Rurouni Kenshin

Vampire Owl: Isn’t this the second Japanese movie that we are watching?

Vampire Bat: Yes, they were mostly overshadowed by Korean and Chinese films.

Vampire Owl: The name is quite tough here.

Vampire Bat: Your soul will get used to such names.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Japan is my dream country?

Vampire Bat: Japan is everyone’s dream country.

Vampire Owl: Except for the common vampires of our times.

Vampire Bat: Are you talking about the never-ending need to go to Romania?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the holy land dedicated to Uncle Dracula, especially on Halloween.

Vampire Bat: That trend had come down since the Russia invaded its neighbouring country, Ukraine. We, vampires are supposed to stay kilometres away from any terrible war caused by human kind. We are not violent people.

[Gets a porotta roll and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 1864, and Japan is now open to foreign trade. This means that a few people seek to end the rule of Shoguns and bring back the authority of the empire, with some of the being ambitious and the others filled with ideals. They are forced to face each other, and fighting goes on only to make the situation worse in the island nation which seeks progress with trade and commerce. Himura Kenshin (Takeru Satoh) who is also known as Hitokiri Battosai serves as a political assassin to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate which would eventually lead to the Meji Restoration and the later rise of Imperial Japan, finally leading to their participation in the Second World War and fall with the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The history goes a long way, and this is more like a civil war which will begin the events which will finally lead to a detailed epoch in the Japanese history with no security or value for human life. The young man of concern here, who is a skilled fighter with swords, joins the clan of Choshu, and begins to work with Katsura Kogoro (Issey Takahashi), their leader.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: During one of the fights in which he kills all the men, a member of the opposite gang refuses to die, and despite being impaled by sword multiple times, gives the assassin a cut on his face. This has Himura clearly disturbed instead of being cold with all the killings. Katsura understands that even after so many years of killing hundreds of men, his assassin is still not comfortable with killing people, a process which he keeps repeating. He feels that the young man hasn’t really grown up yet, and remains pure at heart, which means that there is no peace at heart. He is still the best fighter that he has known in years, but that wouldn’t change the heart. When Himura had earlier joined the group in a bid to overthrow the Shoguns, he hadn’t killed anyone, but the promise that he had shown was immense, unlike anyone whom he had seen among their fighters. He would keep on wondering if the man has finally has had enough of the fights and the brutal killings.

And what can bring a change to world which has only gotten worse with the civil wars? :: Katsura feels that there is the need to find a solution, as there is the need to end this continuous war, for which he needs as many hands holding the swords with expertise. Himura is still haunted by the memories of the man who refused to die, citing the reason of love in his life. One night, he goes on to have a drink of his own, and interferes when a lone woman named Yukishiro Tomoe (Kasumi Arimura) is bothered by a group of men who demand that the woman treats them with respect, and consider them as their heroes. After leaving the tavern, he is almost attacked by two drunkards from the tavern who are killed by an assassin with a chain. He manages to kill the assassin, but finds Yukishiro who had come to thank him, drenched in the blood of assassin, and she soon faints as a result of the shock from what she had just witnessed. He takes her back to his hideout, a place for the revolutionaries. The girl who feel thankful, decides to stay, much to his surprise, as he wonders why.

The defence of Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning :: The stylish action sequences begin the film’s progress very soon. The fights with the swords remain memorable, as there seems to be so much of speed and control related to them – it is like you take your eyes away from the screen for less than a second, and still you end up missing something. You are going to find it difficult to follow the pace of the very thin and agile swords which keep moving in all directions, but you enjoy what happens around. The characters remain interesting, and there seems to be something about almost everyone out there. The performers seem to be chosen with care, and the way they come up with the action scenes makes one wonder if they are really that well trained in all of these. Takeru Satoh leads well, Kasumi Arimura does the job with integrity. The movie nicely takes the fictional world and combines it with history. The emotional side also gains strength at times. The visuals are nice, not just with the big towns, but also with the nice little villages and the small homes surrounded by nature.

The claws of flaw :: The movie might feel to be too violent for at least a few people who are expecting more fights on the scene with blood and gore being hidden, but this is not really that martial arts or superhero movie to go through that route. This is also a little bit too long, considering the fact that the story is very much a predictable one, with not that much of innovation added here by looking at the possibilities in history. When action becomes the first and the one great choice, the plot suffers – it is quite a natural thing as we have seen in other movies – you just can’t satisfy everyone, and then the makers would prefer to go with what the crowd would like to see here. It seems to be very much hesitant to take the risk in different areas, when the challenges were present. The romance, even though present there, feels somewhat forced, even though the performers make it work without any trouble – after all, a love affair changing people all of a sudden is a stereotype which has been used for too long that we don’t really care about that anymore; then the ending which we can feel good enough to make a guess.

How it finishes :: This is not the franchise that we are familiar with, even though people of Japan should be very much familiar with the same. It is also based upon the manga series of the same name, which means more Japanese familiarity for sure – films inspired by comics have its own space like the video-game based works of our times. The movie takes the old style sword-fighting action to the next level, within its own charming setting – there will be no shortage of such action here. This is supposed to the fifth and final installment of this particular franchise about a nineteenth century assassin. But as it is also a prequel, it serves as a stand-alone movie which can be watched first, in the middle or last, and there is the placing in history which makes things easier to understand. Historical setting serve well when used with clarity and skill. We do feel that this a usual tragic tale about friendship and love in a world of war and chaos, but as we have the same arranged really well with the setting, the idea works effectively.

Release date: 4th June 2021 (Japan); 30th July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Keishi Otomo
Starring: Takeru Satoh, Kasumi Arimura, Issey Takahashi, Nijiro Murakami, Masanobu Ando, Kazuki Kitamura Yosuke Eguchi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Antlers

Vampire Owl: I haven’t seen a more interesting poster in a very long time.

Vampire Bat: Horror does need such posters to show divergence in fear.

Vampire Owl: Fear should always be the same, right?

Vampire Bat: Unless you are a vampire, or maybe zombie.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about a different smell of fear.

Vampire Bat: You should be aware of the fear potions of the witches.

Vampire Owl: Those potions never really work.

Vampire Bat: I know that you trust the pseudo-scientific elixirs of Mr Frankenstein better.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has opened portals with elixirs.

Vampire Bat: Those were ancient portals found hidden in the caves beneath the castle!

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

What is the movie about? :: In the beginning, there is a warning that Mother Earth has been pillaged, with her life’s blood taken away, and this terrible act has awakened a spirit which needs to be feared – it would seek the lost, frail and the depraved, and asks the viewers to hope and pray that it won’t take one among them. The scene cuts to Cispus Falls, a small town in Oregon which feels dark with an eerie feeling. There, in an inactive mine, Frank Weaver (Scott Haze) runs a meth lab within an inactive mine which used to serve the town’s economy a long time ago. Frank and his co-worker hears some strange noises from within the mine, and goes on to check the same. As they doubt that it is an animal and tries to escape, find themselves attacked by an unseen creature. Frank’s son Aiden Weaver (Sawyer Jones) waits for him outside the mine, failing to understand what has happened inside. His elder brother as Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T Thomas) is considered to be strange by his classmates and teachers, but Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) who teaches about myths and fables is determined to help him.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Julia remembers the abuse she suffered as a child in the hands of her alcoholic father who was also mentally ill – she feels that he is also suffering from something similar. Paul Meadows (Jesse Plemons), her brother is the local sheriff – she had abandoned him a long time ago, but has now returned home from California following the death of their father. She feels that she shouldn’t have left the place, and tries to help another person as she can, this time, Lucas. She tries to bond with him, but there is no success at all – she tries to visit his house, but leaves after hearing some strange noises from inside. Lucas seems to have some some mystery locked within his house, and also takes dead animals and birds to his home. He stays awake at night and makes strange drawings. Julia feels that she really needs to get to the bottom of this, and also informs her brother, who reaffirms that Frank was considered fit to be the guardian of the two children after the mother’s death – now, what would she do?

The defence of Antlers :: It can be seen that Antlers does take the deviation from the usual horror, and this divergence is taken seriously throughout its narrative – it lets the surroundings contribute to the same really well. The environment and the setting serve effectively for the movie too. The small town with its dark and wet weather really suits the situation presented around here, and there is enough of the woods to keep one going in the mood of terror. The idea of the “diabolic wickedness that devours humans”, the spirit that takes many forms, makes a powerful myth around here. There is also a connection made to the destruction of nature which the humans managed to come up with. One wouldn’t be able to blame the monsters considering how evil the humans happen to be at every point. We also have the moments of scares, and that gets stronger with the understanding that there is a seemingly unstoppable force of nature at work. Add the performance, especially from children, and things only get much darker and scarier in nature.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about the fact that Antlers had the premise to be something greater, but doesn’t use the same to the best of advantage. We do see the moments which we feel could have been better. When you have such a near-unstoppable monster at the centre, there are many things that can be done – it could have surely been designed better too. The emotional side doesn’t seem to work that much, even though we are waiting for those elements to be effective too. The myth could have also been given a boost with certain elements from the past, and a history to be remembered. One can generate enough fear out of that too. The scope for sequel at the end seems to be forced, as if there was a certain need rather than anything else. One can feel the need to remind the viewer of a myth that goes missing, but that requires more of a better origins story with roots in a mysterious past – let the horror run through there too.

The performers of the soul :: Keri Russell has been among my favourite actresses from a long time ago – she carries a certain amount of charm with her roles, even though horror hasn’t been the genre we would remember her the most for. She would make it to the list of performers who don’t seem to age much as years pass. She blends in really well as this protagonist who has her own problems from childhood itself. Jesse Plemons supports her really well as the brother figure and the policeman. Jeremy T Thomas gets his moments as the struggling child who is forced to make too many decisions at such a young age. Scott Haze gets into the terrifying moments around here well. Sawyer Jones plays the other child of significance in a role which brings a fair challenge to him. Amy Madigan ends up having a smaller role to work with than what was expected. Rory Cochrane’s work is another thing of support here. The monster when shown, works as a performer by itself.

