Dear Zindagi

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Vampire Owl: This is not acceptable to the vampire community.

Vampire Bat: I see no problem in some vampire censoring here.

Vampire Owl: There is too much about life here. If they get too much caught up with life, how can we recruit our minions?

Vampire Bat: Consider this life after death.

Vampire Owl: That would be beautiful, even though these people don’t look like zombies.

Vampire Bat: Well, beauty of life after death is more than just about zombies.

Vampire Owl: To that, I can drink tea.

Vampire Bat: We are drinking tea to that.

Vampire Owl: And we are watching this movie only for that.

Vampire Bat: In the end, I am sure that most of us will end up watching this for different reasons.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn and vegetable puffs].

What is the movie about? :: Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is a rising cinematographer who wishes to shoot a full movie instead of the smaller projects that she usually does. Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor) is the person who becomes her chance to get to the big scene at New York, and it is with him that she is cheating on her boyfriend, Sid (Angad Bedi). But things don’t go on as planned, and she ends up in Goa, where her parents are – as many other people in her life, she can’t get along with them too. She is unable to sleep and except for her very few friends, she is angry at most of the people. But one day, she comes across Dr. Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) whom she figures out as the right choice to solve her problems. She decides to be open to her therapist, and he has a few sessions with her, and life will never be the same for her again.

The defence of Dear Zindagi :: Here you get another inspirational movie. There is no shortage of messages, no matter how they are presented – it is more about claiming back one’s life while getting rid of the ghosts of the past, and the rest of the messages can be discovered by oneself. There is some humour here and there, but nothing that remains memorable enough. The visuals work nicely, and the songs are okay, with “Love you zindagi” being a clear winner. There are also some dialogues which you can use as a quotation on another day. The fact that this movie made this much without much of a plot is actually interesting. Then there is the cast which is another big advantage for this movie. It is also an interesting thing to notice that Bollywood is thinking differently these days – we had many movies with difference this year, and that is a welcome change; but the fact that this was so close to being a lot better movie should be rather disappointing.

Claws of flaw :: Well, we get so many of inspirational movies here; if you take a look back, there are enough of them to keep some extra inspiration for later use – there are separate movies for children like Philips and the Monkey Pen, for women like Rani Padmini and also for many different categories of people. It is near impossible to relate to the character played by Alia Bhatt too, as we get too much of a world which is less ours. This could have been more fun if it felt more real with its happens. We see that something unreal comes up here and there even in an inspirational movie – a bad habit without doubt. This certainly goes exaggerated, and thus that bad quality of Bollywood is also retained. There are slow parts and you know the unconvincing side – not easy to feel for the characters; our protagonist herself has too easy a life and no pain. The drag makes one feel that this an even longer movie, with an already big run-time – too many dialogues there too.

Performers of the soul :: Alia Bhatt’s character does spend a lot of time buying things from e-bay and cleaning the roads with her clothes as she move around in them, but you see that she plays this interesting, but irritating character very well. Her long speech about her childhood might be the boring side of the same though, followed by her anger at her parents. But the energy that she brings to this character is a lot. Still, it is only when Shah Rukh Khan’s character enters the scene after an hour, that things get interesting. After that, things get going, until that climax which is nothing more than ordinary. Even as Alia Bhatt remains the soul of this movie, it is Shah Rukh Khan that holds the parts together, and whemever he is there, we are cent percent glued to the screen. Among the supporting cast, it is Yashaswini Dayama who plays Jackie that scores the most.

Soul exploration :: The protagonist’s problems are also more Bollywood kind, as she keeps falling in love – one has to wonder if she actually does anything else in her life; too much falling in love and leaving them behind. Then she also gets to be rude to her parents living in the past. There are moments when one feel that these kind of people don’t deserve a movie at all, unless provided with a warning in the beginning. But Bollywood’s aversion to common man goes on as it looks only for special people. As usual, for a Bollywood movie, there is also too much melodrama in this one, and the real solution of this problem was there so early – as the problem in this movie for Alia Bhatt’s character is she herself. Some people have to be taught how to be good to others, even when their life is actually going very smooth, and that indeed is the problem of this world, isn’t it?

