Anna

Vampire Owl: There is nothing more interesting than a spy thriller.

Vampire Bat: Do you remember The Man from UNCLE?

Vampire Owl: Yes, that was one of my favourite movies of that time.

Vampire Bat: This one is a very serious movie in comparison though.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that this is partially Russian, French and American.

Vampire Bat: Well, there is more to this movie than what meets the eye.

Vampire Owl: Can Anna be a John Wick or Hitman with the gunfights?

Vampire Bat: Well, we are going to know that with clarity, soon.

Vampire Owl: Still, my favourite Anna names have been Anna Kournikova and Ana Ivanovic without the extra N.

Vampire Bat: This Anna should make an impact too, even for the vampires.

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

What is the movie about? :: During the time period between 1985 and 1990, the tension is high between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, as CIA and KGB try to prove the quality of their work in the final few years of the Cold War. At the same time, Anna (Sasha Luss), is a young Russian girl whp has been the victim of domestic abuse, being abused both physically and sexually by her husband, Piotr (Alexander Petrov). The man is a criminal and a drug addict, forcing his wife to become part of his illegal actions while wasting no time in making her feel as his property – she would do anything to get out of her situation. One day, after a failed attempt to take money from an ATM using an American tourist’s card and shooting at police, he attempts to leave the city with her, only to be stopped by Alexander Tchenkov (Luke Evans) who murders Piotr and offers Anna a job at the agency for five years, as he was impressed by her earlier profile and background before she became enslaved at her present situation with her husband.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Her father was earlier in the military force, and she had also tried to enlist into the navy. With the problems created by her husband looming over her, she agrees to Alexander’s offer and serve the country in a different way in comparison to her father, and joins the training. Later, we see that she becomes an undercover agent, after selling dolls in a marked in Russia, and later being taken to France, becoming one of the top models in Paris. As a part of her cover, she also pretends to be in a relationship with the lesbian model who worked with her, Maude (Lera Abova). She does manage to assassinate her target Oleg (Andrew Howard) who had revealed to her something which KGB wanted to hear, the revelation ending up as the reason for his death. Leonard Miller (Cillian Murphy), a CIA agent does get some clue of her involvement in the murder, but he lets him go at that time. But there is something else happening in the background – what could that be?

The defence of Anna :: There is no doubt about the ability of this movie to thrill, as it has a large number of twists in store – you rarely see what is coming, as at one moment you see something and think about it, but the very next moment, you are up for a surprise. The action sequences are really good, reminding you of movies like John Wick and Hitman among the others, and you love how well the leading lady has handled everything around here. The tale does have something to keep us interested at almost every point, meaning that there is no dull moment at all. There are also some beautiful visuals set for us here, and we watch the wonderful action take place in different nations in the middle of all that magnificence. There is one final action sequence which is so long, and the protagonist going on shooting people – it is impressive, and so are many other sequences which catch our attention, while staying with us, especially the fans of genre.

The claws of flaw :: Anna has a little more flashbacks than one should want it to have. They also come up at a time when you are not expecting them, and are not needed, making it not that easy to follow the movie in the way it should be followed. The problem it creates affects the timeline more than anything else, and we are confused about what happened before which incident – we just cannot keep track of everything which has happened in the timeline, because there are so many of separate incidents, and when you squeeze something from another point of time into the world when something interesting is going on, there is a certain loss of control. The movie should have done very well with everything going in a straight line, with one or two flashback sequences. It could have also used a little bit of humour which was there to be taken on a number of occasions, but the movie avoids it to go back to its usual pace.

Performers of the soul :: Sasha Luss as Anna Poliatova does a fantastic job as the femme fatale, assassin and the spy who works as a model when she is undercover. As she is really a Russian fashion model in life, it seems to work well for her, and as the assassin, she is perfect too, without feelings as she shows almost no regret after the murders. The one person who seems to match her in such action is Olga Kurylenko, the Ukraine-born model who moved from Russia to France just like the main character here. Luke Evans who had slain the dragon in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, brought the villainy in Fast and Furious 6, embraced vampirism in Dracula Untold and went on an unstoppable killing spree in No One Lives, gets to be strong one here too, as he plays the KGB agent who recruits the protagonist. Cillian Murphy on the other side plays the CIA agent with ease. Helen Mirren’s role is the usual, and plays with no difficulty in regular style.

How it finishes :: Anna is one of the best thrilling action adventures which you might have seen in a long time, and it reminds one of movies like The Man from UNCLE. Luc Besson, the director has already given us some wonderful films in the recent past including the fantastic interstellar adventure Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and the strong action thriller Lucy, along with those older classic movies like Leon: The Professional, La Femme Nikita and The Fifth Element. This one is just another wonderful addition to the list, as you go through the twists and thrills without taking your eyes off what is going on. The Brian De Palma movie starring Antonio Banderas and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Femme Fatale is one another movie which comes to the mind with this flick, but nothing matches Anna in its twists along with the action, as there is one coming after the other, and in the end, you know that nothing was happening the way you felt earlier, or later.

Release date: 10th July 2019
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Sasha Luss, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Helen Mirren, Lera Abova, Anna Krippa, Nastya Sten, Alexander Petrov, Nikita Pavlenko, Aleksey Maslodudov, Eric Godon, Jean-Baptiste Puech, Andrew Howard, Ivan Franek

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Prodigy

What is the movie about? :: In the countryside of Ohio, a serial killer with roots in Hungary, Edward Scarka (Paul Fauteux) has been murdering young girls after cutting off their hands which he kept as souvenir. Hands have always been his weakness, looking at them before selecting the victims. He has a wonderful time, as the number of victims increase every day, leaving no clue for the police to follow. But things take a turn when due to one small mistake, one of the girls, Margaret James (Brittany Allen) escapes from captivity after he takes away her right hand, and alerts the cops. The police conducts a raid at his farmhouse, and he gets shot to death. At the exact same time, a couple in Pennsylvania, Sarah Blume (Taylor Schilling) and John Blume (Peter Mooney) have their first child. Sarah is excited to finally have her first child, as the couple have been waiting for this moment for a long time after getting rid of their family problems.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Miles Blume (Jackson Robert Scott) grows up to be more intelligent than the usual kids of his age, making people feel that he is a certain kind of child prodigy. He has no trouble in solving mathematics problems and mastering language after learning to speak much earlier. He is someone who could start pre-school early, and even skip those earlier batches considering how good he was proving himself to be. Even those all these things point to one positive side, there are changes in the boy’s behaviour as he grows up. He almost kills his bab-sitter Zoe (Elisa Moolecherry) while playing hide-and-seek by setting sharp piece of glass on the steps to the basement, and also beats up other kids at the school because he didn’t get the space which he wanted using whatever he could manage to find from a hand tools kit.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: Miles seems to be a threat to everyone around, as violence follows him to places. Sarah brings Miles to a psychiatrist Dr Elaine Strasser (Paula Boudreau) who refers them to Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore), an expert on rebirth and reincarnation. He tells Sarah about the possibility of rebirth in Miles’ case because the language which he was speaking in sleep, and was recorded and given to him by her, is a very rare dialect of Hungarian. There are not many people who know this language, and Sarah and her husband knew only one foreign language which they had mostly forgotten – Spanish. With Miles not being exposed to any other language, Arthur tells her that it could be another soul trying to be born again, replacing the soul of the boy, thus getting hold of the body to do something it had left unfinished in earlier birth. But this soul would need something more which Sarah won’t guess.

