Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that they want the ghosts dead.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that vampires are not included in the list of ghosts.

Vampire Owl: So, they wish to kill us in some other movie.

Vampire Bat: Still, not as much as they have murdered their own kind.

Vampire Owl: That was not enough for an extinction event though.

Vampire Bat: Humans will be extinct sooner or later.

Vampire Owl: Have you checked all possible extinction events?

Vampire Bat: Yes, humans are part of nine thousand out of ten thousand of them.

Vampire Owl: They do have a fair chance to go extinct then.

Vampire Bat: Yes, good for the world around them, right?

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: It is shown that there is a hunt for a supernatural entity which leads to the death of the man who tried to trap the creature. This leads to his daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) inheriting the farm. As a single mother, she struggles to pay the rent for her apartment. Her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) are not that fond of the happenings around there. The three moves to the house with the farm which is passed on to them. The new town where they live seems to have earthquakes at all times despite having no seismic activity recorded – there is no volcano around, and not even some loud noise in this town where nothing much happens. Trevor is infatuated by Lucky Domingo (Celeste O’Connor) who works at a nearby diner, and seeing a vacancy there, joins the place for work. Meanwhile, Phoebe joins the class of Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), who is there just for the sake of it, and plays movies for the students.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She also meets Podcast (Logan Kim), another student who is interested in science as much as she is. The three becomes infatuated with a device which Phoebe finds at home, and it turns out to be a ghost trap. Gary who has been a fan of the Ghostbusters for a long time, tampers with the trap with the help of his students, releasing one of the spirits that scares them and immediately flies into the nearby closed mine – the locals used to believe that the place was haunted too. Callie and Gary seem to instantly attracted to each other as the three comes to the inherited home in the middle of nowhere to find clues related to ghosts. Meanwhile, Trevor and Lucky on a trip with their friends also come across a spirit which they seem to dismiss as some random smoke coming out of the abandoned mine as part of some natural process. But a word seems to stay stuck with them.

Now, where would the ghosts lead further in this tale? :: Soon, Phoebe discovers a secret laboratory underneath the outhouse on the side of their house, and it seems that there was more to her grandfather than what met the eye of the villagers who called him the dirt farmer who farmed nothing other than dirt. He was doing some special work indeed. It turns out that the ghost of the grandfather is still there, and he hopes that his grandchildren will take over the Ghostbusters procedures. Phoebe seems to be able to enjoy that prospect very much. But will the very young new generation be good enough to come with a new level of ghostbusting while working against all odds? With a new terrifying evil ready to be unleashed, how good can a group of kids leading a team be? With the evil predating everything that they know, how good can modernity work against such evil grandeur of ancient times?

The defence of Ghostbusters: Afterlife :: The movie would be very interesting for those who grew up watching the original movies of the 1980s – seems like some doses of nostalgia being in store here and there. The setting at a town in the middle of nowhere with some nice locations which are even more remote – things one get better from there. The humour works well in here too. The action is big enough, and there is a lot happening in the final stages with the fights going on against the creatures from the other world. The special effects are pretty well done, even though not with every ghost – the final demonic arrival is a sight to be appreciated though, with the background effects also playing some fine roles. Mckenna Grace remains the soul of this movie, and the one child ghostbuster that you are going to remember for long, with moments to remember. Carrie Coon – Paul Rudd moments also bring some unexpected fun. Celeste O’Connor – Finn Wolfhard team is also an enjoyable one around here.

The claws of flaw :: Anything that is specifically intended for the old fans of the franchise which started in the 1980s won’t work for us, as the series didn’t have much of a fan base in this part of the world which was more into those spirits of Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and others. It was also a reason for the reboot making no impact around here. This one which take place more than thirty years after the 1980s works seem to do better, but doesn’t make an impact around here either. Well, with The Conjuring having brought its own methods of hunting spirits, this method would surely seem less effective – this still seems to be twilight times of The Conjuring franchise and that brings some chance for another sequel. There could have also been some deviation from what seems to be less suited moments around here. It could have also been less inclined to be suitable for children, as ghosts have evolved enough during these days. The beginning stages also take some time to get going, thus stretching the movie to something above two hours.

How it finishes :: Ghostbusters: Afterlife works well with its elements, and seem to know the strength to use to the advantage – the same is done in most parts, even though the film doesn’t go on to become the perfect return vehicle for such ghosts of many people’s nostalgia. Not to be confused with Resident Evil: Afterlife, this movie has enough hunting of ghosts to keep us interested. With another sequel, much more can be achieved by this particular franchise, which seems to have enough family-friendly ghosts in action. Well, this is one film with ghosts which can be watched with all kinds of people as audience. One one side, we have The Conjuring, Insidious, Ouija, The Curse of La Llorna, Sinister, The Nun, Annabelle and team, and on the other side we have this one which is not really for the scares, but has its own ghosts to keep the haunting going strong. Well, as much as we need those other films, this one is in requirement too – no doubt about that.

Release date: 19th November 2021
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, Paul Rudd

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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.

Snake Eyes

Vampire Owl: I remember a time when all vampires played with GI Joe toys.

Vampire Bat: Well, that was a very short period of time.

Vampire Owl: Yet, those were some wonderful days.

Vampire Bat: If I remember correctly, those were nights. When we were awake.

Vampire Owl: Both days and nights belonged to games.

Vampire Bat: You mean to include computer games too.

Vampire Owl: Yes, that would make this a very long list.

Vampire Bat: I would start with Age of Empires and Age of Wonders for that.

Vampire Owl: Yet, there was no game like Unreal Tournament 99.

Vampire Bat: Only to be permanently addicted to Mass Effect later.

[Gets a milk peda and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A young boy witnesses his father being murdered by a group of armed people, after their leader determines his fate by rolling a dice. Many years later, he has grown up to a skilled martial arts fighter Snake Eyes (Henry Golding). As he keeps winning all the fights and changing cities, a rich Yakuza boss named Kenta Takamura (Takehiro Hira) disovers him in a fighting arena in Los Angeles. Even though he doesn’t like the offer in the beginning, the idea of being able to find the people who killed his father makes him interested. But when he is asked to murder Tommy (Andrew Koji), who despite being Kenta’s cousin, had broken trust, he refuses, and even helps him to escape. Both Tommy and Kenta were next line to become leader of their clan, and the latter tried to have the former killed. Kenta’s plan was discovered before it could materialize, and Tommy had him banished. As Snake Eyes cannot go back to Los Angeles as he would be hunted by the Yakuza, he is taken to Tokyo instead.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Tommy who feels that he owes a blood debt to Snake Eyes, takes him to his ninja world. Sen (Eri Ishida), Tommy’s grandmother who leads the ninja clan agrees to let him join the group under some conditions, even though the head of secutiy, Akiko (Haruka Abe) is not fond of anyone from outside joining them, as it would be an unusual practice. He is supposed to go through three challenges, first two challenges to cleanse him of ego, anger and fear, and get him ready for the third one. Tommy also lets him know that failure means death. He will only has a few days to train for the same. With no recorded history about him and being known only by a strange alias, Akiko continues to doubt him. But she is still confident that Snake Eyes will fail the first test itself, as at least eighty percent of them fail every time. Tommy feels confident that Snake Eyes will be among the passing twenty percent, but there is certainly more than one twist to it.

The defence of Snake Eyes :: There is a lot of fighting going on in this tale inspired from a toy line, and the reboot has started off pretty well with hope for something big to be seen in a sequel with so many characters to come. Four of the most interesting characters, Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes, Scarlett and Baroness have been introduced, and we can keep hoping for more. The sword fights show a certain amount of quality here, and it is not all that we see here, as we have something more in an year which provided us with Mortal Kombat. The final battle is a big one, and it has everyone going after one another. The location of the ninjas is nicely chosen too. Well, one always feel happy about watching Japan on the screen – Tokyo is nothing less than a dream city. When you look at origin stories, starting with the tale of the two ninjas seem to be the right choice, especially as the earlier movies didn’t focus enough on the two. From this beginning, the movie seems to assert that it won’t go the Transformers way, bringing more confusion as the film franchise progresses.

The claws of flaw :: Even with its twists, there is a certain amount of predictability associated with it. The hero here is the one whom we wish to have on the side of the Cobra though, as Storm Shadow is hundred percent a better person of quality than Snake Eyes by any means – it is how things are shown here. We would have wished for Snake Eyes to stay in the Cobra even as the toy storyline states otherwise. Well, just one person is responsible for all these, and he seems to be the good guy in the end. A better introduction for the characters of GI Joe and Cobra would have been better – just having Scarlett and Baroness is not good enough, and the two ninja brothers have only started. Cobra could have actually had a better job to do here too. The idea of vengeance could have been portrayed better, and instead this one seems to go here and there, not sticking to a particular plan, just like the main character himself who seems to be the most clueless one. Maybe, he intends to set things right with a sequel if there is one.

The performers of the soul :: The two leading actors, Henry Golding and Andred Koji seems to be perfectly suited for the roles, and they seem to go on with the action sequences with relative ease, especially the latter who seems to blend in from the beginning itself. Rachel Nichols who played Scarlett has been replaced by Samara Weaving, and it does seem to be a nice change – there is still only a little to be done for her here, even though she gets some of the action. Sienna Miller has been replaced by Ursula Corbero, and let us hope that this time the story won’t have the dumn romance angle, and what was ridiculous about the character played by Sienna won’t be repeated here – Ursula does make a fine entry here, and there is some nice action for her too. Haruka Abe nicely blends into her role of the security in charge of the ninjas, while Takehiro Hira has his interesting moments as the antagonist. The two masters played by Iko Uwais and Peter Mensah remains interesting too. Along with the same, Eri Ishida as the grandmother comes as a surprise package in the action scenes too.

