Cadaver

Vampire Owl: I have got some doubt if they are talking about us.

Vampire Bat: This is surely not about the undead. You can have my assurance.

Vampire Owl: Well, dead people have no rights in the human world. So, we cannot be sure.

Vampire Bat: Such doubts that you have are usually wrong.

Vampire Owl: This is just our second Norwegian film to be watched.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the last one, Lake of Death was a good one, right?

Vampire Owl: There is something sinister about these movies. I can feel it.

Vampire Bat: You can reserve your feelings for later, after watching the film.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but I am a vampire of extreme doubt, you know that.

Vampire Bat: Yet, you remain the leader of a large vampire battalion.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of Darjeeling tea].

What is the movie about? :: One of the big Norwegian cities was hit by a nuclear disaster, and people struggling to survive with devastation all around. There is no hope for future in this post-apocalyptic situation – food is very difficult to find, and there is also no electricity. Dead bodies could be seen in different parts of the city with devastated buildings, and the climate seems to be very rough, as news about nuclear disasters, conflicts and possible world wars are everywhere. Leonora (Gitte Witt) and Jacob (Thomas Gullestad) live in this particular city with their little child, Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman). The child has regular nightmares, as they live alone in what seems to be an abandoned apartment. They understand that they cannot just hang in there with nothing left other than each other. It is then that they find out that there is a theatre play happening nearby, with a free meal. They understand that it is their chance to have some food for the family, and decides to go there at night, even though they do have some initial doubts about the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Leonara hopes that these are the signs of things getting better, and her optimism leads them to the thaetre building – she feels that even if the meals are not enough, they could still have some fun, which the child desperately needs. Even though Alice is first refused entry, the hotel director, Mathias (Thorbjorn Harr), personally gets there and allows the child inside. The building seems to the one last thing standing tall in between all the destruction around. They are all happy to see what is like a new world for them, with a lot of food and it is more like a festival. Everyone seems starved, and they all eats as much as they want. There are other people who are also there for the first time. Mathias tells the guests that the play will be performed by using the whole hotel without curtain, seats and intermission. Everything during the night would be part of the show, with spectators given masks to wear, and the actors would be without the masks, as they move around.

And things can get only stranger in this world of chaos :: The performance starts all of a sudden, without a warning. The guests have the option to attend any performance at any part of the huge building with so many rooms and floors. Everyone keeps looking for things that would catch their interest, and there are so many different spaces without masked people. As everyone keeps walking around, soon Leonara and Jacon understand that Alice is not with them anymore. They remember seeing her just before, but now she seems lost. They keep searching for them, while others also seems to have lost people who were with them. Soon, it seems that there are no more spectactors, and all of them seems to have disappeared without trace. The show still seems to continue in the same manner, but without people. There are some strange trapdoors and creepy rooms around, while things only get more sinister as they keep moving on. It seems that we have more than what meets the eye with this particular building and the show – how dangerous is it?

The defence of Cadaver :: There seems to be so many mysteries hidden in this particular world, and after the initial introduction to the world of chaos hit by an apocalyptic world, we have a terrifying post-apocalyptic world outside, and we are then introduced into something even more frightening inside a building, that is two levels of horror unleashed without warning. The world inside is creepier than one can imagine. The structure, with its creepy corridors, rooms, paintings, darkness – this old-style building is something which will stay in our minds for a very long time. The terror that the movie brings feels much realistic than it is supposed to be, because it is more or less a reflection of humanity and the inherent evil that has led it for a long time throughout history. People have always been evil, as William Golding had shown in Lord of the Flies, a long time ago – it is the same reflection that we see here. As we look at where humanity has reached as of now, what happens in this film is only a little distant probability, for modernity has taken a part of everyone’s soul, as people go for riches above everything else.

Positives and negatives :: The film could have made itself a bigger blood and gore fest with terrifying secrets being brought to light on after the other, but it gains some remarkable ground in its current form. There were more opportunities in between, with all those strange acts being possible with this premise – the film could have used it for the better. The conclusion is pretty good, there are some moments in between that seems to stretch the movie rather than doing anything else. There is also a little bit of predictability, but we can go past that quick enough. Yet, when you are transported into this particular world, you are more or less in a mystery which seems to get thicker and thicker as time passes. When you have a horror thriller set inside a strange building which is part of a post-apocalyptic world, what can be there other than consistent scope of danger? Well, that much has been achieved really well with this particular movie which thrives on its atmosphere again and again. The idea of survival of the fittest, when applied here works remarkably well. The performances are pretty good, but that is not the focus here.

How it finishes :: This Norwegian film seems to rise above the usual horror flicks, as it rises above the genre which has depleted some of its strengths due to modernity and the lack of belief in traditions. The way in which Cadaver uses its scares should come as inspiration to Hollywood too, as one cannot always depend on The Conjuring, Insidious, Annabelle, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe among others to do the thing, and even come up with more and more sequels, for originality matters. Cadaver is innovative enough to create something special out of an already terrifying premise, and the ability to display some extra skills to keep the audience engaged makes sure that this is one of the most effective horror flicks of these times. The atmosphere, setting, situations – all seems to come together so well. If you haven’t watched this one, you are missing the opportunity to watch a well-made horror movie making unexpected impact. This is indeed a film to stay with you even after the whole thing ends – as effective as you can expect from such a world of mystery.

Release date: 22nd October 2020
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Jarand Herdal
Starring: Gitte Witt, Thomas Gullestad, Thorbjorn Harr, Tuva Olivia, Kingsford Siayor, Maria Grazia Di Meo, Jonatan Rodriguez, Trine Wiggen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sara’s

What is the movie about? :: Sara (Anna Ben) needs to get many things right, and making a name in the film field is only one of them. She has her own set of beliefs, and is not ready to step away from them, no matter the cost happens to be. From her school days itself, she was afraid of having a child, and she maintains that aversion throughout her life. She is bothered by her father Vincent’s (Benny P Nayarambalam) constant requests to get a boyfriend, without which they will come up with a match themselves. It is then that she meets Jeevan (Sunny Wayne), who had left his job in Bangalore and returned home, presently taking care of his sister’s children. When the two meet later, they are united by their lack of interest in having children, and decide to fall in love. They feel that there is a connection between them, and the two decide to wait for a few years before they marry – she hopes that she can study him well during that time, and also get her new movie going.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Their world consists of only the two of them, and they hope to keep it the same without any unwanted trouble. But when their parents come to know about the relationship, things don’t go that smoothly. They are forced to get married too soon, but the two decide to go with the flow without resisting the same. Sara continues to try and get her script accepted by a producer willing to let her direct the film. At the same time, Jeevan goes back to job again. Sara is disappointed by her inability to convince the producers, but things get only worse for her when she gets pregnant. All the relatives come to know about it, and their happiness is only matched by Sara’s disappointment. She hasn’t changed a bit as far as her ideology about children is concerned, even though Jeevan is now not sure. The equations have changed now, and what they had thought earlier might not work any longer.

The defence of Sara’s :: There can always be something about feel-good movies, and that something is carried over here too, with the feeling being too good. Jude Anthany Joseph’s mastery over the same is something on which everybody would agree. The emotional side is strong, and the light-hearted elements with the usual touch of humour works really well here. The reflections of the usual life and the disagreements between generations can also be seen in the flick. It is to be noted that the light-hearted feeling is maintained throughout the film, and it never slips away from the same during its two hours of seemingly perfect run-time, even though it deviates a little bit. As a female centered film, the protagonist does have more to tell you than what meets the eye. There is the requirement to understand that the purpose of marriage is not to have children as soon as you are married, and that parenthood is a responsibility for which everyone has to be prepared well. When people have children in less than an year after marriage, and when they choose to keep having more and more of kids almost every year, it is strange. There is always an intellectual purpose in life as far as humans are concerned, and it is being left behind by these people, both men and women. This film should be an awakening for them, as well as for those who marry early, without maturity coming to them. In India, as more the youth is more dependent on parents it takes them about twenty eight to thirty three years old to be really mature. It is surprising to see some people getting married at the age of twenty one and eighteen, and the recent cases on suicides in the name of domestic violence and dowry were all from those who married too early, especially without the women not being allowed to complete their studies or work freely.

The claws of flaw :: Sara’s could have been more with its ideas, and there was also a chance to add more of light-hearted comedy with those usual kind of situations. You are never really short of some feel-good ideas in our world, and chances for humour were many, but not many of them are taken. It often struggles to make comedy out of silly stuff. The movie should have actually released one day earlier during the weekend, and it would have had more viewers due to the weekend lock-down being imposed, and this flaw in release date will decrease its viewers by a considerable number. These are the kind of choices which make sure how many people watch the film from an OTT platform. Also expectations after Jude Anthany Joseph’s previous movies were very high, and this one has to match that, but this one is more about the ups and downs. This one is certainly not that much fun in comparison with the earlier films, and we also have a little bit more of an emotional side at work here. The final moments seem to have gone for the quick solution, instead of making things innovative. The film is also too materialistic in its viewpoint with main characters going for the selfish motive, the kind which won’t hesitate to cheat and murder if needed, and its heroine wouldn’t be ideal in a morality tale, but as she is shown as a person interested only in films, maybe she is more of a reflection of people in who are part of movies rather than common people. After all, it is difficult for the protagonist to understand that she is not an island, but it is to be noted that the people around her matches her in being judgmental.

Performers of the soul :: With his third venture which seems to resemble the earlier successful works from him, it is Jude Anthany Joseph who has our attention here, more than the main actors and actresses of this film, and it is with high expectations that we are watching this particular flick. The work of Anna Ben remains the same, natural, and perfectly suited for a role like this. Kumbalangi Nights and Helen had her realistic acting skills bringing some surprise to us. This time, we are having exactly what we expected from here, and one more natural performance brings us an lovable film. She is the one actress who makes the perfect new generation star who blends in so well with the roles given to her. Benny P Nayarambalam, Anna’s real-life father plays her father in the film too, and that is indeed a nice addition to the movie. Siddique is also there, and you know what to expect when the veteran actor is once again there, and doing his usual stuff – he has more or less become an integral part of the feel-good Malayalam movies of these times.