The defence of The Prodigy :: The movie maintains a good amount of creepy feeling, which only gets better with the serial killer soul taking further control, often making one think of Chucky of Child’s Play which nicely changes into the brutal murderer. There are some nice scary moments, most of them being creepier if you consider them with clarity. The creepy undercurrents drive this movie forward, as there are so many things that an evil genius can plot, even though not all of them are done. We are kept in the perpetual fear of some terrifying evil coming up, and the feeling of hope is rather bleak in this one. The movie has so much of nice foreshadowing which we can appreciate, as we do get some feeling regarding what is to come. There are not many things spookier than having an evil kid that acts like a vessel of pure evil. As we have heard on many occasions, evil comes in many forms, and always finds a way.

The claws of flaw :: Some years ago, in 2009, Orphan had a poster saying there is something wrong with Esther – Isabelle Fuhrman who later bagged a role in the dystopian thriller The Hunger Games made that movie one which everyone loved. Ten years later, in 2019, this movie comes with the tagline, what is wrong with Miles? Well, there is no difficulty in understanding where this is pointing to. There was the plan to make something like Orphan, and this time, they added rebirth to the plan. This could be even considered similar to a sequel, even though it is not. In comparison to Esther, The Prodigy struggles at times, and the effect of the twist is also not that much to be seen. The fear element is also not that real as Orphan which also had even better performances, and a past which was so mysterious and a twist which was heavy. The Prodigy could have had the evil manifestation doing more to people too, and the serial killer’s past could have been better shown too.

Performers of the soul :: As this is not the usual horror movie like The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun and Insidious, performance was always going to matter much. Taylor Schilling makes a perfect, confused mother here, as someone who thinks that one or the other action can save her child, but ends up being foolish in her motherly love. Peter Mooney who plays the father figure almost does the same, even though not that much. Jackson Robert Scott who plays the child comes with a fine performance – it won’t be that creepy as what we had seen in Orphan, but it is still something that we will remember in acceptance of another evil kid on screen. Colm Feore is solid as the man who tries to help, but knows that he has to be careful when standing on thin ice. Paul Fauteux who plays the serial killer needed to have more space, and his actions with the kidnapped girls are never really shown, except for those hands being hung there.

How it finishes :: If you have liked movies like Orphan, you are also going to like The Prodigy. The idea of a kid that acts strange and goes on a killing spree isn’t something new for us, but it will continue to catch our interest for a long time to come. After all, the idea of inherent evil being being present in children is something we haven’t been able to deny, and the works like William Golding’s Lord of the Flies had further strengthened the same. It had been working further in the movie world since The Omen. The idea of rebirth and reincarnation are used here instead of the usual haunting when the kids are shown to be evil. The idea here works in a more terrifying way because of what lies underneath, and by establishing that this is pure evil, and there is a master evil brain at work here, which is almost impossible to defeat.

Release date: 8th February 2019
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Jackson Robert Scott, Colm Feore, Brittany Allen, Olunike Adeliyi, Elisa Moolecherry, Peter Mooney, Paula Boudreau, Olunike Adeliyi, Martin Roach, Ashley Back, Tristan Vasquez

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Akam Puram

Vampire Owl: Why does the title sound to me like Inside Out?

Vampire Bat: It is more like Inside Outside.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the insides could be outside, and vice versa?

Vampire Bat: Are you referring to mind being outside the body?

Vampire Owl: Yes, such things are possible with meditation in a coffin.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that Doctor Frankenstein has developed a method to separate body and mind.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that the volunteer would have lost both his mind and body if Frankenstein was involved.

Vampire Bat: You are being too judgmental about someone who cured you of zombieness.

Vampire Owl: Dude, it was a temporary thing. I was going to be okay in a few minutes.

Vampire Bat: Anyway, this one requires none of these things.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Udayan (Sarath Das), a policeman, reaches late to report to his senior officer (Prem Lal) as he goes to pray at the nearby temple. As time is running out for them to present a murder convict (Arun Punalur) to the district court, the senior police officer is furious. But Udayan tells him that he has had no time at all, as his mother is not well. It is her birthday, and usually they all go to the temple together, and this time, after leaving his mother to the care of his sister, he had to go to the temple alone, and pray for her well-being. He remembers how his rich relatives have been hesitant to help, or even look in their direction after the demise of his father, after which his mother had been taking care of him and his sister. Now, she is not well, and he is sad about not being able to be there at home to look after her due to this special duty which has come up because of someone else taking leave for personal reasons.

So, what happens next in the tale? :: The senior officer tells him that it is quite natural with their job, and it is their duty of presenting this man at the court in time that should matter the most – otherwise, they could be suspended, or transferred to somewhere far away; in that case, he wouldn’t be able to take care of his family at all. It is then that Udayan gets a call from his sister letting him know that their mother’s condition became critical, and she is admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of a nearby hospital. Udayan begs his senior officer to take a turn and go to the court after seeing his mother, to which the officer reluctantly agrees. But now, the question remains if they can reach their destination in time. Also, there is doubt if Udayan’s mother could be saved – the uncertainty is there at both sides, and the convict also has something to say about it contribute to the situation. Will at least one of the two things end well for the two cops on special duty?

Soul exploration 1: More than one responsibility in life :: It is the nature of our world that when we have a job, we will be blamed for not doing enough at home, and when we are at home, we are blamed for not being good enough to get a job. It is like not getting a girl for marriage when you have no job, and having no leave for marriage when you have the girl – it is that kind of a world. In this situation when we have to keep working, there is no hope to do our duties well enough, as the balance is so difficult. Yes, there are some people who have it easy as they lie, cheat and steal their way to the top, for the common man, maintaining this balance is eternally difficult. We see the same reflection of difficulties with the protagonist of this movie too, as he struggles to keep up things. Then there are those relatives, who are useful more for the blame game than anything else.

Soul exploration 2: Life running through a busy world :: One can’t predict or judge in a world which is rather too busy. There is nothing that will go according to plan, and the line between good and evil gets rather thin. When nobody has any time for anyone, as we see the protagonist having no relatives to take care of his mother – they are rich, but they don’t have time for their own people, and they pretend to like people only to make money. We see how much lies are being told these days just to make money, and one would wonder if such liars have any honour. But what makes us lovable for the friends and relatives is money, and these days, nobody really cares how you got the money and property if you have them. Well, it is a modernized, mechanical world build out of money, isn’t it? Who wants good qualities? There are parents who will get their daughters married to any fake person if he got money.

