Highway

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The eternal wait :: The one question that I had to ask myself is “On the second day of October, what did the movie Besharam give to me”? It did take away seventy rupees, but I am not talking about that. The answer is a lack of interest in Hindi movies since that Gandhi Jayanthi had come up with terror which had me watch no Hindi movie at all for almost five months (yes, not even on the television). So, it was a necessity that I wait for sometime so that such disaster won’t happen too soon. But there is no denying the fact that I almost watched Jai Ho, but the show was housefull. There are not many movies that have been as hyped as Highway despite having no big male star right in the middle of the story. I always knew that the best thing would be to watch my next Bollywood movie in the form of Highway rather than any other. There have been so much talks about this movie like “what is it going to be?”, “what story will it tell?”, “Alia Bhatt should be so awesome in it, so its a sure watch?”, “isn’t it about Stockholm syndrome?” and so on. The Vampire Bat had heard so much or rather too much about the movie, and he finally decided to fly to the theatre on a motor-bike.

What is it about? :: Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt) is kidnapped just before her wedding as she goes on a night ride with her fiancee trying to keep away the pressures and tension of the big function. She is kidnapped by a group of criminals as they stop at a petrol pump. But as the gang realizes that she is the daughter of a rich and powerful man with links to the government, police and the army, they decide to cancel their plans. But Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda) is not ready to give up as he takes her on a road trip away from the place so that they won’t be tracked. Even as she is initially bound and gagged by them, Veera gets more and more comfortable with her captors, and a bond develops between Mahabir and her. She feels free even as she is a captive, and feels so happy. She even refuses to escape when there is chance and feels that she should be with him for so much longer. She herself says that she doesn’t want the journey to end, as she has no desire to go back or go where the journey ends. But how long till her people finds them and the travel diary is put to a quick end?

The defence of Highway :: Most of the Keralites should remember a pseudo-travel movie with the long name Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and a big drag which begins with about fifteen minutes into it and ends only when the story finishes. Highway is far ahead of that one in almost all aspects, the most important ones being the acting and the visuals. Highway is a visually superior movie with its awesome locations, especially as it has succeeded in capturing the beauty of the paradise which is Kashmir. The beauty of nature becomes more and more joyful to watch as the movie moves on to the latter part of the second half, and it gets stronger and stronger by the time it reaches the end. Its messages of finding oneself and reaching beyond one’s fear are also stronger than ever. It’s use of the two protagonists, a man and woman, both having traumatic childhood works so well to touch our hearts. There is so much honesty in the way these are portrayed too, as there is no addition of stupid masala which makes worthless movies super-hits.

The claws of flaw :: The movie drags a lot, and shows potential to keep dragging. From the beginning itself, the movie seems to make the viewers feel that there is not much to come, even as it is wrong. The character of the lady protagonist is rather too far-fetched to make one believe. She seems rather crazy at times (loosely reminding us of the semi-kidnapped lady protagonist of the Malayalam movie Kilukkam), and her attachment towards a criminal who keeps threatening her comes rather too soon. Except for one or two songs which are okay, the music fails to get the attention of the viewers, and there are times when they come when not needed. There is also the use of other languages or may be variations of Hindi which was rather difficult to follow. There was the need for subtitles at least in it comes rather South. The movie takes one away from any kind of usual entertainment which is usually looked for in such a flick. It won’t give anyone the exaggeration that they might look for in a love story as this keeps that side plain and simple.

Performers of the soul :: Well, most of us won’t identify the faces in the movie other than that of Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt. The former (he is the reason why I lament missing John Day which had only one late night show here – who cares for good thrillers with non-superstars who can act, right?) comes up with a powerful performance of brilliance, even as there are less dialogues for him; we can strongly believe that this portrayal by him will be appreciated. We can surely expect a lot more from him. Alia Bhatt is there as the centre of everything, right from the beginning to the end. Even as there is some struggle, she seems to be custom made for the role, seeming to be in so much ease with her character. There are occasions when one would wonder if she does rather too much or a lot more than needed, but that should have come with the character. It is hard to believe that this is only her second movie, and I had missed her first one, Student of the Year. She remains incredibly cute throughout the movie and makes it impossible for any other actress to come up with a better performance in such a role soon. She is so dynamic and full of energy that just her presence keeps the whole thing working so well.

Soul exploration :: The movie is the story of two people whose lives get connected by just one act of crime, a kidnap. It comes up with a lot of things to think about, and it remains so close to being a movie of the soul even if not there completely. Even as not all of them remain close to the truths about life, it is evident that there is a clear attempt to bring to the scene as much humanity as possible; not without its troubles, not in the absence of the good side, yet not abandoning the darker side which tries to get closer to the human soul with more power than ever before. Stockholm syndrome is explored from one side while it continues to be a travel diary as a whole. There are realizations being made about life, and it changes both the kidnapper and the kidnapped in a journey which goes on for kilometres. As Saint Augustine of Hippo says “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”.

How it finishes :: As the movie for which we have been long waiting for, Highway mostly delivers, thanks to the performances of the leading actors, the visuals and the message that it delivers. Despite the drag and the occasional inability to connect, the movie thrives in simplicity and that humanity which are its own Kraken and Leviathan in the huge ocean of movies this weekend. It’s emptiness is not of the soul, but of the physical world, and that is one void that everyone can afford to avoid. As Robert Frost says, when two roads diverge, you have to choose the one less traveled, and here it is Highway, and even as it might not go as expected, this one makes the difference, and there is no doubt about. But let me tell you, happiness is highly subjective, just like the opinions on this movie seems to be – ask Alia Bhatt’s character in Highway and she reiterates money can’t buy you happiness, or even anything close to that. So, if you are making a choice, think about all these factors mentioned above.

