating car when it goes to a flashback. Gary Oldman (Ezekiel Mannings) is one of the most powerful crime lords who has his business running in the United States of America and Europe, someone whom nobody dares to question or testify against, until Nick Murch (Amit Shah) makes the decision to go to the police, after witnessing a murder committed by him. For the interpol and the FBI, this is the first time that someone came forward to testify against the much feared crime lord, as usually only the dead bodies remain whenever someone tries to do something like that. The crime lord’s seductive, psychotic and manipulative daughter Alys Mannings (Calli Taylor) would not tolerate the fact that her father was arrested from a church, and was put on house arrest while he awaited trial.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The interpol officers lead by Agent Simmonds (Alicia Agneson) takes Nick to a safe house where they are supposed to stay and contact the court using the live stream video, but when a courier (Olga Kurylenko) rings a bell to deliver a package, things begin to go differently. The courier is the same lady who was tortured in the beginning of the movie, and it turns out that the parcel which she brought with her was something which would mean death. Simmonds shoots her, and turns rogue, trying to kill Nick, and blame it on the courier, who manages to attack her back, and almost kill the agent. Nick escapes from the floor with the help of the courier who seems to have some skill in fighting, but they are caught in the underground parking lot, surrounded by men who wants to kill them. They keep on running through different levels of the parking lot, as more and more men who seems to be mercenaries keep coming. Can Nick somehow manage to testify at the court with the help of the stranger?

The defence of The Courier :: A fine package of action can be seen in the form of The Courier which has all its fights set in just one place where the two protagonists as well as those who are trying to kill them are set – the movie keeps the three classical unities of place, time and action, with everything happening at the same place, and ending, with only one mission to save the witness. Olga Kurylenko is the one person who keeps the action at top level, and even after these many years, she remains a level apart from the other actresses, except for Rebecca Ferguson who is the perfect action impossible girl who also was the psychic vampire in Doctor Sleep. The action sequences are all made in a believable style, as we see her fighting – landing the punches, kicks, gunshots and bike stunts in a parking lot so well in this ride full of thrills. The stunts are all stylish and believable here, with no exaggeration at all.

The claws of flaw :: The Courier is a movie which always had a lot of scope, and could have had a better background tale for it too. There could have been more use of the motor-bike, and also something more about her past and her new life as a courier, which can be linked to The Transporter considering what she does, and to Die Hard considering the fact that they are locked in a building, and has to survive – Olga Kurylenko is Jason Statham, Bruce Willis and even Tom Cruise at some points, but it is good to see the lady action star coming up with more in a realistic way, as you are not supposed to look for something exaggerated around here, for that is not the kind of action which we have here. The dialogues could have been better, and with one of them, they could have explained the Kevlar jacket and a little more. Maybe it could have also had its antagonist to do more, and as it was quite a big building, possibilities were endless.

Performers of the soul :: Olga Kurylenko is a name not unknown to us, as we have seen her in a lot of movies, and she has handled the action genre really well throughout the years – she is someone who means business as far as fighting is concerned. The last one of them was on the funny side with Johnny English Strikes Again, but she had movies like Hitman, Max Payne, Oblivion, November Man, Centurion and the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. Age is showing on the Bond girl, and she is not that lean figure anymore, but her skills with action sequences have only gotten better here. Alicia Agneson looks fine as the special agent when she is there, but her stay is limited, leaving us with hope to see more of her another day. Meanwhile, Calli Taylor has some nice moments, and you cannot doubt her about not being a crime lord’s daughter here. Gary Oldman makes a solid crime lord, and we feel that he is capable of lots of evil, and can always find opportunities for evil with him around. Amit Shah also does a fine job, and adds some humour too, and nobody should be confused about the name.

