Proxima

Vampire Owl: Have you heard about the vampire team planning to travel to Proxima Centauri?

Vampire Bat: No, such a plan was discarded after Doctor Frankenstein created a portal and ended up being crazy for three weeks.

Vampire Owl: It is depressing, because vampire space travel was only beginning to get popular.

Vampire Bat: You could have some temporary relief by watching a movie on space travel.

Vampire Owl: This one seems to be drama and not really science fiction.

Vampire Bat: Drama is more close to life than science fiction as far as humans are concerned.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t disagree with that statement. They always create some drama.

Vampire Bat: It is also the one reason why humans stopped evolving.

Vampire Owl: I do feel that they can still evolve like some of the alien species which we had met while traveling through one of those portals.

Vampire Bat: Well, lets see how far they can go and fight their own upcoming extinction.

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

What is the movie about? :: Sarah Loreau (Eva Green) is preparing herself for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station, after different stages of training on Earth, and a final quarantine which would follow. She is very excited about it, as she finally had the chance which she was waiting for, throughout these years. She had kept so many things away just for this special opportunity which rarely comes to her field. But her daughter Stella Akerman Loreau (Zelie Boulant-Lemesle) is certainly not even close to being happy about it. She does like the idea that her mother is going to the stars, but hates the fact that she has to leave her for such a long period of time, first out of the nation and then far away from Earth itself. This would mean that Stella and her cat would have to stay in a new house in a new neighbourhood in a distant city, with her father Thomas Akerman (Lars Eidinger) as the parents had separated, despite falling in love while working at the same space agency.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But things have to go as planned, and they have to follow the procedure, as she has qualified with great difficulty, and now there will be no replacement in her place. Sarah leaves for further training, much to the dismay of Stella who is left to adjust with the new home and the new school were she keeps struggling with Mathematics and also in making new friends, being a new loner. At the same time, Sarah has some initial struggles with keeping up, and her colleague from the United States, Mike Shannon (Matt Dillon) considers her to be more of a space tourist, as he is a war veteran who has served in Irag and Afghanistan. But he does appreciate her hard work as time progresses, but as she develops an infection in a new wound, Sarah has further struggles to go with. At the same time, the bond between the mother and daughter which was very strong and special seems to be having some cracks here and there. Now, Sarah has to keep up both her lives going, and it is a question whether she can do the same.

The defence of Proxima :: As one would expect, the movie thrives in the work of Eva Green, who excels as the astronaut mother who struggles to keep the two sides of her life going. The movie serves as a reflection of anyone who is trying to seek new heights, but cannot let go of the old world to which the person belongs to. The training sequences are nice, and the emotional moments are all in control, with everything safely handled by Eva herself, for this is her movie. As the movie was shot in different original training facilities of the European Space Agency, everything feels more real, just like the feelings. The movie’s progress is also steady, even though we are given the idea of what to expect in the beginning stages itself. As the movie chooses to go realistic over everything else, we do have the interesting family drama which depicts the mother-daughter relationship without much of a trouble. In the same, there is quality guaranteed.

The claws of flaw :: Proxima had scope to be something more, with both its dramatic side and it could have been an action thriller of a lesser level too, with more twists being added to the training sessions and time of quarantine. People who are looking for some science fiction are going to be disappointed, because the same is not there, and we can say the same about the action and thriller side too. It could have also had more of emotional moments together, and there could have been more of bonding scenes between the astronauts in the facility. The fact that it keeps changing the language in between is a little bit strange, as it remaining a French movie with English subtitles would have been fair enough. It could have also used some flashback to add to the tale, because our protagonist here does seem to have had a long interesting past. If it had used all the elements perfectly, there was chance for a flawless film here, but Proxima does come somewhat close.

Performers of the soul :: With birthday on the 6th of July, it is a good time to give Eva Green some lovely birthday wishes, as she is one actress who has been special throughout her career, reminding us of some fine roles which she had played so well – this movie is not that much of an exception in that case too. The lovely actress has that kind of movies in her list which I have loved to watch, with the last few being my personal favourite Dark Shadows, the grand sequel 300: Rise of an Empire, the much different Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to be added to the list. She is fantastic in this movie, and we see the emotions running wild on one side, and the determination of the character on the other – Eva is delightful to watch in this film too, and she carries the movie on her shoulders with so much of ease. Zelie Boulant who plays the daughter also comes up with a fine performance. Matt Dillon does a fine job in the supporting role too. The rest just working along, as this one is indeed the Eva Green show from the first moment to the time when the credits starts rolling.

How it finishes :: It is no surprise that Proxima‘s biggest asset is Eva Green, and the same is reflected throughout the flick, with the focus never really shifting from her, as she brings the magnificent performance to elevate this movie to where it would have been, with another actress in her place. But those who watch this movie should note that it is not science fiction unlike some idea being given here. As the movie stays as close to a realistic world as possible even with an upcoming space travel, Proxima does deliver a strong drama which works with the mother-daughter relationship very well. It is the kind of movie that one can choose to watch during Eva Green’s birthday week, and the French actress’ work is reason enough to go for it. If you are going for science fiction in space or other planets, we do have those other titles, and expecting a Gravity, Interstellar or The Martian in this case will be wrong, as the tendency will be there as people see the lady wearing the spacesuit on the poster, but that is just one side of the tale.

