Sing

Vampire Owl: I remember singing once as a part of group song competition; that was long time ago.

Vampire Bat: And what happened? Did you get a prize?

Vampire Owl: They told me never to sing again.

Vampire Bat: They have surely saved the whole vampire community by saying so.

Vampire Owl: Music has never been my field of interest. My relationship with it is truly bad.

Vampire Bat: Which is why nobody is asking you to sing anything again.

Vampire Owl: I still sing motivational songs for my minions.

Vampire Bat: You are motivating your brainless zombie minions with terrible music?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and I appreciate their brainless situation.

Vampire Bat: I believe that they appreciate you singing something they don’t understand too.

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

What is the movie about? :: A koala bear named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) owns a theatre in the middle of the city, catching everyone’s attention. It was bought by all the money his father had earned by washing cars, because father wanted only what his son wished for the most, a wish which is all about music show. Despite working so hard, none of his shows become success, and Judith (Rhea Perlman), the representative of the bank, is after him to pay back the loan which he had taken, without which they would be forced to take over the theatre. He comes up with one final idea to save his theatre, which is about hosting a singing competition. He intends to provide the winner with a prize money of one thousands dollars, but the iguana who works as his assistant, Miss Crawly (Garth Jennings) ends up adding two more zeroes to the end of the amount in the fliers before they are distributed.

So, what happens next? :: The extra zeroes bring the motivation for the animals in the city, as a long line is set in front of the theatre. Moon feels that this is going to be his first and the greatest success story, and he selects his group of contestants from the audience – There is Johnny (Taron Egerton), a teenage gorilla who wants to be a singer unlike his family which is full of criminals led by his own father (Peter Serafinowicz). Then we have Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a porcupine teenager who performes with her boyfriend Lance (Beck Bennett), but only the girl is selected for the programme. Mike (Seth MacFarlane), an arrogant white mouse who earns everyone’s appreciation and thinks that he will win the tournament easily, is also selected. Another selected contestant is a housewife and mother of twenty five piglets Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) who is paired with Gunter (Nick Kroll) who is more of an entertainer.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Then there is Meena (Tori Kelly), an elephant teenager who has a stage fright, but gets in as contestants a giraffe and a group of frogs who were also selected, back out. Even though Buster understands that the flyers show a huge amount, he decides not to back out. He remains optimistic that he can somehow manage the money, and convinces his best friend, a sheep named Eddie (John C. Reilly) that there is a change that his grandmother and former opera singer who performed at same theatre, Nana Noodleman (Jennifer Saunders) could provide them the needed cash. Even though Eddie’s doubt remain, Moon gets word from Nana that she will come and see their performance. Now, it is up to Moon to get the best performances from a rather inexperienced and confused group of contestants who have their personal problems to deal with too. Can he do it? Can they do it?

The defence of Sing :: There are some nice visuals as you would expect, and there is the inspirational side, as the movie has protagonists with self-doubts, which are removed in the end, and everyone gets to show their skill on the big stage – something which rarely happens in our world, but we are happy that it turned happy for everyone at least in the animated version. The funny side is really good – for example, see a koala doing a car wash. The movie actually gets too good in the end, and we appreciate how things go in the final moments more than any other. The final message is indeed to believe in yourself, and to go for one’s dreams without second thoughts – no matter what the others think of you. Well, dreams got long legs and huge wings, which makes it easy for them to fly away, but we keep trying to grab them, and succeed at times. It is something which has been a common thing in the animated movies, but it works for sure, almost every time. We should get to do what we love, but do we?

The claws of flaw :: There are moments when you feel that this movie focuses a little too much on the much smaller audience. It is also not less depressing to see a reality show, as any programme like that only takes commonsense for a ride – we had too many of them in our televisions here, and we have wanted to get rid of each one of them at one moment or the other. There is not that much of a story here to make the big impact either. You will also see that this one doesn’t become a game changer, and falls behind the much appreciated flicks like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Inside Out, Despicable MeHow to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. There was the sure chance to compete with all these movies with a bigger plot and a bigger message – Sing doesn’t really do that, or even try, despite being such an entertaining treat as a whole; maybe it took a few things for granted too easily.

