Wonder Woman 1984

Vampire Owl: It has been too long since we wanted to watch Wonder Woman.

Vampire Bat: I thought that we wanted to watch Black Widow more.

Vampire Owl: Yes, that too, but this is a sequel, and we will end up forgetting the first film.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is like we have almost completely forgotten Avengers too.

Vampire Owl: Nobody forgets the Avengers.

Vampire Bat: Everybody forgets everyone, not just Avengers. It is only a matter of time.

Vampire Owl: Vampires have their memories towards eternity.

Vampire Bat: Not at all vampires. There are levels.

Vampire Owl: Levels like in Super Mario?

Vampire Bat: Not exactly. But existence for a long period of time matters.

[Gets some french fries and three cups of grape juice].

What is the movie about? :: In 1984, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) works at the Smithsonian Group in Washington DC, and in a flashback, we see that when she was little, she had taken a shortcut to win a tournament among the Amazons. There, Antiope (Robin Wright), the general of the Amazon Army had told her there are no shortcuts, and everything has to achieved with honesty, and her mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the queen of Themyscira had agreed on the same. Even though Diana is doing the usual kind of job in the 1980s, she is also going through the superhero stuff. In the same city, Barbara Minverva (Kristen Wiig) lives, and as a new recruit to The Smithsonian, meets Diana. Barbara is not popular at all, and she feels that nobody likes her. People usually walk around her as if she doesn’t exist, and she is highly disappointed about that kind of treatment with even her name being forgotten.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Barbara becomes friends with Diana very soon, and they notice one item, a stone that contains a Latin inscription which claimed to grant the holder one wish. Barbara wishes that she becomes as good as Diana in all ways, while Diana wishes that Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) comes back to her. They see both wishes being fulfilled very soon, as Barbara finds herself stronger and sharper, as well as liked by everyone around her – she finds out that even her body structure has undergone some change, and she is no longer the clumsy person she used to be, along with finding herself able to lift heavy objects. At the same time, Steve has returned as his soul has possessed another man (Kristoffer Polaha) whose original form can be seen in the mirror reflections. The confusion of entering a new world is with Steve, but with Maxwell Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal) trying to get that stone, it will be the least of their problems.

The defence of Wonder Woman 1984 :: We do feel that the original essence of Wonder Woman is maintained up to an extent, even though it is indeed faded when do a comparison with the previous film. There are some fine action sequences, even though we should have had more grandeur. The best fight is the one in the White House, and showing the helplessness of superheroes making connection with the audience works most of the time. It manages to keep its level high enough among the other DC movies if we make more comparisons with more. The characters in the film are nicely linked with the tale’s progress, and how it finally sets things well for a possible sequel later. There is the message that goes against selfish motive, and going for your desire without thinking about others – against those people who are completely into their ambitions as if people around them do not matter. The setting of 1980s also work really well, and there is a lot of background here that works nicely.

The claws of flaw :: A movie on Wonder Woman can always be better, and there is no doubt about it, for we know what happened in the first film. There could have been more fight scenes around here, and the action could have been bigger. The last fight with the two characters in strange costumes makes things rather weird instead of making everything better in quality. Cheetah should have been a case of terror much earlier as the only character worthy of giving a fight, and should have really had a costume to go with the villainy. The fun that superhero movies usually have, and the dark side that the DC films have had, are not here to make the impact on both sides. The film only gets more and more predictable in its run, and its more and more so by the end. There are moments when CGI doesn’t look that good, especially when the protagonist in the air. There are moments when the movie also feels stretched, and this time even the cameo between credits feel unnecessary.

Performers of the soul :: Gal Gadot, as we always know does remain the strength of the movie, even though there is the feeling of tiredness here in comparison to original Wonder Woman and Justice League. She manages this role very well, as we would expect her too, and the feeling that Wonder Woman brings is different from Marvel’s Captain Marvel – a feeling which is not always easy to manage, but is done really well here. Among these lady superheroes, the gap between Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel is rather too high, with latter as a character is not the person we love. Kristen Wiig does make a pretty good villain character as she handles the spirit, but not much of a Cheetah that we had expected, despite the first half of the movie had her nicely set, even though in a predictable manner. Pedro Pascal does well as the villain who causes the big trouble. Chris Pine returns, but despite everyone having needed the same, this is short-lived.