Release date: 27th November 2019
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Alice Winocour
Starring: Eva Green, Matt Dillon, Zelie Boulant, Lars Eidinger, Sandra Huller, Aleksey Fateev, Nancy Tate, Svetlana Nekhoroshikh, Anna Sherbinina, Vitaly Jay, Lionel Ferra, Manuela Aguzzi, Gregoire Colin, Trond-Erik Vassal

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Miss Peregrine’s Home

missperegrineshome

Vampire Owl: I once knew a tooth fairy by this name. It was when I was having the best of times.

Vampire Bat: Oh! I thought you only knew witches during those days.

Vampire Owl: Stop being judgmental. She was a nice tooth fairy. She even dealt in fangs.

Vampire Bat: Okay, and then what happened?

Vampire Owl: She died and I embraced the fact that I was immortal. I really felt my eternity.

Vampire Bat: It could have been most romantic tale that I have ever heard, if I never knew how to read.

Vampire Owl: You just have no empathy. Even my zombie minions clapped to my story. It is a long one, and I can let you hear it if you provide me with one hundred and thirty four days.

Vampire Bat: No, thanks. Why don’t you write a book instead?

Vampire Owl: I don’t write anymore. I spread ideas through telepathy.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I can see your ideas taking over the world from a very long distance.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with tapioca chips].

What is the movie about? :: Jake (Asa Butterfield) has grown up listening to the tales which his grandfather Abe Portman (Terence Stamp) has told him about battling monsters along with fighting the World War II. The centre of attraction in all of these stories is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which has Miss Alma Peregrine (Eva Green) as the headmistress, and the place has children with some amazing abilities, and are called peculiars. Each of these special abilities make them what they are, and this headmistress herself is more than what meets the eye. His parents are not that fond of these strange, folk-tale kind of stuff that Abe is feeding his grandson, and wishes that they could stick to the usual things. But things are not that easy as they seem to be.

So, what happens next? :: One day, he gets a call from his grandfather and later finds him with his eyes missing. Before he dies, he leaves Jake with some clues to what he is to do, and there is also a monster there, which disappears. Left clueless about what he is to do next, the psychatrist tells them to go to this particular place mentioned by Abe, and it is the only thing that can make him believe that it is all fiction, with stories made up by the old man every day. So, accompanied by his father, Jake travels to Cairnholm and finds that the children’s home mentioned by his grandfather was destroyed during a Nazi air raid on September third, 1943. But he is surprised to find a number of children there, who seems to be more than just normal. They invite him to their secret place.

So, how do things go from here? :: There he meets Miss Peregrine who explains to him that she can manipulate time and belongs to a special class of peculiars called ymbrynes. To live in peace, she has created a time loop which repeats all over again and again on the third of September, 1943 just before the bomb falls on their building. As they keep living the same day again and again, none of them ages either. There he understands that a team of monsters called Hollows, lead by Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) hunt Peculiars to devour their eyeballs hoping to gain immortality in the process. With these people on the hunt for more peculiars and waiting to enter the loops, can Jake save the day, and also save his new found love interest, the aerokinetic Emma Bloom (Ella Purnell)?

The defence of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children :: The movie is undoubtedly something that looks very good on the screen – the setting, the costumes and the special effects; they all look impressive. The pace gets better, and by the time it reaches the end, we are very much into one loop or two. The movie has a good mix of things, and never really gets lost in what it has to provide us – and it has been done in style. Among all the cast, it is Ella Purnell who leaves something beautiful with her charming performance. Then there is Samuel L. Jackson who once again scores high as the antagonist – there are some dialogues from him which are so much memorable; Eva Green also follows the same path, but on the other side. Asa Butterfield reminds one, and brings some of the Harry Potter effect in this one too.

The claws of flaw :: There is no shortage of the feeling that we have seen this before so much. We have always known X-Men and what they called as the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. The peculiar children just become another version of the X-Men when they were all younger. There is also no big mission to do here, which makes this not that much of a flick that most people would have expected. The monsters remind one of some Guillermo del Toro effect, as if Pan’s Labyrinth or Crimson Peak has decided to have a peek – they are still not that less interesting. With its magic and its protagonist accompanied by the magic, one is certain to feel some amount of Harry Potter in this one. There is also the lack of best use of the available resources – this could have been one big movie of magic, but that much is certainly not there.

