Squared Love

Vampire Owl: I hope that blood drinking can also be squared.

Vampire Bat: Drinking blood does not work like that.

Vampire Owl: You should understand that there are many ways of drinking blood.

Vampire Bat: The act has its own value for the soul.

Vampire Owl: Well, that is only if you follow the procedure.

Vampire Bat: Nobody follows the procedure these days.

Vampire Owl: I was not talking about the Twilight vampires.

Vampire Bat: I was not referring to fictional vampires either.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that new vampire tales are not fictional, but related to the lives of humans who are too hungry.

Vampire Bat: Well, it means some fine creative imagination.

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

What is the movie about? :: Monika Grabarczyk (Adrianna Chlebicka) lives a double life, as she works as a school teacher as well as reputed model, with or without the wig and makeup. She also wears glasses, and changes the colour of her eyes to make sure that people don’t easily recognize her. She does not really like both jobs, as she is scolded by the headmaster due to the unruly children and all the exposing as the model in swimwear does not appeal to her either – but she still has to pay back her loans in time. Stefan Tkaczyk (Mateusz Banasiuk), also known as Enzo is a journalist who is also in multiple relationships with many different women – he remains popular with the women despite making some unwanted mistakes in his articles. His firm still keeps him due to his popularity. The company decides to make good use of his popularity in an upcoming ad, as things works the best for him with his face on the television. He is soon kicked out of his live-in relationship, the one which he was pursuing with many others at the same time, but this one makes him basically homeless.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He ends up living with his brother for the time being, as his wife is has gone on a trip from which she might not return to him, and there is the need for someone to look after the child. Even though neither Monika or Stefan wants to continue with that ad, the agencies are adamant that they are the ones suitable for the job. Monika particularly does not want to be seen with Stefan on the posters and billboards all around the city, which are already full of her pictures in swimwear. But her father’s debt keep following her even at school, and she is forced to go back to shooting the ad again. The company is looking for something for something special from the two leads of the campaign, and they feel that without it, they are done. They keep trying for something different, and they manage to get something working in their favour after a long time of brainstorming. Meanwhile, Monika is warned that her students have to score well, or she would lose her job. Now, what awaits both Monika and also Stefan who seems to be beginning to get along with her both versions?

The defence of Squared Love :: The one thing that you would love more than the other things is that the movie maintains its status as a romantic comedy really well, and it never gets melodramatic, even though there are those emotional moments – the feel-good elements maintain a certain amount of strength, and it can be seen at its best by the end of the movie. There is something about this light-hearted romance which will make you wish to watch it with admiration for the proceedings rather than the usual feelings. Despite the whole thing being related to modeling, we do notice a certain amount of cuteness related the proceedings – the leading lady remains differently beautiful in those avatars, as one would find it difficult to recognize one as better than the other; yet the teacher avatar is indeed more suitable to her. The movie is indeed a modern age fairy-tale which can be watched by everyone in the family; it is the kind of film which is good for everyone. The experience is indeed beautiful, without ever falling into melodrama or sadness at any point – we remain happy to watch this one, and remain so throughout it.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does keep us reminded that this kind of ideas have been used many times, and it does not really try to come up with any innovation with the basic idea. The subtitles might not be exact too, as some people seems to have commented about the film in different platforms; I would have expected some nice romantic dialogues translated with poetic beauty to English with the right use of words. It is also surprising that people are not able to recognize the young lady as the common school teacher and not the swimsuit model, but the situation is still better than some of the Bollywood movies in which the wife is not even able to recognize the husband – the students whom she teaches are able to know that both are the same without taking much of time. The role of the other protagonist is also not that well defined, as only his nature seems somewhat established – as about one quarter of the film is done, he is more of a model than a journalist; one would be forced to guess whether he is some Youtube, Instagram or Facebook influencer due to which he has the fans and admirers.

The performers of the soul :: The proceedings are led well by Adrianna Chlebicka, who is perfect in two identities of the character – there is excellence in her work as the model which she might have already been familiar with, and she does even better as the teacher who takes care of the children so well. She has her emotions expressed with beauty and quality like not many actresses have done in relation to such a role, and there are many close-up shots which seems to favour her. She should be part of some romantic flick in Hollywood at some point of time. Mateusz Banasiuk seems to suit the role well, even though the character is not that clearly defined related to what he does for a living, as he writes, models, lives with girlfriends and in the end, has a lot of fans, a number which only increases in time. Then, there is the chemistry between the two, which works like a dream – there is even a certain amount of cuteness related to it. Mirosław Baka as the leading lady’s father and Tomasz Karolak as the school principal have their notable roles. Helena Mazur who plays the child is also a lovely addition to the film.

How it finishes :: Squared Love feels like the usual romantic love story which one would like to keep watching again and again in different forms. I have not really been fans of romantic comedies, especially when they are not in Malayalam – the Bollywood ones with romance are the strangest and the dumbest of them all, with infinite ridiculous scenes and some really dumb music. It seems that without nepotism, acting also gets to a higher level. After all, there is nothing worse than watching a Bollywood romance with the so called superstars dancing and showing lust in the name of pure love; that would make this one a fresh breath of air in comparison. At least Poland knows knows how to make a fairy-tale kind of love story work. Bollywood could give it a match when it learns something from the Malayalam films, not just with the evergreen Romantic classics like Summer in Bethlehem, Niram and Aniyathipravu of the past, but also those which came in the modern age like Anarkali. Until then, we have the movies from Eastern Europe in support too.

Release date: 11th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Filip Zylber
Starring: Adrianna Chlebicka, Mateusz Banasiuk, Agnieszka Żulewska, Anna Smołowik, Krzysztof Czeczot, Mirosław Baka, Tomasz Karolak

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Last Mercenary

Vampire Owl: I thought we were done with the vampire mercenaries.

Vampire Bat: Vampires haven’t been mercenaries for a very long time.

Vampire Owl: So the last mercenary is not the last vampire.

Vampire Bat: Well, humans are the best mercenaries as murder is easy for them.

Vampire Owl: At least we have kept them away from the realm for now.

Vampire Bat: They are still very close to getting here through the portal.

Vampire Owl: I thought that the portal was sealed by the selected team of witches, sorcerers and the new necromancers.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but with the human greed letting them achieve more at all times, you never know.
Vampire Owl: Should I inform Doctor Frankenstein then?

Vampire Bat: Well, never inform Mr Frankenstein who always makes things worse.

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

What is the movie about? :: Richard Brumere (Jean-Claude Van Damme), also known as The Mist is a former secret service agent presently working as a mercenary, one of the best of his category during his time – he is forced to return to France, as his son with an Arabic woman named Farah (Ouidad Elma), Archibald Al Mahmoud (Samir Decazza) is falsely accused of arms and drug trafficking. Meanwhile, people are also looking for him to come back so that they can finish the trouble which is him. After getting back to Paris, he meets Dalila (Assa Sylla) who has been a friend. He realizes that someone is using the immunity that Archibald received from Richard, and there are weapons involved. It seems that someone named Simyon Novak (Nassim Lyes) was involved, and he had used this particular immunity. The police is preparing for Richard to come and try to free his son, so that they can shoot and kill him in self-defence. But he takes the unexpected path, and with the help of his former friends in the secret service, manages to get his son out of prison.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The man who was taking care of Archibald, Fernand (Michel Cremades) is also dead. Archibald who is not ready to take that death, and also not prepared to take another father, doesn’t want to heard about Richard at all. Alexandre Lazare (Alban Ivanov) at the ministry seems to have something about the present situation. Then there is Paul Lesueur (Eric Judor) who seems to have even more in mind. His plans seem to go deeper than ever. Their plan is to kidnap Alexandre and gather enough information. But Archibald, wanting only to be known as Archie is not really the co-operating type. He is the one irritating child resembling his more irritating mother, the one who refuses to grow up, and doesn’t even take responsibility for his own foolish actions. They are basically up against a nation named Taarghistan, and those who support them are former agents who are basically too old for most of the operations. Can Richard and his team fight against all odds and be successful? At least Dalila and her brother seems to be confident about that. Well, lack experience brings more confidence, doesn’t it?

The defence of The Last Mercenary :: The movie focuses on both action and comedy at the same time, and it does manage to hold the two sides together. The focus here seems to be in making an entertaining journey with the usual comic-like spy, but not in a serious manner. The movie does bring some innovation into the usual stuff too. The memorable moments of the film including the protagonists driving a learner’s school car and the fight with two unsuspecting women guards wearing gold. Then there is the last fight which is kept funny, without losing out on style. Most of the performers also seem to be nicely chosen. The visuals are really good, and you never really get tired of seeing Paris on the screen – the big city which is on everyone’s list of places to visit, and another one of those places, most of us might never visit due to the big amount of money that people in this part of the world will have to spend to get there and enjoy the glory. Along with the humour during most of the time, the action is also effective, and this is the combination that successfully brings the entertainment here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does get slow at times, as there are lot of unnecessary moments – it could have surely done without a few minutes; we do have the feeling that it has been stretched to become longer without any real need for the same. There is the humour for sure, but there are those foolish scenes which are rather too dumb to take. It is okay to make use of that to add to the comic side, but there is the need for some borders to be set. Having the high official on the road like a clown feels very much ridiculous. The son spends rather too much time in being irritating too, and some of the other characters here feel rather unnecessary considering how the movie progresses. Some of the dialogues feel strange rather than anything else. Even when taking it as a parody, there is rather too much here to keep us away from being interested in some of these characters. It could have also had some more of serious action from the protagonist, because we are always looking for that, considering what a big name he has been in the past – some people might be watching the film just for him.

The performers of the soul :: We see Jean-Claude Van Damme back here again, and he is one actor who wish to see coming back like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger – one among the three big action stars from the childhood. After all, he has been the Cyborg, Kickboxer and the Universal Soldier from those nostalgic times of childhood. Well, one would feel that he hadn’t really left, but none of his movies made it to the big screen around here for a very long time, except for those in which he was side-lined. He has that classic entry here too, even though there is never that big an action sequence for him to perform, with the movie never getting that serious. Well, he is never really short of the moments, as we look around. The one performer who seems to be of fine support here is Assa Sylla. At the same time, Alban Ivanov brings the comic side to a stronger level. Samir Decazza just goes along as the irritating son, and manages well for most of the time. Eric Judor has the villainy at work quite well.

