Space Sweepers

Vampire Owl: I have a history of sweeping space for years.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this is the kind of space which you think it is.

Vampire Owl: Yes, how many spaces can there be?

Vampire Bat: This is certainly not about the space which you cleared in the cemetery.

Vampire Owl: I was talking about the space in Doctor Frankenstein‘s laboratory.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that is going to count as space in science fiction.

Vampire Owl: The laboratory has been part of science fiction movies for a long time.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein himself is part of fictional programmes only.

Vampire Owl: I just hope that the Frankenstein monster doesn’t hear you.

Vampire Bat: There is no such monster. You are now taking characters out of stories.

[Gets a mango cake and three cups of Darjeeling tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 2092, and the world that we know of, is no longer a suitable place for living. All the greenery of the forests have vanished, and deserts have spread. Fading sun and acidic soil has caused the plants to disappear. It was like Earth was on life support. But most of the people are forced to remain on the planet and live through is polluted ecosystem. The UTS Corporation has arranged an orbiting space habitat for people who can afford them, and only a few elite people are able to enjoy this Earth-model ecosystem which assures a happy living space for everyone who becomes part of it. The place is completely governed by UTS Corporation who defined the laws, and decided who came in and went out of there. Earth which used to be the symbol of life has become what space used to be – a symbol of death. James Sullivan (Richard Armitage) serves as the CEO of the corporation, and has his own collection of the best of the world, and is also cultivating life on Mars using a super plant.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: James intends to open a colony in Mars too, and considers it as New Eden. He considers humans responsible for the situation of Earth, and assures everyone that the new world will not be like that. Ninety five percent of the total human population fail to find a spot in the new world, and many non-citizens are forced to survive as space sweepers, collecting space debris floating in Earth’s orbit and then selling it to the company factory. One of the main space ships which try to do so and become very successful is the Victory. The team is led by Captain Jang Hyun-sook (Kim Tae-ri) who was earlier on the other side, but is now against UTS after knowing its true motives. She had even tried to assassinate its CEO, but failed miserably. Kim Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki) who is also a part of the team, used to be on the other side too, and is looking for the body of his daughter who was ejected into space after some debris collided with their station some time ago, and he is running out of time. The others are Tiger Park a.k.a. Park Kyung-soo (Jin Seon-kyu) and Robot Bubs (Yoo Hae-jin).

And what else is to follow in this adventure in space? :: All of the crew seems to have their own story, but has to come up with a new tale of their own now. The space ship Victory picks up a space shuttle floating in space, with a little girl inside. This girl named Dorothy (Park Ye-rin) is supposed to be a weapon of mass destruction which was created by the notorious terrorist group named Black Fox. As Dorothy’s bag has a phone with a number of missed calls, they call and connect to Kang Hyeon-u (Kim Mu-yeol), and make a deal with him to return her for a grand price. It is also assumed that she is also a robot, and that despite her appearance, she is very dangerous. But it seems that what they knew about the girl and the Black Fox might not be true, and there are some sinister motives that UTS might be having. Soon, their mission would change to something else, because James Sullivan likes to keep his own secrets about Mars, Earth and the orbital station. Dorothy will also have to play a part in the same, a very disastrous one.

The defence of Space Sweepers :: The story of the movie is nicely set with a fine premise, and the setting of a future world is nicely done. We are immersed in this world which is sure to come, as Earth is surely going to fall at some point, and a world without human extinction itself is a surprise. This new world is nicely detailed, not just with the newly created eco-system, but also related to space and everything around. Along with being the visually spectacular thing as expected, it is almost emotionally strong with its content. There are moments which keep us going with action, thrills as well as the drama. Kim Tae-ri also comes up with the best of performances among the cast, and other follow well – there is something about her as the captain, and the rest are only glad to continue the good work. We have been in short of some good space adventures after missing the Star Trek movies in the theatre, and this one adds well here. We did get to watch the Chinese movie, The Wandering Earth as a space odyssey, and now we have this one, strong enough to compete with the Hollywood movies based on future’s space.

Positives and negatives :: This doesn’t move that much away from what we have seen before including the theme and the visuals, but latter does get a special touch. It doesn’t raise itself to a complete fun movie, even though it doesn’t become a preachy film with Elysium-like content. With such open space, the opportunities were endless though, and all are not taken. There could have also been a Korean touch with this one, while this one goes close enough to Hollywood instead. It is also a lesser known movie, even though it basically stands taller than so many overrated Hollywood movies. The villainy in this movie is also a little bit too predictable, and there could have been some twist related to that, despite taking the safe side there. People do tend to expect more from a film like this, as the trailer looked to be of top class, and there are not many Korean space movies which I know about – so many of them have been about horror instead. I do feel that there is always scope for more of this kind of movies from South Korea.

How it finishes :: Space Sweepers deals with a future which is not that far away, and it is also the one which we are to expect sooner or later. Even though the facts about orbital stations and colonization of other planets might not be that accurate, the ultimate end of Earth and the escape of the richest among them – the quickly science-loving millionaires and billionaires to other planets remain true. Consider it in that manner, this movie is a fine prediction of a terrible future, which we have seen in other movies too, with or without the shots of space. I have also given it a chance in my novel, Wrath of the Future, which was published in 2020, after the first wave of COVID-19 had seemed to come down. Well, you always need a little bit of the future’s possible horror to think about, but that hasn’t really helped to make humanity better, has it? Well, it doesn’t seem to come close, and thinking about that, let us enjoy this movie the most for its entertainment value, as it creates that grand spectacle on the screen.

Release date: 5th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Jo Sung-hee
Starring: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, Yoo Hae-jin, Richard Armitage, Kim Mu-yeol, Park Ye-rin, Oh Ji-yul, Christian Lagahit, Kim Hyang-gi, Anupam Tripathi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Major Grom

Vampire Owl: It is a shame that vampires don’t have the ranks of major.

Vampire Bat: We do have titles like vampire-at-arms and master vampire.

Vampire Owl: They seem to be a little too much limited in scope.

Vampire Bat: Scope is what Uncle Dracula talks about it.

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula is no longer interested in matters of war.

Vampire Bat: He is not against the peace which prevails among vampires, werewolves and zombies of all realms.

Vampire Owl: He is too old for another war, just like the vampire elders.

Vampire Bat: The wars are led by vampires-at-arms and master vampires.

Vampire Owl: But there is always one Uncle Dracula banner in the front side.

Vampire Bat: The limitations of not having a new banner designer. Nothing more.

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

What is the movie about? :: Major Igor Grom (Tikhon Zhiznevsky) is chasing three bank robbers dressed like clowns, supposed to look like hockey players from a popular Soviet cartoon. He manages to catch them, but at the same time, causes a lot of damage to public property. Colonel General Fedor Prokopenko (Aleksei Maklakov), Igor Grom’s boss and head of the Saint Petersburg Police doesn’t like what has happened in the streets, causing ten million of currency to be lost, putting the blame on the police department. He doesn’t like the fact that Grom is not wearing police uniform and not having any police equipment. He asks Grom to quit, but tears apart the resignation himself, as he feels the need for his presence in the police department. It is then that the trial of Kirill Grechkin (Yuri Nasonov), the son of a billionaire, takes place, and he is accused of a hit-and-run incident under the influence of alcohol. Kirill, despite being apprehended with proof by Grom himself, feels that he won’t be convicted.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Aleksei Lyosha Makarov (Oleg Chugunov), a boy from the same orphanage where the girl who was hit by Kirill lived, feels that the court is corrupt, and is against the common man. He is extremely disappointed, and is also supposed to have disappeared somewhere after the verdict acquits the rich boy. IT millionaire Sergei Razumovsky (Sergei Goroshko), who is the founder of a new social network Vmeste, and his friend Oleg Volkov (Dmitry Chebotaryov), who grew up in the same orphanage as the murdered girl, are not happy with the court’s decision. A masked man attacks and burns Kirill Grechkin, whose car is also destroyed completely. With flame throwers, armour and great skills in combat in possession of the killer, Grom is not able to catch him. Lyosha is taken by the police for the murder, but Grom tells everyone about the incidents of last night, which the police dismisses. He investigates on the case, but it seems that almost everyone wanted the boy to be dead, as he was such a nuisance.

And what more is added to the tale as something strange is coming up? :: Yulia Pchyolkina (Lyubov Aksyonova), a blogger and journalist also wanted a role in the investigation. Later, Oleg comes to Razumovsky and confesses the truth that he is the man on the streets with the flamethrower. Razumovsky is upset by this, but doesn’t want to turn his friend in to the authorities. It is then that videos of a strange man known as Plague Doctor appear on the internet. He wears a mask and a combat suit, and has bombs and flamethrowers – he promises to clean the city and take it out of all the criminal mess. Olga Isaeva (Anna Nevskaya), head of RosGarantBank is the next victim of the Plague Doctor, as she is accused of taking away the money of the poor. There seems to be a war on the rich and influential, called on by the Plague Doctor, while Lyosha is released. The newly formed vigilante is now considered as a hero by many people, who don’t want him to be caught. What does this change do to the law and order situation in the city?