How it finishes :: Akam Puram directed by Abhilash Purushothaman is another interesting short-film which makes one think about the harsh realities of life, as one can’t help wondering how it could be any better with the same. We all live in a world which is full of uncertainties, and often when we look at the lives of others, we wonder how different it is. Supported by the performances from a good cast lead by the popular serial artist Sarath, this successfully catches the interest of its viewers, who are made to realize that no matter how hard one tries, there are few things that will never change, and it is the difference between each person in their though process, and their priorities – it is often due to how they were brought up, but as we all know, the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. Also read the reviews of those movies which are in theatres right now, Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Varnyathil Aashanka, Clint, Sarvopari Palakkaran, Chunkzz, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: I have had similar experience with one of the vampire convicts.

Vampire Bat: You were assigned to transporting convicts?

Vampire Owl: Yes, those guilty of the bloody terror.

Vampire Bat: I believe that it was called blood terror.

Vampire Owl: Yes, during those times, I was working as an apprentice with the vampire imperial guard.

Vampire Bat: You are a soldier? You never mentioned it in your resume.

Vampire Owl: It is because I was dismissed for failure in transporation of convicts.

Vampire Bat: So, how many days did you work with the vampire imperial guard?

Vampire Owl: One day, one job, the end.

Vampire Bat: What a beautiful case of one day’s work.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 14th January 2017
Running time: 15 minutes
Directed by: Abhilash Purushothaman
Starring: Sarath Das, Prem Lal, Arun Punalur

Watch the movie Akam Puram here:

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Wick 2

Vampire Owl: We need to hire this man. He looks a lot effective.

Vampire Bat: But he is always looking for vengeance.

Vampire Owl: We can make him follow our path. There is just the need to have someone from our enemies list kill his dog.

Vampire Bat: He is a ruthless assassin with connections. He will find out in the end.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that we will have to call the Accountant to finish our job.

Vampire Bat: I thought that you would say Mechanic.

Vampire Owl: I would just kill them myself and get the Transporter to get rid of the werewolf heads.

Vampire Bat: You can always hire Codename 47, you know.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is just that he keeps on getting the reboots, I think.

Vampire Bat: Just keep yourself away from John Wick‘s dog and also his car.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Krackjack biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves), the retired assassin who had earlier returned to killing people after his dog was killed and his car was stolen by Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), is not finished with what he had been doing. He searches for, and finds his stolen car at a chop shop owned by Abram Tarasov (Peter Stormare), the uncle of Iosef. After killing all the men, John spares the life of Tarasov in the name of peace and returns home only to find more of his previous life following him there. After the car which was heavily damaged in the fight is taken for repairs by Aurelio (John Leguizamo), John is provided a surprise visit by the Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), to whom he had sworn an oath, often referred to as a marker, which had helped him to finish the impossible task that had set him free from the world of blood and gore, and allowed him to marry Helen (Bridget Moynahan).

So, what happens next in the movie? :: John Wick is supposed to be someone who could keep doing the impossible, as Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist) himself had acknowledged before being dead, and a confident Santino asks John for the favour in return, but the tired assassin decides against going through the violent ways again, and says no without even listening to what the crime lord wanted him to do. An angry Santino goes back to his car, and returns with a grenade launcher to destroy John’s home, almost killing him in the process. John escapes and goes on to meet Winston (Ian McShane), the owner of the Continental hotel in New York City, who tells him to abide by the rules, and he is supposed to honour the promise made in the form of the marker. John decides to play by the rules, and meets Santino again, who provides him the mission of assassinating his sister Gianna D’Antonio (Claudia Gerini) to claim her seat among the top-level crime lords.

And what follows the same in the movie? :: John gets to Gianna during a party, where she is under the protection of expert fighter and bodyguard Cassian (Common). Even though John is successful in his mission with her choosing to commit suicide rather than get killed, he is chased by the group of tem lead by Santino’s right-hand, a mute young lady known by the name Ares (Ruby Rose), and also by Cassian who seeks vengeance. With Santino himself putting a seven million dollar bounty on the former retired assassin, John Wick has no option, but to fight for his life – Cassian is determined to have his revenge, and Ares is determined to show her allegiance and effectiveness to her master. There are assassins jumping on him out of nowhere, and he decides to have a meeting with the underground crime lord The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), but where does their conflict of interests and a troublesome past lead them?

The defence of John Wick: Chapter 2 :: The first movie had become a surprise hit, and this one also follows the same pattern, making things even better by a good margin. Keanu Reeves is also the bigger assassin with this one, and he remains the core. He continues to be at his best as the action hero, doing what he has been doing the best. There is also no humans dead in the name of dogs, as it happens in the name of cows in some parts. The style factor is also too good, and all the action sequences, a lot of them if we consider the total, catch our attention. Among all those who fight the deadly assassin, it is Ruby Rose who comes up with the most memorable show – there is that intensity in her despite being mute, that we feel that she might be one lady whom nobody should have the misfortune of facing. There is that final battle with her, and also the one that we see in the beginning that catch our eyes more than any other. Then there is Laurence Fishburne, evergreen as you would find him in an action thriller.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much in the story here, as it was in the first movie, with the assassin going on killing more and more people, most of them assassins themselves; it is still better than going on to kill people in the name of a dead dog which is given too much importance. The predictability factor is high, as we do have some idea about how things are going to go on and on – John Wick is not that much about surprises, as you might already know from the first movie. This one is also about how great John Wick is, and there is also the presence of those strange laws and oaths which shift the focus. There is also another dog which leaves the option to have another revenge as soon as it is killed. The violence is also there throughout, and deaths have been more and more glorified with this movie. The climax could have also been greater, as something bigger seemed to be getting ready to come up, but unfortunately, that didn’t really happen.

How it finishes :: A long way ahead of the first movie, The defence of John Wick: Chapter 2 is the movie which is once again certain to have your attention with Keanu Reeves going through all the action once again. You have a very nice example of the sequel becoming better than the original movie here, a feature which has more and more examples of things being the other way around – the sequel here has 7.9/10 to 7.2/10, 75% to 68% at Metacritic and 91% to 85% at Rotten Tomatoes, and almost double the box-office collections, compared to the original. There is also a third movie coming up, and we can be sure that it is also going to follow the same pattern, and with all things going more and more global, we can expect more firepower, and a lot more action with the next flick in the franchise. After watching John Wick: Chapter 2, one can safely wait for John Wick: Chapter 3, as we know how much is there to happen in a third movie. The man is a legend, and so we can’t really expect him to finish his tale in two chapters, with so much of him to be unleashed again and again with the certainty of the tides?

Release date: 10th February 2017
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne, Common, Riccardo Scamarcio, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Claudia Gerini, Bridget Moynahan, Lance Reddick, Thomas Sadoski, David Patrick Kelly, Peter Stormare, Franco Nero, Peter Serafinowicz, Tobias Segal

PS: For the awaited release of the weekend, see the review on Kadam Katha.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Red Jacket

Vampire Owl: Revenge has been my motivation to live for centuries.

Vampire Bat: But we don’t really live – as we were already dead and transformed into vampires long ago.

Vampire Owl: I was referring to life on this world after death.

