The Equalizer

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Vampire Owl :: So much violence in the human world. Can’t we watch something else rather than this movie with a gun on the poster?

Vampire Bat :: But I thought you liked violence.

Vampire Owl :: I like a violent me, but not people shooting each other. In the end, we will fail to know who shot who and I have to hit my head on the wall hoping for some vampire enlightenment to pour into my brain lighting it up.

Vampire Bat :: Then, there is Bollywood with this weekend’s movie Happy Ending.

Vampire Owl :: No! Shoot me, thats better. Get the tickets! Get the tickets!

Vampire Bat :: But you don’t like the violent stuff.

Vampire Owl :: I don’t want to die a slow, painful death with some Hindi romantic movie showing for nth time whatever they have doing for years.

Vampire Bat :: But we are not sure about it yet. There are some bad opinions…

Vampire Owl :: I shall hear nothing of Bollywood anymore. If you talk about it again, I am deaf. If you talk about it twice, I am dumb too.

Vampire Bat :: I think that it is a pretty good idea.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) has retired from his busy job as a secret government agent and is living his life in peace after the death of his wife. He spends his time working in a hardware store and giving no clue to anyone about who he has been. He becomes friends with Ralphie (Johnny Skourtis) a trainee whom he helps to become a security guard, and then there is this teenage girl whom she regularly sees at a tea shop he visits. The girl is Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a teenage prostitue who reveals her real name as Aleena, is mistreated and beaten up by her pimp ending up in the ICU – Robert decides to take things into his hands, and to give the girl who loves music and books, a better chance at life. He goes to the pimp Slavi (David Meunier), and offers him 9800 dollars to leave her alone. But as he refuses and uses more foul language about her, Robert kills him and his goons. But the leader of this Russian mafia group, Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich) sends his right-hand man Teddy (Marton Csokas) to find and eliminate the killer, and here starts another game.

The defence of The Equalizer :: This movie seems to be trying more to be an origin story, and therefore a few problems of the same can be avoided with ease. There is the perfect setup for the sequel which seems to be everywhere on the news. The movie has some nice dialogues, and the action is not overdone – our protagonist doesn’t try anything too much. He just does what he does the best, and continues to excel at it. There are some nice, beautiful shots from the skyline, and the cinematography keeps catching our attention – there is the stylish sequences which are used too; they are all so good, and makes things interesting when things cool down. There is also that dark and gloomy atmosphere that runs through the movie – check out for our protagonist’s attack at the pimp’s room and the warehouse, both of them done with so much of stylish violence and innovation, even as the latter might be a bit too long for some people. The cast also contributes nicely, and the message to do the right thing is strong in here.

Claws of flaw :: There is that drag in between, and makes one wonder why it was so. There are empty slots where something could be used for fill the space. The story is also rather predictable with the hero going on for having revenge due to something bad done to his younger friend, and being awesome as he is, becomes successful in the same – just like John Wick; that was a revenge seeking former assassin for the dark side, while this one being a similar person who was working for the government. It is something we have seen a lot of times in a different manner. There is a lot of violence out here, and some of it might seem unnecessary for a few people. Even then, there are lots of things which seem to be missing, but I would blame the censor board here for that – they should have got rid of some violence. Well, on television, I have seen the scary parts removed from horror movies and bikini scenes removed from James Bond movies. So, I am not surprised even though I understand the difference.

Performers of the soul :: Denzel Washington – sometimes just that name is enough; there are not many people who can doubt that. He goes through The Equalizer with so much power, as if it could be another vigilante movie franchise starting from now. It is once again impressive how he works – this man with a gun, do people need a lot more? Well, there were two in 2 Guns, but one will do here. He is going to turn sixty this year, not something that we can discover without wikipedia. From the first movie I watched with him being part, The Bone Collector; through my favourite movie, The Book of Eli and now standing in The Equalizer; nothing much has changed. It is always great to see Chloë Grace Moretz – she brings such charm to the screen like nobody else. Unfortunately, even as she is undoubtedly the heroine of the movie, our girl is there only for a few minutes in the beginning, and for an even shorter time in the end – it is a case of sadness which we are left with, along with her smile in the end. Marton Csokas is an interesting villain too, just not getting enough of it.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s opening has these lines from Mark Twain – “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”. It is the same thing that the protagonist is trying to achieve in this movie – to use his skills to use for the common man. Even in the beginning, we can see that he is trying to help people as much as he can, without going the violent way. For the same, he later transforms, just like the books that he reads – from the retired old man who reads The Old Man and the Sea, through the hopeless knight in Don Quixote and in the end to The Invisible Man who goes through the city unnoticed, and helping the innocents – a Ghost Rider kind of figure who gets rid of the evil souls without any superpowers, but with the skills reminding one of Liam Neeson of Taken. Somewhat Bryan Mills, John Wick and Jack Reacher, this is another guy who has too many skills.