How it finishes :: Happening at a place within a limited time with one motive, this movie which would make Aristotle happy with its unities, manages to be higher than the level of many other action movies of the same kind. The reviews about this movie hasn’t been that good, but after you watch this movie, you will understand that there is not much that this movie could have done to make them feel better, as this is one wonderful action fest full of thrills, and Olga Kurylenko is the one lady action star who could pull this off so easily. You can always trust Olga to do that, and for the same reason, you can go for this one without second thoughts like I did. I am sure that the audience from this part of the world would like it even more. Just forget those reviews, some of which are not even explaining why they didn’t like this flick, and enjoy The Courier like you would have enjoyed most of those action movies with a male lead.

Release date: 22nd November 2019
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Zackary Adler
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Alicia Agneson, Gary Oldman, Amit Shah, Greg Orvis, Craig Conway, William Moseley, Dermot Mulroney

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lake of Death

Vampire Owl: I thought that it was originally the river of death.

Vampire Bat: The river of death has already gone dry.

Vampire Owl: What about the pond of death behind the castle then?

Vampire Bat: That pond is originally something related to life and not death.

Vampire Owl: Yet, it is named the pond of death.

Vampire Bat: So, you feel that this lake might not be about death?

Vampire Owl: There is surely something strange about this movie.

Vampire Bat: This is a Norwegian movie, and the first one of the kind we are watching.

Vampire Owl: Well, the idea does seem to be pretty good when we have look from a distance.

Vampire Bat: The first movie which we watch is often too good, no matter what the language happens to be.

[Gets an orange cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Lillian (Iben Akerlie) had lived the early parts of her life with her brother Bjorn (Patrick Walshe McBride), who had lost his ability to talk in the later stages of his childhood, after former had left him with nobody to take care of, as they were both orphans, The two only had a cabin in the woods for them to live, and Bjorn had lived there beside the lake for most of his life, which Lillian had left the place for the city. Bjorn had no friends in the isolated place, and used to sit near the lake doing nothing for most of his life. One day, she gets the news that her brother had drowned in the same lake, and that was shocking and depressing for her, as it was her who left him behind, deciding not to spend much time with him. Seeing her depressed state, her friends decide to accompany her to the cabin in the woods beside the lake for the last time she is going there, as she intends to sell it, and get rid of her memories forever, moving on with her life in the city.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The four friends include the beautiful Sonja (Sophia Lie) and three men, Gabriel (Jonathan Harboe), Harald ( Elias Munk) and Bernhard (Jakob Schoyen Andersen), who feels that along with helping Lillian in getting rid of her depression and the memories of the cabin, they can also have some fun in the woods, as they had heard about the beautiful lake and the lovely setting of the cabin. They reach the place and meet Kai (Ulric von der Esch), Lillian’s former lover and friend, a local guy who arranges everything for her. Sonja is quick to turn into the party mood and get into her bikini for the much needed cooling time in the lake, but with people seemingly pulled down under water and the dog going missing, something is wrong, and spoils the holiday mood for all of them. They also find breakfast already there when they wake up, and Lillian has some strange visions, as she begind sleepwalking. The five of them begin to doubt each other as well as another presence which they wonder whether is supernatural in nature.

The defence of Lake of Death :: The movie has a beautiful setting indeed, and the advantage of having such a cabin in the woods setting is that along with that natural beauty which we see at almost every point, we can also find the scope for the creepy effects, for the lake itself has a well-known history of violence happening around it as well as the cabin. There are also some fine scares to go with, and we are left with what is to happen next, even though in the beginning, the horror is not really that direct. The feeling is always there, as horror is present with creepiness wherever you look at it. We do have a few final moments under the lake, and it is beautifully shot, with the protagonist moving underneath like a fish or rather a mermaid, escaping the evil – a site to behold, just like the beauty of nature surely requiring a nymph or a wood elf of its own. There are some other interesting moments of terror which had come earlier – those which we remember include the protagonist sleepwalking through the room, her trying to get away from the bathtub, her awakening beside the lake, as well as the way she looks at other on different occasions.