How it finishes :: There is one thing that we keep wondering about – why is the Bollywood movies too much about the aspirations and disappointments of people of another level? At the same time, the Malayalam movie Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan is running in the theatres, and this one is closer to the common people despite it focusing more on the comic side without feeding advice with brains. You saw the same with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, as the heroes just had to travel all around the world – maybe Bollywood wishes to tell less about the common man and make its stars people with a lot of money or special skills? Meanwhile, movies like North 24 Kaatham and Mili could easily tell such stories of finding oneself, that too with the common people as protagonists. If you have watched Mummy & Me with Archana Kavi being advised by Suresh Gopi on how to get her life better, you will know how such movies can be done with realistic protagonists with whom we can relate to. This one will work, but the theory to “overdo things for attention with less focus on the story” is here with Bollywood.

Release date: 25th November 2016
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Gauri Shinde
Starring: Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan, Ira Dubey, Yashaswini Dayama, Rohit Saraf, Kunal Kapoor, Angad Bedi, Ali Zafar, Aditya Roy Kapur

dearzindagii

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

About Time

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Vampire Owl :: I waited so long for this movie to get released in India that I got very old.

Vampire Bat :: May be it just didn’t release in Cochin or we were on a trip when it released.

Vampire Owl :: But I got very old, nevertheless.

Vampire Bat :: Aren’t we already centuries old?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but I still got a lot older, and this time it is depressing.

Vampire Bat :: Didn’t your great ancestors have the power to go back in time and change the release date and screens of a movie?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, he could predict the situation that the worst movies will get released and there was nothing that we could do. He used to be a fan of an old form of vampire theatre. It was like, for tragedy everybody laughed and then he tried to change the meaning of tragedy and they just cut his head. He could travel in time no longer.

Vampire Bat :: So, he was the first revolutionary against bad drama, that theatre which represents movies now.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but the point is that he got his head cut off. You know the fans these days and what can happen to us.

Vampire Bat :: That is a fair point.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson), a young man is told a family secret at the age of twenty one – that all the men of their family have a special gift, which is the ability for time travel, something which he needs to unlock and try now. But he will only be able to go back to his own experiences, those memories which he can remember well enough. He decides to use this newly found ability of his, to improve his chances of getting a lover. As he falls for his sister’s friend, Charlotte (Margot Robbie) who spends her holidays with them, he uses the time travel ability to make her fall in love with her, but understands that it will never happen as she will just keep making excuses as she already made her decision on him. But later, he would meet Mary (Rachel McAdams) by fate and both are interested in each other, but losses her while trying to help his friend by time travel. But he would use his skills to recreate some events which will take him back to meeting her and both once again fall in love with each other. But his time travel adventures doesn’t end there.

The defence of About Time :: This movie manages to be the smart and cute, happy and heart-warming love story that stands above most of the romantic love stories with its theme as well as its presentation, which is closer to true love and family relationships that it can get, making one wonder if Hollywood actually cares about such things when making movies of this genre – but About Time says, it was about time. The movie is powered by its powerful emotions, and leaves one with a sense of responsibility towards life and also to one’s own family. The movie flourishes in its emotions and runs strong like a river during the monsoon, whenever the family stuff comes to the scene. The romantic comedy is not far behind, as there are moments there, which makes us remember that it is not far away either. The movie has its layers, and each one has something there, hiding some messages which we can take home. The combining of sci-fi-, rom-com and family drama works like a dream here.

Positives and Negatives :: Yes, finding negatives with this movie has not been too difficult with the critics, but it is not easy as far as I am concerned. Yes, the combination of three genres might be strange at times, and the movie not be what some people had expected with its family drama which overtakes the romance and the science fiction most of the people wanted to watch. You can find the time travel paradox and also ask a few question about that, but that is never expected to take the centre stage. The exact central point of the movie is its message for life. About Time is powerful in its heart and soul, and that much you have to give to the movie, no matter what else good or bad you can find here. Keep your own heart and soul at the right place while watching this movie, and these are the kind of movies which can rise above the limitations of a usual romance-sex-comedy.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has a brilliant performance from Domhnall Gleeson, but wait till Rachel McAdams arrives to take your beath away, and the chemistry between the two works like a true love dream. This lady was also there in The Time Traveler’s Wife, but I would say that this is a lot better movie and she is too good in this one. She might have looked better as the younger self in that movie, but look out for her performance in this one. Yes, the presence of the same lady lead might have confused a few, but About Time reigns supreme if there is a war of the romantic time travel fiction. Then there is the surprise package in the form of Bill Nighy as the father, that dad that everybody would want to have, and I would die and be reborn to have. He is someone who has known to love his son and has always found the little joys of his time with his son worth living. He has wonderfully portrayed the perfect father for whom we reserve our tears. Margot Robbie also gets attention in her smaller role, and Lydia Wilson as the sister of the protagonist – Kit Kat is lovable.