How it finishes :: Antlers keeps on moving the world of horror forward in a different path for a change, and the world of fear continues to make its points in one way or the other. One does feel that the Malayalam movie Odiyan could have learned a few things from this one with the creature attacks and the atmosphere to make it darker – if you see the looks, there seems to a visual connection. The earlier divergent horror movies like Malignant, Lights Out, It Follows and Don’t Breathe had scored better, but this one tries to make it count. Maybe, something like the creature in this movie is the need of environment itself to take care of the humans who are destroying nature as we have known it. Well, Corona virus did try, but they were not successful in getting rid of humanity and its use of science to destroy environment. It does make us feel that there can be the moment when nature can get it back running – The Blackout surely made us think about human extinction. Until something like that happens, let us enjoy this horror out of nature.

Release date: 29th October 2021 (Theatre); 15th December 2021 (Hotstar)
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Starring: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, Amy Madigan

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Free Guy

Vampire Owl: We are all free vampires in a world of slavery.

Vampire Bat: This not really that much of a world of chains.

Vampire Owl: You are not understanding the power of our chains.

Vampire Bat: There are no chains in this realm which can hold a vampire.

Vampire Owl: I am not talking about the physical chains.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that there is a telepath in the realm?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and she is stronger than any vampire mind reader.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about the legend of the witch-vampire.

Vampire Owl: It is actually the vampire-witch. She is mostly the witch.

Vampire Bat: Just because she knows how travel on a broom-stick, she is now a witch?

[Gets a paneer puffs and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: We are introduced to Free City where people who are wearing sunglasses are heroes, and run the city. They can do almost anything in the city, never really obeying the rules which are applicable to others. Among the many normal people in the city is Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who seems to live a usual kind of life, as he works as a bank teller, and considers his life as a part of a paradise where he lived from the time he can remember. His best friend is the bank’s securiy gurad, Buddy (Lil Rel Howery), who is not really bothered about the bank getting robbed frequently. Everyone out there seems to be very happy, and Guy feels that he has everything that he needs, except for a lover. He attempts to fall in love without success, and feels that he hasn’t really found the right person yet. Soon, he finds a mysterious girl wearing sunglasses, and as he goes after her, is run over by a train. It is soon revealed that the world they are living in is actually a game – a massively multiplayer online role-playing video game, which has Guy as a non-player character.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The mysterious girl is Millie (Jodie Comer) in the avatar Molotov Girl, a player looking for source code to her original game, Life Itself which she wrote with Keys (Joe Keery). It was stolen by Antwan (Taika Waititi), the Soonami CEO who stole it and turned it into something else. Keys wants to help, but prefers to work with Antwan instead, and continue to have a job. At the same time, Guy has deviated from the programme after listening to that unintentional song from Millie. He starts off by asking the wrong coffee instead of the one programmed for the NPC. He also starts talking differently to many people, which leads to changes in the programming of other NPCs too. Soon, he decides to steal the sunglasses, as the girl was also wearing them. He gets one from a robber, and starts seeing things from the perspective of the players from the world outside. It makes him think deviate even further from his original programming.

And what more is here in a world of chaos? :: The programmers think that a hacker from real life has taken over the NPC, and is playing the role differently, feeling that it is indeed a small glitch which will be resolved soon enough. As Millie comes against him, she also feels that he is a player and asks him to level up, so that he could be of more worth, an advice he takes into himself seriously. Unlike the others, he decides to level up by doing good things only, with minimum use of weapons. He begins to try to be like the heroes that he had witnessed on the streets, but with only the good side by helping people in need and fighting some evil. Soon, he becomes a top level player, and is also an internet sensation in the real world. He also saves Millie when she is on a mission to collect the evidence, and she falls in love with him feeling that he is actually a real person who is playing the game. Soon enough, they will understand the same, and so will Antwan. Now, the equations will be complicated. Can the makers find their code, and where does that leave Guy?

The defence of Free Guy :: The movie’s concept is really good, and is a pretty good addition to what we have seen before in different films before. Among the other more famous films, the one which I remember the most is The Thirteenth Floor, even though the world peculiarities also reminds us of the one most famous film, The Matrix. The main character also reminds us of the protagonist of The Lego Movie and the rest of the people like Nerve. We are reminded of the games like Grand Theft Auto, Mafia and The Godfather too. These reminders serve to provide some nostalgia too. The mixture made out of the combination of different interesting things continue to be engaging, and also has a certain amount of humour associated with it. At the same time, there is a strong emotional side which never brings the overdose. The world in the movie is indeed interesting, and there are some fine visuals which support this new universe. It is indeed a stylish and beautiful environment that we have here, and the connection with the original world is well-established.

Positives and negatives :: One might feel that the idea is not new, but the presentation does have some innovation about it, and it never really gets that dark or serious about the happenings around here. Due to the same reason, there can be some predictability here, which they have managed to hide at some points effectively. Ryan Reynolds is here with a fine performance, and a role which is very much more worth appreciation than Deadpool – here he plays one of the most lovable protagonists around, and he seems to do that with ease. As expected, he also excels in the action sequences. Jodie Comer excels in two worlds, and she strikes well with action sequences within the new world and also outside the game. There are some spectacular action scenes with the two around, and would be a case of grandeur on the big screen. Joe Keery also has a nice role to play which he manages well. Lil Rel Howery adds further to the comic side well. Taika Waititi also makes a good villain, the big rich one with only money in his mind.

How it finishes :: Free Guy is that kind of a movie which needs more attention in this part of the world, as it is appropriate for almost every kind of audience. The movie also deals with the idea of existence – maybe we are all in a video game too, and will never know. Maybe we are all programmed to, as there is something special about all of us – then, maybe life has no meaning; all these could be reminded by this one movie. What if we are not programmed to know the truth about our existence? Even in between all these people go for war, and most humans just hate each other. Maybe it would have been all better if this was a video game, for there is so much of hate, and the futility of one’s actions is disheartening. Those who work harder than others and the ones who are the most honest are the ones who suffer the most. You live a life with life-long learning and it might be some moron who gets the job for which you are best qualified – then there are the reservations which hands them the jobs. Maybe, our lives are also programmed – we might be in a video game.

Release date: 13th August 2021
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Joe Keery, Taika Waititi

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dune

Vampire Owl: A movie set in the future is the need of the hour.

Vampire Bat: There is no future that Uncle Dracula hasn’t seen.

Vampire Owl: Yet, he decides not to share the vision of future with us.

Vampire Bat: There is no future that we need to know.

Vampire Owl: You are more afraid of the future than the past now?

Vampire Bat: Everything except the present is to be feared.

Vampire Owl: You feel the need to prepared for a future you don’t know.

Vampire Bat: I am always prepared for that fearful future.

Vampire Owl: You can never be enough prepared for the same.

Vampire Bat: Which is why you need to be afraid of the future.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 10191, and in Caladan, the homeworld of House Atreides, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), the Duke of House Atreides is asked by the emperor of the Known Universe to replace House Harkonnen as the rulers of Arrakis, a desert planet which serves as the only source of spice, an incredibly valuable substance that improves human abilities and helps them to go on interstellar travel faster than light safely. But the brutal race of Harkonnens in their homeworld, Giedi Prime won’t be that happy about it as they had held the area for about eighty years. Beast Rabban Harkonnen (Dave Bautista), the leading fighter among them is certainly not happy, but it turns out that the emperor means something else with these actions. Leto does feel that there is something wrong about all of these, and that the emperor has some sinister motives, but decides to form an alliance with the native fighters known as Fremen instead of enslaving them, thus bringing a twist to the plans.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) is the heir to the throne of House Atreides, and is worried about the recent happenings, as he had also come up against many nightmares about the planet which his people were going to invade. Paul’s mother Lady Jessica Atreides (Rebecca Ferguson) is a part of the Bene Gesserit, a group meant only for women, whose members have advanced physical and mental abilities – the group is not happy about Jessica having a male child instead of the female one which she was supposed to have. They are hoping for a perfect messiah-like superhuman who can guide humanity to a better future, and wonders if Paul is the one, even though he surely has a long way to go. House Atreides takes control and arrives on Arrakis, and the people there seems to appreciate them, especially Jessica and Paul. The terrain and the buildings in the place seems to be completely different, and Paul feels that Bene Gesserit is planting unnecessary superstitions about a messiah there too.

And what more can we expect in this world which has so many secrets in store? :: Paul understands more and more about the planet, its deep-rooted trees, sandworms and strongly held strange beliefs. Dr Liet Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) who serves as the judge of the change and the imperial ecologist talks to them about the dangers which exist there. Leto has a talk with Stilgar (Javier Bardem), the leader of the Fremens, and it goes on well. During a flight above the sands, they come against one of the sandworms coming towards a spice harvester which had almost finished harvesting. The group rescues the crew members, as the sandworms take the harvesting machine. They understand that the equipment out there are not good enough, and will not help them to bring the spice production back strong – they feel that they are destined to fail, and then someone else will take over. Meanwhile, at Salusa Secundus, the Imperial Army Planet, certain preparations are going on, and certain terror awaits.

The defence of Dune :: This movie, as any other story in a future set in another planet would come up with, has a grand spectacle in store, as far as the visuals are concerned. These worlds become part of you as it would do each and every time in Star Trek, Alien or the computer games like Mass Effectspace exploration never gets old. The special effects are used very effectively and the world detailing is really good – the details do not stop at the world with its buildings and people as it goes further with so many things established in this first movie which seems to serve as the pillars to what is to come later. There are also lots of action sequences, and we have that feeling of Game of Thrones coming back here after such a long time – well, War of the Roses can keep showing up in many movies and series in style. Based on one of the world’s best selling and the most appreciated science fiction novels, you would have always known what this movie would be capable of, with the use of new technology. The movie also serves as a reminder that the wars are forever, as long as any humanoid is alive in this galaxy or the others.