The claws of flaw :: This is indeed a slow moving movie, and the lack of pace can be seen from the beginning itself. There is some inconsistency in the characters too, except for the two girls who remain the same, and they are well-defined. It does go into the usual traps, with elements which we have seen in other movies, and even those things which didn’t work in those films either. The cliches are indeed there, and most of them work as red herrings, as we move away from what we should focus on, but that too, when it comes in the end, fades away too easily – it could have been longer, especially the moments under the lake which are beautiful, but are over as we begin to get a touch of the same. The movie could have actually been more like The Cabin in the Woods, one of the best horror movies of all-time, which didn’t really get a screen in the malls around here. This Norwegian movie, for some reason, decides not to be that, or even Evil Dead – the scope was really there, as elements of old horror sneaks in so well around here.

Performers of the soul :: The movie’s spirit is entangled into Iben Akerlie who actually becomes a reflection of the atmosphere itself, and she perfectly fits into the role and setting with ease. There is something about her at all times, and we are drawn to the way she looks and acts throughout the movie, like that fairy-tale nymph who reached the world of humans all of a sudden. The way she looks at everything, from the cabin and the woods to people, as well as her simple actions give us a feeling that she is not of this world. She nicely blends into that strange girl whom nobody can easily figure out. Patrick Walshe McBride’s brotherly figure is even more weird, but we don’t really see much of him around here. Then, it is Sophia Lie who has our attention as one of those characters who are better defined than the others. As the only other female character in the movie, she is the one whom we can consider to be the sane one among the other unpredictable ones. The other actors do just the usual in a horror movie as we look at them.

How it finishes :: Lake of Death, the first Norwegian movie which I have watched, has managed to be an interesting horror movie, even though moving on at quite slow pace from the beginning itself. This could have actually worked better as a usual horror movie with this kind of an atmosphere without complicating things too much or lowering the pace rather too much. We could have had the feeling of terror always being there directly rather than bringing them in the form of strange events which don’t seem to be that much dangerous, or through those hallucinations which makes us feel not to be considered serious. Yet, this can begin your movie watching procedure in style as far as Norwegian movies are concerned, because a horror flick with such a setting is always the best option to begin with. You can go through this world of creepiness, beauty and fear, all mingled into one, and then follow up with more Norwegian horror at some other point. After all, horror is the most real thing that you can ever experience in life.

Release date: 1st November 2019
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Nini Bull Robsahm
Starring: Patrick Walshe McBride, Ulric von der Esch, Iben Akerlie, Sophia Lie, Elias Munk, Jonathan Harboe, Jakob Schoyen Andersen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Acceleration

Vampire Owl: How far can you accelerate here?

Vampire Bat: Well, the movie has a world of crime in it, and so, we can be sure that the acceleration will be related to action.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that such an acceleration will affect the plot negatively.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that there will be just the usual plot.

Vampire Owl: They are not really into create a story to run beneath the action, or do they value it too?

Vampire Bat: I have read what the movie is about. It is nothing that you have heard about – we have only that tale without surprises.

Vampire Owl: So, this movie is to be watched only for the action sequences.

Vampire Bat: There could also be some thrilling moments in store.

Vampire Owl: Well, if it works with what it needs to, I have no real objection.

Vampire Bat: Let us see how it manages to work out.

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

What is the movie about? :: Vladik Zorich (Dolph Lundgren) is one of the much feared and respected crime lords of Los Angeles. As he is double-crossed by his most trusted operative on crime, Rhona Zyocki (Natalie Burn), the man who runs many businesses including weapons, gambling, drugs and skin trafficking, decides to make her dance according to his songs. With no more risks possible in his current business, he kidnaps her only son, and with the little kid by his side, he gets the power to make her obey everything that he asks him to do, like a slave under command, the chain being attached to the child. As her son’s life is in his hands, Rhona struggles to obey Vladik’s orders, as she has to face some of the most twisted men and women in the business. But with her son’s life on the line, she will go through punches, kicks, gunshots and torture, with one goal in mind. Can Natalie do all the necessary things needed to keep her son alive, as Vladik has more plans for her? Will she and her son survive?

