Gundala

What is the movie about? :: In a world of corruption, poverty, exploitation and income inequality, people struggle to keep their lives going forward despite working so hard throughout the day. None of the hardworking people earns enough to provide to their family members. A number of factories in the city make their workers continue their jobs under terrible conditions without paying them much. A boy watches as his father leads his co-workers in protests against the low wages of the factory where they are working, leading to violence beginning between the people and the security guards employed by the corporates. But the workers bribed by their bosses kill the leader, much to the dismay of the son who witnesses the sequence of events. The worst is that the boy is also struck by lightning and develops a fear for the dark clouds and rain – along with the same, his mother who had left for the city also doesn’t come back, leaving him to live in the streets with no hope to pay the rent for the house. There, he is regularly attacked by other street children.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The boy who is consistently beaten up for trying to help others, finds a helper who teaches him how to defend against others, an advices him to stay out of others’ business, and in a world like this, not minding one’s own business can get the person into big trouble. Even though they decide to catch a train and leave the place, the boy is not able to get to his teacher who boarded the train as he can’t run fast enough to reach the train’s door. Many years later, Sancaka (Abimana Aryasatya) works as a security guard as well as a part-time mechanic in a printing factory, while trying to keep away from trouble as much as possible, due to his experiences during the childhood. But when the girl living next door, Sedhah Esti Wulan (Tara Basro) and her little brother are threatened by a group of thugs, he interferes and throws them away from the apartment. Later, the thugs retaliate as a group, and after beating him up, throws him down from the top of a tall building.

And what more is to follow in this superhero world? :: But Sancaka is hit by lightning on that rainy day, and he awakens, even healing himself completely with the power of the lightning which had struck him. As he saves the helpless Wulan and her friends in a market from the same thugs, she asks him to join her as well as the many poor people who are under threat from the thugs. But things are not that direct as it would seem there. A legislator and crime lord named Pengkor (Bront Palarae) has everything under his control in the lower level of the city, with a gang of orphans under his command. He knows each and every crime which has happened in the city, and is planning to come up with something huge to create chaos and destruction in the city. With a scar and a limp which he had from his childhood, he would stop at nothing to hurt anyone who stand against him. Sooner or later, Sancaka will have to become Gundala, while his friends including Wulan who is falling in love with him are also under threat. Can he live up to the expectation and be the symbol of hope for everyone?

The defence of Gundala :: We have always been in need of superheroes, especially those who are not from Hollywood, especially not from Marvel or DC. We have always loved Shaktimaan from our childhood, and so the need has always been there. With Avengers finishing the job, and the biggest superheroes Iron Man and Captain America out of he equation, we are always looking for possible alternatives. We can gladly say that this is indeed one, and this time, we have a realistic one in a believable world, with less use of powers and more of martial arts. The action is all done in very well, and there is enough of it, especially when we consider this as an origin story. The dystopian setting is also really well done, and we get to be with the people who undergo the struggle against those people who forces them to stay at the lowest level. In one way or the other, these people are having their own Batman, but with some superpowers – maybe he is a little bit of Captain America with the ideology he later develops, but these are all nicely evolved, and developed to fit our interests here.

Positives and negatives :: This is not to be checked out like you do for those big CGI filled movies like Avengers and the others, because of its existence closer to realism. It has to be noted that Gundala Putra Petir was also the first comic book adaptation in the nation, and it dealt with the same superhero in 1981. Indonesia is supposed to have a superhero movie franchise like Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) called the BumiLangit Cinematic Universe (BCU), from what we read about them, and with one more superhero introduced with our main hero, we can be sure that there will be more to come in the next few years, even though the Corona Virus delay could still be there. We haven’t really been aware of the same, but there are some fine superheroes who could come to be big screen, and it would be nice to watch them all, just like we had supported the heroes of Marvel and DC. If they are to be like our hero here, we can be sure that all of them can feel close to our lives than the extra dose of metahuman-alien stuff that Hollywood has been providing with the CGI. Here, the nicely created world works with minimum CGI, and connects so well.

Performers of the soul :: Tara Basro played the protagonist in Impetigore, and she is here too, as the actress who has just turned thirty and also got married this year, brings another fine performance to her credit. As we look at it, we know that she is also supposed to play a superhero which she is to become in another movie in the franchise. She has already done enough to prove here as the Hollywood style scream queen, and here, her existence in the action movies seems to be able to provide the same wonderful effect – we would need to see her as the superhero soon enough, along with other popular names who are to be part of the upcoming projects of this franchise’s universe. Abimana Aryasatya is a solid superhero here, and he makes the Indonesian Batman in Jakarta City instead of Gotham City, taking on crime and saving innocent citizens. He makes us go through his emotions and ideology as we wealk his path. We also have some strong villain with Bront Palarae being very much menacing, along with assassins including Kelly Tandiono, Asmara Abigail, Hannah Al Rashid and others. Ario Bayu whom we had seen in Impetigore is also here, making an impact.

