Aladdin

What is the movie about? :: Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a young man living in the streets of Agrabah with his pet monkey, with no parents and no idea about family. He is considered as a petty thief living in the streets, stealing one thing or the other to keep going, and his monkey is not far behind in the same skill. In the streets, he meet Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) who has dressed up as a commoner and is wandering in the streets. After giving some bread to a few starving children without paying for the same, they are chased by the soldiers, and she leaves him with the idea that he is just a thief, as he fails to return her bracelet which his monkey had taken. But Aladdin decides to get it back to the lady whom he misunderstands as the princess’ handmaiden Dalia (Nasim Pedrad). At a time when she is bothered by suitors from different nations like Prince Anders (Billy Magnussen), Aladdin sneaks into the palace.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: His skills are noticed by the Grand Vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), the chief advisor to The Sultan (Navid Negahban). Even though he is the second most powerful person in the kingdom, he wants more, and for the same, he needs a magic lamp hidden within the Cave of Wonders. It is a near impossible task, and as Aladdin enters the palace unnoticed, he decides to use the skills of the young man to get the lamp from the cave which has been unkind to those who tried to take the lamp earlier. In return for the same, he offers the youth from the street infinite riches and even the attention of the princess. But as Aladdin gets into the cave, he realizes that it is no ordinary cave, and the lamp is not the usual one – it has the Genie (Will Smith) who is ready with three wishes. But will that be enough to marry the beautiful princess?

And what more is to happen? :: Genie hopes that the last wish of Aladdin would be about setting him free. Jafar hopes that he could get his hands on the magic lamp at some point. Jasmine hopes that it is not just her curves that is loved by her suitors, but also her ideas, with a desire to become the ruler of her kingdom one day. Aladdin would go back to the palace by the name Prince Ali, and hope to gain the attention of the princess and win her hand. But it turns out that Jasmine is not at all interested in the newly arrived prince despite him displaying all the wealth that Genie had brought. Despite Jasmine’s lack of interest, there would be Jaffar’s interest, as his evil plans continue. With his desire to become the most powerful man in the kingdom as well as the known world, what could stop him? Will there be a better fate in store for the kingdom?

The defence of Aladdin :: The memories of childhood comes back with Aladdin, as we remember those days of watching a lot of cartoon and that music which goes by the lines, Arabian Nights. Nostalgia surely becomes a grand factor here, and not just Princess Jasmine, but also her handmaiden remains adorable. Even though there is nothing spectacular about the fight scenes, the visual beauty can be seen there as well as with the city itself. The whole place is nicely built, and the magical elements add to the visuals well. There are some nice fun sequences around here, and Will Smith plays the big part in the same. These keep the fun element going. Coming from the man who brought Sherlock Holmes and its sequel, along with The Man from UNCLE, one could surely guess a few things about this one, and raise the level of expectations.

The claws of flaw :: The problem here is that there is the feeling of not being able to make this one better than what we had seen in the past, even though the ideas as well as technology did improve a lot. A visual extravaganza in the desert could have meant more. The Arabian Nights song version here is not that interesting as the original one, and often the Genie fails to rise as the character and becomes more of the actor that plays the same – Will Smith. At the expense of making the main female character stronger, the viewers are presented with a weaker villain who never really seems like he could come up with something terrifying. The changes from the original version are not really improvements, but strange diversions that take the essence away from what we know about Aladdin – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time could actually do this better, whichever way we look at the same.

The performers of the soul :: The top performer of this movie is Naomi Scott, and she goes through the whole movie with charm, scoring heavily in the final moments. One can see that she plays her character to such perfection at some moments that we feel that she could do well with a sequel, further away from the original Aladdin story. She is lovely to watch on the screen from the beginning, to the end. Mena Massoud’s titular character is memorable, and has his own moments. Will Smith brings the funny side very well, even though deviated from our idea of a genie – some are surely overdone, but he holds on really well. Marwan Kenzari as Jafar brings a weaker villain, and one has to wonder if that was intentional. Nasim Pedrad as Dalia is a fine addition of a character. The animal characters are nicely worked on too.