Further performers of the soul :: Sunny Wayne is here in a film which is not centered on him, but that comes as no surprise to him, as he was the hero in Annmaria Kalippilaanu, but was not the protagonist there too. He was very good in the earlier supporting roles, and with different roles like the villain in Kayamkulam Kochunni and the surprise entry in June, he is known for these kind of roles more than for being the sole hero in flicks like Alamara and a number of lesser known ones. Before this film, we had him everywhere with that song “Kaamini” in Anugraheethan Antony due to the producers of Chathur Mukham failing to bring it to OTT platforms at a time when films like Cold Case, Drishyam 2, Mohan Kumar Fans, Nizhal, The Priest, Aarkkariyam and Joji scored so high in Amazon Prime Video, Nayattu in Netflix and Kho Kho with Operation Java in ZEE 5. It is also good to see Mallika Sukumaran going through her usual kind of work, and we also see others who have much less to do in here, even though they all form a part.

How it finishes :: This is the third film of Jude Anthany Joseph after Ohm Shanthi Oshaana and Oru Muthassi Gadha, both of those movies being excellent feel-good entertainers, and the former had also won the Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value at the 45th Kerala State Film Awards, as well as making sure that Nazriya Nassim earned a Best Actress Award too. So, this one certainly came with high expectations, especially considering the fact that Anna Ben is a more complete actress in comparison to those who were part of his earlier ventures. The expectations do provide some good results here, as Sara’s is indeed a movie to watch without having too much of the emotional feeling while dealing with similar topics and its light-hearted take on the usual kind of stuff and with a desire for change in the attitudes of the society makes it an interesting watch during these days which still continue have a certain kind of COVID-19 lock-down restrictions going on here and there. Therefore, the audience of all age groups can give it a chance.

Release date: 5th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Anna Ben, Sunny Wayne, Dominic Arun, Siddique, Srindaa, Margret Antony, Siju Wilson, Dhanya Varma, Benny P Nayarambalam, Mallika Sukumaran, Prasanth Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Tomorrow War

What is the movie about? :: From a distant future of war and destruction, we come back to December 2022, as a biology teacher and Iraq War veteran, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt), is highly disappointed during the Christmas season, as he fails in his dream, which was to get a job at a research center. As he watched the FIFA World Cup with his family at a Christmas party, he was shocked to see a few soldiers from thirty years into future arrive in the middle of the ground. They warn everyone that humanity is facing extinction while facing a group of aliens unless they get some help for this timeline. The world’s militaries respond with drafting, and a huge number of well-trained people are sent into the future, but less than 20% survive, and there is always the need for more people to be sent to future. There are lots of rebellions against the war, because people feel that they are going to die anyway, and there is no need to finish one’s life much earlier. Everyone is depressed because there is the clear idea that it is the alien group that is going to win in the end, and there is no real hope related to that.

And what more is to follow? :: As the hope remains low, there is not much that there is left to be done, but the drafting goes on, and Dan is also chosen to fight in the war of the future. His family is not happy with what has happened, and his wife Emmy Forester (Betty Gilpin) hopes that he can find a way to bypass the drafting with the help of his father James Forester (JK Simmons), a former veteran soldier who has turned an anti-government activist after the Vietnam War. But he has to go anyway, and joins the team which is undergoing basic training under the troops from the future. But there is an emergency as there is an attack going on in the future, and without any further training which was to last about seven days, they are sent forward in time to Miami Beach but the coordinates get messed up, with most of the members of the team dying. Soon, they are ordered by Colonel Forester (Yvonne Strahovski) to rescue the nearby lab personnel and recover their research data before the area is bombed for clearance from alien infestation.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The team does manage to complete the mission, and they barely escape from the situation. Charlie (Sam Richardson), a techie, and Dorian (Edwin Hodge), a third time traveler into the future are the two survivors who are able to make it to the camp. Now, there is a lot to be done in a future, which seems to point towards human extinction, and the alien control over the planet one way or the other. In the new world of the future, they have to capture a female alien, and the types are rarer than the males which are basically everywhere. As they are living in a future where there are not many safe areas, with most of the continents already infested by the creatures which have reproduced enough to limit the human activity to certain areas, a research into causing the aliens to go extinct instead of humanity is a near possible adventure. The question also remains if there is a future that they can save, and if all these are worth the pain which they take.

The defence of The Tomorrow War :: There is an interesting future in store within The Tomorrow War, as this film with both aliens and time travel have you interested in the science fiction elements yet again. This is a combination which has worked really well before, with films like Edge of Tomorrow, working so well with the audience – being in a tomorrow with a war going on against aliens is a fair deal as far as any sci-fi fan is concerned. There is a lot of action in store here, and the alien detail is nice, even though having similarities with the Alien franchise which we have been missing since Prometheus and Alien Covenant, two films which had us asking for more. The visuals of the future Earth is also very nicely detailed, and the destroyed cities make us want to have more battles with aliens out there. The post-apocalyptic side of the film remains strong, thanks to all the action and the special effects, with the visuals never ceasing to remain stunning. This one can also have a prequel about the coming of the aliens, and maybe bring a franchise into motion.

Positives and negatives :: This is the kind of film which could have scenes which the Russian movie The Blackout had in its early stages, and that particular flick’s first half could actually be one interesting prequel to this one, with connections being made to the colder areas of Russia. There was surely scope for more terrifying sequences with aliens. To add to it, the pseudo-intellectuals can always find a reason to blame this film, but I am yet to discover what exactly would be their reason this time, for they have all randomly bashed Hollywood action films which were nothing less than grand. After all, it is not easy to make a film like this, and if Bollywood would try anything close, they can do nothing else than mess it up completely, with a long line of cast which is there in the name of nepotism instead of skills and quality. There are a few things which can be predicted here, and some of them come naturally to us, and not as surprises. There could have also been a few sequences about the missing years of alien attack, and a clearly defined theory about what has happened with the aliens.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt whom we had last seen in Avengers: Endgame and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gets to save the world again, and this time against the aliens. We could be having another Guardians of the Galaxy or Jurassic World in his usual roles, but this one has indeed established another memorable action role for him. Yvonne Strahovski is very much suitable to action flicks and thrillers, as we have seen before with The PredatorI, Frankenstein and Angel of Mine. But her presence in the future feels kind of restricted. Betty Gilpin has very less to do in comparison. JK Simmons has some nice moments to be added in the end. Others like Edwin Hodge and Sam Richardson are good additions to this kind of a movie. Others like Mary Lynn Rajskub, and and Seychelle Gabriel also have limited presence, but one would want them to have extended roles to play here. The film could have expanded rather than keeping its focus into the personal side in an alien invasion situation which is moving towards human extinction as well as the end of the world as we know it.

How it finishes :: The Tomorrow War will remind the audience of Edge of Tomorrow, even though the core idea remains different, and the film lacks someone like Emily Blunt in its full run. There is no denial of the fact that the film is complete entertainment, and you don’t really need to listen to some self-proclaimed great critics who write for some newspapers – they are more interested in providing lower reviews to science fiction in comparison to Bollywood nonsense as most of them are not able to understand the idea or enjoy the grandeur on the screen. You can only guess who impressive this would have been on the big screen, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the kind of films which can stun us with what is displayed on the screen with the special effects and maybe even a little bit of 3D effects. As of now, it seems that it is better for us to remember that feeling and enjoy the film on a laptop with Amazon Prime Video. After all, we are all restricted in that case, but not restricted as far as enjoying action-packed science fiction is concerned.

Release date: 2nd July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Chris McKay
Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Betty Gilpin, JK Simmons, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge, Jasmine Mathews, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Keith Powers

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Alita

Vampire Owl: Do you know that a machine graveyard is now being prepared at the zombie graveyards by the werewolves?

Vampire Bat: What? You can’t have machines in a zombie world. It is a very dangerous situation that can lead to terrible consequences.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the news says that they have already started it.

Vampire Bat: When there is a machine graveyard, it is called a scrapyard. They don’t even know that much?

Vampire Owl: Werewolves were never the experts in learning.

Vampire Bat: So, how far has this been present there?

Vampire Owl: Ever since the movie Alita: Battle Angel released.

Vampire Bat: Well, at least they haven’t based something on the Underworld series or some Frankenstein movie this time.

Vampire Owl: Well, you know them. They are never sure about what they do.

Vampire Bat: If they want something to base their lives on, tell them to watch something like Byzantium or Doctor Sleep.

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

What is the movie about? :: Three hundred years have passed since a great war destroyed most of Earth. This war known as “The Fall” left the planet devastated, and divided it into the highly advanced Zalem City in the sky, and Iron City on the ground which was very crowded even though it had some of advanced technology. Almost everyone on the ground worked for Zalem, which was supposed to be one of the greatest cities of all-time, and the only one remaining after the continuous war with the enemy group known as United Republics of Mars (URM). A man named Vector (Mahershala Ali) controlled everything on the ground, as a proxy to the ruler at Zalem, getting his dirty job done. Almost everyone from the Iron City wanted to go to Zalem City, and it was part of their dreams for which they worked all day. But someone from the ground rarely made it to the sky, even though vice versa was always possible.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A scientist and doctor, Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) discovers parts of a female cyborg with a working human brain while looking for parts in the city’s scrapyard. With the help of his assistant Nurse Gerhad (Idara Victor), he manages to fit her into a cyborg body at his clinic. He calls her Alita (Rosa Salazar) after his daughter who died earlier, as the cyborg seems to have no memories of her past at all including her own name. Dr Chiren (Jennifer Connelly), Dyson’s former wife who works for Vector doesn’t seem to like it though. She manages to be friends with a scrap deaker Hugo (Keean Johnson) who shows her the world, and his friends including Koyomi (Lana Condor) and Tanji (Jorge Lendeborg Jr). She also knows about the cyborgs that walk on the streets including Grewishka (Jackie Earle Haley) and Nyssiana (Eiza Gonzalez), and a fight with them will bring some of her memories back. So, who was she? How does that play a role in the future of her and the city?

