The Lazarus Effect

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Vampire Owl :: The zombie minions have sent us a request signed by four hundred and fifty seven of them.

Vampire Bat :: As Uncle Dracula is in the hospital after watching a few terrible superstar Bollywood movies, I guess that we have to deal with this ourselves.

Vampire Owl :: It is sad. We have to accept their request though, or the Lich Queen will take away all our zombie labour.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, they consider the Lich Queen as a weird revolutionary ruler and we shouldn’t just give her the advantage.

Vampire Owl :: So, what do you think about this? They are asking for the review of a movie, The Lazarus Effect. It is about death and return to life.

Vampire Bat :: Coming back from the dead? I don’t believe that the zombies can come up with a better request.

Vampire Owl :: It is a horror movie, and so it should work for the vampire clan too. The request can be honoured without much trouble.

Vampire Bat :: It is a shame that we have to watch this movie without Uncle Dracula. But it is time he realize that he should choose actors over superstars when watching a movie.

Vampire Owl :: So, we will reply to the minions with a yes?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and lets have some tea and get ready for a movie adventure.

[Gets a cup of tea and butter cookies].

What is it about? :: Two scientists, Frank Walton (Mark Duplass) and his lover Zoe McConnell (Olivia Wilde) have developed a special serum which they have named Lazarus. They are helped by Niko (Donald Glover) and Clay (Evan Peters), while they are joined by the videographer Eva (Sarah Bolger) as this particular serum attempts to do something huge. Even though it was intended to assist coma patients to give them a second chance at life, it turns out that it actually brings the dead back from life. They do manage to bring a dog back from the dead, and all of a sudden, a major pharmaceutical company buys the firm that funded their research and shuts them down. They decides to repeat the experiment, but Zoe gets electrocuted. Frank decides not to lose her and uses the Lazarus serum on her, but it turns out that the returning lady is not the same as the one who left.

The defence of The Lazarus Effect :: I am sure that most of you can agree to the fact that the movie is scary. It is loaded with the scary moments here and there. The moments of the return from the dead, for both the dog and the human are very well portrayed. Another nice design in relateed to the depiction of hell and the ideas behind the same. There are some jump scares which are very well used to make sure that the audience will feel that there is more horror coming. Not only the visual stuff, but the sound effects and the music contributes well to the frightening situations. It also asks us the relevant questions about life, death, soul and hell. The gore is also kept to the very least, even though a movie like this which combines science fiction and horror could have had a lot of it, especially with the death and return from the dead around. Over everything else, it knows how to entertain.

Claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that this movie could have been a better horror movie because it had all which was needed in its story, even though with similarities to other horror movies – the basic idea is not new and so are the scares. This one could have used the abundant darkness to a more creepy effect instead of using the same for some quick scares. The idea of life, death, hell and soul could have been expanded further more. The battle here between the living and dead is also too one-sided and predictable. With the movie being short in length, more scary and explanatory sequences could have been added here and there. The ending could have also been a little more creative. But it is surely better than what the critics claim that it is, no doubt about that – far ahead of this year’s other big horror; the remake called Poltergeist.

Performers of the soul :: The acting department looks safe around here. The best moments in the movie undoubtedly belongs the one who plays the returning loved one an scientists from the dead – Olivia Wilde as Zoe McConnell is clearly the leader here. She begins as the heroine and returns as the demon, balancing both really well. The transformation that happens is not that gradual either as she turns and embraces the dark side further and further after the return from the other world. She is not someone whom we usually associated with the horror genre, but it has suited her very well. Sarah Bolger plays the lead who doesn’t really belong to the group, and she does that fine enough. Mark Duplass has a good run in the movie, and the rest of the cast does some good job in this flick which mixes two genres effectively.

Soul exploration :: The three movies that come to your mind when you watch The Lazarus Effect are Event Horizon, Carrie and Lucy even though this flick is no match for all the three – consider the original movie from long ago when I am talking about Carrie this time. Do you know what else this movie is? It is Frankenstein, as here is an even more modern Prometheus than what Mary Shelley had intended. The idea of bringing back someone from the dead hasn’t gone that well for many characters; Victor Frankenstein paid for it. The Biblical Lazarus of Bethany on whom the title seems to be based did have a fine return from the dead after four days, and may be the serum in the movie was also supposed come out positive, but unfortunately for the characters in the movie and fortunately for the horror fans, it didn’t.

More of the soul exploration and the finish :: The movie’s idea of hell is also interesting; it talks about how hell is your worst nightmare repeated again and again. Its journey to hell and back is like Event Horizon, but not that strong. It has the returning person with the powers of Carrie, and also comparable to Lucy – there is also that idea about using more than ten percent of the brain. This movie has those elements which bring the horror about not just what is seen, but also what extends beyond that. Jason Blum who has been behind horror and thriller movies like Insidious, The Purge, Sinister, Dark Skies, Paranormal Activity, Ouija, The Lords of Salem, Jessabelle, Area 51, The Boy Next Door, The Gallows and The Gift along with the sequels of some of them, has produced this one too. With its collections, The Lazarus Effect will make into the list of the successful ones.

Release date: 27th February 2015
Running time: 83 minutes
Directed by: David Gelb
Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Donald Glover, Evan Peters, Ray Wise, Amy Aquino

thelazaruseffect

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rush

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

rush copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.