X-Men: Apocalypse

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What is the movie about? :: En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), later known as the Apocalypse, the world’s first mutant possessed powers that were stronger than everyone else combined, and ruled the ancient Egyptian civilisation as the force that nobody could think about stopping. Worshipped as God and obeyed as the king, he enjoyed unlimited powers in the greatest civilisation of its time on the banks of River Nile. Using his powers to make himself even stronger and supported by four other powerful mutants who are referred to as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he easily got rid of all those who stood against him. But one day, his worshipers who had enough of his tyranny manage to hold and bury him inside a pyramid at a time when he was changing his body to keep his eternal life going. With his mutant force dead while trying to preserve him, he stayed there, buried deep.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: After many years, Apocalypse awakens to a world which is nowhere near his vision. With the weaklings humans having control over everything with their machines, he decides to destroy all that mankind has built to create a new world which will have him and his fellow mutants as gods and demigods, who are to be worshiped by the weak humans. With Egypt as the centre of the new world again, he would bring the change that every mutant would have wanted to happen at some point. As an immortal being, he understands that he should still be the greatest power of the time, even bigger than the weapons of mass destruction that the man has invented, and also those mutants of the newer age. With the rise of the Apocalypse, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) begins to have terrible visions about the end of the world.

So, what follows the rise of Apocalypse? :: Alex Summers a.k.a. Havoc (Lucas Till) finds out that his younger brother Scott a.k.a. Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) is mutating and is having problems with controlling the optic beams coming out of his eyes. He takes Scott to Professor Charles Xavier’s (James McAvoy) institute for mutants, hoping that they could find some way to bring him in control. There, Scott meets Jean and they become good friends. Meanwhile, Apocalypse finds his four horsemen starting with Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm (Alexandra Shipp) who is a pickpocket wandering around the streets of Cairo, Psylocke (Olivia Munn) who happens to be a blackmarket enforcer, Angel (Ben Hardy) who used to be a fighter, and Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto (Michael Fassbender) who is deeply saddened by the death of his wife and daugher in the hands of humans.

What fate awaits the world with Apocalypse unleashed? :: With Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) returning to the institute with the new recruit Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to talk about Magneto and Peter Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver (Evan Peters) joining them in a search for his father, can they stop the evil that threatens to destroy the world right from its foundation itself? What does Dr. Henry McCoy a.k.a the Beast (Nicholas Hoult) who is looking forward to being themselves and the CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) who has been witness to the rise of this ancient evil think? What role does Colonel William Stryker (Josh Helman) has to play as he looks forward to turn these mutants into weapons following his Weapon X programme? Does any of these mutants stand a chance against Apocalypse and his upgraded horsemen?

The defence of X-Men: Apocalypse :: The big advantage of this X-Men movie that it makes the viewers think – it is a development that has come a long way since this series first showed up. The action sequences are also nothing less than amazing, with the mutants at their full power battling for what they think is the best for their world. The battles are nicely done, and there are lots of visual effects that are used really well. In the end, it become more of that visual treat, and its mutant characters are all very interesting, and the most interesting one should be Nightcrawler who returns to the franchise after a long time. Sophie Turner as Jean Grey becomes a nice improvement for this character that we have seen before and had gone to the worst possible level in X-Men: The Last Stand. Olivia Munn as Psylocke also catches our attention even when she gets less screen space, and with all of them around, the final battle becomes something nothing less than a full action treat.

Positives and negatives :: Among all X-Men movies, I have felt that this one is not just the best looking, but also the best-fitting into that long list of puzzles that make the franchise. Some people might find this rising evil and saving the world to be repetitive, but without that what would superhero movies do? Maybe Apocalypse is that kind of a villain who got even more possibilities, but this one works as it is. This one also doesn’t directly continue from where the last movie had left off. Meanwhile, the movie also reminds you of how good Michael Fassbender is, as Magneto never gets to be any less interesting. Evan Peters’ Quicksilver continues to catch one’s attention, as he also gets his own nice sequences. There is one sad thing though, and it is that Mystique doesn’t get enough of her place as a character with her own style to be interesting, and the same is the case of the Beast and Storm. Well, you needed a spectacle bigger than the previous movies, and you can have it here – just keep the thoughts of repetitions away from the mind!