How it finishes :: Sing is part of an year which had some smart movies with talking animals, and also had Zootopia winning the Academy Award for the best animated movie of the year. It seems that animals who talk bring the best out of animation, and gets appreciated by critics and judges better. With a colourful movie which touches the emotional side, and having some nice messages with the wonderful songs, Sing adds to that list, getting in there in style. Well, there is not much of a life without animated movies these days – there are so many of interesting movies of the genre, going through Frozen, Big Hero 6 and Inside Out; Sing actually makes sure that the possibilities always exist, and we can only have more and more. You get to watch them with all the glory on the screen, and you can’t help not getting a copy of such movies to keep for the next generation. An animated world is a beautiful world, and it feels eternal.

Release date: 21st December 2016
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Garth Jennings
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Saunders, Jennifer Hudson, Garth Jennings, Peter Serafinowicz, Asa Jennings, Nick Kroll as Gunter, Beck Bennett, Jay Pharoah, Nick Offerman, Caspar Jennings, Leslie Jones, Rhea Perlman, Leo Jennings, Laraine Newman, Adam Buxton, Brad Morris, Bill Farmer, Oscar Jennings

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

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Vampire Owl :: This is obviously a movie about the Lich Queen.

Vampire Bat :: What? I am pretty much confident that you have got it wrong.

Vampire Owl :: I am talking about the last part of this title.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, the Lich Queen hasn’t been dying for that long; she was always the undead, and it was one of the quickest transformations ever.

Vampire Owl :: Okay, that guess didn’t work that well.

Vampire Bat :: And you can’t even find out the last time Lich Queen was a girl; that was like thousands of years ago.

Vampire Owl :: So, she really belong to the “old is gold” category.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that when this movie premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, there was a standing ovation?

Vampire Owl :: How can I know? I wasn’t there at that time.

Vampire Bat :: Just watch the movie, will you?

[Gets three cups of tea with jackfruit chips].

What is it about? :: Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) goes through the high school without any real friend, and being just okay with every group of people around him. With people around him divided into groups, he just maintains friendly relationships with everyone and manages to go around being kind of invisible. The only one person who is close to being called a friend is Earl (RJ Cyler) with whom he had been making weird short-films parodying various popular movie titles. He has a crush on a girl at the high school, Madison (Katherine C. Hughes). He doesn’t have a high opinion about himself, and wishes to go on unnoticed; but things change when one of the girls at the same high school, Rachel Kushner (Olivia Cooke) is diagnosed with blood cancer.

So what happens next? :: As his parents (Nick Offerman and Connie Britton) force him to go out with her and provide some confidence in this time of need, he decides to just go – his words about him not knowing her enough goes through into deaf ears. Both of them don’t really like the company of each other, but they get along later, and Earl also joins their team. The two decide to make a movie dedicated to her according to a suggestion made by Madison, but falls short of ideas while her disease gets worse very fast and she decides not to fight this situation anymore. Most of the schoolwork just go ignored too. So, what will happen to this doomed friendship? Does Rachel survive, or will she at least have enough time until the movie is made? Will Greg’s relations with others get any better?

The defence of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl :: This one surely feels real and close enough to life, and there are no exaggerations of any moment. Even without such an attempt, this one manages to be a sweet movie close to heart. There is nothing extraordinary being done here in the tale, as everything goes on towards that awaiting end which is emotional as well as satisfying. We become part of this journey, and it is one that is worth traveling – the light-hearted take on the whole thing helps, and we get to see a positive side in almost everything. Well, going to watch this movie, you know what you will be expecting, that is a lot of tears in store, but the movie manages to rise above that with its funny side, and all the laughter there will make the day better. The movie also leave you with something to think about, related to friendship and brotherhood – there is none that is really mismatched.

The claws of flaw :: This is one movie which had potential for more, not only with its emotional side, but also with those funny moments which seem to be rather too less utilized. With each character, and with each moment, you just feel that there was going to be something more, but almost every character other than the three in the title goes a little less used. Most of this movie also remains predictable, as we move towards that finish which brings no big surprise. The use of commentary about happenings won’t help much either; talking about the dying girl not going to die or getting better just for the audience to hear can’t help at all. I haven’t read the book on which it is based, but Me and Earl and the Dying Girl doesn’t make an attempt to create a difference with this material as a whole; it mostly sticks to the safe zone to move you.

Performers of the soul :: Olivia Cooke is the one person who makes this role very much believable here with an amazing performance – she expresses herself as this character so well. I had seen her for the last time in Ouija, and she is surely someone with a lot of potential, as we watch the cute, talented actress here making the best use of this opportunity. Thomas Mann and RJ Cyler makes a nice team here too; the former cent percent reminding us of someone we have known at some point of time, and the love for movies that these people show will also make sure that someone else we know gets reflected there. The former’s character with his ability to do distant friendships will be one of the best reflections of some people who keep strange and different ideas about friendships, keeping everyone as friends just for the sake of doing so.