Soul exploration :: About Time leaves us with a strong message to live in the moment, and there are things that cannot be changed. Even if you had a certain time travel ability, the things that are to happen, will happen; those things that you have changed were supposed to be changed, and this knowledge whether it can be changed or not can be obtained only by trying, and it is a need to try. It is never late to appreciate life, and the best things come to those who wait, and not those who feel the emergency and hurry up on life. It shows that true love waits, and no matter how much you think that some thing are less important, they are not. It is our responsibility to know that family always comes first, especially with the kind of parents who have cared for you. This is as close to a righteous romantic comedy as one can get, with emotional, love for family and true love. This tale uses the science fiction elements to support this cause.

How it finishes :: Even as this is a romantic comedy, I would advice watching this one with family – it is because its message of love transcends and chooses to rise higher as well as deeper, making it a powerful family movie in its core. It take its elements of true love and science fiction and it digs deep, and comes out of it as a movie for everyone who loves one’s family. I suggest you get a fictional time machine which you can use to erase your questions about many things and replace it with a positive attitude about life. I thought I could do that, but I have come too far to do that. I haven’t listened to myself enough for that throughout my past. But this movie reminds me that, it is never too late, and may be, I will have a chance at everything when the wheel of time turns. Life will give you that opportunity, and I can choose to listen to those idiots, backstabbers and supposed to be successful people (or parents of successful people), waiting for my opportunity. It has to come, because life goes on and you shouldn’t worry too much about the past.

Release date: 3rd November 2013
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Lydia Wilson, Margot Robbie, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Lindsay Duncan, Richard Cordery, Joshua McGuire, Tom Hughes, Vanessa Kirby, Will Merrick, Lisa Eichhorn

abouttime

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Days of Future Past

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The X-Men Legend :: The legend of X-Men starts in the theatre with the 2000 movie X-Men, made better by X2: X-Men United later, and undoubtedly ruined by X-Men Last Stand with whatever they managed to do with just one mutant character, Jean Grey. That was supposed to be the ending of X-Men watching for me, and there the director had changed, but the one who director the first two X-Men movies are now back with X-Men: Days of the Future Past. X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: First Class were really good and the latter was rather an impressive flashback to the origin of the first mutants with a nice background of the Cold War, while The Wolverine was a little bit of let down even as it can still be considered okay enough under most of the circumstances. With this franchise from Marvel, we get a movie which has been around with more than nine out of ten rating in imdb and ninety four percent critical rating in rotten tomatoes, something which not many superhero movies could achieve. So this was indeed a movie not to be missed, and a even my delay of one day was depressing for me.

What is it about? :: The story goes quite some way into the future, as there are non-metallic robots which are hunting the mutants as a result of years of human research to find a solution to the mutant existence. At the same time, the robots have also managed to go beyond its instructions oppressing the humans as they are the source of mutants coming into existence later. As Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) has the ability to project a person’s consciousness back to the past and warn others, a group of mutants surivive, including Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Blink (Fan Bingbing), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), Bishop (Omar Sy) and Kitty herself. As they are pretty sure that they will be caught soon, they decide to use Kitty’s ability to send Wolverine back to 1973 to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from murdering Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) who invents the robot assassins whose idea and a captured Mystique’s DNA will be used to create the killing machines in the future as the dead man becomes a sort of martyr. So, can Wolverine do well enough?

The defence of X-Men: Days of the Future Past :: The beauty of this movie is how it has managed to work on its story with its powerful connection to the other X-Men movies, and as this is set in the future, this has a little bit to relate to every other movie of the franchise, especially X2: X-Men United, X-Men: Last Stand and X-Men: First Class. The whole thing is nicely managed here without causing any disruption to all that have already been established in those previous movies. Even with the lesser amount of action sequences, they have done what all were there very nicely, with the robots fighting the mutants, a battle which could have used a little more smartness, but they are visual treats even if one-sided for the most part. The presence of the character Quicksilver is a boost too even when limited to one fight. The movie gets on with its world quite fast too, making sure that the boredom that can cause by explaining about the characters is not there, and if there is the need to know more, the viewers can watch the other X-Men movies. Now, with the time space continuum altered, may be some of the incidents of the movie never happened or might not happen, may be that can give scope for a difference sequence of events in upcoming X-Men movies.

