Thor: Ragnarok

What is the movie about? :: Two years have passed after the Battle of Sokovia which happened in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has allowed himself to be imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur (Clancy Brown) in his dark lair. The demon warns him about what is to happen to Asgard in the absence of its ruler, Thor’s father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) after he will be able to combine his crown of fire with the eternal flame that burns beneath the city. The prophecy about Ragnarok which was to be the terrible fate of Asgard in the twilight of the gods, seems to be getting close to becoming true, and Thor fights him to prevent the same. After defeating him and taking his crown, Thor believes that he has prevented Ragnarok only to find his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on the throne, taking the form of Odin, after feigning his own demise. Getting his statues built, and having theatre performances about his own heroic sacrifice, Loki’s fun ends with Thor’s demand to find their father.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: With the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), they find Odin in Norway, only to be notified about what is to happen next, with his first-born, the Goddess of Death, Hela (Cate Blanchett) returning from exile following his weakening and death. The powerful warrior goddess who had conquered the nine realms with Odin, was imprisoned and her tales of battle erased after her ambition grew rather too high. As they come across each other, Hela destroys Thor’s hammer, and leaves the two brothers outside the bridge between the two realms to die as if in a void, but they end up on a planet called Sakaar. Meanwhile, Hela who has arrived in Asgard destroys everyone who stands against her, including the military. After appointing the demoted Asgardian Skurge (Karl Urban) as her executioner, and with her army revived from the tombs, her plan is to begin again from where Odin decided to stop the bloodshed, and conquer more realms.

And what else is to come? :: Hela and her newly recruited undead army are temporarily stopped though, by Heimdall (Idris Elba) who takes away the sword that controls the passage to the other realms. Meanwhile, Thor is captured by Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson), who takes him to Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who rules the planet, and conducts a competition of gladiators in a grand arena where he has his own champion who he expects to win every time. After agreeing to participating in the competition, Thor is surprised to find that it is his old friend, the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) whom he has to fight. So, the question remains if he can find his freedom by winning the battle against his Avengers team-mate, or get the same done in some other way. With Hela continuing her hunt for the missing Asgardians who might have blocked her way to conquest of all realms, it seems that time is running out.

The defence of Thor: Ragnarok :: There is no shortage of fun in this third movie about the god of lightning – the action is too good, with those stylish sequences which are supported by some wonderful music; then there are the jokes, which are many, and most of them are certain to work without any trouble. We have been missing both Thor and the Hulk, and their absence in Captain America: Civil War was noticed a lot more than one would have thought. The arena battle between Thor and Hulk is among the best of battles, and so is the final battle which is powered by lightning and all things of wonder. The use of Norse mythology can never get any better, and this is surely one of those movies in which gets the eminence back to Marvel, rising over the challenge which Wonder Woman had created, and continuing the humour-action entertainment that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had brought earlier this year with ease.

Positives and negatives :: One can find it easy to claim that Thor: Ragnarok is never really serious, as even with those problems which can cause extinction and end of worlds, there is humour coming in so often. There is no serious feeling about terror coming all the way here, and the possible death and destruction won’t make anyone too scared or disappointed – it can’t be related with the lack of moral side though. The dark humour is more suitable for Iron Man considering his bourgeoisie scientist attitude which makes him the millionaire which Batman would never want to be – The Dark Knight would surely choose “Iron Man sucks” as his password, like in The Lego Batman Movie if they were part of the same universe. The action could have focused a lot more on the villain, as she has the power to do a lot more every time. Unlike what one would have thought, Thor no longer provides that many morality messages like Captain America would have done if he was a God of Thunder, Lightning or Strength, not necessarily the Lord of Moral Science.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Hemsworth has come a long way from being Thor in that first movie, and it is evident in each moment, as we keep identifying him with this role, and vice versa more often. He has a fine combination with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, as the green monster as well as the scientist has been successful in making things better for this movie which is clearly the Thor movie, with Hulk having rather too less in that category. Tom Hiddleston is at his usual best as Loki, while Tessa Thompson gets to have some of the glory too, being a very welcome addition to this franchise – one can’t help noticing a little bit of Michelle Rodriguez in the Resident Evil, Fast and Furious model. Cate Blanchett shines as the unusual female villain that Marvel needed, but one can be sure that Charlize Theron would have been a great option to be the Goddess of Death too. Karl Urban plays a different role in this one, and it is definitely stylish. Idris Elba nicely suits in his character again, and Jeff Goldblum brings more fun.

How it finishes :: This third movie of Thor has so much of what you might have only dreamed about. Following more of the model of Guardians of the Galaxy with the Avengers touch rather than what would have been the usual Thor style, Thor: Ragnarok becomes a treat to watch in more than one level, rising above many other superhero movies, easily establishing its domination over DC as it did with so many movies, as we see them waiting to retaliate with Justice League. As the Norse gods of Asgard can’t skip the Ragnarok, it is also not appropriate for you to decide to miss Thor: Ragnarok – after all, there is more than one prophecy to be fulfilled, and there is also Avengers: Infinity War coming up in 2018, and its untitled sequel in 2019, which are going to be two of the biggest among them all. If you have read about these two movies, you will know how many of our heroes, we are expecting there. It might be the biggest comics based superhero thing of all-time. But for now, this movie is something that all of you would love a lot, no matter whom you choose as your favourite superhero – it is just pure gratification.

Release date: 3rd November 2017
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Benedict Cumberbatch (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Star Trek Beyond

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Vampire Owl: So where does it go beyond?

