John Wick 2

Vampire Owl: We need to hire this man. He looks a lot effective.

Vampire Bat: But he is always looking for vengeance.

Vampire Owl: We can make him follow our path. There is just the need to have someone from our enemies list kill his dog.

Vampire Bat: He is a ruthless assassin with connections. He will find out in the end.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that we will have to call the Accountant to finish our job.

Vampire Bat: I thought that you would say Mechanic.

Vampire Owl: I would just kill them myself and get the Transporter to get rid of the werewolf heads.

Vampire Bat: You can always hire Codename 47, you know.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is just that he keeps on getting the reboots, I think.

Vampire Bat: Just keep yourself away from John Wick‘s dog and also his car.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Krackjack biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves), the retired assassin who had earlier returned to killing people after his dog was killed and his car was stolen by Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), is not finished with what he had been doing. He searches for, and finds his stolen car at a chop shop owned by Abram Tarasov (Peter Stormare), the uncle of Iosef. After killing all the men, John spares the life of Tarasov in the name of peace and returns home only to find more of his previous life following him there. After the car which was heavily damaged in the fight is taken for repairs by Aurelio (John Leguizamo), John is provided a surprise visit by the Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), to whom he had sworn an oath, often referred to as a marker, which had helped him to finish the impossible task that had set him free from the world of blood and gore, and allowed him to marry Helen (Bridget Moynahan).

So, what happens next in the movie? :: John Wick is supposed to be someone who could keep doing the impossible, as Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist) himself had acknowledged before being dead, and a confident Santino asks John for the favour in return, but the tired assassin decides against going through the violent ways again, and says no without even listening to what the crime lord wanted him to do. An angry Santino goes back to his car, and returns with a grenade launcher to destroy John’s home, almost killing him in the process. John escapes and goes on to meet Winston (Ian McShane), the owner of the Continental hotel in New York City, who tells him to abide by the rules, and he is supposed to honour the promise made in the form of the marker. John decides to play by the rules, and meets Santino again, who provides him the mission of assassinating his sister Gianna D’Antonio (Claudia Gerini) to claim her seat among the top-level crime lords.

And what follows the same in the movie? :: John gets to Gianna during a party, where she is under the protection of expert fighter and bodyguard Cassian (Common). Even though John is successful in his mission with her choosing to commit suicide rather than get killed, he is chased by the group of tem lead by Santino’s right-hand, a mute young lady known by the name Ares (Ruby Rose), and also by Cassian who seeks vengeance. With Santino himself putting a seven million dollar bounty on the former retired assassin, John Wick has no option, but to fight for his life – Cassian is determined to have his revenge, and Ares is determined to show her allegiance and effectiveness to her master. There are assassins jumping on him out of nowhere, and he decides to have a meeting with the underground crime lord The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), but where does their conflict of interests and a troublesome past lead them?

The defence of John Wick: Chapter 2 :: The first movie had become a surprise hit, and this one also follows the same pattern, making things even better by a good margin. Keanu Reeves is also the bigger assassin with this one, and he remains the core. He continues to be at his best as the action hero, doing what he has been doing the best. There is also no humans dead in the name of dogs, as it happens in the name of cows in some parts. The style factor is also too good, and all the action sequences, a lot of them if we consider the total, catch our attention. Among all those who fight the deadly assassin, it is Ruby Rose who comes up with the most memorable show – there is that intensity in her despite being mute, that we feel that she might be one lady whom nobody should have the misfortune of facing. There is that final battle with her, and also the one that we see in the beginning that catch our eyes more than any other. Then there is Laurence Fishburne, evergreen as you would find him in an action thriller.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much in the story here, as it was in the first movie, with the assassin going on killing more and more people, most of them assassins themselves; it is still better than going on to kill people in the name of a dead dog which is given too much importance. The predictability factor is high, as we do have some idea about how things are going to go on and on – John Wick is not that much about surprises, as you might already know from the first movie. This one is also about how great John Wick is, and there is also the presence of those strange laws and oaths which shift the focus. There is also another dog which leaves the option to have another revenge as soon as it is killed. The violence is also there throughout, and deaths have been more and more glorified with this movie. The climax could have also been greater, as something bigger seemed to be getting ready to come up, but unfortunately, that didn’t really happen.

How it finishes :: A long way ahead of the first movie, The defence of John Wick: Chapter 2 is the movie which is once again certain to have your attention with Keanu Reeves going through all the action once again. You have a very nice example of the sequel becoming better than the original movie here, a feature which has more and more examples of things being the other way around – the sequel here has 7.9/10 to 7.2/10, 75% to 68% at Metacritic and 91% to 85% at Rotten Tomatoes, and almost double the box-office collections, compared to the original. There is also a third movie coming up, and we can be sure that it is also going to follow the same pattern, and with all things going more and more global, we can expect more firepower, and a lot more action with the next flick in the franchise. After watching John Wick: Chapter 2, one can safely wait for John Wick: Chapter 3, as we know how much is there to happen in a third movie. The man is a legend, and so we can’t really expect him to finish his tale in two chapters, with so much of him to be unleashed again and again with the certainty of the tides?

