The Last Knight

Vampire Owl: This particular alien species seems to have too many movies about them.

Vampire Bat: Yes, these days, they have a lot more than vampire movies.

Vampire Owl: They even have so much of box-office collections.

Vampire Bat: It is strange, isn’t it? We, vampires have existed on Earth long before these people, and nowadays, we rarely have movies.

Vampire Owl: Some time ago, we were the trend. Even my zombie minions were trending.

Vampire Bat: That age seems to be gone. Even local superheroes trend more these days.

Vampire Owl: Even people from myth, like Thor are converted into huge box-office success.

Vampire Bat: Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman – they are all success; even as the teams of Avengers and Justice League.

Vampire Owl: Even X-Men with their Wolverine, Deadpool and more.

Vampire Bat: We should be back soon, and take whatever is ours.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Nice biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The last Transformers movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction had ended with Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) ending with sending a message to his creators that he was coming for them. Lockdown (Mark Ryan) as well as Galvatron (Frank Welker) were defeated, but things haven’t really changed much. Transformers continued to be declared outlaws by human government, and a new military wing known as the Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) is now in action against all those new transforming robots, both autobots and decepticons which keep falling on our planet. There is the possibility of an alien invasion being asserted by all governments, and there is nothing more than a threat as far as the alien transformers are concerned. With Optimus Prime having left to meet the makers of transformers, things are the worst situation for his kind that are left on Earth, being hunted and destroyed by humans and their drones at will.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: An orphan Izabella (Isabela Moner) tries to save a few transformers in between, with Sqweeks (Reno Wilson) as the last one left on her side. They are about to be captured by the human troops, but are saved by Bumblebee (Erik Aadahl), Hound (John Goodman) and Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) who are leading the resistance of autobots, hiding themselves far away from trouble, with Crosshairs (John DiMaggio), Drift (Ken Watanabe), Wheelie (Tom Kenny) and the randomly visiting scavenger Daytrader (Steve Buscemi). A talisman is attached to Cade by a transformer knight before dying, while they were trying to save Izabella in the area which was more like a transformer graveyard. The team of decepticons are aware of the same from Barricade (Jess Harnell), and comes looking for them at their hiding place, a junkyard, as Megatron (Frank Welker) with his team, launches an attack which pushes the autobots out of hiding.

And what is to follow next in this adventure? :: At the same time, there is the history of humans coming together with that of transformers on Earth. Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins), the twelfth Earl of Folgan, who is an astronomer and historian, is one of the experts in the same. There is the unknown tale of King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and his knights struggling in a terrible battle against the Saxons who got them almost defeated. Edmund’s version of history says that it is the Knights of Iacon, a team of twelve Transformers who were hiding on Earth that helped Arthur and his knights to triumph over the Saxons as they transformed together into a dragon. But what remains from those days is an ancient staff which holds unlimited power. Meanwhile, Optimus Prime meets their maker, Quintessa (Gemma Chan), a Cybertronian Sorceress who brainwashes him into destroying Earth to rebuild their home planet of Cyberton. So, with enemies all around, can autobots and Earth make it to a safer situation?

The defence of Transformers: The Last Knight :: You are going to praise the visuals of this one too, as that quality is maintained with ease here – all that you see on the screen will have your attention. The universe of this movie is nothing less than breath-taking, as we have all those things which could light up the screen with ease. There comes the question about what you really need with this movie, and if it is this escapism into a world of chaos and destruction which looks great on the screen, with big action sequences, there is not reason why you shouldn’t choose this movie. These movies will not be banned here either, as nothing from Indian history is made to be related to the Transformers – lets hope that the other movie makers also take a lesson from the Padmavati episode, and deviate, combine or transcreate through history, myth and fiction. You will notice that Mark Wahlberg is very good in this avatar, and Laura Haddock is lovely, and she might be the best leading actress in this franchise so far as far as acting is concerned. Isabela Moner is good young talent while Anthony Hopkins is once again joy to watch.