Vampire Bat: How can I know? I have only seen enough to know that it is Star Trek.

Vampire Owl: Can it be beyond the gates of hell?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is indeed possible.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that there are many other interesting gates which can lead to better places?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but everyone makes their own choices about movies, and we do go for this one!

Vampire Owl: And we do make some wise choices.

Vampire Bat: We made such choices for the previous movies of this franchise.

Vampire Owl: This should be the chance to make three out of three.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not.

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

What is the movie about? :: As the USS Enterprise arrives at the space station known as Yorktown, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) has applied for a position as Vice Admiral because he can find no meaning to what he has been doing with the spaceship with endless journeys which had stopped making sense to him. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is to be the new captain of the ship according to him, but the man from Vulcan is also not without his problems as he wishes to continue the work of his own future self as the person has died. His relationship with Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) had become too strained that it no longer exists. Kalara (Lydia Wilson) who comes out of an uncharted nebula to Yorktown, seeks help to reclaim her stranded ship along with its crew. The Enterprise volunteers to be of use and is immediately sent on a rescue mission.

So, what happens next? :: The only place where USS Enterprise reaches is right into trouble, as an ambush awaits them led by an enemy called Krall (Idris Elba) who seems to be some kind of mutated alien creature from unknown space. Krall and his army search for a relic called the Abronath which the crew had as part of an unsuccessful diplomatic mission. As his search turns out to be unsuccessful, he takes most of the crew as prisoners instead, and the ship is destroyed. Only a few of them including Kirk and Spock manage to be free on the new planet. There, they would come across Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), an alien scavenger and with Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) and Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg), prepare plans to save their crew members and try to stop the dangerous villain from finding that relic to use it as a weapon which could destroy life on more than one planet.

The defence of Star Trek Beyond :: The movie looks really good, and the visuals effects keep saving the day again and again. We know that there are so many worlds, and this one makes use of such presence to bring some visual splendour on the screen. There are also some interesting action sequences to go with it, or rather a lot of them. We cannot question this movie’s skills as an action movie, as Star Trek Beyond excels right there, even though one might feel that it happens at the expense of other factors of the flick. With evil trying to destroy the whole world and our heroes trying to save it again, the thrills are there as expected too. There is also the message about unity in diversity, if you want to look at it that way. We also have all out interesting characters continuing to be here, except for the one played by Alice Eve, which is surely a bad miss.

The claws of flaw :: For some reason, this third movie of the franchise doesn’t make the best use of all those which are available. It had the opportunity to make us explore a new world with the protagonists, but they just choose to go normal, which is not that appropriate considering the kind of scope this franchise has. The villain is also not that powerful as the antagonists of the previous movies – we feel that he is stronger in the beginning, but as things progress towards the end, he becomes part of that twist which is not that effective. It is a lot like the ideas getting limited for no reason. There was so much scope with how things were going, but all of a sudden, people seems to be afraid to try anymore, and even when they have managed to keep this one enjoyable, we are always looking for more with a Star Trek movie – it is supposed to get better and cross frontiers to go beyond without being repetitive!

Performers of the soul :: This movie’s entertainment is surely not that much dependent on its performers who don’t get to do that much as they did in the previous movies, as the movie provides less chance with going for the visual effects and action instead of concentrating enough on the characters. The one person who impresses more though, is Karl Urban who gets to bring more fun to us than in the previous flicks. There is also Sofia Boutella playing an alien scavenger, and even though her character is more cliche and without providing us with the surprises, she is really good there – we had to get a good character in here, and here is one. Even with Idris Elba playing the villain, they just couldn’t get enough of that ‘evil creature trying to destroying the world’ idea. We surely had it working better in the previous two movies. Zoe Saldana does mostly nothing, and Chris Pine as well as Zachary Quinto are not that much fun as in earlier movies with the crisis in their characters’ minds.

How it finishes :: One does feel that the makers shouldn’t take this much time to come up with a sequel, as we know that three years is too much of a gap between movies in a franchise like this – they did the same with the first two movies too, but this time, the time period between the two feels even more. I have to say that even though this movie is not as good as its predecessors, it is still an enjoyable flick, and we can look forward to another movie in the series with better ideas. There is still one thing that I would hope for – for the space ship in this movie to not be destroyed partially or completely, and I would also make a humble request not to make the action take the centre stage – it should not get to become Fast and Furious or XXX in space, because Star Trek should always be more than that. We trust the franchise enough to hope for that.

Release date: 22nd July 2016
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Chris Pine, Karl Urban, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Sofia Boutella, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Lydia Wilson, Sara Maria Forsberg, Deep Roy, Joe Taslim, Melissa Roxburgh, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Greg Grunberg, Danny Pudi, Kim Kold, Anita Brown, Doug Jung, Dan Payne, Shea Whigham

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Loft

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Vampire Owl :: Do you know that the Vampire Crocodile was actually taking about this movie?

Vampire Bat :: Why would he talk about this movie? He was never a vampire too interested in movies.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but he starts fan clubs in the vampire territory.

Vampire Bat :: We also have fan clubs these days?

Vampire Owl :: Well, actually as we are not that dumb as the humans to blindly follow a celebrity, he and the Vampire Hamster are the only members of the organization.

Vampire Bat :: So, what is it this time? A Karl Urban fan club?

Vampire Owl :: No, it is called the Isabel Lucas Friends and Fans Association for the New Vampire World and the Isles of Death.

Vampire Bat :: Well, this is new.