Vampire Bat: Even that way, I am sure that all of your human enemies should have dead by now. It has been centuries!

Vampire Owl: Yes, but revenge is still sweet, and I have a Hamlet type problem, but I need to have it.

Vampire Bat: Well, in that case, the only option is to ask Doctor Frankenstein to bring them alive. But I am not sure how far he will be able to go.

Vampire Owl: No, because in case of a failure, I will be forced to take my revenge on the doctor too.

Vampire Bat: Don’t you realize that revenge never really bring anything in the end?

Vampire Owl: I am not sure, but revenge has been quite a popular thing in vampire history too.

Vampire Bat: Let me tell you that it is of no good. You waste your life trying to do it, and it is a terrible loss.

[Gets three cups of Kumily tea with a piece of marble cake].

What is the movie about? :: There is a man in red jacket who is killed by another man working under him, who wishes to take his place, not by slowly working his way up, but by simply getting rid of his boss. The killer establishes himself as the new boss and take the dead man’s red jacket for himself. He gets to live the dead man’s life and establishes himself a big shot in the city, and years later, as someone even having the chance of becoming an MLA or a minister at some point – he keeps growing with the city. It is after these many years that we see Vetri (Kowshik) who is looking for revenge against a man called Gaja (Gani) who had killed his father twenty years ago, pointing back to the incident which was shown in the beginning of the movie. He has already failed many times to have his revenge, even hiring contract killers to do the work but for no use, and this time, he feels that he will do it directly.

So, what is to follow in this tale of revenge? :: With the help of his friend Reddy (Peekay), he decides that he will make one move against the killer of his father, who has gone on to become bigger than his father had ever been, with newspapers and magazines talking about the man all the time. It has been the only thing that kept him moving forward in his life, and there is nothing that he wouldn’t do to restore his father’s place. But is he strong enough to do that, and is someone as powerful and experienced as Gaja going to fall for the trap set by the young man? Reddy had already warned him against the possible consequences and did set up someone from Gaja’s group of men to help him when there – but will all these be for nothing in front of an enemy who seems rather invincible? Is the need for revenge bigger than everything else in human life? What happens when it become bigger than life itself for the youth?

On Red Jacket and beyond :: The tale of revenge has been nicely packed, and we have some nice moments and dialogues to go with it. There are also some interesting twists to come, and it keeps us guessing about what is to happen next, with the revenge as well as what could follow after that. The same is well-supported by a fine cast which goes so nicely with the tale. With so many short-films around, there is some fine work by the team here to make this an interesting and entertaining twenty minute run. In the end, we will only wonder about what it means to have revenge – isn’t there another reaction to our action, which will once again keep the chain of events going? It is a series of events that never ends, and it won’t matter what we think about revenge, or about how it can end, as it goes on, like the certainty of the tides. Well, an act of revenge can be nothing less than opening a door to another beginning, which will leave scope for another attempt at retribution, and it can get nastier, and costlier as it repeats itself.

Soul exploration 1: The need for revenge :: The central theme of Red Jacket remains about revenge, which runs directly through its centre. The movie is powered by the need for vengeance, and it drives its protagonist through troubled waters, as he never thinks about another way out – he is far beyond redemption as this need takes over him from all possible directions. Revenge has been something for which people have striven for, rather so much – but, we see that the protagonist’s friend himself ask is it isn’t better to make things better by beating their enemy through business, but our young protagonist immediately says no, as the idea of revenge has been more about one thing in our culture, and it certainly involves self-destruction along with destroying one’s enemy. It is the same thought that drives our hero here, and there are no thoughts about the consequence of the action – a reflection of the arrogant youth of all times.

Soul exploration 2: The need for power :: The movie’s title is the next thing that becomes the focus, as red jacket is the one worn by the men in power. It stands out in almost every shot, and it gets special attention in those moments when everything else is shot in black and white. When it is there, you see it as the symbol of power, and the one thing that everyone wishes to wear, but those who wear it are all murdered – as with great power comes those who wish to take it away from you. When you are that much visible, it makes you a target. Yet, people wants to hold on to those positions of power, which provides them power over others – people feels the need to have more of fame, and there is no clue of what they are facing. What do people attempt to achieve with social media? That should be exactly the same thing, and as much as power and fame feels good, it also has the other side which has the power to end everything which is not permanent.

How it finishes :: Red Jacket is the first short-film from the team behind it, and has been made in both the Tamil version which I watched, and a Kannada version – but after watching this one, we are sure that there are more to come following the tale. The same will make it to the list of my favourite Indian short-films among those I have come across in the last few years. It deals with the idea of revenge in a way that makes it a highly intriguing run throughout those twenty minutes. The subtitle option is also available, and by the end, the message is loud and clear about revenge, that those who take up the sword and live by it, will die by the same; for violence never really solves anything, but makes way for more of blood to flow. The release date of the short-film is pending, and will be updated when it is announced. When it is up for everyone to watch, do make sure that you don’t miss the twenty minute long saga of revenge. UPDATE: Movie released, and can be watched from the below link.

Release date: To be announced
Running time: 20 minutes
Directed by: KV Raja Saravanan
Starring: Kowshik, Gani, Prashanth, Peekay, Arun, Chethan, Rafeek, Chida, Santosh


@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Raman Raghav 2.0

What is the movie about? :: The movie makes it clear that it is not about Raman Raghav a.k.a. Psycho Raman who was a famous serial killer, who unleashed terror in the city of Mumbai in the 1960s. About fifteen years later, another serial killer named Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who seems to follow the same kind of methods, starts his work in the same city. His way of operating is rather strange, and the police has not much clue about what his operations are. His list of victims only get longer, and it also includes Ramanna’s own sister, Lakshmi (Amruta Subhash) who is living with her husband (Ashok Lokhande) and their only son. She reluctantly lets him stay and cooks him food, only to get into an argument with the family. She leaves the place and comes back to take their money as well as kill them all one after the other.

So, what happens next? :: Ramanna is not the kind of person who has any kind of remorse for his actions, and he is surely not the kind of man who thinks twice about what he is to do. He is the worst kind of serial killer whom one could have on their trail. Even after being caught by the police and questioned, there is nothing that comes out of him, and he even escapes with the help of some local boys, thanks to the natural acting that comes to him. ACP Raghavan Singh (Vicky Kaushal) is in charge of the investigation, and has no real clue until finding the photo of Ramanna on the scene of crime, where Ramanna had murdered his sister. He figures out that the man whom they had apprehended a few days earlier has some kind of connection with these brutal murders which have been happening all around the city, keeping the residents terrified.

And, what is to follow next in this tale of terror in the streets? :: Even as he puts a tough cop act all the time, and seems to be righteous cop looking after criminal when someone looks from outside, Raghavan Singh is a a troubled person in his mind, having an unparalleled addiction to drugs, and has an even more terrible anger management issue. He is in a relationship with Smrutika Naidu (Sobhita Dhulipala) at whose place she is staying. It is another terrible relationship that they are having, with him forcing her to have more than one abortion after she keeps getting pregnant as he has his way as he likes. He also has no shame in beating her, but she stays faithful to him, and refuses to go home even after her family hopes for her return. Raghavan gets obsessed with catching Ramanna to such an extent that his issues deepen, and Ramanna at the same time, keeps an eye on the investigating officer – where does this game end?

