Black Widow

Vampire Owl: I hope that we are not speaking about the spiders here.

Vampire Bat: No, none of us vampires are related to spiders, you know.

Vampire Owl: The witches take in a lot spiders.

Vampire Bat: Most of them are killed by the cats in there though.

Vampire Owl: But they are essential part of the dark magic.

Vampire Bat: It is not dark magic, but black magic.

Vampire Owl: You feel that there is a difference between the two.

Vampire Bat: Yes, darkness is not necessarily black, as it can come in different colours.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about darkness being reinvented by the vampire elders.

Vampire Bat: The source is the portal though.

[Gets a paneer momo and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz) are undercover agents of Russia known elsewhere as the Red Guardian and Black Widow, just a few years after the fall of the Soviet Union. Everything seems to be too natural for them, as a family with parents and two children. The agents successfully disguise as a normal American family in Ohio with their two daughters, and after stealing SHIELD intelligence, manage to escape to Cuba, after going through a tough chase. Soon enough, they are trained vigorously for their possible future missions for this secret organization known as Red Room. Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) who had their training in the Red Room to become assassins, continue in their missions to become successful and highly skilled fighters in their own ways. Natasha has become a fugitive for violating the Sokovia Accords, some time after joining the Avengers, after she had left her own team of assassins much earlier to join SHIELD.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Natasha escapes to a safehouse in Norway, while Yelena comes in contact with a former Black Widow who provides a synthetic gas that neutralizes the chemical mind control agent on her, which leads her to understand her actions and move to hiding. She attempts to stop the Red Room, this organization which has been creating assassins by manipulation of the mind. Natasha believes that she had destroyed the Red Room a long time ago, but it seems that it is not the case, as she is hunted by an unknown figure for the vials which were sent to her by her sister. She manages to escape and meet Yelena, only to be attacked by more female assassins, part of the Black Widow programme in the Red Room. Yelena had hoped that someone from Avengers would help her to get rid of the Red Room and free the black widows, but it seems that the superhero team no longer holds strong, and they have to find a few other more effective options.

The defence of Black Widow :: The movie fits in nicely within the list of superhero movies with its own fine deviations. The action scenes definitely make the point, and the two leading ladies make the best part of the movie, and some fine humour is also added in there well. There are surely some fine scenes which stand apart from the others, and not all of them are at the best for the intensity or the use of special effects. The fight scenes when the two sisters meet, and when the black widows fight, are among two of the best. The visuals are really good, as you would expect from a movie like this. The emotional moments are also pretty much working. The film is a fine part of the cinematic universe, but at the same time, it is also good enough to stand alone here. In the end, you do know where to place this movie, and with the final moments after the credits, the same is assured yet again – it is once again that time when you don’t take the eyes away from the screen.

Positives and negatives :: The movie does have perfectly suited cast to work in its favour with a lot of efficiency. The new additions to the cinematic universe are indeed among the best, and we see them joining and blending in so well. We do have hope that there could be a new beginning for the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the new entries, even though the Corona virus pandemic threat is forever, and can affect its run in the future too. There are still times when the movie seems to go up and down, seemingly following an inconsistent pattern – the tale could have followed a more straight forward pattern rather than going on like the tides. There could have also been more training sequences of the black widows, and more of their missions might have done the movie more good. A little bit more of Avengers could have also provided the movie with positives. After all, we are never short of hope, as far as superheroes are concerned.

The performers of the soul :: Scarlett Johansson leads the way, as one would expect. We have seen her do what she has done the best in the previous movies. Florence Pugh is the one who comes up with some fine surprises, and if there is another Black Widow, it could only be her – she makes a perfect one indeed. She would have made a fine addition to the team of Avengers on another day, maybe as part of another dimension in future. The action works for both of them really well, and there is also that humour that comes nicely with them around. It is also nice to see Rachel Weisz in such a memorable role again, as she is one actress who was also part of our childhood for quite a long time. David Harbour brings an extra amount of humour in between too, and even when serious, he adds a certain amount of the same. Olga Kurylenko is also present, even though we don’t see much of her, at least not the face. She remains one action star that we can always trust on, one of the last references being the lesser known film, The Courier.

