Godzilla vs Kong

Vampire Owl: These are not the monsters we expect around here.

Vampire Bat: Well, we cannot stop any of them from entering the realm.

Vampire Owl: So, you mean to say that there is no active vampire defence against monsters.

Vampire Bat: Whatever remains will only be active against werewolves.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that a transformed ape and lizard won’t count.

Vampire Bat: We can ask Doctor Frankenstein to try and contain the radioactivity.

Vampire Owl: I am afraid that it won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: We are already prepared for the huge impact.

Vampire Owl: These are sacred lands. There should be no fight for supremacy here.

Vampire Bat: This is just a temporary space. They will pass through this area, through the portal.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Five years have passed after Godzilla defeated the legendary monster, King Ghidorah and all the other monsters had bowed down to him, accepting his supremacy as the great king of the monsters. He is limited to a small space within the Skull Island, as a dome is created to hold him inside, so as to avoid any contact with Godzilla who wouldn’t appreciate the fact that there are two titans. A deaf and mute child, Jia (Kaylee Hottle) is the only person who could successfully bond with Kong, who is not really happy to be restricted to a small space, which he often tries to damage when he is angry. Jia is also the adopted daughter of the Kong expert Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), and she hopes that they can hold on to Kong as much as possible, and avoid the epic clash which could happen between the two. Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), tries to get into a facility which is attacked by Godzilla at the same time, and that gets everyone worried, as Godzilla has never attacked without a reason.

So, what happens with the events here as something big is coming up? :: Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) feels that there is something wrong here, as Godzilla should have attacked only because there was a reason for the same, and something sinister is happening within. Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir), the CEO of the organization recruits Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), to lead a journey into the Hollow Earth, the homeworld of the Titans, which could have enough energy to fuel the planet and bring a defence against Godzilla. Nathan is not sure about as his books related to same was poorly received by everyone, and going into such a world would mean death, but as he understands that he has developed HEAVs, some specialized crafts able to withstand the high pressure which is exerted by the gravity field. Ilene understands that there is chance for Kong to find a new home in Hollow Earth, and agrees to the idea. But this journey is not that direct as they thought, as there are other motives for the rich businessman behind all these.

The defence of Godzilla vs Kong :: As expected, the film focuses on the action, with huge monsters ruling the screen, asking for bigger screens to watch it with the best effect, and we already had similar feeling with earlier films of Godzilla and King Kong, as well as the unrelated robot v/s monster battles of Pacific Rim. Among the monsters, it is Godzilla who continues to impress us more, as Kong continues to bring the feeling of enlarged ape rather than the alpha creature, still pretty good enough. The grandeur of Godzilla continues to impress us in many ways, and there is no dinosaur from Jurassic World that could stand up to that glory. When these two collide, there is the classic battle of the highest level indeed. There are so many great battles, and one final one with one extra human made monster – as we know, the worst of them are human or created by humans, proven through centuries, and if you have watched the Russian alien film, The Blackout, you will know what humanity is capable of, and this thrilling ride with great visuals asserts it again.

The claws of flaw :: The focus on giant action means less attention on the other things, and it is also not something which was unexpected. The building of the monster is something that was unexpected, and human greed is once again explored in a more predictable manner rather than anything else. There is no absence of Seven Deadly Sins as far as science is concerned, and it is as if they have taken that one directly from religion. The repetition that we feel here is more or less what was expected, but something which has less innovation except for Godzilla fighting Kong and having a mechanical monster also to join the fight. The evil plans of corporates in hold of scientific inventions is expected, but it is still good to see the evil being shown again. Maybe, they could have been shown as more evil that what they seemed, because it was leading to human extinction in one way or the other. This looks like we would need another sequel to use the film to its best advantage.

Performers of the soul :: Unlike what was expected, it is Millie Bobby Brown is the one who has the best of our attention. She plays who seems to be the only really smart person around here, as she seems to figure out what is happening before anyone, the so called smart scientists and researchers figure out things, and throughout the film, she seems to be the only real hope for the world. Rebecca Hall and Alexander Skarsgard plays the usual scientists being misguided into something which they wouldn’t have wanted if they had some common sense about what they giant corporations really wanted, but they play along well enough. Brian Tyree Henry plays the other smart person around, and it is being displayed nicely too. Shun Oguri and Demian Bichir plays the villains quite well, and they are more or less the usual villains that we have in this kind of films. Eiza Gonzalez also plays a meaty role, and she could be one strong action star with works in full scale action thrillers, for we know how effective she was in her small role in Hobbs and Shaw.

