The Matrix: Resurrections

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the first time that we watched The Matrix?

Vampire Bat: Yes, you understood twenty five percent of the movie then.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that I understood more than fifty percentage of it.

Vampire Bat: You still had to read details about the story a hundred times.

Vampire Owl: I don’t remember having read the plot even once.

Vampire Bat: I remember that you did the same for the makers’ other film, Jupiter Ascending.

Vampire Owl: I don’t even remember watching that movie.

Vampire Bat: It was on the same day that you attended Mr Frankenstein‘s Grand Exhibition.

Vampire Owl: Dr Frankenstein has thousands of exhibitions every year.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about that many fake science exhibitions.

[Gets a paneer fried rice and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a game designer and the creator of a very popular video game series called The Matrix, which already had three games in the franchise. The game is based on his memories as Neo, which is not clear, but he does feel that there is a lot in his head which feels real. He is mostly happy with his life, as living as a famous game designer seems like a pretty good option. He keeps coming across a woman named Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) who is a married woman with two kids, and she seems to be based on a main character whom he had designed for the video game, Trinity. He becomes friendly with her, and he likes him, but doesn’t seem to remember him at all, just like he is not sure how she became a part of his game. He struggles to separate his life and these strange memories, and his therapist gives him some strange pills in support. A young lady named Bugs (Jessica Henwick) finds this game simulation which is running an old code in a loop based on the time when Trinity had found Neo. With the help of a programme which has embodied Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in a new form, she starts searching for answers, as Neo was supposed to be dead. Two of them combine the forces looking for Neo and finds him in the end.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The machines sent by Bugs save him, and he is taken to her ship known as the Mnemosyne. He is taken to the new city of the human resistance, where a lot older Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) awaits them. She is not happy that Bugs brought Neo to the area which is now a safe house, and tells her that she and her crew of Lexy (Erendira Ibarra, Sequoia (Toby Onwumere), Berg (Brian J Smith) and others are now grounded with the ship. It turns out that sixty years have passed in the real world after the war between humans and machines had ended. Except for Niobe who now takes the decisions around there, mostly adamant and foolish, while everyone else from the original human resistance are now dead, including Morpheus as he was known, and had led the resistance earlier. She tells them that there was some peace achieved through his sacrifice, which lasted for some years, but eventually, things got worse. Now, can Trinity be freed? Can there be peace again?

The defence of The Matrix: Resurrections :: You know the thing about The Matrix, which means that you mostly know what can happen with this version too – the trailer had set the expectations going well. There is a lot of action for sure, and you do enjoy it, even though these are not things which you haven’t seen before – the fights go on in a stylish manner within the movie, and there are also some nice worlds built around here. The advanced special effects and computer generated imagery means that this particular world looks even better than how it used to be earlier. Here we have Keanu Reeves doing what he has been doing the best again, which is always a thing of quality – outside the world of John Wick, Neo is indeed an iconic character and we are never tired of watching him around there. The new additions of the cast are very much suited to this situation of post-apocalyptic science fiction action. After all, we know that this is the kind of situation which could happen at any point of time, with machines taking over being the best option for any apocalyptic event – the extinction of human kind is not something that we can resist. Then, this is a world which has no shortage of style.

The claws of flaw :: The Matrix: Resurrections which comes as the very late addition to the list of movies in a franchise which was far above the others of that time, doesn’t manage to live up to that hype or the grand expectations which were always present. When Neo is coming again after a long time, you expect that this is going to be something above all, but with the lack of innovation, they try to share the qualities that makes Neo with a female characters, which is pretty much the dumbest decision that they can do with some dumb romance added to a film which could have stopped that with the third movie and a few deaths. Actually, the third movie of the franchise served as such a fine ending, and this often keeps feeling a lot unnecessary. One has to wonder if any action sequences in this movie will be remembered much in comparison to the earlier movies, among which all of them had some special moments of fight scenes. The beginning is also too slow, leaving the film too long with so much of initial moments good enough to be cut. One would guess that this one is more intended to make some quick money on the fame which those classic movies had, but that attempt seems to have failed in rising up to the expectations too.