How it finishes :: It seems that this movie will serve as a new beginning, with the origins stories coming one’s way. The earlier movies of GI Joe were entertaining for sure, but it never really used the strengths to the best advantage, and there was even some strange romantic sides to them. This movie could serve as a better beginning for a franchise reminding us of all the toys that we had during our childhood – I still have them in the showcase of the house. Well, there are not many movies which can bring such a nostalgia from figures – actually, there is no other which I can remember. In that case, this film would serve nicely to bring more into the series. Let us hope that this new coming won’t be confused as the earlier journey with the toys. But as this is based on toys, we can only hope for the best, not for it to haunt us. Until then, let us be prepared by watching this movie on Amazon Prime Video in advance. You always have space for movies like these, at least as the big entertainers full of action and style.

Release date: 22nd July 2021
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Ursula Corbero, Samara Weaving, Haruka Abe, Takehiro Hira, Iko Uwais

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bhoothakaalam

Vampire Owl: So, the title could mean the days of the past as well as the days of the ghost.

Vampire Bat: It is a nice play on the words being used here.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Malayalam movie industry can have good horror anymore?

Vampire Bat: Well, horror is the only reality of life. So, it is always possible.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the realistic tendencies of the industry can help.

Vampire Bat: Yes, what is life, but a collection of horror of reality?

Vampire Owl: I can’t disagree. I once heard the story of the devil finding the burning hell as a better place to live in comparison to Earth.

Vampire Bat: Well, you know what humans are capable of. They have already made their world a place worse than hell.

Vampire Owl: So, who are the real monsters?

Vampire Bat: Humans are the real monsters, from the day of birth itself. You should see how they torment their own people.

[Gets a chicken biriyani and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: Vinu (Shane Nigam) is a D.Pharm graduate who is living with his mother, Asha (Revathy) in what seems to have been a very unhappy household since the death of Vinu’s father post leaving a lot of money to be paid back for the loans which were taken. His grandmother dies after living most of her life on the bed after a terrible stroke which she barely survived, and the life of mother and son which was full of negativity only gets worse after the demise. Vinu has been looking for a job for a long time, but as he is focusing on getting some work in his field, and is also trying to keep the search close to home, he is not really able to make any progress with that. Depression seems to come naturally to him, as well as his mother, who is a school teacher for small children. Asha is also hesitant to send him anywhere distant, especially to go for a job which is not directly related to the course which he studied. She also temporarily losses her job, as she ends up hitting a child accidently.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The mother and the son continues to have arguments over the past, present and future, as Vinu decides to find a job outside Kerala or even India at some hotels where his friends are working. Asha finds him as a rather useless person, as she originally wanted him to study MBBS, and they had spent a lot of money related to that too. But soon, things get worse, as Vinu feels that he was locked within a room by his dead grandmother, who moves around in the wheel chair. Asha feels that he needs counselling, but he doesn’t agree. George (Saiju Kurup) who runs a counselling centre comes home to help him, but Vinu is not happy about it at all, as he feels that he is being marked as an alcoholic and drug addict. George also feels that the sleeplessness might also be a reason, along with the mental problems which runs within the family. Vinu is in love with Priya (Athira Patel), but has stopped returning her calls, as he does almost nothing, while staying in his room, or in front of the television. But he continues to see and feel things – can this mean something else?

The defence of Bhoothakaalam :: Starting off as a movie which seems to have characters with some mental problems related to trauma, it smoothly enters the horror mode after some time. With many options being left behind, one can make different guesses about what actually happened. The minimum elements are used effectively, and the atmosphere of the house also brings a certain amount nostalgia – like our old houses which had mosaic on the floor along with some old style furniture as well as spaces on the wall. The darkness and shadows are pretty much effective in bringing the scares, and there is much to be felt about the possible presence in the house – they contribute to reaching a point where the title can be justified. The emotional side is also very much working, and there is much of the feelings going through here. Even with all the terror coming from outside, there is also the presence of the depressing past related to regret which continues to haunt everyone – the memories can be disorienting enough, as we move forward through a world of chaotic mind here too.

The claws of flaw :: Bhoothakaalam often restricts itself in the use of horror, except for the finally fifteen to twenty minutes when the film is finally allowed to unleash itself, bringing all the elements which it had in store, but didn’t use early enough. It does take its own time, and one feels that it is moving too slowly during that period of time. There are movies which slowly gets stronger, like Come Play, In Fear and It Follows, and one might feel that this might not feel that new with the early slow movement. The mind could have been given better focus, and the presence in the house could have also been better explained, thus leading to a better final finish. It is surely not that scary as some people seem to talk about it – there is something to be frightened about, but not that much as what the reviews exaggerate here, for only those who haven’t watched Hollywood horror movies at all can be that scared about it. After all, these are not the days when people are scared of ghosts that much, because humans have proven themselves to be more evil, each and every time. Ghosts have to be a special kind of scary to rise about human demonic acts.

The performers of the soul :: Shane Nigam continues his work more out of Kumbalangi Nights rather than the other movies, as he once again plays a similar youth who doesn’t really have a job for a multitude of reason, even though he is better educated this time. Revathy’s work continues to be a thing of quality, as he plays a mother role with a difference. There are moments which rises above the natural so well. James Eliya seems to be the man with logic, and has his moments of advice. Jilu Joseph has a small presence as a psychiatrist, as it is Saiju Kurup who deals with the counselling more, and even finds out a few secrets about the house – one would have loved to see more actions being taken by him here. Manju Pathrose plays the usual nosy neighbour, a role which is quite short. Valsala Menon played the grandmother, and that was the role which also lasted for only a few minutes as the movie continues to focus on the mother-son duo for almost all the time. Athira Patel is more or less the Mamitha Baiju of Operation Java coming in here as the seemingly forced love affair which in this case doesn’t reach anywhere in comparison.

How it finishes :: When we think about ghosts and past, the first movie which comes to our mind is Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, a Gothic romance horror which was not watched by that many people in this part of the world. But the past that haunts this movie is more or less related a good number of other horror movies, with one haunted house as well as a psychological side, both complimenting each other, sometimes from a distance, and at times, getting close enough and going through one another in style. Bhoothakaalam doesn’t hesitate to combine its elements, and then come up with the defining moments in the final stages of the film. This is surely a good deviation from the usual horror movies that we have in the Malayalam movie industry, and just like some of the other Sony LIV movies which released in the last few months, like Madhuram and Kaanekaane, this one also has a strong emotional side to go with. Well, you can also have some interesting horror with relationships running emotional in the background, for the ghosts are better and truer with their emotions than the fake humans.

Release date: 21st January 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Rahul Sadasivan
Starring: Shane Nigam, Revathy, Athira Patel, Saiju Kurup, Manju Pathrose, James Eliya, Jilu Joseph, Valsala Menon

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Brazen

Vampire Owl: So, Netflix seems to have released another movie with a killer.

Vampire Bat: I am wondering if this is a serial killer on the loose.

Vampire Owl: There is always a chance that there can be more than one killer.

Vampire Bat: If it was a vampire, one killer would have been enough.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t really want a vampire in there though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, vampires are rarely serial killers or psycho killers.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that vampires can only be contract killers.

Vampire Bat: We, vampires have been killers of souls for a long time.

Vampire Owl: The exact title should have been takers of souls.

Vampire Bat: With the exception of zombies whose souls are now with the Northern witches.

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

What is the movie about? :: Grace Miller (Alyssa Milano) is a popular mystery novelist who has long journeys with her book tours. Most of her novels have women getting murdered, and after a series of investigations, the killer is discovered. She finally gets to visit her sister after a long time. The sister is going through a custody battle for her son after filing a divorce, and also teaching English Literature and Drama in high school. Ed Jennings (Sam Page) who lives next door is a detective has just solved the case of the murder of a woman by her husband, and is now going through a few days off. Grace and Ed have drinks together and discusses different fictional murders, as she hopes that she could use his help in her upcoming novel. But when she returns home after spending some time with him, she finds her sister dead inside the house. Grace goes into depression, and Ed feels that he should be going through the investigation rather than any other police officer, and help her.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Police investigation discovers that even though her sister was a teacher for the public, she was part of a webcam based site known as Fantasy Inc, where she worked as a dominatrix, providing online femdom. The first suspect is the ex-husband, as the dead woman knew some of the secrets that the rich and influential man held. Even though she has remained anonymous as the company has always guaranteed to keep her identity secret, and as she was also wearing a mask throughout her performances, the police feels that it could have been somehow leaked. Grace feels that she should also be personally involved in the investigation, even though Ed asks her not to take it personal, and let the police do the job. She does come up with some interesting information from the school where her sister was teaching, and that provides some of the missing pieces for the police. But it seems that this is not just about her sister, as there are other murders.