Positives and negatives :: The movie does remind you of a few others, but that is understandable as the story of human greed for power has remained the same throughout years. The film is also long, and the run-time might not be acceptable to most people as there are many scenes which seems to slow down things much. The movie is also not an easy movie to follow if you keep your eyes off the screen during regular intervals – there are many characters who are to be remembered and there are so many dialogues coming not just in English. The movie feels like that kind of a movie which will require you to have a bigger screen. This is also like a few drops of water in an ocean, as the world here seems to be huge, and there are so many books in this series which can be made into spectacular movies. The movie did have its own adaptations earlier, but this one right here might be the biggest of them all, even though one does feel at times that things could have been more direct – Jupiter Ascending, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and John Carter, two highly underrated inter-planetary movies could do that.

How it finishes :: Dune begins the journey of an epic really well, and has us waiting for the next movie in the series. As it is based on a 1965 epic science fiction novel by the American author Frank Herbert, there will always be questions about how much the adaptation had done justice to the original work. As I haven’t read the book, that wouldn’t be on my list of things to do, but I am sure that this movie is indeed a remarkable work that one will remember and shall wait for a possible sequel. The book did have five sequels after the first one – Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune. The sequel to the first movie and featuring the second half of the first book, Dune: Part Two will be releasing next year. So, this is not the end, but the beginning, and we can always hope for the tale to be continued in a better way as the basic origin story has been established well. The same would be in theatres unless corona virus will have another ride on its pale horse.

Release date: 22nd October 2021; 25th March 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 156 minutes
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Charlotte Rampling, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Justice Society: WW II

Full Title: Justice Society: World War II

Vampire Owl: Do you know that I had participated in the Second World War?

Vampire Bat: I am not sure if you are talking about the war that we know about.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about that very long and tiring magical war between vampires, zombies, witches and werewolves.

Vampire Bat: I am glad that you are not talking about that useless human war.

Vampire Owl: Human wars are those of greed and are always useless.

Vampire Bat: What did you do in our world war?

Vampire Owl: Ask me what I didn’t do then.

Vampire Bat: You were quite a young vampire during that time.

Vampire Owl: There is a story about my victory against the zombies.

Vampire Bat: There was no victory against the zombies. They just left the battle as there was the need for search for brains to eat.

[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: In Earth-two, the parallel universe, Nazi Germany has conquered most of Europe, winning most of the battles of the Second World War, and also possesses some magical artifacts. The United States gets involved in the war, as a team of superheroes called Justice Society of America has been formed with Steve Trevor (Chris Diamantopoulos), Wonder Woman (Stana Katic), Hawkman (Omid Abtahi), The Flash (Armen Taylor), Black Canary (Elysia Rotaru) and Hourman (Matthew Mercer). Hourman who has been a scientist, has developed a chemical called Miraclo which enhances all of his skills for about an hour. Black Canary has her sonic sound abilities. The Flash, with his superhuman speed, has been a full-time crime fighter always willing to serve his country. Hawkman, an ancient Egyptian in a modern Egyptian’s body, is also available for service. Wonder Woman will lead this team, as they hope to end this war before the Nazis get hold of all those artifacts and use them against the United States.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Back on Earth-one, its Flash (Matt Bomer) is going through a picnic with Iris West (Ashleigh LaThrop), but their plans to get away from the usual work is disrupted by Superman (Darren Criss) fighting Brainiac (Darin De Paul), a seemingly extra-terrestrial android with mechanical minions to support him, and has been the person responsible for the destruction of the planet of Krypton. The enemy is basically a supercomputer with artificial intelligence and an android body which gives him superhuman strength, durability, healing, flight, telekinesis and many other abilities which allows him to bring a strong fight to Superman. As Brainiac fires a Kryptonite bullet towards Superman, Flash tries to stop it, but he runs so fast that he channels the Speed Force. This means that he arrives at a time when the Nazis are fighting the Justice Society, and he feels that he has arrived in the past, when the Second World War was happening in their world. With the superheroes on their side, the United States, Britain and its allies seem to do better in a Nazi occupied France.

And what more is to happen with the superheroes here? :: But even after two years, the war doesn’t seem to end. The team is initially suspicious about him, but understands that he is also like them, and only wants to help humanity as a superhero. Barry as Flash also saves Trevor and also a number of civilians. They also feels that he is from the future. The team does take Barry into their team. They feel that they can use him in saving a codebreaker from a Nazi fortress, as only he can decode an encrypted message. But everything is not that right with the team, as the Black Canary feels that there is no point in doing all of these as they are not even remembered due to the whole thing being top secret, while the two Flashes have gone weaker in strength with them being together. Wonder Woman does have the romantic problems, and Hawkman still has trouble with dealing with his past life. It is then that the Flash realizes that this is not the world that he knows about – then there is Aquaman whom they come across on the way. He has to find a way to return to the other Earth, but it won’t be that easy.

The defence of Justice Society: World War II :: The movie has managed to make use of the parallel universe idea well, and has nicely placed the Justice Society during the time of World War II. The superheroes who are basically unknown to us are also introduced well. After all, the world can always use more imaginary superheroes, as we are all going to suffer in this world of chaos, and hope for the impossible is necessary. Black Canary, Hawkman and Hourman are not the kind of heroes with whom the audience of this part of the world are that familiar – they do get some introduction here. Unless one has been watching the series and all, the idea of the second Earth will also feel new, and it also gets the introduction here. The whole thing has also been nicely blended into the Second World War’s procedures. It is interesting enough to make us think about many other parallel universes, and also those with the Nazis winning. The underwater world has also been nicely incorporated into the story, and there are also some nice twists, even though they can be guessed up to an extent.

The claws of flaw :: Some of the characters could have been better, especially Wonder Woman, who doesn’t seem to be that interesting as Gal Gadot had portrayed her. From the clothing itself, this one seems to be very much unlike the one we know, even in a parallel universe – the freedom there doesn’t do well enough to make the character interesting. The other superheroes of the parallel universe are the ones whom we know less about, and therefore their versions only count as a positive addition. There could have also been more action, as there is scope for this movie to increase the total running time. The Nazi elements could have also been developed further, as we don’t see enough of them doing what we expect them to do. We don’t even get to their main areas with those special villains becoming part of them. Instead, we are having some of those rather weaker antagonists along with the talk about Nazis taking over the whole world. They could have developed this in a different way, and at the same time, without being repetitive with things.

How it finishes :: Here is another superhero movie which has Justice League-style coming together of heroes to save the world, even though in another parallel universe. It is a clear thing that humanity is going destroy itself, whether there are wars or not – the imaginary presence of these superheroes are indeed belonging to hope, and therefore, we always have our eyes in this genre. Amazon Prime Video does have this flick, and we can only be happy that they do, because people in this part of the world won’t be able to watch it otherwise. The film is the usual superhero thing in essence, and we can watch it just like we go through the rest of the movies of the genre. This is also that kind of a movie which can be divided into three parts to watch as a series. Well, superheroes need to bring that faith, belief and hope, don’t they? One can only wonder what the evil humans will have to think about it – hope for the superheroes to die maybe?

Release date: 27th April 2021
Running time: 84 minutes
Directed by: Jeff Wamester
Starring: Stana Katic, Matt Bomer, Elysia Rotaru, Chris Diamantopoulos, Omid Abtahi, Matthew Mercer, Armen Taylor, Liam McIntyre

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bloodshot

Vampire Owl: I am ready to take the bloodshot right now.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this is not exactly a vaccine filled with blood.

Vampire Owl: I know that Doctor Frankenstein is developing such a vaccine.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but this is not it – and he is too crazy to be successful in it.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein is a man of many skills. Madness is only one of them.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the result of his last experiment is now leading the zombie army against us.

Vampire Owl: You can’t blame a godly figure for giving his creations freewill.

Vampire Bat: Even Mary Shelley called him only as Modern Prometheus.

Vampire Owl: I am much older than anyone calling anybody by any name.

Vampire Bat: Okay, do take your Bloodshot vaccine when it is available in the goblin market.

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

What is the movie about? :: Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is having his vacation somewhere on the coast of Southern Italy with his wife Gina Garrison (Talulah Riley) after a successful hostage rescue operation in Mombasa off the south east coast of Kenya. But they are captured by Martin Axe (Toby Kebbell) and a group of mercenaries who murder both his wife as he is not able to answer a question about their earlier mission. As Ray promises that he would have his vengeance, Martin kills him too. But he finds himself waking up elsewhere in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the laboratory if Rising Spirit Tech (RST). Dr Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) and Miss KT (Eiza Gonzalez) explains to him that he was dead, and the United States military had transfered his body to their research facility. Ray had become the first successful human revival as part of the experimental Bloodshot program, as a new nanite technology has brought him back stronger than before and healed his injuries.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Ray has no memory of what has happened with his life though, and he is more or less of a blank slate. The company explains to him that his body was sent here because there was nobody to claim it, and the research focused on building, reconstructing and enhancing soldiers with different methods using exoskeletons and higher levels of regeneration. But when he comes up against his memory of his wife’s murder, he immediately leaves the place, and two other cybernetically enhanced soldiers, Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan) and Marcus Tibbs (Alex Hernandez) are sent after him. But as he runs through the security forces of who seems to be his enemy, there is more than what meets the eye, but he wouldn’t understand it. But the undercurrents will get to him sooner or later, as he is taken back to the company to recover. What is the secret that he needs to find out sooner or later, and how will it change his world?

The defence of Bloodshot :: As a superhero origins movie, Bloodshot does have enough to keep us interested. The action is all good, and there are some fine visuals as well as those computer generated stylish elements which all come together nicely as a superhero movie should have. It came at a time when we were desperately in need of some superheroes, not just because of COVID-19 pandemic, but also because of our good old Avengers no longer being in the scene with the final spectacle which finished some of its superheroes either by death or by retirement. Diesel’s fans are going to be really happy about this one, as he does things the way has been doing it for a long time, and it reminds one of his much earlier movies. The final action scene is a spectacle, and there were others of our interest earlier too. The movie’s sequel should also have immense possibilities, as there is one almost invincible superhero ready to save the world against all odds.