Vampire Owl :: He knows that variety will sell. He has only recently come to know about this movie and is hoping to cheer for her with a huge screen show arranged.

Vampire Bat :: In that case, we can be glad that we are watching it without him.

[Gets a cup of tea].

What is it about? :: Five friends, married men share a loft, which they use for extra-marital affairs. The men are Vincent Stevens (Karl Urban) who is the designer of the building, a psychatrist Dr. Chris Vanowen (James Marsden) who is a reluctant user of the loft, and three others, Luke Seacord (Wentworth Miller), Marty Landry (Eric Stonestreet) and Phillip Williams (Matthias Schoenaerts). When the body of a dead woman is found in that loft, the friends begin to doubt each other as none other than them got the keys to the place; they also wonder if one of their wives or mistresses is involved in the crime. The dead person is Sarah Deakins (Isabel Lucas) who knows them from a bar. Even though it was Vincent who last met the girl, he has no clue of how she ended up like that.

The defence of The Loft :: There is a certain amount of quality and style in how the story is told in this movie. It begins from the murder and the police arrests, and moves on through different timelines to give us clues and finally conclude to a point where everything comes together. There is a intellectual beauty in the narrative style, and you can actually connect these moments well enough while giving attention. There is something here to be suspicious at each of the five characters, their wives, some of the mistresses and even a few businessmen with whom they are involved. It is an entertainer, and there is a big chance that this movie might be remade into one or two Indian languages. So it will only help to have this one watched already instead of having a copy of the feeling that Anwar and Cocktail had original awesomeness when it released, but where just copies of Traitor and Butterfly on a Wheel.

Claws of flaw :: Unlike what some people might think, The Loft is not really an erotic movie; it is very much far away from it and is just the thriller or a mystery, and even with its suspense and the twists, it doesn’t have a huge surprise waiting. Most of the people might have wanted the twists to be even more twisted. The setting could have had more in store, but the finish is just of the quality of an ordinary thriller. The story struggles at some points and it is a missed chance at bringing the mystery to another level. People who are looking at this one as an erotic flick are going to be the more disappointed ones though. Some people can also have trouble with the narrative especially if he or she stops the movie in the middle to watch later. Some of the scenes might have been even made to confuse the viewer into believing that someone with no big relation to the incidents is the murderer.

Performers of the soul :: Karl Urban comes up with a very strong performance here in a movie has most of the characters getting equal importance, and is the pick of them all. It is actually depressing that this movie didn’t get much of box-office collection just like his other good movies – the critical appreciation has also been low. Well, when something like Dredd can’t be a box-office hit, you have to doubt the tastes of the move watchers. He is a very talented actor and needs a better recognition. James Marsden who has been playing Cyclops in the X-Men franchise comes next as he excels in the final moments of revelation. Meanwhile, Wentworth Miller has his moments too as the movie moves towards the finish. The rest of the actors who play the friends also contribute well.

More performers of the soul :: About the actresses who play the wives, they never really gather that much of attention are easily forgotten – still, the one to gather some attention is Kali Rocha. The two main ladies are really good here; Rachael Taylor and Isabel Lucas, both of them making the desired impact despite the weak characterization. The former has done a good number of horror/thriller stuff and looks very much suitable to her role here – I loved her in Shutter. The latter brings a dazzling effect here, and she has never looked prettier – her role is smaller here, but it is the decision-making one; she has always been there with smaller, but noticeable roles like being the pretender decepticon in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the more significant and touching performance as the subsider vampire in Daybreakers.

How it finishes :: The Loft is an interesting thriller which maintains its collection of twists till the end, and it also works as a morality tale if we look at it from another angle. As you go to ending, even though there is nothing tragic, none of the cheaters in a relationship really manages to get a better life except for one exception and one not doing that bad, depending on how you see it. Being faithful should be considered a very important thing in life, not just with love and relationships, but also to oneself. There is no honour is hurting the people we love just for the sake of something temporary and wrong. In an ultra-modern world, all kinds of relationships go nowhere; remember Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach:
“Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain”

Release date: 14th October 2014
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Erik Van Looy
Starring: Karl Urban, Isabel Lucas, Rachael Taylor, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Rhona Mitra, Valerie Cruz, Elaine Cassidy, Kali Rocha, Margarita Levieva, Madison Burge, Kristin Lehman, Robert Wisdom, Ric Reitz, Graham Beckel, Kathy Deitch

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Riddick

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Vin Diesel is back in a form which is not at all unfamiliar to his fans, for he is Riddick once again, the intergalactic nocturnal criminal of the worst kind. This movie, just like that well known quote “Government of the people, by the people, for the people” is a “film of Vin Diesel, by Vin Diesel, for Vin Diesel”, but that would decrease the scope by a long margin. So, this is a movie for Vin Diesel fans, lovers of Alien sci-fi horror, those not disturbed by violence, and the ones who can wait for some action sequences despite of an initial drag. Yes, it is a huge improvement over its predecessor, The Chronicles of Riddick and a sight improvement over Pitch Black, the first movie of the franchise. But then, questions shall arise, if this was actually needed; is it just made to create another movie in the series, or is it a pre-matured release of something which could have been far better. The movie keeps the questions active, as it progresses in an attempt to re-create the impact of Pitch Black and make it better. Radha Mitchell was quite unsuitable for that movie and she didn’t bend in like she could in Silent Hill, but in this movie, we also have a better and a more suitable female lead, about whom we shall discuss later.

