Midnight Special

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Vampire Owl: Now this one should be more about us.

Vampire Bat: What? I don’t see why!

Vampire Owl: It is midnight special. We are people of the midnight.

Vampire Bat: That was long ago. We are anywhere at any moment of time these days.

Vampire Owl: But what about our attacks during midnight?

Vampire Bat: The special plans are no longer limited to midnight, and there are no attacks.

Vampire Owl: But I do come up with attacks. Even on the last midnight, I scared twenty three people from outside their room’s windows.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but as a whole, we are a peace loving community.

Vampire Owl: Never mind. I will launch my personal attacks with my zombie minions.

Vampire Bat: As long as you keep it not connected to the vampire community, it should be fine.

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

What is the movie about? :: Roy Tomlin (Michael Shannon) and his friend, a former state trooper Lucas (Joel Edgerton) are on the run with an eight year old boy named Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher), as alerts keep coming on the television about a missing boy with Roy named as the kidnapper. Roy is revealed to be the father of the boy, but he has been trying to escape from both the government as well as a mysterious and fanatic religious cult, both who have been chasing the group of three. But the group is not willing to stop at any cost, and hopes to get further away from those who wants to capture them. The boy who is extremely photosensitive is protected by them, who are joined by Sarah Tomlin (Kirsten Dunst) who is the boy’s mother who is extremely delighted to see them again, but is not happy with almost the whole country chasing them.

So, what is it really about? :: This fanatic religious cult called The Ranch has been raising Alton for a long time, as he is supposed to be some kind of a saviour for them, who has come after years of prayers from them. Pastor Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepard) will not stop until he has his cult’s messiah back with them, and has sent his people to find the boy. At the same time, Agent Paul Sevier (Adam Driver) finds encoded satellite transmissions in the pastor’s sermons which is supposed to have been found from Alton’s talks, and it has FBI right after them, finding the boy as a threat to the national security. more and more people seems to be after them, with running and hiding becoming rather too difficult for the group. With time running out for them, they decide to keep fighting.

So, what happens next? :: The fact that this special boy even brought one satellite down just because it was tracking them, doesn’t help their case at all. One boy with so much of power seems to be something which the government can’t afford to go free – they surely has more plans for him, as there are more people after him after causing what seemed to be a meteor shower in the form of a destroyed satellite. They are also involved in terrible confrontations with state troopers and don’t get much of help from even their old friend from the cult. As the journey goes on, the boy only gets weaker and weaker. With him seeming to be extremely sick and might even possibly die, there seems not be not many options around other than to give up. But Alton himself has another idea for him, which none of his guardians can agree to. In the end, will they find the secret behind his powers and get him to safety?

The defence of Midnight Special :: There is a different story in store here as this science fiction flick’s divergence works throughout its run. Its specialty should be that it keeps the supernatural at a distance rather than exposing it to us in the beginning itself. It successfully keeps us guessing in the beginning stages as we wonder what this boy is all about, and what big twist is coming up near end. There is something huge going to happen, but we have no idea what it is, and the more we guess, the more we get confused – this one provides that kind of a feeling throughout its stages. The whole movie goes on like some chase, and our protagonists rarely get to stop here or there. The power of visuals are there when they are used to the movie’s advantage, even though that last very less. We are also left with the hope for a sequel in the midst of an emotionally powerful ending that comes as the end is reached, and you know that the drama works towards the end – the finish has its sadness.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Midnight Special is a movie which had the potential to do something better both with its philosophy as well as its content which wanders rather too much on the emotional side, due to which the ending is also not a thrilling one – something which has surely contributed well to its lesser total collection from the theatres. If there was more focus on what was happening rather than diving deep into the emotional side without enough explanations, this one could have done a lot better for the common man as well as those who think. There are mysteries that are not solved, and there are moments which could have been presented in a better way. With some signs of the visual spectacle which it could have been, also there, maybe there was surely the idea to do more, but it was to make itself just a good movie instead of becoming that special movie which was to stay in our minds for a long time.

