Kate

Vampire Owl: I don’t know many Kates from around here.

Vampire Bat: You do know Kate Winslet and Kate Beckinsale.

Vampire Owl: They are certainly not from around here.

Vampire Bat: They are still part of our large film universe.

Vampire Owl: Universe is never that large, as we look at it.

Vampire Bat: Well, this movie and its performers can be part of it.

Vampire Owl: Mary Elizabeth Winstead has always been part of it.

Vampire Bat: Okay, you do remember her movies which suited us vampires’ tastes.

Vampire Owl: Living through so many centuries, tastes do change.

Vampire Bat: The world does change, but do we? In this realm, can we?

[Gets a ghee roast and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is an experienced assassin who has Varrick (Woody Harrelson) as her handler. She is also an expert sniper who has never missed a target in her long career which has focused mostly on the use of sniper gun and long distance shots. Varrick was also the one who trained her, right from childhood itself. Kate has to come to Osaka in Japan to kill a leader within a powerful yakuza mob, but only just manages to hit the target, after a child comes in the way. Even though this hit was also a success, having to kill someone in front of a child bothers here, leading to an emotional turmoil. She intends to go for one final mission, and then begin a new life, as a commoner. But before the final mission, she comes up against Stephen (Michiel Huisman) in bar. They have sex in the room, and she follows up with a sniper shot, and it is the first time that she misses one, that too, with the chance for clear shot.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She understands that she was poisoned by Stephen under the instructions of the members of a crime family which is headed by Kijima (Jun Kunimura), whom she was planning to assassinate, after having already killed his brother in front of his niece, Ani (Miku Martineau). Having only a day left to live before poison gets her, she decides to kidnap Ani, and bargain with Kijima. Despite using her as a bait in the beginning, she decides to keep her safe during the mission, as the gangsters are also targeting her. Ani is the last in the line of the family, and her death would help an internal power struggle. For getting to the top, she has to get through Renji (Tadanobu Asano) and Jojima (Miyavi), and there is a long way ahead after that too. There are many complications that she has to face on the way too, as many other secrets are revealed, with the unexpected happenings that occur related to the person whom she was trying to assassinate.

The defence of Kate :: Led by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, we have female assassin for a change, instead of the usual, and with her performance in the action scenes, we feel that she makes the exact person who was needed here. The film has so many delightful action sequences, and the one at the top floor of a penthouse, and the final combat are of top quality – the style and the music are nothing less than charming. The world that this movie has created in Japan feels like a classic one, and with all the beautiful violence, you only wants to go there. The fights that we have here, are also never overdone, and would make both John Wick and Hitman: Codename 47 proud. There are also enough emotional sequences to go with it. The lighting, darkness and colours have a different feeling about them, and the we also feel a lot of Japan. After the first few minutes, almost all of the city is set in one city in Japan, and with the main character having less than twenty four hours to live, this one keeps close to the unity of time and place, as well as unity of action, one of the rare action movies to keep it close to the Classical unities of Aristotle.

Positives and negatives :: With its quick action, the movie never drags, even when adding the emotions to it – the emotional side also deserves some applause, even though it could have dealt with the same in different ways which could have appealed more, for options were surely there to be taken. Reminder of other films will also be there, but we can actually see this one as superior in action at times. The violence is there for most of the time, and it has taken with a certain amount of beauty related to it. Some parts of it can feel predictable, but it is with multiple guesses taken – many options were there and therefore one cannot correctly guess the same at all times. Some dialogues are actually there to remembered, and a few of them are like providing some messages about life, revenge and forgiveness. There is strength in the frames, and the way in which this one is taken, will need applause too. Even as you are not part of anything like this, and has never been to the city or been part of any action that comes close, you feel what is happening around, and you are engaged at all times with the assassin’s work.