Release date: 21st February 2014
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Randeep Hooda, Alia Bhatt, Saharsh Kumar Shukla, Pradeep Nagar, Durgesh Kumar, Arjun Malhotra

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Woman in Black

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✠ A 1983 horror novel by Susan Hill was made into a movie of the same name, last year. But most of the people here haven’t been aware of the same, even as it had mostly positive reviews. That surprises me indeed, as it would have gained a lot if popularized here, thanks to the Harry Potter fans who might have been missing a leading man. There has been a 1989 movie, but we are going to stick to this 2012 version which has our Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe. I didn’t know that he was in it, and that was a pleasant surprise for me. There is no relation with the Men in Black franchise nor the aliens, and no neuralyzer was used in making me say so – you can check the usage records of the device for that. Instead, Woman in Black is a different supernatural story in a different setting, and it is a supernatural movie train which doesn’t run in our modern railroads, and therefore there is a chance that some horror fans might feel some displeasure. Still, my complaint is that there is the absence of something new in horror.

Count Dracula: Woman in Black? If you were looking for a Count in Black, I knew someone who could help you. The clue is that he has nice fangs which he brushes well without fail and lives in an awesome castle. Wait, do you need to talk to Brides in White? I know three, and I am pretty sure that you will love them.

Vampire Bat: And I thought he would confuse it with Men in Black. Do you understand anything I am saying? I am talking about the story of a woman who wears a black dress and if someone sees her, children die. Ever heard about it or something similar, world’s first official vampire Count?

Count Dracula: Are you talking about the lady who comes to clean the castle. I always knew there was something strange about her, and she wears black. My children of the night will be killed? Should I kill her first? Or is she too supernatural for me to get enough from her for my blood shake?

Vampire Bat: Not the cleaning lady. Your vision remains as clouded as the sky. No, not your children of the night. They can howl as much as they want, and you can look at the roof and have that weird expression which zombies have when they see humans with brains. Stop looking at the spider webs while talking. What is wrong with you?

Count Dracula: I am having dreadful visions. I see dead goblins and living halflings. Is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug due to be released soon? Never mind, please continue. I am as interested in that lady in black as I am inspired by that rotten zombie girl in the corner of that graveyard. I have heard about that novel too, not as good as the one written by Bram Stoker, and no good character as me…I mean that Count.

Vampire Bat: Well, a widowed lawyer Arthur Kipps is on a mission to arrange the sale of a house. He has one son whom he leaves at his place with a nanny as he visits the small town where it is located and during his visit to the house, he sees a strange woman wearing black dress. A child dies and the people of the town blames him for seeing that lady.

Count Dracula: Nothing new to me. It happens every time. They blame me all the time just because some random person dies somewhere near my castle. See, I am just a farmer. We are a peaceful farming community with better teeth. What about my rights? I was framed by Bram Stoker. But I have to agree that I liked it.

Vampire Bat: I can’t believe I am hearing this. Just a few days ago, you were playing mist and fog outside the second house on the eighth street. And stop farming skulls – they don’t grow. Pouring blood on them doesn’t create reddish fountains either. I am going to record all these some day. It is not like your case. This is a lady who lost her kid and wishes to take revenge on all the kids of the town, as she makes them do things which lead to their deaths.

Count Dracula: See, she is a hypnotherapist like me. One of my various skills attained due to practice. Am I not the vampire in black? Why not such a title with me as the leading character? There is nothing about that woman, she doesn’t even exist.

Vampire Bat: But you have to think about the environment the movie creates. The local people, legends, strange figures, screaming – the things haven’t been this strange since the last time Jonathan Harker was held captive in your castle. Those were great times, right? Wait, is that a 55 inch 3D LED TV? Where did that come from?

Count Dracula: I didn’t buy it. It was available for free with human Halloween masks in the goblin market. Nobody wanted that stuff as the Witch of the West’s unlimited inches magic TV is the hot item right now, and it has the latest video game “Humans are Evil”. Sounds so awesome, doesn’t it?

Vampire Bat: You are ruining the horror environment with such items. This is why you can’t always blame Twilight for ruining your reputation. Vampires don’t keep 3D TV at home, thats what pseudo-vampires do. You just drink blood in 3D. This is why you need to watch this movie so that you can understand how well the ambiance works.

Count Dracula: You mean to say that the Harry Potter kid has grown up a lot more than his final movie of that franchise? I remember seeing the poster of this movie, and how does he do? I don’t know anyone else from that movie, what about them? The only lady in black that can be scary might be that person from Insidious Part one and two.

Vampire Bat: Yes, he is the centre of attraction, and he might be the reason why the movie has good collection. My first feeling was that he might be having that Harry Potter hangover, but no, there he is away from that franchise, and he is once again taken into a world which asks for willing suspension of disbelief, that fantasy which is rather more of horror rather than simple magic and a little more advanced sorcery. He has survived beyond that magical world which lasted many years, and without a magic wand he takes on both the Woman in Black as well as us skeptics, ending up victorious – yet there is still a lot more to do for him in whatever awaits him next. The world is dark and gloomy, and so is his character, taking us with him as he fits in there, not with perfection, but in the right manner.

Count Dracula: So he is no longer the wizard. I know that he will be killed by that Woman in Black – it is not a guess, as it is something which I can feel. So this is a horror movie, but my doubt is if it does really scare?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it does, and it chooses to use the atmosphere and items for scaring rather than anything else. There are lots of surprise scares coming up, but the problem remains that there is no real explanation for most of the things around. It can only mean one of the two things, either they think that our brains are eaten by zombies, or we have too much of an imagination to find out more. Well, it deals with a big curse, so the things are to be different. It is creepy indeed and full points to the house and its location, but it seems missing out somewhere. I would have also liked another ending, that is for sure.

Count Dracula: So it is scary indeed, and I am going to watch and like it after I get rid of this bloody tv. Its time for me to brush my fangs again. Good bye, and watch movies.

Vampire Bat (to himself): It was quite short a movie. Lasting about one and half hours, the movie could have had more, and it just ended soon when we wanted more of it. Coming from the director of Eden Lake, this is not as good as that movie, but works well with the resources that it has. Yet, this is nothing new for most of us, as we have been provided with similar things a lot. But we can appreciate how it works as another horror movie, and I am always looking for more and more horror.