How it finishes :: The Last Mercenary, as an action comedy flick, feels like a parody. We enjoy the world that the French setting brings us, as we still ruminate and be sad about the fact that most of us might never visit Paris, considering the fact that we will never have that much money to spare, visiting from this part of the world. Well, being the rich bourgeois from here seems to be a long way away, unless you are part of any reserved category or somehow land on a government job – being the politician is the next refuge. The enjoyable ride here adds to the list of action movies that has enough of the humour and action to keep it moving strong. It has Van Damme in action, and this is more or less like seeing some nostalgia coming back again like we had seen past coming back again like in Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Escape Plan and Terminator: Genisys or Terminator: Dark Fate. Then there was The Expendables to have them all together. You are never that far away from the action stars you witnessed on the screen as a child.

Release date: 30th July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: David Charhon
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Alban Ivanov, Assa Sylla, Samir Decazza, Eric Judor, Ouidad Elma, Miou-Miou, Valerie Kaprisky, Michel Cremades, Nassim Lyes, Oleksiy Gorbunov

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

<<< Click here to go to the first French film review here.

<<< Click here to go to the first big French film review here.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Black Island

Vampire Owl: Are we talking about the island near the Northern Witches territory?

Vampire Bat: That one is called the Dark Island of Magic.

Vampire Owl: Well, that depends on the translation.

Vampire Bat: Let the vampire elders deal with the translation of ancient languages.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein is good with languages.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that Mr Frankenstein was talking about computer languages.

Vampire Owl: He has worked with the Northern Witches in relation to creating new magic potions through scientific experiments.

Vampire Bat: This is why I told you that he is a pseudo-scientist of no real value.

Vampire Owl: You should say the same thing when he wins the Vampire Nobel Prize,  and gets elected to the Vampire Science Academy.

Vampire Bat: There is no Vampire Nobel Prize for pure nonsense.

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

What is the movie about? :: Jonas Hansen (Philip Froissant) is an orphan who lives under the sponsorship of the last member of his family. He recently lost his grandmother to the attack of a dog on a beach, while his parents had died in a car crash caused by another driver, both incidents seemingly having something strange about it. Nina Cohrs (Mercedes Muller) who lives in the island is instantly attracted to Jonas, and they become good friends. Most of the girls of the island do have some attraction towards him. It is that kind of a place where there is not that much of a modernity – beautiful scenery seems to make the best out of tourism, but even then, not many tourists visit the area. The place doesn’t have a lot of things happening around there either, and it remains a place of serenity throughout the year. Helena Jung (Alice Dwyer) takes over the German classes in an island which is located far away from the mainland in Europe. She is the replacement for a teacher who just had an accident, and would take a lot of time to make a return.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The new teacher feels like someone whom everyone would like, and she remains friendly with almost every student. She asks the students to call her by her first name when they are not at the educational institution, or when nobody else is listening. She also shows great interest in making the students write poetry and improve their creative writing skills, and with the friendly attitude, becomes a favourite of almost all the students. Soon, Helena seems to get really close to Jonas, or rather too close for a teacher and student, while Nina maintains a certain amount of dislike for her. Nina’s suspicions are at place, but the relationship between the teacher and the student only becomes more intimate. There are too many secrets related to the new teacher, and any attempt to venture any deeper into it will put Nina in peril. But can she stay away from this mystery as she cares too much about Jonas? Will Jonas really understand what is going on here? What is the motive of Helena, and why would she choose to be in a remote island instead of the city from where she arrived?

The defence of Black Island :: The movie does work as a mystery thriller a few minutes into action itself. There is the eerie feeling that spreads through the movie especially due to the setting on an island which reminds one of that strange world surrounded by water shown in Sacrifice. The twists await us, and the movement forward, even though slow, is rather smooth. It also makes sure that there is no falling into that usual pit of nonsense with the relationship at the centre. The visuals are really good, as we are introduced into a world with natural beauty within, and surrounded by beaches and crystal clear ocean water, reminding us to go for a journey soon enough. Well, after that COVID-19 scenario, travel hasn’t really opened up for most of us, and it is nice to see this world of beauty at least on the screen. The atmosphere does suit the thirst for revenge, and we know that this kind of a world can have even a serial killer on the loose with maximum effect. There will be the moments to cherish right in between.

The claws of flaw :: This is not the kind of idea that one would need to appreciate for theme – elder teachers falling in love with too young a student is not something that should be encouraged, even with seemingly decent movies like Premam which would use pretensions to play with the minds of the unsuspecting people – as part of a plan of vengeance, that wouldn’t look that bad in this case; there is enough of a past around here. Still, the relationship should have looked more convincing, and the things around here looks rather too easy. These are the kind of things which are to be dealt with more intensity. The movie also kills off one of the most interesting characters in there rather too early. The investigation into all of these should have also been stronger, and people in this movie are not as smart as they should have been. The moments which are of importance here should have also been edited better, showing them as the parts which shouldn’t be missed. The movie could have also picked up pace too.

The performers of the soul :: The movie is mostly an Alice Dwyer work, with her as the centre of attraction. There are still moments when one would feel that she could have been completely into this case of revenge, but at times, she seems be not in focus at more than one thing. It could be more because of her character not being written with that vision that a revenge-seeker should have. A stronger character would have been better for our eyes and the rest of the senses. Yet, she maintains that mystery about her well, especially during the first half of the flick. Mercedes Muller plays a strong role, and she is lovely in her infatuation towards her long-time friend. She seems to be the one intelligent and determined person like nobody else in the movie, and she surely required a screen presence throughout the movie. Philip Froissant plays a usual character who surprisingly has too less to do other than listening to his teacher who became the lover and the friends around him – he is reduced into a person of not that much of importance. The other performers are of not that importance in this small world.

How it finishes :: I have come across some of the interesting German movies in the last few years, and they seem to keep a certain level with the thrillers. Whether it was Blood Red Sky, Freaks or Breakdown Forest, there is some attempt at thinking differently instead of going with the usual things. Well, horror movies and thrillers are the only things which seem to keep me going in this world of chaos and hopelessness. There has been the down-feeling which came with the Corona virus which doesn’t seem to leave, and it feels worse as we are going back to the society. Still, when we see the hatred that is seen in movies like these, we feel that this is real, a reflection of the society that we know, the one full of liars and cheaters. We have to accept horror as a normal part of life, more real than romance and drama which are considered too real. With some more focus, this movie could have done better, and as of now, it goes on as a thriller which also a work of drama and mystery that takes over on many occasions. The movie works better than what some of the reviews had talked about.

Release date: 18th August 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Miguel Alexandre
Starring: Jolene Andersen, Alice Dwyer, Susan Angelo, Hanns Zischler, Mercedes Muller, Jonas Hansen

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<<< Click here to go to the first German film reviewed here.

<<< Click here to go to the first full-length German film reviewed here.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Army of Thieves

Vampire Owl: And now we are talking about some thieves.

Vampire Bat: We are not talking about the thieves who raided the vampire outpost.

Vampire Owl: There are other thieves who should be of our concern?

Vampire Bat: They don’t break into the Dracula castle, so not our concern.

Vampire Owl: Well, they can steal from the zombies and werewolves.

Vampire Bat: What would they steal from a zombie? A lost brain?

Vampire Owl: There is always something to steal for those who want to.

Vampire Bat: Okay, like stealing a witch’s heart.

Vampire Owl: A vampire thief would go for blood instead.

Vampire Bat: Vampires have never been real thieves. We steal only the appreciation with some special claps.

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

What is the movie about? :: Sebastian Schlencht-Wohnert (Matthias Schweighofer) is living a common, boring life, working in a bank in the German city of Potsdam. He is used to coming up with Youtube videos about safecreacking that has no viewers and zero comments until someone leaves a comment on his most recent video, about a safecracking competition. He has nightmares about zombies after watching news about the creatures unleashing themselves in Las Vegas, forcing the United States government to send the military forces there, only to mess up the whole thing, leading to a final quarantine of the whole area. He goes on to win the competition, shocking everyone. The very nexy day, Gwendoline Starr (Nathalie Emmanuel) introduces herself, a skilled jewel thief who had commented upon his YouTube video. Gwendoline then introduces herself to the man, a skilled and Interpol wanted jewel thief who had commented upon his YouTube video so that she could recruit him for one grand heist which nobody has done before, after which they will have the perfect life without the mundane bothering them again.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She would have Sebastian as the safecracker, she would be thief, Korina Dominguez (Ruby O Fee) their expert hacker who has been doing it from the age of ten, Rolph (Guz Khan) their getaway driver and Brad Cage (Stuart Martin) their gunman to keep them safe during the whole heist which is going to be one grand adventure. Rolph doesn’t like Sebastian at all, while Brad hopes that he doesn’t mess this up. For meeting up and as a safe house, they have chosen a house which is off the grid. They have to break into three banks which have three safes created by a legendary locksmith. The first one is in Paris, and has the least amount of money. They feel that this might be the easiest of them all, but it might be more difficult than they think, and the other two are long way ahead as far as the difficulty level is concerned. The last two will be in two other European countries, Czech Republic and Switzerland, and shall require better planning than the one in French, with even better team work, but the question remains if they are good enough to pull up those heists as a team – then there is Interpol after them.

The defence of Army of Thieves :: There has been the shortage of some good heist movies, and the biggest release of the genre was Red Notice – it was focusing more on its superstars rather than the act of heist itself, and we have this one which basically focuses on the act in a much better way. There is some quick action with the heist going on with some fine plans in the background – each heist is basically a different thing, as we look at them, and there are some fine detail associated with them too. Also, in comparison to the earlier movie, Army of the Dead, this is a much light-hearted version, and there is also the presence of some nice humour here, suiting the heist genre. The safecracking is nice to watch in all cases, and there is a certain amount of humour and some information being added to each of them. It serves as a stepping stone to the next movie well, and has the origin story of one particular character, as we wait for the same with the others too. We know that how things turn around with the next movie!

Positives and negatives :: As this movie goes back from the zombies to humans, there is surely the feeling of relegation, even though it does its job as it was supposed to do. The film also lacks a power-packed hero like Dave Bautista who had held the previous movie on his gun point with the muscles. The female characters do hold on well enough though. This movie, even if shorter than the other film of the franchise, does feel longer, as this one does have some random time in the beginning, and also some romance to go with it, which means that there is a stretch, even though the interesting way of telling this story makes sure that we are past it. The visuals are also really good, with locations in three European countries – France, Czech Republic and Switzerland. The beauty of Europe does get the due, and the focus is not just on the big cities, but also nature, with the final moments having one grand truck journey through a beautiful world, which is to be remembered too. Well, a heist movie without zombie horror means that this is also for the less valiant.