The defence of Acceleration :: The movie does have some nice action sequences, more related to shooting, and thanks to Natalie Burn being perfect in doing all that, Acceleration does manage to accelerate through its short run-time which is actually shorter due to the longer credit scenes, making it lasting about one hour and twenty minutes, losing another five minutes in the process. With such a low budget, they did manage to make this much, and has also managed to have some good performances from the main cast. The visuals are good too, as we look at the city which is coloured nicely in the night and with the darkness to set the mood for some action with much at stake. As the movie progresses you want to see more of Natalie on the screen, as sooner or later, this becomes all about her, the character on whom everything around here focuses on. You will have to watch it without thinking too much, and things will come together with progress.

The claws of flaw :: There are times when we feel that the writers were in a hurry to finish this movie. This is already a very short movie lasting less than one and half hours, and they don’t find it enough, as it seems from how this movie has been jumping from one scene to the other. There could have been better editing in place for sure. In the end, there is a rush, and at times, the protagonist has it easy – she beats up people easily, and escapes from bondage by herself, not really looking as if she ever had even a little trouble. You shouldn’t make things too easy in a movie like this, as the way she escapes here is just too silly, as the man who caught her and tied her up is a human trafficker and had intended to punish her hard in a way which she would remember throughout her like until she dies, but she just frees herself and simply stabs him after walking through his evil lair which is supposed to be so difficult to escape from. The movie’s twists are not interesting either – there were opportunities to add to it, but the movie doesn’t do so.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has Natalie Burn written all over it as far as performances are concerned, as she becomes the perfect action star with looks and style as much as the action sequences. With her looks, she is separated from the usual leading actress – she possesses that intensity that cannot be unmatched, and that is more or less due to her appearance, as she becomes someone we expect to beat people up, and maybe even shoot them nicely. But action surely is not her only skill, as Natalia Guslistaya, the Ukrainian model can do much more, without doubt. She was also seen in Mechanic: Resurrection, Expendables 3 and Criminal, all of them action thrillers, even though not in those main roles, and so there is a good chance that you might have missed her in those films. Dolph Lundgren was last seen in Aquaman in a significant role, and you can try finding him there, and the clue is that it is linked to Mera, the superhero’s lover underwater in the Kingdom of Atlantis. He is the one other actor worth mentioning, and the others just manage to play along at most of time.

How it finishes :: Acceleration is more or less the time-pass action movie which you can watch without spending much time thinking about. There is not much otherwise as far as this movie is concerned. There is enough in this movie to keep you interested as a crime action thriller. But escapism does get the advantage over the other things, and thus this movie is left with not much for the brain. It goes on the lines of many other action thrillers, but doesn’t use those elements of the genre to the best of advantage – but that might not have been needed considering the fact that this movie doesn’t try too hard. It lets everything go accordingly, because with Natalie Burn and Dolph Lundgren in the lead, an action thriller can go on as expected, without attempted to come with something grand. Acceleration accelerates just enough for you, and the escapist entertainment runs on that initial acceleration which is a little boosted at times.

[Gets some friench fries along with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: This movie could have been so much more.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they could have used the leading lady to more potential.

Vampire Owl: This is a movie which was not watched by many people, and so, not many people know about it.

Vampire Bat: She surely is perfect for an action movie, don’t you think?

Vampire Owl: Yes, but more as the lady villain rather than as the heroine.

Vampire Bat: There is no question about the fact that she looks quite lethal with the action sequences and more.

Vampire Owl: I never knew that Hollywood has such actresses custom made for such roles.

Vampire Bat: We didn’t know that there would be Corona Virus either.

Vampire Owl: There are so many things that we don’t know.

Vampire Bat: Well, knowledge doesn’t come with immortality. You have to read a lot to come up with that.