How it finishes :: Tim Burton surely brings something special in making these kind of movies, as we have already seen in the two nice Johnny Depp starrers Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland, both having their fantasy elements at the right places. Well, referring to the same actor with this man at the helm, there was also Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Also in that list is Planet of the Apes, which I consider better than the franchise which is going on now, and that earlier special flick, Sleepy Hollow. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children might be the kind of movie which had left people wondering about what it contains, but based on a book by American author Ransom Riggs, seems to have left us with enough to be interested in, watching the whole thing on the screen.

Release date: 30th September 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Lauren McCrostie, Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson, Finlay MacMillan, Pixie Davies, Cameron King, Georgia Pemberton, Milo Parker, Raffiella Chapman, Hayden Keeler-Stone

missperegrineshomee

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

2014 in Review

Happy New Year everyone. This is the annual review time! Here are my choices for the year, not concerned with the opinion of the critics.

Best Malayalam movie: Iyobinte Pusthakam
We had to wait a long to have a Malayalam movie which could stand strong in comparison to so many good ones from last year. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/iyobinte-pusthakam/

Best Hindi movie: Mardaani
There is absolutely no doubt about this one, and even as I haven’t reviewed it yet, there is no shortage of some good opinions about this one. I was pretty late in realizing this movie’s abilities. I might write about it sometime later.

Best English movie: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Marvel’s most intelligent movie until now happens to be the best from Hollywood in the year, even as there are more movies missing a release here this year. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/captain-america-ii/

2014movies

Best Animated movie: Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Forget the fans of The Lego Movie and Big Hero 6, as this was undoubtedly the best animated movie of the year, and working for everyone. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/mr-peabody-sherman/

Best Action movie: Hercules
The Rock as Hercules – it delivers as it had promised; there is no doubt about who the super action star is right here. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/hercules/

Best Visual experience: Exodus: Gods and Kings
This visually superior movie, even without too much ciritcal appreciation, is that Biblical Epic that everyone has been waiting for. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/exodus/

Best Thrills: Gone Girl
This movie has that kind of thrills that not many people might have expected, and it surely holds on to that variety in its path to success. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/gone-girl/

Big Surprise: Asha Black
Not that inspiring from the name, and not at all hyped, this movie is strong in its theme, but didn’t run that well in the theatres. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/ashablack/

Righteous One: London Bridge
This movie is so simple and yet scores with its goodness and hidden boost of the morality tale’s seed which grows powerful every second. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/london-bridge/

Magical Movie: Iyobinte Pusthakam
This movie is magical with its visuals and the way in which it deals with its world and the situations, supported by history and fiction equally. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/iyobinte-pusthakam/

Powerful Experience: Apothecary
The power of the message and the strength of the depiction of events make this one a big, powerful experience despite the presence of flaws. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/apothecary/

Game Changer: Om Shanti Oshana
As this one twists the viewpoint, and progresses from the perspective of the girl child hoping to win her love all the time, we can be sure about the beginning of a change. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/om-shanti-oshana/

Personal Favourite: 300: Rise of an Empire
I have been waiting for this movie for a very long time, and with the visual style and Eva Green, I don’t see any reason why not. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/300-rise-of-an-empire/

Unnoticed One: Naku Penta Naku Taka
I had a tough time making sure that I got the tickets and the show was not cancelled, but this a lot better movie and deserved a better chance. Check for review: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/nakupenta/

 

Worst Malayalam movie: Salaala Mobiles
This one has Dulquer Salman and Nazriya Nazim, and that star combination has somehow managed to bring so much boredom to the viewers that its success is only in being the worst movie of the decade.

Worst Hindi movie: Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania
Thinking that this is Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, and coming up with cheap jokes and stupid imitations, this movie has two dumb protagonists falling in love with each other, and the good guy getting nothing while the shameless pseudo-hero gets the girl.

Worst English movie: Noah
Noah’s horrible drag supports only the bloody nonsense that it shows on screen and despite the deviation from the Bible, it hasn’t found anything interesting for Christians or Non-Christians. My friends get scared of the name “Noah” because of this movie.

Most Undeserving Hit: 1983
This movie’s unnecessary glorification of cricket and its players is rather boring, repetitive and should be an invisible hope for match-fixing as well as a purely money based sport which is beyond the common man’s grasp.

Worst Drift: Dedh Ishqiya
This is the biggest collection of meaningless drag becoming rather a drift with unbelievable amount of ridiculous stuff which has only Hima Qureshi and a nice twist; everything else is complete waste of time.

Worst Drag: 2 States
As it keeps dragging, the movie has nothing that invokes interest except for its silliness which is beyond the borders of the horizon, and its dumb, fake love is glorified like that of Twilight and similar nonsense stuff.

Worst Emptiness: Gunday
As the one movie which seems to have Priyanka Chopra forcing the viewers to hope for the death of her character, but goes on only to reach the much expected end which is not much different from the beginning of the movie – not worth it.

Worst Lie: Hasee Toh Phasee
This movie becomes a big love lie with a strange beginning involving Parineeti Chopra who rarely manages to be not irritating in her new avatar which ends up glorifying the process of stealing at home and also brings up pseudo-love supported by stupid comic scenes.

