Hoax

Vampire Owl: I heard that they are going to search for Bigfoot.

Vampire Bat: Everybody knows that it doesn’t exist. Are they dumb?

Vampire Owl: Well, they think that even us don’t exist.

Vampire Bat: It is another reason why they are to be considered dumb.

Vampire Owl: We shouldn’t be searching for reasons why humans are dumb.

Vampire Bat: Well, a Bigfoot movie seems rather outdated, and not applicable to all areas of the world outside North America and Europe.

Vampire Owl: Well, they should have been running short of monsters.

Vampire Bat: Still, there are many other things you can search for, in a forest.

Vampire Owl: Yes, even serial killers can found out in the wilderness.

Vampire Bat: Let us see if they find this type of monster in the end.

[Gets a pineapple cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: A group of young campers who goes to a remote area in the wilderness to enjoy some time alone, away from the city – they go missing, and they are supposed to be killed with some bodies found, and nobody is able to figure out exactly what actually happened at the site. It is then that an investigative team decides to travel all the way there and find out if this was a case of Bigfoot attacking them. These creatures which are also known as Sasquatch had a significant role in the North American folklore. These creatures are supposed to be like apes, and they leave giant footprints. They are supposed to be linked to some of the great apes, and are often considered to exist from a long time ago. There are people who have claimed to have seen the creatures, and some are supposed to have seen the marks of big feet on the ground. As this particualr incident is also related to some unknown, unidentified creatures, it becomes something that can have great news value.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Even though the existence of Bigfoot is dismissed by scientists as a hoax based on some strange old beliefs, the first person to join Rick Paxton’s (Ben Browder) team of Bigfoot hunters is a young doctor, researcher and primate specialist, Dr Ellen Freese (Cheryl Texiera) who gets attached to the dollars Rick had offered to shower on her. Cooper Barnes (Max Decker), father of one of the missing girls is also asked to join the team, because he needed someone who knew the mountains and wilderness – Cooper has been leading many search parties in the area hoping that he could find his daughter. Peter Moore (Schuyler Denham), a renowned cryptologist, also joins the team, and so does Justin Johnson (Hutch Dano), their camera man. John Singer (Brian Thompson) is appointed as the security personnel in charge of their safety. Danny Kent (Brian Landis Folkins) would be assisting, and Bridgette Powers (Shoshana Bush) is supposed to be reporting from the location. But things would be different than they think about it, and will they be able to survive it?

The defence of Hoax :: It is to be noted that Hoax does provide some welcome surprises, and it also has a nice twist in the end, and that is certainly a violent one. Well, there are not many movies which has Bigfoot with the scares, and there are not much that we know about, that is for sure – Bigfoot does need its movies too, for almost all the other creatures, from vampires and zombies to werewolves got them. You know how far they have managed to get in big money-making series like Resident Evil, Underworld and Twilight, even though we can only wonder about how the last one mentioned here made so much of money and fans. The setting of Hoax is really good, and the cast have managed to work through the wilderness really well, whether it is in the morning or at night – it is one beautiful, charming and scary setting, all at the same time. The special effects are avoided to give a realistic touch here, which we never fails to notice. The terrifying events actually come in the end of the movie, and one has the slasher effect in the beginning and the end, stronger than ever.

The claws of flaw :: Bigfoot is not really something which interests people around here, at this part of the world, and it is not even an interesting monster for those who are looking for some serious horror – the name itself provides that funny feeling which works against a movie which is attempted to be a horror thriller in the wilderness, at a location where people went missing or were killed. The creature is also not much seen around here, and therefore, what could have been the movie’s highest points go missing. It also struggles to make the best use of its characters, and the stylish reporter girl character suffers the most. Even they had the setting to do a lot, there is much less being done here. With the title being confusing with another movie which deals with an entirely different subject, this film tries to bring its Bigfoot monster, and it does that without much of a focus. Due to the same, they missed a change to elevate the tales on these creatures to a higher level.