How it finishes :: Godzilla vs Kong is the kind of film which should be watched on the big screen, but with the COVID-19 pandemic’s second arrival ending that opportunity, and the fear about the same will keep it to the smaller screens for us, except for others who can afford a grand home theatre at home. It is exactly what you would expect from a monster film, and you might have already guessed that with ease from the experiences from the movie’s predecessors. When monsters of such grandeur collide, you know that there will be a spectacle on the screen, and the quality of this glory will be dependent on your screen and your audio devices. Even though we are missing it on the big screen, we can still appreciate the fact that it is not available on an OTT platform in India, and they have chosen the one which is used the most by people here, Amazon Prime Video. Let us hope that after The Tomorrow War, there will be more Amazon Original Movies coming soon, for we are without the multiplex experience now, and might stay so for some time.

Release date: 14th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video), 31st March 2021 (USA)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Eiza Gonzalez, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous high rated movie.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Wick 3

What is the movie about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) had murdered Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) at The Continental Hotel, violating the rule that there would be no blood on its grounds. Winston (Ian McShane), the owner and manager of the hotel had delayed announcing the resulting excommunication and global bounty by an hour to give him a head start. Now being an excommunicado, John is on the run, and is confronted by lesser assassins even before his time started. With a fourteen million bounty on his head, and on the run from assassins, he manages to gain a safe passage to Casablanca in Morocco by claiming a favour from a lady known as the Director (Anjelica Huston). There he meets Sofia (Halle Berry) who owes him a favour and asks her to lead him to the Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui), a high ranked member of the high table who could take the bounty off his head.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is during the same time that an adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) from the high table meets with Winston, who is asked to give up his office in seven days. Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), the leader of a network of vagrant assassins is also asked to give up his position. There would be serious consequences if both were to disagree. An assassin known as Zero (Mark Dacascos) is recruited by her for the mission. He, along with his assassin team members, take on the helpers of John Wick. At the same time, John does come up with a deal, but there is more to be done, and there are so many assassins after him. He would wish to stop this and live in the memories of his wife, but that wouldn’t be possible that easily. Winston and Bowery King wishes to keep their part too, but that will be quite difficult too.

The defence of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum :: We have watched the previous two chapters, and one can safely say that the franchise has had a clear improvement, with the second chapter being better than the first, and this third chapter rising above the predecessors. The improvements come in different fields – one is the action, which is surely better, and each sequence and each kill seems to have something in it. There are some interesting sequences in the beginning itself, and in the end, we have another grand one. The ending also assures us of another sequel, and more blood bath. The visuals are also part of the improvement, as what we see on the screen, with the shots from the distance, or even inside the fighting places are all really good. The humour also sees a certain improvement, and a few are there when least expected. Most of us have played the game Hitman, on the silent assassin, and John Wick goes loud, like Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.

The claws of flaw :: The phrase “Si vis pacem, para bellum”, means “If you want peace, prepare for war”, and “parabellum” in the movie name calls for war, which brings a lots of blood and gore which may not be acceptable for everyone – its actually a lot more than the previous movie, but as we won’t have the original uncut version here, that won’t be a problem for our audience here. One would also wonder why the movie decided not to have a better storyline behind all the big action. While Keanu Reeves is too good here, we miss Ruby Rose with that intensity in the last movie – Asia Kate Dillon never comes up with any action, and Halle Berry is wasted in a small role looking the same all the time. More of Laurence Fishburne would have also been appreciated. Everything also comes together in a way that makes a number of incidents in the movie not worthy, and some replacements could have made it feel better.

How it finishes :: John Wick 3 undoubtedly brings the best full action movie in a long time, maybe the most significant one after Mission Impossible: Fallout. Well, there are many other genres which those usual action movies could fit in, but this one is perfectly suited for exactly one category. But one thing that will surprise the movie fans is related to this flick’s availability in the theatres. As of now, it seems to be available in only one multiplex in Cochin, which is PVR Cinemas in Lulu Mall. The closest place where one can find the same is many kilometres away, in the next district, at INOX in Sobha City Mall, Thrissur. With Avengers: Endgame reigning and breaking all records, there might be no place for another English movie, but with John Wick shows running full, there has to be more, and it is one thing which the assassin deserves. At least it should stay for more.

