Beyond Skyline

Vampire Owl :: What do you think awaits us beyond the skyline?

Vampire Bat :: The aliens. We know that from the first movie.

Vampire Owl :: Well, those creatures didn’t gain that much of a positive opinion that time.

Vampire Bat :: You know that all movies can’t be Alien Covenant or Prometheus.

Vampire Owl :: But movies certainly can be something in between them.

Vampire Bat :: An alien movie can still just be one, and not try for more.

Vampire Owl :: It is more or less like meeting the minimum requirements.

Vampire Bat :: Well, the minimum requirement for an alien movie is to have aliens.

Vampire Owl :: The need is more for having an alien invasion.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, that surely works better in most cases.

[Gets three cups of tea with paneer puffs].

A flashback to the first movie :: The first movie told the story of Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and Elaine (Scottie Thompson) who had flown to Los Angeles for Jarrod’s best friend Terry’s (Donald Faison) birthday party. Celebrating with Terry’s wife, Candice (Brittany Daniel), and his assistant, Denise (Crystal Reed), blue lights came down from the sky, hypnotizing anyone who looks at them, and the same had them immobilized as if they were zombies to be easily collected by the machines from the sky emitting the lights. After a series of events and attempts at survival, Jarrod and Elaine were sucked into the ship too. Inside the alien spacecraft, she saw that human brains were taken into machines to power them. Jarrod’s brain, inserted into a new alien body, gained control of the body instead of working otherwise, and came to the aid of a pregnant Elaine and their unborn child. This was were the first movie ended.

What is the movie about this time? :: Mark Corley (Frank Grillo), a police officer, gets his son, Trent Corley (Jonny Weston), out of the prison after he gets into trouble again. The two seems to be sorting things out in the underground metro when something strange seems to happen. It is then, at the same time that the alien invasion takes place. One after the other, people are mind-controlled and taken into their spaceships by the aliens. They seem to escape, but after a tactical nuclear attack by the aliens, Mark, Trent, a transit worker named Audrey (Bojana Novakovic) and a blind homeless man named Sarge (Antonio Fargas) are all taken by the aliens into their spaceship. The machines inside the spaceship seems to work hard with taking the brains out from the survivors, and Mark goes on searching for son, while being hunted by the creatures all around.

So what happens next with this tale of alien invasion? :: Going further into the ship’s closed area, he meets Elaine and her transformed boyfriend Jarrod from the first movie. It seems that even though Elaine is just three months pregnant, her pregnancy has reached its end as she gives birth to a daughter while she dies. Now, the destruction of the spaceship becomes the priority. As Jarrod fights the alien creatures, Mark rescues Audrey while Trent’s brain is taken and Sarge dies. Jarrod is killed when he fights the alien leader, but successfully crashes the ship in the forest area of Laos. There, Mark and Audrey with the child comes across Sua (Iko Uwais) and his sister Kanya (Pamelyn Chee), who are escaping from both aliens and local military men who are trying to take advantage of the situation. They take them to an underground lair full of survivors, and there they find out that this kid might be the key to their survival against aliens.

The defence of Beyond Skyline :: The visuals are good; they are not perfect as a big budget alien movie, but they are nice to watch. The creatures remind us of Predators, and the insides of the spaceship looks better than the outside. Some good action sequences are also there, and the final battle is nicely done. The cast is one big positive of this movie, as the man who played one of the villains in Marvel Universe, was Crossbones in Captain America: Civil War, and the one who was the spine of The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year is at the top of the game here too. We saw that he could go through that action thriller with ease, and this is no different. Bojana Novakovic whom we had seen in The Devil, is not that far away here either. She is part of the action early itself.

The claws of flaw :: There is too much repetition in here, and there is no attempt to add something new here. The aliens could have had further detail, and something special could have added with an origin story. Some moments don’t really have the seriousness that they deserve, and there is a little bit more violence and gore than one would expect from a usual alien invasion movie. The energy as well as the feeling of danger and fear that an alien movie should display, is not always there either. It could have ended differently though, as the final scene predicting the next part seems to too usual – can’t people come up with something other than this to end a movie? Well, the plan seems to be to keep close to the usual alien stuff a little too much – it is surely the safer thing to do, but the question remains if we really need more and more movies doing the same?

