The Wolf’s Call

Vampire Owl: So, we are back to watching French movies again.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this time, a thriller with clarity.

Vampire Owl: Our journey into global movies have been quite good.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we are only watching selected movies which we consider to be special among others.

Vampire Owl: We do make some good choices then, I guess.

Vampire Bat: Yes, all of them have been specially picked, making sure that there is a high possibility that we will like the flicks.

Vampire Owl: Especially with a few cups of tea to go with it.

Vampire Bat: Considering the fact that there has been a lock-down in the name of a virus, we are doing quite well representing the vampire community.

Vampire Owl: Vampires have all been doing some interesting thing or the other during the times of lock-down.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have heard that the castle has seen rather too many.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of mint tea].

What is the movie about? :: The French submarine Titan is sent through the Mediterranean Sea, to reach the coast of Tartus in Syria to bring back a French Special Forces unit fighting in the area during the time when Syrian Civil War is at its highest point, leaving no room for errors. As they are all prepared to take the troops in away from the Iranian and the Russian forces, Chanteraide a.k.a. Socks (Francois Civil), the sonar expert identifies it as a wounded sperm whale after multiple checks and moments of confusion. But it turns out to be another submarine which can’t be identified. It has detected Titan, and has provided the information about its presence and exact location to an Iranian warship nearby, which launches a helicopter hunting them right above water. But the submarine, with the help of its crew using an anti-tank gun against helicopter, somehow manages to survive the attack including torpedoes, and get the team to safety.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Later, when they are back to the ground, they get the information that Russia is invading Finland’s Aland Islands, which lead to the French President deciding to send a naval task force to the Baltic Sea, supporting the Scandinavian nation. At the same time, Chanteraide, while trying to identify the unknown submarine near the Syrian coast, finds out that it was a Russian made Timour III ballistic missile submarine, which was supposed to be dismantled earlier. During his similar searches for information regarding detailed underwater acoustics, he meets a young and charming bookshop owner, Diane (Paula Beer), whose original name is Priarie. After spending some time at the pub, they get emotionally and physically attached to each other, soon falling in love. But at the same time, a war and even a nuclear attack seems close with further problems arising between Russia and France, and Chanteraide needs to be back in action in Titan facing the nuclear armed submarine, Formidable. Can he do the right thing this time?

The defence of The Wolf’s Call :: This movie thrives on its smart moments here, and we have been presented with top quality thrills. With most of the shooting supposed to have happened in the real submarines, this is a fine achievement, and the whole thing indeed looks very realistic – the accomplishment powers this movie, as it needed to have most of its time within the underwater vessels. There are some highly thrill-packed moments in here, as the world stares at a possible nuclear war beginning with one wrong action from a European superpower, something that would have made that averted Soviet Union nuclear submarine torpedo launch happen many years later. It has to be noted that this movie begins in the middle of action, and there is no dull moment in here, and even those romantic sequences are to be loved. The Wolf’s Call does manage to show how a thriller in a submarine is to be created, with all the action and thrills.

The claws of flaw :: Some points in the movie have terms which we don’t understand that easily, and has to resort to Google – there are words related to military and the submarines which keeps coming back. But that is expected in movies like these, because otherwise, the realistic feeling will be gone. The romantic side could have also been better explored, taking a little bit more time. Paula Beer could have been used better in that case, considering the fact that is well-suited for such roles and moments of romance. The final moments could have also been a little better worked out, as we are battling to avoid a nuclear war, and something more could have been there in the picture. It could have also quickened up things a little bit more in the middle part, even though this one also has a higher pace that regular movies in their middle areas. The Wolf’s Call provides you that underwater world of wars, and you need to be prepared for that to get the best out of it.

Peformers of the soul :: Francois Civil manages to come with a good job in this thriller which shows nations on the brink of war. He seems to be someone who can handle the two sides quite well, being in the military as well as outside, with a happy love life. Paula Beer’s addition to this movie is more about being the love interest, and it is provided, in a cute, lovable way. Other than a few dialogues, adding the feel-good factor and an intimate scene, she adds less, but surely adds a light feeling to the movie, and the young and beautiful German actress is surely someone whom we expect to see more, maybe in Hollywood flicks too, very well suited to light-hearted romance or the fantasy movies based on the good old fairy-tales. We needed some female presence in this movie, and she makes sure that we have it. I would want her to be part of movies like Maleficent, Cinderella, Jack the Giant Slayer or Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters any day. Reda Kateb and Omar Sy plays the two commanders very well, and we have them as strong leaders.