So, the story follows where the second movie of the series, The Chronicles of Riddick had left the plot. Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), the new Lord Marshall of the Necromongers was fed up with his new life and wanted to return to his homeworld of Furya for which he makes a deal with Commander Vaako (Karl Urban); to get to him to his home planet with Vaako being given the throne in return for the service. Riddick and a group of Necromongers go to a planet which he identifies as not Furya, but is trapped under rubble after the ledge on which he stood is destroyed by one of them and he fell to his doom as they guessed. But Riddick survives, as he gets up from underneath the dust and even manages to thrive, after defeating dog-like alien creatures and getting away from scorpion-like aliens. He becomes a Robinson Crusoe of another planet, living life on his own terms. He catches and trains one of the dog-like creatures and with it, crosses the water which had the scorpion-like things, killing two of them in the process, reaching grasslands from the devastated area he was caught in.

As the next phase of his life begins in the grasslands, he locates an abandoned communication station, and as the final and the only possible attempt to get out of the planet, he activates the station’s emergency beacon which identifies him and sends his photos and bounty details all over the universe. The beacon is answered by two ships, one led by a man named Santana (Jordi Mollà), and another led by another man named Boss Johns (Matt Nable). As the first team seems to be full of bounty hunters, the second seems to be of hunters of another type. They don’t seem to get along at all, as Santana and Johns’ second-in-command Dahl (Katee Sackhoff) gets in serious confrontations, and the presence of a second group of hunters is not entertained by the first group, as they were there first and wanted to claim all the bounty for Riddick’s head. Riddick sends them a message to leave one of the ships and go back to their world if they don’t wish to be killed, which they ignore. Three of Santana’s men are killed in the first night itself, courtesy the intergalactic murderer, his pet alien dog and his traps.

The next phase of his time on the planet begins as he manages to steal a power core from each ship which would destroy the ship’s balance and its ability to traverse as it is supposed to. He then approaches Johns and Santana to work out a deal, the same thing concerning leaving a ship behind for him. But it doesn’t work out as he might have wanted, as Santana kills his pet alien dog and their sniper Dahl takes him down with strong tranquilizers. He is chained as Santana keeps asking for his head in a cage. But when the nightmare creatures of the planet, the highly evolved and lethal aliens, arrive in another black moonless night, to save themselves from the pitch black creatures, they are forced to unleash Riddick. He has the power cores, he can see at night and he is one of the most lethal convicts ever, and there was no other choice for sure. But the question remains if he shall be their saviour or their destroyer, as the first thing he does is to cut off Santana’s head, something which he was planning to do to Riddick. He is lethal, no doubt about that, and will he stick to his word? And will the hunters stick to their word after evading the creatures and getting the ship ready to escape?

Yes, this is Vin Diesel’s movie. How often do you have the same lone leading character in a movie which released nine years after the earlier movie in the franchise? There is nothing in the story that doesn’t concern Riddick – the whole thing is about him, as how good is his survival skills, how well he can adapt, and most of all, how well he can kill. Vin Diesel is once again the perfect Riddick, but slightly lesser in aggression compared to what he was in the previous titles. Just like The Fast and the Furious banks on him, and XXX will bank on him again sooner or later, this movie depends upon the man to get itself working, and to give the franchise that life which he gave to that one dying franchise with Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6. There is no doubt that this will survive due to him, and might even produce sequels, but how much of a success this would be is still a question. I would guess that some moderate success will be in store, but a sequel would do better both critically and also in the box-office. Dominic Toretto, Xander Cage and Richard B. Riddick, these three will be the names with which Diesel shall always be remembered, and this was that golden opportunity to keep Riddick high over the others, but even as he has done nothing wrong, this character would remain second in the Vin Diesel world.

Karl Urban as Vaako has just a small presence, but we can hope for more from him in a possible sequel. Dave Bautista, better known as Batista, The Animal and The Leviathan for the WWE fans also makes an impact as one of the bounty hunters, as he goes on battle with our own anti-hero, but gets killed unlike how the other former WWE and World Heavyweight Champion Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who jointed Diesel’s character in his most popular franchise. He provides the extra muscle for the movie. Matt Nable as Boss Johns has done a neat job, as the man who has a lot more reasons other than a bounty to come and search for the wanted convict. His character is just the opposite of Jordi Mollà’s Santana, the former matured and showing his experience while the latter showing his greed, ego and recklessness. Both of them has done their characters quite a lot of justice for sure, and the latter upto that extent that the man became extremely annoying. They are all bounty hunters or mercenaries in one way or the another. Katee Sackhoff makes a powerful performance as Dahl, and as she herself is said to have told in an interview that it is one of the toughest characters she has ever played. She is the dazzling badass girl who can play Power Girl or Wonder Woman someday. She is depicted as one of the strongest and able to give away heavyweight punches along with gunshots of extreme accuracy.

Talking more of the Katee Sackhoff character’s strength and durability is certain as she often reminds us of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, and talking about Alien, the creatures of this movie are not so different from those, except for the fact that they don’t come out of the chests, but rather go through it. The creature imagery formed by the CGI is quite superb. They are still not as frightening as expected, but they keep their level. The one thing about the world is that it is heavily detailed, and one can find so much in the environment, which embraces the beauty of another world perfectly. There is darkness which generates alienation and fear, and the shot of Riddick fighting massive number of aliens on a slope with lightning and rain in the background, is a shot worth remembering, and there are some lesser shots of style when he walks on the scorched areas of the planet much earlier and later as he moves around in he grasslands. There is horror for sure, and there is action with lots of blood and gore, but the question remains if this is John Carter’s Die Hard, as this is more like what Bruce Willis might have done in Mars to save the day, not denying the fact that Riddick is one of his kind. Did Riddick say “I’ll be back” in any of the earlier movies, if not, he has surely meant to say it and make it happen with this movie, and my only hope is that they can actually have a good plot and progress of the story next time rather than thinking like Pitch Black again.

