Despicable Me 3

Vampire Owl: I would like to use this particular title for myself too.

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to be called the vampire deserving hatred and contempt?

Vampire Owl: Because I am going to take over the world.

Vampire Bat: You have had that thought since you became a vampire apprentice for the first time. It is not real.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has always believed in alternate realities.

Vampire Bat: But you don’t believe in Mr. Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: He is just not part of my reality. But his methods surely are.

Vampire Bat: You cannot pretend to put things into different realities, and speak as if you are from one reality in which is independent of the others when all of these is just one reality.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that with regular practice and with finding inner peace, we can create our own realities with our minds?

Vampire Bat: This is exactly why I feel that zombies without brains are awesome.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and caramel popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Felonious Gru (Steve Carell) is spending some nice time as a secret agent of the anti-villain league along with his newfound love, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) who is also trying hard to be a loving mother to the three adopted kids, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel). Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a supervillain obsessed with the television character that he played, has become Gru’s biggest opponent, and even evades him and Lucy on so many occasions. After the last encounter between the two, Gru and Lucy end up being fired from the league by the new chief of the league. Now left without any job, the minions led by Mel (Pierre Coffin) wishes for him to go evil again, so that they will all have something to do. But Gru doesn’t want go back to be the villain again as it would be against all he had hoped for, and so the minions just decide to quit, except for two.

So, what happens next? :: Meanwhile, Balthazar continues to have more and more success with his evil plans, stealing world’s most precious diamond without even having to think twice about it. It is during those times that Gru comes to know that he has a twin brother named Dru (again Steve Carell), who seems to be rather a successful businessman with his pig farms. They had separated when they were kids, as Gru was taken by his mother and Dru by his father, both not knowing about each other until now. When it is revealed, Dru does invite Gru and his family to his special place, where they are given a grand welcome. With golden hair on the head and being a more cheerful and successful man, Dru does make Gru jealous, but it is not the visit is more about. Dru reveals that Gru has always been a role-model in the form of a master villain, even with his failures – he claims that it is Gru who has kept the family tradition going.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Meanwhile, minions end up in prison, and come up with some special plans to get back with Gru due to the nostalgia keeping on troubling them. Dru wants Gru to go back to crime with him, as he feels that both of them could get the family crime legacy to the next level. Gru who is now married to his love and being the father of three adopted children, doesn’t really want to do the same, but wants to get even with Balthazar. He plans to get the diamond from the criminal, and get it to the anti-villain league along with the villain himself, so that he could find him and his wife back in the job. But his brother is interested in this because they could get their hands on the most valuable diamond in the world, and the heist would thus go down in history. But our evil villain does have other plans starting from Hollywood, and going on for mass destruction. Will Gru be able to stop him this time?

The defence of Despicable Me 3:: There is the focus on laughter here, and attempts are regularly made at the same. With the attempt to bring in more action sequences, and situations made for comedy, we are surely seeing an entertainment which finishes without taking that much of our time. It also leaves things open in the end which means that we can have something to go for with a fourth movie which will be something better if good imagination gets the right inspiration. Minions, even though out of the main tale, making almost no impact, are still fun to watch – there are some rare cases here that has repetition being fun. The kids are surely going to love this one a lot – there is no reason why they shouldn’t, as silliness is written again and again on screen with this movie around. Everyone from that age really wants to be Gru or at least with him in an animated world full of action and minions, don’t they? Well, be there early as this one released in India before it did in the United States of America.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Despicable Me 3 is just too childish – surely more childish than the first movie as well as Despicable Me 2. There is almost no thinking regarding the story-line here, as we get to know that quite early. We see not much happening here, and even the usual messages are not present. With what seems to be a random mixture of things, the emotional side is rather lost, something which can be rather catastrophic of an animated movie – the kids have almost no significance in the tale along with the minions who are just there for the laughter, and there are the two brothers whose story just seemed to have been brought for the sake of the adventure, and there is the villain who seems to have the appeal rather too much on the kids rather than anyone else. You would also realise that there have been two movies before this and a spin-off, and a better result still evades the makers and the fans alike. 3D is also not that much of a difference maker.

