Resident Evil VI

Vampire Owl: I am pretty much not in support of this franchise.

Vampire Bat: What? But you do like this kind of action, and praised the first movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but this is becoming a little too much. Too many zombies are being killed, and my team of zombie minions have given a petition.

Vampire Bat: And what was the petition about?

Vampire Owl: It was about saving the remaining zombies of the Resident Evil by an airlift.

Vampire Bat: But they are brainless zombies and this is a movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but killing so many zombies is nothing more than racism leading to genocide.

Vampire Bat: But they are just infected humans mutating into zombies.

Vampire Owl: In the end, there is no real difference, you know.

Vampire Bat: Okay, you can accept the petition and decide to watch this movie only in parts.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with special dosa].

What is the movie about? :: Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up in the ruins of the White House, after being betrayed by Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) again. She is attacked by the Umbrella employees as well as giant flying creature which seemed to have taken the mutation to another level. Once again on the wrong side of success, it is The Red Queen (Ever Gabo Anderson) who appears in front of her and gives her the clue on how to save humanity, and build a future that seemed near impossible some time ago. It means that Alice has to returned to where it all started in the first movie of the franchise, to the Hive in Raccoon City within forty eight hours, as the Umbrella Corporation has successfully developed an airborne antivirus, which has the power to kill each and every organism infected by the T-virus – but there is only those two days left before the last human settlement is destroyed.

So, what happens next? :: Alice, despite the fear that this particular antidote will kill her too, decides to make this journey to end all of these, and after fighting through Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) and his team that captures her, goes through to reach a human settlement which has managed to keep the undead creatures away until now. There she is captured by the team of Doc (Eoin Macken), Abigail (Ruby Rose), Christian (William Levy), Cobalt (Rola) and Razor (Fraser James) who don’t believe her until her old friend Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) shows up as part of the group, once again alive and ready for battle. The group makes a stand against the group of armored vehicles and the army of undead lead by Alexander and defeats them, although Cobalt is killed and the man in charge of the Umbrella operations escape. Soon, more of similar groups seem to be coming in their direction.

What is to follow in this final chapter? :: With almost no defence left against the bigger horde which is to follow, Alice decides to go to the Hive, and the rest of the group decides to go with her. There they will face more horror, starting with the mutated dogs which kill Christian. It will be followed by more, and Red Queen will reveal something else to the group, a secret that will show the true nature of the Umbrella Corporation which has always wanted to play God, and deal with the people whom it considered to be below them. The Red Queen reveals that even though it could never hurt an Umbrella employee, it was also programmed to value and protect human lives, which is why it is helping Alice to get into the Hive and get her hands on the anti-virus; after all, she is the only who seems to have the skill and capability to do the same, as she has proven many time before. But with only a few minutes of time left, can Alice do what she needs to do?

The defence of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter :: This movie continues what the franchise has been doing for so long, with all the action going on, and those zombies hungry for more coming after the survivors. This movie is also the best reviewed one in this franchise by the critics, which do seems strange – maybe they considered the fact that this is the last movie of the franchise, and they will have to review the movies of the series no more; still this improved opinion can be taken in consideration for the defence of this movie, as this final flick is not that far behind in action at any point of time. Milla Jovovich is at her best with what she does, and as Kate Beckinsale does to the Underworld franchise, she makes things work so well, and seeing Ali Larter again adds to the happiness. This time, people have reason to fight, and so the battles go great. The world also remains really good, and the post-apocalyptic setting has us a lot interested, and the same can be said about the return to the underground facility where all started in the first movie.

The claws of flaw :: One would be surprised to see so much of repetition in this movie, as the whole thing just seems to go on and on rather than bringing something out of the box in a last movie, for which the franchise will be remembered for long – we can’t really say that this will stay the last movie for long though, considering that ending which doesn’t really end the whole thing, with scope always there for a new beginninng out of this. Those who have played the video games might have wanted more, and the same is the case of those people who were already planning to not like this movie. The character of Claire is underused, and some of the best characters from the franchise, Jill Valentine played by Sienna Guillory, Ada Wong played by Li Bingbing, Chris Redfield played by Wentworth Miller and Leon S. Kennedy played by Johann Urb were not there, and we could find no clue of what happened to them, which is real disappointment, as a movie fan as well as a gamer. It could have also used better twists in there.

