It: Chapter Two

Vampire Owl: Have you met the vampire clown?

Vampire Bat: We have a vampire clown now?

Vampire Owl: Yes, even the zombies have their own clowns in a zombie-infested theme park, and it was necessary for us to arrange one.

Vampire Bat: Now we have to pay him too. Being a clown is not even a real job in the vampire world with base in horror.

Vampire Owl: It is okay, because he will be playing the It clown only.

Vampire Bat: It clown is a creature that vampires shall not accept as their own.

Vampire Owl: But he has become a trend, and we have to accept him as our own too. This is not child’s play.

Vampire Bat: Well, I am sure that he was not the kind of clown the vampire elders had approved.

Vampire Owl: But he is trending on Vampire Twitter, and it has been so for the last one year.

Vampire Bat: What? Even the vampires are letting a clown trend when we have pure non-vegetarian vampires!

[Gets some tapioca chips and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: In 1988-1989 time period, in the streets of a small and lesser known town Derry, a his six-year-old child was taken into the sewers and eaten by Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard), and a team of children had forgotten their fears to destroy the creature, and send it into hibernation for twenty seven years, hoping that it would starve and die during the time period with no option available. The team of children known as the Losers swears a blood oath that they shall be returning to to the town of Derry as adults if It returns to haunt the place ever again. Twenty seven years later, a young man is murdered by a clown which is said to have eaten his heart. A young girl who was watching a match in a stadium is also lured by It, and murdered under the seats of the gallery. Derry town now has more than what it can handle.

So, what happens with the events here? :: This ancient cosmic evil which preys upon children and possessing a large variety of powers including the ability to shapeshift, manipulate and create illusions has gone unnoticed by the police and the people in charge there, but the same cannot be said about Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) who discovers clues to the presence of the creature. As the only person left in the town out of the children’s team serving as the town librarian, he decides to call the other members of the gang. Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) who has been going through sexual and physical abuse in the hands of her husband is only happy to come to the town, while the successful novelist Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) is quick to respond. A frightened Stanley Uris (Andy Bean) commits suicide and a lonely Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) is only happy about a get together. Others, Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) and Richie Tozier (Bill Hader) also reach there, but are they good enough to face this advanced It?

The defence of It: Chapter Two :: Even in the absence of the quality of the first movie, the second one manages to stay floating against all the ice it had created in the water as hurdles including the dumb humour, silly bonding among friends and the not so scary frightening scenes. There are moments of horror which works in the movie, and in the final fifty to fifty five minutes of action, almost everything works as far as the scares are concerned. The adult replacements are good, but not that much as the children, and not all of them works accordingly. The clown remains a fantastic figure of horror, and it is only when the creature comes out there with all its glory that we realize that there is something special in this movie – whenever It is there, the movie raises its level, and the so called adults don’t really live up to the quality of the clown. Among the scary scenes, the most notable one might be the creepy old woman thing, and then the murder of the two kids.

The claws of flaw :: It can be seen that It: Chapter Two fails to meet the standards of the first movie which had that first scene of the child taken into sewers being among the best scenes ever in a horror movie. It also had a projector scene to stay in our memory along with others. Yes, the old woman scene is creepy, and there is some continuous dose of horror in the last few minutes, but they are more or less for the quick scares rather than being there to stay for long. There is no scene as in the first movie to remember in this second film in comparison, and it also drags a lot. There is a lot of slow movement inside the movie during the first half, and it is during the last one hour or so that the movie picks up its pace. It should have had that kind of horror which keeps us awake at night in the darkness like Lights Out could do when lights were turned off, but this second movie focuses too much on other things, as the bonding is too much and the humour is dumb.

Performers of the soul :: With its flashback, this movie is more or less drama than horror, as the children keep coming back to this film too, with its flashbacks. The young generation of the cast continues to score over the older ones, especially Sophia Lillis who becomes Jessica Chastain as an adult, and stay pretty well throughout the movie. James McAvoy is also very good, and is the next notable character in the flick. Jay Ryan is the one who seems to be completely different from his childhood avatar, and manages to be just okay. James Ransone provides the fun here, even though the humour itself is not that much working. Bill Hader with the comic side is also only somewhat working. Isaiah Mustafa does a good job as the one who brings them all together, the confident one among the Losers. Andy Bean is wasted while Bill Skarsgard as the clown continues to entertain – maybe some more kids would have added more here.

How it finishes :: It: Chapter Two is too long a movie, and has most of its best moments directed to the final one hour. A lot of the movie was rather not needed, including the first scene and the hallucinations when the protagonists come together. The collection of artifacts could have also been shortened to make this a one hundred and twenty minutes movie, which would mean an accurate movie filled with horror at all spaces. Still, with whatever we have, rooted in the Stephen King novel of the same name, the film takes the scary elements to the screen well enough. The predictable moments, silly jokes, and the overdone friendship can be avoided though, and we can quickly move towards the last few minutes to enjoy this movie at its best. After all, an evil clown like this is not to be left behind – for terror is real, whether there is Corona virus or not.

