American Sniper

americansniper (2)

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I have heard that they are showing all those Oscar nominated movies there in the multiplex, or at least those which they have chosen.

Vampire Bat :: Some of the movies have made a return while the others have arrived for the very first time. Which one would you choose?

Vampire Owl :: I choose none. I shall not watch award movies. It has been a policy – an owlified policy.

Vampire Bat :: But some of them are certified good.

Vampire Owl :: I don’t fall for such certification. I have been a prey to such opinions for too long a time. And what is Guardians of the Galaxy and Interstellar doing there? They should have tried for those movies which didn’t release here instead.

Vampire Bat :: But most of the movies in that list never released here, and without the Oscar nominations, might have never even come near here.

Vampire Owl :: Still, I say no to any of those movies. I am a stubborn Vampire Owl. It is in my blood, my pure, centuries old bloodline.

Vampire Bat :: I shall go for American Sniper then.

Vampire Owl :: And make a pick for these Oscars. Lets see if your prediction powers work after centuries of experience.

Vampire Bat :: I have only watched The Grand Budapest Hotel among the movies which have received nomination for the best picture. Lets see how American Sniper adds to it.

[Goes to the theatre].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the real life story of a man from Texas, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), who becomes sad and outraged at the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings and decides to join the United States Navy and be of service to his nation which has been a target of external terrorist forces. He undergoes the training and finally becomes a United States Navy SEAL sniper. After meeting Taya Renae (Sienna Miller) at a bar and falling into a relationship, he marries her, only to be posted at Iraq for the war against terrorism after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Beginning with sniper shots on a woman and a child who were trying to attack the troops with grenades, he feels the pain, but continues to go on and become the most known sniper and the one with the most kills. The biggest challenge for him would be take out an expert enemy sniper who wanders around in the shadows – but there is also his family back home.

The defence of American Sniper :: I was skeptical about watching this movie, and I had wondered how it will go as an American war movie, and this one completely managed to rise above my expectations. The movie nicely combines so many elements of the war and successfully comes out as an anti-war movie. Everything is shown with so much passion and detail. The message is clear and against the ever-lasting devastation that the war causes and the darkness of nothingness that terrorism can lead to. Bradley Cooper is the man who steals the show with almost every second as this is a movie about his character and what he has done. He also has gained a lot of weight for the role as it seems and is known. He does deserve the Academy Award for the Best Actor, and an absence of nomination would have surprised me a lot. Sienna Miller joins in and does her job in so much of a believable manner.

Positives and Negatives :: The negatives are hard to find with American Sniper. May be you can find something if you have a problem with realistic depictions, or may be you can dig deeper than me find something else. May be for some of you, there was not enough entertainment. But it was there for me, and there might have been a very minute drag here and there, but I never felt that. If you need to create controversy out of something which is not there, I am not giving into it. You might have your bloody agenda, but for one second, think about it from the point of view of a soldier – it is what the movie is about. You can complain that the end was too soon, but the movie was never really about the end, but the soul of this flick itself was the world that it portrayed. As it takes us to the battlefield and the clear flow of emotions back home, one has to accept and admit that this was the best way things could have been linked and shown on the big screen in a realistic manner.

Soul exploration :: Well, the movie leaves the question about who can be blamed. Can you blame a soldier for doing what he is supposed to do to support his troops and help his fallen comrades? Do we even think about what goes through the mind of a trooper as he obeys an order from the top or when he has to make a choice between saving his people and humanity? What are those things that he has to live with in the end? With those things that he did or with those things that he couldn’t do? Forget this sniper being American, and think beyond the limits of nationality. What about an Indian soldier who gets killed by a terrorist at the border? What about our unsung heroes who deserves better than being shot at by a militant from the other side of the border? Lets forget all the politics behind this and the setting and think about it from the point of view of a soldier who sets off to serve his nation. They deserve the salute for keeping the nation and its citizens first, despite the nationality. It is on their blood that each nation stands, and for trauma that they face and for their selfless service, they should be treated the best, not some random cricketer.