The performers of the soul :: We know that this has been the movie which made Keanu Reeves the huge star all around the world, even though I have always remembered him facing the devil in Constantine and Devil’s Advocate more than any others as well the vampire as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula of 1992, and maybe a few older people might go for Speed as the initial big thing from him. The new generation surely had John Wick with its sequels, and I do like his science fiction works like Replicas too. Yet, this is the one role in which almost everyone of my age would have wanted to see him again, and he is here, with the same strength that he had at that earlier point. Carrie-Anne Moss is someone whom we remembers for this franchise itself, and it is always good to see her back – she has become part of this world again really well. Yet, the actress who makes the most impact is Jessica Henwick, who played second fiddle in Underwater nicely, and she is indeed lovely – the baton should be passed on to her soon enough. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II doesn’t stand up to Laurence Fishburne, but remains okay. Erendira Ibarra also has a notable role. Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris are villains for the sake of being, as machines rule over them. Priyanka Chopra Jonas is there for the sake of being there.

How it finishes :: The big question about this particular movie is whether it was actually needed at all, for these are not the times when the first three movies came into existence, and the adaptation to the new audience who have witnessed all of these already, and then again through other movies would have had some strange feeling about watching this one. You are coming up with a sequel so many years later, and it would require something more than what was already seen, and this one falls flat on innovation. But, there is a lot of entertainment with the action happening all around, and nostalgia is something that sells, which means that we can always watch this version of The Matrix too, and hope that a great worthy sequel will be made at some other point of time. Until then, let us be happy enough with this one, and hope that the Corona virus would stop coming again and again, as watching movies like this at the theatre can mean more, even though I would always prefer the OTT versions. After all, becoming poor by paying so much for the movie tickets, parking and food after being in a traffic jam for such a long time, followed by dumb fans in a theatre is terror, no matter which one is the flick.

Release date: 22nd December 2021 (Theatre); 12th May 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Lana Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Gone Girl

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Vampire Owl :: Which girl is gone?

Vampire Bat :: No, it is the name of the movie.

Vampire Owl :: Really? But you are going to a theatre which almost froze us to death last time.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but it happened only once.

Vampire Owl :: Dude, only a Vampire Penguin can stand such cold. I think they are trying to start a new mortuary freezer at the theatre in collabration with the nearby hospital.

Vampire Bat :: Have you ever been to a mortuary?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, once when I was looking for a zombie to provide assistance to my owlification. Couldn’t find one though. I was freezing to death; no wonder there are no zombies in this part of the world. Even the undead dies in that cold.

Vampire Bat :: But people usually want this cold.

Vampire Owl :: It is already raining outside. Why would they want more cold? See, this is why I should not watch this movie and go back to owlification. Watching a movie here would be like watching Frozen without the visual effects.

Vampire Bat :: Be the Gone Owl then. Best of luck.

[Goes into the multiplex].

What is it about? :: Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) returns home on the day of his fifth anniversary to find his wife missing. The situation does manage to find a lot of media coverage as she is daughter of the parents who wrote a very popular series of books with Amy Elliott-Dunne (Rosamund Pike) at the centre of it, called Amazing Amy. Soon, the media comes to the conclusion as he is the one who is responsible for the same and has murdered his wife, thanks to the revelations of Noelle Hawthorne (Casey Wilson) who says that he was not a good husband and she was pregnant. Nick acts strange and also sounds weird during the investigations making the cops suspect him, and there are also more evidences that point to him. Then there is his sexual relationship with Andie Fitzgerald (Emily Ratajkowski). Finding Amy’s diary and what seems to be the situation of their marriage, it becomes clear that he is in big trouble, despite the sincere efforts of his twin sister Margo Dunne (Carrie Coon) and attorney Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry).

