Mockingjay II

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Vampire Owl: So, this is the name of the movie in reality. It was written here on this newspaper as Mocking Hay and I was wondering what it was about.

Vampire Bat: Here, on this other newspaper, it is written as Mockway. It is a more distant spelling. I do wonder what they might have called Goosebumps.

Vampire Owl: It is because of this wrong spelling that we felt that this was a movie which we knew nothing about, and made the choice not to watch it earlier! I don’t understand why they can’t have people who are able to spell this. I am beginning to doubt how they choose the people behind this.

Vampire Bat: They make such mistakes and still we read them. Then, we see that at some other editions of the same newspaper, and even at some other columns of the same, it is correct and then we are made sure that this particular title is another movie. I don’t understand why we are like this, looking at the mistakes, being mislead, understanding that it was too silly a thing and then continuing to read the same newspapers – actually, we even watch the same news channels which we don’t like.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://kiagia.co/index.php/current-film-releases/1200-the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-2-movie-review

A science-fiction dystopian adventure book from the US author Suzanne Collins was made into a movie in 2012, with Jennifer Lawrence playing the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. This movie adapted from the first book of The Hunger Games series was very successful. With The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire becoming grand success at the box-office, the third book in the series, Mockingjay was divided into two movies. Here we have the second part of the two, and this movie finishes the franchise. There was one movie in the franchise releasing each year from 2012 onwards, and the last three movies of the franchise have all released in the latter half of November.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) continues to be the Mockingjay and the one grand symbol of revolution as the districts unite against President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland). The attack from a brainwashed Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) did affect her, but she is back there on the warzone with her speeches and charisma only to be shot by a loyalist from District Two. Even though Katniss wishes to kill President Snow herself, President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) asks her not to risk her life again, and advices her to remain as the inspiration and the symbol of their defiance. As she is someone who can motivate the crowd with her presence, she agrees to Coin’s idea.

But Katniss is not the one to keep away from her ultimate aim, as she sneaks into an aircraft leaving to join Commander Paylor (Patina Miller) who is planning a huge assault. There, she is told to be part of a squad lead by Boggs (Mahershala Ali) as they have to evade the booby traps or the pods on the streets which are left by game-makers of the Hunger Games. Thus the journey will be more of less like the seventy sixth Hunger Games. They will be joined by Peeta as they are to go through the streets facing the unexpected threats which await them. The Capitol and Snow will think that she is dead, not once but many times, but Mockingjay is not someone who is going to stay dead as the squad keep going towards the big destination.

The problems caused by breaking down one book into two like Harry Potter and Twilight can be seen. The fans will surely prefer this because they can watch more of their favourite franchise. More of Katniss Everdeen will be there for them to see. But as the last book is divided into two, this movie surely has been cursed with a certain amount of drag. This certainly wouldn’t have been there if Mockingjay was just one movie instead of two stretched movies. But there is one advantage that this movie does possess, and it is the ability to finish the franchise in the right way. The finish is all about that climax which has one shot from the bow of the protagonist that determines everything, even though there are some predictable sequences after that.

The second part of Mockingjay is surely ahead of its predecessor because of the quality of the material in the latter part of the book. If you have read the book already, you will feel that this movie is a good adaptation even with the stretched parts. There are some nice conversations to go with the interesting action sequences, even as there is nothing much here to compete with those which we have seen in the first two movies. There are some traces of what was seen in the games earlier, but there is no big combats shown here. The special effects are good, and the dystopian world will once again grab your attention. The weapons as well as the other gadgets will also catch your eyes.

The movie has its touching moments and thrills which are surely present. There is also some reflection of the real effects of war on the common man which is nothing more than destruction and chaos. The lives of the civilians and morality are two things which are used to one’s advantage as shown here. But the movie does end with hope, despite the deaths, and we know this factor as something which was too far away in the previous movies of the franchise. For those who are new to this franchise, they will find themselves in trouble as the movie goes directly into the story, but with some focus, a certain clue about the dystopian idea and some understanding on what this franchise is about, they can still go through this movie.

