Bacurau

Vampire Owl: Now, we have time for Portuguese movies too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and this one is not really from Portugal. It is Brazilian.

Vampire Owl: Well, we have always loved most of the things which are Brazilian.

Vampire Bat: You are saying that mostly related to the football team.

Vampire Owl: It is something that one would say during the FIFA World Cup.

Vampire Bat: Well, in that case, Brazil is not the only team in the picture.

Vampire Owl: Actually, nothing matches the fan support of Argentina and Brazil even during these days when the European teams are gaining the fans.

Vampire Bat: Yes, even though Germany, France, Spain, Italy and England got quite a good number of fans, and increasing.

Vampire Owl: Let us now dedicate this movie watching adventure to the Brazilian football team then.

Vampire Bat: I am very much in support of such a thing, but it is to be noted that Movies of the Soul doesn’t get much of the views from Brazil or Portugal, even though the former is picking up these days of Corona Virus and lock-down.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: After the death of her grandmother Carmelita (Lia de Itamaraca), Teresa (Barbara Colen) comes home to her village in Brazil after a long time to find that something is not right, and it is not the same as she had left it then. Some of her old friends like Acacio (Thomas Aquino) are still there though, and there has not been much modern development out there. Bacurau, a small fictional settlement in Brazil’s remote backcountry doesn’t get much of an attention from anyone in the city, as nobody really comes that way. It doesn’t work even as a tourist destination with so many hills and forests around. Even those who are contesting for the mayor spot just comes there with some books and medicines, and after a few minutes, just leaves the place. It is so remote that if someone comes in an advanced car or bike, people would be feeling that there is something wrong, or something special is going to happen out there.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Even though there was a death recently, they have no time for mourning as the water supply has been cut off with water tankers coming that way having holes on it, animals from the forest are running through the streets, and their place has disappeared from all satellite maps completely. Soon, there is no network connection in their mobile phones either. Along with the same, some strangers are walking arouns with guns, and an Unidentified Flying Object has been located nearby. It had to do something with people who were not from around the settlement, and not even from further out in Sao Paulo, Brasilia or Rio de Janeiro. What could be happening around here? Can there be something sinister in play here? Will it be the work of something paranormal or that of influential people who have some evil plans?

The defence of Bacurau :: The visuals of a fictional, remote, Brazilian village makes an impact, and so does the people there, most of them being simple, likable people. The movie does get into the mood of a thriller in the later stages, and there is some nice shooting to go with it as the action begins. With danger getting closer, there are some stranger, but effective measures taken, and the whole situation changes. During the time of Corona Virus, this is more relevant, as people are quarantined into small towns and villages. There is the question about what one can do while facing an armed attack at the same time – with no defense against the human predators, what would the people who are locked in like animals do? The terror created colonialism and terrorism has a new face, as people are not considered to be humans, but things to be hunted and killed. When someone chooses your home as a shooting range with a racist ideology, there is nothing else to do, but to fight back, and the movie shows the underdogs coming up with the same, nicely.

The claws of flaw :: There is the chance of people having doubt about this movie in the beginning, wondering where the tale is heading, and only after establishing everything that we see a certain change beginning to happen. When a lady gets a lift with a truck driver and they are traveling in a road in the middle of nowhere, you feel that this is going to be a very slow, clueless, award movie in which nothing much happens, and you have to find meaning for everything after spending days thinking about it, but you have to get over that feeling to start enjoying this movie which is much more. It doesn’t follow the pattern of the usual action adventure thriller, and never does it try to explain everything which is happening around there, thus making it not a movie for everyone. Some sequences seem to be unwanted, and it surely drags in the beginning, taking time to get into its world. After avoiding some unnecessary sequences and shortening the run-time, this could have a better one to look out for.

Performers of the soul :: Berbara Colenmight seem like the main character in the beginning, but she is not – it is to be noted that she does come up with a simple and serene performance though. Then there is Sonia Braga, but she is not the leading lady either. Thomas Aquino also has a big role to play here, but he remains just one of the characters when we consider the film with its totality. Silvero Pereira as Lunga comes into the picture late, and has his own moments to steal some of the show. But one has to feel that this is a movie without one protagonist or an antagonist, as there are many characters spread throughout the movie – in the beginning, we think that one person is the star, and then we see the focus shifting from there, and other characters are thrown into the picture with chances of being the leader, but the same keeps changing all the time. There are moments when one feels that there is something here that people from other parts of the world might end up missing. Well, the approval rating of 90% based on 125 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes should mean something more.