The claws of flaw :: Transformers: The Last Knight needed more ideas, and a better tale to go with this kind of a thing which has existed for so long. But here, they have added so many things without taking much of care about dealing with them in the better ways. It is as if they are attributing everything to Transformers, and the victory of King Arthur or Saxons is just one of them – there are the wars, discoveries, inventions, assassinations, mysteries, and all that have important places in history being credited to the Transformers and their actions. The movie is long, rather too long, and there are so many moments which could have been cut off from this one. We are also tired of having this Optimus Prime saying the same thing again and again, and Bumblebee being a special Transformer for no reason – at the same time, Megatron goes through varying degree of powers; there is no consistency at all, with this one. They used to have a weapon specialist called Ironhide giving him the best moments of the first movie, and then they successfully kill him in a dumb sequel.

How it finishes :: Transformers: The Last Knight never really makes the franchise any better. It is not better than Transformers: Age of Extinction, and is only better than Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which is undoubtedly the worst movie of the whole franchise which seems to continue to try for more of similar kind of movies without focusing on anything new. The first movie had everything going in the right direction, but for some reason, the franchise refuses to go any higher or even keep the same level. You will find this movie in the Transformers franchise to be an entertaining one too, but there is that certain question about how far the series can go, as there seems to be the problem of running out of ideas. If we think about it, that would be kind of depressing, and so, lets go on watching these movies, and hope that there would be change with one of those movies, and Transformers would get bigger with the story rather than anything else. You can actually watch this one as a stand-alone flick without having watched any other flick from the series.

Release date: 21st June 2017
Running time: 154 minutes
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins, Jerrod Carmichael, Santiago Cabrera, John Turturro, Glenn Morshower, Liam Garrigan, Mitch Pileggi, Tony Hale, Gil Birmingham, Peter Cullen, Jim Carter, Erik Aadahl, Ken Watanabe, Omar Sy, John Goodman, John DiMaggio, Reno Wilson, Tom Kenny, Steven Barr, Steve Buscemi, Mark Ryan, Frank Welker, Jess Harnell

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Transformers IV

transformers extinction (3)

Vampire Owl :: Isn’t this the movie in which your Chevrolet Beat transforms?

Vampire Bat :: No, it doesn’t. The best it can do is to transform into a Titanic on on our roads on a monsoon season giving company to the other cars.

Vampire Owl :: Shouldn’t the movie at least feature you?

Vampire Bat :: Why me? When was the last time I transformed?

Vampire Owl :: It is named Age of Extinction. I think Vampire Bats are going extinct. Nobody really likes you. Even Poe prefers a raven at night.

Vampire Bat :: No, that is not true. There are people who like me, like Count Dracula, Batman, the cute zombie girl next door and twelve thousand two hundred and fifty three normal vampires. I might even have a candlelight dinner with Countess Dracula.

Vampire Owl :: I hope you take this lightly, but Countess Dracula is dead.

Vampire Bat :: What? When?

Vampire Owl :: I am not sure, but that should be about four hundred years ago or so?

Vampire Bat :: It is difficult being immortal; you have to watch good people suffering and bad people thriving.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Years have passed since the last battle between autobots and decepticons which left the city in ruins and so many people dead, making it difficult for the government to rebuild it again, and as a result, all the aliens were declared fugitives and there was not going to be any combined efforts between humans and the autobots anymore. Another transformer called Lockdown who belongs to neither of the two factions is shown to help the government in doing the same, with a promise of something in return for the capture of the autobot leader, Optimus Prime. Meanwhile, the human research on dead transformers is progressing, and there was the discovery of transformium, a metal which is unstable and can transform, creating more of such robots which can replace human soldiers in the case of a war. With the help of a captured Brains, they are slowly using this metal to build transformers which accept command from the humans, including Galvatron, Stinger and Junkheap. At the same time, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his friend Lucas Flannery (T. J. Miller) purchase an old truck in hope of helping Tessa Yeager (Nicola Peltz) in her studies with the money they can get from selling the parts. But that truck would be Optimus Prime in hiding and things will take a turn.

