Spider-Man: Far From Home

What is the movie about? :: In the Mexican city of San Juan Ixtenco, there was unnatural storm which devastated most of the place – people are known to have said that there was a face in the storm, and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) investigate the case while coming across a creature, an Earth Elemental, which derives its powers from Earth. At the same time, a super-powered man Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), arrives to fight the creature. In New York City, the Midtown School of Science and Technology restarts its academic year to take in those students who were affected by the events of Avengers: Infinity War. There is a two-week summer field trip to Europe, starting at Venice, Italy. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) plans to confess his love for classmate MJ (Zendaya) there. Meanwhile, Harold Hogan (Jon Favreau) contacts him to provide the news that Nick Fury is looking for him, and will give a call soon, regarding a mission.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Peter is forced to carry the Spider-Man costume by his aunt May Parker (Marisa Tomei) despite trying to keep away from superhero deeds post the death of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). He even ignores the calls of Nick Fury, who finds him at the hotel in Venice, after escaping the attacks of the Water Elemental which almost destroys the major tourist areas of the city. The students including Peter’s best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) and Betty Brant (Angourie Rice) along with the teachers, Roger Harrington (Martin Starr) and Julius Dell (JB Smoove) are terrorized by the unexpected attacks. After tranquilizing Ned, Fury gives him Stark’s glasses equipped with the artificial intelligence EDITH, providing access to all databases of Stark Industries and with command over large weapon supply. He also introduces him to Quentin Beck, a man with magic powers.

And what more is to happen? :: Even though mistaken by many as Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), this new hero is known to people as Mysterio, a man who is supposed to be from another Earth, which was consumed by the Elementals. He hopes to avenge his family, and destroy the Elementals, and Fury hopes that Peter would be part of the mission at Prague, but he declines saying that his school team is going to Paris and he can’t be seen in the Spider-Man costume when he is in Europe, as it would lead to doubts that he is Spider-Man, revealing his identity. But as their trip itself is re-routed to Prague, Peter is left with no option, but to fight the most powerful of the Elementals, the Fire Elemental. To add to it, he has to fight it in the middle of an on-going carnival, and his friends are also around. Can the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man live up to the legacy that the Avengers lead by Iron Man, Captain America and Thor has left?

The defence of Spider-Man: Far From Home :: It is a difficult task for another Spider-Man movie to stand strong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, considering the fact that the greatest film of the franchise, Avengers: Endgame has finished strong, and is looking forward to become the highest grossing flick of all-time. Spider-Man: Far From Home has managed to do that well enough, and has also improved its status from Spider-Man Homecoming – this one is bigger in scope and impact, and we also have the superheroes doing better, in the presence of better villainy. The action sequences continue to impress, and the perfect settings are used, which makes things even better – the visuals and the special effects with illusions play a major role in making the fights more interesting. The movie also maintains a certain amount of humour, and it remains light-hearted, as a friendly neighbourhood movie. There is also something in the end to make sure that we have something to look forward to, after the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The emotional strength of the earlier Spider-Man movies continues to be absent in this version, and this comes too late after all the superhero overdose. We have had only one Spider-Man movie before Avengers: Endgame, and that is too little – now, this one requires a lot more sequels, but they will be too late. Also, the movie’s twist is rather predictable for those who are familiar with the tales of Spider-Man, and something more could have been added to get it deeper. Some of the jokes in the movie also go some other way, and fail to create any impact – there is the case of things getting repetitive here. The superhero himself hasn’t learned much after going through all the fading away, and losing his mentor – there is no realization that is added here. Being a better hero doesn’t seem to be an option here. Spider-Man won’t get to that level of The Amazing Spider-Man or The Amazing Spider-Man 2 here either, and we have to wait for the sequels to hope for that.

The performers of the soul :: Jake Gyllenhaal is the one who stands apart in this movie, and we know what he has been capable of with the psychological thriller movies like Enemy and Nocturnal Animals. The role of Mysterio stays safe with him, and we see how well he can handle the two sides of a character. Tom Holland continues to play Spider-Man as he used to, and it gets better than the previous movies in totality. Zendaya playing his love interest makes one interesting character from the beginning itself – she is indeed the most interesting character in the whole team of school children, and lets hope that the character is not replaced by other love interests of Spider-Man in any later movies. Cobie Smulders is there doing what she has been doing well. The others in high school team do a pretty good job including both the teachers and students.

How it finishes :: We have finished most of the main part of the Marvel superheroes, and Spider-Man: Far From Home seems to come as a bonus or an add-on post that biggest battle that happened in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Spider-Man is the hero whom we have always loved, he has been there with Superman and Batman at this part of the world even before the rest of the superheroes like Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, Cyborg, Flash, Green Arrow – all of them came later. Therefore, it is only fair that we hope for an even better movie. But this one also keeps us interested and entertained, and Marvel once again has everything working in its favour, even after its best movie done.