The defence of Brazen :: This is one entertaining movie which has an investigation going, and the puzzle is nicely solved, with some nice red herrings thrown around here and there. The lost parts of the puzzle are nicely brought in here, and we are also able to make some guesses, but things become perfectly clear only by the end. From the beginning itself, you know where this one is going, and as you get into the mood soon enough, you are much more interested in it. It has some interesting twists happening around here, and it does take a fine turn in the end. The idea of including the dominatrix-teacher twist is something which hasn’t been tried before, and the movie makes some fine connection related to that. You are not required to expect too much about this though, as this doesn’t go on with that much of a divergence, and we have the straight forward thriller which can be enjoyed. You see the murders happening, and you see how the mystery is solved, with the killer being caught in the end – it is pretty much what you need as a completed puzzle. Then there is Alyssa Milano, the lady from our past, bringing back the childhood memories.

The claws of flaw :: The movie suffers from the early reviews, which seem to be against it, and can affect its scope, but it really doesn’t deserve that much of a spot down the ratings. The addition of a mystery writer to the police department’s investigation does feel strange, as if the cops are not that bright, thanks to the lady at the head of the department who seems to have less faith in her own people. The investigation of the police should have been the more convincing one, but here, it seems that fiction can serve the whole investigation better, and it is indeed a strange thing. Even with a serial killer who seems to be more like a psycho at the centre, there is not that much of scares related to it – the man could have been used better. It could have also used the work of the dead people better, and could have connected it better with the psychotic episodes. There could have also been clearer versions of the murders happening with some nice shots of the same making the deaths more gruesome. The first few moments of the movie are also slower, and it does take some time to pick up the pace, while the romantic angle is less explored.

The performers of the soul :: We have known Alyssa Milano mostly from one vampire movie which was among those interesting vampire flicks of the times, and she was indeed a loved actress from the movie, and during those times – we were all looking for some fine horror movies during those times, with special focus on vampire films. Many years later, twenty six to be exact, I am watching another movie with her in the lead, and it is a case of nostalgia as much as anything else. Well, she has been the childhood crush of many kids living and growing up through the 1990s. She does come up with a good performance here too, even as the character is not that perfectly written according to the needs of this thriller. Well, there are a few actresses who were part of our childhood, and they still remain our favourites at a higher age group. Sam Page plays a good supporting role, and he also shares a fine chemistry with Alyssa, often bringing a certain amount of humour related to it too. Emilie Ullerup also shines during her short stay around here. Malachi Weir also has a supporting role to add to it here. Aaron Paul Stewart also has something to contribute.

How it finishes :: Brazen might not be a movie that caters to some high expectations, but it is surely the type that manages to do its job well, and also in an entertaining way. The movie is based on Nora Roberts’s novel Brazen Virtue, and the similarities and differences between the two versions are yet to be known. Some of the early negative reviews about this movie feels rather surprising, because there is not that much of flaws here, which pulls it down, as far as you look at it according to the overall mood of the movie. It is an investigative thriller which maintains the strength throughout its run, and there are some interesting moments which builds on the tale’s twists really well. In the end, there is the final twist, and we see the serial killer mode being switched on in the middle, as the investigation did get stronger then. You can surely watch this movie and be entertained, and Alyssa Milano is the one actress whom you remember from the childhood days, as she was one of those big names of those times, in those early CDs and DVDs.

Release date: 13 January 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Monika Mitchell
Starring: Alyssa Milano, Sam Page, Colleen Wheeler, Lossen Chambers, Emilie Ullerup, Malachi Weir, Barry W Levy, Matthew Finlan, Aaron Paul Stewart, Will Verchere-Gopaulsingh, Jack Armstrong, Leslie Kwan, Michael Q Adams

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fear Street: 1994

Vampire Owl: A slasher from Hollywood with three parts on Netflix. How interesting is that?

Vampire Bat: It is surely what the vampires ordered.

Vampire Owl: We can always take a lot of horror, especially through OTT.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is always nice to take some horror home.

Vampire Owl: Unless we can get some home made horror here.

Vampire Bat: We don’t really come up with horror anymore. Humans do.

Vampire Owl: Well, human horror is out of evil, Ours have been just natural reaction.

Vampire Bat: End of mankind is surely the end of nonsensical evil.

Vampire Owl: Mankind won’t end, for even the virus couldn’t do the job.

Vampire Bat: Corona virus has been just too mild and decent in nature.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three glasses of oreo shake].

What is the movie about? :: Heather (Maya Hawke) who works at a bookstore in a mall is brutally stabbed and murdered by her friend Ryan (David W Thompson) who also works in the same mall. After he had murdered many other employees in the mall, he is shot dead by a police officer Nick (Ashley Zukerman). It is said that the eighteen year old graduate just lost his mind and murdered all these victims for absolutely no reason. But this only one of the many murders which happen in the town, as it is more less referred to as the murder capital of the country. There are multiple murders being committed at different areas, mostly for no real reason at all. This cycle of violence seems to have no end at all, and even in the year 1994, people seem to point to a witch named Sarah Fier, who placed a terrible curse on the town before being executed for witchcraft in 1666. It is also the early days of AOL and internet in USA, with people still spreading conspiracy theories online, as World Wide Web does have its own addicted youngsters. The murders have been going as the hot topic in the internet for too long.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Deena (Kiana Madeira) doesn’t believe in all of these though, as she feels that everyone in the city of Shadyside is so miserable that killing others and committing suicide comes naturally to people. Simon (Fred Hechinger) and Kate (Julia Rehwald) are her best friends, while she is still addicted to Samantha Fraser (Olivia Scott Welch), but had kept her lesbian relationship a secret to most people. Deena’s brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr) spends his time to solving the mysteries behind the murders online, while Kate and Simon tries to get out of the city by selling drugs and making more money. Samantha is now with Peter (Jeremy Ford), and both are now part of the city of Sunnyville, which is a richer place with more opportunities and less murders and other crimes happening around. A romantically, emotionally and sexually frustrated Deena has a fight with Samantha as latter decides to go for a straight relationship instead of the lesbian one. The students of Sunnyville and Shadyside starts fighting each other at the same time, and things only get worse for everyone at both side.

The defence of Fear Street: 1994 :: The film is indeed beautifully shot, and there are some colours and beautiful reflections of the world which we are meant to witness with horror. The darkness and the lights contribute nicely too. The 1990s setting works well here. It lets us feel the need to watch the rest of the movies of the trilogy too, and in the end, has put something in there to bring the interest. Movies like these are reminders of a past, a world where we were afraid of monsters – these creatures are now replaced by humans who are much more evil in comparison. With a near unstoppable evil thing at the centre, we are glad to have a witch dealing with things. The film also provides a case for nostalgia, as we are all those kids who grew up in the 1990s, and were introduced to that early stage of internet – we were among the very few people who got to use it then, and can actually feel the memories again. Fear here is powerful within, and it is as close to reality than never ending human nature that inclines towards pure evil.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have had more of the slasher elements than it has as of now. We know what all a typical slasher flick should have as natural part of it. The romantic side is absolute nonsense, and it could have had a happy ending with the appropriate deaths, but that doesn’t happen. The final moments are also not that effective enough, but how they leave scope for a sequel is to be appreciated – the final possession has you asking for more indeed. As of now, most of us only know about Goosebumps from the authors of the books on which this is based – RL Stine. So, we don’t really know how much this one does justice to the original work. There are similarities to the divergent horror films like It Follows, even though this one is not that different in content. The serial killers who come back as monsters and the witch could have also been shown in a better and scarier manner, as we know how the undead can be captivating in terror. The feeling a slasher parody also comes in between, but nothing can have the fun of The Cabin in the Woods in the case too.

Performers of the soul :: This is the kind of the movie where almost everyone seems to contribute equally, and even though there seems to be one main character who comes as close to a protagonist as one can get, she is not the one in control, and also not the one whom the movie fully depend on – it is not really all about her. Kiana Madeira who is seemingly the protagonist, is a selfish character, and that she does well. Olivia Scott Welch serves the requirement as the beautiful girl to be loved, and the typical damsel in distress, nothing more as we look at her. The two characters are very much unlikable by all means, thinking only about themselves. It would have been more suitable for a slasher to have them dead, but unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger and Benjamin Flores Jr are more likable characters, and they are all part of this equally. The monsters which come back to life here also could have had their own flashbacks.

How it finishes :: We have been in short of some good slasher horror for a long time. This first part of a trilogy makes sure that there is something for us to cherish in a world of terror and chaos. There are enough serial killers in this particular film to keep us interested, and as they don’t really have a motive, going on slashing, it is that quality which was seen rarely in films around here – Tovino Thomas’ Forensic was one grand expectation. This is one slasher film with its own quick scares that work well, even though it does misses some points in between. Well, it does take some skill to get the slasher horror right, and there is often the sequel weakness that comes unto the picture, even though we do have enough from Friday the 13th, The Hills Have Eyes, Wrong Turn and A Nightmare on Elm Street to keep us interested in the slasher genre, maybe forever. Even though the quick release of Madres and The Manor were what Amazon Prime Video did in quick succession, Netflix seems to be one step forward with its collection of good horror.

Release date: 2nd July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Leigh Janiak
Starring: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr, Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Maya Hawke

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

<<< Click here to go to the previous English film review.

<<< Click here to go to the previous film review out of Netflix.