✠ Its sequel The Woman in Black: Angels of Death is also coming sometime later. Therefore, it is more of a necessity to have watched this movie and be prepared to welcome the Woman in Black into our lives. Watch it for the first true performance from Daniel Radcliffe as a non-wizard civilian of this world and all the creepy things that the movie has to offer. All the atmosphere rather affects the narrative progress, but in a movie like this, it is the creation of that spooky world that we are looking for, but the occasional drag might bing up questions. If you are looking for anything extraordinary or out of the supernatural, you might have to look for another movie. A cup of innovation could have helped. If you don’t like our leading actor, then you can run away too, as there is a lot of Daniel Radcliffe in this one, and he is there more than that lady is black. He might look too young for the role, but when he does well despite the uninterested looks, there is not much there to complain. Darkness and shadows everywhere, not even Dracula can complain.

Release date: 10th February 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: James Watkins
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer, Liz White, Roger Allam, Tim McMullan, Jessica Raine

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Amazing Spider-Man

✠ I would be surprised if the loyalties of the fans have not shifted from my favourite superhero of the childhood to what could be termed as the Iron Man mania or the Batman addiction. They have taken over, and my other childhood superhero He-Man is nowhere to be found. The Revival of the interest in Spider-Man can go back to the Tobey Maguire – Kirsten Dunst starring adaptation of the same and its sequels. Still, the favourite actor of the series happened to be James Franco, thanks to Spider-Man 3. As everyone was waiting to watch The Dark Knight Rises, there was a little lack of interest in the same, but I am glad that the movie has managed to survive. Spider-Man was my favourite comic-strip in the Sunday newspaper, and I remember waiting eagerly for it, even as for the cartoons section, the winner was Ducktales. I had a good collection of Spidey’s graphic novels, and I can remember buying despised chewing gums just for getting the Spidey stickers free, giving the gums to my friends. Spider-Man defined my childhood, even as I never tried to climb the walls. I would add that Spider-Man is also the first “typical superhero” video game I played.

Count Dracula: Spider-Man? Seriously? I mean you are the Vampire Bat, always wearing that black costume and pretending that you can fly, and you still like Spider-Man? You should like Batman, he is your kind sharing the “bat” added to your names – he comes in black, while this spider person comes in red and blue. Even Robocop comes in black pretending that he is Judge Dredd, and it is the new trend. Think about it – Spidey boy is too thin for you; it might feel okay for you now, but from the way you are gaining weight, you might become Vampire Bane and not Vampire Bat.

Vampire Bat: I have no special interest in the character, nor am I interested any spider. I have a fair share of spiders and their webs in my room though. I used to raise a little spider on my motor-bike, but it wasn’t radio active, and went missing on a rainy day. I didn’t have photo of it, which is why I couldn’t ask people if they have seen the little one. Do come here, and count the spiders. I wake up every day, and see a lizard or cockroach, thats how I usually start my day. If you need a centipede though, there are some beautiful pictures right here at Harsha’s place (http://allresourceupdates.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/centipede-they-are-quite-fastarent-they/)

Count Dracula: No, thanks. There was a time when a centipede got into my coffin. I won’t blame it as I am obviously the dead Count walking. It seemed to love the time in my ear, and I had to use drown myself in blood to get it out. I had to run after the local village people with an axe three times a day to reduce the fat that I had gained by taking in too much dark elf blood. Thank God for Goblin Markets, otherwise it would have fed on my brain and the childish zombies would have mocked me. Let me tell you this though, no centipede or a spider will ever become a vampire.

Vampire Bat: But Peter Parker is bitten by the spider, that too a genetically modified one. As you know, the abilities were transferred like vampirism. Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man, along with most of which you already know – of Spider-Man Origins as the man becomes Spider-Man after his uncle’s death. That would leave the question about what are the two different things – they are Gwen Stacy and Dr. Curt Connors a.k.a The Lizard. I would say that they both score better than our heroine and villains of the earlier Spider-Man trilogy. I wouldn’t just judge our hero in comparison yet though.

Count Dracula: Only one villain? That is depressing. I heard that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will have two of them, The Rhino and Electro. It is usually the number two movie that comes up with the best villain. Now that is going to be a cliche for sure.

Vampire Bat: I doubt that. I know who you are referring to, but I loved Batman Begins, and Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul is my first preference for a Batman villain in the new trilogy. The Scarecrow could have been so much better too. But we just can’t deny our Lizard his due. We don’t have an evil man there; he is no Joker, as he falls to his tragic flaw rather than anything that motivates a normal villain. He is the victim of science. He succumbs to that feeling that he can use technology to his advantage in doing the right thing, but ends up doing the exact opposite.

Count Dracula: Someone I know said this “Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain”. It was someone I despise a lot. But the situation here demands that to be true.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I remember Van Helsing. But it doesn’t begin or end there. The Lizard’s only possible true comparison is with Doctor Octopus of Spider-Man 2, another experiment gone wrong and another bad man created. The emotional turmoil, the consequences of his actions and the way their minds deviate – lots of things might be similar. Lizard’s clear advantage is the more advanced CGI and the movie being the origins story. Spider-Man 2 was the last good story in a series and this one is the first. I would still think that the Spidey villains need to get better, as Ra’s al Ghul, Joker, Bane, General Zod – they are all scoring for DC. Marvel’s only hope lies in Loki along with Magneto and his side-kicks as long as they are not taken away by Krrish.

Count Dracula: Talk about Andrew Garfield. He is surely Spider-Man, as the one that you might have read in those Sunday comic strips. He looks young and surely looks like the youngest superhero that is popular with us. He is not burdened by experience as Batman, nor is he troubled by his alien existence like Superman; he has not the need to be He-Man and protect a universe of magic either. He is more or less closer to being the comparatively normal superhero than he is. At least he is closer to being what he claims than you are; you still can’t fly.

Vampire Bat: Why should I fly? Even Batman doesn’t fly. I have a logo like him and I even have dark costumes which can scare people at night. Why don’t you concentrate on Wichita instead? I mean Emma Stone. I can’t get over that name at all – thank you Zombieland. She looked so good in it with the black hair, but this character needed this colour change. This movie has a better romance than the former trilogy, thank God. No overdose of crying romance to follow, we hope. But we can only hope that the Venom episode would be handled much better.

