Justice Society: WW II

Full Title: Justice Society: World War II

Vampire Owl: Do you know that I had participated in the Second World War?

Vampire Bat: I am not sure if you are talking about the war that we know about.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about that very long and tiring magical war between vampires, zombies, witches and werewolves.

Vampire Bat: I am glad that you are not talking about that useless human war.

Vampire Owl: Human wars are those of greed and are always useless.

Vampire Bat: What did you do in our world war?

Vampire Owl: Ask me what I didn’t do then.

Vampire Bat: You were quite a young vampire during that time.

Vampire Owl: There is a story about my victory against the zombies.

Vampire Bat: There was no victory against the zombies. They just left the battle as there was the need for search for brains to eat.

[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: In Earth-two, the parallel universe, Nazi Germany has conquered most of Europe, winning most of the battles of the Second World War, and also possesses some magical artifacts. The United States gets involved in the war, as a team of superheroes called Justice Society of America has been formed with Steve Trevor (Chris Diamantopoulos), Wonder Woman (Stana Katic), Hawkman (Omid Abtahi), The Flash (Armen Taylor), Black Canary (Elysia Rotaru) and Hourman (Matthew Mercer). Hourman who has been a scientist, has developed a chemical called Miraclo which enhances all of his skills for about an hour. Black Canary has her sonic sound abilities. The Flash, with his superhuman speed, has been a full-time crime fighter always willing to serve his country. Hawkman, an ancient Egyptian in a modern Egyptian’s body, is also available for service. Wonder Woman will lead this team, as they hope to end this war before the Nazis get hold of all those artifacts and use them against the United States.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Back on Earth-one, its Flash (Matt Bomer) is going through a picnic with Iris West (Ashleigh LaThrop), but their plans to get away from the usual work is disrupted by Superman (Darren Criss) fighting Brainiac (Darin De Paul), a seemingly extra-terrestrial android with mechanical minions to support him, and has been the person responsible for the destruction of the planet of Krypton. The enemy is basically a supercomputer with artificial intelligence and an android body which gives him superhuman strength, durability, healing, flight, telekinesis and many other abilities which allows him to bring a strong fight to Superman. As Brainiac fires a Kryptonite bullet towards Superman, Flash tries to stop it, but he runs so fast that he channels the Speed Force. This means that he arrives at a time when the Nazis are fighting the Justice Society, and he feels that he has arrived in the past, when the Second World War was happening in their world. With the superheroes on their side, the United States, Britain and its allies seem to do better in a Nazi occupied France.

And what more is to happen with the superheroes here? :: But even after two years, the war doesn’t seem to end. The team is initially suspicious about him, but understands that he is also like them, and only wants to help humanity as a superhero. Barry as Flash also saves Trevor and also a number of civilians. They also feels that he is from the future. The team does take Barry into their team. They feel that they can use him in saving a codebreaker from a Nazi fortress, as only he can decode an encrypted message. But everything is not that right with the team, as the Black Canary feels that there is no point in doing all of these as they are not even remembered due to the whole thing being top secret, while the two Flashes have gone weaker in strength with them being together. Wonder Woman does have the romantic problems, and Hawkman still has trouble with dealing with his past life. It is then that the Flash realizes that this is not the world that he knows about – then there is Aquaman whom they come across on the way. He has to find a way to return to the other Earth, but it won’t be that easy.

The defence of Justice Society: World War II :: The movie has managed to make use of the parallel universe idea well, and has nicely placed the Justice Society during the time of World War II. The superheroes who are basically unknown to us are also introduced well. After all, the world can always use more imaginary superheroes, as we are all going to suffer in this world of chaos, and hope for the impossible is necessary. Black Canary, Hawkman and Hourman are not the kind of heroes with whom the audience of this part of the world are that familiar – they do get some introduction here. Unless one has been watching the series and all, the idea of the second Earth will also feel new, and it also gets the introduction here. The whole thing has also been nicely blended into the Second World War’s procedures. It is interesting enough to make us think about many other parallel universes, and also those with the Nazis winning. The underwater world has also been nicely incorporated into the story, and there are also some nice twists, even though they can be guessed up to an extent.

The claws of flaw :: Some of the characters could have been better, especially Wonder Woman, who doesn’t seem to be that interesting as Gal Gadot had portrayed her. From the clothing itself, this one seems to be very much unlike the one we know, even in a parallel universe – the freedom there doesn’t do well enough to make the character interesting. The other superheroes of the parallel universe are the ones whom we know less about, and therefore their versions only count as a positive addition. There could have also been more action, as there is scope for this movie to increase the total running time. The Nazi elements could have also been developed further, as we don’t see enough of them doing what we expect them to do. We don’t even get to their main areas with those special villains becoming part of them. Instead, we are having some of those rather weaker antagonists along with the talk about Nazis taking over the whole world. They could have developed this in a different way, and at the same time, without being repetitive with things.

How it finishes :: Here is another superhero movie which has Justice League-style coming together of heroes to save the world, even though in another parallel universe. It is a clear thing that humanity is going destroy itself, whether there are wars or not – the imaginary presence of these superheroes are indeed belonging to hope, and therefore, we always have our eyes in this genre. Amazon Prime Video does have this flick, and we can only be happy that they do, because people in this part of the world won’t be able to watch it otherwise. The film is the usual superhero thing in essence, and we can watch it just like we go through the rest of the movies of the genre. This is also that kind of a movie which can be divided into three parts to watch as a series. Well, superheroes need to bring that faith, belief and hope, don’t they? One can only wonder what the evil humans will have to think about it – hope for the superheroes to die maybe?