How it finishes :: Well, Despicable Me 3 is fun for sure, even though it seems to trail behind Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 without even trying well enough to make much of an impact. Maybe, everyone have already felt that this franchise is in an eternal safe zone, like Ice Age, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda series might have been thinking already. But, if we compare the number of screens and the number of viewers for Cars 3 and this one, it is clear that safe zone is slowly and steadily becoming a myth – there are always new movies which are not sequels made out of special creativity, like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen and Inside Out, ready to conquer the animated area. They will surely have to put the extra effort for the next movie, if people are going to continue believing in the same – this will work as of now with its comic side and how good it looks on the screen, but an animated movie is going to require more than that in order to have a long and better run.

Release date: 16th June 2017 (India); 30th June 2017 (USA)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews, Jenny Slate, Pierre Coffin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Secret Life of Pets

Vampire Owl: I told you that they had secrets, very dangerous ones.

Vampire Bat: Who are you talking about here?

Vampire Owl: The pets. The minions. The zombies. They all have such secret lives.

Vampire Bat: Actually, this movie is not about your theory of animals stealing your writings. It never really happened, and is just a vampire conspiracy theory.

Vampire Owl: What? No! I know that they are having evil plans against us.

Vampire Bat: How can you look forward to big evil plans in an animated movie?

Vampire Owl: Animated evil is still evil, and it can also be brutal.

Vampire Bat: This one even won 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards.

Vampire Owl: Then I will look for the same in another evil animated movie.

Vampire Bat: Okay, just leave this one as a simple animated movie for now.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with a blueberry cake piece].

What is the movie about? :: A Jack Russell Terrier named Max (Louis CK) is living happily with his owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) in an apartment in the city. He wishes to spend most of his time with her, but she has to go to work. After Katie leaves, he spends his time with other pets who also live in the same building: a fat, apathetic and proud cat Chloe (Lake Bell), a smart and always excited pug Mel (Bobby Moynihan), a happy and easy-going dachshund Buddy (Hannibal Buress), and also a parrot Sweetpea. There are also other two significant pets, Norman (Chris Renaud), a guinea pig who keeps losing his way in the apartment, and Gidget (Jenny Slate), a white Pomeranian dog on the opposite apartment having a desperate crush on Max, but haven’t been able to tell him that due to fear of rejection. All the pets socialise and lead a different life after their owners leave.

So, what happens next? :: As things go like this without anything new or special happening with their lives, Katie adopts Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a large mongrel from the dog pound. This leaves Max jealous about having to share his house and also his belongings with someone new. Despite Duke’s repeated attempts to make a deal to share things, Max doesn’t agree and claims everything for himself. He even attempts to make Max look bad in front of Katie even though she has decided to share her love between the two. Angry at Max’s attitude towards him, Duke tries to teach him a lesson outside, but they are both a group of stray cats who remove their collars and leave them on the streets to be caught by Animal Control. Max is desperate to get home again, while Duke is afraid that he will be put down if he goes back to the dog pound.

And then how do things go from there? :: But things don’t end there for them as help is on the way. There is Snowball (Kevin Hart), a white rabbit who leads a rebel group of pets who were mistreated and disowned by their owners. Max and Duke are saved, and they go with anti-domestication gang into the sewers, hoping to find their way back home one day. There are tales of cruelty from humans against the pets told by the members of the group, and hatred runs wild against the human species. As Max and Duke also pretend to hate humans, and even claim to have killed one, Snowball invites them to join the group. But their earlier enemies, the stray cats come in and tell the truth, and they escape, but not without Snowball on their trail vowing to kill them as they had ended up accidentally killing their holy viper. So, the question remains if they can save themselves, or even their old friends find them and save them before Snowball gets his hands on them?

The defence of The Secret Life of Pets :: The movie nicely takes on the other world, leading us through the imaginary space that our pets consider theirs. The voice cast is very much suitable, and there is lot of fun in store in this one. The kids are going to love this one, as already proven with Kids’ Choice Awards, and the people with pets will love it even more. This will appeal the most to the owners of dogs, but the rest also gets their due. There is the message of adjusting to the situations and also to consider the feelings of others, keeping family and friends close to each other. It also tells the owners of animals and birds to be nice to them, and to keep them close and provide the needed, as they are required to be. Well, we get to associate with more pets than we think we will have to; and The Secret Life of Pets will come into the mind more than once. The whole thing remain cute, even with the talks of murdering others.

