Nocturnal Animals

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What is the movie about? :: Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) receives the manuscript of a novel written by her former husband Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal). It is named Nocturnal Animals after Edward’s special nickname for Susan. After an art gallery show, and while going through a flawed marriage to an unfaithful man and a busy businessman who doesn’t have much for, Hutton Morrow (Armie Hammer), she is disturbed and has almost no sleep during the nights. In a world which seems to have nothing much to her, she hopes for change, and it is brought to her by this book dedicated to her. She becomes completely immersed in the novel, and that also brings back the memories of her with Edward, a relationship which she once considered to be full of love.

The story of the novel :: The novel titled Nocturnal Animals tells the story of a man named Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal) who leads a family of three, including his wife and daughter. He is a calm and peaceful man who comes across three local criminals, Ray (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Lou (Karl Glusman), and Turk (Robert Aramayo ) during a long trip with his family through the countryside during late night. There is no real reason, but still a confrontation occurs between them and Tony, and his wife Laura (Isla Fisher) and their daughter India (Ellie Bamber) are kidnapped by the young men looking for trouble. Tony is unable to do anything to stop the three men, and somehow manages to get to a nearby farmhouse to call the police for help.

How the novel continues with its tale :: Detective Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) is assigned to the case of missing women, and as a dedicated officer, begins the investigation rgiht away. There is no clue about the criminals in the beginning, but the corpses of Laura and India are found inside an abandoned building. Tony is angry and frustrated with his inability to protect his loved ones and wishes for vengeance. But soon, he will have his chance, as Bobby is also looking forward to bringing the criminals to justice with what might be his final case. Still, there might not be enough evidence to frame all three of them, and they wonder if the best chance here is to take the law into their hands – but are they ready for the same?

The defence of Nocturnal Animals :: There is beauty and intensity in the way in which this tale is presented to the audience – we get to go through both the tales which are not directly connected to each other, even though deep inside, the same feeling runs through. The incidents in the story within the story is also a reflection of the happenings of the other, as the protagonist losses his wife as well as the child who was aborted, due to his own inability to stop the process, even as he feels that he really could have. It is loss of love and the never ending suffering that is shown in both tales, one violent as it is shown clearly as a simple tale of loss and vengeance, and the other deeply moving inside even though shown less outside.

The claws of flaw :: Nocturnal Animals is surely not a movie for everyone, as it can easily make people stop watching it very early itself. You might feel the need in the opening sequence itself, and it also remains slow for some more time – but surviving these moments is necessary to feel what comes after them, and as we get further in, we understand that this is one of the most different tales of people of our time, and there is a clear reflection of how bad the relationships can go, as what one thinks as love is not always the same, and infatuation and the pretension of love is never really the same as what goes underneath. It is up-to the viewer to get into this movie, and also go deep into its two tales to make things work. It is that kind of a movie which will work the best as long as you keep thinking and connecting all things together. Nocturnal Animals is for the kind of people who connect well, and feel the connection deeply.

Performers of the soul :: Among the cast, it is Amy Adams’ performance that strikes the viewers first, as she is indeed the protagonist of the real world, while Jake Gyllenhaal strikes us hard from the imaginary world inside the novel, which also doesn’t feel less real. After Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and before the upcoming Justice League, Amy has one other movie, Arrival, and combined with Nocturnal Animals, make her the one performer to look out for from the last year. It is the character’s fears and insecurities that get best shown here, especially that of turning into her own mother. We know what Jake Gyllenhaal is capable of, and his character goes through suffering not just in the imaginary world, but also in the real one – we remember Enemy too, don’t we? Michael Shannon’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor at 89th Academy Awards and the same for Taylor-Johnson at BAFTA comes as no surprise either.

How it finishes :: Nocturnal Animals is the kind of movie that would have required a lot of skill to bring it through to the audience, and if we think more about the same, a certain amount of skill is required not just on one side, but also on two. It tells us that love is not love just because you had an infatuation during your youth – it is about responsibility, and about being there when the other person needs you the most. You don’t really fall in love just because you think that you do – then you do that with different people too often. It is a lesson that the new generation needs when they are in love just by seeing one side of the one that they love – it is never going to last long, and after knowing that the person who loved might not be the same as the one who is in the marriage, where does the love before marriage stand? So, is it better to start falling in love after marriage? Well, Nocturnal Animals brings different things to ponder about for different people it is that kind of a flick with raw emotions.