Release date: 17th May 2019
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston, Ian McShane

*Below is a short review on another movie which I watched during this weekend – Ishq.

[Short Review: Ishq (2019: Malayalam) – The movie talks about two lovers who are harassed by moral policing locals. It has some fine performances from whole of its cast, and the idea is definitely a good one, with a reflection of certain incidents which have happened in the past. The Shine and Shane combination works like a dream. There is also one beautiful song and the first few moments are nicely done until they get repetitive, and the ending is nice. But with its story and the execution as a whole, the movie struggles. There is also the lack of some good characterization, and wastes its female characters except for the moments in the beginning and the end. The characters act in strange ways as in a brainless slasher movie, leaving the realistic side a long way behind. A journey from a road thriller to home invasion, from “In Fear” to “Funny Games” can always be better.

If there were messages intended, then also the movie gives the wrong ones, as reflected in the response of the audience – they are clapping to those mass scenes which go against the spirit of the movie itself, and in the end, except for the people online, especially on Facebook, others are not seen as giving the highly positive opinions. Giving a tagline which nobody really cares to read is also not an excuse to not living up to what the title says. The movie seems to be something created out of anger rather than with a mission, and to work with the common audience, we need the latter – the intellect has advantage over instinct, and it is something to be kept in mind when dealing with an issue like this one. This was a movie which had a great chance at being something brilliant, but fails to be there, as it embraces mediocrity.]

Also refer to similar movies like Varathan and Uncle which were better.

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Wick 2

Vampire Owl: We need to hire this man. He looks a lot effective.

Vampire Bat: But he is always looking for vengeance.

Vampire Owl: We can make him follow our path. There is just the need to have someone from our enemies list kill his dog.

Vampire Bat: He is a ruthless assassin with connections. He will find out in the end.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that we will have to call the Accountant to finish our job.

Vampire Bat: I thought that you would say Mechanic.

Vampire Owl: I would just kill them myself and get the Transporter to get rid of the werewolf heads.

Vampire Bat: You can always hire Codename 47, you know.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is just that he keeps on getting the reboots, I think.

Vampire Bat: Just keep yourself away from John Wick‘s dog and also his car.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Krackjack biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves), the retired assassin who had earlier returned to killing people after his dog was killed and his car was stolen by Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), is not finished with what he had been doing. He searches for, and finds his stolen car at a chop shop owned by Abram Tarasov (Peter Stormare), the uncle of Iosef. After killing all the men, John spares the life of Tarasov in the name of peace and returns home only to find more of his previous life following him there. After the car which was heavily damaged in the fight is taken for repairs by Aurelio (John Leguizamo), John is provided a surprise visit by the Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), to whom he had sworn an oath, often referred to as a marker, which had helped him to finish the impossible task that had set him free from the world of blood and gore, and allowed him to marry Helen (Bridget Moynahan).

So, what happens next in the movie? :: John Wick is supposed to be someone who could keep doing the impossible, as Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist) himself had acknowledged before being dead, and a confident Santino asks John for the favour in return, but the tired assassin decides against going through the violent ways again, and says no without even listening to what the crime lord wanted him to do. An angry Santino goes back to his car, and returns with a grenade launcher to destroy John’s home, almost killing him in the process. John escapes and goes on to meet Winston (Ian McShane), the owner of the Continental hotel in New York City, who tells him to abide by the rules, and he is supposed to honour the promise made in the form of the marker. John decides to play by the rules, and meets Santino again, who provides him the mission of assassinating his sister Gianna D’Antonio (Claudia Gerini) to claim her seat among the top-level crime lords.

And what follows the same in the movie? :: John gets to Gianna during a party, where she is under the protection of expert fighter and bodyguard Cassian (Common). Even though John is successful in his mission with her choosing to commit suicide rather than get killed, he is chased by the group of tem lead by Santino’s right-hand, a mute young lady known by the name Ares (Ruby Rose), and also by Cassian who seeks vengeance. With Santino himself putting a seven million dollar bounty on the former retired assassin, John Wick has no option, but to fight for his life – Cassian is determined to have his revenge, and Ares is determined to show her allegiance and effectiveness to her master. There are assassins jumping on him out of nowhere, and he decides to have a meeting with the underground crime lord The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), but where does their conflict of interests and a troublesome past lead them?