How it finishes :: This is a franchise that has been entertaining us since 2002, and fifteen years later, with six movies to boast about, the whole thing is finally coming to an end. This series which started with Resident Evil went on to bring Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Resident Evil: Retribution and now, finally Resident Evil: The Final Chapter to finish off the big video game’s movie adaptations. The games have a total count that is going to touch thirty, sooner or later, and I am pretty sure that we are not done with that – I particularly remember Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and along with Silent Hill, this is another survivor horror game adaptation that I have close to my heart; this might not be among the best movies of the franchise, but still, after Need for Speed, Hitman: Agent 47 and Warcraft in the last three years, another action-filled and interesting video game adaptation is here.

Release date: 27th January 2017
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, William Levy, Iain Glen, Lee Joon-gi, Fraser James, Rola, Ever Gabo Anderson, Matthew Santoro

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nerve

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Vampire Owl: I was playing this online game. You should also try it.

Vampire Bat: Don’t you know that I no longer try these things?

Vampire Owl: But this is very much interesting.

Vampire Bat: I have gone through many more interesting things in the past.

Vampire Owl: You know, there is this game. You get missions, and you need to finish them.

Vampire Bat: It sounds familiar.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it should. There are so many people playing this game. Look, there is even Mr. Werewolf Anger playing it.

Vampire Bat: This reminds me of a movie.

Vampire Owl: This game is more than that.

Vampire Bat: Just watch this movie, and you will know.

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

What is the movie about? :: Venus Delmonico (Emma Roberts), known to her friends as just “Vee”, spends her time with a small group of friends in an island outside the limits of the city. She wishes to leave her home for studying further in the city but doesn’t want to leave her mother alone after the death of her brother. Venus’ best friend is Sydney (Emily Meade) who is a popular girl around, thanks to an online reality game which goes by the name Nerve. In this popular game which has its gamers enlisted as players or watchers, the latter assigns tasks to the former, and accomplishing the same will bring money and fame to those involved. There is always the chance to become more and more famous in the online world, and this opportunity to become popular is used by most of the youth who has nothing better to do with their life. It is a network which keeps getting bigger and bigger.

So, what happens next? :: This game collects one’s personal data and comes up with three rules: all objectives are to be recorded on the player’s mobile phone, all of the earned money are to be revoked if a player fails or declines a dare in the middle of it, and a player is also not to report anything related to the game to the law enforcement. But the real names of the players are never revealed to the public. It remains anonymous, but the game knows everything. Venus who is rejected by her crush J.P. (Brian Marc) as Sydney proposes in her name, decides to become popular like her and the lover who never happened to be one. The one option that seemed to be easy for her, is to get to play Nerve as a player, and be watched by millions of players all around the world, and the two top players with the most points also get to battle each other to win the game.

So, how do things go from here? :: Her first mission, what they call in the game as dare, is to kiss a random stranger at a diner for five seconds. Venus chooses to kiss Ian (Dave Franco), who spends his time reading her favorite book, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. He sings to her revealing that he is also playing Nerve. Interested in the two, the watchers add the dare to go together into the city. But things only get complicated after that, with newer dares added – there are more difficult ones coming, and with the total number of viewers, Venus and Ian gets to the top two places, much to the dismay of Sydney who was the star in their circle. Jealous of Venus being popular than her, Sydney attempts to take more risks, and almost falls to her death. But the watchers are not finished, and they have more plans for the players – will Venus go on or quit? What is the past that Ian is hiding? How will Sydney react to this?

The defence of Nerve :: There is a fast-paced thriller in store in the form of Nerve – there is no dull moment, and from the moment this movie begins, to the end, we are cent percent interested in what is to happen next. The movie also nicely presents the terrible beauty which is present in the form of another reality online, which has caused more trouble in the last few years than during any other period of time – the message is surely to unplug from that different mirage of a reality which is not really anything close to even a distant reality. The thrills are working without doubt, and that too continuously here. What works more than the rest is certainly the pair of Emma Roberts and Dave Franco – the former manages to work the role of the teenager who wishes to bring the attention really well, and the latter with more or less the same motive – not only does the watchers of the game find them a good pair, as the audience of this movie must feel the same too. The movie also looks great on screen.

The claws of flaw :: Nerve could have surely been darker and more threatening with its world, for we all know that the reality about the virtual world can only get much more worse as time progresses – after all, we are having a generation that is interested only in pleasing others, and getting more and more attention, no matter what happens to their own people. Even as it is based on a 2012 novel of the same name by Jeanne Ryan, there could have been more dares added into this one, along with more freaky incidents happening – as a movie, it could have used all that, even though nothing can be said about the book without having read it. The movie could have also used a few faces for Nerve, and justice could have been better served to those unknown names using the game. The scope was further for this movie, and we could have always had a bigger and darker thriller with this one going a safer path.