How it finishes :: The end result is that unexpectedly The Equalizer turns out to be better than John Wick, and it is not something that I had expected. Both had their own problem with a certain amount of drag, and the problem of not evolving for the century enough. But even in the troubles, The Equalizer is the superior one; even as there is no doubt about the fact that John Wick will win the box-office battle here, and the credit would go to Keanu Reeves who is more accepted that the big action protagonist more than Denzel Washington, thanks to The Matrix, Constantine and Speed. Gone Girl and Interstellar still stays in our theatres, the latter with so many shows. Dumb and Dumber To won’t pose that much of a challenge though, with lesser opinions and a lot lesser screens. Do give this movie a chance, and as far as you want an action movie without too much of mindless and dumb action, but still doing justice to the genre, this will be the right choice.

Release date: 21st November 2014 (India); 26th September 2014 (USA)
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chloë Grace Moretz, Melissa Leo, Marton Csokas, David Harbour, Bill Pullman, Haley Bennett, Vladimir Kulich, David Meunier, Alex Veadov, James Wilcox, Mike O’Dea, Anastasia Mousis

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sin City II

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Vampire Owl :: Didn’t this release long ago?

Vampire Bat :: No, there was a delay. I think the Indian censor board was concentrating heavily on this for many days, and they have finally managed to cut a lot of this movie and released it last Friday.

Vampire Owl :: They waited all these days to release this on Onam?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, as Onam has colourful flowers, they would balance it with this colourless movie.

Vampire Owl :: I wonder how much they would have cut.

Vampire Bat :: I would guess, half of it. They have very good scissors, and from what they have been doing, I shall not dare to doubt their skills.

Vampire Owl :: So, they want us to watch this movie on the computer, right?

Vampire Bat :: That should be the reason. Otherwise, I see no reason why they cut too much and still give a movie the adult rating. May be they can have a 21+ and 25+ rating for the movies too.

Vampire Owl :: My question is about that dame for whom it is to kill. May be we can collect blood for her too.

Vampire Bat :: Lets watch this and find out about her then.

[Gets the ticket].

What is it about? :: Sin City 2 has three stories, all of the happening at the same place and having relation to each other. One is the tale of Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt) who beats Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) in game of cards and the loser is not really happy about it. The powerful man wishes to get back to Johnny and his new girlfriend Marcie (Julia Garner) for humiliating him in the game. At the same time, Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) is seeking vengeance from the same man who had killed the man he loved. She lives an alcoholic life, being a bar dancer and at the same time, hoping to murder the evil man. The third story has Dwight McCarthy (Josh Broslin) attempting to free his former lover Ava Lord (Eva Green) who seems to be in a terrible relationship with her husband. In the middle of all these, there is Marv (Mickey Rourke) who seems to be part of the whole thing like the blood is to the veins. As things happen in Sin City, there will be blood, death and more vengeance.

The defence of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For :: This sequel should be a much awaited one for the fans, and it is nice to have one after nine years after the first adaptation of Frank Miller’s comics on the big screen. This was even a longer wait than one had to do for 300, and as some people might have forgotten about the same, a few others might have been still eagerly waiting. The return of the franchise is with a more powerful cast, even as Bruce Willis’ presence is minute. The style of the original continues in this movie, as there is lot of violence even as most of them are not really shown directly on the screen (can’t comment that much on the sex and violence and the censor board has been working its scissors so well with this one). The colourless world and the slight infiltration of the colours that we see in this movie, is something that I like a lot. There is a visual beauty in this absence of colours and the sudden appearance of some of it at certain point, catching our attention; may be its nostalgia or the love for such variation, for I am not sure.

The claws of flaw :: I haven’t watched the first movie of the franchise, but it seems that the original was better, as said by a number of people I know. There are problems in the story for sure, at moves on without any aim, and the inter-linking is not that awesome as one would think that it would be. There is the way in which it is presented, and the absence of colours might not be good for most of the regular viewers, and I could feel that in the theatre. The movie also dares to slow down, and at the same time not give enough for the viewers to ponder about. The action could have been nicer too, and the protagonists should have had more to do rather than moving along in predictable lines. At the end of the movie, one ends up wondering if he or she has got enough of the idea behind this movie, or did most of it go with the scissors of the censor board – it is clear that they have cut again and again in this movie, and the same has affected and disfigured this movie further at this part of the world. May be this can work better without those scenes cut, but can’t say that now.