How it finishes :: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is that particular movie that makes one feel as one with the protagonists. There is nothing outside the normal world here, as there are many things to which we can relate to. There will be moments when this one will remind you of the Shailene Woodley starrer The Fault in Our Stars, but Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is no romantic flick, as the focus remains on friendship throughout its time. It is that kind of a movie that takes us through the transformation that the protagonist has, and we get so close to the characters there, and in the end, we are part of that world in which enough has been discovered, and more than that needs to be found out later. There is no real “dying” as far as trying to make things better is concerned, right?

Release date: 12th June 2015
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Starring: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal, Connie Britton, Katherine C. Hughes, Chelsea T. Zhang, Natalie Marchelletta, Matt Bennett, Bobb’e J. Thompson, Karriem Sami, Marco Zappala, Etta Cox, Masam Holden, Kaza Marie Ayersman, Cheryl Kline, Joan Augustin, Mark Granatire, Kayana White, Linda Kanyarusoke, Drew Palajsa, Elly Silberstein, Nicole Tubbs

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Lego Movie

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The Lego animation :: We all know Lego bricks, don’t we? Those interlocking plastic brick-like things were part of our childhood, and most of us did build a lot of things with them – one of our first teachers of creativity and imagination. Even as they came in many colours, the one I remember the most is blue, and I wonder how that comes to mind often; may be I broke most of the pieces of other colour, who knows? I had them strong until Hasbro came into my life with G.I. Joe. Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes and Daestro took over at that time. But where did my Lego go? I have to admit that I no longer knew anything about it, and I guess it passed on to my younger cousin brothers and sisters, and I had completely forgotten about the same until I came across the trailer of this movie; yes the Lego people were back, stronger than ever, and they had Batman and Wonder Woman for support. The toys had win hearts, and this was the time of the movies – lets see how they fare.

What is it about? :: Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) is a wizard and one of the master-builders of the Lego universe, but he fails to stop Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from taking over a superweapon Kragle. He still tells the villain about the prophecy about a special person who will stop his villainy. Years later, an ordinary construction worker Emmet (Chris Pratt) accidently finds “Piece of Resistance” which can stop Lord Business. As Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) captures him, he is rescued by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) who takes him to another world where Vitruvius lives. As the wizard tries to make him imagine and create something like a master-builder, they find out that his creativity is zero, and he needs an instruction manual to create anything. The other master-builders, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Dumbledore, Shakespeare, Gandalf, Dracula, Green Lantern, Pirate Metal Beard and rest of the team are very much unimpressed by him as he makes a hopeless speech and shows his lack of creativity. But as time is less, they have to work together to find a way to stop the Lord before using the weapon. Can they do it?

The defence of The Lego Movie :: This is one of the funniest animated movies of the decade. even as one might wonder if Lego qualifies as animation. Their use of superhero characters is hilarious, and how they managed to bring them into the story is very nice, especially Batman. There is Batman saying “I only work in black. And sometimes, very, very dark gray” and Superman saying “I super hate you” to the Green Lantern. The Wonder Woman is not left behind in fun either, and Metal Beard jumps in like Blackbeard might have did. Uni-Kitty’s attempts to be happy and positive is another thing to watch out for. Even Abraham Lincoln and Michelangelo joins. There are dialogues like “Come with me if you want to not die” parodying The Terminator. I would still prefer Frozen any day, that is for sure. It is nice how a few other worlds are added to the original city of Lord Business, involving Wild West as well as Castles and Dragons settings.

The claws of flaw :: The 3D was totally unnecessary, not only is it ineffective, but it doesn’t suit this kind of toyline animation. It worked well with movies like Frozen and a good number of such titles, but when used with this, it is not effective, in my opinion. There could have also been an even better use of these characters, with our vampire guy and the Shakespeare guy given a better due. I didn’t like the way in which its central theme was exaggerated again and again, even as it was nice in the beginning. This is also too much of a common story, about a normal guy trying to save the world, even as the superheroes fails to do the same – for the same, the movie preaches a lot, and keeps saying that everyone is so special and shouldn’t go according to the rules. Looking at a whole world made of Lego looks fresh in the beginning, but keeps losing its charm. Its connection with the real world is interesting, but is still too weird or rather a little too unnecessary, but that worked, no doubt about it.

