Godzilla vs Kong

Vampire Owl: These are not the monsters we expect around here.

Vampire Bat: Well, we cannot stop any of them from entering the realm.

Vampire Owl: So, you mean to say that there is no active vampire defence against monsters.

Vampire Bat: Whatever remains will only be active against werewolves.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that a transformed ape and lizard won’t count.

Vampire Bat: We can ask Doctor Frankenstein to try and contain the radioactivity.

Vampire Owl: I am afraid that it won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: We are already prepared for the huge impact.

Vampire Owl: These are sacred lands. There should be no fight for supremacy here.

Vampire Bat: This is just a temporary space. They will pass through this area, through the portal.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Five years have passed after Godzilla defeated the legendary monster, King Ghidorah and all the other monsters had bowed down to him, accepting his supremacy as the great king of the monsters. He is limited to a small space within the Skull Island, as a dome is created to hold him inside, so as to avoid any contact with Godzilla who wouldn’t appreciate the fact that there are two titans. A deaf and mute child, Jia (Kaylee Hottle) is the only person who could successfully bond with Kong, who is not really happy to be restricted to a small space, which he often tries to damage when he is angry. Jia is also the adopted daughter of the Kong expert Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), and she hopes that they can hold on to Kong as much as possible, and avoid the epic clash which could happen between the two. Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), tries to get into a facility which is attacked by Godzilla at the same time, and that gets everyone worried, as Godzilla has never attacked without a reason.

So, what happens with the events here as something big is coming up? :: Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) feels that there is something wrong here, as Godzilla should have attacked only because there was a reason for the same, and something sinister is happening within. Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir), the CEO of the organization recruits Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), to lead a journey into the Hollow Earth, the homeworld of the Titans, which could have enough energy to fuel the planet and bring a defence against Godzilla. Nathan is not sure about as his books related to same was poorly received by everyone, and going into such a world would mean death, but as he understands that he has developed HEAVs, some specialized crafts able to withstand the high pressure which is exerted by the gravity field. Ilene understands that there is chance for Kong to find a new home in Hollow Earth, and agrees to the idea. But this journey is not that direct as they thought, as there are other motives for the rich businessman behind all these.

The defence of Godzilla vs Kong :: As expected, the film focuses on the action, with huge monsters ruling the screen, asking for bigger screens to watch it with the best effect, and we already had similar feeling with earlier films of Godzilla and King Kong, as well as the unrelated robot v/s monster battles of Pacific Rim. Among the monsters, it is Godzilla who continues to impress us more, as Kong continues to bring the feeling of enlarged ape rather than the alpha creature, still pretty good enough. The grandeur of Godzilla continues to impress us in many ways, and there is no dinosaur from Jurassic World that could stand up to that glory. When these two collide, there is the classic battle of the highest level indeed. There are so many great battles, and one final one with one extra human made monster – as we know, the worst of them are human or created by humans, proven through centuries, and if you have watched the Russian alien film, The Blackout, you will know what humanity is capable of, and this thrilling ride with great visuals asserts it again.

The claws of flaw :: The focus on giant action means less attention on the other things, and it is also not something which was unexpected. The building of the monster is something that was unexpected, and human greed is once again explored in a more predictable manner rather than anything else. There is no absence of Seven Deadly Sins as far as science is concerned, and it is as if they have taken that one directly from religion. The repetition that we feel here is more or less what was expected, but something which has less innovation except for Godzilla fighting Kong and having a mechanical monster also to join the fight. The evil plans of corporates in hold of scientific inventions is expected, but it is still good to see the evil being shown again. Maybe, they could have been shown as more evil that what they seemed, because it was leading to human extinction in one way or the other. This looks like we would need another sequel to use the film to its best advantage.

Performers of the soul :: Unlike what was expected, it is Millie Bobby Brown is the one who has the best of our attention. She plays who seems to be the only really smart person around here, as she seems to figure out what is happening before anyone, the so called smart scientists and researchers figure out things, and throughout the film, she seems to be the only real hope for the world. Rebecca Hall and Alexander Skarsgard plays the usual scientists being misguided into something which they wouldn’t have wanted if they had some common sense about what they giant corporations really wanted, but they play along well enough. Brian Tyree Henry plays the other smart person around, and it is being displayed nicely too. Shun Oguri and Demian Bichir plays the villains quite well, and they are more or less the usual villains that we have in this kind of films. Eiza Gonzalez also plays a meaty role, and she could be one strong action star with works in full scale action thrillers, for we know how effective she was in her small role in Hobbs and Shaw.

How it finishes :: Godzilla vs Kong is the kind of film which should be watched on the big screen, but with the COVID-19 pandemic’s second arrival ending that opportunity, and the fear about the same will keep it to the smaller screens for us, except for others who can afford a grand home theatre at home. It is exactly what you would expect from a monster film, and you might have already guessed that with ease from the experiences from the movie’s predecessors. When monsters of such grandeur collide, you know that there will be a spectacle on the screen, and the quality of this glory will be dependent on your screen and your audio devices. Even though we are missing it on the big screen, we can still appreciate the fact that it is not available on an OTT platform in India, and they have chosen the one which is used the most by people here, Amazon Prime Video. Let us hope that after The Tomorrow War, there will be more Amazon Original Movies coming soon, for we are without the multiplex experience now, and might stay so for some time.

Release date: 14th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video), 31st March 2021 (USA)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Eiza Gonzalez, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Beach House

Vampire Owl: This is certainly not the right time to go to a beach.

Vampire Bat: We, vampires have always preferred the hills.

Vampire Owl: That is a tradition left for us by Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat: Even the Corona Virus has struggled to make it all the way to the hills under his control.

Vampire Owl: Historically, vampires have only caught bacteria, not virus.

Vampire Bat: That won’t be a statement approving our immunity.

Vampire Owl: There is nothing in a vampire that attracts a virus.

Vampire Bat: Doctor Frankenstein has said otherwise though.

Vampire Owl: All mad scientists try to prove it the other way around.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein is still a successful scientist in our realm.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) arrives at the beach house which belonged to latter’s father, and as it is not the time when the tourists make a visit, they feel that it could be found empty, just like many other buildings in the area which is supposed to be a travel destination at a certain period of time. After getting into the beach house, and spending some time together, Emily is surprised to see someone else in the house. Jane (Maryann Nagel) and Mitchell (Jake Weber) identifies themselves as friends of Randall’s father, and according to them, latter knew his father from the university. A confused Emily who is upset about almost being caught be strangers without her pants, offers that they can move out somewhere, but the elderly couple asks them to stay with them, as they have known Randall whom they addressed as Randy from those times when he was a little kid. They offer them that the youngsters could stay there in their room as much as they wanted to.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The four get along really well, and Emily comes up with her plans to study astro-biology and become a scientist, while Randall is not at all fond of studies, comes up with a packet of cannabis which they share. Emily does have doubts about what it could do to the elder couple, but Randall is sure that it is just a little, and will only help them. At the same time, there is also some heavy fog outside, and it seems rather out of this world. Jane goes out to see the same, while Mitchell follows her later. The next morning, the young couple wakes up, and Emily finds Jane in a strange state. They also find Mitchell, and he is also not in a good shape. Emily follows him, as he doesn’t come back after walking into the sea, and finds something strange catching her legs. At the same time, Randall who tries to gelp Jane finds that there is something seriousy wrong with her, and it is not something that they can understand. What is it that is haunting the area? Is it of this world or is it from another planet or dimension?

The defence of The Beach House :: This one is surely not your usual kind of movie, and it is only the name of the setting, as you look at it, without providing a chance to explore the place more – but horror does gets its significance here. The horror here is mostly based on the strange fog and the worms which get into people followed by movement inside them until a complete transformation occurs. The setting is really good, and there is terror being created by the atmosphere, even though one does wonder if it has been taken a little too lightly for this type of a movie – yet it does get to somewhat the expected level during the final stages. We get to know the terrifying situation even when that much is not shown, even though we know that there could have been more. It is Liana Liberato who lifts this movie higher, and I would say that the performances have all been pretty good, even though it is Liana who gets the chance to do much. Whether it is with the relationship or horror itself, she makes it work.

The claws of flaw :: The Beach House does have a struggle with some of its elements, and it could have used more of horror in a better way. This is not the kind of idea which we haven’t seem before, especially with the creepy little worm-like things. The scares of the fog or the mist are not that new, or used with the best possible effect. The movie does feel a little bit too long even with its short total run-time, as there is a little bit too much time spent talking, and all those talks become not too relevant for what is to follow later, a the film changes the mood almost completely. The beginning stages had already given us one kind of impression, but later stages mean something else. Creating a movie like this required more of a different kind of horror to be added to it. You see that there is a beach and the sea which are central to the tale, but the main characters don’t even jump into it or get close to thinking about at least wetting their feet, which is strange, even under these circumstances.

