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.

Insidious III

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Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula was asking about this movie. The Vampire Oracle had told him that Count Dracula III will be only as good as Insidious III.

Vampire Bat: You can’t really expect anything to be as good as the original. There can be only be one original Dracula. It has been proven by characters in the works like Twilight.

Vampire Owl: Lets test the movie then and let him know.

[Gets the tickets].

This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com where I handle the Hollywood movie reviews division: http://kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/885-insidious-chapter-3-movie-review.html

Even though The Conjuring has been considered as the most exciting horror movie of the recent times by the common audience, there has always been something about Insidious. The journey through the astral dimension and the demons of that world which they called The Further, has worked very well with the viewers. Insidious: Chapter 3 is actually not a sequel to the incidents of the previous chapter, as it does the job of being a prequel to the first movie. It goes a few years behind the Lambert haunting which was shown in the first movie. It is clear that it never intends to go that far back to become an origin story, but Insidious: Chapter 3 does come close to being one.

Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott), a teenage girl finds it difficult to cope with the loss of her mother. She has been trying to contact her dead mother Lillith (Ele Keats) and believes that her mother wants to communicate with her from the other world. When she contacts Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) with the same desire, the lady tries, but stops the procedure telling the girl that it is dangerous and she shouldn’t call out to any of the dead, as the other spirits will also be able to hear her. As days pass, Quinn sees a dark figure waving at her multiple times, and when she tries to check it when on road, she is hit by a car which leaves her on a wheel chair with fracture on both her legs.

The paranormal activities only increase as she sees visions, and a demon continues to cross over from the other world and torment her, most of the incidents leaving her on the floor with further injuries. A collar on the neck is just one of those extra additions that the demons give her as things continue to get worse. Despite her father keeping a close look at things, nothing positive comes out of it, and he is forced to seek help from those who deal with the supernatural. Elise is not confident enough to go back to the other dimension as she is afraid of being murdered by a demon who threatens her. Will she be able to face her fears and save the girl before the youngster’s soul is gone forever?

The scares in the movie are very much working through these incidents. The new demon is a very good addition to the creatures of the other world. It scares whenever there is an opportunity, and the creepiness of the movie continues to impress. The setting only helps with the same, as there is this nice little apartment which has an abandoned room above it. The world of spirits also continues to make the desired horror impact. Some of them include the demon’s first close appearance, the girl’s possession and the scene at the abandoned room – actually, there are many scenes which make the horror work, and it succeeds where Annabelle was confused.

The ending also leaves something more to desire for the fans, as a movie between this one and the first flick can be expected. People can still feel that this doesn’t bring enough innovation, but by staying close to the material, Insidious: Chapter 3 has managed fine. There is not much of blood and gore, but just the scares in the old style. Darkness has been nicely used as the movie’s best friend, and so are the doors, windows and walls. If you are not happy enough after watching it, you might have been expecting much more. There is no touching the level of The Conjuring, but this is surely the best horror movie which has had a wide release after that one.

Lin Shaye is once again plays the expert in all these spirit-related things, and she is the soul of this movie as she handles things with ease. Along with the three movies of the franchise, she was also there for Ouija, and this is a familiar territory for her. Stefanie Scott gives a high quality performance too, as she plays the teenager troubled by her mother’s death, the one with hope to provide wings for her ambitions and also the person tormented and possessed by the demon. She is impressive throughout the movie. Dermot Mulroney just got a simpler thing to do as the father. Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell brings the humour as Tucker and Specs.

As you have reached the third movie of the franchise, you can notice that the director has changed, and there is no more James Wan at the helm and the writer for the franchise, Leigh Whannell has taken over. But the movie hasn’t lost its best qualities, unlike X-Men, Species and Alien franchises which had their least interesting movies as the third entries. Instead, this movie improves from the second entry and becomes almost as good as the first film, and in a world of mostly lesser quality sequels, it is an achievement. There might be no huge innovation here, but if you want to be scared this weekend, Insidious: Chapter 3 is the right movie for you.