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, James Ransone, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, Bill Skarsgard, Andy Bean

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dark Phoenix

What is the movie about? :: In the year 1992, when a space mission seems to be in trouble, while facing a solar flare, the X-Men lead by Professor X a.k.a. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) decides to help the humans, and once again prove that mutants and humand are to co-exist. But it is a risky mission, as the plane is ready for a journey into space. But the team including Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Nightcrawler a.k.a. Kurt Wagner (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Storm a.k.a. Ororo Munroe (Alexandra Shipp), Quicksilver a.k.a. Peter Maximoff (Evan Peter), Mystique a.k.a. Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast a.k.a. Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) and Cyclops a.k.a. Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) go on the mission despite having the doubts. The situation seems under control as Nightcrawler’s teleportation and Quicksilver’s high speed seems to be enough to finish the job.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But it is revealed that there is one more person to be saved, and they decide to go back. With Jean holding the space shuttle together, Nightcrawler takes the remaining person out, but is unable to take Jean back as the solar flare covers her. But he is able to recover her body after that, and surprisingly, she wakes up. The X-Men are hailed as heroes by the public, and the bond between humans and mutants gets to be stronger. But there is something different about Jane after that incident. Hank finds her energy to be beyond comprehension, crossing all borders. Scott also feels that there is something different about her. At the same time, Raven is not happy about Charles leading the mission to a point from which a return becomes near impossible; she feels that making a future with the deaths of mutants won’t be fair.

And what more is to happen? :: Jean seems to unleash herself at a point, and collapses. Unable to get into her head for the first time, Charles uses the Cerebro machine, and with it at high power, finds that the bad memories that he had shielded in the mind of Jean, are now out in the open, and she won’t be the same again. With memories of her distant past coming back to her, Jean leaves, and the X-Men follows here – they won’t have anything positive to find there though. Her actions there would turn both mutants and humans against her, with no chance to return to the previous state. At the same time, certain aliens from outer space have also reached Earth, searching for the Phoenix Force within Jane. They are lead by Vuk (Jessica Chastain) who serves as the leader of this shape-shifting alien race, called D’Bari. This would lead to time running out for Jean, before she could be herself again.

The defence of X-Men: Dark Phoenix :: The action sequences surely score with this movie, and so does the visual beauty. The action on the train in the final moments are among the best so far in any X-Men movie. There are also a few others which offer something similar. The special effects are used well, and we see the mutant powers being used nicely. CGI is used nicely by the movie, as the desire for another superhero movie after Avengers: Endgame has been provided in the form of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The path that the movie takes seems to be interesting, and ready to bring further twists, even though this might be the final movie of this film with these characters in the main roles. The premise is a wonderful one for sure, even though the movie doesn’t really use the same to the best of effects. It has also released in India earlier than the original release date, and it should serve the movie to get better collections here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is unable to prove to be better than X-Men: The Last Stand which was the movie which dealt with the same story thirteen years ago, and still managed to better at that time. It was not a fantastic movie in any way, but it had somehow managed to do better, not just with its story, but as a whole – it is only with the final moments of action that this movie holds more power. The titular character is also not explored in the right way, as her being all-powerful just goes too much beyond the border, as we get tired of the same quickly. We also know what is to happen with this tale, and how the same person does the job in the end is ridiculous – this is where the previous Dark Phoenix movie served better, with weakness in between the all-powerful; think about Superman without the idea of kryptonite there, and it is easier to understand. The movie also slows down in the middle, and the emotions go weak on a number of occasions.

The performers of the soul :: Sophie Turner from the Game of Thrones fame, has been an interesting addition to the film series – we see her continuing her form at a number of moments, but not as a whole, as things get repetitive. We wouldn’t get to see her as we had seen her in the popular television series, with the avatar itself being different around here. It would have been nice to see her as the earlier and more vulnerable Jane better. Jennifer Lawrence is completely wasted in her short stay there, and there is nothing that she does except for coming up with some unnecessary dialogues. The one who comes up with some of the best moments is Michael Fassbender, who shines as Magneto once again, rising above his good friend and leader of X-Men – James McAvoy who plays the leader is a weakened figure going too strange this time. Alexandra Shipp and Nicholas Hoult come up with pretty good job here. Kodi Smit-McPhee is memorable, while Jessica Chastain and Tye Sheridan are not.

How it finishes :: There is something about X-Men that we have always loved, going back to the childhood memories of watching that animated series. There is not much of a reflection of the same around here though, as the level has certainly come down from the predecessors X-Men: Days of the Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse – it can’t even stand against the single mutant centered tales which came earlier, like Deadpool, Deadpool 2, The Wolverine and Logan. But it is enjoyable up to an extent, thanks to the action sequences where the mutants go for the full scale display of their powers. We are not going to miss the X-Men after this as we already miss Wolverine, and so lets watch a movie of the series one more time, and enjoy the good parts, while we will also have The New Mutants releasing next year as an extra addition. It will have Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams as young mutants, making it something to look forward to.

Release date: 5th June 2019 (India); 7th June 2019 (USA)
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Simon Kinberg
Starring: Sophie Turner, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Jessica Chastain

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Huntsman

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What is it about? :: The movie begins a long time before the incidents which were depicted in Snow White and the Huntsman, as Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the dark sorceress finds out that her younger sister Freya (Emily Blunt) has an affair with Andrew (Colin Morgan), and is carrying her child. But the marriage doesn’t happen as Andrew is engaged to someone else, and after giving birth to a baby girl, Freya on a dark night, sees that he has murdered their child. This unleashes an uncontrolled fury in her which brings out the hidden powers of ice and snow from inside her, killing her lover and transforming her love into hate. She abandons her sister’s kingdom and comes up with a new kingdom in the north which is covered in ice and snow under her power.