Performers of the soul :: Cheryl Texiera plays the doctor in the team, even though her interest is more in treating the animals. She does a fine job, but it has to be said that her looks suit more of an explorer and adventure on the lines of Lara Croft Tomb Raider. The same can be said about her clothing too, which suits her so well. Brian Thompson is solid around here, with a certain Arnold style of action-love written all over him. Ben Browder’s character progresses as someone like that would do, and he moves through that lane without any problem. Max Decker’s character seems to be the mandatory father character, because he achieves nothing much there, and the mystery itself comes to that kind of a conclusion. We never really get to see more of Ryan Lucy as his lovely daughter lost in the woods. Shoshana Bush does bring some humour around here, but she is rather underused considering such a character’s potential. After a few minutes, she is completely wasted.

How it finishes :: There has been many forest-based slashers, and some of them have gone on to become legendary, including The Cabin in the Woods, one of the best horror movies of all-time with a pinch of satire, as well as the best known horror movie of all-time and its remake, Evil Dead. The lesser known movies like The Forest, and the divergent ones like The Witch also makes use of the wilderness nicely – we are always expecting Wrong Turn and The Hills Have Eyes franchises to explore the same better. Hoax doesn’t use the setting to its best of strengths, and maybe, if they manage to hunt Bigfoot next time, can correct the mistakes. As of now, Hoax makes a pretty good entertainer as a thriller, and there are elements of horror, along with the blood and gore – it is as if the movie is not one movie throughout its run, but has some breaks in between. You can choose to watch it as another usual movie which goes through the safe path throughout its run.

Release date: 20th August 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Matt Allen
Starring: Cheryl Texiera, Shoshana Bush, Brian Thompson, Ben Browder, Hutch Dano, Ryan Lucy, Matt Riedy, Adrienne Barbeau, Sabrina Stull, Maire Higgins

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Odiyan

What is the movie about? :: Manikyan (Mohanlal) is the last among the odiyans, a group known to know sorcery and had shape-shifting abilities. The skill is passed to him by his grandfather after his father and mother were not ready to stand it, and left the village with their daughter, hoping for a better social and economic status elsewhere. Manikyan is one of the most well-known figures in the village of Thankurissi in Palakkad and also beyond the borders in the Tamil-speaking areas near the Western Ghats – some people consider him to be famous, and the others feel that he is a notorious figure. He is known to lurk in the shadows, with darkness as his ally. As it was the time when there was no electricity in the villages, it was easy for him to induce fear into the minds of the victims. He would take different forms, most commonly that of a bull or a buffalo, to torment those who are given as targets by people who pay a fair amount.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manikyan’s biggest enemy in the village is Ravunni Menon (Prakash Raj) with whom he has had his problems since childhood. Ravunni’s interest and unrequited love for his cousins Prabha (Manju Warrier) and Meenakshi (Sana Althaf) only makes things worse as Manikyan has been working in their family household and taking care of them for generations. Ravunni decides to make things troublesome for his cousins as well as Manikyan, and with the death of Prabha’s husband Prakashan (Narain) and Meenakshi’s husband Ravi (Kailash), he succeeds in putting the blame on Manikyan. With electricity coming to the village, and almost everyone blaming him for the two deaths, Manikyan is forced to leave for Varanasi. As he is wandering around there, something changes, and he feels the need to return. What would that mean for everyone in the small village?

The defence of Odiyan :: The legend of the people from Kerala folklore with shape-shifting abilities deserved a movie, and it is always nice to have such an adaptation which has its roots in our own historical fantasy. The action scenes are nicely done, and the scenes involving the titular character in the darkness will make sure that we are interested in the whole thing. The setting nicely helps the progress of the movie, and all locations provide some nice visuals. Compared to the 150 crore grand movie Pulimurugan with Mohanlal fighting the tiger, Odiyan is surely a better flick which has a nice background as well as setting – there is also no bad jokes, and the acting itself is of a superior level when we compare the two. Odiyan has moments of class, and it is the quality which that highest grossing Malayalam movie missed in more than one way.