Release date: 5th July 2019 (India); 2nd July 2019 (USA)
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L Jackson, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Martin Starr

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

It

Vampire Owl: It has been a dangerous thing throughout the ages.

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The one thing which is mentioned by the name “It”.

Vampire Bat: Are you referring to a certain clown like in this movie?

Vampire Owl: Only the humans are afraid of clowns. We have no clowns here; nobody has ever heard about a Vampire Clown.

Vampire Bat: Well, with this movie based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Stephen King, the horror has shifted to the clowns.

Vampire Owl: You mean no more vampires, zombies, ghosts, demons and others?

Vampire Bat: I am afraid that humans keep moving from one supernatural creature to the other.

Vampire Owl: We need our own clowns then, and we can refer them by the name “It”.

Vampire Bat: Can you adjust with some fan boys and girls instead?

[Gets three cups of iced tea with Arrowroot biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: In the 1980s, we see a little boy being gifted with a paper boat, which he tries to sail through the water on the road, on a day of heavy rain and possibility of storm arriving. As the boats speeds up and goes down a sewer, the boy, George Denbrough a.k.a. Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) looks down only to find a clown that introduces himself as Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard) from the circus which closed down due to the storm. As the boy gets closer, the clown wastes no time in biting his arms and dragging him right down inside. Later, William Denbrough a.k.a. Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), his elder brother can’t just stop looking for Georgie. He along with his friends, Richard Tozier a.k.a. Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Edward Kaspbrak a.k.a. Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Stanley Uris a.k.a. Stan (Wyatt Oleff) keeps getting bullied by Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) and his gang.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: They are joined by two other outsiders, Beverly Marsh a.k.a. Bev (Sophia Lillis) who is considered immoral by the students, and Benjamin Hanscom a.k.a. Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) who is the new kid around spending most of his time in the library with the less interesting books. As the town has had a history of disappearing children for a long time, the team decides to find the secret behind the same. They figure out that something strange has occured in every twenty seven years, and this is the year that the same is to happen again. They remember that they have all been frightened by one thing or the other, and a clown was the common thing in their visions – a headless person, a fountain of blood, a zombie-like man, a painting coming to life, and the ghost of Georgie are just more of their worst fear coming true.

And what is to follow next in this adventure? :: They come across another outsider, Michael Hanlon a.k.a. Mike (Chosen Jacobs) who also had visions of a clown and burnt people. They figure out that the creature is using sewer lines to move around, as they check where all the children went missing – all these sewers seem to lead to a well currently under the creepy, partially ruined, abandoned house at 29 Neibolt Street. Now, with the elders not ready to believe in the supernatural, the kids decide that it is their turn to do something about this menace of the clown. But the creature will only be happy to have the children visit his lair, and even they don’t, he is ready to come for them. So, what fate awaits the children as the clown has decided to open the circus again, to feed on enough children before he is ready to go back to sleep for twenty seven years?

The defence of It :: We were waiting for this for long, as the 2014 movie, Clown brought some idea about what we can expect with a movie which has a clown from circus and a kids in there. The scares are abundant with the clown around, and the first appearance of the creature might be the best of them all, as it is not just terrifying, but also disturbing with the attack on the little kid from beneath the sewers. Then there are many moments which contribute to the scares, one after the other, making a series of moments of terror, most of which are to be appreciated for being different from what was shown before. The child actors are too good too, especially Sophia Lillis who is a level above everyone else. Jaeden Lieberher is surely the right choice to play the lead character too, while the support never fails to do what they were to do. Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns can be a nice thing to have with this particular flick.

The claws of flaw :: It could have surely been scarier with the depth of its clown character though, as there could have far more terrifying illusions and hallucinations to go with him, and we could have also had something to take home as scares for the every day life – some interesting horror movies do come up with the same or a rather huge divergent idea. This one won’t claim that, as Lights Out would with each and every moment of darkness. This won’t be that big as Don’t Breathe and The Autopsy of Jane Doe became, redefining horror last year. The bullying also takes a little bit of too much time away from this movie which is already too long with its not that scary moments, going further than two hours. Well, they call it Chapter One, and so there could be more. Let the clown be more next time, with tricks that we can never imagine, raising the sequel to another level.

How it finishes :: We have always loved to watch a Stephen King novel on the screen, and it has been something which gives us assurance about horror, as well as the quality. The movies The Shining, The MistThe Running Man and 1408 keep coming to my mind more often than the rest. This one here is no exception, and it will be there to satisfy our need for a wonderful movie experience, as long as the expectations are not at the top of the peak. You are not going to regret your choice to go for this particular horror movie, as the clown is no usual ghost or demon that you come up against in most of those movies. You will also feel that a sequel will do so much more that, a better equipped, returning clown is all that a horror fan can dream about, or rather have some wonderful nightmares about. So, watch It, and get ready for more in a sequel.

