Stowaway

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Doctor Frankenstein had a stowaway on his Ultimate Machine of Nightmares?

Vampire Bat: Why would someone want to have a ride of nightmares?

Vampire Owl: I guess they wanted to witness the greatness of this invention by the greatest scientist of all times?

Vampire Bat: Why are you not understanding that he is not a real scientist at all?

Vampire Owl: You are saying this because you studied arts only.

Vampire Bat: I am well aware of the way of science. Mr Frankenstein has no role in it.

Vampire Owl: You should understand that he can teleport you in a second or two.

Vampire Bat: Even those witches of the north can do that.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about teleportation to another realm.

Vampire Bat: He just creates a virtual reality within his laboratory and pretends that it is another realm. He cannot even teleport Uncle Dracula’s lost fangs.

[Gets a paneer masala dosa and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: A two year mission to Mars has been approved for the spaceship, MTS-42, which has the mission commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette), biologist David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim), and the ship’s doctor and researcher Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick) on board. They are taking the first steps to call Mars the second home, and each of them is very good with the needed abilities and extended training. Everything seems to go fine with the launch, and they are all glad to be on the way to a great expedition. Soon after the takeoff, they discover a launch support engineer, Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson), an unexpected traveler who seems to be caught and fallen unconscious between the two modules of the ship. As he falls down, the device that scrubs carbon-di-oxide from ship’s air is destroyed. They use use emergency lithium hydroxide canisters to get rid of the carbon-di-oxide from the air, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Marina is not sure about what has happened here, and wonders if something strange is going on in the background.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Michael wakes up and wants to go home, but everyone knows that a return is not possible now. He slowly adapts to the situation, as the company promises to help his sister to go through her life in his absence with guidance and monetary support. David begins cultivating his algae experiment of the ship before reaching Mars, as there is the need for some extra oxygen, but it is also not that much effective. The damage done to the carbon-di-oxide scrubbing device seems to be permanent, and their life support seems to be in trouble. If they are not able to find another method for the supply of oxygen, they are going to fall short of breathable air. The only option seems to be a spacewalk to climb the tethers of the spaceship and recover liquid oxygen from the upper stage of the rocket. Even though the other two are okay with it, Zoe is not ready to sacrifice Michael to make sure that they have enough oxygen for their journey, and the commander decides to wait for ten days to come up with a solution. But can they have one in time?

The defence of Stowaway :: The space and the spaceship around here are indeed well-detailed, and there is one final adventure to be done as the movie gets near its end, which provides a charming view of space. The world here has good detail, both outside and inside the spaceship. There is always the question about the significance of life of a person when it would mean the death of three others who are more important not just for one mission, but for the entire humanity. This something about the talks here, as there seems to be no clear solution for a problem. There are many routes which this movie seems to take too. The movie does talk about the importance of faith, belief and hope in life, even though it is indeed a double-edged sword which can end up ruining everything like a person too much motivated by a motivational speaker. Well, after all, we know that the life itself is about some tough choices that we make, and in the end, we are all just going to die a terrible death and lie a few feet under.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is surely slow, and never does it even try to get any faster, which is rather strange, as we look at all those possibilities which have been avoided. It doesn’t try to be that entertaining either, as the speed is never that much to keep us that much engaged with the possible thrills. There is that drag which is felt because the film has too many moments and dialogues which could have been avoided – a two hour movie was not needed to deal with this kind of a theme which never chooses to go bigger. The movie’s question does feel strange too, about humanity and all, because science has already brought extinction upon humanity, and most of the human beings do not deserve to saved. And, we all know that humans are not going to make that much of a sacrifice after thinking too much – so much of thoughts better lead to brutal murders. We don’t know that much about mission being undertaken here either, except for where it is headed, and related to some of the possibilities after reaching the destination.

The performers of the soul :: Among the performers, Anna Kendrick is the only one face that we seem to recognize at first sight. We have seen her in very less number of movies in the last few years, but as we see her again, she seems to be another actress who seems to get younger as time progress – we recognize her as almost the same as in those much earlier movies. Despite not being the commander, she is the true protagonist and heroine of the movie, and the one who is ready to make a different at any cost – she does the lady with the most conscience in a wonderful way. Toni Collette has been there for longer, but most of us have seen her in movies which are rather too old, which means that recognizing her would be difficult. She says good as the commander who has to take some very difficult decisions. Daniel Dae Kim plays the man with his own assumptions about success of the mission quite well. The only other character and the one who brings the change to the mission is Shamier Anderson, a job quite well done.

How it finishes :: There has been no shortage of interesting journey through space which Hollywood has undertaken – it was at times complicated like Interstellar, with great visual splendour of space like in Gravity, hope for colonization of another world like in The Martian, horror inside the spaceship like in Life, terror in space colonies like in Doom: Annihilation, searching for secrets of humanity like in Prometheus, more on drama and romance like in Passengers or even going the fully entertaining in Star Trek way. The Chinese had The Wandering Earth and the Koreans had Space Sweepers, now we have this one. Stowaway is closer to the genre of drama instead of becoming the thriller. It still has enough of the engaging moments, and also has the moral questions running through. Even though most of us will not get to space and will face the human extinction event, we will clap to the rich people going to space and living happily ever after, following the discoveries similar to that in this movie are made. Until then, we will watch similar movies again and again, adjusting to the interesting moments that they provide, as the apocalyptic event awaits with a terrible beauty ready to be unleashed.

Release date: 22nd April 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Joe Penna
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson, Toni Collette

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Outside the Wire

Vampire Owl: The area beyond the Greater Cemetery is now considered outside the wire.

Vampire Bat: Do you feel that there is a war coming soon?

Vampire Owl: Well, humans are building more weapons of war.

Vampire Bat: You are thinking that those weapons are meant for us.

Vampire Owl: After they are done with most of their own, yes.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that most of their weapons will have any effect on us.

Vampire Owl: The weapons of mass destruction will erase the world as we know it.

Vampire Bat: Such a destructive and disappointing species.

Vampire Owl: I will ask Doctor Frankenstein to come up with an invention which can go back in time and brutally murder all those human scientists whose inventions led to these new generation of weapons.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein‘s time machines made of vampire steel are as much fake as humanity’s love for each other.

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

What is the movie about? :: The year is 2036, and there is a violent civil war going on in Eastern Europe between pro-Russian fighters and the local resistances in Ukraine, a struggle which seems to be nowhere close to reaching an end. After years of war, the United States has finally deployed their peacekeeping forces, and among them are the robotic soldiers known as GUMPs. But the team is ambushed, much to the dismay of the human soldiers. While disobeying a direct order, a drone pilot, Lieutanant Thomas Harp (Damson Idris) deploys a Hellfire missile against a suspected enemy missile launcher. The commander on the ground wanted time to save two marines who were caught in the danger zone, but Harp had felt that if he choose to delay the drone strike, all forty of them would die, and an attack would actually save thirty eight of them. But the senior officers do not believe in the same and considers him responsible for the death of those two soldiers.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Despite not being court-martialed, Harp is redeployed to on-site combat duty at Camp Nathaniel, where the United States military forces have set a base of operations for the war in Ukraine. He is supposed to work with Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), who seems to be very strict as well as experienced, but turns out to be a very advanced android super soldier, the first of his kind – experimental, but a seemingly perfect prototype machine masquerading as a top level human officer. At the base, this is a secret known only the the commander of the camp, Colonel Eckhart (Michael Kelly), and now Harp. Leo has come into existence only five years ago, but is already programmed to be an effective killing machine. Their ultimate aim is to stop the terrorist known as Victor Koval (Pilou Asbaek) from gaining control of a vast network of nuclear missile silos which were left in the Ukrainian SSR possessing most of the nuclear weapons of the Soviet Union.

And what more does the future hold in a world of chaos and destruction? :: Russia has lost any control which they had over the rebels, and the new powerful terrorist is very close to controlling most of Ukraine and also those missile launcher facilities – it would prove lethal for world peace as much as it would mean for Ukraine and its remaining resistance. It could be the end of the world with nukes in the hands of such a terrorist who doesn’t even have religion or any of the morals to control him. They come across a reported attack on a truck with was providing aids, leading to a stand-off between the United States soldiers and the local militias. But the armed locals and the pro-Russian insurgents are the least of their problems as the trained spies and snipers of Victor Koval are there, which means that the possible event which could lead to the end of the world is closer than they thought. Then, what if the most dangerous man in that part of the world also manages to get the secret codes to the nuke? After all, he would do anything to get them – paying in billions, using brutal force or anything.

The defence of Outside the Wire :: We notice that Outside the Wire has created a fine world for the science fiction elements to start working effectively, early enough. The visuals are really good in this war-torn world In the beginning, there is the feeling that this one would go through action-war mode, but that idea which was earlier challenged with a few machines and later made clear, has a few interesting points for everyone to ponder about. It talks about war and the human need for the same with effectiveness, and we do understand that all sides are almost the same and loves to see collateral damage with the death of so many civilians. There is the fine display of hidden hatred being displayed around here, and we see a lot of the true nature of humans, even the machines who are created by them. These are also the kind of things which would happen at some point of time in future, and we are all with knowledge about the world descending into chaos sooner or later. The action is very good for most of the time with melee combat and gunshots being there, and we are glad to see different elements coming together. Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris do some good work here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t make the best use of its resources, as we see a world in not so distant future, with advanced technology and interesting weapons. The war machines could have been used with more effectiveness, as we see a lot of fights struggling to go big on different occasions. The world of war which has been created here could have more of similar products of science and technology at work. The basic idea that the movie was trying to prove could have been clearer, but here they choose to make things rather easy. There is no big action moment that stands out around here, even though there are so many human and machine soldiers around here. At times, the movie just seems to move around without much of a clue, and the ideas about the use and effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence never really gets as strong as it should have been. It does keep one wonder about how well Will Smith has performed in so many science fiction action movies in the past, the one man who would have fit in here so well, and even brought a lot of audience to this lesser known film.