How it finishes :: Nerve is clearly a reflection of what happens in the current world which is dominated by all kinds of social media which begins from Facebook and Twitter. The strength of online games is another thing which is visible. In a world which has been so much affected by an online world which affects the reality in a way which makes it too difficult to come back, Nerve has a message for each one of the viewers. Nerve is the kind of movie that is certain to make one think, and it is a clear reflection on how bad a simple game can get, and how much lawlessness can be present online – it doesn’t really matter how good or educated a person is, as it is eternally easy to be evil without a face; the movie shows exactly that! As we see all those online abuses happening all around, you know that the nature of the internet is bringing the worst out of people on most occasions. Nerve is just its next stage. Lets be prepared for the worst to happen.

Release date: 27th July 2016
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Juliette Lewis, Machine Gun Kelly, Miles Heizer, Kimiko Glenn, Samira Wiley, Ed Squires, Brian Marc, Eric D’Alessandro, Marc John Jefferies, Casey Neistat

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Commando

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Today, something exceeded the expectations of the Vampire Bat. No, it was not that line of expectations built with continuous gunfire by the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie of the same name, nor was it that thinner line of thread woven by that arachnid of my favourite computer games of those “twenty four hour gaming” days – Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. With undeserving apologies to all those who misunderstood, this is a Hindi movie, product of Bollywood with a difference. Coming back to that arachnid about which I was talking about, this one belongs to its genre, even as this is no game to be controlled by the audience, but it is still one in its essence. It is surely one of the best action movies – I would rather leave a little doubt about saying it though, as this is not the kind of comparable action movie, for it has brought variety with it which makes it different. No, it doesn’t make it a pariah to the action-adventure-thriller group of genre. It is the same, but it has actually held on to what it is, unlike most of the Bollywood movies which strays away from the core or concentrate on too much shooting or slow motion melee combats which are more intolerable than all the over hyped movies like Agneepath and Krissh which went on to become super hits only on fans – but our movie is a silent killer, and the film itself is a commando as well as a hit-man.

As we move out of the nonsense which was Krissh and the void which was Agneepath, this movie takes over. In a world where movies can sell the nonsense of nothingness in a void with one celebrity, this movie is a boon and a redeemer. But it is still not the right product for your imagination on perfection. First of all, it doesn’t have a powerful story line to boast about. It starts off, goes on and ends with no surprises – it surely has no rocket fuel in it. There are also so many elements which can be compared to Tango Charlie (the least similarity), Koyla, Agneepath and Bodyguard. The story moves along predictable lines, and the element of suspense is missing even in the most thrilling moments. The story of Captain Karanvir (Vidyut Jamwal), a commando begins with him in Chinese captivity. As the Chinese government tries to take advantage of the situation, and brands him as an Indian spy, the Indian Government feels the pressure and chooses to simply deny his existence, despite of the fact that he has proved on multiple occasions as a valuable asset to the military forces, and in spite of his superior officer’s strong comments against it.

He escapes from China and on his way back, at the Himachal – Punjab border, he meets and saves a girl, Simrit (Pooja Chopra) who is escaping from gundas. Amrit Kanwal Singh (Jaideep Ahlawat) is the master and the owner of all illegal activities of the village, and it is from his wish to marry Simrit that all the trouble for the girl starts with her running away from home with the support of her helpless parents and relatives. Karanvir is forced by Simrit to accompany her in the bus to which he reluctantly agrees. But, the bus come up against a roadblock and finding himself outnumbered and nowhere to escape, he surprises and kicks the villain and jumps off the bridge with Simrit into a river, finally ending up in a forest. But finding himself embarrased by the former commando, Amrit Kanwal Singh decides to pursue them and make an example out of Karanvir so that he can keep the fear in the minds of the villagers going, as his failure would raise questions from the oppressed, and might lead to a challenge to his supremacy which he doesn’t want. There begins the high-voltage chase with a few moments of romantic touch. There, the numbers game of the cruel and brutal villain will meet the commando tactics of the trained hero, and it is a situation where there could be only one winner.