The claws of flaw :: The 3D makes an attempt to prove itself unnecessary as the movie progresses; the positive side was only in the beginning with the credits. The movie also drags in the middle, with a lot of dialogues rather wasted. The thrills that is supposed to be there from the beginning works at a weaker level through the movie, as there is not enough action in between to support it. Except for the action in the beginning and the end related to the robots where the mutants lose in all cases, there is no real impressive battle except for a little Magneto trick and Quicksilver show. The special effects should have been used better and there should have been lots of action, but they have sacrificed those elements just to add some drama. Still, it is not different from most of the usual superhero movies, especially the X-Men related ones. The characters don’t seem to get into the situation much, and there is rather too much confusion between them. This one should tried to bring more thrills and action from the material that they had, and in the case of mutants, they should have put their powers to use more frequently and efficiently, but that is not there. Then they decided to get rid of Quicksilver who scored so well, and that is a shame.

Performers of the soul :: If someone has to be applauded from his first appearance to the last, it has to be Michael Fassbender, as he is the one who stands out in this movie, making his character the one to look out for. James McAvoy has his moments, but this younger version of Professor is rather impressive only in moments. Jennifer Lawrence shines as the unique mutant Mystique and it was great to watch whenever she was there, but the question would remain if there could have been more in a movie which is based on her and the whole thing is dependent on her actions. Hugh Jackman is once again the Wolverine with style, but this version is rather passive, without that recklessness and anger that we identify the character with, and that was disappointing. Seriously, why would the Wolverine be not aggressive? It is a shame that Anna Paquin’s Rogue was just a cameo, she was one of my favourites with Nightcrawler who is again missing. Evan Peters’ Quicksilver might impress more than many other mutants in just the few minutes that he is present while Nicholas Hoult’s Beast becomes less significant. Meanwhile, Ellen Page and the rest of the mutants of the future present has limited presence compared to those of the past.

Soul exploration :: The movie continues to deal with the basic mutant problem with the human fear for the unknown and the alienation of the other that follows. The end-point of all of these is holocaust, by exaggeration of things which might seem to project the possible extinction with more power than ever. Once again Trask Industries becomes what Stark Industries wasn’t in The Avengers and related movies, being the dark force of science and technology against the one that powered Iron Man. Just with words re-arranged, this industry once again asks the familiar question for those essays at school – “technology: boon or bane?” I thought they were finished with that, but this question might always remain with the technology being an advantage only for the rich and the need to go to space rather than saving Earth. The questions that should be evoked might be about the results of changing the past. It is impossible to change it, but even if it is changed, how will the future respond? Are some things always supposed to happen, no matter how hard we try to change it? Yes, everything seemed to work well by the end of the movie, but how can we be sure about that until a sequel comes to light?

How it finishes :: This franchise might have finished with X-Men 3: The Last Stand, but it didn’t, and came up with two successful origin movies for its most popular character and also created another success without him in the form of X-Men: First Class. The movie also leaves the franchise with endless possibilities to go towards many directions. The destruction of a timeline or rather the disruption of the same can effectively trigger a reboot or many other movies in between. It might seem like a risk, but there are lots of things that it can achieve for a superhero franchise. You might wish to finish watching the other movies of the franchise before watching this one. Then there is always the presence of someone like Jennifer Lawrence who transforms not just like Mystique, but also like Katniss Everdeen becoming Raven – now the question remains, will this change of the past which makes her not an assassin land her somewhere else than not with Magneto? May be with X-Men or as a neutral? How surprising can it be if she is also part of that same school of Professor X? There is a lot to expect from another X-Men movie, that is for sure.

Release date: 23rd May 2014
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Evan Peters, Fan Bingbing, Adam Canto, Lucas Till, Booboo Stewart, Josh Helman, Mark Camacho, Evan Jonigkeit, Gregg Lowe

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Men in Black III

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What is MiB3? :: It is the third movie in the Men in Black series which comes as quite a surprise as the first movie released in 1997 and the second in 2002; now with fifteen years gone after the first movie and ten years passed after the second, one would easily think that the series based on Lowell Cunningham’s The Men in Black comic book series might have been done and can return only as a reboot or a perfect remake. But what happened in 2012 was indeed surprising as the alien-dealing protectors of the Earth has returned once again – five years between the first two movies, and ten between the second and the third, and Mathematics doesn’t favour a fourth, but I am not the one who would believe in numbers. One thing about which we can be sure as long as this series is considered, and it is that the movie was a hit even before it was released – I would have been surprised otherwise, and the men dressed in black has scope for even more sequels.