How it finishes :: When we look close, Outside the Wire seems to be a movie which has predicted the Russian invasion of Ukraine in another form. The movie deals with the interesting scientific concepts and also talks about the human greed and their never-ending need for more wars, even though the fact that the film has focused only one side feels rather strange – humans have always wanted war, and they have always hated each other, which means that this is not something restricted to a nation or two and their allies. We have always been looking for science-fiction doing their best, as we never stop wondering about a post-apocalyptic future with science playing a major role in ending the world as we know it. As science has been continuously contributing to making the global warming worse and developing enough weapons of mass destruction, along with helping the Artificial Intelligence and other machines to take over, we are all looking for the apocalyptic event, and this one surely has shades of the same.

Release date: 15th January 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom
Starring: Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Emily Beecham, Michael Kelly, Pilou Asbaek, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Henry Garrett, Enzo Cilenti

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Army of Thieves

Vampire Owl: And now we are talking about some thieves.

Vampire Bat: We are not talking about the thieves who raided the vampire outpost.

Vampire Owl: There are other thieves who should be of our concern?

Vampire Bat: They don’t break into the Dracula castle, so not our concern.

Vampire Owl: Well, they can steal from the zombies and werewolves.

Vampire Bat: What would they steal from a zombie? A lost brain?

Vampire Owl: There is always something to steal for those who want to.

Vampire Bat: Okay, like stealing a witch’s heart.

Vampire Owl: A vampire thief would go for blood instead.

Vampire Bat: Vampires have never been real thieves. We steal only the appreciation with some special claps.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Sebastian Schlencht-Wohnert (Matthias Schweighofer) is living a common, boring life, working in a bank in the German city of Potsdam. He is used to coming up with Youtube videos about safecreacking that has no viewers and zero comments until someone leaves a comment on his most recent video, about a safecracking competition. He has nightmares about zombies after watching news about the creatures unleashing themselves in Las Vegas, forcing the United States government to send the military forces there, only to mess up the whole thing, leading to a final quarantine of the whole area. He goes on to win the competition, shocking everyone. The very nexy day, Gwendoline Starr (Nathalie Emmanuel) introduces herself, a skilled jewel thief who had commented upon his YouTube video. Gwendoline then introduces herself to the man, a skilled and Interpol wanted jewel thief who had commented upon his YouTube video so that she could recruit him for one grand heist which nobody has done before, after which they will have the perfect life without the mundane bothering them again.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She would have Sebastian as the safecracker, she would be thief, Korina Dominguez (Ruby O Fee) their expert hacker who has been doing it from the age of ten, Rolph (Guz Khan) their getaway driver and Brad Cage (Stuart Martin) their gunman to keep them safe during the whole heist which is going to be one grand adventure. Rolph doesn’t like Sebastian at all, while Brad hopes that he doesn’t mess this up. For meeting up and as a safe house, they have chosen a house which is off the grid. They have to break into three banks which have three safes created by a legendary locksmith. The first one is in Paris, and has the least amount of money. They feel that this might be the easiest of them all, but it might be more difficult than they think, and the other two are long way ahead as far as the difficulty level is concerned. The last two will be in two other European countries, Czech Republic and Switzerland, and shall require better planning than the one in French, with even better team work, but the question remains if they are good enough to pull up those heists as a team – then there is Interpol after them.

The defence of Army of Thieves :: There has been the shortage of some good heist movies, and the biggest release of the genre was Red Notice – it was focusing more on its superstars rather than the act of heist itself, and we have this one which basically focuses on the act in a much better way. There is some quick action with the heist going on with some fine plans in the background – each heist is basically a different thing, as we look at them, and there are some fine detail associated with them too. Also, in comparison to the earlier movie, Army of the Dead, this is a much light-hearted version, and there is also the presence of some nice humour here, suiting the heist genre. The safecracking is nice to watch in all cases, and there is a certain amount of humour and some information being added to each of them. It serves as a stepping stone to the next movie well, and has the origin story of one particular character, as we wait for the same with the others too. We know that how things turn around with the next movie!

Positives and negatives :: As this movie goes back from the zombies to humans, there is surely the feeling of relegation, even though it does its job as it was supposed to do. The film also lacks a power-packed hero like Dave Bautista who had held the previous movie on his gun point with the muscles. The female characters do hold on well enough though. This movie, even if shorter than the other film of the franchise, does feel longer, as this one does have some random time in the beginning, and also some romance to go with it, which means that there is a stretch, even though the interesting way of telling this story makes sure that we are past it. The visuals are also really good, with locations in three European countries – France, Czech Republic and Switzerland. The beauty of Europe does get the due, and the focus is not just on the big cities, but also nature, with the final moments having one grand truck journey through a beautiful world, which is to be remembered too. Well, a heist movie without zombie horror means that this is also for the less valiant.

The performers of the soul :: Matthias Schweighofer leads in the movie, even though he doesn’t do the same with team, taking time to get into it, and manages to come up with a fine job as he goes through the whole thing. He is also the director of this movie, and it seems that he has a lot to do in different fields. Yet, with the performance, it is Nathalie Emmanuel who steals the show, and it is very unlike her in the Fast and Furious as well as The Maze Runner series of movies, as this time, she plays the best character around here. It is also the one with the most skills, and the person who leads and decides things, a role which Dave Bautista did in Army of the Dead. Ruby O Fee who plays the other female member of the team doesn’t fall behind either, as she plays the hacker who does most of the background work for the team. Stuart Martin and Guz Khan are secondary in this team, even though they seem to take over in the beginning stages of the mission in the movie. Jonathan Cohen and Noemie Nakai do add nicely here too.

How it finishes :: Army of Thieves doesn’t have the strength as the earlier movie of the franchise, Army of the Dead had, for one particular reason – it doesn’t have the zombies, and is thus missing the horror elements, but still manages to be a very entertaining heist movie with quality action and humour being the necessary part of it. Some people might not like the fact that this is a prequel, and it doesn’t mention the zombies enough, but we know that dealing with thieves and their heists mean that there can only be a little bit of the monsters of Las Vegas. It does connect to the events of the second movie in the end nicely, and we can actually come out of this movie as having watched an entertainer which sticks to the plan. Well, we have had many films being marketed as big entertainers, and so many of them didn’t live up-to the expectation, or at times managed to overdo and mess up things. But, this one stays strong as the prequel that it was supposed to become, and joins the smart heist movies list in style.

Release date: 29th October 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Matthias Schweighofer
Starring: Matthias Schweighofer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O Fee, Stuart Martin, Guz Khan, Jonathan Cohen, Noemie Nakai, Barbara Meier, Peter Hosking, Fanette Ronjat, Amy Huck, Peter Simonischek, Dave Bautista, Ana de la Reguera, Bly Tanaka

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Army of the Dead

Vampire Owl: We are the Army of the Dead. This movie should be about us.

Vampire Bat: We are not the Army of the Dead. We are the Army of the Undead.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that they are different from each other.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is also an Army of Darkness, you know.

Vampire Owl: Okay, still it is the dead that becomes the undead.

Vampire Bat: Well, death is a beginning, and for the undead, it has already begun.

Vampire Owl: I think that you are pointing to the zombies as the dead.

Vampire Bat: Yes, without full brain acitivity, they are to considered dead rather than undead, as we look closer at them.

Vampire Owl: Well, not all of the dead are undead, we can be sure about that.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this one has some fine zombies though.

[Gets a vegetable pizza and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: A convoy coming from Area 51, the highly classified United States Air Force facility located within the Nevada Test and Training Range collides with the car of a newly married couple on a highway near Las Vegas. The high level of secrecy surrounding the base had already brought enough conspiracy theories to the scene including UFOs and aliens which are regular part of such talks. This time, the package which was part of the convoy is revealed to be a zombie, a very strong muscular creature which escapes, and during the process kills all the soldiers, among which some of them are infected and transformed into similar creatures, seeking to attack more humans. The zombies do head to the city, and infect most of its population. The United States military faces suffer heavy casualities, and is forced to retreat while facing the ever increasing hordes of zombies which are not that easy to kill as they only get stronger. The government decides to do what they considers to be the last resort, to deploy a tactical nuclear strike on the city to end the zombie threat forever, even though there are protests against the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Later, the very rich and influencial Japanese casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his associate Martin (Garret Dillahunt) asks a former resident of Las Vegas and earlier mercenary, Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) who is currently working at a burger joint to take over a job to recover two hundred million dollars from his casino vault in the quarantined Las Vegas. The time is running out, with the nuclear strike coming up. Ward agrees and recruits his former teammates Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera) and Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) as the maim mercenaries, along with a helicopter pilot Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), a safecracker Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighofer), and a sharpshooter Mikey Guzman (Raul Castillo), who also brings his associate Chambers (Samantha Win). Martin also joins them to make sure that there is access. They have a thirty two hour window to do what they have done the best in history, and even though they cannot fly in due to flight restrictions, they can fly out in one of the rescue helicopter located at the top of the casino.