Release date: 26th June 2015 (India); 5th June 2015 (USA)
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye, Hayley Kiyoko, Michael Reid MacKay, Tate Berney, Tom Gallop, Phyllis Applegate, Ashton Moio, Ele Keats, Adrian, Tom Fitzpatrick, Phil Abrams, Ruben Garfias, Samantha Ramraj, James Wan, Amaris Davidson, Anna Ross, Joseph Bishara

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Stoker

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The legend of Stoker :: The first idea image that comes to one’s mind with the name “Stoker” is that of a vampire, if not exactly that of the primary antagonist of a 1897 Gothic horror novel. Thanks to Bram Stoker, the legend of Dracula has been something that continues to be synonymous with vampirism itself. But, there is nothing directly related to Bram Stoker here, and lets not make any guesses about it being something about the life of the creator of the world’s most well-known vampire (one of the few English writers whose name I have known since childhood). Stoker gives you no blood sucker, and even when there are murders, there is no such behaviour of not wasting the blood. The Vampire Bat has been historically against wastage of blood, and is certain to have been sad about his own idea about this movie being wrong, but that feeling never stood strong till the end of the movie. Stoker was never supposed to be about vampires, and it was not meant to be the usual horror movie; it had to be different.

What is it about? :: India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) is not going through a good period of time after her father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) dies in a car accident. Her mentally unstable mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) and India doesn’t seem to get along well. Richard’s brother Charlie (Matthew Goode) comes to the scene at that time, and keeps talking about his life which was mostly spent traveling all around the world. His stay at the house turns out to be longer than expected, and even as Evelyn likes that, India is mostly indifferent to his presence and on some occasions, rather not happy with his existence. She continues to keep away from him despite the fact that he seems to be trying quite hard to be very friendly with her. But as almost everyone who has an argument with Charlie disappears, India begins to feel that there is more to him than what meets the eye. Later, she even finds one of the dead bodies in the freezer. But she won’t be able to tell that to her mother who seems to have developed some intense feelings for his charms.

The defence of Stoker :: The movie successfully brings that creepy environment into play, with a huge house and its surrounding which seem to have more secrets than any normal person can endure, but that would eventually be proved wrong by the two characters, the introvert niece and her uncle whose existence was never known as his presence is more mysterious than the absence. The association of big houses with horror comes as no surprise, as everybody needs room to store some horrible secrets; the movies in most of the languages has the same, and Stoker has used that very well. There are lots of surprises in store too, especially related to the new member of the family, and the youngest member of the same who always had it in her to bring that shock element for which we are made to wait. Is that all about horror? No, it is mostly about horror and rest is about fantasy which follows horror in such a way that both becomes beautifully intertwined. The visuals are so nicely done so that the strange, creepy atmosphere is never out of our mind, even with nothing vicious being tried.

The claws of flaw :: Stoker can disappoint the usual horror lover depending on what he or she is looking for. It doesn’t have anything supernatural or serial killers who comes out of nowhere to create a pool of blood, even as this one does have enough blood and gruesome murders. There are no weird faces coming out of the dark making strange noises and trying to take advantage of that shocking side. This doesn’t go through that path set by Insidious and Sinister, the former needing no introduction and the latter having the most read horror movie review on my blog even as it was written almost an year after it was released, in the honorary movies list. The movie has that uniqueness which might make some audience disinterested. There is also some part of the movie where it might seem that nothing really happens, but that is not really that usual drag. The movie could have still used a little more of the direct horror, and there it might have lost a few fans too. It is also so much mixed in its genre that it can trouble fans of many genres. The grief and feelings in this movie can be highly subjective for the viewers too.

Performers of the soul :: This one comes from the South Korean director of the much admired Oldboy which was voted as one of the best Asian movies, and also Thirst which seems to have also got a similar reception – so that expectations were going to be high and I would say that this one delivers nicely, at least for me. Matthew Goode’s performance comes as real stunner in this one, as he exhibits both sides of being terrifying as well as charming with so much brilliance. Nicole Kidman also does nice with what might be the best someone can give for such a character. The best part of the movie should be Mia Wasikowska though. I mostly remember her from Alice in Wonderland in which she was so good, and she was the best Jane Eyre that most of us had ever known. Here, she takes that into another level as she is presented with a character who might be one of the strangest girls ever. She plays no Carrie, but even this character is so gifted in many ways along with being disturbed that she keeps us with her even as not completely on her side, and there comes the subjectivity of the viewers into play.

