Insurgent

insurgent (2)

A Flashback to Divergent :: I have noticed a number of people in the theatre being clueless about this, and therefore, lets take a flashback ride to the first movie. You can choose to skip this paragraph if you needn’t. In Divergent, within a future post-apocalyptic world of dysopian nature, the known human society is divided into five different factions according to the qualities of each person: they are Dauntless (the brave), Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest) and Erudite (the intelligent). There are tests done for the same and those who don’t fit into the factions or the Divergents are left with no part in the society. But one young lady called Beatrice Prior will join Dauntless despite being a Divergent, and will go on to stop the faction Erudite and its leader Jeanine Matthews’ attempt to take over as the leader of them all.

What is it about? :: Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) continues her hunt for power, as she finds an artifact box with the symbols of all factions. She needs to open it as the box is believed to have a message from the founders of the city, and she hopes that it can solve the problems of the Divergents restoring the remaining factions with her as the leader. But only a strong Divergent can open it as the procedure involves going through the simulation which includes the challenges of all the factions. Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller), and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) are on the run, but Jeanine’s team reaches them – they separate as Tris and Four leave for Candor after going through the Factionless which is lead by Four’s mother Evelyn Johnson-Eaton (Naomi Watts). But things surely seem to be heading for a war.

The defence of The Divergent Series: Insurgent :: The idea has already been set, and so Insurgent has it easy to work with. The detail of the environment is very good, and it is good to watch he dystopian world in 3D. The special effects never cease to catch our attention in this movie. The action sequences remain interesting, and the audience only end up asking for more of the same. The idea of being Divergent is taken to another level, and there is twist at the ending which leaves us hoping for more in the sequel – hope the next movie delivers a lot more. The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1 will get released next year and The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 2 in 2017, and lets hope that this works very well as there seems to be something big coming, as the impression has been made.

The Claws of Flaw :: Insurgent is a step backward from Divergent, and it is not divergent in its treatment of the subject. It doesn’t go on to establish itself as a special dystopian movie as we had expected with the ending of the first movie. The first one had established the world, but this one actually has almost nothing related to a dystopia which is provided directly and we are left to pick up a few things here and there. The message is not that powerful here with the divergence and the society. Instead, this movie tries to hold on to predictability and last minute escapes. The movie should have dared to go outside what it has established and could have brought more here. Instead, the movie manages to go on and on with the idea that we already have. There is no real attempt to change the society in a big way other than trying to bring the dictator down. Divergents are also just declared special!

Performers of the soul :: It can be safely said that it is Shailene Woodley who saves this movie from going further down its level. She has given her best here, carrying this movie forward as the Divergent protagonist. She has only made things better here, and she is the one who provides this movie with any opportunity to match up-to its predecessor even though Insurgent doesn’t end up doing so. Among the new additions to the movie, Naomi Watts stays ahead of the others, as is very much convincing and interesting. Theo James just manages to be okay playing the support. Ansel Elgort has a forgettable outing there as the strange brother character. Kate Winslet manages to be just an okay villain while Miles Teller is very good here.

Soul exploration :: Just like its predecessor, this movie also focuses on what it takes to be different or divergent, and focuses on the journey that occurs due to not agreeing to the norms of the society. In a world where moving away from the accepted norms of the society is a crime, one heroine continues to rise. This divergence leads to revolution and a change of order. Identities change here, and being smart comes with the extreme desire to rule over the others, which the intelligent faction in the movie displays. They are the masters of science and cannot stand someone else who is better than them, just like the Divergents who are good in more than one skill, and from their jealousy, the movie moves forward to the next level.

How it finishes :: The movie is based on the book of the same name, which is the second book in the much talked about Divergent trilogy written by Veronica Roth, even though the fans here seems to be lesser in number. The first one was an interesting movie itself, and the second one nicely follows the path which was set up by its prequel without doing anything special, which makes Divergent the better movie without doubt. This actually became the first Hollywood movie I watched this month, and may be the only one of its kind which I managed to review. Yes, my movie watching adventures have been decreasing, thanks to the censor board banning movies, and some of them not even making all the way here. There are also personal reasons, but I am going to find time for the same here and there as long as the bans and the selections of movies by the theatres make more sense.