Count Dracula: It took them only five years after the trilogy ended to release the first movie of the reboot franchise. I don’t think that this one can offer too much difference from the previous adaptation. Batman and Superman got rid of the style of wearing underwear on the outside, but as Spider-Man never had that practice, that gesture is not possible. The dark style might not suit him either. May be he can dress like me and hold a spider in his hands. The symbol of ‘bat’ worked for Batman, and the alien nature worked for Superman. Neither the spider symbol or the nerdy character can do something like that for Spider-Man.

Vampire Bat: There are a few things that the trio of superheroes, Superman, Batman and Spider-Man can offer, and one of them is great delight in the form of box-office success. There are many others for sure, but along with Wolverine and Iron Man, these three carry immense potential to break records. The only character from the west who might be more well-known than these should be you. You are our synonym for vampire, and if there is something that they relate with sucking good amount of blood that is you, even as I know a few mosquitoes who might disagree.

Count Dracula: That is not right. I have maintained the disguise of a simple farmer here. I just cultivate corpses, and keep the environment undead. Don’t you have your own vampires out there, the vampires of wealth in the form of celebrities and politicians, vampires of food in the form of restaurants, vampires of truth in the form of media and so on? Do not bother me with that – try your superheroes instead. They shall entertain you and make sure that your childhood concepts remain almost the same.

Vampire Bat: The dignity of superheroes was stolen away by Krrish. It has been partially saved by Thor, but only with the next sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man that it can be claimed back completely. It is up-to Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone to keep the work going. The villains will help, and so will the CGI.

Count Dracula: I am not the kind of person who would believe in superhero stuff. But let me tell you a few things I am sure about. The first thing is that Spider-Man will never be my favourite superhero. The second thing is that I still believe in Spider-Man movies. The simple light shade that the Spidey manages gains my respect.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the movie is excellent in many ways. There are not many flaws to be associated with it. We loved the performances and the way in which they have shaped the story. It is still too early for a reboot and there is nothing spectacular tried this time, and no attempt to deviate into another path like what happened with Batman. Get that DVD, my friend.

Count Dracula: Yes, I think I will. Good bye, brother in fangs.

Vampire Bat (to himself): How can we ignore our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man just because there have been an overflow of superheroes? There is no chance for such a cruelty towards the first Hollywood superhero movie to release in the theatre near my place. There will be no such avoidance. This movie will be more recommended than any other Spider-Man movie. As the origins story has been setup already, the sequel is only going to be better, and I am very confident about it.

The Amazing Spider-Man is another superhero movie which you have to watch. Even without any particular innovation of supreme significance, the movie is a treat to all the fans of the genre as well as the Spidey lovers. The web is stronger than ever this time, even as it will not win any awards in an arachnid competition. Watch this one as the origins story, and there is a lot more to come. You may or may not like spiders, and in most cases loathe them, but lets make sure that this is one creature of the web who gains our attention. Even Count Dracula does that wall crawling stuff very well, and he would indeed love to see something really amazing from the two-legged partial arachnid who just cannot stop itself appearing again and again. Along with the two villains that we have in the upcoming sequel, lets hope for the other interesting villains like Mysterio and Chameleon, as its going to be a long race for the Spidey.

Release date: 3rd July 2012
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, Sally Field

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Dark Shadows

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✠ The rating given to this movie might shock a few mortals, but as this blog written from the Vampire Bat’s perspective, he has decided to take control to fulfill his partially broken promise to that Count who lived as a recluse inside a coffin in a castle. Yes, the Vampire Bat doesn’t broke promises, or rather doesn’t break anything other than may be, his own teeth – blame the root canal offers from local dentists in that case. To add to it, the Vampire Bat shall write this review on a Wednesday, as he was born on such a day. He is mentally depressed after writing a test, and after asserting what he had found out that each and every other person of his world wants the questions from the syllabus while he wants the same from outside. May be he never belonged to the world of humans, and should rather fly away one day. But the depressing side is that he can’t fly – so he will write a bloody review about one of his favourite vampire movies, and undoubtedly his favourite blood sucking movie of 2012. Yes, this is that movie.

Count Dracula: Here you are again. I think that your review of Dark Shadows has been pending for long. Do you have it with you? Its time Barnabas Collins gets his due. He is one of those few vampires who could see McDonalds and feel the presence of Mephistopheles. He is our saviour against Twilight and Mortal Instruments creatures of pseudo-darkness.

Vampire Bat: I can see that you feel the need for some good vampires like Barnabas Collins and Victoria Winters. I love that scene when he sees M for McDonalds: Over 1 billion served. He was accidently quite right about the fast food and the beverages being the demons who suck the soul out of our insides, leaving us nothing of much use. Twilight and Mortal Instruments are the result of the same fast food, as they mess up our brain rather than the stomach.

Count Dracula: So what do you think about this vampire and his family? I did feel the presence of other wonderful forces of the supernatural right from outside the theatre where it was showing – I was wandering around in the mist until I crashed on the wall of that place, it was not good for my fangs, but still felt good for the presence.

Vampire Bat: Barnabas returns 196 years later, after feeling the wrath of unrequited love from a witch, Angelique Bouchard who cursed him into a bloodsucker, killed his parents and also forced his true love to commit suicide. She is a witch who curses his family and gets him buried alive in the middle of a forest, takes over his family business and puts his descendents into ruin. The worst thing is that the witch is still alive, using her magic to identify herself as her own descendants. This love has always been so overrated, right?

Count Dracula: Yes, even with me it is the same. I already feel a lot of love for Angelique Bouchard. Eva Green is that good, and I still can’t forget The Dreamers. I can remember my first infatuation with a witch already. Why would he not return the love baffles me. Whom does he have instead?

Vampire Bat: There is Bella Heathcote taking rebirth, from Josette du Pres to Victoria Winters. She appears as if an enchanting fairy vampire, not as some random Bella. But the two characters you will surely love are Michelle Pfeiffer’s Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Chloë Grace Moretz’s Carolyn who asks “are you stoned or something” to which the recently risen Barnabas says “they tried stoning me dear, it did not work”. To add to it, he calls a lava lamp “pulsating blood urn”, and the crane as “a giant dragon with millions of teeth and a thousand shining eyes” – you have to love him. His seriousness is awesome!