Release date: 27th April 2021
Running time: 84 minutes
Directed by: Jeff Wamester
Starring: Stana Katic, Matt Bomer, Elysia Rotaru, Chris Diamantopoulos, Omid Abtahi, Matthew Mercer, Armen Taylor, Liam McIntyre

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Major Grom

Vampire Owl: It is a shame that vampires don’t have the ranks of major.

Vampire Bat: We do have titles like vampire-at-arms and master vampire.

Vampire Owl: They seem to be a little too much limited in scope.

Vampire Bat: Scope is what Uncle Dracula talks about it.

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula is no longer interested in matters of war.

Vampire Bat: He is not against the peace which prevails among vampires, werewolves and zombies of all realms.

Vampire Owl: He is too old for another war, just like the vampire elders.

Vampire Bat: The wars are led by vampires-at-arms and master vampires.

Vampire Owl: But there is always one Uncle Dracula banner in the front side.

Vampire Bat: The limitations of not having a new banner designer. Nothing more.

[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Major Igor Grom (Tikhon Zhiznevsky) is chasing three bank robbers dressed like clowns, supposed to look like hockey players from a popular Soviet cartoon. He manages to catch them, but at the same time, causes a lot of damage to public property. Colonel General Fedor Prokopenko (Aleksei Maklakov), Igor Grom’s boss and head of the Saint Petersburg Police doesn’t like what has happened in the streets, causing ten million of currency to be lost, putting the blame on the police department. He doesn’t like the fact that Grom is not wearing police uniform and not having any police equipment. He asks Grom to quit, but tears apart the resignation himself, as he feels the need for his presence in the police department. It is then that the trial of Kirill Grechkin (Yuri Nasonov), the son of a billionaire, takes place, and he is accused of a hit-and-run incident under the influence of alcohol. Kirill, despite being apprehended with proof by Grom himself, feels that he won’t be convicted.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Aleksei Lyosha Makarov (Oleg Chugunov), a boy from the same orphanage where the girl who was hit by Kirill lived, feels that the court is corrupt, and is against the common man. He is extremely disappointed, and is also supposed to have disappeared somewhere after the verdict acquits the rich boy. IT millionaire Sergei Razumovsky (Sergei Goroshko), who is the founder of a new social network Vmeste, and his friend Oleg Volkov (Dmitry Chebotaryov), who grew up in the same orphanage as the murdered girl, are not happy with the court’s decision. A masked man attacks and burns Kirill Grechkin, whose car is also destroyed completely. With flame throwers, armour and great skills in combat in possession of the killer, Grom is not able to catch him. Lyosha is taken by the police for the murder, but Grom tells everyone about the incidents of last night, which the police dismisses. He investigates on the case, but it seems that almost everyone wanted the boy to be dead, as he was such a nuisance.

And what more is added to the tale as something strange is coming up? :: Yulia Pchyolkina (Lyubov Aksyonova), a blogger and journalist also wanted a role in the investigation. Later, Oleg comes to Razumovsky and confesses the truth that he is the man on the streets with the flamethrower. Razumovsky is upset by this, but doesn’t want to turn his friend in to the authorities. It is then that videos of a strange man known as Plague Doctor appear on the internet. He wears a mask and a combat suit, and has bombs and flamethrowers – he promises to clean the city and take it out of all the criminal mess. Olga Isaeva (Anna Nevskaya), head of RosGarantBank is the next victim of the Plague Doctor, as she is accused of taking away the money of the poor. There seems to be a war on the rich and influential, called on by the Plague Doctor, while Lyosha is released. The newly formed vigilante is now considered as a hero by many people, who don’t want him to be caught. What does this change do to the law and order situation in the city?

The defence of Major Grom :: The movie does have a hero played well by Tikhon Zhiznevsky, and Sergei Goroshko makes a fine antagonist. Lyubov Aksyonova plays the lead well too. The film can also boast about its stunning visuals, which is interesting in more than one way. There is the feeling of quality here, which is maintained at all times. The beautiful world of Saint Petersburg is a boost, and we do get some fine action sequences around here, with the strong antagonist who seems to be better than the most. The protagonist here is not a Batman, Thor, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Spider-Man – kind of hero, as he has no specific superpowers or a lot of money, except for the fact that he is strong and surely has an expertise in fighting. The film focuses on his strengths and moves forward well. Even for a seemingly superhero movie, it does stay close to reality, and keeps the hero somewhat flawed too. There is also the presence of some humour which works, and keeps the pace quick at all times.

Positives and negatives :: The movie basically follows the usual plot, and that too, without trying too hard. It is not really different from the usual superhero movies, with a villain having a grand motive, and also having those psychological problems, but talks about being ideologically superior. The choice of the villain’s costume is interesting as well symbolic, as he intends to take away the plague in the form of a few people, from the city, striking as the Plague Doctor providing treatment. It is no surprise that movie makers outside Hollywood are making some fine superhero films these days, for the cultural difference is contributing very nicely to making these flicks more interesting than seeing something which we have seen for a very long time. Yet, there is always more that these kind of movies can do, with creative imagination that can go beyond some comics, suiting the age. A superhero can be built differently, and transformed as much as a creative thinker can – something which would make the admirers of the genre proud. After all, you are never really far away from finding the perfect superhero.