The claws of flaw :: Bloodshot is a film which could have brought some more twists instead of going the predictable path at times – the superhero movies tend to do that, but this one surely had better opportunities to do that in comparison to a usual movie of the kind, and yet it doesn’t take that chance to keep itself safe. As an origin story, this one keeps itself to the basics, and waits for a possible sequel to do the job better. People would have still expected more, and something which would keep them finding the extraordinary. It does give some of the clues about its twists a little early. For a superhero, there could have been more death defying scenes earlier too, after all, we have seen what our hero could do in the much bigger series with cars, and those bigger car-like things. There might also be those people who can be confused between this movie and Deadshot, and that is not surprising as we consider the number of superheroes we were familiar with, that too in such a short period of time.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, the movie is depending on Vin Diesel to keep the heavy impact going, just like he has done for a long time in his career. The superstars like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Vin Diesel are meant to be superheroes at some point of time, and out hero, the latter had given us that idea quite long time ago. Diesel has another action movie covered here, and he does that with ease, just like he has done with many other action franchises in the past. Eiza Gonzalez also comes in as an action star with this movie, as her skills can also be seen around here. Alex Hernandez and Sam Heughan also does well with those action sequences. At the same time, Guy Pearce makes a pretty good villain, even though the chances of some bigger and better sequences of the mastermind would have done much better. Lamorne Morris remains the most likable character in the movie, and the role seems to suit him really well.

How it finishes :: Bloodshot does seem to have managed its origins story right, and now it is to be seen about how a possible sequel would go. The movie could have surely grossed more if it was not for the COVID-19 pandemic which came in so quickly, and ended its run in the theatres. It did return into the television quickly enough though, and we have another superhero to follow into that gap which Avengers had left behind. Well, we never really have enough of the superheroes, and the sequel to this movie can bring something more special. According to the Corona infested world, we surely will have to wait a long time for such a possibility. Until then, we do have this version, which has the interesting adventure with action and thrills. You can surely give Bloodshot a chance, as Vin Diesel is someone who brings a minimum guarantee on the big screen.

Release date: 13th March 2020
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: David SF Wilson
Starring: Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Guy Pearce, Talulah Riley, Lamorne Morris, Johannes Haukur Johannesson, Alex Hernandez, Tamer Burjaq, Siddharth Dhananjay

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shadow in the Cloud

Vampire Owl: I wonder what is stopping them from understanding this shadow?

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you know this shadow?

Vampire Owl: Yes, it should be Uncle Dracula trying to get some moonlight.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think so. He prefers darkness over any light.

Vampire Owl: Well, he is now being lunar powered.

Vampire Bat: What? You mean, like those werewolves and witches?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the technology in the cells in now shared.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that Doctor Frankenstein did another experiment.

Vampire Owl: Yes, now the advantage that the werewolves had over us is gone.

Vampire Bat: Advantage? The barbarians can make any empire fall at some point.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: During the final stages of the Second World War, the Flight Officer Maude Garrett (Chloe Grace Moretz) finds herself assigned to a B-17 bomber named a The Fool’s Errand, but as she boards the airplane with her orders, nobody in the crew is happy to see a young woman being assigned to what seems to be a tough and dangerous journey which lies ahead. She feels that she saw something on the side of the flight, which resembled an unidentified creature, but people have a difficult time believing her as they had reached a lot of height. After being left in the turrey for takeoff, she is not able to get back to the flight, as the hatch is stuck and nobody is able to open the door. They keep trying from above and below, but as she begins demanding that she be taken out immediately, they cut off the communications to her, and goes on checking her credentials, if she is really a flight officer like she claims to be.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But it turns out that there is something else happening in the flight. After seeing a Japanese plane close to the flight, she is attacked by the creature, a gremlin, but somehow manages to fight it off. The crew finds out that nobody by her name exists in the force, and feels that she could be an imposter, or an enemy spy who boarded the flight with some sinister plans. There was a bag which she had brought with her, and the crew begins to wonder what its content could be. But Maude continues to try and make them believe what she had earlier said. It is then that the gremlin returns, and they are also attacked by Japanese fighter planes. Now, they have more than one thing to worry about, but the question remains if they can trust her enough to have her fight with them. As of now, it seems that only Staff Sergeant Walter Quaid (Taylor John Smith) seems to believe her up to an extent. Can the crew survive this?

The defence of Shadow in the Cloud :: The music in the beginning itself provides us with that fun feeling, and it comes right after a short animation video regarding the gremlins. The movie focuses on that kind of entertainment, which is not that much based on finding the reason behind everything. Without that much of thinking involved, this movie can be nicely set on that flight during the Second World War, which serves as a nice setting for the same, and it makes the whole thing feel divergent. It does the same by leaving all the accuracy behind, but gets to be fun enough even with that loss – criticism would find fault out of many things. The film is surely good looking, and the plane is also stylishly designed. The soundtrack is really good, and it provides a special feeling to the action. The title of Shadow in the Cloud is justified nicely too. It is the kind of movie which you watch when there is a lot of time to spare, and need quick entertainment.

The claws of flaw :: The movie requires to focus on the entertainment and nothing the rest of the things around. When one searches for logic in this one, it won’t suit the movie much, as there are lots of things which seems to be out of it. There is World War, Japanese fighter planes and strange things happening at such a height – when the leading characters falls down from the flight, she gets blown up by an exploding plane and she falls into the plane, and she also beats up a gremlin with her own hands – I thought we were done fighting on the top of flights, but these people are still having that. The movie is also too short – even then, the movie takes a little too much time to get going in the first few minutes, which are full of dialogues. Talking about too many things might be one of the problems, as the movie does lack focus. It could have actually focused on being the monster movie in such a height, and there could have been some real terror being unleashed, but the same is certainly not the case here.

Performers of the soul :: There is absolutely no doubt about what Chloe Grace Moretz is capable of, as she has been showing the same in some of those big movies, most of them underrated due to no reason. Her performance is somewhat pulled back due to some bad dialogues and writing – if this was a better work in totality, the work would have been noted further. If this movie used more sense, the result would have been outstanding for her. Almost every movie which Chloe has acted in, you see her doing a fantastic job, and you find it difficult to not like the movie – it is certainly an advantage which the makers of her films have. When you have acted in such a young age, some of the acting skills are lost when you get old – we have seen the same in Malayalam movie industry, some child actors have become pain to watch when they became older. But Chloe is clearly an exception, as she is too good. The rest of the cast is only there to support her.

How it finishes :: Shadow in the Cloud makes a fine display of what fun movies can be, with an interesting setting added to it. It is a shorter movie of less than one and half hours which throws logic and accuracy out through the window, and seems to be very proud of such an action. Even if you are not too fond of this kind of movies, you can watch the film for Chloe Grace Moretz, the child actor who has been doing so well also as the leading lady in the last few years. If this movie had released before COVID-19 pandemic, may be a lot of people would have watched and enjoyed the movie – it would have ben such a nice time-pass thing. If you are supposed to remain in home for two to three months without break, you will watch anything, but entertainment like this is a mood booster – not that much of a thing for the brain though. Do give it a chance, and see how it will turn out to be, according to your preferences and demand.

Release date: 12th September 2020
Running time: 83 minutes
Directed by: Roseanne Liang
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Taylor John Smith, Beulah Koale, Nick Robinson, Callan Mulvey, Benedict Wall, Byron Coll, Joe Witkowski

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godzilla vs Kong

Vampire Owl: These are not the monsters we expect around here.

Vampire Bat: Well, we cannot stop any of them from entering the realm.

Vampire Owl: So, you mean to say that there is no active vampire defence against monsters.

Vampire Bat: Whatever remains will only be active against werewolves.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that a transformed ape and lizard won’t count.

Vampire Bat: We can ask Doctor Frankenstein to try and contain the radioactivity.

Vampire Owl: I am afraid that it won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: We are already prepared for the huge impact.

Vampire Owl: These are sacred lands. There should be no fight for supremacy here.

Vampire Bat: This is just a temporary space. They will pass through this area, through the portal.

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

What is the movie about? :: Five years have passed after Godzilla defeated the legendary monster, King Ghidorah and all the other monsters had bowed down to him, accepting his supremacy as the great king of the monsters. He is limited to a small space within the Skull Island, as a dome is created to hold him inside, so as to avoid any contact with Godzilla who wouldn’t appreciate the fact that there are two titans. A deaf and mute child, Jia (Kaylee Hottle) is the only person who could successfully bond with Kong, who is not really happy to be restricted to a small space, which he often tries to damage when he is angry. Jia is also the adopted daughter of the Kong expert Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), and she hopes that they can hold on to Kong as much as possible, and avoid the epic clash which could happen between the two. Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), tries to get into a facility which is attacked by Godzilla at the same time, and that gets everyone worried, as Godzilla has never attacked without a reason.

So, what happens with the events here as something big is coming up? :: Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) feels that there is something wrong here, as Godzilla should have attacked only because there was a reason for the same, and something sinister is happening within. Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir), the CEO of the organization recruits Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), to lead a journey into the Hollow Earth, the homeworld of the Titans, which could have enough energy to fuel the planet and bring a defence against Godzilla. Nathan is not sure about as his books related to same was poorly received by everyone, and going into such a world would mean death, but as he understands that he has developed HEAVs, some specialized crafts able to withstand the high pressure which is exerted by the gravity field. Ilene understands that there is chance for Kong to find a new home in Hollow Earth, and agrees to the idea. But this journey is not that direct as they thought, as there are other motives for the rich businessman behind all these.