The defence of Major Grom :: The movie does have a hero played well by Tikhon Zhiznevsky, and Sergei Goroshko makes a fine antagonist. Lyubov Aksyonova plays the lead well too. The film can also boast about its stunning visuals, which is interesting in more than one way. There is the feeling of quality here, which is maintained at all times. The beautiful world of Saint Petersburg is a boost, and we do get some fine action sequences around here, with the strong antagonist who seems to be better than the most. The protagonist here is not a Batman, Thor, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Spider-Man – kind of hero, as he has no specific superpowers or a lot of money, except for the fact that he is strong and surely has an expertise in fighting. The film focuses on his strengths and moves forward well. Even for a seemingly superhero movie, it does stay close to reality, and keeps the hero somewhat flawed too. There is also the presence of some humour which works, and keeps the pace quick at all times.

Positives and negatives :: The movie basically follows the usual plot, and that too, without trying too hard. It is not really different from the usual superhero movies, with a villain having a grand motive, and also having those psychological problems, but talks about being ideologically superior. The choice of the villain’s costume is interesting as well symbolic, as he intends to take away the plague in the form of a few people, from the city, striking as the Plague Doctor providing treatment. It is no surprise that movie makers outside Hollywood are making some fine superhero films these days, for the cultural difference is contributing very nicely to making these flicks more interesting than seeing something which we have seen for a very long time. Yet, there is always more that these kind of movies can do, with creative imagination that can go beyond some comics, suiting the age. A superhero can be built differently, and transformed as much as a creative thinker can – something which would make the admirers of the genre proud. After all, you are never really far away from finding the perfect superhero.

How it finishes :: Here is another interesting heroic adventure of our times, based on another comics. For a change, we do have the superhero policeman, and not the common man who takes the law into one’s hands, mostly due to circumstances. Well, we require our superheroes in all forms, even without the superpowers – defeating what seems to be a supervillain is surely what matters the most. It does remind us of those other superhero movies, but with its setting, as well as with the choice of cast, it does stand apart. There are not many superheroes who can get a strong villain like this one, and therefore, just like Minnal Murali, this one powers up well enough. In a world populated by humans who have been degrading further into their evil ways, the requirement of a superhero seems to be understood better these days, along with the understanding that one can never have such a hero in reality. With the same, the movie does provide some good escapism, even though it is still close to reality than most superhero works.

Release date: 5th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Oleg Trofim
Starring: Tikhon Zhiznevsky, Lyubov Aksyonova, Aleksei Maklakov, Aleksandr Seteykin, Sergei Goroshko, Dmitry Chebotaryov, Mikhail Evlanov, Oleg Chugunov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The 8th Night

Vampire Owl: Another Korean horror film with monsters? That sounds good.

Vampire Bat: Korean movies have some fine monsters.

Vampire Owl: I wish that I could invite a few of them here.

Vampire Bat: Monsters are not allowed here. They are considered the same as werewolves and zombies.

Vampire Owl: But dead monsters are allowed.

Vampire Bat: Well, we do give them honorable burial in the cemetery.

Vampire Owl: Why would a monster come here to be buried?

Vampire Bat: We are now promoting burial tourism.

Vampire Owl: Now you are giving those kinds of ads?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the ads are very popular now.

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

What is the movie about? :: A long time ago, a monster roamed free, and intended to create eternal suffering for humans. Unable to kill it, the Buddha was finally able to stop the monster by taking out its eyes, coloured black and red. The red eye continued fighting, and when the Buddha was finally able to stop the red eye, he placed it along with the black one in different caskets. He buried one eye in the great hills of the Far East, and the other eye he buried in the great deserts of the Far West, hoping to make sure that these would never meet and bring the monster back. In the year 2005, a professor Kim Joon-cheol (Choi Jin-ho) wants to prove that the Buddhist myth is real, and finds one of the eyes in the India-Pakistan border. But he is disgraced, and people don’t believe in him. The media makes fun of him, and the authorities say that what he has with him is forged. This angers him, and after many years, he still wants to let everyone know that he was telling the truth.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He reawakens the monster’s red eye, and open the gates of hell, in an attempt to prove that the Buddish myth real, thus also making people realize that he is not a liar. Monk Ha-jung (Lee Eol), a protector of one of the caskets, understands that the red eye has reawakened, as he alwso wakes up from his meditation. He asks another monk Chung-seok (Nam Da-reum) to seek Park Jin-soo (Lee Sung-min), a construction worker who was banished from the monk community – the one who is supposed to be born to stop the eyes’ reunification. All these were foretold, and the prophecy is to be fulfilled – if the eyes are united, on the eighth night, the monster will be unleashed, and it will unstoppable. At the same time, Detective Kim Ho-tae (Park Hae-joon) is also working in the case of the strange corpses that the red eye leaves behind after its grand awakening. But are these people good enough to stop the evil which seems to possess so many people and murder many of them?

The defence of The 8th Night :: The movie has some good divergence with its myth as well as the horror that it brings. There are also the characters who have some interesting past to go with the present, and are defined by past, present and future. The mythological elements about the monster works really well, and its effectiveness only increases as the movie goes forward. There is a certain amount of quality which has been maintained in its use of properties. It uses the settings of the city quite well to gaining advantage in horror. One would initially have the doubt about what a horror movie can do with two eyes lying apart and coming together at some other point of time – how can random eyes be horror? Well, this one answers the same quite well, and has a number of moments which bring some divergent horror, different from what we expect and what we have been seeing. The idea of the ancient prophecies and monsters is used effectively here as the journey never gets less interesting.

Positives and negatives :: The movie could have had more grandeur in the establishment of the characters and terror which is unleashed, and some moments don’t contribute that much like it was intended. It also gets very complicated at times, and also a bit slow in some moments. There is a lot of mystery about what has been happening around here, and with this kind of a monster, you have absolutely no idea what can happen next – it keeps us guessing as well as thinking. There are some shots which are so good and effective that they stay with us for long enough. They have captured the essence of nature, as the movie goes forward with its battle between good and evil too. The eerie feeling which this movie provides, might seem different than the usual, that we would get elsewhere. South Korean movies are pretty much rich in providing some symbolic horror, and this one also does try to deviate from the normal and most traveled course of action for the best. The movie also has some service as an investigative thriller – we know how the spirits and real-life investigations of crimes go together, like in the case of Malayalam movie, Cold Case.

The performers of the soul :: Lee Sung-min whom we have known from Hit-and-Run Squad leads the way as the man who is part of different missions, having violence and non-violence on two different sides, none of them leaving him, as he serves as the guardian. He has moments as he comes out of the past to face the present, in an attempt to the save the future for everyone in this world. It is a solid work that suits the personality that we see here, strong and with better different abilities than an average monk would possess. Park Hae-joon plays the detective, and he does that in a convincing manner, even though he remains a foolish believer in science and logic only. A detective in a movie dealing with magic and myth might feel out of the place, but he does make sure that it is not the case here, and there is a lot to be done from his side too. Kim Yoo-jung plays the female character with most screen presence, and she makes another interesting character of significance. Choi Jin-ho plays the man who begins all of these, and one can only wish that his scenes were more chaotic in nature too. Nam Da-reum is the usual apprentice who doesn’t know enough until he changes in the end.

How it finishes :: The 8th Night has the ability to rise beyond the typical horror story that we have, with all the monsters coming out of hell, as it establishes the myth, and follows it up with enough horror to go with it. With an investigation which is nicely managed, this one goes forward in an interesting manner. There is the message about destiny, and the roles that one is supposed to perform in this world, as well as something about where conscience comes into play. With the visuals adding to the mystery and horror, we know that this could be another classic horror flick like Train to Busan and The Wailing, which could rise above the rest many years ago, and the later arrivals like Svaha, Metamorphosis an The Divine Fury. You are never really short of some interesting Korean movies to watch, and The 8th Night is the film which you can add to the list of what can be recommended to the horror fans. This is also not to be confused with the Malayalam movie, 7th Day which deals with another investigation of murders.

Release date: 2nd July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Kim Tae-hyoung
Starring: Lee Sung-min, Park Hae-joon, Kim Yoo-jung, Nam Da-reum, Choi Jin-ho, Park Se-hyun, Lee Eol, Kim Han-sol

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fear Street: 1978

Vampire Owl: Most of the vampires were not reborn in 1978.

Vampire Bat: With the exception of the elder vampires.

Vampire Owl: I would say that this franchise did start quite well with the first one.

Vampire Bat: It did bring the nostalgia of 1990s really well.

Vampire Owl: 1990s should be considered as the golden age of vampires.

Vampire Bat: They should have Fear Street Vampire Version at some point.

Vampire Owl: But vampires have been less about horror these days.

Vampire Bat: Vampires have always been about more than just horror.

Vampire Owl: Well, the side-effects of not having enough horror is also affecting us.

Vampire Bat: The first part of this slasher trilogy did bring us some horror.