How it works :: There might be the usual misconception that a movie which shows so much of a toy-line can’t be that good. Now, that might still be valid even after the success of this movie. A major question might be about what they can come up with such a toyline which is all about construction; what can one bring out of Simcity? But here is the idea that changed that thought. Here is something that rivals the over-hyped animated movies like Brave. The voices are nice, and other than the two main characters, there is some really interesting stuff from Liam Neeson as Bad Cop/Good Cop with that split personality, and Alison Brie as Uni-Kitty. Will Ferrell as Lord Business is another nice villain performance, just like he did with the voice in Megamind. Channing Tatum has a very short time as Superman, but that’s pretty nice too. Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius even comes back as a ghost, and that was a nice surprise. All the voice actors seem to become the character they were embodying.

Soul exploration :: The movie tells that everyone is special and there is the need to nurture the imaginations and show creativity rather than just follow the instructions. It comes up with he idea that almost anyone can make a difference, no matter how much immature or inexperienced that person is. Now, that sounds nice, but when it is completely against that order which works against chaos, there is a little bit loss of trust. It fails to set a limit to that imagination, and it is only in a perfect world under the best circumstances that such things can happen in the right way. Otherwise, instructions can always be helpful, no matter how much they are hated or opposed to prevent people from following them. The movie also doesn’t really come up on top when thinking about being special or adding more imagination, as it could have definitely used more as it neared the end. The end doesn’t justify the nice beginning, as there is the ordinary stuff that fills the finish.

How it finishes :: As we can see from the reviews all around, The Lego Movie finishes strong in the theatre. We should wait very long to meet someone who didn’t like this movie. As an animated movie, it is difficult to find errors from this movie, and almost everyone who have ever played with a Lego toy will like this one a lot, and this one also mostly applies to the rest. From what the year has to offer, this might be the best animated movie of the year. It surely has a colder reception here though, as there are not many screens showing the movie, and the maximum of about three shows or something among so many theatres and multiplexes, with not many viewers either. But it is indeed going on to become a global success, and it can surely stay in the top grossing movies of the year for some time. I can only be glad that this didn’t become one of those movies which didn’t release here, as there are so many movies of other languages which have occupied the screen at this time.

Release date: 7th February 2014
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Starring (voice): Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

We’re the Millers

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It was a delayed entrance that this comedy movie made to the theatres here and there was a bigger delay in me watching the same. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones had taken over the last weekend, and it was necessary that I had to wait, and therefore I did and took this pill of comedy which is We’re the Millers. The Hangover Part III was the last full-time comedy of this nature which I had watched in the theatre last. Now, here is this movie which overtakes the final movie of a series of a solid fanbase even with its highly predictable setup which comes up with no surprises or moments of absolute brilliance. It is more of a disadvantage of that movie rather than the capability of this movie. But the difference in rating is negligible and the effect is also not that much of a variation, as you can check right here: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/thehangover3/ except for the well-known fact that it was The Hangover, and was to be respected for the first movie of the franchise, which was just another Dude, Where’s My Car? if we look at it with eyes uncovered of the glorified mist.

David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is a drug dealer of a smaller level, a chronic bachelor and still a happy one until he is robbed of his money and stock, on a night of stupidity. His boss, a rich drug lord and gangster Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms) forces David to smuggle marijuana from Mexico to the United States in order to clear his debt to be him as well as gain some good carrier fee. As he is known enough as a drug dealer and one man crossing the border is going to be more suspicious, he hires a stripper named Rose (Jennifer Aniston) who is having heavy financial difficulties and loses her job, an arrogant runaway teenage punk girl named Casey (Emma Roberts), and his eighteen year-old neighbor Kenny who is afraid of kissing a girl (Will Poulter) to pose as a typical American family called the Millers travelling in an RV, with that random family name he came across. They are a strange group, but still manage to get through into Mexico and also get the needed goods from a Mexican drug-hold, despite almost getting shot by the gangsters and being caught by the Mexican police.