How it finishes :: This movie comes from Joko Anwar, who is the same director that brought us, the high quality horror thriller named Impetigore. Even though this movie belongs to a completely different genre, we can see the director’s skills at work yet again. We have known many superheroes already, and this one is based on the Indonesian comics character Gundala created by Harya Suraminata in 1969 – it is nice to know that we do have more of superheroes with variety in store. It is always great to have some home-grown superheroes, but not like that ridiculous thing called Krrish which doesn’t feel Indian, original or really heroic in any way, but Shaktimaan type are always welcome. Indonesia has achieved that so well, and this movie is also fine work, not just as an entertainer, but also in many other ways, as this is more than your usual superhero movie. After my last visit to Bali, this is the closest that I have managed to get to loving Indonesia, and we are to fall in love with Indonesian movies if there are more films like this one. After all, this one stays closer to the values of the common man that even the Dark Knight could ever do.

Release date: 28th August 2019
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Joko Anwar
Starring: Abimana Aryasatya, Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Ario Bayu, Rio Dewanto, Lukman Sardi, Fariz Fadjar, Aqi Singgih, Marissa Anita, Hannah Al Rashid, Asmara Abigail, Daniel Adnan, Cornelio Sunny, Kelly Tandiono

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dark Phoenix

What is the movie about? :: In the year 1992, when a space mission seems to be in trouble, while facing a solar flare, the X-Men lead by Professor X a.k.a. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) decides to help the humans, and once again prove that mutants and humand are to co-exist. But it is a risky mission, as the plane is ready for a journey into space. But the team including Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Nightcrawler a.k.a. Kurt Wagner (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Storm a.k.a. Ororo Munroe (Alexandra Shipp), Quicksilver a.k.a. Peter Maximoff (Evan Peter), Mystique a.k.a. Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast a.k.a. Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) and Cyclops a.k.a. Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) go on the mission despite having the doubts. The situation seems under control as Nightcrawler’s teleportation and Quicksilver’s high speed seems to be enough to finish the job.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But it is revealed that there is one more person to be saved, and they decide to go back. With Jean holding the space shuttle together, Nightcrawler takes the remaining person out, but is unable to take Jean back as the solar flare covers her. But he is able to recover her body after that, and surprisingly, she wakes up. The X-Men are hailed as heroes by the public, and the bond between humans and mutants gets to be stronger. But there is something different about Jane after that incident. Hank finds her energy to be beyond comprehension, crossing all borders. Scott also feels that there is something different about her. At the same time, Raven is not happy about Charles leading the mission to a point from which a return becomes near impossible; she feels that making a future with the deaths of mutants won’t be fair.

And what more is to happen? :: Jean seems to unleash herself at a point, and collapses. Unable to get into her head for the first time, Charles uses the Cerebro machine, and with it at high power, finds that the bad memories that he had shielded in the mind of Jean, are now out in the open, and she won’t be the same again. With memories of her distant past coming back to her, Jean leaves, and the X-Men follows here – they won’t have anything positive to find there though. Her actions there would turn both mutants and humans against her, with no chance to return to the previous state. At the same time, certain aliens from outer space have also reached Earth, searching for the Phoenix Force within Jane. They are lead by Vuk (Jessica Chastain) who serves as the leader of this shape-shifting alien race, called D’Bari. This would lead to time running out for Jean, before she could be herself again.

The defence of X-Men: Dark Phoenix :: The action sequences surely score with this movie, and so does the visual beauty. The action on the train in the final moments are among the best so far in any X-Men movie. There are also a few others which offer something similar. The special effects are used well, and we see the mutant powers being used nicely. CGI is used nicely by the movie, as the desire for another superhero movie after Avengers: Endgame has been provided in the form of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The path that the movie takes seems to be interesting, and ready to bring further twists, even though this might be the final movie of this film with these characters in the main roles. The premise is a wonderful one for sure, even though the movie doesn’t really use the same to the best of effects. It has also released in India earlier than the original release date, and it should serve the movie to get better collections here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is unable to prove to be better than X-Men: The Last Stand which was the movie which dealt with the same story thirteen years ago, and still managed to better at that time. It was not a fantastic movie in any way, but it had somehow managed to do better, not just with its story, but as a whole – it is only with the final moments of action that this movie holds more power. The titular character is also not explored in the right way, as her being all-powerful just goes too much beyond the border, as we get tired of the same quickly. We also know what is to happen with this tale, and how the same person does the job in the end is ridiculous – this is where the previous Dark Phoenix movie served better, with weakness in between the all-powerful; think about Superman without the idea of kryptonite there, and it is easier to understand. The movie also slows down in the middle, and the emotions go weak on a number of occasions.

The performers of the soul :: Sophie Turner from the Game of Thrones fame, has been an interesting addition to the film series – we see her continuing her form at a number of moments, but not as a whole, as things get repetitive. We wouldn’t get to see her as we had seen her in the popular television series, with the avatar itself being different around here. It would have been nice to see her as the earlier and more vulnerable Jane better. Jennifer Lawrence is completely wasted in her short stay there, and there is nothing that she does except for coming up with some unnecessary dialogues. The one who comes up with some of the best moments is Michael Fassbender, who shines as Magneto once again, rising above his good friend and leader of X-Men – James McAvoy who plays the leader is a weakened figure going too strange this time. Alexandra Shipp and Nicholas Hoult come up with pretty good job here. Kodi Smit-McPhee is memorable, while Jessica Chastain and Tye Sheridan are not.