The Setting :: Men in Black (M.I.B) is a top-secret non-government agency that deals with extraterrestrial alien invasions, connections and refugees. It keeps the details of all the aliens who come to Earth and helps those who wishes to make a living on the planet, and at the same time fights any possible alien invasions or other kind of threats to the planet (May be they know about Superman’s presence too). The agency operates from an underground base of operations about which not even any of the world governments or spies are aware of. MIB agents use certain kind of devices called neuralyzers to wipe out the memories of the witnesses who have seen or felt any kind of alien presence, and thus keep their secret alive and away from being noticed. Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J (Will Smith) are the top operatives for this organization and our protagonists once again, with another adventure which comes from outside Earth.

What is it about? :: Boris the Animal, the last of the alien species called Boglodites which consumed all planets in their path, escapes from a prison in moon. He is seeking vengeance on Agent K, who had shot and separated his left arm and imprisoned him in the year 1969. It is seen that one day, K just vanishes and there is no clue about him – it is as if only J remembers that he existed. He finds out that J died in 1969 and Boris the Animal as well as the whole species of Boglodites remain free and ready attack Earth. As it was K who came up with a shield to safeguard Earth and annihilated the Boglodites, it is found out tht Boris went back in time to murder K and thus make sure that he kept his left arm as well as his freedom, along with his race with all the power. Now J has to travel back in time at a time when time-travel is illegal and thus risky, and stop the current age Boris from uniting with the Boris of 1969 and killing K as well as saving Earth from the invasion.

The defence of MiB3 :: Well, this third movie of the series is almost as good as its predecessors, just trailing by may be a few points. It has a lot of fun, and works right as an action comedy. There are also the good special effects an nice CGI, even as there is nothing spectacular, nor there is the need for much. It is one of the best alien comedies too, and as a movie which doesn’t take itself seriously, it scores correctly. It also has a good number of aliens in store, not that you haven’t seen them already, but for those who might have not, and also for those who might have forgotten these two gentlemen in black, there was that “setting” section. Its combination of science fiction with comedy and the introduction of time travel makes it a fine combination of things. There are also those gadgets which looks interesting even if they belong to 1969 which is more of our 2069 in one way or the other. Like it, because even Batman comes only in black, or as they say in that Lego Trailer, very very dark grey.

The claws of flaw :: There is usually a curse associated with the third movie of the series, as they might not be the best of the franchise – I expect such things to happen in case of another sequel to Taken, and it has already happened with Blade 3, Alien 3, Species 3, Jaws 3 and a lot of other movies which you might recollect with a few seconds of thinking. Don’t think like that, for this one survives. But after waiting this long, does this get any better? The answer would be no. And does this offer anything new other than time-travel added? Once again a big no. Couldn’t they have come up with something other than time-travel for this third movie? I did think about it with no answers. There is no new addition or interesting stuff to suit the age, and there are moments when one wonders which direction this is going. Add Alice Eve’s hairstyle to an alien world – thats shocking indeed. The characters of Boris and Griffin were a little less interesting compared to the potential they had.

Performers of the Soul :: Will Smith has another one in his pocket, and a lot of us remember him as Agent J. He goes through the movie with ease, just like the previous movies of the series. Tommy Lee Jones is fine with the time when he is there, as his younger version is played by Josh Brolin who perfects the character. So, there are obviously three of them this time, and joining them is the present version of Agent O (Emma Thompson) and the lady’s 1969 version played by Alice Eve whose hairstyle shocks us to that extent that we wonder if she is actually an alien. But they are both good at what they have been doing in the movie, especially our older version. Jemaine Clement as Boris the Animal is good, but not that awesome a villain as one was expecting. Michael Stuhlbarg’s Griffin add more funny dimensions, but there was scope for more with that character. There is also that twist in the end in which all the cast do a wonderful job.

How it finishes :: Men in Black 3 tries to extend the range of the series, and is successful in it. But with the lack of innovation and repetitive stuff, one has to wonder how far the franchise can stay alive. There is always the Will Smith factor to save it though. He doesn’t seem to age much, and he has the energy in him to bring more out of Agent J. May be one of the later movies in the series can come up with our favourite moment in an alien movie history, and as Griffin says, “unless this is the one where…” – as long as there is scope for aliens, there is hope. This one had no particular aim or reason for existing in an year in which The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises were always supposed to rule and become the movies of the year, along with a Hobbit and a Bond dropping in. It does finish tenth in the list of highest grossing movies of the year, but I would rather be surprised that it grossed more than the movies like Prometheus, Dredd and John Carter by a big margin. For now, it is yes for Men in Black 4.

Release date: 25th May 2012
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Hader, David Rasche, Emma Thompson, Alice Eve

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.