Count Dracula: I have felt that myself, rising from the grave and seeing the world different. I know you feel the change each and every day. The world is indeed to fast, and I am sure that most of us hope that each and every day we go to sleep, we never wake up again. I wish for the sunlight to disappear, and you hope for the day to end, and there is not much different in how we see the world, and we are as outdated as Barnabas Collins; it is just that we have no lover witch.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have always thought that, and Dark Shadows makes sure about the same. Moretz is wonderful in the movie, and the way she says “I’m a werewolf, okay? Don’t make such a big deal over it” to her mother, and always special mention needs to be for Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Meanwhile, if you don’t like Bella Heathcote in this movie, you have to be blind – not that closing of eyes you do with sunlight, but the real blindness of the physical world.

Count Dracula: You make the point there. I have read about the many faces of Johnny Depp too, and I shall not doubt him at any moment. This face is my favourite indeed, and then comes that Jack Sparrow followed by the crow-carrying head in The Lone Ranger. Then comes Sweeney Todd and The Hatter – who won’t love Alice in Wonderland by the way, and they were two special characters. I am not going to count the faces of such a versatile actor, as that won’t even please my coffin. Instead tell me more about Eva Green.

Vampire Bat: Her character has angel in her name and some strange love which keeps her in the attitude that “If I can’t have you, my love, I’ll destroy you!” – not that much of hatred as she keeps him alive; should be too much admiration. She tries everything she can, but true love finally wins – not really a surprise, isn’t it? Eva Green is fantastic in the movie, as she is beautiful, charming and perfect as the pretty witch. The cast itself is the real strength of the movie. With such awesome names involved with it, who would not wish to watch this movie? The comedy is also well done.

Count Dracula: That sounds like interesting stuff. A vampire movie with all of these? That should cure me from the death strike which fell on me with Twilight and Mortal Instruments. I shall have a new life of blood. You should have reviewed this one much earlier – remember how long ago I had told you to do the same?

Vampire Bat: Despite the good box-office returns, the ratings haven’t been good with it. I would think that it is the result of an anti-vampire sentiment and possible cruelty which has been unleashed on vampire movies due to terror which was Twilight and all the sequels that followed tried desperately to destroy man’s faith in vampires. No wonder Byzantium didn’t release at this part of the world. There is only one chance for us to reclaim that lost faith, or rather two – release a movie from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, or create the much needed sequel to this movie which has left a good chance for another story by the end of it.

Count Dracula: It is much needed, that is for sure! These undead creatures are bothering me too much just because they had to watch Twilight. Even the wolves no longer listen to me – they think I am going to wear their skin as clothing and call myself a werewolf. See how these movies are badly affecting my children of the night. We need that, or I might have to turn my whole castle into a one big coffin.

Vampire Bat: There is less hope for both of them. The problem about having a Vampire Chronicles movie is that nothing can live up-to the awesomeness of Interview with the Vampire. The scope of a Dark Shadows sequel is less, due to the lack of need and the not that positive critical reception. One day, we will take over as official undead reviewers with bad teeth, and then we can change the whole thing.

Count Dracula: Then we shall stick with this Barnabas as the vampire hero of this century so far. The last century’s control was disputed, but for this one, it has become pretty clear, the only challenge being from Selene and the next closest was indeed Rayne, but they were rather the heroines who enchanted us. I shall pray for the rise of more vampire in movies and literature which are as good as Barnabas.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is worth your time for sure, especially as you have not much to do, and all the souls are going to love it. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you, especially the dark shadows if you got what I meant.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie mostly due to the great performance of Johnny Depp in his new avatar, and then due to the good work put into it by Eva Green with great support from the rest, especially Bella Heathcote, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Here, we have that true vampire comedy movie which adds almost every ingredient correctly, thus making this a great choice, and the reason why you need to go back in time and check the theatres.

✠ I don’t know about that television show or soap opera on which this movie is based, and that might not be necessary, but if you love vampire flicks and bloodsuckers in literature, you will like Dark Shadows which keep the worlds of Twilight and Mortal Instruments away. Even if you don’t care much about the same, the comic side of the movie will keep you interested. Still, there is so much seriousness underneath striving for true love, which makes this a wonderfully layered movie. I am pretty sure that whatever you like and wherever you are from, most of you will at least like this one as an average movie, and there are not many places where you can have this much vampire fun along with looking at such a great cast. Behold the beauty of the shadows of this movie, and you might end up loving it along with Bella Heathcote. This one won’t even make Count Dracula think twice, and in that case, long live Barnabas Collins, who has survived a witch’s love and watched his own dark shadows in a coffin for such a long time.

Release date: 11th May 2012
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Bella Heathcote, Eva Green, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Runner Runner

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✠ This was a week blessed by no releases which came out with a good critical reception, and the after-effects of that movie Besharam was haunting me. It re-iterated the need for a good movie, and I had high expectations about this flick, but those waxen wings were burnt yet again, and therefore it is necessary that Count Dracula take over half of those expectations. This has been a bad beginning to a month which starts with Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday right on the second day, and considering the fact that I had to watch Besharam on that day was sad, and as I add this movie’s score to, the total should be 57/200 which is undoubtedly the worst beginning I ever had to a month this year. With that sadness concerning a month which might not rise in quality much if an average is taken, I have to take you back to the legendary vampire.

Count Dracula: So you are back. You had Jumper, Sinister, Offender, Parker, Looper and now Runner; that too twice. The names of the movies are indeed strange. Among those movies ending with -er I would have preferred those less complicated ones like Hellraiser, Dreamcatcher, Outlander and the inverted version ending with -re, possibly with the word “vampire”.

Vampire Bat: I can see that the absence of Twilight movies are bringing you back into this world. Yes, the title is Runner Runner, and it is good that they had chosen such a title, as the movie drags a lot in between and it is a good thing that people get to know that it is running.

Count Dracula: Do you mean to see that a movie which was so much awaited, a flick which has Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton is quite bad and doesn’t deserve to be watched?

Vampire Bat: That would be pure nonsense. I am surely recommending this one, even as not that much as most of those other movies of the earlier weeks; and this movie might be the winner of this week which was plagued by Besharam and is not supported by any superstar movies from Malayalam industry. Runner Runner might not win by a big margin considering the number of people who were present in the theatre even during the best time of a semi-holiday, but if there is a movie which needs some appreciation among those released this week, it is this movie. The critics might have panned it a little too much in my opinion, for this is no Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance.