How it finishes :: There is something about X-Men that we have always loved, going back to the childhood memories of watching that animated series. There is not much of a reflection of the same around here though, as the level has certainly come down from the predecessors X-Men: Days of the Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse – it can’t even stand against the single mutant centered tales which came earlier, like Deadpool, Deadpool 2, The Wolverine and Logan. But it is enjoyable up to an extent, thanks to the action sequences where the mutants go for the full scale display of their powers. We are not going to miss the X-Men after this as we already miss Wolverine, and so lets watch a movie of the series one more time, and enjoy the good parts, while we will also have The New Mutants releasing next year as an extra addition. It will have Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams as young mutants, making it something to look forward to.

Release date: 5th June 2019 (India); 7th June 2019 (USA)
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Simon Kinberg
Starring: Sophie Turner, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Jessica Chastain

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deadpool 2

What is the movie about? :: Years after murdering the man who gave him the mutant superpowers the hard way in the first movie, Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is working as a mercenary, but on his own terms, while mocking Wolverine. He hopes to start a family with his girlfriend Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). But it is then that one of his targets whom he missed, manages to strike back, killing Vanessa in the process. Wade is quick to kill the man who is responsible for her death, and even tries to kill himself in an explosion; but he grows back as Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) takes him to join the X-Men, with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) not being fond of the not-so-superhero joining the team. But Colossus has him as a trainee and lets him join them on their very next mission.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After a vision of Vanessa, and trying to put his heart at the right place, he decides to help the X-Men to deal with a teenage mutant Russell Collins a.k.a. Firefist (Julian Dennison) who has gone violent at an orphanage for mutants. X-Men join with human soldiers to gain control over the mutant who is looking highly unstable. As Deadpool realizes that Russell was abused and tortured by the orphanage staff, he decides to help him, and ends up killing one of the staff members too, before being stopped by Colossus. Russell and Wade are taken to an isolated prison for mutants, known as Icebox. Collars are used to negate their powers, and without them, Wade slowly and steadily begins to go back to his previous state, with tumout growing inside him – he gets weaker than ever.

And what is follow with the events? :: It is then that a cybernetic soldier Cable (Josh Brolin) whose family is murdered by Russell in the future, travels back in time to kill him before he becomes that brutal murderer. Wade tries to defend Russell against Cable, but denies any attachment to him so that the boy could be safe inside the prison without him. Wade ends up outside the prison, and after having a vision of Vanessa again, decides to help Russell, no matter what happens. For the same, he assembles a team which he calls X-Force – Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Peter (Rob Delaney) and Vanisher (Brad Pitt) are hired to be part of the group, as they hope to stop the mutant warrior from future. But Russell has his own ideas to stop Cable, and it will not prove to be nice for the newly formed X-Force.

The defence of Deadpool 2 :: This one’s capability to bring some entertainment can never be questioned, especially with the comic side, and some action to go with it. You can see that it refers to movies in both Marvel and DC Universe, with references including the latter being so dark. The movie does have some nice main characters, other than its superhero and a kid who is conveniently placed in the middle of everything – it has one lady whose superpower is luck, and one of the most powerful mutants, along with a time traveler mutant warrior from the future – these two are of more strength than anyone else, and you can do nothing but to love them so much. Deadpool 2 is that kind of a movie which won’t apologize for its nonsense which is surely there, and is it is that kind of fun nonsense that we need to be prepared for, unlike our usual Thor: Ragnarok, Logan, Captain America: Civil War or Black Panther from Marvel.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Deadpool 2, just like Deadpool, is not the superhero movie for the kids and families – it just not the right kind of film. The violence and gore remains rather not that good, that too with the whole thing being censored to arrive at this level. Unlike the other superheroes, Deadpool is surely that kind of a person whom we can’t admire – he is that selfish hero in one way or the other, that we need to see dead; but he just doesn’t. This movie surely has no real respect for anyone either, and that is reflected on the character as well as the dialogues of the main character. Some of the dialogues which seem to be close to being funny never really gets there, and there are those jokes which go wandering away, leaving no effect at all. The action sequences could have been better too, and the emotional side struggles, thanks to some stupid dialogues in between.

The performers of the soul :: The movie is about the two people more than anyone ele – these two have played two big characters on the big screen in two different movies. Ryan Reynolds has been Green Lantern before, and it is that DC Universe that he makes fun of in this movie as Deadpool. Then there is Josh Brolin whom we last saw as Thanos, and here he is, as Cable, in the same Marvel Universe. Both of them are really good, making this movie better than what it really is, with its low level plot that doesn’t raise the bar. Zazie Beetz is great fun in this movie, and you also love Brianna Hildebrand who has less time on the screen, but has that special effect when there. Morena Baccarin is another actress whom we wanted to see more here, and as lovely as she is here, there is only less time for her to show here skills. The rest of the cast is just mostly okay.