Due to the presence of a heavy load of marijuana on the RV, the automobile breaks down. They are helped by a family called Fitzgeralds whom they had encountered at the border, and it consisted of Don (Nick Offerman), Edie (Kathryn Hahn), and Melissa (Molly Quinn). As they take the Millers’ RV to a repair shop, Kenny falls further for Melissa. It is then revealed that Don Fitzgerald is a DEA agent as he comes across his badge and the gun. After Edie seems to be highly interested in Rose, and Melissa finds out Kenny kissing both Casey and Rose (as they were trying to teach him the same), a holy mess breaks out and despite the husband and wife being reluctant to leave them, they finally get to the shop only to be greeted by the real drug lord whose package they had been carrying over. But they try to convince him that they are not a real family, and Rose is a stripper, as she strips down to her underwear and do some pole-dancing and attacks him with a steam vent which sets them on the escape route with an angry drug lord and his men behind them. As they try to settle their differences, they are followed by one of the most dangerous gangs and it is to see if they can survive and finish their mission, earning the much needed money.

Jennifer Aniston who seems to look better and better, steals the show in this movie, as the stripper and still the caring supposed-to-be-mother. I haven’t watched many of her movies, and the only one I can remember right now, is Bruce Almighty, possibly because the genres of the films she acted in rarely was part of my to-be-watched list. May be I could find a few more of the movies with her in them, sooner or later. The absence of big male leading actor is solved by her presence, and even as this is more of an opportunity for her to get into her character and look awesome. But it is to be noted that her acting skills as a comedy actress also gets its due, and she never looks out of place and even her character’s job in the movie seems to help her performance highly. She has her charm working out throughout the movie as she triumphs in what she does. Most of the better moments of the movie has her as part of it. She is the biggest star in the movie, and the next one is Ed Helms, the Stu of The Hangover franchise with quite a small screen presence. He comes, make a short impact and then makes small appearances.

Jason Sudeikis as David Clark makes a good central character, and he has his own good moments in an everlasting screen presence. He remains funny throughout, as his dynamic character evolves from the drug dealer who keeps seeking money to a responsible father-to-be. Will Poulter’s Kenny Rossmore is undoubtedly the funniest of all characters in the movie. He is instantly likable even with all the nonsense that he come with up with, adding to the funny side of the movie. Emma Roberts as Casey Mathis, and she provides the right dose of energy or the lack of it at the right moments, creating the much needed contrast with Kenny on one side, while also with David on another side. She is the bad kid, a strange and never caring girl who ran away from her home due to small differences. Nick Offerman’s Don Fitzgerald and Kathryn Hahn’s Edie Fitzgerald are the next funnier characters. Molly Quinn as Melissa Fitzgerald has a cute, beautiful, innocent presence throughout the time she spends on screen. She might even be the best-looking person around in the movie. Tomer Sisley is a fine Mexican drug lord and Matthew Willig makes a good henchman.

The strength of this movie is its cast, as one might expect even before watching the trailer of this movie. But the question remains if they could have had a better, less predictable plots with not much of the repeated comedy scenes. Some of them are too silly and stupid for the common movie watcher who has had a long season of watching comedy movies. It might be more than just okay for the viewers from this part of the world, as adult-comedy is not something you get to watch in theatres too often here, and even if it does attack the big screen or the television channels, there are more to cut than to show, making the whole thing a lot more shorter than what it really is. Jennifer Aniston surely had some of her stripping and pole-dancing cut from the totality, and there has been a lot of dialogues by both the male and the female lead which has been removed. The movie surely felt quite short compared to its total running time given in the internet, but one can also think that it was more because it was funny and entertaining enough, with subtitles to make sure that none of those terms are missed by the usual audience who don’t get to see movies of this genre every day, every month or even every year.

The Heat and Grown Ups 2 hasn’t come to our theatres, but The Hangover Part III had quite a good time here. We’re the Millers also had quite an okay time here, but Jennifer Aniston can’t create that much of an effect here and there all the collection this movie makes here comes from the trailer which was shown before Indian movies, and that trailer was pretty good rising the bar of expectations. The fact that Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is having a better word of mouth, and still staying on to have more shows, and Riddick coming to make an impact with a superstar who is loved in this part of the world, the only hope for this movie is to fill the void which The Conjuring might leave next week after scaring enough people. But that might also be filled by new releases in different languages, as the Onam celebrations are coming up and families shall flock into both the normal theatres as well as the multiplexes, not for adult-comedy, but for the family movies, mostly in Malayalam followed by Tamil and Hindi in that order. So the time of this movie has almost ended here, but it has surely created enough impact outside here. For now, I hope that they don’t steal from this movie to make a road trip flick in the form of a Hindi or Malayalam movie, as a whole or in part, as that won’t be tolerable at all.

Release date: 7th August 2013 (United States); 31st August 2013 (India)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Quinn, Ken Marino, Matthew Willig, Tomer Sisley, Thomas Lennon

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.