Count Dracula: Why did you have to remind me of that movie? Wasn’t the reminder about Twilight and Besharam enough for the day. You always ruin my day like those wood elves. I need to eat a hobbit, but that would take some time too.

Vampire Bat: That should be mainly because I am not here to make you listen to what you want to hear. But let me tell you that this movie scores with its cast. Its greatest advantage remains Justin Timberlake. He was good in Bad Teacher, and I loved his performances in Friends With Benefits and In Time. Here also, he is really good, but his character is let down by the story which goes on through the predictable lines and even as they seem to promise for some surprises at times, there is nothing risky in a gambling movie, and when they don’t dare to do that in a movie which is all about taking risk and gambling, that is a real shame.

Count Dracula: It doesn’t make any sense that you have not started talking about Gemma Arterton. What about her? Her presence in Byzantium makes me wish to go back to the civilized world again. I had heard that they didn’t release that movie in your land. They should be really evil, as it is one of the best things which has happened to the vampire world since my last bloodbath.

Vampire Bat: Yes, she has been an unavoidable force for me from the days of Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and finally Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters this year. But I didn’t like her that much in this movie as I expected. She was pretty and did all that she was supposed to do, but one has to wonder what purpose has her character really served in the movie by coming out of nowhere at regular intervals. Yes, she makes me ask for sequels to both Prince of Persia and Hansel and Gretel, but not for this one.

Count Dracula: You don’t need to say that Ben Affleck was good, as I have known that already. I am not predicting what you saw in the theatre, or what was to happen, but I am pretty much confident about that. I am not sceptical about his upcoming role as Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel either, as most of the people are. He has been Daredevil and he can be Batman. Matt Murdock can be Bruce Wayne, and not every Batman needs to be the same.

Vampire Bat: You are very good at taking words out of the mouth of others, and this is no exception. Yes, the three people forms the pillars of the movie, and the two male characters run the show. Gemma’s character could have had a lot more to do, but I guess we can’t have a Gretel or Tamina every time. Still, there is no denying that the scope for such a character in a movie like this is almost limitless.

Count Dracula: I am not a gambler, my friend. Neither am I a gangster. So, my interest in such a movie is limited. I am rather a vampire who often forgets to brush my teeth and visit a dentist. How did the gambling side work out with you? And does it have enough blood?

Vampire Bat: No, it is far behind in action, and therefore also the blood. Its adult certificate is for the sexual content which is censored at this part of the world, and the near absence of clothes is more of fashion, and I didn’t see those people who came to watch the movie with families leaving, and therefore the lingerie stuff should be okay with them. I would wonder if the gambling side worked at most of the theatres in this part of the world though, as most of us are not aware of the thing properly. But did Justin Timberlake’s character narrate between action to make it known better? I don’t think so.

Count Dracula: So tell me how does it end? Don’t throw the spoiler at me, but still let me know about it. I shall buy only the DVD of that movie, and I have to know the whole thing a little better.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is about a student who loses all his money to an online gambling game, and after coming to know that he was cheated, goes to Costa Rica to find the owner of the site and confront him only to taken to his side. He is romantically linked to the former lady love of the man and is bothered by the FBI to assist them in finding proof for taking the lord of gambling into custody. There are enough suspicions and double-crossing stuff to deal with, and the climax is pretty good.

Count Dracula: So, Runner Runner is worth a watch, and I surely have to get that DVD. I shall look for it the next time I go to the goblin market. If I can’t find it there, it shall be upon you to get that to me.

Vampire Bat: I shall still recommend this one if you are going for a movie this weekend. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie in the form of a DVD, as an uncut version, and if you also live in such a part of the world where the options are the same as mine, go for this movie in the theatre. The beauty of Costa Rica and the three leading actors might be enough to make your day as this is a shameless week for us as far as movies are considered.

✠ For a Malayalam movie fan, this flick brings back the memories of Jose Praksh’s “muthala kunjungal”, for our dear antagonist has crocodiles as pets and feeds them very well, and there is a scene involving him almost feeding his opponents to the creatures in water. Well, this movie doesn’t go to crocodiles of Lake Placid, nor does it goes to the dinosaur of Jurassic Park. With a better plot and a better characterization of Gemma’s character, the three could have done wonders here. Do keep the ears ready for some good lines in the movie, and be prepared for half a fun ride which might be enough for some and not at all working for others. The movie is that much of a gamble that you have to take as it happens inside, and there is a big chance that this will come up okay, and a slight chance that this won’t work at all – there is much lesser chance of this impressing you to the core. Next time, I hope that when they make a thriller, there would me more risks taken and big twists explored, rather than going in a straight path as if it is a drama movie. It is a short movie, both in content and in running time, and may be it is for the good.

Release date: 4th October 2013
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Brad Furman
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, David Costabile, Sam Palladio, Oliver Cooper, Ben Schwartz

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Hotel Transylvania

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This review features the major excerpts from the interview with Count Dracula by the Vampire Bat during the last full moon night when both the Vampire Crocodile and the Vampire Owl were able to predict what was to expect in the movie After Earth and initiated a cryo-sleep on themselves to save themselves from visiting the theatres, something of which they are incapable. Any relation to any person living, dead, undead, going to die, half-dead, partially alive or those watching Malayalam new generation rom-shit movies/Hindi supposed-to-be-romantic movies (Eg: Annayum Rasoolum/Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) might be a co-incidence and never practical. To add to it, no vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons, monsters or aliens (both Avatar blue and general green) were harmed while this interview was going on, but there is no guarantee about what happened after that. Well, this is that kind of an animated movie which can’t stand alone without Count Dracula, the supposed to be proud owner of Hotel Transylvania, where the world’s most awesome monsters can get away from human civilization and take rest. No, he is not the one who should not be named, so lets not call him just “D” or “CD”, and lets get on with what he thought about this flick.

