The Guest

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Vampire Owl :: Do you mean to say that we have guests at the castle? Is it for the Christmas vacations?

Vampire Bat :: Not at all. I am just referring to the next movie which were going to watch.

Vampire Owl :: But I have never heard about it.

Vampire Bat :: It has Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe in the lead.

Vampire Owl :: I can recollect the latter name; count me in.

Vampire Bat :: I was pretty sure that you will remember Maika from that horror movie.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, this even reminds me of that headless guest that we had last year. It was one guest that we should have never had.

Vampire Bat :: I believe that this one will be even more mysterious.

Vampire Owl :: Well, there is no limit to the strength of mystery.

Vampire Bat :: And that is some truth clearly spoken.

[Gets a cup of tea with chocolate chip cookies].

What is it about? :: David Collins (Dan Stevens) has arrived at the home of his friend in the military, Caleb Peterson (Chris Harding) who had lost his life at the war in Afghanistan. His grieving mother Laura Peterson (Sheila Kelley) is soon attached to the newcomer and his stories about her son, as she asks him to stay with them for a few days in her son’s room because it will make her feel better after the loss her son. Despite some initial doubts, her husband Spencer Peterson (Leland Orser) also approves of his presence as they get along over some drinks. Their son Luke (Brendan Meyer) becomes good friends with the man as he helps the boy in dealing with the bullies who keep haunting him. The daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) also manages to have a positive opinion about him in spite of the early disapproval which she had.

So, what is this person all about? :: With him being the new best friend to Luke, David has all the members of his family in his pockets. But he is there for another reason. He is still the good guy there, even with Anna’s friend Kristen (Tabatha Shaun) who is attracted to the new friend and everyone seems to like him. He knows how to get along with all kinds of people. But as Anna wishes to know more about him after overhearing certain talk on phone, she calls the military base for more information – but curiosity makes things different, and the situation take a twist. More about David will be revealed, but this new knowledge won’t do that good for anyone around. Some things are better left unknown, but unfortunately for them, this one comes to light.

The defence of The Guest :: There is one thing absolutely clear about this movie, and it is that The Guest is a lot entertaining, and right from the beginning, you get the feeling about it. There is the shot of a person running with a backpack, and then suddenly there is the music indicating possible horror and you will see the title. The next forty minutes go smoothly, with some drama and only small signs of the big change coming up; and as we go through it, the last thirty minutes become deadly. The music used in the movie is really good, and its idea to reveal things in a slow and steady manner makes sure that we get more and more interested in the whole thing. There is another smart movie to use some Halloween stuff here, and it helps a lot in the final stages. Those scenes just feel so good, and this is how the movie ends well.

Positives and negatives :: There is one thing that will bother some viewers, and it is that the movie doesn’t really come up with a relevant flashback and leaves questions unanswered – as on one side, it keeps one guessing even after the movie with further conspiracy theories, and at the other, it makes one wish for it to be there. Most of us surely love a flashback, but we won’t find it here, and there won’t be that much explanation from the protagonist either except for some acceptance; and a little change in the ending would have been better. There is also a certain amount of interesting humour in the movie, as The Guest qualifies with a mixture with thrills, action, psychological elements, suspense factor and all that is needed in the right entertainer. The Guest knows the many ways and the different sides of making the viewers interested. The fact that it manages to be an entertainer with brain is even more satisfying for the audience not to go through just the masala.

Performers of the soul :: Dan Stevens is deadly as the protagonist, the man with his own collection of mysteries – and we are left with this memorable performance to ponder about. One can notice how well he adapts to each situation as the character demands. He is too good almost everywhere, and this character is to be remembered by the fans of the genre or rather the genres – the mystery stays as he performs great. His next big movies include Criminal Activities, Oppenheimer Strategies and Colossal, three thriller movies along with the romantic musical fantasy, Beauty and the Beast – these should be too good. I haven’t watched much of his performances, and so hoping to see more. Maika Monroe has the next big performance here, and you will find her lovable from the beginning itself. We loved her in It Follows and she is excellent here too – would love to see her in Independence Day: Resurgence.