[Vanishes into the shadows behind the oak tree].

Release date: 8th November 2019
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Michael Merino, Daniel Zirilli
Starring: Natalie Burn, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Liddell, Sean Patrick Flanery, Danny Trejo, Dobromir Mashukov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adios

Vampire Owl: So, there is a goodbye related to this title.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the movie is about the death of a child and the following vengeance.

Vampire Owl: Well, there is nothing that catches the audience better than a revenge tale.

Vampire Bat: I agree to that. They are repeated so many times, and still they are so popular.

Vampire Owl: What is surprising is that some good movies become random tales of revenge as it progresses to the end.

Vampire Bat: Yes, Anjaam Pathiraa showed such a tendency, but Forensic was beyond it, with a psycho killer with no motive other than the murder itself.

Vampire Owl: I have always felt that such tales should be a sub-genre with further divisions following it.

Vampire Bat: I feel that that this setting in Sevilla in Spain is perfect too.

Vampire Owl: Well, I did love that setting in Italy too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the setting of Piranhas. That would be a suitable setting too.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three glasses of pineapple shake].

What is the movie about? :: In a neighbourhood of Sevilla in Spain, there is an area where police, law and order ends up having no power at all. In a newly re-established underworld of drugs and organized crime, Juan Santos (Mario Casas) is a con man gets out of the prison to celebrate the First Communion of Estrella Santos (Paulina Fenoy), their only daughter, with his wife Triana (Natalia de Molina). His uncle Andres Santos (Vicente Romero) and nephew Chico Santos (Mauricio Morales) do come to him on he day of function with a gift, and calls him back to the world of crime, but he is not ready to do that, thinking about his wife and daughter. But on the same day, there is an accident after the party, and after being hit by another car, they are injured, but their daughter dies. The police officers Manuel Santacana (Carlos Bardem) and Eli (Ruth Diaz) who arrives nearby at a murder scene to investigate the killing of four Romanians who were drug traffickers, realizes that the murder is connected to this accident.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Discovering that the car that caused the accident which killed Estrella is the same as that of the killers of those Romanians, Juan meets his mother Maria Santos (Mona Marinez), former Santos’ family mob boss who expelled from the locality by two rival families Fortuna and Taboa. She also seeks vengeance for her grand-daughter, as Andre and Chico also offers their help. A drug addict named Maravilla (Pilar Gomez), tells the cops that it was done by Fortuna family, and even though a strong police force is deployed, the boss Gordo Fortuna (Moreno Borja) escapes from the area. Juan tries running after him, but it is of no use. But there is more than what meets the eye, and the Santos family will not have many chances to regain their lost glory – finding those who were responsible for the death of Estrella Santos, the youngest member of the family, would be a nice start. But, as things go further complicated, there is no hope for them without making friends out of enemies, and vice versa – can Juan be successful in finding the person who caused the death of his only daughter?

The defence of Adios :: There is the early feeling of what is to come, from the beginning itself – the feeling never goes away. The feeling of sadness that runs through this movie is strong, and we feel that not just from the parents of the child meeting accident, but also from the lady police officer who is in charge of the case. The visuals of the city are beautiful, and there are some moments of intensity related to some action and there is suspense with twists to come in the later stages. With the movie not being the usual revenge thriller where the protagonist goes on fighting random people and beating them, this one stays close to a certain amount of realism here. The background music also adds to the charm really well, and there is something about all the music which is played in this movie. With the visuals combining with the same, we have the feeling of being taken to this world, many kilometres away from us, that historical city from where Ferdinand Magellan departed for the first circumnavigation of the Earth – one of the cities of Western Europe which I would visit before most of the others if given a chance.

