Now You See Me 2

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Vampire Owl: Do you remember the first movie? I loved it.

Vampire Bat: Yes, remember that I recommended it to you when you were practising black magic.

Vampire Owl: It was something like grey magic. Don’t overdo it.

Vampire Bat: There is no grey magic. It was just neutral dwarf magic.

Vampire Owl: Still, I did better than these people. I had magical flexibility of the immortal kind.

Vampire Bat: I loved the first movie. It was too good.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it was something which had a lot to keep us interested in the journey through the world of magic.

Vampire Bat: There is also a third movie coming up.

Vampire Owl: Now you believe me when I say that magic never dies.

Vampire Bat: I am not sure about that, but this franchise is certain to live long.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: About an year after outsmarting the FBI and all who were after them, the Four Horsemen or what remains of them – J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are hiding and preparing for a big event which is to come, but they don’t know what awaits them. Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) had left the Horsemen and they are left with three, which gets them the fourth member in the form of Lula (Lizzy Caplan), making the team complete again. Tired of waiting for their next big event, Daniel does try to contact the Eye by himself, and gets the reply that there is something huge coming. The FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) finally assigns them a new mission, which is about exposing the greedy businessman Owen Case (Ben Lamb) who is stealing private data from people with his new software.

So, what happens next? :: The team of four successfully infiltrate the grand programme organised by Owen, and are so close to getting to their objective, but are interrupted by an unknown person who reveals to the crowd that Jack who was thought to be dead is actually alive, and Dylan is actually a part of the Horsemen and has been fooling the FBI right from the beginning itself. This forces Dylan to escape, and the Horsemen who enters their escape tube resurfaces at Macau and are welcomed by Chase McKinney (once again played by Woody Harrelson), Merritt’s twin brother who has the reputation of making his brother’s life a living hell. There they meet Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), who used to Owen’s business partner who who had been deprived of his company and had faked his death after Owen gained full control of everything he had worked for. For the same, he seeks revenge, and wishes to steal from Owen a chip which could decrypt anything in the world.

The defence of Now You See Me 2 :: Some movies will stay with you for long with the magic inside them, and the first movie was like that, with magic within magic, and this one kind of inherits that quality, but only upto an extent. There is entertainment guaranteed, and there are those twists as there is more to Walter who had made the Horsemen steal the chip with vengeance around the corner – there is also more than what meets the eye for the character Thaddeus Bradley too. They are the kind of twists you hadn’t expected that you would see in a second movie; well you never really expected a sequel and so that is another twist. When you feel that this is not going as you had expected, there is that one final twist that gets things together to end the movie well. In the end, one will wonder if it is the superior quality of the first movie that has made this one feel not that awesome – but this is still good in its own style anyway.

The claws of flaw :: A comparison with the first movie will make this one feel less significant as a movie with magic, as the original Now You See Me was the innovator, and it had more strength in the delightful surprises coming from within, instead of twisting things like this sequel does at times. This might also be a little too complicated for many, while not bringing enough of those magical effects. The magic used to be more beautiful, and without doubt, more interesting earlier – but this one often pretends that it doesn’t know the strengths of that first movie which was appreciated by so many people. There are times when we feel that this movie was made more to capitalize on the success of the first movie, and nothing else. Even then, this movie somehow manages to be too long. This one could have used better ideas and more inspiration which would have made Now You See Me 2 rise above its predecessor – but it doesn’t come close.

Performers of the soul :: We once again have the horsemen as entertaining performers here, and the movie depends a lot on them to bring the fun and style to the screen. Jesse Eisenberg leads the way as expected, but one is sure to feel that his character was better in the first movie. Mark Ruffalo remains solid, even when his character goes on to make some of the stranger decisions. Woody Harrelson’s second role was kind of unnecessary, but he is right there with the main role. Dave Franco does the same as he did in the first movie, while Lizzy Caplan becomes a good addition with her best scene being the introduction itself, but everyone is sure to miss Isla Fisher who was such an integral part of the first movie – her replacement here also has her moments, which you are sure to notice. Daniel Radcliffe brings some difference as the villain, but he is not that interesting an antagonist throughout the movie as you go through. Morgan Freeman’s extension of secrets made sure that he had our attention with the character doing much more than we thought.