How it finishes :: There will be so many things that you will love about this movie, and you don’t need to be the fan of a particular genre to like the flick. There will be variation only in the degree of interest here. You will surely want to see more works of Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe after watching this one. The Guest also comes from Adam Wingard who directed You’re Next and so you know that you can expect something interesting, and it is the same which is delivered here. If you think about what other movie this one reminds you about, that should be The Stepfather, and the 2009 remake had Amber Heard as the leading lady, but the similarity is minimum; The Guest is also ahead here. You will certainly find your needs for an entertaining thriller satisfied here.

Release date: 17th September 2014
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Sheila Kelley, Brendan Meyer, Lance Reddick, Tabatha Shaun, Chase Williamson, Ethan Embry, Joel David Moore, Steven John Brown, Brenden Wedner, Alex Knight, Frank Bond, Jesse Luken, Kelsey Montoya, Justin Yu, A. J. Bowen, Chris Ellis, Candice K. Patton, Chris Harding

theguest

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Walk Among the Tombstones

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What is it about? :: Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) is someone who used to be an aggressive police officer in the early 1990s. But now, eight years later, he is a recovering alcoholic and is approached by Peter (Boyd Holbrook) for his brother, a drug trafficker called Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens) whose wife Carrie (Razane Jammal) was kidnapped and murdered despite the ransom fee being paid at the right time. The fact that he got his wife as pieces inside the trunk of a car makes his hope for vengeance that stronger, and Matthew who works as an unlicensed private detective is the one he looks out for help. Despite the initial reluctance, he takes the case and starts collecting clues. It turns out that Carrie is not the first one to suffer the fate, and neither will she be the last.

The defence of A Walk Among the Tombstones :: The return of Liam Neeson in another thriller might be reason enough for this movie to defend itself in front of the fans. It is the protagonist played by him that once against manages to be outstanding. As a crime-drama thriller, this one is more artistic and having strong emotional moments which add to the thrills very well. The movie nicely progresses with its strengthening factors until the nice finish has been reached. The links between the brutal murders are well connected in a realistic way rather than bringing some big clue out of nowhere. The lack of goodness in this grey or darkness-aligned world is well portrayed in this movie which successfully shows some signs of hope by the end, but not before going through the test. There is no unrealistic action sequences in this one, and don’t look for it.

Claws of flaw :: The movie is surely slow, and despite having a certain beauty about its pace, it is still slow and so it is surely not for the fans of Liam Neeson’s other movies like Non-Stop, A-Team and that popular Taken franchise – it is not Unknown or The Grey either. So, people who don’t like to have an artistic and realistic touch instead of those exaggerated sequences, are surely going to be disappointed. This doesn’t go the The Silence of the Lambs and Se7en way either, even though the serial killers and violence to victims are there along with the inquiries into the same – there is not much of the gore on the screen despite the idea being used. There is also a certain lack of the background to the killers, and the ending could have been more intense – it is surely satisfying and peaceful, but there could have been more strength to it.

Performers of the soul :: Liam Neeson is the man in control once again. It is completely about how his character go through these situations in his own way. It should be his name which might have brought the attention here, and he is perfectly fit for his character. This will remind you of some of the other characters he has played, but only here and there – he goes a lot more realistic in this one. He keeps avoiding all chances of getting into a fight, so much that once he keeps getting beaten up while not even trying to resist until he speaks when given a chance. He talks against violence and revenge so often in this movie, and hopes to keep himself always straight forward and also support even the not so good people in a positive way – even with similarities in the role, it is not your powerful action star here! Brian Bradley’s character was kind of strange and often irritating, but the rest worked well in this movie.