The defence of John Wick: Chapter 2 :: The first movie had become a surprise hit, and this one also follows the same pattern, making things even better by a good margin. Keanu Reeves is also the bigger assassin with this one, and he remains the core. He continues to be at his best as the action hero, doing what he has been doing the best. There is also no humans dead in the name of dogs, as it happens in the name of cows in some parts. The style factor is also too good, and all the action sequences, a lot of them if we consider the total, catch our attention. Among all those who fight the deadly assassin, it is Ruby Rose who comes up with the most memorable show – there is that intensity in her despite being mute, that we feel that she might be one lady whom nobody should have the misfortune of facing. There is that final battle with her, and also the one that we see in the beginning that catch our eyes more than any other. Then there is Laurence Fishburne, evergreen as you would find him in an action thriller.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much in the story here, as it was in the first movie, with the assassin going on killing more and more people, most of them assassins themselves; it is still better than going on to kill people in the name of a dead dog which is given too much importance. The predictability factor is high, as we do have some idea about how things are going to go on and on – John Wick is not that much about surprises, as you might already know from the first movie. This one is also about how great John Wick is, and there is also the presence of those strange laws and oaths which shift the focus. There is also another dog which leaves the option to have another revenge as soon as it is killed. The violence is also there throughout, and deaths have been more and more glorified with this movie. The climax could have also been greater, as something bigger seemed to be getting ready to come up, but unfortunately, that didn’t really happen.

How it finishes :: A long way ahead of the first movie, The defence of John Wick: Chapter 2 is the movie which is once again certain to have your attention with Keanu Reeves going through all the action once again. You have a very nice example of the sequel becoming better than the original movie here, a feature which has more and more examples of things being the other way around – the sequel here has 7.9/10 to 7.2/10, 75% to 68% at Metacritic and 91% to 85% at Rotten Tomatoes, and almost double the box-office collections, compared to the original. There is also a third movie coming up, and we can be sure that it is also going to follow the same pattern, and with all things going more and more global, we can expect more firepower, and a lot more action with the next flick in the franchise. After watching John Wick: Chapter 2, one can safely wait for John Wick: Chapter 3, as we know how much is there to happen in a third movie. The man is a legend, and so we can’t really expect him to finish his tale in two chapters, with so much of him to be unleashed again and again with the certainty of the tides?

Release date: 10th February 2017
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne, Common, Riccardo Scamarcio, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Claudia Gerini, Bridget Moynahan, Lance Reddick, Thomas Sadoski, David Patrick Kelly, Peter Stormare, Franco Nero, Peter Serafinowicz, Tobias Segal

PS: For the awaited release of the weekend, see the review on Kadam Katha.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Guest

theguest (2)

Vampire Owl :: Do you mean to say that we have guests at the castle? Is it for the Christmas vacations?

Vampire Bat :: Not at all. I am just referring to the next movie which were going to watch.

Vampire Owl :: But I have never heard about it.

Vampire Bat :: It has Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe in the lead.

Vampire Owl :: I can recollect the latter name; count me in.

Vampire Bat :: I was pretty sure that you will remember Maika from that horror movie.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, this even reminds me of that headless guest that we had last year. It was one guest that we should have never had.

Vampire Bat :: I believe that this one will be even more mysterious.

Vampire Owl :: Well, there is no limit to the strength of mystery.

Vampire Bat :: And that is some truth clearly spoken.

[Gets a cup of tea with chocolate chip cookies].

What is it about? :: David Collins (Dan Stevens) has arrived at the home of his friend in the military, Caleb Peterson (Chris Harding) who had lost his life at the war in Afghanistan. His grieving mother Laura Peterson (Sheila Kelley) is soon attached to the newcomer and his stories about her son, as she asks him to stay with them for a few days in her son’s room because it will make her feel better after the loss her son. Despite some initial doubts, her husband Spencer Peterson (Leland Orser) also approves of his presence as they get along over some drinks. Their son Luke (Brendan Meyer) becomes good friends with the man as he helps the boy in dealing with the bullies who keep haunting him. The daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) also manages to have a positive opinion about him in spite of the early disapproval which she had.