How it finishes :: X-Men: Apocalypse is actually an improvement from its predecessors released in the last few years, including X-Men First Class, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Deadpool. Filled with entertainment right from the beginning, and also having a fine emotional side, this movie will make sure that the full 144 minutes don’t go missing. With all these mutant powers running wild, one has to wonder why people can choose not like this movie. The full dose of action that is present here often makes one wonder if Avenger movies can take something right out of this one. There is intelligence in the choice of mutants and the use of their powers displayed on screen, and we have to accept the fact that this is a superior superhero compared to many others which get too much of positive opinions.

Release date: 27th May 2016
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Lucas Till, Ben Hardy, Josh Helman, Lana Condor, Tómas Lemarquis, Warren Scherer, Rochelle Okoye, Monique Ganderton, Fraser Aitcheson, Zehra Leverman, Željko Ivanek, Anthony Konechny, Hugh Jackman (Cameo), Bryan Singer (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Insidious II

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It was in 2011 that we were treated with one of the “different” horror movies in the name of Insidious which was partially copied to Hindi by Bollywood’s last sequel to Raaz. Now we have its sequel, in the same year as two horror big-shots release, including The Conjuring and Carrie. Never before did more than one horror movie release here in the same year, and I almost thought that this was never going to release, just like The Chainsaw 3D, Evil Dead and The Haunting in Connecticut: Ghosts of Georgia. But here we are, with this sequel, even as the original never released on the big screen here and we had to strive to get to it. It didn’t release on that original date of a Friday the 13th though, as it just released here on a Friday 15th, about two months later. Its trailer had reached here long ago, and was well received by the audience who had a great experience with The Conjuring which itself had delayed – all three horror movies releasing late here – something with the censor board or looking forward to their performances in other parts of the world before the risk is taken here? May be they underestimate the audience quite a lot. They can end their devotion to the series if there was any, and look for cheap gore.

After a small flashback into the childhood of our major father character during the time of his encounter with the Lady in Black, the Bride, the movie takes over the story from where it had left off, with Elise (Lin Shaye) dead, and the demon from the other world taking over the body of Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson). There is a lot of mystery over the death too. With Josh doubted by Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) and his children, Lorraine Lambert (Barbara Hershey) goes to visit Elise’s friends and partners in finding the supernatural after feeling strange occurences in the house and even seeing a woman in white. The same mysterious woman knocks out Renai after abducting their little kid for a few moments. The piano playing by itself is just one of the strange things occuring in the house. Lorraine meets up with Carl (Steve Coulter), one of the old friends of Elise, who is another paranormal investigator using his dices to contact the spirits from the other world. Through the dices, after contacting Elise, they find out that they will know something from Our Lady of Angels hospital where Lorraine used to work as a nurse during her young days.

There Lorraine remembers the story of Parker Crane (Tom Fitzpatrick), a patient who committed suicide by jumping from the top of the hospital, as he appeared to her after his death. They are guided to his home, and they soon find out that the spirit which is leading them might not be of Elise at all, and it is not a good one nor is it friendly. They come across the story of a serial killer and his mother who used to terrorize him throughout her life as well as after it. It becomes clear to them that Josh is possessed and not himself, even as the detective couldn’t find him guilty of the murder of Elise. Renai and the kids are in danger, and so are they themselves. There are only a few ideas left for their survival, and one of them might be to drug Josh and bring the original person back to his body; the other one might be to find him in the other world itself. With time running out, and a serial killer ready to come back to this world through Josh’s body, this time more powerful than before, can they make the right decision and succeed or does the demon killer take charge start its killing procedure?