Release date: 18th November 2016
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Tom Ford
Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Isla Fisher, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Sheen, Ellie Bamber, Karl Glusman, Robert Aramayo, Graham Beckel, India Menuez, Zawe Ashton, Jena Malone, Kristin Bauer van Straten

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Midnight Special

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Vampire Owl: Now this one should be more about us.

Vampire Bat: What? I don’t see why!

Vampire Owl: It is midnight special. We are people of the midnight.

Vampire Bat: That was long ago. We are anywhere at any moment of time these days.

Vampire Owl: But what about our attacks during midnight?

Vampire Bat: The special plans are no longer limited to midnight, and there are no attacks.

Vampire Owl: But I do come up with attacks. Even on the last midnight, I scared twenty three people from outside their room’s windows.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but as a whole, we are a peace loving community.

Vampire Owl: Never mind. I will launch my personal attacks with my zombie minions.

Vampire Bat: As long as you keep it not connected to the vampire community, it should be fine.

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

What is the movie about? :: Roy Tomlin (Michael Shannon) and his friend, a former state trooper Lucas (Joel Edgerton) are on the run with an eight year old boy named Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher), as alerts keep coming on the television about a missing boy with Roy named as the kidnapper. Roy is revealed to be the father of the boy, but he has been trying to escape from both the government as well as a mysterious and fanatic religious cult, both who have been chasing the group of three. But the group is not willing to stop at any cost, and hopes to get further away from those who wants to capture them. The boy who is extremely photosensitive is protected by them, who are joined by Sarah Tomlin (Kirsten Dunst) who is the boy’s mother who is extremely delighted to see them again, but is not happy with almost the whole country chasing them.

So, what is it really about? :: This fanatic religious cult called The Ranch has been raising Alton for a long time, as he is supposed to be some kind of a saviour for them, who has come after years of prayers from them. Pastor Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepard) will not stop until he has his cult’s messiah back with them, and has sent his people to find the boy. At the same time, Agent Paul Sevier (Adam Driver) finds encoded satellite transmissions in the pastor’s sermons which is supposed to have been found from Alton’s talks, and it has FBI right after them, finding the boy as a threat to the national security. more and more people seems to be after them, with running and hiding becoming rather too difficult for the group. With time running out for them, they decide to keep fighting.

So, what happens next? :: The fact that this special boy even brought one satellite down just because it was tracking them, doesn’t help their case at all. One boy with so much of power seems to be something which the government can’t afford to go free – they surely has more plans for him, as there are more people after him after causing what seemed to be a meteor shower in the form of a destroyed satellite. They are also involved in terrible confrontations with state troopers and don’t get much of help from even their old friend from the cult. As the journey goes on, the boy only gets weaker and weaker. With him seeming to be extremely sick and might even possibly die, there seems not be not many options around other than to give up. But Alton himself has another idea for him, which none of his guardians can agree to. In the end, will they find the secret behind his powers and get him to safety?

The defence of Midnight Special :: There is a different story in store here as this science fiction flick’s divergence works throughout its run. Its specialty should be that it keeps the supernatural at a distance rather than exposing it to us in the beginning itself. It successfully keeps us guessing in the beginning stages as we wonder what this boy is all about, and what big twist is coming up near end. There is something huge going to happen, but we have no idea what it is, and the more we guess, the more we get confused – this one provides that kind of a feeling throughout its stages. The whole movie goes on like some chase, and our protagonists rarely get to stop here or there. The power of visuals are there when they are used to the movie’s advantage, even though that last very less. We are also left with the hope for a sequel in the midst of an emotionally powerful ending that comes as the end is reached, and you know that the drama works towards the end – the finish has its sadness.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Midnight Special is a movie which had the potential to do something better both with its philosophy as well as its content which wanders rather too much on the emotional side, due to which the ending is also not a thrilling one – something which has surely contributed well to its lesser total collection from the theatres. If there was more focus on what was happening rather than diving deep into the emotional side without enough explanations, this one could have done a lot better for the common man as well as those who think. There are mysteries that are not solved, and there are moments which could have been presented in a better way. With some signs of the visual spectacle which it could have been, also there, maybe there was surely the idea to do more, but it was to make itself just a good movie instead of becoming that special movie which was to stay in our minds for a long time.

