Encounter

Vampire Owl: I have always enjoyed encounters with aliens.

Vampire Bat: Yes, you have always been looking for vampire aliens.

Vampire Owl: If a species requires blood to survive, they would just vampires and not aliens.

Vampire Bat: Well, if they are from another planet, they are surely aliens.

Vampire Owl: You are questioning their basic nature of existence.

Vampire Bat: When on Earth, they are still aliens.

Vampire Owl: Drinking blood is in their nature, and that counts as vampires only.

Vampire Bat: This one is worth a debate at the Dracula Castle.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that Uncle Dracula will accept them as just vampires.

Vampire Bat: You don’t know him well enough after the Corona virus pandemic.

[Gets some French fries and three glasses of strawberry shake].

What is the movie about? :: Malik Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a dishonorably discharged Marine who is having a tough time living the usual kind of life. He sees that there is so much of riots going on the nearby cities, and the is bothered by increase in violence all around the state and the country. His former wife Piya Khan (Janina Gavankar) and children Jay Khan (Lucian-River Chauhan) and Bobby Khan (Aditya Geddada) are now living with her present husband Dylan (Misha Collins), a long distance from him. The sons, especially Jay is not happy with the situation, and has turned extremely arrogant. He visits Jay and Bobby at takes them away in his car, saying that this is a road trip which their mother has kept as a surprise. The boys feel that this could really be a fun ride, but there is more to it than what he says. Malik seems to be waiting for something bad to happen at all times, and there is a lot of worries that he seems to have here.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: When they are stopped on the road by a police officer, he is forced to tell the boys the truth about what has been happening in the last few days. He tells them that there are some non-terrestrial microorganisms taking over the planet, as these aliens are using human bodies are used as hosts – most of the humans are no longer in control, and some heavy research is required regarding this, for which they hope to reach a safe place. He also feels that at least half of the population has been infected. The idea of a parasite growing inside one’s body frightens the boys, but they decide to fight and make it the safe place with their father. As Hattie (Octavia Spencer) is the one who is in charge of Malik’s parole understands that he took the children after tying up Piya and Dylan, she understands that he is in trouble. Back home, FBI is in charge of the investigation on the kidnapping of the boys, and they feel that he might be going to keep his children.

The defence of Encounter :: The beginning of the movie was really good, and it keeps us interested throughout most part of its run. Most of the things which were shown in the beginning turns useless in the end, but they had a fine role in making the whole film engaging. This has the strength to work as a post-apocalyptic movie after the worms, parasites, or anything takes over later, but it chooses to go ordinary, and that is indeed a shame. The performance are really good, and the visuals are also nice, when we look at them. Some action is also added here and there, but there is almost no horror being part of this, even though there was the chance for that too. It is basically what we thought about the movie before watching it that has kept us interested, and one has to say that the talk about the film before its release did go well to create an image – the same is not reflected well here though, as we stare at it.

The claws of flaw :: Encounter is very much a confused movie, as it doesn’t really seem to know what it is aiming for, with a beginning as an alien invasion movie, and then going on to be a strange family drama. This change that the movie brings at a point of time does no favour to it – if everything happened the other way around, things would have been much better. The movie is called a science fiction thriller both on IMDB and Wikipedia, and one really has to wonder how this film gets into that particular category, especially in the second half, as the path seems completely lost. Even though the ending does look realistic, it is not the kind of finish that are looking for, and for a climax like this one, not many people would wish to buy the tickets – well, this is on Amazon Prime Video and when you have already taken the subscription, one might just end up watching it quickly for the sake of it. Promoting a movie as what it really is, would be the right thing to do, in my opinion.

Performers of the soul :: It is the performances that score for the movie which struggles with confusion over its own identity, as Riz Ahmed does a very good job as the former Marine who seems to be trying to end an alien invasion, but is as confused as the movie itself. His feeling of paranoia, worries and strange acts are all things which work well for us. If the movie could have actually stepped it up well enough, this could have brought wonders for him, but unfortunately, he also struggles with the film as we reach the disappointing end. Janina Gavankar has some fine family moments in the beginning, but that doesn’t carry over as the protagonist doesn’t really feel the need to save her from aliens. Octavia Spenser also has some fine moments, as one of the most likable characters that we see anywhere. Rory Cochrance is the typical FBI agent that we see in different movies in similar forms. The two children are good, especially Lucian-River Chauhan who has a little more to contribute in comparison with Aditya Geddada.