So, what is this person all about? :: With him being the new best friend to Luke, David has all the members of his family in his pockets. But he is there for another reason. He is still the good guy there, even with Anna’s friend Kristen (Tabatha Shaun) who is attracted to the new friend and everyone seems to like him. He knows how to get along with all kinds of people. But as Anna wishes to know more about him after overhearing certain talk on phone, she calls the military base for more information – but curiosity makes things different, and the situation take a twist. More about David will be revealed, but this new knowledge won’t do that good for anyone around. Some things are better left unknown, but unfortunately for them, this one comes to light.

The defence of The Guest :: There is one thing absolutely clear about this movie, and it is that The Guest is a lot entertaining, and right from the beginning, you get the feeling about it. There is the shot of a person running with a backpack, and then suddenly there is the music indicating possible horror and you will see the title. The next forty minutes go smoothly, with some drama and only small signs of the big change coming up; and as we go through it, the last thirty minutes become deadly. The music used in the movie is really good, and its idea to reveal things in a slow and steady manner makes sure that we get more and more interested in the whole thing. There is another smart movie to use some Halloween stuff here, and it helps a lot in the final stages. Those scenes just feel so good, and this is how the movie ends well.

Positives and negatives :: There is one thing that will bother some viewers, and it is that the movie doesn’t really come up with a relevant flashback and leaves questions unanswered – as on one side, it keeps one guessing even after the movie with further conspiracy theories, and at the other, it makes one wish for it to be there. Most of us surely love a flashback, but we won’t find it here, and there won’t be that much explanation from the protagonist either except for some acceptance; and a little change in the ending would have been better. There is also a certain amount of interesting humour in the movie, as The Guest qualifies with a mixture with thrills, action, psychological elements, suspense factor and all that is needed in the right entertainer. The Guest knows the many ways and the different sides of making the viewers interested. The fact that it manages to be an entertainer with brain is even more satisfying for the audience not to go through just the masala.

Performers of the soul :: Dan Stevens is deadly as the protagonist, the man with his own collection of mysteries – and we are left with this memorable performance to ponder about. One can notice how well he adapts to each situation as the character demands. He is too good almost everywhere, and this character is to be remembered by the fans of the genre or rather the genres – the mystery stays as he performs great. His next big movies include Criminal Activities, Oppenheimer Strategies and Colossal, three thriller movies along with the romantic musical fantasy, Beauty and the Beast – these should be too good. I haven’t watched much of his performances, and so hoping to see more. Maika Monroe has the next big performance here, and you will find her lovable from the beginning itself. We loved her in It Follows and she is excellent here too – would love to see her in Independence Day: Resurgence.

How it finishes :: There will be so many things that you will love about this movie, and you don’t need to be the fan of a particular genre to like the flick. There will be variation only in the degree of interest here. You will surely want to see more works of Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe after watching this one. The Guest also comes from Adam Wingard who directed You’re Next and so you know that you can expect something interesting, and it is the same which is delivered here. If you think about what other movie this one reminds you about, that should be The Stepfather, and the 2009 remake had Amber Heard as the leading lady, but the similarity is minimum; The Guest is also ahead here. You will certainly find your needs for an entertaining thriller satisfied here.

Release date: 17th September 2014
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Sheila Kelley, Brendan Meyer, Lance Reddick, Tabatha Shaun, Chase Williamson, Ethan Embry, Joel David Moore, Steven John Brown, Brenden Wedner, Alex Knight, Frank Bond, Jesse Luken, Kelsey Montoya, Justin Yu, A. J. Bowen, Chris Ellis, Candice K. Patton, Chris Harding

theguest

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Wick

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Vampire Owl :: May be we should watch Beauty and the Beast instead of this.

Vampire Bat :: Now why should you think so after getting the tickets?

Vampire Owl :: Because you can find more than one John everywhere, but a beauty is so rare to find.

Vampire Bat :: You are beauty-blind. You never appreciate any kind of beauty. Do you know that?

Vampire Owl :: That is not true. I find beauty even in a mortuary.

Vampire Bat :: It is exactly what I am talking about. And this is why you will find more beauty or the strange image of beauty in an action movie like John Wick.

Vampire Owl :: What about Jessabelle? I have heard that she is a beauty.

Vampire Bat :: It has been panned by critics, and might not release here soon. The same is the case of Horns.