The defence of Godzilla vs Kong :: As expected, the film focuses on the action, with huge monsters ruling the screen, asking for bigger screens to watch it with the best effect, and we already had similar feeling with earlier films of Godzilla and King Kong, as well as the unrelated robot v/s monster battles of Pacific Rim. Among the monsters, it is Godzilla who continues to impress us more, as Kong continues to bring the feeling of enlarged ape rather than the alpha creature, still pretty good enough. The grandeur of Godzilla continues to impress us in many ways, and there is no dinosaur from Jurassic World that could stand up to that glory. When these two collide, there is the classic battle of the highest level indeed. There are so many great battles, and one final one with one extra human made monster – as we know, the worst of them are human or created by humans, proven through centuries, and if you have watched the Russian alien film, The Blackout, you will know what humanity is capable of, and this thrilling ride with great visuals asserts it again.

The claws of flaw :: The focus on giant action means less attention on the other things, and it is also not something which was unexpected. The building of the monster is something that was unexpected, and human greed is once again explored in a more predictable manner rather than anything else. There is no absence of Seven Deadly Sins as far as science is concerned, and it is as if they have taken that one directly from religion. The repetition that we feel here is more or less what was expected, but something which has less innovation except for Godzilla fighting Kong and having a mechanical monster also to join the fight. The evil plans of corporates in hold of scientific inventions is expected, but it is still good to see the evil being shown again. Maybe, they could have been shown as more evil that what they seemed, because it was leading to human extinction in one way or the other. This looks like we would need another sequel to use the film to its best advantage.

Performers of the soul :: Unlike what was expected, it is Millie Bobby Brown is the one who has the best of our attention. She plays who seems to be the only really smart person around here, as she seems to figure out what is happening before anyone, the so called smart scientists and researchers figure out things, and throughout the film, she seems to be the only real hope for the world. Rebecca Hall and Alexander Skarsgard plays the usual scientists being misguided into something which they wouldn’t have wanted if they had some common sense about what they giant corporations really wanted, but they play along well enough. Brian Tyree Henry plays the other smart person around, and it is being displayed nicely too. Shun Oguri and Demian Bichir plays the villains quite well, and they are more or less the usual villains that we have in this kind of films. Eiza Gonzalez also plays a meaty role, and she could be one strong action star with works in full scale action thrillers, for we know how effective she was in her small role in Hobbs and Shaw.

How it finishes :: Godzilla vs Kong is the kind of film which should be watched on the big screen, but with the COVID-19 pandemic’s second arrival ending that opportunity, and the fear about the same will keep it to the smaller screens for us, except for others who can afford a grand home theatre at home. It is exactly what you would expect from a monster film, and you might have already guessed that with ease from the experiences from the movie’s predecessors. When monsters of such grandeur collide, you know that there will be a spectacle on the screen, and the quality of this glory will be dependent on your screen and your audio devices. Even though we are missing it on the big screen, we can still appreciate the fact that it is not available on an OTT platform in India, and they have chosen the one which is used the most by people here, Amazon Prime Video. Let us hope that after The Tomorrow War, there will be more Amazon Original Movies coming soon, for we are without the multiplex experience now, and might stay so for some time.

Release date: 14th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video), 31st March 2021 (USA)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Eiza Gonzalez, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Io

Vampire Owl: We are watching another movie quick enough.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is surely a plan of Vampire Fate.

Vampire Owl: So, you mean to say that Fate is a vampire too.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not. Fate meets all requirements for the same.

Vampire Owl: For something to become a vampire, first it needs to exist.

Vampire Bat: Fate’s existence has been proven over the centuries.

Vampire Owl: But has Fate ever lived in a physical form?

Vampire Bat: Yes, Fate is already part of the air we breathe.

Vampire Owl: That sounds like the Corona Virus.

Vampire Bat: After all, this Corona Virus pandemic itself is a work of fate itself.

[Gets a marble cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: When the Earth was going to be destroyed mostly due to pollution resulting from human activities, many scientists had started working on a power station that could be sent to space to harvest geothermal energy from other planets. But it would be too late, as people were dying in their sleep, while some others were suffocating in the streets, with the blood in their veins turning black due to a higher level of pollution. The change in atmospheric composition due to the same led to many spaceships with people flying into the sky and then into space as an act of Exodus turning the power station into a colony, like a lifeboat floating about another celestial body. For the same, they had chosen the fourth largest celestial body among the moons in the solar system which has the highest density among them, and has the lowest amount of water around. Discovered in 1610 by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei and named after the mythological character Io, a priestess of Hera, Jupiter’s volcanic moon, Io now has a higher significance for humans.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Most of the people on Earth had already fled, but a very few still try to survive on its surface. Sam Walden (Margaret Qualley) is one of those very few humans who have some hope left about Earth, and she chooses a high altitude area where the air is somewhat breathable, even though she does make some visit to the highly polluted areas with masks to collect some samples. She is also raising bees, hoping that they can help clean the air, but is asked by her boyfriend who lives on the Io station to join him, as they are planning to live at a newer, greater place, with no hope left for Earth which has fallen to human greed. Sam’s hopes are ruined when her bees are killed by a terrible storm which also destroys some of her equipment and sources of power. But she does maintain some hope, as she continues to be in contact with her long distance boyfriend from Io, and tries to carry on with her objective, even though without that much of a plan this time.

And what more do we see here in a wold without hope for future? :: At the same time, a man named Micah (Anthony Mackie) arrives there on a balloon, and asks for her father and scientist, Dr Harry Walden (Danny Huston) – but he is not there, and she assures him that he will be back soon, maybe the very next day, after some field work. He decides to wait, as Harry was someone who believed that there was hope for humanity on Earth, and he needed to meet the man. But the problem here is that Harry has been dead for a long time, and she has been lying all the time. Micah was brought here by the message from Harry which had further brought him hope – the message was sent by Sam, and this would lead to a crisis, as both of them will have a few things to realize, and the same is to be done together. Is there hope left for Earth, or can they make another choice? Where will they end up in the end, dead or alive while fighting for survival in a dying planet?

The defence of Io :: Here is another post-apocalyptic movie which has the expected stuff, even though not with the action-filled adventure of a science fiction. The emotional moments are serene, and effective, and the cast is perfect for the same. Margaret Qualley’s face has that kind of melancholy going through her, which brings the feeling effectively, whether it is about loneliness or the loss of hope – yet, there is some hesitation, something which Eva Green didn’t have even for a bit in the science fiction drama, Proxima. Anthony Mackie provides the support well enough, even though Margaret eclipses everything around with a certain beauty of hopeless sadness that always surrounds her. The visuals of post-apocalyptic world is done just in the right way, and there are areas where it does have some fine work in store. The references to the mythology are good, but can feel overdone to a number of people who are not familiar with the same. The feeling of failure of faith, belief and hope feels natural too.

The claws of flaw :: Io is indeed a slow movie, and never does it pick up the pace, even though there were many opportunities to do so, especially considering the fact that this is a post-apocalyptic world that we have in store here. For such a world, there is so much potential, even in isolation, as we have seen in many other movies which have setting after the destruction of Earth due to one reason or the other. The best of science fiction had a chance to come in on many occasions. This definitely depends on what you are expecting from a movie like this, as this is not your usual stuff with the same idea at all. The romantic is also not that good, and the film could have easily gone on without it – after all, this is not that kind of a flick. The movie also deserved a better ending, considering how it had built up slowly towards that finish. It could have also had some fine visuals of space with Io out there, along with some moments at the space station, as they have come this much already, when you look at it.

How it finishes :: Io is the post-apocalyptic science fiction drama which deviates from the usual path, and seems to be proud of it all the way. After all, it shows what could happen at some stage later, and therefore being realistic is an understatement. The fall of humanity and Earth has been predicted for a long time, and this Corona Virus has asserted the weakness of science in front of most of the enemies whom humans are going to face, and clearly none of the advancements of science can save them. Considering the same, Io is indeed a realization, of the weakness and hopelessness of mankind. You have to move with slow and abiding sadness of the movie to like this version of post-apocalyptic science fiction – otherwise, you might not find this particular version to be interesting. During this time of COVID-19, you know that we might not be that powerful to even delay our extinction for a limited period of time and we are certainly not the saviors of our planet, but the ruthless destroyers.

Release date: 18th January 2019
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Jonathan Helpert
Starring: Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie, Danny Huston, Tom Payne

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Battle of Jangsari

Vampire Owl: I hope that it would be like the battle we had with the zombies.

Vampire Bat: We had a battle with the zombies last year?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the one which was fought near the meeting point of two rivers.

Vampire Bat: Wan’t that a battle with the werewolves?

Vampire Owl: Yes, they looked like wolves, but technically, they were zombies.

Vampire Bat: I do not understand the idea which you are talking about.

Vampire Owl: See, these werewolves were bitten by zombies. Therefore, the are former werewolves who are now zombies.

Vampire Bat: So, you are taking out the werewolf qualities out of them, and saying that the zombie characteristics will takeover.

Vampire Owl: Yes, if you are bitten by an undead, you are no longer alive. The werewolves will acquire the qualities of the undead which bit them.

Vampire Bat: Okay, I guess the only problem will be if a werewolf is bitten by a zombie and a vampire. One has to wonder which characteristics will be taken by the wolf.

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

What is the movie’s background about? :: As the Second World War ended, the Allies lead by the Soviet Union and the United States of America liberated Korea from Japanese control, days after the dropping of atom bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With two major powers set to on a Cold War for many years after the defeat of Germany and Italy as well as the weakening of Great Britain and France due to war, Korea was divided into two zones of occupation, as the Soviets were in control of the northern half while the Americans administered the southern half. As different governments having exactly opposite ideologies were established on both sides, there was continuous tension, and each group proclaimed ownership of the whole of Korean peninsula, but didn’t launch a full-scale attack until then. But on the 25th of June, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea, it had marked the beginning of the Korean War, fought completely in the Korean peninsula.

So, what happens with the events here? :: North Korea, had the support of the major Communist nations of China and the Soviet Union while South Korea, had the support of the United States of America and its allies. The United Nations Security Council itself had approved the sending troops in support of South Korea against what was a full scale military invasion without provocation. A total of twenty one nations are supposed to have provided support to the United Nations defence of South Korea, but United States of America was the leader with ninety percent of the troops provided for the purpose. After the first two months of war, South Korean Army and the United States forces Korea were almost defeated. But in September 1950, an sea-based United Nations counter-offensive was to be launched at Incheon, to cut off many North Korean troops in South Korea. A group of seven hundred and seventy two student soldiers has the task of staging a diversionary mission at Jangsari Beach in South Korea.