Performers of the soul :: Liana Liberato plays the protagonist in this movie, as she is the girl who wishes to be an astro-biologist here. It is not really the face that we have seen much, and I am sure I haven’t come across her movies before. She makes a fine scream queen, with very good job being done in between all the chaos and terror that is unleashed there. Horror, as a genre seems to suit her, and the other one which seems to be good enough to work out for her feels like romance. In the beginning, there is the case of a fading relationship, which is done with ease, and when horror comes, the same level is maintained. Noah Le Gros supports well, playing her lover. Jake Weber and Maryann Nagel plays the older couple, and their performance is also believable, but we are left without themselves before the half-time itself. But a movie like this doesn’t demand much of them, except for more from the girl who seems to go on towards the end, as people are not the ones who provide the much needed elements of horror.

How it finishes :: The Beach House makes another movie which goes divergent in pursuit of horror. It is to be noted that the movie does remind us of the short story The Colour Out of Space by HP Lovecraft as well as its fine adaptation in which Nicholas Cage stars. There is that same strange feeling that we have here, even though this one is not that colourful, and we understand that it has been made on a low budget. With Corona Virus said to be spreading by air too, we do feel that this kind of a terror is always possible too. After all, we are the ones who will be responsible for the end of this planet, speeding up the upcoming extinction event like never before, in the last few years. Therefore, we await the extinction event or just the human extinction in one way or the other. Before that, we do have movies like this one which seems to bring the end closer than ever, and that is also done in a way that it moves away from the usual stuff with ease.

Release date: 9th July 2019
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Jeffrey A Brown
Starring: Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber, Maryann Nagel, Michael Brumfield, Matt Maisto, Steven Corkin, Veronica Fellman, Dan Zakarija

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ashfall

Vampire Owl: Do you know what actually happens when ash falls in a graveyard near the vampire castle?

Vampire Bat: I do not see vampires being related with the ashes.

Vampire Owl: Well, we do rise from the ashes quite often.

Vampire Bat: So, we are soon going to have a Vampire Phoenix?

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t dare to stop a phoenix from becoming a vampire.

Vampire Bat: Do you understand that the ashfall in this movie title refers to a volcano?

Vampire Owl: The last time I heard about a volcano, it was in Bali, Indonesia.

Vampire Bat: This one has Mount Paektu, a real active volcano in Korea.

Vampire Owl: Well, we have been watching Korean movies, and now lets know the volcanoes around there too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, these days, we do tend to get more familiar with the locations in other parts of the world, and not just the United States with the Hollywood movies.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three glasses of vanilla shake].

What is the movie about? :: Mount Paektu, an active volcano in the China–North Korea border, erupts all of a sudden, leading to many earthquakes in the Korean peninsula. It affects both nations in the peninsula severely, leaving not much of the North Korean capital behind in between all the destruction. It had one of the most violent eruptions in the last five thousand years in around 946, and with this one, the volcano seems to bring even more. The highest peak of the Changbai and Baekdudaegan mountain ranges, is supposed to have a certain mythical quality of spiritual significance, but this time it is about survival, as eruption is too close. To prevent the upcoming disaster, Jeon Yoo-kyung (Jeon Hye-jin) plans an operation based on a theory by Professor Kang Bong-rae (Ma Dong-seok), who had studied the volcano with special focus on its possible eruptions. But it is a theory which only has around three and half percent chance of success.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But they decide to go with the mission because there seems to be no other way of saving the Korean peninsula and all those people who are caught in there with nowhere to go, as other nations evacuate only their citizens. At the same time, Jo In-chang (Ha Jung-woo) who was almsot discharged from the army, is assigned to be the leader of a special forces team supposed to complete the mission, even though their elite military support is lost on the way. Lee Joon-pyeong (Lee Byung-hun) who has been part of the Korean People’s Army in North Korea as a spy is asked to help them, even though he is now in the North Korean prison, and needs to be rescued from there. Meanwhile, Jo In-Chang’s pregnant wife Choi Ji-young (Bae Suzy) is left alone in Seoul, and hopes to go with the United States evacuation as part of a deal made by her husband with the South Korean government. But with a nuclear warhead needed to be stolen from North Korea for the mission to succeeed, things are not that easy.

The defence of Ashfall :: There is more than one thing about Ashfall, as we are not just watching a disaster movie with one volcano all prepared to burst and kill most of the people with an earthquake to go with it. There is also a certain amount of international politics being referred to, with North Korea, South Korea, China and the United States of America involved here. Along with the action, we also have a funny side with this movie, as humour which comes in here and there is mostly working. The emotional side is also very strong, and after having some of it in the beginning, it is a touching end to this flick. The characters are all interesting too, as we get to see more of them in an emotional way. The CGI effects are really good especially with volcanic eruption and earthquakes to be displayed here, and we get to see some fine visual effects on the screen. This one is the kind of holiday entertainer which all age of people can watch – a clean one indeed, as it is a suitable flick for everyone, entertaining very well.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have brought more of the volcano into the picture, and it should have been shown as threatening on more occasions, generating fear. We could have had the feeling of terror, and death could have been hanging around there further. There are other moments which could have been cut instead, to shorten the movie further. Sometimes, the comic side comes in when it is not the right to make an entrance, but we forgive that because it ends up being funny enough. Even with some interesting characters making fine impact, we still have some others who are just there for the sake of it, even though we do feel that they are important when it begins. The characters could have surely been smarter, as they are trained so well, and even though they are not the ones who fight in the front-lines, could have better idea about what all have been happening around. You shouldn’t look for a full disaster movie, and if you do, there will be disappointment, as this one is a mixture of different things, and the disaster is mostly in the background.

Performers of the soul :: The cast does a fine job, especially with the dramatic side present here. The performances are good enough to make you care for most of the characters out there, and even without that possible volcanic eruption, the possibility is there. Ha Jung-woo and Lee Byung-hun do make a good combination here, and their scenes together are very good, whether it is related to the action with all the shooting around, or with the comedy, they work really well. The next person who makes the impact is Ma Dong-seok who plays the scientist who comes up with the almost impossible idea, and it is nice work done there. Bae Suzy has some nice emotional moments, but part of it is a little bit overdone, maybe to bring some more humour in there. Jeon Hye-jin also has some solid work being done here, with all the responsibility related to the character too. There are also many others who play characters which come and go, but they are pretty good too.

How it finishes :: Korean movies almost always have something special as they have been proving for long, and this one is no exception. It is nice to see that Russian, Korean and Chinese movies are taking the usual thing shown in Hollywood to another level, in one way or the other. The visual effects is just one the things related to that, as the movie also thinks in a rather divergent way. We know that movies like The Wandering Earth, The Divine Fury and The Blackout have already taken the divergent path with space having another dimension, exorcism having another mode and alien invasion having another style respectively. This movie becomes another reason why Korean movies always needed a release here – such films which families can watch and enjoy a lot will get its own audience here. At some point of time, Korean movies need to be in the multiplexes, and even those movies which don’t win the Oscars.

Release date: 19th December 2019
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Lee Hae-jun, Kim Byung-seo
Starring: Lee Byung-hun, Ha Jung-woo, Ma Dong-seok, Bae Suzy, Jeon Hye-jin

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Mermaid

Vampire Owl: Do you know how much I love the mermaids?

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that you don’t love them as much as you love Lady Death.

Vampire Owl: Lady Death is more like a final destination. So do not try to bring her into this conversation, and neither should you talk about Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: Frankenstein? Okay, so tell me more about your love for those mermaids who don’t love you back.

Vampire Owl: Mr. Vampire Bat, they don’t love me because they don’t know me.

Vampire Bat: Actually, the truth is that they don’t even realize that you exist, and there is no such requirement for them either.

Vampire Owl: No, I am the most popular vampire apprentice in this realm.

Vampire Bat: Dude, the word ‘vampire’ don’t go well with owls. Your kind works well with demons, spirits and the similar creatures from the other dimension.

Vampire Owl: What nonsense! I am as vampire as Kung Fu Panda is Kung Fu.

Vampire Bat: I see the food being a common factor linking you two.

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

What is the movie about? :: A young and energetic business tycoon Liu Xuan (Deng Chao) is one of those newer faces in the elite class, looking forward to making it big. It is because of the same reason that he buys the area known as the Green Gulf, planning for a sea reclamation project. He uses the sonar technology to get rid of the oceanic creatures there, especially the dolphins which are supposed to live there in large number. With the technology which proves brutal, they are very much successful in driving the dolphins away, as there was not much of a sighting of them for a long time. Along with his long line of supporters, and the newly found special business partner Ruolan (Zhang Yuqi), he decides to take it to the next level – Ruolan, not only being attracted to him for his success and quick money-making, but also sexually, decides to keep him with her throughout for the deals, despite him not having that huge a family background.