Soul Exploration: The problems of being a good person :: The main character himself is firmly rooted in disappointment as well as guilt, as he goes through what he should have done earlier during his times as a police officer, to reach the salvation that he intends to. He never hopes for that though, as he is without a direction, doing just random things for no reason, instead of having a purpose. You can see that feeling on his face throughout the movie, as Liam Neeson does that to perfection with ease. It is about people with high potential never being realized, and they end up being lesser achievers than they deserve to be, while there is no limits to what the liars, cheaters and back-stabbers can achieve in this world of chaos – and they are appreciated for the same. But good people always have to suffer and struggle even for the smallest mistakes.

Soul Exploration: The difficulty in finding goodness :: There is a certain amount of darkness and sadness which prevails throughout this movie, and almost nobody in this movie is a happy person, and not many good things happen around here – it is a clear reflection of what the life is, a pure situation of hopelessness were only the richest, powerful and those who can lie really well thrive in this world and the good ones as well as the grey ones who mostly infest this movie will suffer because they are rarely considered important. We are all going to suffer one day, may be in the hands of those who are just evil, or otherwise the rich who wants to feed on those who are not that rich or the system itself. Goodness is not valuable in this world, and at the end of our times, we are going to suffer for the presence of goodness and die.

How it finishes :: “People are afraid of all the wrong things” – this dialogue sets the mood for the movie a few minutes into the action, as it has that kind of evil that should be feared more than many others because it is random and naturally existing in most of the humans. The movie reflects this statement, as it goes steady and solid throughout, and keeps its power in its smooth movement towards the end, and the feeling that the audience has remains the same till the end. This one is also a fine opportunity to see Liam Neeson in his most human form as far as his action thrillers are concerned. A Walk Among the Tombstones is fine addition to the list of thrillers in which the man has acted in, and you can watch this one and find out where it features in that interesting list.

Release date: 19th September 2014
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Scott Frank
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Boyd Holbrook, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Brian Bradley, Eric Nelsen, Mark Consuelos, Adam David Thompson, Sebastian Roché, Laura Birn, Danielle Rose Russell, Razane Jammal, Kim Rosen, Natia Dune, Genevieve Adams, Lana Delaurent, Al Nazemian, Jolly Abraham, Frank De Julio, Whitney Able

awalkamongthetombstones

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Night at the Museum III

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A flashback :: Merry Christmas, everyone. The Vampire Bat is back flying in the theatres again. I haven’t watched a movie in the theatre since the eighth of December which had me watching the movie Seconds, and the reasons are specified here at my other, and nowadays the more active blog (http://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/the-loss-of-power/). The period of eighteen or nineteen days is a long time for me – like a part of an eternity. So on this day of the return to theatre, or most specifically, the multiplex, lets start with the flashback for this third movie of one of my favourite franchises – I am sure that a lot of people from India can use this. This is the story of Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), who has been the night guard for the Museum of Natural History, and it is where history comes alive, or rather the museum exhibits comes to life at night, and all of them show the characteristics of the respective historical person as if this is the same person who had lived and died years or centuries ago. Our protagonist, with his museum friends have saved the day (or night) twice already.

What is it about? :: We go back to the discovery of the tablet of Ahkmenrah in Egypt, and then come back to the present, which has our protagonist working for an event which is lead by Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), and followed by a few of his other favourite exhibits. But there is corrosion in the tablet, and as it gets worse, it affects the exhibits. This leads to the failure of the event, as all of them goes out of control and causes destruction, making the visitors flee in fear. Larry decides to take things seriously, and learns that they should ask for further details from the father Pharaoh who is in the British Museum of Natural History. As Larry makes his way to the museum with the tablet and the son Pharoah and friend Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), a number of other exhibits have also sneaked in to help him and have a share in the adventure. With time running out and everyone getting weaker, can Larry lead his team to the aim, unsure of what has awaken at the new place?