The claws of flaw :: The trailer as well as the hype created with the information provided regarding the movie, might be the one thing which works against the movie more than anything else. The expectations had gone so high that greatness was expected without excuses, and that was one thing which caused so many of early negative reviews. There is no denying the fact that this legend could have been used in an even better way, reducing the mass elements, and adding more mystery, sorcery, twists and horror. The movie is also too long, and the first forty-five minutes might be the least interesting part of the flick. A better beginning would have helped to keep the interest going, and the non-linear narrative disrupts the flow. Flashbacks are good, but not when they are used at inappropriate timings. The final fight could have been better edited. The background music might catch our attention, but the songs never really manage to do so.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in more than one avatar during two different ages, displays top form as usual. There are not just the action scenes that make an impact, as the emotional side is also strong with him – the strength as well as the helplessness of the main character is shown nicely here. We remember how he could be both in Villain having the same pair in the lead. Maybe, he could have had more with the shape-shifting idea, resembling that of a werewolf, but that much is not there for him to use his full potential. His last movies Drama and Neerali didn’t make that much of an impact, but I would say that they were better than the common opinions; the case here is also not so different, as Odiyan is certainly better than Pulimurugan, and the hard work that Mohanlal has put in to become this character from the folklore is worth the appreciation.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier’s previous movie Mohanlal was not really something to be appreciated, whether it was about the flick or regarding her own performance. But she is back once again with her work in this movie. The comments which were made about her one dialogue in this movie is rather strange, because it is a perfectly suited one for the moment – it once again shows that a lot of our viewers are struggling with understanding characters. The lack of empathy that our audience shows at times is rather strange and unacceptable. Prakash Raj is a strong villain indeed, but could have had better dubbing. Sana Althaf has a nice role after Basheerinte Premalekhanam, and she also has her moments. Kailash, Sreejaya Nair and Narain are there only for a few minutes, but they do leave us with something to remember. Siddique, Innocent and Nandhu do provide some good support too.

How it finishes :: Odiyan becomes the second high budget and the most awaited movie of the year after Kayamkulam Kochunni which had great success already. Despite negative opinions, Odiyan also had a strong weekend, with the only challenge coming from Hollywood, in the form of Aquaman, which has lesser number of shows. There is the need for movies like Odiyan, because only such flicks can assure that we will have better exploration of the myths and legends of the lands. We also need people who are ready to go through the less traveled path – we know, as Robert Frost has said, that would make all the difference. Your level of enjoyment would be different according to your expectations from cinema, but Odiyan is surely a movie which you can’t ignore, and is definitely a movie which is better than the highest grossing Malayalam movie of all-time, the Mohanlal starrer Pulimurugan.

Release date: 14th December 2018
Running time: minutes
Directed by: VA Shrikumar Menon
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Innocent, Prakash Raj, Siddique, Manoj Joshi, Nandhu, Narain, Kailash, Sana Althaf, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sreejaya Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aquaman

What is the movie about? :: A lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) comes up against Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), who is the princess of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis which had sunk under the Atlantic Ocean on one eventful day of ambition and hubris. He saves the injured princess and they fall in love. The unexpected sequence of events lead to the birth of Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa) who shows the ability to communicate with marine lifeforms, and it is only one of his special skills. With the attack of the troops of Atlantis threatening her family’s life, she decides to go back to the city, hoping to come back on another day when the situation gets better. An Atlantean Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) is assigned to train Arthur as he grows up.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Back to the events after the incidents of Justice League, the invasion of Steppenwolf had made Arthur further part of saving the world as Aquaman, a name with which he has been referred to by the media. He comes up against the pirate David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) and his team while the group was trying to hijack a nuclear submarine – Arthur ends up defeating them, and leaves David’s father dead in the process, for which the young pirate wants revenge. Meanwhile, Orm (Patrick Wilson), Arthur’s younger half-brother and Atlantis’ king wants to begin a war against the people on the surface, as revenge against polluting ocean and causing the death of many creatures of the seas. Using an attack by David as the immediate cause, he seeks the support of the rest of the underwater kingdoms to go on war.

And what else is to follow here? :: He easily gets the support of Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), another king under the sea, and looks forward for more. The daughter of Nereus, Mera (Amber Heard) supports Arthur to become the king as the rightful heir to the crown. But at the same time, Orm wishes to get rid of Arthur, who is the first-born of the queen and therefore has a claim to the throne of Atlantis. Despite Orm sending huge tidal waves all around the world, the surface world remains ignorant about what lies beneath. Mera convinces Arthur to try and save both worlds and he agrees. But the fact remains that Arthur doesn’t have much of a chance against the power that Orm holds on his way to becoming the Ocean Master. But there might be one chance – the question remains if he can take it.