How it finishes :: Encounter makes another science fiction alien invasion thriller entry to Amazon Prime Video after The Tomorrow War did the same thing a few months ago. Still, our movie here is rather different, with no big alien attacking people around, and no huge action scenes – in this case, we don’t have too much of sci-fi being thrown around, as no certainty about the alien attack is provided. Almost all the movie, you keep thinking if there is really an alien, a doubt which won’t favour you if you are looking for full action alien flicks. This movie is more drama when we consider the case here. You have an alien movie here without the certainty of the existence of the aliens, and that is indeed not the science fiction that you want. Well, when there are so many alien invasion movies at your disposal, and which a good number of science fiction films waiting for your eyes, this one which degrades into a family drama might not be the one you prefer, but it is still an interesting watch, especially during the first half.

Release date: 10th December 2021
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Michael Pearce
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Janina Gavankar, Rory Cochrane, Lucian-River Chauhan, Aditya Geddada

<<< Click here to go to the previous film review.

<<< Click here to go to the previous English film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ice Age V

Vampire Owl: Another Ice Age movie? This is like a trail of blood.

Vampire Bat: Well, this is not the end either. There will be more to follow.

Vampire Owl: What? Ice Age: Continental Drift itself had to go on struggles.

Vampire Bat: But they are all successful movies at the box-office, and so we have one more, with the rest to follow.

Vampire Owl: That could make it longer than the original time period of ice age.

Vampire Bat: Well, success brings more and more of the same thing, and the quality has to go down at some point.

Vampire Owl: But that too, should have limits.

Vampire Bat: Well, this still can’t be that bad.

Vampire Owl: It can still be my least favourite Ice Age movie.

Vampire Bat: Yes, that is a real possibility, if you look from the outside itself.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with banana fry].

What is the movie about? :: Scrat (Chris Wedge), the sabretooth squirrel has been going on with his affectionate adventure with acorn for more time than anybody has ever spent for anyone they have loved. It is once again him who was trying to bury his acorn, that ends up activating an abandoned alien space ship on Earth. This action takes him into deep space, and there, his attempt to get to the acorn sends asteroids on course to Earth, with a grand collision expected. There is no shortage of worry for him about the acorn, but there is even bigger worries on Earth on the family level. Manny might be the most tensed parent on the surface of Earth at that time, as he is extremely worried about the upcoming marriage between his daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) and her lover, Julian (Adam DeVine). Ellie (Queen Latifah) is also not that less worried about the same, especially with them possibly going to live separately.

So, what happens next? :: But the mammoths are not the only ones having family problems, as Diego (Denis Leary) and his wife Shira (Jennifer Lopez) wish to begin a family, but their scary appearance doesn’t seem to go well with the kids, which has them in doubt about future. Sid (John Leguizamo) is living a life of depression and sadness after being dumped by his girlfriend, Francine (Melissa Rauch) just before he proposes to her. There is no happiness around, with things not getting any better. But they hope to lighten things up with the wedding anniversary celebrations of Manny and Ellie, but it is when the asteroids set on course by Scat finally hits Earth, and things turn more serious and even more messed up. With end of all life in the forest staring at them along with a possible case of extinction on the cards, the team decides to escape, until their old friend Buck (Simon Pegg) comes up with an idea that could stop the asteroids from hitting the same place again.

And where does things go from there? :: But a trio of dromaeosaurs named Gavin (Nick Offerman), Gertie (Stephanie Beatriz), and Roger (Max Greenfield) have planned to have revenge on Buck by messing up this plan. They think that they could just fly away when the asteroids hit the surface of the planet, while all mammals die, establishing their dominion over the whole place. Roger is confused about the same, and doesn’t believe that it is the right way, but decide to do what the rest of the family does. They follow the team hoping to mess up anything that they plan to do. The group discovers that the asteroids possess electro-magnetic properties. Buck theorizes that if a huge quantity of smaller asteroids could be launched into the orbit, they could deviate the path of the asteroid and keep it from falling on the surface. But can they do that before the time runs out, and will their enemies let them succeed in this seemingly impossible mission to save all life on the planet?