Soul exploration :: This is the first time that I have noticed Mia Wasikowska with black hair, and as that seems to suit her so well, it adds to the soul too. Eighteen year old girl and never really smiling in the movie – now that is more than just interesting for a Vampire Bat’s soul. Caught between her innocence and awareness, India doesn’t become like the others; she chooses to be different. But what is to follow when she decides to follow her instincts rather than her innocence? She is a lot like her uncle, and that is something that is proved again and again in the movie. They both have a lot in common, and India always has that invitation into that dark world which she can resist only with her best attempts. But her world has already shattered, and any resistance that she can produce would rather become an illusion which won’t help her a bit. She has always had the dark side with all its strength, and it is only herself that keeps her back, and there will always be a revelation which can turn the whole world upside down.

How it finishes :: Stoker successfully keeps the audience in the movie and doesn’t throw away its logic, even when it slows down in pace, an achievement which not many horror movies can boast about. You can say that with most of the shots of the movie. Stoker has style and it has substance; to add to it, this is a thriller and horror movie with the elements of drama, not something which is easy to achieve. “Don’t disturb the family” is a nice tagline for the movie too, as we do come to know what happens when even the youngest member of the family is disturbed – not a good sign for anyone planning to do the same. You got to love the way they look in the poster too, especially Mia Wasikowska; Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows shall approve it with an A+. Watch this one as a horror movie, a thriller, a coming-of-age story, a slasher flick, a tale of revenge and even as a strange romantic tragedy. Stoker might be strange to a number of people belonging to the normal audience category, but it has so much in it which makes it a force to be reckoned with.

Release date: 1st March 2013
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Park Chan-wook
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Lucas Till, Alden Ehrenreich, Phyllis Somerville, Ralph Brown, Judith Godrèche

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✠The Vampire Bat.

The Grey

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On The Grey :: This is a relatively unknown thriller movie starring Liam Neeson in a human battle against nature and its creatures. The movie can be further remembered for the poem which is recited in the movie: “Once more into the fray Into the last good fight I’ll ever know Live and die on this day Live and die on this day”. These are very strong lines according to the situation, and written by Joe Carnahan the director of the movie, this poem is more suitable to the age of civilization rather than that of world in the middle of nowhere. It is more of a man against nature stuff for sure, but on another level, we can see a survivor horror of another kind, this one being a thriller which involves man fighting against forces which are stronger and smarter than the average zombie in the survival horror movies. It is also an action-adventure movie where a group of men, especially one man is brought down into a world of chaos just as he thought he would be back to civilization. Yes, where there is no order or civilization, there is to be chaos, and the ultimate result is mostly death.

What is it about? :: John Ottway (Liam Neeson) is the hero of the story, who works in Alaska. He is an efficient shooter whose job is to kill gray wolves which regularly threaten an oil drilling camp. He has visions of his wife and lives with a desire to kill himself, something which he just cannot accomplish. He is kind of a loner, and does what he is supposed to. But all these have to change as their plane crash on a return trip home. The survivors of the plane crash is lead by John, but not everyone agrees to his leadership. Soon they find that they are in the territory of a gray wolf pack, and as long as they don’t get out of there, the creatures shall hunt them. As one of them (Ben Bray) is killed by the wolves at night, they decide that they have to keep moving, and it would be better for them to be away from the crash site as much as possible. With no idea of which way to go towards civilization, or at least away from the wolf territory, all of them have to depend on their own instincts to survive in the extreme climate. Are they into the last good fight they will ever know? Only time will tell.

The defence of The Grey :: You might know that having Liam Neeson there is the biggest and the best thing for this movie. Let me tell you that this movie is not about wolves, and therefore lets not think about how they are acting in this one – for this movie is about courage and the humanity’s everlasting desire for survival. You already know that man can be destroyed, but can’t be defeated. It doesn’t matter how weak you are, it is the circumstance that makes you stand up and be tough. It has a powerful and yet never exaggerated depiction of a world which is cent percent against human existence, and ruthless instincts for survivals are asked for. Yes, people live and day on a day, and we are pushed into battles, sometimes you know that it is your last chance, and it is not an option to win. The Grey has beautifully captured all these scene by scene, with the acts and dialogues of the characters as well as the presence of snow and the wolves. The Grey is that thrilling movie which has nothing supernatural or extra-terrestrial and yet gives the feeling of something out of this world, and this success of the movie is a good sign for future.