How it finishes :: Bacurau is the first Portuguese movie that I have watched, and I have been wishing to watch one for a long time. The movie is Brazilian and not Portuguese in identity, and is thus closer to Latin America than Europe, providing a different experience. It is great to see a new world displayed in the movie, with all its simplicity, and the natural problems which come with the same. The action comes in the later stages, and the movie turns into a thrilling adventure without any warning. Bacurau might be a good choice to start watching as far as those different or rather strange movies are concerned. There are times when we think that Bacurau is not just a small town in the middle of nowhere that struggles to be displayed on the map, but a reflection of what can happen to people when facing the inherent cruelty from the rest of the human beings who consider themselves to be very much superior in race, technology, colour, strength or anything else.

Release date: 25th September 2019
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles
Starring: Sonia Braga, Udo Kier, Barbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira, Karine Teles, Julia Marie Peterson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Taken 3

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Uncle Dracula :: So do you believe that the Vampire Owl was taken?

Vampire Bat :: I didn’t say that. I was talking about him not going for movies, and not being available for consideration even for watching the movie Taken 3.

Uncle Dracula :: But he could have been taken, nevertheless.

Vampire Bat :: Why are we even having this conversation?

Uncle Dracula :: Because I am giving you a substitute for the Vampire Owl here. Take Igor.

Vampire Bat :: What? Wasn’t he with Doctor Frankenstein?

Uncle Dracula :: Yes, but he was taken. You didn’t know? Even my brides know that.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, they will surely know that, because they have no other job. They don’t even brush their fangs. But taken by whom?

Uncle Dracula :: Taken by me. Who else? I am the only Bryan Mills around here. Now, take my new vampire chariot and leave. You are getting late and there is a chance that you might be taken by Doctor Frankenstein in retaliation.

Vampire Bat :: That is a fair point. And you stop abducting people after transforming into fog, mist, wolves, dogs, potato chips, Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Titanic DVD and all those other things. The age is different now. It is not cool anymore.

[Kick-starts the vampire chariot].

What is it about? :: The two major incidents seem to have cooled down, and nobody seems to be “taken” anymore. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is once again trying to be good with his daughter Kim Mills (Maggie Grace) who is now living with her boyfriend and his ex-wife Lenore Mills (Famke Janssen) who is having problems with her current husband, Stuart St. John (Dougray Scott). But things get turned around as his wife is found murdered, and when he enters the house, he is framed for the murder. As he becomes the prime suspect here due to the evidence, he manages to flee from the scene using his special skills and uses the same to find a way to get to her murderer. The police is on his trail and asks him to surrender and let them investigate, leaving it for the court to decide, but Bryan knows that he can trust his skills better than anything else. Inspector Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) is in charge of the case and decides to go after Bryan.

The defence of Taken 3 :: You know what to expect in a sequel to the kind of movies that the predecessors were. Even with a change in the basic plot as nobody is “taken”, this one tries to use the same protagonist to its advantage nicely. Yes, it chooses not to follow that idea and comes up with something different, even as it is not something which hasn’t been tried before. The action sequences involving our protagonist are once again good, even as not raising the level. This is also more of the action movie than thriller, even as some suspense is there trying to make smaller impacts. The stunts mostly involve some melee combat, more shoot-outs and a lot more car chase action. The fans might still love this one up-to an extent, and too much expectation will kill this one. Yes, the franchise ends here, and may be that will also work in favour of this in your mind, even as one his the last dialogues might make one feel otherwise.

The claws of flaw:: Taken 3 fails to give a great ending to the franchise which has to be satisfied with the average finish compared to how it has been going. There is no coming anywhere near the first movie, that is for sure. A comparison with the predecessors is going to devastate this movie, and the place of this one is below the previous two. This is not even that well edited, or even developed as something that brings the thrills to the viewers. It even hesitates to go full swing action, and one has to wonder why. The final scenes also lack the power, and the villains as well as the gang remains not just weak, but also uninteresting. Even the twist could have used more power. It needed more action and thrills, but Taken 3 tries to hang on to the power of the previous movies and bring this franchise to an end which neither Liam Neeson or the audience deserved. After watching this one, may be you will feel that this should have been a movie out of Taken franchise – like Non-Stop, Unknown and The Grey.