How it finishes :: Aladdin makes an interesting watch with family, especially with kids. It keeps going the light-hearted way, and there is no real menace to be seen, as we go through this safe trip. The movie could have actually began with its action rather than using the story within the story setting – it ruins the chance to bring a certain twist. Well, Aladdin could have been lesser like Robin Hood last year, and there were so many chances of it to miss out, but it does hold on and brings Aladdin well enough to touch our nostalgia. With Avengers: Endgame and John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum continuing to stay, this one can also accompany them, as Hollywood movies have been scoring bigger these days. Also, lets wonder what more could have been added to this particular movie.

Release date: 24th May 2019
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Will Smith, Naomi Scott, Mena Massoud, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

King Arthur

What is the movie about? :: This is a tale which is only loosely based on Arthurian legends, even though the base pillars remain the same. For years, humans, the masters of the sword, and mages, the masters of magic have lived together in peace at the island of Britain, helping each other at times or adjusting to one another when there is a chance of conflict. But soon there is a shift of power and Mordred (Rob Knighton), a corrupt sorcerer alligned to pure dark magic decides to change this forever after commanding great power. With an objective which is nothing less than having complete dominion over mankind, his huge army that includes monsters and consistent spells lay waste to the settlements that stand before his powers of dark magic, and they attack the last human stronghold, Camelot. As the forces lay siege to his castle, the king of Britons, Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana), manages to break into Mordred’s lair of magic and behead him, causing the end of his magically summoned creatures and the retreat of other mages.

So, what happens next? :: Even though the people of the kingdom are relieved, Uther’s brother Vortigern (Jude Law) is not a happy man, as he wishes for all mages to be hunted and killed, something which Uther doesn’t agree. This angry and jealous brother decides to get rid of the king and sacrifices his wife Elsa (Katie McGrath) to the sea witches who had promised to help him in return. As Vortigern’s men seize the day and unleash chaos, a demon knight kills Uther in combat, after killing the queen, but he misses a young boy who drifts away and is found by prostitutes who raise him. The boy who is named Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grows up to become a strong young man skilled in fighting, and loved by people around. One day, Arthur and his friends come up against a group of Vikings who had mistreated on the prostitutes, and they make the northmen pay for what they did. But as the Vikings were guests and under the protection of the king, it brings the king’s men to their small world.

And what follows the events? :: As a criminal against the king and his laws, Arthur tries to escape, but is caught by the troops who have been forcing young men to try and pull a mysterious sword known only by the name Excalibur from a stone, something which nobody was able to do successfully. When Arthur makes the attempt, manages to pull it off, only to be captured by the soldiers and brought before the king, who tells him that he is the son of Uther, and decides to execute him in public to make sure that there is no rebellion in the name of his dead brother or any prophecy related to a sword. Meanwhile, a girl, identifying herself as a follower of the great wizard Merlin (Kamil Lemieszewski), meets with Uther’s former general, Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou) with whom she plans to save the future king of Britons – the plan is successful, as they take him to their hideout.

So, where are things heading to? :: But Arthur is reluctant to claim that he is the one true king destined for greatness. Despite being told the same again and again, he only wishes to go back to his life as it used to be. Whenever he takes the sword and fights with it, he only has the nightmares of his parents’ death and he collapses. It is then the girl who is known only as the mage, comes up with the idea to send the future king to Blacklands, where mages reigned, and where the greatest of wizards, Merlin destroyed Mordred’s tower battling against his dark magic. There, Arthur witnesses and battles more, and has more of his visions of that day, with his father, mother, the sword and the demon knight who battled the king. He would return wiser, but can Arthur really believe in himself and his destiny, follow the path and come out victorious?