How it finishes :: Here is another interesting heroic adventure of our times, based on another comics. For a change, we do have the superhero policeman, and not the common man who takes the law into one’s hands, mostly due to circumstances. Well, we require our superheroes in all forms, even without the superpowers – defeating what seems to be a supervillain is surely what matters the most. It does remind us of those other superhero movies, but with its setting, as well as with the choice of cast, it does stand apart. There are not many superheroes who can get a strong villain like this one, and therefore, just like Minnal Murali, this one powers up well enough. In a world populated by humans who have been degrading further into their evil ways, the requirement of a superhero seems to be understood better these days, along with the understanding that one can never have such a hero in reality. With the same, the movie does provide some good escapism, even though it is still close to reality than most superhero works.

Release date: 5th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Oleg Trofim
Starring: Tikhon Zhiznevsky, Lyubov Aksyonova, Aleksei Maklakov, Aleksandr Seteykin, Sergei Goroshko, Dmitry Chebotaryov, Mikhail Evlanov, Oleg Chugunov

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Minnal Murali

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with a drama, Pallikkunnile Punyalan, which takes place as part of a church festival, and the firecracker warehouse catches fire, leading to the death of many people in the village. Then we get to the happenings of the same riverside village at the present. Jaison (Tovino Thomas) is a tailor who is now running his father’s shop, and hopes to go to the United States at some point. He is in love with Bincy (Sneha Babu), but her father who is a police officer makes sure that he doesn’t meet her again. Bincy is also no longer interested in him, as her marriage is now fixed with a richer man, Aneesh (Jude Anthany Joseph). On an eventful day, two bolts of lightning strikes both Jaison and the waiter at the local tea shop Shibu (Guru Somasundaram). But both of them come out of the lightning strike without much of problems – small side-effects like cough and cold are there though, and even the doctor feels that they seem to be okay for some strange reason. Soon, the two will find out that the side-effects are not really what they though they would be. There is much more to what meets the eye with the recent incident, and it would take some time to figure things out.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Soon, the two people who were struck by lightning begin to discover their superpowers. While Shibu discovers them all by himself, Jaison is helped by his nephew Josemon (Vasisht Umesh), who is a big fan of the superhero comics. When his father Varkey (P Balachandran) is attacked by a police officer, Jaison decides to take the matters into his own hands and attack the police at a school festival. At the same time, Shibu robs a bank in the village, and the name which Jaison wrote on the wall, Minnal Murali is blamed for both the incidents. While both men were hit by lightning, their powers seem to vary though. While Shibu seems to control objects around him, Jaison seems to focus on his strength and speed, and former seems to have an upper hand when they meet on the road. Jaison’s newfound ally is Bijimol (Femina George) who runs a travel agency and martial arts coaching class, but they are not able to figure out the other person who is behind the crimes which are happening around. But for Shibu, it is not that difficult to find the other person with superpowers.

The defence of Minnal Murali :: This is one movie which looks really good, and world in which the whole metahuman battle is set, is a place which never ceases to have further scope. It is to be noted that the smaller parts of the movie are as interesting as the grand things which is seen and appreciated as usual part of a superhero film. The film also maintains a Shazam-like funny side, and even more at times, even though the comic side that we see here is stronger in comparison. It also boasts of some social commentary to go with it, and the message about loneliness and loss only gets stronger by the end. The emotional side is also strong enough to keep it going. This film happens in a place which is down to earth and real, and how the director manages that in between all of these so well is to be appreciated too. The final showdown is among the best that you can get, with a setting which makes you so much interested in it. There is also that fun fight before the interval, which is a joy to watch, living up to a festival mood. Then we also relate to the superhero so well, and that is always supposed to be the perfect first thing. There is no dumb superstar nonsense like hero and villain flying around with slow motion punches and kicks, for this one knows how to use its superhero strengths and not overdo the same.

Positives and negatives :: There was always a lot of expectations about this particular movie in comparison with the others. If you have seen the promos with The Great Khali and Yuvraj Singh, as well as the special Muthoot Ad, you know exactly how it was going so strong long before the release – there were also comic strips on the front page of newspapers, and today, the whole front page of some newspapers are dedicated to the film. The hype was surely high, and one can be glad that it has delivered so well – some usual superhero repetitions can still be seen, as we look at this one. The first few minutes of the film do go slowly though, and it could have been a shorter movie avoiding them, or of the same length with more action added to it. The possibility for a sequel is left behind in the end, and even though one wonders what can happen in a village like this, the chances are already shown. Even though the usual Avengers and Justice League’s superhero comparison would be there, I would compare this one more to an Indonesian movie, Gundala – there was lightning striking and a hero rising – but the focus was on the city in that case, and the situation was also different in another world which required separate treatment.

