Ant-Man

ant-man!

Vampire Owl :: Are you sure that there is no Vampire Ant?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it says in all vampire books, that due to the complete absence of alienation, an ant cannot be a vampire. Neither can the bees, wasps and termites. Alienation is the first step to becoming a vampire. The idea of eusociality doesn’t work with vampires at all.

Vampire Owl :: It is good. In the presence of a Vampire Ant, we would have had to sponsor his ticket according to the new Vampire Brotherhood rules and regulations.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, a Vampire Ant seems like an impossible thing, as of now.

[Gets the tickets].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/917-ant-man-movie-review.html

When we consider the superhero movies, Marvel is a name which has proved to be the most trustworthy one in the last few years. All the movies from Marvel Studios have kept a certain standard. Even though Ant-Man is a name which is rather unheard among the common audience outside the English-speaking world, the superhero character has been there for very long. With the reception that this movie has received, we can be certain that it can have a good position among the other movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even though the same can’t be said about how it has managed in this part of the world.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has just been released from prison and is hoping to lead a life away from crime for the sake of his daughter. As he is a post-graduate in electrical engineering, he hopes that he can find a job easily, but things are not easy as his criminal record keeps him away from settling down. A police officer named Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) is engaged to his former wife, which just makes things worse. So, he decides to go on a heist with his former cellmate Luis (Michael Peña) and his friends. They choose the house of a rich old man who is known to have a vault and as Scott has done this before with perfection, they depend on him.

Meanwhile, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) was part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. and had been responsible for the technology of shrinking sub-atomic particles and making Ant-Man possible. But he had quit because he understood that people were trying to copy and recreate the technology. He knew that such an invention will be incredibly dangerous if gone into the wrong hands. As his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), and his former assistant and student, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) did come so close to duplicating the same technology, he is alarmed again, and hopes to make sure that it never happens. For the same, Hope helps him, and he needs a volunteer to wear the Ant-Man suit.

At a point, the lives of these two people come together, and the story of another superhero officially begins. Actually, the movie takes too much time to get to that new tale. The real Ant-Man is not even there until the second half of the movie – there are just people and two suits. There is too much of a delay here, and it can happen with origin movies, but this one has too much of time without interesting things happening. But things get a lot better in the second half, which is full of action, and there are some very nice sequences in the smaller world involving the ants and the hero himself. Things do get to have a better direction after that.

The final action sequences are very interesting, and the ending is nice. If the theatre won’t stop with the credits, you will surely want to see the scenes which come with the final credits. Even though Marvel has indeed brought us a smaller superhero and destruction is also lesser, the scope of this one is reduced for the same reason. The superhero power itself is weird, and the action makes too much way for drama, as the dialogues are rather a lot. The movie is rather too goofy, and celebrates its inability to provide more to ponder about or even to leave a message. The seriousness never really coming to the front and the absence of a menacing villain may be some of the major reasons for the same.

You can choose to enjoy the humour though, even as it is only partially working. This movie surely needed to be more serious. The ants should not have been portrayed as random cute creatures even when made bigger. This universe of Marvel works better with its chaos and destruction, as it is where the strength should have been derived from. Yes, there are talks about the chaos happening in the world, but that goes on with the light tone of the movie, and we are not really bothered if it happens or not, as there is nothing to make us feel it the same way. Paul Rudd is perfectly suited for the role though, and Evangeline Lilly plays the second biggest character on the good side well.

Ant-Man still continues to keep the Marvel Cinematic Universe going. It just can’t go on without the regular problems of an origin story, and is not without repetitions. The basic formula remains the same, and the differences are made only according to the character of the new superhero. But still, it should interest the regular viewer of superhero movies. It does seem a little overrated right now, as it is nowhere close to being the best from Marvel. Captain America: The Winter Soldier remains the most seriously awesome movie of the universe, and Ant-Man is just some good entertainment without many thrills and no twists. I watched this movie as one of the seven people in the theatre, out of which four came only later. The multiplexes do have been attendance though – still not that much as a usual Marvel movie.