How it finishes :: As a science fiction movie, Beyond Skyline will not contribute much to the scientific side or bring that much of a variety, but it is surely an improvement from its predecessor. We have better cast as well as a lot more action with this flick. It is that kind of a movie which provides you with a chance to use your willing suspension of disbelief again, and along with the same, it just keeps within the limit without going absurd. You might be able to find those bigger alien movies at higher budgets, but this one is not short of its fun and entertainment, with its aliens knowing where to head to, just like its humans. Maybe, with another movie in the franchise with higher budgets, we can have a lot more. It is what Beyond Skyline is about, to be bring the fun in between, with the resources that it possesses, never stepping back with the entertaining side.

Release date: 15th December 2017
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Liam O’Donnell
Starring: Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Callan Mulvey, Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Pamelyn Chee, Betty Gabriel, Antonio Fargas, Lindsey Morgan, Valentine Payen, Samantha Jean, Jacob Vargas, Jonny Weston, Joanne Baron, Karen Glave, Tony Black

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Viral

Vampire Owl: This title should be reserved for a vampire movie, and not the flicks like these.

Vampire Bat: They are using this title for parasitic worms, and not zombies, unlike what you think.

Vampire Owl: What? There are no zombies in this one?

Vampire Bat: There are people mind-controlled by worms which develop a parasitic relationship with the brain.

Vampire Owl: Oh! I had sent my zombie minions to watch this one thinking that it was a zombie movie.

Vampire Bat: It is okay. They can’t differentiate between the two with their infected brains.

Vampire Owl: I hope they don’t. If they get something to use against me, there will be trouble – I haven’t even paid them their wages for very long.

Vampire Bat: What? Where does all the money you earn as a senior vampire associate go?

Vampire Owl: I am building an ark as part of my plan to take over the world.

Vampire Bat: Please make sure that the world doesn’t take over you.

[Gets three cups of Wayanad tea with Patanjali Doodh Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Emma Drakeford (Sofia Black-D’Elia) and Stacey Drakeford (Analeigh Tipton) are two sisters studying at the same institution – the former is rather the studious kind and the latter the hyperactive one who keeps bringing some trouble to her sister. The former is attracted to their neighbour studying in their school, Evan Klein (Travis Tope) while the latter finds her boyfriend in the local boy CJ (Colson Baker). Their father, Michael Drakeford (Michael Kelly) who is teaching at the same institution has problems with his marriage, which he is trying to sort out from a distance. Meanwhile, there is news about a terrible virus causing some parasitic infection. But the United States government is confident that there is nothing in that virus that they can’t handle, and is keeping a close watch on people who travel from outside the country, and those who go out.

So, what happens next? :: When Emma’s best friend Gracie Lemay (Linzie Grey) manages to get the same infection, things turn upside down in their small town which is not prepared for such a thing. It seems that Gracie is going to die, and her parents provide the information that she is going to get better, but both is not correct, as something worse than death awaits them. The infection also spreads through another students whom she is contact with. The infection spreads wide from all corners of the continent and nation, and there is soon a quarantine on the whole county as with many other places in the country, as their father is stuck on the way trying to get their mother from the airport. Their mother can’t get out of the airport either. He asks them to stay at home, but they go for a party only to find out the infected there, unleashing terror, which seems to have Stacey affected, but she doesn’t show the signs then.

And what is to follow in the events to follow? :: They waste no time in getting back to their house and lock it up, only to know that things are only getting worse. The military is there and restrictions are made, with nobody allowed to be outside the limits of the town. Almost everyone stays at home, but that doesn’t really stop the infections from spreading, and nobody is safe. They keep listening to the news which brings them further hopelessness with events all around the globe including governments bombing a full town or city to contain the infections, and also see their neighbours being captured by the military who takes them away. The soldiers keep checking if there is any infected in the homes, and considers it against the law to have one inside, and when broken, would have serious consequences. With every attempt to escape quarantine not being fruitful, can the two sisters do the impossible? They have no idea what they are up against – nobody does.

The defence of Viral :: As many other movies including the many movies of Resident Evil, Viral uses the idea of a virus outbreak to end the world, and with the same, it does a nice, and a more realistic job. There is nothing exaggerated tried here, and we also have the support of the emotional side along with the horror and thrills to make this one a balanced movie dealing with these things. This one’s use of the parasitic worms to control the humans from inside while multiplying, provides a more terrifying feeling as we see them travel inside the skin. The movie also nicely builds its story from the beginning unlike other horror stories, and the protagonists seem to be a lot more likable with their sibling bonding side. The movie has the advantage of Sofia Black D’Elia who, along with being the prettiest person around, also has full control of her work, never straying. Analeigh Tipton comes second, and does pretty well with her big and rebellious sister role.