And what is with the humans and the zombies which we have around here? :: As they are not able to find a way inside, Scott searches and finds his daughter Kate Ward (Ella Purnell), and offers her his share of the millions, asking her to help him get into the city. Kate directs them to Lilly (Nora Arnezeder) or coyote, a smuggler who knows the city. Burt Cummings (Theo Rossi), an abusive security guard who knows exactly what happens inside with the zombies. When Kate understands that Geeta (Huma Qureshi) also went into Las Vegas with two others, she feels that she should also be inside. Being the badly raised dumb kid that she happens to be, she stops at nothing to get what she wants, and the returned father figure can only agree. When inside, the common zombies are not the only ones that they have to face, for there are zombie animals too, including a zombie tiger. There are also a different kind of zombies, which are not the usual mindless ones. They are smarter, faster and better organized, with a mark on their territories. It won’t be that easy to dupe these zombies. Can they get what they want and make it out?

The defence of Army of the Dead :: It is clear that we haven’t had a full fun zombie movie like this one for a long time, and there is a lot of entertainment with the action, thrills and even a certain amount of horror that has been going on with the undead creatures. It also has some humour in between, and a fine detail of the post-apocalyptic world as well as the zombie attacks with descriptions to support them. Among the performers, Dave Bautista and Ana de la Reguera are at the top, with Nora Arnezeder and Matthias Schweighofer following closely. The man who is known as Batista in WWE is another one of those ring performers who has done so well in cinema, after Dwayne Johnson’s classic performance, and also John Cena up-to an extent. Ana de la Reguera and Nora Arnezeder are perfect lady soldiers who know exactly what they are doing. The movie, with its ending, also leaves something for a possible film in the future. Even though it is pretty much a long movie, you don’t really feel the length, as there is so much of action going on at all times, and we are indeed taken to this world of post-apocalyptic chaos.

Positives and negatives :: There are moments which this movie could have avoided to cut down the length, and it also kills one of its interesting characters too early – Samantha Win played quite a strong soldier who is lost before the big battles begin. Ella Purnell, even if meant to be irritating, plays the character that causes the death of most of the character – one of the most foolish characters ever in an action movie, for only horror films have dumber characters suiting them. Huma Qureshi is also here, but she is also wasted in a character which provides nothing good to the movie – without her, the film could have been shorter as there was no need to spare some time for the unnecessary. At least half of the characters are not made to be memorable either. This is also a movie about which not many people knows, and that is a disappointment – it could have had some advertisements in this part of the world, as it is something which will appeal to our audience too. Zombies will catch our attention as much as any undead creature rising from the dead.

How it finishes :: With the title, one wouldn’t really know if this is about vampires, zombies or ghosts, but the zombie idea also does work that effectively as any other monster, proven already in Warm Bodies, World War Z and so many Resident Evil films which kept coming back again, one after the other. This one makes a fine progress with the story, even with some predictability in store, and as it does have a lot of action to go with it. The movie is indeed an all-rounder, and you can feel that quite early itself. Even though the corona virus pandemic didn’t create the zombie apocalypse as a gamer or zombie-movie lover would have anticipated, it is only safe to say that there is always hope for something like it in the future. When that zombie pandemic happens, we will have watched some quality undead hunting movies like this one, and we will be ready. After all, Zombieland already has us partially prepared for the big event. For the rest of the procedure, the next sequel of this particular movie will keep us prepared.

Release date: 14th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Dave Bautista, Ana de la Reguera, Ella Purnell, Nora Arnezeder, Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighofer, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raul Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Garret Dillahunt

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kate

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

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

Vampire Owl: They are certainly not from around here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Space Sweepers

Vampire Owl: I have a history of sweeping space for years.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this is the kind of space which you think it is.

Vampire Owl: Yes, how many spaces can there be?

Vampire Bat: This is certainly not about the space which you cleared in the cemetery.

Vampire Owl: I was talking about the space in Doctor Frankenstein‘s laboratory.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that is going to count as space in science fiction.

Vampire Owl: The laboratory has been part of science fiction movies for a long time.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein himself is part of fictional programmes only.

Vampire Owl: I just hope that the Frankenstein monster doesn’t hear you.

Vampire Bat: There is no such monster. You are now taking characters out of stories.

[Gets a mango cake and three cups of Darjeeling tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 2092, and the world that we know of, is no longer a suitable place for living. All the greenery of the forests have vanished, and deserts have spread. Fading sun and acidic soil has caused the plants to disappear. It was like Earth was on life support. But most of the people are forced to remain on the planet and live through is polluted ecosystem. The UTS Corporation has arranged an orbiting space habitat for people who can afford them, and only a few elite people are able to enjoy this Earth-model ecosystem which assures a happy living space for everyone who becomes part of it. The place is completely governed by UTS Corporation who defined the laws, and decided who came in and went out of there. Earth which used to be the symbol of life has become what space used to be – a symbol of death. James Sullivan (Richard Armitage) serves as the CEO of the corporation, and has his own collection of the best of the world, and is also cultivating life on Mars using a super plant.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: James intends to open a colony in Mars too, and considers it as New Eden. He considers humans responsible for the situation of Earth, and assures everyone that the new world will not be like that. Ninety five percent of the total human population fail to find a spot in the new world, and many non-citizens are forced to survive as space sweepers, collecting space debris floating in Earth’s orbit and then selling it to the company factory. One of the main space ships which try to do so and become very successful is the Victory. The team is led by Captain Jang Hyun-sook (Kim Tae-ri) who was earlier on the other side, but is now against UTS after knowing its true motives. She had even tried to assassinate its CEO, but failed miserably. Kim Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki) who is also a part of the team, used to be on the other side too, and is looking for the body of his daughter who was ejected into space after some debris collided with their station some time ago, and he is running out of time. The others are Tiger Park a.k.a. Park Kyung-soo (Jin Seon-kyu) and Robot Bubs (Yoo Hae-jin).

And what else is to follow in this adventure in space? :: All of the crew seems to have their own story, but has to come up with a new tale of their own now. The space ship Victory picks up a space shuttle floating in space, with a little girl inside. This girl named Dorothy (Park Ye-rin) is supposed to be a weapon of mass destruction which was created by the notorious terrorist group named Black Fox. As Dorothy’s bag has a phone with a number of missed calls, they call and connect to Kang Hyeon-u (Kim Mu-yeol), and make a deal with him to return her for a grand price. It is also assumed that she is also a robot, and that despite her appearance, she is very dangerous. But it seems that what they knew about the girl and the Black Fox might not be true, and there are some sinister motives that UTS might be having. Soon, their mission would change to something else, because James Sullivan likes to keep his own secrets about Mars, Earth and the orbital station. Dorothy will also have to play a part in the same, a very disastrous one.

The defence of Space Sweepers :: The story of the movie is nicely set with a fine premise, and the setting of a future world is nicely done. We are immersed in this world which is sure to come, as Earth is surely going to fall at some point, and a world without human extinction itself is a surprise. This new world is nicely detailed, not just with the newly created eco-system, but also related to space and everything around. Along with being the visually spectacular thing as expected, it is almost emotionally strong with its content. There are moments which keep us going with action, thrills as well as the drama. Kim Tae-ri also comes up with the best of performances among the cast, and other follow well – there is something about her as the captain, and the rest are only glad to continue the good work. We have been in short of some good space adventures after missing the Star Trek movies in the theatre, and this one adds well here. We did get to watch the Chinese movie, The Wandering Earth as a space odyssey, and now we have this one, strong enough to compete with the Hollywood movies based on future’s space.

Positives and negatives :: This doesn’t move that much away from what we have seen before including the theme and the visuals, but latter does get a special touch. It doesn’t raise itself to a complete fun movie, even though it doesn’t become a preachy film with Elysium-like content. With such open space, the opportunities were endless though, and all are not taken. There could have also been a Korean touch with this one, while this one goes close enough to Hollywood instead. It is also a lesser known movie, even though it basically stands taller than so many overrated Hollywood movies. The villainy in this movie is also a little bit too predictable, and there could have been some twist related to that, despite taking the safe side there. People do tend to expect more from a film like this, as the trailer looked to be of top class, and there are not many Korean space movies which I know about – so many of them have been about horror instead. I do feel that there is always scope for more of this kind of movies from South Korea.

How it finishes :: Space Sweepers deals with a future which is not that far away, and it is also the one which we are to expect sooner or later. Even though the facts about orbital stations and colonization of other planets might not be that accurate, the ultimate end of Earth and the escape of the richest among them – the quickly science-loving millionaires and billionaires to other planets remain true. Consider it in that manner, this movie is a fine prediction of a terrible future, which we have seen in other movies too, with or without the shots of space. I have also given it a chance in my novel, Wrath of the Future, which was published in 2020, after the first wave of COVID-19 had seemed to come down. Well, you always need a little bit of the future’s possible horror to think about, but that hasn’t really helped to make humanity better, has it? Well, it doesn’t seem to come close, and thinking about that, let us enjoy this movie the most for its entertainment value, as it creates that grand spectacle on the screen.

Release date: 5th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Jo Sung-hee
Starring: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, Yoo Hae-jin, Richard Armitage, Kim Mu-yeol, Park Ye-rin, Oh Ji-yul, Christian Lagahit, Kim Hyang-gi, Anupam Tripathi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Reminiscence

Vampire Owl: I do see my long lost memories on a screen.

Vampire Bat: Do not tell me that this is about another invention of Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: He is too much addicted to the present to go into the past.

Vampire Bat: His addiction is with the impossible future.

Vampire Owl: There is no future that is impossible for Sir Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: Do not call him that. He was never knighted by the Count.

Vampire Owl: The knighthood is not a thing of title anymore. It is something of action.