The performers of the soul :: Matthias Schweighofer leads in the movie, even though he doesn’t do the same with team, taking time to get into it, and manages to come up with a fine job as he goes through the whole thing. He is also the director of this movie, and it seems that he has a lot to do in different fields. Yet, with the performance, it is Nathalie Emmanuel who steals the show, and it is very unlike her in the Fast and Furious as well as The Maze Runner series of movies, as this time, she plays the best character around here. It is also the one with the most skills, and the person who leads and decides things, a role which Dave Bautista did in Army of the Dead. Ruby O Fee who plays the other female member of the team doesn’t fall behind either, as she plays the hacker who does most of the background work for the team. Stuart Martin and Guz Khan are secondary in this team, even though they seem to take over in the beginning stages of the mission in the movie. Jonathan Cohen and Noemie Nakai do add nicely here too.

How it finishes :: Army of Thieves doesn’t have the strength as the earlier movie of the franchise, Army of the Dead had, for one particular reason – it doesn’t have the zombies, and is thus missing the horror elements, but still manages to be a very entertaining heist movie with quality action and humour being the necessary part of it. Some people might not like the fact that this is a prequel, and it doesn’t mention the zombies enough, but we know that dealing with thieves and their heists mean that there can only be a little bit of the monsters of Las Vegas. It does connect to the events of the second movie in the end nicely, and we can actually come out of this movie as having watched an entertainer which sticks to the plan. Well, we have had many films being marketed as big entertainers, and so many of them didn’t live up-to the expectation, or at times managed to overdo and mess up things. But, this one stays strong as the prequel that it was supposed to become, and joins the smart heist movies list in style.

Release date: 29th October 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Matthias Schweighofer
Starring: Matthias Schweighofer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O Fee, Stuart Martin, Guz Khan, Jonathan Cohen, Noemie Nakai, Barbara Meier, Peter Hosking, Fanette Ronjat, Amy Huck, Peter Simonischek, Dave Bautista, Ana de la Reguera, Bly Tanaka

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oxygen

Vampire Owl: I had earlier heard that vampires no longer required oxygen to survive.

Vampire Bat: Is this a result of one of the experiments of Doctor Frankenstein?

Vampire Owl: Yes, he has actually found a substitute this time.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t really trust him about controversial inventions.

Vampire Owl: You have been talking about our best scientist for so long.

Vampire Bat: I wonder why you are not able to understand the difference between a scientist and an alchemist.

Vampire Owl: Well, alchemist degree is no longer a valid one.

Vampire Bat: He has passed only BSc. Alchemy, I am telling you.

Vampire Owl: When he cleared the degree, it was a valid subject.

Vampire Bat: You are going to be struggling for survival, if you go with what he provides.

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

What is the movie about? :: Elizabeth Hansen (Melanie Laurent) wakes up in a medical cryogenic unit with no memory of who she is, and how she got there. The Artificial Intelligence machines which was supposed to take care of the system informs her that the oxygen level is low, and her request to go out of the unit will not be accepted. She is also informed that despite the failure of the unit being reported, nobody has come up with a reply. The advanced Artificial Intelligence with which she communicates is named MILO (Medical Interface Liaison Officer) tells her that she is identified as Omicron 267, and is not known by any other name. Her medical report is not available, even though she is there to get better after being sick after some point of time. External communication is not available, but she is finally able to transmit the details of her situation outside the unit through emergency services. The police are confused as she can give them no information of use about herself or her present location. She is able to provide them with the unit’s model and serial number, which are printed on the interior. But she is told the unit was destroyed three years prior.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: A DNA analysis provides a match for her though, and it shows pictures of her, which helps her to identify her name as well as an an idea of her work, and up-to an extent, some idea about her family. She is told that she has forty three to seventy two minutes remaining with her Oxygen level. When her medical report finally becomes available, she is shown as perfectly healthy, much to her dismay. She does find the number of her husband, but another woman answers, and that doesn’t help her cause at all. Some of the memories seem to come back to her, but she is not certain about them. Soon, palliative care is ready to be deployed, but she stops the same, even though threatened against doing the same. She tries to cause destruction to the unit, but gets an electric shock in return. With only a few minutes of oxygen left, how long can she stay strong enough, and alive? Is there something sinister behind her being locked in the cryo unit? Who could be find all the trouble that she has to face? Is there some secret which only she knew before being locked in there, or is there an even bigger mystery that involves many people?

The defence of Oxygen :: The movie keeps us interested in the protagonist, as we hope for information about her, and it moves between optimism and pessimism at regular intervals, with more and more knowledge about the person coming to light. There are questions being asked here, about life, what is means to be human, and how memories make a person or destroy one. There is always more and more doubts about the nature of humanity and its existence, and one is reminded of minuteness with one grand shot of the whole space with the chamber unit – it is a thing of glory, well-designed and of quality. We do make many guesses about what is happening out there, and where the protagonist is, but there are twists which are good enough to bring another series of guesses – only a very few of those guesses come true in this case. There is the mystery to be solved and revelations to be made, as we look forward to finding the truth and hoping that our protagonist is saved. The progression of this movie a reminder to many people on how to use the minimum materials to the maximum effect – as long as you have a leading actress who can do wonders.

Positives and negatives :: The movie can feel a little too long because all the action is set in the chamber unit which feels like a coffin. Some of the initial moments are the ones which provides that particular feeling, and the rest has us discovering more and more about the protagonist well enough. The pace is never really increased as we look at it, and there are similarities with other movies, even though this has the feeling of a perfect new space which is not explored as it is, ever before. People might have also wanted this movie to progress in some other ways instead how it has gone forward. There could have also been more visuals of the world by the end, but I would guess that they didn’t want the scenes to move outside much at all. One also feels the need to see the life on the new planet instead of just one scene – there have been many films which have people traveling to another planet, but there is not even one which shows what happens after they reach there and start a civilization. Well, we are the fans of Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, Warcraft and others – we need to see that one in another world, and we are yet to see the same on the screen with effectiveness.

Performers of the soul :: We know Melanie Laurent the most from two movies, the critically acclaimed Enemy and the crowd favourite Now You See Me, both being films which can be watched many times. She has been part of other movies to remember, and this one is going to have bigger status among such films, with a performance which is focused on her. Even though there are some people being shown in flashback memories, the present is all about her, and she makes sure that there is perfection when it is about her. The other people whom we notice are one in the form of the Artificial Intelligence and the other is the person who are regular in the flashbacks. The success of this performance from Melanie lies in the fact that she makes us go through the different emotions of her with ease. We are able to relate to the person and what she is going through, thanks to her perfect run through the emotions, the journey from not knowing to what she comes to know, as well as what she comes against, as wrong information. We also have the doubts that she has, and sometimes even more than what she comes up against, in a small world resembling a coffin. It is not just her character battling out there, as we are also part of the same.

How it finishes :: The director of this movie is known for some of the most memorable thrillers, with the last one being Crawl, with one crocodile on the hunt – you remember that his first English film was The Hills Have Eyes, and movies like Mirrors and Maniac provide further testimony to his skills, even though those were closer to horror rather than any other genre of significance. This one comes as a science fiction thriller, and it is also one effective thing in the genre, adding to Gravity, The Interstellar and The Martian from one angle, while it is also a survival thriller like The Shallows and Buried. Yet, one movie which this one reminds us of, is Meander, considering being locked in small spaces, and having almost no idea of what is happening around. Related to these movies, our movie here also has a solid status for sure. With its surprises, and possessing a fine performance from one person at the centre of all of these, the movie is a thing of quality. It might feel long due to being located at one place at all times, but this is one film which you feel the need to keep going as you hope for a person’s survival against all odds.

Release date: 12th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Starring: Melanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Freaks

Vampire Owl: It has been very long since we had a German film to watch.

Vampire Bat: You could have always watched German movies at will.

Vampire Owl: Well, we should watch them together as part of vampire brotherhood only.

Vampire Bat: You know that I am not always available.

Vampire Owl: Still, you are here now and ready for films.

Vampire Bat: I have been available only as part of my requirement to sign into Dracula Castle.

Vampire Owl: You only need to be here as much as you can. We can always find some worthy vampire horror time.

Vampire Bat: You can still watch as many movies as you want at the castle with the Vampire Crocodile or the Vampire Alligator.

Vampire Owl: You know that they watch films underwater.

Vampire Bat: Well, you asked them to watch a movie with you on the top of a mango tree.

[Gets a chicken cutlet and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with a quick flashback showing a destroyed area of a school, a crying child and blood as well as a destroyed building which seems like a school. The child is really upset, and we are quickly taken to the present where the rest of the action takes place. Now, Wendy Schulze (Cornelia Groschel) has grown up, and is living with her husband and son, while working at a diner. She seems to have some psychological effect of that incident as a child, and she is taking some pills which were prescribed by her psychiatrist, but mostly, everything seems quite normal. One day, she meets a homeless man named Marek (Wotan Wilke Mohring), and that brings a deviation to her life. His advice to her is to stop taking those pills which are prescribed to her, and he also reminds her that she is one of them, even though Wendy has no idea what is happening – she is quite shocked to see him jumping off a highway bridge only to be run over, but he is the same on the very next day, alive and seemingly even stronger.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Wendy does feel that there is something fishy about everything that has been happening around her, and decides to stop taking the pills, as he had advised. When she is attacked after leaving her shift, she discovers that she has some special powers, and uses them to get rid of the attackers with ease. Her colleague Elmar Mund (Tim Oliver Schultz) notices some of her skills, and as he also has similar powers, they have to work together to find the secret behind these superpowers – it seems that the government has been watching them, and there is more to it than what meets the eye. There could be a vast conspiracy behind all of these, and getting to the bottom of it would require more than one or two superpowers. Is Wendy good enough to live up to the new powerful lady reputation that she has gained, or will some sinister forces have the upper hand? What role does the other people with superpowers have to play, and why is the government so much interested in this?

The defence of Freaks :: Freaks acts as an origin story for a superhero franchise, like Gundala did in Indonesian, and it seems that there is a lot of scope in that. This movie does build up very nicely with that, and the first few moments are really good at doing the same. The music is really good here, and there is something beautiful about the same too. It could really support the superhero stuff when its at full strength with a sequel. The setting is also good, and very much suitable for the superhero stuff here, and there are some beautiful shots too support the same too. There is also some fine humour being added here, and this feels like something nicely managed with less special effects and graphics. New superhero movies are always welcome, and this one has an ending which calls for some more films to follow in a possible long franchise. The world has always been in need of its superheroes, and you even got Shazam! earlier and accepted the same.