The claws of flaw :: There are those stupid decisions being made by the protagonists – there is possible virus outbreak outside and you might die, and still our people have no problem in going to a party and socializing with others who might be infected; well, party might be the most important thing for a new generation in some areas, but one would think that life is something of more significance. You are also very much provided with the idea that this movie could have been something bigger, and it keep you wondering about what kind of terrible attacks could have been witnessed on screen, and what all desperate measures the protagonists would have taken to escape them. All these could have been done quicker, without providing significance to a few repeated dialogues – well, we ask for the best from a virus outbreak causing end of the world, don’t we? Infections can bring more on the screen than people not infected.

How it finishes :: Despite reminding of other movies dealing with a terrible infection striving for the end of the world, Viral is also an interesting take on the same. It might feel like a deviation from the usual zombie horror, with people not being control of their minds, but the difference is that there are those worms in control right inside. There is one thing about which you will be sure about more than the rest – it will be about the need to see Sofia Black D’Elia in more horror movies, considering the way she has handled this one. Then there is another thing – this movie is surely a fine way to spend some time with a certain amount of thrilling moments of horror, which rises further above the opinions about it seen online. Also read the reviews of the movies in theatres right now, Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Varnyathil Aashanka, Clint, Sarvopari Palakkaran, Chunkzz, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.

Release date: 29th July 2016
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Sofia Black D’Elia, Analeigh Tipton, Travis Tope, Colson Baker (Machine Gun Kelly), Brianne Howey, John Cothran Jr, Michael Kelly, Stoney Westmoreland, Linzie Grey, Judyann Elder, Philip Labes

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Logan

Vampire Owl: He is quite the popular person, isn’t he?

Vampire Bat: Yes, he is the favourite mutant of almost everyone you meet.

Vampire Owl: I wish that the mutants in our worlds were not zombies.

Vampire Bat: They have to be considered separately, especially with a world of supernaturals and superheroes in waiting.

Vampire Owl: Well, we were the most popular supernatural creatures at a time, and it is sad that there are signs of the same changing.

Vampire Bat: I believe that we are still very much popular, and our side remains strong. The mutants have always been there as superheroes or supervillains.

Vampire Owl: I have watched the trailer of this one. It is strange, for I thought this one was at least partially immortal.

Vampire Bat: He is a product of science; they haven’t really understood immortality yet.

Vampire Owl: But immorality is there.

Vampire Bat: That is kind of an easy thing for humans these days.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Hide and Seek biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Going right into a distant future, mutants are almost extinct. There is no longer the need for fighting the other mutants lead by Magneto (Ian McKellen), and there is no battle between the humans and the mutants, with the mutant problem seemingly not there as a threat. During these times, James Logan Howlett a.k.a. the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), drives a limo and takes care of Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease which has lead to the world’s most dangerous brain being not something of use, and the telepathic abilities no longer working. Logan remains only a shadow of what he has been earlier, with his healing factor leaving him with time making him age, and without the healing, the adamantium skeleton which is the unyieldingly hard material inside him, is slowly and steadily killing him from inside.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The two mutants are given company by another mutant, Caliban (Stephen Merchant), who has the ability to sense the presence of other mutants and track them. These are not easy times for Logan, who does get into trouble at times. One day, Logan is approached by a woman named Gabriela Lopez (Elizabeth Rodriguez), who claims to have worked as a nurse for some biotechnology corporation. He keeps trying to avoid her, but after offering him some money, she requests him to escort her and an eleven year girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to a place in North Dakota known only as Eden. After she gets murdered, Logan, Xavier and Laura manages to escape the people who pursue them, while Caliban is captured. They are chased by a group of men lead by the cybernetically-enhanced fighter, Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).

And what follows the same in the movie? :: Laura also has adamantium skeleton bonded to her, and has claws not only in her hands, but also in her feet. They find out from Gabriela’s final video message that she is one of several mutant children the company was breeding and joining with the DNA from different mutants, thus transferring their powers to children whom they felt were easier to brainwash into the ultimate killing machines, but it was not that effective as it was planned. Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) who was the head of the project, is now in pursuit of his lost assets, and is determined to capture them dead or alive. Logan doesn’t have an instant liking to Laura who was cloned from his own DNA, but things get better as they go on traveling together. But unknown to them, there is one more thing after them, the X-24 project, which is more of the killing machine than Logan and Laura combined – how do they fight the monsters on their tail?