Worst Stupidity: Main Tera Hero
Here comes Besharam’s evil twin which is so stupid that its collective dumbness makes the equal of foolishness that Ranbir Kapoor’s character had come up with . A more appropriate title would be Main Tera Zero: Irritating Version. Yaariyan almost took this title away.

Unbearable One: Gangster
As one of those movies which makes the viewers suffer so much, this can have the title of being the worst movie of Mammootty, Aashiq Abu and the worst gangster movie of this century, a record which might not be broken for a long time.

Clueless One: Yaariyan
Yaariyan wanders here and there, exhibiting stupidity all the way from India to Australia with a rather racist tone in targeting another race, nation and continent glorifying one culture over the other and proclaims its cluelessness.

Worst Hype: Transcendence
Coming to the theatres with such huge hype, what it delivers can be considered as terribly boring and never anywhere close to being good. Its central idea itself doesn’t work, and there is no point in anything else.

Special Consideration from the Soul:
Best Actor/Actress who made a difference: Shailene Woodley (Divergent / The Fault in Our Stars)
Best Actor/Actress with a surprise: Imogen Poots (Need for Speed)
Best Actor/Actress in a dumb movie: Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy)
Best Actor/Actress with heroism: Chris Evans (Captain America II)
Best Actor/Actress on villainy: Eva Green (300 II)
*This is only based on the movies I have watched.

Most read movie reviews of the year:
1. Om Shanti Oshana (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/om-shanti-oshana/) {All-time 1st}
2. Saptamasree Thaskaraha (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/sapthamashree-thaskaraha/) {All-time 3rd following Drishyam}
3. Hate Story II (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/hate-story-ii/) {All-time 5th following Oru Indian Pranaya Katha}
4. London Bridge (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/london-bridge/)
5. Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/mosa/)

2014 Theatre Status:
**89 movies watched on the big screen this year, with 66 of them reviewed. There were 44 English movies, 32 Malayalam movies, 10 Hindi movies and 3 Tamil movies. Total Reviews including honorary ones = 73.
Movies inspiring more than one theatre visit: 1: Om Shanti Oshana {2 times} (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/om-shanti-oshana/)

2013 Theatre Status:
**103 movies watched on the big screen last year, with 71 of them reviewed. There were 44 English movies, 43 Malayalam movies, 12 Hindi movies and 4 Tamil movies. Total Reviews including honorary ones = 109.

Most visits from outside India in 2014
1. United States :: 2. United Arab Emirates :: 3. United Kingdom :: 4. Canada :: 5. Pakistan :: 6. Australia :: 7. Singapore :: 8. Saudi Arabia :: 9. Qatar :: 10. Spain

For what to begin the year with, read https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/introvert-queen/
For my earlier take on what is to come in 2015 for Hollywood, check https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/brightfuture/

Sin City II

sincity2 (1)

Vampire Owl :: Didn’t this release long ago?

Vampire Bat :: No, there was a delay. I think the Indian censor board was concentrating heavily on this for many days, and they have finally managed to cut a lot of this movie and released it last Friday.

Vampire Owl :: They waited all these days to release this on Onam?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, as Onam has colourful flowers, they would balance it with this colourless movie.

Vampire Owl :: I wonder how much they would have cut.

Vampire Bat :: I would guess, half of it. They have very good scissors, and from what they have been doing, I shall not dare to doubt their skills.

Vampire Owl :: So, they want us to watch this movie on the computer, right?

Vampire Bat :: That should be the reason. Otherwise, I see no reason why they cut too much and still give a movie the adult rating. May be they can have a 21+ and 25+ rating for the movies too.

Vampire Owl :: My question is about that dame for whom it is to kill. May be we can collect blood for her too.

Vampire Bat :: Lets watch this and find out about her then.

[Gets the ticket].

What is it about? :: Sin City 2 has three stories, all of the happening at the same place and having relation to each other. One is the tale of Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt) who beats Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) in game of cards and the loser is not really happy about it. The powerful man wishes to get back to Johnny and his new girlfriend Marcie (Julia Garner) for humiliating him in the game. At the same time, Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) is seeking vengeance from the same man who had killed the man he loved. She lives an alcoholic life, being a bar dancer and at the same time, hoping to murder the evil man. The third story has Dwight McCarthy (Josh Broslin) attempting to free his former lover Ava Lord (Eva Green) who seems to be in a terrible relationship with her husband. In the middle of all these, there is Marv (Mickey Rourke) who seems to be part of the whole thing like the blood is to the veins. As things happen in Sin City, there will be blood, death and more vengeance.

The defence of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For :: This sequel should be a much awaited one for the fans, and it is nice to have one after nine years after the first adaptation of Frank Miller’s comics on the big screen. This was even a longer wait than one had to do for 300, and as some people might have forgotten about the same, a few others might have been still eagerly waiting. The return of the franchise is with a more powerful cast, even as Bruce Willis’ presence is minute. The style of the original continues in this movie, as there is lot of violence even as most of them are not really shown directly on the screen (can’t comment that much on the sex and violence and the censor board has been working its scissors so well with this one). The colourless world and the slight infiltration of the colours that we see in this movie, is something that I like a lot. There is a visual beauty in this absence of colours and the sudden appearance of some of it at certain point, catching our attention; may be its nostalgia or the love for such variation, for I am not sure.