The defence of Gone Girl :: The movie has two sides, and the first half is entirely different from what is to follow in the second, and the PVR intermission is nicely created. The two halves are rather like two parts, with first one being an investigation of the mystery of the disappearance of a man’s wife, and the second being how it has been working for the wife, and how it goes on as everything comes together in the end. I found the second half clearly superior to the first, and there is a lot of truth as well as entertainment in the latter division. The first half’s mystery as well as the second half’s black comedy nicely compliments each other. This is comparable to the movies like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Enemy and Prisoners with its content. It brings the questions about modern marriage to light and talks about how it has changed in the recent years – the narrative is as good as it can get, and the plot is nicely managed. There is also that power of the performances.

Positives and negatives :: I have heard some people say that the novel is better than the movie, and I do ponder about it, but I don’t think I am going to read the book any time soon. For now, I can say that the movie is excellent. Some people might find the movie’s going forward and backward in time irritating, but I find it nice. It does have a strange twist in the end, and even as it has a certain beauty about it, some viewers might find it ridiculous – yes, some other usual kind of ending could have been the one for normal audience, but we are always equipped to take something different, aren’t we? Then there is the slow start which can take the interest off you, and the extreme length of the movie which has two and half hours taken away from us, making it a total three hours long with those advertisements – too many commercials and trailers, and I was frozen in the theatre by then. Thank God for the intermission we have here, for a long English movie is not what our audience ask for.

Performers of the soul :: Ben Affleck is playing a usual unsuspecting man, and it seems to work for him a lot. There is not much to do there for him to do other than being clueless and making at attempt at being better, but he does that nicely to convince us about his character. It is undoubtedly a good role for him as we wait for him to come back to us as the new Batman. I loved how Rosamund Pike played her amazing Amy, as there is as much mystery about it as well as the awesomeness in the portrayal. There is that moment when she reveals her thoughts, and it is one bloody awesome moment, and there is that thing that he does with the climax, and she is simply perfect right there. Neil Patrick Harris is pretty much wasted in his role which is pretty much a dumb one, and does nothing much. Emily Ratajkowski is there as the most gorgeous person around, nothing more about her character, but she is indeed lovely to watch. I did think that Carrie Coon was very impressive there. Tyler Perry was nice, I liked how he did his job. Lola Kirke and Casey Wilson also do their jobs nicely.

Soul exploration :: Gone Girl is a mixture of many genres, as it has its mystery and twist along with humour and crime investigation. There is romance, but one might not want to see that genre at the centre. The movie takes more of a satirical view on the marriages of the modern age, and during the same, black humour is implemented a lot. It also shows how easy it is for the media to manipulate the public opinion and devastate a man in the most disgusting and ridiculous manner, and that it is indeed easy for the woman to put the blame on the man and frame him for her troubles, because the society will always favour a woman as long as she can keep the mask of being in trouble. There will always be at least one stupid person whom a smart one can manipulate. It gives its viewers one more reason why one shouldn’t cheat in a relationship, and your wife might be a psychopath, but you will never know. Both the protagonists are liars, and there lies the strange beauty in the narrative. May be we can put this one into the psychological thriller genre.

How it finishes :: For one second, I thought that this had released here before it did in the United States, and then on the next second, I realized that this month is not October – the time does fly so quickly, and we are indeed coming to the close of this year’s movie watching adventures in less than two months with Christopher Nolan’s already much critically acclaimed Interstellar so close to getting released. Yes, Gone Girl becomes the movie which made a difference in the closing stages, unlike those other movies which were the more awaited ones. Even as I once again almost got frozen to death in the multiplex theatre, it was worth it. Yes, this is one question that I ponder over – why is it too cold in some theatres? What is the need for the same especially when it rains almost every day here? It is a wastage – they should surely keep it low and save some energy rather than creating the mortuary freezer effect which is rather a punishment.