The defence of Aquaman :: One can appreciate Aquaman for its great fight sequences and stunning visuals more than anything else. It becomes a spectacle easily with these, and we just love to keep watching without taking eyes away at any moment. The visuals under the sea has all those fights happening underwater too. We have so many things to add to this visual extravaganza. Atlantis itself is a beautiful sight, and we see that even the people and their costumes are nice. There is a lot of world detail around here. The locations on the surface are also nicely chosen. The fight scene in Sicily is glorious, and the final combat is great to watch. There is also the allusion to the tale of the legendary British king Arthur, and the other reminder is related to Thor: Ragnarok which had the hero from Norse mythology fighting his sibling for control over the kingdom. Well, it even has some horror with its marine creatures – that reminds you who the director is.

Positives and negatives :: There is nothing special being added to the story, and there are no twists coming your way. The similarities to Thor: Ragnarok are many, with not just the sibling battle, but also regarding the early defeat, loss of weapon and arena battle, this time in the absence of the Incredible Hulk. But we see the cast, and most of the problems vanish with the beautiful visuals – Amber Heard does what Natalie Portman couldn’t do in Thor, as the action star on the lines of Kate Beckinsale of Underworld and Mila Jovovich of Resident Evil, as she does the same thing better than ever. A journey through the underwater world, and witnessing a city with so much detail can negate the negatives easily enough. There is some nice humour, and the emotions stay strong for most of the time too. It hasn’t been that easy going for DC, even though Suicide Squad was a movie I enjoyed a lot, personally. Aquaman makes it easy for DC to go forward now.

The performers of the soul :: Jason Momoa remains strong in this one, and unlike that Justice League role, this time, he brings more charm. He nicely gets into the mix of Justice League with this one, and it will be interesting to see how everything works out with another movie with a team of superheroes trying to match the Avengers in another universe. Amber Heard is amazingly good as the warrior princess from underwater. We remember her for her presence in the thrilling horror movies like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Ward and The Stepfather as well as the action thrillers like And Soon the Darkness, 3 Days to Kill and Drive Angry. This one will be the new way to identify her, as a character which brings the best. She is perfectly suited for action sequences other than being remembered as a scream queen, and it is something that she seems to reiterate here. Patrick Wilson from Insidious & The Conjuring fame becomes an extremely effective villain too. Nicole Kidman has some fine moments too.

How it finishes :: Aquaman might be that one movie which could rise its level to catch up with Marvel, and after Wonder Woman, we have one another movie which lifts the universe again, with hope for even more. On the lines of Thor and Norse mythology, DC has its Greek mythology and elements including Atlantis about which we have read about in Plato’s Republic right in place. The myth and the visuals here can be considered to be even ahead of Wonder Woman, even though the island its inhabitants had their own charm too – nothing matches some nicely created underwater visual splendour though. With the second part of Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel to do the job for Marvel, DC has surely made its move in a nice way, the director of Insidious and The Conjuring, James Wan has made a point once again. Well, it is surprising that Aquaman about whom not many people know – the lesser known superhero now has a movie better than each and every better known superhero of Justice League.

Release date: 14th December 2018 (India); 21st December 2018 (USA)
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Graham McTavish, Temuera, Ludi Lin, Randall, Djimon Hounsou, Natalia Safran, Sophia Forrest

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Robin Hood

What is the movie about? :: Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) has been in love with Marian (Eve Hewson) since he first met her at a stable. He is the lord of a manor, and she is a petty thief, but they have no doubt that they are in love. Still, things change, as he is called to fight in the Crusades in Northern Africa. He fights with great courage there, and defeats as well as kills many, until he makes the decision to stand up against his leaders’ attitude and treatment towards the prisoners of war. He almost gets killed by his own people, but manages to get back to his lands and get back to his feet, thanks to a former Moorish commander known by the name John (Jamie Foxx) who becomes his new mentor. This training that he receives, with the skill that he already has, Robin needs to go against the most powerful man in the county, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With his return, he finds out from his good friend Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin) that Marian is now with another man named Will Tillman (Jamie Dornan). He also finds out that his family property has been confiscated by the Sheriff, who never stops tormenting people in the name of war. Sheriff has his own army to make sure that people pay for the war with all that they have. Robin and Sheriff decide that this has to stop now or people will be left with nothing. There is no hope for the common man, and Robin decides to become that hope, something which would include more than one robbery and fight. But with the knights of the Sheriff being among the strongest, can he find a way through all these to save the common man from losing everything?

