Rogue One

Vampire Owl: The title of this movie has already made me think about Rogue Two.

Vampire Bat: It is the problem due to thinking too much about sequels. I don’t think that there will be another Rogue, as this is supposed to be a spin-off standing alone.

Vampire Owl: Some movies have too many sequels anyway. I can’t even remember when I first heard about Star Wars. Maybe we should see the rings and live only for seven days, so that the memory works better.

Vampire Bat: It is something that goes beyond centuries for humans, so I have heard.

Vampire Owl: But it hasn’t been that much known throughout the world, I wonder why.

Vampire Bat: Well, even Star Trek became popular only in the last few years – before that they had copied the same to make Captain Vyom.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I remember that it had such an uncomfortable timing that I ended up missing the food provided for many wedding, betrothal and house warming functions for watching it.

Vampire Bat: But, during those times, we never knew the original.

Vampire Owl: Star Wars was more popular than Star Trek during those days.

Vampire Bat: Now, there is the twist – everyone we love around here loves Star Trek more.

[Gets three cups of breakfast tea with a piece of orange cake].

What is the movie about? :: Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), an expert in weapons research is hiding on a planet, away from the dictatorship called Empire and its sinister motives which include but are not limited to enslavement of people. Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), who is in charge of the weapons research for the Imperial Military Force finds him and forces him to build a superweapon called the Death Star, which is capable of destroying planets from a long distance away, thus giving supreme power to the Empire. While his daughter is saved by the wanted rebel and an extremist Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), his wife is killed by the Empire in the conflict. Galen is left with no other way, and is forced to go with Orson to provide his expertise, while Saw and his forces continue to resist the Empire which only grows stronger and stronger with time, while the rebels focused on newer methods to take down the Empire.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Years later, a cargo pilot of the Empire, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) turns to the side of the rebels, as he brings a message from Galen to Saw, and he is captured by the extremist rebels. Meanwhile, Jyn Esro (Felicity Jones) who is a prisoner of the Empire, gets rescued by a rebel officer, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) who takes her to the rest of the rebels, and there, they convince her to find more about her father and the Death Star so that they can make good use of the information; their true intention is to kill him though. They will be joined by a re-programmed droid from the Empire, a blind but skilled warrior Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and his fighter friend Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) who would have more than what they could handle on a normal day. Can they figure out Galen’s message, find him and stop the Death Star before it begins destroying the rebel bases, or even the planets on which they stand? Is there hope against the Empire which stands so strong?

The defence of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story :: Despite it not becoming that much of a popular thing here, this movie continues in the path set by its predecessors in the franchise, and does the same thing again, and provides the entertainment beyond the known world. Well, Star Wars is something that doesn’t age, and can go on to make more and more sequels, and shall continue to become success for many years to come. The message about rebellion continues, as the dictatorship also continues to do what it has been doing. The nostalgic feeling should work for those who had grown up watching Star Wars – those VCR and VCP days had more than one cassette of this franchise, with the first Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi; these used to be the special movies which looked too good, but not many people had watched them. The visuals and the special effects are too good, and you are going to love the final battle scene for sure, with all the splendour. Well, a stand-alone spin-off Star Wars movie is good to keep you strong while waiting for the next flick.

The claws of flaw :: The lack of popularity of Star Wars around here has hurt the possibilities with a lot of people no aware of how this series is progressing; about where it all began, where everything is going, and who all are these people, you wonder – well, not many people who have watched those earlier Star Wars movies are there to watch the newer flicks in the theatres, you know, and a stand-alone spin-off will only confuse them. Well, if people are confused about this, you can’t blame them, and they can only enjoy parts of this one in that case. Also, the one point to note is that there is not much of a change or variety in proceedings in this movie, as this becomes more Star Wars, rather than bringing a new special element. Star Wars: Force Awakens was certainly a better movie than this, and it seemed to try to be something by itself unlike this one which goes on and on with its usual stuff. Also, its attempt to work on the nostalgia that we have for this movie works not that much with the audience here. The emotional side is rather weak.

Soul exploration :: Well, Star Wars has always been about the rebellion against the dictatorship, as we had felt a long time ago. But during those times, the need was not this strong, and with a lot of things forced on us for no meaningful reason, one has to wonder if we are all the rebels against that part of the society which steals our individuality from us, for which new rules are made; when rules are not really made for people, and it is just for a certain group of people, we wonder if this situation in Star Wars is not so different from what we have now. There is so much hate in the world that hope seems too far away, as far as the stars are. Star Wars also has the message of hope, and battling against all odds. But how strong is everyman against the troops which are controlled by fascism which threatens to destroy not just worlds, but also the idea from the minds of the people? Star Wars movies keep bringing that hope in one way or the other, against the mighty Empire which would call for fake patriotism and not rebellion, but revolution happens in one way or the other.