Release date: 6th September 2013
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Mollà, Matt Nable, Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine, Raoul Trujillo, Karl Urban, Conrad Pla, Danny Blanco Hall, Noah Danby, Neil Napier, Nolan Gerard Funk, Alex Branson, Andreas Apergis, Keri Hilson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dredd

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It was in 1995 that Sylvester Stallone had impressed us as Judge Dredd, even as most of us watched it much later. That was a movie which was fine, but was a commercial and critical failure; here the story of the same Dredd has been remade, even as the plot is entirely different and so is the style – but the result in the box-office was the same. The critical success it received was well deserved though. The British comics of 2000AD has surely done us a favour with this character, as proved by this movie. Its financial disappointment is quite depressing, to be honest. Knowing that it was released in the year when The Avengers grossed so much, leads to further despair. It is due to the same reason that I chose to like the page for its sequel (https://www.facebook.com/MakeADreddSequel) and also signed the official 2000AD petition (http://2000adonline.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a6e40236aa24d482cfff600d2&id=62906ebdcc) as we never really had enough of Dredd in the one and half hours of mayhem which this movie provided us with. There had to be the demand for more, and there is; if you see the number of likes and the number of petitions – the movie has risen, but as it didn’t rise when it was in the theatres, the effect will be so much less. This realization about the awesomeness of the movie has made people know what they have missed.

We have to bring back Dredd, and watch Dredd 2 in the theatres first show. It is a hope, considering the box-office failure that it was. But why should we cheer for that sequel? The reasons are supplied unlimited. When the judge, jury, police and executioner are all the same, during a distant future when America is an irradiated wasteland, with one city surrounded by deserts beyond its walls; the cursed Earth supporting a cursed city stretching from Boston to Washington DC, an unbroken concrete landscape, 800 million people living in the ruins of the old world and the mega structures of the newer world, it is Mega City One – The place where the judges are everything when it comes to the law. These men from the Hall of Justice are the only group fighting for order among the chaos and destruction as the crime rates go up. They serve justice hot, at the right place at the right time, with no remorse or regret – like the man said in the 1995 movie, “It’s impossible! I never broke the law, I AM THE LAW!” Dredd is a legend, and he is a Robocop in many ways, still human enough to be liked and loved. The movie didn’t get that love from the audience, but there is a lot more than just the viewers that define this movie. Living in an uninhabitable wasteland with huge Mega-Cities in the middle, taking his awesomeness to the world of evil, Dredd needs all the attention!

Along with so many crimes reported daily there is also a new drug in the market called Slo-Mo has been introduced, and it slows the user’s perception of time to one percent of the normal one. These drugs are slowly becoming more and more viral. The Chief Judge has given Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) the job of evaluating a new recruit Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a powerful psychic who had just failed the aptitude tests to become a Judge, and she asserts that her failure was only marginal. Among the large number of crimes, Dredd lets Anderson choose one scene, which had the drug lord Madeline Madrigal (Lena Headey), a.k.a Ma-Ma’s men throwing three rogue drug dealers down from the top floor of a 200 storey residential building, after having them skinned and infused with the Slo-Mo drug. They arrest a man named Kay (Wood Harris) whom Anderson finds out to be the murderer who had tortured and thrown the people down. But the drug lord seals the building down and stops all communications, leading to Dredd and Anderson being caught among the criminals who are asked to take them down by the drug lord. They manages to call for some help, but the help is unable to get in, and what they would get are in the form of a group of corrupt judges paid to take them down, and to add to it, Anderson is captured, leaving Dredd in a situation against all odds.

The movie’s strength is clearly Karl Urban. He fights through his duties as the masked keeper of justice with so much power. Even after covering most of his face with that mask, he still displays a lot of his acting skills. When he is done, one has to agree that he is the law and there is no other law. He has been provided an ideal world here, and without doubt, it has been utilized. His performance in Pathfinder had gone unnoticed, and Doom and And Soon the Darkness didn’t add that much. There is a lot of bad luck involved with Dredd too, as the movie had to share the screen with many other movies when it was released. But that wouldn’t make him as Dredd, an unnoticed hero – for he is indeed brilliant as the provider of infinite justice. He has made Dredd the hero which one had expected. Sylvester Stallone’s Dredd had his own style, and this one has another, and I have to say that I am able to consider this one as the more suitable Judge, even as the one from the 1995 movie was also strong enough to make the needed impact. As that movie failed in what it wished to achieve, it was necessary that this leading actor do a splendid job, and thanks to Karl Urban, that problem is solved. One has to respect the fact that he has kept the helmet on throughout the movie, unlike the previous Dredd. The only scene where he is without it is in the beginning, and then too, there is no face, as the shot is from the back. Still, he has been that good that we can now recognize a masked Karl Urban.