The claws of flaw :: There are times when The Secret Life of Pets gives that feeling that we have known and seen this before; there are also moments of predictability and repetition, something that the animated movies have struggled so hard to avoid. There will no new level of animated awesomeness to be set here, and this one surely trails in front of the two big animated movies of the year, Moana and Zootopia or the earlier big one, Inside Out. The movie also focuses on the dog’s side, and it is no surprise with the number of people who have or feel the need to have the dog rather than any other. But a tale about pets like this one could have had more of the cats, and hopefully the sequel will have the same. It is a need, and with this stereotyping that has been going on and on with cats and dogs, maybe there will be a day on which all these things will turn the other way around – it is that day which will have the best of movies of this kind, and we hope that it is The Secret Life of Pets 2 that we can talk about like that.

How it finishes :: With the sequel coming up in the year 2019, what the makers need to realise is that a movie like The Secret Life of Pets doesn’t need to focus that much on making people laugh, because it is funny – maybe some divergence is what the second movie of this series should be having. There is no doubt about the box-office too with this one becoming the highest grossing original animated movie which is not produced by Disney or Pixar, and The Secret Life of Pets is also the the sixth highest grossing film of 2016. It is even above the much hyped movies like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Deadpool, Suicide Squad and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. So, the first movie is a winner in so many ways, and what we will need to have is something different and special in the second one, thus maybe even going on to win the Academy Awards for the Best Animated Feature Film – even that much can be done with this material.

Release date: 8th July 2016
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Chris Renaud
Starring: Louis CK, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Steve Coogan, Albert Brooks, Chris Renaud, Michael Beattie, Sandra Echeverría, Kiely Renaud

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Night at the Museum III

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A flashback :: Merry Christmas, everyone. The Vampire Bat is back flying in the theatres again. I haven’t watched a movie in the theatre since the eighth of December which had me watching the movie Seconds, and the reasons are specified here at my other, and nowadays the more active blog (http://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/the-loss-of-power/). The period of eighteen or nineteen days is a long time for me – like a part of an eternity. So on this day of the return to theatre, or most specifically, the multiplex, lets start with the flashback for this third movie of one of my favourite franchises – I am sure that a lot of people from India can use this. This is the story of Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), who has been the night guard for the Museum of Natural History, and it is where history comes alive, or rather the museum exhibits comes to life at night, and all of them show the characteristics of the respective historical person as if this is the same person who had lived and died years or centuries ago. Our protagonist, with his museum friends have saved the day (or night) twice already.

What is it about? :: We go back to the discovery of the tablet of Ahkmenrah in Egypt, and then come back to the present, which has our protagonist working for an event which is lead by Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), and followed by a few of his other favourite exhibits. But there is corrosion in the tablet, and as it gets worse, it affects the exhibits. This leads to the failure of the event, as all of them goes out of control and causes destruction, making the visitors flee in fear. Larry decides to take things seriously, and learns that they should ask for further details from the father Pharaoh who is in the British Museum of Natural History. As Larry makes his way to the museum with the tablet and the son Pharoah and friend Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), a number of other exhibits have also sneaked in to help him and have a share in the adventure. With time running out and everyone getting weaker, can Larry lead his team to the aim, unsure of what has awaken at the new place?

The defence of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb :: Here is your history teacher of the week, or a reminder of the subject. The movie assures you of lots of fun, and a little more knowledge of history – something that India needs desperately, to have its residents know its history and respect its years long culture instead of going for the money machine. You are in no way going to sleep through this history class, and that is a guarantee – not a first for me though, because I have always enjoyed those classes. The Pompeii scene, the inside the picture shots as well as the theatre moments are very nice. There is some fine use of effects too. Rebel Wilson also has some very nice moments which are not to be missed, and Robin Williams continues to touch you as Teddy, with this one last performance. Here is something for the perfect Christmas family weekend, as long as too much thoughts are not there and a heavy judgement is not passed.

Claws of flaw :: This one stays in the shadows of its predecessors, refusing to come out of it and innovate. A lot of it seems recreated from its predecessors. There was actually not much of a need for this movie, as the previous movie had a nice, happily ever after ending to it, and it was something that we could think about and have a certain amount of joy. Instead, here it is forced to an end which is mixed happy, and there is not even a powerful villain – it was what made the second movie the best of the series; it had one great villain and some nice support for him. Instead, we are taken to the “Save tablet” campaign and some jokes fired at us don’t even come close to working. This is also more childish than the previous movies, especially with the new Neanderthal’s relationships and the repetitions. The family drama doesn’t have the power that it needed, even as we do get the father-son problems and message in the end. May be, with the loss of power of tablet, some energy was also lost.