How it finishes :: This version of Wonder Woman doesn’t match up to the original, and that point is made clear very early into the movie itself. Well, we are sure that it is not possible to match the skill of Marvel here, but we did expect an exception in this case, which didn’t happen though. There was the chance of making some great action sequences here, but they are limited, and Cheetah itself could have been further grand. When we consider the grand scheme about the last movie, this one surely trails behind. But with the entertainment that the movie provides, it is always nice to have another superhero during these times of trouble. The film also has its moments, and we get this on Amazon Prime Video at a time when we are in lockdown. During these times of COVID-19, stay at home, and thus stay safe. After all, entertainment keeps more people at home than anything else. At the same time, let us hope for a better tomorrow.

Release date: 16th December 2020 (United Kingdom), 25th December 2020 (United States), 15th May 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lucy

lucy (2)

Vampire Owl :: Cruel people here. How can they delay a Scarlett Johansson movie so much?

Vampire Bat :: May be the Indian censor board was busy. They have been concentrating on chopping things off from Finding Fanny. Even the dialogue that one is a virgin is to be cut off.

Vampire Owl :: So they were having a tough time with Lucy? But it is still given that “A” certificate.

Vampire Bat :: The censor board is making sure that we end up watching adult movies which have children’s content, so that we realize that we have grown up so much.

Vampire Owl :: But people will still think that we watch only adult movies.

Vampire Bat :: I would think that even Home Alone and Baby’s Day Out will be rated “A” if released these days.

Vampire Owl :: They are violent movies. The poor adult robbers and kidnappers are mistreated by kids. It sets a bad example for the new generation. They will not just give an “A”, they will just ban them.

Vampire Bat :: There is a conservative world coming up. I thought they would have at least found “being virgin” as a good thing.

Vampire Owl :: This is why I drop ice buckets at people.

Vampire Bat :: Can we just proceed for that adult movie?

[Goes to the ticket counter].

What is it about? :: Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is studying and enjoying her life in Chinese Taipei, but she is tricked into working as a drug smuggler by her new boyfriend. But she is captured and a bag of drugs is put in her her abdomen so that she can carry them back home for the drug mafia. But while in captivity, a lot of drugs are released into her system as she is kicked again and again by her captors. As a result, she has improved mental abilities including mind reading, brain control, telepathy, telekinesis and many others, but the indirect result of the same being a possible death in hours. She gets the bag removed from inside her, and contacts the expert Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) to know what is there for herself and the future of mankind. As time passes, she gets more and more powerful, and easily go through the drug mafia and gets their drug carriers captured. The mafia as well as the police are too weak in front of her, and the question remains for whom she is going to be beneficial and to whom she will turn out to be catastrophic.

The defence of Lucy :: Along with Scarlett Johansson’s wonderful performance as the protagonist, the movie can boast about taking that idea which is more of a myth and developing into something big. It has nice special effects and good, controlled action sequences which are taking in a more stylish manner – the whole thing is visually very good, and one has to admit that if the willing suspension of disbelief is rightly implemented and considered as a whole, there is not just a lot of fun, but there is also something for the intellect as it does keep the audience thinking within its own universe. It is difficult not to like Lucy, and no matter how hard you try, that option just isn’t there, unless you are short of the capacity to understand and follow – now that will make you not so human, right? There will always be people who fails to understand, and it is mostly with the bloody audience coming in groups and talking rubbish throughout the movie. It is surprising that they would go on to talk through the slide which tells them not to talk and disturb the movie experience for others.

The claws of flaw :: There is no huge action sequence which has our heroine transforming into the Black Widow and go Avenger on everyone. Except for some gunshots between the mafia and the police, the rest of the action remains of the mind. The movie’s idea of the ten percent of the human brain being used is rather weak in the circumstances, as without it and the supporting clips, the movie could have gone on losing nothing in the process. It is also too short, lasting almost one and half hours and nothing more than that unless you include the advertisements (look out for the awesome Dracula Untold trailer that comes before this if it does). There could have been more time taken here for the finish, and the possibilites of such immense mind power should have been further explored – but this one chooses to be short, but due to the same, drags nowhere. The violence is there, not much, but can be considered unnecessary by a few. The movie also needs the viewers who can use some part of brain when needed, and even in the multiplexes, it is difficult to find such people – they all want mindless action making no sense, right?