How it finishes :: As it is clear for many people, people in India are not really much of fans for the Star Wars franchise, even though I remember having watched the series, and becoming interested in the same – I was among a few people who did, for Star Wars surely had no takers in the schools, tuition classes or even among the cousins. The presence of some of the Star Wars games was what helped me further to keep the interest alive, and while those earlier games had the Jedi Knight hero, there was also Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds which provided the feeling of playing Age of Empires II: Age of Kings again. Even though it keeps making so much money in the United States, and maybe also in Europe as well as other English-speaking nations, it would have to try hard to make it work better in India for better collections – but you never get bored of watching a Star Wars movie as far as I am concerned, and I have enjoyed watching this one too. We await the real sequel of Star Wars: Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi releases with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega after this one from the director of Godzilla. So, may the force be with you.

Release date: 16th December 2016
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Jimmy Smits, Genevieve O’Reilly, Anthony Daniels

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Monster Calls

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Vampire Owl: Do you know that a monster did call me before?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the potato chips monster.

Vampire Owl: No, a real monster.

Vampire Bat: What did he say?

Vampire Owl: He said that he would eat me for dinner.

Vampire Bat: Oh! A monster that eats the undead for dinner. This should have been in the news.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but it was April Fool, coming right from Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat: According to the humans, we are surely monsters. So, from another perspective, it is true.

Vampire Owl: But we are vegetarian.

Vampire Bat: Yes, that is indeed our specialty which is to remain the same.

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

What is the movie about? :: A young boy named Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is in a state of worry due to his mother Elizabeth Clayton’s (Felicity Jones) cancer. She keeps telling him that she is getting better, but the truth is that she is not. It is only getting worse, and she is slowly and steadily moving towards her end. It is difficult for him to accept the same, and with his father Mr. O’Malley (Toby Kebbell) being separated from him and living far away from them, he has not many people to look forward to. He is also targeted by Harry (James Melville), a bully at the school, and he is asked by his grandmother Mrs. Clayton (Sigourney Weaver) with whom he doesn’t have a great relationship, to move to her home with her. But Conor is more frustrated by the idea of moving to his grandmother’s home than about being bullied by his classmate and his friends.

So, what happens next? :: One night at exactly 12:07 a.m., Conor comes across a strange tree-like monster (Liam Neeson), that tells him it is going to come up with three stories, after which Conor has to tell the monster his own story, which is the truth behind the nightmare that he keeps seeing. The first story is that of an old king who has lost all his sons battling giants, dragons and great wizards who led men and creatures of darkness. The only heir he had was his grandson who was loved by all people of the kingdom. But at his old age, he gets married to a beautiful woman, after which he falls ill and dies. With the prince not old enough to claim the kingdom, the queen becomes the ruler, and the prince runs away with his love, a farmer’s daughter who seems to be murdered. This queen who is claimed to be a witch, is supposed to be behind the death of both the king and the lover, is saved by the monster, as he claims – Conor wonders why.

So, how do things go from here? :: The second story is that of an ill-tempered, greedy apothecary who follows the old ways of medicine, and pesters a local parson to let him cut the yew tree in the churchyard. The parson who is a man of strong faith is against the apothecary who grows in hatred towards everyone around. But when the parson’s two children gets ill, he asks the apothecary for help, and even offers the yew tree and a change in his own belief. But the apothecary refuses to help him, and the children die. The tree then takes his monstrous form and begins destroying the house of the parson, much to the dismay of Conor who doesn’t understand why the creature is not destroying the house of the apothecary instead. As the third tale nears, Conor’s relationships with his father and grandmother worsens further, and his mother’s disease also gets worse – now, the question remains if the creature can actually heal his mother.

The defence of A Monster Calls :: There is sadness in A Monster Calls, and you can feel it all the way from the beginning to the end. The monster has the message to move on with one’s life, and survive through the unexpected pains – on what it takes to live through the certainty of losing a loved one. It uses all the available themes to its advantage, and tells the message with ease. All the characters used here points to that one message. It has all which are needed to strike you emotionally, and at the same time, despite being a fantasy movie, has more of real life in it with all the fiction that seem to be part of the world. It becomes more of a fairy-tale for the adults rather than children, as each point that its main characters make is worth pondering about. It makes one turn into one’s own mind and ask the same questions about humanity again and again, and at the same time, we get to see the nice creature detail to go with it.