Vampire Bat: There is no action can he can come up with to deserve it.

Vampire Owl: You will know it once he is done with the grand experiment.

Vampire Bat: You call what he is doing in the so called laboratory an experiment. I call it a death wish without limits.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: In a not too distant future, climate change has led to the sealevels rising, resulting in a flooded Miami. The temperature has risen so much that people prefer to go through most part of their lives at night. Sooner or later, the sea is supposed to claim the whole city. Nicholas Bannister (Hugh Jackman) and Emily Sanders (Thandiwe Newton) used to serve in the military forces, but is now running a business which helps people to relive their memories in a world which has no hope about the present or the future. Most people come there because they cannot live in a present which feels disastrous, and wishes to go through their past lives again and again, often due to nostalgia, and at other times because of a loss. Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) is their latest customer who wishes to find where she kept her keys, from her memories. As the memories do get visualized every time to help Nicholas guide the customers through their past, him and Emily gets to watch most of the things which the customers have gone through.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: After Mae leaves her earrings behind, Nicholas finds her in the nightclub, and they start a relationship, but Emily doubts her and wonders if she has some other motive in being with him. Later, one day, Mae disappears without a trace. Nicholas tries to find her by reliving his own memories of their relationship. It is something that could trap him in the memories forever, but he continues to do so for months. Emily is disappointed about his transformation, and asks him to move on. He feels assured that someone so much in love won’t disappear all of a sudden, and something might have happened to her, while Emily feels that their business is going down as customers as decreasing. He does find her earrings in a gutter, making him believe that she cam back for him, but Emily assures him that a lot of things ends up out there, and it could be from a long time ago. When prosecutor Avery Castillo (Natalie Martinez) calls him to retrieve the memories of a suspect. But it is not something that he will like.

The defence of Reminiscence :: There was always supposed to be something about Reminiscence, as we know that it is about memories, love and a mystery which will bring the twists. The concept is brilliant, and from an apocalyptic world, it moves to science fiction, and then to a mystery with ease. It is the kind of world which we will have sooner or later, sea taking over the land as a result of global warming, and this one also has the smartness show it as a gradual thing, and not as something happening in a few days or months. Well, it is a reminder to us that we are moving slowly towards that possible end, and none of us are doing anything about it, as the rich already have their Elysium and control of most of the money, while we are fooled easily. The journey takes you through what can be called a complete package. This one is not predictable at all, and there are some nice surprises in store – the twists add to the melancholy, and as the protagonist says, there is no happy ending in real life, but we understand that there can always be beauty even in the sadness. The ending of the movie, even though not a happy one, is a beautiful one indeed.

Positives and negatives :: Reminiscence does make us feel that we have seen some of it before, as it is surely a collection of different elements merged into one – yet, you see that final moments of it feels very much unique and incredibly touching. There are some slow moments in the middle, which might be the scenes which pull this movie a little bit backwards by not adding the needed ingredients there. When thinking about the memories and a future, you are quickly thinking about Total Recall and Ghost in the Shell, but they were all action, as you look at them. This movie also has its fine dose of action sequences, and there are twists and thrills awaiting in the memories along with the charm of love. There are not many science fiction thrillers which are able to create such an emotional effect on audience, and that too related to love. Lisa Joy’s one and only full-length feature film is here to stay in the heart. You avoid that tendency to slow down, and you have a work which you can watch, and be touched in multiple ways.

The performers of the soul :: Hugh Jackman is fantastic in this movie which has him in a role which has emotions running through him so well. He also makes a charming pair with Rebecca Ferguson, a couple like we haven’t really seen before. On one side, we have the long living mutant, Wolverine with healing powers and on the other side, we have the assassin from Mission Impossible series of movies – two people of action are the people in love here. There is no other two performers who could have made this work so beautiful. While the thrills are effective and the mystery is present throughout the film, it is the romance that makes the apocalyptic future’s science fiction a thing to remember, and the dialogues from these two are to stay with us for a very long period of time. It is the kind of tale which would have everyone asking for a happily ever after, unlike those half-baked romantic nonsense served as if there is true love being shown. Negative shades are also not new to Rebecca who played the full, strong antagonist in Doctor Sleep. Thandiwe Newton is also a powerful support while Cliff Curtis’ villain is strong enough. The other thing you note here is the perfect melancholy on the face of Angela Sarafyan.

How it finishes :: I will never understand why this movie didn’t do that well at the box-office, for it is a lovely and divergent take at the same time. The mixture that this film provides is something which is suitable for everyone, with different genres touched with the power of human memories and emotions. There is the feeling of mystery that goes through this world which seems to be almost apocalyptic with a realistic feeling, and the science fiction elements nicely blend in here to make the journey better. Also a romantic movie, this one focuses on that side with supremacy in the final moments. You will find this movie to be a lot better than what the reviews say, and there is that beautiful feeling of abiding sadness and a bliss of true romance which follows you from different directions. It has that kind of performers who keeps you so engaged in it, more than how it would have been with any other. Reminiscence is the kind of movie I would recommend for most people, and it would have even done better if it had released here before the Corona virus pandemic, for the admirers of Wolverine would also love this particular avatar.

Release date: 20th August 2021
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Lisa Joy
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Natalie Martinez, Marina de Tavira, Angela Sarafyan, Daniel Wu, Mojean Aria, Brett Cullen, Javier Molina, Sam Medina, Norio Nishimura, Nico Parker, Roxton Garcia

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The 8th Night

Vampire Owl: Another Korean horror film with monsters? That sounds good.

Vampire Bat: Korean movies have some fine monsters.

Vampire Owl: I wish that I could invite a few of them here.

Vampire Bat: Monsters are not allowed here. They are considered the same as werewolves and zombies.

Vampire Owl: But dead monsters are allowed.

Vampire Bat: Well, we do give them honorable burial in the cemetery.

Vampire Owl: Why would a monster come here to be buried?

Vampire Bat: We are now promoting burial tourism.

Vampire Owl: Now you are giving those kinds of ads?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the ads are very popular now.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A long time ago, a monster roamed free, and intended to create eternal suffering for humans. Unable to kill it, the Buddha was finally able to stop the monster by taking out its eyes, coloured black and red. The red eye continued fighting, and when the Buddha was finally able to stop the red eye, he placed it along with the black one in different caskets. He buried one eye in the great hills of the Far East, and the other eye he buried in the great deserts of the Far West, hoping to make sure that these would never meet and bring the monster back. In the year 2005, a professor Kim Joon-cheol (Choi Jin-ho) wants to prove that the Buddhist myth is real, and finds one of the eyes in the India-Pakistan border. But he is disgraced, and people don’t believe in him. The media makes fun of him, and the authorities say that what he has with him is forged. This angers him, and after many years, he still wants to let everyone know that he was telling the truth.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He reawakens the monster’s red eye, and open the gates of hell, in an attempt to prove that the Buddish myth real, thus also making people realize that he is not a liar. Monk Ha-jung (Lee Eol), a protector of one of the caskets, understands that the red eye has reawakened, as he alwso wakes up from his meditation. He asks another monk Chung-seok (Nam Da-reum) to seek Park Jin-soo (Lee Sung-min), a construction worker who was banished from the monk community – the one who is supposed to be born to stop the eyes’ reunification. All these were foretold, and the prophecy is to be fulfilled – if the eyes are united, on the eighth night, the monster will be unleashed, and it will unstoppable. At the same time, Detective Kim Ho-tae (Park Hae-joon) is also working in the case of the strange corpses that the red eye leaves behind after its grand awakening. But are these people good enough to stop the evil which seems to possess so many people and murder many of them?

The defence of The 8th Night :: The movie has some good divergence with its myth as well as the horror that it brings. There are also the characters who have some interesting past to go with the present, and are defined by past, present and future. The mythological elements about the monster works really well, and its effectiveness only increases as the movie goes forward. There is a certain amount of quality which has been maintained in its use of properties. It uses the settings of the city quite well to gaining advantage in horror. One would initially have the doubt about what a horror movie can do with two eyes lying apart and coming together at some other point of time – how can random eyes be horror? Well, this one answers the same quite well, and has a number of moments which bring some divergent horror, different from what we expect and what we have been seeing. The idea of the ancient prophecies and monsters is used effectively here as the journey never gets less interesting.

Positives and negatives :: The movie could have had more grandeur in the establishment of the characters and terror which is unleashed, and some moments don’t contribute that much like it was intended. It also gets very complicated at times, and also a bit slow in some moments. There is a lot of mystery about what has been happening around here, and with this kind of a monster, you have absolutely no idea what can happen next – it keeps us guessing as well as thinking. There are some shots which are so good and effective that they stay with us for long enough. They have captured the essence of nature, as the movie goes forward with its battle between good and evil too. The eerie feeling which this movie provides, might seem different than the usual, that we would get elsewhere. South Korean movies are pretty much rich in providing some symbolic horror, and this one also does try to deviate from the normal and most traveled course of action for the best. The movie also has some service as an investigative thriller – we know how the spirits and real-life investigations of crimes go together, like in the case of Malayalam movie, Cold Case.

The performers of the soul :: Lee Sung-min whom we have known from Hit-and-Run Squad leads the way as the man who is part of different missions, having violence and non-violence on two different sides, none of them leaving him, as he serves as the guardian. He has moments as he comes out of the past to face the present, in an attempt to the save the future for everyone in this world. It is a solid work that suits the personality that we see here, strong and with better different abilities than an average monk would possess. Park Hae-joon plays the detective, and he does that in a convincing manner, even though he remains a foolish believer in science and logic only. A detective in a movie dealing with magic and myth might feel out of the place, but he does make sure that it is not the case here, and there is a lot to be done from his side too. Kim Yoo-jung plays the female character with most screen presence, and she makes another interesting character of significance. Choi Jin-ho plays the man who begins all of these, and one can only wish that his scenes were more chaotic in nature too. Nam Da-reum is the usual apprentice who doesn’t know enough until he changes in the end.