The defence of Ice Age: Collision Course :: There are enough funny scenes in this movie to make sure that you are interested in the happenings around. This is sure to appeal to the kids more than anybody else, and those who haven’t watched the earlier movies of the franchise might love this one even more. The funniest moments here are from the sloths and the weasel, and the rest just seems to follow the fun rather than create more of the same. The beautiful animation and the amazing world which is around, will catch your attention for sure – a pre-historic setting might be among the best choices for animated movies, as The Croods has also proven. The big thing about this movie is that it has managed to be lovable even after so many years of the first movie being released, and the level not getting much of a higher – there is something about this one that keeps people attracted to it, and you will feel that despite the predictability, there will be good box-office collections for any movie in this franchise – maybe they were in too much of a hurry to release this one to earn more at the box-office?

The claws of flaw :: A case of repetition is here, with the team of animals once again going to save themselves from a possible natural disaster, and finding more than one thing through this adventure. The case of insecurity from parents often gets too irritating, and so do the two young mammoths – we are again made sure that even though the mammoths are the main characters, we don’t really like them as much as the others. Scrat also keeps doing the same thing again and again, there seems to be no change coming up there. For a franchise that has given four better movies before this, could have done more in a world which has been transformed with smarter animated movies like Frozen, Inside Out, Big Hero 6, Moana and Zootopia, which have all been nice single titles, and another point to note is that the other animated franchise with animals, Madagascar has always kept the level high, and never did it drop down; the competition is so much bigger, and this franchise should realise that sooner or later, saving itself from a possible extinction.

How it finishes :: There is no doubt that the Ice Age franchise is trying to make more and more out of its early popularity, and while doing the same, is losing some of its fans – there is not that much of a creativity in this movie which could have built well on what is also there, a franchise which had begun so strong. Following those footsteps, if this franchise can’t stay good enough, it will be a case of disappointment. I would say that this one has managed to stay afloat, but there are too many signs that this is going nowhere to raise the level of the whole thing, and there were so many chances of trouble here. When there is so much to do with a pre-historic environment which might even bring magic if the best of creativity is used, this fifth movie of the franchise is not the movie that the whole series can be proud of, with the least score, but can choose to improve from here for sure. Watch this one without too much expectations, and place your hopes on the next.

Release date: 22nd July 2016 (USA); 15th July 2016 (India)
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Mike Thurmeier
Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg, Seann William Scott, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Stephanie Beatriz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lilly Singh, Melissa Rauch, Chris Wedge

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Gravity

gravity (1)

I have to agree that the wait for gravity has been much long, as the trailer came to the theatres quite early, with not much information available about it. No, it was not one of those movies which I was waiting for, but it became a movie worth waiting for, after having its own transformation from nothing to everything with those highly positive reviews and good word of mouth, and remained in the support of nearly 97% positive reviews in Rotten Tomatoes and 8.9 in IMDb, something which had to result in a rise in the number of viewers in the theatres, and because of that, we had to book our tickets online, not really something we had to do this year in spite of the fact that Iron Man 3 made us do the same, even as Man of Steel had threatened to do the same again and The Wolverine had succeeded in it. Yes, Gravity was to be watched at any cost, and we decided to waste no time, as we approached it the very next day after it was released here to positive reviews.

It has to be noted that the story for this movie is quite simple and lasts no more than one and half hours. We are introduced to Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) on her first space mission, and the veteran space traveller Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who have almost finished their job when the space waste from a destroyed Russian satellite hits them and everyone except the two are dead. Matt saves Ryan from being lost in the space forever with low level of oxygen, but cuts himself off from her when he feels that it will endanger them both. After getting into the semi-destroyed International space station from their damaged shuttle, she has to use one of the damaged modules to somehow get to a chinese space station, from where she can go back home in their modules. As someone new to the whole thing, and with no communcations to advice her, she has to use more than what she knows to survive and make it back to Earth. It is not the most interesting plots around, but you have to love it for what is shown on the screen.