Release date: 8th September 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Bill Skarsgard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Chosen Jacobs, Jackson Robert Scott, Stephen Bogaert, Molly Atkinson, Geoffrey Pounsett, Pip Dwyer, Stuart Hughes, Steven Williams, Ari Cohen, Joe Bostick, Megan Charpentier

<—Click here to go the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Let Her Out

Vampire Owl: I remember having said this at the other world to save Lady Death‘s evil twin sister.

Vampire Bat: What? You mean to say that she used to be a damsel in distress?

Vampire Owl: Yes, she was in hell’s prison for pouring water into hellfire.

Vampire Bat: So, it is true that she used to work with firefighters during her exile among humans.

Vampire Owl: Yes, she even earned a medal for saving two dead bodies.

Vampire Bat: I don’t understand. How could she save dead bodies?

Vampire Owl: She worked with Lady Death to delay their soul transfer, letting them die in a plane crash a few days later.

Vampire Bat: And earned the medal for herself. She is the smart one indeed.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that this movie also has twins.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and one of them is the cool evil twin.

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

What is the movie about? :: Helen (Alanna LeVierge) is just another normal person who is working at a courier company which makes deliveries by bikes. Her best friend is Molly (Nina Kiri) who is an actress at her lover Ed’s (Adam Christie) drama company. Helen actually has a troubled mind due to the thoughts about her mother (Brooke Henderson) who tried to kill herself and the baby in her womb, coming to her regularly. A man named Roman (Michael Liipka) is in love with her, and orders more and more couriers from her to see her again, along with drawing pictures of her. Things seem to go just normally until she meets with an accident on the road which lands her on the hospital, and keeps her on the bed for some time. When she feels that things are better gets back to her normal life, there is a party arranged to her, but it just doesn’t seem normal anymore.

So, what happens next? :: Helen begins to have hallucinations of someone being with her, and sometimes, she wakes up at place where she has no memory of going. She regularly losses track of what she has been doing – among all things, there is her waking up at a parking lot with her bicycle, walking around the city in just a towel, and standing naked in front of her friends. They consult Doctor Headly (Kate Fenton) who has a scan and finds out that she has a tumour growing inside her. The biggest possibility here is that she had a twin and the other person got killed with the mother, but a part of it was growing inside her brain. The doctor fixes a date for operating and removing the tumour, and everyone assures her that things are going to be just fine. But it turns out that things are not the easy to get better.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: With only a few days left for the operation, Helen has more visions of the twin who looks just like her except for the eyes. She also figures out that she has done terrible things to people under the control of her twin who wishes to get out and gain control of the body. She hopes to keep her evil twin out, but she just can’t, with her losing control of both her body and mind. She ties herself to the bed and locks the door, but it doesn’t stop her unborn twin sister from doing things that would make her life difficult. Molly figures out that there is something wrong about her than just a tumour, and confronts her, but the evil twin is not something which humans can figure out that well. So, how many others close to Helen will have to suffer because of the presence of her evil twin? Will it one day gain full control and get to live her life or can she, with the help of her best friend stop this menace early enough?

The defence of Let Her Out :: There is something interesting about how this one progresses, as we have that feeling of mystery in the way it is taken. Alanna LeVierge does a great job here as the protagonist on whom the movie is focused as the others just becomes random additions in comparison – she surely makes us feel the protagonist’s pain and sadness, and it is something which is not that common among these horror movies which are rather less noticed. The movie also has its scares, and with a dark setting, and with the protagonist having to face all these alone, there is the certainty of terror. A horror movie with an emotional side is nice – they never really try to develop on that situation of no hope though. There are also those moments which make us wonder if it is all in the mind – that is also a probability in these kinds of movies, isn’t it? At least up-to an extent – after all, there was a trauma there. There should be a day when these lesser known, lower budget horror movies should rise above the big ones.

The claws of flaw :: From what we have in this movie, we are all sure that more could be done. There has been so many options to add more and more scares here and there. Even the evil twin in the shower doesn’t appear when we need to be scared by her, and the final big event gets less than it should have while it could have actually transformed the movie into something else – such simple moments could have been utilized better to elevate this movie. We have seen what evil twins can do, from The Unborn to many more movies which have dealt with a similar idea. One also has to wonder if some of the characters in this movie are present more to be killed rather than to stay alive. Also the people who are facing a situation of life and death, just seem not to try hard enough to save their own lives. It would be nice to have a better development of this idea another time, because there is so much scope when concerning the same.