The claws of flaw :: Freaks could have actually been more divergent, and there could have been the idea of bringing more variety to the superheroes. You do feel that you have seen this before, as you are aware of so many superheroes. There are similarities to Split and Glass which we can easily recollect, as superhero powers are suppressed, and the existence of such heroes are also not brought to light. There could have been some innovation in that, as going by the usual path seemed rather unnecessary. A few things are also too direct with this one, and even for an origins story, there is a certain amount of predictability being drawn here. The few moments before the climax are not that effective either, and one does wonder if this could have been better there. Some other superpowers could have also been unleashed here, along with more action. When so many of similar films have already been done, this one should have come up with the divergent ingredient, for it was also immensely possible – you learn from what you already have.

Performers of the soul :: Cornelia Groschel leads the way in the movie, as she does in the poster, and that is done really well. She is very good from the beginning, and her transformation is also worth it. She would make a fine superhero in a costume, and can come up with some fights if there is a sequel for this one – Freaks didn’t have that much of action to boast about. She could have surely used some of it though. At the same time, Tim Oliver Schultz does make a fine villain in the making, and if there is a sequel, that could serve his character really well, as changes to the same possible supervillain can be seen from a distance too. Wotan Wilke Mohring does some solid work as the experienced superhero, or metahuman as often referred to. Nina Kunzendorf plays the usual human antagonist going against humans with ease, and there are moments for her to be remembered too. The rest are lesser characters, even though we know that some of them are going to be very much relevant for a sequel, if there is one.

How it finishes :: It hasn’t been easy to find the best German movies, unlike the case with Spanish, French and Korean which were recommended by so many people. Movies of the Soul has had only three German movie reviews before this, the full-length Kidnapping Stella and Breakdown Forest, as well as the short film named AUFDRUCK. Freaks is a fine addition to that list, and is very much fun to watch. You don’t always need your Avengers and Justice League teams, for you can stick to the lesser ones which are also interesting enough. We have had our mutants, the X-Men who were too good. We can surely have more, and even though those from Bollywood have kept disappointing us, the others won’t. Freaks will serve as an example of the same. We could have superhero movies in all languages, for so much of budget is often not necessary – with Tovino Thomas starrer Minnal Murali also coming to Netflix, the Malayalam movie industry will not be that far away from the genre either.

Release date: 2nd September 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Felix Binder
Starring: Cornelia Groschel, Tim Oliver Schultz, Nina Kunzendor, Gisa Flake, Wotan Wilke Mohring, Frederic Linkemann, Finnlay Berger, Thelma Buabeng, Ralph Herforth

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Paramedic

Vampire Owl: Another good Spanish film to watch? That sounds fair.

Vampire Bat: Well, we have always wanted to have more foreign movies to watch.

Vampire Owl: As we speak, the theatres are opening here too.

Vampire Bat: Well, the question remains – for how long?

Vampire Owl: So, you think that the next wave is coming soon.

Vampire Bat: I can already feel it to be close. One only has to wonder about the terror the virus can unleash this time.

Vampire Owl: Nobody is afraid of the Corona virus anymore.

Vampire Bat: They need to be afraid. It is a shame if they are not.

Vampire Owl: Well, people make their own strange choices these days.

Vampire Bat: Not people, just humans. All the other species are fine.

[Gets a chicken samosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Angel Hernandez (Mario Casas) is a paramedic who doesn’t care about his patients, and he also steals valuable items from them if he gets a chance. He is also disappointed about not having a child with his girl friend, Vanesa Francois (Deborah Francois) with whom he shares an apartment. He is also very possessive towards her, and blames her for them not having a child. But she wouldn’t care that much about the same, as she is ore interested in her work and advanced level of studies. Things get only worse when their ambulance which his colleague Ricardo (Guillermo Pfening) was driving meets with an accident, and Angel is paralyzed from waist down, leaving him on a wheel chair. This also further strains the relationship between him and Vanesa, and he begins to feel that she is cheating on him. His doubts only increase, and he also starts spying on her – when she realizes the same, she leaves him. But he still remains obssessed with her, and wouldn’t stop stalking her.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, he comes to know that Vanesa has also started a relationship with Ricardo. Soon, he feels that they are going to have a baby, and that further disappoints him. As he goes through his therapy, Angel is more and more concerned about the sequence of events which had occurred earlier. Therefore, he decides to take matters into his hands and calls Vanessa to come back to their apartment, and take her remaining possessions. But when she arrives, he injects him with medicines that leave her unconscious, and ties her to the bed. He also sends messages to Ricardo from her mobile phone, about her not wishing to have the baby, and that she is also not interested in continuing the relationship anymore. He also injects him with drugs so that she temporarily losses the use of her legs. Now, he has plans of them living together like this, and also raise the baby which she would have. Now, it is up to her to try to escape, and him to continue with his strange plans. The question remains about who will succeed in the end.

The defence of The Paramedic :: The Paramedic is partly a thriller and in part a drama, as we look at it. There are moments which raise the level of the movie, and it is very strong in parts, as we look at it. Some moments will be remembered, even though not fully, and the weirdness and sadness of the main character who often gets psychotic will be remembered. The tension does become stronger at times, and at times, we have some anguish and melancholy taking over, even though not at the strongest with the same. Yet, the same doesn’t reach the full potential, even when we feel that it is rising. The setting is really good, with the Spanish streets and an apartment proving as good backgrounds to the work. For a good amount of time, the movie has a certain amount of realistic feeling, and it is also simple enough, even though its characters are indeed complicated. After all, considering the times in which we live in, there are not many things which are not possible among humanity which has come down by a long way.

The claws of flaw :: The Paramedic had the chance to be something bigger, but it doesn’t use its scope to the best advantage. After the premise changes, and the quick turn of events create something for the film to use in the best possibly ways, it keeps itself back instead. In between everything that happened in the movie, we could have been able to add so many things here and there, but this one chooses to go the usual path, without adding the innovative. The movie is also too slow, and it doesn’t pick up the pace even when there was the certain chance to do so. The drag that it had in between could have been easily avoided. The ending is also not that strong enough, as we were expecting something huge happening with the climax too, but that was also not there. It could have also had some very disturbing and scary things to be added in between, and we feel that they could have arrived at many points. It could have been more fun, or with more substance, but both cases are ignored by the film which just goes on without the deviations.

Performers of the soul :: Mario Casas is solid in his role, which turns out to be a very negative one only a few minutes into the movie. He maintains the characteristics of the role throughout the run, and that does brings some unpredictability in between. Deborah Francois also comes up with a strong performance, as it is required from her here. Her character also changes, and gathers a lot of strength throughout the existence. The other characters give some support, and they are of lesser significance. It is to be noted that there are not characters whom we can call good, as most of them have a neutral vibe or the grey side in action here. We are not admirers of any of these characters, and most of us won’t even make friends out of them. Among the smaller performers who catch our attention, the first one is Maria Rodriguez Soto who has a lot of melancholy going on with her, and Guillermo Pfening who becomes a reason to keep the story going. Celso Bugallo also adds a bit there.

How it finishes :: The Paramedic was a fine opportunity to come up with something huge, but the film refuses to take that risk, and manages to provide us with the usual rather than anything else. While reading about the movie, the expectations were surely higher. For a movie which is known more as a thriller, more thrills are surely required, and with such fine performers, the film could have achieved more. With the theatres all prepared to open, one can wonder if what people would choose now, to go to the OTT platforms or go back to the theatres. I would wait in that case, and go for the movies which are still available in those platforms to watch. After all, the third wave of Corona virus might still be ready to come. You have to stay safe during these periods of time, and it has to be a thing of priority, not just for yourself, but also for the people around you. The two doses of vaccine are no guarantee for anything, and so we are supposed to continue to be as careful as we used to be in the beginning of this pandemic and during the lockdowns and quarantines.

Release date: 16th September 2020
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Carles Torras
Starring: Mario Casas, Deborah Francois, Celso Bugallo, Raul Jimenez, Pol Monen, Gerard Oms, Guillermo Pfening, Maria Rodriguez Soto

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous European film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Western European film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Spanish film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pinocchio

Vampire Owl: I know this person very well from childhood itself.

Vampire Bat: It is a fictional character from the children’s novel The Adventures of written by the Italian writer Carlo Collodi of Florence.

Vampire Owl: Okay, so it is from the land of Renaissance indeed,

Vampire Bat: Yes, most people don’t really know that this tale is not really English.

Vampire Owl: But it went on to become so popular all around the world.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is that kind of a story that appeals to everyone.

Vampire Owl: And it is a fine story to read for the children of all ages.

Vampire Bat: We also add an Italian movie dealing with the same story to our list on this day.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that this one will become a fine deviation from our usual path.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and takes us back to childhood too, at least in parts.

[Gets a green apple cake and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: Geppetto (Roberto Benigni), a poor Italian carpenter has a hard time making his living, as he rarely gets any work, and nobody appreciates him for the quality products which he come up with. But one day, he sees a puppet theatre in the town, and becomes a lot interested in creating a puppet all by himself. He feels that he could create something special which would be appreciated all around the world for its beauty on wood. He manages to get a log of wood which its owner wanted to leave behind because it seemed to have some kind of magic associated with it. Geppetto spends all his time creating the perfect puppet, and in the end, when he finishes the same, he finds out that it can talk. After naming the puppet Pinocchio (Federico Ielapi), he decides to take him as his son. But the newfound son out of the log isn’t really an obedient one, as he keeps exercising his freedom against the wishes of his father.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Pinocchio does get into trouble due to his actions, and Geppetto decides to send him to school, so that he would study well and also mingle with the other children of the town. Geppetto sells his inherited jacket to buy Pinocchio an ABC book which is necessary to accepted into the school. Pinocchio does go for his first day at school, but notices a puppet theater, and he ends up selling the book to buy the ticket. In the theater, the other puppets notice Pinocchio among the viewers and calls him up the stage, thus messing up the show. A furious puppeteer Mangiafuoco (Gigi Proietti) catches Pinocchio and locks him in his caravan with the others puppets, and leaves the town. Mangiafuoco who has been very angry about what had happened, plans to use Pinocchio as firewood to help cooking his dinner. Pinocchio begs him to release him in order to return home from his father, who would be very much worried by then.