Performers of the soul :: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fantastic as the assassin, and it is the one thing that stands apart like no other. We have seen her from Final Destination 3 itself, and after slashers like Black Christmas were there, we saw her 10 Cloverfield Lane and Gemini Man, two others full of action and mystery. Birds of Prey had her as an assassin too, as the Huntress who was supporting Harley Quinn. Action, horror and mystery seems to suit her really well, and thriller seems to be her perfect genre. From 2000s itself, she has held a higher position among the scream queens, a position which Amber Heard also shared during a similar time period. Unfortunately, there is no scope for a sequel to have her back as the assassin, with this being the dead end, but one has to say that she deserved more movies like Hitman, John Wick or The Transporter. You can have her as part of these bloody genres at any moment of time, and she is sure to deliver. Miku Martineau as Ani plays a child in trauma that you are to remember. Woody Harrelson has a solid role to play here too.

How it finishes :: Kate is a strong action film which reminds one mostly of John Wick, and at times of The Equalizer, but also develops a life of its own. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead at the top, you can also feel some shots of Anna, even though the premise and the world itself is very much different. You can watch this particular movie just for the action itself, and she is more or less like a female Keanu Reeves – one would wonder if she could have actually played Matrix‘s Trinity in another parallel universe, because there is the feeling that in those clothes, and in that world, she would look almost the same. Clearly an engaging ride, Kate takes you through a fun-filled action journey which is to be remembered not just for all the melee combat, sword fights and gun shots, but also for the story with its twists, as well as the beautiful world that we see around there in between the combat. It is indeed an all-round action package, and not a movie that depends on mindless action all the time. Choose this one for full-time entertainment.

Release date: 10th September 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Miku Martineau, Woody Harrelson, Tadanobu Asano, Miyavi, Michiel Huisman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Birds of Prey

Vampire Owl: There are not many kinds of vampire birds.

Vampire Bat: But not all of our birds hunt.

Vampire Owl: You stopped letting the birds hunt?

Vampire Bat: Well, the sky needed to be safer for the gargoyles.

Vampire Owl: You are calling for the gargoyles during a pandemic?

Vampire Bat: They are made of stone, and immune to any pandemic.

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that these can’t catch the virus?

Vampire Bat: They are immune to the injection too.

Vampire Owl: That saves us some vaccines.

Vampire Bat: I would have loved to believe that the undead are basically immune, as the virus cannot affect the dead even after rising from the grave. But the research from Doctor Frankenstein says otherwise.

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

What is the movie about? :: A number of years have passed after the defeat of Enchantress in the hands of the team of supervillains, Suicide Squad, and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has broken up with Joker (Jared Leto), and despite going through the procedure many times, this time she believes that they are separated forever. She remembers her time as psychiatrist and also her time before that, as she tries to go on with her lonely life, and for the same, she also gets a hyena, but nobody really believes that she really broke up with Joker. She doesn’t really have any good friends, but everyone seems to know her for the association with Joker. To announce her break up to everyone, she blows up Ace Chemicals were she had her best time with Joker, and this time, she gets the attention of everyone. Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) is the first one to come after Harley for exploding Ace chemicals, and others who have held a grudge against her also follows. Ending the relationship with Joker does have its own negative effects for her.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A good number of people now wants her dead, or at least punished for what she had been doing. This includes not just the criminals and police, but also anyone on the streets whom she had offended – it includes a large number of people. Without Joker’s protection, she finds it difficult to move around safely. But she figures out that she will live her life her own way this time. The biggest mafia leader of the area is Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), the crime lord who wishes to have full control over the Gotham City. Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) earlier worked as a singer in his club, but gets a promotion as his driver during important meetings, after he sees her fight on he streets. Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), the right hand man of Sionis losses a diamond which was supposed to be very important to him, and it turns out that it was taken by Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a young pickpocket who doesn’t hesitate to steal anything from anyone on the streets. The girl also swallows the diamond before being taken to the police station.

And what else is to follow with this strange series of incidents in Gotham City? :: At the same time, a vigilante known as The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) also appears on the streets, killing people all around the city, and nobody really knows what she is after. It does gives more of a head ache to Renee though, as she has been someone not able to get the credit even after working so hard in the police department. With murders happening with crossbows, and Harley also on the loose, Sionis wants the diamond back as soon as possible. For the same, he asks the help of every mercenary in the city, including Harley, who had also started calling herself a professional mercenary with her previous experience in Task Force X, the government funded group of criminals and supervillains. Harley breaks into the police station, and a number of mercenaries also follow her, but she manages to escape with the pickpocket kid, only to be continued to be hunted throughout the city. Dinah and Renee want to save the kid too, but time is running out.