The performers of the soul :: After Kaanekkaane, Tovino Thomas has come up with another fantastic performance, but this time, of another kind, leaving nothing common in between – that one was a work of grand emotions, and this one, something of grandeur on the screen. His two films of 2020, Forensic and Kilometers and Kilometers were also not in any way similar to each other, as one crime thriller and a comedy drama. He has seen a lot of variety through the years, and we see how well he fit into the grand costume of a superhero too. Femina George adds to the heroines as another character to remember in her first work of grandeur. She plays the strong female lead with martial arts expertise, and will have more to do in the final moments of the film too. She is surely a talent for the future in Malayalam movie industry. Guru Somasundaram plays the villain with the strength that we expect from such a character, and even better than most of the superhero movies struggling with villain problems. He also has some emotional moments working so well for him. The grand battle between the two sides is what we keep waiting for, at all times – he excels during those final moments where the battle goes grand, and with a backstory of anger and anguish, is an excellently crafted antagonist with situations.

Further performers of the soul :: Vasisht Umesh has been the star of the promos, and serves as a kind of superhero trainer, as he brings a lot of light moments in the movie. He brings the most humour around here, and there are some fine cute moments with him around. Aju Varghese adds to the humour as usual, and he doesn’t deviate much from what he has been doing for long. Along with him, Rajesh Madhavan and Baiju Santhosh also play police roles of interest. Jude Anthany Joseph and Sneha Babu adds some humour in the beginning stages, but are not used that much – same is the case of Bijukuttan and Mammukoya who have become usual parts of Basil Joseph movies. Shelly Kishore also gets a role of substance after some time. Harisree Ashokan’s role here is rather serious, and we will remember this one too. The other name that we note here is of Azees Nedumangad from Star Magic fame – we see him in a small role here too. P Balachandran plays a father character here, with an emotional side. Almost all of these people contribute to the humour so well – the same works very nicely.

How it finishes :: Minnal Murali, even though is in possession of enough special effects for support, is not too dependent on the same like some of the other superhero stuff which has released in India. Instead, we have focus on the content, and that is where the movie scores heavily. We remember that the focus was all on Krrish as the sample superhero movie after Shaktimaan did the same thing a long time ago. But Krrish was basically taken out of Hollywood, and there is nothing new about it other than having so many things copied from English movies. But Minnal Murali takes it to a more natural world instead, and with a fine origin tale, has the flavour of Kerala in it – the absence of overrated nonsensical romance and related songs come as bonus too. The world is also a small one, and like the one we have witnessed before in Basil Joseph’s previous movie, Kunjiramayanam – it helps a lot to keep the hero close to our heart, as there is no need for the huge overdose of saving the world against all odds, as he saves the village and that is indeed enough. With a fine superhero created in a perfect environment, you are now ready for a franchise. You can now be sure that you are going to love it. MERRY CHRISTMAS! 🙂

Release date: 24th December 2021
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Basil Joseph
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Femina George, Vasisht Umesh, Guru Somasundaram, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sneha Babu, Aju Varghese, Shelly Kishore, P Balachandran, Bijukuttan, Harisree Asokan, Baij Santhosh, Basil Joseph, Roji P Kurian, Syam Cargoz, Mammukoya, Gibin Gopinath, Devi Chandana

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Freaks

Vampire Owl: It has been very long since we had a German film to watch.

Vampire Bat: You could have always watched German movies at will.

Vampire Owl: Well, we should watch them together as part of vampire brotherhood only.

Vampire Bat: You know that I am not always available.

Vampire Owl: Still, you are here now and ready for films.

Vampire Bat: I have been available only as part of my requirement to sign into Dracula Castle.

Vampire Owl: You only need to be here as much as you can. We can always find some worthy vampire horror time.

Vampire Bat: You can still watch as many movies as you want at the castle with the Vampire Crocodile or the Vampire Alligator.

Vampire Owl: You know that they watch films underwater.

Vampire Bat: Well, you asked them to watch a movie with you on the top of a mango tree.

[Gets a chicken cutlet and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with a quick flashback showing a destroyed area of a school, a crying child and blood as well as a destroyed building which seems like a school. The child is really upset, and we are quickly taken to the present where the rest of the action takes place. Now, Wendy Schulze (Cornelia Groschel) has grown up, and is living with her husband and son, while working at a diner. She seems to have some psychological effect of that incident as a child, and she is taking some pills which were prescribed by her psychiatrist, but mostly, everything seems quite normal. One day, she meets a homeless man named Marek (Wotan Wilke Mohring), and that brings a deviation to her life. His advice to her is to stop taking those pills which are prescribed to her, and he also reminds her that she is one of them, even though Wendy has no idea what is happening – she is quite shocked to see him jumping off a highway bridge only to be run over, but he is the same on the very next day, alive and seemingly even stronger.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Wendy does feel that there is something fishy about everything that has been happening around her, and decides to stop taking the pills, as he had advised. When she is attacked after leaving her shift, she discovers that she has some special powers, and uses them to get rid of the attackers with ease. Her colleague Elmar Mund (Tim Oliver Schultz) notices some of her skills, and as he also has similar powers, they have to work together to find the secret behind these superpowers – it seems that the government has been watching them, and there is more to it than what meets the eye. There could be a vast conspiracy behind all of these, and getting to the bottom of it would require more than one or two superpowers. Is Wendy good enough to live up to the new powerful lady reputation that she has gained, or will some sinister forces have the upper hand? What role does the other people with superpowers have to play, and why is the government so much interested in this?

