Ouija

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Vampire Owl :: Halloween and no horror. Never thought that such a day will come in this century.

Vampire Bat :: There is horror. We can watch Ouija.

Vampire Owl :: Really? The Vampire Panda told me that it was a bad movie and critics gave bloody low ratings to it.

Vampire Bat :: Lets not trust the critics on a horror movie. Besides, that panda is not a vampire. He is just the Kungfu Panda on disguise attempting to sell his noodles and action figures among vampires.

Vampire Owl :: I shall deal with him later. For now, I can surely use a summoned spirit. According to the latest version of the Book of the Dead, the Undead and the Brain dead, they are very useful creatures. We need to get an Ouija Board.

Vampire Bat :: Do you realize that you already create enough problems for yourself?

Vampire Owl :: Absolutely yes. See, I am an evil entity. I am supposed to create problems for the world which includes myself.

Vampire Bat :: You should have a dosa. You turn evil when you need it.

Vampire Owl :: No. I am a dangerous owl. I need to keep it that way.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, dangerous to yourself.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The protagonist Laine Morris (Olivia Cooke) is searching for answers as she hopes that she could have done something for her best friend Debbie Galardi (Shelley Hennig) who had committed suicide, and she laments the fact that she was the last one to talk to her and yet couldn’t stop her from doing such an act. As she finds an Ouija board in her house, along with her sister Sarah (Ana Coto) and other friends of Debbie, Pete (Douglas Smith), Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), and Isabelle (Bianca A. Santos) decides to try and contact their recently deceased friend. Soon, they contact a spirit which addresses them as friends, but what they are not aware of is that Debbie already had made a connection to the other world which lead to her death, and they understands that more than one entity is now free. The friends realize that they will just be killed one after the other and there will be no stopping the terror. A relative to the dead people returning as spirits, Paulina (Lin Shaye) who resides in a mental asylum seems to be the key to stopping the evil, but will it work?

The defence of Ouija :: The name would be enough to draw people to the movie, and the Ouija board has always been the centre of curiosity for a lot of people for a good amount of time. We have a lot of curious cats among us, don’t we? This movie banks in the same with the board at the centre, throws the usual stuff at us again and again, and there are some scares as one would expect from it. The sewn mouths are not something new, but they surely work here especially according to the circumstance, and the twist, even if small is a working one. There are possessions, suicides, murders, sewn mouths, blank eyes, with some scares here and there, and a creepy environment of the house. The sound effects are very good and the visual horror has its moments. It is quite a success as a haunted house movie, with the board being found from the home where evil has happened sometime ago. Some moments near the end are good, even as their failure to end the movie with the same surprises me.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t try anything new at all. Its biggest asset is that one board, but the flick fails to capitalize on the same. There is not much about that one big thing that it could have used to its effectiveness, and instead the same becomes only the means to what is to come next. It only does the job of any other possessed item which could gain the attention of the spirits. The movie should have stuck to its title, explaining more about the board and how things come to this dimension in relation to the same. But it tries to make the movie go on in the usual pattern often forgetting that the movie is about the board, with the existence of a house where something terrible did happen a long time ago and there is a spirit waiting to possess or murder people. Even a good number of scares are not that effective, but there are a few which work nicely. The plot and the narrative could have had some more attention to make the whole thing better.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has a rather cute lead at the top, and the performances are overall decent. Olivia Cooke plays the protagonist here, the lady who is hopelessly trying to connect to her dead best friend, and she has indeed played this role with such expressions of fear and uncertainty which makes this character so much believable here. Her cuteness helps the cause a lot, and she is a perfect one for this role which has more hopelessness and desperation which she could nicely reflect on her face. You will instantly like her, that is for sure. The next one is Shelley Hennig, and even as she dies early, has her moments too, and is not done even with that separation of the soul. She adds to the beauty of the cast and does enough, while the rest of the cast manages to hold on, but not with anything special. Meanwhile, Lin Shaye is here too, and she is once again impressive in another horror movie – catches our attention.