Performers of the soul :: One can only accept that he loved Eva Green on the screen like no other. She is sensational as well as sensuous on the screen as the woman who seems to be at the centre of Sin City, creating enough to make that name sound truer as well as better for the human ear, for she was that good there. She is a wonder case of twisted evil here, and as Powers Boothe is excellent also a powerful villain, Eva takes over in a more serene manner. Jessica Alba was also impressive, but her score is more with her stunning looks and expressions rather than the rest. Mickey Rourke is perfect fit for this role, and one ends up clapping for him more than any other. Josh Brolin is also very good, and one has to admit that he is also a nice one for this movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is okay, but that story had nothing much. Rosario Dawson and Jamie Chung looked not that much needed for the tale. Bruce Willis wanders around as a ghost, for which there is no appropriate reason. Among the rest, I would vote for Juno Temple, even though it was rather a small presence.

Soul exploration :: Sin City 2 successfully creates its world, the monstrous city of sin and crime. The images and the colours that it uses catches our attention well, and helps us to relate well with the crime universe which exists inside the movie, and this time it is in 3D. There is too much evil going on in this movie, and the mood for the same is nicely created, the feeling is that we are really watching a very dangerous and crime infested place. It is a world to be transported into, and if you don’t want to feel that the same, it is to be avoided. There is a certain amount of admiration required for this genre as well as the action movies as a whole, and otherwise you might not want to watch this. It might be easy to choose not to watch this one if you prefer the Bollywood masala movies full of colour and music. You needn’t watch this movie if you didn’t like the first movie either. I have known many people expecting something else and watching this movie, not really liking it. I would say that you have to know what you are going to watch on the screen.

How it finishes :: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For becomes that comic on screen like not many movies have achieved before except for may be its prequel, but I haven’t watched that yet. You can watch this movie just for its variety in style and the cast, especially Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke and Josh Brolin. It is not often that you will manage to watch such a movie, and considering the reactions and the box-office collections of this movie, as well as situation at the theatre, I would wonder if such a movie will set foot at this part of the world. There is the need for colour in this part of the world, and especially this is that week of Onam which demands colourful flowers, but this is more of a black and white movie with slight colours in between. One has to wonder if anyone other than me would watch a non-Malayalam movie for Onam; even I doubted the same myself, but decided to go for this one as timing of the show as well as the situation was more suitable for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

Release date: 5th September 2014 (India); 22nd August 2014 (US)
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Eva Green, Jaime King, Jamie Chung, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Juno Temple, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher Lloyd, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Meloni, Alexa Vega, Julia Garner, Lady Gaga, Marton Csokas, Jude Ciccolella, Crystal McCahill

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Amazing Spider-Man II

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Vampire Owl: How can they release the movie on a Thursday? That too a Spider-Man movie which releases in the United States on Friday?

Vampire Bat: Because it is International Worker’s Day and Spider-Man is part of the working class, not the rich bourgeois class like Batman or Iron Man and neither is he an alien like He-Man, Superman or Thor. You remember he used to deliver pizza on an awesome moped when he was Tobey Maguire with Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. And he is amazing as you can guess from the title.

Vampire Owl: So he thinks that he is amazing. I wonder how much? Does that make the movie automatically amazing? And that former trilogy of Spider-Man, it was not amazing enough?

Vampire Bat: He should think that he is more amazing than most of the other amazing superheroes, just like my dead cat, until it chose to go Neo and play Matrix in front of a Tata Safari. Let’s check for that “amazing” thingy right now, and make sure that he is not just a vain hybrid like many others. So we are having onion uthappam today?

Vampire Owl: That would call for lunch before or after movie?

Vampire Bat: Now, that is a clearly amazing question, as far as there is no spider in the lunch.

[Wing-rides to the multiplex].

What is it about? :: Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is trying to balance his life as both himself and Spider-Man as he tries to save the world, spend time with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) along with searching for the secret behind the death of his parents. As our hero keeps reminding himself of the promise he made to Gwen’s father, he keeps breaking up with her, sometimes she herself breaking up with him as he keeps talking about what her father said. Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to the city to see his dying father Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) who tells him that the disease is hereditary and he has been struggling to extend his life. As Harry takes over as the new CEO of his father’s business, OsCorp, he keeps trying to find a way to cure his disease. He finds that Spider-Man’s blood may give him a chance as he can heal himself pretty fast. He asks Peter to help him finding Spider-Man to which he says that he will try, but later shows up as Spider-Man to say no as he was unsure of what the results would be. Meanwhile Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an employee of OsCorp falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels making him a walking electric generator, but is captured by Spider-Man as he creates chaos in the city. It seems that both Harry and Max now has one spider enemy – and the battle begins.

