Now You See Me 2

nowyouseeme2

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the first movie? I loved it.

Vampire Bat: Yes, remember that I recommended it to you when you were practising black magic.

Vampire Owl: It was something like grey magic. Don’t overdo it.

Vampire Bat: There is no grey magic. It was just neutral dwarf magic.

Vampire Owl: Still, I did better than these people. I had magical flexibility of the immortal kind.

Vampire Bat: I loved the first movie. It was too good.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it was something which had a lot to keep us interested in the journey through the world of magic.

Vampire Bat: There is also a third movie coming up.

Vampire Owl: Now you believe me when I say that magic never dies.

Vampire Bat: I am not sure about that, but this franchise is certain to live long.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: About an year after outsmarting the FBI and all who were after them, the Four Horsemen or what remains of them – J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are hiding and preparing for a big event which is to come, but they don’t know what awaits them. Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) had left the Horsemen and they are left with three, which gets them the fourth member in the form of Lula (Lizzy Caplan), making the team complete again. Tired of waiting for their next big event, Daniel does try to contact the Eye by himself, and gets the reply that there is something huge coming. The FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) finally assigns them a new mission, which is about exposing the greedy businessman Owen Case (Ben Lamb) who is stealing private data from people with his new software.

So, what happens next? :: The team of four successfully infiltrate the grand programme organised by Owen, and are so close to getting to their objective, but are interrupted by an unknown person who reveals to the crowd that Jack who was thought to be dead is actually alive, and Dylan is actually a part of the Horsemen and has been fooling the FBI right from the beginning itself. This forces Dylan to escape, and the Horsemen who enters their escape tube resurfaces at Macau and are welcomed by Chase McKinney (once again played by Woody Harrelson), Merritt’s twin brother who has the reputation of making his brother’s life a living hell. There they meet Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), who used to Owen’s business partner who who had been deprived of his company and had faked his death after Owen gained full control of everything he had worked for. For the same, he seeks revenge, and wishes to steal from Owen a chip which could decrypt anything in the world.

The defence of Now You See Me 2 :: Some movies will stay with you for long with the magic inside them, and the first movie was like that, with magic within magic, and this one kind of inherits that quality, but only upto an extent. There is entertainment guaranteed, and there are those twists as there is more to Walter who had made the Horsemen steal the chip with vengeance around the corner – there is also more than what meets the eye for the character Thaddeus Bradley too. They are the kind of twists you hadn’t expected that you would see in a second movie; well you never really expected a sequel and so that is another twist. When you feel that this is not going as you had expected, there is that one final twist that gets things together to end the movie well. In the end, one will wonder if it is the superior quality of the first movie that has made this one feel not that awesome – but this is still good in its own style anyway.

The claws of flaw :: A comparison with the first movie will make this one feel less significant as a movie with magic, as the original Now You See Me was the innovator, and it had more strength in the delightful surprises coming from within, instead of twisting things like this sequel does at times. This might also be a little too complicated for many, while not bringing enough of those magical effects. The magic used to be more beautiful, and without doubt, more interesting earlier – but this one often pretends that it doesn’t know the strengths of that first movie which was appreciated by so many people. There are times when we feel that this movie was made more to capitalize on the success of the first movie, and nothing else. Even then, this movie somehow manages to be too long. This one could have used better ideas and more inspiration which would have made Now You See Me 2 rise above its predecessor – but it doesn’t come close.

Performers of the soul :: We once again have the horsemen as entertaining performers here, and the movie depends a lot on them to bring the fun and style to the screen. Jesse Eisenberg leads the way as expected, but one is sure to feel that his character was better in the first movie. Mark Ruffalo remains solid, even when his character goes on to make some of the stranger decisions. Woody Harrelson’s second role was kind of unnecessary, but he is right there with the main role. Dave Franco does the same as he did in the first movie, while Lizzy Caplan becomes a good addition with her best scene being the introduction itself, but everyone is sure to miss Isla Fisher who was such an integral part of the first movie – her replacement here also has her moments, which you are sure to notice. Daniel Radcliffe brings some difference as the villain, but he is not that interesting an antagonist throughout the movie as you go through. Morgan Freeman’s extension of secrets made sure that he had our attention with the character doing much more than we thought.