The defence of Alita: Battle Angel :: There is a well-designed post-apocalyptic and dystopian future that can be seen throughout the movie’s run, and the elements are always there to be seen and enjoyed. The futuristic world is really well designed, with the two cities, as well as what lies beyond. The same can be said about the cyborgs too, as almost each one of them has different characteristics – you can also see that the protagonist makes the best out of it. The action sequences are of top quality, and we are addicted to them, and looking for more of similar moments. The emotional moments are also effective, and the idea behind the movies with moments of its flashbacks makes us wish for a sequel or even a prequel, because both will complete the tale well. This is one of those rare movies when we get close to the cyborgs more than humans. It will be difficult not to be emotionally connected to this movie, and its leading battle angel.

The claws of flaw :: It has to be noted that Alita: Battle Angel leaves many questions to be answered, especially related to how United Republics of Mars (URM) was defeated, and the she ended up in the scrapyard if they were that good with fighting, having an almost perfect cyborg system which is near impossible to be destroyed – such an addition as a prequel or sequel is needed quickly enough. There is the feeling that we have watched most of this before too, and a lost cyborg finding its past and fighting through evil is not something we don’t know much about. The story becomes usual, and we can guess most of the proceedings of the tale. We can also predict what is to happen with some of the characters in the tale a little too easily, as the romantic side just serves as a drag. Let us see if a possible sequel and manage to rise above the usual stuff, and bring in the innovation.

Performers of the soul :: Rosa Salazar’s avatar remains a hit, and as she wore a motion capture suit and gave life to the character with the help of animation, we are glad to have this one added to our favourite list of cyborgs of all-time as the battle angel who is one day going to bring down a post-apocalyptic dystopia. Christoph Waltz’s character is the next one to whom we feel the emotional connect, and he makes the perfect father figure in more than one way. Jennifer Connelly makes a good addition, even though she is there for only shorter periods of time, but she makes some moments worthy. Mahershala Ali is okay as the puppet villain, but the antagonism is lost on a number of occasions. The two next most notable cyborgs played by Jackie Earle Haley and Ed Skrein makes it worthy of our time, being on the darker side of good-evil alignment. Keean Johnson as Hugo is the usual young lover boy done fine.

How it finishes :: Alita: Battle Angel is the very next project from James Cameroon’s Lightstorm Entertainment after Avatar, and before Terminator: Dark Fate which followed in the same year. If you look at that list, the next two movies are Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, followed by even more sequels if the two makes enough money. The director’s last movie was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, some years ago. So, this is one project which was much expected – well, the trailer was really good too. Alita: Battle Angel, despite dealing with a post-apocalyptic and dystopian theme, with a dark side, can be watched by families, and it is an advantage that this movie have to widen its audience. I would recommend this movie over most of the movies which I have watched during lock-down. It has its heart and soul at the right place, and we are going to expect an even bigger sequel.

Release date: 14th February 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Rosa Salazar, Jennifer Connelly, Christoph Waltz, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Eiza Gonzalez, Lana Condor, Keean Johnson, Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Idara Victor, Mahershala Ali, Jeff Fahey, Rick Yune

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Io

Vampire Owl: We are watching another movie quick enough.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is surely a plan of Vampire Fate.

Vampire Owl: So, you mean to say that Fate is a vampire too.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not. Fate meets all requirements for the same.

Vampire Owl: For something to become a vampire, first it needs to exist.

Vampire Bat: Fate’s existence has been proven over the centuries.

Vampire Owl: But has Fate ever lived in a physical form?

Vampire Bat: Yes, Fate is already part of the air we breathe.

Vampire Owl: That sounds like the Corona Virus.

Vampire Bat: After all, this Corona Virus pandemic itself is a work of fate itself.

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

What is the movie about? :: When the Earth was going to be destroyed mostly due to pollution resulting from human activities, many scientists had started working on a power station that could be sent to space to harvest geothermal energy from other planets. But it would be too late, as people were dying in their sleep, while some others were suffocating in the streets, with the blood in their veins turning black due to a higher level of pollution. The change in atmospheric composition due to the same led to many spaceships with people flying into the sky and then into space as an act of Exodus turning the power station into a colony, like a lifeboat floating about another celestial body. For the same, they had chosen the fourth largest celestial body among the moons in the solar system which has the highest density among them, and has the lowest amount of water around. Discovered in 1610 by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei and named after the mythological character Io, a priestess of Hera, Jupiter’s volcanic moon, Io now has a higher significance for humans.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Most of the people on Earth had already fled, but a very few still try to survive on its surface. Sam Walden (Margaret Qualley) is one of those very few humans who have some hope left about Earth, and she chooses a high altitude area where the air is somewhat breathable, even though she does make some visit to the highly polluted areas with masks to collect some samples. She is also raising bees, hoping that they can help clean the air, but is asked by her boyfriend who lives on the Io station to join him, as they are planning to live at a newer, greater place, with no hope left for Earth which has fallen to human greed. Sam’s hopes are ruined when her bees are killed by a terrible storm which also destroys some of her equipment and sources of power. But she does maintain some hope, as she continues to be in contact with her long distance boyfriend from Io, and tries to carry on with her objective, even though without that much of a plan this time.

And what more do we see here in a wold without hope for future? :: At the same time, a man named Micah (Anthony Mackie) arrives there on a balloon, and asks for her father and scientist, Dr Harry Walden (Danny Huston) – but he is not there, and she assures him that he will be back soon, maybe the very next day, after some field work. He decides to wait, as Harry was someone who believed that there was hope for humanity on Earth, and he needed to meet the man. But the problem here is that Harry has been dead for a long time, and she has been lying all the time. Micah was brought here by the message from Harry which had further brought him hope – the message was sent by Sam, and this would lead to a crisis, as both of them will have a few things to realize, and the same is to be done together. Is there hope left for Earth, or can they make another choice? Where will they end up in the end, dead or alive while fighting for survival in a dying planet?

The defence of Io :: Here is another post-apocalyptic movie which has the expected stuff, even though not with the action-filled adventure of a science fiction. The emotional moments are serene, and effective, and the cast is perfect for the same. Margaret Qualley’s face has that kind of melancholy going through her, which brings the feeling effectively, whether it is about loneliness or the loss of hope – yet, there is some hesitation, something which Eva Green didn’t have even for a bit in the science fiction drama, Proxima. Anthony Mackie provides the support well enough, even though Margaret eclipses everything around with a certain beauty of hopeless sadness that always surrounds her. The visuals of post-apocalyptic world is done just in the right way, and there are areas where it does have some fine work in store. The references to the mythology are good, but can feel overdone to a number of people who are not familiar with the same. The feeling of failure of faith, belief and hope feels natural too.

The claws of flaw :: Io is indeed a slow movie, and never does it pick up the pace, even though there were many opportunities to do so, especially considering the fact that this is a post-apocalyptic world that we have in store here. For such a world, there is so much potential, even in isolation, as we have seen in many other movies which have setting after the destruction of Earth due to one reason or the other. The best of science fiction had a chance to come in on many occasions. This definitely depends on what you are expecting from a movie like this, as this is not your usual stuff with the same idea at all. The romantic is also not that good, and the film could have easily gone on without it – after all, this is not that kind of a flick. The movie also deserved a better ending, considering how it had built up slowly towards that finish. It could have also had some fine visuals of space with Io out there, along with some moments at the space station, as they have come this much already, when you look at it.

How it finishes :: Io is the post-apocalyptic science fiction drama which deviates from the usual path, and seems to be proud of it all the way. After all, it shows what could happen at some stage later, and therefore being realistic is an understatement. The fall of humanity and Earth has been predicted for a long time, and this Corona Virus has asserted the weakness of science in front of most of the enemies whom humans are going to face, and clearly none of the advancements of science can save them. Considering the same, Io is indeed a realization, of the weakness and hopelessness of mankind. You have to move with slow and abiding sadness of the movie to like this version of post-apocalyptic science fiction – otherwise, you might not find this particular version to be interesting. During this time of COVID-19, you know that we might not be that powerful to even delay our extinction for a limited period of time and we are certainly not the saviors of our planet, but the ruthless destroyers.

Release date: 18th January 2019
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Jonathan Helpert
Starring: Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie, Danny Huston, Tom Payne

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Blackout

Vampire Owl: I usually have my own personal blackouts, and here we get one in a movie.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that the movie deals with a more serious issue.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I know that it deals with aliens causing blackouts.

Vampire Bat: Indeed. But there should be more about than what we know.

Vampire Owl: We have known aliens very well, for there is nothing better than Alien.

Vampire Bat: We will always have more than one type of alien.

Vampire Owl: Yes, we will always have predator and the others.

Vampire Bat: There could be millions of types of alien species out there, and the movies come up with only a few.

Vampire Owl: I hope that this one will be an interesting one.

Vampire Bat: Russian movies have been doing something special every time, and so this one might also bring something like that.