How it finishes :: Originally titled Le Chant du loup in French, The Wolf’s Call has very good ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, and we have to agree to it, even though the number of reviews are rather less. The Wolf’s Call is a movie that needs to watched more, for how it manages the whole thing without any single boring moment – it is a serious quality that many more movies need to have during a time when it is Hollywood which struggles to make films like these, and Bollywood’s idea of an action thriller is still that old age masala, which appeals only for the brainless these days. Meanwhile, The Wolf’s Call does the job so well that it might end up inspiring more moves with underwater warfare or can even have remakes coming from different parts of the world after the Corona Virus crisis ends. This COVID-19 pandemic might be the only thing stopping it from happening for an year or two, depending on what is happening in our epidemic affected areas.

Release date: 20th February 2019
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Antonin Baudry
Starring: Francois Civil, Paula Beer, Omar Sy, Mathieu Kassovitz, Reda Kateb, Alexis Michalik, Jean-Yves Berteloot, Damien Bonnard

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Vampire Owl: There is no shortage of movies which have these people fighting the creatures and surviving.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they fought and survived a group of alligators in Crawl.

Vampire Owl: Two people survived in that movie, right? So, maybe two of them will survive this one too.

Vampire Bat: The movie had family bonding between a father and a daughter. It seems that this one has sisters.

Vampire Owl: The first movie had sisters, and it is just natural for the second movie to have sisters too.

Vampire Bat: The immediate setting seems to have some changes being made, but not the complete location.

Vampire Owl: I think that this one is a vampire shark.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that there are vampire sharks because we, the vampires are not fond of water.

Vampire Owl: Maybe, it can walk on the land after becoming a vampire.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that they can be included in our schemes.

[Gets a ghee cake and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Mia (Sophie Nélisse) and Sasha (Corinne Foxx) are stepsisters who have just moved to a new school in Mexico, and they don’t really have much of an interest in each other’s matters, living like random acquaintances in their houses and going to school together without talking much. One day, Catherine (Brec Bassinger), one of the well-known bullies and proud girls of the school pushes Mia into a swimming pool in the campus while Sasha just looks, and moves on. Mia’s father Grant (John Corbett) and step-mother Jennifer (Nia Long) who understands the situation, plans a boat ride for the sisters in a glass-bottomed boat, during which they can see the great white sharks, and spend some sisters’ time together. Grant reminds Mia of the moments when they used to scuba dive together, and also leaves her with the tooth of a shark. Sasha is not really happy about this adventure, as she was planning to go out with her friends from school.

So, what happens with the events here? :: While waiting for the tour to open, Mia is depressed to see Catherine and her friends also there for the tour. It is then that Sasha’s friends Alexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Stallone) arrive, and ask them to come with them to an unexplored place instead of going for this usual trip which everyone in the town are taking during weekends. They go a long way outside the town to what they called a secret lagoon, and spends their time at the place. It is then that Alexa tells them that the lagoon has a secret entrance to a Mayan city which was submerged in water, a long time ago. Grant and his two assistants, Carl (Khylin Rhambo), and Ben (Davi Santos) are working to make the place suitable for a group of archaeologists who are going to visit the place during the following week. Ben who is also Alexa’s boyfriend had taken her there during one of their secret adventures. The girls decide to see the place, but they don’t realize that there is something more than a city down there.

The defence of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged :: The movie seems to be directed towards one aim, that which is more or less about the sharks, and the environment also adds to it. It works even without the shark not given that much attention with the CGI. The Mayan city underwater with its walls and sculptures are all well designed to catch our attention – there is a certain underwater beauty here with the design. Even outside, with the girls enjoying the short amount of time, there is a beautiful world all around, and it is the kind of place where everyone would want to go with all the natural beauty around. There are some nice moments out here, which are related to not just danger, but also concerning people and the surroundings. The final moments show elements of real danger, as they seem to move towards death, and then towards escape, but then we know that they are not out of it yet – it goes on till the final moments.