How it finishes :: We know where these Marvel movies go, and this one does have its deviation which seems to work efficiently by its own. As the new action-packed addition to the grand list, it is an entertaining ride that one wouldn’t want to miss, as we already have that feeling of requiring more of Avengers after Infinity War and Endgame. The superheroes and saving the world have been gone for rather too long, and here we have it back in the form of Black Widow. We have been wondering which the movie would bring that power back, as we around here don’t really watch the series. This one also has its own fine surprises to add to the same, as this one is really a fine mixture of things. It is not that easy to make an enjoyable film which can match the predecessors anymore, as Marvel has come up with some of the best already. Well, this some proof about the about the fact that there is always chance to keep the momentum going.

Release date: 9th July 2021
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Cate Shortland
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Olga Kurylenko, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, Rachel Weisz

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jo and Jo

Vampire Owl: The movie seems to have gathered some extra attention.

Vampire Bat: Some movies always get some unexpected attention.

Vampire Owl: Most of them also get the unwanted.

Vampire Bat: Well, there are many unwanted movies.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about the movies with so called superstars.

Vampire Bat: Yes, in comparison, this one is capable of more.

Vampire Owl: Yet funny movies mostly get more ratings than they should.

Vampire Bat: Let us not think about comedy right now.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that these are bad times.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there are never good times when humans are involved.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: Jomon Baby (Mathew Thomas) and Jomol Baby (Nikhila Vimal) are the two children of Baby Palathara (Johny Antony) and Lillykutty Baby (Sminu Sijo). Both the children do not like each other, and fights continuously, sometimes without any reason at all. Manoj Sundaran (Naslen K Gafoor) and Ebey Kuruvilla (Melvin G Babu) are Jomon’s best friends, and the former also has a crush for Jomol. Baby is an understanding father even though both of his children are more irritating than anything he had known before, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic lock-down days. Baby doesn’t have that much of a work because these are the corona times, and Lillykutty is not happy about her children being rebellious against her. Jomol is not happy and often violent for no reason because she feels that Lillykutty likes Jomon more as he is the younger one and male. Jomon is a very irresponsible student and son, whose only contribution towards home is the one fish that he gets once in a bluemoon while trying fishing with his friends.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Member Shibu (Binu Adimaly) is consistently trying to get Jomol married to someone who is settled outside India, especially because Lillykutty wants to see Canada, United States of America, United Kingdom or similar countries after she settles down there – Jomol is very hostile about that idea as she is not the kind of person who wishes to leave her comfort zone. One day, Jomon finds a letter seemingly of romance, addressed to a person named Jo, and also a green motor-bike leaving the area. He feels that Jomol is having an affair, and throws the letter away. He feels that she will leave them all, and go with a stranger on a motor-bike. Jomol who picks up the letter later, finds the writings for someone named Jo, and feels that Jomon is having a romantic affair at this age, which means that the girl would most probably be below eighteen, and therefore it is an illegal affair. Jomol decides to take the help of their grandmother to find out the truth, while Jomon is helped by his friends, especially Manoj who is heart-broken about his crush having an affair. What would actually be the truth?

The defence of Jo and Jo :: When we look at Jo and Jo, some people might find it perfect to relate, especially the kind of new generation that is not ready to give their elder sister the deserving respect, and spends their time playing nonsensical games when not wandering around with friends for smoking or drinking alcohol. The film is a fine representation of such a generation, and also that of a new generation of elder sisters who fail to take responsibility of the younger brother – in that case, the boys who serve more as friends are surely better. Still, it does feels that the new generation is gone beyond repair, thanks to the mobile and internet addiction brought to everyone by Reliance through Jio and schools through the online classes in the time of COIVD-19 lock-downs. The film clearly shows that the future is lost with a new generation coming up from online schooling. The humour which has been used for the same is somewhat working, and those who are able to relate to these might find the proceedings to be even better.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much in Jo and Jo that you have not witnessed before in different forms in a few movies and some homes, even though there is the exaggeration. Sometimes, this idea of exaggerating is a little too much. The problem that the main character has with his bowels is made fun of in a miserable manner, and those are not really fit to get anywhere near quality jokes. When making a family movie, one also has to make sure about the language. There are strengths being displayed in this movie, but they don’t get the required focus. A better awareness about the genre was required here. One actor who should have been used more is Sagar Surya of the Thatteem Mutteem fame. The moments related to corona could have also been more fun – a lot of innovations could have been used there too. After all, there is more about corona virus than what is reported in the news; you just need to look a little more for inspiration. For a movie dealing with simple things, it feels a little long, and also has some irritating moments. The feel-good factor just goes missing, and there is almost no good thing about family here.