Olivia Thirlby’s Judge Cassandra Anderson is exceptional. There is the need for a warm applause as this performance is considered. The Darkest Hour‘s Natalie has come a long way to become a character who needed not the damsel in distress tag nor the punisher lady tag, but a huge amount of dynamic transformation opposed to a more static character of Judge Dredd. Being beautiful is just one of those exceptional things, and the beauty with the gun goes through a world of bildungsroman throughout this battle. As Dredd has conquered his remorse and regret to become the one true upholder of law with all his experience, the young lady, the rookie has to deal with all the emotional sides in this movie. Anderson is a lovable character from the beginning itself, as even when she is said to be a psychic, the look in her eyes show how much of struggling character she is, and there is no wonder she couldn’t keep up with the other cadets in the tests. The presence of psychic abilities might have made her more of the same. Each and every time, she is forced into the minds of others, and has to live with it, a pain which she has to endure and keep with her as a souvenir. One has to wonder what the pain of being a psychic is, and Anderson is its beautiful personification.

She is there to help in the battle of good v/s evil, but has to suffer as she has to live with the memories, and has to go through alien worlds which has secrets which she doesn’t want to reveal, and the horror which she doesn’t want to face. In the battle with Kay’s mind, she has to come out victorious fighting his erotic imaginations of violent sexual liaisons with her; fighting her own naked and helpless images in his own homeland of mind; his own self-proclaimed messed up head which scores in the beginning by makes her undress. But she fights and succeeds, thus proving her superiority as a psychic, and throws away the thoughts about her as the weak link, in the first step of her move towards being a judge. The second step is achieved when she escapes from her captors and the third when she arrives at the right moment when the corrupt judge is about to shoot Dredd. By that time, she has evolved, and Dredd himself realizes that she is ready. She is no longer that person who hesitated to shoot, and failed to use her psychic powers to the maximum advantage. She had become the most extreme of the dynamic characters, and the true Judge Cassandra Anderson, the upholder of justice. Olivia Thirlby has gone through that transformation in such a way that makes one feel the need to watch her in the same role in a sequel – another reason to get Dredd 2.

Meanwhile, Lena Headey’s Madeline Madrigal is a charming evil villain who has a devilish beauty associated with her even with the scars on her face. She is a villain one would love to watch on the screen. The use of 3D is efficient, and the presence of slow motion sequences with the help of the Slo-Mo drug further helps the movie. These are still not the usual pathetic slow motion stunts, as they are designed to work with the drug in such a way that both the action sequences and the plot involving drugs benefit. The action scenes without the drugs are also equally good. The villain’s introduction throwing the drops of water from a bath-tub shows how well the slow motion sequences can be used and how much it can add rather than take away. In simple words, this is how a Dredd movie should be, and this is how a superhero of truth should be depicted. There should be more to follow, even as there is only some hope left of a sequel. There should be Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby in that sequel, as they have made themselves that part of this movie that cannot be avoided. They have given this movie life, and this work already had so much life which means that it is more alive than most of the movies out there. We are being bombarded with those superhero movies, but actually what we need is this story of Dredd. Just remember that he is the law, and he needs his time.

Release date: 21st September 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Pete Travis
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris, Domhnall Gleeson, Warrick Grier, Deobia Oparei, Langley Kirkwood, Edwin Perry, Karl Thaning, Michele Levin, Francis Chouler, Daniel Hadebe, Rakie Ayola

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

RED 2

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There are a few movies which reduce the chance of White House Down doing a good job, and among them the one which is the most similar in what happens on the screen, is RED 2, which can take out the take-over movie with its big cast. The closeness in the Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb ratings might also help in creating that big doubt in the minds of the viewers which is affected by Bruce Willis to attract them to this one, and I would say that even without that drag, this holds a clear edge over its only “same genre competitor” around here. You might already know that Red means “Retired Extremely Dangerous”, as a group of retired secret agents try to make an impact when forced out of retirement by several reasons, the most prominent one being them or their best friends being hunted to be shot at sight. While having such a title thrown towards the protagonists, they do the same designation of being extremely dangerous, a favour – they do what they do the best and what they were always expected to do throughout their lives. They react in such a way that the tables are turned on their enemies, and in the process, saves the day. This one will not have Karl Urban as William Cooper and that is a shame. But the entry of Anthony Hopkins, Lee Byung-hun and Catherine Zeta-Jones would add something else.

So we know that “the best never rest”, and once again Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is hunted and prevented from leading a normal life. Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) is still by him as the old best friend who saves Frank after faking his own death. Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) is with them, and after falling for Frank’s adventures, she is now eagerly looking forward to more dangers which could make her feel special. The gorgeous Katya (Catherine Zeta-Jones) getting back to his life, and being mentioned as “Frank’s Kryptonite” makes Sarah jealous and possessive and she herself tries to get into the middle of the action. He is supposed to be hunted, but actually supported by Victoria Winters (Helen Mirren), and is followed by Han Jo-Bae (Lee Byung-hun) who has taken the contract to murder Frank. In their mission, they come across the information about Dr. Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) who would be needed in for their objective to be a success, but is currently in a lunatic asylum. Frank would need to bring them all together, and know who is on his side, how can be with him, and who might end up trying to kill him in order to survive the battle, thus creating a complicated situation, nothing that a retired, extremely dangerous man can’t solve again.