So, what happens next? :: But unknown to Liu, Ruolan or any other, the Green Gulf is the home of merpeople, the aquatic creatures with the head and upper body of a humans and the tail of fish, or other sea creatures. It turns out that after Liu had bought the area, overall pollution had increased, and the sonar devices placed in the sea has been producing a devastating effect on their kind. A lot of them had died, and some of them unwell, with not much of a future left, awaiting the end of their lives. With their people being lost to sickness and even worse fate, the merpeople decide not to co-exist in peace and suffer for the damage that humans have been doing to them as well as the environment. They decide to react, and by the same, they feel that things should begin with the one man who has caused all the trouble, Liu Xuan, the millionaire – they all want him dead, and that too, as soon as possible, before he cause any further damage to their world.

And what is to follow in this adventure in water and land? :: The half-human, half-fish creatures of the ocean join under Octopus (Show Luo) who is half-man half-octopus, who calls for a hitman, or rather a femme fatale to murder the evil human target. They train a beautiful young mermaid named Shan (Lin Yun) to walk on her fins, and adapt to human life, hiding among humans, and find an opportunity to meet Liu. When she gets to find him and have a meeting, she is supposed to seduce him, and send him to his doom. The plan seems to be quite a smart one for everyone, as they send Shan to the land, and after setting up her place on an abandoned house which has the sea underneath it, she goes on to find Liu with Ruolan and other girls – she leaves her phone number for him and asks him to call her, and they all wait for the man to call the mermaid. So, will Liu fall for the trap and call the mermaid, inviting his own doom, or will he just continue with his work? Will Shan be good enough for the job, and can the Green Gulf and the merpeople be saved?

The defence of The Mermaid :: When we look at The Mermaid, we see that it works at two levels, one at the simplest level of comedy, and another level, at the more serious concern, on the need for conservation of nature from all which contributes in polluting it. There are a number of funny moments which you will get to watch and can’t control laughter, which includes, but is not limited to the mermaid’s attempt at assassination, the octopus trying to sneak in for no use and the millionaire remembering his father when getting to eat a chicken. There is cuteness present, which makes sure that no matter how dumb some comic scenes happen to go, you will find that the simple characters and simple incidents make sure that the fun is something that will keep on going. It is certainly divergent from the usual mermaid tale that you will see anywhere, and it is also different in talking about protecting the environment. You call this a package which takes them all in.

The claws of flaw :: I am sure that a lot of people will find some of the comedy scenes to be rather childish, and for a movie with ninety three percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, you tend to expect more than that. There is also that certainty of confusion with the genre, which can be seen, as we look at how things proceed, with focus being shifted from one genre to the other, and its inability to take a few things seriously is rather confusing – after all, there are some elements which have to be dealt with leaving the comedy behind if they are present, but The Mermaid never tries to put down what it has in its lap, but stands straight up to take something else. It can be said so more concerning the final scenes, and it makes us wonder why it couldn’t maintain the strength that it had earlier. Maybe it could have maintained the comic side, without going rather violent and yet without seriousness. The modern take of the folktale mermaid story could have surely been better. The romantic side is rather strange too.

How it finishes :: As the four people playing the most noticable characters, Deng Chao, Lin Yun, Show Luo and Zhang Yuqi make their moments count so well, The Mermaid becomes a movie that you need to give a try for the elements it possesses, and the divergence that it brings here with its not-so-little mermaid. The combination should feel strange, but if you take each of them separately, you will know that there is some interesting effort at almost everything here. Without that much of a violence in the end, and with more comedy as it had in the beginning supported by better visual effects, The Mermaid could have done more justice to its world. But as of now, with a short run-time, and some moments to remember, this one could be that comedy movie with the environmental message which has the strength to be remembered for a longer period of time than a documentary or a serious movie taking on the same issue. No wonder it is the highest-grossing Chinese movie of all time, even after releasing with The Monkey King 2 – the movie has to be enjoyed for the funny side without thinking too much about the story, but do remember the environmental message.

Release date: 8th February 2016
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Stephen Chow
Starring: Deng Chao, Lin Yun, Show Luo, Zhang Yuqi, Kris Wu, Ivan Kotik, Lu Zhengyu, Fan Shuzhen, Li Shangzheng, Bo Xiaolong, Pierre Bourdaud, Kong Lianshun, Chiu Chi Ling, Bai Ke, Tsui Hark, Tin Kai-man, Wen Zhang, Lam Chi-chung, Yang Neng, Zhang Mei’e

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

School Bus

schoolbus (2)

Vampire Owl :: Do you know that I am completely against the idea of school bus?

Vampire Bat :: Because school bus is more of a capitalist idea meant for the schools of the rich, and the normal way is for the kids to go home by public transport and walk through the rest of the distance?

Vampire Owl :: No, it is because centuries ago, when I was a little toothless kid, buses were not invented.

Vampire Bat :: I thought you were going to refer to the nostalgia of walking through the greenery and throwing stones at the mangoes which are about to fall.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, that is also there, but I am more concerned about what I didn’t have in the past.

Vampire Bat :: Well, this movie has Rosshan Andrrews and Bobby-Sanjay teaming up again after How Old Are You? and Mumbai Police. The latter had their interesting Nirnaayakam getting lost in the Premam effect – it didn’t just hurt Ivide, you know.

Vampire Owl :: That makes this school bus better than the usual ones, I believe.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and a message is certain from this one from the looks of it.

Vampire Owl :: As the humans rarely make use of the messages from movies except for some show-off, lets make better use of them ourselves.

Vampire Bat :: Lets go for the movie then.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Joseph (Jayasurya) and Aparna (Aparna Gopinath) lead a normal family life with their children, even both happen to have their own struggles. They are not that much comfortable with the ego that each of them possesses, and there is very less time for them to spend with their children. While Joseph is rather too strict with the children, while Aparna has even lesser time – both has a lot of time for their work though. There is also a legal battle going on between Joseph and his brother over three cents of land, and that takes away the rest of the time. Due to the same reasons, their kids, Ajoy Joseph (Aakash Muraleedheeran) and Angelina Joseph (Angelina Rosshan) gets no attention except for the wrong reasons. Ajoy only gets into more and more trouble at school, and his class teacher as well as the principal are fed up with his tendency to attract all the problems to himself.

So what happens next? :: One day, Ajoy creates that kind of a problem at the school which might not end at the school. This clearly turns the whole department and the parents of other children against him. With everyone screaming for punishment, he bunks classes, and when that is also found out, runs away from all his troubles. It is the soft-spoken and intelligent police officer, the new entrant into the force, Inspector Gopakumar (Kunchako Boban) who is in charge of finding the missing child, with the assistance of Mohan (Nandu). But the investigation only leads them to a forest – how does everything point to that one place where there is no chance of a child in the city reaching? Can the police officers get Ajoy back home? How will things go as the parents seem to have realized that they haven’t been the father and mother whom they should have been?

The defence of School Bus :: The messages are abundant in this movie, for the parents, married couples, children, teachers and that list goes on, as most people are going to take something or the other from here. I would always choose a movie which leaves on with something to think about, over the rest of the flicks. This is actually a shorter movie, extending only for less than two hours, which makes sure that the momentum stays on throughout its run. The visuals are good whether in the forest or the city, and the movie has some funny moments involving the kids to provide the needed light feeling. There is a certain reflection of incidents that might have happened in our lives as well as the lives of people whom we know. It is that reflection that we hope not to happen, and what we wish to deny happening during our busy lifestyles, but there are things which will happen considering how much less time we have for the people we love. Sometimes you think that this is going to go the Malooty way, but it doesn’t.

The claws of flaw :: School Bus is a movie which could have been a lot better, especially with the last few moments; its ending could have left one with a clearer message rather than attempting to go different in a strange way. It has enough moments which could have actually been presented in another way. The predictability also shows its head on too many occasions – it is not really something that we would expect from a thriller that attempts to keep the messages alive at the same time. As the moments featuring the kids stand out, a better option here would have been to keep them there for most of the time, or otherwise give more importance to the older characters – but neither of these happens here. By the time Kunchako Boban enters the story, too much of the interesting moments in the movie has passed. Clearer message, better adult characters, less predictability and a much better ending – these could have improved this flick!