The claws of flaw :: Just like many other movies which has a creature crisis at the core, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged remains predictable, and you can easily guess who all are going to survive the attack of the shark – at least that could have been arranged to be changed. In a movie which focuses on the shark, the humans and the story-line related to them suffer, because that goes just the usual way, with two sisters bonding – sometimes, it is the father and daughter, at other times, we have son and mother, or maybe two brothers, or one brother and one sister. These are times when we end up thinking that the shark came with such a beautiful motive of uniting them. In the case of this movie, it could have had the girls having more fun rather than taking them to the submerged city and the shark just after they get to the place.

Performers of the soul :: The movie, just like the previous film comes from Johannes Roberts who is going to direct the upcoming reboot of Resident Evil series, and we can be sure that the new version will bring more horror unlike the earlier versions which were more of action thriller flicks. Sophie Nelisse leads the way here, and the common audience hasn’t known her much except for playing the child in Mama. We can say that she is only beginning, and we need her in a full horror movie. Corinne Foxx, the daugher of Jamie Foxx manages to be okay. Sistine Stallone, the daugher of Sylvester Stallone also has her first movie here, and its a good work for a debutante. Brianne Tju plays the next friend, and she also does well, making the supporting cast do very well, almost the same as the main characters here. John Corbett’s short stay is good.

How it finishes :: Being someone who didn’t watch the first part, I would leave the comparisons behind, even though we do know what happens with the sequels as they struggle to bring more in the next title, and fails to do so. Sharks have always tried to bring more out of horror, and other than crocodiles, alligators and large snakes, nothing have inspired such huge survival flicks – we have seen how well The Shallows turned out to be even though there was one young lady and a shark in the sea for the most of the time. You cannot expect 47 Meters Down: Uncaged to be that good, but within the world of these man-eaters, being caught with one inside a space connected only through tunnels through which escape seems near impossible, the movie will keep you interested. After all, we are all facing crisis of survival more during these days.

Release date: 16th August 2019
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Starring: Sophie Nelisse, Corinne Foxx, Brianne Tju, Sistine Stallone, Davi Santos, Khylin Rhambo, Brec Bassinger, John Corbett

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aquaman

What is the movie about? :: A lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) comes up against Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), who is the princess of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis which had sunk under the Atlantic Ocean on one eventful day of ambition and hubris. He saves the injured princess and they fall in love. The unexpected sequence of events lead to the birth of Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa) who shows the ability to communicate with marine lifeforms, and it is only one of his special skills. With the attack of the troops of Atlantis threatening her family’s life, she decides to go back to the city, hoping to come back on another day when the situation gets better. An Atlantean Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) is assigned to train Arthur as he grows up.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Back to the events after the incidents of Justice League, the invasion of Steppenwolf had made Arthur further part of saving the world as Aquaman, a name with which he has been referred to by the media. He comes up against the pirate David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) and his team while the group was trying to hijack a nuclear submarine – Arthur ends up defeating them, and leaves David’s father dead in the process, for which the young pirate wants revenge. Meanwhile, Orm (Patrick Wilson), Arthur’s younger half-brother and Atlantis’ king wants to begin a war against the people on the surface, as revenge against polluting ocean and causing the death of many creatures of the seas. Using an attack by David as the immediate cause, he seeks the support of the rest of the underwater kingdoms to go on war.

And what else is to follow here? :: He easily gets the support of Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), another king under the sea, and looks forward for more. The daughter of Nereus, Mera (Amber Heard) supports Arthur to become the king as the rightful heir to the crown. But at the same time, Orm wishes to get rid of Arthur, who is the first-born of the queen and therefore has a claim to the throne of Atlantis. Despite Orm sending huge tidal waves all around the world, the surface world remains ignorant about what lies beneath. Mera convinces Arthur to try and save both worlds and he agrees. But the fact remains that Arthur doesn’t have much of a chance against the power that Orm holds on his way to becoming the Ocean Master. But there might be one chance – the question remains if he can take it.