<<< Click here to go to the previous film review of a direct Netflix release.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aarkkariyam

What is the movie about? :: Ittyavira (Biju Menon) is a retired mathematics teacher who is spending his time alone in a village in the district of Kottayam. At the same time, his daughter Shirley (Parvathy Thiruvothu) and her second husband Roy (Sharafudheen) are living in Andheri, Mumbai, and are planning to come back to Kerala after some time, despite the COVID-19 restrictions being further imposed everywhere. The coming of Corona has kept all of them in their own space, without much contact with outside world, and the spread of Corona virus had also brought some financial crisis to Roy and Shirley. The former’s business was already failing and there is no success in mutual fund either. The two manage to come all the way to Kerala to Shirley’s hometown and meet Ittyvira, who is really happy to see them. But they are also not able to meet their daughter, as the borders are closed. They apply for permission, but soon, a nation-wide lock-down is imposed, and they are all stuck there in their home in the village.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The lock-down changes their lives by a long way, and the restrictions reach their place too. The already interior home now feels even more away from civilization. This is the time when people were only beginning to understand the COVID-19 situation, and everyone was expecting all these problems to be solved as the virus would eradicated in the end of lock-down. One of the consignments of Roy is now stuck with the customs, and without that, there is nothing much that can be done. Now, the only way to get some quick money so that they can pay back Vyshak (Saiju Kurup) is by selling the ancestral lands, and it is Ittyvira who provides them that idea. But there are some complications related to the same, as there seems to be some secrets from the past which need to be taken care of. Roy begins to feel uncomfortable about the same, but there is nothing that he can do, other than worry about the same.

The defence of Aarkkariyam :: Aarkkariyam would seem to be a usual film in a village setting, but it is surely more than that – we get the idea only later though. Every moment in this movie nicely contributes to keep it going, and it is not that long either with each second in there used in an interesting manner. It does have that fine punch at the interval, something that makes the film take another route from the second half. The title itself is a worthy one here, as we keep wondering who all knows about a number of things including a sinister event and a person who was involved in the same. The performance of the three main characters elevates the film further, and the supporting cast is also interesting. The surroundings are nicely created, and the feeling of Pala-Kanjirappilly area is given with the rural touch everywhere, from the people to the environment. The film also focuses on the different opinions that different people would have about one person, and how polarized the same happens to be – how one can pretend to be good among the common people.

The claws of flaw :: Aarkkariyam is not the kind of movie which you would expect, as it has a certain deviation in store there. It is also slow at times, and there are lots of moments when nothing happens, even though they do contribute to the mood. There is also the presence of some usual cliché stuff here, but the same will go on and pass. Even if it feels like family drama, it doesn’t suit into that genre completely, and one would have doubt about the kind of audience it is actually looking for – even though we can keep it for the common audience in general. A little bit more of the moments in Mumbai and their return to hometown as well as a few twists in between would have helped more, even if it would deviate further away from the genre. It was an opportunity for something more, and there was the chance to be a classic, but the film manages to keep it going straight and without adding any special ingredient into it – maybe because there was the feeling that it was not needed, like Kungfu Panda would agree.

The performers of the soul :: This movie, as expected has Biju Menon with a performance to remember, and that too with a different kind of work. He has embraced this role like Vijayaraghavan did, as he moved from the usual kind of hero to the senior roles. Much elder to Biju Menon, he would be the one we would expect in a role like this, something which he has done in earlier films, but not as the protagonist like we see here. We know that other older superstars are still playing the characters of lower age group, but Biju Menon has had the courage to take it to the next level. If we remember his last few films, we will see that this difference in looks has come unexpected, and by a long way. Even as everything is kept simple about the character, there is always something to remember with this act. There are also those simple dialogues will stay, and sometimes come back – it is one realistic performance to remember as we look at it.

Further performers of the soul :: The movie is indeed about Biju Menon, but others do play their part too. Parvathy Thiruvothu once again has a role to remember, as she blends in here nicely, just like she has done so many times with ease not limited to her most appreciated performances in Uyare, Charlie and Ennu Ninte Moideen. She does get pushed to the background though, as the film progresses. It is also nice to see Sharafudheen in a serious role this time. We have been so much used to see him in those comic roles, except for that villainy in Varathan and the psychotic side in Anjaam Pathira, but those were kind of exaggerated when we have a look back – this is really a fine change here from the early comic side in Premam and the same later in Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela. The two match with their performances, and the cast has worked really well. Saiju Kurup plays the supporting role in the usual kind of way, but could have been part of more of the action too. Shoba Mohan is the only person here who gives the feeling that we have seen the person before.

How it finishes :: The first movie directed by cinematographer Sanu John Varghese is not something that we can leave behind. This is the kind of movie which I would have surely watched in the theatre early enough, if there was no COVID-19. It was a good decision to release this one on Amazon Prime Video along with Neestream, Roots Video and Cave OTT platforms because most of us were always going to watch it on Prime Video only – it is still difficult to find the movie there because of the spelling required to be exactly as it is when searching, and surprisingly it is also not on the list of the new film releases on Amazon. But we do get to it anyway, and during this time of lock-down and triple lock-down in Kerala, this is the kind of movie that reminds us of last year’s lock-down exactly as it is, and it is more or less a realistic experience that we go through – the kind which we had seen in Joji, and also in Nayattu even though this one keeps the thriller side at a distance.

Release date: 1st April 2021 (Theatre), 19th May 2021 (Amazon Prime Video, Neestream, Roots Video, Cave)
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Sanu John Varghese
Starring: Biju Menon, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sharafudheen, Arya Salim, Ganga G Nair, Saiju Kurup, Thejaswi Praveen, Shoba Mohan, Jacob George, Pramod Veliyanad

<— Click here to go to the previous film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Malayalam film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous superstar film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thanneermathan Dinangal

What is the movie about? :: Jason (Mathew Thomas) is a student in plus one humanities, who manages to get to science stream as one of the students in the class wished to escape from the baffling science, thus exchanging their places. He joins the science batch, but doesn’t really manage to pick up the pace, even though he is able to get into the school cricket team as a medium pace bowler and play frequently in tournaments. Despite being branded as the studious boy in the early stages as he came from a reputed central syllabus school, he soon proved to be below average or sometimes even worse in his studies. He finds some new friends who are like him, and also falls in love with Keerthy (Anaswara Rajan), a girl from the same class, a relationship which stays one-sided, much to his dismay, as he hopes to make some progress in it. There is another girl named Steffy (Gopika Ramesh), but he feels that Keerthy is his true love.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But this is the least of his problems as he has problems with another student from the nearby class room. Still, the biggest of his problems is something else, the new Malayalam teacher who comes in the place of the teacher on leave – Ravi Padmanabhan (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is the new teacher whom everyone loves. He keeps teaching in an interesting manner, with stories and even stops other teachers from punishing students. He gets a heroic image in the eyes of the students, and is appreciated by the Principal who considers Ravi to be of the same wavelength as he is. Jason feels that he is a fraud as Ravi doesn’t teach much in the class, and everything that he does is more or less attention-seeking. Keerthy as well as his best friends admires Ravi too, and he has a cold war against the new teacher who seems to have a prejudice against him too. How will his school life progress now?

The defence of Thannermathan Dinangal :: It can be seen that Thannermathan Dinangal doesn’t deviate from its focus at any moment, and this focus is the main things that leads to its success. The movie feels realistic and funny throughout its run, and it also does come up with some nostalgia. We remember how June did the same effectively some time back, and here we are there again. It feels close to life with ease, and the kids of the school are all too good – we notice most of them and we remember them with ease, as they keep coming up with something to memorize. The music is really good, and the song “Ee Jaathikka Thottam, Ee Jaathi Ninte Nottam” stands out with ease, not just with the lyrics and music, but with what we see on the screen with the two youngsters doing a fantastic job. It is one song which can go on to become the song of the year along with a few others.

The claws of flaw :: Some parts of the movie does go a little too much, especially with Vineeth’s teacher character. There is the feeling that this kind of teacher is rather unrealistic, and we are immediately reaching for our dose of willing suspension of disbelief, but in a realistic movie, it is not that easy to use and work on our imagination. The movie could have also shortened the time spent outside the school, and some of the outside characters make less or no impact at all. There are also those extra moments which could have been added, as we look back to our school days. But considered the movies like Oru Adaar Love dealing with plus two life, we understand how difficult it is to come up with a movie like Thannermathan Dinangal – it is even more difficult to have these work for all kinds of audience, and as it seems to be achieved, there is no more searching through the flaws.

The performers of the soul :: Mathew Thomas of the Kumbalangi Nights fame plays the main character in this movie, and he excels as the protagonist. His expressions and dialogues are all too good, and he keeps on impressing us throughout he movie with realistic performance. There is no moment when you feel that he is not living through that school kid. There is the certainty of a lot more coming up as far as this youngster is concerned. We remember him having played a perfect role in his previous movie, and we are always ready to wait for his next movie. Anaswara Rajan of Udaharanam Sujatha fame plays the female lead, and after the recently released Evidey, she has another role in uniform, this time in plus two. She is also natural with her performance here, and the emotional moments are also handled with a certain amount of maturity.