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya and Aparna Gopinath does a fine job, but as things doesn’t go around their characters, there is not that much to be seen except for a few emotional moments in the second half. Kunchako Boban also makes his appearance only in the second half and does his job as expected, in his very first police role of the career – there is not that much here to do big though. In the end, it is the kids who get all the attention, and it is them who has more of the screen presence. Aakash Muraleedharan who plays the main character here has done his job well. The director, Rosshan Andrews’ daughter Angelina has made her debut in Malayalam cinema with this movie, and she has done a good job – there are some funny moments for her with those cute grins and the fake fainting, with special mention for the question about the toys. Sudheer Karamana and Nandu have some interesting moments in the second half, but that’s all they would get from this particular movie.

How it finishes :: The combination of Bobby-Sanjay and Rosshan Andrrews has had quite a good amount of success and appreciation except for the dismal thing which was Casanovva. Despite the less hype surrounding it, School Bus is another interesting flick with a fine message to go with it, even though it could have been a lot better; the scope was so much there. The messages include the requirement of the love and care for the kids, the need to keep one’s ego away in relationships, and the significance of sibling love. How many parents look forward to knowing what the children wish for? When both are working and has not time, what happens to the children? As history repeats itself, they and the relatives just keep pushing for the next generation to do only what they want. The final message is also to return to nature, and the true world remains there – well, that is one special thing for the World Environment Day.

Release date: 27th May 2016
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Rosshan Andrrews
Starring: Jayasurya, Kunchacko Boban, Aparna Gopinath, Aakash Muraleedharan, Angelina Rosshan, Sudheer Karamana, Nandu

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lord Livingstone

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What is it about? :: A few letters from a survivalist and nature lover Philipose John Varkey (Kunchako Boban) brings a number of people to a forest. The people include Madhumita Krishnan (Reenu Mathews) an expert in guns who is feeling lonely in her life; Beeran (Sunny Wayne), a street magician who is trying to escape his troubled past; CK Menon (Nedumudi Venu), a retired central defence employee who has run away from an old age home; Shanumgan Ilangovan (Bharath), an adventurer who is losing his health and confidence, Professor Neelakandan (Chemban Vinod Jose), a college lecturer who wishes to do something different with his life and Ananthakrishnan Iyer (Jacob Gregory), a science expert who wishes to break away from the chains put on him by his wife.

What is the plan here? :: Most of us know what we are to expect in this movie from the trailer, and it doesn’t try to deviate much from that central idea. These people are those who decided to start the trip and has reached the forest after Philipose had sent one hundred letters to people whom he thought might be interested in joining him or could prove to be of worth. The total head count is six, and with Philipose and his local friend Malavedan (Sudheer Karamana) added makes it eight. There is a mission in front of them though, and it is to save a village in the forest, known only by the name 7000 Kandi. It has this group of people trying to keep the corporate evil away from this village and its people, as modernity threatens to destroy the forest. The battle to save nature begins here.

The defence of Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi :: As the viewers had expected from the trailer, there is a very nice visual experience guaranteed with this movie. The display of such beauty on screen actually begins from the credits itself The message to save forests and to stop deforestation is right there, in a crystal clear manner. The shots are done in such a way that we are sure to fall in love with nature and it will also inspire the audience to go for an awesome journey. It is like we transported to that world and there is the feeling of being there provided for the audience. There are moments which will make us appreciate the effort taken to bring them to the big screen. The cast is very much suitable for this story, even though one more female character would have made things better. Forget everything else, and we will feel that the intention behind this movie is nothing other than goodness.

Claws of flaw :: With the fight for nature and its people, we are provided the memory of Avatar which doesn’t do much good to this movie – our movie here is different, and it is from another man’s vision as he visualizes something to show his love of nature. But the common audience won’t understand it that well. There is also a struggle in characterization, with none of the characters given what they really deserve. The first half is actually superior to the second, and the finish seems rushed – a problem faced my many movies of these times. The comic side is not that well used with so much of scope, and the same can be said about the story. It is not full on seriousness either. The exploration of the life of the people in the village comes as another negative. The final scenes could have been a lot better planned and a few situations could have been avoided. I am of a strong belief that Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi could have achieved something a lot bigger with its premise.

Performers of the soul :: In this movie from Anil Radhakrishnan Menon which can be ranked his third after North 24 Kaatham and Sapthamasree Thaskaraha, the names in the cast are strong. Kunchako Boban arrives late in this movie, and he is the pick of the actors here. Nedumudi Venu who has been in all movies from the director, has once again done his job with ease. Chemban Vinod Jose and Jacob Gregory handles the comic side, but the truth remains that they are very much underutilized, and it is a shame. Reenu Mathews seems like the right choice here, and Sunny Wayne is comfortable. Bharath is good even in a character which doesn’t get enough considering the fact that it was the most adventurous one. There were a number of actors and actresses who played the villagers including Rokiya Adam and Priya Lal, and even though not recognizable due to the high level make-up, come up with some nice work.

Soul exploration :: We know that Earth is not the private property of man, but the greed for money has always kept the mankind ready to exploit nature. No, it is not the poor men and women who struggle in the forests who are to be blamed, but the corporate evil. Well, the laws will always favour the man with lots of money, and so nature will only suffer more and more. We will never have the righteous government unless politicians become less political, but if it was to be so, they might never really win. It is surprising that people who vote in the name of religion, community and caste never really vote for saving nature. But even with the promise to save nature, is it not the poor man who is thrown away from home instead of stopping the rich from taking over large amount of land? May be Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi will go on to become that movie which can add an extra message.

How it finishes :: Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi is not a movie for everyone, and it is something which needs to be told again and again. But another fact that comes with this realization is that it is a movie which needs to be watched. No, these two sentences don’t contradict each other because you don’t know to which group you belong until you have watched this movie. Still, there is one thing about which you can be sure, and it is that this is not an entertainer. But when we think about the same, Pathemari and Ennu Ninte Moideen were not entertainers either. Still, there is something that I would ask you to bring while going to watch this movie, and it is the love for nature – it is something that you always need, but these days, it is something that you need to be reminded of. Let us hope that even though not close to being the big movie, Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi manages to do that up-to an extent for the attitude of the people. If you support good message and interesting innovation, there is something here!

Release date: 16th October 2015
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Reenu Mathews, Chemban Vinod Jose, Jacob Gregory, Nedumudi Venu, Sudheer Karamana, Bharath, Sunny Wayne, Rokiya Adam, Priya Lal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

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Vampire Owl :: I have always preferred dinosaurs and Godzilla to dragons, wyverns and all kinds of flying machines.

Vampire Bat :: What about the Golden Dragon Restaurant?

Vampire Owl :: With that chicken and noodles which should not be named?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, that variety which we tested and tasted.

Vampire Owl :: In that case, I guess I will have to make an exception.

Vampire Bat :: Let’s train a dragon then.

Vampire Owl :: As long as it is not named Fernando Torres. I need it to score when opportunity comes.

Vampire Bat :: It is not easy to make the sequel to one of the best animated movies of all time. Still, the reviews are great and lets hope for the best. After all, there is no strong opposition this weekend.

[Reaches the multiplex].

The day of the dragon :: The past goes back to 2010 when the first movie was released, and at that time in the movie, vikings and dragons have been fighting each other. The battle was something which defined their lives and seemed to go on forever. The chief of the group is Stoick who is a firm hater of the dragons. The son of Stoick and the heir to the title, Hiccup is not having a good time with his Viking blood, but happens to capture a blue dragon whom he couldn’t make up the mind to kill. This rare Night Fury dragon and the boy becomes friends and is given the name Toothless for its retractable teeth. The boy would no longer find killing the dragons an option as he feels that it is not right. Even as it did infuriate his father and most of the other vikings, this would lead to a chain of events which will finally lead to the end of war between vikings and dragons. The first idea would be that this is the end of the story, as everything seemed to go on happily ever after. But the need for the sequel comes up and it takes off from here, as this had gone on to become one of the more popular animated movies at that time.

What is it about? :: As the peace has been established and the dragons live happily with Vikings, it seems that nothing bad can happen. Close to taking over as the new chief of his village, Hiccup goes on random adventures with his dragon and best friend, Toothless, as they discover and add to the map lots of unexplored lands and the water-bodies which surrounds their island, as the assistance of flying creatures have made things easier for them. On one such day of exploration, he encounters a dragon catcher and knows about his boss Drago Bludvist who is building a dragon army. Hiccup decides to get to the root of this and find the one who is taking the dragons for himself. Even as Stoick tells his son that the new villain is a mad man and it is impossible to prevent a war and their only possible defence was being inside the walls of the city, Hiccup continues on his path to find the enemy. But on the way, he will meet another dragon rider who will bring some changes to his plan. At the same time, he is chased by dragon catchers as well as his own people who are trying to bring him back. It is to be seen how things will go on.