On the Academy Awards :: ***These are my hopes on the 87th Academy Awards which you can avoid, if you want to! As the date for the Academy Awards is coming near, The Grand Budapest Hotel remains the only other movie amond the list of nominations for Best Picture that I have watched, and even as I haven’t finalized on a rating, I would give a 92/100 for that, and consider American Sniper a well-ahead movie. I was hoping to watch The Imitation Game the most among those movies which were in the list, but missed that. I couldn’t come close to being interested in Whiplash, and I have decided against an overdose with the other movies which do provide me with a good timing. May be I don’t want to destroy that good experience that American Sniper has given me. I am afraid in that case, because my taste often creates a case of wonder for myself.

The Waiting Continues :: I do hope that Bradley Cooper does win the Best Actor Award for this movie, and Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl because I have that feeling that those were the performances which can’t be easily matched. I also hope that How to Train Your Dragon 2 win the Best Animated Feature Film Award instead of the overrated Big Hero 6 which thinks that it is Frozen with some irritating hero fans. Captain America: The Winter Soldier should also win something for the Best Visual Effects compared to the other overrated nominations – that is my hope. Well, American Sniper does deserve a lot more than just some nominations and a few winnings, as it deserves big – and that something that I would surely like to see after watching this movie. May this movie has more people with brain and heart watching at the multiplexes rather than the narrow minded ones! India needs a movie like this, and the only one which I can remember that stays strong is Tango Charlie.

Release date: 16th January 2015
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Max Charles, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Navid Negahban, Eric Close, Eric Ladin, Rey Gallegos, Brian Hallisay, Ben Reed, Elise Robertson, Keir O’Donnell, Marnette Patterson, Leonard Roberts, Sammy Sheik, Mido Hamada


@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.


Dawn of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (1)

Vampire Owl :: You mean to say we are going for an ape movie.

Vampire Bat :: Or Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.

Vampire Owl :: I would rather watch monkeys all day than watch a new Bollywood Romance.

Vampire Bat :: I already watched that Humpty Dumb though.

Vampire Owl :: This is why your choices are always bad.

Vampire Bat :: It was because the local theatres were showing it for a change.

Vampire Owl :: Still, you decided to commit suicide.

Vampire Bat :: Unless you are suicidal, it is impossible to watch a Bollywood movie these days. Movies like Madras Cafe and The Lunchbox comes once in a blue moon.

Vampire Owl :: I hope our current venture is not like that.

Vampire Bat :: Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania makes you strong enough to watch anything! It was that bad!

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: The human testing on the apes had resulted in them getting smarter and escaping from the human world creating another civilization of their own, based on some newly discovered values. Meanwhile, the virus which was developed by the humans has caused their own downfall and they are on the brink of extinction with cities destroyed and with the lack of resources, fighting one another as they have done for centuries. A group of genetically immune humans who have survived the virus are living in a guarded tower not too far away from the abode of the apes. As their power source seems to disappear, they hope to find enough power from the dam which is located in the lands of the apes, hoping to make the hydro-electric power plant work again. Even as they convince the apes and everything seems to work so well with the city ready to get enough power, we come to know that there are people on both sides who want a war due to the heavy distrust that exists of the other species, and it is only a matter of time till a war breaks out. The extinction of one race might soon begin.

The defence of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes :: The movie’s biggest point is its relationships, between apes and creatures of the same kind, humans and their own kind, apes and humans between each other and their attitude as a whole. The emotions are dealt with nicely in a believable manner as we would expect them to be. The movie also shows the evil of war and how it makes both sides dumb and thirsty for blood forgetting all the good things which can happen if there is peace. The story is a little bit more inclined to the ape side this time though. The visuals are impressive, especially that of the post-apocalyptic world and concerning the detail of the different types of apes. There are also some good action sequences related to the ape life. It successfully tests the loyalties of the the audience as it goes through the lives of apes and humans just come into it. The movie also talks about the fear of the unknown or the other, the rising hatred for the outsider just because he or she is just different.