Count Dracula: Oh its you again. Welcome to Hotel Transylvania! No, wait, welcome to Dracula castle. Hope you will never enjoy your stay here and get lost as soon as possible. You called my place a hotel in your letter – how can you even think so? I have a reputation to keep here, and movies like Twilight and whatever followed already took away half of it, and I am adjusting with whatever is left. Do I look pale? Do I sparkle right now? It has been so difficult to keep up with the new vampire fake myths. Nobody thinks that I am a vampire any more. To add to it, they are using the names like ward and swan related to vampires. And now, you come here with your fangs thinking this is a hotel. This is the worst thing that has happened to me since Twilight, New Moan, Ellipsis and Breaking Teeth – I lose my mind thinking about them and can’t even pronounce them right! Make it quick, Vampire Brat!

Vampire Bat: Well, this is the seven hundred and twenty seventh time in he last five hundred and one years of acquaintance that I am telling you that it is not the Vampire Brat, but the Vampire Bat. The “R” is not there ; it doesn’t even exist. Where do you think you are? In The Matrix trying to be Neo and bend the spoon even as there is actually no spoon? Is that what you want?

Count Dracula: Neo and spoon! Can I feed a little bit of that Neo thing in the spoon to my Zombie Dog who is caught in a loop chasing that local Vampire Cat for eternity? He can’t even stop for death; isn’t that the worst thing that can happen to anybody?

Vampire Bat: The first thing is that I hate that dog. The second thing is that there is no time. The third thing is about your home and your lovely monster friends who come to visit you very often.

Count Dracula: You are talking about Frank frankie freak? Frankenstein’s monster as you call him, is my oldest and the best friend even as he belongs to the zombie category which gives him reservation. He used to get thirty five marks moderation in his exams for which the pass mark for his category was twenty five. We vampires used to be given a maximum of thirty five out of hundred in all exams so that the balance was maintained! He even passed the interview for the job at The Demon’s Keep soul ferry service by only pretending to apply for it. But he is a good friend as I can murder him so many times and he won’t mind as he is already ugly and dead.

Vampire Bat: This doesn’t really feature in the movie, and I would like to stick to it. Your best friends include Wayne the werewolf, Frank the zombie, Griffin the invisible man and Murray the mummy. Your wife was murdered by a mob who set fire to your house and it was for your daughter Mavis that you built this hotel, I mean castle.

Count Dracula: That doesn’t make any sense as I was never married and neither did I have a daughter. I do call doctors here though, most are dentists. Do you like my golden tooth or the silver one? Never mind, please continue, as I like that story even as it is in no way related to me as a vampire.

Vampire Bat: On your daughter’s 118th birthday, you use your zombie minions to trick her and make her stay away from the humans whom you consider dangerous. But a human named Jonathan arrives, and you are forced to make him look like a monster to the other monsters to save your hotel. But soon, your daughter becomes attracted to him and the rest is history. Any part of this which you agree to?

Count Dracula: None of it. This mortal-immortal love story is the worst thing in the world. But I am glad that they didn’t add wolves to it this time. There is still a little bit of attraction which even a vampire would feel to such a simple, and yet different story. Was the movie a good watch for you?

Vampire Bat: I think it was very good during most of the parts. But the death of that mortal and Mavis living the right immortal life would have made it more interesting. She is the most evil one among the monsters as she chooses to go after a mentally retarded creature of modernity who doesn’t care about anybody but himself and his personified stupidity, a characteristic which changes only by his stay with the Count. She will surely be in hell for making such a nasty decision out of pure selfishness, but as it is fiction, let her rest in hell, for that Lucifer, Belzebub and Mephistopheles won’t mind. The visuals were pretty good, but the characters were kind of shallow. You are kind of strange in that movie and so is your daughter. To be frank, none of the monsters retain their basic qualities except for the looks which are made funnier, and this fun is the bright side along with the variety which has been brought.

Count Dracula: I would watch it then. I have many ways of watching a movie undetected by the humans at their own places. Do you think it deserves me by its portrayal of the great Count Dracula of Transylvania?

Vampire Bat: I would say yes. You have been depicted more good than ever, which is not always a bad thing. It is shown that you are a loving and caring father, and also has concern for the fellow monsters. You would even do anything to make all which you believe happen. If you can forget the funny part as just part of the complete fun, you surely won’t find it humiliating or anti-vampire.

Count Dracula: I shall watch it on next full moon with Frank. I trust you on this, and if you fail me, I shall make you watch some movies of nothingness – like that Malayalam movie Kili Poyi.

Vampire Bat: I have watched it and died many times in my immortal hours, Count. Now, it is the time to take my leave, until we collide on a hunt again. Good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, brother; for now.

Vampire Bat (to himself): It might have been sad for such a legendary Gothic horror character to live through something as modern and horribly romantic as Twilight. The same would have happend to the Frankenstein monster as well as the Mummy, but in a lesser manner. This movie doesn’t give him his lost glory, but it surely does provide an alternative to Twilight for the faint-hearted ones who can’t really handle the supreme vampire with all his horrifying powers.

There a few things which are to be kept in mind while going for this movie. It has great animation, and the way in which each monster is detailed needs special mention, especially the Mummy and the Frankenstein monster. But the plot doesn’t stay that powerful, and there is the lack of use of the evil side of each and every monster except Quasimodo whose dark side is not that black to be explored in such a way. The characters are not that strong enough to create a grand experience. It is perfect for the kids with its lovable characters who show no shade of their original evil, and the love between a mortal and an immortal would interest many, as a Twilight inverse made in a cute way. Even Count Dracula gets his due, still not in the way he might have wanted; yet, works in the right manner. But, each and every second, you know what is going to happen, and there are no surprises in this one. If you are expecting something like Megamind, Monsters v/s Aliens, Finding Nemo or Kung Fu Panda, you are going to be disappointed. The attempt is still good, and I would wait for its sequel supposed to release on September 25, 2015 – lets see how much they can improve on this beginning. Adam Sandler voices Count Dracula and Selena Gomez is the daughter Mavis; that should add to the need for watching the movie.