The defence of How to Train Your Dragon 2 :: The movie takes us into the world of vikings and dragons again, and begins another saga of awesomeness which is a great continuation of the previous one. It is connected quite well to the first part. The story has nice new elements even as some part of it is undoubtedly predictable, but that is to be expected in an animated movie. There is some good 3D, nothing special though. There are moments when nothing special happens, but no boring moment. The Vikings are nice to watch and the dragons are glorious fun; for there are so many of them this time with even two alpha dragons fighting with each other. The villain characters is nice, and the father and mother characters are lots of fun along with our hero’s friends, girlfriend and the friend of the chief. But the best thing is still the relation between the hero and his dragon, followed by his relationship with his father and his mother. The environment of the movie is nothing less than a Avatar in animation as far as the whole visual splendor is concerned, and the dragon designs are nice even as some of them might seem a little too funny for some – well, this is a movie for the kids too and so such things were to exist somewhere.

The claws of flaw :: If we take the major characters out, the movie is centered around dragons and it is their existence that defines this movie, and vikings come only next. There is less about the lifestyle and more about exploration. The Vikings and their way of life takes second place and becomes something based on the existence and presence of the winged creatures. The only other creature which we see is the sheep in a world which seems to be shared by just two creatures. Some of the dragons are actually too cute even for the bigger kids. It was already cute with everything and this gets further. Even as the story is nicely done, there are some areas where it gets predictable. It will also be difficult for those who haven’t watched the original movie, as those incidents have quite a lot to do with this movie, and the characterization is also dependent on what happened earlier. Therefore, the connection will obviously be weak for them, even as the same can’t be said about the fun. The emotional and dramatic scenes often go out of hand, and they are rather far-fetched and still not that effective as Frozen or Mr. Peabody and Sherman. The talks about this being the movie of the year or the best animated sequel won’t work.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s most important theme is co-existence. The lack of tolerance has been something which has been hurting more than just one race of people. Well, if dragons can co-exist with a race like Vikings, anyone can do that. This is the age when hatred is spread through Facebook, as people come up with some random post which has no truth in it, and present it as fact just to degrade others and their political, social and religious beliefs. It is a shame that some of these are actually learned men with good status, and in that case they are able to make the fools share what they share. It is quite difficult to reason with people who pervert history for the same, and come out with nonsense to support their cause. In the outside world, there are always wars, but they are all the products of the hatred that is burning in the minds because of the greed or personal agenda of some people. The Vikings had their own purpose and the dragons think only of their major needs, but lets experience this movie and learn something about co-existence not only with other people and creatures, but also with the environment. Avatar did the same, and instead of the tree at the centre, we have the alpha dragons which controls them all.

How it finishes :: The original movie was a smart one, and it was surely not going to be easy to make a sequel to the same. But this movie has accomplished something which only movies like Kung-fu Panda 2 and Despicable Me 2 have achieved, and Rio 2 came pretty close to doing until losing its way. This one becomes a very good sequel to the first movie, and there are occasions when it seems to rise above the first movie. It has all the ingredients to rule the box-office; a strong base which is already constructed by its predecessor, the absence of any better movie in the theatre and some good developments of its own. The only remaining challenge is from what is left over by Edge of Tomorrow, but that should be no real problem considering the kind of audience targeted by the two. It is surely leading the weekend until now. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is the second best animated movie of the year after Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and the same can be said about the fun that it carries. There were expectations and this one meets them steadily. Watch this one on the big screen and nowhere else, and it won’t really matter if you are an young man, an older person or a kid, this one is going to make your one hundred minutes count.

Release date: 13th June 2014
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Dean DeBlois
Starring (voice) : Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godzilla

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From W.B. Yeats’ The Second Coming
“The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
The first thing that came to my mind while looking at that Godzilla poster was this poem, and not Pacific Rim or that movie of the same name from 1998. The same was rather justified by watching the movie, as there was something special about this creature this time, and the deviation from the master of destruction which it was supposed to be, is something which adds more mystery to the same. The mystery about the beast which is mentioned in this poem has kept me thinking throughout my studies of English Literature, and now there is the monster, Godzilla who comes up with the element of mystery and surprise.

What is it about? :: Getting out of that 1919 poem by the Irish poet and coming back to our present scenario, the movie begins with some film reels involving atomic explosion and a huge creature partially rising from under the water. The story belongs to Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) though, a military officer specialized in bomb disposal married to his beautiful wife and a nurse wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen), having one son. When his father Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is arrested in Japan for trespassing into a quarantined area, he travels there and gets him out of prison, only to join him in the mission to find how his mother died at the same place long ago. But as they get inside the area, they find out that there is actually nothing like the radiation at a place when a nuclear disaster had taken place, and it is not quarantined to save people, but to hide a huge secret which can change the future of mankind forever. The secret will soon be revealed inside a secret complex area, but as it comes to light, there might actually be no real hope for humanity. There will be chaos and destruction unleashed on the world as monsters awaken, and the beginning of all this was years ago.

The defence of Godzilla :: I can’t remember much from the 1998 movie, but from what I can recollect, this is surely a big improvement. Well, as I was a kid at that time, it wouldn’t have been of much use if I had an opinion at that time too. Well, this Godzilla is different, and a big change is that the humanity is not really fighting Godzilla this time, even as there is no denial of confrontations and rockets fired, with destruction caused. Now, that should be a surprise, and the number of monstrous entities should be more than you expect. Unlike Pacific Rim, the movie also has a dark style and there is the more powerful terror element at work. The creatures are designed to look terrifying, and they serve their purpose as they become harbingers of death and destruction with their size and lethal power. There is absolutely nothing funny about their presence or the whole movie as it keeps the seriousness and the atmosphere of horror throughout, between great action supported by the special effects and background score. It is a nice introduction that has been given to the younger audience about this monster who hasn’t graved the screen for sometime. They goes on with the story really well, and there is a lot of suspense built around what is happening around.

The claws of flaw :: Godzilla has released after Pacific Rim; it is not much of a flaw as both deals with the monsters in a different way, but that should hurt a bit for the audience. If this had come before Pacific Rim, that might have actually helped both movies. This should still gross more than the 2013 monster-robot extravaganza, thanks to the title referring to the king of monsters, already running houseful here. There is also no denying a certain amount of slow start to the things unlike Pacific Rim which pounces directly into the action scene. The human characters don’t really impress, and there is no dialogue which will cause an adrenaline rush. The nature-related theme is not fully explored, and this could have actually had a message about the need to preserve environment and get rid of the nuclear warheads. There is a certain amount of uncertainty on what the director was actually planning to bring to the audience; Pacific Rim was certain about it, but not this movie. If it had focused better on the human characters or kept the focus completely on the creatures, this surely would have worked even better. After all, everybody wants to see the giant creatures on the big screen.

Performers of the soul :: Our main hero is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and it seems to work on most occasions except for a few when he turns wooden. One would still feel that the character has come alive just because there was the need for a hero in this movie. Elizabeth Olsen plays the less explored character of his wife and doesn’t get much attention; neither should be anything memorable. They will be seen together as siblings, or the super-powered evil twins in The Avengers 2 as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; she played a character attracted to her father in Oldboy – she surely is having a strange combination of characters to play; but unlike Oldboy, she has almost nothing to do that actually affects the movie here, and that should be a let down. The rest of the cast also has very less to do, as this is the world of the monsters where humans become spectators most of the time, and even when they are doing something, the effects are minimal. Even as the monsters come quite late, this slow and steady sacrifice of human characters start very early in the movie and goes on to the end. Well, the monsters need to scare and kill a lot of people, so there is that purpose.

Soul exploration :: The movie shows Godzilla as a force of nature, something that is beyond humans to stop, but the same can also be said about the other creatures. The fact that these creatures feed on radiation is something to be noted. Thus the movie is indirectly a message against the problem that the nuclear power can cause, and the creatures of radiation are rather the symbols of the evil that can be brought upon the current society by the development of science and technology which have been used in such a manner that it makes things convenient, but not better. Godzilla is referred to as a force of nature (that reminds me of what an article called the cricketers Virender Sehwag, Adam Gilchrist and Shahid Afridi a long time ago), and he becomes that force of nature which will bring balance on Earth, whether its enemies are other creatures or the human beings themselves. Well, Godzilla is nothing like the other two creatures which belong to one species, one being the smaller male with wings and the other being the bigger female, stronger without wings. The force of nature is rather the great equalizer, which makes its own choices and takes sides. That is what makes this monster so different and gives the viewers so much to look forward to. Yes, men think that they can control nature with science, but it is indeed the other way around!