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

What is the movie about? :: Deena (Kiana Madeira) and Josh Johnson (Benjamin Flores Jr) somehow manage to restrain Samantha Fraser (Olivia Scott Welch) despite being possessed by the supernatural. They tie her up and forcibly take her to C Berman (Gillian Jacobs) who was the last person to survive this attack of the witch, and remains unpossessed and not attacked as of now. She tells her story, and being part of a camp in 1978, Ziggy Berman (Sadie Sink), a young girl from Shadyside is accused of stealing by Sheila (Chiara Aurelia), a Sunnyvale camper, and her friends. They also accuse her of being a witch, and ties her up. After hanging her helplessly from a branch where a witch was burnt once, they try to burn her, only to be stopped by other campers. Even though she is saved from being thrown out of the camp by Nick Goode (Ted Sutherland) from Sunnyvale, she remains hostile about people from there. Ziggy’s elder sister, Cindy Berman (Emily Rudd), and her boyfriend Tommy Slater (McCabe Slye) are the responsible ones in the camp.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: It is then that Nurse Mary Lane (Jordana Spiro) attacks Tommy without any reason, and she tells him that he will be dead soon, before being hit on the head. This brings the story of a witch and possession back to the scene. Cindy and Tommy, along with Alice (Ryan Simpkins) and Arnie (Sam Brooks) from the same camp decide to find the secret behind what happened to the nurse who was supposed to be a nice lady, even though her daughter was associated with the witch. When they find the lair of the witch and enters there, a few more secrets are waiting for them. They find the name of Tommy among the names of the killers, and soon, Tommy changes, and splits Arnie’s head into two, instantly killing him. The two girls try to escape, but are caught in a part of the lair as stones are disrupted. Tommy leaves for the camp with the axe to meet the unsuspecting campers.

The defence of Fear Street: 1978 :: The setting and the time period where everything happens, make the whole thing interesting. The situations of horror are created well, and we have some perfectly suited characters here to work accordingly. It is more like an ode to the old slasher horror set in summer camps or lonely house in the woods. We have seen many of similar movies dealing with at least one killer on the loose. The Cabin in the Woods and Evil Dead would accept this one as their lesser mates. The blood and gore remain more in this movie in comparison with the first, and the emotional content is also stronger. The creepiness in such locations has never been so beautiful. It is a reminder that the trilogy can more with the next film, or even extend the whole franchise bigger in scope. As it is now, there is no real shortage of surprises, and how the movie ends to make us wait for the next part is also one of them. In the world where slasher horror has been losing its power, this one strengthens its roots.

The claws of flaw :: There is always something that slasher horror movies can do differently every time, and this one doesn’t really use its opportunities to bring the change. There are many moments which could have been done differently, and some of them could have had some extended versions. Now, it also depends on how the third film comes up, because where it stopped right now is a precarious position from where it can take any turn. Some of the romantic relationships feel unnecessary around here, and the other relationships are also a little bit more than what was required in a movie like this. There were also occasions were more horror could have been added, and an addition of shock would have done more good – you know that some moments required the attack of the serial killer. Even though there are many recognizable characters around here, some of them also miss out at times. You need to watch those older slasher horror movies to make a comparison again, because we have missed the best of the genre for too long.

Performers of the soul :: The one person who seems to be perfect for a slasher horror movie is Sadie Sink, who blends in here so well. She reminds us of many other scream queens from the past, and does her job really well. It is to be noted that there is a long way to go for her, and lets see her further. Emily Rudd is not really far behind in doing the same either, and she basically leads the movie from another angle. The third most important character of the movie is also female, Ryan Simpkins who follows quite well. Jordana Spiro’s short role is memorable for what seems to be madness, but is not really that. Chiara Aurelia plays a typical role, but does leave a mark too. Jacqi Vene also has a little notable role around here. McCabe Slye makes a turn to evil in a nice way too. Ted Sutherland also has some good time around here. Kiana Madeira once again has a similar role, but with less to do here. Olivia Scott Welch and Benjamin Flores Jr also have the smaller roles around here in comparison with the first.

How it finishes :: Fear Street: 1978 is pretty much a continuation of what we had in the earlier movie, and it is the change of setting through the years that makes this one so different. It reminds us of some of those old slasher horror movies well, and with the help of some new effects, seems to make things look better. Making a good second part continuation for the first part of any movie is not a difficult job, and even as movie divided into three, they have managed to make the second part better than the first. With where they ends with this movie, they have made sure that we are all interested in the third part. All these makes sure that the first, second and third parts are not the same as one another. The three slasher movies, even though are part of one grand scheme, are also very much divergent in the content on the screen. During these days when there are so many murders happening around, the effect of slasher horror might be less, but we are sure to take this as an effective piece of work.

Release date: 9th July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Leigh Janiak
Starring: Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Ryan Simpkins, McCabe Slye, Ted Sutherland, Gillian Jacobs, Kiana Madeira, Benjamin Flores Jr, Olivia Scott WelchKiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Suicide Squad

Vampire Owl: Do you remember watching the last Suicide Squad?

Vampire Bat: That was rather too long ago to remember.

Vampire Owl: There is never too long ago with superheroes.

Vampire Bat: These are the supervillains though.

Vampire Owl: We are now living at times when there is not much of a difference between the two. The borders have been blurred.

Vampire Bat: I would have some exceptions with these particular people though.

Vampire Owl: They are not really the ones we would like to have in the vampire realm.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that there cannot be a Vampire Suicide Squad with freaks.

Vampire Owl: An immortal squad for suicide? That cannot be.

Vampire Bat: Well, immortality can be ended with a well-planned suicide if you are good enough to do that.

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

What is the movie about? :: Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) gets a team known as Task Force X, also called The Suicide Squad – consists of prison inmates who agree to carry out extremely dangerous and often near impossible missions for her in exchange for lighter sentences. As they come up against their first mission, there are two teams, and from the first one, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is the only inmate who survies along with Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) who was leading the team. The second team is able to sneak in between, under the leadership of Bloodsport (Idris Elba), and supported by Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior). They are now at a small South American island nation of Corto Maltese which had its autocratic government overthrown by an anti-American one. They have to destroy a Nazi-age laboratory which still holds a secretive experiment known as Project Starfish. It is supposed to be extra-terrestrial in nature.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: While Bloodsport and Peacemaker are expert marksmen, Ratcatcher controls rats. King Shark seems to be the strongest among them while Polka-Dot Man seems to be more of a distraction than anything else. King Shark almost eats Ratcatcher before being stopped by her pet rat, while Bloodsport and Peacemaker cannot get along at all, going on competing with each other instead of concentrating on the mission. Polka-Dot Man seems to be all lost in between. They find Flag among the rebel soldiers and Sol Soria (Alice Braga) who leads the soldiers agrees to assist them, so that their country could be free from military control, and also as part of vengeance. Harley Quinn who is caught by the government soldiers is taken to the palace, and she understands the new regime’s plan to destroy the other nations using Project Starfish. The team has to find The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) who is in charge of the operation before the situation gets any worse.

The defence of The Suicide Squad :: The colours and shades that we see in The Suicide Squad are beautiful, and it seems to be a quality which it has inherited from its predecessor. You can always keep your eyes on the screen, and be happy with what is seen on the background with settings that keep one interested. The visuals are all good, with the world looking beautiful. There are some fine action sequences in the final moments of the movie, and the use of humour works at times – the same is done best by Harley Quinn herself. The use of rats contribute nicely to make a visual spectacle, and the lights during the darkness nicely contribute to making the world better. The fights in the movie can be seen an worth one’s time. The action had also started much early, and there is not much time wasted with that. There is also scope for some fine sequels and spin-offs left in the end too. The stylish part stays strong too.

The claws of flaw :: The movie required a better human villain to keep things strong, but that cannot be seen around here. The villainy among the main characters also fall flat with not much being done with it. There was always something special to be done with a film like this, and better heroes could also make way here. The blood and gore is very much unlike the usual superhero films, but with its big extra-terrestrial antagonist, it chooses to go dumb in the looks and not scary, which is also strange. There is also no shortage of usual repetitions around here. With a fine premise, it losses so many opportunities which were there to be taken. The big iconic character, Harley Quinn, is also not used to the best advantage, as we know that she has always deserved more. Some of the humour here also feels dumb enough – the dark humour doesn’t work that effectively. This required to maintain its quality at all times, but we see that it has some regular ups and downs.

Performers of the soul :: Throughout the movie, one can surely see Margot Robbie dominating the proceedings again as Harley Quinn. There are moments which seems to be about her only, even though nothing matches what he did in the earlier Suicide Squad – the absence of Joker will always be the big missing point. The one tale that catches our attention the most is that of Daniela Melchior, who dominates the proceedings in a beautifully passive way. She is the one who deserves a possible spin-off among all the characters around here, something bigger and smarter than Birds of Prey. This is one character to which we are also emotionally attached, and this attachment is to stay, as long as the last rat is alive on this planet. There is a certain amount of cuteness in the psychotic beauty that is attached to everything about her. Idris Elba’s character is rock solid, while John Cena’s is just ridiculous. There is no strong villain among the performers either, even though there were so many signs in the earlier stages of the movie.