So what happens next? :: It is a new world of depression and sadness that she creates far north to the kingdom of her sister who unleashes her own evil. She gets children kidnapped so that they could be trained to become remorseless huntsmen, who were to become part of her army. She raises the group to become her soldiers who know no love and has no regret. All of them trains to become the elite group of huntsmen who are feared and fight her battles. Soon she finds the best of them in Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain), but they only fall in love many years later, something that she can never agree to. She successfully separates them, and the former lives in the grief of having watched the latter die.

And then to the present :: Then the scene shifts to many years later, after the incidents of the first movie, as Eric is wandering through the forest only to find that Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is ill and the magic mirror has gone missing. Freya is having an eye on these lands, and the dark magic in the mirror threatens the kingdom. Now it is up-to Eric the Huntsman to save the day and he is joined by Nion (Nick Frost) and his half-brother Gryff (Rob Brydon). Two other dwarves Bromwyn (Sheridan Smith) and Doreena (Alexandra Roach) also join their team. There will be magic and there shall be goblins on their way. Freya has sent her own team of huntsmen, but another big surprise awaits them. What about true love? Does it go beyond death and devastation?

The defence of The Huntsman: Winter’s War :: There is one thing that a person can be sure about here, and it is that The Huntsman: Winter’s War is cent percent a better movie than its predecessor Snow White and the Huntsman which was so empty a movie with empty expressions from its heroine. We also have some of the most amazing visuals here, with all the magic around. The snow and ice on the screen never ceases to be interesting. With magical creatures added, there is the further scope for visual beauty an that is explored very well here. The final scene of battle is also a very good one, which means that the movie manages to finish off really well. It is mostly all that a fairy-tale should be, and is a clear improvement from the predecessor; the lower box-office collection should go to the credit of the terrible predecessor which had already ruined the opinion about what was to follow.

The claws of flaw :: There are those predictable lines going through this movie too. A number of things can be guessed, and there is no real attempt to try differently either. The journey from a prequel to sequel goes rather strange too – it could have been just the sequel with a very small flashback and that could have worked out perfectly. There is also the chance to make use of its potential, which is not fully taken. Charlize Theron is underused, and we needed more battles of magic like the final one. In a movie in which there are two evil sorceresses, we see a little too less use of powerful magic. There is also the case of the mirror which should have been better utilized. There are those times when the direction of the movie is a little doubtful and some of the jokes also go on without making the desired effect.

Performers of the soul :: Even though Charlize Theron is there only for a few minutes, she has that kind of a presence that is strong enough to steal the show. We are sure to ask for more of her. Meanwhile, Emily Blunt shines in her ice and snow avatar while Jessica Chastain remains just okay in her role as the huntswoman. Maybe these two could have switched their roles to bring a better effect as we all know what the former is capable of in such a role with her Rita Vrataski in Edge of Tomorrow. Chris Hemsworth continues the same thing as he did with the earlier movie, and that manages to be okay. The actors and actresses who played the dwarves bring some good fun. It is nice to have gotten rid of Kristen Stewart’s Snow White though, as that certainly made things a lot better.

How it finishes :: As many other fairy-tales, this one also focuses on that one special thing, which is true love. The main idea here itself is about the two main protagonists and the lost love even though the villains do steal the show in between. It is the usual battle between love and hate that goes on here, and the much awaited defeat of evil waiting to happen by the finish. As a whole, The Huntsman: Winter’s War is an entertaining movie which takes those usual elements of fairy-tales and deals them well enough with some interesting messages. It was just too much underrated by the audience and the critics judging it as a part of its predecessor. There are things that fairy-tales could do, and this one thankfully knows that well enough.

Release date: 22nd April 2016
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Nick Frost, Sam Claflin, Rob Brydon, Alexandra Roach, Sheridan Smith, Sope Dirisu, Colin Morgan, Fred Tatasciore, Sam Hazeldine, Sophie Cookson, Madeleine Worrall, Kristen Stewart

thehuntsman

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Crimson Peak

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Vampire Owl: I believe that we should sell our castle and buy what they call the Crimson Peak. It looks more Gothic than all our bloody rooms combined.

Vampire Bat: We should write a letter to Uncle Dracula concerning this after watching this movie.

Vampire Owl: I believe that it is from the director who can do the Gothic more justice than anybody else.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is like Guillermo del Toro weaves his magic wand and this genre reaches new heights.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1130-crimson-peak-movie-review

From the visionary director Guillermo del Toro, the man who brought us movies like Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy and Pacific Rim, the latest flick comes in the form of a Gothic Romance Horror called Crimson Peak. It has been one of the most anticipated movies of the year for those who loved the critically acclaimed dark fantasy known as Pan’s Labyrinth. Crimson Peak has also remained a much discussed title among the horror fans. What this movie seemed to try and achieve was to bring the Gothic mystery elements back to the big screen like never before. The trailer also supported the same idea, and so did the costumes and the surroundings featured in it.