And what else is to follow around here with the puppet? :: Mangiafuoco decides to let him go, and seeing his compassion towards the other puppets who he saves from being burned, he gives him five gold coins to give to the poor carpenter whom he calls father. Pinocchio is really happy about it, and tries to get home as soon as possible, but is lost in his way, not sure where he is heading. As he tries to find the right directions, he meets Fox (Massimo Ceccherini) and Cat (Rocco Papaleo) who discovers that the puppet has some gold coins with him which they can use during their jobless ways. They tell him a tale about the Field of Miracles, a special place where they can bury the coins, and a tree full of money will grow rapidly. But they intend to murder the puppet and take the money. They make some fine plans for the same, and takes a room in the nearby tavern. Pinocchio is not aware of such sinister plans, and despite being warned by Talking Cricket (Davide Marotta). Can the puppet keep the money and finally get to his father who is looking for him?

The defence of Pinocchio :: The movie, as expected is a journey to a special world, and those who have known the tale before, will relate to the same very well. There is a beautiful world that provides a certain amount of enchantment close to the original version, and we have one puppet who is not familiar with the ways of humans going through. Roberto Benigni whom we know from the movie Life is Beautiful is here again playing the father figure, and that is indeed beautiful, as we remember how he managed to be a great father there – here, he is not far behind either. The one who used his imagination to shield his son from the terror within a Nazi concentration camp is not to be forgotten that easily. Marine Vacth who plays the fairy and many others also catch our attention, being out of the usual world, getting close to fantasy. With the cat, fox, snail, cricket, characters, the movie is as child-friendly as anything can get, and therefore makes itself a fine watch for the families. Well, a journey through rural Italy of those times never really gets to be less interesting for the eyes.

The claws of flaw :: Pinocchio might be different in looks from what many people might have imagined him earlier. The movie could have had a certain amount of visible magic in there too, not as being regular part of the proceedings, but as something completely out of the world. For the same, more special effects could have been used to create a visual extravaganza, because even lesser films these days seem to display the grandeur – after all, this is a children’s classic of a higher level on print. The fact that the puppet keeps falling into trouble due to not listening to the good advice makes it feel repetitive, especially for the adults who would be a long way past this tale by now – even I don’t remember most of what I read during my childhood. It could have also had more focus on the father-son relationship because the puppet as the adventurer is not of that much interest as a person, and we have to look forward to the fairy to find the next lovable character, followed by the snail. The growing nose could have also been used better.

How it finishes :: As far as the idea of Pinocchio from The Adventures of Pinocchio by the Italian author Carlo Collodi is concerned, this one manages the same well, and it is to be noted that usually the adaptations are supposed to come in the form of cartoons. Making a live-action movie with this type of characters is indeed difficult, but we can see that they have managed everything pretty well here. The Adventures of Pinocchio has been the world’s most translated book excluding religious works and had such a great impact on different cultures, also being a children’s favourite. But we see that it also explores the human condition, about what it means to be human, right here. We do have that usual child who doesn’t like to go to the school, and is not interested in obeying parents, with a certain love for entertainment and adventure over the rest, and is naive when facing the dangers of the outside world. Yes, this version is a successful one too, and you can choose to watch it, without expecting anything too special or highly innovative.

Release date: 19th December 2019
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Matteo Garrone
Starring: Roberto Benigni, Federico Ielapi, Rocco Papaleo, Massimo Ceccherini, Marine Vacth, Gigi Proietti, Paolo Graziosi, Massimiliano Gallo, Maria Pia Timo, Davide Marotta, Alessio Di Domenicantonio

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<— Click here to go to the first Portuguese movie review on the site.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adios

Vampire Owl: So, there is a goodbye related to this title.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the movie is about the death of a child and the following vengeance.

Vampire Owl: Well, there is nothing that catches the audience better than a revenge tale.

Vampire Bat: I agree to that. They are repeated so many times, and still they are so popular.

Vampire Owl: What is surprising is that some good movies become random tales of revenge as it progresses to the end.

Vampire Bat: Yes, Anjaam Pathiraa showed such a tendency, but Forensic was beyond it, with a psycho killer with no motive other than the murder itself.

Vampire Owl: I have always felt that such tales should be a sub-genre with further divisions following it.

Vampire Bat: I feel that that this setting in Sevilla in Spain is perfect too.

Vampire Owl: Well, I did love that setting in Italy too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the setting of Piranhas. That would be a suitable setting too.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three glasses of pineapple shake].

What is the movie about? :: In a neighbourhood of Sevilla in Spain, there is an area where police, law and order ends up having no power at all. In a newly re-established underworld of drugs and organized crime, Juan Santos (Mario Casas) is a con man gets out of the prison to celebrate the First Communion of Estrella Santos (Paulina Fenoy), their only daughter, with his wife Triana (Natalia de Molina). His uncle Andres Santos (Vicente Romero) and nephew Chico Santos (Mauricio Morales) do come to him on he day of function with a gift, and calls him back to the world of crime, but he is not ready to do that, thinking about his wife and daughter. But on the same day, there is an accident after the party, and after being hit by another car, they are injured, but their daughter dies. The police officers Manuel Santacana (Carlos Bardem) and Eli (Ruth Diaz) who arrives nearby at a murder scene to investigate the killing of four Romanians who were drug traffickers, realizes that the murder is connected to this accident.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Discovering that the car that caused the accident which killed Estrella is the same as that of the killers of those Romanians, Juan meets his mother Maria Santos (Mona Marinez), former Santos’ family mob boss who expelled from the locality by two rival families Fortuna and Taboa. She also seeks vengeance for her grand-daughter, as Andre and Chico also offers their help. A drug addict named Maravilla (Pilar Gomez), tells the cops that it was done by Fortuna family, and even though a strong police force is deployed, the boss Gordo Fortuna (Moreno Borja) escapes from the area. Juan tries running after him, but it is of no use. But there is more than what meets the eye, and the Santos family will not have many chances to regain their lost glory – finding those who were responsible for the death of Estrella Santos, the youngest member of the family, would be a nice start. But, as things go further complicated, there is no hope for them without making friends out of enemies, and vice versa – can Juan be successful in finding the person who caused the death of his only daughter?

The defence of Adios :: There is the early feeling of what is to come, from the beginning itself – the feeling never goes away. The feeling of sadness that runs through this movie is strong, and we feel that not just from the parents of the child meeting accident, but also from the lady police officer who is in charge of the case. The visuals of the city are beautiful, and there are some moments of intensity related to some action and there is suspense with twists to come in the later stages. With the movie not being the usual revenge thriller where the protagonist goes on fighting random people and beating them, this one stays close to a certain amount of realism here. The background music also adds to the charm really well, and there is something about all the music which is played in this movie. With the visuals combining with the same, we have the feeling of being taken to this world, many kilometres away from us, that historical city from where Ferdinand Magellan departed for the first circumnavigation of the Earth – one of the cities of Western Europe which I would visit before most of the others if given a chance.

The claws of flaw :: Adios could have done better with its side of crime, and one wouldn’t doubt that. There is a lot more to explored for sure, as such families of crime are involved. Ruth’s character could have also had an interesting background story, as the need was ascertained during the time when she was talking about kids to the protagonist’s wife, and something was left to be said, as one could observe from that shower scene. The use of another title for the English version was also not needed, as people are well aware of this particular title. It could have simply gone for more action sequences, as the vengeance element was always going to feel the need for more strength. Guns could have been there at all times to bring the power up further. Some parts of the film could have also used some polishing, especially related to the police and the prison, as well as the other gangs which could have unleashed themselves on the streets, which never really get to have the big action out there.

Performers of the soul :: She might not be playing the protagonist in this movie, but Ruth Diaz is the one actress who scores above everyone else, as far as performances are concerned. There is a certain amount of sadness, and melancholic determination in her, which we find early enough – she feels like a beautifully crafted, complicated character with a long past of suffering whenever we look at her. Her expressions nicely support the same, and it seems that her looks also support the same. Natalia de Molina’s suffering is rather easily visible to the outward eye, and it is the kind that we know about, and she goes through that with the character really well. She plays the wife and mother in a believable manner too. Mario Casas plays the main character well, and we know that he is fit for this from the first moments than anything else. He displays the anger mixed with sadness quite well. Mona Martinez who plays the mother figure for the mob family is as solid as one can get. Vicente Romero and Mauricio Morales who play the other family members also support well here.

How it finishes :: Adios finishes well, and in the end, we are glad to have watched another version of a tale of vengeance. This would add to the entertaining during the time of Corona virus lock-down with ease. There is a certain amount of realism in the way this movie progresses, and as it doesn’t unleash a father-figure in unrealistic ways like we had seen in the Malayalam movie, The Great Father and many others from films in different languages, this one surely is a welcome flick. I would hope for more of similar movies which keep the momentum going without losing the realistic side. I would also love to keep such lovely music going on in the background. Let us hope that sooner or later, with the COVID-19 coming down at a later stage, we can have things to be better for the people related to the cinema industry who are suffering at this stage, and also the people who are running the theatres or working there. Let us hope for the best in the month of July.

Release date: 22nd November 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Paco Cabezas
Starring: Mario Casas, Natalia de Molina, Ruth Diaz, Mona Martínez, Carlos Bardem, Vicente Romero, Paulina Fenoy, Mauricio Morales, Sebastian Haro, Pilar Gomez, Mariola Fuentes, Consuelo Trujillo, Pablo Gomez-Pando, Carlos Cabra, Juan Carlos Villanueva, Moreno Borja

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kidnapping Stella

Vampire Owl: So, these people have made a movie about just one kidnapping?

Vampire Bat: You are saying that one won’t be enough?

Vampire Owl: No, I am saying that it can be like a vampire movie made out of one blood-sucking event, which won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: It is a remake of the 2009 British thriller movie, The Disappearance of Alice Creed.

Vampire Owl: Okay, the one starring Gemma Arterton, the lady vampire from Byzantium.

Vampire Bat: The whole vampire team is indebted to her for the work in that movie.

Vampire Owl: It is my second favourite vampire movie after Interview with the Vampire.

Vampire Bat: If you add Let Me In, it could go to the third spot.

Vampire Owl: Do you realize that you haven’t reviewed a full-length German movie yet?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but there has been a short-film which left enough for us to think about.