Performers of the soul :: You see a Liam Neeson movie here again, and he takes the avatar of one of his best known characters, even as I don’t consider his characters in Non-Stop, The Grey and Unknown with any less reverence – same goes to Hannibal of The A-Team. Being the action hero that everyone wants to see beating up the bad people, he once again doesn’t fail to deliver. There are signs of old age for sure, but he still got it as the man who got the special skills that he acquired. Here, he is bigger than the movie – no doubt about that. You know that Famke Janssen’s character gets killed early, but Maggie Grace is once again very good, but is left with not that much to do in this movie. Forest Whitaker was impressive during his stay, but the villains were too weak. The Russian villain idea never really came close to working, and the other villain twist was another weak addition. There could have been better ideas about it, but we find none here.

Soul exploration :: Taken 3 has its heart at the family, and once again the father-daughter relationship gets a good chance in the middle. But if it was given better thoughts or at least shown with more humour, that would have actually worked in favour of this movie, considering how much this movie has struggled to keep up with its predecessors. Even in what has made this franchise such a big name, this one struggles to make the expected impact. I have actually heard my friends saying “does this guy’s family still have members who are to be kidnapped? How big a family is that?” – when they heard about the release of a third movie. Taken 3 is more like The Hangover III considering the fact that it had no hangover as this one had nobody being taken, but the after-effects of the earlier hangovers and those abductions in the earlier movies still stay.

How it finishes :: Taken 3 doesn’t seem to make much impact in the theatres, even as the initial crowd is there due to the fame of the previous movies, and it is only a matter of time until the advantage is lost. There is a long list of Hollywood movies from the previous weeks though, like Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, Interstellar, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies and Penguins of Madagascar along with the other language movies, all of them with better opinions received than this one. The advice here would be not to go for Taken 3 with the expectation of another Taken. Think about it as another action movie coming from Liam Neeson, and the characters as just the reflections of the situation in the flick. Watch this one for Liam Neeson, and think not much about the franchise or the rest of the things.

Release date: 9th January 2015.
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Forest Whitaker, Dougray Scott, Sam Spruell, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, Jonny Weston, Dylan Bruno

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Wick

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Vampire Owl :: May be we should watch Beauty and the Beast instead of this.

Vampire Bat :: Now why should you think so after getting the tickets?

Vampire Owl :: Because you can find more than one John everywhere, but a beauty is so rare to find.

Vampire Bat :: You are beauty-blind. You never appreciate any kind of beauty. Do you know that?

Vampire Owl :: That is not true. I find beauty even in a mortuary.

Vampire Bat :: It is exactly what I am talking about. And this is why you will find more beauty or the strange image of beauty in an action movie like John Wick.

Vampire Owl :: What about Jessabelle? I have heard that she is a beauty.

Vampire Bat :: It has been panned by critics, and might not release here soon. The same is the case of Horns.

Vampire Owl :: See, they don’t release the right movie here. You should arrange a mutiny while I am planning to owlify the world.

Vampire Bat :: Still doing better than the censor board.

[Goes into the theatre].

What is it about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is spending his life in sadness and depression after the death of his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan) due to cancer. But he receives a puppy which his wife had left for him and decides to love it a lot. One day, a group of gang members ask him to name a price for his car in which they are interested. But John refuses and leaves them very angry. But at night, lead by Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), they get into his home, beat him up, kills his dog and steals the car. Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the leader of the gang and the father of Iosef scolds him and tells him who John actually is. He was his best assassin, who was nicknamed the boogeyman, and this ruthless killer will come to get the one who attacked him, and there is no force that can stop him. He tries to talk to John, which fails, and therefore places a bounty on him – the two major assassins who seem to take the offer seriously are Marcus (Willem Dafoe) and Miss Perkins (Adrianne Palicki). But John Wick has already started his mission – he has been in the best in the business.