How it finishes :: Deadpool was never known to be the superhero that someone would wish to admire for anything other than saving the day. Being a rather selfish hero, this one was never supposed to appeal to the usual superhero admirers – even with that selfless act added in the end. There seems to be no real attempt to make this one feel better than the first movie, and there is certainly no special ingredient added to it. But we can safely say that it will provide some entertainment with the funny side and the action that comes with it. The family audience will surely have to choose Avengers: Infinity War over this one or one of those Malayalam movies in the theatres. Well, the ‘A’ certificate is sure to make that happen easily.

Release date: 18th May 2018
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Stefan Kapicic, Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Bill Skarsgard, Rob Delaney, Brad Pitt (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Power Rangers

Vampire Owl: I don’t really know these people. Are they from the shooting range?

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you haven’t watched the 1995 Power Rangers movie? I thought we all had.

Vampire Owl: I already have too many superheroes, and they all have better names.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you don’t remember Gabrielle Fitzpatrick as Dulcea.

Vampire Owl: Who in a ranger world is she?

Vampire Bat: I believe that you liked her a lot.

Vampire Owl: You talk about the girl in green.

Vampire Bat: Yes, she is the one. I see that you remember now.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that she was no Poison Ivy of Batman.

Vampire Bat: Your superhero encyclopedia surely needs some special attention, and so does your memory.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A high school football star Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery) gets dismissed from the team and has to go for detention after a prank fails miserably. It disappoints his father Sam Scott (David Denman) that he wasted his opportunities and reached this miserable state of life. There he comes up against Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler), a nerd whom he saves from a bully. Billy asks for his help, and offers to deactivate his ankle monitor as well as lend him his van in return. Jason decides to help him even as he is doubtful about it. There, after providing some help to him at an old abandoned gold mine, he runs across Kimberly (Naomi Scott), his crush from the school, who is taking a bath in the nearby river – she tells him that she often goes through the place, as her home is on the other side. At the same time, Billy uses some explosives to break part of the rock in the quarry.

So, what happens next? :: The blast gets the attention of Jason and Kimberly, as well as two other students, Trini (Becky G) who is spending her lone time away from the family, and Zack (Ludi Lin) who lives nearby, taking care of his sick mother. There they pick up five pieces of rock, each having a different colour. They are chased by the mine’s security, and their car gets hit by a train, but they wake up at their houses, feeling different, and rather a lot powerful. They five teenagers return to the mine to find answers to what they are going through, and they find a space ship and inside, Alpha 5 (Bill Hader), a robot. He introduces them to the consciousness of the person known as Zordon (Bryan Cranston) who is supposed to have been a power ranger until he and his team of rangers were betrayed by another team member, the Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) who is also on Earth. He tells them that they are chosen.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: With the new power rangers being chosen, he tells them that it is only a matter of time until Rita finds her full strength, gets to the Zeo Crystal which will help her to destroy all life on Earth. The teenagers leave, but reluctantly come back as Jason convinces them that they need to try so that their powers don’t go wasted. They keep training with Alpha 5 and the simulations of Rita’s minions, but they are unable to morph, which means that they will have no power ranger suit or armour. Zordon is disappointed that the chosen ones are acting more like kids, and have no sense of purpose. Meanwhile, Rita awakens and goes on a killing spree, collecting all the gold that she can on the way, looting people and places, hoping to summon her favourite minion, the giant winged monster known as Goldar (Fred Tatasciore) made of gold. Can the rangers be good enough to stop her before she gets what she wants?

The defence of Power Rangers :: The new version is surely an improvement from the tales which have been going through, and with the improvement, this brings the nostalgia from the childhood, when we watched the rangers and felt that they were so good. The movie is light-hearted, and would appeal to kids more than anyone else. The movie does have the right cast at the top though, with Dacre Montgomery as the hero and leader, bringing the charm, while Naomi Scott, brings a beautiful presence supported by the right performance – we see more of Power Rangers in these two than anywhere else. RJ Cyler provides the comedy along with an emotional side. There are some nice action sequences, especially in the end, and we see another grand battle between the good and evil, with destruction all around. There are also some messages in the movie about superpowers and responsibilities, like the ones you find in an earlier Spider-Man, a later Iron Man, or even in the ideology book of Captain America.

The claws of flaw :: One has to admit that the nostalgia related to Power Rangers is applicable to less number of people. Not many people were qualified enough to get this deep into superhero stuff of Hollywood during that time, as some thought that it was for children, and other felt Hollywood to be clearly beyond them. This movie also has a tale which has been going on and on with not just this movie, but also with many others, whether it is of Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or that long list of superheroes from Marvel and DC – Power Rangers won’t sound that good, and will never be that effective with lesser known cast and teenagers there in the suits. When Avengers and Justice League will fight to save the world from alien trouble with better budget, one has to feel that this one will struggle forever – to go with it, the yellow and black rangers are not likable at all. The villain also seems to have replaced her fiery elements with something else – wonder what it is.

How it finishes :: The world has surely changed from those times when Power Rangers were there earlier. Now we have a long list of superheroes, and there is no shortage of people with superpowers wandering around on the screen – this would be the cause of Power Rangers no longer being an effective franchise at the box-office here. There is the nostalgia for sure, but this is just one of those lesser group of heroes to whom people have that feeling for. Power Rangers: The Movie of 1995 might be the one thing which would have gotten these superheroes those fans, especially considering the fact that this along with Starship Troopers, Waterworld and Vampires were a few of those Video CDs available during those times – also, a lot of the youth of that time liked Gabrielle Fitzpatrick more than the movie, as for some, she was more joy to watch. Therefore, Power Rangers had that less power here, but it is an entertainer, and can be watched without going too deep.