The defence of Freaks :: Freaks acts as an origin story for a superhero franchise, like Gundala did in Indonesian, and it seems that there is a lot of scope in that. This movie does build up very nicely with that, and the first few moments are really good at doing the same. The music is really good here, and there is something beautiful about the same too. It could really support the superhero stuff when its at full strength with a sequel. The setting is also good, and very much suitable for the superhero stuff here, and there are some beautiful shots too support the same too. There is also some fine humour being added here, and this feels like something nicely managed with less special effects and graphics. New superhero movies are always welcome, and this one has an ending which calls for some more films to follow in a possible long franchise. The world has always been in need of its superheroes, and you even got Shazam! earlier and accepted the same.

The claws of flaw :: Freaks could have actually been more divergent, and there could have been the idea of bringing more variety to the superheroes. You do feel that you have seen this before, as you are aware of so many superheroes. There are similarities to Split and Glass which we can easily recollect, as superhero powers are suppressed, and the existence of such heroes are also not brought to light. There could have been some innovation in that, as going by the usual path seemed rather unnecessary. A few things are also too direct with this one, and even for an origins story, there is a certain amount of predictability being drawn here. The few moments before the climax are not that effective either, and one does wonder if this could have been better there. Some other superpowers could have also been unleashed here, along with more action. When so many of similar films have already been done, this one should have come up with the divergent ingredient, for it was also immensely possible – you learn from what you already have.

Performers of the soul :: Cornelia Groschel leads the way in the movie, as she does in the poster, and that is done really well. She is very good from the beginning, and her transformation is also worth it. She would make a fine superhero in a costume, and can come up with some fights if there is a sequel for this one – Freaks didn’t have that much of action to boast about. She could have surely used some of it though. At the same time, Tim Oliver Schultz does make a fine villain in the making, and if there is a sequel, that could serve his character really well, as changes to the same possible supervillain can be seen from a distance too. Wotan Wilke Mohring does some solid work as the experienced superhero, or metahuman as often referred to. Nina Kunzendorf plays the usual human antagonist going against humans with ease, and there are moments for her to be remembered too. The rest are lesser characters, even though we know that some of them are going to be very much relevant for a sequel, if there is one.

How it finishes :: It hasn’t been easy to find the best German movies, unlike the case with Spanish, French and Korean which were recommended by so many people. Movies of the Soul has had only three German movie reviews before this, the full-length Kidnapping Stella and Breakdown Forest, as well as the short film named AUFDRUCK. Freaks is a fine addition to that list, and is very much fun to watch. You don’t always need your Avengers and Justice League teams, for you can stick to the lesser ones which are also interesting enough. We have had our mutants, the X-Men who were too good. We can surely have more, and even though those from Bollywood have kept disappointing us, the others won’t. Freaks will serve as an example of the same. We could have superhero movies in all languages, for so much of budget is often not necessary – with Tovino Thomas starrer Minnal Murali also coming to Netflix, the Malayalam movie industry will not be that far away from the genre either.

Release date: 2nd September 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Felix Binder
Starring: Cornelia Groschel, Tim Oliver Schultz, Nina Kunzendor, Gisa Flake, Wotan Wilke Mohring, Frederic Linkemann, Finnlay Berger, Thelma Buabeng, Ralph Herforth

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Glass

Vampire Owl: So, have you watched the Unbreakable film series?

Vampire Bat: I have heard that it is better known as the Eastrail 177 Trilogy.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that nobody has really heard about this fanchise having such a strange and complex name.

Vampire Bat: I have watched Split, which was a very good movie, and I don’t remember much about Unbreakable.

Vampire Owl: I do feel that some memory of that movie might be needed to follow this one.

Vampire Bat: Well, I can remember something, but as far as Split is concerned, memory works better.

Vampire Owl: It is quite natural though, considering the fact that the first movie released in 2000 and the second in 2016.

Vampire Bat: I watch so many movies that my memories are very quickly replaced – I often forget a movie which I watched only a few months ago.

Vampire Owl: You are suffering from a case of movie overdose.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and there is no treatment for that. Even lock-down couldn’t do much.

[Gets a British cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Nineteen years have passed since the Eastrail 177 train wreck, and David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a superhuman who survived the wreck is not working as a vigilante who is often called by the media as the Overseer while continuing his business with his son, Joseph Dunn (Spencer Treat Clark). Elijah price who called himself Mr Glass remains confined to a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, after David had reported him to the police, as the one who was responsible for that train wreck which killed everyone except David. Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) who has twenty three plus one distinct personalities formed in him after he was abused as a child by his mother during his childhood remains in action, as he kidnaps four cheerleaders (Diana Silvers, Nina Wisner, Kyli Zion and Shannon Ryan) and keep them chained inside a warehouse, just like he did earlier with Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her friends who were to be sacrificed to the greatest entity inside him.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Kevin keeps the girls chained at all times, even though he does have the manifestations of different personalities at all times, none of them ready to rescue the girls from their bondage. It is then that David comes across Kevin, and understands that he is holding a secret, which is none other than the missing young girls. He gets into the warehouse and unchains the girls, only to come face to face with the personality of the Beast. While the girls escape, the two superhumans fight, only to fall in front of the police force, and has to surrender. Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), an experienced psychiatrist specializing in delusions of grandeur visits them at the mental hospital where the two are admitted along with Mr. Glass. She tries to make them believe that they have no superhuman abilities, and they are just a little stronger than the rest, and might not be stronger than the strongest and the most muscular men in the world. But Mr Glass will have other plans. Who will succeed in achieving their mission?