In the world of extreme science fiction, all these would seem too simple, but not for the realistic environment that the director has attempted to create right here. In an extended world of reality, there would be questions about reality, and one might wonder if this is also real enough. None of us did go to space already, and so this is no lesser unreality than most of the other things which are exaggerated, but the helplessness of the man and the lack of the scientific “supernatural” keeps this close enough to be defined real, even as I consider this to be that much of a work of imagination as any fantasy movie around there, and the chance of all these happening is as much as that of a Hobbit helping a group of Dwarves and a wizard against a dragon, or a young wizard with a scar going to a school hidden from reality. The one thing that denies sorcery here is that there are no superhumans here, and there is no deus ex machina. There is certain amount of role that fate has to play, but more of the job is done by the humans themselves.

There are only two actors in the movie, who are alive and shows their living faces. There are other astronauts for sure along with the voices, and there are dead bodies, and we see one of them floating around in space with almost a transparent face and a few others inside the space-shuttle, providing some moments of small shocks which work quite fine. Sandra Bullock is there or almost the whole time, and she comes up with what might be her best performances so far. She makes this survival movie her own, right from the beginning to the end. The fact that her character is too simple and ordinary, and none of her decisions come from the text books, make this one a dynamic character of infinite proportions in the infinite space of nothingness. George Clooney’s presence is small compared to our protagonist, but when he is there, one can think about, and can feel the awesomeness. The one memorable thing about this character is that there is the knowledge about when to let go and how to make not only his fellow characters in the screen, but also those outside the screen comfortable enough.

The life in infinite space has immense possibilities, and the survival in such a world with nothing to hold onto and and no hope to call or inform anyone for help is more than just another usual distress situation. Open Water and Open Water 2: Adrift made such worlds possible with their protagonists left hopeless in the middle of the ocean, but Gravity takes further steps into such helplessness when there is not even water, earth or any living creature nearby, and there is not even that distant hope of someone coming to help or trying to swim in order to reach somewhere. So, here comes the use of 3D. The Hindi movie Warning which was inspired from Open Water 2: Adrift tried some luck with it, but as we have seen before, it is rarely used effectively. But Gravity scores there with its spectacular use of 3D and all the resources which are available. It creates that connection with the audience with its 3D and visual effects, and it is that beauty on the screen and the technology that makes this one close enough to a beautiful thriller.

It is an experience worthy of being watched on the big screen. It is indeed one of the best visually stunning 3D experiences ever. The first person shots and the detail of the world requires special mention, as it takes the viewers closer to that experience of space, its beauty and its terrors. The magic of cinema in the theatre begins here, again with this “cine-magic”, or rather it started with the trailer of The Hobbit: Desolation of the Smaug. In spite o all these, Gravity will struggle to impress most of the viewers if watched on television or DVD, and that is a sure thing. If I had waited and watched this on another smaller medium, I might have just given this something around sixty five to sixty nine out of one hundred. There is that need to watch this with all its powers, and a smaller screen and the lack of 3D can only create that situation of being handicapped, and I would wonder why anyone would wish to watch a movie that is restricted to being half the flick that it is, when all its power lies in something and is stripped of the same.

There are still more that the viewers can ask for. On the local level, it is the presence of more shows, as it was there in just two multiplexes here; not something expected for such a movie; may be they scrapped it for movies which had stars who were more famous in this part of the world. On a more global needed, there was the need for more of George Clooney, a little bigger plot and thus a longer movie. But those are more of desires rather than needs. Gravity is pretty much exceptional in what it has achieved, even if it has done so not in a way that most of the viewers might have wanted it to. The movie itself works on the lack of gravity than gravity itself, just like it denies itself the opportunity to be just another exaggerated science fiction or a violent thriller. It defies all conventions and keeps faith on technology and the magic that is cinema, and thus honours all its viewers as well as its predecessors. There is the need for movies like Gravity, as without it, we might fail to understand the power of a medium such as cinema.

Release date: 11th October 2013 (India); 4th October 2013 (US)
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney (+emptiness, darkness, void and corpses)

gravity copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.