How it finishes :: There is the chance that this movie will remind one of the Chloe Grace Moretz starrer, Let Me In, which was one of the best vampire movies around, and maybe this title is also intended to make us feel some connection, but the relation is indeed more to The Unborn rather than any other. But you can’t deny that this movie does have a similar kind of an atmosphere prevailing, as our protagonist is also going through a winter in her life. It will surely feel like going through two different personalities, one evil and one good, but the movie is surely more than that, working on the vanishing twin syndrome. This is surely not going to get into any list of a favourites in the genre, as it is not something that will bring something that new or divergent for the horror of our times. Yet, Let Her Out is the flick that will have enough for most people looking for more horror fun, as evil once again finds a way.

Release date: 25th August 2016
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Cody Calahan
Starring: Alanna LeVierge, Nina Kiri, Adam Christie, Kate Fenton, Michael Lipka, Brooke Henderson, Glen Reid, Deborah Jayne Reilly Smith, Kyle Hytonen, Paul McGinnis, Eric Picard, Rachel Sellan, Heather Dicke, Kerstin Bradler, Michael Francavilla

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and the one before that.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat. 

The Forest

Vampire Owl: I once went to this particular forest known for suicides.

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

Vampire Owl: I just couldn’t live up-to its reputation as I had already died.

Vampire Bat: Even the undead can die, you know.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the ghosts were against it. They told me that it is cheating.

Vampire Bat: Why did you even have to listen to them?

Vampire Owl: Well, they told me that they would transform me into a human.

Vampire Bat: What? It is so cruel. It would have been better to keep split personalities instead.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I just couldn’t bear being part of an inherently evil species. So, I said no.

Vampire Bat: I have to say that you did the right thing this time. The blood wars are coming, and we have to say no to more than one thing.

[Gets three cups of lemon tea with 50-50 biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Sara Price (Natalie Dormer) is spending her time with her fiance, Rob (Eoin Macken), and is having some happy moments of her life in her home in the United States of America when she gets an unexpected call from Japan. She is informed that her twin sister, Jess Price (again Natalie Dormer) is dead. The idea is that she was last seen going into Aokigahara forest known more as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees, and those who go there alone at night rarely come back as it is a place where people commit suicide. It is rather believed to be the most popular suicide destination in the world which has so many strange tales associated with it. The forest is known to be home to yurei or or rather the ghosts of Japanese mythology. It is also said that long ago, the elderly or unwell people were left to die in the forest, and the place had its dead bodies and ghosts from centuries ago. The place has that kind of a terrifying reputation.

So, what happens next? :: But that doesn’t stop Sara from looking for her sister, and despite the concerns of Rob, she travels to Japan, and after talking to the people at the school where she was teaching, gets to the hotel where Jess was staying. There she meets a man named Aiden (Taylor Kinney) with whom she share a drink and they become friends. After listening to her story, he tells her that he is a photographer and will accompany her to the forest. They are also to be accompanied by a guide named Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) whose presence will help them to get out of the forest if they lose their way or if anything goes wrong. As they go to the forest, Michi tells her that Jess should most probably be dead, and there is nothing changing the same. But Sara says that it is not possible, and as they are twins, she will somehow know if she was dead. She is quite convinced that her sister would never commit suicide.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: After traveling for some time in the forest, they come across the tent which Jess had used, but it was nearing nightfall, and Michi tells them that they have to go back as soon as possible. But Sara is convinced that the best option for them is to stay there, as Jess might come back to the tent by night. But Michi tells her that it is not safe, as the forest has its own ghosts, and they will make her see things which will drive her mad, and it will be she who will be lost on the next day. With their best efforts not seeing anything good in the end, Aiden says that he will stay with her throughout the night, and Michi leaves them to what seems to be a complicated fate. So, by staying in the dark forest which is believed to have more spirits than people, can Sara finally find Jess, and can at least one of the two sisters return home alive from the forest? Well, it is not that simple as it seems to be.

The defence of The Forest :: Aokigahara Forest is a nice location for a change, and with the tales that are told about the same, we become more and more interesting in watching a horror movie based on the same location. Natalie Dormer does a very good job as the twins here, and we are glad to see her in two roles, and she does her job very well. Known the best for her work in Game of Thrones series and also in The Hunger Games, it is great to see the talented actress doing the big role in a horror movie. The forest is also a solid character by itself, as we see possibilities going endless from the beginning itself. It does bring the question about what really is the reality and what is the hallucination – something that the ghosts use to confuse its new preys. The visuals are nicely used to support the same, and we surely have to say that there is an attempt to go different here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have surely used more scares, especially with such a mysterious forest at the centre of everything – the site of tragedy and strange beliefs hasn’t got the due that it deserved. The Forest could have used more ghosts than any other movie, and the variety that it could have brought with its scares would have made it close to a masterpiece; but such an effort is certainly not made here. When such creepiness is around, you expect the scary side to hold on and get to be better, and it is something that you never see anywhere around here. This struggle to use the material in hand should feel strange for many viewers. It also has to be noted that other than Natalie Dormer, there is nothing much of a cast to do anything big. Maybe it is the lack of focus that bring the trouble rather than anything else, as we see the struggle towards the end from a movie which began so well.