How it finishes :: The Suicide Squad is a journey down from the original Suicide Squad, which was poetic, and fun from the beginning to the end, and had a human antagonist worth fighting against, unlike what we have now. Even the characters or similar characters reflecting the first movie are not that good here, whether with the costumes or with the action. Yet, this movie also holds its ground, and manages to be better than DC’s superheroes coming together. When the team of villains do better than Justice League every time, one cannot wonder about the fact that the world is going with evil over goodness. The evil that we have seen in this world through the ages will only get worse, that is for sure. The Suicide Squad is a reminder of the same, and it makes another interesting film. Until DC gets the better superhero movies like Aquaman back here, you can always watch Minnal Murali, the first Malayalam superhero movie on Netflix, which gets the origins better than most of the others in style.

Release date: 24th December 2021 (Amazon); 5th August 2021 (USA)
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Margot Robbie, Daniela Melchior, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Minnal Murali

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with a drama, Pallikkunnile Punyalan, which takes place as part of a church festival, and the firecracker warehouse catches fire, leading to the death of many people in the village. Then we get to the happenings of the same riverside village at the present. Jaison (Tovino Thomas) is a tailor who is now running his father’s shop, and hopes to go to the United States at some point. He is in love with Bincy (Sneha Babu), but her father who is a police officer makes sure that he doesn’t meet her again. Bincy is also no longer interested in him, as her marriage is now fixed with a richer man, Aneesh (Jude Anthany Joseph). On an eventful day, two bolts of lightning strikes both Jaison and the waiter at the local tea shop Shibu (Guru Somasundaram). But both of them come out of the lightning strike without much of problems – small side-effects like cough and cold are there though, and even the doctor feels that they seem to be okay for some strange reason. Soon, the two will find out that the side-effects are not really what they though they would be. There is much more to what meets the eye with the recent incident, and it would take some time to figure things out.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Soon, the two people who were struck by lightning begin to discover their superpowers. While Shibu discovers them all by himself, Jaison is helped by his nephew Josemon (Vasisht Umesh), who is a big fan of the superhero comics. When his father Varkey (P Balachandran) is attacked by a police officer, Jaison decides to take the matters into his own hands and attack the police at a school festival. At the same time, Shibu robs a bank in the village, and the name which Jaison wrote on the wall, Minnal Murali is blamed for both the incidents. While both men were hit by lightning, their powers seem to vary though. While Shibu seems to control objects around him, Jaison seems to focus on his strength and speed, and former seems to have an upper hand when they meet on the road. Jaison’s newfound ally is Bijimol (Femina George) who runs a travel agency and martial arts coaching class, but they are not able to figure out the other person who is behind the crimes which are happening around. But for Shibu, it is not that difficult to find the other person with superpowers.

The defence of Minnal Murali :: This is one movie which looks really good, and world in which the whole metahuman battle is set, is a place which never ceases to have further scope. It is to be noted that the smaller parts of the movie are as interesting as the grand things which is seen and appreciated as usual part of a superhero film. The film also maintains a Shazam-like funny side, and even more at times, even though the comic side that we see here is stronger in comparison. It also boasts of some social commentary to go with it, and the message about loneliness and loss only gets stronger by the end. The emotional side is also strong enough to keep it going. This film happens in a place which is down to earth and real, and how the director manages that in between all of these so well is to be appreciated too. The final showdown is among the best that you can get, with a setting which makes you so much interested in it. There is also that fun fight before the interval, which is a joy to watch, living up to a festival mood. Then we also relate to the superhero so well, and that is always supposed to be the perfect first thing. There is no dumb superstar nonsense like hero and villain flying around with slow motion punches and kicks, for this one knows how to use its superhero strengths and not overdo the same.

Positives and negatives :: There was always a lot of expectations about this particular movie in comparison with the others. If you have seen the promos with The Great Khali and Yuvraj Singh, as well as the special Muthoot Ad, you know exactly how it was going so strong long before the release – there were also comic strips on the front page of newspapers, and today, the whole front page of some newspapers are dedicated to the film. The hype was surely high, and one can be glad that it has delivered so well – some usual superhero repetitions can still be seen, as we look at this one. The first few minutes of the film do go slowly though, and it could have been a shorter movie avoiding them, or of the same length with more action added to it. The possibility for a sequel is left behind in the end, and even though one wonders what can happen in a village like this, the chances are already shown. Even though the usual Avengers and Justice League’s superhero comparison would be there, I would compare this one more to an Indonesian movie, Gundala – there was lightning striking and a hero rising – but the focus was on the city in that case, and the situation was also different in another world which required separate treatment.

The performers of the soul :: After Kaanekkaane, Tovino Thomas has come up with another fantastic performance, but this time, of another kind, leaving nothing common in between – that one was a work of grand emotions, and this one, something of grandeur on the screen. His two films of 2020, Forensic and Kilometers and Kilometers were also not in any way similar to each other, as one crime thriller and a comedy drama. He has seen a lot of variety through the years, and we see how well he fit into the grand costume of a superhero too. Femina George adds to the heroines as another character to remember in her first work of grandeur. She plays the strong female lead with martial arts expertise, and will have more to do in the final moments of the film too. She is surely a talent for the future in Malayalam movie industry. Guru Somasundaram plays the villain with the strength that we expect from such a character, and even better than most of the superhero movies struggling with villain problems. He also has some emotional moments working so well for him. The grand battle between the two sides is what we keep waiting for, at all times – he excels during those final moments where the battle goes grand, and with a backstory of anger and anguish, is an excellently crafted antagonist with situations.

Further performers of the soul :: Vasisht Umesh has been the star of the promos, and serves as a kind of superhero trainer, as he brings a lot of light moments in the movie. He brings the most humour around here, and there are some fine cute moments with him around. Aju Varghese adds to the humour as usual, and he doesn’t deviate much from what he has been doing for long. Along with him, Rajesh Madhavan and Baiju Santhosh also play police roles of interest. Jude Anthany Joseph and Sneha Babu adds some humour in the beginning stages, but are not used that much – same is the case of Bijukuttan and Mammukoya who have become usual parts of Basil Joseph movies. Shelly Kishore also gets a role of substance after some time. Harisree Ashokan’s role here is rather serious, and we will remember this one too. The other name that we note here is of Azees Nedumangad from Star Magic fame – we see him in a small role here too. P Balachandran plays a father character here, with an emotional side. Almost all of these people contribute to the humour so well – the same works very nicely.

How it finishes :: Minnal Murali, even though is in possession of enough special effects for support, is not too dependent on the same like some of the other superhero stuff which has released in India. Instead, we have focus on the content, and that is where the movie scores heavily. We remember that the focus was all on Krrish as the sample superhero movie after Shaktimaan did the same thing a long time ago. But Krrish was basically taken out of Hollywood, and there is nothing new about it other than having so many things copied from English movies. But Minnal Murali takes it to a more natural world instead, and with a fine origin tale, has the flavour of Kerala in it – the absence of overrated nonsensical romance and related songs come as bonus too. The world is also a small one, and like the one we have witnessed before in Basil Joseph’s previous movie, Kunjiramayanam – it helps a lot to keep the hero close to our heart, as there is no need for the huge overdose of saving the world against all odds, as he saves the village and that is indeed enough. With a fine superhero created in a perfect environment, you are now ready for a franchise. You can now be sure that you are going to love it. MERRY CHRISTMAS! 🙂

Release date: 24th December 2021
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Basil Joseph
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Femina George, Vasisht Umesh, Guru Somasundaram, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sneha Babu, Aju Varghese, Shelly Kishore, P Balachandran, Bijukuttan, Harisree Asokan, Baij Santhosh, Basil Joseph, Roji P Kurian, Syam Cargoz, Mammukoya, Gibin Gopinath, Devi Chandana

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Girl

Vampire Owl: I can feel the presence of something divergent here.

Vampire Bat: The divergence of humans are mostly foolish though.

Vampire Owl: The foolishness of humanity has brought the world to this situation.

Vampire Bat: And also their greed and hatred which know no bounds.

Vampire Owl: Can we trust the humans related to anything?

Vampire Bat: About cheating and murdering others of their kind, for sure.

Vampire Owl: When was the last time you met a good human being?

Vampire Bat: They don’t really have angelic creatures out there.

Vampire Owl: Angels have become myths everywhere.

Vampire Bat: There are no myths that have not becoming reality at some point of time, at least in this particular realm.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three glasses of pista shake].