The performers of the soul :: Mathew Thomas who set the ball rolling with Kumbalangi Nights and Thanneer Mathan Dinangal, continues his good form around here too, even though that much of power cannot be seen around here. The talent is visible at points around here, but not as a whole. Nikhila Vimal who debuted as the lead in Love 24×7 and only recently had different types of performances in The Priest and Madhuram, gets a role which is still much divergent from her previous performances. Yet, sometimes, her character feels overdone, and one would love her the most from that work of grace which was seen in Aravindante Athidhikal. Johny Antony who is known more as the director, earlier seen in Home, has evolved into Ranji Panicker – Lalu Alex mode with ease, and is the one true lovable character in this movie. Naslen K Gafoor who traveled a different path with Kuruthi, does what he has been usually doing with ease. Melvin G Babu is the one who nicely adds to the fun, often better than the bigger names around here. Sagar Surya’s small role is made effective enough too. Sminu Sijo makes a fine mother too.

How it finishes :: It is nice to see that Jo and Jo releasing on Amazon Prime Video less than one month after its theatre release. These are the times when the corona virus is becoming stronger than ever, and crowds should be taken care of, even though political parties and celebrities would care less about common man who is forced to suffer due to the never ending attack of the virus. If it was stronger and better focused, it would have been able to leave an emotional impact or a result of pure fun, but due to it going through everything randomly, it is only a somewhat effective entertainer without an emotional side to be taken further. If it has tried to send a message, there has been failure related to that. The movie can be considered as a random funny movie about happenings in a family during COVID-19 lock-down times, without expecting too much – there is nothing grand here, and no contribution towards the intellect. You can just go through this movie because you wish to see something which could naturally occur in families, with the funny side, avoiding the terrible exaggerations in between – nothing more is granted here.

Release date: 10th June 2022 (Amazon); 13th May 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Arun D Jose
Starring: Mathew Thomas, Nikhila Vimal, Naslen K Gafoor, Melvin G Babu, Johny Antony, Leena Antony, Sminu Sijo, Sagar Surya, Hareesh Penga, Binu Adimaly, Kalabhavan Shajohn

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Brazen

Vampire Owl: So, Netflix seems to have released another movie with a killer.

Vampire Bat: I am wondering if this is a serial killer on the loose.

Vampire Owl: There is always a chance that there can be more than one killer.

Vampire Bat: If it was a vampire, one killer would have been enough.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t really want a vampire in there though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, vampires are rarely serial killers or psycho killers.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that vampires can only be contract killers.

Vampire Bat: We, vampires have been killers of souls for a long time.

Vampire Owl: The exact title should have been takers of souls.

Vampire Bat: With the exception of zombies whose souls are now with the Northern witches.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Grace Miller (Alyssa Milano) is a popular mystery novelist who has long journeys with her book tours. Most of her novels have women getting murdered, and after a series of investigations, the killer is discovered. She finally gets to visit her sister after a long time. The sister is going through a custody battle for her son after filing a divorce, and also teaching English Literature and Drama in high school. Ed Jennings (Sam Page) who lives next door is a detective has just solved the case of the murder of a woman by her husband, and is now going through a few days off. Grace and Ed have drinks together and discusses different fictional murders, as she hopes that she could use his help in her upcoming novel. But when she returns home after spending some time with him, she finds her sister dead inside the house. Grace goes into depression, and Ed feels that he should be going through the investigation rather than any other police officer, and help her.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Police investigation discovers that even though her sister was a teacher for the public, she was part of a webcam based site known as Fantasy Inc, where she worked as a dominatrix, providing online femdom. The first suspect is the ex-husband, as the dead woman knew some of the secrets that the rich and influential man held. Even though she has remained anonymous as the company has always guaranteed to keep her identity secret, and as she was also wearing a mask throughout her performances, the police feels that it could have been somehow leaked. Grace feels that she should also be personally involved in the investigation, even though Ed asks her not to take it personal, and let the police do the job. She does come up with some interesting information from the school where her sister was teaching, and that provides some of the missing pieces for the police. But it seems that this is not just about her sister, as there are other murders.