Further performers of the soul :: Then you see Vineeth Sreenivasan doing the teacher character in style – the character might look a little bit strange, but he gives life and energy to that one in an admirable way. We don’t see him in movies that often these days, and we always need a little bit of him at regular intervals – this movie has him back. We had Aravindante Athidhikal last year with the feel-good, and here he has the humour in his hands. Irshad plays the principal of the school nicely. Nisha Sarangh of Uppum Mulakum fame is left to do nothing much here. All the kids here also come up with impressive performances, especially the one who played the main characters’ best friend and the one who has a problem with our protagonist. The watermelon juice from the shop outside the gates of the school and the nutmeg garden contributes as characters in a special way – we see them, and we remember them later, like William Wordsworth would, with the daffodils.

How it finishes :: This kind of a feeling was earlier achieved only with something like Philips and the Monkey Pen, but that was with smaller kids – June had gone beyond the school days as it progressed. Thannermathan Dinangal comes up with the journey that everyone can enjoy, which is the reason why it is still running with housefull shows, something which bigger superstar movies struggle to achieve. It has been a difficult job to find tickets for this movie during this weekend too, and we can be certain that the movie is here to stay. If after watching this movie, you feel the need to go back to your school again, there is no real surprise about it. Thannermathan Dinangal is not a movie of one generation, but of more than one, and you avoid the use of mobile phones, and change the drinks – you get back to the eighties or nineties with ease – well, after all, the 1990s kids nostalgia which have been circulating on the internet has been clearly applicable to the 1980s kids! This one is universal too! I leave you with this beautiful song from the movie.

Release date: 26th July 2019
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Girish AD
Starring: Mathew Thomas, Anaswara Rajan, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Sajin Cherukayil, Irshad, Nisha Sarangh, Kichu Tellus, Shabareesh Varma, Gopika Ramesh

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

What is the movie about? :: In the Mexican city of San Juan Ixtenco, there was unnatural storm which devastated most of the place – people are known to have said that there was a face in the storm, and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) investigate the case while coming across a creature, an Earth Elemental, which derives its powers from Earth. At the same time, a super-powered man Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), arrives to fight the creature. In New York City, the Midtown School of Science and Technology restarts its academic year to take in those students who were affected by the events of Avengers: Infinity War. There is a two-week summer field trip to Europe, starting at Venice, Italy. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) plans to confess his love for classmate MJ (Zendaya) there. Meanwhile, Harold Hogan (Jon Favreau) contacts him to provide the news that Nick Fury is looking for him, and will give a call soon, regarding a mission.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Peter is forced to carry the Spider-Man costume by his aunt May Parker (Marisa Tomei) despite trying to keep away from superhero deeds post the death of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). He even ignores the calls of Nick Fury, who finds him at the hotel in Venice, after escaping the attacks of the Water Elemental which almost destroys the major tourist areas of the city. The students including Peter’s best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) and Betty Brant (Angourie Rice) along with the teachers, Roger Harrington (Martin Starr) and Julius Dell (JB Smoove) are terrorized by the unexpected attacks. After tranquilizing Ned, Fury gives him Stark’s glasses equipped with the artificial intelligence EDITH, providing access to all databases of Stark Industries and with command over large weapon supply. He also introduces him to Quentin Beck, a man with magic powers.

And what more is to happen? :: Even though mistaken by many as Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), this new hero is known to people as Mysterio, a man who is supposed to be from another Earth, which was consumed by the Elementals. He hopes to avenge his family, and destroy the Elementals, and Fury hopes that Peter would be part of the mission at Prague, but he declines saying that his school team is going to Paris and he can’t be seen in the Spider-Man costume when he is in Europe, as it would lead to doubts that he is Spider-Man, revealing his identity. But as their trip itself is re-routed to Prague, Peter is left with no option, but to fight the most powerful of the Elementals, the Fire Elemental. To add to it, he has to fight it in the middle of an on-going carnival, and his friends are also around. Can the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man live up to the legacy that the Avengers lead by Iron Man, Captain America and Thor has left?

The defence of Spider-Man: Far From Home :: It is a difficult task for another Spider-Man movie to stand strong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, considering the fact that the greatest film of the franchise, Avengers: Endgame has finished strong, and is looking forward to become the highest grossing flick of all-time. Spider-Man: Far From Home has managed to do that well enough, and has also improved its status from Spider-Man Homecoming – this one is bigger in scope and impact, and we also have the superheroes doing better, in the presence of better villainy. The action sequences continue to impress, and the perfect settings are used, which makes things even better – the visuals and the special effects with illusions play a major role in making the fights more interesting. The movie also maintains a certain amount of humour, and it remains light-hearted, as a friendly neighbourhood movie. There is also something in the end to make sure that we have something to look forward to, after the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The emotional strength of the earlier Spider-Man movies continues to be absent in this version, and this comes too late after all the superhero overdose. We have had only one Spider-Man movie before Avengers: Endgame, and that is too little – now, this one requires a lot more sequels, but they will be too late. Also, the movie’s twist is rather predictable for those who are familiar with the tales of Spider-Man, and something more could have been added to get it deeper. Some of the jokes in the movie also go some other way, and fail to create any impact – there is the case of things getting repetitive here. The superhero himself hasn’t learned much after going through all the fading away, and losing his mentor – there is no realization that is added here. Being a better hero doesn’t seem to be an option here. Spider-Man won’t get to that level of The Amazing Spider-Man or The Amazing Spider-Man 2 here either, and we have to wait for the sequels to hope for that.

The performers of the soul :: Jake Gyllenhaal is the one who stands apart in this movie, and we know what he has been capable of with the psychological thriller movies like Enemy and Nocturnal Animals. The role of Mysterio stays safe with him, and we see how well he can handle the two sides of a character. Tom Holland continues to play Spider-Man as he used to, and it gets better than the previous movies in totality. Zendaya playing his love interest makes one interesting character from the beginning itself – she is indeed the most interesting character in the whole team of school children, and lets hope that the character is not replaced by other love interests of Spider-Man in any later movies. Cobie Smulders is there doing what she has been doing well. The others in high school team do a pretty good job including both the teachers and students.

How it finishes :: We have finished most of the main part of the Marvel superheroes, and Spider-Man: Far From Home seems to come as a bonus or an add-on post that biggest battle that happened in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Spider-Man is the hero whom we have always loved, he has been there with Superman and Batman at this part of the world even before the rest of the superheroes like Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, Cyborg, Flash, Green Arrow – all of them came later. Therefore, it is only fair that we hope for an even better movie. But this one also keeps us interested and entertained, and Marvel once again has everything working in its favour, even after its best movie done.

Release date: 5th July 2019 (India); 2nd July 2019 (USA)
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L Jackson, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Martin Starr

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

June

What is the movie about? :: June Sarah Joy (Rajisha Vijayan) considers herself to be an ordinary girl with no special talents, which is the reason why she is upset that most of the other students who join her class are able to do so much more. Her parents (Joju George and Aswathi Menon) care very much about her as she is their only child. Noel (Sarjano Khalid) is her newfound best friend who is elevated to the level of her boyfriend. They get to connect well with each other as they are both considered to be lagging with their talents. As time progresses, she is able to make new friends, and her Plus Two batch of 2007 is finally able to become a batch to remember not just for the students, but also to the teachers. But at the same time, when her parents find out about Noel, she decided to end their relationship. She joins a nearby college while he travels to Mumbai to stay with his parents and to continue his studies.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The best friends go in their own ways, and June is left with the memories of Noel. She goes through her college days without much of an enthusiasm as she is still caught in her life in Plus Two. After completing her degree, she decides to go for an interview in Mumbai and meet Noel at the same time. She stays with her Plus Two classmate Abhirami a.k.a. Mottachi (Vaishnavi Venugopal) who is also working there, and finds Noel to begin the next phase of their relationship. But things are not that easy as she thought they would be. She has to deal with his family as well as hers, and at the same time, maintain her own independence. About their life, what Noel thinks might not be the same either. So, the question remains about what awaits her in the rest of her life.

The defence of June :: The strength of June lies not just in the performances lead by the female lead, but also in the memories that it creates. It takes us back to the school days, and even though it is not an exact reflection of the memories as it was recreated in Om Shanti Oshana, this one is surely an effective one, thanks to a better performance from the female lead in comparison to that older version. The movie is also a clean entertainer for the family audience, with nothing that makes them doubt about their plan to watch the movie – keeping it so, and at the same time, funny would have been a difficult job, but is done with skill. The climax and the final scenes are beautifully done too, and it talks not just of love, but of nostalgia and friendship that comes back after a long time. The music is nice, and suits the mood of the movie. The songs come too often, but they are nice to hear.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s idea to skip the college days completely is one strong negative point on this movie – the second half could have used some of that too, and in that case, being a coming-of-age story in the lines of Premam and Om Shanti Oshana, this one has a little missing part. There is no life that serves as a coming-of-age story without the college days, because it doesn’t matter who denies the same, there is something about those moments all the time. It is where bildungsroman struggles. The movie is also a little bit too long, which is why one can feel certain drag with the romance. There was surely more scope to make this one better. It has to be noted that not everything in the movie brings the memories of school days, and not all jokes serve to be that effective. But as the industry is once again becoming hesitant to experiment, June is surely one another welcome move.