The claws of flaw :: I haven’t watched the first movie of the franchise, but it seems that the original was better, as said by a number of people I know. There are problems in the story for sure, at moves on without any aim, and the inter-linking is not that awesome as one would think that it would be. There is the way in which it is presented, and the absence of colours might not be good for most of the regular viewers, and I could feel that in the theatre. The movie also dares to slow down, and at the same time not give enough for the viewers to ponder about. The action could have been nicer too, and the protagonists should have had more to do rather than moving along in predictable lines. At the end of the movie, one ends up wondering if he or she has got enough of the idea behind this movie, or did most of it go with the scissors of the censor board – it is clear that they have cut again and again in this movie, and the same has affected and disfigured this movie further at this part of the world. May be this can work better without those scenes cut, but can’t say that now.

Performers of the soul :: One can only accept that he loved Eva Green on the screen like no other. She is sensational as well as sensuous on the screen as the woman who seems to be at the centre of Sin City, creating enough to make that name sound truer as well as better for the human ear, for she was that good there. She is a wonder case of twisted evil here, and as Powers Boothe is excellent also a powerful villain, Eva takes over in a more serene manner. Jessica Alba was also impressive, but her score is more with her stunning looks and expressions rather than the rest. Mickey Rourke is perfect fit for this role, and one ends up clapping for him more than any other. Josh Brolin is also very good, and one has to admit that he is also a nice one for this movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is okay, but that story had nothing much. Rosario Dawson and Jamie Chung looked not that much needed for the tale. Bruce Willis wanders around as a ghost, for which there is no appropriate reason. Among the rest, I would vote for Juno Temple, even though it was rather a small presence.

Soul exploration :: Sin City 2 successfully creates its world, the monstrous city of sin and crime. The images and the colours that it uses catches our attention well, and helps us to relate well with the crime universe which exists inside the movie, and this time it is in 3D. There is too much evil going on in this movie, and the mood for the same is nicely created, the feeling is that we are really watching a very dangerous and crime infested place. It is a world to be transported into, and if you don’t want to feel that the same, it is to be avoided. There is a certain amount of admiration required for this genre as well as the action movies as a whole, and otherwise you might not want to watch this. It might be easy to choose not to watch this one if you prefer the Bollywood masala movies full of colour and music. You needn’t watch this movie if you didn’t like the first movie either. I have known many people expecting something else and watching this movie, not really liking it. I would say that you have to know what you are going to watch on the screen.

How it finishes :: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For becomes that comic on screen like not many movies have achieved before except for may be its prequel, but I haven’t watched that yet. You can watch this movie just for its variety in style and the cast, especially Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke and Josh Brolin. It is not often that you will manage to watch such a movie, and considering the reactions and the box-office collections of this movie, as well as situation at the theatre, I would wonder if such a movie will set foot at this part of the world. There is the need for colour in this part of the world, and especially this is that week of Onam which demands colourful flowers, but this is more of a black and white movie with slight colours in between. One has to wonder if anyone other than me would watch a non-Malayalam movie for Onam; even I doubted the same myself, but decided to go for this one as timing of the show as well as the situation was more suitable for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

Release date: 5th September 2014 (India); 22nd August 2014 (US)
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Eva Green, Jaime King, Jamie Chung, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Juno Temple, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher Lloyd, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Meloni, Alexa Vega, Julia Garner, Lady Gaga, Marton Csokas, Jude Ciccolella, Crystal McCahill

sincity2

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

300: Rise of an Empire

300!

The Legacy of 300 :: There is the legacy that 300 had left behind when it released in 2006. I managed to watch it much later though, as this practice of multiplexes and new Hollywood movies instantly reaching here was not that normal at that time, unless the name of the movie is something like Avatar or may be if the title of movie has a certain 007 in it. Well, it has now reached that state when I have watched one of those movies even before its release date. Thanks to the special shows in the multiplexes the evening before its original release date which is in this case, February 7th. While King Leonidas said in 300, “This is Sparta!”, we are to be sure that there will be not much of that warrior city-state this time as we know that the best of them are already dead and they could be in mourning. This one involves more of the Athenians, of that land which would later have Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (as the Spartan Queen would say: there is no Athens, there is only that idea; there are only Athenians). But we were to be sure about two other things, there will be rivers of blood with some splashes and there will be not much loss of the stylish combats, no matter where it is fought or with whom it is fought; that is a safe bet indeed.