The defence of Robin Hood :: There is no shortage of style in Robin Hood, and the action scenes are all nicely done. They might feel to be a little overdose and edited in such a way that it might be a little difficult to follow for the eyes. But they do work, and has our attention more than any other. The setting also feels strange at times, but it is nicely done. We can see that the divergence that this movie has is rather too high, but even in that case, the attempt is to be appreciated for bringing a different version. The archery scenes are among the best, and the visuals with the lighting brings a special effect. The messages revolution and equality runs right through the movie, and a few parts of the movie are funny, even though we feel that it is rather unintentional. The ending also sets the path nicely for a possible sequel even though that seems not coming as we consider the situation here.

The claws of flaw :: The way in which the tale in this movie is changed becomes rather strange. It is too much of a diversion, and it is not easy to digest many of those changes. Some of them feel unnecessary even for any standards. The case of John might be the strangest of them all. The movie could have also used some better editing, especially with its fight scenes. Everything keeps moving from one side to somewhere else without warning. The movie itself is clueless at times about the idea as well as the story, even though it keeps us entertained for most part. Most of the time, the movie also doesn’t look like its from the medieval age. It goes on trying to become like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a movie which does the same thing to the King Arthur legend as this one does to the Robin Hood legend. Well, only some movies could change for the best.

The performers of the soul :: Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett are not here to leave that big mark, but the performances are okay. Taron Egerton had those miserable overrated Kingsman movies, and this one is surely above them, and he also has some nice dialogues to go with the same. The Irish actress Eve Hewson surely brings some charm to the movie, even though her role here is limited. Jamie Foxx doesn’t have the impact to create in this character who is the trainer – it has to be noted that Mohanlal in the Malayalam movie with the similar thief Kayamkulam Kochunni had so many times bigger impact as the trainer, and that movie itself was way ahead of this one with its thief who stole from the rich and helped the poor. Ben Mendelsohn’s Sheriff of Nottingham is not that much of a villain that we expected. Tim Minchin’s version of Friar Tuck is mostly irritating, and Paul Anderson’s Guy of Gisborne doesn’t have that big impact. Jamie Dornan’s Will Tillman can have the great strength only in a sequel if it ever happens.

Soul exploration :: There are different ways in which this particular movie can work, and one of them is similar to the American War on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, with different moments pointing to the same in one way or the other. There are people supporting both sides in a war, as we notice. We also feel that this might be a Batman movie which is not good enough, and something which could have been a different kind of Dark Knight, but isn’t. The hero does spend some time with a mentor, is rich and decides to save his town in a mask, that much is clear. But the fact that Robin Hood is not Batman, and he is not supposed to be like Green Arrow who goes through almost the same things and has the hood and arrow dressed in green. Was he called into the DC Universe to be the Green Arrow? One has to wonder about the similarities visible here.

How it finishes :: Even with all the style, it is strange that Robin Hood makers could think that this would be enough, if they did have that idea. Robin Hood is not our usual hero whom we can change and get away with it. He is not Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or any other superhero to have different version. The same was proved by the earlier adaptation of the Arthur legend. Even with a cast which included Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, the 2010 version which felt closer to history couldn’t go on make it big as expected – these people had to be careful about it when making a movie like this, but the problem here is that there seems to be no such concern. Maybe this would work a little better with the 3D which was not there when we watched it – but about the movie, it is just random action entertainment which isn’t bothered about making things better.