How it finishes :: You are not going regret watching Now You See Me 2, and if you haven’t watched the first movie, you are only going to love this one a lot more. This one also leaves us asking for more from a sequel which seems all set to arrive. The universe of Now You See Me has been expanded further, and we are more certain to see that there is a lot more to come, especially regarding “The Eye”. There is never enough of magic in our lives, right? The need for an answer to this question is not really there, as we know how much these two movies grossed. So lets see if the third movie becomes a better one that rises to the occasion nicely enough to make this trilogy an unforgettable one, or if it fails to come anywhere close, and thus leaving us with nothing to finish this franchise which had all the potential in the world. We shall hope, and wait for the magic; until then, this one will prove good enough.

Release date: 10th June 2016
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Lizzy Caplan, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Jay Chou, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Jay Chou, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, David Warshofsky, Richard Laing, Zach Gerard, Zoey Callandria Jones, Alberto Calvet Gonzalez

nowyouseeme2

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Last Witch Hunter

thelastwitchunter-2

Vampire Owl :: This could really be a movie about the Lich Queen.

Vampire Bat :: What? No, there is no lich here; only the common witches are in this movie.

Vampire Owl :: Well, you are underestimating her; she is everywhere.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, her definition of everywhere doesn’t include the movies.

Vampire Owl :: Okay, that guess didn’t work that well.

Vampire Bat :: And making a witch movie is always easier than making a lich movie.

Vampire Owl :: Just like making Season of the Witch.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that the easiest thing to do with a witch story is to link it to the plague?

Vampire Owl :: How can I know? I wasn’t there at that time of the plague.

Vampire Bat :: Just watch the movie, will you?

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is it about? :: Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is a witch hunter from the medieval age who is known to have slain a Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht) – a remorseless creature from the dark side which was responsible for spreading a plague in an attempt to destroy the whole humanity. Cursed with eternal life after losing his family, centuries later, he works as a veteran witch hunter for a secret group known as the Axe and Cross, which aims to keep the order at the right place concerning witches and humans. Any use of magic against humans is forbidden, and the witches will be imprisoned in that case. He is feared by all witches around the globe, and is aided by a man appointed as the 36th Dolan (Michael Caine) in his work against evil.

So what happens next? :: But as his old friend Dolan 36 is murdered and a new partner Dolan 37 (Elijah Wood) is appointed, Kaulder goes on the search for the strange dark magic which is responsible for the fate of his old friend who is caught in a curse rather than the suspected death. He attempts to use the help of a witch, Chloe (Rose Leslie) to restore his memories about his death and return to life, but is attacked by Ketola (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), a powerful witch. Both escape and gets back to the mission together, only to find that all these were planned by the Witch Queen and her minions to make sure that she can return to this land many years later and finish what she had started – the annihilation of all humans for a better world.

And then to the present :: They try to create new potions with resources from Miranda (Aimee Carrero), but she is also murdered as the witches seem to be one step ahead of them all the time. They seek help from another witch Danique (Dawn Olivieri), but she only tries to finish him off, but Chloe who is a dream walker, saves him from the side-effects of the drug which he has. With the use of ancient dark magic, the witches seems to get stronger, and the return of the powerful Witch Queen is only supposed to make things terrible and beyond control. The future of humanity rests on the last witch hunter. With such enormous evil ready to return, can Kaulder stand ground and defeat the returning witch?

The defence of The Last Witch Hunter :: The basic idea of this movie might be predictable, but is nicely worked out with Vin Diesel stealing the show as the immortal hunter of witches. There are signs of some smart ideas here and there as we go through the movie. The special effects are nice, and there are some fine visuals for sure. There are some nice detail with the creature known as Sentinel, and also with the Witch Queen as well as her lair. The presence of Rose Leslie of Game of Thrones fame makes things better, as she is that kind of an actress who can make fine impact even the story is not really going that well. The Last Witch Hunter does try to be different even though not completely succeeding in the same – but it succesfully becomes an interesting one.

The claws of flaw :: There was always more to have done with this particular story, as it is often confused about how to make things better – the premise was so good here, but not fully utilized to its advantage. A huge battle between the witch hunter and the large number of witches was supposed to happen, but nothing like that could really get going. There was also the opportunity to show so much of magic, and the spells could have made things more enjoyable. The return of Witch Queen could have also been something that could cause more massive devastation, but here when that comes, it is just about the witch hunter, the dream walker and those restricted battles – it is more like rushed towards that end.