The defence of Birds of Prey :: The film scores with its cast as expected, and while Margot Robbie has already proven herself as the crazy lover of Joker with a PhD in Psychiatry and experience with treating the craziest, Mary Elizabeth Winstead who is known more as the scream queen of horror flicks, has done fine work here – others are okay, even though I wouldn’t consider them to belong here as much as these two manages. The final fight scene scores high with the ambience being used there, and it is something which suits a horror movie more. There are also some humour added here and there, and for that too, the film is highly dependent on Margot Robbie, who seems to have got into that character so well again, and that makes one wonder what would have happened if Joker was also there. The fight sequences are nice, mostly when related to her, and even though left with less number of scenes, Mary Elizabeth Winstead also drops in nicely. The film is also full of colours, and they provide a special feeling to the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The absence of at least a cameo from Joker does have some effect on this film which could have used a little bit more of madness, as there seems to be a little bit too much sanity in here. Along with the same, the character of Rosie Perez seems to be weaker in comparison, and Ewan McGregor plays not that strong a villain as one would expect, with him being only a billionaire with a lot of henchmen – nothing more for him here. Some moments in the movie are also too silly, even when staying within the limits of silliness, and could have been avoided. The movie could have been shorter that way, and it should have stuck to Quinn to make that happen in a better manner. It is also a little bit too violent without reason, a quality which is not the best explored by a DC film. The film also leaves a question if it was trying to be a little bit of Charlie’s Angels by focusing on it as an action movie, but it is understandable, because Harley Quinn is that kind of a character, and only a little bit of the metahuman strength is unleashed here by anyone.

How it finishes :: DC Extended Universe always required more films which though differently, and this is surely one of them. There is a space being left behind after Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame nicely finished the biggest events of Marvel Extended Universe, and now it is up to DC to do the same and bring something grand, despite Justice League not doing that well as it should have managed, and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice failing to gain appreciation. Unlike what was expected, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are the hopes of DC, and I would say that Suicide Squad was one too, even though many people were not really able to get their heads into it. Taking Harley Quinn out of it, and making this film will only help the next part of the second film on the squad when released, for Birds of Prey is a fun-filled entertainer which maintains the same feeling up to an extent, even though not beautifully poetic as that film happened to be. Once again, fun is guaranteed for sure.

Release date: 7th February 2020
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Cathy Yan
Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Gemini Man

What is the movie about? :: Henry Brogan (Will Smith), is a fifty one year old former Marine Sniper who had managed to go through the terrors of war in different wars in which United States of America was a part of. After finishing his assignments, he has been working as an assassin for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). As he is sent on a mission to assassinate a terrorist on board a bullet train, and after he successfully makes the hit a few milliseconds before it enters a tunnel, he decides to quit the job. But his old friend Jack Willis (Douglas Hodge) tells him that he was tricked, and the person he last murdered was not a terrorist, but a Russian molecular biologist and a Russian operative Yuri Kovacs (Ilia Volok) has proof about it. Janet Lassiter (Linda Emond), the director of the DIA who comes to know about Henry realizing the truth, decides to get him assassinated, and so does Clayton Varris (Clive Owen) the director of GEMINI, a top secret black ops unit.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Meanwhile, while spending time on a fishing boat, Henry realizes that Danny Zakarewski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who was supposed to be the cute, friendly neighborhood boat rental manager is also a fellow DIA agent who retired from Navy earlier. During the same night, everyone who came close to Henry are killed, and Danny herself is almost killed, but manages to fight off the assassin after getting an early warning from Henry. Both Danny and Henry escape to Colombia with Baron (Benedict Wong), who was in the military with the latter, and is now working as a tour operator. With the assassins failing to kill both of them, Clayton sends another one after them, this time, someone who is an expert, and won’t stop until he completed his mission. Meanwhile, Henry hopes to find Yuri and talk to him about the assassination of the molecular biologist and the twist of fate which had followed.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: When the assassin reaches the house, and when Henry comes face to face with him, he realizes that it is just him, about thirty years ago. He resembled Henry very much that Danny ends up asking if he had a relationship when he was young, to which he answers that the closest he was to a woman was with her. Testing the DNA samples of both men, Danny realizes that the assassin is a younger clone of Henry. The clone possessed the same skill sets and even had the allergies from the former assassin. Henry manage to meet Yuri in Hungary who talks to him about the cloning project and the man he assassinated was one of the project’s main scientists. The idea was to produce clones without pain and emotions so that they can be perfect killing machines, and nobody would come looking for them either – there would be nothing much that could be taken from them if captured either. Now, time starts running out for them.