Vampire Owl :: See, they don’t release the right movie here. You should arrange a mutiny while I am planning to owlify the world.

Vampire Bat :: Still doing better than the censor board.

[Goes into the theatre].

What is it about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is spending his life in sadness and depression after the death of his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan) due to cancer. But he receives a puppy which his wife had left for him and decides to love it a lot. One day, a group of gang members ask him to name a price for his car in which they are interested. But John refuses and leaves them very angry. But at night, lead by Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), they get into his home, beat him up, kills his dog and steals the car. Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the leader of the gang and the father of Iosef scolds him and tells him who John actually is. He was his best assassin, who was nicknamed the boogeyman, and this ruthless killer will come to get the one who attacked him, and there is no force that can stop him. He tries to talk to John, which fails, and therefore places a bounty on him – the two major assassins who seem to take the offer seriously are Marcus (Willem Dafoe) and Miss Perkins (Adrianne Palicki). But John Wick has already started his mission – he has been in the best in the business.

The defence of John Wick :: The world of John Wick is nicely created, and it is a nice and gory one full of action and violence which stands apart. It gives a special feeling as we are guided through that strange and lawless world with its own chaos as the right thing to do. It is stylish work, and its style doesn’t go too much and make it complicated – it is simple and nice, with some melee combat and lots of gunshots, never really trying anything spectacular. We do need a good action movie with a lot of action which doesn’t get overdone with flying bodies, people doing insance stunts and all, and here is it. For those who need a bloody revenge story, here it is. It might be the time to imagine all those who were bad to you this week getting shot – yes, it is a lot like a video game and the one that first comes to mind is Max Payne. There is that kind of a feeling going on, and there is even the shot of a man playing a first person shooter getting shot, all of a sudden. Shoot, shoot and save the movie – I would say that it is the motto of John Wick.

Claws of flaw :: There is drag, and there is absolutely no doubt about it. The slowness of the movie is rather awkward and there are also some uninteresting parts of the action sequences which are uncalled for. The movie does seem to offer a lot in the beginning, but that much is not provided – John Wick is this, John Wick is that, but he is not that smart as it turns out to be, but sometimes goes on like a kind of Chuck Norris, getting rid of people who are in his way. But in melee combat, he gets beaten up a lot, and one has to wonder why he was considered that scary. It is all because of his dog getting killed, and that is also strange considering how much of a murderer the protagonist has been. Then there is the ending, and the final scenes as well as the fights are not the better things in the movie, even as they could have been – and that is a let down. We think that it has ended, and it has not, and then there is the hope for another ending, and finally it ends, it is predictable, keeping us looking on our watches – there are boring moments, and the movie is a little too long.

Performers of the soul :: Here is a movie of Keanu Reeves which is all about him as the name itself suggests. He is once again at his best, and in action, he seems supreme. He has blended into this avatar so nicely that this might be his best performance for some time. There is still nothing like seeing him in The Matrix, Constantine and Speed though – sorry, couldn’t live without mentioning them here. Michael Nyqvist is fantastic as the gang lord. The movie does leave one hoping that Adrianne Palicki had more to do – the only thing she does here is to try to kill John Wick, but she is supposed to be a smart lady assassin, and should do more, and could have controlled a lot more in the movie, and her end is also too cold. I thought she was very good in G.I. Joe: Retaliation as Lady Jaye, and here she has a blunt character, but I liked the way she dealt with it. The same is the case of Willem Dafoe who was needed more – there could have been more with him and that sniper rifle. Lance Reddick is nice indeed in his scenes. Ian McShane also leaves a nice mark. I do wish Bridget Moynahan was out of John Wick’s mobile screen for a little more time.

Soul exploration :: This is a story of revenge, and how it goes in a violent manner – there is no chance for regret in this world of chaos and annihilation. There is the assertion of the truth that one’s past can’t be asked to go away, especially if it is violent in nature. There can be many things that a man can be, but being not influenced at least indirectly by his past is rather not possible – the grave where you hide these tend to come back as zombies, and John Wick is no exception for the same. The Malayalam word for “past” is “bhootham” which means ghost, and it keeps haunting us, thus making that name a worthy one. John’s attempt to escape from his past doesn’t prove to be good for his present, and keeps his future uncertain. Yes, worrying about the past is useless, but not when it is a terrible one, and you do have something left in you to take your mind and body back to it – that means that you have not changed. Unless you have not let go in a way in which there is no return, there is no escape, because ghosts will successfully feed on them some day. There are not many twisted things in this movie, as the plot is direct – find, kill, have your revenge, leave in one piece if possible.