How it finishes :: One special thing about Midnight Special even when it slows down in pace so much, is that it is a science fiction movie with a stronger human side than many others including Interstellar and Gravity. With Michael Shannon coming up with an emotionally powerful performance, and Kirsten Dunst supporting the same later, we have Joel Edgerton’s character as the most likable, and Jaeden Lieberher does a very good job as the kid too. Despite not everyone liking this movie in this same way considering it as a flick which would depend on the tastes of people to have it loved, one can be sure that Midnight Special will affect its viewers in one way or the other. You will also wish that it was a better movie, but one feels that this is exactly how the makers wanted the movie to work, and in no other way. Take your time and find what can be termed “special” in Midnight Special.

Release date: 18th March 2016
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard, Paul Sparks, Nathan Brimmer, Bill Camp, Scott Haze, James DuMont, Billy Slaughter, Sean Bridgers

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Iron Man III

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A long time ago, there was the age of superheroes – some people might call it childhood; and during that age, three of the most significant superheroes might have been Superman, He-Man and The Phantom. But life changes and the focus had to shift to Spider-Man, a process which was boosted by the release of a movie starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Then Christian Bale and Liam Neeson had their say with that Christopher Nolan movie which shifted the scene to Batman. Iron Man came later, but survived through the assault of the bat on all the superheroes making the darkest and the not-so-super one the superior crime fighter. The man of iron was seen more as a lesser superhero compared to the man of steel as well as the man of darkness, but the series stepped on this prejudice and has given the viewers the third movie with no rust. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has never failed in that case, as it has impressed me not only with the the three movies of this series, but also with those movies – with the incredible man-monster painted all green by science, with the alien god of the other world with a hammer, with the captain and defender of honour with that shield, and not to forget – with all of of them were combined and put together in a brilliant manner. These movies which are not named are quite easy to find out, and it is due to their popularity itself.

The movie occurs sometime after the alien invasion, the much effective team work, and all those events of The Avengers. Tony Stark has been too much concerned about the safety of his girlfriend, the new Stark Industries chief Pepper Potts; he has filled his place with Iron Man armour and most of them now works on their own according to his command. But soon, it is realized that the alien invasion is not what would be the upcoming terror for him, as Stark, with his lover of the time, and brilliant scientist Maya Hansen, had avoided the crippled scientist Aldrich Killian, whose dreams are shattered beyond repair. Meanwhile, a series of bombings by an unknown terrorist, the Mandarin has left intelligence agencies with no evidence to get on with their investigation as there is no bomb found. When Stark Industries security chief happens to be a victim of such an attack, Stark issues a threat to the Mandarin, and soon gets an unexpected response as he destroys Stark’s home with helicopters fitted with guns. Stark is taken far away from the site by his artificial intelligence and finds himself reported dead and too weak in power to return.

During his journey to revival, he discovers that the explosions were triggered by soldiers from an experimental treatment which would allow people to recover from horrible injuries. It is their bodies which couldn’t handle the programme that exploded. He also discovers the Mandarin is actually a British actor named Trevor Slattery and the terrorist is a creation of Killian who has also kidnapped Pepper and subjected her to the same treatment. The President is also his target and for that, he has taken control of the War Machine armour which has been serving to protect the President. Now, the Iron Man has to deal with all his problems including the anxiety disorder which followed the near-death experience related to that alien invasion event, his love which he had failed to show as well as prove in the middle of all the chaos, save the world with his own lover and also one President – not really a hard task considering what he has done so far, but not that easy when his situation is given attention. But the fact remains that he is still the Iron Man, which he does say with confidence, and that is one thing which would guide him with chaos and misery all around. It is his success that should keep the Marvel Cinematic Universe going, and it is left for us to see.