How it finishes :: You are not going regret watching Now You See Me 2, and if you haven’t watched the first movie, you are only going to love this one a lot more. This one also leaves us asking for more from a sequel which seems all set to arrive. The universe of Now You See Me has been expanded further, and we are more certain to see that there is a lot more to come, especially regarding “The Eye”. There is never enough of magic in our lives, right? The need for an answer to this question is not really there, as we know how much these two movies grossed. So lets see if the third movie becomes a better one that rises to the occasion nicely enough to make this trilogy an unforgettable one, or if it fails to come anywhere close, and thus leaving us with nothing to finish this franchise which had all the potential in the world. We shall hope, and wait for the magic; until then, this one will prove good enough.

Release date: 10th June 2016
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Lizzy Caplan, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Jay Chou, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Jay Chou, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, David Warshofsky, Richard Laing, Zach Gerard, Zoey Callandria Jones, Alberto Calvet Gonzalez

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Victor Frankenstein

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Vampire Owl :: None of our undead doctors have approved of this movie.

Vampire Bat :: That will not be a problem at all, because neither have the critics.

Vampire Owl :: So, we should still watch this one?

Vampire Bat :: As long as there is no ban, we can surely do that.

Vampire Owl :: Thankfully, we are not from a realm where there are bans on certain types of food, cinema and clothing.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, unlike these humans who are elected for no reason, Uncle Dracula is a lenient and intelligent ruler. Even the brain-dead Lich Queen knows better.

Vampire Owl :: We should let the clever film makers from the human side to work on their movies here.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, that will also be a big bonus for tourism; all is well as long as they keep their hatred, vanity, greed and envy outside our realms.

Vampire Owl :: And to avoid any temptation for the vampires, they should lock their necks, especially those veins…

Vampire Bat :: Stop! I am going to pretend that I never really heard that!

[Gets three cups of tea with tapioca chips].

What is it about? :: The tale begins and goes through the perspective of a nameless hunchback (Daniel Radcliffe) who works as the clown in a circus. He has been part of the circus for so long, and is more of a property of the circus, treated badly by most of the people there. But he secretly reads books that are stolen, mostly related to science, particularly human anatomy. He has feelings for an aerialist, Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay) who is injured during one of the shows. With no hope for her survival after falling from a good height, the hunchback tries his best to do anything, and at that exact moment, is aided by a stranger known by the name Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) who was attending the circus performance. Both succeeds in saving the girl who is taken to a hospital. This becomes the turning point in the life of the hunchback.

So what happens next? :: Victor Frankenstein has been a very ambitious medical student who has been working on something special. His aim has always been to make a discovery that would change the future. He has been scarred by his earlier experiences and wishes to make amends with his father (Charles Dance) who thinks that he is good for nothing and will never be anywhere close to his brother. He wanted to create life, and fascinated by a simple, uneducated hunchback’s knowledge in human anatomy, decides to recruit him for the cause as his assistant, and make things better and easier. So, he plans and manages a grand escape for the hunchback whom he names Igor, after his former room-mate. He drains the new assistant’s hump with his expertise and successfully hides him as the room-mate that he once had.

How does the journey go? :: The newly named Igor instantly impresses Victor, and they realize that they can go a long way forward. The police inspector Roderick Turpin (Andrew Scott) who investigates the disappearance of the hunchback realizes that something strange is going on, and it is against God. Considering Victor’s experiments as sins and his creations as unholy, he decides to stop him, whatever it might cost. They also come up against Lorelei once again, but this time as a different person. She also asks them to rethink about going against the natural order of things. But Victor and Igor are so close to their first case of success, but will that bring them glory or terror? What role will Lorelei play in this dangerous attempt at glory? Is it really an act against God, and what danger can this new creation from the grave bring?

The defence of Victor Frankenstein :: The visuals are really good with this one; there is a lot of style associated with the movie, and the cast also saves the day. Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy are good, especially the former who seems to have more control over his character. Jessica Brown Findlay also brings some charm while Andrew Scott is a fine opponent to the protagonists. The differences when compared to the original story has been nicely created. The messages are well placed, and they are mostly against vanity and the false ambition which stay strong within the main protagonist – he is so close to becoming Doctor Faustus, not just Doctor Frankenstein. It also asserts that there are things that cannot be changed and we have to accept them. There are some nice dialogues which keep making the point too. It has its own dose of entertainment too, and that matters.