Release date: 24th March 2017 (US) 31st March 2017 (India)
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Becky G, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Elizabeth Banks, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, David Denman, Caroline Cave, Anjali Jay, Patrick Sabongui, Erica Cerra, Kayden Magnuson, Fiona Fu, Sarah Grey, Emily Maddison, Jaime Callica, Matt Shively, Garry Chalk, Fred Tatasciore

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Logan

Vampire Owl: He is quite the popular person, isn’t he?

Vampire Bat: Yes, he is the favourite mutant of almost everyone you meet.

Vampire Owl: I wish that the mutants in our worlds were not zombies.

Vampire Bat: They have to be considered separately, especially with a world of supernaturals and superheroes in waiting.

Vampire Owl: Well, we were the most popular supernatural creatures at a time, and it is sad that there are signs of the same changing.

Vampire Bat: I believe that we are still very much popular, and our side remains strong. The mutants have always been there as superheroes or supervillains.

Vampire Owl: I have watched the trailer of this one. It is strange, for I thought this one was at least partially immortal.

Vampire Bat: He is a product of science; they haven’t really understood immortality yet.

Vampire Owl: But immorality is there.

Vampire Bat: That is kind of an easy thing for humans these days.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Hide and Seek biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Going right into a distant future, mutants are almost extinct. There is no longer the need for fighting the other mutants lead by Magneto (Ian McKellen), and there is no battle between the humans and the mutants, with the mutant problem seemingly not there as a threat. During these times, James Logan Howlett a.k.a. the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), drives a limo and takes care of Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease which has lead to the world’s most dangerous brain being not something of use, and the telepathic abilities no longer working. Logan remains only a shadow of what he has been earlier, with his healing factor leaving him with time making him age, and without the healing, the adamantium skeleton which is the unyieldingly hard material inside him, is slowly and steadily killing him from inside.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The two mutants are given company by another mutant, Caliban (Stephen Merchant), who has the ability to sense the presence of other mutants and track them. These are not easy times for Logan, who does get into trouble at times. One day, Logan is approached by a woman named Gabriela Lopez (Elizabeth Rodriguez), who claims to have worked as a nurse for some biotechnology corporation. He keeps trying to avoid her, but after offering him some money, she requests him to escort her and an eleven year girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to a place in North Dakota known only as Eden. After she gets murdered, Logan, Xavier and Laura manages to escape the people who pursue them, while Caliban is captured. They are chased by a group of men lead by the cybernetically-enhanced fighter, Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).

And what follows the same in the movie? :: Laura also has adamantium skeleton bonded to her, and has claws not only in her hands, but also in her feet. They find out from Gabriela’s final video message that she is one of several mutant children the company was breeding and joining with the DNA from different mutants, thus transferring their powers to children whom they felt were easier to brainwash into the ultimate killing machines, but it was not that effective as it was planned. Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) who was the head of the project, is now in pursuit of his lost assets, and is determined to capture them dead or alive. Logan doesn’t have an instant liking to Laura who was cloned from his own DNA, but things get better as they go on traveling together. But unknown to them, there is one more thing after them, the X-24 project, which is more of the killing machine than Logan and Laura combined – how do they fight the monsters on their tail?

The defence of Logan :: This is one superhero movie in a divergent mode, which makes most of the things different with this one’s protagonist. There is something good with a superhero movie trying things differently as this one, as we get something other than the usual thing. With the powerful action scenes, what we have here is an even stronger emotional side, and we go through the hero’s struggles to live up to the legend in order to save more than one life, rather than finding him achieve greatness with a fantastic display of powers – something which X-Men and Avengers have been focusing on, along with destroying quite a good amount of public and private property. A predictable side is present too. We feel the pain of the hero more than in any other superhero movie, and it is something that the character of Wolverine has so much scope in providing us, along with those big action sequences. This one surely shows that there is more than one way to go divergent than Deadpool, and maybe Logan shouldn’t have been a movie with just one part.

The claws of flaw :: One is certain to find this too violent a movie, something which the X-Men movies haven’t focused on. There was already one special child in Midnight Special, and we have a rather more violent one here. There is also too much of a length for this movie considering the material that is possesses and how things have been proceeding, and just as many Wolverine fans had said, this is not the movie that they wanted with their hero at the centre – the end might be too much for them who might have wished for their favourite mutant to steal the show and just continue for eternity. A lot of things in this movie are going to be feeling like tragedy for the fans, and the situation of the great Professor X goes with that of Wolverine. This one is a lot dark and depressing with its content, and with violent kids in there, this is the movie that you would want to avoid watching with the younger ones – even as the kids and youth of these ages are surely getting more violent.