And, what is to follow here, as this is war, and a case of final defence for the South Koreans :: This particular attempt at landing would trick the the North Korean forces into thinking that the opposition forces would be soon launching a decisive invasion there would distract the North Koreans from Incheon. But the waves are very high and there is a shortage of landing boats. The student soldiers have no idea what they are doing, and the only thing they has done since getting into the ship, is vomitting. This seems to be a strange and impossible mission on the beach for the students who are trained at nothing except a little boot camp time, while highly trained North Korean defence await on the shores. Can they succeed in this, or will they at least dare to try, as North Korea is very close to making its dreams of one Korean peninsula under them? How long can the South’s resistance at the Nakdong River in the southernmost region stand, and how good is the United Nations in stopping this?

The defence of The Battle of Jangsari :: As you might have expected, there is war written on it right from the beginning, as far as The Battle of Jangsari is concerned. With a thunderstorm seemingly around, we know that there will be no smooth sailing in the movie for the troops, and it is certainly a kind of foreshadowing. The movie is full of some nicely worked out scenes of war, with battle tanks, guns and landmines never ceasing to come up on the screen, as one battle follows the other. There are also those emotional sequences, as some of the soldiers even have a tale to tell, and we also come to know that this is a hopeless situation, from where an escape seems to be too distant. The area where the battles are fought is perfect to provide those nice visuals too. The performances are all good, especially considering the fact that we have a young cast here. Lee Ho-Jung plays the only female among the soldiers, and she does a fine job too.

The claws of flaw :: With a premise and an idea like this, the movie could have achieved a lot more for sure. As it gets near the end, things begin to get more and more predictable, even though there is no certainty about who all will be the ones to survive. The battles could have been more, and we needed to see more of the battles happening in other parts of Korea, at least as a quick reminder. Megan Fox’s character is underused, and there is not much being done to create a change there. The movie also suffers from the absence of female characters, both on the battlefield, and also outside. With Megan around, there could have been more, maybe even with the help of a flashback that goes far behind before the North Korean invasion started. For someone who is coming from outside countries like Korea, Russia, United States of America, Japan, United Kingdom and China, maybe people could use a little bit more of information on this war which hasn’t been known much at this part of the world.

How it finishes :: As far as The Battle of Jangsari as a war movie is concerned, there was lot more to be taken, but it doesn’t do that. It is still a fine film with a forgotten episode of war, which will always be something of interest. As we are not that familiar with this particular war in comparison to the World Wars and the Cold War, this could a fine new experience for us, as the Korean perspective only becomes more interesting. The war with some extraordinary deeds of courage, and an emotional touch which keeps getting stronger towards the end, makes The Battle of Jangsari a movie which needs to be watched. As we take a look at a movie on Korean War which might be the first film most us around here watch based on a war from that side, this might be a war movie you will recommend to many others. After all, there is some history around here, and most of the war movies teach you that, mostly from one side of the battling nations. They have surely kept this one simple and enjoyable.

Release date: 25th September 2019
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Kwak Kyung-taek, Kim Tae-hoon
Starring: Kim Myung-min, Megan Fox, Choi Min-ho, Kim Sung-cheol, Kim In-kwon, Kwak Si-yang, Jang Ji-Gun, Lee Ho-Jung, Lee Jae-wook, Dong Bang-Woo, George Eads, Jeong Jong-Jun, Kim Min-Kyu

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Resident Evil VI

Vampire Owl: I am pretty much not in support of this franchise.

Vampire Bat: What? But you do like this kind of action, and praised the first movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but this is becoming a little too much. Too many zombies are being killed, and my team of zombie minions have given a petition.

Vampire Bat: And what was the petition about?

Vampire Owl: It was about saving the remaining zombies of the Resident Evil by an airlift.

Vampire Bat: But they are brainless zombies and this is a movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but killing so many zombies is nothing more than racism leading to genocide.

Vampire Bat: But they are just infected humans mutating into zombies.

Vampire Owl: In the end, there is no real difference, you know.

Vampire Bat: Okay, you can accept the petition and decide to watch this movie only in parts.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with special dosa].

What is the movie about? :: Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up in the ruins of the White House, after being betrayed by Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) again. She is attacked by the Umbrella employees as well as giant flying creature which seemed to have taken the mutation to another level. Once again on the wrong side of success, it is The Red Queen (Ever Gabo Anderson) who appears in front of her and gives her the clue on how to save humanity, and build a future that seemed near impossible some time ago. It means that Alice has to returned to where it all started in the first movie of the franchise, to the Hive in Raccoon City within forty eight hours, as the Umbrella Corporation has successfully developed an airborne antivirus, which has the power to kill each and every organism infected by the T-virus – but there is only those two days left before the last human settlement is destroyed.

So, what happens next? :: Alice, despite the fear that this particular antidote will kill her too, decides to make this journey to end all of these, and after fighting through Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) and his team that captures her, goes through to reach a human settlement which has managed to keep the undead creatures away until now. There she is captured by the team of Doc (Eoin Macken), Abigail (Ruby Rose), Christian (William Levy), Cobalt (Rola) and Razor (Fraser James) who don’t believe her until her old friend Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) shows up as part of the group, once again alive and ready for battle. The group makes a stand against the group of armored vehicles and the army of undead lead by Alexander and defeats them, although Cobalt is killed and the man in charge of the Umbrella operations escape. Soon, more of similar groups seem to be coming in their direction.

What is to follow in this final chapter? :: With almost no defence left against the bigger horde which is to follow, Alice decides to go to the Hive, and the rest of the group decides to go with her. There they will face more horror, starting with the mutated dogs which kill Christian. It will be followed by more, and Red Queen will reveal something else to the group, a secret that will show the true nature of the Umbrella Corporation which has always wanted to play God, and deal with the people whom it considered to be below them. The Red Queen reveals that even though it could never hurt an Umbrella employee, it was also programmed to value and protect human lives, which is why it is helping Alice to get into the Hive and get her hands on the anti-virus; after all, she is the only who seems to have the skill and capability to do the same, as she has proven many time before. But with only a few minutes of time left, can Alice do what she needs to do?

The defence of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter :: This movie continues what the franchise has been doing for so long, with all the action going on, and those zombies hungry for more coming after the survivors. This movie is also the best reviewed one in this franchise by the critics, which do seems strange – maybe they considered the fact that this is the last movie of the franchise, and they will have to review the movies of the series no more; still this improved opinion can be taken in consideration for the defence of this movie, as this final flick is not that far behind in action at any point of time. Milla Jovovich is at her best with what she does, and as Kate Beckinsale does to the Underworld franchise, she makes things work so well, and seeing Ali Larter again adds to the happiness. This time, people have reason to fight, and so the battles go great. The world also remains really good, and the post-apocalyptic setting has us a lot interested, and the same can be said about the return to the underground facility where all started in the first movie.

The claws of flaw :: One would be surprised to see so much of repetition in this movie, as the whole thing just seems to go on and on rather than bringing something out of the box in a last movie, for which the franchise will be remembered for long – we can’t really say that this will stay the last movie for long though, considering that ending which doesn’t really end the whole thing, with scope always there for a new beginninng out of this. Those who have played the video games might have wanted more, and the same is the case of those people who were already planning to not like this movie. The character of Claire is underused, and some of the best characters from the franchise, Jill Valentine played by Sienna Guillory, Ada Wong played by Li Bingbing, Chris Redfield played by Wentworth Miller and Leon S. Kennedy played by Johann Urb were not there, and we could find no clue of what happened to them, which is real disappointment, as a movie fan as well as a gamer. It could have also used better twists in there.

How it finishes :: This is a franchise that has been entertaining us since 2002, and fifteen years later, with six movies to boast about, the whole thing is finally coming to an end. This series which started with Resident Evil went on to bring Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Resident Evil: Retribution and now, finally Resident Evil: The Final Chapter to finish off the big video game’s movie adaptations. The games have a total count that is going to touch thirty, sooner or later, and I am pretty sure that we are not done with that – I particularly remember Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and along with Silent Hill, this is another survivor horror game adaptation that I have close to my heart; this might not be among the best movies of the franchise, but still, after Need for Speed, Hitman: Agent 47 and Warcraft in the last three years, another action-filled and interesting video game adaptation is here.

Release date: 27th January 2017
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, William Levy, Iain Glen, Lee Joon-gi, Fraser James, Rola, Ever Gabo Anderson, Matthew Santoro

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Mummy

Vampire Owl: It seems that finally the mummy has scope to be a real mummy.

Vampire Bat: What are you referring to, here?

Vampire Owl: Usually in the movies, the mummies are men, and so the mummy is usually a daddy.

Vampire Bat: And you are talking like a dummy, for which there is no need.

Vampire Owl: No, you should see the mummy lady in this one. She is cooler than most of the known mummies.

Vampire Bat: You know one mummy which is cooler. You just can’t pronounce his name.

Vampire Owl: Yes, why don’t they have simple names like Count Dracula?

Vampire Bat: Well, mummies are from very ancient Egypt, and going so long back, such names had to exist.

Vampire Owl: I am going to call them Mummy A to Mummy Z.

Vampire Bat: Yes, please do it, as long as they don’t hear the same.

[Gets the tickets with cardamom tea and special popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: In ancient Egypt, Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is an expert in almost everything, and is undoubtedly the best warrior, and the next in line for becoming the Pharoah of the lands. The Pharaoh, Menehptre (Selva Rasalingam) also sees his successor in her, strong, courageous and one who doesn’t give up. Things are all going smooth until the Pharoah has a son with a newer, younger wife, which angers her as she realises that all her work has been for nothing, with this young child taking over the kingdom as the Pharaoh of Egypt when he grows up. Frustrated with the situation, she decides to take the throne in one way or the other. Knowing that she can’t do it by himself against the extremely powerful Pharaoh, chooses to worship Set, the god of evil, chaos and war. This particular god who had even killed his own brother Osiris helps her in return for unleashing himself on Earth – but, after killing her father, his wife and the baby boy, she is captured by the guards and mummified.