The defence of John Wick :: The world of John Wick is nicely created, and it is a nice and gory one full of action and violence which stands apart. It gives a special feeling as we are guided through that strange and lawless world with its own chaos as the right thing to do. It is stylish work, and its style doesn’t go too much and make it complicated – it is simple and nice, with some melee combat and lots of gunshots, never really trying anything spectacular. We do need a good action movie with a lot of action which doesn’t get overdone with flying bodies, people doing insance stunts and all, and here is it. For those who need a bloody revenge story, here it is. It might be the time to imagine all those who were bad to you this week getting shot – yes, it is a lot like a video game and the one that first comes to mind is Max Payne. There is that kind of a feeling going on, and there is even the shot of a man playing a first person shooter getting shot, all of a sudden. Shoot, shoot and save the movie – I would say that it is the motto of John Wick.

Claws of flaw :: There is drag, and there is absolutely no doubt about it. The slowness of the movie is rather awkward and there are also some uninteresting parts of the action sequences which are uncalled for. The movie does seem to offer a lot in the beginning, but that much is not provided – John Wick is this, John Wick is that, but he is not that smart as it turns out to be, but sometimes goes on like a kind of Chuck Norris, getting rid of people who are in his way. But in melee combat, he gets beaten up a lot, and one has to wonder why he was considered that scary. It is all because of his dog getting killed, and that is also strange considering how much of a murderer the protagonist has been. Then there is the ending, and the final scenes as well as the fights are not the better things in the movie, even as they could have been – and that is a let down. We think that it has ended, and it has not, and then there is the hope for another ending, and finally it ends, it is predictable, keeping us looking on our watches – there are boring moments, and the movie is a little too long.

Performers of the soul :: Here is a movie of Keanu Reeves which is all about him as the name itself suggests. He is once again at his best, and in action, he seems supreme. He has blended into this avatar so nicely that this might be his best performance for some time. There is still nothing like seeing him in The Matrix, Constantine and Speed though – sorry, couldn’t live without mentioning them here. Michael Nyqvist is fantastic as the gang lord. The movie does leave one hoping that Adrianne Palicki had more to do – the only thing she does here is to try to kill John Wick, but she is supposed to be a smart lady assassin, and should do more, and could have controlled a lot more in the movie, and her end is also too cold. I thought she was very good in G.I. Joe: Retaliation as Lady Jaye, and here she has a blunt character, but I liked the way she dealt with it. The same is the case of Willem Dafoe who was needed more – there could have been more with him and that sniper rifle. Lance Reddick is nice indeed in his scenes. Ian McShane also leaves a nice mark. I do wish Bridget Moynahan was out of John Wick’s mobile screen for a little more time.

Soul exploration :: This is a story of revenge, and how it goes in a violent manner – there is no chance for regret in this world of chaos and annihilation. There is the assertion of the truth that one’s past can’t be asked to go away, especially if it is violent in nature. There can be many things that a man can be, but being not influenced at least indirectly by his past is rather not possible – the grave where you hide these tend to come back as zombies, and John Wick is no exception for the same. The Malayalam word for “past” is “bhootham” which means ghost, and it keeps haunting us, thus making that name a worthy one. John’s attempt to escape from his past doesn’t prove to be good for his present, and keeps his future uncertain. Yes, worrying about the past is useless, but not when it is a terrible one, and you do have something left in you to take your mind and body back to it – that means that you have not changed. Unless you have not let go in a way in which there is no return, there is no escape, because ghosts will successfully feed on them some day. There are not many twisted things in this movie, as the plot is direct – find, kill, have your revenge, leave in one piece if possible.

How it finishes :: This weekend’s challengers for John Wick are from Nightcrawler and Beauty and the Beast. The remains from the past include Gone Girl which is still going strong, along with Interstellar, Big Hero 6 and Fury which should be of no challenge for this one. Among this week’s releases too, this one should have the advantage, with Keanu Reeves being back at what he has been doing the best and can accomplish with that certain amount of awesomeness – there will be a lot of Matrix fans who have been hoping for the same. It is also the only hundred percent action movie among all the releases. The releases in other languages also has none that belongs to full action. Lets hope that John Wick will bring a change in the action genre as it hasn’t been doing that well as the situation used to be, unless being mixed with science fiction or some random adventure into the unknown or fantasy. Do give John Wick a chance if you are a strong action fan, otherwise may be you can doubt.

Release date: 14th November 2014 (India); 24th October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe, Lance Reddick, Daniel Bernhardt, Omer Barnea, Toby Leonard Moore, Bridget Regan, Keith Jardine, Thomas Sadoski, David Patrick Kelly, Clarke Peters, Kevin Nash, Randall Duk Kim, Scott Tixier

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.