How it finishes :: Logan is one superhero movie with a difference; it will not go on to become something like The Dark Knight franchise, but this divergent treatment is certain to make one think about how much better each superhero movie could be – an idea which even those Bollywood superhero movies stealing from Hollywood can also think about. It can also work beyond the genre, as not a superhero movie. One thing that you will love more than everything else is, as expected, Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine who once again gives it all, as the older man who is not the killing machine that he used to be – with a number of X-Men movies, we have been missing him, and we needed something like this which was all about him. There is also Dafne Keen who is also almost as good as the big man with her performance. There might be other movies with superheroes, mutants or X-Men, but Logan is a movie that walks the different path, and will have your attention with how well it manages to do the same.

PS: Also, look forward to this week’s movie, Tiyaan.

Release date: 3rd March 2017
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Underworld: Blood Wars

Vampire Owl: This movie has been going on and on, and we, the vampires have spent so much money or trying to attain copies of the same.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that even Werewolf Anger has a copy of the first three movies of the franchise.

Vampire Owl: Why would he have those copies? He is angry at all movies.

Vampire Bat: He is angry at everything, and so this anger is actually a reflection of his less angry side.

Vampire Owl: But it is still Werewolf Anger, the angriest werewolf of all-time.

Vampire Bat: There is some competition regarding the same, from Werewolf Hunger.

Vampire Owl: Well, hunger is a strong emotion, and he is named after that; so I would expect some tough competition.

Vampire Bat: I hope that watching Blood Wars won’t make them more interested in wars.

Vampire Owl: Watching Underworld: Awakening awakened nobody though.

Vampire Bat: Well, all the movies in this franchise will be better tales than Twilight for sure.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Little Hearts biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The war between the two species goes on, and vampires are in trouble with the advanced werewolves, the stronger and the sharper versions of Lycans going through them, with only two strongholds left for the formerly high class species of undead, the Eastern Coven and the Nordic Coven. Semira (Lara Pulver), a beautiful and ambitious council member of the vampires, sees Selene (Kate Beckinsale) as the only hope for saving their coven as well as preserving their world as it has been for many years. With Lycans only getting stronger under their ruthless and fearsome leader Marius (Tobias Menzies), Semira gets the support of Thomas (Charles Dance), a Vampire Elder who is the father of David (Theo James), whose life was saved by Selene herself. They are successful in getting the support of the council which declares Semira fully responsible for whatever actions Selene comes up with when inside the coven.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The vampires have been searching for Selene already, seeking justice for the deaths of Viktor (Bill Nighy) and Marcus (Tony Curran), and this becomes her opportunity to return to the coven, forgiven, even though not forgotten as a murderer of her own kind. David pleads her to return to the coven, as she could join her kind and defend everyone against Marius who also wishes to capture Selene for information about her daughter Eve (India Eisley) whose blood could prove vital to the werewolves in attaining ultimate supremacy over vampires. Alexia (Daisy Head) arrives with her team and the order from the coven and takes Selene home just in time before the Lycans arrive at the scene. There they are given a warm welcome, but Varga (Bradley James), the leading Death Dealer of the coven isn’t happy that Selene has returned to train his team of Death Dealers, and with his intimate relationship with Semira, a twist seems to be coming up.

The defence of Underworld: Blood Wars :: There is the usual style of the Underworld franchise that we see here, and it is reflected not just on the visuals and the action sequences, but also in the overall dark mood. Vampires facing werewolves is the kind of idea that never gets old, and will remain interesting as long as you don’t put too much drama in there by the way of Twilight an its evil twin sisters. The tale continues with all those elements that are to satisfy the fans of the franchise. The movie also finishes off smartly, with having an option to end the tale there, as well as to continue it – the scope for a new dawn in this movie will be an entirely different one too. Still, whatever they do it will be eternally impossible to have the pre-determined critics to rate a movie like this any higher; if this was a Bollywood movie with a heavy dose of nonsense, maybe the reviewers here would have rated it a lot high; add a big superstar to it, and you know what happened with dumb movies like Krrish and its sequels.

Claws of flaw :: People are certain to think that there is too less added to this movie as another significant movie in the franchise – for there was the scope for deviation while retaining the basic elements, which is not taken. The journey here is just the easy way, with no special ingredient. I would also consider to be the second least interesting movie of the franchise following the one movie that was the prequel without Kate Beckinsale in it. Even though the critical opinions are without doubt biased and prejudiced as it was with almost every Underworld movie, this is surely a step down from the previous movie, Underworld: Awakening. Without a proper understanding of the background used in this movie, the weaklings will also find it difficult to go through this movie, and some reviewers need to be shown all movies of this franchise, without which they seem to struggle to find out which movie is this particular flick which they watched.

Performers of the soul :: Kate Beckinsale is also at her best as usual, and she becomes Selene and shines through this movie too – she looks almost the same as when the first movie released fourteen years ago, something that the Resident Evil series and Milla Jovovich will have in common. There is not much that separates her, all the action, and the style of this movie. We had also seen the same in the remake of Total Recall as well as Van Helsing. Selene is a character whom we have identified as one of the most recognizable vampires in live-action movies, and with her being played by the same person, and having the same looks throughout the franchise has helped the cause further. Giving her company as the other gorgeous vampire is Lara Pulver, whom we will all remember as the special Irene Adler from the Sherlock television series, with that introduction scene and what followed from A Scandal in Belgravia. Clementine Nicholson is another actress who will be a big asset to the franchise without doubt. We are also glad to see the Divergent franchise‘s own Theo James here again.