The defence of Aquaman :: One can appreciate Aquaman for its great fight sequences and stunning visuals more than anything else. It becomes a spectacle easily with these, and we just love to keep watching without taking eyes away at any moment. The visuals under the sea has all those fights happening underwater too. We have so many things to add to this visual extravaganza. Atlantis itself is a beautiful sight, and we see that even the people and their costumes are nice. There is a lot of world detail around here. The locations on the surface are also nicely chosen. The fight scene in Sicily is glorious, and the final combat is great to watch. There is also the allusion to the tale of the legendary British king Arthur, and the other reminder is related to Thor: Ragnarok which had the hero from Norse mythology fighting his sibling for control over the kingdom. Well, it even has some horror with its marine creatures – that reminds you who the director is.

Positives and negatives :: There is nothing special being added to the story, and there are no twists coming your way. The similarities to Thor: Ragnarok are many, with not just the sibling battle, but also regarding the early defeat, loss of weapon and arena battle, this time in the absence of the Incredible Hulk. But we see the cast, and most of the problems vanish with the beautiful visuals – Amber Heard does what Natalie Portman couldn’t do in Thor, as the action star on the lines of Kate Beckinsale of Underworld and Mila Jovovich of Resident Evil, as she does the same thing better than ever. A journey through the underwater world, and witnessing a city with so much detail can negate the negatives easily enough. There is some nice humour, and the emotions stay strong for most of the time too. It hasn’t been that easy going for DC, even though Suicide Squad was a movie I enjoyed a lot, personally. Aquaman makes it easy for DC to go forward now.

The performers of the soul :: Jason Momoa remains strong in this one, and unlike that Justice League role, this time, he brings more charm. He nicely gets into the mix of Justice League with this one, and it will be interesting to see how everything works out with another movie with a team of superheroes trying to match the Avengers in another universe. Amber Heard is amazingly good as the warrior princess from underwater. We remember her for her presence in the thrilling horror movies like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Ward and The Stepfather as well as the action thrillers like And Soon the Darkness, 3 Days to Kill and Drive Angry. This one will be the new way to identify her, as a character which brings the best. She is perfectly suited for action sequences other than being remembered as a scream queen, and it is something that she seems to reiterate here. Patrick Wilson from Insidious & The Conjuring fame becomes an extremely effective villain too. Nicole Kidman has some fine moments too.

How it finishes :: Aquaman might be that one movie which could rise its level to catch up with Marvel, and after Wonder Woman, we have one another movie which lifts the universe again, with hope for even more. On the lines of Thor and Norse mythology, DC has its Greek mythology and elements including Atlantis about which we have read about in Plato’s Republic right in place. The myth and the visuals here can be considered to be even ahead of Wonder Woman, even though the island its inhabitants had their own charm too – nothing matches some nicely created underwater visual splendour though. With the second part of Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel to do the job for Marvel, DC has surely made its move in a nice way, the director of Insidious and The Conjuring, James Wan has made a point once again. Well, it is surprising that Aquaman about whom not many people know – the lesser known superhero now has a movie better than each and every better known superhero of Justice League.

Release date: 14th December 2018 (India); 21st December 2018 (USA)
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Graham McTavish, Temuera, Ludi Lin, Randall, Djimon Hounsou, Natalia Safran, Sophia Forrest

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Shallows

Vampire Owl: There is nothing as shallow as an human heart.

Vampire Bat: I don’t know why you said that now.

Vampire Owl: The title reminded to use this particular word in the best way possible.

Vampire Bat: You are not in a school anymore – they don’t ask you to construct sentences using a word.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is a human thing. We construct life out of words instead.

Vampire Bat: Have you been reading the wrong book in that library?

Vampire Owl: Not at all, my friend. Whatever I read is the right book. It is the book’s honour to be read by me.

Vampire Bat: Do you really read much these days? You are at the cemetery most of the time.

Vampire Owl: I am teaching my zombie minions, some English grammar.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is nice that vampires don’t have UGC NET, and neither do we have those reservations.