The defence of Raman Raghav 2.0 :: The dark and terrifying avatar is given more and more life as the movie progresses, and then there is the other side which gets rather scarier. You feel the power of darkness in this movie, and there is so much of energy throughout the flick, thanks to the two main performers. It successfully makes you depressed and leaves you disturbing, with not much hope in the world of chaos. Humanity is surely capable of terrible things, and a lot of these capabilities are there right from the beginning, and are further powered by upbringing and the society. We keep wondering what is to happen next, and we are always interested to know how it all ends, or reach a new beginning. It takes only one serial killer to inspire more, and lets hope that Ramanna becomes our Hannibal to bring more of such movies which can prove to be even better. The final twist is something that breathes life like no other.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that we had expected more from a movie like Raman Raghav 2.0 with its cast and the people who are the helm. We feel that a certain amount of hollowness do exist at times, and this one isn’t that much focused on what we would have been hoping to see with a police officer after a serial killer – this one has almost nothing about the investigation about the murderer. More focus could have been on the characters, and they could have had origin tales, even at the cost of the movie going longer – there are some parts of the movie which could have been cut down to provide space for more of the tale. This kind of movies should have more action, thrilling sequences and deeper story-line which should make us wish to remember the tale more than once; but the focus of Raman Raghav 2.0 seems to be rather a little too much divergent. Then there is the violence – nobody is a role model here.

Performers of the soul :: There is Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal doing a fantastic job in this movie, which surely keeps things going strong. We keep wondering when we will see more of them with movies which get the wider release here. If it was more about the former in the beginning, the latter of Masaan fame takes it to the next level in the second half towards the end. You will also notice Sobhita Dhulipala and Amruta Subhash, as two actresses who brings some great performances in two of the best sequences of the movie. The one thing about Bollywood is that these names which are not regularly talked about as superstars are the real actors and acting stars – I really hope that their movies get release in every theatre here rather than those which brings the crowd; if I was running a theatre, I would run a special show for sure, no matter how much of box-office collection such movies are to bring.

How it finishes :: The movie leaves one with the message that everyone has the tendency to be bad, or rather evil, as it is the inherent evil in man which has more certainty to it than anything else. It is the situation that brings the worst out of people, whether they are branded good or bad. The hopeless state of humanity is directly or indirectly reflected in this movie, which struggles to find goodness which seems to fade away further and further as the flick progresses, and by the end of this, we have lost almost all hope in mankind – it is the ultimate truth, right? We do our best, and still we live in a society which is all about money and power, and the need for it as well as the possession of it, will only turn more people against each other. Evil is so easy, right? Being good is so difficult, especially with a new generation caught inside more than one kind of addiction. Raman Raghav 2.0 has that kind of protagonists, and we know that there is a good chance that we are all going to die an early, terrible death considering where the world is going.

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amruta Subhash, Vipin Sharma, Ashok Lokhande, Harssh A. Singh, Anuschka Sawhney, Hitesh Dave, Rajesh Jais, Kalidas Parthitan, Rhea Pagar, Arun Singh

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lakshyam

Vampire Owl :: When did this one release? I never knew.

Vampire Bat :: This one is more like a silent assassin. Not many people are aware of its release.

Vampire Owl :: I pity the humans; even we who live in another dimension are aware of this release.

Vampire Bat :: The humans are all after one movie only; they bring the hype for one movie, call it the greatest of all-time, and then bring it down.

Vampire Owl :: That seems to be quite the thing that humans do everytime. They even have that subspecies called fans for the same purpose.

Vampire Bat :: It also has a further subspecies, abusers, also known as the haters.

Vampire Owl :: Like they abused everyone who didn’t like the movie that much, and also those who didn’t watch the movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, for them, everyone needed to appreciate its greatness.

Vampire Owl :: That makes no sense, because everyone makes the effort; some people just have so much budget, and being rich, they have to struggle less.

Vampire Bat :: A fan is a fan. Read like, an idiot is an idiot.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: There is an accident near Peermade involving a police jeep, and it is revealed that the vehicle was carrying two convicts who seems to have escaped after the crash. Vimal (Indrajith Sukumaran) and Mushtafa (Biju Menon) are the two former prisoners, now out in the forest. The former is accused of murdering his own girlfriend Shalini (Sshivada), a crime to which he has confessed. The latter is a small-time thief who has been trying to make it big, and was caught accused of having stolen a Rolex wrist-watch, of which there is no proof except for the fact that he was there when it was stolen. Handcuffed to each other, the two will require mutual help to survive, but one happens to be a rich orphan with only one relative in the name of a brother who is in the United States and doesn’t care; the other had a mother who killed his father, and now he is alone.

So, what happens next? :: So, both have to make it through the forest, and goes on with the journey after being chased by a bear and almost being bitten by a snake. Due to the tough circumstances, Mushtafa thinks about going back, as there is no clear evidence of him being the thief and he could get away at some point. But Vimal is adamant, and offers Mushtafa, a total amount of five lakhs if he stays with him through the tough journey, let him escape the police, and find the one who had actually murdered his girlfriend. Mushtafa finds the offer interesting because it was five lakhs that he wanted to make, to begin a new life with a mobile shop and leave his troublesome past behind. With the police after them, and a forest which seems to be never-ending, will they finally be able to find the real murderer and bring him to justice, as time runs out?

The defence of Lakshyam :: There is the certainty of thrills about Lakshyam, when it is present, along with a certain suspense factor, and nobody can deny the same here, even with those troubles which make way. We also have some humour, especially with Biju Menon around. The visuals of the forest are nicely captured here, and we get to see the world from the top, as if in a game such as Age of Empires: Age of Kings with those trees, rivers and small people all around; birds flying in different directions too. The song in this movie is also good, and well taken, even though not anything that would make the big difference. The movie is also successful in making us believe that something huge is on the way right at the beginning. The movie also becomes a distant morality tale in the end, with all things being solved, even though not without some trouble as expected. The message is more about the second chance, which is provided as a reward for goodness.

The claws of flaw :: You are certain to ask if the movie has used all its possibilities as a thriller of this kind – it is far behind in making the best use of the same. Even a certain amount of humour is done in a bad taste, something which is disappointing considering the potential of the two actors here, and the possibility with this situation and environment. The comic side was also something that managed to begin so well, but doesn’t really manage the same throughout the run. The main suspense is also revealed too early, and the potential places to insert the thrilling elements were not looked at. Coming from the pen of the man behind Drishyam, the remake Papanasam and Memories, we surely have expected a lot more with this one, even though this surely has the advantage over his last effort, Oozham. With Mummy and Me, Detective and My Boss, it was a faultless resume for Jeethu Joseph, and even Life of Josutty had held on – one wonders what is happening with the same.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon once again leads the way, and his comic timing is exceptional as usual – even otherwise, he never goes back, and there is not even a sign of the same. There is cent percent safety concerning him handling this particular role. We are also glad to see Indrajith back here, as he is one actor who has so many good movies in his pocket, and remains very much underrated – there is no hype surrounding him, and he delivers each and every time. Sshivada’s role is once again limited, as in the ridiculous movie Inspector Davood Ibrahim, and becomes nothing like Su Sudhi Vathmeekam – but she surely has a few charming moments, not something that is expected to stay for long. The supporting cast is also so small, and the most famous name in that list, Shammi Thilakan also has so much less to do. In a movie that has almost every scene with one of these characters, and three quarter of the movie with these two together, the rest just had to keep going on.