Release date: 24th July 2015 (India); 17th July 2015 (USA)
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip Harris, Anthony Mackie, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Michael Douglas, John Slattery, Hayley Atwell, Abby Ryder Fortson, Gregg Turkington, Martin Donovan

ant-man

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Age of Ultron

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What is it about? :: The movie begins with the team of Avengers including Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) attacking a Hydra fort which is concentrated around a town in Eastern Europe. They manage to recover Loki’s Scepter and get out of there, even though they meet two enhanced humans, the Maximoff twins (Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who offer tough resistance with their special superpowers. But an attempt by the two part-time superhero scientists of the group to use the artificial intelligence within the artifact goes the wrong way as it unleashes what they called the Ultron and it takes over almost all the available information in the internet including the protected information. The new creation attempts to get stronger with one aim in mind – the extinction of mankind.

The defence of Avengers: Age of Ultron :: This second movie is a big improvement from the first movie, even though there will be big fan boys of the predecessor who will find it very difficult to accept the same. Here, we see more brains than any usual Marvel movie. There is improvement in almost every department, with the characters, special effects as well as the action sequences. The addition of the two new characters, Quick Sliver and the Scarlet Witch in the form of the Maximoff has powered the movie big time. Even the dialogues get better with this one as the funny as well as the thought-provoking moments work wonders, and there is more strength in each department added separately. The action and the dialogues are given so much attention that we feel that just the minimum plot is needed. This looks so good and works so good, and the defence says that you money will be well spent as sparks fly with maximum strength.

Positives and Negatives :: Some of these can give the feeling of being repetitive, and even with a small presence of this repetition, if you feel more than a small amount of the same, it is because you don’t see the big complete picture here. The plot about having the artificial intelligence seeking the destruction of mankind and the loading of consciousness happen to be too common these days, but this has managed to handle the same very well so that the feeling of having gone through this is minimal. It takes a big effort to improve from a movie which was so loved, and the success of Avengers: Age of Ultron comes as a lesson to many superhero movies which are waiting to be released. You can say that there was too much action and so many superheroes, but count them as positives. The only one thing which we miss from the previous movie is the presence of Tom Hiddleston as Loki – but considering how the Marvel Universe is progressing, he should come back only in another story.

Performers of the soul :: What you have to love here is that Jeremy Renner finally gets his due, as Hawkeye becomes that identity of the group who is more human that anybody else, and helps his team to come back together. To be frank, all the characters get some extra in this one, and the only person who might have got slightly lesser in significance might be the Iron Man itself, but then, he comes up with moments of his own – for he is Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans’ Captain America still remains the most likable character in movie and he is so much the man to admire. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulky side continues being the better one and the romantic elements are rather unnecessary, as it also makes Scarlett Johansson less Black Widow and more Natasha Romanoff when not needed. You also have to love how Cobie Smulders makes an impression in what seems to be a smaller role, and Samuel L. Jackson continues to make the big impact – well, he is the fury with all the fury!

Further Performers of the soul :: Anthony Mackie as Falcon has a small presence while Don Cheadle as War Machine gets more even though not anywhere close to the Avengers and the big newer additions to this movie. The two artificial intelligence creatures are well-portrayed, but if you ask me about the best addition to this sequel, I would go for the enhanced twins. I remember last seeing Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen together as husband and wife in Godzilla, and now we have them as the twins. Even though the former has some very nice moments of action, it is the latter who steals the show as the character we know in the comics as the Scarlet Witch. When the former depends on the slow motions sequences which are created to indicate his speed as the Quicksilver that he is in the comics, the latter has her much weirder skills as she goes on and makes the character a joy to watch – she is so perfect in this avatar; check her expressions and movements while in action, and you have to love this casting.

Soul exploration :: While it will be interesting to see what Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch will have to offer for the Avengers in the next movies, let’s get into this movie’s soul. The first movie was too simple, and it was like there is an alien invasion coming up and a superhero team has to save the world just like that – but here we have a movie which is more than just mindless superhero action – this one has space for thoughts, and an expansion of the movie’s ideas in our own way. The movie asks one major question about chaos and order, and where the truth and a perfect righteous situation lies – in the acceptance of order or in the chaos that comes with a revolution? Another question is if the human extinction is the only right way to peace. We all want a better world, are we prepared to change? There are times when you have to feel the mankind itself is too less worthy. Do we find peace these days? We haven’t even evolved out of religious, caste-based and ethnic hatred, and we always have new ones coming up.