Release date: 31st October 2014 (India); 3rd October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 149 minutes
Directed by: David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Emily Ratajkowski, Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Fugit, Casey Wilson, Missi Pyle, Sela Ward, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Lisa Banes, David Clennon, Scoot McNairy, Boyd Holbrook, Lola Kirke, Cyd Strittmatter, Leonard Kelly-Young

gonegirl

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Smurfs 2

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There are times when people think that a sequel is necessary for every successful movie. Such sequels often go bad, as they are more of repetitions and imitations of the first – but this one manages to hold its ground, not with full strength; just marginally. It has forced itself on the viewers, and has often succeeded with its funny dialogues and the incredible cuteness which it has developed, with an inherent goodness and a little stupidity which gets overshadowed by their aversion towards evil, unlike the minions of Despicable Me 2. That should make this the perfect movie for kids, as there is the moral side which is strong, and everything else goes on depending on this side of the good. Well, The Smurfs 2 is highly dependent on what the first movie had given the viewers, and in the process of making this sequel, it has copied almost everything from The Smurfs and has presented it in a slightly different manner. The advantage that we achieve with the same is that this one is an even better story in morals, and it is further preachy in nature as it goes on and on. There is divine justice as well as the poetic justice, but not without the actions from our little and bigger heroes does fate and destiny dare to intervene.

The Smurfs 2 is a collection of escapism and childish fantasy. It has done enough to have almost every child drag their parents into the theatres to watch some cute little blue creatures. They have also tested the same on the older one very well, as there is a certain amount of nostagia of childhood that seem to affect the grown ups too, and if this was released before Despicable Me 2, the scope would have been higher. They had taken on New York earlier, and now they are at Paris. The little blue creatures have tried their best, but lacking in bringing innovation and originality, this movie had to try and bring a smile to the face of all the viewers, and once again, the result is effectiveness of a lesser scale. If one didn’t watch the first movie, the probability of liking this movie might even go higher. There is a good explanations of the things that go on with this world even in this movie. There are so many occasions when a predecessor’s shoes are good enough, but shouldn’t they have tried to remove the dirt in the same instead of throwing more on it, in a huge variety of colours? May be colourful dirt is good – at least its not bad or evil, and there is a little more time to be sure about that.

Years have passed after the group of smurfs got sucked into a gigantic vortex which brought them to the new world of New York City. Smurfette is shown to suffer from an identity crisis, as she is having nightmares about betraying her fellow Smurfs and getting them captured by Gargamel. At the same time, the Smurfs are preparing a surprise birthday party for Smurfette. But as nobody talks about her birthday and keeps it a secret, she feels that they have forgotten the day and don’t consider her as one of them. She feels that she is neither here nor there, as neither the daughter of Gargamel or Papa Smurf, created by one and given the life of a Smurf by Papa Smurf. She had been an instrument to distract and trap the Smurfs, but now she is claimed as one of them, but the doubts in her mind never ends. She wanders away from the village thinking about the same. Meanwhile, Gargamel has become a famous magician in Paris, but he is running out the Smurf essence and thus losing his magical powers. With his new Smurf-like creations, who are called the Naughties – Vexy and Hackus, Gargamel plans on opening a portal to the Smurf village and get the Smurf formula by kidnapping Smurfette who joined the other side. But he doesn’t have the magical powers to create a portal big enough for him to enter, and he sends Vexy who goes through it and successfully tricks the first Smurf lady through the portal as she wanders around alone.