The defence of Glass :: As one would expect, the performances of the three actors playing the three main characters, the protagonists, the superhumans – this keeps the movie at a higher level even when the flick slows down and makes one wonder if it is not going to reach anywhere. The action sequences here are kept simple. The idea keeps growing within the movie, and if you watched the previous two movies, you are going to be more interested in the proceedings here. The ending is the highest point of the movie, and there is one twist there which you should have guessed, but most probably you might not have – these final scenes show the mastery of M Night Shyamalan over the material, on what concerns the comics and the superheroes, very much unlike your usual superheroes. There are a few moments in this movie, which later turns out to be smart and masterful acts, but in the middle, you won’t know them to be that good. Then, in the end, you ask for a sequel.

The claws of flaw :: As the third movie of the story, and with the three main characters already established, you would probably expect this to be a tale which ends a good v/s evil story, but this one more or less continues that origins story rather than doing anything else. There is also the absence of action for most of this movie, and when you are having a superhero movie here which is not Brightburn, you will be expecting full action or thrills, but such an option is not here. The movie has a lot of dialogues, and most of them are in a place without colours – inside the mental asylum, but some of it are totally unnecessary. After the initial fight, there is a lot of time spent at the talks rather than anything else, and it often makes the movie slow, unlike any superhero movie which you have ever watched. This is a movie which you cannot watch as your regular superhero movie, because it looks for meanings rather than any kind of heroism. This is not the superhero world you dreamed about.

Performers of the soul :: Glass depends heavily on its performances just like its predecessor Split did. James McAvoy once again leads the way, continuing the form with twenty three plus one distinct personalities. He shines in different ways as personalities alter. Most people from this part of the world might have known him from the X-Men movies, the last one being X:Men: Dark Pheonix, a film which didn’t make that much of an impact as one had expected it to. But related to movies like X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: Days of Future Past, you know that he has been there raising the level of the movie. But none of them matches this character that he plays here. Bruce Willis is back in action, with some action sequences, and you do want the Die Hard star to do that – here he also has an emotional touch to his character. Samuel L Jackson begins ordinary, but as the movie goes to its end, we see the change, and he is glorious in those moments. Anya Taylor-Joy, the girl from The Witch is the Beast’s girl with a beautiful serenity running through her, while Sarah Paulson is good.

How it finishes :: Glass thrives on James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson, who plays the three superhumans with augmented abilities, but the viewer has to note that it is not a regular superhero movie, and if one falls into that kind of a trap, this is not going to be that interesting. The common view pertaining to all those superheroes we have known not just through movies, but also through comics and cartoons, reaching their zenith in the recent years with those Avengers and Justice League movies collecting all of them and presenting them to the audience as spectacle on the big screen in 3D. Changing this viewpoint is essential when watching this movie, or the film might just end up changing it by adding a certain amount of realism to the whole thing. Glass is surely a movie with a difference and as we look at M Night Shyamalan’s movies which we have watched and liked, he has been a master in that, whether it was this movie’s predecessor Split, or the surprise fun which was The Visit.

Release date: 18th January 2019
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: M Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Samuel L Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Luke Kirby, Adam David Thompson, Diana Silvers, Nina Wisner, Kyli Zion, Shannon Ryan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lucy

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Vampire Owl :: Cruel people here. How can they delay a Scarlett Johansson movie so much?

Vampire Bat :: May be the Indian censor board was busy. They have been concentrating on chopping things off from Finding Fanny. Even the dialogue that one is a virgin is to be cut off.

Vampire Owl :: So they were having a tough time with Lucy? But it is still given that “A” certificate.

Vampire Bat :: The censor board is making sure that we end up watching adult movies which have children’s content, so that we realize that we have grown up so much.

Vampire Owl :: But people will still think that we watch only adult movies.

Vampire Bat :: I would think that even Home Alone and Baby’s Day Out will be rated “A” if released these days.

Vampire Owl :: They are violent movies. The poor adult robbers and kidnappers are mistreated by kids. It sets a bad example for the new generation. They will not just give an “A”, they will just ban them.

Vampire Bat :: There is a conservative world coming up. I thought they would have at least found “being virgin” as a good thing.

Vampire Owl :: This is why I drop ice buckets at people.

Vampire Bat :: Can we just proceed for that adult movie?

[Goes to the ticket counter].

What is it about? :: Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is studying and enjoying her life in Chinese Taipei, but she is tricked into working as a drug smuggler by her new boyfriend. But she is captured and a bag of drugs is put in her her abdomen so that she can carry them back home for the drug mafia. But while in captivity, a lot of drugs are released into her system as she is kicked again and again by her captors. As a result, she has improved mental abilities including mind reading, brain control, telepathy, telekinesis and many others, but the indirect result of the same being a possible death in hours. She gets the bag removed from inside her, and contacts the expert Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) to know what is there for herself and the future of mankind. As time passes, she gets more and more powerful, and easily go through the drug mafia and gets their drug carriers captured. The mafia as well as the police are too weak in front of her, and the question remains for whom she is going to be beneficial and to whom she will turn out to be catastrophic.