How it finishes :: You will surely find The Forest to be a rather strange movie, which means that whether you like it or not, it is very difficult to ignore it. With Natalie Dormer in full form, you might expect more and more, and what you get might not satisfy you enough. If you consider the mystery elements more and the scares a little less, you will not find this one to be less interesting. As you think differently, you will find this movie to catch your attention with its divergence. After all, it is one reality that we have in our lives, and the inability to understand what is real and what is unreal, and what is good and what is evil, is something that should be scary even out of the limits of a horror movie. Well, this one is creepy enough, and you just need to read less number of reviews before watching this movie. You remember the movie Pet, which was different in its own way.

Release date: 8th January 2016
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Jason Zada
Starring: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Eoin Macken, Rina Takasaki, Noriko Sakura, Yûho Yamashita, James Owen

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Now You See Me 2

nowyouseeme2

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the first movie? I loved it.

Vampire Bat: Yes, remember that I recommended it to you when you were practising black magic.

Vampire Owl: It was something like grey magic. Don’t overdo it.

Vampire Bat: There is no grey magic. It was just neutral dwarf magic.

Vampire Owl: Still, I did better than these people. I had magical flexibility of the immortal kind.

Vampire Bat: I loved the first movie. It was too good.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it was something which had a lot to keep us interested in the journey through the world of magic.

Vampire Bat: There is also a third movie coming up.

Vampire Owl: Now you believe me when I say that magic never dies.

Vampire Bat: I am not sure about that, but this franchise is certain to live long.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: About an year after outsmarting the FBI and all who were after them, the Four Horsemen or what remains of them – J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are hiding and preparing for a big event which is to come, but they don’t know what awaits them. Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) had left the Horsemen and they are left with three, which gets them the fourth member in the form of Lula (Lizzy Caplan), making the team complete again. Tired of waiting for their next big event, Daniel does try to contact the Eye by himself, and gets the reply that there is something huge coming. The FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) finally assigns them a new mission, which is about exposing the greedy businessman Owen Case (Ben Lamb) who is stealing private data from people with his new software.

So, what happens next? :: The team of four successfully infiltrate the grand programme organised by Owen, and are so close to getting to their objective, but are interrupted by an unknown person who reveals to the crowd that Jack who was thought to be dead is actually alive, and Dylan is actually a part of the Horsemen and has been fooling the FBI right from the beginning itself. This forces Dylan to escape, and the Horsemen who enters their escape tube resurfaces at Macau and are welcomed by Chase McKinney (once again played by Woody Harrelson), Merritt’s twin brother who has the reputation of making his brother’s life a living hell. There they meet Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), who used to Owen’s business partner who who had been deprived of his company and had faked his death after Owen gained full control of everything he had worked for. For the same, he seeks revenge, and wishes to steal from Owen a chip which could decrypt anything in the world.

The defence of Now You See Me 2 :: Some movies will stay with you for long with the magic inside them, and the first movie was like that, with magic within magic, and this one kind of inherits that quality, but only upto an extent. There is entertainment guaranteed, and there are those twists as there is more to Walter who had made the Horsemen steal the chip with vengeance around the corner – there is also more than what meets the eye for the character Thaddeus Bradley too. They are the kind of twists you hadn’t expected that you would see in a second movie; well you never really expected a sequel and so that is another twist. When you feel that this is not going as you had expected, there is that one final twist that gets things together to end the movie well. In the end, one will wonder if it is the superior quality of the first movie that has made this one feel not that awesome – but this is still good in its own style anyway.

The claws of flaw :: A comparison with the first movie will make this one feel less significant as a movie with magic, as the original Now You See Me was the innovator, and it had more strength in the delightful surprises coming from within, instead of twisting things like this sequel does at times. This might also be a little too complicated for many, while not bringing enough of those magical effects. The magic used to be more beautiful, and without doubt, more interesting earlier – but this one often pretends that it doesn’t know the strengths of that first movie which was appreciated by so many people. There are times when we feel that this movie was made more to capitalize on the success of the first movie, and nothing else. Even then, this movie somehow manages to be too long. This one could have used better ideas and more inspiration which would have made Now You See Me 2 rise above its predecessor – but it doesn’t come close.