How it finishes :: One special thing about Midnight Special even when it slows down in pace so much, is that it is a science fiction movie with a stronger human side than many others including Interstellar and Gravity. With Michael Shannon coming up with an emotionally powerful performance, and Kirsten Dunst supporting the same later, we have Joel Edgerton’s character as the most likable, and Jaeden Lieberher does a very good job as the kid too. Despite not everyone liking this movie in this same way considering it as a flick which would depend on the tastes of people to have it loved, one can be sure that Midnight Special will affect its viewers in one way or the other. You will also wish that it was a better movie, but one feels that this is exactly how the makers wanted the movie to work, and in no other way. Take your time and find what can be termed “special” in Midnight Special.

Release date: 18th March 2016
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard, Paul Sparks, Nathan Brimmer, Bill Camp, Scott Haze, James DuMont, Billy Slaughter, Sean Bridgers

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Batman v Superman

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Vampire Owl :: I am not in favour of such people who claim to have powers above our kind. And they call superheroes only to fight each other? Strange, isn’t it?

Vampire Bat :: I don’t think that you should mind; Superman is from far beyond our realm; he is not even part of a known planet.

Vampire Owl :: Still, I think that there is going to be too much of a superhero crowd here.

Vampire Bat :: I had reserved that dialogue for Captain America: Civil War, and when there are X-Men around.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1355-batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice

There are not many movies which the audience has been waiting for, during this year, as much as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This follow-up to Man of Steel has taken almost three years to be finally there for the audience to enjoy the weekend, and this time, it is for Easter. With movies like Wonder Woman, Justice League Part One, The Flash, Aquaman and Justice League Part Two lined up to follow, this one had to arrive at least now, to create that much needed base for Justice League and the other lesser known heroes to the fans outside North America and Europe.

Time has passed after the battle between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) which spread chaos and destruction all around the city of Metropolis. There were a lot of casualties, and the wound was not healed with time, as the new superhero had transformed into a controversial figure, with some people appreciating his presence as the savior of mankind while the others finding him as a threat and the false god – someone who is more of an alien than a man for the people on Earth. ­The television channels take over that particular topic and as it continues to be the hot item for discussion, there is someone who is a lot mad at this superhuman.

Batman (Ben Affleck) is a very unhappy man, as Bruce Wayne had his own troubles with that particular battle between the two aliens. After twenty years of fighting crime in Gotham City, he feels that it is his chance to avenge this alien for the death and destruction which he showered upon humanity with one big battle. At the same time, Clark Kent finds Batman as that kind of dangerous vigilante who should be stopped from taking law into his own hands when police should be handling such cases. With Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) also feeling the need to get rid of Superman, he will find a way to make the two heroes battle each other while having another plan in his mind.

The number of people waiting for this movie has been very high, even more than the grand wait for Captain America: Civil War. The need to watch the two big superheroes going against each other was what everyone really wanted to see. Even though that surely happens, it is not exactly what the movie is about. There is too much of time taken in this movie to get to that, and the basic idea is also not about their dislike for each other. With Wonder Woman not that much utilized, the movie’s aim just becomes establishing something like a base to bring the Justice League idea into the scene, even though that is not done with full strength either.

The movie is still with some very nice moments, and the action sequences work pretty much fine around here. It is also one of those rare opportunities to see Batman and Superman, along with Wonder Woman together in a movie – there are the others too, like Aquaman, The Flash and The Cyborg, but they are just present there in some videos. Batman also has too many dream sequences to make one wonder what the motive behind the same might be. The viewers do end up wishing that something better was created out of the material with two superheroes having similar thoughts of saving the world, but being so different from each other that it creates tension.

Unfortunately for the movie, the villain played by Jesse Eisenberg is just not menacing enough – this is not the Lex Luthor whom we had wished to see around here. Both Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck plays the too simple superheroes here, as they just go through their plans without much of the thoughts behind them – the audience might have felt that there could be more behind their ideologies, but things seems to go rather straight and clear with this movie, which troubles the cause. Amy Adams as Lois Lane has things going better, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is the one who scores the most as any superhuman – at least her side is rather clear here, and it is one character that never goes down the level in this movie.

