The Forest

Vampire Owl: I once went to this particular forest known for suicides.

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

Vampire Owl: I just couldn’t live up-to its reputation as I had already died.

Vampire Bat: Even the undead can die, you know.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the ghosts were against it. They told me that it is cheating.

Vampire Bat: Why did you even have to listen to them?

Vampire Owl: Well, they told me that they would transform me into a human.

Vampire Bat: What? It is so cruel. It would have been better to keep split personalities instead.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I just couldn’t bear being part of an inherently evil species. So, I said no.

Vampire Bat: I have to say that you did the right thing this time. The blood wars are coming, and we have to say no to more than one thing.

[Gets three cups of lemon tea with 50-50 biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Sara Price (Natalie Dormer) is spending her time with her fiance, Rob (Eoin Macken), and is having some happy moments of her life in her home in the United States of America when she gets an unexpected call from Japan. She is informed that her twin sister, Jess Price (again Natalie Dormer) is dead. The idea is that she was last seen going into Aokigahara forest known more as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees, and those who go there alone at night rarely come back as it is a place where people commit suicide. It is rather believed to be the most popular suicide destination in the world which has so many strange tales associated with it. The forest is known to be home to yurei or or rather the ghosts of Japanese mythology. It is also said that long ago, the elderly or unwell people were left to die in the forest, and the place had its dead bodies and ghosts from centuries ago. The place has that kind of a terrifying reputation.

So, what happens next? :: But that doesn’t stop Sara from looking for her sister, and despite the concerns of Rob, she travels to Japan, and after talking to the people at the school where she was teaching, gets to the hotel where Jess was staying. There she meets a man named Aiden (Taylor Kinney) with whom she share a drink and they become friends. After listening to her story, he tells her that he is a photographer and will accompany her to the forest. They are also to be accompanied by a guide named Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) whose presence will help them to get out of the forest if they lose their way or if anything goes wrong. As they go to the forest, Michi tells her that Jess should most probably be dead, and there is nothing changing the same. But Sara says that it is not possible, and as they are twins, she will somehow know if she was dead. She is quite convinced that her sister would never commit suicide.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: After traveling for some time in the forest, they come across the tent which Jess had used, but it was nearing nightfall, and Michi tells them that they have to go back as soon as possible. But Sara is convinced that the best option for them is to stay there, as Jess might come back to the tent by night. But Michi tells her that it is not safe, as the forest has its own ghosts, and they will make her see things which will drive her mad, and it will be she who will be lost on the next day. With their best efforts not seeing anything good in the end, Aiden says that he will stay with her throughout the night, and Michi leaves them to what seems to be a complicated fate. So, by staying in the dark forest which is believed to have more spirits than people, can Sara finally find Jess, and can at least one of the two sisters return home alive from the forest? Well, it is not that simple as it seems to be.

The defence of The Forest :: Aokigahara Forest is a nice location for a change, and with the tales that are told about the same, we become more and more interesting in watching a horror movie based on the same location. Natalie Dormer does a very good job as the twins here, and we are glad to see her in two roles, and she does her job very well. Known the best for her work in Game of Thrones series and also in The Hunger Games, it is great to see the talented actress doing the big role in a horror movie. The forest is also a solid character by itself, as we see possibilities going endless from the beginning itself. It does bring the question about what really is the reality and what is the hallucination – something that the ghosts use to confuse its new preys. The visuals are nicely used to support the same, and we surely have to say that there is an attempt to go different here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have surely used more scares, especially with such a mysterious forest at the centre of everything – the site of tragedy and strange beliefs hasn’t got the due that it deserved. The Forest could have used more ghosts than any other movie, and the variety that it could have brought with its scares would have made it close to a masterpiece; but such an effort is certainly not made here. When such creepiness is around, you expect the scary side to hold on and get to be better, and it is something that you never see anywhere around here. This struggle to use the material in hand should feel strange for many viewers. It also has to be noted that other than Natalie Dormer, there is nothing much of a cast to do anything big. Maybe it is the lack of focus that bring the trouble rather than anything else, as we see the struggle towards the end from a movie which began so well.

How it finishes :: You will surely find The Forest to be a rather strange movie, which means that whether you like it or not, it is very difficult to ignore it. With Natalie Dormer in full form, you might expect more and more, and what you get might not satisfy you enough. If you consider the mystery elements more and the scares a little less, you will not find this one to be less interesting. As you think differently, you will find this movie to catch your attention with its divergence. After all, it is one reality that we have in our lives, and the inability to understand what is real and what is unreal, and what is good and what is evil, is something that should be scary even out of the limits of a horror movie. Well, this one is creepy enough, and you just need to read less number of reviews before watching this movie. You remember the movie Pet, which was different in its own way.