The defence of Transformers: Age of Extinction :: The movie has great battles, as robots collide and fight against each other in a war which lets sparks fly and makes things come towards you in 3D which is a nice visual extravaganza. The special effects nicely compliment the action sequences, and the chaotic world is nice to watch with transformations to come with the same. There are the nice cars to which the robots transform which look better than ever. The best scene is that which involves the huge spaceship which wanders in the sky, and also uses its powers with all the possible awesomeness as far as a movie like this is concerned. The destruction is also taken to another level. The transformations also take a twist, with dinobots having robots transforming into giant dinosaurs as well as the human constructed transformers having their own way of changing, all of them contributing in a different manner. The three machines which are better than the others are the Optimus Prime and Galvatron (Pacific Rim‘s Gypsy Danger’s evil twin) trucks along with the cars of Lockdown and Stinger. There is a lot for the Transformers fans to cheer about, as the awesome heroes once again go on their mission to save planet Earth with the support of a very few human allies. The human greed and the inherent evil are also nicely shown.

The claws of flaw :: The movie suffers from the usual problems with the plot which we can associate with all the Transformers movies which try to follow the path of the original with one villain at a time, Megatron, Fallen and Sentinel Prime who were in the previous movies make way for Lockdown, and Megatron is once again here being the secondary villain, just in another form. There is also the old truck Optimus Prime who refuses to stay in the grave and comes back from the dead as the metallic zombie which I have always hoped to have stayed dead or refusing to die at all. Bumblebee continues to be overrated and lives, while the kill off the last interesting robot from the first movie, Ratchet, something which they already did to Jazz and Ironhide. The robot design is also more complicated, but at the same time, horribly flawed, as we no longer see the usual robot faces, but creatures with face of Japanese Samurai and those with beard and smoking cigars, something which looks so dumb in the detail. The plot gets predictable by the second half, and the addition of dinobots is nice variety, but the way in which they are introduced is lame. The movie is also too long and has too many repetitive fights which often makes the viewers wonder if they had already seen all these. The characterization is another case for downfall.

Performances of the soul :: Mark Wahlberg is rock solid in this movie, and it is good to see him instead of the usual cast that we had, because he is always one of those nice action stars who are suitable to play this kind of role which involves being the hero and yet not being the strongest one around. Here he is, being the mechanic, father and action hero all at the same time, and makes it work even as his character is not without flaws. Nicola Peltz is more about being the beauty among the population which are mostly robots or action heroes, and being the one with teenage girl problems and having problems with her father. She looks great and proves that one thing. Sophia Myles and Li Bingbing also contributes to the overall beauty, having nothing too much with their characters. T. J. Miller provides some comic side which is there only for some time. Stanley Tucci’s partially villainous character also provides some comic relief during the intense action, but it only works partially – not something which the Transformers franchise haven’t tried before and often succeeded; other times proving the inherent dumbness. Jack Reynor has a nice presence, as what can be called the supporting actor, but as a need for our girlfriend to have a love interest. Kelsey Grammer is a nice villain, but not fully utilized and forced to come second. Titus Welliver also comes up with a strong performance.

Soul exploration :: The movie leaves with hope for a sequel, but the question remains if it has a soul to work on. It had the always-ready-to-die Optimus Prime with an ideal, but that is actually less worked on now. The autobot-decepticon enmity has also gone the wrong way. At the same time, the movie has given us an idea about how bad the effects of science and technology can be, and there are secrets that should be left alone, for there are other things that humanity should focus on, as they are that species which are infested by greed, hatred, lust and envy. The technology is rarely safe in the hands of man, as they are incapable of handling the same due to the presence of their inherent evil nature. When the movie goes on to be a massive success story at the box-office, the one thing we have to think about is how well it has portrayed humanity and the problems caused by its pride. Even a robot knows better than humans who are blessed with better teachers throughout the centuries, and even with all the knowledge that they have gathered, man fails to be good, and it is a case of shame. Then in finding the creators, they are indeed Prometheus infested.