The Smurfs are alerted, and Papa Smurf uses his magic to create crystals that would allow some of his best Smurfs to go back to the human world, but through an accident, Clumsy, Grouchy and Vanity ends up travelling to the modern world rather than Brainy, Hefty, and Gutsy. The four Smurfs arrive in the apartment of Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris) right after the birthday celebration of his son Blue (Jacob Tremblay) who has been named after them. They also meet Patrick’s stepfather Victor Doyle (Brendan Gleeson), whom Patrick hates and wishes to keep away from his family. The Smurfs join with them as well as Patrick’s lovely wife Grace Winslow (Jayma Mays) and goes to Paris where the sorcerer has set up his abode. The team manages to sneak through the backside of the magic arena of the villain, but fails to find Smurfette. Meanwhile, she joins with Vexy and Hackus in fun, and almost forget the Smurf life. Gargamel and his cat Azrael try their best to get information out of the Smurf lady, and at the same time, the human gang and the Smurfs tries to get through to the secret lair of Gargamel. In the battle for Smurf identity and Smurfy existence, there is a lot at stake including the Smurf lady as well as the whole Smurf village.

So, this movie running just a minute more than its predecessor, is no entity which can be considered different from the first movie. Its twelve percent approval rating at the Rotten Tomatoes comes as no surprise, even as that is a little harsh considering how much goodness this movie carries, or at least attempts to hold in itself. Its best moments are recreated from the first movie, and it fails to exist as a thing of innovation. With the large number of animated movies releasing these days, this half-an-animation might be a little repetitive in a less interesting manner. We already saw The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, Epic and Turbo making impact this year, and this movie tries to impress kids in the same way. But how much can the kids take? They have a similar movie coming up each month which gives them their good time in the theatre. It is us horror fans who have less for our liking. We are fed with one movie, once in five months or so, in the form of The Conjuring, and that too should have been cut so much that there is that new question about what the horror really is. I guess we don’t count anymore, and the animated movies are the new, profitable trend – if the superhero movies don’t have anything to say against that claim; ask our beloved Man of Steel who lost his underwear in his effort to match a Dark Knight who rises.

Smurfette is the central character of this movie, and the second significant one is Vexy, voiced by Katy Perry and Christina Ricci respectively, bringing the whole new sisterly Smurf relationship to the movie series. The best moments though, belong to Vanity Smurf and Azrael bringing good laughter through their pride and fall. Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick Winslow has a lesser role to play in this sequel as his character looks more hammered into the middle of the world as a misfit, and Jayma Mays as Grace Winslow has even lesser to do this time. Brendan Gleeson as Victor Doyle brings some fun right into the middle of chaos. Hank Azaria as Gargamel continues to keep us interested even as the villain seems to be more of a clone of what he was in the first movie. But we can’t avoid Gargamel and his sorcery that easily, as the man continues to be the villain that he was in the first movie. Azrael the cat could have had a little more screen-time to make the most out of it. The movie should have found something smurfantastic, but it takes the easy way out, as the movie starts in an ordinary manner and ends in a predictable manner. Whatever happens in the middle tries to hold this world together.

Even with some good 3D effects, The Smurfs 2 fails to get rid of all those things which might have added negatively to the first movie. But all the good things are still there. With The Conjuring on the other screen, this would attract the families with kids, that’s for sure. But the fact remains that Pacific Rim, The Wolverine and Man of Steel haven’t disappeared yet as expected. Therefore, the choices are there, and this movie has to strive hard. The big shock might be that there is the little presence of Despicable Me 2 somewhere around. But The Smurfs 2 is new and they got style, colour and a cute and easy to pronounce title which rhymes with Surf Excel, our common detergent powder which has attacked the television screens without mercy. With its ordinary moral story which keeps you smurfed, smurfized and smurfined, the question would remain if they could have waited a little more and come up with a better sequel of excellent content. The little blue creatures have more potential than this, and we can only hope that the third movie of the series would fulfill it. Until then, one has to adjust with this movie, and I am sure that it won’t bore you to death – it doesn’t make you feel awesome either.

Release date: 31st July 2013 (USA); 4th August 2013 (India)
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Raja Gosnell
Starring: Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson , Jacob Tremblay, Nancy O’Dell & a big number of voice actors including Katy Perry and Christina Ricci

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.