The performers of the soul :: Rajisha Vijayan who won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in her debut film Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, which was also her first movie, once again makes an impression, as we had expected from the trailer. Georgettan’s Pooram and Oru Cinemakkaran never really gave her any challenge as movies which kept at a certain level, never trying to rise or give its female protagonists opportunity to do much. She takes over the protagonist, and has the sixteen year old going through to the next ten years of her life, even though three years at college are absent. The moments during the Plus Two time period are done with amazing skill, and the latter moments are not far behind, and they seemed to come naturally to her. With the whole movie completely dependent on her performance, she makes sure that she comes up with only the best.

Further performers of the soul :: Along with Rajisha, there are others to add to this one very well. Joju George gets another fine role after Joseph, unlike the insignificant one he had to do in Lonappante Mamodeesa. He nicely gets into the father role here, and has some funny as well as touching moments to go with it. Aswathi Menon who is best known for Sathyam Sivam Sundaram and its highly popular song “Walking in the moonlight” has the mother role here, and she makes it a good one. Sarjano Khalid, the debutante who plays a male lead does well, as if he’s been there before. Arjun Ashokan has also done a good job, especially in the second half. Among the actors and actresses who plays the protagonist’s friends, it is Vaishnavi Venugopal who shines the most. That should be among the most natural performances not by a main or secondary heroine, in a long time. The other newcomers are also good talents, as we can see here.

How it finishes :: Releasing at the same time as Oru Adaar Love released, this one uses less hype and more quality to be assured of a more solid run. After Aadu 2, Vijay Babu becomes the producer again here, and we expected a performance to remember from Rajisha Vijayan – it is the same that we get here. This one stays close to life and memories, along with being another feel-good movie which touches our hearts after Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, Njan Prakashan and Ente Ummante Peru. June is also one movie which does so much justice to the trailer, as it is more or less the same thing that we watched earlier and expected. Even though Kumbalangi Nights and 9 are there, this movie should take over some of the presence of the latter, and keep going, because the movie is many different things to different people.

Release date: 15th February 2019
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Ahammed Kabir
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Joju George, Sarjano Khalid, Aswathi Menon, Vaishnavi Venugopal, Nayana Eliza, Arjun Ashokan, Sanju KS, Akhil Manoj, Harisankar, Sruthy Suresh, Margret Antony, Raveena Nair, Aju Varghese (cameo), Sunny Wayne (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jurassic World II

What is the movie about? :: A few years have passed after the events of the earlier movie, and the Jurassic World theme park on Isla Nublar has been abandoned since the evacuation. As dinosaurs roamed freely on the island, a mercenary team which arrives on the island makes an attempt to retrieve DNA from the remains of the cloned hybrid dinosaur Indominus rex, which was killed by a Mosasaurus. They successfully deliver the sample even though the team is attacked by a Mosasaurus and a Tyrannosaurus. The aim of the mercenaries is unknown, but at the same time, there is wide protest in the United States of America and other parts of the world in favour of saving the dinosaurs as the species, even though cloned, faces extinction again while facing a huge volcanic eruption, with the exception of Mosasaurus which escaped from the island through water.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Jurassic World’s former manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) who is now part of a dinosaur protection group gets a call from Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell). The man, along with Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) confirm that they are planning to move these dinosaurs to a place where they will be safe. There will be no human contact, and without men to bother them, the creatures could thrive in their own world – this would cause no alarm for any other species. For locating Blue, the last living Velociraptor and smarter one among the dinosaurs, Claire recruits Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Jurassic World’s former Velociraptor trainer, to join the mission to save the species facing extinction. They are joined by Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) and Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) as they travel to the island.

And what is follow with the tale? :: The leader of the hired soldiers at the island, Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine) is in charge of resue operations at Isla Nublar. He enjoys stealing the teeth of dinosaurs and making sure that they stay in the cages in one way or the other. Sooner or later, a few dinosaurs won’t be the biggest of their problems. There is Gunnar Eversol (Toby Jones) who comes into play, as he hopes to sell these dinosaurs through auction, while making them perfectly suitable for becoming war machines – as animals have always been used as weapons by humans throughout history. In between all of this, time is running out for dinosaurs, as the whole island gets ready to be destroyed by volcanic erruption. Can at least some of them including Blue be saved by the team, as the chances for extinction is once again so high?

The defence of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom :: The movie begins nicely as it introduces its two best pre-historic creatures, Mosasaurus and Tyrannosaurus very early, displaying moments of glory that this franchise has to offer us. There is no shortage of such moments, with the dinosaurs trying to escape the island, and the lava taking over, as well as the final battle with another hybrid dinosaur. There is the fear factor being utilized really well, and the dinosaur nostalgia taken to the next level. We are all left in need of another movie in the franchise, and there seems to be certainty in the same. The idea here more or less like that of a Frankenstein story, about humans trying to play God by giving life using science, and finding it extremely difficult to control their creations. The dinosaurs are all good here, and so is the world – there is more to see with both as we keep looking on.

The Claws of flaw :: There is always more expected from a dinosaur movie, and anything with the name Jurassic needs to do more each and every time. The second Jurassic World doesn’t add much to the franchise, and won’t bring anything that is special – it is more or less the same thing that we have been watching since the first one, Jurassic Park. There is no real attempt to move beyond the safe mode, and the focus is not really on the story – well, the big dinosaurs on the screen was always going to work in one way or the other, and that is the one thing were all the focus goes. The questions about the necessity of saving a species are not touched that much as one would expect. Do humans have the responsibility to save those other species which are as much part of this world as we are all are? Well, that is one question that humanity will find difficult to answer, and even coming close to trying for the same is out of question for many.

The performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt who comes right out the Star-Lord shoes in Avengers: Infinity War and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has this one in full control. One has time to remember that Passengers was a lovely movie too, as he keeps things going well, following Jurassic World which brought the dinosaurs back to us. Bryce Dallas Howard gets some nice job to do here again, and this time, the character gets stronger on ideology. We can be sure that we need to see her as well as Christ Pratt in the next possible movie too, the team looks strong with the two around. We do miss Irrfan Khan this time, as his character had to die in that earlier movie. Daniella Pineda and Justice Smith support well, with something extra added here and there. Rafe Spall brings one ambitious and unpredictable character to fine strength. Isabella Sermon does a nice job here too, rising to the occasion.

How it finishes :: We have been in love with this franchise ever since the first move released in 1993 by the name Jurassic Park. The science fiction novel written by Michael Crichton did form the core, but with two more films, this movie franchise had the advantage and became another name for anything related to dinosaurs. In 2015, Jurassic World brought it back with nostalgia written all over it, and now, we have Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which decided to get an early release in India before it released in the United States of America. Well, we can see only filled seats in the theatres more than one week after its release in the country. It is one big entertainer with big creatures, and it is to be seen about how much of a threat it possesses to Avengers: Infinity War which is still running in the theatres, and how much challenge it faces from the strong monsoons.

Release date: 22nd June 2018 (USA); 7th June 2018 (India)
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: JA Bayona
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Daniella Pineda, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, BD Wong, Isabella Sermon, Geraldine Chaplin, Jeff Goldblum

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and before that.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Power Rangers

Vampire Owl: I don’t really know these people. Are they from the shooting range?

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you haven’t watched the 1995 Power Rangers movie? I thought we all had.

Vampire Owl: I already have too many superheroes, and they all have better names.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you don’t remember Gabrielle Fitzpatrick as Dulcea.

Vampire Owl: Who in a ranger world is she?

Vampire Bat: I believe that you liked her a lot.

Vampire Owl: You talk about the girl in green.

Vampire Bat: Yes, she is the one. I see that you remember now.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that she was no Poison Ivy of Batman.

Vampire Bat: Your superhero encyclopedia surely needs some special attention, and so does your memory.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A high school football star Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery) gets dismissed from the team and has to go for detention after a prank fails miserably. It disappoints his father Sam Scott (David Denman) that he wasted his opportunities and reached this miserable state of life. There he comes up against Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler), a nerd whom he saves from a bully. Billy asks for his help, and offers to deactivate his ankle monitor as well as lend him his van in return. Jason decides to help him even as he is doubtful about it. There, after providing some help to him at an old abandoned gold mine, he runs across Kimberly (Naomi Scott), his crush from the school, who is taking a bath in the nearby river – she tells him that she often goes through the place, as her home is on the other side. At the same time, Billy uses some explosives to break part of the rock in the quarry.

So, what happens next? :: The blast gets the attention of Jason and Kimberly, as well as two other students, Trini (Becky G) who is spending her lone time away from the family, and Zack (Ludi Lin) who lives nearby, taking care of his sick mother. There they pick up five pieces of rock, each having a different colour. They are chased by the mine’s security, and their car gets hit by a train, but they wake up at their houses, feeling different, and rather a lot powerful. They five teenagers return to the mine to find answers to what they are going through, and they find a space ship and inside, Alpha 5 (Bill Hader), a robot. He introduces them to the consciousness of the person known as Zordon (Bryan Cranston) who is supposed to have been a power ranger until he and his team of rangers were betrayed by another team member, the Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) who is also on Earth. He tells them that they are chosen.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: With the new power rangers being chosen, he tells them that it is only a matter of time until Rita finds her full strength, gets to the Zeo Crystal which will help her to destroy all life on Earth. The teenagers leave, but reluctantly come back as Jason convinces them that they need to try so that their powers don’t go wasted. They keep training with Alpha 5 and the simulations of Rita’s minions, but they are unable to morph, which means that they will have no power ranger suit or armour. Zordon is disappointed that the chosen ones are acting more like kids, and have no sense of purpose. Meanwhile, Rita awakens and goes on a killing spree, collecting all the gold that she can on the way, looting people and places, hoping to summon her favourite minion, the giant winged monster known as Goldar (Fred Tatasciore) made of gold. Can the rangers be good enough to stop her before she gets what she wants?