So, what happens next? :: With the princess mummified, and buried in a land far away, the curse of Set remains, as the promise to him in unleashing the god was not kept. Years later, somewhere in the present Iraq, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his best friend Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) spend their time looking to gather what all antiques they can get from the area of the nation called Mesopotamia, which used to be the cradle of civilisation while having their own trouble with the locals as well as the terrorist organisations operating from there. It is during these times when they accidentally uncover a tomb, which seems to be Egyptian, much to the surprise of the archaeologist, Jennifer Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) who also lands there as part of her excavations. With the approval of Colonel Greenway (Courtney B. Vance), she goes into the tomb supported by Nick and Cris, ending up with a sarcophagus immersed in mercury, which they decide to take home.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Their trip is rather cut short as the flight is attacked by a huge group of crows, and Cris who was bitten by a spider inside the tomb also turns undead, and Nick has to kill him. The plane ends up crashing, and Nick manages to save Jennifer by using the parachute, but he as well as the others in the airplane are assumed to be killed. But Nick ends up waking up in the mortuary, with a vision of an undead Cris, and he also has visions about the princess. He begins having more and more visions of the princess and undead, and goes to the crash site only to escape from the princess and her newly resurrected undead. It is a secret society headed by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russel Crowe) that helps them to escape, and after chaining the princess in such a way that there is no way to get away, explains to Nick that he is the key to her finishing the curse, which why he escaped without a scratch from the plane crash. Well, evil would always find a way, and so does the princess to escape and unleash herself – can anyone stop her in time?

The defence of The Mummy :: The movie does begin strongly, and there is certainly a nice beginning to the tale, with the interesting tale of the power-hungry princess of Egypt told and also with the mummy being unearthed, followed by the plane crash – there are also some nice visuals with everything, and the visual beauty is there throughout this movie no matter where things happen. Tom Cruise does a great job as the protagonist, and Sofia Boutella is amazing as the princess of Egypt returning as the mummy – the censor board seems to have worked very well to cover most of her tattooes; maybe they are against Indian culture more than we think they are, and it is not the movie makers who decide what we can watch, it is the current Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification in India, after himself getting to watch everything because he can – we saw most of it in the trailer, seriously. Russell Crowe is sadly wasted in his role though, and so is Annabelle Wallis, both having characters going nowhere against a powerful, love-seeking mummy and an even more powerful human Cruise.

The claws of flaw :: There is a certain loss of direction regarding this movie – the same can’t be called as positive divergence, because it just goes on and on, even adding the elements of Jekyll and Hyde, and one has to wonder why it had to be done, when enough material is available from the tales of mummies; people end up wondering if they are going to add the Hulk next. It is as if the idea about making good blockbusters by reboot, is leaving Hollywood. Not sure why decided to bring the mummy from Egypt to Iraq and then to England, with not much of Egypt there in the picture – we would have preferred to see the Pyramids whenever the word mummy was associated, and not like what they did with the third of the mummy movies. It was Dracula who really had to come to England, a vampire, not a mummy. The humour is of no use, and the climax is of no strength, with weak twists, and the final sequence not interesting at all. Also, Tom Cruise’s character gets bigger than the mummy on whom the movie is really supposed to be about, and it is also a creature who can be captured with sharp weapons.

How it finishes :: The Mummy brings the tale of the undead creature from Egypt once again, and this time not exactly in the same path. This certainly won’t prove to be a match for the movie of 1999 and its sequel, The Mummy Returns. This is surely better than The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor though, and one has to wonder if this stands any chance against Wonder Woman, or even the still running Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. It will certainly not bring three sequels and four spin-offs unless there is a big improvement with a sequel. Even though not a bad movie as it has its interesting moments supported by visuals and thrills, the execution is not that much there, which should give it a disadvantage against the movies which released earlier – but with Tom Cruise around, this should do okay at the box-office. After all, it has been a long time since we saw a Mummy movie, and a female Mummy as the main villain brings more variety to the tale. But where we want Tom Cruise more is in movies like Edge of Tomorrow, Mission Impossible, Jack Reacher, Minority Report, Oblivion and many others. Underworld and Resident Evil franchises, despite being in confusion due to too many movies, could combine action and horror better.

Release date: 9th June 2017
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Russell Crowe, Javier Botet, Selva Rasalingam, Dylan Smith, Rez Kempton, Chasty Ballesteros

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ezra

ezra-2

Vampire Owl: Malayalam movies have always needed more horror movies.

Vampire Bat: This has come after a long wait too.

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time we really loved a Malayalam horror movie?

Vampire Bat: I am not sure about that. We have been loving the Hollywood horror only.

Vampire Owl: I heard that it has a little bit of Jewish culture in Kerala.

Vampire Bat: And that it was also going to be dubbed into more than one other language?

Vampire Owl: I hope one or two vampire languages are added.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this one will be different. It is evident from the poster and also from what people talk about it.

Vampire Owl: Ghosts need to be shown different, because they are all not the same.

Vampire Bat: Well, maybe this is the answer to the prayers of many such spirits.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and caramel popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Ranjan Mathew (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is an orphan and a successful professional working in Mumbai. After falling in love with an interior designer Priya Raghunathan (Priya Anand) who is also based in Mumbai, they get married against the wishes of her parents. One and half years later, he gets a transfer to Cochin, and despite Priya’s reluctance to move from the city which had become a part of her, they relocate to the new place, which is a mansion-like old house rented to them upon the recommendation of Father Samuel (Vijayaraghavan) who is not just a priest, but also Ranjan’s uncle. Ranjan’s company is dealing with disposing the nuclear waste from the nuclear reactors in South India, and he is in charge of the operations. Meanwhile, A.C.P. Shafeer Ahammed (Tovino Thomas) is tired of investigating a strange murder in an antique shop which leaves no clue.

So, what happens next? :: As Priya has a lot of free time, she tries to do some interior work for their new house and buys some interesting items from the shop of Moosa (Alencier Ley Lopez) who had managed to bring a few new things of interest from the house of a Jew who died without a heir in the country, as everyone had left for Israel. After getting a box from the shop and opening it, things begin to change, as Priya sees a creepy figure in the mirror as well as the wardrobe, and Ranjan hears footsteps from the roof – and more spooky things follow. As Father Samuel finds Jewish inscriptions on a strange box, he advises Ranjan to consult Rabbi David Benyamin (Babu Antony) who resides in Mumbai. As Ranjan comes to know that Priya is pregnant, he becomes more desperate, but David’s death follows, and now the only hope seems to be in the form of Rabbi Marcus (Sujith Shanker) who has arrived at Cochin.

The defence of Ezra :: There is variety without doubt in Ezra, and the same can be said about the quality displayed in this movie. The visuals are really well-used here to create the advantage, and the darkness as well as some spooky elements are created well with the use of sound effects, and these work really well in the first half to make us interested in the second. There is also a lot in the story told here, unlike the other horror movies, and the creature that this flick chooses here is not among the usual ones, as the myth used is something not many people around here have known before. The use of a perfect setting and antiques happen to be something that works for this flick more than any other horror movie. There is also one twist that happens by the end, even though it is the only big surprise in the movie, and could have been presented in a better way. The songs are good, especially “Lailakame”.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does get a curse, and it happens in the second half, as many other movies – this evil spirit doesn’t really make that much impact as it should in the latter part, and the final exorcism, brings nothing huge. There were so many possibilities with this movie, and the infinite chances are not used at all – it is kind of strange that the movie doesn’t bring the special ingredient; there were so many opportunities and Ezra hesitates to think out of the box, even with a spirit from inside a box. As we see the characters watching The Conjuring 2 on television, one has no doubt about one movie which has inspired this one. But Ezra has so much of hesitation in unleashing the terror – the viewers find so many situations which could have been scarier, but the movie doesn’t seem to find the need to bring huge scares. Also, at one point, you feel that this is the Odette Annable starrer The Unborn, but then it is not; there is just the dybbuk and the pregnancy in common.

Performers of the soul :: In a movie that has Prithviraj as the protagonist, it is him who leads the way – it is the first half that gets the best of him with a simple and rather natural touch to the proceedings – not that much with the final scenes though. Priya Anand makes a Malayalam debut which the Keralites will remember. Sujith Shanker makes a surprising entry here, and in this role, most of us might not even recognise that he is the same person from Njan Steve Lopez and Maheshinte Prathikaram – it is quite solid work. Tovino Thomas, even though he is there for less amount of time, has his moments. Vijayaraghavan is fine there, but Babu Antony’s stay is cut short; the same is the case of Pratap K. Pothen and Alencier Ley Lopez who leaves the proceedings rather too early. Sudev Nair and Ann Sheetal has a nicely created flashback scene which is done fine.

How it finishes :: There is a little shortage of horror movies in Malayalam movie industry, and there is a lot of shortage in the case of good horror movies – the latter is also applicable to the Bollywood film industry too, which is why, for the Indian cinema as a whole, the requirement is for more good horror. There is no need for more drama and more romance – there is too much of the same already, and there is nothing closer to life than horror, in one way or the other. Therefore, Ezra‘s presence is something which has to be appreciated, and despite not using all the possibilities in the scary side, manages to be a horror movie with a difference as far as the Malayalam movie industry is considered. It is evident that the Malayalam movies are back after that break – and each release this year, including Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, Jomonte Suviseshangal, Fukri and Ezra have stayed different from each other.