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

What is the movie about? :: Something has gone seriously wrong with Planet Earth. Nobody is sure about what has happened, but there is a total blackout with all electronic equipment ceasing to work, and the communication with different part of the world is lost, except for a small circle in a part of Russia. All of the world’s major cities have fallen, and the troops which were sent outside the small circle do not usually come back either, and the survivors make the defence of the area strong by upgrading the existing forces and technology, while looking through the areas just outside the borders. But nothing gives them a clue about what has changed the world they knew, and what is happening now. There seems to be some strange forces at work outside, and many suspicions are there, including alien attack, demonic presence, humans with a weapon with they have not known about before, and many others. The religious groups all around the world feel that the end of the world is near.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There are terrifying sights of corpses everywhere, and it doesn’t seem to have stopped with anyone, except for one person whom they see, that manages to run through the bullets without being hit even once. The biggest problem is that they still have no idea what they are dealing with, and what kind of enemy is present on the other side. There is a man whom they see at times, a bald man who keeps covering his face, and seems to have some sinister motives, but disappears too soon for people to find him close enough. Who or what is destroying everything on Earth, seemingly attempting to end all traces of civilization and life? What has happened outside the area which has electricity? How long will the final outpost of mankind and the last hope for humanity survive against all odds? What can stop this unknown enemy who knows everything about the survivors, but nothing is known in return? Is surrendering to fate even an option for the remaining small number of people?

The defence of The Blackout :: The first thing that you notice about this particular movie is that it looks fantastic on the screen, in more than one way. We have a futuristic world with a nicely detailed future city, as well as the weapons being more high-tech than normal. The detailing in all of them are really good too. The background music is really good, and it gives us that feeling of some futuristic danger. The environment is also nicely created, and we have some fine fight scenes, all of them too good. The idea is also working really well, as this one goes beyond the usual style of terror from the paranormal and the supernatural, as Russian movies seem to do that quite often these days. There are lots of fight scenes going on here, and there is one scene which comes in the beginning, as all the soldiers and automated turrets are focusing only on one thing, the darkness – it is one intense sequence, and nothing which comes later in the movie matches that.

The claws of flaw :: The problems that we see with The are a few, one of them surely being its length, as it does have a little stretch in between with moments which were not needed. Then, the ending is also not that good, and we cannot approve of the final moments with the film’s idea of a hero being different from what we understand. The truth is that the characters which they fight in the end has better points to make, and those who pretend to be heroes or heroines have no idea about what is the best for the planet or about how to ensure human survival. We differ in opinion right there, and the female characters are rather forced into action here, and how they change all of a sudden become a little bit strange. There were also many ways in which the movie could have gone forward too. It seemed to be creating a certain amount of mythology involving a higher being, but it is not done in the best possible manner. There is always more to have with an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic movie, as we see the possibilities being endless.

Performers of the soul :: The characters were well established in the beginning, and bringing some fine performances, until in the end, they are everywhere. The two women Lukerya Ilyashenko and Svetlana Ivanova had their characters perfectly defined in the beginning, but as the movie progresses, they become some strange civilians, and in the end, they become not so much of that they were – both actresses are caught by the flaws in characterization. The main male actors Aleksey Chadov and Pyotr Fyodorov also have problems from the same, but they work really well until those last moments. Except for those last few moments, there is nothing much being lost in the acting department, because there is a flow which leads to that ending. Kseniya Kutepova is another solid female around here, as she leads her forces towards the possible victory against the impossible enemy. The non-human entities also have their moments with the performers being good.

How it finishes :: It is nice to be in contact with some Russian movies, which seem to be rising above Hollywood which is more or less depending on the same formula, even though not as much as Bollywood. Among such movies which don’t think about coming up with different ideas, this Russian film does seem to feel the need, and does manage to do things well enough. We all had our experience of lock-down and did hear about quarantine – this one does provide a similar kind of an effect even though for slightly different reasons. A little more care with the ending, and its ideology by the finish, would have surely made this movie very much closer to reaching the highest quality. But until then, The Blackout is there for some entertainment from the future, and it has those edge of the seat moments like some of those self-proclaimed fantastic action movies from Hollywood never really had. I would go for more of movies like this one.

Release date: 21st November 2019
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Egor Baranov
Starring: Elena Lyadova, Svetlana Ivanova, Pyotr Fyodorov, Konstantin Lavronenko, Aleksey Chadov, Kseniya Kutepova, Filipp Avdeev, Ilya Volkov, Artyom Tkachenko, Sergey Godin, Ksenia Kutepova, Anastasiya Venkova, Angelina Strechina, Aleksandr Nedorezov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Wandering Earth

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Earth can wander?

Vampire Bat: I have never known about Earth being a wanderer. Can it go to tourist destinations and see places?

Vampire Owl: This movie has Earth wandering around with he help of human technology to escape the solar system to save all life.

Vampire Bat: So, you mean to say that extinction is delayed in this case too.

Vampire Owl: Yes, this time it is the Chinese that saves the day.

Vampire Bat: So, after The Monkey King 2 and The Mermaid, it is time for another full-length Chinese movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and we haven’t had something like Interstellar, Gravity or The Martian in a very long time.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have missed space as well as the possible end of the world.

Vampire Owl: There are not many things that I have missed so much.

Vampire Bat: This one looks grand. So, it could assure fine quality science fiction during the possible end of the world.

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

What is the movie about? :: The Sun which is getting older is about to turn into a red giant and would engulf Earth’s orbit very soon, and this realization forces the world nations to form a United Earth Government, an act of unity which never happened in the long history of humanity. The plan here is to take Earth out of the Solar System to the Alpha Centauri system which is many light-years away, so that mankind can be saved from extinction which seems to be very close. For the same reason, grand thrusters known as the Earth Engines, are built across the planet to keep Earth moving, after stopping its rotation. Many people die due to grand tsunamis that occured after the rotation stopped. As Earth moved away from the sun using the newly formed Earth Engines, the surface was frozen, forcing the remaining people to live in huge underground cities. These areas were built near the engines to make sure that there is enough power.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As this plan to keep Earth moving for many years, almost taking one hundred generations to finish the mission, a young man named Liu Qi (Qu Chuxiao) takes his younger sister Han Duoduo (Zhao Jinmai) on a journey at the surface. It happens to be an unauthorized trip to the surface, but as they travel in a heavy transport vehicle using fake IDs from criminal gangs and also using their grandfather Han Zi’ang’s (Ng Man-tat) heavy vehicle clearance pass. But their journey is halted by the security forces who takes them to prison, and they are soon joined by their grandfather who tries to bribe the authorities to get them out. Liu Peiqiang (Wu Jing), Liu Qi’s father is an astronaut who is at an international space station that is supposed to help navigate the Earth on its journey that would last thousands of years, and also has DNA of animals and seeds of plants stored to ensure better life in the next solar system.

And what is to follow later in this tale? :: Liu Peiqiang’s mission in space is finally going to end and is all set to return to Earth after the Chinese New Year, and meet his son who has been very unhappy about leaving him behind. Liu Qi’s only happiness in the world is his adopted teenage sister Han Duoduo who was saved during the tsunamis by his grandfather. But the plans of a possible family reunion is soon destroyed, as huge earthquakes occur on Earth, as the planet has a gravitational spike during its journey close to it, instead of gaining a gravitational assist, and the Earth Engines are disables as a result. This would get Earth much closer to Jupiter, setting it on a collision course with the giant gas giant, which is many times bigger, and would mean the end of human life on all cities. With all the destruction around, the family escapes from the prison along with a fellow prisoner named Tim (Mike Sui) who is half-Chinese and half-Australian, as they get caught in a mission to save Earth. But can they do it and move Earth away from the largest planet in the solar system?

The defence of The Wandering Earth :: The movie does manage to have some good performances from Qu Chuxiao in the lead, Wu Jing as the father figure, Li Guangjie as the captain, Zhao Jinmai as the sister figure, Ng Man-tat as the grandfather figure, and others who support pretty well. But the movie is never that much about people, even though the emotional side is awakened at times, especially related to the family relations – the big advantage of the movie remains with the action-filled adventure set in the future, nicely managed in a world which is very well designed. There is a fine world that we see here, giving our eyes some beauty which is there to stay even after we finish watching the movie. The post-apocalyptic world is among the best, and the designs of the underground cities, the grand engines with the view of Earth and Jupiter, the new frozen world on the surface, and the message of hope are all nicely delivered. The thrills are delivered well.

The claws of flaw :: Even though the emotional touch is surely there, the characters remain underdeveloped, and the sister character, even though becomes one that catches our attention, doesn’t have that depth – the father-son relationship also struggles to move on, and the final sacrifice is the one thing that saves it, as its background remains too strained to be likable. There is also a certain amount of predictability related to that, and even with a new idea of using the Earth to go to another solar system instead of a spaceship to take people to another planet, the idea is not that much explored to the full potential. Even with the final attempt being something of zero chance of survival, when people go for it instead of supporting the survival of the species, one has to wonder what kind of astronauts and scientists are these people. At least the Artificial Intelligence did loss hope in mankind by then. This one surely needs a sequel to let us know how it goes after that fine finish, and I hope that it arrives soon.

How it finishes :: The Wandering Earth is undoubtedly the best Chinese full-length movie which I have watched so far, but it has to be noted that I haven’t watched many of those movies. It is a visually stunning spectacle which takes you on an apocalyptic as well as post-apocalyptic journey through a world which needs to be saved, and this is where the science fiction wears it action-adventure boots, and gets you on a thrilling adventure. It might not make you feel that it is entirely new inside, but what you see on the outside with its idea, is innovative. It might feel familiar at times, but also impressive, when you witness this grandeur on the screen. It is China’s third highest-grossing movie of all-time, and it might be their first full-scale space adventure, with apocalypse written all over it. Loosely based on the 2000 novel with the same name by Liu Cixin, the movie has you immersed in that world from the future.

Release date: 5th January 2019
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Frant Gwo
Starring: Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjiem, Ng Man-tat, Zhao Jinmai, Wu Jing, Qu Jingjing, Zhang Yichi, Yang Haoyu, Li Hongchen, Yang Yi, Jiang Zhigang, Zhang Huan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The First Purge

Vampire Owl: Do you remember those moments when this was first implemented in the werewolf territory?

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The day when werewolves brutally murdered each other.