How it finishes :: The 8th Night has the ability to rise beyond the typical horror story that we have, with all the monsters coming out of hell, as it establishes the myth, and follows it up with enough horror to go with it. With an investigation which is nicely managed, this one goes forward in an interesting manner. There is the message about destiny, and the roles that one is supposed to perform in this world, as well as something about where conscience comes into play. With the visuals adding to the mystery and horror, we know that this could be another classic horror flick like Train to Busan and The Wailing, which could rise above the rest many years ago, and the later arrivals like Svaha, Metamorphosis an The Divine Fury. You are never really short of some interesting Korean movies to watch, and The 8th Night is the film which you can add to the list of what can be recommended to the horror fans. This is also not to be confused with the Malayalam movie, 7th Day which deals with another investigation of murders.

Release date: 2nd July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Kim Tae-hyoung
Starring: Lee Sung-min, Park Hae-joon, Kim Yoo-jung, Nam Da-reum, Choi Jin-ho, Park Se-hyun, Lee Eol, Kim Han-sol

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Green Knight

Vampire Owl: I have read about this particular tale during my graduation.

Vampire Bat: It has not been surprising that all vampires learn BA English Language and Literature, and most probably, also its post graduation.

Vampire Owl: Well, vampires do learn more than they need.

Vampire Bat: Yes, almost all the undead has double post graduation.

Vampire Owl: This film still comes as a surprise though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we were not expecting any more of such movies on Amazon soon.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and with one of those tales from our British Literary History studies.

Vampire Bat: That makes the world feel quite small.

Vampire Owl: Well, you know that is never large enough for a demonic invasion.

Vampire Bat: In that case, there is not enough for the eaters of multiple realms.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of Vagamon special tea].

What is the movie about? :: The setting is in Camelot, the castle and court of the legendary King Arthur (Sean Harris), who has now turned old, and hopes that someone else could take over his place, someone worthy enough, even though there are many knights of the roundtable who could hold that position to take over the country. It was a long time ago that he taken the sword Excalibur out of stone, and claimed his throne with the help of one great sorcerer – but things are not the same again, as there is a certain amount of darkness that had engulfed the country, which seems to continue through the Christmas season which had just started, as the power of the king is at the all-time low. The king’s nephew, Sir Gawain (Dev Patel) have been leading a life of no knight, even though he is supposed to become one very soon. He goes through all the hedonistic activities as he can, and wakes up in a brothel alongside a common woman whom he fell in love with, despite having royal blood running through his veins.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Gawain gets the scolding from his mother due to the same reason, but on one Christmas day, he attends the feast at the great round table of the knights with King Arthur, who gives him a better status, as he is the son of his sister, and a possible choice for the throne at some point of time. It is then that a strange creature in armour, riding a horse comes into the court and talks of a game. Calling itself the Green Knight, the creature tells him that any knight in the court can land a blow on his body and win his green axe, but the same person will have to come to the Green Chapel on the very next Christmas dar, and he will have to receive the exact same kind of blow in return. When the fight begins, the Green Knight gives up, and Gawain comes with a blow so hard that it severs the knight’s head. Then the knight rises and leaves with his severed head, after reminding him of the deal.

And what more is to be done with this adventure related to one green knight? :: Gawain spends the rest of the year merry-making with his common woman love, Essel (Alicia Vikander), but his mother Morgan le Fay (Sarita Choudhury) knows that he has to keep his end of the bargain and face the Green Knight at some point. So, finally when the next year’s Christmas season arrive, he starts his journey towards what seems to be his destiny. During his journey, he comes across a battlefield with dead bodies everywhere, and is ambushed by a group of people who ties him up and steals anything on him that seems valuable. But Gawain manages to get free and go after them. But random robbers on the road won’t be the major problems that he will have to face during this quest. This quest is woven out of magic, and it won’t end like a usual adventure ends for a knight who comes up with random acts of courage and honour. After all, these are the times when knights are always supposed to do better than earlier.

The defence of The Green Knight :: The movie maintains its dark elements really well instead of turning this into a light fantasy as one would expect as far as King Arthur and the related stories are concerned. The dark atmosphere does help in transporting us to an uncertain world of mystery rather than the usual space of certain heroes and villains placed on opposite sides. The setting, especially the landscape is incredibly beautiful, and the same can be said about the buildings around too, as the feeling of a medieval world is nicely recreated – the touch of magic can also be felt in between. One wouldn’t agree if there is a talk about this world not being filled with magic. The background music also adds a lot to this particular world. It had to be so, as any tale related to King Arthur has that feeling in the background. The film works as the coming of age story of a knight, which is nicely portrayed by Dev Patel in what might be among his best roles till now. The rest of the characters are just the path for him towards the final destination.

The claws of flaw :: The Green Knight, as it moves away from the usual fantasy adventure with a knight trying to meet his destiny, the darker side is added, and the same might not be what people might be looking for. The film also drags in between, as we have a certain time period in which nothing much happens, and the same could have been trimmed to make this film shorter. One can feel that there are too many dialogues here, and some of them seem to be pointless – they could have been replaced by some more of action, which is rather difficult to come by in the middle stages. The final moments are also not that strong as one would have expected in the beginning stages. The messages here could have also been clearer, and some elements of coming of age might have looked better if used in a more innovative manner. The opportunities to add more to the tale and expand the same have been many, and here we see no strengthening additions.

How it finishes :: Making a film out of a chivalric romance work of unknown authorship, written in the late fourteenth century, and make it suitable for this age is no easy task, as the same is not a huge adventure with big monsters that appeal to the big screen and the masses. I do remember reading about this work as part of my studies as well as the later teaching process at the college. Well, British Literary History is quite fascinating, and these are some of the earlier works which we go through in the syllabus after that Anglo-Saxon literature being looked at. So, this work is more or less like nostalgia for me. Even if the question papers in this part of the world do not really ask any question related to this one, we are all aware of the tale’s worth, and the same has been reasserted with this film, that seems to have done justice with the original thing. This is certainly not your usual fantasy adventure, and as long as you can look past the same, this will work really well for you.

Release date: 24th September 2021 (Amazon), 27th August 20201 (India)
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: David Lowery
Starring: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Erin Kellyman, Barry Keoghan, Atheena Frizzell, Nita Mishra, Tara McDonagh, Helena Browne, Megan Tiernan, Emmet O’Brien

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Boss Baby

Vampire Owl: More bosses and more babies? I thought we were done with them as Storks finished.

Vampire Bat: Well, the boss is a baby, and the baby is a boss. There is no more to add to it.

Vampire Owl: I have a feeling that this could be about Mavis. You remember our time with her earlier.

Vampire Bat: She is not a boss. And the baby here is human.

Vampire Owl: Dude, every human is just a simple bite away from not being human.

Vampire Bat: What? You bite babies and kids these days? When did you start doing it?

Vampire Owl: No! I was referring to the werewolves and zombies.

Vampire Bat: There has been no zombie infection since last redmoon, when the witches threw that beach party.
Werewolves are just too angry to go out of their territory. You will find no chance of humans getting bitten.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein had informed us that humans were developing new vaccines leading to zombie outbreaks.

Vampire Bat: Even Frankenstein can’t stop humans and their perpetual greed. I am sure that he knows about that too ever since he turned undead.

[Gets some jackfruit chips and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Templeton (Tobey Maguire) tells the story of his childhood, from the time when he was seven years old, living with his parents, Ted (Jimmy Kimmel) and Janice (Lisa Kudrow). He lives a happy life as their only son, getting all their love, and is not ready to share the same with a brother or sister. He keeps an imaginary world with himself, where he goes on missions, mostly saving the day all by himself, and this fictional world is a significant part of his existence. It is due to the same that he is not able to believe when a baby arrives there dressed in a black suit. He feels that his new brother, the baby (Alec Baldwin) receives rather too much attention while he is ignored by his parents. They keep dealing with the baby’s needs and Templeton gets almost nothing. He is frustrated and envious of this new person who has stolen his world, and the love which only he is to receive.

So, what happens next? :: Templeton also feels that the baby is acting strange, but the parents are not ready to check that due to their love for the new arrival into their family. He is also shocked to know that the baby can talk like an adult. One day, he listens to the baby talking to the other babies of the neighbourhood and understands that they are on a mission. He tries to get the evidence, but gets grounded. So this baby, who turns out to the the boss of the rest of the babies in the neighbourhood, the Boss Baby, after their confrontations, decides to tell Templeton the truth. He makes Templeton suck on a pacifier which takes them to Baby Corp, a place where babies are doing business, sending infant love right after the babies are produced. Only a selected group of babies are chosen into business there, and there they try to keep the love for babies active. But now, they are facing a crisis, with puppy love overtaking the love for babies.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: It has been a global phenomenon, as puppies having been taking over everything, more than doubling the love humans have for babies, leaving very little for cats, birds and the others. If the Boss Baby doesn’t succeed in finding the secret files regarding what Puppy Co, the big puppy supplying organization is planning to do as a surprise which will completely eliminate all others including babies from the love list of humans. The Boss Baby is at the house because Templeton’s parents work at the Puppy Co, and he says that he will go back to business at Baby Corp after his mission is accomplished. But if he fails to do what he is assigned to do, he won’t be taken back into business, and will have to settle in with Templeton as his brother, his memories about Baby Corp gone. Templeton, wanting the Boss Baby to go away, decides to help him. But with puppies dominating further, can babies finally get the love the deserve?