The defence of The Amazing Spider-Man II :: The movie has Spider-Man on a mission to save the city as well as his love life. He does that in style here. The shots of Spider-Man swinging around the city and then his battle with Electro are breath-taking not just for the sequences, but also for the environment. The camera work is stunning and everything looks so awesome in 3D or truly amazing to fit the title. There is that scene when Electro uses his special power of electricity on everything around him, and Spider-Man goes on to make sure that everyone around remains safe by flying through the air and shooting webs all around him. There is also that battle against the fully powered Electro who uses his power in such a destructive manner that Spider-Man’s moves looks so impressive as the world of electricity around him which seems to recreate its own beauty beyond destruction on the screen in 3D. How often do you see such beautiful devastation and a battle which is so much electrifying not just in the sequence, but also visually? Where else can you get a superhero so selfless and gives so much hope unlike some of the others who seems to get the viewers further into darkness and the absence of hope?

Claws of flaw :: Despite being the best Spider-Man ever, the movie also deals with the usual stereotypes, as the villain falls into genetically mutated trouble yet again, and transforms into something special from the nobody that he used to be. He often reminds one of Megamind‘s Tighten with his desire to be noticed. He is too much of a Mr. Nobody in the beginning, a lot more than what can be taken. His powers are rather too much, and his evil side is a little half-baked. The Green Goblin gets very less screen time too, an Harry Osborn doesn’t shine and only leaves us with potential to be awesome in the sequel. OsCorp becomes more of the opposite of the Stark Industries here. The final scene also seems to have been forced for the inception of Mary Jane Watson into the franchise. The plot’s other side which involves Peter’s dead parents are also a little over-used. I won’t say that this affects the movie much, and the negative reviews only reflect the critics’ horrible inability to enjoy this movie, and one can never attribute it as the flaw of this movie. How can someone see the special effects and 3D of this movie and give a positive review with them only? The negative reviews are rather a case of shame.

Performers of the soul :: Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and Peter Parker does a fantastic role in the multiple personalities, and let nobody fool you about this superhero’s two-sided coin of a world. I would say that no other superhero’s alter ego is that powerful as Spider-Man can claim. Nobody has this much conflicts in the real life, which should be why heroes like Iron Man can live without a secret identity, and money makes it easy for him and Batman. This is where someone like Andrew Garfield does so well to suit, and forms a nice pair with Emma Stone who is there stronger than in the first movie. She becomes Spidey’s first true love like nobody can deny it. She has quite much to do, and powerfully contributes in saving the day as well as the movie. I would have preferred her with black or brown hair, but Gwen was supposed to have the golden one. Jamie Foxx comes up in different avatars, as he transforms from a Spidey fan to an attention seeking villain who wishes to get rid of his competition on television. Dane DeHaan is no James Franco, but he has given us hope of coming up as the arch-nemesis of this Spidey, like Jim Moriarty is to Sherlock Holmes and Joker is to Batman. He might not get that many claps, but gives us enough hope to bring a lot in a possible sequel – for this one is evil, and evil mind has just began to work.

Soul exploration :: Among all the superheroes, Spider-Man has been the most human, despite Iron Man and Batman claiming to have no real superpowers except for the help of superior scientific equipment and remaining closer to humanity. But what does Spider-Man give us? He was that superhero who gave us the best line to quote from a superhero movie not bothering the situation – “With great power. comes great responsibility”. There is no denying that Batman as the Dark Knight took off with so much style, and even his villains, Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and Joker (Heath Ledger) made that powerful impact that no other super-villains could make. But there is something about Spidey, and it is that his villains have always remained powerful than him, and even with his superpowers, he is at disadvantage, and being the younger of the group, he also has to deal with more troubles, as he struggles to make his living. There is no other superhero who has his alter ego in that much troubles as he would have as a superhero. Yet, his battles are more interesting to watch than that of any other superhero, and there is the success of Marvel. He is the common man’s superhero. Yes, the verdict is that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is amazing, no matter how fan-boys will try to degrade it.

How it finishes :: As Peter Parker says “Everyday I wake up knowing that no matter how many lives I protect, no matter how many people call me a hero, someone even more powerful could change everything”. But there is always another side to it, and for that, there is the graduation speech of Gwen Stacy. But some critics are still caught in the web of The Dark Knight, and refuses to come out. No disrespect to The Dark Knight, but it is a shame to think that it is the only great superhero movie, and there comes the fan-boys with an extra-terrestrial ability to overrate that franchise. It is high time they step out of it, or stupid Bollywood superhero movies like Krrish 3 will copy from Hollywood and make some complete retarded stuff, pay for positive reviews and create new record at the box-office. It is worthless to ask, but one has to wonder how someone can like Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 3 more than this one? That was proved again with the positive reviews for one of the dumbest movies of all time, Noah. Or may be they have a case of arachnophobia, but I would give them the advice to take this movie as something which can take that fear out of them, use this to bring some love for the creatures, at least the smaller ones with no venom. Now, if it will overtake Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier as the highest grossing movie of the year is a question worth asking.

Release date: 1st May 2014 (India); 2nd May 2014 (US)
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Marton Csokas, Louis Cancelmi, Max Charles, Chris Cooper, B. J. Novak, Denis Leary

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.