Vampire Bat: How can I know? I am not spending my time looking at whatever happens in that territory.

Vampire Owl: Well, you should know that it was not that bloody as it would be if humans implemented it.

Vampire Bat: I know. Nobody I know is as blood-thirsty as an average human.

Vampire Owl: Because it is quite natural for them to be evil. They choose it with ease, while we are declared to be evil because we are undead.

Vampire Bat: I have never been that fond of their categorizations.

Vampire Owl: It is more or less, the divisions.

Vampire Bat: The divisions guide them towards eternal hate.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Arrowroot Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: We remember that the New Founding Fathers of America, a totalitarian political party, came into power after an economic collapse. There was the law that sanctioned an annual Purge for twelve hours each year, when all types of crime, including murder, would be legal, with emergency services being unavailable. It helped the United States to become nearly crime-free with the unemployment rate dropping to the lowest ever. Earlier movies had mentioned those families and people who struggled during these times to survive against the chaos which was unleashed. This movie goes a few years back from there, as there was the time when this was beginning to be attempted on a trial basis. This experiment would be taking place on Staten Island, which is the southernmost as well as the westernmost of the five boroughs of New York City.

So, what happens next? :: New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) members Arlo Sabian (Patch Darragh) and Dr. May Updale (Marisa Tomei) announce a social experiment which is to take place in the island. It proclaims the twelve hours of purge, an activity during which the residents could be involved in anything illegal, including, robbery, rape and murder. There is also the offer for the residents of the Island to have $5000 to stay in their homes during the experiment and also a suitable compensation for those who would be participating in the brutality. There would be no ambulance or police, and the criminals would be on the streets with those who wish to go illegal. The participants would have tracking devices and contact lenses with cameras, so that whatever activity they do, can be tracked, and some of them can be even shown in the television channels. There are also those drones which would be monitoring everything from the sky.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Among those who leads the purge is a drug addict known as Skeletor (Rotimi Paul) who also manages to draw the first blood with a brutal murder, and tries to follow up the same with raping women and murdering anyone whom he finds on the street. Nya (Lex Scott Davis), an anti-purge activist who fails to stop the experiment, joins her friends Dolores (Mugga), Luisa (Lauren Velez), and Selina (Kristen Solis) in a church which they find to be the safest place on the island. Most of the people in the church had decided to stay because they are very poor and the amount of 5000 meant that they could have three meals a day after a long time. Meanwhile, the purge keeps getting stronger on the streets, and Skeletor leads the kill count by randomly attacking purge parties held all around the island. It is then that the drug lord and Nya’s former boyfriend Dmitri (Y’lan Noel) finds out that there is something strange about the purge – then, things change.

The defence of The First Purge :: The human impulse to go towards savagery against civilization, continues to be shown in this purge movie too. We are reminded of humanity’s inherent evil, and the never-ending desire to be free by punishing and murdering others and having extreme joy out of it. The First Purge also boasts about a lot of action in store, and we can see the experiment in the lines of The Belko Experiment taking place here, with some bringing death and the others trying to survive. There is some intense action in the final stages of the movie, and there is he reflection of what the politicians and the government has always tried to achieve, to divide and rule people, as well as make sure that the poor are among the dead, more than any other category, thus lessening poverty, hunger and unemployment to a level which can be managed. The First Purge has that idea which has a lot of truth, and it meets our soul once again as it did with other Purge flicks.

The claws of flaw :: One might feel that this version of purge might be the weakest of all similar movies. With the idea already established, and three interesting movies already made, we would expect the franchise to do better this time, but it doesn’t, as long as this particular movie is concerned. The cast is also not that strong, even Lex Scott Davis stands above the rest, and Y’lan Noel does have his moments. With the purge, there is always the chance for further innovations, but this one stands behind in that case. There no further venturing into that idea which could gather a lot of appreciation if used in the best manner. As we have watched all other purge movies, this one has more of repetition rather than anything else. The atrocities committed with this purge could have portrayed further, with humanity’s nature being questioned in a stronger and shocking manner.

How it finishes :: The Purge franchise has made all of us think, and with The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year, we have all been thinking about its basic idea, and relate it to humanity, society and the inherent evil in man which forces one to achieve catharsis in one way or the other. In our world, we have bandhs and harthals were political goons try to destroy property and people stay at home fearing this. Further north, there have been communal violence and riots in the name of dead cows, and all of these are options for those who need to take law into their hand and commit all kinds of atrocities. The Purge has one tale to tell in a part of the world, and another somewhere else. The whole humanity is driven towards that idea which William Golding showed in the 1954 novel, Lord of the Flies – The inherent evil becomes the truth, and committing all kinds of atrocities can be done naturally by humans.

Release date: 4th July 2018
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Gerard McMurray
Starring: Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Steve Harris, Mugga, Christian Robinson, Lauren Velez, Kristen Solis, Marisa Tomei, Cindy Robinson, Patch Darragh, Maria Rivera, Chyna Layne, Siya, Melonie Diaz, Mo McRae, Rotimi Paul, Kevin Carrigan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Terminator: Dark Fate

What is the movie about? :: The movie is set after the events of Terminator: Judgement Day, as three years after defeating the T-1000 and preventing the unleashing of the artificial intelligence Skynet, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and John Connor (Jude Collie) are spending some time on a vacation far away from home, so that nobody can find them. They live with the feeling that there is no immediate threat from the future as they made sure that there would be no Skynet as the reason for the same no longer exists. Suddenly, another T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sent from the later time line before Skynet’s fall in the future, arrives and kills John in front of her. Meanwhile, with Skynet no longer a threat, the future is altered significantly, as in present time, two more people are sent from the future with assigned missions.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: An advanced Terminator model, the Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) is sent back in time to Mexico City with the mission of murdering one girl, and an a cybernetically-enhanced soldier Grace (Mackenzie Davis) is also sent to the present from the future to protect her. The two people from the year 2042 converge on one girl Daniella Ramos (Natalia Reyes) who is the new target. The machine kills her father Ramos (Enrique Arce) and brother Diego (Diego Boneta), but Grace manages to save her only to be attacked by the highly advanced terminator’s cybernetic endo-skeleton and shape-shifting liquid metal exterior, cornering them on a motorway. But they are saved by Sarah who arrives there in time, and sends the terminator to the backfoot, but fails to finish it off, as it moves to access the database to plan a more accurate attack.

And what else is to follow? :: With the terminator not on their direct trail as of now, Grace, Daniella and Sarah locks themselves in a room, and have a better understanding of the situation. Sarah has been hunting terminators who arrive from the future, as she would be texted their location from some unknown private number and coordinates which were also written above Grace’s abdomen. Grace comes from an altered future in 2042 in which there is no John or Skynet, but there is an advanced artificial intelligence known as Legion which was particularly designed for cyber-warfare. With Legion taking control of all servers resulting in a nuclear holocaust and the death of most of the population, the machines started hunting the surviving humans. With no food, shelter or hope to stand against the highly advanced machines, there is a new resistance, and Grace is a soldier who was seriously injured in a fight and was turned into a cyborg – now she has the toughest mission ahead!

The defence of Terminator: Dark Fate :: Arnold Schwarzenegger returning as the favourite Terminator never gets old, as it has had a great role to play in our childhood. With him returning, Terminator: Genisys was also a lot of fun. Here, the terminator stuff continues to be there with the same strength. There are those high powered and intense action sequences which are there throughout the movie. There are fights on the motorway, inside a factory, on a dam, and even in the air, with an airplane at the centre. The visuals are all nice, and there is also some humour with this one. The idea of the machines having a conscience is also there. The visions of a devastated future is nice, even though we have already seen things like that before, not just with Terminator movies, but with other action and science fiction titles. This movie does keep the Terminator franchise going well, and bring more sequels within this time line.

The claws of flaw :: We can see the case of repetition here, as the Terminator franchise struggles to add anything new to what was already there. There is the feeling that we have seen all these before, and we keep wondering if there would be different artificial intelligence systems known as Skynet, Genisys and Legion along with different people to be protected like John Connor and Daniella Ramos, known just by different names, varying only by ethnicity, gender etc. The idea is very close to expiry date if something innovate is not added – machines taking over the world and time travel are two very common things unlike how it was during the time of Judgement Day and Rise of the Machines. There is the need to take this to the next level with an advanced level of thinking rather than keeping the same thing happening again and again – maybe the time travel idea can be done with, and we can move to that future infested with deadly machines.

The performers of the soul :: Arnold Schwarzenegger once again carries another movie of the franchise on his shoulders – he has been doing this forever, except for being a very small part of the Christian Bale and Sam Worthington starrer, Terminator: Salvation. Arnold once again makes this movie better, and he never ceases to amaze us in the franchise. As he makes a return to the screen later in the movie, things get even more interesting. The same can’t be said about Linda Hamilton though, as her character and dialogues are badly written. Using the lines of the terminator, and fighting terminators at that age is absurd, unless you are a machine like Arnold plays. The character is too much of an exaggerated version, even though that can be added to some dumb fun. Mackenzie Davis is delightful to watch though, and she makes a great character, and fantastic during action sequences, proven from the first moment she lands. Natalia Reyes excels as the chosen, confused girl, even though not that much as the leader. Gabriel Luna makes another good terminator.

How it finishes :: The Arnold Schwarzenegger – Terminator childhood nostalgia should be the one thing that keep the audience here interested in the movie. But the audience is still limited, and in towns like Kothamangalam, there is zero female audience for this movie, as it was with movies like Aquaman – a surprising case which makes one wonder if the Hollywood movies except the Avengers stuff have been reduced to male audience in towns further away from Cochin. Well, if the focus was given on Arnold instead of getting Linda Hamilton more screen time, the problem would have been solved in this part of the world. After all, the effect that Arnold had created is greater than the same created by any other superstar has been creating these days. With Terminator: Dark Fate, it would have its audience for sure, and the same would have higher numbers in the multiplexes in the cities, as the Terminator franchise can grow from this with the new time line, moving towards the future.