The claws of flaw :: Victor Frankenstein needed a better flow in its story. It surely begins nicely, but gets lost at times. It is quite strange that the movie doesn’t try that hard to deviate from its source material from which it hasn’t really followed – there seems to be an attempt to return but at the same time staying different. The movie needed to be more certain with its story, and also could have dealt with its main characters differently – even though the main actors handle the whole thing well, better characterization and a much better background would have done them all, some more good. More horrors and thrilling moments could have been added to make its central idea about life and death more appealing; for now, they have done well to do that with the dialogues – maybe they could have done so without speaking that much about the same.

How it finishes :: Victor Frankenstein is another interesting movie based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 Gothic horror novel. The different versions of the same story or newly written extensions always bring something that can catch our attention, just like I, Frankenstein which extended the tale very nicely. In another case, there was Dracula Untold which brought another angle to the popular 1897 Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker. If you are going to judge this one based on the many years old story, this is not the movie for you; but if you are ready to think from another angle, and understand the imagination behind making such a different attempt, you can surely go for this one, as despite not being that big Frankenstein movie, this is a fun movie which also leaves the viewers with some interesting messages to take home.

Release date: 27th November 2015 (India); 25th November 2015 (USA)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Paul McGuigan
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Charles Dance, Freddie Fox, Mark Gatiss, Callum Turner, Daniel Mays, Spencer Wilding

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Woman in Black

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✠ A 1983 horror novel by Susan Hill was made into a movie of the same name, last year. But most of the people here haven’t been aware of the same, even as it had mostly positive reviews. That surprises me indeed, as it would have gained a lot if popularized here, thanks to the Harry Potter fans who might have been missing a leading man. There has been a 1989 movie, but we are going to stick to this 2012 version which has our Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe. I didn’t know that he was in it, and that was a pleasant surprise for me. There is no relation with the Men in Black franchise nor the aliens, and no neuralyzer was used in making me say so – you can check the usage records of the device for that. Instead, Woman in Black is a different supernatural story in a different setting, and it is a supernatural movie train which doesn’t run in our modern railroads, and therefore there is a chance that some horror fans might feel some displeasure. Still, my complaint is that there is the absence of something new in horror.

Count Dracula: Woman in Black? If you were looking for a Count in Black, I knew someone who could help you. The clue is that he has nice fangs which he brushes well without fail and lives in an awesome castle. Wait, do you need to talk to Brides in White? I know three, and I am pretty sure that you will love them.

Vampire Bat: And I thought he would confuse it with Men in Black. Do you understand anything I am saying? I am talking about the story of a woman who wears a black dress and if someone sees her, children die. Ever heard about it or something similar, world’s first official vampire Count?

Count Dracula: Are you talking about the lady who comes to clean the castle. I always knew there was something strange about her, and she wears black. My children of the night will be killed? Should I kill her first? Or is she too supernatural for me to get enough from her for my blood shake?

Vampire Bat: Not the cleaning lady. Your vision remains as clouded as the sky. No, not your children of the night. They can howl as much as they want, and you can look at the roof and have that weird expression which zombies have when they see humans with brains. Stop looking at the spider webs while talking. What is wrong with you?

Count Dracula: I am having dreadful visions. I see dead goblins and living halflings. Is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug due to be released soon? Never mind, please continue. I am as interested in that lady in black as I am inspired by that rotten zombie girl in the corner of that graveyard. I have heard about that novel too, not as good as the one written by Bram Stoker, and no good character as me…I mean that Count.

Vampire Bat: Well, a widowed lawyer Arthur Kipps is on a mission to arrange the sale of a house. He has one son whom he leaves at his place with a nanny as he visits the small town where it is located and during his visit to the house, he sees a strange woman wearing black dress. A child dies and the people of the town blames him for seeing that lady.

Count Dracula: Nothing new to me. It happens every time. They blame me all the time just because some random person dies somewhere near my castle. See, I am just a farmer. We are a peaceful farming community with better teeth. What about my rights? I was framed by Bram Stoker. But I have to agree that I liked it.