So where does the sequel stand in front of the original? I would consider it as slightly better than the original, even as most of the critics seemed to have found it negative if not average. I was surprised by the same though. The movie has an unsettling atmosphere supported by a truly phenomenal settings which has been used to support the same, and give us a truly paranormal feeling. The tricks to scare the audience might feel a little repetitive, but are used in the right manner with correct effects. Yes, it i genuinely scary, and undoubtedly scarier than its predecessor. There is the presence of more scary moments and it explains most of the things which were left unexplained in the first, and also contributes to the horror of the same. The spirits are pretty much good both in the real world and the other. The Lady in White and the Bride in Black are just two of those figures which rule the screen. There is nothing like the man possessed though. Insidious: Chapter 2 undoubtedly becomes the next best horror movie to The Conjuring here, and it is still insignificant as there are only two English horror movies released here. Yes, it is effective and undoubtedly very creepy and successfully scaring people. But do not watch this if you are not a horror fan or you are pseudo-horror fan who says that this isn’t enough for “the great ME” – the things pride can do to you, my dear vain man.

Patrick Wilson is the star here, and he plays the astral traveler possessed by the demon with so much ease. We can see his transformation as he becomes more and more of the demon who has taken over his body. He seems to be a person perfectly fitting horror movies – loved his performance in The Conjuring too. He was a gifted spirit walker, but is now kept out of his body by the demon, both roles well done. There is a little bit of The Shining’s Jack Torrance in him for sure. Rose Byrne has a sweet and innocent screen presence, and Barbara Hershey is no stranger to such things, tracing back to playing that victim of supernatural sexual liasions in The Entity – her presence itself is a real boost to the movie. Jocelin Donahue plays Lorraine’s younger self to perfection, and Lin Shaye’s Elise is very good, and her younger self played by Lindsay Seim is no different. Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson as Specs and Tucker provides the comic relief which is very less throughout this serious movie. Tom Fitzpatrick’s villain is strong and ruthless, yet made scary more by the visual imagery and effects rather than anything else, and so is the case with Danielle Bisutti’s Lady in white, or the Mother of Crane. The kids have limited role this time, and are no longer the focus of the movie.

Thanks to James Wan for giving us this fine sequel, the third of his brilliant horror collection beginning from Insidious and going through The Conjuring. It is very much a necessary sequel and it only adds to the value of its predecessor even as it doesn’t reach above The Conjuring. None of the two movies of the series are to be looked at alone, as they perfectly compliments each other, adding something which perfects the other. There has been nothing wrong with the badly reviewed horror flicks of the year, The Chainsaw 3D, The Haunting in Connecticut: Ghosts of Georgia, and this one – but the critics choose to devalue them for almost no real reason. They can’t understand that the Lady in White or the mother was mentally not right. I wonder why would they feel bad about people in the other world being white, and how the people in this world are able to fight with the demons in the spectral world. People are looking for strange questions while it is not the movie that makes sense, but their questions. They can’t find the answers, but it doesn’t mean that they can take the creativity of the viewer as a big zero, for nowadays it is the common arts graduate who has the right imagination. But still, The Conjuring might be the horror movie of the decade if we consider The Cabin in the Woods as not just horror.

It is the season of demons, that is for sure – just because of one thing, that Krrish 3 has been given four out of five by some strange people. Such acts of evil has forced me to keep the rating of this movie a little higher than I intended to. There are weird people in this part of the world who rate the movies of their language high, and the others low – and some of them follows the foot steps of those who reviewed it from America and Europe, but in that case, one has to consider the fact that what third rate movies like Krrish 3 would get if they review the same would be zero out of five if no negatives are allowed. So following their rating for English movie is pure hopelessness as long as they are going to rate horrible Bollywood movies with a consistent four out of five just because it has superstar sons acting in it or the same will make the pathetic fan-boys and girls incredibly happy. May be they can learn something from the Malayalam movie critics who give a maximum of three out five for the best movie of the year. Our world will only get better when the demonic fans disappear and all actors are considered as equal performers – hope Insidious could do that.

Release date: 15th November 2013 (India); 13th September 2013 (US)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey, Steve Coulter, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Lindsay Seim, Jocelin Donahue, Andrew Astor, Danielle Bisutti, Tom Fitzpatrick, Michael Beach

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.