Jungle Cruise

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time we went for a cruise in the river?

Vampire Bat: Are you talking about the journey through the River of Blood?

Vampire Owl: No, that was only a temporary river caused by the war with the werewolves.

Vampire Bat: The river still stands strong with the result of the new battles.

Vampire Owl: The blood in there is not enough even for Uncle Dracula on an eventful night.

Vampire Bat: Still, it is a river with blood.

Vampire Owl: There are other rivers which hold interesting red liquids.

Vampire Bat: You do think about a water world much different.

Vampire Owl: Yes, you have to respect the tradition of the water world.

Vampire Bat: We respect just the tradition of the blood around here.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: In the sixteenth century, a group of Spanish conquistadors had searched the interior jungles of South America for something known as the tears of the moon, which came from a lesser known tree. It was a very long search which went on for so many years that people actually got too tired about it. The flowers of this tree is supposed to cure a good number of illnesses and heal injuries, while even believed to be lifting curses according to the locals. After many people die in search of the special tree’s flowers, the tribal people help a few of them with the unexpected medicine brought out of the flower. When the conquistadors force them to reveal the location of the tree and then burns the village, the chief of the tribe curses them before dying, and all of them are forced to live there forever – near the Amazon river, and under the power of the jungle which watches them at all times. This might not be the best known of the legends surrounding Latin America, but in 1916, seems to be the one which has the attention of a little too many people.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Dr Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and MacGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall) are searching for the same thing more than anyone else. MacGregor presents his sister Lily’s paper at the Royal Society in London, which the audience feels is rather dumb. But at the same time, Lily is searching for an artifact which might be the key to finding the tree. She hopes that the flowers of the tree can actually save millions of people all around the world. She finds the artifact within the society house, while MacGregor had created the diversion. She also manages to escape the area, but not without gaining a lot of attention. While the scientists continue to consider it as a ridiculous myth, Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) of Prussia is very much determined to find the tree for the Germans. He has also done a lot of research related to it, and spent a lot of money. As the youngest son of the emperor, he is determined to get what he wants, at any costs, and even has a lot of troops, ships and even a submarine ready for him.

And what is to be added to the adventures around here? :: The scene shifts to Brazil – Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) is someone who has been offering cheap jungle cruises to people, and he has also added some fake theatrical danger events to make things look more alive and interesting. When Lily asks, Frank is hesitant at first, but agrees later, as he is desperately in need of money and had also looked for the flowers by himself a long time ago, before getting stuck there. After getting back his boat’s engine from the man who had lent him money, the three start the journey together, after evading the German submarines which come at them. But it is only the first problem that they have, as more troubles await them. There are the tribal people that await in the jungles as well as the dangerous animals. Along with the same, there are also those Spanish conquistadors who are caught in the forests to live forever in a terrible state. The Germans would also make a grand return. Are these people ready to face all the troubles that await in the path?

The defence of Jungle Cruise :: This movie once again brings a world which is full of adventure, and we also have the environment to be really good and suitable for the situations shown here. There is one world belonging to the jungle and river, as well as another one which goes further as we get close to the tree that serves as the destination. This world is that kind of place which we would really wish to visit for the natural beauty – the green world which is provided here only gets better as the movie progresses further. The journey is more or less taking us there to travel through the river and the mysteries that lies close to it, related to a curse. There is also some fine humour to add to it, and we don’t feel that we ever come short of the same. There is no better guarantee for entertainment than this movie, and it is basically a safe path for fun, suitable for all ages, and a perfect one for watching with family. We also have that memories of playing Tomb Raider and other related games with artifacts in the forests coming back to us.

Positives and negatives :: Whether it is Jumanji, Hobbs & Shaw or the rest of the Fast and the Furious series, The Rock a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson is the one actor whom we look forward to bring all the entertainment. The action and the humour sticks perfectly to him this time too, as the adventure only gets sharper for his character. He remains the muscle of the film, as he has been with so many other movies too. Whether in Edge of Tomorrow or A Quiet Place, Emily Blunt has the skill for some serious adventure, even though this one surely adds a certain funny side to it. She becomes the Tomb Raider of this particular movie, and a character like this never losses the charm. Edgar Ramirez also comes in nicely as one antagonist of the past. Jack Whitehall is more or less about the funny side. This is the kind of movie which one would love to watch in 3D, as there are so many elements which qualifies in making things better with visuals. Yet, the movie could have gone for a smarter progress with its myth, and it could have had more dangers being shown as part of the world. Some of the dialogues also seem to have come unnecessarily.