[Gets an vancho cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: There is some big preparation going on with the two former convicts named Vic (Clemens Schick) and Tom (Max von der Groeben) getting something ready inside a building, just before they get prepared to commit some crime. Stella (Jella Haase), the only child of a wealthy businessman is their target, as they hope to become rich with the money of her father. This act and the resulting ransom is supposed to make sure that they won’t have to go to work for a long time. For this, they come up with some very careful planning, and leave no chance for them to escape, as they undress her and keeps her in a red tracksuit, blindfold her, tie her to a bed, and keeps her in a soundproof room, with no chance for her to even move more than al ittle. To conceal their identities, the two also wear masks while talking to her. There is a certain amount of risk involved with her knowing their identities, because she is pregnant with Tom’s child, as they were in love some time ago.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Stella tries hard to escape from her bondage, but there is no positive result for those attempts, as far as she is concerned. Tom does have a soft corner for her as he comes to know that she is pregnant only at a later moment when they threaten to cut off one of her fingers in front of the camera, while making a video which is to be shown to her father so that he would finally agree to give the ransom money to them. But the problem here is that during one of those vulnerable moments, she finds out that one of the kidnappers is Tom, and almost manages to overpower him to get hold of the gun. But Tom handles that situation as well as a few others which follow. Soon, Vic starts to have some doubts about Tom and Stella, as he is no longer the person whom he met in the prison – he is not sure if Tom can be trusted either. Now, it is to be seen how the two manage to keep the situation going. Can they get the money, or will the girl end up being dead? What will be the priority for Tom now, as he knows that she is pregnant with his child?

The defence of Kidnapping Stella :: You will notice that Kidnapping Stella, just like The Disappearance of Alice Creed and its earlier remake Reckless, doesn’t waste its time in getting into action. There are a few minutes when nobody talks about anything, and then we are quickly into the action when the girl is kidnapped and tied up without any chance to escape even from the bed where she is tied up. We do not have any subplot to take the focus away from the main thing, and even though there is a possibility of some flashback, we never really go towards it. You do have some twists, even though not used to the full effectiveness. A kidnapping scenario is also shown without any pretensions, and without showing it as someone who is locked in a random room giving them an easy journey throughout the abduction. The kidnapping programme is quite a solid one, and even though becoming only the third version of the same tale, you have to appreciate them doing this situation well enough here along with maintaining the thrills.

The claws of flaw :: If you have watched The Disappearance of Alice Creed or its Dutch remake, there is nothing much that you can find here to keep you interested, because you have seen all these in more critically appreciated movies, and the performers who have gained better applause not just in one film, but also many others. This movie also doesn’t seem to have gathered that much of an attention or appreciation as those movies which released much earlier. This one is also quite slow at parts, and for a movie which doesn’t have that much of a run-time, it is definitely a strange thing, no matter how you look at it. The movie could have used some more intense moments to make things feel better. As most of the movie is set within a small area, there was scope to bring more. When you have a film with kidnap as the main thing or rather the only thing, you would expect that something else would be there to be taken. There is always the chance for improvement as far as remakes are concerned, but we doubt if that chance was even thought about here.

Performers of the soul :: One cannot deny the fact that this movie misses someone like Gemma Arterton who has been one class actress in different roles, the best of them that we remember being Byzantium, the highly underrated and under-watched vampire movie coming from the director of the highly appreciated Interview with the Vampire. We can only guess that it would have been a fantastic performance. Jella Haase is pretty much okay as the kidnapped girl, but she doesn’t seem to raise that bar that much. The two kidnappers are actually very good though, and Clemens Schick as Vic, the tougher one comes up with a work that will make us attached to the situation here. Max von der Groeben as Tom, the guy who is caught between two sides also have our attention – he wants to do more than one thing, as there is the need to save his former lover and their unborn baby along with getting all that money from her father. There is no other character here, and these three makes the performers list fully.

How it finishes :: The movie originates from The Disappearance of Alice Creed, a 2009 British movie, which also had another remake in the form a Dutch movie named Reckless. From the reviews which we have read about this version here might be the film with the lowest rating, while the other two movies seem to be quite ahead. But for most of us who haven’t watched those two movies because we never really had much of an experience with Dutch movies and as the British movie was released a long time ago, Kidnapping Stella is going to be an interesting experience. There are enough thrills around there, and it surely feels more than the usual hostage movie. Matching The Disappearance of Alice Creed was always going to be a tough task, as it had Gemma Arterton who has been in all kinds of movies with all the glory, a performer who is difficult to match. You are free to watch all the three versions in different European languages and decide the best for yourself if you feel the need to disagree. Otherwise, you can just enjoy this newer version.

Release date: 12th July 2019
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Thomas Sieben
Starring: Clemens Schick, Jella Haase, Max von der Groeben

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Influence

Vampire Owl: So, another foreign movie here? There has been so many.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have felt an interest in watching those movies.

Vampire Owl: Are the usual types of movies not in the list anymore?

Vampire Bat: Yes, they are there too. But these need our attention even more because they are having some fine movies without many people knowing.

Vampire Owl: There are some English movies which are less known in this part of the world too, if you can remember them.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but you should realize that we get more supporters these days from locations further away from home.

Vampire Owl: Yes, people are rarely appreciated at their hometown, right?

Vampire Bat: You can say that. I have had that feeling for a long time too.

Vampire Owl: At least we vampires are true brethren supporting each other.

Vampire Bat: Yes, doing a lot better than zombies eating each others’ brains.

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

What is the movie about? :: Alicia (Manuela Velles) is a nurse who moves from the city to the little town in the north-west of Spain where she used to spend her childhood. She is greeted there by her sister Sarah (Maggie Civantos) who has been taking care of their mother Victoria (Emma Suarez) with the help of a nurse, Anna (Marta Castellote), as the old lady has been in comma for some time now, after having many other diseases earlier. As Alician is a nurse, she could work in the nearby hospital, and also take care of her mother. Alicia is accompanied by her husband Mikel (Alain Hernandez) and their daughter Nora (Claudia Placer) who gets admission in the nearby school. Nora doesn’t have a good time with her new classmates, as everyone considers her to be a weird girl who came from a distant place. Her only friend is Luna (Daniela Rubio) who is an outsider.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Mikel doesn’t manage to get his usual job as an electrician, and works at the port, handling fish. Alicia doesn’t like being back in the old home, because after the death their father, Victoria had been acting strange, and being abusive to them. But these memories are not the only thing hurting her, as there is a strange presence in the house, and it is somehow related her mother and the strange practices she had directly on indirectly related to witchcraft and demon worship. It also turns out that Victoria had written all her property in the name of Nora, much to the dismay of Sarah who used to take care of her mother until then. At the same time Nora begins acting strange, and she also gets to be terribly violent at times, punching another girl in the school repeatedly. Alicia attributes this to the black magic used by Victoria, and feels her mother’s presence even when she is in comma. Now the question remains if she can save her child, husband and sister from certain terrible evil.

The defence of The Influence :: This movie thrives on its setting, which is very good for a horror thriller. The environment provides the feeling of danger being present there at one corner or the other. The visuals are nicely done, and we are easily immersed in this world, even though not that much with the characters. Most of the scary scenes are left to the end, but there are some moments being provided in between, to keep it going. The idea of black magic works pretty well, even though not fully used here. The children with evil inside are nice to watch, and the creepiness depends a lot on them, just like we had in The Prodigy. There is also the presence of some fine imagery including the head of a goat, book on black magic, terrifying artifacts and more. The Influence can have that horror influence on us with what we see on the screen, and it is more or less symbolic as we look at some of them which feels special.

The claws of flaw :: The Influence is a slow moving horror movie, and it doesn’t bring the scares when needed, until everything is reaching the end, and that does lead to a certain drag, which moves on like a curse on this movie – it is solved only by the end. It is the kind of movie which needed a speed booster, and when we feel that it has speeded up, it slows down, and it is a procedure which repeats itself. In between the slowness, it doesn’t being the class in there, or something which would make the slowness enjoyable, maybe with the haunting. The characters are not the kind with whom we are attached that much, and we also wonder about their actions here. The movie had raised the expectations of its viewers, but doesn’t reach there, and instead becomes a horror thriller which deals with the basics that a horror movie might have, that too slowly.

Performers of the soul :: Manuela Velles plays the main character, and she does well, matched only by Maggie Civantos who plays her sister. Both sisters have some good moments together, and the emotional scenes are handled really well by the two actresses here. They take the movie emotionally forward, with Maggie bringing more of the feelings out there, but the one who gets more space is Manuela – she is not that far behind, as you will notice here. Both do prove that they fit into the horror genre well. I don’t know if the Spanish movies have their own scream queens, but it seems that they will not be short of those who are specialized in horror. Claudia Placer who plays the child might be a fine choice for a future run. Daniela Rubio also makes a fine team with her, as the two become fine evil kids in action. Alain Hernandez who plays the husband is okay, while Marta Castellote who plays the nurse needed more screen space. Emma Suarez is also fine with all the evil inside, projected well.

How it finishes :: Originally titled La influencia, this movie does have an impact as a horror thriller which works on a special setting. When entering into the usual horror world of Sinister, The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun and Insidious, and the unusual world of Lights Out, Don’t Breathe, It Follows, A Quiet Place and The Autopsy of Jane Doe, you have to be innovative, or you have to do the best with what you have – The Influence only does the same only upto an extent, and saves its world only in the end. It is the movie that you will want to like, as you enter the house with the protagonists, and you are with them, but in the middle, there is some of that being lost, and in the end, more is being gained. Therefore, it is a movie with its own ups and downs, and you will want to watch this movie as much as any other Hollywood horror movie with the usual stuff. After all, from the movies which I have watched so I far, there is no Spanish horror movie which didn’t have my attention with the setting.

Release date: 11th October 2019
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Denis Rovira van Boekholt
Starring: Manuela Velles, Maggie Civantos, Claudia Placer, Emma Suarez, Alain Hernandez, Daniela Rubio, Ramon Esquinas, Marta Castellote, Mariana Cordero, Felipe Garcia Velez, Sofia Tolina, Berta Sanchez

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Whistlers

Vampire Owl: Do you remember how long we waited to watch a Romanian movie?

Vampire Bat: I am not sure. Maybe, we waited for an eternity.

Vampire Owl: Vampires deserve to watch Romanian movies, don’t they?

Vampire Bat: This movie was selected as the Romanian entry for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Oscars.

Vampire Owl: So, we might be beginning our Romanian movie watching with one of the best.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I don’t see why we shouldn’t go for the best.