Release date: 20th March 2015
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoë Kravitz, Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd, Daniel Dae Kim, Keiynan Lonsdale, Suki Waterhouse, Rosa Salazar, Emjay Anthony, Janet McTeer, Jonny Weston

insurgent

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Maleficent

maleficent (1)

The Sleeping Beauty :: There are not many of us who don’t know the Sleeping Beauty or Princess Aurora, being as famous as the little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Gretel and Rapunzel, may be a little more popular than Goldilocks – the heroines of the tales of our childhood, at least belonging to some of them. Red Riding Hood returned darker in 2011, Snow White in 2012 and Gretel in 2013. All these movie have been coming up with a darker version of the old fairy tales. I have felt that there is nobody like Amanda Seyfried to be a fairy tale character. I have found these re-imagining of stories pretty much interesting except for Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Snow White which ruined it for me. There is always something about seeing a story which you have known in the childhood presented in another way, and with this movie coming from the perspective of the antagonist who features in the posters and impresses us, Maleficent was not going to be a movie to be missed. Well, it is not always about the princess; for there are so many things which are not royal, but is yet better than they are. Then, this movie has Angelina Jolie; a long time since she was last seen in a movie – I guess the last ones were two fine movies, The Tourist and Salt in 2010.

What is it about? :: Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is a faeire living in the magical forests which the human kingdom has always wished to capture. Despite having no king or standing army, the forests have always managed to keep the armies of the greedy human king away. She actually serves a certain kind of leader to the creatures of the woods, being the only faerie of human size. Her only human acquaintance is Stefan (Sharlto Copley) whom she met when they were both kids and grew up together, falling in love. As the old friend and lover returns one day, she lets him in, only to have her wings taken away from her. Maleficent, in her state of sadness, pain and anger turns darker with her magic, and with that, turns the magical fairy kingdom darker, depriving it of the colours. With a shapeshifting raven Diaval (Sam Riley) for company, she decides to give the man who betrayed her what he deserves. The current situation is that the man is now the king of the human kingdom, and his wife has given birth to a baby girl. She finds that her window of opportunity to march to the castle and give the newborn baby a gift from her dark magic which will make sure that her former lover would remember her for a very long time.

The defence of Maleficent :: No matter what other movies might have, we have Angelina Jolie here, coming back to the big screen after a long time, except for her voice that we heard in in Kung-fu Panda. Maleficent has a lot of visual splendor, right from the beginning when we are introduced to the cute little protagonist faeire who sleeps on a tree at the top of a cliff, flying around and having her fun with the creatures of the magical woods. All these creatures are nicely created to give us a taste of the magical forest in such a way that we can feel that it is different from the human side as well as the darker side to which we are introduced later. The trees surrounding the faerie world as well as the mounted warriors of nature also needs some special mention. But what thrives is the awesomeness of her with those wings and the final dragon. The cute ones are rather those which you usually expect to see. The movie’s environmental theme is real good, but it could have been used in a more visible manner. The difference in the story is nicely worked out even if not fully utilizing the available resources. The 3D is effective at times. The kids are going to love this one, that is for sure.

The claws of flaw :: Maeficent reminds us of so many movies, including Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Oz the great and Powerful, Jack the Giant Slayer, Hansal and Gretel: Witch Hunters and finally, Snow White and the Huntsman which had Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart instead of Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning here, even as this movie is surely better except for not having, may be Charlize Theron. There was the need for more imagination, which is why this movie struggles and drags at parts. It actually remains too predictable at times, and when it is not, it just manages to make its story good enough. With the classic story of the sleeping beauty in the pocket, they could have done better, may be with a better information about how this one big faerie came into existence as one of her kind, and how she mastered black magic getting so powerful. Another question would remain about the mental state of Princess Aurora whom we know is the one narrating. Some things just happen here, and even as there is the unreal atmosphere around, it needs to explain within that circle, but it doesn’t, and also fails to connect with the audience emotionally at times. The jokes and other dialogues are not memorable.

Performers of the soul :: Angelina Jolie has everything under control in this movie. Just like the poster, she has herself inscribed all around the movie; she is majestic as the defender of the magic realm when left with her wings, and magnificent as the sorceress who takes on the powers of dark magic when deprived of her wings. It is really a joy to watch her in such an avatar; I have always felt that she would make a great villain, an evil sorceress – this feeling of mine has actually come to screen with this one. The horns, the wings, the black dress and the wicked smile; then there are those cheekbones and the fury in the eyes, they are all perfect. The idea of sending the enemy’s daughter into eternal sleep on her sixteenth birthday – now she is indeed fit to give such a curse. Even the girl who plays her childhood was so good. The beautiful magical world indeed belongs to her! Elle Fanning, the sister of Dakota Fanning (Jane Volturi of the Twilight series) plays the role of Princess Aurora in the movie. She is the next best thing as she becomes one of the cutest princesses one has ever seen on screen, and wait until you see with a crown on the head in the end. Sam Riley’s human-raven hybrid avatar was nice. Sharlto Copley made a pretty good villain, but with not enough space and screen time.