Release date: 10th February 2017
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne, Common, Riccardo Scamarcio, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Claudia Gerini, Bridget Moynahan, Lance Reddick, Thomas Sadoski, David Patrick Kelly, Peter Stormare, Franco Nero, Peter Serafinowicz, Tobias Segal

PS: For the awaited release of the weekend, see the review on Kadam Katha.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sing

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

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

Vampire Owl: They told me never to sing again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guardians of the Galaxy

GOTG (1)

Vampire Owl :: But we were expected to have watched Guardians of the Galaxy last week, right?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but with Hercules being postponed for some dumb movies, this also seems to have been delayed.

Vampire Owl :: So Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which was to release this Friday should release next weekend.

Vampire Bat :: And movies like Lucy will go missing.

Vampire Owl :: We have a long life-span. We can wait, may be it will release many months later.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with immortality having its glitches.

Vampire Owl :: Are we going for Into the Storm?

Vampire Bat :: May be no?

Vampire Owl :: Fine, I thought I would need that for the owlification list.

Vampire Bat :: It does have more shows, even as critics have annihilated it.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Twenty six years after he was abducted from Earth by space pirates, Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) steals an orb for which many others are making similar attempts. His successful stealing of the item meant that there was a huge bounty on him set by the leader of the space pirates, Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and an assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is sent after him by Ronan (Lee Pace), a member of the scientifically advance war-loving race called Kree. Two bounty hunters – a humanoid tree Groot (Vin Diesel) and a genetically engineered raccoon called Rocket (Bradley Cooper) are also after the man who stole the orb, but a complicated fight with Gamora and Quill leads them to prison from where they come up with a plan, and supported by Drax (Dave Bautista) who is looking for revenge against Ronan, break out of the prison. They would initially look to sell the device, but after knowing how dangerous it is, they will have to join forces to save the galaxy against the man who look forward to destroying it, as he take the orb from them.

The defence of Guardians of the Galaxy :: This movie is all about the entertainment, and there would have been no doubt about that one. It is that fun ride which makes one laugh, go through the thrills and also add some emotions to the same. The characters are superb, and they remain interesting and most of the situations become further interesting due to them, and each has some special characteristic, and belong to a different species. That should remind us gamers about Mass Effect, one of those awesome games set in space, with the need to save the known universe from a group of alien invaders known as the Reapers (without that much detail and other stuff). But this movie is light and without the complications, and there it scores with the common audience. The visuals are great too, with the spaceships and awesome gadgets being used, and the world of space nicely using the power of technology to its advantage, and 3D is pretty much effective too. The computer-generated stuff rarely gets this good, one has to admit. You won’t need the super-powered heroes for this one!

The claws of flaw :: Guardians of the Galaxy has pretty much a predictable run with what is has, and it remains what we usually see. The movie has a lot more to do before it establishes itself completely, and I would guess that the same would be done in the sequel which is supposed to come out in 2017. There is a lot of background to be established, and this movie is without much power in its plot. The movie could have taken a few more minutes to establish a better universe and work on the worlds that exist within the same. The galaxy could have been better known before there were guardians for the galaxy, and these guardians themselves are misfits and outlaws who turn heroes, something which we have seen so many times. It has a good amount of silliness, which does work with its universe of aliens and spaceships, but not without them. This one has a long way to go before becoming something like the game Mass Effect with its character and universe. There is a lot of thinking to be done.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt makes his character impressive, no doubt about that one, but the one who struck me more was Zoe Saldana as the green lady Gamora. She was blue in Avatar and was in space before in both Star Trek movies, and here she is green, and she plays that character to perfection. Dave Bautista makes a very strong appearance here, and his quiting WWE drama was rightly for this movie’s promotion – and it is good to see him having such nice role which suits him, along with making another comeback to WWE some time later. Interestingly, there is also a funny side to this tough character. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel gives voice to the two other guardians, and Cooper’s Rocket might be the fan favourite in this movie with the funny lines and the interesting moments. Karen Gillan’s Nebula came up as another surprisingly interesting character. Lee Pace’s Ronan is a strong villain, and makes a powerful impact, but the character Thanos leaves us wishing for more which could come to us in an upcoming sequel.

Soul exploration :: The movie is all about saving the world from the evil forces, and there is not much to think about it in a complicated manner. There is the orb which gives great powers and the most evil of them all wishing to take control of it to cause destruction and chaos all around. The heroes are all former outlaws who have lost something and are not really good or bad, but capable of goodness. The movie is sure to leave the audience happy and with no signs of disappointment, and there its success lies. If you have loved The Avengers, there is not much doubt about falling in love with these heroes who are in no way super with their powers, but do take their chances. They make up a strange team and become the guardians, and with a little expansion of the world that was in this movie, that too in detail, would work wonders for this franchise in the next entry of the franchise. That should be the masterpiece.

How it finishes :: Into the Storm has more shows, but Guardians of the Galaxy should surely hold strong in this part of the world in the absence of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which is yet to find its release here. The demand for disaster movies is not that much as it used to be, and storms come nowhere near things like the end of the world and global destruction. The found footage category doesn’t add anything positive either to an already dying genre of movies which has nothing else to offer other than destruction. But Guardians of the Galaxy belongs to that immortal genre which can prove interesting even after a lot of repetition added to it. Because of the same, Marvel gets another movie and a beginning to another franchise which they can use nicely as the success of The Avengers has been repeated here, even as this one doesn’t seem to be good enough to break those records. This is another big superhero movie indeed, and that too in space.

Release date: 8th August 2014 (India); 1st August 2014 (US)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Mikaela Hoover, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Ophelia Lovibond, Gregg Henry, Peter Serafinowicz

GOTGx copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.