Release date: 1st November 2019
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Tim Miller
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta, Linda Hamilton, Alicia Borrachero, Enrique Arce, Steven Cree, Tom Hopper, Jude Collie

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ghost in the Shell

Vampire Owl: Now my vision is clear. It was those ghosts. They did it!

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The ghosts stole the seashells which I had collected and stored near the warehouse on the beach.

Vampire Bat: No, you can’t blame the ghosts or Lich Queen’s zombies on this one.

Vampire Owl: Does that mean I can blame the werewolves? Or the witches?

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to blame someone because you lost a few seashells which are not at all valuable to the realm?

Vampire Owl: Because it is quite natural for them to steal from us. I wouldn’t tolerate being made a fool.

Vampire Bat: I got the feeling that Vampire Raven threw it back into the sea which he was cleaning the area. He was assigned to the beach.

Vampire Owl: What? That evil black bird! I told you that he was evil! Not that much as Vampire Crocodile, but still…

Vampire Bat: Just watch this movie and see what the ghost here is all about.

[Gets three cups of Wayanad tea with Patanjali Doodh Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A long way into the future, humanity has depended on science a lot, and has developed very much. There are a lot of enhancements available for the human body which involves the improvement of vision, hearing, strength, accuracy and intelligence, which are all available on the market for a price. In a godless world, it is science that decides every action of man, with more and more inventions coming up, and technology proving it to be endless in scope. It is that point of time when death by disease seems to be a difficult thing to happen as most parts of the body are replaced with ease. Hanka Robotics, which is world’s leading developer of human augmentative technology decides to take it one step further. In a world which has robots and Artificial Intelligence to do a lot of things, they come up with the idea to develop of a mechanical body termed as shell, that could integrate human brain and use it.

So, what happens next? :: Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche), a champion at what she does, is chosen to do this job. She is someone who is known to have done wonders with her research, and is the easy choice here. Now, there is the question of a volunteer, and it comes as a result of terror. Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson), a young lady who somehow survives a terrorist attack in which everyone in her family other than her is killed, is chosen to be the brain of the shell, with her body damaged in the attack beyond repair. It seems to work well, as the test subject awakens, and is able to talk and move without any problem. The CEO of the organization, Cutter (Peter Ferdinando) observes the progress which has been made with the shell and the resultant cyborg organism, and decides that this new creation should be used against terrorism as soon as possible. He considers her as their future, and their best hope against terrorists.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: After an year passes, Killian has become a Major in the anti-terrorist bureau Section Nine. Working along with the counter-terrorism operatives Batou (Pilou Asbaek) and Togusa (Chin Han) and under the command of Chief Daisuke Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano) she continues the hunt for terrorists, making amends for the death of her parents due to such an attack. Among those attacks which she and her partners have witnessed, there is one which looks rather strange, with robots going rogue for no reason and hacking into the mind of a Hanka employee. Even for the best of hackers, this seem unnatural, and she feels that there is something deeper regarding this. Despite the hallucinations that she keeps having, she decides to dive deep into the Artificial Intelligence of the robot, and there she finds an unknown entity, known only as Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt). But this entity is not human, or robot, or a hybrid – it is something that exists within. She needs to find more before time runs out.

The defence of Ghost in the Shell :: The action sequences are really good, and the visuals are a joy to watch; the movie is rich on the screen, and you can’t deny it at any moment – the world of the future is so nicely created that we keep looking at every detail carefully. Scarlett Johansson leads the way as the perfect choice for this protagonist. She seems to be doing what Mila Jovovich has been doing for Resident Evil and Kate Beckinsale has been working for Underworld. Looking so good, and removing all doubts about why she was cast in this role, she goes on to become the true ghost inside the shell – more than Black Widow in The Avengers and it’s sequel or those Captain America flicks. Along with her, the movie also has a tale which will have our attention very early. When the idea is also so good, we keep staring, and when every detail of the visual is that good, we just can’t stop admiring the awesomeness on the screen. Along with the same, the movie has its own twists; some people will come close to guessing the same, but it still counts as pretty good ones which adds to totality.

Positives and negatives :: Ghost in the Shell should feel a little short with how much it really has – there is the hundred percent need for a sequel as we wish to see Scarlett Johansson going through all the action again in a sequel which would take this away from its origin story mode where it is now. There will be shades of other movies, but everything in here is enhanced, and nothing dares to go a step down, which is the beauty of what we see here. I haven’t gone through the Japanese manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow on which this is based, and that should be left for the fans – I would just watch this movie and enjoy how good it happens to be. A movie which entertains as well as brings something to think about is a glorious watch. It is also for us to think about who is right and who is wrong, and how correct is all that we are thought to believe in – maybe there is hope outside the thought process or maybe there is none at all.

How it finishes :: Ghost in the Shell can be considered as one of the best movies of the year, easily rising above big flicks of huge franchises like Alien Covenant and Wonder Woman, and the same is done in style. It also successfully provides a message against the human desire to look better and have an easier life – science has made all these easier, but is humanity good enough to negate the harmful effects of technology? Well, we are already slaves to technology, and so the answer might be no already. In future, it is clearly stated that wars will be fought on science and technology, and there will be terror. While hoping that such a day will never come, we also get a look at how mind finally takes over in the battle against all odds. Well, let the mind power win, and go on to watch this wonderful action thriller which has no moment which will want you turn back and exit.

Release date: 31st March 2017
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Juliette Binoche, Michael Carmen Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han, Peter Ferdinando, Danusia Samal, Kaori Momoi, Lasarus Ratuere, Anamaria Marinca, Michael Wincott, Yutaka Izumihara, Tawanda Manyimo, Daniel Henshall, Rila Fukushima, Pete Teo, Yuta Kazama, Chris Obi, Adwoa Aboah, Tricky

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mortal Engines

What is the movie about? :: Far into the future, following an event which caused the destruction of most of Earth, cities exist here and there, with people and resources associated with them, and they move on wheels looking for options. Among them are the predator cities which feed on those smaller cities, capturing the people and taking their resources in a world which has nothing much left after that event which ended the normal flow of events. The big predator city of London chasing a small mining town is one of those events that is shown in the beginning itself. Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), the man in charge has things going his way, but all of a sudden, a masked lady comes from the group of the people from the captured town and stabs him, only to be stopped from doing the same again by Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), thus Thaddeus surviving with a wound which could be treated easily.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The woman is identified as Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) who wants to murder Thaddeus who was responsible for killing her own mother and giving her the scar on the left of her face. As she fails in doing the same, Tom chases her, but is thrown out of the city along with her by Thaddeus who suspects that he knows something about his secret past. The two are forced to team up and try to survive together in a world which has nothing to provide hope for people left alone. The scorched grounds leave them with no resources to survive, and they end up being captured by slave traders. While Hester is being displayed on stage and sold to the highest bidder, Anna Fang (Jihae), an outlaw who fights against Thaddeus shows up, and saves her from slavery. Hester escapes with Tom, but someone else shows up.

And what else is to follow here? :: Shrike (Stephen Lang), the last of an undead battalion of soldiers shows up and goes for Hester. Thaddeus counts on the undead soldier to kill her, while she continues running with Tom and Anna. Shrike will not stop until he gets what he wants. It turns out that there is more than what meets the eye about Thaddeus and his own daughter Katherine Valentine (Leila George) figures that out with the help of an apprentice engineer Bevis Pod (Ronan Raftery). There are more evil plans at work, and if they don’t figure out the same soon enough, there is going to be terrible consequences. Thaddeus has a weapon that can make the worst happen, and the seriousness regarding the same won’t be understood by most people, except for our protagonists – but will they be too late with this? Will London gain superiority over each and every other city?

The defence of Mortal Engines :: The visuals are the best thing about this movie. The post-apocalyptic world and the machines are amazingly good, and far above the quality of some of those other flicks which claim to be grand visual treat. The colours are very nicely used, and the world detail gets full marks. You will find the big explosions in the climax to be too good, visually as well as in relation to the sound effects. There are some fine action sequences, and the thrills are present throughout the flick. Even with all these in the front, there seems to be something that lies beneath – the idea about the rich and the powerful feeding on the poor, and the desire for more power and control. One can see how important war becomes, even after there was a destruction of the world which came so close to destroying humanity itself to be replaced by another species.

The claws of flaw :: People might want more to be explained with this movie, and more could have surely been shown directly. The story surely could have used more focus, and the whole world itself could have had some smart explanations. Even the predator cities could have had their parts shown more clearly, and the same could have been part of big fights with other cities all around the world – it would have made the audience more familiar with the idea before the whole thing developed further. Those who are not used to watching this kind of movies won’t be that comfortable – well, this is a movie which has released even outside the main cities, and so that could have helped a lot. The steampunk genre can always use more of everything, as the possibilities are endless that way – genres of fantasy, horror and historical fiction could have been here stronger.

The performers of the soul :: Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw is surely the one person who steals the show so well, not just with the action sequences, but also with those emotional moments – the scar or the red scarf that hides it elevates the level of her character with the looks itself. She does have a grand introduction too, as that sets the events of the movie going forward in a nice manner. Hugo Weaving plays a powerful villain here, and one has to love his plans regarding the world. Robert Sheehan just got a certain secondary level of job to do in comparison to Hera. Jihae makes some impact with the action scenes. Leila George plays her role in an interesting manner. Meanwhile, you will feel that Stephen Lang’s undead soldier Shrike might be the one character to remember for long.

How it finishes :: Mortal Engines, not to be confused with that terrible Mortal Instruments, will be another interesting visual treat full of action, which you just can’t ignore this weekend. With the other English movie of the weekend being The Possession of Hannah Grace, and Robin Hood already out of the equation, this one should be able to spend some good time out there. It boasts of coming from the makers of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and that is more than one reason to be hopeful about this particular flick. There is no doubt that it will provide some nice entertainment, and we can only be glad that a sequel can make this even better. Let us have more movies like this one, even better done. We remember Mad Max: Fury Road, and we know where it can go.