The defence of The Boss Baby :: The visuals are really good, and the cuteness is clearly visible throughout this one. The kids are going to love this one from the beginning itself. It doesn’t matter how much close to reality this one has intended to get, the truth is that a lot of people these days love puppies more than babies. There are people who even make the public statement about the same, and don’t want to have babies – it makes this movie even more relevant to our world. How some people manage to hate babies, and still love puppies is a surprise to many, but we know how people are, and what they are capable of. The funny side remains mostly strong with this one – how the baby works with his suit and suitcase is so much fun to watch. The message is to spread love, and not to keep it inside, or limited to someone – there is always more than one person who deserve the love, which only multiplies and comes back when given.

The claws of flaw :: There is the certainty of strangeness concerning this movie which has a baby as the boss – it is rather the next level of having something that doesn’t really come together. It keeps itself far away from reality all the time, and it never even tries to come back and be normal for a second. We have already seen the baby factories in Storks too. There are moments when the comedy doesn’t work too, and the world of imagination shown within this movie is rather a little too stretched and not needed. By the end, The Boss Baby gets rather predictable though, and its surprise regarding the villain is not that much of a shocker either. Well, this much was set, and we wonder why not some more here. It is the world of wonderful animated movies, and here they have a baby as the main character, and there should have been more, I am sure that a lot of people will agree to getting more with the movie’s little protagonist brothers.

How it finishes :: The Boss Baby will also have a sequel coming up, and it will be interesting to see how this tale of baby business magnet will go on. Based on the 2010 picture book of the same name, which was written and illustrated by the American author Marla Frazee, this one surely has developed a lot from the material. The looks of The Boss Baby is of the level of big animated movies like Zootopia, Moana, Frozen, Epic, How to Train Your Dragon, Big Hero 6, Inside Out and Kung Fu Panda, but is never close to getting around that level in its content. This is the kind of world in which the lost fish as well as martial arts expert Panda gets sequels, and so whatever the baby gets is a bonus – after all, we don’t want fishes and pandas taking over the place of babies like those puppies did. This one doesn’t seem to be going for the Academy Awards with this, but with the entertainment side, The Boss Baby is a leader.

Release date: 31st March 2017
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Tom McGrath
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Miles Bakshi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Lisa Kudrow, Conrad Vernon, James McGrath, David Soren, Nina Zoe Bakshi, Tom McGrath, Walt Dohrn, James Ryan Eric Bell Jr, ViviAnn Yee, Edie Mirman, James McGrath, James Izzo

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fast and Furious 8

Vampire Owl: I remember that a movie in this franchise once inspired me jump of the top of the cliff.

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

Vampire Owl: And I used my wings to fly away.

Vampire Bat: That doesn’t really sound furious at all.

Vampire Owl: That was a furious leap of faith.

Vampire Bat: You have wings. You are an owl. I don’t see any need for faith with jumping off the top of anything.

Vampire Owl: But my wings could stop working at any moment, like yours.

Vampire Bat: It is of no concern of yours, because I can fly with my mind.

Vampire Owl: What does it take to prove my furious character?

Vampire Bat: Maybe, do the fast and the furious when there is an occasion?

[Gets three cups of iced tea with a piece of strawberry cake].

What is the movie about? :: Dominic Toretto a.k.a. Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) are spending their honeymoon time in Havana, Cuba – there are still races, and the two seems to be enjoying it a lot at the port city and capital. All has been going well for the two until Dom comes across a cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) who seems to have something with her that makes him work for her, turning him against his family – it feels more like he is left with no choice. Meanwhile, unaware of this, the Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has his special moments with his daughter cut off when he is asked to get an EMP device from a military centre in Berlin. For the same, he turns to Dom and Letty, as well as the remaning crew, including Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Tej Parker (Chris Ludacris Bridges), Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and himself going on the mission.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The mission begins and goes on as planned, as they are successful in stealing the device. But after the same, Dom goes rogue, and takes the EMP for himself, getting it to Cipher. Hobbs is captured by the authorities and sent to prison while the rest of the team is left confused with no clue about what is happening. Imprisoned just opposite to Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), both ends up escaping, as the man known more as Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) takes them with him without giving them a chance to beat up each other. He, along with his assistant whom they call Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), recruit the two, along with the remaining members of the team to track down Dom and Cipher, who seems to be planning something huge, which is to become a permanent threat for more than one nation.

And what is to follow with a twist of events? :: Deckard has his own reasons to find Cipher and teach her a lesson. They track Dom using the device known as God’s Eye, and they are found to be at the exact same place – Dom and Cipher arrives with their own team and steals the device, leaving the heroes with no option to trace them anymore. Cipher is not finished though, as her plan goes for more than just an EMP, as she aims to go for nuclear ability. Dom remains her main man in achieving the same too. But the question remains about what advantage does Cipher has over him, and what has kept him doing what she needs him to do. Well, the team is surely thinking about the same, and also looking for an opportunity to stop him, as Dom and Cipher have become very close to bringing mass destruction around, or even beginning another world war. Who can stop the man who is so good at what he does?

The defence of The Fate of the Furious :: This should be the biggest of the Fast and Furious franchise in terms of action and thrills, as one has to wonder if it can go any higher. The humour is also good. There is one sequence involving the cars being hacked and remote-controlled, with those vehicles moving everywhere, out of control, quickly going through the streets, taking off from showrooms, and even falling down from the parking on top floors – you see so much happening along with the attempt at stopping Dom. Then there is that final long scene involving one nuclear submarine and a lot of ice; the franchise does know how to make things bigger and bigger. The action sequences might not be able to get this good with any other franchise, as we had already seen how XXX: Return of Xander Cage had struggled despite having Vin Diesel in there too – there should be something about this franchise, for it comes on top each and every time.

Positives and negatives :: A definite improvement from the last movie by a margin, and better than the movie before that, and also before that, The Fate of the Furious is the flick that you don’t wish to avoid at any cost, even if you are tired of watching this kind of thing – this one brings everything back in style, and we have Charlize Theron as the villain; it is something that elevates the whole movie even more. She is one actress who can nail this at any moment. With Vin Diesel doing what he has been doing so well, we also got Dwayne Johnson, or The Rock, going Hercules again, even though there could have been more fist fights for him. Then there is Jason Statham, as the rock solid one, as he has been more than just the Transporter or the Mechanic for long. Even Luke Evans gets a little bit of action around here. Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges are once again fun, and Nathalie Emmanuel brings the extra charm. Michelle Rodriguez is there doing the usual, and she has a great chemistry with Vin Diesel.

How it finishes :: Where XXX: Return of Xander Cage had was not much fun, The Fate of the Furious, the eighth movie the franchise comes so good. Well, as Priyanka Chopra had chosen the wrong movie, Baywatch to make a Hollywood impact, Deepika Padukone had chosen XXX: Return of Xander Cage. One has to wonder how it would have been, if she was in this movie instead of that one. The fact remains that nothing matches the Fast and the Furious movies in its content – with the talk about the family and a certain code of honour among its characters Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto will always be superior to Vin Diesel as Xander Cage. Dom is a person that we will love to love, while Xander is someone who gets none of that love, cent percent not from the family audience and those who see things from a matured angle – even his Riddick will get more love in that case. Well, you can trust The Fate of the Furious with the same, and only hope that no Bollywood movie, especially an nth sequel of Dhoom will steal from this flick.

Release date: 14th April 2017
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Nathalie Emmanuel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Ludacris Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Elsa Pataky, Kurt Russell, Tego Calderón, Luke Evans, Helen Mirren, Don Omar

<– Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rock Dog

Vampire Owl: Do you think that this dog is as emotional as a rock?

Vampire Bat: If it was so, the same wouldn’t have been part of an animated movie.

Vampire Owl: Okay, so the dog is as strong as a rock.

Vampire Bat: This is not really a supernatural movie. So leave that out of your mind.

Vampire Owl: Maybe, he is fan of The Rock?

Vampire Bat: Almost everyone is a fan of Dwayne Johnson. But not the animated cat.

Vampire Owl: At least tell me that he is a Rocky fan.

Vampire Bat: Dude, they are referring to the music.

Vampire Owl: Oh! My relationship with music is as bad as my friendship with the Vampire Crocodile.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this movie would help a little.

[Gets three cups of ginger tea with a piece of ghee cake].

What is the movie about? :: In a village known only by the name Snow Mountain, a dog named Bodi (Luke Wilson) is supposed to be the next guard, guarding the sheep there from the wolves who wish to eat each and every one of them. His father Khampa (J. K. Simmons) hopes that some day, he will take over the place to become the tough guard whom every wolf will be afraid of. But Bodi doesn’t even come close to looking like a tough guard dog, and keeping the wolves out is rather something which seems impossible. But Khampa is sure that the bad wolves led by Linnux (Lewis Black) will return one day or the other, and orders everyone to be vigiliant if they are to stay alive. To avoid making any noise, he has banned music there, locking up every musical instrument, and also keeps some of the sheep disguised as dogs so that the wolves will think that there are many of them, and they are all alert.