Release date: 8th January 2016
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Jason Zada
Starring: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Eoin Macken, Rina Takasaki, Noriko Sakura, Yûho Yamashita, James Owen

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mockingjay II

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Vampire Owl: So, this is the name of the movie in reality. It was written here on this newspaper as Mocking Hay and I was wondering what it was about.

Vampire Bat: Here, on this other newspaper, it is written as Mockway. It is a more distant spelling. I do wonder what they might have called Goosebumps.

Vampire Owl: It is because of this wrong spelling that we felt that this was a movie which we knew nothing about, and made the choice not to watch it earlier! I don’t understand why they can’t have people who are able to spell this. I am beginning to doubt how they choose the people behind this.

Vampire Bat: They make such mistakes and still we read them. Then, we see that at some other editions of the same newspaper, and even at some other columns of the same, it is correct and then we are made sure that this particular title is another movie. I don’t understand why we are like this, looking at the mistakes, being mislead, understanding that it was too silly a thing and then continuing to read the same newspapers – actually, we even watch the same news channels which we don’t like.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://kiagia.co/index.php/current-film-releases/1200-the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-2-movie-review

A science-fiction dystopian adventure book from the US author Suzanne Collins was made into a movie in 2012, with Jennifer Lawrence playing the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. This movie adapted from the first book of The Hunger Games series was very successful. With The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire becoming grand success at the box-office, the third book in the series, Mockingjay was divided into two movies. Here we have the second part of the two, and this movie finishes the franchise. There was one movie in the franchise releasing each year from 2012 onwards, and the last three movies of the franchise have all released in the latter half of November.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) continues to be the Mockingjay and the one grand symbol of revolution as the districts unite against President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland). The attack from a brainwashed Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) did affect her, but she is back there on the warzone with her speeches and charisma only to be shot by a loyalist from District Two. Even though Katniss wishes to kill President Snow herself, President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) asks her not to risk her life again, and advices her to remain as the inspiration and the symbol of their defiance. As she is someone who can motivate the crowd with her presence, she agrees to Coin’s idea.

But Katniss is not the one to keep away from her ultimate aim, as she sneaks into an aircraft leaving to join Commander Paylor (Patina Miller) who is planning a huge assault. There, she is told to be part of a squad lead by Boggs (Mahershala Ali) as they have to evade the booby traps or the pods on the streets which are left by game-makers of the Hunger Games. Thus the journey will be more of less like the seventy sixth Hunger Games. They will be joined by Peeta as they are to go through the streets facing the unexpected threats which await them. The Capitol and Snow will think that she is dead, not once but many times, but Mockingjay is not someone who is going to stay dead as the squad keep going towards the big destination.

The problems caused by breaking down one book into two like Harry Potter and Twilight can be seen. The fans will surely prefer this because they can watch more of their favourite franchise. More of Katniss Everdeen will be there for them to see. But as the last book is divided into two, this movie surely has been cursed with a certain amount of drag. This certainly wouldn’t have been there if Mockingjay was just one movie instead of two stretched movies. But there is one advantage that this movie does possess, and it is the ability to finish the franchise in the right way. The finish is all about that climax which has one shot from the bow of the protagonist that determines everything, even though there are some predictable sequences after that.

The second part of Mockingjay is surely ahead of its predecessor because of the quality of the material in the latter part of the book. If you have read the book already, you will feel that this movie is a good adaptation even with the stretched parts. There are some nice conversations to go with the interesting action sequences, even as there is nothing much here to compete with those which we have seen in the first two movies. There are some traces of what was seen in the games earlier, but there is no big combats shown here. The special effects are good, and the dystopian world will once again grab your attention. The weapons as well as the other gadgets will also catch your eyes.

The movie has its touching moments and thrills which are surely present. There is also some reflection of the real effects of war on the common man which is nothing more than destruction and chaos. The lives of the civilians and morality are two things which are used to one’s advantage as shown here. But the movie does end with hope, despite the deaths, and we know this factor as something which was too far away in the previous movies of the franchise. For those who are new to this franchise, they will find themselves in trouble as the movie goes directly into the story, but with some focus, a certain clue about the dystopian idea and some understanding on what this franchise is about, they can still go through this movie.