The claws of flaw :: Adios could have done better with its side of crime, and one wouldn’t doubt that. There is a lot more to explored for sure, as such families of crime are involved. Ruth’s character could have also had an interesting background story, as the need was ascertained during the time when she was talking about kids to the protagonist’s wife, and something was left to be said, as one could observe from that shower scene. The use of another title for the English version was also not needed, as people are well aware of this particular title. It could have simply gone for more action sequences, as the vengeance element was always going to feel the need for more strength. Guns could have been there at all times to bring the power up further. Some parts of the film could have also used some polishing, especially related to the police and the prison, as well as the other gangs which could have unleashed themselves on the streets, which never really get to have the big action out there.

Performers of the soul :: She might not be playing the protagonist in this movie, but Ruth Diaz is the one actress who scores above everyone else, as far as performances are concerned. There is a certain amount of sadness, and melancholic determination in her, which we find early enough – she feels like a beautifully crafted, complicated character with a long past of suffering whenever we look at her. Her expressions nicely support the same, and it seems that her looks also support the same. Natalia de Molina’s suffering is rather easily visible to the outward eye, and it is the kind that we know about, and she goes through that with the character really well. She plays the wife and mother in a believable manner too. Mario Casas plays the main character well, and we know that he is fit for this from the first moments than anything else. He displays the anger mixed with sadness quite well. Mona Martinez who plays the mother figure for the mob family is as solid as one can get. Vicente Romero and Mauricio Morales who play the other family members also support well here.

How it finishes :: Adios finishes well, and in the end, we are glad to have watched another version of a tale of vengeance. This would add to the entertaining during the time of Corona virus lock-down with ease. There is a certain amount of realism in the way this movie progresses, and as it doesn’t unleash a father-figure in unrealistic ways like we had seen in the Malayalam movie, The Great Father and many others from films in different languages, this one surely is a welcome flick. I would hope for more of similar movies which keep the momentum going without losing the realistic side. I would also love to keep such lovely music going on in the background. Let us hope that sooner or later, with the COVID-19 coming down at a later stage, we can have things to be better for the people related to the cinema industry who are suffering at this stage, and also the people who are running the theatres or working there. Let us hope for the best in the month of July.

Release date: 22nd November 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Paco Cabezas
Starring: Mario Casas, Natalia de Molina, Ruth Diaz, Mona Martínez, Carlos Bardem, Vicente Romero, Paulina Fenoy, Mauricio Morales, Sebastian Haro, Pilar Gomez, Mariola Fuentes, Consuelo Trujillo, Pablo Gomez-Pando, Carlos Cabra, Juan Carlos Villanueva, Moreno Borja

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hit-and-Run Squad

Vampire Owl: It is time that we also have our hit-and-run task force here.

Vampire Bat: We, vampires do not use those vehicles running on diesel, petrol or electricity. So why do we need that?

Vampire Owl: We still have a lot of hit-and-run situations.

Vampire Bat: Situations from vampires flying around as bats?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and also those which are gliding from the mountains.

Vampire Bat: Those are not really hit-and-run situations.

Vampire Owl: Someone hit me hard yesterday night and I fell on the ground. I couldn’t even get the vampire insurance. It was such a situation.

Vampire Bat: But, I see that you are okay now, even before twenty four hours passing.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but it was a mid-air collision, and my first one.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that you are going to get used to it.

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

What is the movie about? :: Eun Si-yeon (Gong Hyo-jin) used to be an elite police officer who wanted to keep hunting for criminals with such enthuiasm which was never seen before in the police department. But due to circumstances, she finds herself relegated to a hit-and-run task force, but that wouldn’t stop her from hunting for those who violated the law with the same energy and fury. Seo Min-jae (Ryu Jun-yeol) who is the youngest of the same task force, has to join with her after they solve they go through their first hit-and-run case, which he solves without following an procedures, as he gathers clues and decipher them in his way, much to the surprise of Eun who has always followed the procedure and exact ruls whenever a crime was involved. Even though hesitant at first due to being forced to be a part of something she considered to be a lesser work, she is soon ready to be involved more in the programmes of the department which works efficiently.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But her real purpose still remains the same, as she remains in the hunt for the race track driver and rich businessman who has a lot to hide, and the city police commissioner is also involved with him in this illegal activities. Being a businessman more and the driver less, the hope lies in finding those clues somewhere around the track, but they are being destroyed quick enough – the next chance for the same is on the speeding roads. Seo is also after him for a hit-and-run case, but Eun is after him for more than just that. As Jung Jae-cheol (Jo Jung-suk) goes on with his usual kind of activities under a cover, can Eun Si-yeon or Seo Min-jae find a way to lock him without having a chance to escape? Being someone who can even threaten the police officers with his influence, is he a man whom they can handle even after trying so hard? What would the police commissioner have to say about this as he is also involved?