How it finishes :: One has to wonder if this movie could have used Rose Leslie’s character better, as she is a dream walker witch here; there could have been even more fight scenes along with the magic – we can never stop asking for more from this movie. When trying to bring a world which looks so good with the special effects, maybe if this movie had focused more on making the plot bigger and smarter with better assertion on the evil that the queen brings with a lot of magic, this one could have achieved better at the box-office as well as with the critics. But as of now, it is still an interesting movie which works as an action-fantasy flick with Vin Diesel going strong at the centre.

Release date: 23rd October 2015
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Breck Eisner
Starring: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Julie Engelbrecht, Michael Caine, Rena Owen, Isaach De Bankolé, Lotte Verbeek, Dawn Olivieri, Inbar Lavi, Aimee Carrero, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Allegra Carpenter, Kurt Angle, Joe Gilgun

thelastwitchhunter

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Interstellar

interstellar (3)

Vampire Owl :: What if we don’t get the tickets?

Vampire Bat :: Most probably, we won’t get tickets.

Vampire Owl :: Really? Then why are we going?

Vampire Bat :: Because the movie has a wormhole through which may be getting a ticket is possible. It is called Big Hero 6 which should attract all the family audience and spare Interstellar.

Vampire Owl :: If we don’t book the tickets, the only thing that we are going to find should be a black hole. This is the movie of the weekend. Most of the shows at a good number of places are already booked a lot earlier in advance.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that Big Hero 6 has better reviews than Interstellar?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but I am allergic to animated movies these days. So, going to the multiplex and watching any available movie won’t work.

Vampire Bat :: Okay, then take out that card and book the tickets. Wait, is that a tattoo on the side of your head?

Vampire Owl :: Yes. I am the owl with the dragon tattoo. Soon, I shall play with fire and then kick a hornet’s nest. It will improve my confidence with owlifier a lot.

Vampire Bat :: Impressive nonsense. Now, can we just book the tickets?

[Goes to bookmyshow website].

What is it about? :: The movie takes into a far future when the world no longer needs engineers or scientists, but farmers as the world has been facing a severe shortage of food as crops are always affected by blight and huge dust storms become a frequent occurence. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former astronaut lives the life of a farmer in the countryside with his father, son and daughter. His daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) seems to have found some presence in her room which she feels is a ghost, and there are messages being sent, which after being decoded, gets them to a secret NASA building which is planning something huge. It is then revealed that the scientists are attempting to find another planet instead of Earth to colonize, by travelling beyond the known solar system, through a wormhole formed near the planet of Saturn. As nobody else has undertaken a space journey outside simulator, Cooper is assigned the job. But the daughter is not happy about it, and as he decides to save humanity, what will happen to Earth as well as his relationship with his daughter?

The defence of Interstellar :: We have to admit that the movie is something of brutal strength. Christopher Nolan has got the balance here between the emotions and intellect as he keeps them together. The movie is heavy in its drama and at the same time, powerful in its action and special effects, and there lies the beauty of making a mixture which can taste good for more than one kind of viewer. The visual beauty remain stunning, and it is a shame that it didn’t release in 3D in this part of the world. We get a nice look at the heavenly objects and realize that they are indeed belonging to heaven. The two planets as well as the wormhole and the black hole catches our attention. The thrills are powerful, and there are enough twists to keep one guessing. There is no dull moment even when the movie is so long, and it keeps us immersed in the flow, not allowing us to drift away. Interstellar becomes an experience here, and not just a movie that we can watch in an objective manner. The sadness of watching something like Transcendence is drained away by this one too.

Claws of flaw :: The movie’s ending is rather less interesting, and especially with such a great setting and happenings, it needed a better finish; there is some lack of imagination there compared to the movie as a whole. There is also too much Physics being explained, and there we can see the failure to realize that we are not attending a science class but a science fiction; and none of those things are related to what we studied or applicable to real life – they could have just gone on with using “English” rather than scientific terms, and for everything else, there is our willing suspension of disbelief. There are times when visuals struggle too, especially with the looks of the spacecraft. Some dialogues are too overdome too, especially concerning the emotions, as the melodrama gets more powerful. The journey to other planets is not completely utilized, and there are lots of ambiguities that can be guessed, and the lack of the right explanations to be found; there is nothing like getting to point – here it is missing.