Vampire Owl: Should we call Uncle Dracula and the minions to watch this one too?

Vampire Bat: After we watch the movie and declare it safe, they can watch it too.

Vampire Owl: Okay, then. We are going for our first Romanian film.

Vampire Bat: Do watch it carefully, and come up with an opinion.

[Gets an chocolate cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) is a Romanian police officer who acts as a whistle blower for mafia, and it is made clear that he is not someone who stays on one side at all times, as the switch does happen very often. Even though he is under police surveillance for suspected corruption, Gilda (Catrinel Marlon) who has been part of organized crime, manages to bring up a plan to free a controversial businessman arrested in Bucharest and asks for his help in the job. She poses as a high level prostitute with Cristi as her most valued customer to make the cameras set in his house believe that she is up to nothing related to such crimes and gangs, and is just there to provide him her service which she proves to the eyes behind the camera. Cristi is forced by her to go to La Gomera Island, one of Spain’s Canary Islands to learn an ancestral whistling language which he can use to connect to mobsters without being detected by the police or anybody else who possessed some threat to them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: This ancestral whistling language has been the kind of thing used to communicate across the deep ravines and narrow valleys of the island. It enables messages to be exchanged over long distance, and he hopes to study it soon enough, because he needs to get the man out of prison, as he is someone who needs to be outside to give information about millions of cash. As this a case with so much of money involved, there is the certainty of twists occurring. Everyone is after a missing thirty million in cash, and as both the criminals and the police tries to find where the man hid the money. But Cristi has some other plans along with finding the money for any of these sides. For the same, he would come up with a more twisted idea. But it is to be seen whether he would be successful in the same, because he is playing with fire on more than one side. Can he get out of there, maybe with Gilda on his side without being hurt, or will he be hit by the terror that is going to be unleashed when the thirty million is lost?

The defence of The Whistlers :: It can be seen that The Whistlers is that kind of a movie which slowly gets the thrills to us, and from the beginning itself, the same starts getting on to us. You know that all the characters here are up to something, and we are able to feel the same quite early. It also brings a certain amount of humour in there and we also have the surprises thrown in here and there. The settings used here are all beautiful, and when looking at the scenes in Romanian towns as well as the Spanish island far away from its coasts, we are all glad to see such things of beauty. The performances of Vlad Ivanov and Catrinel Marlon are nothing less than deadly either. If you haven’t watched any Romanian movies yet, this might be the film to begin watching these from that particular industry, as it seems to be a lot ahead to catch our attention with almost everything shown on the screen. With the same, there is also simplicity in its complexity.

Positives and negatives :: The Whistlers is the kind of movie which moves too slow for some kind of audience who might be looking for better pace considering the fact that this is a crime thriller. The beginning with the main characters playing certain roles for the cameras seemed to suggest that this was going to be quicker in pace, but it was not so. But it is good to see that unlike the other crime thrillers, this is the kind of movie which cares about its humans too, and they are not really the kind of people who are there to keep shooting and get shot. You can see that power and weakness, loneliness and companionship, pretension and sincerity, trust and the lack of it – all are shown as part of life, while we see everyman elements in these characters around here. The world of crime is not about keeping on shooting people and creating chaos, as there is something more about it, as this movie tries to prove. The Whistlers is more than what meets the eye, as you compare it to the other movies of the genre.

Performers of the soul :: Vlad Ivanov as Cristi comes up with a solid performance, as he plays a character whose intentions are never really that clear, and it is one unpredictable character which he plays to perfection. This particular character is never really the person we think that he is, and he shows signs of the person who brings the twists quite early. Catrinel Marlon as Gilda is nothing less than fantastic, as she plays a femme fatale character with certain class, but it is also a character with more than one side, which she proves quite early into the movie. In the beginning, we even have the doubt if she is the main character, as she is in action just ten minutes into the movie, dictating terms and flourishing on the screen. She is a different kind of Anna, as you look at her closely, and she never hesitates to bring all that she can, at any moment. The same can be seen again in more and more moments, as we see her getting her righteous place in there on different occasions. Rodica Lazar comes up with a fine believable role as the police officer who is in charge.

How it finishes :: The Whistlers is a special movie, not just because it is a crime thriller which keeps itself solid, but also due to how well it handles the content smoothly. This is surely a movie that you would want to watch, and then continue to watch more of Romanian movies – I had said the same about another movie, a Vietnamese one which could introduce you to that film industry really well. Both The Whistlers and Furie as unknown movies in this part of the world, and as people rush to look for more and more Korean movies, these two movies in two different languages from different parts of the world deserves your attention. I have always loved Romania as a place which had the historical region of Transylvania, as my best interest is in Gothic works – it is a place which I would love to visit one day to see those castles which are often related with Count Dracula, but until then, maybe I can watch some more of wonderful Romanian movies. This one is just beginning, as rest will surely come.

Release date: 13th September 2019
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Corneliu Porumboiu
Starring: Catrinel Marlon, Vlad Ivanov, Agusti Villaronga, Cristobal Pinto, Sergiu Costache, Antonio Buil

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Piranhas

Vampire Owl: I has been wondering why there has been no Italian movie on the website so far, even with French, Spanish and German being there.

Vampire Bat: You have to note that I don’t have any Portuguese movie either if you are looking at the Western Europe.

Vampire Owl: Still, it is different about Italian. Bicycle Thieves from Vittorio De Sica is your favourite, and you have studied it in college.

Vampire Bat: I would say the same about Life is Beautiful from Roberto Benigni too.

Vampire Owl: But we still had to wait for so long to get an Italian movie here.

Vampire Bat: I do not intend to write about movies from each and every part of the world.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but you have to agree that this one was long due.

Vampire Bat: Well, I did have my plans of writing one earlier.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and I had guessed that long ago.

Vampire Bat: There are no awards for guessing this one though.

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

What is the movie about? :: The movie is set in Naples, the third-largest city of Italy after Rome and Milan, and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. A group of teenage boys from one of the thickly populated neighbourhoods in Naples, hope to gain power, fame and easy money, and for the same, they enter into the city’s world of crime which is rather complicated. Nicola (Francesco Di Napoli), who lives with his single mother and younger brother, feels that there is no option left for him, but to choose crime as a real opportunity, as the group moves through the streets as gangsters would. Nicola falls in love with an aspiring model who works in her father’s restaurant, Letizia (Viviana Aprea) whom he helps in the street once and again meets her at the swimsuit of a beauty contest which she losses, and he helps her out in the following brawl. Soon, Letizia returns the same affections, and they start a relationship, with the support of his friends who are happy to see him with a girl.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As they try to take control of different areas, Nicola finds it difficult to be with Letizia because she is living in another part of the city which has the presence of a rival gang who wants his gang to keep away. Still he does manage to sneak into her room at times, beginning a part-time live in relationship. Nicola and his friends dive deeper into the world of crime with guns received from one of the notorious dons of the area, and they begin to show no regret after crimes. Nicola’s mother (Valentina Vannino) is not exactly happy about it, but doesn’t say much about it, as his idea itself seems to make her happy, as extortion by gangs at her shop seemed to bother him more than anything else. But with more and more of teenagers’ gangs being formed, and the youth committing further crimes, how long can he hold on a gang within a world of crime? Is survival an easy enough thing here?

The defence of Piranhas :: The movie is undoubtedly good looking, as far as the locations and visuals are concerned here. Naples is indeed a fine place to wander around, and we see different sides of the beautiful city, even though we have only been familiar with the other cities like Rome, Venice, Florence and Milan which we have seen on television, but never this charming city. At the same time, we wish the nation of Italy with its grand history and culture a speedy recovery from the Corona Virus which seems to be happening right now too. The tale also progresses in an order which makes the new generation attitude and their loss of innocence if there was something like that, feels very much close to reality. If you notice the first scene, there is something that reminds you of William Golding’s Lord of Flies, both the film and the movie, as we notice the return of inherent evil in people, and as it returns to the kids who claim to be fifteen year old youth, we understand that evil has been invoked in them too early, and we just can’t trust the children to be good and display innocence any more.

The claws of flaw :: Piranhas doesn’t move away from the usual gangster movie mode, and there are many occasions when you keep feeling that you have seen these before, and at different times, and it has nothing new that you would want to treasure. It also doesn’t manage to explore that much, and extend its strengths a gangster movie, with something seemingly pull it back, which is why even with a run-time of one hour and forty five minutes, it does feel to be longer. It doesn’t try to venture that deep as a movie about youngsters becoming criminals and wandering in the streets. We have had many Malayalam movies dealing with the same topic emotionally as well as in a funny way. Piranhas could have ended with a bigger scope, but it chooses not to do that, and it doesn’t deal with its female characters that well either, as it chooses to keep them down and without significance throughout the time when there was chance for them too.

Performers of the soul :: As the feeling of Lord of the Flies seems to be invoked here, there is much to do for the young cast, and they do not stay far behind with the same – it seems to come naturally to them here. As the leader of the junior gang, and the one to take the big decisions every time, Francesco Di Napoli’s character steals the attention more than anyone else, and he does manage to come up with a straight-forward performance here which rises above everyone else with ease. He does seem to be in control at all times, as he tries to do whatever an older crime boss would do, and in the final moments of the movie, we see that he is more or less a young gangster who has gone through his coming of age moments, and it is where his bildungsroman reaches to final point. Viviana Aprea is a lovely addition to the movie, and she is someone whom we can see with passionate and true love for the main character, but can’t follow the same well enough due to her lover’s gangster kind of life which threatens to separate them forever. The supporting cast does a pretty good job too.

How it finishes :: Piranhas does make an interesting gangster movie which follows the usual style of such movies, but doesn’t work on the same idea that much as one would have wanted it to. As the first Italian movie which I watched since Life is Beautiful a long time ago in the order of its release, and after Bicycle Thieves if we considered the order of release, this one made an interesting watch. There is a certain amount of reality in these movies, and that feeling keeps on going throughout the run. There is no melodrama, but we do feel with the characters, and everything remains so subtle. It is the same reason why I decided to choose an Italian movie to watch for this time of Corona Virus. I hope that all my reader are doing okay during this season of terrible crisis with one virus trying to kill us and our spirits in more than one way. But we will survive, and we shall go past these terrible times – we are all together in this! Stay safe and watch more movies!