The defence of Lucy :: Along with Scarlett Johansson’s wonderful performance as the protagonist, the movie can boast about taking that idea which is more of a myth and developing into something big. It has nice special effects and good, controlled action sequences which are taking in a more stylish manner – the whole thing is visually very good, and one has to admit that if the willing suspension of disbelief is rightly implemented and considered as a whole, there is not just a lot of fun, but there is also something for the intellect as it does keep the audience thinking within its own universe. It is difficult not to like Lucy, and no matter how hard you try, that option just isn’t there, unless you are short of the capacity to understand and follow – now that will make you not so human, right? There will always be people who fails to understand, and it is mostly with the bloody audience coming in groups and talking rubbish throughout the movie. It is surprising that they would go on to talk through the slide which tells them not to talk and disturb the movie experience for others.

The claws of flaw :: There is no huge action sequence which has our heroine transforming into the Black Widow and go Avenger on everyone. Except for some gunshots between the mafia and the police, the rest of the action remains of the mind. The movie’s idea of the ten percent of the human brain being used is rather weak in the circumstances, as without it and the supporting clips, the movie could have gone on losing nothing in the process. It is also too short, lasting almost one and half hours and nothing more than that unless you include the advertisements (look out for the awesome Dracula Untold trailer that comes before this if it does). There could have been more time taken here for the finish, and the possibilites of such immense mind power should have been further explored – but this one chooses to be short, but due to the same, drags nowhere. The violence is there, not much, but can be considered unnecessary by a few. The movie also needs the viewers who can use some part of brain when needed, and even in the multiplexes, it is difficult to find such people – they all want mindless action making no sense, right?

Performers of the soul :: Lucy is pure Scarlett Johansson show of the highest quality in a character which brings no challenge to her, and due to the same, she seems to blend effortlessly into that character which reminds the viewer of two others, Carrie White and Jean Grey who possessed similar powers. But Lucy is different because her powers are not part of her, and is causing her own destruction – Scarlett Johansson scores there, as you see her transformation from the victim to the all-powerful entity and also with those emotional elements. Known more for being the gorgeous one and among the sexier women alive, she comes up with an all-round performance here along with looking good. There was Natasha Romanoff a.k.a Black Widow, but this one is all-round all powerful. Morgan Freeman also comes in with an avatar that we can easily identify him with – a man of great knowledge and wisdom, who can be a guide as well as the one who deals with the explanations nicely. Choi Min-sik as Mr. Jang is a nice villain, and Amr Waked is good.

Soul exploration :: Scarlett Johansson needs a movie on Black Widow, and it is crystal clear that she can handle it, as she proves the same with Lucy. Yes, the movie is highly dependant on her, and what Angelina Jolie did for Maleficent, she is doing here. She takes full control of things, and one has to admit that this is a lot better than what Jolie came up with in that twisted fairy tale there. With the only other well known actor being Morgan Freeman, the movie was totally dependant on our superstar lady. It reminds us of Transcendence with its idea about that all powerful person who turns into something beyond human comprehension, and Morgan Freeman was the scientist Joseph Tagger there too. Then the movie is also a bit Carrie, with the central character, the lady getting immense mental capabilities beyond anyone’s comprehension. But this one is a lot faster and smarter than the former, and also quicker and with more happenings than the latter. Our heroine is also Jean Grey, but not being the mutant who is blessed wth powers.

How it finishes :: Lucy comes late to India, but it was never as much a much awaited movie as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which might release on this Friday here, but knowing what delayed Hercules, we can’t be sure yet. Lucy has a much silent sojourn here as not many people knows that it is present in the theatres with less number of shows. It should still enjoy limited success, as it doesn’t go on the Transcendence path and bore us beyond the limits of all kinds of boredom, and at the same time, it has Scarlett Johansson. It is still caught in a competition with The Expendables 3, and the shadows of Guardians of the Galaxy and Hercules, as it runs through the course. For those who wishes to watch a nice Hollywood movie which has its own identity, and even in its comparisons with many other movies, could stay different, there is always Lucy. There was always Carrie, and now there is Lucy, coming up with some improved mental capabilities, being another version of that mutated Jean Grey without the X-Men or any superpowered creature around.

Release date: 22nd August 2014 (India); 25th July 2014 (US)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked, Choi Min-sik, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Pilou Asbæk, Analeigh Tipton, Nicolas Phongpheth

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Carrie

carriee

You will know her name :: Yes, the movie did finally release here this week, and the name is Chloë Grace Moretz, but the name you might want to remember should be Carrietta N White, or rather the young, strange but gifted girl whom most of the horror fans will know simply as Carrie. Now, that should go back to Stephen King’s first published novel of the same name, and also to the first adaptation of the same belonging to 1976. It was my next favourite novel from the man after Salem’s Lot, The Shining and The Running Man. The early adaptation also make it to the list of my favourite horror movies of all time, even as I would consider it more of a thriller. But talking about this movie, there was just limited hope, as the original was too brilliant. Another thing is that the incidents of the movie belongs to another time, and taking the plot and dragging it by its tail to this era was not going to work that well despite the fact that they got Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore at their best. So the question would be about how much they can make out of this limited scope.