Vampire Bat: I can’t believe I am hearing this. Just a few days ago, you were playing mist and fog outside the second house on the eighth street. And stop farming skulls – they don’t grow. Pouring blood on them doesn’t create reddish fountains either. I am going to record all these some day. It is not like your case. This is a lady who lost her kid and wishes to take revenge on all the kids of the town, as she makes them do things which lead to their deaths.

Count Dracula: See, she is a hypnotherapist like me. One of my various skills attained due to practice. Am I not the vampire in black? Why not such a title with me as the leading character? There is nothing about that woman, she doesn’t even exist.

Vampire Bat: But you have to think about the environment the movie creates. The local people, legends, strange figures, screaming – the things haven’t been this strange since the last time Jonathan Harker was held captive in your castle. Those were great times, right? Wait, is that a 55 inch 3D LED TV? Where did that come from?

Count Dracula: I didn’t buy it. It was available for free with human Halloween masks in the goblin market. Nobody wanted that stuff as the Witch of the West’s unlimited inches magic TV is the hot item right now, and it has the latest video game “Humans are Evil”. Sounds so awesome, doesn’t it?

Vampire Bat: You are ruining the horror environment with such items. This is why you can’t always blame Twilight for ruining your reputation. Vampires don’t keep 3D TV at home, thats what pseudo-vampires do. You just drink blood in 3D. This is why you need to watch this movie so that you can understand how well the ambiance works.

Count Dracula: You mean to say that the Harry Potter kid has grown up a lot more than his final movie of that franchise? I remember seeing the poster of this movie, and how does he do? I don’t know anyone else from that movie, what about them? The only lady in black that can be scary might be that person from Insidious Part one and two.

Vampire Bat: Yes, he is the centre of attraction, and he might be the reason why the movie has good collection. My first feeling was that he might be having that Harry Potter hangover, but no, there he is away from that franchise, and he is once again taken into a world which asks for willing suspension of disbelief, that fantasy which is rather more of horror rather than simple magic and a little more advanced sorcery. He has survived beyond that magical world which lasted many years, and without a magic wand he takes on both the Woman in Black as well as us skeptics, ending up victorious – yet there is still a lot more to do for him in whatever awaits him next. The world is dark and gloomy, and so is his character, taking us with him as he fits in there, not with perfection, but in the right manner.

Count Dracula: So he is no longer the wizard. I know that he will be killed by that Woman in Black – it is not a guess, as it is something which I can feel. So this is a horror movie, but my doubt is if it does really scare?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it does, and it chooses to use the atmosphere and items for scaring rather than anything else. There are lots of surprise scares coming up, but the problem remains that there is no real explanation for most of the things around. It can only mean one of the two things, either they think that our brains are eaten by zombies, or we have too much of an imagination to find out more. Well, it deals with a big curse, so the things are to be different. It is creepy indeed and full points to the house and its location, but it seems missing out somewhere. I would have also liked another ending, that is for sure.

Count Dracula: So it is scary indeed, and I am going to watch and like it after I get rid of this bloody tv. Its time for me to brush my fangs again. Good bye, and watch movies.

Vampire Bat (to himself): It was quite short a movie. Lasting about one and half hours, the movie could have had more, and it just ended soon when we wanted more of it. Coming from the director of Eden Lake, this is not as good as that movie, but works well with the resources that it has. Yet, this is nothing new for most of us, as we have been provided with similar things a lot. But we can appreciate how it works as another horror movie, and I am always looking for more and more horror.

✠ Its sequel The Woman in Black: Angels of Death is also coming sometime later. Therefore, it is more of a necessity to have watched this movie and be prepared to welcome the Woman in Black into our lives. Watch it for the first true performance from Daniel Radcliffe as a non-wizard civilian of this world and all the creepy things that the movie has to offer. All the atmosphere rather affects the narrative progress, but in a movie like this, it is the creation of that spooky world that we are looking for, but the occasional drag might bing up questions. If you are looking for anything extraordinary or out of the supernatural, you might have to look for another movie. A cup of innovation could have helped. If you don’t like our leading actor, then you can run away too, as there is a lot of Daniel Radcliffe in this one, and he is there more than that lady is black. He might look too young for the role, but when he does well despite the uninterested looks, there is not much there to complain. Darkness and shadows everywhere, not even Dracula can complain.

Release date: 10th February 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: James Watkins
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer, Liz White, Roger Allam, Tim McMullan, Jessica Raine

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.