How it finishes :: I had considered Transformers: Dark of the Moon as the worst Transformers movie of all time, and I will stick to the same, but I would still think that our movie here has got more problems in its story-line than the others, but it does make up with the better special effects and action sequences, plus Mark Wahlberg who looks very well suited for this kind of role. Still, except for the first Transformers movie which I have watched so many times already, I wouldn’t dare to watch another one of this franchise again. I would suggest you watch the robots of Pacific Rim rather than watch the aliens of this movie if given a choice. But there is no denying that this movie is pure entertainment, except for the fact that its lack of brain and the repetition, along with the terrible length makes the situation a bit intolerable to a few. Transformers fans should like this movie a lot, and the new additions can impress a number of viewers. This is one of those non-superhero Hollywood movies which are running houseful right from the day it was released, and one can be sure that this is not the end for this franchise, and this sequel is going to collect a lot of money.

Release date: 27th June 2014
Running time: 165 minutes
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci, Jack Reynor, Sophia Myles, Li Bingbing, Titus Welliver, T. J. Miller, Melanie Specht, Victoria Summer

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

2 Guns

2guns()

There was the need for an oasis of action among the movies of this Onam, among which none of them was of the much needed action genre, even as at least half of the Malayalam movies of this Onam season were very good. Yes, 2 Guns released here yesterday only, and I have to say that it has been delayed quite a bit, and should be glad to have released this week, as a few others like Elysium are still waiting and waiting, and Grown Ups 2 had its chance only the last Friday. The winner of this weekend should still be the Malayalam movie Sringaravelan, and the word of mouth should be in completely in favour of North 24 Kaatham. As both this day and the next are public holidays, most of these movies should have a good time, also expecting the last days of Onam holidays to boost up the revenue a lot. 2 Guns is one of the five English movies still in the theatres this week, along with Rush, The Conjuring, Grown Ups 2 and Riddick. The advantage of 2 Guns is its star cast and the fact that none of these movies actually rival this one in its genre, even as Riddick is only partially a sci-fi movie.

Now we come to the idea of the buddy-cop comedy movies among which the most known and the most popular might be the Rush Hour series with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker making the most out of it. I would still wonder if Men in Black can come into the same category, and R.I.P.D. and The Heat hasn’t landed here yet. I shall not look into the older movies either. 2 Guns has landed in this area, but still quite unsure if it is an action comedy or comedy action, as it gets quite serious on regular intervals unlike Rush Hour‘s ever-improving funny side. I would guess that this one won’t do that good business here, even as this is the festival-vacation season, with families, the strength of this season expected to pull out of it completely. The hope might be about The Conjuring scaring people out of the theatres and Rush confusing them away. It has the same certificate as Grown Ups 2 and Riddick, and it would depend on how much the star name of Mark Wahlberg will sell around here, with the recently popular R-rated comedy Ted and Max Payne of the computer gamers’ paradise, even as both of them hadn’t released here.

The movie tells the tale of two criminals who turn out to be on the other side of the law later; Robert Trench (Denzel Washington) and Michael Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) as the former is an undercover DEA agent and the latter an undercover Naval Intelligence Officer; both of them thinks that the other one is a criminal though. But their attempt to steal the money of Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos) from a bank ends them in trouble, as they end up losing both the money as well as blowing their cover. Trench’s lover Deb Rees (Paula Patton) who knew about all these also seems to be on another side which they are not aware about. They have to run from more than one group who is after them, which leaves them with no choice but to work together, this time knowing each other’s identity. They even try kidnapping the drug lord, but that too misfires. So the question will be on who will shoot whom, sided with which person and who will get the large amount of stolen money in a world of treachery and complete chaos which follows the fall of two men from their respective forces.