Performers of the soul :: We once again have the horsemen as entertaining performers here, and the movie depends a lot on them to bring the fun and style to the screen. Jesse Eisenberg leads the way as expected, but one is sure to feel that his character was better in the first movie. Mark Ruffalo remains solid, even when his character goes on to make some of the stranger decisions. Woody Harrelson’s second role was kind of unnecessary, but he is right there with the main role. Dave Franco does the same as he did in the first movie, while Lizzy Caplan becomes a good addition with her best scene being the introduction itself, but everyone is sure to miss Isla Fisher who was such an integral part of the first movie – her replacement here also has her moments, which you are sure to notice. Daniel Radcliffe brings some difference as the villain, but he is not that interesting an antagonist throughout the movie as you go through. Morgan Freeman’s extension of secrets made sure that he had our attention with the character doing much more than we thought.

How it finishes :: You are not going regret watching Now You See Me 2, and if you haven’t watched the first movie, you are only going to love this one a lot more. This one also leaves us asking for more from a sequel which seems all set to arrive. The universe of Now You See Me has been expanded further, and we are more certain to see that there is a lot more to come, especially regarding “The Eye”. There is never enough of magic in our lives, right? The need for an answer to this question is not really there, as we know how much these two movies grossed. So lets see if the third movie becomes a better one that rises to the occasion nicely enough to make this trilogy an unforgettable one, or if it fails to come anywhere close, and thus leaving us with nothing to finish this franchise which had all the potential in the world. We shall hope, and wait for the magic; until then, this one will prove good enough.

Release date: 10th June 2016
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Lizzy Caplan, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Jay Chou, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Jay Chou, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, David Warshofsky, Richard Laing, Zach Gerard, Zoey Callandria Jones, Alberto Calvet Gonzalez

nowyouseeme2

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Best Offer

thebestoffer (2)

Vampire Owl :: It is such a gloomy Diwali this year. Nothing to be done. I expect this Halloween to be bad too.

Vampire Bat :: I had my own celebrations though.

Vampire Owl :: Really? And you didn’t call me? After all, I am your only officially undead friend.

Vampire Bat :: It was not arranged by me. There was lightning and almost everything in the living room seemed to be enjoying fireworks. Only the stabilizer is working now.

Vampire Owl :: I would need that stabilizer. I can connect it to my owlifier and hope that it works without loss of energy.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that you often seem to talk like Victor Frankenstein?

Vampire Owl :: Absolutely not. See, you are giving a wrong idea about owlification to the society. This is for their own good, so that they don’t have to face a third world war and a possible extinction.

Vampire Bat :: Have you even read about a world war?

Vampire Owl :: No. Why should I? I read no evil, hear no evil, see no evil. I just create evil – I am an evil mastermind.

Vampire Bat :: I have a movie for you then.

[Grabs of a cup of tea].

What is it about? :: The Best Offer is set in a world of art, where an old expert in art Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) runs an auction house. He is not a loved person around, as he has very few people around him who likes his way of behaviour and most of his life is spent with the desire to illegally gain the possession of very rare and highly valuable pieces of art, unmarried. He is appointed by a young heiress, Claire Ibbetson (Sylvia Hoeks), who asks for his help to auction off a huge collection of antiques and grand pieces of art which has been passed onto her by the family lines. But as Claire suffer from “a strange disease” as the people she knows tell him, or a certain amount of agoraphobia as she keeps herself confined to a room inside the huge mansion. As curiosity keeps getting into him, he hides himself inside the mansion one day to find that she is young and beautiful and sees her in a compromising position. He is immediately attracted to her beauty, and as they come close to each other, there will be the course of something else that will be set in motion.

The defence of The Best Offer :: Here is a movie which never ceases to enchant you with its visual splendour provided by art rather than anything else. There is a lot of beauty in the way in which the whole thing is narrated. Here is a quote which you can take home — “Emotions are like work of art. They can be forged; they seem just like the original but they are forgery. Everything can be fake: joy, pain, hate, illness, recovery… even love” – it tells a lot about the movie and how it connects art and man. Then there is question of truth and happiness, the things that are not found even in the real thing. The performances are splendid too, especially from the two leading characters. It is indeed a fresh take on the mystery genre, and a different entry to the world of romantic thrillers. There is also the abstinence from the usual formula that can be seen on a number of occasions. One can’t also deny the existence of so many angles from which this movie can be viewed from. I see the hollowness of humanity which can create huge artistic forgeries of the mind.

Positives and negatives :: The movie is slow, and it has lots of art associated with it, not really appealing to everyone. It is easy to find such people who don’t care about antiquity in this part of the world as we see our own centuries old monuments being vandalized by people or even those who claim to be lovers to write their names. There is almost no love for art in our lands, not even to the courses related to the same. So, this movie not releasing her was never a surprise, and people are going to find fault with its setting anyway. There will also be people wondering how such a thing in the movie is even possible with the two – but human mind is indeed strange, and emotions are pretty much ridiculous even for the most skilled ones – that much one has to be aware of. Yes, there are some characters who should have developed further and are lost in this seductive battle between the two main characters. It does give a little bit of too much clue to the viewer’s liking too early, but not everyone will pick them.