Soul exploration :: In its search for the spirits within the Ouija board and also outside it, the movie losses its soul. It can’t realize what it has in its soul, whether it is to focus on the board or the haunted house and its scary past. When we finally decide that it is on the latter, then comes the board again as if it is Count Dracula who wants to be part of everything vampiric. The spirit also works a lot like the Final Desination series, planning to just kill them all in freaky ways, even as it is not that heartless to make things too violent. Then you realize that Ouija is a mixture which is created to make it a safe bet, and it adds so many things to itself and makes those factors work in parts even as in totality, there is some mess. There is the lack of soul to hold it together, and it is the same reason why we are unable to bring much of it back home – even Annabelle living in the shadows of The Conjuring had more for us. Ouija boards can inspire better horror movies, and this one has the spirits not that powerful.

How it finishes :: The conclusion is still that even with its list of flaws, Ouija is your movie of the Halloween, even as Annabelle does exist at selected theatres with less number of shows. It will be the choice of the Halloween enthusiasts as Ouija board is not something that is not tried that much, and there are not other big Hollywood entertainers released this weekend. I have successfully kept my distance from Bollywood since Diwali as I had sensed certain danger. Meanwhile, I wish all the followers of this blog and the readers of this post a very Happy Halloween, and the November first is also the birthday of the Indian state of Kerala, the occasion known as Kerala Piravi, so I wish all my fellow Keralites a Happy Kerala Piravi too. For more details about the same, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala_Piravi and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala. Happy Birthday, Kerala 🙂

Release date: 31st October 2014 (India); 24th October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Stiles White
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Shelley Hennig, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, Bianca A. Santos, Ana Coto, Matthew Settle, Lin Shaye, Vivis Colombetti, Robyn Lively, Bill Watterson, Sierra Heuermann

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Percy Jackson II

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In an overwhelming desire to find myself fair about this movie, I have to confess that I watched The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones right after watching this – it was a back-to-back movie adventure separated only by the desire to have lunch and the need to travel from one mall to the other. If you don’t need to know more about it, and the two movies in relation to each other, you are free to skip the first two paragraphs, an offer of escape from comparisons which includes this paragraph. In a simple comparison of no great intellect, our reviewed movie is more of a follower of the Harry Potter pattern, with a world for the demigods away from the original world, with its major base on magic and the individual and collective inner strength and righteousness which they exhibit while facing big powers; but the second movie has more similarities with Twilight, with a female protagonist who is just a boring ordinary girl who is introduced into another world which is hidden among the known human world and is once again caught in a triangular love between herself and two other guys, both belonging to different species.

So the other fantasy movie of the day has a good amount of Constantine, Underworld and surely, the most of dominant of them all, Twilight. To make it look more of a formidable power, it has added the horror elements, and there was demons, vampires and werewolves, the three creatures whom we never thought would come along in herds in the same movie, an absurd improvement on Underworld and Twilight which has surely backfired, despite of the presence of the lovely leading actress who can act incredibly well, Lily Collins who has done a great job. But with a little visual effects, horror and action, the movie runs out of gas. It is there that Percy Jackson scores. The two movies were released on the same day here, along with We’re the Millers, and the advantage would surely go with Sea of Monsters, as it doesn’t come with an “A” certificate unlike the others, and it is in 3D. The theatres seem to have realized the same too, as they have put more shows for the movie, and it is the only English movie in more than one theatres this week.

Even as it is difficult to set aside the great performance of the beautiful Lily Collins, lets leave the absurdity which was the half-baked bad mixture of all the fantasy works ever produced, which was The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and move on to the movie of the week, which is Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Our movie doesn’t deal with forbidden love and has no apples or people with bad tooth unless they are monsters. May be that should be reserved for Twilight copies, and there might be a time when the apples begin to keep the viewers away rather than the doctors. The best thing about Percy Jackson is that it sticks to the basics. It takes the legends from the Greek Mythology, but it maintains a formula which is not at all ambiguous and more true to the core. It doesn’t rely on anything strange or unnecessary to give temporary satisfaction with any teenage fantasy which doesn’t go well with the plot and the flow of the story. It doesn’t try to give pleasure to anyone suffering from the withdrawal symptoms, which is mostly a Twilight withdrawal rather than from the intellectually superior Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter series.

Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) no longer seems to have the popularity that he might have had with him getting back the lightning bolt, saving both the Olympus and the world, and such great stuff which were to become legends. Clarisse La Rue (Leven Rambin) is his constant rival to glory, as she beats him in almost all the competitions. As Luke Castellan (Jake Abel), announces his plans to destroy Mount Olympus by bringing back Kronos from Tartarus and sends a mechanical bull to attack the demi-god camp after poisoning Thalia Grace (Paloma Kwiatkowski) who is the tree which defends the camp with a magic forcefield. Even as Annabeth Chase (Alexandra Daddario) is the one who finds out that the Golden Fleece could heal and restore the tree, Clarisse is sent to retrieve the artefact much to the dismay of Percy, Annabeth and Grover Underwood (Brandon T. Jackson). But the trio decides to follow the team led by Clarisse, and they are joined by Percy’s half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), who is a cyclops. They also have one prophecy and a group of rogue half-bloods supported by a Manticore, and one big cyclops guarding the fleece to deal with.

With no denial of credit to one Lily Collins who had tried in vain to restore order among chaos and absurdity in the other fantasy movie, lets move into our characters. Logan Lerman leads the team as Percy Jackson, a demigod and the son of the God of Ocean, Poseidon. He was there in the 2011 version of The Three Musketeers, and here is he is again, and it surely seems to be a familiar territory for him. It is a honest performance from all angles. Brandon T. Jackson as Grover Underwood makes sure that there is no dull moment in the movie, along with Douglas Smith as Tyson the Cyclops. Most of the funny moments of the movie are from these two, and they are really good, and never inappropriate. Alexandra Daddario plays Annabeth Chase, the demigod daughter of Athena, the Godess of Wisdom, and this is one supporting character that you will remember for a long time, despite of the romantic angle kept away in the movie completely. She does have that look too, of that intensity which is kept in check by the heavenly wisdom. She was that good in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief too, and continues the good work.

Leven Rambin is Clarisse La Rue, the arrogant, hot-tempered daughter of the war God, Ares – always looking for combat, and at at the same time finding Percy a threat to her supremacy. After seeing her in The Hunger Games as the District 1 tribute, and the strong contender Glimmer, there was a certainty, that she was going to be great in such roles, and here she is, leading a group of undead who served her father Ares. As the story progresses, her character turns out to be more dynamic, along with adding to the funny as well as the action elements of the movie. There is the suiting depiction of the contrast between the daughter of this God of War and the Goddess of Wisdom. There is no point where the two are similar, and being the daughter of the great War God, she shares nothing in common with all the others out there, with Paloma Kwiatkowski’s Thalia Grace, of the demigod daughter of Zeus still pending. Jake Abel’s Luke Castellan, the demigod son of Hermes is a continuation of what was there in the first part of the movie. Nathan Fillion’s Hermes is a short, but effective presence which stays throughout the movie.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has taken over at a time when the book-based fantasy novels are on the decline. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has proved to follow the path of The Host, and clearly stay with Twilight. The Harry Potter series have finished and Lord of the Rings and Narnia are taking a slow path. There is the need for something similar to fill in, and here is Percy Jackson. With its superior and appropriate 3D effects and the well done action sequences supported by the visual imagery, there is no loss of moments spent for watching this movie. There are also the funny lines, but it denies itself a big chance to take some risks, as it follows the conventional path, never to stray away from it. But, there is a huge amount of honesty in this path which is without any ambiguity, and there is absolutely no attempt to complicate things. The whole thing is kept simple, and as the endoskeleton comes from the Greek Mythology and a little bit of the Harry Potter series, this is a bankable movie which most of the critics need to stop overthinking. It is time to have some fun and at the same time, recollect those days of learning the Greek Mythology.

Release date: 7th August 2013 (United States); 30th August 2013 (India)
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Thor Freudenthal
Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Leven Rambin, Brandon T. Jackson, Paloma Kwiatkowski, Jake Abel, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion, Douglas Smith, Anthony Head, Robert Maillet, Derek Mears, Aleks Paunovic, Missi Pyle, Yvette Nicole Brown, Mary Birdsong

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.