So what do we get? There is one thing we can be sure about, that is lots of fun and action. There are lots of gunshots involved as expected, but not that much of melee combat. The hand-to-hand combat takes the backseat as the guns take over. These kind of movies seem to make sure that there are also a good number of funny lines, and this one is no exception in that case, and one thing which this movie does by its own is making sure that Paula Patton is gorgeous, which is accomplished by just two scenes; that should be new as one wonders if she was there more for those two occasions only (not denying her character the double-crossing), as she doesn’t really get much screen presence compared to her tough role in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. But she is still our dazzling lady in the lead, with not many others around who are there for more than five minutes. What the movie does is nothing not too obvious, and nothing close to being a normal logical story. We still know what might happen next, even as what we know is not really what should be happening without a willing suspension of disbelief. There is not that much power to strengthen the plot either, even as there is the sincere effort to keep it not that simple.

Mark Wahlberg steals the show, and there is absolutely no reason why someone would think otherwise, unless Paula Patton’s moments which contributed to the movie’s rating steals the same for a few seconds. Even as the critics didn’t give that much to his Planet of the Apes and Max Payne, I would say that those were my favourites from him along with Ted, without denying The Italian Job and Shooter their due and this won’t add to it. He comes up with the funniest lines of the movie, and if a character was to bring cheers from the audience, it was his, as the chicken-eating, chicken-loving man who can’t bear to see the chickens being tortured. The last time I watched a Denzel Washington movie was Unstoppable, if not The Book of Eli. He is there for almost the same time as his partner, but a little lesser in impact compared to the Mark Wahlberg show. Even with their jokes as well as the seriousness, it has to be said that this movie goes to none of their top ten list, except for that of Paula Patton. The two cop characters won’t be in any all-time list, and that is one thing we can be pretty much confident about. They shall still stay alive and out of the coffin as long as the fans are concerned.

The movie is violent for sure, and there are lots of blood, along with some of the violence as well as the dialogues, nothing unexpected though. Well, this is one of those movies which you feel longer than what it really is, as the almost-two-hours of action comedy makes you feel like you have been in the theatre a little longer, and that is due to its moments of no fun which exists. But when Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington are together, there is more fun guaranteed, and luckily they stay together most of the time. They are surely not going to make you love this genre though. But not many of the regular movie watchers can avoid these two actors together, a rare combination which has such a huge potential which is only partially fulfilled. Based on a graphic novel series of the same name, the movie strives inside its limited scope, with the big names which it has associated with. This is a movie which you can watch without thinking, expecting or hoping.

By the end of the movie, there are only a few things that you are sure about, and the more sad side of it is that Paula Patton’s character is dead, and in the distant possibility of a sequel, she won’t be there, and the happy side is that there is the scope for sequel, not just because of the ending, but also due to the way in which the movie has progressed and also considering the fact that people in the theatre did seem to love it upto an extent. This entertainment is something which keeps you asking for more, and this “more” if delivered, can happen only in a sequel. The Seventy Three out of One Hundred, which I have provided the movie with, is not the exact rating for everyone, as a slightly lesser rating might make most of the common movie watchers happy, but I am going to stick with this one, being at my subjective side. This is a movie which you can watch prepared to take it as the entertainer starring two big names and a gorgeous leading actress, not to forget the typical villains. Yes, there are a few things reminding us of some of those Quentin Tarantino flicks, for this movie doesn’t belong to one category, not of comedy, action, adventure or thriller completely, but still qualifies as action comedy from a distance.

Release date: 20th September 2013 (India); 2nd August 2013 (United States)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Fred Ward, James Marsden, Edward James Olmos, Allie DeBerry, Robert John Burke

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.