How it finishes :: We were given two Malayalam movies with big stars this weekend in the form of How Old Are You and Mr. Fraud and it is a big decision to choose this one over them, but that won’t be too difficult at many places as they would be already booked. The crowd for Godzilla assures the success of the movie, but also makes sure that the two movies I mentioned are already houseful. Godzilla might have lesser audience in the weekdays, but seems to be good enough to stay above par. If you liked Pacific Rim, you will surely like this one too, and the degree of the liking shall depend on what you need, a light action thriller with style or a dark horror thriller with action, Godzilla fitting to the latter detail. Lets take some time to spare some time for these creatures from the depths of Earth, not just the alpha predator which is Godzilla, but the other two mentioned as MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism)! Yet there is one more thing to remember, and that is about the minuteness of humanity against the universe and its secrets, and lets not consider science and technology as the greatest achievement of humanity; it is rather the respect of the fellow humans, environment and the other creatures that should interest us.

Release date: 16th May 2014
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Grey

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* Just a reminder about my Facebook page 😀 (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Movies-of-the-Soul/378583758873946)

On The Grey :: This is a relatively unknown thriller movie starring Liam Neeson in a human battle against nature and its creatures. The movie can be further remembered for the poem which is recited in the movie: “Once more into the fray Into the last good fight I’ll ever know Live and die on this day Live and die on this day”. These are very strong lines according to the situation, and written by Joe Carnahan the director of the movie, this poem is more suitable to the age of civilization rather than that of world in the middle of nowhere. It is more of a man against nature stuff for sure, but on another level, we can see a survivor horror of another kind, this one being a thriller which involves man fighting against forces which are stronger and smarter than the average zombie in the survival horror movies. It is also an action-adventure movie where a group of men, especially one man is brought down into a world of chaos just as he thought he would be back to civilization. Yes, where there is no order or civilization, there is to be chaos, and the ultimate result is mostly death.

What is it about? :: John Ottway (Liam Neeson) is the hero of the story, who works in Alaska. He is an efficient shooter whose job is to kill gray wolves which regularly threaten an oil drilling camp. He has visions of his wife and lives with a desire to kill himself, something which he just cannot accomplish. He is kind of a loner, and does what he is supposed to. But all these have to change as their plane crash on a return trip home. The survivors of the plane crash is lead by John, but not everyone agrees to his leadership. Soon they find that they are in the territory of a gray wolf pack, and as long as they don’t get out of there, the creatures shall hunt them. As one of them (Ben Bray) is killed by the wolves at night, they decide that they have to keep moving, and it would be better for them to be away from the crash site as much as possible. With no idea of which way to go towards civilization, or at least away from the wolf territory, all of them have to depend on their own instincts to survive in the extreme climate. Are they into the last good fight they will ever know? Only time will tell.

The defence of The Grey :: You might know that having Liam Neeson there is the biggest and the best thing for this movie. Let me tell you that this movie is not about wolves, and therefore lets not think about how they are acting in this one – for this movie is about courage and the humanity’s everlasting desire for survival. You already know that man can be destroyed, but can’t be defeated. It doesn’t matter how weak you are, it is the circumstance that makes you stand up and be tough. It has a powerful and yet never exaggerated depiction of a world which is cent percent against human existence, and ruthless instincts for survivals are asked for. Yes, people live and day on a day, and we are pushed into battles, sometimes you know that it is your last chance, and it is not an option to win. The Grey has beautifully captured all these scene by scene, with the acts and dialogues of the characters as well as the presence of snow and the wolves. The Grey is that thrilling movie which has nothing supernatural or extra-terrestrial and yet gives the feeling of something out of this world, and this success of the movie is a good sign for future.

Positives and Negatives :: There was a big chance that this movie was going to be set aside as just another movie which uses has a group of people trying to survive the snow and the wolves along with using Liam Neeson’s star value in attracting attention. But no, not with The Grey. It reminds us that movie is a craft and the director is the craftsman, and provided with someone of great caliber to support it from the inside, this is more than enough for making a fantastic movie. The first instinct of all of us might be to brand this movie as an action movie with Liam Neeson beating up wolves – partially right, and this one is also an adventure – there too somewhat right; but about all, this is a survival thriller, which keeps not only the wolves, but also ourselves in the hunt. There are no death-defying action – that should disappoint a few, and Liam Neeson is not right out of Taken or The A-Team, believe it. Instead, we have people who walk in the snow covered valley of shadow of death, with different beliefs, but hope for survival all the same. The movie’s snow world and repetitions might trouble a few, and it does have an unclear end and some drops of depression and pessimism at times.

Performers of the soul :: Liam Neeson activates the movie, runs the movie and ends it in style. The same director and actor comes together once again after The A-Team and unlike the strange modern world that our actor explored in the form of the thrillers Unknown and Taken, this one takes the viewers right back to an age where the animals and nature had the upper-hand. My favourite movie of his shall always be Schindler’s List, and I do feel that everyone would agree. His presence in Les Miserables would comes second best, in a role which involves selflessly saving the innocents yet again. I would say that his performance in The Grey stands next, as he plays a man who is himself a hunter, and becomes as much a predator as the wolf by the end. There are those moments of Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins that comes to the mind when this man who had made a great villain comes to the scene once again never to give up. Our character doesn’t lose hope, and neither does he loses his courage, and Liam Neeson makes sure that the character is awesome. I am looking forward to his A Walk Among the Tombstones, as it sounds interesting, and there is also the movie with an earlier release date – Non-Stop.

Soul exploration :: The wolves are more of the symbol of what attacks us in the real life, taking the individuality out of us, making us afraid and act like what we are expected to be. The nature has its fury and so do the wolves, but in our civilized world, we suffer from the same attacks, not just physical, but also of intellectual and spiritual nature, as we are forced to give away our beliefs due to many reasons – the wolves can be a lot of things, as our right to believe in something or the right to be someone is taken away. Yes, the future dystopia will be based on materialism alone, as art, literature and religion will be taken away. We already know how much the courses on arts are suffering and how the current society has taken away imagination in favour of logic. They have marked their territory, and wolves continues to take many new forms, and the support that most of them receives continues to increase. Obviously most of the society consider us students of arts as worthless, and they kill us like these wolves, with their teeth and claws supported by the climate which favours them. They try to make us believe that we have studied an inferior course – do survive, like Liam Neeson, for we struggle more than anyone else, caught between the community reservations after which we General category people get none.

How it finishes :: How well The Grey is taken, goes beyond comparisons. It doesn’t have that much inside it if you just watch it and leave it, and it will be basically a man – wolf battle against all odds. The wolf is often more than just a creature, and when the nemesis is also a philosophy, there comes the epic struggle. Beautifully shot with its visuals and sounds which produces depression as well as intensity, the movie will be a treat for most, and might not gather the attention of a few others. Liam Neeson is the catalyst that this movie needed, and anyone else would have not worked the movie in the same movie. The Grey is more of what the title suggests, it is more grey than anything else, with no black or white, just the struggle for survival as the humans face the sure mortality when they least expect it, and that too of a horrible kind. By the end, there is death, and still there is the courage to take the fight to the wolves as there is that last battle, to live and die rather than to live or die – for to live or to die is not an option, as people live and die and some part of us can always be dead and buried, even with immortality continued to be given that significance that it deserves.

Release date: 27th January 2012
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, James Badge Dale, Jacob Blair, Ben Bray, Anne Openshaw

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Lorax

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What is The Lorax? :: Here is a movie based on Dr. Seuss’ children’s book of the same name. Born as Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss has published fourty six books for children, and this one published in 1971 should be the most popular of them all. The book as well as the movie talks about the poor situation of the environment which humanity has brought on by themselves. There are significant differences between the book and the movie, and some might feel that there might have been a little bit too much deviation to suit the standards of Hollywood. But the fact remains that it has a strong message for the environment, something which has not been lost in the adaptation. So who is this guy known as The Lorax? Does he save the environment by making sure that the trees are not cut and the air and water are not polluted? Is he something like the male fairy of the forest of just another wood elf? Lets venture deep into the same.

What is it about? :: The movie begins with the story of Ted Wiggins, a twelve year old boy who lives in an artificial world. Surrounded by a destroyed environment, he lives in a walled city called Thneedville where everything is made of metals, platic or synthetics, and there is not even one tree which is real. There is a price for natural resources and clean air is difficult to get. Our kid wishes to impress a tree-loving young girl called Audrey by getting a real tree for her, but there is no such thing available. His grandmother tells him about Once-ler who can give him enough information about trees if can get that man fifteen cents, a nail, and a shell of a great-great-great grandfather snail. Even as the mayor of Thneedville, Aloysius O’Hare who sells bottled oxygen tries to keep him inside the walls, the boy sneaks out regularly in order to hear the story of the man who will only give him the tree after he finishes his tale. It turns out that the story is more of a history about the trees rather than anything else. Whatever it is, the boy needs his tree.