The defence of Hit-and-Run Squad :: The movie has some action sequences, with car chases being done well, and there is also some fine emotional sequences as far as Hit-and-Run Squad is concerned. It is kept simple, and good for the families without much of the violence which would have been present in such movies on other day – blood and gore takes the backseat in this Korean movie for a change. Hit-and-Run Squad even has a feel-good factor to add to its qualities, and it is not something that we expect with this kind of a movie. When you are sitting during a lock-down, as the world is struggling to fight against a virus, and you look forward to this particular movie because it is a crime thriller with action, and at the same time, it also makes you feel good. The performances are also up to the mark, not really overdoing it, or trying to bring pure evil characters as in other movies of the genre. This one is surely for the family watch – the police movie for everyone.

The claws of flaw :: Hit-and-Run Squad is fixed on doing the usual, and therefore we have the feeling that all these have been seen before, adding to a certain amount of repetition. It doesn’t add much of the twists and turns in between, and even limits the car chases when there was the opportunities to have them throughout the flick. There were more opportunities, but the movie decides to follow the procedure and do nothing more – when we consider this movie, it stays at the safe zone. When staying in that zone, it brings its own limitations to the picture. There is no innovation added here, and we are sure that the movie could have had more inside. There are some interesting characters who could have been further explored, and the emotions could have also had further depth. We also feel that there are so many ways this movie could have scored more, gaining points at regular intervals, and it chooses not to, as it takes things easy.

Performers of the soul :: Gong Hyo-jin as Eun Si-yeon remains the top performer in this movie, and she certainly looks much younger than she is, going through the determined police officer role in a cool and controlled manner, still remaining tough, maintaining protocol, as well as having a high level of values. Ryu Jun-yeol is on support when we look at him, and he works best in the emotional sequences rather than anything else. Jo Jung-suk plays the one who is being chased by the police, and he has no problems in playing that particular role, maintaining the same level throughout the movie. Yum Jung-ah who plays a senior police officer has even a bigger role to play than it seems to be in the beginning, and she plays the character with more than what meets the eye really well. The same can be said about Jeon Hye-jin, the chief of the hit-and-run task force. Lee Sung-min has a fine role, and a good job done, to add to the performances category here.

How it finishes :: Hit-and-Run Squad is like a usual police movie with most of the ingredients working well, and you might have witnessed similar things before, and enjoyed well enough. It is the usual story of the rich and influential keeping on getting away, and the police officers looking out to do their duty and bring these people to justice. It is also a movie done without much of terror or blood and gore added in part like a crime thriller which we usually see whether it is Korean or Japanese movie. As everything is kept simple, and the movie having certain movement towards drama, the movie becomes an emotional action adventure. If you need to watch a Korean family action thriller without having worried about something inappropriate might come up, this is the film that you need, and it is the movie that has no risk out there for you. Choose to watch Hit-and-Run Squad with family, and we can say that rarely with movies of this type.

Release date: 30th January 2019
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Han Jun-hee
Starring: Gong Hyo-jin, Jo Jung-suk, Ryu Jun-yeol, Yum Jung-ah, Jeon Hye-jin, Son Seok-koo, Lee Sung-min, Kim Go-eun, Lee Hak-joo, Ryu Kyung-soo

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.