What is the movie about? :: A young lady known only by the name Girl (Bella Thorne) returns to her small hometown after a long time. She does have the feeling that something is not right there, and she actually came there with the intention of murdering her abusive father. He had earlier written a letter to her mother, threatening to kill the middle-aged lady, and Girl hopes to set things right, as she goes to the village with hatchet in her possession. Even though her mother knows the address of her father, she doesn’t give her the same, telling her that she doesn’t really need to know it. But that doesn’t stop Girl from looking for the person everywhere. She manages to keep a doubting sheriff away, and also keeps the people at a bar further away from her while finding the address of her father in the phonebook at the place. But, much to her shock, she finds her father already murdered. She tries to report the murder to the sheriff, but is able to connect nobody with her mobile phone. There seems to be no range more mobile phones anywhere in the small town out there.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She is finally able to connect to her mother from the bar in the town, and inform her about the death – she only wishes her daughter to come back home, but Girl really wants to know who killed her father, as she considered it to be her duty to commit the murder. She continues to try and find the sheriff, but there is nothing good coming out of the same, as he never really appears anywhere, not in his office, bar or the church. When she finally finds the person, things are not like she had imagined. The death of her father has something more than what she thought, and there is a mystery related to the last letter which he had sent to her mother. There is a lot of money also related to the same. They tie her up and threaten to torture her until she reveals where the money is, but it turns out that she didn’t have any idea that there was any money involved with her parents. They wouldn’t believe the fact that she came there to kill her father, and has no idea about him having any money with him.

The defence of Girl :: There is a certain amount of deviation related to how things go on around here, and it is not your usual kind of film which has the female looking for vengeance for an abusive father for her mother, as it would feel in the beginning stages. There is more to the film than what meets the eye, and there are some twists in waiting here. We feel that there is something about Bella Thorne with a hatchet, and that suits an image like nothing else, even though there are not that many action scenes around here related to that. A determined lady with a hatchet in her hands can make you believe in the scope here. She is more or less like Jamie Bernadette in I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu, not with the particular details, but with the determination on her face. The atmosphere created by the small town is really good, even though we were always looking for more related to that. The film successfully brings the feeling of a hidden danger at parts of this particular world which is visually beautiful with scenery, but has more.

The claws of flaw :: The film here is just too slow to become a thriller, as picking up the pace seems to be difficult for the flick at all times. Even when there were many different chances to speed up at different intervals, the movie doesn’t really take them. Drama takes over the thrilling side at too many occasions, but on many occasions, we would have preferred it to be the other way around. Even with its twists, it takes some predictable turns in between, and that wouldn’t have been expected with a film like this. There could have been more action around here, with more fighting, chasing and maybe even more murders in the countryside, for the setting could have added to that well enough. This is the kind of a small, remote town which could have more secrets to reveal, and more mysteries to bring to light than this. The violence could have also been smarter, not with too much gore, but done in a balanced way, but here, it just goes off and misses out on scope.

Performers of the soul :: Bella Thorne is the Girl here, and without a name for her character, there is the feeling of something special being about her – she does the job really well here too. The determination and a certain about of fury that is within the character is nicely portrayed by her, and one would surely love to see her in a horror movie at some point of time. She excels at the simple fight scenes, with a hatchet in her hands, from the laundry to the final outdoor fights. The Girl portrayed here is surely different from anyone whom we have seen in a leading role, looking at the past. She gets mystery unveiled all by herself, and Bella Thorne proves to be brilliant in what she does here. Chad Faust and Mickey Rourke makes pretty good villains out here, but they are not used to be the best advantage, as we see a lot more of scope related to them, with chances of being terrifying menace being laid down there. Elizabeth Saunders has only a small appearance, while Lanette Ware is more memorable here. Glen Gould also leaves a little bit of something to remember.

How it finishes :: Girl can feel like a slow movie for many, as it does get into action late, and doesn’t speed up even when the twists and thrills come up, and yet, it is a pretty good drama and thrills mix which can be watched mostly due to Bella Thorne, the leading lady who has done a remarkable job. This is all about her, and we follow her into a world which is not that familiar, unless we are in a horror movie. Even though slow moving thrillers with elements of drama are not that preferred, we have had movies like Ivide and Ranam doing some good job here too. Movies like these are not to be avoided for their slower pace, but are to be appreciated for how well they have gone through the same, and managed to come out strong. You take the French thriller The Swarm, Norwegian thriller Lake of Death or the Spanish thriller The Paramedic – you see that they do their jobs, even at such slow pace. Well, we need our thrillers to go through all paths, especially the less traveled ones.

Release date: 20th November 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Chad Faust
Starring: Bella Thorne, Chad Faust, Elizabeth Saunders, Lanette Ware, Mickey Rourke, Glen Gould

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Pale Door

Vampire Owl: How pale is the door?

Vampire Bat: It cannot be that pale as the door to Uncle Dracula’s door.

Vampire Owl: It won’t be as pale as life itself.

Vampire Bat: Life will get better after Corona virus ends.

Vampire Owl: There is no life after COVID-19 ends.

Vampire Bat: How can you be so sure about?

Vampire Owl: The world has now become more evil, you know that.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but that is related to the humans only.

Vampire Owl: The realms are going to collide at some point of time.

Vampire Bat: When they do, we will be ready to face the evil humans and their weapons including hatred and fear.

[Gets some French fries and three glasses of pista shake].

What is the movie about? :: One day, a home is raided by a gang of thieves who are heavily armed. Two children survive the terrifying incident, while the parents are shot dead. The house is also burnt down, but the two boys decide to move on with the help of an acquaintance. The younger of the two brothers, Jake (Devin Druid) is working in a saloon, while Duncan (Zachary Knighton), the elder brother is leading the Dalton gang, a group of robbers who come up with some big heists all the time. When one their gang members die in a gang fight, they are in need of more manpower for a train heist which might be the best of their career. Even though Duncan is not sure about allowing his younger brother to involved in anything related to guns, Jake doesn’t back down, and the gang finally decides to take him because of the urgent requirement. They find the train heist to quite an easy job, and they find the chest which was being guarded there, and manage to escape with the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Instead of finding any gold or money in the chest, they end up finding a young lady tied up inside. The girl introduces herself as Pearl (Natasha Bassett), and tells them that her home is in Potemkin, from where she was taken by these people. She also promises them some fine reward if they take her home. As the gang also wants to have some treatment for the wounded Duncan, they decide to go to her town which is closer than the rest of the civilization. As they reach the town, they try to find a doctor first, but there is nothing in the place, but woods with one small cottage in between, much to their dismay. Pearl does offer them help, as they are forced to follow her deep into the woods, and she tells them that they live in a brothel. As they are welcomed at the brothel by the one who seems to be their leader, Maria (Melora Walters) also promises that they will have the reward soon enough. But soon they realize that there is something different about this brothel, and they won’t really like that.

The defence of The Pale Door :: The movie does have a lot of action with the gun shots, and the witches are also there, which makes this a divergent type of film in comparison to those usual films which have one of these. The transform between the western heist and the world of magic and witchcraft is nicely done with the surprise working well. The message of evil being present at all times, and the final moments after building the atmosphere works pretty well, even though it doesn’t become a full horror movie at any moment as expected. There are moments which come back to the main characters as revelations about the past, and the setting within the forest brings the need for being frightened, in a strong enough manner. Placing the outlaws against the witches is a pretty good idea, as we look at it, and can also have an extended version of the same in a sequel, as the latter can go on forever, and be back for more innocent blood to sustain them. A successful mixing of these genres is exactly what has helped around here.

The claws of flaw :: The problem with this film is that it is too slow for our liking, and there are more dialogues than action on many different occasions. The movie is also really slow to go through its problems, and the beginning moments have too many scenes which keep on dragging the film until we reach the much needed action. Even though the witches are shown in their true forms, there could have been more especially related to one of them bathing in the blood of the victims, a moment that reminds of the ancient legends. The moment required an extended version, and also the hunting which the witches come up with. Just like the vampires, the witches are always capable of more, and this one doesn’t touch those abilities enough around here. The idea of witchcraft always have enough strength to rise as strong as the vampires and zombies who have ruled the world of cinema for quite a long time, and this time, they don’t go for where the strength lies the most – instead, the safe side seems to have more of an attention than anything else.

Performers of the soul :: Devin Druid as Jake and Zachary Knighton as Duncan are given importance in brotherly bond, but beyond that, they don’t work that much within limitations. Stan Shaw as Lester makes a strong impact among the group in comparison. Bill Sage and Pat Healy are fine in what they do. Melora Walters does make a fine witch with a mission here, and there is the past that is related to her, and works fine enough. Natasha Bassett makes a fine witch for the future, and might be one of the most charming of the group. There are other witches added around here, and Ashley Couch appears in the blood bath, the one which had the scope to be the most notable scene in the film, but the same gets limited – she still has one’s attention there though. As a film which deviates to witchcraft early enough, there could have been more focus on each witch character here, but the same is not provided that much of a significance around here. But the witches don’t get their due, and that is somewhat a shame, considering the possibilities.

How it finishes :: The movie seems to have done pretty well as a low budget horror movie, and has enough to keep itself strong with the big reveal that comes later. There is not that much to make a heavy entertaining impact, but the film manages well enough with what they have. Maybe, if this had left idea of the wild west behind, and focused on the witches and their past, with the forest being the permanent setting, things could have been better. Even a medieval setting in England could have lifted this one better. Yet, there is something about the film and its witches which will keep it going. During the time when the Corona virus pandemic is coming up its omicron variant, one can say that this kind of a variant can also serve the purpose. At a time when the supernatural are going down due to the strength of COVID-19 and the evil that the humans are bringing, we all need our original demons, witches, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and zombies – let us take these witches for now and enjoy what we can, while staying safe during the omicron-active Christmas season.