As it was in the case of the previous movies, Jennifer Lawrence still remains the biggest asset as the Mockingjay. It is a pleasure to watch her as Katniss Everdeen once again, as she does her job with no trouble at all. As expected, she has and handles those best moments of movie; there is one other point which comes with a sudden impact, related to mutant creatures in the sewers – that was a grand one too. Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth provide the needed support very well. Maybe, the movie could have finished better without using the epilogue from the book, even though that would be ignoring the faithful fans of the book. Here ends another movie based on another Young Adult Novel, and despite the flaws, it is a good finish to the franchise.

Release date: 27th November 2015 (India); 20th November 2015 (USA)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer, Willow Shields, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Gwendoline Christie, Stanley Tucci, Evan Ross, Donald Sutherland, Mahershala Ali, Patina Miller, Stef Dawson, Paula Malcomson, Meta Golding, Wes Chatham, Elden Henson, Michelle Forbes, Omid Abtahi, Misty Ormiston, Kim Ormiston

mockingjayII

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Seventh Son

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Vampire Owl :: Why the seventh son? I mean who has seven sons these days, or even seven children in total?

Vampire Bat :: Nobody of this generation that I know.

Vampire Owl :: So, should we declare this movie invalid?

Vampire Bat :: After looking at the posters, I have the doubt if the effect of this one might be nullified soon enough.

Vampire Owl :: There is dragon, witch, people with swords, a dark feel – a lot should be there though.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, reminds of too many movies which released already.

Vampire Owl :: So, it is a yes or no?

Vampire Bat :: It is a yes. May be it is the seventh son who always saves the world. Almost nobody has seven sons these days, and so the world is not saved yet.

Vampire Owl :: I hope that watching this movie is not against the “We two, our two” campaign.

Vampire Bat :: Most of the people I know have only one child. So lets welcome the seventh son.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: John Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is one of the last of his kind, as a rare seventh son of a seventh son, and part of an ancient order of knights who battle the evil that exists in this world. His last apprentice dies while trying to capture the most demonic of all witches, the queen of them all, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) who returned to cast her shadow of evil all over the known lands. So he comes to Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) who is also the seventh son of a family. Tom is plagued by visions and also falls in love with a witch called Alice Deane (Alicia Vikander) which makes things further complicated. Her mother is also the sister of Malkin, which trouble the plans further. With the Blood Moon night fast approaching and witches getting more powerful, can the new apprentice be ready in such a short notice and having love around the corner?

The defence of Seventh Son :: The movie is loaded with stylish and beautiful visuals and thrives on the power of special effects with some nice moments of 3D mostly including dragons and witches. The visual splendour which was there on the poster comes alive. The environment is also nicely created, and the images as well as the backgrounds that are shown on the screen are sure to catch one’s attention. There are some nice custumes, and among the scenes, the best includes those which uses special effects. The first possession scene was very good otherwise too. All the fighting scenes are worthy of our attention. The final battle is nicely brought to the screen, and the setting for the same makes sure that the artistic beauty is maintained. There are lots of creatures, and magic is in abundance. For those who are missing such things as The Hobbit as well as Harry Potter, this is another chance to go into that world of magic.

The Claws of Flaw :: The movie is that experience which reminds us about so many other movies. There seemed to be nothing new in the story with an unlikely young hero managing to be a great fighter, but even that is not nicely shown. The characters and the supernatural stuff are here and there, with not much work done with them – we can’t have much thoughts about them as they are just everywhere without making us feel much about them. The romance as well as the revenge struggles to go ahead in the intended manner. The first half mostly drags while getting almost nowhere, even as things get better later. The idea of “Seventh son of a seventh son” is not explored enough, with things just made to exist as they are. The dialogues mostly don’t make the desired impact. There is no justice to what it has in the pocket, on what is shown on the screen.