How it finishes :: Biju Menon is coming right out of three family movies which were not less than entertaining with the humour; Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Kavi Uddheshichathu? and Swarna Kaduva. Indrajith’s last three movies were Vettah, Amar Akbar Anthony and Kohinoor, all being multi-starrers, his big surprise as the sole hero coming in the form of Angels. Both seems to have been choosing very well with their last few movies, which have kept us interested in their flicks that go on to be good enough for minimum guarantee. With the name Jeethu Joseph is added, Lakshyam also stays somewhere there, even though not as much as expected. The thrills are here and it should keep you interested at moments. As a movie with not much of a hype, Lakshyam making a pretty much okay run will surprise not just one or two people, but all who were looking forward to other movies. The big challenge to this movie’s existence, CIA, will still be there as the one with the hype.

Release date: 6th May 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Anzar Khan
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Biju Menon, Sshivada, Kishor Satya, Shammi Thilakan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Silence

silence (1)

Questions of the day :: The first question of the day is less relevant, and it is about the day of release. Why would this movie be released on a Saturday? That gives the impression that the movie is less confident about fighting face to face with movies that release on the Friday as usual, and this was more of a “weak week” except for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire striking the multiplexes; that won’t help – it gives more of a feeling that by releasing on a Saturday or a Sunday, more family audiences can be lured to the theatres without reading a review. That is rather pure lack of confidence, something which we audience have more on all those who are behind this movie than they might have had on us. The next question is about the lack of publicity – this might be the least publicized movie of Mammootty as well as V.K. Prakash in a long time. Nobody really knew that this movie was going to release last Saturday. It was updated on multiplex lists much later, and there was no talks about it. Seriously, why release a superstar movie in secret? There are some posters, but in a week such as this, the movie could have done incredibly well with better marketing.

What is Silence? :: From the director who gave us Beautiful (my favourite movie from him), comes this flick which is more of a thriller. No it is not just Silence if you look closer into the poster, as it is The Power of Silence, with Silence written in big letters. I didn’t like his last few movies, but I was sure that there will be something good coming up from him soon. Only if they had marketed this well as they did for the inferior movies like Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla and Poppins. This has to be the least popularized Mammootty movie too, breaking the record of Kunjananthante Kada which also came sneaking into the theatres. But Silence is still moving silently, and there needs to be voices if it has to take it to the next level. Just because the name of a movie is The Power of Silence, would that mean its better to sneak into the theatres and run for a week with not many people knowing that it has released? Except for jobless people like me, of course. The fans will know, but for a neutral, this one had to be told about. What is the motive behind making this movie if nobody knows it has released? Who knows? Well, lets move on to what might point to our movie concerning corpus delicti!

What is it about? :: Aravind Chandrasekhar (Mammootty) is the newly appointed Chief Judge of the Karnataka High Court after a great run as a lawyer with absolutely no blemish. He is praised as the youngest person to achieve that honour and everything goes smoothly as he goes to his ancestral home with his wife Sangeetha (Pallavi Purohit) and two children. He is harassed by a phone call from an unknown person who seems to know almost everything about him, and tells him that he is not fit to be a judge. There are cars chasing him, people around his house, his daughter is given gifts by strangers and his son is found missing only to be found later. With the help of Neil George (Anoop Menon), an IPS officer and a good friend, he attempts to solve the mystery behind the people who are shadowing him. He finds that there is something about his past there, and goes back to look at the cases which he dealt with, and with the advice of his former rival Markose (Joy Matthew) and his juniors, he would find out the same just after the first half and gets to make things right.

The defence of Silence :: The movie does have the power of silence as it moves on silently, but with some hidden fire throughout the first half. It is a good attempt by the crew to make a thriller after the same director and scriptwriter did join earlier to make comedy movies. The movie is serious and is successful in making people think that there is something big coming up and there are surprises in store. The questions have been brought to light and the train of answers have been set up in such a way as to make sure that there will be no derailing except for some shaking in the second half. There is that feeling which has been missing in the thriller movies in Malayalam, which audience might have been waiting for. There is that point where the interval is set and it is where the movie is at its peak, and at the top it sends people to buy popcorn, kappa varuthathu, kadala and tea, waiting to pounce on them again after the interval, and people are left with high hopes.

Claws of flaw :: The second half takes an unnecessary leap and takes away the hopes. The beginning of the second half is okay, but as it progresses and reaches the second part of the second half, the curse takes over and by the climax, it is almost completely gone with the ship barely holding on at the top of the sea level with only the mast remaining on the top. The way they end this movie is rather despicable, and there is an underwater fight scene as they attack each other as if they were born to live underwater, but that place looks rather like an aquarium. Why all the stupidity and dialogues of nonsense in the end is a question which can spring up. The loopholes catches on, and the background music which comes out of nowhere and becomes disturbing for the ears with noise pollution is another despicable thing. The movie becomes rather amateurish as a thriller as it reaches the finishing line. The points that the movie scores is for the first half, and the for the second, it gets some points just because it doesn’t fall into the bottom of the abyss.

Performers of the soul :: Mammootty is the one who saves the movie again and again as the flick keeps losing steam on regular occasions. He makes sure that he does all that he can to keep this ship from sinking from the holes created by itself during a moonwalk with a glacier, and there is a lot of them which can make a regular Titanic sink. Anoop Menon has given him great support right from the beginning and his performance is as good as it can get, while Pallavi’s debut in Malayalam is just decent with nothing special added to the menu, and one often wonders if that character is there just because our protagonist needed a family and someone was to be kidnapped and left for dead by the villain. Aparna Nair has nothing but a presence, like the dead twin sister in Geethanjali. Joy Mathew has a very small role, but when he is there, he makes that impact that he always makes, and his character could have been further explored rather than left behind with a few dialogues. He would have been a better villain than anyone else in the movie. The child artists are also good.

How it finishes :: Silence is a silent scene for most of the viewers as the movie which doesn’t have even a wikipedia page (even small budget movies without superstars often manage one). Its power as a thriller might be disputed and its strength as a superstar movie might be questioned. V.K. Prakash and Y.V. Rajesh surely make a great combination (yes, I liked Gulumal: The Escape and Three Kings, no matter what). Not among the more interesting thrillers in any manner, and don’t compare this to Memories though, as it remains the best Malayalam thriller movie not only of this year, but also of a long time. Silence doesn’t rise even as a mediocre contender to that. But this one does have its moments of thrills which doesn’t go beyond a certain point. The thrillers with psychological as well as the investigative sides always make it interesting to watch, as proved by Memories, Nadia Kollappetta Rathri and Sahasram. Silence has a certain doubt if it should go with these three or last year’s Grandmaster, and there it confuses itself as well as the viewers, and gets drained of energy, yet holds its ground. There is information that it is inspired from multiple Hollywood flicks, but none I have watched. We need more thrillers in Malayalam, and so I suggest we should make this one a success!