So, what happens next? :: Bodi keeps failing the training, and even fails to work with his father’s special movie known as the Iron Paw that was to be the one thing which would give the dogs advantage over the wolves who are wild are huge in number. To add to it, Bodi also becomes interested in rock music, after listening to the rock legend Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard) through a radio which falls down from an airplane. As he steals something from all those musical instruments which were locked up by his father and starts playng, there is the realization among everyone that he is not going to listen, and he would never be the guard dog who is to save the village from the wolves. Even after trying many methods to change his son, he finds none of them working. The village elder Fleetwood Yak (Sam Elliott) asks Khampa to let Bodi become whatever he wants, and do whichever thing he finds comfortable in his life. Khampa lets him go on one condition that he will return for guard duty if he fails in becoming a popular musician.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Bodi leaves Snow Mountain, but is followed by a few wolves who wish to take him hostage so that they can use him as the key to attack Snow Mountain. But Bodi survives by luck and reaches the centre of city – There he finds a band which consists of a fox Darma (Mae Whitman), a goat named Germur (Jorge Garcia), and a snow leopard named Trey (Matt Dillon). He is humiliated by Trey, who defeats him in a guitar contest, and tells him to go and learn from him favourite rockstar who has a certain god effect among the music lovers. Bodi sets off to the rockstar’s house at the exact moment, but little does he realize that the man is not what he thought he was. Mr. Scatterhood is a Persian cat who lives a lonely life, having no companion other than a robot. He has a high security setup which is meant to keep everyone away. Can Bodi, chased by wolves, make the fan-hating rockstar at least look at him? And who will save the Snow Mountain?

The defence of Rock Dog :: There are not many other animated movies which have managed to pull something out with what seems to be so less in hand. We have our protagonist who tries to go beyond what he is supposed to be, chasing his dreams, as many other animated movie characters have done in the past. There is also one rockstar who reminds us of so many celebrities in our world. With the funny side as well as the inner messages, this one scores over many other animated movies which have got the appreciation of the critics, including the overrated Brave, happiness magnet Trolls and the last year’s nomination Kubo and the Two Strings. We see the main characters, the rock dog, the rock cat, the sheep and the wolves, and we enjoy watching what each of them do, and how everything turns out for all. It surely turns better than what the critics had told you, and you get to go searching for what you really need in your life – and most probably go against what society tells you.

The claws of flaw :: Just as expected, this one also doesn’t move that much away from its predictability, and it also takes too much time to get into the action – considering its extra short run-time which doesn’t even reach one and half hours, it makes the movie even shorter after that. It is based on the Chinese graphic novel named Tibetan Rock Dog by Zheng Jun, and one has to wonder if this lives up to that, and whether it could have done better with the material already in hand. The animation also seems a little strange considering how much it has developed – here, it seems to be animated in a rather lesser way when we look at some parts; it is more because of the quality which has been brought in animation with flicks like FrozenMoana, Zootopia, Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon, Inside Out, Kung Fu Panda and many others. Rock Dog is not really rocking when we consider that department deeper. Also, for most of us, rock works less.

How it finishes :: We keep seeing the animal world taking over, with them reigning all over with the animation – there is Sing, Zootopia, and others which has them all over as Cars have the vehicles power going on. Sing even has the music as do Rock Dog, and there is the presence of a few things common which you can search and find or ignore as you wish. The critics may not have been that lenient with Rock Dog as they have been with certain other movies, which rather surprises a lot of us, but everyone can surely watch this movie with the same feeling as they approach most of the other animated movies, as I can surely say that Rock Dog is not that far behind as you think, and when thinking about it from another angle, there is more than enough to keep this as interesting adventure with moments which are to be remembered – rocking at times, as a few people I know would describe it.

Release date: 24th February 2017
Running time: 80 minutes
Directed by: Ash Brannon
Starring: Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J. K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, Sam Elliott, Liza Richardson, Ash Brannon, Will Finn, Julie Craig, Deng Feng, Kellen Goff, Jennifer Hale, Matthew W. Taylor

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kadam Katha

What is the movie about? :: Giri (Vinay Forrt) is running a textile shop in the city of Cochin without making much of a profit – he has lots of loans to repay, and even his last business venture was a failure, and has been making his life more and more difficult. The worst thing is that he had left a good job to begin a business, a decision which he keeps regretting. With no salary to pay his employees, and not enough cash to take more stock, he decides to close it down. But that was not to solve the problem, as everyone would end up believing that now he has absolutely no way to pay anyone anything. His wife Chandini (Srinda Ashab) is staying at her home, and he is staying in a small house for rent, and he is unable to pay the houseowner too. With the loan shark Sreekanth (Saiju Kurup) after him, he decides to attend an inspirational course which promises to change lives and make it a lot better.

So, what happens next? :: Cleetus (Joju George) is a mechanic who runs a car repair shop with two workers Josemon (Sinoj Varghese) and Thampi (Manikandan Pattambi), the three being more of a family than just friends working together. Cleetus also has to pay back his loans, as his repair shop keeps running into loss; the property is also going to be sold by its owner, ending the rent agreement. Therefore, he also goes to an inspirational course, and after the programme, they meet at a local beer and wine parlour. They become friends, and after Giri is thrown out of his house for not paying rent, Cleetus lets him stay with the three at the repair shop. Meanwhile, Cleetus meets a man named Sreekumar (Renji Panicker), whom he saves after being caught in a car accident. This new friend is among the richest men in the city, who has just returned from the Middle East. Sreekumar decides to give Cleetus an offer that he can’t refuse, and Giri also becomes part of it.

And, what is to follow next in this tale? :: Sreekumar who understands the two men’s need for money, promises them wealth beyond their imagination, and they will just have to do one job, and it is concerning his only daughter who is studying for MBBS as a reputed institution. This girl, Jeena (Veena Nandakumar) is in love with Maneesh (Roshan Mathew), a popular radio jockey at one of those prominent radio stations in the city of Cochin. It is with their relationship that he is most concerned about. Jeena has clearly told him that she is ready to marry nobody else, and they keep wandering all around the city together despite him warning her not to do so. Even Giri and Cleetus keeps seeing the two, or at least Maneesh at times in the city – it is as if they are everywhere and everyone knows about that relationship. Sreekumar is fed up with the same, and asks them to do just one thing. What is that? Can the two do the job?

The defence of Kadam Katha :: With some funny moments here and there, and having a good cast, Kadam Katha manages to go on and on with its two hours and a few seconds on run-time. The movie also depends on simple moments and simple people, and the complication only comes with a new generation and more money as the flick suggests. The message is still about retaining one’s goodness, as long as there has been something at some point – no matter what happens, always get to the bottom of things to know the ultimate truth. The visuals are good without doubt, even though not that much of the city’s beauty is not there on the big screen. The humour is present here and there, but we miss it at a lot of occasions when things seem to drag. Kadam Katha surely has the material inside it, and when we look there, we end up seeing more with a bigger potential – the lesser crowd at the theatre was a sign of movies not meeting up to the standard these days, and movie stars only making reasons the wrong way.

The claws of flaw :: Kadam Katha, for some reason, refuses to use most of its humour, and never extends its funny side to make it memorable. The theme has also been repeated for quite some time, and we keep seeing people who need to do something which their lives, and also those who are in need of money. The movie also doesn’t make best use of the talent, and the big list of characters to whom we are introduced. The songs are just not that interesting – they seem to drag the whole thing rather than do anything else. One has to wonder what has been happening with the Malayalam movie industry for some time, for there has been so many movies, but not many which have left the mark. With so many movies including Oru Cinemakkaran, Role Models, Avarude Raavukal, Sunday Holiday and others note able to go more than just above average, one can see the lack of trying the big variety except for a few like Tiyaan and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.

Performers of the soul :: With Action Hero Biju being his most recognized role among the masses, Joju George remains one actor who never really disappoints us, and it is reflected here too. It is him who makes us feel like the hero in this one. Seen last in Role Models, Oru Cinemakkaran and Godha, Renji Panicker remains the one who keeps us interested, and he does his work in the usual style. Vinay Forrt whose last movies were Role Models, Avarude Raavukal and Georgettan’s Pooram, gets back to doing a fine job here. There is something about his performance every time. Veena Nandakumar who is known for the short-film Moonnamathe Vazhi makes her big screen debut in this one – it is a short movie that provides a beautiful feeling, and you need to watch it if you haven’t yet. She has less to do in this one, and is good with the romantic side; more to be tested in her next works. Malayalam movie industry keeps getting more and more heroines, I guess.

More and the bottomline :: Roshan Mathew is credited in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and was also there in Puthiya Niyamam, but it is with his role in Aanandam which made him a favourite and a popular actor – his next flick Viswasapoorvam Mansoor‘s short stay at the theatres didn’t help, but he has made a strong come back in this one – he plays the new generation lover character with ease. Hareesh Perumanna is wasted in his small role here though, and this might be one rare instance that his character doesn’t bring the laughter. Sinoj Varghese – Manikandan duo is the one that bring some of the fun instead. Srinda Ashab is another one who gets not much to do in this movie except for making phone calls – there is not even a big flashback to support her cause. Kadam Katha is certainly a story which could have done more, with better situations, comedy, and lasting romance as well as emotional side; but this one touches only a few and plays on the safe side. This one is worth the watch, but won’t bring anything huge.

Release date: 28th July 2017
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Senthil Rajan
Starring: Roshan Mathew, Joju George, Vinay Forrt, Veena Nandakumar, Renji Panicker, Sinoj Varghese, Srinda Ashab, Manikandan Pattambi, Hareesh Perumanna, Alexander Prashanth

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Vampire Owl: I know this person, for I remember this name, but just can’t figure out from when and where.

Vampire Bat: Do you need to go through a memory recovery programme? It is a new method.