As it was in the case of the previous movies, Jennifer Lawrence still remains the biggest asset as the Mockingjay. It is a pleasure to watch her as Katniss Everdeen once again, as she does her job with no trouble at all. As expected, she has and handles those best moments of movie; there is one other point which comes with a sudden impact, related to mutant creatures in the sewers – that was a grand one too. Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth provide the needed support very well. Maybe, the movie could have finished better without using the epilogue from the book, even though that would be ignoring the faithful fans of the book. Here ends another movie based on another Young Adult Novel, and despite the flaws, it is a good finish to the franchise.

Release date: 27th November 2015 (India); 20th November 2015 (USA)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer, Willow Shields, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Gwendoline Christie, Stanley Tucci, Evan Ross, Donald Sutherland, Mahershala Ali, Patina Miller, Stef Dawson, Paula Malcomson, Meta Golding, Wes Chatham, Elden Henson, Michelle Forbes, Omid Abtahi, Misty Ormiston, Kim Ormiston

mockingjayII

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rush

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✠ I have never been a fan of Formula One Racing, and my expectation about this movie has been very low due to the area on which this movie works, but this actually turned out to be a pleasant surprise. There are only a few sports movies which have caught my attention including Goal, Bend it Like Beckam and Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal – all three dealing with the same soccer game, and therefore I have a little bit of aversion towards sports drama movies despite of liking a good number of biographical movies. Now the question would remain – how come Rush turned out to be so different that I decided to watch the same? What is in the movie which features a s sport which I am hundred percent not interested in, and what was there before I watched it? It was one of my friends who made that decision for me, even as I was thinking about Captain Philips which was newer with better critical ratings and adjustable show timing – but we decided to choose this one, and that turned out to be a very good decision in the end, a happy finish indeed.

Count Dracula: Here you are again. I think that your review of Dark Shadows has been pending for long. Do you have it with you? But from the way you have driven all the way here, it seems that you have something about racing with you. I thought you were a slow driver, and I rarely see you go above fifty five kilometres per hours – don’t you usually stay below fifty?

Vampire Bat: I can see that you feel the need for some good vampires like Barnabas Collins and Victoria Winters. But that would take some waiting, and I am hoping to write about it in November if possible, otherwise in December. And you guessed it right. The whole thing is all about racing, and it is the movie Rush, which took me almost a month to watch after I came to knew how good it is, and thanks to the new multiplexes it still had just one show remaining in all the multiplexes and local theatres together and I successfully pounced on the same.

Count Dracula: Do you mean to see that you watched a Formula One movie and understood something? Is it based on real life characters? How much exaggeration is put into it so that they could blur the reality?

Vampire Bat: Lets leave that exaggeration to Bollywood nonsense like Chak De! India. Rush scores a million times better than any of the pseudo-sports movies of Bollywood. If you haven’t seen this movie, you are missing something of the real sports drama, of fine quality. I might never rate any sports movies this high, ever. It takes us to the 1976 Formula One season with all the emphasis on the rivalry between the two drivers, McLaren’s James Hunt and Ferrari’s Niki Lauda which begins with a smaller race in the 1970s and going on to the 1976 season with incredible power.

Count Dracula: What do you know about Formula One and a race which actually happened before you were born? Even after you were born, when was the first time you really knew something about a car? When was the first time you really liked a sport, especially something other than cricket and may be football and wrestling in the form of that British Bull Dog – Undertaker starring entertainment?

Vampire Bat: I have known not much expect for a few names like Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. I had one of my friends with me who explained a lot, and the rest I had read a lot before going for the movie. I have no real job these days and I can afford to read a lot, including a lot of blogs and a lot of information on sports, this time including Formula One racing which never really interested me even as a computer game, but this movie did.

Count Dracula: How did you enjoy the movie then? Didn’t you feel like a vampire out of his coffin or like a Count out of his castle? What you read is not what you like, and for someone who hasn’t watched even one motor sport fully, how will that turn out? Don’t put me into the equation though, as I am against all these things which pollute environment. The humans have their superstition called science, and I have my own supernatural abilities, and they don’t run on some non-renewable resource which you waste with such things instead of reserving them for daily travel only.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have always thought that they should rather decrease the price of petrol and diesel rather than wasting all these fuel contributing to the rise in fuel prices which steals the life out of the common man and throws a lot into the pockets of the rich. It is surely one of those sports of the rich and for the rich; more against the whole concept of equality and socialism becoming the rich man’s game, even more than Golf. You already know that I am personally against speed, as I do not like this concept of driving fast and racing which negatively inspires the brainless new generation to drive too fast and cause all those accidents along with burning all the fuel.