Release date: 21st August 2020
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Aaron B Koontz
Starring: Devin Druid, Zachary Knighton, Melora Walters, Natasha Bassett, Tina Parker, Ashley Couch, Bill Sage, Pat Healy, Stan Shaw, Noah Segan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Monster Hunter

Vampire Owl: I know that humans call us the monsters.

Vampire Bat: Well, this is not about us, for sure.

Vampire Owl: I do know that humans are the monsters though.

Vampire Bat: That idea has been reiterated so many times.

Vampire Owl: We have seen the same clearly in the film, Kuruthi.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that there are many more examples outside the movies.

Vampire Owl: I had known the same from an alien in The Blackout too.

Vampire Bat: The aliens always know things better.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is why the aliens won’t talk to humans.

Vampire Bat: I think that it is better for aliens to not talk to these humans. They are hopeless creatures living in hatred for their own kind.

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

What is the movie about? :: In a parallel world, referred to as the New World, humans are fighting monsters all the time, and these creatures come from under the sands, while people use ships looking like galleys and galleons to travel on the sands of this particular world. There, one of the people (Tony Jaa), a skilled warrior against monsters is separated from the other crew members of their ship, as they are attached by Diablos, a huge, powerful subterranean monster. Back on Earth, United States Army soldiers led by Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her United Nations team are searching for their missing team in a desert. They come across a huge storm with lightning which seems to activate some stones there having inscriptions. They are taken into a portal, and from there, they enter a space without gravity and then into the New World. There they find what remains of the missing soldiers and also their vehicles. The don’t figure out what happened, and the place looks like a different type of desert with so much of sand.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The map doesn’t match with what is seen at the map, and all the technology they have for guidance is messed up without any chance for a repair. They are relieved to find that at least their weapons and vehicles seem to work. But none of their weapons are even a little effective against the monster which seems to be protected against such weaponry with some kind of armour. Some of them are killed, and the remaining troops go into a cave, only to be attacked another type of monsters, spider-like, and crawling through the caves. There are many such monsters who fill up the cave, and they are all infected by the monsters, dead or almost all good as dead. Natalie manages to escape from their cocoons because she was only paralyzed earlier, and had overcome the same. She manages to escape the same, and it is still to found if she can survive in this world full of monsters, and it is to be seen what role Hunter has to play in her survival and a possible return to Earth. But with monsters everywhere, that is indeed doubtful.

The defence of Monster Hunter :: This is one full action film with the terrifying monsters adding nicely to it in style. The creatures are all terrifying and detailed enough to catch our attention, and the slaying methods entertaining as they should be. There are grand moments with such creatures all around and attacking with full strength, and you have dragons as well as sand-serpents along with crawlers. The new world with its elements are also a joy to watch. There are so much to be seen with the visual splendour, even thought it is not that colourful – the situation is rather dark when we look at it, seemingly a lost world. A new world created makes our escapist tendencies feel better every time. The film, as it is based on the video game of the same name, does remind us of a computer game with its features – the world itself is something which suits a high quality video game, but it is not a game which is popular around here, and I am yet to find someone from life to have played it. The sound effects and the music nicely adds to what is seen on the screen. It also has a special scene in between the credits, so do look forward to that.

The claws of flaw :: This doesn’t manage to move out of the video game feeling enough to create a full film effect. There is very less importance given to the characters, and we don’t really know much about what is happening in the new world or the old one. We just have the action, and so many characters from the original world are killed too early for our liking. As this is more or less like an origin story of a possible franchise, there should have been a better explanation for things in the beginning. Waiting for a sequel with only this much action done is a little too less for our liking. A few things also get repetitive at times, not just related to this film, but also about other movies. The focus is also only one two characters, and we have a few others in the beginning and the end, and nothing more. The game also happens to be Capcom’s second biggest seller after the Resident Evil franchise, and so one has to wonder if this film is enough for the game, and only those who have played one or two of the games in the franchise can tell us clearly about it.

Performances of the soul :: Milla Jovovich in an action film is always joy to watch, as she has shown the best in the Resident Evil films, which ended with Resident Evil: Retribution and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Whenever she is around, we can be sure that there can a lot of spectacular action sequences coming together, and this one is no exception. She is like the action heroine who is there for such sequences forever. It is the similar case of Tony Jaa who is also known for the same genre, even though Mila had some horror added to her films every time, mixing the genres rather than sticking to one thing. Other than these two, there is no other character who has anything significant to do here. They do make a good team, especially as action is all that they need to do here. Maybe, there could be a video game based on this film some day, rather than the other way around. The only other person whom I can think of, related to such action films is Kate Beckinsale, the lady vampire of Underworld and its sequels as well as Total Recall.

How it finishes :: Adapted from the video game of the same name, this film also maintains the effect of being inside a game, and even though it might not have received the positive reviews just like the other game adaptation, this is an effective one. I did find movies based on computer games to be better than what the critics said, and Hitman: Codename 47, Need for Speed, Doom: Annihilation, Prince of Persia and Max Payne are a few of them. There were surely the bad ones, like Assassin’s Creed, but movies based on games have a tendency different from the rest. Well, this one makes an interesting film in that list for sure. You are transported into a new world that reminds on of Avatar and John Carter, even though this is mostly a world of desert terrain, which means there is not that much to enjoy the colours. But with this one, you enjoy the action set in a new world with monsters all around, and watching such monster hunting is fun enough. You are never really short of some fine monsters around here, that is for sure.

Release date: 28th May 2020
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Paul WS Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Meagan Good, Tip Harris, Diego Boneta, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung, Ron Perlman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Encounter

Vampire Owl: I have always enjoyed encounters with aliens.

Vampire Bat: Yes, you have always been looking for vampire aliens.

Vampire Owl: If a species requires blood to survive, they would just vampires and not aliens.

Vampire Bat: Well, if they are from another planet, they are surely aliens.

Vampire Owl: You are questioning their basic nature of existence.

Vampire Bat: When on Earth, they are still aliens.

Vampire Owl: Drinking blood is in their nature, and that counts as vampires only.

Vampire Bat: This one is worth a debate at the Dracula Castle.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that Uncle Dracula will accept them as just vampires.

Vampire Bat: You don’t know him well enough after the Corona virus pandemic.

[Gets some French fries and three glasses of strawberry shake].

What is the movie about? :: Malik Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a dishonorably discharged Marine who is having a tough time living the usual kind of life. He sees that there is so much of riots going on the nearby cities, and the is bothered by increase in violence all around the state and the country. His former wife Piya Khan (Janina Gavankar) and children Jay Khan (Lucian-River Chauhan) and Bobby Khan (Aditya Geddada) are now living with her present husband Dylan (Misha Collins), a long distance from him. The sons, especially Jay is not happy with the situation, and has turned extremely arrogant. He visits Jay and Bobby at takes them away in his car, saying that this is a road trip which their mother has kept as a surprise. The boys feel that this could really be a fun ride, but there is more to it than what he says. Malik seems to be waiting for something bad to happen at all times, and there is a lot of worries that he seems to have here.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: When they are stopped on the road by a police officer, he is forced to tell the boys the truth about what has been happening in the last few days. He tells them that there are some non-terrestrial microorganisms taking over the planet, as these aliens are using human bodies are used as hosts – most of the humans are no longer in control, and some heavy research is required regarding this, for which they hope to reach a safe place. He also feels that at least half of the population has been infected. The idea of a parasite growing inside one’s body frightens the boys, but they decide to fight and make it the safe place with their father. As Hattie (Octavia Spencer) is the one who is in charge of Malik’s parole understands that he took the children after tying up Piya and Dylan, she understands that he is in trouble. Back home, FBI is in charge of the investigation on the kidnapping of the boys, and they feel that he might be going to keep his children.

The defence of Encounter :: The beginning of the movie was really good, and it keeps us interested throughout most part of its run. Most of the things which were shown in the beginning turns useless in the end, but they had a fine role in making the whole film engaging. This has the strength to work as a post-apocalyptic movie after the worms, parasites, or anything takes over later, but it chooses to go ordinary, and that is indeed a shame. The performance are really good, and the visuals are also nice, when we look at them. Some action is also added here and there, but there is almost no horror being part of this, even though there was the chance for that too. It is basically what we thought about the movie before watching it that has kept us interested, and one has to say that the talk about the film before its release did go well to create an image – the same is not reflected well here though, as we stare at it.

The claws of flaw :: Encounter is very much a confused movie, as it doesn’t really seem to know what it is aiming for, with a beginning as an alien invasion movie, and then going on to be a strange family drama. This change that the movie brings at a point of time does no favour to it – if everything happened the other way around, things would have been much better. The movie is called a science fiction thriller both on IMDB and Wikipedia, and one really has to wonder how this film gets into that particular category, especially in the second half, as the path seems completely lost. Even though the ending does look realistic, it is not the kind of finish that are looking for, and for a climax like this one, not many people would wish to buy the tickets – well, this is on Amazon Prime Video and when you have already taken the subscription, one might just end up watching it quickly for the sake of it. Promoting a movie as what it really is, would be the right thing to do, in my opinion.