Release date: 7th December 2018 (India); 14th December 2018 (USA)
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Christian Rivers
Starring: Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, Stephen Lang, Colin Salmon, Mark Mitchinson, Menik Gooneratne, Mark Hadlow, Kee Chan, Sophie Cox, Caren Pistorius

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Quiet Place

What is the movie about? :: Years into the future, Earth has been taken over by strange creatures which has been murdering humans at will. They can be seen almost everywhere, ready to finish off any human that they can detect. These creatures which have hypersensitive hearing, attacks by listening to the noise, as they are blind. Due to their impenetrable armored shell along with the strength, speed and reflexes, the creatures have been almost impossible to kill, as they spread all around the world, leading to the near-extinction of mankind. There are only a few survivors here and there, and all of them are able to do nothing, but keep running with all that they can gather, and that too, without making any noise to ensure their survival in a world which brings death to the noise makers.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is during these times of trouble that the Abbott family which includes the couple – Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) along with their deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and sons Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward) go through the abandoned supermarkets of a town for supplies. The family is very careful that none of them makes any noise that can bring one of the creatures – they use sign language instead of talking so that there is no chance for trouble. As the little boy Beau is attracted to a battery-operated space shuttle toy, he couldn’t help giving it a try, and attracted by the noise, the creatures finish him off, despite Lee’s best efforts to save him from the terror.

And what is follow with the events? :: The family of four is traumatized by the event, and they decide to survive, as they live in the countryside with all preparations to make sure that no sound goes outside the house. They live in regret of not being able to save their family member, and comes close to distracting the creatures more than once, yet surviving through the situations well enough. But the problem arrives when the due date of pregnant Evelyn arrives, and they have to go through the whole thing without making a sound. The system that they had built is not without defects, and one small mistake could result in the death of all of them. With an enemy that seems to be invincible, and knowing whatever sounds they make, can they survive through these troubled times and maybe even provide a fight?

The defence of A Quiet Place :: The idea can be considered too good here, as we are taken to that world which follows a near-extinction event for humanity, with only a few survivors, and you see that death comes naturally, and life is eternally difficult. There is heavy intensity that we feel with this movie, and the horror is real, as it makes us feel so much, even the grief of the characters. The credit to the horror’s strength goes to silence, and what comes after it. There are the creatures being different and scary when we look at them visually, but it is the right use of special effects that brings glory to this one. The feeling of danger here is so real too, and each moment has the same – one wrong step, and you are gone; this one has such a low amount of hope than any other horror film with complete human extinction easily possible.

Positives and negatives :: There is certain mystery about the creatures, which can take all the terror further, but some people would still want more information related to them. We don’t know where they come from, if it is a Pacific Rim moment with them coming from under Earth or in space ships like Alien or Independence Day, and there is also the option of an incoming wave of demonic monsters from hell. There are not many dialogues in this movie, as the sign language seems to take over, but we have those subtitles which make sure that there is no problem. As silence is the master here, all those other sounds contribute to the story better than dialogues, and adds to the horror like no visual can, and it is a certain beauty of another kind. There is also the strength of family being depicted here, and the idea of sacrificing one’s life for the others and not giving up, can be seen right in the core of this movie.

The performers of the soul :: Emily Blunt leads the way in this one, and most of the viewers from this part of the world would remember her from Edge of Tomorrow, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Sicario and The Girl on the Train – very unlike those characters there, this one has her struggling for survival with her family. There are moments which some other actress couldn’t have done this well, but she excels here without displaying any signs of stepping back. John Krasinski has a touching performance here too, and with him being the real-life husband of Emily Blunt, the pair has no problem with facing the post-apocalyptic event as on-screen couple too. The two kids, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe make sure that they contribute very efficiently to the scheme of things.

How it finishes :: The movie’s simplicity is so much effective like no other usual horror film. Through the lines of 10 Cloverfield Lane, this one is mostly set within an area, and there is the possibility of terror being present all around. With some wonderful performances from every name on the list of actors, this one makes sure that John Krasinski who has also acted in this one, is one director that we need to trust, and the short one and half hours of the movie makes sure that there is no moment which goes wasted. The horror here feels real, artistic and innovative, and lets enjoy this divergence as we did with those other well-received horror movies like The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Don’t Breathe, It Follows and Lights Out. After some time, A Quiet Place makes sure that horror is alive, and there is more than one idea behind the genre. Why wouldn’t you watch this one at least now, a month and half after its release? The movie deserves it.

Release date: 6th April 2018
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward

<— Click here to go to the previous review. Click here for new Deadpool and Avengers.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deadpool 2

What is the movie about? :: Years after murdering the man who gave him the mutant superpowers the hard way in the first movie, Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is working as a mercenary, but on his own terms, while mocking Wolverine. He hopes to start a family with his girlfriend Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). But it is then that one of his targets whom he missed, manages to strike back, killing Vanessa in the process. Wade is quick to kill the man who is responsible for her death, and even tries to kill himself in an explosion; but he grows back as Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) takes him to join the X-Men, with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) not being fond of the not-so-superhero joining the team. But Colossus has him as a trainee and lets him join them on their very next mission.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After a vision of Vanessa, and trying to put his heart at the right place, he decides to help the X-Men to deal with a teenage mutant Russell Collins a.k.a. Firefist (Julian Dennison) who has gone violent at an orphanage for mutants. X-Men join with human soldiers to gain control over the mutant who is looking highly unstable. As Deadpool realizes that Russell was abused and tortured by the orphanage staff, he decides to help him, and ends up killing one of the staff members too, before being stopped by Colossus. Russell and Wade are taken to an isolated prison for mutants, known as Icebox. Collars are used to negate their powers, and without them, Wade slowly and steadily begins to go back to his previous state, with tumout growing inside him – he gets weaker than ever.

And what is follow with the events? :: It is then that a cybernetic soldier Cable (Josh Brolin) whose family is murdered by Russell in the future, travels back in time to kill him before he becomes that brutal murderer. Wade tries to defend Russell against Cable, but denies any attachment to him so that the boy could be safe inside the prison without him. Wade ends up outside the prison, and after having a vision of Vanessa again, decides to help Russell, no matter what happens. For the same, he assembles a team which he calls X-Force – Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Peter (Rob Delaney) and Vanisher (Brad Pitt) are hired to be part of the group, as they hope to stop the mutant warrior from future. But Russell has his own ideas to stop Cable, and it will not prove to be nice for the newly formed X-Force.

The defence of Deadpool 2 :: This one’s capability to bring some entertainment can never be questioned, especially with the comic side, and some action to go with it. You can see that it refers to movies in both Marvel and DC Universe, with references including the latter being so dark. The movie does have some nice main characters, other than its superhero and a kid who is conveniently placed in the middle of everything – it has one lady whose superpower is luck, and one of the most powerful mutants, along with a time traveler mutant warrior from the future – these two are of more strength than anyone else, and you can do nothing but to love them so much. Deadpool 2 is that kind of a movie which won’t apologize for its nonsense which is surely there, and is it is that kind of fun nonsense that we need to be prepared for, unlike our usual Thor: Ragnarok, Logan, Captain America: Civil War or Black Panther from Marvel.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Deadpool 2, just like Deadpool, is not the superhero movie for the kids and families – it just not the right kind of film. The violence and gore remains rather not that good, that too with the whole thing being censored to arrive at this level. Unlike the other superheroes, Deadpool is surely that kind of a person whom we can’t admire – he is that selfish hero in one way or the other, that we need to see dead; but he just doesn’t. This movie surely has no real respect for anyone either, and that is reflected on the character as well as the dialogues of the main character. Some of the dialogues which seem to be close to being funny never really gets there, and there are those jokes which go wandering away, leaving no effect at all. The action sequences could have been better too, and the emotional side struggles, thanks to some stupid dialogues in between.

The performers of the soul :: The movie is about the two people more than anyone ele – these two have played two big characters on the big screen in two different movies. Ryan Reynolds has been Green Lantern before, and it is that DC Universe that he makes fun of in this movie as Deadpool. Then there is Josh Brolin whom we last saw as Thanos, and here he is, as Cable, in the same Marvel Universe. Both of them are really good, making this movie better than what it really is, with its low level plot that doesn’t raise the bar. Zazie Beetz is great fun in this movie, and you also love Brianna Hildebrand who has less time on the screen, but has that special effect when there. Morena Baccarin is another actress whom we wanted to see more here, and as lovely as she is here, there is only less time for her to show here skills. The rest of the cast is just mostly okay.

How it finishes :: Deadpool was never known to be the superhero that someone would wish to admire for anything other than saving the day. Being a rather selfish hero, this one was never supposed to appeal to the usual superhero admirers – even with that selfless act added in the end. There seems to be no real attempt to make this one feel better than the first movie, and there is certainly no special ingredient added to it. But we can safely say that it will provide some entertainment with the funny side and the action that comes with it. The family audience will surely have to choose Avengers: Infinity War over this one or one of those Malayalam movies in the theatres. Well, the ‘A’ certificate is sure to make that happen easily.

Release date: 18th May 2018
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Stefan Kapicic, Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Bill Skarsgard, Rob Delaney, Brad Pitt (cameo)

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

A flashback to the first movie :: The story of Pacific Rim had its focus at the area where about 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 81% of the world’s largest earthquakes occured, and it was discovered that something more was responsible for the same. Then came the giant alien creatures attacking Earth after coming in through an inter-dimensional portal located at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. As it was discovered that these creatures named Kaijus would keep coming, and no wall could stop them, there were massive robotic machines called Jaegers constructed to combat the threat. These machines were too huge and complicated that each Jaeger had to be controlled by two or more people who shared the load inside the machine. They were connected by a neural bridge in a process called “drifting” through which they shared their minds with the machine. With Jaegers getting destroyed faster than they are built, they needed to stop the attacks by closing the bridge.