The defence of Gemini Man :: There are some interesting ideas used here by the movie, reminding one of the science fiction action thrillers of a much earlier period, like The 6th Day which had cloning at the core, and the main character being cloned. There are some fine action sequences to go with it, and as the story goes on, we see some humour in there, and the bonding scenes between the main characters are nice. Mary Elizabeth Winstead does have that kind of a combination with Will Smith – she is looking so different from her earlier adventures that it is difficult to recognize her, but she is really good here. The best action sequence is the one involving shootout and motorbike chasing sequences which come quite early into the movie. In the final moments, there are more to add to it though. There is also the question about morality being asked in the end, but that is just a little addition which comes towards it.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much of a suspense or twist in the movie, but there was scope for a lot – The 6th Day had something grand going on underneath, but this one is just too direct with the plans. There are also moments when the strength of Will Smith as the action hero shows signs of fading, even as he does quickly go back up. The movie could have the two going against each other for a long time, until all of a sudden, the big revelation is made as a twist, but this one chooses to go forward with everything well known. Gemini Man could have been John Wick on another day, but not on this day, and with the movie seems to be having a finish with no opening for a sequel, this particular hitman might not be coming back to provide anything more to us. Considering what we have, it doesn’t try to achieve something special, going through the predictable path.

The performers of the soul :: Will Smith guides this movie in his usual style, and we know that the role of assassin suits him well. We had seen him last in Aladdin, where he served as the genie from the lamp. But this one should point directly to Suicide Squad, the highly underrated beauty of a movie where he played expert marksman and assassin, Deadshot, as part of the team of dangerous criminals set to save the world. The character is very much suited to him, and he delivers in usual style, even though it is not that much there with the younger version of him. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been a common name in horror movies, a scream queen who was last seen with full strength in the post-apocalyptic psychological horror thriller which gained much critical and audience acclaim, 10 Cloverfield Lane – with this one, she proves to be fine action material too, maybe the right choice for a Mission Impossible movie. Clive Owen makes a pretty good villain at the same time.

How it finishes :: With the eternal action hero Will Smith and the Scream Queen turned action star Mary Elizabeth Winstead does move this film forward in style, but with the inability to innovate, and the hesitation to try something different, Gemini Man doesn’t rise above its limitations at all times. We know the kind of movies Ang Lee has come up with, from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Life of Pi, and in comparison, this one doesn’t gain the needed strength. But as an entertainer, you cannot question the quality of Gemini Man, because it delivers just that with ease. This surely is your usual kind of an action adventure movie, with the protagonist being hunted by the group he used to be working with, and he has to get away and find a solution – for the same, he has his very small list of allies, not numbering more than two. So, enjoy this one within the genre.

Release date: 11th October 2019
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Linda Emond. Ralph Brown, Douglas Hodge, Ilia Volok

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

10 Cloverfield Lane

10cloverfieldlane-1

Vampire Owl: I have an intense desire to say no to this movie.

Vampire Bat: Why would that be so? Is it your death anniversary?

Vampire Owl: No, it is because I have watched the 2008 movie called Cloverfield.

Vampire Bat: This is the sequel for that movie, but is not really a continuation of the same.

Vampire Owl: That makes things quite bad.

Vampire Bat: A spiritual successor to the 2008 movie, as they say.

Vampire Owl: I couldn’t stand the 2008 movie. It was as terrible as the usual found foootage movies.

Vampire Bat: And we do wonder why the critics like such an immature genre so much.

Vampire Owl: You call it a genre? I call it a disaster.