How it finishes :: Anna Foerster’s first movie has the fans of the franchise interested for sure, with the vampire-werewolf tale never running out of opportunities make more and more movies. This is also one of those movies which release first in India and then in the United States – something which happens at a few occasions mostly with those superhero movies and not with anything that has a vampire or a werewolf. This tale can surely bring more sequels, prequels and even spin-offs, and with some divine intervention, maybe there will be a movie which will be loved by the critics – but the chance of the same is very little. But it is up-to us to enjoy movies like these, instead of overrating those local superhero movies which has nothing inside them other than some so called superstars who come down to such a terrible level to act in such nonsense – we will have anyone without intellectual poverty will have trouble watching such flicks, but both the common viewers and the reviewers will claim that the movies are of epic level.

Release date: 6th January 2017 (USA); 2nd December 2016 (India)
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Anna Foerster
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Lara Pulver, Theo James, James Faulkner, Daisy Head, Clementine Nicholson, Tobias Menzies, Charles Dance, Oliver Stark, Peter Andersson, Bradley James

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Midnight Special

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Vampire Owl: Now this one should be more about us.

Vampire Bat: What? I don’t see why!

Vampire Owl: It is midnight special. We are people of the midnight.

Vampire Bat: That was long ago. We are anywhere at any moment of time these days.

Vampire Owl: But what about our attacks during midnight?

Vampire Bat: The special plans are no longer limited to midnight, and there are no attacks.

Vampire Owl: But I do come up with attacks. Even on the last midnight, I scared twenty three people from outside their room’s windows.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but as a whole, we are a peace loving community.

Vampire Owl: Never mind. I will launch my personal attacks with my zombie minions.

Vampire Bat: As long as you keep it not connected to the vampire community, it should be fine.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with potato chips].

What is the movie about? :: Roy Tomlin (Michael Shannon) and his friend, a former state trooper Lucas (Joel Edgerton) are on the run with an eight year old boy named Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher), as alerts keep coming on the television about a missing boy with Roy named as the kidnapper. Roy is revealed to be the father of the boy, but he has been trying to escape from both the government as well as a mysterious and fanatic religious cult, both who have been chasing the group of three. But the group is not willing to stop at any cost, and hopes to get further away from those who wants to capture them. The boy who is extremely photosensitive is protected by them, who are joined by Sarah Tomlin (Kirsten Dunst) who is the boy’s mother who is extremely delighted to see them again, but is not happy with almost the whole country chasing them.

So, what is it really about? :: This fanatic religious cult called The Ranch has been raising Alton for a long time, as he is supposed to be some kind of a saviour for them, who has come after years of prayers from them. Pastor Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepard) will not stop until he has his cult’s messiah back with them, and has sent his people to find the boy. At the same time, Agent Paul Sevier (Adam Driver) finds encoded satellite transmissions in the pastor’s sermons which is supposed to have been found from Alton’s talks, and it has FBI right after them, finding the boy as a threat to the national security. more and more people seems to be after them, with running and hiding becoming rather too difficult for the group. With time running out for them, they decide to keep fighting.

So, what happens next? :: The fact that this special boy even brought one satellite down just because it was tracking them, doesn’t help their case at all. One boy with so much of power seems to be something which the government can’t afford to go free – they surely has more plans for him, as there are more people after him after causing what seemed to be a meteor shower in the form of a destroyed satellite. They are also involved in terrible confrontations with state troopers and don’t get much of help from even their old friend from the cult. As the journey goes on, the boy only gets weaker and weaker. With him seeming to be extremely sick and might even possibly die, there seems not be not many options around other than to give up. But Alton himself has another idea for him, which none of his guardians can agree to. In the end, will they find the secret behind his powers and get him to safety?

The defence of Midnight Special :: There is a different story in store here as this science fiction flick’s divergence works throughout its run. Its specialty should be that it keeps the supernatural at a distance rather than exposing it to us in the beginning itself. It successfully keeps us guessing in the beginning stages as we wonder what this boy is all about, and what big twist is coming up near end. There is something huge going to happen, but we have no idea what it is, and the more we guess, the more we get confused – this one provides that kind of a feeling throughout its stages. The whole movie goes on like some chase, and our protagonists rarely get to stop here or there. The power of visuals are there when they are used to the movie’s advantage, even though that last very less. We are also left with the hope for a sequel in the midst of an emotionally powerful ending that comes as the end is reached, and you know that the drama works towards the end – the finish has its sadness.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Midnight Special is a movie which had the potential to do something better both with its philosophy as well as its content which wanders rather too much on the emotional side, due to which the ending is also not a thrilling one – something which has surely contributed well to its lesser total collection from the theatres. If there was more focus on what was happening rather than diving deep into the emotional side without enough explanations, this one could have done a lot better for the common man as well as those who think. There are mysteries that are not solved, and there are moments which could have been presented in a better way. With some signs of the visual spectacle which it could have been, also there, maybe there was surely the idea to do more, but it was to make itself just a good movie instead of becoming that special movie which was to stay in our minds for a long time.