How it finishes :: Avengers: Age of Ultron is a spectacle of a very high quality, may be matching that of the immortals of Asgard, and you need to watch this one at the theatre itself. I was not surprised by the houseful shows of this movie at the local theatre too, as this is that good, even in the non-3D version which was there. Yes, it is quite understandable that Fast and Furious 7 managed to be pretty much okay and for the love for the series and Paul Walker, we just can’t stop thinking about that movie. But after two weeks, the big one has released, and this might the highest grossing movie of 2015 if surprises won’t jump in. Well, it will be more of a shock to me if this one won’t end up as the movie which brought the most money for its makers. Avengers: Age of Ultron deserves your presence, and there is absolutely no need to wait for anything else right now. Mark my words, and don’t listen to the lesser mortals, for the Vampire Bat finds this one better than its predecessor, and this is like the heaviest action ever.

Release date: 24th April 2015 (India); 1st May 2015 (US)
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Cobie Smulders, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hayley Atwell, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, James Spader

ageofultron

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cinderella

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Vampire Owl :: You know that I can’t watch Cinderella.

Vampire Bat :: What? From where did you find a reason this time?

Vampire Owl :: It is one of those Happily Ever After stories. I don’t believe in that. And vampire owls don’t read fairy tales.

Vampire Bat :: But it has enough changes making the movie different.

Vampire Owl :: I have known changes, like in Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Maleficent and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Vampire Bat :: No, not like them. There is no darker interpretation for this one, and there are no monsters or black magic.

Vampire Owl :: I think you should have watched Focus instead of this one. Without the dark side, this is like children’s movie.

Vampire Bat :: No, the story has evolved; it is made better without losing the core.

Vampire Owl :: I have absolutely no idea what you meant by that.

Vampire Bat :: I say that you read my review and see if you still want to skip this movie.

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: The great fairy-tale gets another treatment as things change for Ella (Lily James) with the death of her mother and everything gets a lot worse with her father’s second marriage which is followed by his death. The new step-mother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett), who comes to reside with them along with the two daughters of her own, Drizella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) turns out to be very unlike someone they were expecting as a mother figure. The two sisters were not any better either, as they detested her and the new house; even their new cat Lucifer proves to be an enemy for Ella’s rat friends. As the attitude of the new mother gets worse everyday, Ella who is now called Cinderella due to her life close to the cinders, our protagonist only has the faith in magic, as well as her belief in courage and kindness to bring her the twist to her tale.

The defence of Cinderella :: Among the fairy-tales, Cinderella is surely not the easy one to adapt and come up successful because the idea of a Prince Charming and the thoughts about the evil step-mother won’t sell that easily these days for the adults, and it is too simple a story and not something that can have too many additions without affecting the essence. This is a season when the new age evil want to shoot down Prince Charming because he is a good person; some people really can’t stand extra goodness because it is not in them. During such a season, this movie manages to rise and fly high, for which a lot of applause is deserved. With an amazing world already made with splendour, what you should keep in mind is that this is still a fairy-tale, and the soul goes directly to the original story. You have to keep that in mind, and keep a part of your mind for believing in magic.

Positives and Negatives :: Unless you have had a highly uninteresting and ridiculous childhood, you are going to love this movie. Yes, Cinderella is also nostalgia, and you have to repsect your own past without which you are nothing – remember and admire those tales which shaped your early lives. It is a fairy tale and if you want Cinderella to be too much like a modern age character, go and stick to your limited list of movies – but let me tell you; this is the best portrayal of Cinderella ever. Yes, the fairy godmother needed more screen-time and polishing, and there could have been a little more of interactions between Cinderella, sisters and the step-mother added. But then you see the costumes, especially that of Cinderella going for her moment with the prince – it is stunning, and how good Lilly James looks in the same makes one wonder if Cinderella is indeed real.