The defence of Brazen :: This is one entertaining movie which has an investigation going, and the puzzle is nicely solved, with some nice red herrings thrown around here and there. The lost parts of the puzzle are nicely brought in here, and we are also able to make some guesses, but things become perfectly clear only by the end. From the beginning itself, you know where this one is going, and as you get into the mood soon enough, you are much more interested in it. It has some interesting twists happening around here, and it does take a fine turn in the end. The idea of including the dominatrix-teacher twist is something which hasn’t been tried before, and the movie makes some fine connection related to that. You are not required to expect too much about this though, as this doesn’t go on with that much of a divergence, and we have the straight forward thriller which can be enjoyed. You see the murders happening, and you see how the mystery is solved, with the killer being caught in the end – it is pretty much what you need as a completed puzzle. Then there is Alyssa Milano, the lady from our past, bringing back the childhood memories.

The claws of flaw :: The movie suffers from the early reviews, which seem to be against it, and can affect its scope, but it really doesn’t deserve that much of a spot down the ratings. The addition of a mystery writer to the police department’s investigation does feel strange, as if the cops are not that bright, thanks to the lady at the head of the department who seems to have less faith in her own people. The investigation of the police should have been the more convincing one, but here, it seems that fiction can serve the whole investigation better, and it is indeed a strange thing. Even with a serial killer who seems to be more like a psycho at the centre, there is not that much of scares related to it – the man could have been used better. It could have also used the work of the dead people better, and could have connected it better with the psychotic episodes. There could have also been clearer versions of the murders happening with some nice shots of the same making the deaths more gruesome. The first few moments of the movie are also slower, and it does take some time to pick up the pace, while the romantic angle is less explored.

The performers of the soul :: We have known Alyssa Milano mostly from one vampire movie which was among those interesting vampire flicks of the times, and she was indeed a loved actress from the movie, and during those times – we were all looking for some fine horror movies during those times, with special focus on vampire films. Many years later, twenty six to be exact, I am watching another movie with her in the lead, and it is a case of nostalgia as much as anything else. Well, she has been the childhood crush of many kids living and growing up through the 1990s. She does come up with a good performance here too, even as the character is not that perfectly written according to the needs of this thriller. Well, there are a few actresses who were part of our childhood, and they still remain our favourites at a higher age group. Sam Page plays a good supporting role, and he also shares a fine chemistry with Alyssa, often bringing a certain amount of humour related to it too. Emilie Ullerup also shines during her short stay around here. Malachi Weir also has a supporting role to add to it here. Aaron Paul Stewart also has something to contribute.

How it finishes :: Brazen might not be a movie that caters to some high expectations, but it is surely the type that manages to do its job well, and also in an entertaining way. The movie is based on Nora Roberts’s novel Brazen Virtue, and the similarities and differences between the two versions are yet to be known. Some of the early negative reviews about this movie feels rather surprising, because there is not that much of flaws here, which pulls it down, as far as you look at it according to the overall mood of the movie. It is an investigative thriller which maintains the strength throughout its run, and there are some interesting moments which builds on the tale’s twists really well. In the end, there is the final twist, and we see the serial killer mode being switched on in the middle, as the investigation did get stronger then. You can surely watch this movie and be entertained, and Alyssa Milano is the one actress whom you remember from the childhood days, as she was one of those big names of those times, in those early CDs and DVDs.

Release date: 13 January 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Monika Mitchell
Starring: Alyssa Milano, Sam Page, Colleen Wheeler, Lossen Chambers, Emilie Ullerup, Malachi Weir, Barry W Levy, Matthew Finlan, Aaron Paul Stewart, Will Verchere-Gopaulsingh, Jack Armstrong, Leslie Kwan, Michael Q Adams

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.