Release date: 23rd November 2018 (India); 21st November 2018 (USA)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Otto Bathurst
Starring: Taron Egerton, Eve Hewson, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Tim Minchin, Jamie Dornan, Murray Abraham, Paul Anderson, Josh Herdman, Bjorn Bengtsson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

King Arthur

What is the movie about? :: This is a tale which is only loosely based on Arthurian legends, even though the base pillars remain the same. For years, humans, the masters of the sword, and mages, the masters of magic have lived together in peace at the island of Britain, helping each other at times or adjusting to one another when there is a chance of conflict. But soon there is a shift of power and Mordred (Rob Knighton), a corrupt sorcerer alligned to pure dark magic decides to change this forever after commanding great power. With an objective which is nothing less than having complete dominion over mankind, his huge army that includes monsters and consistent spells lay waste to the settlements that stand before his powers of dark magic, and they attack the last human stronghold, Camelot. As the forces lay siege to his castle, the king of Britons, Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana), manages to break into Mordred’s lair of magic and behead him, causing the end of his magically summoned creatures and the retreat of other mages.

So, what happens next? :: Even though the people of the kingdom are relieved, Uther’s brother Vortigern (Jude Law) is not a happy man, as he wishes for all mages to be hunted and killed, something which Uther doesn’t agree. This angry and jealous brother decides to get rid of the king and sacrifices his wife Elsa (Katie McGrath) to the sea witches who had promised to help him in return. As Vortigern’s men seize the day and unleash chaos, a demon knight kills Uther in combat, after killing the queen, but he misses a young boy who drifts away and is found by prostitutes who raise him. The boy who is named Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grows up to become a strong young man skilled in fighting, and loved by people around. One day, Arthur and his friends come up against a group of Vikings who had mistreated on the prostitutes, and they make the northmen pay for what they did. But as the Vikings were guests and under the protection of the king, it brings the king’s men to their small world.

And what follows the events? :: As a criminal against the king and his laws, Arthur tries to escape, but is caught by the troops who have been forcing young men to try and pull a mysterious sword known only by the name Excalibur from a stone, something which nobody was able to do successfully. When Arthur makes the attempt, manages to pull it off, only to be captured by the soldiers and brought before the king, who tells him that he is the son of Uther, and decides to execute him in public to make sure that there is no rebellion in the name of his dead brother or any prophecy related to a sword. Meanwhile, a girl, identifying herself as a follower of the great wizard Merlin (Kamil Lemieszewski), meets with Uther’s former general, Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou) with whom she plans to save the future king of Britons – the plan is successful, as they take him to their hideout.

So, where are things heading to? :: But Arthur is reluctant to claim that he is the one true king destined for greatness. Despite being told the same again and again, he only wishes to go back to his life as it used to be. Whenever he takes the sword and fights with it, he only has the nightmares of his parents’ death and he collapses. It is then the girl who is known only as the mage, comes up with the idea to send the future king to Blacklands, where mages reigned, and where the greatest of wizards, Merlin destroyed Mordred’s tower battling against his dark magic. There, Arthur witnesses and battles more, and has more of his visions of that day, with his father, mother, the sword and the demon knight who battled the king. He would return wiser, but can Arthur really believe in himself and his destiny, follow the path and come out victorious?

The defence of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword :: Well, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword might be one of the most beautiful and stylish movie you will get to see on screen with its CGI and the surroundings, even though the same is not always there. It is evident from the first scene itself when the evil sorcerer attacks Camelot with his supporters and creatures. The 3D is also the best used in this scene; the effects make sure that watching this movie in 3D will be the right option. There are those action scenes which has stones, arrows, swords, ashes, fire, ember; all things that keep flying on and off the screen – the demon knight is the one who looks the best in this movie, and the whole design of him is the pick right here, and then there are the sea witches joined into one, another creature that will have your attention along with the less explored ones from the trees. There is also the highly sincere performances from Charlie Hunnam and Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, the former continuing the good work from Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak; there is even a strong villain in the form of Jude Law’s evil king. The music is great.