Performers of the soul :: Matthew McConaughey is brilliant here – no surprises or twists there as he handles the whole thing without even one flaw there. From the beginning itself, he seems to be clearly attached to the character and doing his best every moment. Anne Hathaway also plays her role to beauty, even as there are some dialogues from her which are rather awkward. But the emotional as well as the intellectual moments are nice whenever she is involved. She shares some of the best moments with the protagonist. Jessica Chastain is also good, and that can be said so because she plays a character which should have no love from the audience and she is successful in the same; being smart and educated doesn’t mean good and caring daughters as we can see in this movie – Mackenzie Foy did the role of the younger her very nicely too. David Gyasi was good there, no doubt. Michael Caine adds to it too. The acting department clearly wins those areas.

Soul exploration :: Interstellar shows us how minute we humans are, in a universe that is stretched beyond all imaginations, like the sand on a beach or like the drops of water that make an ocean. There are a few other movies which this one reminds me of, one of them is Event Horizon and the other is Pandorum. The former dealt with creating an aritificial black hole which used the power of gravity to bring together two points in the space to reduce time taken for space travel, the result being the ability to go beyond the known world into a dimension of evil. The latter had a spaceship going on a hundred and twenty three year journey with sixty thousand people to establish a colony on an Eath-like planet during which there are problems between the crew leading to strange turn of events. Interstellar has elements of these two movies, and I would say that I like those two better. But those movies won’t be that much known in comparison to this, thanks to the hype and the fan-boys. There is also the reminder of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Prometheus.

How it finishes :: Interstellar was one of the most anticipated movie for many, and undoubtedly among the most awaited movies in my list, and there is the huge expectation there which has made sure that the shows are full a lot earlier than they usually are. Even the two Malayalam movies released this weekend don’t seem to have that much rush, but there is that case of the presence in local theatres – still, how well Interstellar is doing is nothing less than a surprise considering the fact that this is the kind of response that only superhero movies and superstar stuff gets, but there is that effect that Gravity had created, still running in the minds. Christopher Nolan is also a name that catches the attention, and even people who haven’t understood Inception after watching for the “n”th time should be willing to take the risk. The collection should be big from this part of the world, and may be this can break the record of Transformers: Age of Extinction, the highest grossing movie of the year – who knows?

Release date: 7th November 2014
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Josh Stewart, Mackenzie Foy, Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck, Timothée Chalamet, John Lithgow, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, Matt Damon, William Devane

interstellar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Journey 2

journey2 (2)

What is Journey 2: The Mysterious Island? :: It is a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth which had Brendan Fraser in the lead with the comparatively less known Anita Briem along with Josh Hutcherson. It was based on the nineteenth-century novel of the same name by Jules Verne and had great special effects and CGI which could have been great in 3D or may be 4D. I couldn’t watch that one in 3D, but did manage to watch its sequel in its full power, and managed to watch it so many more times on television, thanks to Star Movies, or was it HBO? This sequel is based on another Jules Verne novel, this time The Mysterious Island. Well, who better than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to replace Brendan Fraser? Both are my favourite actors indeed, and that makes this a special series for me, and I have to say that I liked the sequel better than the original, just by a slight margin. Michael Caine and Vanessa Hudgens are two great additions to the franchise.

The Setting :: The movie is loosely based on the novel, which I had read in its abridged form long ago. This version of the original classic has a grown-up Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson), years after the incident which involved his journey to the centre of the Earth with his uncle Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser). Just like Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne is the guide in the first movie, Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island is the guide this time. The journey continues to be personal, and through the new world, they will find new relationships and also strengthens what all were weak and struggling. There is a lot of potential for using the best CGI and all the special effects, and with the movie being released in 3D, there is a lot in store for the viewers here, even as the chance to watch it on the big screen has disappeared. It should still look pretty nice with a good cable connection and an LED television.

What is it about? :: Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) is back in action, as he tries to find his lost grandfather Alexander Anderson (Michael Caine) this time. With the help of his stepfather Hank Parsons (Dwayne Johnson), he deciphers the code which is supposed to have been sent by the grandfather even as he doesn’t get along with Hank much to the dismay of his mother Elizabeth (Kristin Davis). The stepfather and the son travel together to Palau according to the codes. There they assigns a helicopter guide Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) who agrees to take them to the dangerous island for three thousand United States dollars. The helicopter is caught in a storm and they crash into the island. There they encounter strange animals until coming up against a giant lizard, from which the grandfather saves them. Now the question remains if they can get out of the island which is going to sink in two days. In the process, they will have to get the aid or avoid a good number of creatures.