Performers of the soul :: Ben Stiller makes things work and it seems incredibly easy for him as he once again takes over that one memorable night guard. He also has another role which is less impressive, still stupid and funny. The movie also has Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney in one of their last performances, and the former once again has that nice and interesting role of Theodore Roosevelt which he does to perfection. The team of Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan works fine, but not as much as the previous movies. Dan Stevens makes a good beginning, not that much in the final scenes. Rebel Wilson does a very good job, but is restricted by the less amount of time she has on the screen. Mizuo Peck once again does her character making a good impression, and Rami Malek with Patrick Gallagher completes the team. There are moments of almost every character, and the Hugh Jackman + Alice Eve cameo was also nice.

Soul exploration :: I have always loved this franchise, and thought Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, the second entry was the best of them all, and this movie doesn’t change that idea. Yes, this could have been better, but the idea is still there, and history is once again alive. The three movies combined is a good history lessons which ends with this one. There have been a certain dislike for movies teaching history, and this seems to come from a few people who were sleeping during their history classes at school all the time. This doesn’t take a straight path as Mr. Peabody and Sherman did with sharing knowledge of history or the bonding between a father and son. But still, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb does a fair job in the same. All the history enthusiasts should make sure that they watch history come alive for the one last time, and for others, lets give something to history along with all the fun and entertainment.

How it finishes :: Along with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Penguins of Madagascar, Exodus: Gods and Kings and Interstellar, this one joins the show as the only Hollywood movie to release on the Christmas day here. One certain advantage that Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb has is that it has the Christmas spirits than any other movie. People might not want to cause further brain damage by watching the Christopher Nolan flick, especially with the family, and Penguins of Madagascar is just another animation movie. The final movie of The Hobbit franchise needs knowledge on that special world, and the Biblical Epic takes its liberties and also makes limited impact on a lot of people. So, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb has a bloody big chance here – light at its heart, but still powerful in its messages and the strong lesson about history. It might not break any records worldwide and might not do well in North America, but has the heart to thrive in this part of the world. You need this movie for Christmas, no matter what other movie has released with a bigger fame.

Release date: 25th December 2014 (India); 19th December 2014 (US).
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Dan Stevens, Ben Kingsley, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Rebel Wilson, Skyler Gisondo, Rami Malek, Patrick Gallagher, Mizuo Peck, Dick Van Dyke as Cecil Fredericks, Percy Hynes-White, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Andrea Martin, Rachael Harris, Brennan Elliott, Kerry van der Griend, Matthew Harrison, Jody Racicot, Randy Lee, Darryl Quon, Paul Chih-Ping Cheng , Gerald Wong, Anjali Jay, Matty Finochio, Crystal the Monkey, Hugh Jackman (cameo), Alice Eve (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Despicable Me 2

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In spite of knowing the critical annihilation and the box-office devastation which has created that horrible shadow of death over this movie’s major nemesis, and one of the only two Hollywood movies which released here for the last two weeks, I took that huge step to watch The Lone Ranger ahead of Despicable Me 2 which had to be the obvious choice with a better critic’s love at rottentomatoes and a better audience love at IMDB. It mainly because they said the same about two other Johny Depp movies, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Alice in Wonderland, and I watched both of the movies, and understood how much subjective their ratings were, and how much they differed from me according to the likes and dislikes; and as my opinions are considered, I would stay away from those not so interesting ideas and leave myself to the mercy of the movie directly. I had this feeling; may be The Lone Ranger is too good for the critics to take? I always knew they had their own preference except for the few. So what if the movie hit an area which made them give such low ratings?

There are many side to it though, as at that moment, I hadn’t remembered how well they had negatively rated Ghost Rider 2, as that was a memory which I successfully erased by planting better images of awesome movies. It was a much needed intellectual operation, I assure you, for without the same, I wouldn’t have given away so much to the multiplexes with such an animated ease. Well, I was half-wrong as The Lone Ranger was not that good and still not too bad, and then I had to follow it with Despicable Me 2. How can one say no to Gru, the super-villain who adopts three girls and turns good, just like the good old Megamind who turned good after adopting the lady and the city. We had both of them saving the day against a villain each, who had the advantage on that side. There are so many thing about bad turning good, and one of them is that it brings the message of hope, and with Despicable Me 2, it continues. Well, being despicable has never been an option, and it has ornated the villains for quite a long time. Both Gru and Megamind are just the lighter shades of the same evil which failed miserably in its attempt to maintain its legacy, and instead had to turn to where the really belonged, to goodness.