Release date: 7th December 2013
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: V.K. Prakash
Starring: Mammootty, Anoop Menon, Joy Mathew, Pallavi Purohit, Aparna Nair, Kavitha Nair, Ravi Vallathole, Basil, Prakash Bare

silence copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

No One Lives

noonelivez

Vampire Owl: Now that is indeed interesting. I might give it a Facebook like even without seeing the movie. So you mean to say that no one lives in the end? Everyone dies? This strange guy kills everyone?

Vampire Bat: No, he keeps the girl alive, but he does say that no one lives as he kills the last guy. But most of us would know that she might get to survive right from the beginning itself, and don’t we all love Adelaide Clemens?

Vampire Owl: Now that is indeed a disappointing side.

[Twenty three blood shakes later]

Count Dracula: Here you are again. I wouldn’t think that your owl friend was completely in favour of the movie. That one is a mystery, and obviously a flying person. But the fact remains that the only thing that we care about a lot is your opinion. You are the flightless Vampire Bat who watches more movies than anyone I ever knew.

Vampire Bat: Vampire Owl’s opinion is gore-infested. There is a clear positive review right there, the only negative being “some one lives”. But I take a different path, and yet both of us go against the usual reviews about the same.

Count Dracula: Doesn’t this come from Ryuhei Kitamura who directed The Midnight Meat Train? It was one of my favourite movies. There was lot of blood and gore involved and there was chilling twist. Vinnie Jones as Mahogany – thats a villain who every vampire Count needs to have as a henchman or even hitman. May be I should emply such a person so that we can have uninterrupted supply of blood? May be we should shift to a place under a city. Mad me think a lot. So this can’t be bad either.

Vampire Bat: Well, that was based on Clive Barker’s 1984 short story of the same name. He is indeed a master of horror, taking one back to the other movies Hellraiser and Candyman, as well as the computer game Undying. Our movie doesn’t seem to be based on anything which might be why it doesn’t have that touch which The Midnight Meat Train had. But it is still a very good treat for the horror fans who are in support of the blood and gore, and also somewhat for the others.

Count Dracula: Yes, even I feel the same. Who is this guy mentioned as Driver? Is he as good as Mahagony. From the trailers, it seemed that he could also make as much good a villain as Mahagony, but I have my doubts if he is the hero or the villain? What is it about?

Vampire Bat: There is a couple travelling in the country area, and this couple is attacked by a group of thieves who captures both, one of them who is Driver. They are both tortured for their credit card and pin numbers and the girl decides to end her life by pushing against the thief’s knife. Driver breaks free and kill the thief. But the other thieves who has the car finds out that there is a young girl tied up and locked in the back of the car. As they take her out, she tells the story of a man who killed her friends and locked her up. The thieves go back to find their dead friend, and when they bring the body back, Driver emerges from inside the body which was stitched from the inside to avenge the death of his lady!

Count Dracula: That grabs my attention, but I guess that he should be almost invisible, a tougher guy than Mahagony. Isn’t the role played by Luke Evans? I remember him mostly for Immortals, even as I have to admit that he surprised me in The Raven and Fast & Furious 6, thanks to your recommendation in that case. I got a feeling that he is going to surprise me further in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Does his charm work out with this movie?

Vampire Bat: Yes, he is also going to be there for The Crow reboot as well as in Dracula Untold. He is good in this movie even with those strange expressions at times, and even as his character is too one-dimensional and there is not much explanations like you found in The Midnight Meat Train. He is just the driver who kills, and he indeed has many cruel ways of killing people; and in this story, most of them are bad people. A better character could have served better. But you have to think more about the three main beauties, Adelaide Clemens, Laura Ramsey and America Olivo.

Count Dracula: I guess I know how America Olivo is going to impress us, and yes her presence is a boost in rather an unconventional way, and she is always good in that. I remember her from Friday the 13th, and there is going to be more of her in the 2012 movie Maniac when I watch it. I remember Laura Ramsey from The Ruins too – if there was no Amber Heard, may be she could have suited for such roles. Adelaide Clemens is a cutie indeed, and I can remember her very well from that movie you recommended – Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the three of them serve their purpose, and Adelaide Clemens rules the movie, not without being a little irritating at times, but I guess that comes with a character who has suffered. America Olivo seems to be custom fit for her death scene, and she seems to be proving that horror movies might need her a lot – well one has to say that Driver is indeed fond of killing wherever the place is. Laura Ramsey could have had a bigger role to play, even as there is a certain amount of mysterious beauty in her character as she goes on to kill herself to end her suffering. There is also Lindsey Shaw who suffers for no reason.

Count Dracula: Well, one has to guess that this movie is full of suffering. I wonder if Driver going the Mahagony way can come up with anything less. The Vampire Owl had told me that Driver wears a Kevlar vest, and rarely makes a mistake. Now that is too much for a man who doesn’t explain who or what he is. Do you have any idea what on the Earth he is? Why is he called Driver and why does he go around killing people?

Vampire Bat: My first guess was that he is a revenge seeker, but we can’t be sure about that. He does have another name and his actions with the thieves are justified, but there is no point to what he has been doing for a long time – may be there is a long story behind all that which they wanted to leave a mystery. But that doesn’t help much, as this often becomes a movie in which “a random highly skilled person kills a number of random people due to some random reason that we have no idea about”. We can only guess that he is a random serial killer.

Count Dracula: The nameless, aimless ones impress a lot of people, no wonder. They needed someone like me. I could have done better job than Driver and could have even left my card there. I know my motivations too. Someone kills everyone in a mission to kill anyone, and no one lives except one – so said Vampire Owl. The ways of horror movies can only get stranger.

Vampire Bat: Still, there is the gore-fest made in a creative manner, and moments of shock successfully created. As I already said, the three ladies are kind of horror specialists, as they have acted and proved in such movies, and they continue to impress here, with Luke Evans who becomes the serial killer who could gain varied responses. There are also some good dialogues. Only if the movie could tell the viewers what it was actually trying to do…

Count Dracula: Its produced by WWE Studios right? I think they are getting better every time. The blood itself should inspire me to watch this one. There is a party coming up, and it is only by watching the blood that my blood shake making ability get better. I am going to watch this one on a big LED screen!

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is worth your time of blood for sure, and let me know how much you are going to rate it with the blood and without it. Now, it is the time for me to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a bloody discussion again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, world’s most efficient movie watching Bat. May the sky never fall on your head.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie mostly due to the surprises that comes with it. Even as I am not much into blood and gore these days, this one has a river of the same. It also has a lot of good moment and dialogues despite the irritation factor staying with it. The lead actor is a brutal killer (Luke Evans Almighty without his ark and the animals) at his best and the ladies look great, plus the murders are innovative enough. I shall sign a petition if there is one about making a sequel to this, for I need to get into the origins of this killer, if they have even thought about him having a life before beginning to do all these things.