Vampire Owl: I know what Doctor Frankenstein does with his new series of programmes. So, let me figure it out myself.

Vampire Bat: It is a simple name, but certainly not common. You should have remembered the person if there was a chance.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I should have at least remembered the two strings.

Vampire Bat: Are you sure that you don’t need at least a memory vial?

Vampire Owl: Don’t ask me to have those chemicals made of dark matter.

Vampire Bat: Then, what would you need instead, to remember?

Vampire Owl: What about some inner peace?

Vampire Bat: The Kung Fu Panda has taken all of the same, after taking the form of the Vampire Panda.

[Gets three cups of ginger tea with a piece of ghee cake].

What is the movie about? :: Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a one-eyed young boy who spends his time in a cave near a colourful village. Living with his ill mother Sariatu (Charlize Theron), he makes a living with art of paper folding known as origami, and music with a three-stringed, Japanese musical instrument known as shamisen, both which he uses to tell the tales of a samurai warrior who is supposed to be his father. They just manage to survive, with his mother’s mental state getting worse, and they having just enough to make a living. But Sariatu keeps warning him about her twin sisters Karasu and Washi (Rooney Mara), as well as her father, the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) who would take his other eye, as they had killed her husband, the samurai warrior of the tales of bravery, Hanzo (Matthew McConaughey). She forbids him from going out at night, in the moonlight.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: One day, Kameyo (Brenda Vaccaro), an old widow who loves Kubo like her grandchild, tells him about a festival which occurs at night, that involves people talking to their loved ones who had died. So, for a change, Kubo decides to stay through the darkness, and try to find the soul of his dead father, and know more of the story about them. But even with the other villagers seemingly having success over talking to the souls of their beloved, he seems to have no success at all. As he forgets to return home before the sunset, he is found by Sariatu’s evil twin sisters, who waste no time in asking him for his one remaining eye. The realisation is also upon Sariatu though, as she is quick to appear and save the boy, sending him away, while trying to go on a final battle with her sisters who will stop at nothing to get their nephew’s one remaining eye.

And what follows the same in the movie? :: Kubo wakes up later, in a land far away, with only a snow monkey to give him company, which is the last piece of his mother’s magic, and has promised to keep the boy alive at any cost. They go on hoping to find Hanzo’s armour which becomes necessary for their survival as they face a force as strong and hateful as the Moon King. On the way, they also meet a beetle in human form, which believes that it used to be a follower of Hanzo, and had fought many battles with him, even as nothing remains of those memories. But the evil twin sisters are already on their trail, and even after finding the Sword Unbreakable, they are still at a disadvantage against the strongest forces of their world. There is a long way to go, there is danger ahead – can Kubo and his two strange friends be brave and strong enough to face the threat?

The defence of Kubo and the Two Strings :: This one certainly has the story that will appeal to people of all ages. There is the tale of courage, faith, hope and belief which runs right through this movie. The sadness in the movie is beautiful, and the evil twin sisters make some nice villains in the moonlight. There are battles which will remind us that we miss Kung Fu Panda, and all main characters remain lovable, and kids are going to love the Monkey and the Beetle without doubt. There is also that variety in this world, and the visuals make another path, which is also nothing less than beautiful in its own way. There is the quest in the centre of all these, and we have one boy’s tale of courage that will keep things moving. There is also the strength of love, and the ultimate power of memories that humans hold on to, which become significant in the story of Kubo too. As you go deep, this is another animated movie which is not just for kids. There is also some humour here and there, but it is mostly for kids.

The claws of flaw :: The animation doesn’t stand a chance when compared to the other big animated movies like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen, How to Train Your Dragon, Inside Out, Epic and the rest who have made the effect of a spectacle, and Kubo and the Two Strings never even tries to do the same. The tale of the relatives and creatives seems rather too comfortable with how they end up becoming what they are. We are not much interested in the tales with monkey and beetles as warriors in a human world these days, as the turtles had found it the hard way in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and its sequel. There is also that same programme, with everyone coming together and everything being brought together by the end, and there is something rather too comfortable around here. It can also be considered a little too dark for the liking of some people. Even with those strange twists, the movie is also very much predictable within its own tale, as the missing and gaining of parents doesn’t make one feel that much in such a darker animated flick – could have been more imaginative.

How it finishes :: Kubo and the Two Strings could have actually been better, with all the possibilities it has with the myth already there – not just with the story, but also with the rest of the elements, all making this a bigger visual experience. There is a lesson or two which this movie can take from Rise of the Guardians which looks similar with its characters, but is a better movie than this. We usually expect to connect to the main character more, and not as just a random kid who is special because his parents made the choice of a strange union. The movie seems to be more sincere to itself rather than its audience, and even the message sometimes feel strange – it tends to happen when there are talking monkeys and beetles who gets more importance than humans in a tale of a human child. But the importance of relationships with fellow human beings, memories, family and love are those things that come over the rest, it could be the main reason that won the flick, BAFTA for Best Animated Film and why it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, which eventually went to Zootopia.

PS: Have you watched The Mummy, Wonder Woman and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, yet at the theatres?

Release date: 19th August 2016
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Travis Knight
Starring: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Matthew McConaughey, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro, Meyrick Murphy, Minae Noji, Alpha Takahashi, Laura Miro, Ken Takemoto

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

MI: Rogue Nation

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Vampire Owl :: We have been missing the impossible.

Vampire Bat :: Well, we haven’t tried anything impossible for some time.

Vampire Owl :: Actually, we take no risks except when watching those terrible movies.

Vampire Bat :: Well, everyone can’t be Tom Cruise!

Vampire Owl :: Somehow, he never really gets old.

Vampire Bat :: May be he is immortal too, in another way.

Vampire Owl :: There is that special feeling when we hear that Mission Impossible music; I don’t know what it is.

[Gets the tickets].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/947-mission-impossible-5-review.html

We return to the super-hit franchise again. Tom Cruise, the Mission: Impossible franchise and the action movie fans have had a very good relationship in the last few years. Even as the third movie of the series was the least impressive of them all, they successfully made things a lot better with the fourth, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Inspired by a much older television series, Mission Impossible franchise has been making a very heavy impact on the fans since the first movie in 1996. It is no different in the case of this fifth movie which has everyone’s attention ever since the trailer began to show up in the theatres.

As his adventures continue, Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) comes face to face against a dangerous criminal organization called the Syndicate. But despite his best efforts, CIA and other organizations completely deny its existence. Meanwhile, the director of the CIA Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) gets IMF disbanded and taken into the CIA itself, with a mission to catch Ethan as early as possible. At the same time, Ethan is captured by the Syndicate, and is saved by a former MI6 agent working for the criminal organization, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). As IMF is disbanded and CIA is refusing to believe them, Ethan decides to take things into his own hands.

As Ethan remains on the run with CIA on his tail, he almost gets hold of a Syndicate member while attending an opera, but the Chancellor of Austria is killed at the same venue despite his best efforts. At the same time, Ilsa leaves him with clues which will help him to get to her at Casablanca. With the help of his friends Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), Ethan has to figure this out and confront the leader of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). It turns out that the Syndicate is not a regular criminal organization as they thought it was, but something more with origin in secret government organizations.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is exactly the movie of the series that the fans might have wanted for a long time. It is surely intelligent and has a very interesting story despite having no spectacular sequences to finish it – the ending could have had bigger action and the villain also could have been a more menacing one face to face. The highlight of the movie, the sequence with Tom Cruise hanging outside the airplane comes very early. It is just one of those stylish action highlights of the movie which has others like an interesting sequence at an opera, a high voltage motor-bike chase and an underwater heist. These are also done at some of the best locations possible.

We know how well Mad Max: Fury Road managed to be a wonderful full action movie, and this one follows that path using its strength. The rest of the things are just means to this strength, and you can also admire the fact that the smartness of the plot supports it. You should notice how well things come together as the locations shift between different nations – you will love Morocco shown in this movie more than the rest. The sequences are also more believable. I was still a little disappointed that Jeremy Renner doesn’t take part in much of the big action here. But there is enough here to make up for that, and our cast surely does the job very well.

In a movie which has some nice twists and change of sides, Tom Cruise manages to emerge as the awesome action star once again. There is no difficulty there is making us believe in the impossible with this man around. It was great to see Rebecca Ferguson get a role which is very much on par with him, with just lesser in screen presence only to Tom Cruise. She is the best heroine ever in a Mission: Impossible movie and she has a part in almost every action sequence with our protagonist, and at the same time having no romantic side with the hero. She is perfectly suited for this role. She does those stunts in style and also brings the suspense as the person who is the most difficult to figure out in the whole movie. She is the one complicated person on whom the whole mission depends on. She becomes the big advantage that none of the other movies of the franchise had. Along with Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames also has a little too less to do in this flick.

The franchise achieves new heights with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, as the latest flick becomes a superior entertainer in the list of movies which have served us for almost twenty years. There is a certain improvement with this movie, which was thought to be a hard task, but it has been done. It won’t be easy to forget this one soon, as the thrilling experience will stay on the mind of viewers for quite a long time. Even though there have been so many movies with big action sequences, you can still take the level of action to an even higher level – it is not impossible, and this movie proves the same with ease. Look out for this movie this weekend, and it can make you forget Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

[After the movie]

Vampire Owl :: Well, Rebecca Ferguson does save the day more times than Tom Cruise, and that should be a first.

Vampire Bat :: She is too good! Most of the time, her character surely is the smartest one around!

Release date: 6th August 2015 (India); 31st July 2015 (US)
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, Simon McBurney, Jens Hultén, Tom Hollander

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.