Count Dracula: You get the point for sure, but most of these people won’t. Isn’t it dangerous enough too? I heard about that ten seconds advertisement which comes before the movies, telling people about driving. I would say that this driving fast is more of the troublemaker than anything else. I would say that you must drive slowly rather than get inspired by all these racing stuff.

Vampire Bat: It is one of such danger that the movie itself talks about. There are these two people, both looking for the big prize, and one of them is the hedonist and the other the perfectionist, and as the former takes the big risk and races against the worst conditions, the latter realizes that winning isn’t everything after having a big accident and makes a quick comeback even in the immense pain and suffering, a moment when he takes the big decision to choose life over danger, that decision which might have made him comeback next year with a big championship win while the former never won again and finally retired too soon. It is the victory of the man who wanted to win it once and prove his worth, while it is also the victory of the man who could know his passion and his life rather than just winning.

Count Dracula: That sounds like powerful stuff. I never really believed in winning myself – there has never been any point. It should be really worthless for mortals; at least I can keep it with me forever – what would these people do with all these?

Vampire Bat: To die and be dust, but to live in fame, that is for sure. James Hunt and Niki Lauda have been incredibly well portrayed by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl respectively. I especially loved the latter, both the character and the portrayal, as it is that character who has left his whole for the racing and even in all the pain and suffering, he came back to race with his burns and bruises, and makes one wonder if the former would have won any championship if the latter was active throughout – a lot of respect for the latter and the way in which he is shown – we fall in love with the characters rather than the Formula One Racing; there lies the irony in it. I won’t like the game, and I shall never even have a look into it. But I admire Niki Lauda for what he has done despite what he has gone through, and for James Hunt, it is a wonderful portrayal by Chris Hemsworth, but not a character of my preference. Still, we like them both and the actors who do the job well.

Count Dracula: Too much for me, thats for sure. I would rather watch some horse racing or bullock-cart racing without bring cruel to any vampire horse or vampire bull. But, let me tell you that I feel the need to watch the movie even as I might never get to do the same. Thank you for bringing this to me, and I shall think about going on a race with the wind the next time I go out. Did you like the racing sequences, by the way?

Vampire Bat: I didn’t really find any interest i them, and that is negative thing about watching such a movie when not being a fan. I liked almost everything outside the racing though, especially the one when Niki Lauda gets his fans to get him and his future wife a lift after an engine trouble, when he decides to marry her and when James Hunt gives the reporter some beating in support of his rival. Alexandra Maria Lara was also excellent in her role, even as Olivia Wilde had lesser role to play.

Count Dracula: So, this one is a must watch, and another one which adds to your good run along with Gravity and Escape Plan. I shall keep that in mind, just for the sake of it. May be I can also talk about it to some lost human soul who comes this way.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is worth your time for sure, and all those souls are going to love it. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie mostly due to the great performance of Daniel Brühl, and then due to the good work put into it by Chris Hemsworth whom we know more as Thor who beats up people with a hammer and complete with all the supernatural traits. Here, we have that true sports drama which wins both the hearts and the brains with its depiction of a sports rivalry which scores with its realistic depiction and the closeness to the facts. I wish this was a sport which I followed, or rather liked a bit; but that is not the case, but there are not many other movies which shall overtake this movie, and I am more than just confident about that.

Rush might be thought as a movie just for the Formula One fans, but I would not feel so. It may be heaven for them, but it is still the next best thing for the rest. The movie is not just about racing, and those are the moments in the race track which I don’t really like – the other things include achieving your goal as if it is the only thing you need to do in your life, like James Hunt or living for something which is not really a goal but an everlasting passion in which winning isn’t everything, a lesson taught by Niki Lauda. There are always two sides to everything, to live for the moment or to live in the moments – when winning once is all that one tries for, or be ready to give up with the realization that winning is not everything, as there is always another way as life and your loved ones are more important. But there is no judgement or the perfect good or bad. Even as Chris Hemsworth is there in more posters and it is his character that wins, the applause is a lot more and much deservingly for Daniel Brühl and Niki Lauda, even as the portrayal is more honest and not exaggerated in any manner.

Release date: 20th September 2013
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, David Calder as Louis Stanley, Natalie Dormer, Stephen Mangan, Christian McKay, Alistair Petrie, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Colin Stinton, Jamie de Courcey, Augusto Dallara, Ilario Calvo, Sean Edwards, Martin J Smith, Rob Austin, Tom Wlaschiha

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.