The defence of Logan :: This is one superhero movie in a divergent mode, which makes most of the things different with this one’s protagonist. There is something good with a superhero movie trying things differently as this one, as we get something other than the usual thing. With the powerful action scenes, what we have here is an even stronger emotional side, and we go through the hero’s struggles to live up to the legend in order to save more than one life, rather than finding him achieve greatness with a fantastic display of powers – something which X-Men and Avengers have been focusing on, along with destroying quite a good amount of public and private property. A predictable side is present too. We feel the pain of the hero more than in any other superhero movie, and it is something that the character of Wolverine has so much scope in providing us, along with those big action sequences. This one surely shows that there is more than one way to go divergent than Deadpool, and maybe Logan shouldn’t have been a movie with just one part.

The claws of flaw :: One is certain to find this too violent a movie, something which the X-Men movies haven’t focused on. There was already one special child in Midnight Special, and we have a rather more violent one here. There is also too much of a length for this movie considering the material that is possesses and how things have been proceeding, and just as many Wolverine fans had said, this is not the movie that they wanted with their hero at the centre – the end might be too much for them who might have wished for their favourite mutant to steal the show and just continue for eternity. A lot of things in this movie are going to be feeling like tragedy for the fans, and the situation of the great Professor X goes with that of Wolverine. This one is a lot dark and depressing with its content, and with violent kids in there, this is the movie that you would want to avoid watching with the younger ones – even as the kids and youth of these ages are surely getting more violent.

How it finishes :: Logan is one superhero movie with a difference; it will not go on to become something like The Dark Knight franchise, but this divergent treatment is certain to make one think about how much better each superhero movie could be – an idea which even those Bollywood superhero movies stealing from Hollywood can also think about. It can also work beyond the genre, as not a superhero movie. One thing that you will love more than everything else is, as expected, Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine who once again gives it all, as the older man who is not the killing machine that he used to be – with a number of X-Men movies, we have been missing him, and we needed something like this which was all about him. There is also Dafne Keen who is also almost as good as the big man with her performance. There might be other movies with superheroes, mutants or X-Men, but Logan is a movie that walks the different path, and will have your attention with how well it manages to do the same.

PS: Also, look forward to this week’s movie, Tiyaan.

Release date: 3rd March 2017
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lucy

lucy (2)

Vampire Owl :: Cruel people here. How can they delay a Scarlett Johansson movie so much?

Vampire Bat :: May be the Indian censor board was busy. They have been concentrating on chopping things off from Finding Fanny. Even the dialogue that one is a virgin is to be cut off.

Vampire Owl :: So they were having a tough time with Lucy? But it is still given that “A” certificate.

Vampire Bat :: The censor board is making sure that we end up watching adult movies which have children’s content, so that we realize that we have grown up so much.

Vampire Owl :: But people will still think that we watch only adult movies.

Vampire Bat :: I would think that even Home Alone and Baby’s Day Out will be rated “A” if released these days.

Vampire Owl :: They are violent movies. The poor adult robbers and kidnappers are mistreated by kids. It sets a bad example for the new generation. They will not just give an “A”, they will just ban them.

Vampire Bat :: There is a conservative world coming up. I thought they would have at least found “being virgin” as a good thing.

Vampire Owl :: This is why I drop ice buckets at people.

Vampire Bat :: Can we just proceed for that adult movie?

[Goes to the ticket counter].

What is it about? :: Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is studying and enjoying her life in Chinese Taipei, but she is tricked into working as a drug smuggler by her new boyfriend. But she is captured and a bag of drugs is put in her her abdomen so that she can carry them back home for the drug mafia. But while in captivity, a lot of drugs are released into her system as she is kicked again and again by her captors. As a result, she has improved mental abilities including mind reading, brain control, telepathy, telekinesis and many others, but the indirect result of the same being a possible death in hours. She gets the bag removed from inside her, and contacts the expert Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) to know what is there for herself and the future of mankind. As time passes, she gets more and more powerful, and easily go through the drug mafia and gets their drug carriers captured. The mafia as well as the police are too weak in front of her, and the question remains for whom she is going to be beneficial and to whom she will turn out to be catastrophic.