The story of Once-ler (You can choose to skip this one if you don’t need more details) :: The man who is hidden from the outside in her mostly destroyed cottage tells the story of a young man who left his family and reached the forest in order to make money. After cutting down the first tree, he meets the guardian of the forest, The Lorax. Even as Once-ler agrees not to cut another tree, but only to take what is needed from a living tree, his Thneed invention becomes a great success, and as his family members join him, there is a horrible attack on the trees with the mass production which needed big deforestation and the final destruction of the forest with not even one single tree left. As the air, water and land remains polluted and nothing left for him to do business with, his people abandons him and he is left with no hope. As all the animals and The Lorax leaves, he becomes a recluse living in an abandoned cottage. Now he needs to make amends for his action, but can he do it, or how will he do the same?

The defence of The Lorax :: I can’t remember a movie which has had this strong an environmental theme for a long time. It has the strong background of a brilliant work, and they have used it well to further strengthen the characters in the movie and make it more suitable for the current age. The looks of the characters are also appealing for the children. Its emphasis on saving the environment and its powerful assertion on the need to save the nature is impressive. As the world is slowly being taken over by the corporates who use the power of science to manipulate nature and create an artificial world out of nowhere, this has a powerful role to play. May be this can keep the newer generation of kids informed about the need to safeguard the world they live in. The preservation as well as the improvement of the natural environment should be taught in the early age itself rather than throwing scientific nonsense doing their brains. The movie can actually do a great job in the same.

The claws of flaw :: The movie surely deviates from the book, and its environmental concern is indeed a bit overdone. There are not many good tunes, and there is not enough fun with this one as compared to the other animated movies. There is a pervading dark tone around it, and the irony about the movie might be too much for an animated movie. It often losses its point as the life in the synthetic world is shown as perfect even in the natural destruction. There is also too much of the life in the artificial world which seems to justify itself without nature. Why does our hero want to grow a tree? Not to save the environment, but to impress a girl. The romantic subplots are getting more and more ridiculous these days, and I would hope that they can do without it whenever not needed. The environment is not part of our need to impress someone, it is the need of our life, not only of ours, but all life forms. It should stay with us forever rather than becoming an instrument to tell others that we did that, and we are awesome!

Nature’s sad loss :: Lets think about all these before we concentrate on sending rockets to Moon, Mars and everything that the scientists claim about. If we can’t save our planet which is moving more and more into chaos, what are we going to do about the future worlds were we live in? How can we even know that such a world exists without seeing them? We hear that they sent the rocket there, but how will we ever know that such things really happened – the plight of the common man who is set to believe everything, and can’t question where all the money disappears. Well, we have an environment to take care of right before our eyes. We can’t care about our habitat and our people; instead we look for a habitat in another world and also for lifeforms in another worlds. I have a lot of respect for the nations who would actually care about their citizens rather than go for space research. The lesser the betterment of other worlds, that much the better.

How it finishes :: With a villain who is almost like all the companies of the present who sells bottled water, and a selfish hero along with a former selfish hero, the movie has its flaws, but with its appealing animation and still powerful environmental message, the movie takes control. The biggest advantage might be that the kids can take a message home, that the trees are good and they should be planted everywhere – with a hope that when they grow-up, the world becomes a better place, even if one has to doubt that seriously seeing how they are exposed to the artificial world in such a young age. The respect for the elders, the parents and the teachers are slowly disappearing, but may be this movie can put a little bit of respect for nature in them. If it does, that should be the success that this movie can boast about. It is quite a short movie lasting less than one and half hours and hope you all give it a try. There is the need for balance between the humanity and the nature, and the the clock is ticking!

Release date: 27th July 2012
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Chris Renaud
Starring (voice): Zac Efron, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, Betty White, Jenny Slate

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Ezhamathe Varavu

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Do you have nostalgia about the old Malayalam movies or do you feel nostalgic very often and feels that the Malayalam movies have degraded a lot and the effect of the new generation movies has not been that good? Do you feel that Malayalam movies should go back and be inspired from a former golden age of movie history or at least appreciate that age which was undoubtedly a memorable one? If the answer of these questions is yes, this is a movie you should watch and this is a review you should read. Otherwise, I would suggest that you return to what you were doing before falling into this ocean of nostalgia instead of poking your nose at a place which is not good for the kind of move loving soul which you have. The movie hasn’t done that well as it should have, and it reveals the lack of nostalgia around or rather the inability to sell this nostalgic feeling due to that horrible change which the audience has undergone with the rise of new generation movies and that mindless entertainer power which has cast a shadow on the beautiful woods of nostalgia. If you haven’t left this page yet, I suggest you reclaim it with this movie.

The film’s script which was written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair in the 1970s and was filmed by Hariharan himself with Sukumaran playing the role of the major antagonist, a role which has been passed on to his son with this new version. But as we have heard about it, the older version of the movie didn’t get released. So this remake of the Sukumaran-Venu Nagavally starrer Evideyo Oru Shatru has Indrajith-Vineeth combination instead. The movie might seem a little bit old generation for the liking of most of the people, but one thing that most of the viewers have to keep in mind is that in spite of all the changes that has come upon the world, may be with laptops, mobiles and tablets taking over what was to be their absence, the environment remains the same. The story of the subaltern undergoes no significant change as a whole, no matter how much the man can claim to have improved and changed their attitude towards their fellow beings. Another thing is that there will always be something in this world that humanity shall never understand, and it is supernatural, either divine or devilish.

But the movie doesn’t follow the path of the older movies with exaggeration or overdose of any element. Yes, there is one good man who comes into a forest with tribals around, and finds his former lover as the wife of the evil man who has control over the lands; and he tries to protect both a young tribal girl as well as the environment from the eyes of the man-devil – a plot which has been used for ages. In this remake, there is a certain amount of realism which has been added for sure, and even during this age of disgusting relationships, the plot remains striking enough. All of the characters are simple ones who doesn’t make a big mess around. None of them try to be heroic and try something which is too unexpected of them, and they stick to the stereotypes of the earlier ages, but carries over the impact which they would have created at that time, to this age which has no fixed quality in its movies. Hariharan and M T Vasudevan Nair have indeed created another beauty in the form of Ezhamathe Varavu, literally translated as The Seventh Coming and not to be confused with the Tamil movie Ezham Arivu.

Our story follows the path of an archeologist, Prasad (Vineeth) who has reached the forests of Wayanad, in an attempt to find the remains of a kingdom which is supposed to have existed in the area which now stands in the wilderness. As he tries to find helpers for the cause, he comes across a simple and innocent tribal girl Maala (Kavitha Nair) who helps him with the forest and its people. He lives in the mansion of Gopi (Indrajith Sukumaran) a rich planter and land owner of the area. Gopi is a wife-beating ego-maniac, heavy drinker, womaniser and a self-proclaimed expert in hunting. He is ruthless in getting what he wants, and always look forward to asserting his wishes on others. He also comes across his former lover Bhanu (Bhavana) who is married to the same man, but has turned out as an alcoholic due to his behaviour towards her. Meanwhile, a tiger makes frequent visits to the tribal village, claiming people during regular intervals. Gopi sets out to kill the animal for the thrills along with having his eyes set on Mala, while Bhanu gets closer to Prasad. But the tiger seems to succeed more despite of the efforts of Gopi and the villagers. What happens next shall end a few lives and change the others.

Indrajith Sukumaran plays the antagonist of the movie, and still wins the round for souls with another performance of brilliance which he carries over from his awesomeness in the movie Left Right Left. To be frank, he is the biggest reason why we had rushed to the theatre despite the number of shows being reduced to one. He portrays that dark shade of a hunter, a predator of no regret with such beauty that one would begin to wonder if anything could be worth missing watching such villainy. Vineeth plays the exact opposite, the side of the light, as the man who decided to give up his love for her own good, along with loving poetry as well as the symphony of the forest along with history. He seems to be in a familiar territory, as he progresses which ease, as a model archaeologist, a great lover of history and a big admirer of poems. Bhavana plays her character with ease and a certain amount of serenity, but Kavitha Nair has more screen presence as the symbol of innocence, the beautiful tribal girl whom the landlord has his eyes set on. The simplicity and the innocence of the newcomer’s portrayal of the girl is sure to have a long lasting influence on the viewers.

There is also the presence of some beautiful music, as we go back in time to the love story of Prasad and Bhanu, but the more touching one would be the song by Maala who is portrayed on screen by Kavitha Nair with such lack of blemish and so much of simple innocence that there is an instant liking that the audience develops with the character. As she is ravished by the predator of the human world and the revenge is half-done, the rest is taken over by the nature, or the symbol of the tribal beliefs or rather the vehicle of the Goddess whichever way the poetic justice prevails, more in a divine manner rather than anything else. If there is an outdated feeling at any point, the more appropriate word would be antiquity, and deserving an excavation as well as a mind which supports the same. What everyone can be sure about is that the evil is punished, and even in the suffering, the good finally survives, may be to thrive later. The possible pessimism which could have fallen into this movie is averted due to the use of the old formula, as the thrills, love as well as the vengeance is well balanced and well thrown on screen.