What is it about? :: The most courageous 300 men are dead. Even as Xerxes took a big hit on his face which somewhat disfigured and proved that even a god-king can bleed, he is extremely proud of his bloody achievement of slaughtering the outnumbered opponents. But the story doesn’t follow a direct and straight narrative, as it has the story of Themistocles, a politician and the commander of the Athenian army at the centre of the plot. But there are also the stories of Artemisia and King Xerxes as well as his father Darius, how the god-king became a reality and how the lady general of the Persian army became the sadistic creature that she turned out to be. As the Spartans fight the Persians on land, Themistocles leads the Athenians on a war at the sea. Even as the Greeks do score victories over the better-built and vastly numbered Persian ships by using superior tactics, terrain and weather conditions, they realize that it is only a matter of time until the Athenians begins to loss just because of being outnumbered and lacking in military training. They are still the more scholarly of the lot and the best naval power among the Greek city-states, and so may be they will hold on for enough time for the reinforcements to come from the other Greeks or even Sparta themselves – who knows?

The defence of 300: Rise of an Empire :: The first thing to think about as well as notice is the visual awesomeness of this movie. Yes, there is lot of special effects going on, and 3D nicely supports them – special mention for the blood and the rain. There are so many of the mighty ships of the Persians which are nicely detailed as nothing less than huge battering rams on water while the Greek ships are nicely detailed, smaller and quicker suiting the Athenian tactics. The battles are nicely done, not only with the ships, but also with the swords, bows and arrows and even the fire elements. The power of the seas, thunder and lightning, the foggy side, the carnage and the flowing blood – they all contribute to the beauty of the movie, and there is no stylish method which is forgotten in this worthy sequel. There is that spectacle you have been waiting for, something which is not easy to make with a ship full of one-sided ideas about blood and violence. The story is also nicely mixed, even as some people won’t like the way in which the story moves. Some part of this movie is a prequel to the original, and it is partly a sequel while some events happen at the same time as the events of 300. The story of Artemisia and Xerxes makes a nice addition to the whole thing.

The positives and negatives :: When our pretty antagonist said “Today we will dance across the backs of dead Greeks” she was pretty much serious. There is lot of blood everywhere in this movie, and lot of people loss their arms and legs; the rest just has a sword going right through them or ripping them apart. It is so bloody that one day, Count Dracula himself might wish to begin a vampire settlement somewhere around there – why wouldn’t he not want a sea of blood? Sometimes, one may think that there is too much of the CGI blood that it is somewhat funny as body parts keep flying around. Well, this movie goes only on one direction, which is to become that action movie, that sword flick which intend to bring on stylish action supported by a lot of blood and violence, and it has succeeded in the same. In the words of the Spartan Queen: “It begins as a whisper; a promise; the lightest of breezes dances above the death cries of 300 men. That breeze became a wind. A wind that my brothers have sacrificed. A wind of freedom; a wind of justice; a wind of vengeance”. Yes, it is war, and there might be more to come. But if the viewer is looking for anything else in the same, there comes the sadness; but what else would anyone who has known anything about 300 want? That was evident from the multiplex which had zero female presence, and there was almost nobody who was older than what would be a middle age, even when the seats were almost full.

Performers of the soul :: The best and the most gorgeous performer of the movie is indeed Eva Green. No, I had not doubt about that earlier either, even as I did wonder about Sullivan Stapleton’s Themistocles which was nice, but he wasn’t to be a Leonidas. Lena Headey’s Queen Gorgo also has so much less to do, and same is the case of Rodrigo Santoro’s Xerxes who is still the unconquered nemesis. Yes, everyone had to make way for the stunning performance of the one who had showed us the dark side as the witch in Dark Shadows, making that image more powerful, relentless and furious in this one holding severed heads, sometimes kissing them or otherwise presenting them to her king. Throwing the losing commanders of the Persian Army into the depths of the Aegean Sea is just one of Artemisia’s hobbies. Whenever she is on the screen, there is so much strength in the movie and when she is not there to be found, the whole thing turns less interesting. May be there could have been even more of her, as she keeps at least one step above the movie all the time. But while the movie tries to make too much attempt to make everyone feel that it is better than the original with a certain complexity, her character losses some of the glory, but Eva is still there, so no worries! In the current timeline of the Persian invasion after the death of the 300, there are no damsels in distress; Gorgo and Artemisia joins the bloodbath as they go through the Persian Immortals and the Greek Hoplites respectively, sending them to their watery graves.

Soul exploration :: The movie has the Athenian democracy and the Spartan monarchy (or oligarchy) in the picture – both against the tyranny of their opponents. While the former has mostly scholar, sculptors and farmers with voluntary military service, the latters are warriors born to live and die on the battlefields prepared to serve mandatory military service. While the former focuses more on naval warfare due to the strategic location their city, the latter has dominance on land combat. There is one thing in common though, which is the Greek concept of freedom and the desire for a united Greece at least during a foreign invasion (Peloponnesian War would later place them against each other, when the Persians are not invading with a huge army and navy). The movie ends at the Battle of Salamis, or rather continues as the combat never really finishes. It becomes no Battle of Thermopylae though due to its setting. But one thing that this movie tries different from its predecessor is that it doesn’t really go one-sided; it has the side of Xerxes who is tormented and made to become the god-kind, and also the side of Artemisia who is abused and left for dead in her childhood only to come back and become the harbinger of death and destruction herself. It also makes an attempt to sound intellectual by bringing the Athenian idea and ideology into the scene, even as that doesn’t really work due to the half-baked nature and the narrative giving no place for the same. But it doesn’t really go either. Ancient Athens was still the city of freedom and the centre of art and learning, and that should be evident with the name it got from the goddess of wisdom.