How it finishes :: Jungle Cruise stays close to its strengths and makes this one a very entertaining ride. The movie does know where it can stand without troubles. It doesn’t really try to move away from the safe zone in working with the content. It stays simple, and with the same, would attract all the audience with ease. This one is also the classic family friendly journey to which Dwayne Johnson is not a stranger – Journey to the Mysterious Island had provided something similar quite some time ago, as we remember such mysteries and legends getting the due. Well, you can always trust the Rock with that. The transportation to this particular world is done in a way that no kind of audience is left behind. It is the kind of world which can surely have an attraction in a theme park with its name. As we have not travelled that much in the last few years in the name of Corona virus and its restrictions, we are all going to have this virtual one.

Release date: 30th July 2021
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Shallows

Vampire Owl: There is nothing as shallow as an human heart.

Vampire Bat: I don’t know why you said that now.

Vampire Owl: The title reminded to use this particular word in the best way possible.

Vampire Bat: You are not in a school anymore – they don’t ask you to construct sentences using a word.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is a human thing. We construct life out of words instead.

Vampire Bat: Have you been reading the wrong book in that library?

Vampire Owl: Not at all, my friend. Whatever I read is the right book. It is the book’s honour to be read by me.

Vampire Bat: Do you really read much these days? You are at the cemetery most of the time.

Vampire Owl: I am teaching my zombie minions, some English grammar.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is nice that vampires don’t have UGC NET, and neither do we have those reservations.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: A medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) has a journey to a small, isolated beach in the interiors of Mexico – it is the same place which her mother Mrs. Adams (Janelle Bailey) had visited when she was pregnant with her; now with her mother no more, she takes a break to go through the past. The beach is so less known that she has to get the help of a local man named Carlos (Oscar Jaenada) to find it. She spends her time at the beach surfing with two local people and talking to her father Mr. Adams (Brett Cullen) and her sister Chloe Adams (Sedona Legge) regarding the things that are worrying her concerning the demise of her mother. After the two newly found friends leave, she finds herself surfing for one final round as the day is slowly beginning to end. She notices the corpse of a whale floating around at the same time.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: This place, even though looking more beautiful than ever at this time of the day, isn’t what would catch Nancy – it is a great white shark that get the honours, as she is taken off the board and is forced to climb on to the whale’s dead body, but with the shark getting through, gets to a rock away from the sea shore. Her leg injured, and a few hundreds of metres to the beach, Nancy is stranded on the rock which is also supposed to go under water with the high tide. As she is a medical student, she manages to use the available resources including the surfboard straps as well as her jewelry to stop bleeding from her wounds and keep the torn flesh stitched together. She survives for now, but how long can she go on? Can she get help from the locals in one way or the other? Is it possible to swim now considering the condition of her legs?

The defence of The Shallows :: The movie has a beautiful setting right here, as it is more like one of those beaches which everyone should visit once in a life-time. Maybe, they can include it in those lists which go around in the internet, wherever it is. When you see all that beauty around, and you are clearly immersed in the thoughts of writing the perfect poem, comes the shark – all of a sudden, and what follows is a sequence of thrilling moments, and attempts at survival, as once against the human meets the beast in a one on one battle, just this time not on land, and it is in the territory of the animal that asserts its strength again and again. The way of nature, and the survival of the fittest – bound to battle against the same, our protagonist is played by Blake Lively who has done an amazing job here. It is to be noted that her Green Lantern co-star turned Deadpool, and her spouse Ryan Reynolds had already worked in a similar movie of survival, Buried, with a tragic end to that story. She surely proves her to be too good, as she has a lot more to do in this movie set in the sea, hunted by a shark.