Vampire Bat: Well, this one is not found footage. The camera is good here and they use it well this time.

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

What is the movie about? :: Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) drives through the countryside after having an heated argument with her lover whom she was hoping to marry, but meets with an accident on the road and losses consciousness. She wakes up with injury on her leg, chained to a bed in a cellar with no idea where is she is or how she reached there. Her questions are answered by a man called Howard Stambler (John Goodman) who comes there and unchains her. He tells her that he saved her life, as it was certain death out there. The world has been devastated by a massive nuclear or chemical attack, most possibly by aliens or maybe even from an enemy country. The air outside is contaminated and people are all dying out there. All those whom she loves should have already died and there is no hope outside.

So, what happens next? :: Michelle finds it difficult to believe him at all. Then she meets Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), how is Howard’s employee, who had helped him build this bunker and had forced his way in there when something terrible seemed to happen outside. She realizes that Howard has been planning this for a long time, as he got ready to face the apocalypse – he always believed that the world was going to end soon, and he had to surive; this idea from him had even kept his wife and daughter away from him. Howard shows Michelle two dead pigs outside the bunker with terrible sores on their bodies which seemed to prove that the air is contaminated. But at the same time, she sees the pick-up truck which had hit her car causing the accident, and it makes her wonder if it is all something planned to keep her a captive.

The defence of 10 Cloverfield Lane :: There are so many questions in 10 Cloverfield Lane, and there are twists all around, as the suspense is maintained right till those final moments in the bunker. Throughout the movie, there is the question if there is some attack going on outside the bunker, or is it just a lie used to keep the girl a captive – there is also the doubt about what all are outside – are they aliens, demons or an enemy nation bringing the war to the United States? You don’t know the exact answer for most of the movie. Despite this lack of answer, there is always the feeling of danger – we never really get to see the outside world till the final moments, but there is so much tension that we know that something really bad is going to happen, and the only question is if it is from an outside force or from the humans inside. The doubt is if they are safe inside the bunker or outside it. This is the mystery that you need.

The claws of flaw :: There will always be people who wishes for this movie to go the usual way, and there will be the fans of the first movie looking forward for this movie to follows the same path – but both of them are not going to happen here. There are also moments when you feel that the movie is stretched, and also those scenes outside the bunker which won’t do that much justice to this movie as a whole. There could have also been more scares, even without seeing what happens outside. There could be darkness and there could easily be nightmares that could have ruled the world underneath – but 10 Cloverfield Lane takes a more direct approach which is effective in another way, but without the quick and surprise scares. This movie also asks you to get into the setting, which you will need to do to get the maximum effectiveness – with the minimum resources and maximum effect, that may not be possible for everyone.

Performers of the soul :: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is the kind of actress whom you can choose for this kind of a movie without second thoughts – she has been nothing less than amazing in this role which had so much focus on her, as the central character – the leading lady as well as the protagonist; the survivor who needs to make it through the whole thing. Most people must have seen her as Bruce Willis’ popular character John McClane’s daughter Lucy in Live Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard, the two of the last Die Hard movies. We remember her more for Final Destination 3 though – yes, the one with the roller coaster ride, and one of those five movies in which they all die a painful death. She is perfectly suited as the horror queen for this kind of a setting. John Goodman also brings a fine work here, and keeps us guessing about his past as well as the intentions. John Gallagher Jr. provides the needed support.

How it finishes :: The best thing about this movie is that it is not a direct sequel to the 2008 movie, Cloverfield. It would have been such pain to watch this one as a similar found footage horror movie which is the cheapest genre available. With this one daring to be different, and developed from a script titled The Cellar, manages to be a movie which has only a supernatural invasion as the one thing that joins the two. There is also the third movie in the franchise coming up in 2017, titled God Particle, which has a team of astronauts on a space station with Earth having disappeared – this one seems to be more or less a spiritual successor too, and lets see how it goes. As we wait for the next movie to come, we can watch 10 Cloverfield Lane and enjoy the variety in horror – there is always the need for the same, and this movie delivers that.

Release date: 11th March 2016
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr., Suzanne Cryer, Bradley Cooper (voice)

10cloverfieldlane

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.