What is it about? :: Margaret White (Julianne Moore) is a mentally unstable woman who tries to murder her child at birth, but decides to raise her as she is too fanatically religious in a strange and ridiculous manner. Later, her daughter Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz), grows up to become a shy, under-confident, introvert girl despite having some strange power over things around her. She is regularly teased by her schoolmates, especially Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) who even uploads the video on youtube. Their gym teacher Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer) comforts Carrie and punishes the girls who trouble her, but Chris refuses to accept the punishment believing that Carrie has always been asking for it, and is banned from the prom. As she seeks revenge, Margaret continues to try to discipline Carrie in a ridiculous manner. Carrie learns about her power of telekenesis and tries to learn to control it. Another mate, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) regrets teasing Carrie and tries to make amends by asking her boyfriend, Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), to take Carrie to the prom which she accepts – but it will change the lives of many people, forever.

The defence of Carrie :: The story of Carrie has been brought into a new world with camera phones and the internet. But the essence of the story remains the same. It would have been difficult to keep up with the original which was so much loved, and a story which was so much read and admired, and this movie had to struggle to keep up. The movie scores with more pace and also by creating a creepy atmosphere. The thrills does work and it is successful in throwing surprises to keep it interesting. The best scene of the movie is indeed the climax, with a bloody Carrie standing on the stage with her arms stretched and the blood leaving her body upwards, and later in the middle of the road splitting the path. The final scene of destruction by telekinesis is the only real scene of gore, and it has been well created yet again. The scenes of Carrie being teased, and the moment of realizing her power are also well portrayed. The movie doesn’t try to stay with the original in speed, and it tries to rush, and there lies both the positives and negatives of it.

The claws of flaw :: The movie tries to rush through its plot as if to extend no more than one hundred minutes of length. The movie starts with Carrie being born, and she rushes to be the shy adult girl and quickly goes on to discover her powers and speeds up to the prom. There is not much characterization going on right there, as most of the characters remain predictable and one-dimensional. Everyone except Gabriella Wilde’s Sue Snell remains the same, and remains doing what they have been doing from the beginning. Carrie learns, but that doesn’t really change her either. She is also too X-Men type, and she is that Jean Grey which most of us might have been missing since she was turned into some strange creature in X-Men 3: The Last Stand. The movie is also somewhat outdated to be set in the present background, of belonging to 2013 – yes, there are the new gadgets added, and Carrie is humiliated with the help of a smartphone and youtube. But all the incidents seem to tell us that a setting much older would have been more suitable. To add to it, an ending which has Carrie rising is rather stupid, and she should have remained dead, to be awesome.

Performers of the soul :: Chloë Grace Moretz steals the show with a performance that makes this movie rise above where it is. It should be of no surprise as she did the same, at a much younger age in Kick-Ass, and in a much smaller role in Dark Shadows. With an acting career at the age of seven, she continues to strike gold, this time at the age of sixteen. Julianne Moore also makes a fine mentally troubled mother, but there could have been ever more dimensions to the character – this one is approached in a rather lazy manner by the writers. Portia Doubleday and Gabriella Wilde could have switched characters though, as the latter could have been a better nemesis to the lady in trouble, like Sara Paxton did as Rachel Witchburn in Sydney White, and what we had seen in Mean Girls with Rachel McAdams as Regina George. Meanwhile, the former tries to come up with pure evil, but ends up being just another bad girl trying to be so evil, and succeeds in the same only with her actions, and to be frank, she doesn’t have that evil aura. Gabriella could have nailed that role, but here she had to be the bad girl turned good due to conscience attacks.

Soul exploration :: The movie is a story of a girl who is bullied throughout her life, and in that manner, takes on a social cause. In another scenario, we could have thought about the Bollywood movie Table No.21 which had taken itself as a story against ragging. Carrie is nothing less, as for such a character who is rather nice and God-fearing, the whole world becomes a challenge. She becomes a misfit and a medium for the disgusting new generation to make fun of. The new generation has been moving further and further away from conscience and goodness, and Carrie is indeed a martyr of a new society which finds fun in being rude and evil. To add to it, she has a mentally unstable mother who pretends to be some kind of pure believer, something which is nothing less than a case deserving to be in mental asylum. She did become an alien for many, who could have done so well if they could have just left her alone rather than being bothered. Carrie tells its viewers to respect people for what they are, and sends a message against bullying and ragging.

How it finishes :: If one has not watched the original or read the books, this should be a very interesting Carrie White, and Chloë Grace Moretz might be the only Carrie they know, as well as their favourite one. Sissy Spacek is not going to be forgotten though, that is for sure. Carrie is going to be a more interesting source of telekinetic powers than the other superheroes who possess something similar. Being locked up under the stairs, Carrie becomes no Harry Potter, but gets something better than being invited to Hogwarts, something which doesn’t spawn sequels and a guy without nose. Moving things around is no magic, and our girl is no mutant – there is no background story about her or her mother, and that should make some people unhappy and the rest rather more joyful about the mystery. Even if we leave the superpower side behind, Carrie is the story of many students who have been bullied, and as long as ragging and all such stuff exist somewhere, Carrie’s tale of revenge is of extreme relevance.

Release date: 17th January 2014 (India); 18th October 2013 (USA)
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Gabriella Wilde, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Belkin, Karissa Strain, Katie Strain, Samantha Weinstein, Cynthia Preston

carrie copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.