Performers of the soul :: Lily James is stunning as Cinderella, and it is like she beautifully carves herself into the character. There is the scene when she is magically dressed in that stunningly beautiful blue dress, and you need to think of nobody else as the titular character. Then there is her again in another blue dress, this time a normal one by the end – here she is the happy young girl and she looks amazing there. She completely takes over all those emotional moments, whether it is of sadness, joy, hopelessness, love or sympathy, and it is a blessing for the audience to see her as Cinderella on the big screen. Then there is Cate Blanchett with a believable step-mother role which she does to perfection, and the two sisters are also very good here. Richard Madden is a fine Prince Charming and Helena Bonham Carter needed to be there for more, but is fine when she is there, and the narration is interesting.

Soul exploration :: Selflessness, sympathy, forgiveness and simplicity which Cinderella displays in this movie are something rarely seen in this world. The tale once again tells the story of the protagonist who is mistreated, rising above the limitations. No, this is not a story of one girl, but of a large number of men and women who are mistreated because of any reason. Prince Charming is just a symbol of glory in attainment; it could have been anybody else, like Princess Beautiful or any other thing which can be personified into something else. But the fact remains that the movie brings that idea to us only by polishing this movie and keeping the soul of this fairy tale alive. It could have gone darker like in Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Maleficent and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, but chooses to keep the soul the same, and still make that great impact. And yes, do believe in some good magic.

How it finishes :: Along with all those things for which you admire Disney, add this one to that list. There was also a short animation movie called Frozen Fever which worked like a little sequel to Frozen – it was shown before this movie, and there were no usual trailers. As it comes with Cinderella, Anna and Elsa makes things perfect with the birthday pary of the former. “Making Today a Perfect Day” is not “Let it Go”, but it is still so much fun with out favourite characters right there on the screen. Disney never ceases to bring more and more magic to us, right? This was such a nice pleasant surprise for the audience and everyone seemed to love it. You can add Cinderella to your list of best Disney movies without much thinking twice about it. The fact that it still stays at the theatres even after two big Malayalam movies released, points to the truth that it is special. Courage and kindness – take these two things home from Cinderella.

Release date: 20th March 2015 (India); 13th March 2015 (US)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Ben Chaplin, Sophie McShera, Hayley Atwell, Helena Bonham Carter

cinderella

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Captain America II

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Our own superheroes :: Its been some time since the 2012 superhero movie The Avengers got so much more attention than it deserved and ended up being the highest grossing movie of the year and the third highest grossing film ever. Surprisingly, it even impressed the critics, and even as it was a well made fun ride, I wondered how it managed to do this much just by having some superheroes fighting aliens in the middle of the city. Unlike what some of the fan-boys might say, I have felt that Captain America: The First Avenger was the best superhero movie from Marvel, a title which it takes over from X2: X-Men United and to which Ghost Rider had a distant claim only to be devastated by the sequel. As Thor came so close and yet spoiled the opportunity to be the best, and so did X-Men: First Class and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I have to admit that Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier is my new favourite Marvel superhero movie, and that title should be safe unless The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes up with something too good which is rather unlikely. So this sequel is better than the original and all the other movies in the franchise – that should inspire you to read this further!

What is it about? :: Captain America a.k.a Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is called to rescue the hostages from a SHIELD ship under the control of Algerian pirates in the Indian Ocean. There he notices that the mission of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is different from that of him, and she is collecting data from the ship’s computers. After telling Steve about the secret weapon of SHIELD to destroy its enemies and a failed attempt to decrypt the data, Fury is attacked, and dies after telling Steve not to trust anyone and giving him the USB data. Hunted by the SHIELD, Captain America and Black Widow got to join forces to find information about the data and stumbles upon a supercomputer which tells them that HYDRA still exists not as itself, but within SHIELD, like a parasite, and Captain had never put an end to it during the Second World War. As they say “if a head is cut off, two more will take its place”, and this time they are choosing a different path of war. With the help of Falcon (Anthony Mackie), they have to stop HYDRA from deploying their secret weapon through SHIELD, but the question remains if they can take on the Winter Soldier, a metal armed expert fighter who is more of a ghost entity coming out of nowhere.