The defence of Lucy :: Along with Scarlett Johansson’s wonderful performance as the protagonist, the movie can boast about taking that idea which is more of a myth and developing into something big. It has nice special effects and good, controlled action sequences which are taking in a more stylish manner – the whole thing is visually very good, and one has to admit that if the willing suspension of disbelief is rightly implemented and considered as a whole, there is not just a lot of fun, but there is also something for the intellect as it does keep the audience thinking within its own universe. It is difficult not to like Lucy, and no matter how hard you try, that option just isn’t there, unless you are short of the capacity to understand and follow – now that will make you not so human, right? There will always be people who fails to understand, and it is mostly with the bloody audience coming in groups and talking rubbish throughout the movie. It is surprising that they would go on to talk through the slide which tells them not to talk and disturb the movie experience for others.

The claws of flaw :: There is no huge action sequence which has our heroine transforming into the Black Widow and go Avenger on everyone. Except for some gunshots between the mafia and the police, the rest of the action remains of the mind. The movie’s idea of the ten percent of the human brain being used is rather weak in the circumstances, as without it and the supporting clips, the movie could have gone on losing nothing in the process. It is also too short, lasting almost one and half hours and nothing more than that unless you include the advertisements (look out for the awesome Dracula Untold trailer that comes before this if it does). There could have been more time taken here for the finish, and the possibilites of such immense mind power should have been further explored – but this one chooses to be short, but due to the same, drags nowhere. The violence is there, not much, but can be considered unnecessary by a few. The movie also needs the viewers who can use some part of brain when needed, and even in the multiplexes, it is difficult to find such people – they all want mindless action making no sense, right?

Performers of the soul :: Lucy is pure Scarlett Johansson show of the highest quality in a character which brings no challenge to her, and due to the same, she seems to blend effortlessly into that character which reminds the viewer of two others, Carrie White and Jean Grey who possessed similar powers. But Lucy is different because her powers are not part of her, and is causing her own destruction – Scarlett Johansson scores there, as you see her transformation from the victim to the all-powerful entity and also with those emotional elements. Known more for being the gorgeous one and among the sexier women alive, she comes up with an all-round performance here along with looking good. There was Natasha Romanoff a.k.a Black Widow, but this one is all-round all powerful. Morgan Freeman also comes in with an avatar that we can easily identify him with – a man of great knowledge and wisdom, who can be a guide as well as the one who deals with the explanations nicely. Choi Min-sik as Mr. Jang is a nice villain, and Amr Waked is good.

Soul exploration :: Scarlett Johansson needs a movie on Black Widow, and it is crystal clear that she can handle it, as she proves the same with Lucy. Yes, the movie is highly dependant on her, and what Angelina Jolie did for Maleficent, she is doing here. She takes full control of things, and one has to admit that this is a lot better than what Jolie came up with in that twisted fairy tale there. With the only other well known actor being Morgan Freeman, the movie was totally dependant on our superstar lady. It reminds us of Transcendence with its idea about that all powerful person who turns into something beyond human comprehension, and Morgan Freeman was the scientist Joseph Tagger there too. Then the movie is also a bit Carrie, with the central character, the lady getting immense mental capabilities beyond anyone’s comprehension. But this one is a lot faster and smarter than the former, and also quicker and with more happenings than the latter. Our heroine is also Jean Grey, but not being the mutant who is blessed wth powers.

How it finishes :: Lucy comes late to India, but it was never as much a much awaited movie as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which might release on this Friday here, but knowing what delayed Hercules, we can’t be sure yet. Lucy has a much silent sojourn here as not many people knows that it is present in the theatres with less number of shows. It should still enjoy limited success, as it doesn’t go on the Transcendence path and bore us beyond the limits of all kinds of boredom, and at the same time, it has Scarlett Johansson. It is still caught in a competition with The Expendables 3, and the shadows of Guardians of the Galaxy and Hercules, as it runs through the course. For those who wishes to watch a nice Hollywood movie which has its own identity, and even in its comparisons with many other movies, could stay different, there is always Lucy. There was always Carrie, and now there is Lucy, coming up with some improved mental capabilities, being another version of that mutated Jean Grey without the X-Men or any superpowered creature around.

Release date: 22nd August 2014 (India); 25th July 2014 (US)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked, Choi Min-sik, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Pilou Asbæk, Analeigh Tipton, Nicolas Phongpheth

lucy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.