Performers of the soul :: Geoffrey Rush steals the show right from the beginning, and even by a bigger margin by the end. We don’t have a character here whom we can easily sympathize with, but here the man has completely made us feel for the character and the emotions that he has, even as he is not that much of a positive character, or someone we can cheer for. He is not a hero here, but we are given a chance to admire him as a tragic hero with this performance, and here he is elevated to the status of someone like Doctor Faustus who has the power of knowledge and yet not the wisdom to make things work in the right way. There is a certain beauty about it. Sylvia Hoeks is stunning here, not just by looks, but with a performance which seems to make her a modern day Rapunzel, caught in the hopelessness of the never-ending loneliness in the middle of nowhere, with no escape and less hair, but still extremely beautiful and having all the traits of her gorgeous and mysterious character.

Soul exploration :: Even as the movie’s focus as well as its background are on art and valuable antiques, its soul is on the gorgeous enigma who is at the centre of everything. She is the one to determine the fate of more than one character in the movie, and the universe which was rather static until then, revolves around her and turns it into a romantic mystery and then into a kind of thriller with the world no longer following a pattern. The life based on art becomes the life based on one lady who is like living art in beauty, and the protagonist soon finds his Helen of Troy and seems to wonder like Faustus if it “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships, And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?” – there comes the radical change in the world, and it sets things in motion, as the centre is clearly the mystery that the mysterious beauty provides, and the protagonist comes directly under the influence of this centre, the soul which changes things.

How it finishes :: The Best Offer is lost to most of our people, and it is not even known to most of our viewers. Another fact is that it might not appeal to everyone with a universe of art and a mystery that is built around the same which is hard to connect for a lot of people belonging to the modern world. As it tells the story of two people who are separated from the usual known world in different ways, the focus is on the search of love and the vanity in the hope that there will be the appearance of such a feeling which is so hard to achieve in this world of materialism. The movie talks about the world of love just as the illusion of art, and forgery is possible with ease, even as the best of forgeries might require skills, and it will take more than just the expertise to look through the fake emotions of love and desire, and that should be an objective vision which should be completely absent when the illusion begins to spread through one’s eyes.

Release date: 1st January 2013
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Giuseppe Tornatore
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Sylvia Hoeks, Jim Sturgess, Liya Kebede, Donald Sutherland, Philip Jackson, Dermot Crowley, Kiruna Stamell

thebestoffer

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Now You See Me

Nowyouseeme (7)

There has always been something special about magic, going as far as the wizards and sorcery, often even into necromancy summoning the apparitions or even the living corpses from the grave. That should be black magic or witchcraft, and Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus had the hero ending up giving his soul for it in not that romantic a way as in the movie Bedazzled. One can’t really abandon Goethe’s Faust in that case. But this movie has none of these deals with Mephistopheles, Lucifer, or Belzebub, and neither does it have walking dead, nor does it lead you to Hogwarts or to Narnia as the lord of a particular, incredibly powerful ring which will change your life in that fairy tale style. This is magic purely of this world, and connected to a crime as an engaging, powerful thriller. Magic has always been a thing arousing curiosity among the common cats of the world, but none of them stays killed or dead as part of it. Magic shows still have some of its essence which still affects the minds of the common man over his mundane existence, for being able to manipulate and create illusions still have that mysterious charm for the unexplained, no matter how much science and technology and the reason has improved. One needs to see how this movie has managed to do nothing special and still manages to be special!

But it is not yet a magic movie, or something which takes you to a magical environment like Harry Potter, Narnia or Lord of the Rings, and there are no goblins, hobbits, dwarves or elves, and this one is the story of tricks, illusions and deception, which doesn’t really make it of lesser quality. This is more of that magic which is closer to reality and the real world, and it is a caper movie – a crime fiction supported by magic; and it is Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen all of them explored with the support of magic provided in the right manner. If you loved Tower Heist and Entrapment, there is no option not to like this one, as there are the additions which you can’t reject. The focus of the story is still magic, and the four magicians who performs it not for money or for entertainment, but for a greater cause. There are thefts, and there are police, FBI and even Interpol involved in this heist movie, but what forms the base of all this is still magic, not as the fantasy and the mythological wonder that attracts the generations starting from kids, this one is more of that thriller which keeps you at the edge of your seats. The world of these magicians are more than what meets the eye, and therefore you see me at one moment and then you don’t, and for now you watch what is justified by the title Now You See Me!