Performers of the soul :: It is the performances that score for the movie which struggles with confusion over its own identity, as Riz Ahmed does a very good job as the former Marine who seems to be trying to end an alien invasion, but is as confused as the movie itself. His feeling of paranoia, worries and strange acts are all things which work well for us. If the movie could have actually stepped it up well enough, this could have brought wonders for him, but unfortunately, he also struggles with the film as we reach the disappointing end. Janina Gavankar has some fine family moments in the beginning, but that doesn’t carry over as the protagonist doesn’t really feel the need to save her from aliens. Octavia Spenser also has some fine moments, as one of the most likable characters that we see anywhere. Rory Cochrance is the typical FBI agent that we see in different movies in similar forms. The two children are good, especially Lucian-River Chauhan who has a little more to contribute in comparison with Aditya Geddada.

How it finishes :: Encounter makes another science fiction alien invasion thriller entry to Amazon Prime Video after The Tomorrow War did the same thing a few months ago. Still, our movie here is rather different, with no big alien attacking people around, and no huge action scenes – in this case, we don’t have too much of sci-fi being thrown around, as no certainty about the alien attack is provided. Almost all the movie, you keep thinking if there is really an alien, a doubt which won’t favour you if you are looking for full action alien flicks. This movie is more drama when we consider the case here. You have an alien movie here without the certainty of the existence of the aliens, and that is indeed not the science fiction that you want. Well, when there are so many alien invasion movies at your disposal, and which a good number of science fiction films waiting for your eyes, this one which degrades into a family drama might not be the one you prefer, but it is still an interesting watch, especially during the first half.

Release date: 10th December 2021
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Michael Pearce
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Janina Gavankar, Rory Cochrane, Lucian-River Chauhan, Aditya Geddada

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Birds of Prey

Vampire Owl: There are not many kinds of vampire birds.

Vampire Bat: But not all of our birds hunt.

Vampire Owl: You stopped letting the birds hunt?

Vampire Bat: Well, the sky needed to be safer for the gargoyles.

Vampire Owl: You are calling for the gargoyles during a pandemic?

Vampire Bat: They are made of stone, and immune to any pandemic.

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that these can’t catch the virus?

Vampire Bat: They are immune to the injection too.

Vampire Owl: That saves us some vaccines.

Vampire Bat: I would have loved to believe that the undead are basically immune, as the virus cannot affect the dead even after rising from the grave. But the research from Doctor Frankenstein says otherwise.

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

What is the movie about? :: A number of years have passed after the defeat of Enchantress in the hands of the team of supervillains, Suicide Squad, and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has broken up with Joker (Jared Leto), and despite going through the procedure many times, this time she believes that they are separated forever. She remembers her time as psychiatrist and also her time before that, as she tries to go on with her lonely life, and for the same, she also gets a hyena, but nobody really believes that she really broke up with Joker. She doesn’t really have any good friends, but everyone seems to know her for the association with Joker. To announce her break up to everyone, she blows up Ace Chemicals were she had her best time with Joker, and this time, she gets the attention of everyone. Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) is the first one to come after Harley for exploding Ace chemicals, and others who have held a grudge against her also follows. Ending the relationship with Joker does have its own negative effects for her.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A good number of people now wants her dead, or at least punished for what she had been doing. This includes not just the criminals and police, but also anyone on the streets whom she had offended – it includes a large number of people. Without Joker’s protection, she finds it difficult to move around safely. But she figures out that she will live her life her own way this time. The biggest mafia leader of the area is Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), the crime lord who wishes to have full control over the Gotham City. Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) earlier worked as a singer in his club, but gets a promotion as his driver during important meetings, after he sees her fight on he streets. Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), the right hand man of Sionis losses a diamond which was supposed to be very important to him, and it turns out that it was taken by Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a young pickpocket who doesn’t hesitate to steal anything from anyone on the streets. The girl also swallows the diamond before being taken to the police station.

And what else is to follow with this strange series of incidents in Gotham City? :: At the same time, a vigilante known as The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) also appears on the streets, killing people all around the city, and nobody really knows what she is after. It does gives more of a head ache to Renee though, as she has been someone not able to get the credit even after working so hard in the police department. With murders happening with crossbows, and Harley also on the loose, Sionis wants the diamond back as soon as possible. For the same, he asks the help of every mercenary in the city, including Harley, who had also started calling herself a professional mercenary with her previous experience in Task Force X, the government funded group of criminals and supervillains. Harley breaks into the police station, and a number of mercenaries also follow her, but she manages to escape with the pickpocket kid, only to be continued to be hunted throughout the city. Dinah and Renee want to save the kid too, but time is running out.

The defence of Birds of Prey :: The film scores with its cast as expected, and while Margot Robbie has already proven herself as the crazy lover of Joker with a PhD in Psychiatry and experience with treating the craziest, Mary Elizabeth Winstead who is known more as the scream queen of horror flicks, has done fine work here – others are okay, even though I wouldn’t consider them to belong here as much as these two manages. The final fight scene scores high with the ambience being used there, and it is something which suits a horror movie more. There are also some humour added here and there, and for that too, the film is highly dependent on Margot Robbie, who seems to have got into that character so well again, and that makes one wonder what would have happened if Joker was also there. The fight sequences are nice, mostly when related to her, and even though left with less number of scenes, Mary Elizabeth Winstead also drops in nicely. The film is also full of colours, and they provide a special feeling to the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The absence of at least a cameo from Joker does have some effect on this film which could have used a little bit more of madness, as there seems to be a little bit too much sanity in here. Along with the same, the character of Rosie Perez seems to be weaker in comparison, and Ewan McGregor plays not that strong a villain as one would expect, with him being only a billionaire with a lot of henchmen – nothing more for him here. Some moments in the movie are also too silly, even when staying within the limits of silliness, and could have been avoided. The movie could have been shorter that way, and it should have stuck to Quinn to make that happen in a better manner. It is also a little bit too violent without reason, a quality which is not the best explored by a DC film. The film also leaves a question if it was trying to be a little bit of Charlie’s Angels by focusing on it as an action movie, but it is understandable, because Harley Quinn is that kind of a character, and only a little bit of the metahuman strength is unleashed here by anyone.

How it finishes :: DC Extended Universe always required more films which though differently, and this is surely one of them. There is a space being left behind after Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame nicely finished the biggest events of Marvel Extended Universe, and now it is up to DC to do the same and bring something grand, despite Justice League not doing that well as it should have managed, and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice failing to gain appreciation. Unlike what was expected, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are the hopes of DC, and I would say that Suicide Squad was one too, even though many people were not really able to get their heads into it. Taking Harley Quinn out of it, and making this film will only help the next part of the second film on the squad when released, for Birds of Prey is a fun-filled entertainer which maintains the same feeling up to an extent, even though not beautifully poetic as that film happened to be. Once again, fun is guaranteed for sure.

Release date: 7th February 2020
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Cathy Yan
Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bloodshot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shadow in the Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Skylines

Vampire Owl: We have been looking at the sky for too long.

Vampire Bat: I don’t understand why you do that though.

Vampire Owl: I am awaiting the great vampire prophecy to become true.

Vampire Bat: I am not a fan of the prophecies of the new age.

Vampire Owl: The Vampire Oracle still has sixty five percent success rate.

Vampire Bat: But there are a few things which we know well enough that we are sure about it not happening in any way.

Vampire Owl: You really need to have more faith in the Vampire Oracle.

Vampire Bat: You should read the Vampire Chronicle to know about the failures of the Oracle who has struggled throughout history.

Vampire Owl: The Vampire Chronicle was written by a fake vampire, a non-believer of the vampire legacy.

Vampire Bat: Okay, let us see where this can lead you.

[Gets a paneer burger and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: Captain Rose Corley (Lindsey Morgan), the daughter of the man whose conscience was transferred to a machine, but still maintained his human characteristsics, was the one who was born in the alien spaceship, making her grow very fast. Her powers had freed every human-alien hybrid from the alien control, keeping the aliens away from Earth. She continued to lead the Earth Defense fleet against the invaders with her brother, until the alien harvesters unveiled their ultimate weapon known as the Armada Vessel supposed to harvest all life on a planet with a single, powerful blast like no other. Rose had one chace for a shot and try to stop it, but froze at the exact moment, leading to her next shot running through one of her own ships, murdering thousands of her own people. The price that she paid for this victory with the life of her soldiers made her turn away from the battles, and the harvesters had also failed to show during the same time period.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Rose, believing that the war is now over, lives as an outsider in an almost ruined London, but finds out that there are still people looking for her. But as she is captured by the authority, she realizes that the war is still not over, with the human-alien hybrids going by the name of Pilots are having some problems, as they are going back to their basic needs, their biology of hunting and draining Earth and its inhabitants. They feel that finding the core of the Alien Armada is the key to changing the situation. To keep the hard earned peace and to ensure of human survival against the aliens, it was necessary to find that core which is now on a planet known as Cobalt One. They will be doing the first manned mission to an alien planet, and Rose will be in charge of detaching the core from the Armanda, but it wouldn’t be an easy thing to do by any means. Now the question remains if the newly formed team is good enough to do the same.