The defence of Power Rangers :: The new version is surely an improvement from the tales which have been going through, and with the improvement, this brings the nostalgia from the childhood, when we watched the rangers and felt that they were so good. The movie is light-hearted, and would appeal to kids more than anyone else. The movie does have the right cast at the top though, with Dacre Montgomery as the hero and leader, bringing the charm, while Naomi Scott, brings a beautiful presence supported by the right performance – we see more of Power Rangers in these two than anywhere else. RJ Cyler provides the comedy along with an emotional side. There are some nice action sequences, especially in the end, and we see another grand battle between the good and evil, with destruction all around. There are also some messages in the movie about superpowers and responsibilities, like the ones you find in an earlier Spider-Man, a later Iron Man, or even in the ideology book of Captain America.

The claws of flaw :: One has to admit that the nostalgia related to Power Rangers is applicable to less number of people. Not many people were qualified enough to get this deep into superhero stuff of Hollywood during that time, as some thought that it was for children, and other felt Hollywood to be clearly beyond them. This movie also has a tale which has been going on and on with not just this movie, but also with many others, whether it is of Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or that long list of superheroes from Marvel and DC – Power Rangers won’t sound that good, and will never be that effective with lesser known cast and teenagers there in the suits. When Avengers and Justice League will fight to save the world from alien trouble with better budget, one has to feel that this one will struggle forever – to go with it, the yellow and black rangers are not likable at all. The villain also seems to have replaced her fiery elements with something else – wonder what it is.

How it finishes :: The world has surely changed from those times when Power Rangers were there earlier. Now we have a long list of superheroes, and there is no shortage of people with superpowers wandering around on the screen – this would be the cause of Power Rangers no longer being an effective franchise at the box-office here. There is the nostalgia for sure, but this is just one of those lesser group of heroes to whom people have that feeling for. Power Rangers: The Movie of 1995 might be the one thing which would have gotten these superheroes those fans, especially considering the fact that this along with Starship Troopers, Waterworld and Vampires were a few of those Video CDs available during those times – also, a lot of the youth of that time liked Gabrielle Fitzpatrick more than the movie, as for some, she was more joy to watch. Therefore, Power Rangers had that less power here, but it is an entertainer, and can be watched without going too deep.

Release date: 24th March 2017 (US) 31st March 2017 (India)
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Becky G, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Elizabeth Banks, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, David Denman, Caroline Cave, Anjali Jay, Patrick Sabongui, Erica Cerra, Kayden Magnuson, Fiona Fu, Sarah Grey, Emily Maddison, Jaime Callica, Matt Shively, Garry Chalk, Fred Tatasciore

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Legend of Tarzan

thelegendoftarzann-2

Vampire Owl: I remember this particular person.

Vampire Bat: Did you read his story a long time ago too? There were so many available novels with him as the central character.

Vampire Owl: The Great Vampire Owl doesn’t read such things.

Vampire Bat: Then who are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: I am talking about the person on the dead tree near our castle.

Vampire Bat: Dude, he is the werewolf who was called to decorate our special spooky tree for the upcoming Vampire-Werewolf cultural fest.

Vampire Owl: So, he is not this Tarzan. It is disappointing, but the same does inspire me to throw a stone at that werewolf.

Vampire Bat: One stone means nothing to a werewolf. He won’t even know about it.

Vampire Owl: For my health to remain good, I hope he won’t know about it ever.

Vampire Bat: You are lucky to be alive with such plans going on in your head.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with banana chips].

Flashback to the tale :: We remember this character from our childhood, don’t we? There might have been many more at a more English kind of a world of books and comics, but here the main characters were The Phantom, Mandrake and Tarzan, a group which was challenged only by those superheroes with names ending with men – Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and He-Man; that was all for my childhood. Edgar Rice Burroughs was known only to us for writing Tarzan during those days, but after watching John Carter, my favourite character from him did change. There were a good number of translated Tarzan novels available in Malayalam during those days, and I grew up reading them, while the rest of the superheroes came in comics and rarely on corners of newspapers. This tale of the child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani great apes was a fascinating one for a long time.

What is the movie about? :: In the year 1884, at the Berlin conference, the colonial powers of the world had decided to divide Congo, the area that has most of the River Congo flowing through and around it. King Leopold of Belgium claimed the the bigger area, that should be mostly the Democratic Republic of the Congo of these times or as earlier the Republic of Zaire, which includes the vast Congo Basin, rich in ivory and a lot of minerals. With an intense ambition to exploit his new colony and its resources, he uses all his power for control as well as building the infrastructure for his forces, but five years later, he only ends up in debt desperate for money to pay for his army stationed there. With his reputation fading infront of the other colonial powers, he sends his most trusted follower, Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) the the Congo to find and gather the legendary diamonds of Opar.

So, what happens next? :: Leon and his group of soldiers are ambushed and except him, each gets murdered by the tribe that guards the diamonds. The leader of the tribe, Chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou), has a discussion, and offers him the diamonds in exchange for an old enemy whose death is considered as his salvation, Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard). But there is no longer a Tarzan, as he is now John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgård), who has settled down at his ancestral home in London with his American wife, Jane Porter (Margot Robbie) with no more of the thoughts related to Africa. Even though his tales have a certain kind of legendary status in the city, he doesn’t intend to go back to the forest and has managed to blend into what all were part of the civilised life there. With his adaptation of the Victorian lifestyle, there would be no man who would identify him as not part of London.

So, where does the twist happen? :: Through the British Prime Minister (Jim Broadbent), he knows that he is invited by King Leopold to visit the Congo and see its development. An American envoy, George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) also requests him to have a look to see how the native population is treated there, as he feels that the king’s men have enslaved them terribly – finally Tarzan agrees. After being persuaded by Jane, he allows her to accompany him along with George. As they arrive at Congo and rest at a tribal village with the inhabitants being known to them from their earlier stay, they are captured by the troops of Leon, but Tarzan and George escapes. Tarzan will not rest until he finds Leon and finish him after rescuing Jane. But with the guns of the Belgian troops and mercenaries against him along with one ferocious tribe looking for his blood, can he accomplish the same?

The defence of The Legend of Tarzan :: It always good to have a new take on the tales that we have read as children, and this movie also provides the same, and works as a nice sequel for the people who have lived through this man’s tale. There are some very nice action sequences in this one, and the best of them should be Tarzan traveling on the ropes, and fighting his ape-brother. There are some really good performances to support this too, with Alexander Skarsgard leading the way as Tarzan, a role which he seems to have taken in as the way it is supposed to. Meanwhile, Margot Robbie excels as Jane, with her character seemingly having more dimensions than a usual fan would have thought – something which we saw more intensely with her Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad; the two characters are poles apart, but she has nailed them both, without leaving one with chances of questioning – unless there are some dumb questions to ask, for which there is no shortage as long as there are people.

The claws of flaw :: The flashbacks in the story are not really that good, as it comes at those times when we are going through the flow of the proceedings, and the journey back only breaks it. There is also some slowing down in the pace of the movie, and there are times when it makes us wait rather too much for the next thing to happen. More firepower could have been used, and more beautiful shots were to be used in the jungle which had so much possibilities – they have had the basic material about Tarzan for such a long time, and there is this technology, and they could have easily made this one without the slowness and the dull moments which come in here and there. There is also no doubt that Tarzan could have used a better thought process behind it, but as it is now, it remains an interesting action-adventure that takes you back to the childhood days – it is never really away from the movie that we wished to watch in the childhood.

Release date: 1st July 2016
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: David Yates
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent, Christoph Waltz, Casper Crump, Hadley Fraser, Genevieve O’Reilly, Yule Masiteng, Simon Russell Beale, Matt Cross as Akut, Madeleine Worrall, William Wollen

thelegendoftarzan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cinderella

cinderella (2)

Vampire Owl :: You know that I can’t watch Cinderella.

Vampire Bat :: What? From where did you find a reason this time?

Vampire Owl :: It is one of those Happily Ever After stories. I don’t believe in that. And vampire owls don’t read fairy tales.

Vampire Bat :: But it has enough changes making the movie different.

Vampire Owl :: I have known changes, like in Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Maleficent and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Vampire Bat :: No, not like them. There is no darker interpretation for this one, and there are no monsters or black magic.

Vampire Owl :: I think you should have watched Focus instead of this one. Without the dark side, this is like children’s movie.

Vampire Bat :: No, the story has evolved; it is made better without losing the core.

Vampire Owl :: I have absolutely no idea what you meant by that.

Vampire Bat :: I say that you read my review and see if you still want to skip this movie.

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: The great fairy-tale gets another treatment as things change for Ella (Lily James) with the death of her mother and everything gets a lot worse with her father’s second marriage which is followed by his death. The new step-mother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett), who comes to reside with them along with the two daughters of her own, Drizella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) turns out to be very unlike someone they were expecting as a mother figure. The two sisters were not any better either, as they detested her and the new house; even their new cat Lucifer proves to be an enemy for Ella’s rat friends. As the attitude of the new mother gets worse everyday, Ella who is now called Cinderella due to her life close to the cinders, our protagonist only has the faith in magic, as well as her belief in courage and kindness to bring her the twist to her tale.