The audience is introduced to a little girl who sees the apparition of her mother giving her one warning – beware of Crimson Peak. She grows up with the belief that ghosts are real because she has seen them, and she becomes a beautiful lady who is an aspiring author from Buffalo. This lady, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) has a desire to show her skill in writing ghost stories even though she is told to write love stories instead. A twist of fate happens when she unexpectedly falls in love with Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) who arrives in the US from England, related to business matters. She marries him against the advice of her people after her father dies, and travels with him beyond the Atlantic Ocean to his lands.

Everything seems to be perfect with love and affection right at the core. But she soon discovers that the man is more than what meets the eye as he has many secrets. With his sister Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain) who seems to share these secrets, there is a very scary side to their world of two. A large crumbling mansion set in the mountainous region in Cumbria will make sure that her trip to the British Isles won’t be as good as she thought it would be. The house seems to warn her and so do the apparitions which make another appearance there, visible only to her. These creatures are new, but her nightmares have only begun, and she will soon know the truth about the siblings, the house and its bloody violent past.

The first thing that you notice related to Crimson Peak is the beauty that you see on screen. It is a wonderful reminder to the Gothic that the viewers have always read about during our childhood. The environment brings the best effects of horror on screen. It is the kind of world which suits horror like never before. As usual, Guillermo del Toro knows how to do the best with the creature design, as each apparition in this movie is unique, and all of them are scary. With the sound effects added and terrifying sequences well shot to magnify the horror, the whole thing becomes an even better experience. Still, the movie is does not fully fall into the horror genre. The costumes are also amazing, nicely contributing to the style of the movie. All of these are a lot worthy enough to be watched on the big screen.

There are a few scenes which need mention, one of them being a murder scene, surprisingly showing the aesthetics in death like never before. With water pouring out of the sink and getting mixed with blood, this simple scene shows what creativity can bring. Yes, there is violence, but with beauty. The elegance of death has been brought to the next level. The appearance of the apparition of the mother also brings something special. The red apparition is also imaginative, and the mansion remains a live thing all the time. The mixture of red clay from under the ground to snow also provides a creepy feeling to a house and the surroundings which are already scary with its architecture and location. All of them are worthy of bringing a big horror sequel to Crimson Peak.

There is a certain magic spell which is created by the movie on the audience with the visual detail; then there is the magic of performances which guides this movie. Tom Hiddleston steals the show with his dialogues and expressions as a character that seems to reflect love and compassion with eyes, but struggles hard to hide the secrets. Jessica Chastain is more like the personification of terror which is waiting to unleash itself, and she does a good job. Mia Wasikowska once again becomes the Alice here, not lost in Wonderland, but in the wasteland of her dreams, nightmares and newly found mansion. She manages her role remarkably well, and the audience can easily connect with her emotions. Charlie Hunnam is underutilized though, with more action set in England with the three characters.

The movie still takes a little bit more time than needed to get into the Gothic mode. Another fact is that more could have been achieved with what has already been done with the marvelous imagination that the director possesses. This is still brilliant, but is just a little short of becoming that perfect Gothic Horror Romance movie. The viewers who enjoy beauty on screen will find it difficult to take their eyes off throughout this movie, and there is a certain emotional impact which will also stay in minds after the movie ends. It is the kind of tale which makes you think, and it also brings the memories of that enchanting beauty into your mind – Guillermo del Toro once again proves that he knows how it should be done.

Release date: 16th October 2015
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Emily Coutts, Leslie Hope, Burn Gorman, Laura Waddell

crimsonpeak

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Martian

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Vampire Owl: I have always wanted to have a pact with the Martians. The Earthlings are too evil for our taste.

Vampire Bat: Well, Dejah Thoris has been a fine Martian.

Vampire Owl: I hope that the presence of an Earthling on Mars will mean that he is free of the ambitions of Earth.

Vampire Bat: It shall be so, as there is no real need for money and power on Mars as of now.

[Gets the tickets and cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1115-the-martian-movie-review

Based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name from 2011, The Martian is a much awaited movie which has already received a lot of positive opinions. The stories of survival outside the planet Earth has had the attention of the audience with Gravity and Interstellar, and The Martian tries to make further impact in the same area during this weekend. Directed by Ridley Scott and having Matt Damon in the lead, the movie is sure to attract the audience of all types, as the trailer did manage to catch the attention, bringing it to a large number of screens on this October 2nd.

A human mission to Mars goes terribly wrong and the astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed to be dead and left on the planet as commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) has to make the choice not to risk the return of the whole crew for searching for him. But he is alive and has become the first lone man on a planet seemingly without life. The first and the best option for the astronaut would be to wait for death considering how difficult or rather near impossible it should be to survive in Mars without any contact with Earth and possessing not enough supplies until the next mission can arrive. But Mark decides to try, and make that attempt not to die.

As Mark is a botanist, he finds a way to grow some potatoes inside, after creating a favourable atmosphere for the plants. The chances of survival still remain too low, until NASA engineers Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Mindy Park (Mackenzie Davis) find out from the photos of the Mars station taken, that he is alive. They communicate using a Mars Pathfinder which Mark finds on the planet, and NASA begins the programs to send him supplies and get him home. But it is not that easy, as the probe which they sends explode and Mark himself has his own disasters at his place decreasing his chances of survival by many days.