Performers of the soul :: Lucy is pure Scarlett Johansson show of the highest quality in a character which brings no challenge to her, and due to the same, she seems to blend effortlessly into that character which reminds the viewer of two others, Carrie White and Jean Grey who possessed similar powers. But Lucy is different because her powers are not part of her, and is causing her own destruction – Scarlett Johansson scores there, as you see her transformation from the victim to the all-powerful entity and also with those emotional elements. Known more for being the gorgeous one and among the sexier women alive, she comes up with an all-round performance here along with looking good. There was Natasha Romanoff a.k.a Black Widow, but this one is all-round all powerful. Morgan Freeman also comes in with an avatar that we can easily identify him with – a man of great knowledge and wisdom, who can be a guide as well as the one who deals with the explanations nicely. Choi Min-sik as Mr. Jang is a nice villain, and Amr Waked is good.

Soul exploration :: Scarlett Johansson needs a movie on Black Widow, and it is crystal clear that she can handle it, as she proves the same with Lucy. Yes, the movie is highly dependant on her, and what Angelina Jolie did for Maleficent, she is doing here. She takes full control of things, and one has to admit that this is a lot better than what Jolie came up with in that twisted fairy tale there. With the only other well known actor being Morgan Freeman, the movie was totally dependant on our superstar lady. It reminds us of Transcendence with its idea about that all powerful person who turns into something beyond human comprehension, and Morgan Freeman was the scientist Joseph Tagger there too. Then the movie is also a bit Carrie, with the central character, the lady getting immense mental capabilities beyond anyone’s comprehension. But this one is a lot faster and smarter than the former, and also quicker and with more happenings than the latter. Our heroine is also Jean Grey, but not being the mutant who is blessed wth powers.

How it finishes :: Lucy comes late to India, but it was never as much a much awaited movie as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which might release on this Friday here, but knowing what delayed Hercules, we can’t be sure yet. Lucy has a much silent sojourn here as not many people knows that it is present in the theatres with less number of shows. It should still enjoy limited success, as it doesn’t go on the Transcendence path and bore us beyond the limits of all kinds of boredom, and at the same time, it has Scarlett Johansson. It is still caught in a competition with The Expendables 3, and the shadows of Guardians of the Galaxy and Hercules, as it runs through the course. For those who wishes to watch a nice Hollywood movie which has its own identity, and even in its comparisons with many other movies, could stay different, there is always Lucy. There was always Carrie, and now there is Lucy, coming up with some improved mental capabilities, being another version of that mutated Jean Grey without the X-Men or any superpowered creature around.

Release date: 22nd August 2014 (India); 25th July 2014 (US)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked, Choi Min-sik, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Pilou Asbæk, Analeigh Tipton, Nicolas Phongpheth

lucy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ek Villain

ekvillain (2)

Vampire Owl :: Didn’t someone say that Riteish Deshmukh was very goood in this movie?

Vampire Bat :: Just a little better than Arjen Robben with a dive, I guess.

Vampire Owl :: If it is better than most of the football actors, we should surely watch it because it will be worthy of many awards.

Vampire Bat :: I heard it was just like I Saw the Devil.

Vampire Owl :: Well, I didn’t see that saw.

Vampire Bat :: Neither did I.

Vampire Owl :: Then I would say that watching this villany is necessary.

Vampire Bat :: As long as he doesn’t bite.

Vampire Owl :: That shouldn’t be a problem as this is not in 3D.

Vampire Bat :: Shraddha Kapoor in 3D was actually too good to be true!

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Guru (Sidharth Malhotra) is a former gangster and assassin who has retired from his dangerous life of crime to live with his new found love Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor), but things take a big turn as she is murdered by an unknown assailant who enters her home, uses a screw driver and pushes her through the window. A CBI officer Aditya (Shaad Randhawa) takes charge of the situation being aware of what the former assassin is capable of, but that doesn’t prevent Guru from going after the clues. He first go to his former boss Ceaser (Remo Fernandes), but realizes that he didn’t have anything to do with the same. As he sits in a church looking at the crucifix, he notices a boy coming up and presenting a few of his toys to the statue which involved something from his house. By following the boy, he reaches the place of Rakesh Mahadkar (Riteish Deshmukh) who is the henpecked husband of Sulochana (Aamna Sharif) and an unsuccesful employee who is always scolded both at home and the office. But he doesn’t seem to be capable of anything like that, as he is always the victim, not someone who can harm even a mosquito. But such a visage was never going to confuse a professional killer like Guru, or was it?