Release date: 10th February 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Jay K
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Priya Anand, Tovino Thomas, Sudev Nair, Vijayaraghavan, Sujith Shanker, Pratap K. Pothen, Babu Antony, Alencier Ley Lopez, Ann Sheetal

ezra

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rocky Handsome

rockyhandsome

What is the movie about? :: Somewhere in the state of Goa, Kabir Ahlawat a.k.a. Rocky (John Abraham) spends his usual boring life running a pawn shop. As nothing much happens in his life, he goes through his routine and has no friends as he is reluctant to talk to people. Despite his lack of interest in being friends with people, a little girl next door, Noami (Diya Chalwad) considers him as a friend and talks to him all the time. Even though he is not that interested in returning that friendship, he remains sympathetic to the girl and helps her or invites her for food at his apartment. Her mother Anna (Nathalia Kaur), is a drug addict and bar dancer and lives alone except for a boyfriend who is not any better. With nothing positive coming from her mother, Naomi looks at Rocky as a friend and guardian and calls him by the name “Handsome”.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: One day, Anna with the help of her boyfriend steals drugs from the drug kingpin, Mantoo (Uday Tikekar). This brings two of his fellow gangsters, the brothers who are into more than just drugs, Kevin and Luke (Nishikant Kamat and Teddy Maurya) to the scene. With a professional assassin Attila (Kazu Patrick Tang), they arrives at Anna’s apartment and tortures her for the drugs. She had hidden the drugs in a camera which she had pawned to Rocky, and both the mother and daughter are kidnapped. This brings Rocky to the scene, and with the desire to take over the whole business from Mantoo, the brothers Kevin and Luke bring a plan which will make sure that both Rocky and Mantoo ends up in the prison or get shot by the police. With an organ harvesting business and also child trafficking in their list, they will stop at nothing to gain more.

So, what is coming up after this situation? :: This does put Dilip Sangodkar (Sharad Kelkar), a cop from Anti-Narcotics Bureau on Rocky’s trail. He will stop at nothing to clean the city from drugs and those who deal with the same. After murdering Mantoo and Anna, and sending Rocky to police custody, Kevin and Luke thinks that everything is done, but that is surely not the case. Kevin might be the new kingpin of all crime in the city with Luke on his side, but that might not be enough to save him from what is coming to him. Rocky has a past that will make him almost impossible to keep down and he will stop at nothing to find the missing girl. He has a depressing past involving Rukshida (Shruti Haasan) and has had that kind of training which will make sure that he is going to have his way, in one way or the other. With his first loss, Kevin will understand he has made the wrong person angry, but the question remains if Rocky can save the girl in time despite all his skills.

The defence of Rocky Handsome :: The best thing about this movie is the action – the action sequences are all neatly done, with no exaggeration, but a lot of fights which even when having the protagonist a lot outnumbered, are believable for a character whom the hero is claimed to be. There is enough style here, and it is not overdone; unlike the usual dumb Bollywood action movie – there are weapons and sequences in the rain, and there is a powerful emotional side that we can feel right into our hearts rather than going the path of a ridiculous melodrama which Bollywood always brings for the viewers, like they did in thousands of movies, even in Dear Zindagi at a time when things were to get better for the movie. There are the thrills, and this an adventure that takes us through without giving chance for second thoughts as long as we get into it. It surely welcomes us into that world of chaos which has more chance for the evil to gain at least one small victory.

Claws of flaw :: For some reason, Rocky Handsome gets too lazy in between. Along with that predictable and boring flashback that comes in between, there are also those moments which won’t go well with the rest of the movie. The connection between the two main stars, even though one of them is only there for a cameo, is missing – she makes us feel that the scenes are outside the movie, and even our hero at those moments is in trouble. The movie will lack in connection with those who were looking for mass masala, as a certain amount of working brain is needed to go with this – it is more of a flaw as most of the people who watch Bollywood need flicks for the brainless, and Rocky Handsome won’t provide them that. We can’t ask for a Masaan everyday, but things can be better for sure. There is also the violence and sometimes the talk about the violent ways, which people can also choose to criticize. As an official adaptation of the 2010 Korean movie, The Man from Nowhere, I won’t be able to judge this one, but the original had 100% fresh rating earlier.

Performers of the soul :: John Abraham continues to impress with those fight sequences in the movie, especially those with the knives and fists. Nishikant Kamat has done nice to bring the looks and style of the evil druglord, but villain is still not that strong except when he is threatening, and the same is the case of most of the people on the dark side, except for Kazu Patrick Tang’s assassin who is not there for the words – still the whole darker setting makes sure that all of them work out better for the viewers; pure evil has to be stronger in any case. Shruti Haasan is there for one full song and also in the memories of John Abraham’s character, and does almost nothing, bringing no positives in a role which could have played by anyone else in a cameo – we come close to feeling that right at the first shot when she is shown. The kid, Diya Chalwad does a nice job for sure. Sharad Kelkar has a smooth run in this movie too.

How it finishes :: John Abraham does provide a similar performance in Force 2, and if you watch two of these movies together, you might end up confused with the action sequences except for those moments when this one chooses to go violent – it is the official remake of a South Korean movie, and so that was always supposed to happen. This one will also remind one as the other side of the highly realistic Madras Cafe starring John Abraham, all of these produced by the same man himself. Even as the remake, Rocky Handsome has been nicely converted from its Korean model and has been worked on well enough to make itself another movie that evokes our interest despite having a story-line that has almost zero difference. This one is a good mix of all things, and never tries to overdo its strengths, which is why Rocky Handsome deserves your attention.

Release date: 25th March 2016
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Nishikant Kamat
Starring: John Abraham, Diya Chalwad, Nishikant Kamat, Nathalia Kaur, Sharad Kelkar, Yash Tonk, Shiv Kumar Subramaniam, Suhasini Mulay, Teddy Maurya, Kazu Patrick Tang, Uday Tikekar, Shruti Haasan (cameo), Nora Fatehi (special appearance)

rockyhandsomee

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chappie

chappie (2)

Vampire Owl :: I thought you were going to watch Cinderella.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but then Chappie was there and that show started earlier by ten minutes.

Vampire Owl :: That name actually makes me depressed.

Vampire Bat :: It happens when you say that in Malayalam.

Vampire Owl :: Do you know that India actually lost against Australia?

Vampire Bat :: Did they? I thought some extra-efficient online Keralites once again saved India by abusing Mitchell Johnson and the Australian Cricket Team.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, just like Maria Sharapova lost to Serena Williams and the Pakistan Hockey Team played bad after the abuse by Keralites.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, everybody losses to Serena Williams. It is quite natural. And Asia is not a hockey powerhouse anymore.

Vampire Owl :: Damn! The cent percent literacy is wasted.

Vampire Bat :: Cent percent literacy! It is the literacy for abuse!

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: As the South African police at Johannesburg a group of advanced robots from weapons and ammunition manufacturer called Tetravaal, the crime rates are brought to a new low, and as expected the criminals and their bosses are concerned. The inventor is Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) who seems to be getting most of the appreciation much to the dismay of another engineer, Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman) who wishes to send his own robot model named Moose into operation. But as it is very costly and is highly equipped with too much firepower needing full human control, it is rejected until further notice. But when our inventor creates an artificial intelligence which is rather too human, things take a twist, and things are no longer in his control. A group of criminals also decide to take control of a robot.

The defence of Chappie :: There are some good ideas running through this movie, and it becomes evident right after the first few minutes of Chappie. The robot instantly becomes interesting even with the scope for improvement always there. There are lots of action sequences in the movie, and there is a certain amount of emotional strength whenever a different kind of thing comes to existence and tries to cope with the world around, which works in this one too. There are thoughts left behind, and there is the social message which we can take home, even though it rarely becomes the big thing in this movie. There are surely some good performances to support this one.

The Claws of Flaw :: Chappie doesn’t really use its strengths to its advantage, and has problems with dealing with its central ideas – not really there in making them work completely and bringing things to the right finish. Instead, the movie is too addicted to consciousness, a lot more than Transcendence did, and it is like one can never die as the same keeps getting transferred from one body to the other. The character of our dear robot never really gets to display the awesomeness, and the criminal characters are not really up-to the mark either. Along with reminding us of Transcendence, this one has its own Robocop elements to add to the same. It is a big surprise that still this couldn’t better than what it really is.

Performers of the soul :: Sharlto Copley gives voice to biggest performer of the movie, which is the one robot with its name as the film title. He was there in the same director’s District 9, Elysium and now this one – here in the non-human form for the first time. Hugh Jackman is good, but in a different avatar, and doesn’t impress at all times – still, makes a fine villain. Dev Patel is so natural in this movie, and as he plays the second most significant character in the movie after our own protagonist robot, does very well. This role seemed to suit him so well, and he manages it with ease. Yolandi Visser was nice in a special avatar, and Sigourney Weaver leaves no impact in her less significant role.

Soul exploration :: Chappie does focus so much on the soul elements. There seems to be questions asked, but none of them are direct, and the answers are never really there. There is the talk about making the robot which is more like a human, and also the transfer of human consciousness to robots as well as the consciousness of one robot to the other – they seems to get things working all of a sudden and keep doing the same without fail. The idea of the robot consciousness developing from nothing to a new thing is interesting, but one has to wonder if that was given enough significance in the right manner and was portrayed with enough attention to the details. It is like they speeded up a few things to reach the desired end, which is not what the viewers really wanted.

How it finishes :: Chappie doesn’t finish that strong as expected, and it leaves me with the thought that may be Cinderella or Focus might have been a better choice. They are still running though, and the choice stays. As the maker of District 9 and Elysium, this is another step downward for the director, Neill Blomkamp – it is also evident in the opinion of the critics. In the movie poster, they label Chappie as humanity’s last hope, but that makes one wonder if that really matches the movie. No, this robot is not really humanity’s last hope; there is no point at which he proves to be that unless you take a few characters as “the world” – yes, there are things that he can do, but in his absence, may be things would have just gone on and on. You can watch this one for the ideas, and not for many other things.

Release date: 20th March 2015 (India); 6th March 2015 (US)
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, Watkin Tudor Jones, Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Brandon Auret, Anderson Cooper

chappie

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.