What is the movie about? :: Years have passed after the pilots of the iconic Jaegar Gipsy Danger Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) using the jaegar’s nuclear reactor to seal the breach through which the creatures passed through. There hasn’t been a Kaiju attack for a very long time, and former Jaeger pilot Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), son of Kaiju War hero and martyr General Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) makes a living by stealing and selling old Jaeger parts on the black market. But him, along with the teenager Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) are arrested for their illegal work with Jaegars. In return for being set free, he is forced to begin training Jaeger program recruits with his former co-pilot, Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), and Amara who has knowledge of Jaegers is also taken into the programme as new recruit for pilot training.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: As the Jaeger training continues hoping to battle any possible return of the Kaijus or any alien creature from another planet or dimension, the programme itself is threatened by the Shao Corporation’s remotely controlled giant drones idea lead by Liwen Shao (Jing Tian) and supported by scientist Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day). There is the plan to get more giant robots controlled from a safe location, without the need for neurally compatible pilots risking their lives in battle. But Mako is doubtful about the possibilities of such an idea, as the system could be hacked with long distance signals responsible for success and defeat in combat. But before she is able to submit her final report about the possibility of such a programme, an unexpected event occurs, which brings the twist to the proceedings.

And what else is to come? :: It is then that a rogue Jaeger, Obsidian Fury attacks the city, and kills Mako along with many other civilians, and causing destruction to the city. Gipsy Avenger, the spiritual successor to Gipsy Danger controlled by Jake Pentecost and Nate Lambert manages to hold on against the far advanced design of Obsidian Fury, before the rogue Jaegar retreats with the arrival of the other Jaegars, Saber Athena, Bracer Phoenix and Guardian Bravo. This leads to a quick approval of the drone programme, and the first group of drones are deployed faster than they intended to be. But it turns out that the drones are not on their sides, as they are quick to get rid of the cannons and attack the Jaegers at the base of operations. As Gipsy Avenger finally finds and defeats Obsidian Fury, there is a secret revealed, and it is not sweet, or positive for humanity and its continued existence, as extinction threatens.

The defence of Pacific Rim: Uprising :: Despite missing this year’s Academy Award winner Guillermo del Toro at the helm, this movie has held its ground – even after not matching the first flick, this one has enough to make it better than any transformers movie that has released in the last few years including the last one. The detailing on the screen remains nice, even though not as much as the previous movie which had better quality there. The action sequences are more though, as it is where the movie focuses the most, along with a few twists in between; special effects are great without doubt. The robots look nice, and the Kaijus, even though are present for lesser time than they used to be in the first movie, keeps us further interested. The movie is even lighter than its predecessor, and makes it more for the families. There is also some good acting and fantastic visuals to go with it, plus we also have a final scene that calls for a possible sequel.

The claws of flaw :: There is no chance to match the Guillermo del Toro vision of Pacific Rim, as Pacific Rim: Uprising surely falls short with its content. This kind of a comparison was always expected to be done, and we see that the same strange beauty and smartness is not displayed in this one which just follows the route to make the best out of the success of the first flick. There are more robots, but none of them matches the first movie’s Gipsy Danger, Crimson Typhoon, Cherno Alpha and Striker Eureka. The story also trails in comparison to the first movie, and those moments of goosebumps are missing this time. The movie is also very less about its characters this time, and the neural bridge never really gets the attention as it used to get, and repetitions can be seen. This one requires the possible third movie to take it to the next level, and lets hope that Guillermo del Toro plays a bigger role in that one to make sure that this franchise gets a big boost, as we need it as much as they do.

How it finishes :: Pacific Rim continues to do what Transformers movie franchise could have done better. I have found this one to be even better than the big hyped superhero movie, Black Panther. It is something that has the core in Guillermo del Toro’s grand vision, and due to the same, we will always enjoy a movie in this series. It is sure to make Transformers fans jealous, and lets hope that the franchise with autobots and decepticons will take something out of this movie to make those talking robotic aliens make the best use of its resources rather than repeating its events. With all its big action sequences and special effects, we won’t be able to wait for a third movie for very long; we are sure that there can be more – but even this sequel had taken about five years and so, lets hope that we have the next one before we are out of the robotmonster effects witness on the big screen. Until then, enjoy Pacific Rim: Uprising as the big entertainer that it successfully manages to be. Who needs Independence Day when we have these?

Release date: 23rd March 2018
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Steven S DeKnight
Starring: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman, Adria Arjona, Zhang Jin, Charlie Day

<— Click here to go to the previous review & more.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Tell Me How I Die

Vampire Owl: This looks more like one of those “death-star” experiments from Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: Well, he doesn’t work with the humans anymore, and so this can’t be his work.

Vampire Owl: I never understand what he meant by “death-star” though. Isn’t that a Star Wars thing?

Vampire Bat: Well, he is the star and others die. That could be one of the reasons.

Vampire Owl: I certainly wish that it was the other way around.

Vampire Bat: A dead Frankenstein is surely not a good Frankenstein, especially when he returns again. So, you can stop thinking about it that way.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that he has traveled beyond the boundaries of life already.

Vampire Bat: He has even told me how you die.

Vampire Owl: What? That is impossible. I would prove him wrong.

Vampire Bat: Which is why he mentioned only about Lady Death being involved.

[Gets three cups of self-made tea with Good Day biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A group of youth from different parts of the state comes together at a medical facility for the drug trials, which turns out to be the easiest way to make some quick money. They get all the facilities until the trials end, but till then, they are not supposed to leave the facility or communicate through mobile phone to anyone. Anna (Virginia Gardner), a waitress looking for better options and more money also joins the team of young people at the facility. The other people participating in the experiment includes Den (Nathan Kress), Kristen (Kirby Bliss Blanton), Marcus (Mark Furze), Scratch (Ryan Higa) and others. They are told that they can choose to leave before taking the drug, but will not be allowed to leave the premises once they take the required dose. The officials confirm that this restriction is placed for their own safety because there is the possibility of some strange side-effects.

So, what happens next? :: This drug which could be unsafe, has some of the testers in doubt, but these experiments have already been done before, and people have walked out; there is also the presence of specialists, which meant that precautions were enough. So, everyone in the group decides to take the drug and enjoy the facilities provided there. Kristen and Marcus are the first two people to feel the effects of the drug, as they see the future, or rather go through it, to come back to the present again. They are confused, with their life repeating before them more than once. But they go and see those in charge, and are assured that this is quite normal and natural after taking the drugs. Only some people in the group are expected to have these effects on them, and so the two are told not to speak about this to anybody else, as they awaited more results.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Anna is the next one to see the future, but this goes further as she sees each and every person among them dying a horrible death. But the result is that she is sedated and tied up so that there is no panic among the others. Meanwhile, Den, Kristen, Marcus and Scratch plans and escapes from the facility, only for Den to make them come back for the others, especially Anna, who might all die inside there if the vision Anna had indeed was about future. Their worst fear comes true as the others are killed by a stranger. Anna manages to get herself free from the restraints and they unite, except for Scratch who never got back inside. Anna keeps having visions of them being killed, and Scratch finds something which he was not supposed to find. They discover that Dr. Jerrems (William Mapother) who is in charge had locked himself inside a bunker, and the serial killer on the loose is someone who was earlier experimented on, and now he wants revenge on everyone.

The defence of Tell Me How I Die :: We have another tale of people being used for testing drugs having unexpected effects on the volunteers. The idea is expanded cleverly here, and with the interesting developments in the first half, gets our attention right where it needs to be. We are given the license to expect the terror to be unleashed in one way or the other. With its limited resources, the movie has surely done well enough, one has to admit – there is nothing that big being tried here, and we notice the same easily. Even for a movie that is not known to have that much of a budget, this one does look good – there is nothing to blame visually here. The movie also has the potential to develop its main character in such a way as to make a big serial killer out of it with a possible sequel. Kirby Bliss Blanton whom we know from The Green Inferno, and the protagonist Virginia Gardner are the pick of the cast here.

The claws of flaw :: What we feel the first time after watching this movie is that it had so much scope with its idea, and the basic thing could have been explored further. There is even a serial killer, the villain who is on rampage, and he gets his kills so easily – but the movie doesn’t bring him as a scary figure or try to make him a character whom nobody is going to forget. There could have also been a better way of seeing future, and the same could be used to bring effectiveness to the cat and mouse game between the killer and his possible victims. There is also an ending which is not that effective, and we have a certain amount of confusion about how things turn out in the end. We demand more, without doubt, especially after everything is set up nicely with a sequence of events – we ask for scares, and big twists which can turn things upside down as the core is revealed, but the choice taken here is not to do anything special and just go on, which is rather surprising.

How it finishes :: There has been many experiments which have been the theme of movies like Ex Machina and Morgan, but both those movies were about creating something new, while this one is focused on enhancing human abilities. Once again, we have people trying do the strange and the unpredictable in the name of science, crossing some areas which were not supposed to be crossed. Tell Me How I Die is going to be just another one of those stories which will have our attention, and keep going through the same. It will be an interesting choice for some time-pass, and maybe it will have us watching more of similar movies again. After all, the world is never really that short of such ideas. There are always smaller movies which tries to get through with an interesting idea – you can surely add this one to that list of movies which try to do more with what it got.

Release date: 2nd September 2016
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: D.J. Viola
Starring: Virginia Gardner, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Nathan Kress, Ryan Higa, Mark Furze, Ethan Peck, William Mapother, Marnie Alexenburg, Mark Rolston, Katie Booth, Christopher Allen, Shaun Brown, Julia Ling, Daisun Cohn-Williams, Barry Habib

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@ Cemetery Watch
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