The claws of flaw :: You can keep feeling a certain amount of drag throughout this flick, and those who are looking for the usual kind of fantasy movies are going to feel strange. If you can’t take some preaching, this one is going to be not the movie for you. There also seems to be an attempt to get more and more emotional with things, but that was really not needed, as there was a lot of the same, which came naturally. This is also based on a novel of the same name, written by Patrick Ness, and so it is up-to the author who wrote the screenplay for the movie as well as the fans to decide on how it did justice to the work. There is also the chance to miss out on the symbolism that one comes across in the movie, and so maybe the flick could have hinted on what it was planning to do – a lot of people should have felt that the monster is the usual one, but this one is not just a monster, but much more than that, and one needs to take that.

How it finishes :: The fangs of the message here is quite strong, and it is the performances which support the same more than anything else. You will see how well Lewis MacDougall takes the protagonist to the viewers so well. There is no doubt anywhere about how Sigourney Weaver gets us closer to things, and Felicity Jones makes us feel the pain. As the movie deals with a situation which most people will face in one way or the other, one can be certain that there is the need for A Monster Calls at some point, and we will have to take these messages from the movie right back home. Well, above them all, there is Liam Neeson as the monster, and there is nobody else who could be a monster who provides us with the best messages – proven here without doubt. What would you do when your own monster calls? Well, it is something to keep thinking about.

Release date: 23rd December 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, Liam Neeson, James Melville, Geraldine Chaplin, Max Golds

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Amazing Spider-Man II

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Vampire Owl: How can they release the movie on a Thursday? That too a Spider-Man movie which releases in the United States on Friday?

Vampire Bat: Because it is International Worker’s Day and Spider-Man is part of the working class, not the rich bourgeois class like Batman or Iron Man and neither is he an alien like He-Man, Superman or Thor. You remember he used to deliver pizza on an awesome moped when he was Tobey Maguire with Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. And he is amazing as you can guess from the title.

Vampire Owl: So he thinks that he is amazing. I wonder how much? Does that make the movie automatically amazing? And that former trilogy of Spider-Man, it was not amazing enough?

Vampire Bat: He should think that he is more amazing than most of the other amazing superheroes, just like my dead cat, until it chose to go Neo and play Matrix in front of a Tata Safari. Let’s check for that “amazing” thingy right now, and make sure that he is not just a vain hybrid like many others. So we are having onion uthappam today?

Vampire Owl: That would call for lunch before or after movie?

Vampire Bat: Now, that is a clearly amazing question, as far as there is no spider in the lunch.

[Wing-rides to the multiplex].

What is it about? :: Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is trying to balance his life as both himself and Spider-Man as he tries to save the world, spend time with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) along with searching for the secret behind the death of his parents. As our hero keeps reminding himself of the promise he made to Gwen’s father, he keeps breaking up with her, sometimes she herself breaking up with him as he keeps talking about what her father said. Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to the city to see his dying father Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) who tells him that the disease is hereditary and he has been struggling to extend his life. As Harry takes over as the new CEO of his father’s business, OsCorp, he keeps trying to find a way to cure his disease. He finds that Spider-Man’s blood may give him a chance as he can heal himself pretty fast. He asks Peter to help him finding Spider-Man to which he says that he will try, but later shows up as Spider-Man to say no as he was unsure of what the results would be. Meanwhile Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an employee of OsCorp falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels making him a walking electric generator, but is captured by Spider-Man as he creates chaos in the city. It seems that both Harry and Max now has one spider enemy – and the battle begins.

The defence of The Amazing Spider-Man II :: The movie has Spider-Man on a mission to save the city as well as his love life. He does that in style here. The shots of Spider-Man swinging around the city and then his battle with Electro are breath-taking not just for the sequences, but also for the environment. The camera work is stunning and everything looks so awesome in 3D or truly amazing to fit the title. There is that scene when Electro uses his special power of electricity on everything around him, and Spider-Man goes on to make sure that everyone around remains safe by flying through the air and shooting webs all around him. There is also that battle against the fully powered Electro who uses his power in such a destructive manner that Spider-Man’s moves looks so impressive as the world of electricity around him which seems to recreate its own beauty beyond destruction on the screen in 3D. How often do you see such beautiful devastation and a battle which is so much electrifying not just in the sequence, but also visually? Where else can you get a superhero so selfless and gives so much hope unlike some of the others who seems to get the viewers further into darkness and the absence of hope?