Bruce Willis continues with what he has been doing in the best way, and the triangle featuring him, Mary-Louise Parker and Catherine Zeta-Jones makes the funnier scenes of the movie. Jason Statham’s Frank Martin might be proud of this Frank, the older and the funnier one who has got no car to race. This Frank is there beating up people quite a lot, shooting them and bombing a lot of the world around him. Do they get stronger when they get older? Some might wish to ask so, and Die Hard fans would have to wonder if this is the series which might take Bruce Willis away from them in a crisis of retirement. There is no need to be doubtful though, as this is one man who might be retirement-proof in his real life too. Mary-Louise Parker’s character has only gotten funnier in this sequel, and comes up with some of the funniest moments, sometimes with the dialogues, but mostly just with the expressions. Her character makes so many attempts to prove her better than the possible weakness of her man, and by doing the same, she does the stranger things which adds to the fun element.

Catherine Zeta-Jones would have been not that easy to recognize for her earlier fans, of The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment, and seems to have qualified for being still extremely dangerous, doesn’t matter if retirement is knocking at the door. A few memories do keep coming back from those days of early movie watching experience in the absence of the big screen. Those were the days, and she was there on the small screen. Despite of the loss of her older self, she still competes with Helen Mirren with the screen presence, but not with the action sequences. Marvin Boggs’ character continues the job John Malkovich did in the first part, but unfortunately there is no pig this time and we miss him saying “Frank, I never thought I’d say this again. I’m getting the pig!” But, the man still carries the movie forward with his funny one-liners and those comic scenes which never look out of place. There might be no occasion that won’t suit him, and if there is any character who can use a spin-off movie, here is one.

Lee Byung-hun remains the Storm Shadow in essence here too, and may be even as the better ninja than G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its sequel which was released earlier this year. He remains the character that he has been in that movie and as the assassin, he continues the same. Anthony Hopkins, our own Hannibal Lecter makes a personal impact on this one, not that big as The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal or Red Dragon, but still something that comes as a pleasant, evil surprise of good quality. Being in the lunatic asylum is one of those common things, and here there are more characteristics for him, of qualities strange enough to be another man of surprising variations. In many ways, these two were needed, as the movie is too much inclined to the funny side otherwise, not that they are completely against contributions to the comic side, but there is the need for the twists, thrills and awesome action. This is Expendables with such a huge cast, but in many ways funnier and the comic side being very effective, if not too effective. May be that movie could have been called with something similar to being retired, and extremely dangerous again.

Even as the movie keeps scoring with its action sequences and the funny dialogues, there is that feeling of the imitation of the first movie, and the predictability keeps on getting higher and higher. Even the climax is too predictable for the usual movie watcher’s liking. As our characters are played by those celebrities who are basically more royal than the others, they keep the viewers interested, but this kind of movie needs its own dose of little shocks, and RED 2 does have it, but not that powerful a thing of the royalty’s standard. There is no situation where the audience is supposed to be terrified or feel for the heroes. There are frequent one-liners which clear any doubt in the minds of the viewers, and with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins guiding the gang, and Lee Byung-hun following the path in a majestic manner, there is the reconquest of whatever is lost, and whenever the movie is about to drop down in its level, something new comes up, once in the form of Catherine Zeta-Jones and at another occasion in the form of Anthony Hopkins; the rest is well managed by the one-liners which drops a comic bomb which handles and stabilizes the situation.

RED 2 is stretching its arms towards that weekend box office victory here, but surely on a limited level. The movie edges over White House Down, and can pretend to be competent against Pacific Rim, Despicable Me 2 and Man of Steel as this is the new entrant in the game and the reviews are not completely out yet, and Turbo belongs to an entirely different genre and attracts another type of viewers. There was still hope for more, that is for sure; RED had come up with the right platform of origins which could have been exploited further. At the same time, it had also used up a lot of resources, and the need of this sequel was for creativity, which has successfully arrived partially. But when one is looking for fun, there is hardly any opportunity to care and think more, and RED 2 gives that unlimited fun which is not without the flaws list. If this movie belongs to that genre which is pure entertainment, you are welcome to forgive its flaws. I would say that I have forgiven and forgotten the same and got into that roller coaster ride of entertainment which this movie hides behind its pillars of old age. May be it is time for most of you to give it a try, and the rest can wait for the year has a lot more in store.

Release date: 19th July 2013
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Dean Parisot
Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, David Thewlis, Neal McDonough

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Star Trek II

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Star Trek might be one of the most popular franchises based on its theme, but this surely is my first encounter with it. But the situation seems to be all set to change, as this movie surely seems to have increased its fan base by one on this day. Still, throughout the ages, Star Wars had been a favourite – but I had to miss this one at that time. Now, I am surely into this series, and its main aim, that is exploration and not invasion, destruction or colonization. There is the need to watch the Original Series, and it would add to my list. For now, this movie has come early to this part of the world, compared to its United States release. Even as it is the twelfth Star Trek movie and works as the sequel to the movie Star Trek which was released in 2009, this one still works well as a stand-alone version, with not much questions remaining unanswered. This could have have been the first movie of the series and might have still worked here, and that was evident from the reactions of the people in the theatre hall, and there is no visible doubt about the fact that it was their first Star Trek experience, and they clearly enjoyed it. This one might not do as good as Iron Man III or The Dark Knight Rises, but is still a formidable force in a world which is not used to such an environment in a movie.