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

What is the movie about? :: A medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) has a journey to a small, isolated beach in the interiors of Mexico – it is the same place which her mother Mrs. Adams (Janelle Bailey) had visited when she was pregnant with her; now with her mother no more, she takes a break to go through the past. The beach is so less known that she has to get the help of a local man named Carlos (Oscar Jaenada) to find it. She spends her time at the beach surfing with two local people and talking to her father Mr. Adams (Brett Cullen) and her sister Chloe Adams (Sedona Legge) regarding the things that are worrying her concerning the demise of her mother. After the two newly found friends leave, she finds herself surfing for one final round as the day is slowly beginning to end. She notices the corpse of a whale floating around at the same time.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: This place, even though looking more beautiful than ever at this time of the day, isn’t what would catch Nancy – it is a great white shark that get the honours, as she is taken off the board and is forced to climb on to the whale’s dead body, but with the shark getting through, gets to a rock away from the sea shore. Her leg injured, and a few hundreds of metres to the beach, Nancy is stranded on the rock which is also supposed to go under water with the high tide. As she is a medical student, she manages to use the available resources including the surfboard straps as well as her jewelry to stop bleeding from her wounds and keep the torn flesh stitched together. She survives for now, but how long can she go on? Can she get help from the locals in one way or the other? Is it possible to swim now considering the condition of her legs?

The defence of The Shallows :: The movie has a beautiful setting right here, as it is more like one of those beaches which everyone should visit once in a life-time. Maybe, they can include it in those lists which go around in the internet, wherever it is. When you see all that beauty around, and you are clearly immersed in the thoughts of writing the perfect poem, comes the shark – all of a sudden, and what follows is a sequence of thrilling moments, and attempts at survival, as once against the human meets the beast in a one on one battle, just this time not on land, and it is in the territory of the animal that asserts its strength again and again. The way of nature, and the survival of the fittest – bound to battle against the same, our protagonist is played by Blake Lively who has done an amazing job here. It is to be noted that her Green Lantern co-star turned Deadpool, and her spouse Ryan Reynolds had already worked in a similar movie of survival, Buried, with a tragic end to that story. She surely proves her to be too good, as she has a lot more to do in this movie set in the sea, hunted by a shark.

Positives and negatives :: There is no other actor in this one doing much of a job, as everything is fitted on the shoulders of Blake Lively. It seems that she has been provided with the best opportunity at performing right here, and she has taken it with both arms, without hesitation. One might have problems with the final scenes of climax, and how the shark trouble is dealt with – people would have wanted a better solution to all these, or some help from anything, anyone or anywhere rather than luck. There is a little bit of the feeling of repetition, but with us on the edge of the seat, it can be passed. There is no doubt that the movie could have made this even better, and that too without her backstory – it is more like a harmless thing that wouldn’t hurt when you look at it as a whole, but when you feel that you get to leave it out too, that is indeed a wonderful feeling, even better by a very small distance, for there is not much of a height to climb for The Shallows that it hasn’t.

Soul exploration :: Just like those other survival movies, The Shallows is also about surviving against all odds – when everything seems to be against you, and it seems that you have no chance here, you keep going. Failing without trying would be the worst thing, and when death awaits you, the need for struggle and survival automatically comes. Our protagonist here has nicely balanced her needs, and using her limited resources and her knowledge about human body, keeps herself alive. There is always some danger of being in a less explored place alone, and a shark is only one of those that could happen to bring the danger. There can be trouble in the roads itself, as shown in NH10, and it is sad that some places which are so unexplored and beautiful don’t get to be as safe as the rest. It once again comes to the survival of the fittest, right? And then there is the inherent evil in man which comes in too, making a terrible impact at other places.

How it finishes :: It is to be noted that Hollywood got so many tales of survival in life, whether it is on Everest, Mars, or anywhere else. We do have one from Bollywood too – the one which is not that popular; Trapped – it has the protagonist getting locked inside an apartment where nobody else lives, and even though the situation might seem better in it, there is more than what meets eye with being somewhere without any means of communication, electricity, food and water for a number of days. A few years ago, Liam Neeson had to battle wolves to survive in The Grey, but never did seem to have a good result out of it for the character – so, will Blake Lively’s character be smart enough to get through the shark, and emerge as the smart one and the winner of the battle? You will once again know what survival is all about, as you go through another movie which will have you hoping for the protagonist to make it to the shore one way or the other. It is so good in working with the genre, you will know.

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge, Pablo Calva, Diego Espejel, Janelle Bailey, Ava Dean, Chelsea Moody, Sully Seagull

<– Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.