Matt Damon is the man to look out for. He was also there in the last year’s space movie Interstellar, in a role which included being rescued from a planet too. But it never really had much there, and the planet sequence itself was more like a need to have a human character that is somewhat closer to the villainy. But here, there are no heroes and villains, and there is just the need for survival, that too in a fair way. The movie focuses on him, and so do the viewers, and he delivers an outstanding performance as the lone man who fights to survive where a normal person would have lost all hope. He has the most screen time, and makes a very fine use of the same.

The Martian remains ahead of both Interstellar and Gravity in many ways, making things more entertaining for the audience. The 3D of this movie might not be that heavy, but with the other aspects, The Martian clearly rises high. The environment is also a joy to watch. There is a perfect blend of emotional, intellectual and funny side here, the final side which was completely absent in Interstellar. The Martian is also straight to the point, but it never really fails to touch the audience. The movie knows where to stop being too much scientific and weird. It is the strength of the movie that the main character of the movie always remains someone whom the audience can connect with, instead of being someone special.

There is a strong, inspirational message in The Martian, and it is something which never lets go. It is the adventure that inspires the viewers never to lose hope, and it is also the kind of path which Interstellar could have followed. Another interesting thing about the protagonist of this movie is that he finds a lot more than just hope – he takes the opportunity to take the optimism to another level and even have some fun with his situation. The Martian has laughter, and that too when facing the possibility of death in a world far away from Earth. It is an adventure without any trace of pessimism, and almost everyone associated with it believes in their optimism, and this is a strange fact as the present world clearly lacks it, with so much of evil prevailing around the wars, terrorism, racial and religious hatred along with the other terrible things.

The Martian clearly has what it takes to be the big winner, and this is a good weekend to score among the viewers. This battle for escape from Mars is something that the fans of science fiction and survivor movies shouldn’t dare to miss. This has enough entertainment; some nice intelligent ideas and philosophy, along with making sure that the common man can easily understand the science here, as well as avoid whatever scientific term which they needn’t follow. The Martian is that kind of a movie, and by being the same, it will be a better, smooth experience for the brain and the heart than Interstellar, and easily overtakes the previous movie from Ridley Scott, Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Release date: 2nd October 2015
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Mackenzie Davis, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, Benedict Wong, Naomi Scott, Lili Bordán, Nick Mohammed

themartian

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Interstellar

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Vampire Owl :: What if we don’t get the tickets?

Vampire Bat :: Most probably, we won’t get tickets.

Vampire Owl :: Really? Then why are we going?

Vampire Bat :: Because the movie has a wormhole through which may be getting a ticket is possible. It is called Big Hero 6 which should attract all the family audience and spare Interstellar.

Vampire Owl :: If we don’t book the tickets, the only thing that we are going to find should be a black hole. This is the movie of the weekend. Most of the shows at a good number of places are already booked a lot earlier in advance.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that Big Hero 6 has better reviews than Interstellar?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but I am allergic to animated movies these days. So, going to the multiplex and watching any available movie won’t work.

Vampire Bat :: Okay, then take out that card and book the tickets. Wait, is that a tattoo on the side of your head?

Vampire Owl :: Yes. I am the owl with the dragon tattoo. Soon, I shall play with fire and then kick a hornet’s nest. It will improve my confidence with owlifier a lot.

Vampire Bat :: Impressive nonsense. Now, can we just book the tickets?

[Goes to bookmyshow website].

What is it about? :: The movie takes into a far future when the world no longer needs engineers or scientists, but farmers as the world has been facing a severe shortage of food as crops are always affected by blight and huge dust storms become a frequent occurence. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former astronaut lives the life of a farmer in the countryside with his father, son and daughter. His daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) seems to have found some presence in her room which she feels is a ghost, and there are messages being sent, which after being decoded, gets them to a secret NASA building which is planning something huge. It is then revealed that the scientists are attempting to find another planet instead of Earth to colonize, by travelling beyond the known solar system, through a wormhole formed near the planet of Saturn. As nobody else has undertaken a space journey outside simulator, Cooper is assigned the job. But the daughter is not happy about it, and as he decides to save humanity, what will happen to Earth as well as his relationship with his daughter?

The defence of Interstellar :: We have to admit that the movie is something of brutal strength. Christopher Nolan has got the balance here between the emotions and intellect as he keeps them together. The movie is heavy in its drama and at the same time, powerful in its action and special effects, and there lies the beauty of making a mixture which can taste good for more than one kind of viewer. The visual beauty remain stunning, and it is a shame that it didn’t release in 3D in this part of the world. We get a nice look at the heavenly objects and realize that they are indeed belonging to heaven. The two planets as well as the wormhole and the black hole catches our attention. The thrills are powerful, and there are enough twists to keep one guessing. There is no dull moment even when the movie is so long, and it keeps us immersed in the flow, not allowing us to drift away. Interstellar becomes an experience here, and not just a movie that we can watch in an objective manner. The sadness of watching something like Transcendence is drained away by this one too.