Positives and negatives :: There is no other actor in this one doing much of a job, as everything is fitted on the shoulders of Blake Lively. It seems that she has been provided with the best opportunity at performing right here, and she has taken it with both arms, without hesitation. One might have problems with the final scenes of climax, and how the shark trouble is dealt with – people would have wanted a better solution to all these, or some help from anything, anyone or anywhere rather than luck. There is a little bit of the feeling of repetition, but with us on the edge of the seat, it can be passed. There is no doubt that the movie could have made this even better, and that too without her backstory – it is more like a harmless thing that wouldn’t hurt when you look at it as a whole, but when you feel that you get to leave it out too, that is indeed a wonderful feeling, even better by a very small distance, for there is not much of a height to climb for The Shallows that it hasn’t.

Soul exploration :: Just like those other survival movies, The Shallows is also about surviving against all odds – when everything seems to be against you, and it seems that you have no chance here, you keep going. Failing without trying would be the worst thing, and when death awaits you, the need for struggle and survival automatically comes. Our protagonist here has nicely balanced her needs, and using her limited resources and her knowledge about human body, keeps herself alive. There is always some danger of being in a less explored place alone, and a shark is only one of those that could happen to bring the danger. There can be trouble in the roads itself, as shown in NH10, and it is sad that some places which are so unexplored and beautiful don’t get to be as safe as the rest. It once again comes to the survival of the fittest, right? And then there is the inherent evil in man which comes in too, making a terrible impact at other places.

How it finishes :: It is to be noted that Hollywood got so many tales of survival in life, whether it is on Everest, Mars, or anywhere else. We do have one from Bollywood too – the one which is not that popular; Trapped – it has the protagonist getting locked inside an apartment where nobody else lives, and even though the situation might seem better in it, there is more than what meets eye with being somewhere without any means of communication, electricity, food and water for a number of days. A few years ago, Liam Neeson had to battle wolves to survive in The Grey, but never did seem to have a good result out of it for the character – so, will Blake Lively’s character be smart enough to get through the shark, and emerge as the smart one and the winner of the battle? You will once again know what survival is all about, as you go through another movie which will have you hoping for the protagonist to make it to the shore one way or the other. It is so good in working with the genre, you will know.

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge, Pablo Calva, Diego Espejel, Janelle Bailey, Ava Dean, Chelsea Moody, Sully Seagull

<– Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Non-Stop

non-stop (2)

That prayer for release :: People have many reasons to pray for, but one thing that I have prayed for is the release of Non-Stop. We have known that it did release in India on a much later date than its United States release, and thanks to the PVR Cinemas website which thinks that I am from Bangalore and shows me the timings there (when not showing the Chennai timings), I know that it did release there and still not here, just like a number of other movies including I Frankenstein, Ender’s Game, Oldboy and Prisoners making one wonder what is wrong with these people. For a movie like Non-Stop which has someone like Liam Neeson doing what he does the best, one has to be surprised that it took so much time to grace the theatres here, and now it has come with Bangalore Days, and one is left to wonder how stupid is that. Well, it is there in not many theatres and so I guess it is not really another official release. It just proves that multiplex owners are lacking in common sense, and this absence hurts them in collections as well as the movie fans. Well, everyone has a reason to pray, and the prayers are answered now.

What is it about? :: William Marks (Liam Neeson) is an air marshal who is more of an alcoholic after the depression over the death of his daughter. As he travels from New York to London and with the flight travelling away from coast and over the Atlantic Ocean, he gets text messages from an unknown source stating that one person will die every twenty minutes unless a sum of one hundred and fifty dollars is transferred into a specified account. He attempts to find the truth with Jack Hammond (Anson Mount), the other air marshal on the plane, but that doesn’t go on well as Jack is killed. Now, with the help of the person sitting next to him, Jen Summers (Julianne Moore) and an air hostess Nancy Hoffman (Michelle Dockery), he goes on trying to find the person who is behind the threat. But the people in the flight gets suspicious as he doesn’t reveal anything, and those on the ground are pretty sure that he is hijacking the plane and not investigating anything. Between all these, and also with a bomb discovered in the middle, can the air marshall come up with enough to save one hundred and fifty passengers on the plane?