The claws of flaw :: Too many things in this movie seems too modern than classic, and the ancient tale would seem rather twisted in favour of modernity. There are no costumes or armour in the way that we had expected to see, and the story itself is so strange; it never really seems to get anywhere after a fine start. The quick talks and even quicker flashbacks don’t really help at all. The old classics shouldn’t give in to modernity, and if it does, there has to be a better story to support the same. Also, a more colourful world would have helped to elevate the level of 3D, or even a better distribution of darkness would have been nice. The tendency of the protagonist to keep running away, is also rather strange considering the circumstances – we shouldn’t really be judging a king, but for a strong young fighter, he runs too much from responsibilities and battles. There is also not enough of Merlin, and more display of creatures and huge battles like the beginning scene could have easily stolen many hearts.

How it finishes :: There was so much that King Arthur: Legend of the Sword could have achieved, for it had Excalibur, a Round Table, the Knights of the Camelot, the mages and creatures. But this one manages to give in to modernity, and be less connected to a rather classic side. This one does have its does of action and thrills, and an undoubted strength of style and visuals, and should work for a good section of viewers, but the possibilities are endless with this one, and we hope that the same can be achieved with upcoming sequels, if there will be any. Getting Petyr Baelish right out of Game of Thrones doesn’t bring the quality of the story in any way despite him being effective. There is not much that the actors could do to raise the level of this flick which will have a tough time ahead against not just Alien Covenant, but even when facing rather simpler movies. This is a tough box-office battle for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword from which no Excalibur or Merlin can save the king. A better sequel will do this one a lot of good, as long as it is really that better – with the reminder that this is no Sherlock Holmes.

Release date: 12th May 2017
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Tom Wu, Freddie Fox, Craig McGinlay, Mikael Persbrandt, Lorraine Bruce, Hermione Corfield, Annabelle Wallis, Katie McGrath, Poppy Delevingne, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Neil Maskell, Millie Brady, Michael McElhatton, Kamil Lemieszewski, Rob Knighton

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dredd

dredd (6)

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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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Silent Hill II

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This is the time for flashback, to a few months ago. This is the time when the thirst for horror has reached its zenith. This movie series itself is a legend in quenching this thirst, as it comes up with that horror which is so difficult to fathom as a simple horror fan. The movie is not just an enigma, for it gives everything away; but the problem is about what we take in. I have to admit that I am at loss; for none of the horror movies came here this year; guess they can’t take the terror from Hollywood, and it must be so beyond them. Did the good horror die a painful death? The answer would be no, as I would try to resurrect this one out of my mind and have that vision of horror which the critics never liked, but I enjoyed without that sceptical mind. There will be no bones scattered and no blood spilled in the review; there would be the horror of returning to the Silent Hill that will be horrifying enough. There will be pain and suffering, for this dimension is not for the faint-hearted. Well, one just doesn’t go to Silent Hill on vacation and come back refreshed with a heart full of immense happiness and pleasure, so as if there was the chance to dance with the daffodils. They can still flash upon that inward eye and fill the world with fear; for nightmares of the night are outdated and those of the day take over.

Welcome to Silent Hill. Welcome to the fictional foggy American town of Silent Hill far beyond the reach of the electronic equipments, and its dark alternate dimension. There is the original world and the Otherworld, both separated by nothing but time. The Silent Hill has a cult, “The Order” which does ritual human sacrifices and awaits the rise of their diety, something which could be equated with the anti-christ. But the concepts of good and evil are inversed in this Otherworld of Silent Hill, and they would stop at nothing to bring the goodness that is pure evil upon Earth. They have their priestess and the good amount of blind followers. Their attempt to create the pseudo-paradise on Earth will unleash the inferno, or the original hell on the planet. It shall be the beginning of the end. Considering such a background which is firmly based on a highly successful video game, people tend to expect more, which would lead to disappointment. But as long as this one is considered, what it does is performing its duty to its genre and scare as much as possible; its scary elements remain strong, and may be it works even better than its predecessor. Everything else will slowly come into terms as the base is still strong, even as the influence is less.