How it finishes :: One special thing about Midnight Special even when it slows down in pace so much, is that it is a science fiction movie with a stronger human side than many others including Interstellar and Gravity. With Michael Shannon coming up with an emotionally powerful performance, and Kirsten Dunst supporting the same later, we have Joel Edgerton’s character as the most likable, and Jaeden Lieberher does a very good job as the kid too. Despite not everyone liking this movie in this same way considering it as a flick which would depend on the tastes of people to have it loved, one can be sure that Midnight Special will affect its viewers in one way or the other. You will also wish that it was a better movie, but one feels that this is exactly how the makers wanted the movie to work, and in no other way. Take your time and find what can be termed “special” in Midnight Special.

Release date: 18th March 2016
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard, Paul Sparks, Nathan Brimmer, Bill Camp, Scott Haze, James DuMont, Billy Slaughter, Sean Bridgers

midnightspecial

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Captain America: Civil War

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Vampire Owl :: We have missed too many big Hollywood movies this year. It is a case of heavy disappointment.

Vampire Bat :: You are talking about missing The Jungle Book more than any other.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, we missed the nostalgia. There was the same thing in Malayalam too.

Vampire Bat :: But we won’t miss this one at all. The Captain is here at the local theatres this time. Captain America movies have always been among the best superhero flicks, and you know how Avengers come up with the big action all the time!

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1398-captain-america-civil-war

The two movies which constituted The Avengers series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had managed to be special treat for the fans. There is no chance for questioning Marvel this time either, with another action-packed movie here which features most of the superheroes excluding the Incredible Hulk and the hammer-wielding Thor. With the Avengers supposed to be grouped into two teams under Captain America and Iron Man, the expectations were set high, and this movie delivers too, following the path of the two earlier Avengers movies as well as the two Captain America flicks, as the story continues from where it had left things, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

As the Avengers are going through one of their routine missions, things don’t really go on as planned and an explosion occurs, killing a number of Wakandans. Later, the U.S. Secretary of State, Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) tells them about the United Nations plan to come up with the Sokovia Accords signed by 117 nations, which will bring a certain amount of control in the functioning of Avengers to avoid loss of human life and property. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) who is saddened by his own creation of Ultron, destruction of Sokovia and isolation from Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) comes up with the decision that they have to sign the Accords, and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) supports him on this, along with Vision (Paul Bettany).

But Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has no faith in the government or an international organization, as Captain America turns from being the patriot to the insurgent while trying to protect his old friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) who is once again termed as “the Winter Soldier” and is blamed for an explosion which follows. A revenge-seeking T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) also joins Tony Stark’s team which also has James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and he recruits a young Peter Parker (Tom Holland). But the truth about Bucky is more than what meets the eye, and to defend the same, Captain America will need the support of his other allies which will include Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner).

Among all the superheroes that Marvel has created, Captain America has remained the most interesting one; the two movies of the Captain has been among the best movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with Captain America: Civil War, the three movies make a fine trilogy of action thrillers. As it has been in the previous titles, Chris Evans makes an amazing Captain America. Just as the title suggests, this one easily becomes his movie. Elizabeth Olsen once again has a special charm as the Scarlet Witch while Paul Rudd brings more entertainment even though he arrives late. Robert Downey remains solid as Iron Man. The next two characters we notice the most are nicely played by Anthony Mackie and Chadwick Boseman.

Even though The Hulk and Thor are not present here, this movie brings more superheroes, some whom the fans might already know and the others being mostly unfamiliar to most of the audience outside North America and Europe. The new additions include the Black Panther and Spider-Man, while Ant-Man, Falcon and Vision get to be part of some full Avenger action. Ant-Man adds some nice fun as the movie nears the end while the young Spider-Man and all the jokes related to this version of the superhero remains just irritating. There have been many versions of Spider-Man before, and this one here remains the least impressive of them all. The Black Panther remains special though, and the character is a smart addition.

The story doesn’t have the strength here, but the action sequences and the visuals make up for it. Still, the previous Captain America and Avengers movies had better thrills, story-line and there were even bigger action sequences. But this one here has the biggest group of superheroes, and with so many of those interesting characters present, the movie becomes a treat to watch. Unlike the previous movies, the focus too shifts to the relationships between the main characters, from between Captain America and Iron Man to Vision and the Scarlet Witch, there is a powerful emotional side to this flick, and there is also the testing of loyalties as well as old friendships. The battle is not against the villain this time, but between themselves and their own people.

The movie is also thought-provoking to an extent, even though that side never really gets the spotlight. It has all the entertainment that one needs for the weekend, but adds a little bit too much that is not really needed, from Spider-Man who was just there for the sake of being present, to some of those emotional sequences which often seem a little bit too much. The movie never really needed to go childish with Spider-Man. It surely has an advantage over Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as expected, but could have still been an even better movie. The potential for this movie was so much, and just enough of the entertainment is delivered here. With two parts of Avengers: Infinity War to come, one has to wonder what all these events will mean for the team of superheroes. You need to be ready 😀

Release date: 6th May 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.