The movie belongs to Vidyut Jamwal, and there is no surprise in it. It was much expected with his first movie as the leading actor and with him placed in his familiar territory of powerful action and adventure. His roles in Thuppaki and Billa II as well as Force might have been incredibly negative, but here, he his a virtuous, patriotic commando of “rough and tough” chivalry. He has transformed from the powerful evil antagonist to the popular lead protagonist in this movie. That brings to us our new action star, already hailed as the next action hero. It does make one curious about what his role would be, in the upcoming action flick, Bullett Raja. This can’t help taking one back to Force, that 2011 Bollywood action movie directed by Nishikanth Kamath and starring John Abraham with Genelia D’Souza in the lead roles. As Vidyut Jamwal played the dreaded gangster, he was a force to reckon with, and his fight with John Abraham was the highlight of the movie. The confrontation between the two left the audience with a clue of what to expect from this rising star, whether they liked the movie or not. A movie with him and John Abraham on the same side would be a treat to watch, even as the verdict on this movie itself is currently on the balance with the side of success weighing much more.

The advertisement said that it is from the makers of Force and Singham, and we would never cease to see a few things of the former in this movie. Taking the “Khwabon Khwabon” song of teh John Abraham starrer itself, the background of that song would seem to be similar to that of the first romantic song of this one too, as only the audible side differs as well as the pairs. The other major difference would be that the hero of this movie had separated the other pair by murdering the lady in the other movie – so much for comparisons! But when you see a poster of Force, and later Vidyut Jamwal throwing a gunda through it and coming out through it, there is that feeling that we have another John Abraham in him. It wouldn’t be strange if one feels that the looks of John Abraham in that movie was also suited to the role of a commando. Coming back to Vidyut Jamwal, he conquers the audience more by the action sequences than anything else – to add to it, there are the one-liners, a few of them. To be frank, this was never a role which he couldn’t handle, as this commando is of best quality, and even if questions are asked and criticized, there is not much to take away from this man as an action hero of the highest quality.

From our skilled action hero, the scene has to shift, and we see that Pooja Chopra has a dream debut, playing a character of mighty significance, even if being the damsel in distress is the first thing to be noticed about her. Technically, it might not be her debut either, but on the intellectual ground of thoughts, it should be. Considering this as an action movie, the songs and the romantic side are of lesser concern, and might even damage the pace, but her character doesn’t really have that strong a romantic side, as she faces adversity and tragedy – but there is the presence of lighter moments. As the lady who never gives up, not when she is haunted by a villain and his minions, and not even when all hopes seems to have lost with the commando thrown down the cliffs, she hold on to the hopes, for the one “Karan”, like the mother hopes for Karan and Arjun in that movie which shall not be named right now. She is brave enough, but not George Bernard Shaw’s Joan, and also is the romantic one, but not William Shakespeare’s Juliet – but this is as much as needed in an action movie as long as the romance factor is concerned; in the charm, beauty and the innate cheerfulness, she conquers the hearts of the audience, and for a newcomer, and for non-action heroine in an action movie, she has done more than just enough.

Jaideep Ahlawat’s villain is as close to pure evil as possible for a weak man who always needs his minions all around him to support him and save him from a possible attack – more of the damned causing distress rather than our beautiful, gorgeous damsel in distress. His white eye balls which resemble the moon-blinked eyes of the Owls of Ga’Hoole seem to reflect his soul’s emptiness, its darkness eclipsing the outer eyes. He is a deadly force – more psychotic than anything else, matched only by the power of his nemesis. The beauty of nature, the sun rising, the beams of the sun getting into the forest, the river with the green background and the white mountains at a distance, they all create a feeling of beautiful mystery – where the commando is the predator for the villain’s team, for this time, the roles are reversed. For such an action hero, this reversal is a boon. The movie is recommended for being faithful to its genre in a remarkable manner, and for the people who search for the story lines of extreme depth and strong innovation, there will be other movies – for the ones searching for a heavy does of emotions which make them rain tears, there will be many more. For now, there is our own risk taking, gravity defying, rock solid commando who is in a familiar territory.

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Release date: 13th April 2013
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Dilip Ghosh
Starring: Vidyut Jamwal, Pooja Chopra, Jaideep Ahlawat, Jagat Rawat, Ishita Vyas
@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Hansel and Gretel

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We have had the darker versions of fairy tales, one each in the last two years – Red Riding Hood in 2011 and Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012. The latter getting better reviews than the former was a strange a thing just like this one getting negative reviews – this is astrange world for sure. The one thing which might be agreeable to the fans of all three movies might be that none of them really made an impact on the critics like they did on the box-office. While Amanda Seyfried lead the way in the former, it was the antagonist Charlize Theron who made the impact in the latter. But, here comes Hansel and Gretel, which surely is a much better watch; and a clear winner as a creation of dark fantasy.