How it finishes :: This weekend’s challengers for John Wick are from Nightcrawler and Beauty and the Beast. The remains from the past include Gone Girl which is still going strong, along with Interstellar, Big Hero 6 and Fury which should be of no challenge for this one. Among this week’s releases too, this one should have the advantage, with Keanu Reeves being back at what he has been doing the best and can accomplish with that certain amount of awesomeness – there will be a lot of Matrix fans who have been hoping for the same. It is also the only hundred percent action movie among all the releases. The releases in other languages also has none that belongs to full action. Lets hope that John Wick will bring a change in the action genre as it hasn’t been doing that well as the situation used to be, unless being mixed with science fiction or some random adventure into the unknown or fantasy. Do give John Wick a chance if you are a strong action fan, otherwise may be you can doubt.

Release date: 14th November 2014 (India); 24th October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe, Lance Reddick, Daniel Bernhardt, Omer Barnea, Toby Leonard Moore, Bridget Regan, Keith Jardine, Thomas Sadoski, David Patrick Kelly, Clarke Peters, Kevin Nash, Randall Duk Kim, Scott Tixier

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

White House Down

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So here is the fight we have been talking about for a long time, as the 120 minute long Olympus Has Fallen has finally met its archenemy, its evil twin brother who is longer by 17 minutes. The ruler of the underworld compared to the shorter one’s claim over Mount Olympus, has arrived in the form of White House Down. As I had already written about Olympus Has Fallen (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/olympus-has-fallen/), and it was the first one to be released, it is that movie which I would consider the prototype for the list of White House attacking movies which can get a little longer as long as this one is not annihilated in a battle here against the opponents RED 2 and Turbo, along with already existing Pacific Rim and Man of Steel; not to forget the movies in all those languages including Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. The former had no tough competition when it was released though, with a few weeks delay after the United States release. The delay has followed this movie too, along with the image of white building going down and only one man standing as a barrier in front of the ultimate success of the terrorists. It had fallen earlier, and now it is down, and there is no doubt about the fact that the first of the two had the best title, but the second has got the name which can connect better with the audience and stays close to action.

So the seat of the President of the United States of America needs to be saved again. Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) was the former secret service agent in our last adventure of this type and here, John Cale (Channing Tatum) is a U.S. Capitol Police officer looking to be part of the secret service. John already has trouble connecting with his daughter Emily (Joey King), and believes that he can impress her by getting a job with the Secret Service and also by taking her to the place, but fails in the interview is conducted by Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a former college acquaintance of his who knew him to be disrespectful to the authority and irresponsible, unable to stick to what he is doing and thus not good enough for the job. He tells Emily that there is still chance and they join with a tour group around the White House. Soon, there is a bomb explosion which separates the father and daughter, followed by a group of armed mercenaries taking control of the White House. The President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) is in trouble, and we know that his only hope is the man who was refused his chance to be the saviour once, and the action begins in a few minutes. The situation is pretty much similar to Olympus Has Fallen, as one might have figured it out by now.

That fictional protagonist portrayed by Bruce Willis in Die Hard, John McClane doesn’t really seem to leave this world of the one-man shows, as here comes another one of too similar a name, John Cale – what he does is no different either. McClane’s marriage and the relationship with his children in a constant state of crisis, and his disregard for authority keeps him close enough to trouble – not the kind of things Cale can disagree with. Here, we have the typical Die Hard protagonist who is just at the wrong place at the wrong time, and continues to be there so that he can save the day with almost no outside support at all. Being the lone wolf who is the right person to do it, the two Johns are one and the same, and if this new John is a cheap imitation of the old, that is for the audience to decide. Strangely enough, Channing Tatum has to battle Bruce Willis in the multiplexes here for the supreme position, as RED 2 is surely attracting enough people, and the elder legend is surely the more popular and the more talked about figure in this part of the world. It is louder and less interesting than the first four Die Hard movies most of the time, but it is better than the fifth movie of the series by a long distance. This could have been Die Hard 5, if Olympus Has Fallen can’t be the same, and even if that position is abdicated, there is always the chance to call itself Die Hard 6.