Continuing from where the first part had left off, Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) has managed to save her daughter from Silent Hill, even though she gets caught in that dimension. She made the choice so that the girl as well as her world would be safe from whatever evil lurks inside the foggy dimension of the abandoned town. But the horrors of the alternate dimension hasn’t left Sharon Da Silva (Adelaide Clemens) who is currently living as Heather Mason with her adoptive father Christopher Da Silva (Sean Bean) in another town, as they go on changing places every now and then making sure that the people from the cult of Silent Hill won’t find her. But she is plagued by consistent hallucinations and nightmares, and she even feels the shift from this world to the other. She still believes that they are on the move because her father killed a man in self-defense and the police are seeking him. She is also made to believe that her adoptive mother Rose had died in a car crash. Now, as time has passed and she has grown older, the cult has increased the frequency of their search for her.

Heather fails to belong to the class or the school where she studies, and successfully becomes a complete outsider right from the beginning itself with a speech warning the other students against befriending her. She is approached by a private investigator named Douglas Cartland (Martin Donovan) who explains to her that he was hired by the Order to find Heather, but has decided to help her as he come to know some disturbing information about his clients. He also tells her that she is not what she thinks she is, and the life she is living is more of a lie than anything else. Heather is curious, but before he tells more about it, a fierce demon from the other world, the Missionary, kills Douglas, and Heather becomes a suspect to his murder as all the clues point to her. She finds that her father is missing, and at home, she finds a message instructing her to go to Silent Hill. She learns the truth about the place by reading a letter from her father, and decides to go to Silent Hill to rescue him even as the letter prohibited her from going anywhere near the foggy town.

Her classmate Vincent (Kit Harington) who helps her throughout reveals that he is the son of the cult’s leader Claudia Wolf (Carrie-Anne Moss), and was there to convince her to willingly come to Silent Hill, as it would really work if she is forced to be there. But he changes his mind and wants her to survive and therefore he tries to stop her in her attempts to rescue her father. He further tells her that Heather is actually a part of Alessa Gillespie, a girl who was burnt thirty eight years ago by the same cult but never died, leading her to create the town’s shifting dimensions. Heather is the manifestation of Alessa’s remaining innocence and goodness, as the other side knows only pain and suffering inflicted upon herself as well as the others of the town. A quick shift to the Otherworld occurs unexpectedly, and Vincent is dragged away by the same demon, Missionary. Heather enters the other dimension to find her dad as well as Leonard along with knowing more about herself. This is where the next level of horror begins.

I have believed in Silent Hill as much as I had in Resident Evil, as a computer game. The latter had been with me till Resident Evil 4 and has been my favourite video game adaptation so far along with Hitman and Tomb Raider, and the former is more of memories, mostly of Silent Hill 3 which was similar enough to this movie title. For me, this genre of fear was mostly about Undying, the first graphically good enough horror game which I had played. Well, these three games together make such an impact which nothing else can; the horror is possibly better than most of the horror movies around. The world of gaming has almost ended for me, even as there is a little dose of Age of Empires, Age of Wonders and Unreal Tournament at times – who can forget the classics, right? I would wait for the release of the games based on Need For Speed, Deus Ex, Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed though, for they have memories of the other dimension, that reality where I spent a good amount of my life. There is another parallel world, that of computer games, and some games like Silent Hill got another reality inside its reality; sounds complicated enough. But the question would be about which reality being the most evil of them all, and the present human world qualifies for a race to that position.

For a movie made more for maximum horror than anything else, this one has done a very good job. If you are looking for ambiguities, come with a big truck as there might be a huge load of them. Well, it works on parallel universe or alternative reality. When a video game based horror movie deals with the self-contained separate reality which co-exists, there is always going to be loose-ends. Even the first half had its own collection of ambiguities, some which has carried over to this sequel. We can still consider the Silent Hill as that alternate reality which always co-exists, as a place for those belonging to the evil, for they are there even without themselves knowing. For them, it should be the original place and where they live should be their Silent Hill where they do not belong; a place which scares them with the goodness. But considering where the world is going, there is going to be the same reality here and there. There will be two Silent Hills and the choice would create more ambiguities. Still, this alternate reality helps one to live another life, something different, but all the online world which creates a second life can turn into another Silent Hill all of a sudden. It is always about faith which keeps the Silent Hills away, or without evil.

Release date: 26th October 2012
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Michael J. Bassett
Starring: Adelaide Clemens, Sean Bean, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kit Harington, Deborah Kara Unger, Martin Donovan, Malcolm McDowell, Radha Mitchell

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.