The defence of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword :: Well, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword might be one of the most beautiful and stylish movie you will get to see on screen with its CGI and the surroundings, even though the same is not always there. It is evident from the first scene itself when the evil sorcerer attacks Camelot with his supporters and creatures. The 3D is also the best used in this scene; the effects make sure that watching this movie in 3D will be the right option. There are those action scenes which has stones, arrows, swords, ashes, fire, ember; all things that keep flying on and off the screen – the demon knight is the one who looks the best in this movie, and the whole design of him is the pick right here, and then there are the sea witches joined into one, another creature that will have your attention along with the less explored ones from the trees. There is also the highly sincere performances from Charlie Hunnam and Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, the former continuing the good work from Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak; there is even a strong villain in the form of Jude Law’s evil king. The music is great.

The claws of flaw :: Too many things in this movie seems too modern than classic, and the ancient tale would seem rather twisted in favour of modernity. There are no costumes or armour in the way that we had expected to see, and the story itself is so strange; it never really seems to get anywhere after a fine start. The quick talks and even quicker flashbacks don’t really help at all. The old classics shouldn’t give in to modernity, and if it does, there has to be a better story to support the same. Also, a more colourful world would have helped to elevate the level of 3D, or even a better distribution of darkness would have been nice. The tendency of the protagonist to keep running away, is also rather strange considering the circumstances – we shouldn’t really be judging a king, but for a strong young fighter, he runs too much from responsibilities and battles. There is also not enough of Merlin, and more display of creatures and huge battles like the beginning scene could have easily stolen many hearts.

How it finishes :: There was so much that King Arthur: Legend of the Sword could have achieved, for it had Excalibur, a Round Table, the Knights of the Camelot, the mages and creatures. But this one manages to give in to modernity, and be less connected to a rather classic side. This one does have its does of action and thrills, and an undoubted strength of style and visuals, and should work for a good section of viewers, but the possibilities are endless with this one, and we hope that the same can be achieved with upcoming sequels, if there will be any. Getting Petyr Baelish right out of Game of Thrones doesn’t bring the quality of the story in any way despite him being effective. There is not much that the actors could do to raise the level of this flick which will have a tough time ahead against not just Alien Covenant, but even when facing rather simpler movies. This is a tough box-office battle for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword from which no Excalibur or Merlin can save the king. A better sequel will do this one a lot of good, as long as it is really that better – with the reminder that this is no Sherlock Holmes.

Release date: 12th May 2017
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Tom Wu, Freddie Fox, Craig McGinlay, Mikael Persbrandt, Lorraine Bruce, Hermione Corfield, Annabelle Wallis, Katie McGrath, Poppy Delevingne, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Neil Maskell, Millie Brady, Michael McElhatton, Kamil Lemieszewski, Rob Knighton

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

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Vampire Owl :: I believe that they are talking about Uncle Dracula returning to the castle.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t understand why they would do that. It is not possible.

Vampire Owl :: Or may be a man who is the messenger of Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat :: Don’t you know that the return of Uncle Dracula is not of concern for the humans these days as they don’t even believe in his existence?

Vampire Owl :: I guess I misunderstood the title then. I thought this would mean his return because the world needs it.

Vampire Bat :: It stands for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement as I have read on the internet.

Vampire Owl :: So, no true uncles are involved. It is actually good because some uncles are so irritating with their comparisons of their nephews and nieces.

Vampire Bat :: It is actually based on an American television series of the 1960s. There was also one called The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. during the same time period.

Vampire Owl :: So, it is clearly new for us. During that period, we were not into television series, and surely none from that part of the world. Do you think that it will be good?

Vampire Bat :: Well, we will surely have to watch and find that out. This comes from Guy Ritchie, the man who brought the two Sherlock Holmes movies to us, and will bring a King Arthur movie next year.

[Gets a cup of tea with chocolate chip cookies].

What is it about? :: At a time when the Cold War was going strong, years after the Second World War, a former professional thief and the present CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is on a special mission. He brings Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), the daughter of Udo Teller (Christian Berkel), an expert scientist who was working for the Nazis, out of East Berlin, as they manage to go past the KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) who gives a big chase. But it turns out that the job is not anywhere close to being finished yet, with the two rich shipping company owning couple Alexander (Luca Calvani) and Victoria (Elizabeth Debicki) Vinciguerra who are Nazi sympathizers have the scientist with them, and Gaby’s uncle Rudi (Sylvester Groth) working with them might be their only chance to get to Udo. The time might be less because the couple might be creating their own nuclear weapons.