Claws of flaw :: The movie’s ending is rather less interesting, and especially with such a great setting and happenings, it needed a better finish; there is some lack of imagination there compared to the movie as a whole. There is also too much Physics being explained, and there we can see the failure to realize that we are not attending a science class but a science fiction; and none of those things are related to what we studied or applicable to real life – they could have just gone on with using “English” rather than scientific terms, and for everything else, there is our willing suspension of disbelief. There are times when visuals struggle too, especially with the looks of the spacecraft. Some dialogues are too overdome too, especially concerning the emotions, as the melodrama gets more powerful. The journey to other planets is not completely utilized, and there are lots of ambiguities that can be guessed, and the lack of the right explanations to be found; there is nothing like getting to point – here it is missing.

Performers of the soul :: Matthew McConaughey is brilliant here – no surprises or twists there as he handles the whole thing without even one flaw there. From the beginning itself, he seems to be clearly attached to the character and doing his best every moment. Anne Hathaway also plays her role to beauty, even as there are some dialogues from her which are rather awkward. But the emotional as well as the intellectual moments are nice whenever she is involved. She shares some of the best moments with the protagonist. Jessica Chastain is also good, and that can be said so because she plays a character which should have no love from the audience and she is successful in the same; being smart and educated doesn’t mean good and caring daughters as we can see in this movie – Mackenzie Foy did the role of the younger her very nicely too. David Gyasi was good there, no doubt. Michael Caine adds to it too. The acting department clearly wins those areas.

Soul exploration :: Interstellar shows us how minute we humans are, in a universe that is stretched beyond all imaginations, like the sand on a beach or like the drops of water that make an ocean. There are a few other movies which this one reminds me of, one of them is Event Horizon and the other is Pandorum. The former dealt with creating an aritificial black hole which used the power of gravity to bring together two points in the space to reduce time taken for space travel, the result being the ability to go beyond the known world into a dimension of evil. The latter had a spaceship going on a hundred and twenty three year journey with sixty thousand people to establish a colony on an Eath-like planet during which there are problems between the crew leading to strange turn of events. Interstellar has elements of these two movies, and I would say that I like those two better. But those movies won’t be that much known in comparison to this, thanks to the hype and the fan-boys. There is also the reminder of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Prometheus.

How it finishes :: Interstellar was one of the most anticipated movie for many, and undoubtedly among the most awaited movies in my list, and there is the huge expectation there which has made sure that the shows are full a lot earlier than they usually are. Even the two Malayalam movies released this weekend don’t seem to have that much rush, but there is that case of the presence in local theatres – still, how well Interstellar is doing is nothing less than a surprise considering the fact that this is the kind of response that only superhero movies and superstar stuff gets, but there is that effect that Gravity had created, still running in the minds. Christopher Nolan is also a name that catches the attention, and even people who haven’t understood Inception after watching for the “n”th time should be willing to take the risk. The collection should be big from this part of the world, and may be this can break the record of Transformers: Age of Extinction, the highest grossing movie of the year – who knows?

Release date: 7th November 2014
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Josh Stewart, Mackenzie Foy, Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck, Timothée Chalamet, John Lithgow, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, Matt Damon, William Devane

interstellar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Madagascar III

madagascar3

The Madagascar glory :: It all started in 2005 as the tale of New York’s four zoo animals, Alex the Lion a.k.a the King of New York, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippo begins with them landing on the island of Madagascar by accident after leading a happy and satisfied life in their own little worlds. It is my favourite movie of the series, and is one of the best beginnings to any series. Despite scoring better in the box-office, I would say that Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon, Tom McGrath is the weak link among the movies so far, and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a definite improvement on the same. The series would become the twenty first highest grossing movie franchise of all time. I would not expect it to go any higher in the list though, as the animated movie series will have only limited scope from the way the movie has ended in the third, but the flick is still not without its options of coming up with more sequels and scoring nice at the box-office. Thus remains the power of what was created by the three movies of the series so far.

What is it about? :: The team of four still needs to get to New York City, as they decide to go to Monte Carlo to get the help of penguins and the chimps. But as they are noticed and it creates chaos in the land, Captain Chantel DuBois is called to deal with the situation as she begins a never ending chase of the animals with her minions, hoping to keep the lion’s head on her wall in the process. They find shelter in a cricus train, as they disguise themself as American circus animals, much to the delight of Stefano the sea lion and Gia the jaguar who takes them in, despite the suspicions of Vitaly the tiger. It is later found out that the circus indeed a failure, even as they are trying to get a contract to perform in the United States of America. The penguins help by buying the circus and getting rid of the humans, while Alex tries to get the circus back working with new ideas and the help of his friends. The friends find it the best option to get back to New York, and they tries their best to make the show better, even getting a depressed Vitaly back in action in the process, and at the same time, Alex and Gia gets closer to each other. So what comes next?