And what more happens here as things go out of control for humanity? :: Rose also meets her brother has turned into one of the aliens, but with his human conscience intact – Trent Corley (Jeremy Fitzgerald), and he is just one of the people who will accompany her to the new, undiscovered planet about which nobody has any idea except for the fact that the armada had crashed there, and there lies the one hope ahead. But getting it might not be as direct a mission as they think that it is. There is more than what meets the eye with the planet, as they are attacked by some strange creatures which are different from the aliens they had known earlier. Meanwhile, at home, Dr Mal (Rhona Mitra) continues to try to find a cure for the Pilots. But the Pilots have already started attacking the human survivors in a large scale, and there is even less time left on Earth in comparison to the other planet. There is more than one path to follow here, and may be one of these can mean success.

The defence of Skylines :: This movie’s biggest advantage is its extravagant visuals bringing the magnificence of a post apocalyptic as well as other worldly feeling, and one can trust the quality of the same here. You wouldn’t expect such grand CGI concerning movies like this, but we have to say that the graphics do score very highly. The creatures are all good, and the alien planet is a joy to watch which its stylish looks, and it seems that new things just get added to the franchise every time. Lindsey Morgan is a nice choice here for the hybrid creature of a protagonist, even though she gets going only a little bit later, after the armada is found. She does score with those action sequences with such ease, and also has some emotional moments to go with it. The rest just provide good support. The opening for the next movie in line is well-thought too.

The claws of flaw :: The film doesn’t really keep us interested in the beginning as one would expect in a movie like this. The scenes on Earth are not that interesting with the content either. Most of the cast left on Earth go wasted, as there is only a little bit of action for them. Rhona Mitra doesn’t get that much to do too, and it is a disappointment. There is the feeling of trying to connect to that District 9 model without the undercurrents, but the same doesn’t go that far. This goes through as too much of a usual science fiction with aliens, as we get memories of many other movies with similar content, and that includes even the good old Alien franchise and a bit of Independence Day. We would actually begin thinking about some alternative scenarios for the storyline to progress all the time, because there are surely so many more things that this film could have done.

How it finishes :: Skylines could have surely achieved more coming out of the shadows of two films which had set things going through the alien invasion. The first two movies were fun for sure, and the second one had managed to think in a divergent manner, which has led to this movie coming up later – without the changes which came up, this one might not have been possible at all. The movie is still pretty good in its entertainment factor, and there is a lot of action in this adventure set on another, unknown planet, as we keep asking for more. The movie does leave an option for a sequel, and we do get the feeling that this can get better if they add something more to the usual work of the franchise. You do see more possibilities at every turn of the film, and with the fourth movie in the series, this can achieve the divergence which it has always deserved.

Release date: 18th December 2020
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Liam O’Donnell
Starring: Lindsey Morgan, Jonathan Howard, Daniel Bernhardt, Rhona Mitra, James Cosmo, Alexander Siddig, Yayan Ruhian, Ieva Andrejevaite, Samantha Jean, Jeremy Fitzgerald, Giedre Mockeliunaite, Naomi Tankel, Cha-Lee Yoon, Phong Giang

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jai Bhim

What is Jai Bhim about? :: The movie begins with a group of people who are supposed to be from some lower castes or tribes having some police cases forced on them without any particular reason other than their community of birth. In the end, almost all the cases fall on them, as police closes the pending cases by putting them on these people. Raja Kannu (K Manikandan) catches snakes and rats in the village, and lives in a tribal area of a remote village with her wife Senggeni (Lijomol Jose). The tribe is known for their useful job, which helps the rich people of the area who boasts of their higher caste status, and won’t care about these people. But Raja Kannu is also arrested by police in the name of a robbery which happened in the house of the village head, as there is a lot of force on the cops due to the same. The police says that her husband had escaped with three other tribals on a fateful night. They are helped by as Maithra (Rajisha Vijayan) who has been working as a teacher among the tribals, and was trying to provide them with enough education and some identity to go with it.

So, what happens next in this tale? :: Advocate Chandru (Suriya) leads cases for the downtrodden people, and has managed to help many people before. But in this particular case, police has already prepared everything, and with enough proof being ariticially created, this eems to be very difficult for Chandru. SP Ashok Varadhan (Sibi Thomas) wants the case to be solved at any cost, and the local police officers go further to manipulate everything from the first point. Chandru visits the whole area with Maithra, and tries to find some clues. But will he be enough for this particular case, as many more false witnesses are being added, and it becomes a thing of prestige for the government? Can truth go above the false witnesses in an age of hopelessness and lies? The question still remains if the three are even alive and Chandru wants IG Perumalsamy (Prakash Raj) to investigate the office, and Advocate Ram Mohan (Rao Ramesh), the most prominent and respected lawyer will stand against Chandru for the government and the police.

The defence of Jai Bhim :: It is up to Suriya and Lijomol Jose to keep the film strong at the top, and there is no point where you feel that they are not fully immersed in these characters which they portray. Seeing the latter in such a role was a surprise, and one would wish her back in many more Malayalam movies. The film is a valiant take on ferocious discrimination and injustice which has been forced on people just for their birth in a particular community. In doing that, the film remains strong at all times. In staying with the subaltern against the strong and the influential, it makes some very strong points. The same is portrayed without using the useless mass fight scenes, which would have been there if this film was taken a few years ago, but the movie chooses not to satisfy the brainless mass. There are many emotional moments in the film, and the agony that the weak goes through is portrayed realistically rather than with the unnecessary extras. The intensity that the film carries is a lot too, and the strength only increases as the film progresses.

Positives and negatives :: The film does take some time to go through its beginning stages, and it does have the predictable stuff at work too. From the moment it starts, we are somewhat sure about what would happen even without knowing the history of the real-life tale, and we feel that the film could have been a little shorter. Some dialogues could have been avoided, but a few others could have had more detail, like when talking about the Rajan case which happened long ago in Kerala. Rajisha Vijayan could have also had more to be done, even with some good time being spent on the screen. It is always normal to expect more from this kind of a film, because we know the kind of topic it deals with. There is always something to take home in this kind of movies though, and this one, even though dealing with a topic which people might be aware of, leaves us with the reminder that injustice still exists, and there is the need for someone to raise the voice at the right time for the right people, and not for some celebrities who have their own ways of saving themselves, having their own influence and power.

Performers of the soul :: Suriya has one strong performance added here, and it seems that he has become the character like a fine reflection of a determined, enthusiastic, righteous lawyer. The focus that is required in the character is shown without the extreme heroism that would have taken over in some other movie, but not in this case. There is no violence related to the man either, as there is no beating up the bad guys, and there are no stylish dialogues, which makes the character blend in right into the film’s mood. It does feel that he is really into the character so well, and becomes a mirror of the ideology inside him. This is also the first Suriya film that I have reviewed here, and I am glad that this movie could be chosen for the same. Lijomol Jose, whom we know for the lovely supporting role in Maheshinte Prathikaaram and the lead role in Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, has her biggest role here, and she has performed exceptionally, making her the leading actress, the woman who was wronged, and seeking justice. I hope that she would continue in the film industry after marriage too.

Further performers of the soul :: K Manikandan in the husband’s role has death coming to his character after a fine performance. Prakash Raj plays a solid police officer with his own ideology, which we love, and he is the one cop whom you would love to have in your universe of reality. Rajisha Vijayan, who won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her debut film, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, also has her moments, being a strong part of this. We know what she has done in Kho Kho, June and Finals, and she could suit at any place with grace. She has a superior status among this generation of actresses in Malayalam film industry, and so when she is there, you wish to check out the movie. The villains are all good too – when you look at them, they are not the same kind of antagonists, for the work at different levels. They are all united by a few things, but you see the divergence that runs through them, with them acting different even when doing the same job. There are lots of supporting cast members who also do some jobs worth appreciation, staying strong in the background throughout the film.

How it finishes :: There have been many courtroom dramas, and Pink might be the most famous among them – this one nicely adds to the list of those films. Unlike most of such movies which have dealt with similar topics including bringing justice to the subaltern, this one has its complete focus on such divisions and atrocities committed in the same name. The film is also supposed to be based on a petition which was filed in 1995, and the characters are also known to be based on real-life people with real-life incidents forming the background of the film. There is always the feel for some need for films on discrimination, and this one makes a welcome addition, as it makes some strong points about the same. It is also available with audio in Hindi, and therefore, it should be accessible to a much bigger audience on Amazon Prime Video. Theatres have opened, but you still have moves like this one on OTT, and you know you have to trust the OTT.

Release date: 2nd November 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: TJ Gnanavel
Starring: Suriya, Lijimol Jose, Rajisha Vijayan, Prakash Raj, Rao Ramesh, Guru Somasundaram

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✠ The Vampire Bat.