The defence of Cinderella :: Among the fairy-tales, Cinderella is surely not the easy one to adapt and come up successful because the idea of a Prince Charming and the thoughts about the evil step-mother won’t sell that easily these days for the adults, and it is too simple a story and not something that can have too many additions without affecting the essence. This is a season when the new age evil want to shoot down Prince Charming because he is a good person; some people really can’t stand extra goodness because it is not in them. During such a season, this movie manages to rise and fly high, for which a lot of applause is deserved. With an amazing world already made with splendour, what you should keep in mind is that this is still a fairy-tale, and the soul goes directly to the original story. You have to keep that in mind, and keep a part of your mind for believing in magic.

Positives and Negatives :: Unless you have had a highly uninteresting and ridiculous childhood, you are going to love this movie. Yes, Cinderella is also nostalgia, and you have to repsect your own past without which you are nothing – remember and admire those tales which shaped your early lives. It is a fairy tale and if you want Cinderella to be too much like a modern age character, go and stick to your limited list of movies – but let me tell you; this is the best portrayal of Cinderella ever. Yes, the fairy godmother needed more screen-time and polishing, and there could have been a little more of interactions between Cinderella, sisters and the step-mother added. But then you see the costumes, especially that of Cinderella going for her moment with the prince – it is stunning, and how good Lilly James looks in the same makes one wonder if Cinderella is indeed real.

Performers of the soul :: Lily James is stunning as Cinderella, and it is like she beautifully carves herself into the character. There is the scene when she is magically dressed in that stunningly beautiful blue dress, and you need to think of nobody else as the titular character. Then there is her again in another blue dress, this time a normal one by the end – here she is the happy young girl and she looks amazing there. She completely takes over all those emotional moments, whether it is of sadness, joy, hopelessness, love or sympathy, and it is a blessing for the audience to see her as Cinderella on the big screen. Then there is Cate Blanchett with a believable step-mother role which she does to perfection, and the two sisters are also very good here. Richard Madden is a fine Prince Charming and Helena Bonham Carter needed to be there for more, but is fine when she is there, and the narration is interesting.

Soul exploration :: Selflessness, sympathy, forgiveness and simplicity which Cinderella displays in this movie are something rarely seen in this world. The tale once again tells the story of the protagonist who is mistreated, rising above the limitations. No, this is not a story of one girl, but of a large number of men and women who are mistreated because of any reason. Prince Charming is just a symbol of glory in attainment; it could have been anybody else, like Princess Beautiful or any other thing which can be personified into something else. But the fact remains that the movie brings that idea to us only by polishing this movie and keeping the soul of this fairy tale alive. It could have gone darker like in Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Maleficent and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, but chooses to keep the soul the same, and still make that great impact. And yes, do believe in some good magic.

How it finishes :: Along with all those things for which you admire Disney, add this one to that list. There was also a short animation movie called Frozen Fever which worked like a little sequel to Frozen – it was shown before this movie, and there were no usual trailers. As it comes with Cinderella, Anna and Elsa makes things perfect with the birthday pary of the former. “Making Today a Perfect Day” is not “Let it Go”, but it is still so much fun with out favourite characters right there on the screen. Disney never ceases to bring more and more magic to us, right? This was such a nice pleasant surprise for the audience and everyone seemed to love it. You can add Cinderella to your list of best Disney movies without much thinking twice about it. The fact that it still stays at the theatres even after two big Malayalam movies released, points to the truth that it is special. Courage and kindness – take these two things home from Cinderella.

Release date: 20th March 2015 (India); 13th March 2015 (US)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Ben Chaplin, Sophie McShera, Hayley Atwell, Helena Bonham Carter

cinderella

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Escape Plan

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There are only a few occasions which none of the action movie fans would wish to miss, and one of them is when Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger come together in a movie, not as part of an over-packed action movie like The Expendables, but in a flick which is carried on the shoulders by these two actors together. Now that the Rocky and Demolition Man meets The Terminator and Predator again, there is that expectation which brings so many people into the theatres even in the presence of such a visual magnificence like Gravity which hasn’t yet managed to disappear even a little. This is more or less like Freddy vs Jason in disguise, as Terminator with Rambo rather than against; it is that nostalgia which this movie brings to the viewers, even as these two actors might be judged too old by a few people we are familiar with. Yes, Escape Plan is not The Expendables, that is for sure; and it is that one thing which makes this better, even as a few of the action movie fans won’t like this one that much for the same reason.

Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) is a former lawyer who owns a security firm which tests maximum security prisons for their quality and reliability and is helped by Abigail Ross (Amy Ryan) and Hush (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). He spends his life getting himself into prisons and escaping from them, mentioning that his total escape count is fourteen. He is shown to observe the routine and habits of prison guards, create distractions, and also get help from the outside to get himself out of captivity. One day, they are offered a big deal by CIA agent Jessica Miller (Caitriona Balfe) to test a top secret prison used to keep the worst of all criminals of the world. Breslin is reluctant at first, but agrees to the deal and gets himself captured in New Orleans under the name of a terrorist named Portos, but as his tracking micro chip is removed and he is drugged before he is taken into a prison in an unknown location, the plans go out of range and the objective seems nearly impossible.

Breslin wakes up in one of the many glass cells where the prisoners were kept, with no sight of the outside world to know the location. Their world is limited to what can be seen in that area. They even have bar codes attached to their clothes to automatically make sure about their presence at the places where they are supposed to be during the time. There are masked guards all around making sure that nobody gets to know who is working on which day, and to add to that, they rarely talks or shows any remarkable characteristic for them to be remembered. After befriending another inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), he tries getting into two fights with him, the second involving another prisoner, and the latter attempt, he gets out of his cell and reaches the outside, but finds out that he can’t just run away from the prison, and it is not that simple. So they team up with another inmate Javed (Faran Tahir), and under constant guard and strict watch, the question remains if they can make it out of there.

[Spoiler alert for this paragraph] The best moments of the movie include when Breslin makes out of the prison and finds out that he is standing on an oil tanker, in the middle of nowhere, and is forced to go back to his cell the same way he came out. The moment when Rottmayer’s real identity is revealed, is another good twist. One of the other moments have to include that moment when Breslin wakes up to find the kind of twisted maze that the prison is. The escape sequence and the shooting on the deck shows that Arnold Schwarzenegger still manages to make a powerful impact with whatever action sequence he is performing. Now that was the moment which received the most claps in the theatre, and I won’t wonder why it was that sequence which managed them. Well, both of them have a lot of life in them, and even as Stallone is undoubtedly the hero, there is no credit taken away from Schwarzenegger, as right from the moment he lands in prison, the team work begins, and they share the action.

Sylvester Stallone keeps coming back again and again with his days of glory, and here he is as good as he has been. There is nothing lost from his performance, even at this age. But the man who stole the applause was once again Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been loved so much in this part of the world even by those generations who had known only a little about him, thanks to The Terminator, Predator, Commando, Conan the Barbarian, Total Recall, Collateral Damage, The 6th Day, The Running Man, End of Days, Conan the Destroyer, True Lies, Eraser and so many others which still bring a case of nostalgia to the minds of a few, and for others too, they are gems. I can’t really say that Rocky and Rambo had that much of an effect at this part of the world, and Demolition Man as well as Judge Dredd came to the picture pretty late, along with The Specialist. Even as I have admired Arnold Schwarzenegger throughout most of my life, I have to admit that Sylvester Stallone is slowly taking over that admiration with the way in which he has been handling his performance.

Yes, the claps for Schwarzenegger was much awaited, and Stallone deserves his own, even as there was nothing much there from the audience, which might have been surprising for a few. He was incredibly solid throughout the movie, and the way in which he depicted Breslin was more than just good. We remember the former’s earlier comeback as the lone hero in The Last Stand, and people had loved that. Here we see both in the way we always liked them, as action stars, supposed to be old, but still punching much younger people on the nose and shooting them right on the forehead. We might not have dreamed about such moments in the 1990s, but here is the treat for you, as they does what they always did the best. Here are two actors, belonging to the same genre, having acted in somewhat similar kind of movies, with names quite difficult to pronounce for an average man or woman from this part of the world. Well, you can think about many people when they talk about action, including Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Will Smith, but these two are still our best.

So as Sylvester Stallone would say in Judge Dredd, what would the judgement be? Well, it is already almost houseful at this part of the world, and shall run for another week or two for sure, with Insidious: Chapter 2 ready for its release here. This should make way only for Thor: The Dark World only, and none of the regional releases nor the big national releases should threaten its position. With its impressive trailer and the posters, along with the two men who make this movie of clever, but slightly ineffective plot, creates a lot for the audience who should feel that these two are enough to go for this movie. There is no bigger name than Arnold Schwarzenegger here, even after so many years; and after watching this movie, Sylvester Stallone shall be my favourite actor of that age group – and I shall never miss any of his movies, as I expect entertainment to be guaranteed without the lack of too much logic and without the presence of much nonsense. Well done, dear veterans; you haven’t let us down.

Release date: 18th October 2013
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Mikael Håfström
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Amy Ryan, Sam Neill, Curtis Jackson, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio, Faran Tahir, Caitriona Balfe, Matt Gerald

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.