6.5 out of 10 in IMDb and 48% rating in Rotten Tomatoes for Olympus Has Fallen, and 6.3 out of 10 in IMDb and 48% rating in Rotten Tomatoes for this one clearly describe these two movies, and gives a vague report about how close their impact has been, and how much such a theme can affect the audience and the critics. It is a good thing that they are three weeks apart in their attack on the brains of the viewers, as they could have even destroyed one another if released close enough. Gerard Butler’s 300 + Gamer effect would surely give the former an advantage, but Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman would not stand a chance against the invisible fan club of Jamie Foxx which is bigger than it would seem to be from the surface, thanks to that strange effect which Django Unchained had created. This is how these movies come so close to being the same on impact. But our new movie seems to be struggling to fight against this week’s wave as well as the existing waves. There are less number of shows, and there is the need for a twist of fate for this one to bring the fight of money to its twin brother. But it has already proved that fight is on, even as victory is not within sight; the battle shall go on even as the causalities won’t be that interesting for this side.

This is closer than the similarities between the volcanic eruption related Volcano and Dante’s Peak, and the Earth-bound asteroids showing their power in Deep Impact and Armageddon. Even as Gerard Butler wins the battle as the hero and gets all the attraction, Channing Tatum does a great job in this one, but the movie remains lesser than him and Jamie Foxx. The two actors are undoubtedly bigger than the movie as they do defy the movie in what they do and so does the whole world inside the movie in one way or the other. The whole scenario might be stranger in this movie, but Foxx handles it so well that even the situations which seems to be going the wrong way turns out to be funny and interesting – those moments when Olympus Has Fallen takes the back seat. But there is still too much about his character, and there is too much of a strange ruler in the person, may be being closer to Django than the President of the United States. But people do love that kind of a President in the movies, that is for sure. Joey King’s character is cute and interesting most of the time, but annoying at times; there is no controlled environment out there and in the middle of such a hostage situation, that should be more than just agreeable, for kids no longer remain kids these days, and Lord of the Flies was never belonging that much to fiction.

Jason Clarke does manage to make a powerful impact at the same time, and being the stylish evil guy who takes over the place, he comes with some very good fight sequences with the hero. His presence would seem to extend the world from beyond the two-man show. James Woods works his villainy as the mastermind behind all these next. This movie also loses in violence, something which was not expected in the beginning, as right from the bomb explosion, something nasty was expected to come up, but it goes on more as destruction for the sake of demolishing rather than creating that impact of shock in the senses. There is no shortage of action sequences though, and the attempt to escape with a presidential limousine, the fall of the airplane and helicopters and tank v/s rocket launcher battle, they all make the destruction list go high. With the former Duke from G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Django of Django Unchained has held this one from falling deep, but its success in its genre won’t reflect in its box-office collection. That episode of the life of this movie is with the audience and until now, from what can be read, there is trouble for this one in catching up-to Olympus Has Fallen, or even most of the much expected movies of this season. These are bleak times indeed, but this movie has wasted its chance and therefore, blaming the audience or other movies is not the thing – a little adjustment might have saved this one as it is a good addition to its genre.

The movie lacks in a number of things compared to Olympus Has Fallen, as the most important thing is patriotism, and the next but almost equally important thing may be in being clever – there has been more silliness in this one, but there has still been enough control between the two sides of mindless action and saving the world. Emmerich’s works have been interesting, from Independence Day to The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 and my personal favourite, The Patriot. But he had to deal with being there second, and that would have been difficult. To add to it, the movie’s need to match up with the other White House take-over would have created a situation from where there is no escape. This movie is thus a wasted opportunity on one side, and a work which could live even with all its flaws on the other hand. It is on this dual nature that this movie can work on, but that won’t help its cause. It needed something special, and it has managed to achieve the same only through its leading actors, but even in their case, this is not their best performances. When White House Down looks up from its world deep down the underground, Olympus Has Fallen might be looking from the top of the Mount Olympus which it had created from its success at the box-office, and in the OHF v/s WHD battle, the war of the down-fallen houses, we have only one winner, and its name starts with O.

Release date: 19th July 2013 (India); 28th June 2013 (United States)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, James Woods, Michael Murphy, Joey King, Rachelle Lefevre, Nicolas Wright, Jimmi Simpson, Lance Reddick, Barbara Williams

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.