The defence of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted :: This movie is a fun ride, and not many people can disagree to the same. It portrays a wonderful brotherhood of animals which puts the divided humans into shame, and the evil side comes from humans who mercilessly hunt the poor creatures for sport. There lies a twin message against hunting for sport as well as in support of universal brotherhood. As long as people are lead by their narrow-minded selfishness which calls for money only, there will be no brotherhood – but that is not the case of the animal kingdom of Madagascar. It shows a group of talking animals who are divided by species, but still stands together, may be because they don’t have politicians to bring a wall between them or reservations which make sure that they won’t have food or water from a specific area. I would consider this movie a battle against hunting for fun, inequality and filthy reservations while supporting brotherhood and freedom, about which there might be a lot to say, but much less can be directly implied. Just think about us humans having to learn from animals during this age.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has great 3D effects and it feels great to see it on the big screen. Its use of colours and style is beyond the limits of the usual 3D movie. It is still good to watch the final scenes of it on an LED screen with all the lights switched off. There is the great animation and the wonderful details of the cities which our heroes visit. It makes us feel for the animals and keeps us on their side, in a much better way than what Avatar creates in us for the weird blue aliens. Madagascar 3 undoubtedly knows where its going, and how to keep the things straight on the way. Yes, it chooses a dream-like world instead of realism, as its characters chooses to fall and get up rather than not to fall, dance instead of walk, and learn to understand rather than directly understand. It is still a world where greatness can be achieved by trying and being good, rather than using the world’s method of “lie, cheat, steal” which has been going on with most of the so called respectable people who are holding big positions, and undoubtedly making a lot of money. Madagascar gives a hope that one day people will be judged for being good rather than belonging to a community or being more or less social.

The Fantastic Four :: We have four animal heroes in the series, with a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a hippopotamus on an adventure of the life-time. They lived a life of incredible joy in a zoo in New York until they end up outside, travelling to Madagascar, an incident which changes their lives forever, as they discovers themselves, and what they are meant to be. From Madagascar, they go African continent where they find more of themselves, and then also goes through Europe which forms the major part of this third movie. Talking about fantastic four or fabulous four always have the tendency to bring four cricketers who all retired in the last few years, but as we are talking about an adventure bigger than any money-making sport which goes on to become more corrupt to the core every year, we realize that the animals always had more to teach us compared to any materialistic celebrity of this age who are worshiped for absolutely no reason. Yes, these animals are worth being fans of, and they don’t even come up with nonsense, and they are inspirational and more humane than any of the people who are considered as role-models by the new generation.

Soul exploration :: From Trapeze Americano to Balloons for Children, the animals show that tremendous power of equality, liberty and fraternity which was lost from the French Revolution, or rather was never there. “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” has gone to the animals for sure, as we haven’t gone past the narrow boundaries of religion and caste yet, and so proved by caste and religion based politics and the reservations which shall continue to divide people in a more efficient manner for vote-bank politics. The world has been divided by imagined communities, and within nations, people remain divided, but not these animals. We can see that they don’t belong to the same species, and most of them are actually supposed to kill and eat each other. May be we don’t deserve to be united, and we should support all the barriers that Rabindranath Tagore mentioned as narrow domestic walls. Madagascar 3 might have talking animals with no logic, but somehow they make more sense than humans do, and it is evident from the way the humans behave in the movie itself.

How it finishes :: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is longer than Ice Age 4: Continental Drift by just five minutes, and there is not much to separate the two despite the fact that this is indeed better and more critically appreciated. Ice Age scored in the total box-office collection better though, and it was expected that it would go on to become the highest grossing movie of 2012 as it did, and considering the hype surrounding both movie here, I would have been surprised if Madagascar 3 had actually made anything close enough to Ice Age 4. But I am glad that it did come close, and being released before its rival might have helped it to come close enough. In an year in which even The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 comes in the top ten, being there is more of a disgrace, but when that tells the story of the movie-watchers, being there is also something of luck too. But leaving the statistics behind, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a very good watch, not only for the fans of animated movies, but also for anyone who is looking for a movie which is a visual delight in one way while being something of incredible substance in another way. Thank you HBO for bringing this back on television at the right moment.

Release date: 8th June 2012
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon, Tom McGrath
Starring (voice): Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, Tom McGrath, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Martin Short, Frances McDormand

madagascar3 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Mama

mama (3)

This one goes back a little to the past in this year itself, and this is one of those movies which could easily initiate such a sequence in the eternal time machine. This is rather more of the present than the past, as it doesn’t really go back that far if there is an intellectual consideration in depth. It was different in being different, and therefore its influence had to be such a lasting thing. There is one point where all the interest about this movie begins, and that is when one reads these lines from its cover – “Presented by Guillermo del Toro, creator of Pan’s Labyrinth“. He serves as executive producer, and as far as it is known, the movie is based on a 2008 short film of the same name in Spanish, about which there is nothing more to shoot in the quiver which is short of its crossbow bolts from that part of the world. The movie comes up with the dark tale of two little girls left in a seemingly abandoned cabin in the woods, taken care of by an unknown person or creature that they call Mama, and the same entity even follows the girls to their new home to which their father’s brother takes them after finding them as two feral children.