Performers of the soul :: Performances haven’t been a strong point of this movie, as Jeff Bridges, even when making an impression at times, makes less impact than expected. There are many things having our attention in this movie, but the performances are not part of them. Julianne Moore also looks faded except for a few moments. A thought about Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman might have inspired that further thought; or may be even a little bit of Angelina Jolie being in Maleficent. Ben Barnes remains okay throughout the flick. Alicia Vikander play the lovable witch in a believable manner, and she surely looks suitable for that role which needs both the cuteness and a certain amount of the other darker side. But the creatures do overpower all of them, and that was not something unexpected.

Soul exploration :: Seventh Son has too many similarities with a number of movies, and the first one that comes to mind is Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, which had two witch-hunting protagonists with one good witch as the lover. There is also a little bit of Season of the Witch here with the possession and the skills of the protagonists. The lady villain here is more or less a reminder of Maleficent or Snow White and the Huntsman, and so even as it is based on a book which came up earlier, this one came too late to catch the interest of common movie goer. But for the rest of those viewers who are not used to such stuff can find them to be very interesting. After all, the movie comes after making the fans wait so much with the delays. We have been hearing about this one for such a long time, and it has been a painful wait with Seventh Son.

How it finishes :: The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney is the book on which the movie is based on, and the fans of the book may not be happy with the reception for this much awaited movie. The challenges of the week are from bigger movies, but none an entertainer like this, and that explains the large number of shows this one has, and those theatres and multiplexes which has this movie as the only Hollywood flick of the weekend. But still, it seems that the general audience of this part of the world hasn’t been able to connect with this movie, while it should be just okay for the rest. With Foxcatcher not being here, and with the rest finding trouble to have enough shows, this movie should get some good collection from this part of the world – after all, it is the only Hollywood movie available at almost every mall.

Release date: 30th January 2015 (India); 6th February 2015 (USA)
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Sergei Bodrov
Starring: Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Vikander, Ben Barnes, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue, Djimon Hounsou

seventhsonn

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Non-Stop

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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.

Carrie

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You will know her name :: Yes, the movie did finally release here this week, and the name is Chloë Grace Moretz, but the name you might want to remember should be Carrietta N White, or rather the young, strange but gifted girl whom most of the horror fans will know simply as Carrie. Now, that should go back to Stephen King’s first published novel of the same name, and also to the first adaptation of the same belonging to 1976. It was my next favourite novel from the man after Salem’s Lot, The Shining and The Running Man. The early adaptation also make it to the list of my favourite horror movies of all time, even as I would consider it more of a thriller. But talking about this movie, there was just limited hope, as the original was too brilliant. Another thing is that the incidents of the movie belongs to another time, and taking the plot and dragging it by its tail to this era was not going to work that well despite the fact that they got Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore at their best. So the question would be about how much they can make out of this limited scope.

What is it about? :: Margaret White (Julianne Moore) is a mentally unstable woman who tries to murder her child at birth, but decides to raise her as she is too fanatically religious in a strange and ridiculous manner. Later, her daughter Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz), grows up to become a shy, under-confident, introvert girl despite having some strange power over things around her. She is regularly teased by her schoolmates, especially Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) who even uploads the video on youtube. Their gym teacher Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer) comforts Carrie and punishes the girls who trouble her, but Chris refuses to accept the punishment believing that Carrie has always been asking for it, and is banned from the prom. As she seeks revenge, Margaret continues to try to discipline Carrie in a ridiculous manner. Carrie learns about her power of telekenesis and tries to learn to control it. Another mate, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) regrets teasing Carrie and tries to make amends by asking her boyfriend, Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), to take Carrie to the prom which she accepts – but it will change the lives of many people, forever.

The defence of Carrie :: The story of Carrie has been brought into a new world with camera phones and the internet. But the essence of the story remains the same. It would have been difficult to keep up with the original which was so much loved, and a story which was so much read and admired, and this movie had to struggle to keep up. The movie scores with more pace and also by creating a creepy atmosphere. The thrills does work and it is successful in throwing surprises to keep it interesting. The best scene of the movie is indeed the climax, with a bloody Carrie standing on the stage with her arms stretched and the blood leaving her body upwards, and later in the middle of the road splitting the path. The final scene of destruction by telekinesis is the only real scene of gore, and it has been well created yet again. The scenes of Carrie being teased, and the moment of realizing her power are also well portrayed. The movie doesn’t try to stay with the original in speed, and it tries to rush, and there lies both the positives and negatives of it.