The movie’s hold on traditions, customs as well as the beliefs is also worth mentioning, as we wonder what the tiger actually depict, as William Blake had written as a part of his collection Songs of Experience in 1794; “Tiger, tiger, burning bright, In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies, Burnt the fire of thine eyes”? Yes, we are talking about the visual experience here, for the vision of the burning eyes of the tiger in the darkness comes before the first display of the majestic creature. It is the creature which delivers the final judgement, from the nature itself, for the man who loved nature and the woman who was part of nature. So that adds to this visually superior movie which you can blame for having a predictable plot, and for lacking in mass masala qualities. You can cry about it dragging a bit. But you can never avoid this one, and let me tell you one thing, that this is still a faster movie than Annayum Rasoolum by kilometres and kilometres. Think about it – nostalgia; don’t you need it more than a little?

Release date: 15th September 2013
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Hariharan
Starring: Vineeth, Indrajith Sukumaran, Bhavana, Kavitha Nair, Mamukkoya, Nandhu, Suresh Krishna, Koottickal Jayachandran, Captain Raju

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Fast and Furious VI

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Fast & Furious 6 is many things, and when we take two of its major components alone, the good old Destruction Derby has met Need for Speed once again, and whatever was left undone in Fast & Furious 5 a.k.a Fast Five is accomplished here, and that too in a magnificent fashion. If you are looking for logic, this isn’t the movie for you, but still it is as close to reality as possible considering its genre. Well, your reasoning and the strict principles of validity are rarely correct in a world of complete chaos. The elders of evil are the perpetrators of this chaos which is hidden enough from those who lacks the eyes to see, and sadly that includes a lot of people. When someone looks for truth through something as incomplete as science, there is this chaos which will finally devour the world into a black hole of inhumanity and cruelty to nature which started a long time ago. There is this lack of faith which might make watching this movie further difficult. Well, there is not always a perfect definition for everything and not every theory is qualified enough to called by that name. This perfection of logic itself is a lie, as it can never be attained. In that case, this movie is pure imperfect logic which makes a powerful impact.

How did it feel to wake up at another part of the universe in Star Trek, a few weeks ago? Well, this is not another universe, but it is still a new world of absolute mayhem. This world will have no aliens, but it can still give enough alienation to the common man, which should be another reason for its success. For series which I had least interest in, has developed into something which I can’t resist, thanks to Fast Five. I had thought that I was done with it by the fourth of the series, but as we all know, good things do come to those who wait. No, I do not belong to the group of the new age procrastinators group. I do whatever I have to as early as possible, but as long as the things which are not under our control are concerned, I shall wait without losing faith. When one understands that most of the things are not of your control and the world you know needs waiting, as John Milton had said in On His Blindness, “They also serve who only stand and wait”. So, there are times when you have to take that leap of faith, and believe – those are the moments when logic goes to its grave and you get the much deserved reward for waiting with undisputed, incomparable faith which is a quality of you. Still, never leap into the wrong place, for it is a sin even from a movie watcher’s perspective.

Here, we come back to the two major components again, as Destruction Derby was one of the first of the computer games I ever played, and Destruction Derby 2 followed. That vehicular combat game based on the sport of demolition derby, the collisions, destruction, damage, and all the mayhem that followed. The defensive style and taking calculated risks were two things we had learnt from this game. Still, we never ended up finishing this game which was second only to Road Rash in popularity among us. It was a welcome change from those never-ending driving simulations, a hybrid. The same is the case of our movie, which successfully accomplishes its role as a combination of more than one thing; the first thing being vehicular combat and mayhem. The second one is Need For Speed, which has very little to contribute to this game, except for one race which didn’t even go and get completed in the right manner. But still, it is the base of everything, the reason why I ever cared about the first few movies of the series in the first place. It was never the most influencing game of my gaming life, but the Brooke Burke inspired Need for Speed: Underground 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted changed many things including my superior love for action and strategy games. The time spent by me for the latter was so much that I had to retire myself just one step before finishing the game, as the second best, in order to continue my search for more games.

The story progresses somewhat like this: Following their successful Brazilian heist in Fast Five, Dominic Toretto and his crew of expert criminals have retired and living in different parts of the world. Brian O’Conner and Mia Torreto has a kid, and Dominic Toretto has retired to a life with Elena Neves. Meanwhile, Luke Hobbs and his new partner Riley are involved in the investigation of an unexpected attack on a Russian military convoy. They find a new group of professional criminals led by a man called Owen Shaw responsible for the attack. Hobbs requests the help of Dominic with a new photo of his former girlfriend Letty Ortiz, who was supposed to be dead. Dominic gathers his crew together and they accept Hobbs’ mission in exchange for a pardon for all of their past crimes so that they can finally go back home again. During their first encounter with the gang, Letty arrives to help Shaw, and shoots Dominic thus helping Shaw in escaping. Later, she is revealed to be suffering from severe memory loss. Later, Dominic battles Letty in a street racing competition and later explains her past to her, but there is nothing remembered and she leaves. The complicated situation demands the capture of Shaw and the return of Letty to the extended family where she belongs. The two things will demand more than just a car race or a fist fight, and even shooting has its limitations – only extreme destruction can solve it.

Vin Diesel is back as Dominic Toretto a.k.a Dom, and there might be so many occasions that he is back again. Other than being Riddick, he has been Xander Cage and Hugo Cornelius Toorop, both having inferior status, and Riddick being a little lesser compared to the popularity that Dom has brought him. Well, the good old Dom remains the same, and whatever told of him will bring no surprise nor new information in a fast and furious world which continues to conquer the world. Elsa Pataky plays his love interest for a short period of tension free time, after which Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty Ortiz takes charge. It is from then, that Gina Carano as Riley takes charge. They have such a fight which might have been made to parallel the Vin Diesel – Dwayne Johnson fight of the fifth movie, but this one is a little behind. Still, it is one of the highlights of the hand-to-hand combat side of the movie, a side which is of lesser significance. There is a lot of power involved in the battles involving the two women, and there is no doubt that there has been a lot of effort put behind it. Brian O’Conner, the former FBI agent continues to be cool with Paul Walker at the helm. Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar has a sad end, but not without a cause nor without showing her dose of heroics. Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto has a lesser involvement with this mission, as she is left behind on the Spanish island with the kid.

Luke Evans as Owen Shaw scores as the villain, but compared to what Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had achieved with his hunt for the protagonist, this is a little far behind. The Rock was undoubtedly the main attraction of that movie, and in this one, he has a slightly lesser, but a more positive role to play. Still, there is no shortage of action scenes for him, and he has only got better. We can still know what he is cooking, and it is pure action whoever he is against. He is rightly considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, and he gets closer to more glory in movies each and every time he is there. Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges are there for the fun part as usual, and so is Sung Kang. Well, still not everyone gets out of the movie, a clue which is already given in this review, and it surely can’t be the crowd favourites Dom or Hobbes. If such a thing had happened, this would have been a fairy tale action adventure mayhem, one of the first of its kind with such a plot and cast. For a movie which can work very well even as a stand-alone version, as it is powered by everything an action movie can dream about; the more appropriate question would be what it should have had, and there is nothing much, as long as its genre is concerned.

The one-liners work and so does the escapist fantasy world which has been provided. The action sequences are breath-taking, which includes the group of cars take down a battle tank as well as a huge airplane trying to take off. There are enough twists, not of high quality, but still deserving a few claps. The movie’s two hour plus is more of a positive, but still, there were more expectations from the trailers. The most significant scenes of the movie are those shown in the trailers, and thankfully they are quite long. But there could have been a few more scenes to support them. There is no shortage of the memories of Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels. Still, it defies death, and for those extremists and fundamentalists, defies logic. Laws of Physics? What is a law but what you feel? There is nothing like that to create unnecessary logic in this movie. Well, Physics was pure evil and I knew it during my school days. The only thing worse was Mathematics. The fact is that this series will continue to rule the theatres. It has released here a day before the world-wide release and who wishes to let go of such a wonderful opportunity? The stylish and powerful action which keeps one wishing for more and the answer comes in the form of Jason Statham who seems to assure a sequel as the villain who brings a new game to the scene. It makes sure that the vehicular combat shall live on! This is not to be missed by the fans of the franchise at any cost, as the impact on the big screen is that intense.

Release date: 23rd May 2013
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Gal Gadot, Gina Carano, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, John Ortiz, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Sung Kang, Rita Ora, Jason Statham (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.