How it finishes :: 300: Rise of an Empire shows Popmeii and The Legend of Hercules how it should have been done. The problem with this movie would be about how well it can match its predecessor. The best lines are already taken by the predecessor, like
“Immortals; we put their name to the test”.
“You have many slaves, Xerxes, but few warriors. It won’t be long before they fear my spears more than your whips”.
“Xerxes dispatches his monsters from half the world away. They’re clumsy beasts, and the piled Persian dead are slippery”.
“Now, as then, a beast approaches; patient and confident, savoring the meal to come. This beast is made of men and horses, swords and spears. An army of slaves vast beyond imagining, ready to devour tiny Greece, ready to snuff out the world’s one hope for reason and justice”.
“The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, even a god-king can bleed”.
“Freedom isn’t free at all, that it comes with the highest of costs. The cost of blood.”
Meanwhile, the best lines of this sequel outside the three I have already mentioned is “Better we show them, we chose to die on our feet, rather than live on our knees”.
But as there was hope for Greece when everything was against the city-states, lets hope for the best in a future sequel, and may be wear some clothes or at least get better clothes. Persia might have never managed to conquer Greece, but in just about one hundred and fifty years, the Greeks would go on to conquer the whole Persian Empire under Alexander the Great and the name of the king will still be Darius – there lies the irony of it.

Release date: 7th March 2014
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Noam Murro
Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, David Wenham, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan, Yigal Naor, Andrew Pleavin, Ben Turner, Ashraf Barhom, Christopher Sciueref

300 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dark Shadows

darkshadows (16)

✠ The rating given to this movie might shock a few mortals, but as this blog written from the Vampire Bat’s perspective, he has decided to take control to fulfill his partially broken promise to that Count who lived as a recluse inside a coffin in a castle. Yes, the Vampire Bat doesn’t broke promises, or rather doesn’t break anything other than may be, his own teeth – blame the root canal offers from local dentists in that case. To add to it, the Vampire Bat shall write this review on a Wednesday, as he was born on such a day. He is mentally depressed after writing a test, and after asserting what he had found out that each and every other person of his world wants the questions from the syllabus while he wants the same from outside. May be he never belonged to the world of humans, and should rather fly away one day. But the depressing side is that he can’t fly – so he will write a bloody review about one of his favourite vampire movies, and undoubtedly his favourite blood sucking movie of 2012. Yes, this is that movie.

Count Dracula: Here you are again. I think that your review of Dark Shadows has been pending for long. Do you have it with you? Its time Barnabas Collins gets his due. He is one of those few vampires who could see McDonalds and feel the presence of Mephistopheles. He is our saviour against Twilight and Mortal Instruments creatures of pseudo-darkness.

Vampire Bat: I can see that you feel the need for some good vampires like Barnabas Collins and Victoria Winters. I love that scene when he sees M for McDonalds: Over 1 billion served. He was accidently quite right about the fast food and the beverages being the demons who suck the soul out of our insides, leaving us nothing of much use. Twilight and Mortal Instruments are the result of the same fast food, as they mess up our brain rather than the stomach.

Count Dracula: So what do you think about this vampire and his family? I did feel the presence of other wonderful forces of the supernatural right from outside the theatre where it was showing – I was wandering around in the mist until I crashed on the wall of that place, it was not good for my fangs, but still felt good for the presence.

Vampire Bat: Barnabas returns 196 years later, after feeling the wrath of unrequited love from a witch, Angelique Bouchard who cursed him into a bloodsucker, killed his parents and also forced his true love to commit suicide. She is a witch who curses his family and gets him buried alive in the middle of a forest, takes over his family business and puts his descendents into ruin. The worst thing is that the witch is still alive, using her magic to identify herself as her own descendants. This love has always been so overrated, right?

Count Dracula: Yes, even with me it is the same. I already feel a lot of love for Angelique Bouchard. Eva Green is that good, and I still can’t forget The Dreamers. I can remember my first infatuation with a witch already. Why would he not return the love baffles me. Whom does he have instead?

Vampire Bat: There is Bella Heathcote taking rebirth, from Josette du Pres to Victoria Winters. She appears as if an enchanting fairy vampire, not as some random Bella. But the two characters you will surely love are Michelle Pfeiffer’s Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Chloë Grace Moretz’s Carolyn who asks “are you stoned or something” to which the recently risen Barnabas says “they tried stoning me dear, it did not work”. To add to it, he calls a lava lamp “pulsating blood urn”, and the crane as “a giant dragon with millions of teeth and a thousand shining eyes” – you have to love him. His seriousness is awesome!