The claws of flaw :: The movie tries to rush through its plot as if to extend no more than one hundred minutes of length. The movie starts with Carrie being born, and she rushes to be the shy adult girl and quickly goes on to discover her powers and speeds up to the prom. There is not much characterization going on right there, as most of the characters remain predictable and one-dimensional. Everyone except Gabriella Wilde’s Sue Snell remains the same, and remains doing what they have been doing from the beginning. Carrie learns, but that doesn’t really change her either. She is also too X-Men type, and she is that Jean Grey which most of us might have been missing since she was turned into some strange creature in X-Men 3: The Last Stand. The movie is also somewhat outdated to be set in the present background, of belonging to 2013 – yes, there are the new gadgets added, and Carrie is humiliated with the help of a smartphone and youtube. But all the incidents seem to tell us that a setting much older would have been more suitable. To add to it, an ending which has Carrie rising is rather stupid, and she should have remained dead, to be awesome.

Performers of the soul :: Chloë Grace Moretz steals the show with a performance that makes this movie rise above where it is. It should be of no surprise as she did the same, at a much younger age in Kick-Ass, and in a much smaller role in Dark Shadows. With an acting career at the age of seven, she continues to strike gold, this time at the age of sixteen. Julianne Moore also makes a fine mentally troubled mother, but there could have been ever more dimensions to the character – this one is approached in a rather lazy manner by the writers. Portia Doubleday and Gabriella Wilde could have switched characters though, as the latter could have been a better nemesis to the lady in trouble, like Sara Paxton did as Rachel Witchburn in Sydney White, and what we had seen in Mean Girls with Rachel McAdams as Regina George. Meanwhile, the former tries to come up with pure evil, but ends up being just another bad girl trying to be so evil, and succeeds in the same only with her actions, and to be frank, she doesn’t have that evil aura. Gabriella could have nailed that role, but here she had to be the bad girl turned good due to conscience attacks.

Soul exploration :: The movie is a story of a girl who is bullied throughout her life, and in that manner, takes on a social cause. In another scenario, we could have thought about the Bollywood movie Table No.21 which had taken itself as a story against ragging. Carrie is nothing less, as for such a character who is rather nice and God-fearing, the whole world becomes a challenge. She becomes a misfit and a medium for the disgusting new generation to make fun of. The new generation has been moving further and further away from conscience and goodness, and Carrie is indeed a martyr of a new society which finds fun in being rude and evil. To add to it, she has a mentally unstable mother who pretends to be some kind of pure believer, something which is nothing less than a case deserving to be in mental asylum. She did become an alien for many, who could have done so well if they could have just left her alone rather than being bothered. Carrie tells its viewers to respect people for what they are, and sends a message against bullying and ragging.

How it finishes :: If one has not watched the original or read the books, this should be a very interesting Carrie White, and Chloë Grace Moretz might be the only Carrie they know, as well as their favourite one. Sissy Spacek is not going to be forgotten though, that is for sure. Carrie is going to be a more interesting source of telekinetic powers than the other superheroes who possess something similar. Being locked up under the stairs, Carrie becomes no Harry Potter, but gets something better than being invited to Hogwarts, something which doesn’t spawn sequels and a guy without nose. Moving things around is no magic, and our girl is no mutant – there is no background story about her or her mother, and that should make some people unhappy and the rest rather more joyful about the mystery. Even if we leave the superpower side behind, Carrie is the story of many students who have been bullied, and as long as ragging and all such stuff exist somewhere, Carrie’s tale of revenge is of extreme relevance.

Release date: 17th January 2014 (India); 18th October 2013 (USA)
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Gabriella Wilde, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Belkin, Karissa Strain, Katie Strain, Samantha Weinstein, Cynthia Preston

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.