The defence of Ek Villain :: The cast remains strong in the movie, especially the male leads, and it is good enough to draw the audience. The fact that it has enough material to work on from the South Korean flick is more of an advantage as not many people have watched that one. The movie successfully establishes a nice environment to work on, right in the beginning, and the point they stop at the interval is pretty nice. The romantic side has its good moments, most of them related to God and otherwise when they are in a song. Even though not really the kind of thing that suits a movie like this, the songs are actually good and are worthy of being in one’s USB device in the car. The cinematography is nice and the world around are nicely captured to the delight of the viewer’s eye. There is not much slow motion used and it is a good thing because there was going to be tendency. Our hero surely has some nice moments in a mental asylum, a hospital and a railway station where he scores in style. The thrills are mostly around our villain though, and the message of good being rewarded and bad being punished, along with the plight of the common man in a society which has nothing for him are nicely shown.

Claws of flaw :: The movie has not much idea about how the suspense is to be maintained and the thrills are to be boosted, as we know the killer too early as well as his motives. The story could have developed better, especially as the material of I Saw the Devil already available and ready to inspire. The path taken by the narrative to go back and forth doesn’t work that well with this one either, as this is the kind of movie which should work when the things to be revealed are not hidden and vice versa. Even the killings are taken care of without too much violence, may be fearing that the family audience will stay away. The director’s earlier venture of Murder 2 could handle the darker shades better, but not this one which tries to be too cute, even cuter than its own heroine. Shraddha Kapoor kind of ruins some significant light moments with a certain kind of overacting which makes one wonder if she is playing a mentally challenged girl, but not all the time for even she has her very small moments. Riteish’s character is also not without its flaws, but it is him who manages to handle it well within the limitations. He could have surely had better dialogues, after all he can do this villain stuff nicely.

Performers of the soul :: Among the star cast, Riteish Deshmukh was the one whose performance stood above the rest, not by much, but enough to be the star of the movie. I did expect some transformation like Vikram in Anniyan on a smaller scale, but that was not to be, but still his different character had moments to remember for the viewers. Sidharth Malhotra was good with his romantic side and just a little behind in the action scenes, but still lacked a bit in energy. Shraddha Kapoor is cute, and seems to think that she is acting in a possible Ashiqui 3, with that hangover which she still seems to show with some Ashiqui 2. I was confident that she will be a lot better in this movie, but it was sad to see that she decided to stick to the stereotype – it does suit her immensely, but not the character she was playing nor the style of the movie. I was particularly impressed with how well Aamna Sharif did so well with her role opposite our bad guy, the first time I was seeing this lady on the screen. Prachi Desai’s item number was pretty much beautiful. Remo Fernandes was okay in the smaller screen presence that he had, and Shaad Randhawa could have surely done nice with some more to do on screen.

Soul exploration :: One major question remains about what lead to the creation of the villain of Ek Villain. If it is about our hero-villain, we can say that it was the childhood situations, but for our real complete villain, it is the wickedness of the so called civilized section of the society who finds it nice to take on the people who are not as fortunate as they are. As said in Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, and this is the situation that becomes the cause, and this inequality in his own class gives rise to this one serial killer who murders people who used bad words against him or even accuses him of not being good enough, including the situations when he just feels so due to his mood. The need for the words of love from his wife despite her yelling at him all the time becomes his anger which he brings out with the murders rather than being angry at her or anyone else. It is the need to get rid of the frustration which brings the villain to the point of no return, and changes him from a simple man to a serial killer, but as most of the other movies, here too bad deeds never go unpunished, and good deeds have some advantages. The movie does assert the need to be good and not to be abusive or use bad words at others, especially those who struggle to succeed in life.

How it finishes :: Ek Villain had the usual Bollywood things added to an otherwise rough and tough theme, which could have been avoided. There is one villain in every love story as they say, but this is still not a love story, and it surely should not have gone through that path – romance is not always a necessity, as it can always make way for many other things according to the genre and style of the movie. In a more violent and bloody movie, the thing more needed might be a screw driver, one would say. Zinda which released years ago had a better idea about it, which is why we can still afford to watch it with Oldboy of South Korea as well as Oldboy of the United States of America. Murder 2 with similar theme also holds an advantage over this. As Ek Villain had to make it romantic in its base just like the Malayalam movie Anwar did while copying The Traitor from Hollywood, it lost its most important part, which was the generation of fear which had to rise above everything else including romance. But with the success that the movie have managed in places with the exception of this part of India, one has to say that it did work in favour of them even as not for the same as a work. Still, next time may be the can innovate a lot more when coming up with such stuff.

Release date: 27th June 2014
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Mohit Suri
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Aamna Sharif, Kamaal R Khan, Remo Fernandes, Shaad Randhawa, Prachi Desai

ekvillain copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.