We have to start by introducing our wonderful protagonists of deception; the four magicians—Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) the illusionist, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) the escape artist and former assistant of Daniel, Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) the street magician and master thief along with Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) the mentalist specialized in mind-reading abilities —are brought together by a mysterious benefactor who is shown only as a man in a hood and, one year later, they have a performance in Las Vegas identifying themselves as “The Four Horsemen” and is sponsored by a billionaire Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). During their first grand performance, the magicians invite a random member of the audience to help them in their next trick which is the first of its kind to be ever performed on stage, that is robbing a bank. The man is teleported to his bank in Paris, where he activates an airduct which vacuums up the money which brough down from the top onto their audience in the venue at Las Vegas. It is a bank in Paris that they are supposed to have robbed, and how they have done that to an institution in France from a location in the United States would remain a mystery to many.

FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) investigates the theft and is unwillingly partnered with Interpol Agent Alma Vargas (Melanie Laurent). They interrogate the Four Horsemen, but are forced to release them when no explanation for the theft can be found other than magic. The magicianis even taunt them and says that if they charge them as criminals, it means that their magic is real and that adds to their popularity. Dylan then meets a man who was present during the show and had video-taped the whole thing, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). He is known to be an former magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians’ tricks and have his fun with it. He tells them that the magicians had stolen the money long ago, and manipulated the audience as well as the police with their tricks and illusions into believing it happened at the moment of their show. He even shows a sample to Dylan after they have a look at the “site of the crime and the magic show”. He adds that the whole thing might have planned for months or even years and the group is up to something big and what was seen in Las Vegas was just the first of the samples.

The three of them attend the magicians’ next performance which is in New Orleans during the festival of Mardi Gras. The group’s manages a number of magic tricks including disappearing acts, floating in a bubble and even predicting the bank accounts of random people among the audience. Their last item involved them emptying their own sponsor’s bank account and distributing it to the audience, which had a good number of people whose insurance claims had been denied or reduced by Tressler’s insurance company in the name of a variety of reasons. The agents make an attempt to arrest the magicians, but they fails and even humiliates themselves, and becomes the breaking news in most of the television channels. Arthur hires Thaddeus to expose the fake tricks of the magicians and humiliate them before the public as revenge. Later, while researching on magic and the history of the world of illusions, Alma comes across the information about a secret society of magicians called “The Eye”, which exists unknown to the contemporary society of common man, and remains a myth. But if such a thing existed, the robberies were more of a test or initiation. She even suggests that the case might be connected to a magician whom Thaddeus had earlier exposed; the man was so embarrassed and depressed that he attempted a dangerous underwater stunt to prove his worth and drowned. Meanwhile, the Four Horsemen plan a final performance at New York City, which would decide many things.

Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco steal the show as the four horsemen who entertains not only the audience inside the movie, but also those outside with not only the thrills, but also the funny lines. They don’t really connect to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation directly with Conquest, War, Famine and Death, even as they do bring a disclosure, an uncovering which might come up more clearly in a possible sequel, as there is the concept of “The Eye” to add to it. I would suspect not only an upcoming apocalypse, but also a final judgement. It is stylish and also sure fun, and its use of CGI has been real appropriate as well as inspiring. Melanie Laurent has come a long way since Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, and successfully portrays her suspicious character and so does Morgan Freeman whose character remains in doubt of being the fifth horseman. Isla Fisher’s character has that charm which is matched only by Jesse Eisenberg’s illusionist. Forget Bruce Banner a.k.a The Hulk of The Avengers, for this should be his better or may be among the best performances, as he seems to have that balance in his character about which only the Hulk can have doubts. There might be the need for a little more explanation in case of the logic freaks, but the movie had a well-deserved clap from the audience in the multiplex after it finished, something which was this loud only with The Dark Knight Rises.

As the options at the theatre are considered, this would seem to be a clear winner at least at this part of the world. After Earth has been bulldozed by the critics as well as the viewers as far as the rottentomatoes and imdb ratings are concerned, and there are only a few shows of the movie around here, which opens that door for Now You See Me which might have been seemed locked before its release here. I would still like to watch the critically panned movie as I won’t trust them on my individual taste, even as there might be nobody to accompany me. Now You See Me has had its share of appreciation in the theatre itself, and I would expect it to bring more audience by the word of mouth, that passing of this magic, and more seats would be full even with a less known cast for the common man of the Indian subcontinent despite of the Will Smith – Jaden Smith power and the power-packed Bollywood releases which take hold of most of the shows along with its wonderful Malayalam counterparts; not to forget Hangover III, Fast & Furious 6 and Iron Man III, all three of those crowd-puller which have refused to go away from the big screens of the malls around here. I would vote for this movie as of now, as I consider this the best of the year 2013 so far, edging ahead of Star Trek: Into Darkness and Fast & Furious 6.

Release date: 7th June 2013 (India); 13th May 2013 (USA)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Mélanie Laurent, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

nowyouseeme copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.