In Star Trek: Into Darkness, the spaceship USS Enterprise is sent to explore another planet, but finds a volcano which is very close to going off and wiping out its primitive inhabitants. Nobody is supposed to know anything about it, but as the first officer and good friend Spock’s life is under threat, Commander Kirk is forced to reveal the Enterprise to the planet’s civilization to rescue him leading to the indigenous people worshipping the ship as God as the crew leaves. It was a heavenly object to a group of people who were in such early stage of their civilization that they hadn’t even discovered the wheel – they get to see a space ship instead and be stunned. As a result, Kirk is relieved of command, and Admiral Pike takes over the command of the Enterprise. But, later a meeting is called as the result of a bombing, and a resulting shootout leads to the death of Pike ultimately leading to Admiral Marcus sending Kirk to take out the terrorist who has taken shelter in the homeland of the war-loving Kilgons. The Enterprise is supplied with seventy two long-range photon torpedoes to be fired at the terrorist’s hidden location once they can locate him. As he fails to have enough information, chief engineer Montgomery Scott refuses to take the unidentified weapons aboard the ship and is thus forced to resign. The Admiral’s daughter, scientist Carol Marcus also joins the crew, under a false identity.

But the ship is stuck at the Klingon homeworld as there is malfuncion in the ship’s core, and they are saved by the same man whom they were planning to capture, whom after surrendering, reveals his real identity as Khan, a genetically enhanced superhuman, who has been in cryo-sleep for three hundred years after fighting an unsuccessful destructive war on Earth, and his success could have deprived the Earth or even the whole galaxy of most of its population. When he says “My name is Khan”, I wonder if something comes to the mind for the Bollywood fans – but in this case, there would be no possible second half of that sentence. This man would indeed be another name for terror without any boundary. As Carol and McCoy look into one of the torpedoes, they realize that each of them contain a genetically enhanced superhuman in cryo-sleep, the remaining members of Khan’s diabolical crew. Khan explains to Kirk that Admiral Marcus used Khan to develop advanced weapons to start a war with the Klingons, while keeping his crew as hostages. Kirk understand that they might be in big trouble, as none of the possible solutions might work out, as they are stranded in space.

Chris Pine as Commander James T. Kirk has come up with full power, as the character scores both with its negatives and positives. Each decision he takes seem to change him and lead him to the moment of the ultimate sacrifice. Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the chief medical officer – this could have been a longer role, even as there are some good memorable lines from him, for the Native American Viking of the Pathfinder, as well as the shooter of Doom had never really attached to the minds of the viewers as they never clicked as action movies, even as I have always felt the first one was superior stuff and the second one was quite fine. Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura also has quite a smaller role, even as it is significant. Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock steals show in many ways, as the one who chooses not to feel, but still has the feelings for his best friend, and finds his logic at the right moment, sometimes evoking laughter and sometimes saving lives. As half-Vulcan, half-Human, neither belonging to here nor there, but having the qualities of both, the man is more Vulcan among a group of humans and not really of his own species, thus more of an outsider even when considered more belonging to the group than anybody else.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan makes the perfect augmented villain of another timeline; condemned, frozen and now back in business. He is highly effective in his powerful superhuman role which is threatened only by the fear of the death of his comrades. He makes Peter Weller’s Admiral Marcus a lesser and weaker warmonger, another role which has been done according to the need. Talking about Alice Eve, the name reminded me more of the two superhuman, but gorgeous women – Alice of Resident Evil and Eve of Species; a bond with the T-virus and with the alien DNA respectively, both seemingly having all positive effects on beauty as well as strength and aggression. Both Milla Jovovich and Natasha Henstridge had made their roles memorable enough to make the characters that popular. Leaving the unreal superhuman element aside, one also can’t stop thinking about that 2010 romantic comedy film She’s Out of My League, when a gorgeous Molly McCleish was out of the league of an ordinary Kirk Kettner. Well, here she proves the same by being out of the league with those looks, and there should be a lot more coming for her in a sequel.

Still, I wouldn’t disagree on the fact that there is exaggeration involved here; thinking about that romantic comedy, exaggeration is never out of the equation, and it is time the common movie watcher of this part of the world who rarely checks the names of the leading actresses know a few names other than the usual leads; its time someone other than Megan Fox and Paris Hilton is known to the lesser movie watching world. The best extentions of the procedure of knowing go only from Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Meg Ryan, as far as Keira Knightley, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Further into the movie, it is no surprise that here she no longer does the same with a romantic character, but with her role as Doctor Carol Marcus – and she is surely the eye candy in this movie, but she is not simply that. She is the balance between the evil of her own father and the righteousness of the crew of The Enterprise. It is her help that leads to the discovery that changes the whole situation of being misguided into the abyss and it is her presence that leads to their ship getting an extension of lifeline which is instrumental in the final battle.

Star Trek is not just a movie – it is a spectacular environment created by the wonderful special effects and the 3D which works correctly. It works so well, right from those moments in those bright, coloured planet with dazzling red coloured trees and the natives painted white, who throws their spears at our heroes, or rather the viewers, thanks to the 3D. The movie is about authority, and also about personal relationships, as well as the collision between the worlds of emotions and logic. The job is done professionally, and it is evident in the ratings in IMDB as well as the critics ratings. Its background philosophy has also worked out well, and there is no doubt that this ship is heading towards a sequel. This encounter between the different worlds, and the species, not as the usual alien invasion is something which is worth more what The Avengers and The Transformers were worth. This is so much like that one game which I felt more than anything else, which was Mass Effect. Commander Shepard might be Commander James T. Kirk, Garrus Vakarian – Commander Spock, Ashley Williams – Doctor Carol Marcus/Nyota Uhura, Kaidan Alenko – Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy; the Reapers could be Klingons or Romulans – such a connection has helped me in liking the movie even more with relation to my favourite game.

Release date: 10th May 2013
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Bruce Greenwood, Noel Clarke, Peter Weller

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✠The Vampire Bat.