The defence of Journey 2 :: The movie’s best advantage is its graphics, as it has created an outstanding 3D world which clearly makes a point that it is indeed a mysterious island, and not of this world, nor connected to any logical or scientific factors of modernity. It is indeed funnier, and has more beautiful world compared to the original. It is an adventure which is friendly enough for all ages, and therefore clearly suitable for family viewing. The movie’s theme of family is mostly worked out well too, with the father-son, father-daughter bonding often working quite well in the background. There are a few impressive dialogues which they drop in here and there. There is a very well created chase scene involving giant bees and huge birds, as well as nice sequences involving the sinking of an island and a submarine which all look beautiful in 3D. It can boast of a strong 3D adventure inside it, supported by a literary work which brings in nostalgia to the mind.

The claws of flaw :: The movies similarities to the original novel as well as its connection to its predecessor are limited. There is your typical lack of logic, but it is covered by the background book as well as the brilliant special effects in 3D which takes you to another world. There is no contribution from a horror side, but simple, non-threatening world, and that often adds to the better impression it creates for families. It might also have a little bit of emptiness in it considering such a marvelous world it created and how it has brought up so much less and ended in just one and half hours. We watched it on the same day as Agneepath, which meant that this felt much shorter, especially considering how much of a pathetic and long movie the Hritik Roshan starrer Bollywood movie was – it was the worst movie of 2012 indeed, and thanks to The Rock and his team that the day was saved and I didn’t watch many Hindi movies after that in the year.

Performers of the Soul :: Josh Hutcherson has his moments, especially with Vanessa Hudgens, but The Rock steals the show, just like he does in any wrestling ring. I would be surprised if there is a good number of people who won’t watch the movie just for the man. Yes, you have to love him – he sings “What a Wonderful World” and also teaches his stepson something on how to get the attention of the lady; the man scores with the funny moments really well, even as the muscles come to donate a lot to the score quite often. When Dwayne Johnson is not scoring, it is Michael Caine who takes the lead only to lose it to the magnificent screen presence of the former WWE champion, one of the most popular Wrestling superstars ever. Vanessa Hudgens is there for the looks, and her cute and charming presence catches your attention if not the beauty and the clothing. She never looked better – no not even in Springbreakers; that was too much of a gorgeous side. Kristin Davis has very little to do, that too in the real world, while Luis Guzman is quite funny throughout.

How it finishes :: The movie works mainly due to Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine, and no surprises there. The movie is a fine mix of everything good and nothing unworthy of the family audience. It is not a classic movie which can justify the book on which it is based, but an entity which is of visual splendor, unlimited fun and awesome actors. There is absolutely no human character in the movie that you won’t like, and there is no real villain even in the form a creature of the mysterious island. It has taken out everything bad or evil from its core, and has filled it with more and more good and sweet things. Jules Verne won’t complaint about this though, neither will the authors of Treasure Island and Gulliver’s Travels – this indeed saves the world from the less interesting adaptation of the latter which was released in 2010. You can catch this one very often in the English movie channels; its quite a frequent visitor to the television, and if you have missed this one, you haven’t really been checking the channels enough.

Release date: 10th February 2012
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Caine, Luis Guzman, Kristin Davis

journeyii copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Dark Knight Rises

thedarkknightrises (4)

The one thing I am certain about this movie is that it is the one I have waited eagerly in 2012, and what I might differ in opinion with a few is that this is not among the best movies of the year. There is another element in which I would agree on, and it is that this is not the best of the series, and where I disagree is at the level of quality of each movie of the Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, with my favourites going in the same path as the timeline, as Batman Begins is my favourite, followed by The Dark Knight and this one, both separated by not much. But I wouldn’t do that without reasons. Ra’s al Ghul v/s Joker v/s Bane is a battle which has a clear winner for many, but The first one is a villain with something special, a big idea. But Batman Begins succeeds in its story, and the Scarecrow is a better villain than Two Face for sure. Both the Two Face and Bane were not used to their potential, and this is where the first movie of the series scores, as it built this triology out of nowhere, with nothing to support it at a time when Spider-Man and X-Men had the status of being the better loved heroes around here.