Soul exploration :: Maleficent is not just a story of the past or unreality. It is in many ways parallel to what is happening in our world. They not only keeps the famous villain in the shades of grey and closer to white, they also divides its world into the human world of science and technology and the magical world where nature thrives. The humans are always motivated by that desire to destroy nature with their new scientific inventions after looting whatever wealth they can find from there. The human king and his subjects fear what they can’t understand, because it is beyond their scientific explanations, and it is the same reason why they feel that it should be destroyed. But the wealth of the forest in also too attractive, and thus they keeps making an attempt to take control of the territory and deprive it of the resources. On one side, there are the greedy humans, and on the other side, there are the creatures of the forest who live a happy life even with no control or rules imposed by the society. The enemies of the faeries are the products of new technologies, and in this case, iron. The movie is a battle between the righteous nature and the evil man’s scientific inventions, the same thing that happens in the present.

How it finishes :: Maleficent is not a movie that you can avoid even in the presence of a number of regional movies which have gained positive reviews; in our case, those like How Old are You and Bangalore Days. It doesn’t have the power to make a huge impact in the presence of the other movies, but one can’t deny that it has its magnets to attract, starting from Angelina Jolie. The movie is short too, and thus making sure that it won’t lose its way moving towards the end that has quite the difference that is needed. Yes, there is no true love, and all that romance and stuff is a lie – this movie has such dialogues throughout, claiming that true love doesn’t exist, and even the breaking of curse is supposed to be by true love which everyone knows doesn’t exist. Now, I would say that it is a great step taken when the stories of dumb romance have been spreading through the air. This realization that human beings are inherently evil and there is no love between even the most seemingly romantic couple, is what contributes powerfully to the dark and powerful side of this movie, which has to be appreciated. Yes, this is that kind of a world when the prince gets drunk on the way to the castle, arrives late, and the sleeping beauty dies; end of the story.

Release date: 30th May 2014
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Robert Stromberg
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Miranda Richardson, Lesley Manville, Kenneth Cranham, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, Eleanor Worthington Cox, Janet McTeer, Ella Purnell, Isobelle Molloy, Toby Regbo

maleficent copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Woman in Black

thewomaninblack (3)

✠ A 1983 horror novel by Susan Hill was made into a movie of the same name, last year. But most of the people here haven’t been aware of the same, even as it had mostly positive reviews. That surprises me indeed, as it would have gained a lot if popularized here, thanks to the Harry Potter fans who might have been missing a leading man. There has been a 1989 movie, but we are going to stick to this 2012 version which has our Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe. I didn’t know that he was in it, and that was a pleasant surprise for me. There is no relation with the Men in Black franchise nor the aliens, and no neuralyzer was used in making me say so – you can check the usage records of the device for that. Instead, Woman in Black is a different supernatural story in a different setting, and it is a supernatural movie train which doesn’t run in our modern railroads, and therefore there is a chance that some horror fans might feel some displeasure. Still, my complaint is that there is the absence of something new in horror.

Count Dracula: Woman in Black? If you were looking for a Count in Black, I knew someone who could help you. The clue is that he has nice fangs which he brushes well without fail and lives in an awesome castle. Wait, do you need to talk to Brides in White? I know three, and I am pretty sure that you will love them.

Vampire Bat: And I thought he would confuse it with Men in Black. Do you understand anything I am saying? I am talking about the story of a woman who wears a black dress and if someone sees her, children die. Ever heard about it or something similar, world’s first official vampire Count?

Count Dracula: Are you talking about the lady who comes to clean the castle. I always knew there was something strange about her, and she wears black. My children of the night will be killed? Should I kill her first? Or is she too supernatural for me to get enough from her for my blood shake?

Vampire Bat: Not the cleaning lady. Your vision remains as clouded as the sky. No, not your children of the night. They can howl as much as they want, and you can look at the roof and have that weird expression which zombies have when they see humans with brains. Stop looking at the spider webs while talking. What is wrong with you?

Count Dracula: I am having dreadful visions. I see dead goblins and living halflings. Is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug due to be released soon? Never mind, please continue. I am as interested in that lady in black as I am inspired by that rotten zombie girl in the corner of that graveyard. I have heard about that novel too, not as good as the one written by Bram Stoker, and no good character as me…I mean that Count.

Vampire Bat: Well, a widowed lawyer Arthur Kipps is on a mission to arrange the sale of a house. He has one son whom he leaves at his place with a nanny as he visits the small town where it is located and during his visit to the house, he sees a strange woman wearing black dress. A child dies and the people of the town blames him for seeing that lady.