The defence of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb :: Here is your history teacher of the week, or a reminder of the subject. The movie assures you of lots of fun, and a little more knowledge of history – something that India needs desperately, to have its residents know its history and respect its years long culture instead of going for the money machine. You are in no way going to sleep through this history class, and that is a guarantee – not a first for me though, because I have always enjoyed those classes. The Pompeii scene, the inside the picture shots as well as the theatre moments are very nice. There is some fine use of effects too. Rebel Wilson also has some very nice moments which are not to be missed, and Robin Williams continues to touch you as Teddy, with this one last performance. Here is something for the perfect Christmas family weekend, as long as too much thoughts are not there and a heavy judgement is not passed.

Claws of flaw :: This one stays in the shadows of its predecessors, refusing to come out of it and innovate. A lot of it seems recreated from its predecessors. There was actually not much of a need for this movie, as the previous movie had a nice, happily ever after ending to it, and it was something that we could think about and have a certain amount of joy. Instead, here it is forced to an end which is mixed happy, and there is not even a powerful villain – it was what made the second movie the best of the series; it had one great villain and some nice support for him. Instead, we are taken to the “Save tablet” campaign and some jokes fired at us don’t even come close to working. This is also more childish than the previous movies, especially with the new Neanderthal’s relationships and the repetitions. The family drama doesn’t have the power that it needed, even as we do get the father-son problems and message in the end. May be, with the loss of power of tablet, some energy was also lost.

Performers of the soul :: Ben Stiller makes things work and it seems incredibly easy for him as he once again takes over that one memorable night guard. He also has another role which is less impressive, still stupid and funny. The movie also has Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney in one of their last performances, and the former once again has that nice and interesting role of Theodore Roosevelt which he does to perfection. The team of Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan works fine, but not as much as the previous movies. Dan Stevens makes a good beginning, not that much in the final scenes. Rebel Wilson does a very good job, but is restricted by the less amount of time she has on the screen. Mizuo Peck once again does her character making a good impression, and Rami Malek with Patrick Gallagher completes the team. There are moments of almost every character, and the Hugh Jackman + Alice Eve cameo was also nice.

Soul exploration :: I have always loved this franchise, and thought Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, the second entry was the best of them all, and this movie doesn’t change that idea. Yes, this could have been better, but the idea is still there, and history is once again alive. The three movies combined is a good history lessons which ends with this one. There have been a certain dislike for movies teaching history, and this seems to come from a few people who were sleeping during their history classes at school all the time. This doesn’t take a straight path as Mr. Peabody and Sherman did with sharing knowledge of history or the bonding between a father and son. But still, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb does a fair job in the same. All the history enthusiasts should make sure that they watch history come alive for the one last time, and for others, lets give something to history along with all the fun and entertainment.

How it finishes :: Along with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Penguins of Madagascar, Exodus: Gods and Kings and Interstellar, this one joins the show as the only Hollywood movie to release on the Christmas day here. One certain advantage that Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb has is that it has the Christmas spirits than any other movie. People might not want to cause further brain damage by watching the Christopher Nolan flick, especially with the family, and Penguins of Madagascar is just another animation movie. The final movie of The Hobbit franchise needs knowledge on that special world, and the Biblical Epic takes its liberties and also makes limited impact on a lot of people. So, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb has a bloody big chance here – light at its heart, but still powerful in its messages and the strong lesson about history. It might not break any records worldwide and might not do well in North America, but has the heart to thrive in this part of the world. You need this movie for Christmas, no matter what other movie has released with a bigger fame.

Release date: 25th December 2014 (India); 19th December 2014 (US).
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Dan Stevens, Ben Kingsley, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Rebel Wilson, Skyler Gisondo, Rami Malek, Patrick Gallagher, Mizuo Peck, Dick Van Dyke as Cecil Fredericks, Percy Hynes-White, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Andrea Martin, Rachael Harris, Brennan Elliott, Kerry van der Griend, Matthew Harrison, Jody Racicot, Randy Lee, Darryl Quon, Paul Chih-Ping Cheng , Gerald Wong, Anjali Jay, Matty Finochio, Crystal the Monkey, Hugh Jackman (cameo), Alice Eve (cameo)

nightathemuseumiii

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.