The defence of Non-Stop :: The best defence of the movie is Liam Neeson; while Arnold Schwarzenegger might have lost his touch because he is old, this man is getting better as he is getting old, which is why he doesn’t need to be in any of The Expendables. We are given one of the last action heroes that we will have, without martial arts flurry or special effects overdose, and he himself is a living defence. He takes us into the middle of the thrills just a few minutes after the flight takes off, with the stranger striking, and that too with a dual nature of being the investigator as well as the suspect. The thrills stay from then to the end, and even as it leaves us to make some guesses, it certain that the best guesses are not the result. There are so many suspects for us that we can start from one end and continue to the other, just like our protagonist is doing in the movie. It remains intense as well as entertaining, never ceasing to be the thriller that it is supposed to be. It has nicely used its setting to have an advantage over what would have happened if it wouldn’t have occurred anywhere else. The movie has managed that all that was expected of it, and with no denial of the same, comes its defence.

The claws of flaw :: Some people ask for logic, and it is a surprise that they would ask for it in this movie which has remained as close to the same as it could, under the circumstances and the environment. They are mostly the fanboys and fangirls who are actually more interested in seeing motor-bikes turning into bikes and huge super-bikes running on a small thread as in Dhoom 3 or complete nonsense as in Krrish 3. They make dumb Bollywood movies grand success by lending their eyes to stuff that could go straight into the garbage can, and when there are Hollywood movies which keeps its logic working according to the setup of the movie, they say that the movie is stupid, but it is not for the common viewer to pay any attention to such stuff. The climax and the ending are of lower quality, compared to the movie as a whole, especially the first half and the first part of the second. This one does remind the viewer of Die Hard and its sequel, with a man against all odds and a flight with hijackers involved. Flaw finders can run around this one, but can’t take away the quality that it has maintained throughout the movie.

Performers of the soul :: The man whom we loved in Schindler’s List is now one of those super action stars whose movies we can watch without bothering much about the entertainment factor. There were always Taken, Unknown, The Grey and The A-Team which defined the same. He was one star that we could trust with no doubts, and even the more complicated Chloe turned out to be pretty good. He has been Zeus, he fought the Nazis, secret organizations, terrorists, wolves in different movies and even manage to hold one Victor Hugo classic on his shoulder, now how can one doubt him? We never did, which is why we chose this one over Maleficent. Julianne Moore comes up with a character who helps our protagonist, but not without creating that needed shadow of doubt which follows her, and she has carried it with her not lacking in what is needed. Michelle Dockery has smaller, but quite important role as the air hostess, and happens to be the most beautiful person on that dangerous flight. These are actually the three people who we mostly notice, and talking about the villains who come out as a surprise would be a crime.

Soul exploration :: When we were there to watch the movie, it was going to be cancelled, with not enough audience for a show to run, which is eight according to them. But thankfully, some people who couldn’t get the tickets for another movie (Bangalore Days) did save the day, and it is thus evident that one movie helps the other, like the Malayalam movie Drishyam helped three movies in our local theatre during its run, Our Indian Pranayakatha, 1983 and London Bridge. Supported by the hopes of scoring at the expense of another movie, Non-Stop could have done much better with an earlier release, as it asks the viewers questions about how safe they are, and how true can the assurances of the government be. We already know how media goes after breaking news twisting the facts, and how the appearances can be deceiving no matter how close a view we can manage to get, and a further display of the same also comes with this movie. The questions that the movie asks may feel to be without answers, but I guess that is how it is supposed to be. No matter what changes, there are a few questions that we can never manage to answer, and there something that will never get better.

How it finishes :: Non-Stop won’t do that good here with its horribly late release and in the presence of Bangalore Days which is expected to be good and if it is not, will be hailed so by the fans and the youth; we know how fan-boys and fan-girls work. The challenge from its Hollywood opponent will also be high, especially as it has the power of being new. But it is certain that there will be a lot of people who really want to see Non-Stop and with the face of Liam Neeson on the poster, this should bring a few people in, that’s all. This weekend’s winner in Kerala will surely be Bangalore Days though, and questioning the same would be just madness. There are positive reviews out already, the lowest ones being around average or just above average. Non-Stop is that movie which I had missed, and was sure not to get an opportunity to watch again on the big screen, but I guess I can just be glad that I had this chance out of nowhere. Liam Neeson is made for the big screen, he is that good and I made sure its on th big screen.

Release date: 14th March 2014 (India); 28th February 2014 (US)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Jason Butler Harner, Anson Mount, Lupita Nyong’o, Omar Metwally, Jason Butler Harner, Corey Hawkins, Frank Deal, Shea Whigham, Bar Paly, Jon Abrahams, Quinn McColgan

non-stop copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.