Claws of flaw :: Despite being the best Spider-Man ever, the movie also deals with the usual stereotypes, as the villain falls into genetically mutated trouble yet again, and transforms into something special from the nobody that he used to be. He often reminds one of Megamind‘s Tighten with his desire to be noticed. He is too much of a Mr. Nobody in the beginning, a lot more than what can be taken. His powers are rather too much, and his evil side is a little half-baked. The Green Goblin gets very less screen time too, an Harry Osborn doesn’t shine and only leaves us with potential to be awesome in the sequel. OsCorp becomes more of the opposite of the Stark Industries here. The final scene also seems to have been forced for the inception of Mary Jane Watson into the franchise. The plot’s other side which involves Peter’s dead parents are also a little over-used. I won’t say that this affects the movie much, and the negative reviews only reflect the critics’ horrible inability to enjoy this movie, and one can never attribute it as the flaw of this movie. How can someone see the special effects and 3D of this movie and give a positive review with them only? The negative reviews are rather a case of shame.

Performers of the soul :: Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and Peter Parker does a fantastic role in the multiple personalities, and let nobody fool you about this superhero’s two-sided coin of a world. I would say that no other superhero’s alter ego is that powerful as Spider-Man can claim. Nobody has this much conflicts in the real life, which should be why heroes like Iron Man can live without a secret identity, and money makes it easy for him and Batman. This is where someone like Andrew Garfield does so well to suit, and forms a nice pair with Emma Stone who is there stronger than in the first movie. She becomes Spidey’s first true love like nobody can deny it. She has quite much to do, and powerfully contributes in saving the day as well as the movie. I would have preferred her with black or brown hair, but Gwen was supposed to have the golden one. Jamie Foxx comes up in different avatars, as he transforms from a Spidey fan to an attention seeking villain who wishes to get rid of his competition on television. Dane DeHaan is no James Franco, but he has given us hope of coming up as the arch-nemesis of this Spidey, like Jim Moriarty is to Sherlock Holmes and Joker is to Batman. He might not get that many claps, but gives us enough hope to bring a lot in a possible sequel – for this one is evil, and evil mind has just began to work.

Soul exploration :: Among all the superheroes, Spider-Man has been the most human, despite Iron Man and Batman claiming to have no real superpowers except for the help of superior scientific equipment and remaining closer to humanity. But what does Spider-Man give us? He was that superhero who gave us the best line to quote from a superhero movie not bothering the situation – “With great power. comes great responsibility”. There is no denying that Batman as the Dark Knight took off with so much style, and even his villains, Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and Joker (Heath Ledger) made that powerful impact that no other super-villains could make. But there is something about Spidey, and it is that his villains have always remained powerful than him, and even with his superpowers, he is at disadvantage, and being the younger of the group, he also has to deal with more troubles, as he struggles to make his living. There is no other superhero who has his alter ego in that much troubles as he would have as a superhero. Yet, his battles are more interesting to watch than that of any other superhero, and there is the success of Marvel. He is the common man’s superhero. Yes, the verdict is that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is amazing, no matter how fan-boys will try to degrade it.

How it finishes :: As Peter Parker says “Everyday I wake up knowing that no matter how many lives I protect, no matter how many people call me a hero, someone even more powerful could change everything”. But there is always another side to it, and for that, there is the graduation speech of Gwen Stacy. But some critics are still caught in the web of The Dark Knight, and refuses to come out. No disrespect to The Dark Knight, but it is a shame to think that it is the only great superhero movie, and there comes the fan-boys with an extra-terrestrial ability to overrate that franchise. It is high time they step out of it, or stupid Bollywood superhero movies like Krrish 3 will copy from Hollywood and make some complete retarded stuff, pay for positive reviews and create new record at the box-office. It is worthless to ask, but one has to wonder how someone can like Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 3 more than this one? That was proved again with the positive reviews for one of the dumbest movies of all time, Noah. Or may be they have a case of arachnophobia, but I would give them the advice to take this movie as something which can take that fear out of them, use this to bring some love for the creatures, at least the smaller ones with no venom. Now, if it will overtake Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier as the highest grossing movie of the year is a question worth asking.

Release date: 1st May 2014 (India); 2nd May 2014 (US)
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Marton Csokas, Louis Cancelmi, Max Charles, Chris Cooper, B. J. Novak, Denis Leary

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.