The defence of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier :: One of the best fights of the movie is in an elevator, and there are so many more to follow. There is Captain America taking on the advanced machines of SHIELD, and when the Winter Soldier comes up, it goes to a new level, and Black Widow joins the party at regular intervals to boost things up, and so does the new addition – Falcon. The action sequences continue to be strong, and the final battle is incredibly stylish for a movie which was turning into more of a thriller. But the movie doesn’t go on to become that action movie which is expected from any random superhero who possesses the skills that the normal human being lacks, and instead it becomes an espionage action thriller which keeps the viewers guessing, and you can see that the twists are delivered with great punch. The whole conspiracy thing is wonderfully managed, and there is a certain amount of skill involved in doing the same. The dialogues are also cleverly done, and the witty lines are sure to stay in our minds for a very long time. Well, Captain America often becomes self-defending, and you will know about it when you watch.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has turned so much into the thriller genre that the usual superhero fans might find it a little strange. Captain America has turned himself into more of a super soldier rather than a superhero, and it will please a lot as well as disappoint a few, such is this genre. But, yes he is super and there is no denying that. It has successfully become better than its predecessor too, something which only X2: X-Men United could achieve as far as Marvel is concerned. Its intelligence should upset a lot of people who are looking for mindless action too, but those who were looking for stupidity like Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3 are going to be too disappointed. Yes, bring your brains with you – don’t leave them at home like you did while watching some superstar Bollywood movies. Except for the Dark Knight series, I wonder if the viewers are ever expected to use their intellect much in a superhero movie, but now we know that superheroes have moved out of the world of children almost completely. Now they make us thinkers along with entertaining the crowd.

Performers of the Soul :: Chris Evans once again excels in the role of that superhero who is ideologically superior to any superhero of Hollywood. He has become part of the same character and most of us would tend to forget that he was once the Human Torch in Fantastic Four and its sequel – this would always be the role that he would be known for, and this movie gives him more possibilities, and he holds on and improves his performance as the super soldier. When surrounded, he asks “Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?”. Scarlett Johansson remains awesome as Black Widow, and she has a great role to play in this one – she even has some nicer lines like “I only pretend that I know everything” or “Was that your first kiss since 1945?”, and its time her character gets a movie of her own, may be with Hawkeye by her side. Sebastian Stan proves to a fantastic choice for the Winter Soldier too. Samuel L. Jackson is awesome as usual, and the one thing you will know about his car after taking a lot of hits is that the only thing that is left working is the air conditioning, so says the computer. Anthony Mackie’s Falcon comes as another boost to the movie. Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill and Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter comes up in small, yet significant roles which we can hope to be developed later.

Soul exploration :: Unlike the other superheroes, Captain America is not just a superman or any similar person. He is an idea, something which is more intellectual and not physical, standing for truth, justice and honour. His battles are not against the usual villains who come to take over the world or commit crimes with superpowers or manpower, as his enemies are ideologies, of hatred, fear and slavery; it used to be HYDRA earlier and it continues to be same opponent, but with an outer layer of coating. He is also different that he has to fight war in another age along with belong to that era. Thor and Superman belonged to other worlds, but one can always go back and the other has been here since childhood. But Captain America is a man from the past, frozen both physically and mentally to awaken in another age, nothing less than an alien world. But he adapts and maintains all that he had in the 1940s. The world he comes across as an alien is the same which we have now, as we are fed with lies as truth remains hidden. Forget the wars and the media response; forget the lies concerning politicians and elections; we are told that someone lands on moon or there is water on Mars – and we are forced to believe the same or we are labelled as inferior people – nobody needs proof of that.

How it finishes :: There have been two types of superhero movies, one from The Dark Knight side and the other from The Avengers side. This movie seems to be placed right between them, and at the same time, having a life of its own. This movie has brain, and a lot of it, as it keeps itself out of both the mindless action with the light side as well as the fear generation of the dark side, keeping a bit of both, but not enough to be labelled. The result here is that the latest movie from Marvel can take on both sides, even as I doubt if it can be as successful as any of the two. Captain America is not your typical superhero, and the only thing that should work in favour of him in coming up with a great box-office should be the fact that this is vacation time, both for schools and colleges – most of them to be exact. We watched the movie with a huge crowd and that world was almost full, something which was not visible in the case of the first outing of the same hero or the random wanderings of the rusty vain man in iron. You might want to watch the first movie too so that you can enjoy this without doubts, or may be keep someone who watched it on the next seat. And you may want to choose 2D if there is that option to skip 3D!

Release date: 4th April 2014
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Hayley Atwell

captainamerica2 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.