Claws of flaw :: The incredibly long named Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is rather too slow a movie. It is never really in a hurry to progress through anything, whether it is the original story-line or the sub-plots. It takes its time and makes sure that the audience gets the feel of everything ape and post-apocalyptic human before getting things complicated and it is not a bad thing for the people who are watching a movie of the franchise for the first time, but not so much for the rest of the people. It does go along predictable lines at times, and the story of one ape trying to kill the leader of the pack to become the new chief was much expected, and a war was always on the cards, nothing out of the box with these species. The humans were always coming in for some reason, and there was always going to be the hatred for the other species. Other than the main characters, the human side is also weak and its civilization also on the losing side. James Franco and Freida Pinto are being missed here too in this continued world.

Performers of the soul :: Jason Clarke has a wonderful presence here, not something which matches James Franco, but rightly suitable for the situation of this movie. Keri Russell is also there, and it is surprising how good she looks after this many years, and she has done a wonderful job as the lady lead – liked her a lot since Bedtime Stories. Gary Oldman plays the typical human with the fear and hatred for the other and branding them as just animals who can be killed for the good of the humans. But nothing matches the strength of the ape characters as the focus is on them. Andy Serkis’ Caesar has more strength and emotions than any human or ape around as this character gets a lot better as a worthy leader of the gang. Toby Kebbell as Koba has the physical strength powered by his experiences, and Nick Thurston as Blue Eyes has a powerful emotional side like nobody else. Karin Konoval as Maurice, the orangutan is once again in the centre of things. This nice characterization of the apes make sure that there is something big coming up in the next sequel, like the 2001 version of Planet of the Apes which was huge in its ideas.

Soul exploration :: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes comes with a strict anti-war message which runs through its veins like blood. It is to be noted that it is the apes who don’t go to war like the humans even as they are less civilized. They value peace, but the twist is that it is them who starts the war which humans wanted. If we look into our world itself, we can see that it is not just side which is hungry for war, and if there is retaliation, it should mean that the colour of blood is not the same on all sides. As it is evident with almost all the people who talk about a war, the colour of blood changes according to which person they are supporting according to their religion, caste or race, and this is the same thing which is shown in this movie. Apes don’t kill apes as they would say, and humans want to kill apes because they are outsiders and a threat. Unfortunately this prejudice of “our people” exists among humans, and thanks to their influence, the same thing begins to exist in apes. A war is a war, and it causes the shedding of blood of the same colour on both sides, and if the deaths are less on one side, it wouldn’t mean that those who lost more men or buildings are better. There will always be someone who begins the war and innocents who suffer.

How it finishes :: I have always felt something special about the 2001 Planet of the Apes and it would remain my favourite movie of the series. I haven’t written on it yet, but it is still special for me. I would love to see a connection between that movie and this one, may be with General Thade traveling back in time to meet the apes of this franchise giving them the much needed advice which would indeed change the planet into something really of the apes – this could lead to the final situation in the end of that movie which can justify the ape planet. It would bring Mark Wahlberg back which would be pretty awesome. It was one movie which deserved a sequel with its potential. But other than that, our movie has nicely continued the story of the first movie, not failing like most of the sequels that we face. Compared to Rise of the Planet of the Apes which serve as an origin story, this works as a wonderful story of survival and that too not just for one kind of species. The movie is surely going to do well considering the opinion that it has generated and the lack of any big opponent challenging it. This is indeed the time of the apes.

Release date: 11th July 2014
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Judy Greer, Jocko Sims, Kirk Acevedo, Enrique Murciano as Kempt, Kevin Rankin, Keir O’Donnell, Terry Notary, Karin Konoval, Nick Thurston, Doc Shaw

dawn of apes copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.