Without Batman Begins, there is no dark knight, a term which became incredibly popular and was even used with Novak Djokovic, not that much of an expected winner caught between the rivalry between Rafael Nadal who had clay in his pocket at that time, and Roger Federer who ruled the rest of the clay-less world. Therefore, it is just natural to pay the due respect to that movie which started them all. The Dark Knight had all its fame and glory only due to what the beginning had given its viewers, and I have to admit that I didn’t realize that the first time. But as long as the long list of origin stories are concerned, from X-Men Origins to the recently released Man of Steel, Batman Begins has a high place. The Dark Knight Rises continues that legacy which was handed over to it by the more critically acclaimed and more hyped second movie, and has completed the trilogy in style. The problem which this movie has to face is the long trail of near-perfection in the superhero genre that its predecessors had left for this one, and the same thing is both the good thing and the bad thing for this movie; for this one could improve on box-office, as it went on to overtake its predecessors and become the eighth highest grossing movie of all time grossing over a billion United States dollars. But it is to be noted that unlike its predecessors, the film was not nominated for any Academy Awards.

Eight years have passed after Harvey Dent’s death and the covering of the existence of the Two Face. The organized crime has almost been wiped out completely. Feeling guilty for covering up Dent’s crimes and framing Batman for the same, Gotham City’s Police Commissioner James Gordon writes a resignation speech which revealed the truth concerning the two, but decides not to use it at the last moment. Batman has disappeared and Bruce Wayne has kept himself away from all the action. It is at this moment that a burglar Selina Kyle appears, known to most of the fans as the Cat Woman. Bane’s appearance is the other major thing which changes the scenario, as he intends to fulfill Ra’s al Ghul’s mission to destroy Gotham City and thus fulfill the aim of the League of Shadows. He punishes Batman and breaks his back, and then puts him in a prison from where escape is almost impossible. The fellow prisoners tell him the story of Ra’s al Ghul’s child, born in the prison and cared for by a fellow prisoner before escaping, the only prisoner to have ever done so – Batman assumes the child to be Bane, and his actions the revenge for what Batman did to his father.

Meanwhile, Bane traps Gotham police underground and destroys all the exits. He converts Bruce’s own reactor core into a nuclear bomb and uses the bomb to hold the city hostage and isolate Gotham from the rest of the world. Using Gordon’s speech which he had stolen, Bane reveals the cover-up of Dent’s crimes telling the people that the whole police action and passed laws based on Dent’s act was a lie and releases the prisoners from different jails. There is a kind of revolution and the wealthy and powerful have their money and property taken away, are dragged from their homes, and forced to trials presided over by Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a the Scarecrow, where any sentence means death on most occasions and otherwise exile. After months of recovery and training both the body and the mind to face Bane, Batman manages to escape the prison and reach Gotham City, and enlist the help of Cat Woman and the others. But with a pseudo-revolution on the run, and all the criminals on the streets with no police force to stop them, Batman has more than what he would wish for this time. It is up-to him to stop the man who broke his back with relative ease, and to prevent whatever Ra’s al Ghul had intended to do.

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne a.k.a Batman continues his conquests, and here his performance is lowered only due to the absence of a villain who was as good as those in the first two movies, and there is no intellectually superior mastermind who decides who lives and who dies, and there is no wretched of the soul who is half Loki and half Lucifer, made with everything evil and everything psychotic. Instead he has a militant who is more of a physical threat than mental. Unfortunately, his thoughts and decisions are not his alone and himself outsmarting Batman was not something for which he could take credit, and at that point, he loses his significance and still not his presence and power. Still, Tom Hardy’s Bane is excellent in what he does. Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle a.k.a Cat Woman becomes a revelation in the movie, and it is evident that she has trained extremely tried and tried her best to fit into that costume which so much physically demanding. Marion Cotillard outshines herself in the second half, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake comes up with a pleasant performance. Michael Caine and Gary Oldman plays the two normal characters in the movie who makes any impact.

Christopher Nolan did make Inception just a few years before this with that touch of brilliance, it was what stood between the two sequels; it was something which further accelerated the expectations. Here, we get some of it, and considering the fact that Batman has undergone evolution and there is no real base for the same, and there is no end to this superhero, we have to respect this title despite of the hype. It has done all that it could do, but it did nothing spectacular, and yet, this is very well done. It was a good decision to continue the Ra’s al Ghul legacy, and it was hundred percent a good decision not to make this in the 3D – full marks to that. There are movies that are to be enjoyed for fun, and even with all the entertaining elements in this movie, it scores slightly higher at the intellectual level rather than how it is supposed to happen in a regular superhero movie. The movie also leaves open slots, not just for a sequel, but also for a Cat Woman and a Robin spin-off as well as Justice League of America movie, in the model of The Avengers. It is certain that we haven’t seen even a little bit of what the DC’s cinematic universe has to offer its viewers. There is a lot coming, that is for sure with this one being the third highest grossing film of 2012 and also the third highest grossing superhero film of all time.