During a financial crisis, a disappointed and depressed man, Jeffrey Desange (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), kills his business partners and wife before taking his little children Victoria and Lilly away from home. Driving too fast on a road paved by snow and upset with all the thoughts about his failures and the crimes he had committed, the car slides off the path and crashes in the woods. Jeffrey takes the children and walks away from civilization, finally reaching something that seems to be an abandoned cabin. He plans to murder his daughters and commit suicide with a gun, but then a mysterious figure arrives in time to instantly kill him and it also feeds the two children. Victoria talks about the figure as a woman whose legs don’t touch the ground. Then the scene shifts to five years later, with Jeffrey’s brother, the kids’ uncle Lucas Desange (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), living with his girlfriend Annabel Moore (Jessica Chastain). They don’t live under good conditions, but Lucas haven’t lost hope about finding the children of his brother. He still sponsors search parties hoping to find some trace of his brother and children.

One of them find the children alive in the same cabin, but dirty, half-naked, horribly thin and with an animal-like behaviour – walking on four legs and talking like making some strange noises. The girls are put under the care of psychatirst Dr. Gerald Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash). They keeps talking about someone called “Mama”. He feels that it is just a creation of the girls’ minds as they were alone in the woods without help. But soon, Lucas is attacked by the same shadowy figure known as Mama and enters a comma. Annabel is forced to take care of the girls all by herself even as Mama’s visits continue. Annabel does get close to the elder child, Victoria, but Lilly remains hostile and highly attached only to Mama. Meanwhile, Gerald finds out something about this mysterious figure from the clues which Victoria gave away. Mama is a mother separated from her child – she used to be Edith Brennan, a mental asylum inmate in the 1800s. He also finds a box containing an infant’s remains from that former mental asylum which was kept as her belonging there. Meanwhile, Annabel has a nightmare revealing Mama’s past which reveals more about her. Lucas also has a disturbing dream of his dead brother Jeffrey telling him to save his kids.

But there might have been more about Mama that what met the eye. She is undoubtedly supernatural as well as tormented. The problem remained if she is normal and thus if she is reasonable. The psychatrist might have thought so, but the experience doesn’t go well for him. Even Lucas and his wife has to go through near-death experiences. So the question would be more about “why mama why?” rather than “who is mama?”. Well, mama is undoubtedly a former mother who no longer exists as a human mother. The nature of her strange love for her child is evident from her asylum background. The question might be about how much torment a mentally unstable ghost can cause to a group of normal, living people. That would be a lot of it, much more than what the mentally unstable father of two little children could do. How much is the chance of one making peace with her? It wasn’t possible when she was alive, and considering the fact that she is more motivated by the love for children rather than anything else, the solution becomes even more complicated in the human world.

Mama is a visual treat of a horror film, and not part of the gory ones which take over in the usual style. There is a well-created world of horror right in front of you all the time, and then suddenly there is a scene that takes your breath further away and then it goes back to normal to await the next thing. Welcome to this story of old-style less bloody horror movie of low gore level. There are signs of Guillermo del Toro’s magical extravaganza Pan’s Labyrinth or El laberinto del fauno, are evident in both the characters as well as the environment. There is the feeling of a dark fantasy through out and there is the lack of sunshine which is more motivating than the depressing thing which it might have become, which is a success in all ways. It’s just how horror films should be, without using any cheap or low class tricks. The looks of Mama is also a revelation, as she emerges from the walls or closet, sometimes suddenly and on other occasions as if part of all the horror that surrounds them. The use of moths to show Mama’s presence is a further effective thing, as it shows more of her tormented sould which is not completely evil, thus owl, crow or bat not chosen; neither is the wolf or cat given a chance at it. Mama is more of a butterfly rather than anything else, but a fierce one.

The movie’s dark world move along the path of Pan’s Labyrinth, but it is still not of that class of ultimate perfection and awesomeness, and still is close enough. It meets Hansel and Gretel in its witch-like creature who is less of a ghost and more of an undead freak of nature. There it shows the qualities of The Orphan meeting The Grudge and The Ring in a good way. Mama could have even made a good creature in Alien or The Exorcist, and the creature’s success is in its strange, but “suitable for almost every genre” looks. She is a dark fairy, the nature’s spectre, the tormented undead mother and the dark elf. She belongs to nature and as a creature to the living, she is more moth or a group of moths rather than anything else. They signify her presence, and if she takes the children with her, there will be more moths for sure. There is the positive thing – the innovation, for how the ghost is treated around here with a difference. The movie is fresh in its treatment of a new ghostly creature with heavy parental instincts. Such a creature is not onne would expect in such a movie, and until it appears everything might look more psychological than supernatural, even if the signs are already there from the beginning itself.

While Mama is a benevolent spirit when it comes to two children, but she is a malevolent and even a death-dealer with everyone else. She hasn’t yet become pure evil, even as her allignment away from goodness and sanity is clear by the climax scene. Even her unseen presence suggests the same. Her moths symbolize the little beauty that she has lost to death and decay and the beautiful world which was lost to her more due to the people around rather than her own madness. There are no usual suspects of the common supernatural, as there is only the variation which is Mama. The movie is very much dependent on your taste to survive, but the fact remains that it is more close to being suitable for all people with not that much blood and gore, or the display of any kind of nudity – well, this one never needed it considering its content and presentation. There is not much of a male gaze or a possible female gaze working out in this one. It is story of an undead mother’s love and with the addition of insanity to it, there is a lot to think about. There is no compromise in being spooky or creepy enough though.

Release date: 18th January 2013
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat

mama copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.