Positives and Negatives :: There was a big chance that this movie was going to be set aside as just another movie which uses has a group of people trying to survive the snow and the wolves along with using Liam Neeson’s star value in attracting attention. But no, not with The Grey. It reminds us that movie is a craft and the director is the craftsman, and provided with someone of great caliber to support it from the inside, this is more than enough for making a fantastic movie. The first instinct of all of us might be to brand this movie as an action movie with Liam Neeson beating up wolves – partially right, and this one is also an adventure – there too somewhat right; but about all, this is a survival thriller, which keeps not only the wolves, but also ourselves in the hunt. There are no death-defying action – that should disappoint a few, and Liam Neeson is not right out of Taken or The A-Team, believe it. Instead, we have people who walk in the snow covered valley of shadow of death, with different beliefs, but hope for survival all the same. The movie’s snow world and repetitions might trouble a few, and it does have an unclear end and some drops of depression and pessimism at times.

Performers of the soul :: Liam Neeson activates the movie, runs the movie and ends it in style. The same director and actor comes together once again after The A-Team and unlike the strange modern world that our actor explored in the form of the thrillers Unknown and Taken, this one takes the viewers right back to an age where the animals and nature had the upper-hand. My favourite movie of his shall always be Schindler’s List, and I do feel that everyone would agree. His presence in Les Miserables would comes second best, in a role which involves selflessly saving the innocents yet again. I would say that his performance in The Grey stands next, as he plays a man who is himself a hunter, and becomes as much a predator as the wolf by the end. There are those moments of Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins that comes to the mind when this man who had made a great villain comes to the scene once again never to give up. Our character doesn’t lose hope, and neither does he loses his courage, and Liam Neeson makes sure that the character is awesome. I am looking forward to his A Walk Among the Tombstones, as it sounds interesting, and there is also the movie with an earlier release date – Non-Stop.

Soul exploration :: The wolves are more of the symbol of what attacks us in the real life, taking the individuality out of us, making us afraid and act like what we are expected to be. The nature has its fury and so do the wolves, but in our civilized world, we suffer from the same attacks, not just physical, but also of intellectual and spiritual nature, as we are forced to give away our beliefs due to many reasons – the wolves can be a lot of things, as our right to believe in something or the right to be someone is taken away. Yes, the future dystopia will be based on materialism alone, as art, literature and religion will be taken away. We already know how much the courses on arts are suffering and how the current society has taken away imagination in favour of logic. They have marked their territory, and wolves continues to take many new forms, and the support that most of them receives continues to increase. Obviously most of the society consider us students of arts as worthless, and they kill us like these wolves, with their teeth and claws supported by the climate which favours them. They try to make us believe that we have studied an inferior course – do survive, like Liam Neeson, for we struggle more than anyone else, caught between the community reservations after which we General category people get none.

How it finishes :: How well The Grey is taken, goes beyond comparisons. It doesn’t have that much inside it if you just watch it and leave it, and it will be basically a man – wolf battle against all odds. The wolf is often more than just a creature, and when the nemesis is also a philosophy, there comes the epic struggle. Beautifully shot with its visuals and sounds which produces depression as well as intensity, the movie will be a treat for most, and might not gather the attention of a few others. Liam Neeson is the catalyst that this movie needed, and anyone else would have not worked the movie in the same movie. The Grey is more of what the title suggests, it is more grey than anything else, with no black or white, just the struggle for survival as the humans face the sure mortality when they least expect it, and that too of a horrible kind. By the end, there is death, and still there is the courage to take the fight to the wolves as there is that last battle, to live and die rather than to live or die – for to live or to die is not an option, as people live and die and some part of us can always be dead and buried, even with immortality continued to be given that significance that it deserves.

Release date: 27th January 2012
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, James Badge Dale, Jacob Blair, Ben Bray, Anne Openshaw

thegrey copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.