A giant magnet steals a secret laboratory which had a chemical compound wihich could turn any creature into mindless, indestructible killing machines. The Anti-Villain League (AVL), a secret organization working to keep the super-villains under control, is worried about the machines going into the wrong hands. The former super-villain Gru is asked to help on the matter. Even as he rejects the offer, there is a later reconsideration as his business is going a strange way and his scientist friend who misses being evil also leaves him. Gru takes over as an undercover agent in a bakery selling cupcakes along with the established secret agent Lucy Wild who becomes his love interest later. He doubts one of the owners of a restaurant in the same mall as one of those fiery villains of the past who is supposed to be dead. But the suspicion eventually falls on the wig-maker Floyd Eagle-san who is found to have some of the chemical compound inside the walls of his shop. Gru has to come up with his own theories, get back his love and also find a number of his minions who have gone missing for sometime. It is up-to him to save the world from whatever plan an evil mastermind has already made and is working for.

Gru rules the show yet again, and is second only to our own Megamind, and the minions come next to the elves of Rise of the Guardians. The latter almost ties with the saber-toothed squirrel of the Ice Age series and the penguins of the Madagascar series. Gru’s relationship with the kids and his response to his own feeling of love are the highlights of the movie, and other than that, there is nothing innovative nor extraordinary – but the way in which the legacy of the first movie is maintained, is applaudable. The minions keep bringing the laughter and the smile to each and every person in the theatre, and the age difference doesn’t really matter. They get more and more adorable as the stupid little things, a replica of the Vodafone Zoo-zoos, as they keep on talking in a strange language, and doing the deeds of stupidity with success and still remain an integral part of all the evil and good plans. From the first moment of the title sequence itself, they would seem to make us believe that it is their movie, and they are there till the end, and considering the fact that they are many and they look the same, this is the “minion” movie. The name itself takes me back to that game Overlord, one of my all-time top ten games, and thus it is a gamer alert & game reminder movie for me too.

Just as Gru would always be the same except for the alignment, the same is the case of the kids and the minions. But, there is no doubt about the fact that Gru has turned a little more of the big loving, caring, possessive father figure, but that signs were always there in him, even as villain, and now with the absence of evil, that is one thing he can focus on with full concentration – along with being not that good a businessman as he claims or wishes to be. Being a spy could replace the same, but here it came as the second preference. Unlike Megamind, Gru is not a villain who directly makes one think about all the possible themes and motifs, as Despicable Me has always remained intellectually inferior to Megamind, but as a family movie, it had scored a bit more, and the kids are expected to prefer this one for its too simple a story and the little ones who they can easily identify with; for the parents, they can give the kids some of the best moments through this movie, and that too in good 3D and lovable characters.

“When the world needed a hero, they called a villain” – it is that tagline which can work with so many movies starting with Megamind. It has not been too long since Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire came up with those lines of heavy significance: “Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.” Despicable Me 2 presents us with a Gru is more fun when he acts kind of evil or when he acts like a kid. Considering the belief that humans are inherently evil, this works perfectly well. But then the question remains if he should have been good or evil, except for the fact that he is very much capable of goodness. It is a question that might never have an answer, as both the goodness and the evil is necessary for a possible sequel later. But with a new member added to the family and their world being made complete, the possibility is less. One more sequel can still do this series good, as there is a lot more life left in this as long as the audience’s love for the characters are concerned. They would love to have another, and that might be an assurance.

Does this successfully become preachy and work out a legacy which can match this movie with Megamind? The answer is no, and if there was any of the same about good and evil, it gets washed away by the heavy dose of fun. The spin-off movie titled Minions, featuring the Minions as the major characters is scheduled for a release on December 19th, 2014 – I wouldn’t expect that to come up with anything other than fun though. Just like this movie, it won’t leave you with a question “to watch or not to watch”, as nobody will have to tell you to go for that one, considering how much of a success this is turning out to be at this part of the world. But that would be another movie of pure entertainment fueled by extreme silliness, presented in a lovable manner. There exists a group of people who can be made to laugh only by the minions, and such a species would always need them. For the people who want a different minion, there is always the movie, Megamind – undoubtedly the best animated movie in many ways, and all the reasons for it to be called so, is to be explored individually by troubling the intellect, and supported by the fun.

Release date: 3rd July 2013
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Starring (voice): Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.