300: Rise of an Empire is still the comic book movie which I want to watch this year more than anything else, but I would say that love is beyond comics and more into a dream of the past and a nightmare of history. The movie might not even reach here. My expectations about Man of Steel and The Wolverine won’t be as high as what I have for this one either. So it is worth talking about this one as the much awaited superhero comics movie of the year. If asked about the movie being living upto the expectations, it certainly did. While talking more about the expectations, wasn’t that more about pure fun than anything else? In that case, the movie has incredible success. I am not that much of a fan of the movie’s 3D, and would have found it good enough to have seen it in 2D at a lower price and without the trouble of having to wear the glasses. But as long as the special effects are concerned, they are well done and all those action sequences with the support of these effects, create a world of enjoyable chaos and destruction which are of no pain. The movie is made into a pure entertainer and a master of its genre, gaining in strength from its own pace and still getting faster from its strength that is sticking to what it has been doing through the previous titles – to entertain and not to take logic for dinner and make her talk.

Robert Downey Jr is the Iron Man once again, and there is no point where he isn’t the man in the armour, no matter how much he walks around without it. I would consider him more as Sherlock Holmes rather than Iron Man, but in this movie, he is more of iron, and his character has undergone more changes which makes him more of that superhero not just to the crowd, but also to his own people. The story of the man in the armour moves so, and so does the movie, and to expect some other person in this role is absurdity, for there is no question about it yet again. Gwyneth Paltrow’s role has been extended in this one, not just by the screen presence which is not an improvement – for it is more of the essence as well as the power and influence. She gets that much power by the end of the movie, and this strength which is more hulk-like than anything else is more funny than being significant enough to be carried on. The damzel in distress gets powerful – not forever and not in the way she wanted to be and it is surely not a thing to be kept in the urn and driven towards eternity by the horsemen of the other world. The character has become more and more of her, and the lady of the superhero has lived upto the title, as the woman of iron who burns – being hot was applicable to many women in the movie, but for her, it also becomes literal.

Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian is too effective as a villain that it is very easy to hate the character. One gets to remember Sebastian Shaw of X-Men: First Class – there was Kevin Bacon, and both the characters being involved in genetic mutation and the use of science and technology as evil, with a never ending desire to rule the world and keep things running in their own way – they deserve to be partners in crime, but I don’t see the X-Men being brought to the Avengers initiative and the Shaw character was already finished by the end of the last X-Men movie. Here, Killian is a “created” monster – an indirect creation, unlike Shaw who created monsters out of good men. Our monster here is not only the monster, but also the creator who creates more out of what he has become. He is able to channelize his anger and desperation in the right path, that is incredibly wrong and evil. What his wrath does is to redo the wrong and the wicked in such a way that it becomes so common. If he was shown with conscience or some kind of emotional attachment, that would have been his failure. But there is nothing of that sort, and the success in villainy is attained. There is the presence of science, technology, energy, destruction, and all which would suit an evil genius of his type – thats all he needs and thats what he gets.

Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen, is another character and a bit of the monster’s little helper, and despite of the presence of the so called “hotness”, the best looking lady around – talking about in a subjective manner. She is with the monster, but still not monster enough. Stephanie Szostak looks so scary and attractive as the assassin which makes an incredible contradiction out of nowhere. The literal “hot” version can be applied to her too, as she bruns quite a lot as the result of that experiment. Ben Kingsley creates a powerful effect on the movie, which was good to see. Don Cheadle continues to be the “other man of iron” as expected, with no trouble. With all these, the movie is undoubtedly a huge grosser even in this part of the world. There is a good amount of difficulty in getting the tickets and if asked why it is so popular, the reasons are so many. I had to witness too many trailers before the movie to get into it, and the crowd was huge and getting into the theatre took some time with all the traffic and related stuff, but it was worth that. My advice on it would be to drink some tea and get some tickets. Any other advice would be so much beyond the armour of iron, and the best of armour comes from the elixir of life that is tea.

Release date: 26th April 2013
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.