So what is the possible solution here and where do they go? :: So, with chaos and destruction staring them right on their faces, CIA and KGB decides to bring their best men together, with Napolean and Illya working together to bring solution to this new problem. Gaby and Illya are to pretend to be engaged as they go to meet her uncle in Italy. Solo also poses as an antiquities dealer and stays in another room in the same hotel at Rome. So, another game begins far away from home, and the question remains if these three can get along. Gaby’s best interest seems to be in finding her father, and the two agents have the interests of their own nations and the agencies to keep steady. With their own agendas being there, what can these people do to ensure world peace in front of an enemy which is more united than they are? Saving the world is not a choice though, isn’t it? Especially when USA and USSR did join forces!

The defence of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. :: One thing which you can be hundred percent sure about this particular flick is that it has some simple, light-hearted fun. The humour that has been used in this movie never crosses the limit, making it appropriate for almost all kinds of audience, a quality which is not easy to maintain for the Hollywood movies of these times as they intend to go for sex and violence instead. Well, that should have made the censor board very happy or they would have been on a grand cutting process around here. The thrills are present and there is one twist and some nice smaller turning of events. The movie also has a fine style going throughout it, and the music used in the flick gives an even better feeling. What surprised me the most is how this flick, even with its simplest scenes, could bring smiles on our faces – a quality which the more appreciated movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service completely lacked and replaced it with boredom.

Claws of flaw :: The fact remains that there might not be anyone who has watched that telvision series around here, as the idiot box presence improved only later around here, and the number of channels only increased even later. So, the case of nostalgia is completely going out through the window for ny person from this part of the world. The movie could have also used a lot more humour here because the possibility was very much there – there were some nice points where it could have added so much more to the movie. The three protagonists could have taken them in easily. The story could have also been more polished to bring the suspense and thrills to the next level – it is something which could have made sure that The Man from U.N.C.L.E. will be the spy movie which worked for a genre-based audience. There could have also been more melee combat here. As this is more like an origin story, a possible sequel should solve the problems!

Performers of the Soul :: The three leading performers in this movie are nothing less than complete fun. Their characters have something special, and they are nicely brought on screen with action and humour. They are the ones who make us wish for a sequel for this one. Among the three, the big performer is undoubtedly Henry Cavill who has the thief turned into CIA agent played with charm; coming right out of Man of Steel – one wonders if he will make a nice James Bond in a parallel universe. His agent makes a fine combination with his former nemesis character Armie Hammer, and both nicely compliment each other. You will love the third one, played by Alicia Vikander too. It won’t be that big a performance or something of very high quality like her work in Ex Machina, but she is cute and full of fun in this movie. You will surely get something a lot better than her Seventh Son though. You will also notice Elizabeth Debicki making a nice lady villain.

How it finishes :: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is indeed a fine spy movie with fun. Unlike Kingsman: The Secret Service which was always running out of ideas making it use violence and ridiculous sexual remarks, this movie here knows exactly where it is going. The collections and critical appreciation for that mindless flick is a reflection of how much the quality of the viewers and critics have come down, but thanks to movies like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. that we can have movies which are actually fun and not just claimed to be so. Our movie here shows Kingsman: The Secret Service how it is done, and how it should have been accomplished. On one side, we have interesting spy movies like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and on the other side, we have boring and clueless spy stuff like Kingsman: The Secret Service; and thankfully, I know that the former was the more successful one where I watch movies!

Release date: 14th August 2015
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris, Hugh Grant, Luca Calvani, Sylvester Groth, Simona Caparrini, Misha Kuznetsov, David Menkin, Christian Berkel

themanfromuncle

PS: Favourite pre-Christmas movie at the theatres right now: Anarkali. Merry Christmas 🙂

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.