This one might also be the worst movie from Zack Snyder who has directed movies like 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch and Dawn of the Dead. The best thing about this movie though, is that the audience is going to be treated with some bigger movies with roots in this particular flick; Gal Gadot is sure to be an awesome Wonder Woman in the big movie which is to arrive, as that is proven here with ease. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is surely not that bad, but it is not up-to the expectations either. You can still watch this one for the action sequences, and also for having that base for what is to follow with the movies which are on the list to arrive.

Release date: 25th March 2016
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Michael Cassidy, Kevin Costner, Christina Wren, Michael Shannon, Carla Gugino, Robin Atkin Downes, Patrick Wilson, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Patrick Leahy, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Soledad O’Brien, Anderson Cooper, Nancy Grace, Charlie Rose

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Man of Steel

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Behold this moment, for this is that period of time when our childhood superhero, the most popular one of that time, would seem to be someone else when we look at the name of the movie which features him, but then we realize that he is still Superman.  He is the Man of Steel, as Batman is the Dark Knight, both rises and without any doubt, both would end. Both have changed and evolved so much that one can no longer use the common joke about Superman and Batman, what differentiates them from the common man without superpowers is the way they make the underwear into outerwear; for The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel no longer comes with the same, may be they found it incredibly difficult to find one, or in more modern terms, it doesn’t suit the new generation of so called stylish people who despite their own traditions in every possible way.  It is still good that they have learnt that what is to be worn inside should remain inside.  Actually, they are both not the superheroes who continue the legacy, as they move out of it.  Another thing is about this Steel Man and the Iron Man; considering the success of the Man of Iron, may be Man of Steel can make an impact close to enough to it, at least with the adults who still think Superman is a little childish, and with no doubts, too powerful for anyone to like. So, this is a new superhuman, as the alien takes a turn at the road not taken except for Christopher Nolan’s Batman.

This movie begins in another solar system, another galaxy, which might be strange for a superhero movie, as it is not usually expected unless the protagonist is He-Man of Eternia with all the focus on Castle Grayskull. But, this is a change which works quite well. We see that when the planet Krypton is facing total annihilation due to an unstable core, Jor-El and his wife Lara launch a small spaceship carrying their newborn son Kal-El and a genetic codex. Zod arrives in time, but fails to stop the launch; in rage, he murders Jor-El, but is captured, and he and his supporters are imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, a prison which holds its prisoners who suffer for almost eternity, thus serving as a device for damnation beyond the control of Satan. But they manage to escape when Krypton explodes and their control over the jail is gone. They travel around different planets looking for life as well as things to salvage. Meanwhile, Kal-El lands on Earth and is discovered by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who name him Clark and raise him as their son. So, the Earth’s location and its peculiarities provide the kid with superhuman abilities, which he manages to control with the help of his foster parents. This is where Superman begins his second phase, and the first known phase of this whole sequence of origins.

Living a wanderer’s life fearing for his own power and the possible reaction of the people of Earth about his strength and abilities, he finds a Kryptonian spaceship fron under the ice and meets the hologram of his own father which explains to him more about himself and his origins. The Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane comes to know about the same, but decides not to publish about him without his consent. Meanwhile, Zod finds his existence and comes to Earth with his followers and it is where the twist of fate takes place and the fun begins with the life or death situations, not just for Superman, but also for all Earthlings, all threatened by the superior technology and weapons of the Kryptonians as well as their superhuman strength on Earth. As he plans to terraform Earth and make it another Krypton, eradicating the whole population and replacing them with the Kryptonians with the help of the genetic codex, Superman chooses the side with which he is not supposed to get along despite his own evolution, that is humans. This is the choice which will define him in what is to come, as he is the alien, ghost as well as the guardian angel. With the help of the military and whatever is on his side, he has to prepare for the final battle, as the Kryptonians launch a world engine which terraforms the planet.