Count Dracula: I have felt that myself, rising from the grave and seeing the world different. I know you feel the change each and every day. The world is indeed to fast, and I am sure that most of us hope that each and every day we go to sleep, we never wake up again. I wish for the sunlight to disappear, and you hope for the day to end, and there is not much different in how we see the world, and we are as outdated as Barnabas Collins; it is just that we have no lover witch.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have always thought that, and Dark Shadows makes sure about the same. Moretz is wonderful in the movie, and the way she says “I’m a werewolf, okay? Don’t make such a big deal over it” to her mother, and always special mention needs to be for Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Meanwhile, if you don’t like Bella Heathcote in this movie, you have to be blind – not that closing of eyes you do with sunlight, but the real blindness of the physical world.

Count Dracula: You make the point there. I have read about the many faces of Johnny Depp too, and I shall not doubt him at any moment. This face is my favourite indeed, and then comes that Jack Sparrow followed by the crow-carrying head in The Lone Ranger. Then comes Sweeney Todd and The Hatter – who won’t love Alice in Wonderland by the way, and they were two special characters. I am not going to count the faces of such a versatile actor, as that won’t even please my coffin. Instead tell me more about Eva Green.

Vampire Bat: Her character has angel in her name and some strange love which keeps her in the attitude that “If I can’t have you, my love, I’ll destroy you!” – not that much of hatred as she keeps him alive; should be too much admiration. She tries everything she can, but true love finally wins – not really a surprise, isn’t it? Eva Green is fantastic in the movie, as she is beautiful, charming and perfect as the pretty witch. The cast itself is the real strength of the movie. With such awesome names involved with it, who would not wish to watch this movie? The comedy is also well done.

Count Dracula: That sounds like interesting stuff. A vampire movie with all of these? That should cure me from the death strike which fell on me with Twilight and Mortal Instruments. I shall have a new life of blood. You should have reviewed this one much earlier – remember how long ago I had told you to do the same?

Vampire Bat: Despite the good box-office returns, the ratings haven’t been good with it. I would think that it is the result of an anti-vampire sentiment and possible cruelty which has been unleashed on vampire movies due to terror which was Twilight and all the sequels that followed tried desperately to destroy man’s faith in vampires. No wonder Byzantium didn’t release at this part of the world. There is only one chance for us to reclaim that lost faith, or rather two – release a movie from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, or create the much needed sequel to this movie which has left a good chance for another story by the end of it.

Count Dracula: It is much needed, that is for sure! These undead creatures are bothering me too much just because they had to watch Twilight. Even the wolves no longer listen to me – they think I am going to wear their skin as clothing and call myself a werewolf. See how these movies are badly affecting my children of the night. We need that, or I might have to turn my whole castle into a one big coffin.

Vampire Bat: There is less hope for both of them. The problem about having a Vampire Chronicles movie is that nothing can live up-to the awesomeness of Interview with the Vampire. The scope of a Dark Shadows sequel is less, due to the lack of need and the not that positive critical reception. One day, we will take over as official undead reviewers with bad teeth, and then we can change the whole thing.

Count Dracula: Then we shall stick with this Barnabas as the vampire hero of this century so far. The last century’s control was disputed, but for this one, it has become pretty clear, the only challenge being from Selene and the next closest was indeed Rayne, but they were rather the heroines who enchanted us. I shall pray for the rise of more vampire in movies and literature which are as good as Barnabas.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is worth your time for sure, especially as you have not much to do, and all the souls are going to love it. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you, especially the dark shadows if you got what I meant.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie mostly due to the great performance of Johnny Depp in his new avatar, and then due to the good work put into it by Eva Green with great support from the rest, especially Bella Heathcote, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Here, we have that true vampire comedy movie which adds almost every ingredient correctly, thus making this a great choice, and the reason why you need to go back in time and check the theatres.

✠ I don’t know about that television show or soap opera on which this movie is based, and that might not be necessary, but if you love vampire flicks and bloodsuckers in literature, you will like Dark Shadows which keep the worlds of Twilight and Mortal Instruments away. Even if you don’t care much about the same, the comic side of the movie will keep you interested. Still, there is so much seriousness underneath striving for true love, which makes this a wonderfully layered movie. I am pretty sure that whatever you like and wherever you are from, most of you will at least like this one as an average movie, and there are not many places where you can have this much vampire fun along with looking at such a great cast. Behold the beauty of the shadows of this movie, and you might end up loving it along with Bella Heathcote. This one won’t even make Count Dracula think twice, and in that case, long live Barnabas Collins, who has survived a witch’s love and watched his own dark shadows in a coffin for such a long time.

Release date: 11th May 2012
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Bella Heathcote, Eva Green, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller

darkshadows copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.