There is no doubt that the caped crusader has grown enough to lead the Mount Olympus of superheroes as the Zeus of this generation, with his biggest arch-rival Superman failing to live up-to the hype, and his next best rival Spider-Man slowly fading from the scene – both of them coming up with below-the-bat reboots which fails to challenge the Man-Bat. These three are challenged not by those superheroes of childhood, The Phantom and He-Man, but by the man they call Iron Man and his gang of Avengers, as well as X-Men, but they all follow a different path. The world’s greatest detective with the Bat logo has nothing to worry about his position right now, but in case of a reboot, it is all upto him to lose, as the rest have only gotten better. The concept of billionaire playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist itself already has been challenged by Iron Man, and with Man of Steel all the dark elements; The Amazing Spiderman has conquered the heroic elements, and whenever the abilities are glorified, there was X-Men First Class, with Wolverine to follow this year. Therefore, this domination of the dark knight is in a precarious position, and as this end to the trilogy was not as perfect as expected, there is surely a storm coming, and it would consist of more than one superhero. The only fear that I have is that can the Batman remain Batman for long, or will he be completely transformed into the dark knight, and Superman into the man of steel? It is that question which will be answered in a decade.

Release date: 20th July 2012
Running time: 165 minutes
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Juno Temple

thedarkknightrises copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Now You See Me

Nowyouseeme (7)

There has always been something special about magic, going as far as the wizards and sorcery, often even into necromancy summoning the apparitions or even the living corpses from the grave. That should be black magic or witchcraft, and Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus had the hero ending up giving his soul for it in not that romantic a way as in the movie Bedazzled. One can’t really abandon Goethe’s Faust in that case. But this movie has none of these deals with Mephistopheles, Lucifer, or Belzebub, and neither does it have walking dead, nor does it lead you to Hogwarts or to Narnia as the lord of a particular, incredibly powerful ring which will change your life in that fairy tale style. This is magic purely of this world, and connected to a crime as an engaging, powerful thriller. Magic has always been a thing arousing curiosity among the common cats of the world, but none of them stays killed or dead as part of it. Magic shows still have some of its essence which still affects the minds of the common man over his mundane existence, for being able to manipulate and create illusions still have that mysterious charm for the unexplained, no matter how much science and technology and the reason has improved. One needs to see how this movie has managed to do nothing special and still manages to be special!

But it is not yet a magic movie, or something which takes you to a magical environment like Harry Potter, Narnia or Lord of the Rings, and there are no goblins, hobbits, dwarves or elves, and this one is the story of tricks, illusions and deception, which doesn’t really make it of lesser quality. This is more of that magic which is closer to reality and the real world, and it is a caper movie – a crime fiction supported by magic; and it is Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen all of them explored with the support of magic provided in the right manner. If you loved Tower Heist and Entrapment, there is no option not to like this one, as there are the additions which you can’t reject. The focus of the story is still magic, and the four magicians who performs it not for money or for entertainment, but for a greater cause. There are thefts, and there are police, FBI and even Interpol involved in this heist movie, but what forms the base of all this is still magic, not as the fantasy and the mythological wonder that attracts the generations starting from kids, this one is more of that thriller which keeps you at the edge of your seats. The world of these magicians are more than what meets the eye, and therefore you see me at one moment and then you don’t, and for now you watch what is justified by the title Now You See Me!

We have to start by introducing our wonderful protagonists of deception; the four magicians—Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) the illusionist, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) the escape artist and former assistant of Daniel, Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) the street magician and master thief along with Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) the mentalist specialized in mind-reading abilities —are brought together by a mysterious benefactor who is shown only as a man in a hood and, one year later, they have a performance in Las Vegas identifying themselves as “The Four Horsemen” and is sponsored by a billionaire Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). During their first grand performance, the magicians invite a random member of the audience to help them in their next trick which is the first of its kind to be ever performed on stage, that is robbing a bank. The man is teleported to his bank in Paris, where he activates an airduct which vacuums up the money which brough down from the top onto their audience in the venue at Las Vegas. It is a bank in Paris that they are supposed to have robbed, and how they have done that to an institution in France from a location in the United States would remain a mystery to many.

FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) investigates the theft and is unwillingly partnered with Interpol Agent Alma Vargas (Melanie Laurent). They interrogate the Four Horsemen, but are forced to release them when no explanation for the theft can be found other than magic. The magicianis even taunt them and says that if they charge them as criminals, it means that their magic is real and that adds to their popularity. Dylan then meets a man who was present during the show and had video-taped the whole thing, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). He is known to be an former magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians’ tricks and have his fun with it. He tells them that the magicians had stolen the money long ago, and manipulated the audience as well as the police with their tricks and illusions into believing it happened at the moment of their show. He even shows a sample to Dylan after they have a look at the “site of the crime and the magic show”. He adds that the whole thing might have planned for months or even years and the group is up to something big and what was seen in Las Vegas was just the first of the samples.

The three of them attend the magicians’ next performance which is in New Orleans during the festival of Mardi Gras. The group’s manages a number of magic tricks including disappearing acts, floating in a bubble and even predicting the bank accounts of random people among the audience. Their last item involved them emptying their own sponsor’s bank account and distributing it to the audience, which had a good number of people whose insurance claims had been denied or reduced by Tressler’s insurance company in the name of a variety of reasons. The agents make an attempt to arrest the magicians, but they fails and even humiliates themselves, and becomes the breaking news in most of the television channels. Arthur hires Thaddeus to expose the fake tricks of the magicians and humiliate them before the public as revenge. Later, while researching on magic and the history of the world of illusions, Alma comes across the information about a secret society of magicians called “The Eye”, which exists unknown to the contemporary society of common man, and remains a myth. But if such a thing existed, the robberies were more of a test or initiation. She even suggests that the case might be connected to a magician whom Thaddeus had earlier exposed; the man was so embarrassed and depressed that he attempted a dangerous underwater stunt to prove his worth and drowned. Meanwhile, the Four Horsemen plan a final performance at New York City, which would decide many things.

Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco steal the show as the four horsemen who entertains not only the audience inside the movie, but also those outside with not only the thrills, but also the funny lines. They don’t really connect to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation directly with Conquest, War, Famine and Death, even as they do bring a disclosure, an uncovering which might come up more clearly in a possible sequel, as there is the concept of “The Eye” to add to it. I would suspect not only an upcoming apocalypse, but also a final judgement. It is stylish and also sure fun, and its use of CGI has been real appropriate as well as inspiring. Melanie Laurent has come a long way since Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, and successfully portrays her suspicious character and so does Morgan Freeman whose character remains in doubt of being the fifth horseman. Isla Fisher’s character has that charm which is matched only by Jesse Eisenberg’s illusionist. Forget Bruce Banner a.k.a The Hulk of The Avengers, for this should be his better or may be among the best performances, as he seems to have that balance in his character about which only the Hulk can have doubts. There might be the need for a little more explanation in case of the logic freaks, but the movie had a well-deserved clap from the audience in the multiplex after it finished, something which was this loud only with The Dark Knight Rises.

As the options at the theatre are considered, this would seem to be a clear winner at least at this part of the world. After Earth has been bulldozed by the critics as well as the viewers as far as the rottentomatoes and imdb ratings are concerned, and there are only a few shows of the movie around here, which opens that door for Now You See Me which might have been seemed locked before its release here. I would still like to watch the critically panned movie as I won’t trust them on my individual taste, even as there might be nobody to accompany me. Now You See Me has had its share of appreciation in the theatre itself, and I would expect it to bring more audience by the word of mouth, that passing of this magic, and more seats would be full even with a less known cast for the common man of the Indian subcontinent despite of the Will Smith – Jaden Smith power and the power-packed Bollywood releases which take hold of most of the shows along with its wonderful Malayalam counterparts; not to forget Hangover III, Fast & Furious 6 and Iron Man III, all three of those crowd-puller which have refused to go away from the big screens of the malls around here. I would vote for this movie as of now, as I consider this the best of the year 2013 so far, edging ahead of Star Trek: Into Darkness and Fast & Furious 6.

Release date: 7th June 2013 (India); 13th May 2013 (USA)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Mélanie Laurent, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

nowyouseeme copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.