It did remind me of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but our good re-telling of the old fairy tale happens to do better by a long way. Then once again, the critical reception might favour the wrong movie even as it is marginal. But trusting someone else who doesn’t know your taste is the worst mistake you can do. I almost made the same mistake, but I could see beyond it, as Ghost Rider 2, the worst Hollywood movie to reach the theatres of India in the last two or three years had more approval than some of those above average movies. This might have been a little long introduction, but it was strange to see that the shows of Hansel and Gretel were cancelled and I had to wait for days to watch it. Therefore, forget the critical ratings; and may be ask your friends who share your interests, and go for the movie.

The Grimm Brothers had given the world the story of two kids who outsmarted a witch; a story which was one of my favourites during childhood. After saving themselves from an abusive step-mother and the evil witch, these children do live happily ever after, as I can recollect. It is absolutely correct until the death of the witch in the movie too. But then comes the “living happily” part, which is a little existential in character. They are witch-hunters – professional ones; one of them is diabetic and the other one is later found to be a ” ” (it is a twist and there will be no spoiler here). But still, they might have found fun in doing their job – it is athletic and they get good payment for it. There is the possibility of ending in a witch’s cauldron or simply as a corpse, but considering what people do these days for attention, I would say that witch-hunting is not that horrible unless that witch got too many fans on facebook. Vampire bats do that often in the dreams.

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton are the grown-up versions of the awesome little ones, who have dedicated their lives to fight the evil: to save the world from the broomstick-riders who fly better than some of the airlines. Hansel and Gretel start the latest adventure by preventing the town’s Sheriff Berringer from executing a young woman who is accused to be a witch (has the same name Mina – reminding of Mina Harker) after the siblings were hired by the mayor to find and bring back a number of children believed to be abducted by witches. Berringer hires his own men who are killed by a powerful witch, Muriel in the dark woods. The one who is left alive doesn’t last long with a curse for the hunger of crawling things.

Hansel and Gretel discover that the witches are preparing for the notorious ritual of Blood Moon, which requires sacrificing six boys and six girls with certain peculiarities.  The town is attacked by Muriel and her minions, which include a troll Edward (never away from that name from Twilight, but the fans can forgive the appearance of this troll). Now the witches have enough children to sacrifice for Blood Moon, but they need something else (which shall not be revealed to break the suspense) and the remaining question is whether the witches succeed in the ritual which would make them almost invincible. The twists include the truth about their step-mother who was not really evil, the mystery about Mina and the last ingredient of the Blood Moon ritual which would change the siblings’ idea about witches and witch hunting.

This story might sound too familiar and not that awesome to follow, but it is made better with the movie’s great CGI which is one of the best. The 3D effects make it one of the best horror-action experiences through the glasses with bullets, explosions, arrows – all coming towards you in frequent intervals, as well as the dark beauty of the atmosphere which catches you out of the screen. Right from the opening title scenes to the ending credits, it promises and delivers the same. Famke Janssen does remind one of her role as Jean Grey / Phoenix in X-Men III: The Last Stand, but she is surely better as Muriel. The witches look much better than in any movie released in the last few years, and the variety in them brings the culture element into the play – they are not the same. They are incredibly detailed to be just side-kick witches. Their screams create that fear element even when they are not on screen.

The most conservative, horror-hating, gore-fighting people of the pseudo-realistic world needn’t watch this movie though. Let the wonderful action sequences and breath-taking fights be missed by you. The 3D and the CGI can treat the deserving eyes. There are times when one has to cease being intellectual, and what is science but full of contradictions and uncertainty? Therefore, why be against a movie of magic and fantasy saying that it is not real? There is thousand times more chance of this happening than anything of the Twilight series. But the fact is that you don’t even realize why you are in this world; none of us do. Our life is in the hands of the greater power that guides us. So don’t be judgmental on this one, for this is not there to be judged by some superior intellect which goes to Moon or Mars and search for water – this is there to be enjoyed, supported by imagination. This is not a product of perfect reasoning power supported by some random theory; this is not simple every day life – this is dark fantasy. I love action-horror movies and I feel this has only strengthened the genre.

Release date: 25th January 2013 (USA); 1st February 2013 (India)
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala, Thomas Mann

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.