✠ If you liked The Strangers, and felt the need for more blood and gore, you might like this one more. This movie also has murders for almost no reason at all. When the excuse of that movie was about the couple being home, our killer makes the excuse that it keeps him fit. Well, I have had better excuses with me when I had failed to do homework during school days. Well, none of these killers are that evil as the fire-breathing demon which is Mathematics. WWE Studios has evolved from making horror flicks like See No Evil which was okay, to this one which is very good. Yes, being a WWE fan (even though I no longer watch the matches) when the movies have that WWE logo before the beginning, it interests me – isn’t WWE also the same as the movie? Well, some of the stories in World Wrestling Entertainment were many times better than some of the stories associated with a few movies. This is a very short movie which takes less than one and half hours too, and that should make one either happy or unhappy.

Release date: 10th May 2013
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Ryuhei Kitamura
Starring: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, America Olivo, Laura Ramsey, Lindsey Shaw, Lee Tergesen, Derek Magyar, Beau Knapp, Brodus Clay

noonlives copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Raven

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“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore — While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door”. These are the first few lines of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poem, The Raven, which we had to study as a part of our American Literature syllabus for the partial fulfilment of the Masters Degree in English Language and Literature. Even as I found the process of doing seminar about Emily Dickinson more fascinating in this particular paper, my favourite work of that one paper was undoubtedly this poem about this black creature. Later in the poem, we have a better sight of the magnificent dark bird: “In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door — Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door — Perched, and sat, and nothing more”. The poem created such a great supernatural environment with the raven’s unexpected visit to a man who is mourning over his lost love.

Even as this movie takes the title from the same poem, and carries over the same darkness which the poem had in itself, the movie is not directly related to the poem, as it rather fictionalizes the final days of Poe’s life until his mysterious death instead of taking the poem’s imagery forward, and at the same time, gives our poet the powerful image of a crime solver. The use of the image of a literary figure can always be interesting, and as this one poet is considered, he was that big an influence in our question papers that it was quite difficult to take a decision to skip his poems – for that would leave us with not much to score in the exams. There might be many differences between a crow and a raven even as they look the same; as we consider the two movies The Crow and The Raven, they also belong to two different worlds, united only be the presence of murders, deaths and the dark side in both the movies. As the 1994 supernatural action movie is concerned, it remains one of my favourites, but I can’t say the same about The Raven with its investigative thriller atmosphere even as I have my own reasons for liking it.

The story takes us back to the nineteenth century, when Poe (John Cusak) lives his life filled with alcohol claiming to have used up all his literary abilities, and the only other thing he is interested in is the love for one woman, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve). He is loathed by the lady’s rich and influential father (Brendan Gleeson) though. Meanwhile, a group of cops find two dead bodies of a woman and her daughter, and detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) finds out that the crime resembles a murder in the short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue written by Edgar Allan Poe. As more incidents follow, Poe is called to the police station and is asked to help the cops in solving the strange case. At the same time, Emily is kidnapped by the killer who asks Poe to publish a new story. The murderer keeps leaving Poe clues until he gets to that one final clue which would reveal what has lead to this situation, and also that mystery behind the killer should be removed. But as Emily is buried under the ground in a coffin and time keeps running out, Poe is left with less to think and more to act.

I might have to agree that this didn’t work as well as I supposed it would, even as John Cusack and Luke Evans have come up with very good performances and so did the villain who shall not be revealed here. Cusak plays the man who invented the detective genre and blessed us with the best of the supernatural, with so much ease, even as the question remains about how much the character in the movie has deviated from the original person except for the mustache. May be the movie tried to bring too much of the characteristics of the man into one movie which is a suspense thriller with an unnecessary romantic background, thus making it a little too much of a mixture. Poe might not have liked it, but as an admirer of his work, I do; and there is no suspense about it. Alice Eve once again gives her best along with being out of the league, making her way towards the character as she should have. She plays more of a lover of Poe as a poet and his ideas, and plans to marry him despite of the disapproval of her father; and this is one love story which doesn’t have a good beginning or a happy ending.

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! — Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted — On this home by Horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore” – the lines from the poem matches with the depiction of Poe in the movie too, as he accepts his dark imaginations in the movie, and asks if imagining is also a crime. He is shown as a man with no money or fame left, even as The Raven remains one of the most famous works. He finds solace in alcohol as well as his love, and attempts to publish articles instead of fiction which both the editor and the admirers want, and would be something which can bring him fame and fortune again. As he says “Nevermore”, we can see that his character mostly reflects the same man who is the protagonist in his most famous poem. He is there to prove his lines, “And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted – nevermore”! So as the title is concerned, we can identify the man more with the protagonist of the poem of the same name, which is more Poe than anywhere else.

The Raven has its own collection of blood and gore, with even a huge mechanical axe-like device used by the murderer to cut a man into two halves, as the machine swings to and fro like a pendulum coming down towards the victim second by second – from Poe’s another work, The Pit and the Pendulum. The whole atmosphere is full of shadows and darkness creating the much needed creepy world. The villain is someone who knows Poe’s imagination more than he himself does, and his characters and stories too well. There is even that question about Poe inspiring those murders. The inspiration for the movie might be many slasher movies which came earlier, that is for sure. There lies the agony, and the sadness which arises due to the fact that this is just a random fictionalized story with lots of areas which could have been better. There could have been further logic and strong connections, but The Raven has taken the easy way out, with three of the skilled leading actors and an addition of the dark atmosphere supported by blood and gore, trying to work the mystery of a literary figure and his works. It does work in parts most of the time, but as a movie which requires that standard of the poem whose title has been taken, there should have been a lot more.

Coming from the man who directed V for Vendetta this is surely a let-down. May be the movie confuses itself a bit about what it tries to achieve, but this is still a good flick for the literature enthusiasts, especially fans of this one poet and his works, even as there can be disappointment about the changes in depiction of the poet, and the lack of anything amazing in the story that made him a crime solver. There was a lot more scope to this idea of the fiction which has been explored here. I liked this movie because I could connect it with Poe’s works which I had to study and it was easy to remember more about him with this movie, even as it would have helped me much better if the movie had released in 2011. This movie is my nostalgia, of my time reading Poe at college. I can’t say the same about others though, and for those who don’t know Poe or haven’t read any of his works, this is better to be avoided. The other choice for you is to read his works, something which might be a tough ask in a world which is ruled by fiction of no real quality. Still, I would suggest you read the poem The Raven, about which I managed to write a lot in my exam, and a reading of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel with it might prove further interesting.

Release date: 9th March 2012
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: James McTeigue
Starring: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jimmy Yuill, Kevin McNally, Sam Hazeldine, Pam Ferris, John Warnaby, Brendan Coyle

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.