Release date: 12th February 2019
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Claudio Giovannesi
Starring: Viviana Aprea, Francesco Di Napoli, Alfredo Turitto, Ar Tem, Carmine Pizzo, Ciro Pellechia, Valentina Vannino, Ciro Vecchione, Luca Nacarlo, Mattia Piano Del Balzo, Pasquale Marotta, Adam Jendoubi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Wolf’s Call

Vampire Owl: So, we are back to watching French movies again.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this time, a thriller with clarity.

Vampire Owl: Our journey into global movies have been quite good.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we are only watching selected movies which we consider to be special among others.

Vampire Owl: We do make some good choices then, I guess.

Vampire Bat: Yes, all of them have been specially picked, making sure that there is a high possibility that we will like the flicks.

Vampire Owl: Especially with a few cups of tea to go with it.

Vampire Bat: Considering the fact that there has been a lock-down in the name of a virus, we are doing quite well representing the vampire community.

Vampire Owl: Vampires have all been doing some interesting thing or the other during the times of lock-down.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have heard that the castle has seen rather too many.

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

What is the movie about? :: The French submarine Titan is sent through the Mediterranean Sea, to reach the coast of Tartus in Syria to bring back a French Special Forces unit fighting in the area during the time when Syrian Civil War is at its highest point, leaving no room for errors. As they are all prepared to take the troops in away from the Iranian and the Russian forces, Chanteraide a.k.a. Socks (Francois Civil), the sonar expert identifies it as a wounded sperm whale after multiple checks and moments of confusion. But it turns out to be another submarine which can’t be identified. It has detected Titan, and has provided the information about its presence and exact location to an Iranian warship nearby, which launches a helicopter hunting them right above water. But the submarine, with the help of its crew using an anti-tank gun against helicopter, somehow manages to survive the attack including torpedoes, and get the team to safety.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Later, when they are back to the ground, they get the information that Russia is invading Finland’s Aland Islands, which lead to the French President deciding to send a naval task force to the Baltic Sea, supporting the Scandinavian nation. At the same time, Chanteraide, while trying to identify the unknown submarine near the Syrian coast, finds out that it was a Russian made Timour III ballistic missile submarine, which was supposed to be dismantled earlier. During his similar searches for information regarding detailed underwater acoustics, he meets a young and charming bookshop owner, Diane (Paula Beer), whose original name is Priarie. After spending some time at the pub, they get emotionally and physically attached to each other, soon falling in love. But at the same time, a war and even a nuclear attack seems close with further problems arising between Russia and France, and Chanteraide needs to be back in action in Titan facing the nuclear armed submarine, Formidable. Can he do the right thing this time?

The defence of The Wolf’s Call :: This movie thrives on its smart moments here, and we have been presented with top quality thrills. With most of the shooting supposed to have happened in the real submarines, this is a fine achievement, and the whole thing indeed looks very realistic – the accomplishment powers this movie, as it needed to have most of its time within the underwater vessels. There are some highly thrill-packed moments in here, as the world stares at a possible nuclear war beginning with one wrong action from a European superpower, something that would have made that averted Soviet Union nuclear submarine torpedo launch happen many years later. It has to be noted that this movie begins in the middle of action, and there is no dull moment in here, and even those romantic sequences are to be loved. The Wolf’s Call does manage to show how a thriller in a submarine is to be created, with all the action and thrills.

The claws of flaw :: Some points in the movie have terms which we don’t understand that easily, and has to resort to Google – there are words related to military and the submarines which keeps coming back. But that is expected in movies like these, because otherwise, the realistic feeling will be gone. The romantic side could have also been better explored, taking a little bit more time. Paula Beer could have been used better in that case, considering the fact that is well-suited for such roles and moments of romance. The final moments could have also been a little better worked out, as we are battling to avoid a nuclear war, and something more could have been there in the picture. It could have also quickened up things a little bit more in the middle part, even though this one also has a higher pace that regular movies in their middle areas. The Wolf’s Call provides you that underwater world of wars, and you need to be prepared for that to get the best out of it.

Peformers of the soul :: Francois Civil manages to come with a good job in this thriller which shows nations on the brink of war. He seems to be someone who can handle the two sides quite well, being in the military as well as outside, with a happy love life. Paula Beer’s addition to this movie is more about being the love interest, and it is provided, in a cute, lovable way. Other than a few dialogues, adding the feel-good factor and an intimate scene, she adds less, but surely adds a light feeling to the movie, and the young and beautiful German actress is surely someone whom we expect to see more, maybe in Hollywood flicks too, very well suited to light-hearted romance or the fantasy movies based on the good old fairy-tales. We needed some female presence in this movie, and she makes sure that we have it. I would want her to be part of movies like Maleficent, Cinderella, Jack the Giant Slayer or Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters any day. Reda Kateb and Omar Sy plays the two commanders very well, and we have them as strong leaders.

How it finishes :: Originally titled Le Chant du loup in French, The Wolf’s Call has very good ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, and we have to agree to it, even though the number of reviews are rather less. The Wolf’s Call is a movie that needs to watched more, for how it manages the whole thing without any single boring moment – it is a serious quality that many more movies need to have during a time when it is Hollywood which struggles to make films like these, and Bollywood’s idea of an action thriller is still that old age masala, which appeals only for the brainless these days. Meanwhile, The Wolf’s Call does the job so well that it might end up inspiring more moves with underwater warfare or can even have remakes coming from different parts of the world after the Corona Virus crisis ends. This COVID-19 pandemic might be the only thing stopping it from happening for an year or two, depending on what is happening in our epidemic affected areas.

Release date: 20th February 2019
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Antonin Baudry
Starring: Francois Civil, Paula Beer, Omar Sy, Mathieu Kassovitz, Reda Kateb, Alexis Michalik, Jean-Yves Berteloot, Damien Bonnard

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Vampire Owl: Have you read The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I had read that novel as a part of writing an assignment during my English Language and Literature post graduation.

Vampire Owl: What would adding some fire to the title mean?

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this has any relation with it. This one is actually French. This is not Korean or Chinese for a change. Let this burn bright!

Vampire Owl: So, the portrait is not really the portrait that one might be led to believe it is. I would still choose a Polaroid camera instead.

Vampire Bat: It was about a young woman who inhered a large amount of money, and becoming prey to some scheming.

Vampire Owl: I have heard about the author, but most of the people I know haven’t.

Vampire Bat: Well, he hasn’t been writing the kind of works, the vampires have been reading, and so its natural not to know.

Vampire Owl: So, you are now choosing French.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have been going further international these days.

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

What is the movie about? :: The story is set at some time period during the end of the late eighteenth century. Marianne (Noemie Merlant) is a young painter who takes painting classes to her eager students. As she makes them paint her portrait, one of her students asks her about a special painting from her, which Marianne used to call Portrait de la jeune fille en feu. It takes us back to the origins of that particular painting, and the same has a close relationship with Marianne’s past and her emotional side. Once upon a time, Marianne was called to an isolated island in Brittany in the west of France, to paint a portrait of a young woman named Heloise (Adele Haenel) by her mother The Countess (Valeria Golino). Marianne struggles to reach there, as she herself, and the canvas falls into the sea on her way.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There, she meets Sophie (Luana Bajrami), a beautiful young girl who works as the servant to the Countess and her daughter. They become good friends, and comes to know that Heloise was at the convent, and was forced to come back to marry a wealthy Italian nobeleman because her sister had died, supposed to have jumped off a cliff. Now, this portrait is to be sent to that possible husband of Heloise as soon as possible. The Countess says that her daughter was not ready to pose in front of any painter, and so Marianne will have to pretend that she was someone who had come to accompany her during her walks, to get rid of her boredom. It seemed to be the only way for her, and Marianne started being friends with Heloise who arrived there. She also started observing Heloise enough to paint her in parts. But there will be more than just a painting that we will be having here.

The defence of Portrait of a Lady on Fire :: There is some beautiful serenity that runs through this movie and its silence which serves more than anything else, as the main actresses really make a lovely impact with their expressions and body language itself, getting us immersed into this tale set in the late eighteenth century Brittany. The setting is incredibly beautiful, making you wish to make a visit, and one wonders where this particular island stands in history. This environment created as part of this movie is a charming one, but it is also a very simple one – it is not that usually colourful world from a grand historical past as we usually see in historical drama, action or thriller movies. We go through the eyes of an artist who is not just a painter, but someone with intimate feelings which she seems to have gained in connection to her work on the canvas – it reflects there as much as it shows up in her soul.

The claws of flaw :: Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a very slow movie, as you might have expected it from the talks about it, and also by what you have further read about the same. The movie also has some moments which are not utilized the best, especially related to the artistic work, the painting. The focus could have been more on that painting, and the artists feelings should have been above the person’s intimacy. There is also a lot of time taken in the beginning, and in between, which is felt more because of the movie’s slow pace. There could have also been some more characters to provide support, and this movie’s viewpoints are rather limited when you look at it. There is a lot of silence and a good number of dialogues, but there is less happening for the people who are looking for that as the thing which defines a movie – after all, this is close to being what you call the award movie in this part of the world. Two hours were not needed for this movie for sure.

Performers of the soul :: Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a movie nominated for Golden Palm, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival, where it lost to the Korean Oscar Winner, Parasite, and so you know that this one had to score in its performances more than anything else. It has to be noted that all the main characters in this movie are female, and you see some men for that amount of time which can be better counted using seconds rather than minutes. The movie is that much dependent on its female characters, especially the two main ladies, with more to be added from a third young character, and a little more from the much older character who plays the mother. I haven’t watched many French movies, but Noemie Merlant is the one lovely actress who has come up with a perfect performance here which cannot be matched. She has been very expressive, and very much enchanting as the painter, closely followed by Adele Haenel who manages almost the same. Luana Bajrami, the next important character is done well, and Valeria Golino is there for less time, and does fine.

How it finishes :: The movie is not to be confused with The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, as the title only has the addition of fire in the end, which might have been enough to prove its point. But people are more or less attracted into feeling that this is the same thing, and only the fact that this is not a British or American movie making them feel that this is something else. But the movie is not a lesser classic when you look at it, as it feels like an old-fashioned throughout its run. It is a slow-moving thing of charm, which makes sure that the moments are there to stay. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is more or less a feeling set in that historical period, and it has that delicate beauty with the realistic touch which is to stay for the beauty of tranquility, and not for what we usually remember a movie for. Portrait of a Lady on Fire takes you through the different, classic path.

Release date: 18th September 2019
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Celine Sciamma
Starring: Noemie Merlant, Adele Haenel, Luana Bajrami, Valeria Golino

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.