I guess Zack Snyder’s movies have never really disappointed me it, as Dawn of the Dead was good, Watchmen was even better, 300 was very impressive, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole had my attention, Sucker Punch was much above the expectations, and here is Man of Steel which raises the expectations for the upcoming 300: Rise of an Empire for which it is incredibly difficult to wait. That should be a hundred percent record which is not seemingly inclined towards being broken. To add to it, the Greek hero of Immortals & the fairy tale princess-to-be from Enchanted make such a genuine combination on-screen even between such complexity and duality which surround an extraterrestrial heritage of thirty three years. Henry Cavill makes that super impact while Amy Adams as Lois Lane makes that character much more dearer to the viewers. Princess Giselle or Amelia Earheart from Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian will now be more of Lois Lane, and that less known Theseus surely has a more powerful real demi-god status this time. But this Superman is not just any other alien, as he is more human than any of the most wretched Earthling. He is more concerned about Earth and human life than the average common man who feeds on his own people and the mother nature. Superman is less involved with that title “super” which is a relief, as it is that word which one uses as a lie when many other words fail; welcome relief again.

As the movie is more inclined towards the Dark Knight series in its theme, but still resembles The Avengers in its alien invasion sequences, there is more to look forward to. Michael Shannon plays the impressive villain, General Zod – an iconic supervillain for sure. The villain is made for what he does, as the newborn babies are all created to be someone; to follow a path or duty – there is no moment when the person looks less focused on the one aim which is the return of Krypton’s life. It is more of a reflection of the current age, when the children are programmed into professional courses, rather than letting them make a choice. The result is just a profit-oriented world without morality and values, slowly moving towards total annihilation as in the case of Krypton. Antje Traue as Faora makes the villain’s sidekick, may be even as good as the General himself. Going back to her role in Pandorum, she is that person one might wish to watch in most of the action movies. Her fight sequence with Superman can be considered second only to the final battle. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, the editor in chief of the Daily Planet, is that role which is surely going to be explored a lot in case of a sequel. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane plays the roles of Superman’s adoptive parents, and Russel Crowe and Ayelet Zurer his real parents from Krypton, providing some of the best emotional moments of the movie.

The movie is about choices, as Superman chooses to be human and not of his kind, and also chooses to hide between the people with whom he doesn’t belong. He also chooses to end his planet’s last hope of survival by helping the Earthlings. That might have brought the end of his culture and heritage, and all those which he could have achieved as the hero of his own race. In all these decisions, he makes him the most vulnerable, more mentally than physically. Superman is more of a man than the super being, something we could never associate with him during our childhood. Right now, it will be just right to say that he has made himself the most righteous superhero, many times better than Iron Man, and also above his nearest competitors who are Batman and Spider-Man. Well, this is set to break box-office records for sure, and it is already pulling in too much crowd at this part of the world even for those shows which are usually not even a quarter full. The lower critical ratings of this movie compared to the ones like The Avengers and Iron Man 3 forms another thing which is out of this world. The former has such ratings that even Superman might decide to choose any random Kryptonite prison for eternity rather than seeing these one-sided opinions which so many people are actually forced to believe. The movie also proves this dialogue from Kill Bill wrong: “Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman.” Superman became superman because Earth made him so; he was nothing at Krypton. Everybody has life molded by choices, whether it is Superman, Count Dracula, Batman or Skeletor, and it is faith, belief and hope that guides one side, and the exact opposites the other.

So, Man of Steel is a must watch for all action fans, as this genesis go back to the planet of Krypton with stunning visuals and powerful sound effects. There is still the emotional element which has not let go; not yet. The effect of The Dark Knight series is also something which seems to hide, but still stays there. The action sequences are breath-taking, and one can see how well one superhero does all that the whole team in The Avengers could barely manage to do – some might disagree, and they can have enough reasons for that. Here is the man who can smash and also get beaten up like the Hulk and Thor, be aggressive and agile as the Iron Man, be righteous and true to the cause like Captain America, be as accurate as the Hawkeye, and be a better fighter than the Black Widow. This one has won the battle of superheroes this year, as Iron Man 3 would surely have to take the backseat, not by a long distance though, for both would seem to belong to different genres as we consider the souls of them. Thor: The Dark World wouldn’t stand a chance as far as the things seem to be now. This is where you see the need for He-Man and The Phantom again, but this year has been booked by the alien from the other planet, and there is nothing to be done other than to watch this one and enjoy it.

Release date: 14th June 2013
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.