Count Dracula: Nothing new to me. It happens every time. They blame me all the time just because some random person dies somewhere near my castle. See, I am just a farmer. We are a peaceful farming community with better teeth. What about my rights? I was framed by Bram Stoker. But I have to agree that I liked it.

Vampire Bat: I can’t believe I am hearing this. Just a few days ago, you were playing mist and fog outside the second house on the eighth street. And stop farming skulls – they don’t grow. Pouring blood on them doesn’t create reddish fountains either. I am going to record all these some day. It is not like your case. This is a lady who lost her kid and wishes to take revenge on all the kids of the town, as she makes them do things which lead to their deaths.

Count Dracula: See, she is a hypnotherapist like me. One of my various skills attained due to practice. Am I not the vampire in black? Why not such a title with me as the leading character? There is nothing about that woman, she doesn’t even exist.

Vampire Bat: But you have to think about the environment the movie creates. The local people, legends, strange figures, screaming – the things haven’t been this strange since the last time Jonathan Harker was held captive in your castle. Those were great times, right? Wait, is that a 55 inch 3D LED TV? Where did that come from?

Count Dracula: I didn’t buy it. It was available for free with human Halloween masks in the goblin market. Nobody wanted that stuff as the Witch of the West’s unlimited inches magic TV is the hot item right now, and it has the latest video game “Humans are Evil”. Sounds so awesome, doesn’t it?

Vampire Bat: You are ruining the horror environment with such items. This is why you can’t always blame Twilight for ruining your reputation. Vampires don’t keep 3D TV at home, thats what pseudo-vampires do. You just drink blood in 3D. This is why you need to watch this movie so that you can understand how well the ambiance works.

Count Dracula: You mean to say that the Harry Potter kid has grown up a lot more than his final movie of that franchise? I remember seeing the poster of this movie, and how does he do? I don’t know anyone else from that movie, what about them? The only lady in black that can be scary might be that person from Insidious Part one and two.

Vampire Bat: Yes, he is the centre of attraction, and he might be the reason why the movie has good collection. My first feeling was that he might be having that Harry Potter hangover, but no, there he is away from that franchise, and he is once again taken into a world which asks for willing suspension of disbelief, that fantasy which is rather more of horror rather than simple magic and a little more advanced sorcery. He has survived beyond that magical world which lasted many years, and without a magic wand he takes on both the Woman in Black as well as us skeptics, ending up victorious – yet there is still a lot more to do for him in whatever awaits him next. The world is dark and gloomy, and so is his character, taking us with him as he fits in there, not with perfection, but in the right manner.

Count Dracula: So he is no longer the wizard. I know that he will be killed by that Woman in Black – it is not a guess, as it is something which I can feel. So this is a horror movie, but my doubt is if it does really scare?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it does, and it chooses to use the atmosphere and items for scaring rather than anything else. There are lots of surprise scares coming up, but the problem remains that there is no real explanation for most of the things around. It can only mean one of the two things, either they think that our brains are eaten by zombies, or we have too much of an imagination to find out more. Well, it deals with a big curse, so the things are to be different. It is creepy indeed and full points to the house and its location, but it seems missing out somewhere. I would have also liked another ending, that is for sure.

Count Dracula: So it is scary indeed, and I am going to watch and like it after I get rid of this bloody tv. Its time for me to brush my fangs again. Good bye, and watch movies.

Vampire Bat (to himself): It was quite short a movie. Lasting about one and half hours, the movie could have had more, and it just ended soon when we wanted more of it. Coming from the director of Eden Lake, this is not as good as that movie, but works well with the resources that it has. Yet, this is nothing new for most of us, as we have been provided with similar things a lot. But we can appreciate how it works as another horror movie, and I am always looking for more and more horror.

✠ Its sequel The Woman in Black: Angels of Death is also coming sometime later. Therefore, it is more of a necessity to have watched this movie and be prepared to welcome the Woman in Black into our lives. Watch it for the first true performance from Daniel Radcliffe as a non-wizard civilian of this world and all the creepy things that the movie has to offer. All the atmosphere rather affects the narrative progress, but in a movie like this, it is the creation of that spooky world that we are looking for, but the occasional drag might bing up questions. If you are looking for anything extraordinary or out of the supernatural, you might have to look for another movie. A cup of innovation could have helped. If you don’t like our leading actor, then you can run away too, as there is a lot of Daniel Radcliffe in this one, and he is there more than that lady is black. He might look too young for the role, but when he does well despite the uninterested looks, there is not much there to complain. Darkness and shadows everywhere, not even Dracula can complain.

Release date: 10th February 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: James Watkins
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer, Liz White, Roger Allam, Tim McMullan, Jessica Raine

thewomaninblac copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.