Release date: 28th September 2012
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring (voice): Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Cee Lo Green

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Go Goa Gone

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In this world touched by the vampires of the last century and dominated by the not-at-all scary pseudo-vampires powered by works like Twilight, zombies have been forced to take the back-seat. Some would say that it is deserving to be so, and that is al they need, but without solid proof. Still, it would not be wrong if one says that this is more of a racist prejudice against a species which is on its very first stages of understanding the new world after being dead and back as a new person with a little brain as big as a vampire fang. We had seen Zombieland, the 2009 zombie comedy movie making enough fun of the poor creatures of the grave who are just trying to listen to their basic instinct of survival, that is to feed. So, what happens is that instead of finding a flesh and blood substitute for them with the use of what is at their hands, the so called heroes just murder them, not always on self-defence, sometimes as a routine thing. In Zombieland, our heroes take an extended road trip across the United States in an attempt to find a place free from the zombies, and Go Goa Gone is also a trip, and it is another zombie comedy, thus starting a number of similarities there. They should end when they both get positive critical reviews and become good commercial success stories – our movie has to go a little more to be sure about it, but for now, and from what it seems to be, it is surely on its way to becoming a success by all means.

Zombies are typically depicted as mindless, re-animated corpses with a never-ceasing hunger for human flesh and at times for the flesh of a few other creatures, with a special liking for human brains which tastes more like fried rice, and with blood added to it, they have enough flavour. A vampire is basically a re-animated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at night to suck the blood of the unsuspecting humans; this never-ceasing thirst for human blood and at times the blood of some other creatures, with a special liking for fresh blood of beautiful women which tastes more like strawberry shake with a blood topping. Forget the vampires of Twilight, as they don’t count – they are just mutated humans with superpowers which can only be maintained by drinking human blood; a case of just random parasites of the world. The zombies can trace their popularity to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, while the vampires can trace theirs to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is basically John Polidori’s 1819 work, The Vampyre that got the vampire into the spotlight, while Mary Shelley’s 1818 work had already got the world’s first official zombie for the common man to understand. Did he eat human brains? No, but he did eat the brains of his own creator, and that is nothing less than cannibalism in an intellectual manner. Thanks to 28 Days Later and the never-ending series of Resident Evil movies and games, the zombies have finally found their address, in a different way, but not by losing their identity as in Twilight – not by choosing to sparkle rather than being what they really are.

It is known that they are both undead supernatural humanoids who hunts humans to please their instincts. In return, both are usually killed by burning or decapitating. They are both originally the creatures of the night and the undisputed rulers of the grave. The infection is spread and more of their kind is created by biting and infecting the wounds. They usually lack souls and are on the side of evil on a long scale which stretches from pure good to pure evil. zombies can walk in sunlight; vampires can only come out at night. But while zombies continue to decay and continues to lose their body parts, even as they won’t really mind it, vampires are preserved with their looks for eternity unless destroyed by an outside force. The zombies work solo even if they come in hordes – they don’t use nature, creatures or other fiends for help. The difference in looks and the food habits is evident. While zombies move slowly, vampires are incredibly fast. The violence in zombies is passive, but disheartening, as in vampires, it is active and still precise enough with the fangs on the neck of the victim. As zombies continue their mindless walk, vampires can use intellect as well as the superpowers, may be even shape-shift into animals like bats. Whatever is said, they are both still dead, but still moving, and they belong to the other side of the mirror, no matter how much Twilight try to make them assimilated.

Considering the movies like I am Legend and 30 Days of Night, there is surely a mixing of the two in history; forget Underworld‘s vampire-werewolf combination, this is more like that feasible undead combination. The origin through the death of the supreme evil men is one theory, but a virus infection seems to be more suitable to the age these days – zombies have been enslaved to this notion for more time than expected, while vampires also got themselves the scientific side with Daybreakers. Zombies are still scarier than vampires for the new age fans, as the latter have been portrayed in a romantic light not only in Twilight, but also in True Blood. Well, everybody needs their own dose of fear, and if vampires and witches can provide them no more, one has to turn to the zombies. There is always more than one side to horror; for more than it scares you, it rather prepares you for the worse which is to come. In the case of a horror comedy, it does the same without the problems of being that much scared. When Evil Dead didn’t release in India, it was a clear lose to the common horror fan. Whatever the reason might be, it is a clear case of absolute cruelty to a movie watcher to which many people should be answerable. Our movie is horror, comedy and the much needed experiment in this field for a movie industry which hasn’t really ventured to such a world before. Therefore, it is my privilege to welcome all of you into this world of zombies which is closer to the world of vampires than Twilight and True Blood.

The movie is the story of three friends, Hardik (Kunal Khemu), Luv (Vir Das), Bunny (Anand Tiwari). The first one needs a break from work, the second one a time away to deal with his break-up, and the third one has a presentation in Goa, which means that the first two accompany the third so that they can utilize all the facilities which are available to the more nerdy of the three as he goes for the presentation. In Goa, the whole scene takes a wrong turn when Luv meets the gorgeous Luna (Puja Gupta) in a violet bikini at the swimming pool and loses his broken heart once again. She introduces herself as one of his many facebook friends whom he rarely knew, and invites him for a special Russian party at an island not too far away. The party is hosted by a supposed-to-be-Russian guy named Boris (Saif Ali Khan) who is launching a special party drug, a prototype from Russia during this bash. The three friends have good time at the party. But what happens is that almost everyone on the island seems to turn into zombies on the very next day. Bunny even ends up telling a zombie girl to brush teeth before they meet up. As they slowly realize the hell that has come down on the island, Luv talks about saving Luna, to which Hardik replies that he will buy him a better Luna; the Kinetic Luna is always memorable isn’t it? They find Luna and are almost killed when Boris arrives in time to save them. Now, they have to survive, kill some dead people and get out of the island.

Kunal Khemu and Vir Das has complimented each other and has done a great job as the extremely lazy guys who argue so much about who will pick up the remote control andchange the television channel. They drink, smoke and run after girls with no interest in their works. They create the major part of fun in the movie, mostly with their lines. The third friend Bunny, played by Anand Tiwary, is just the opposite, as he is the nerd and he never gives an opinion otherwise. Saif Ali Khan steals the show from the moment he makes his first shot at a zombie. The Russian gangster is surely going to be a model for many characters in the future. He says “I kill dead people” and delivers. Along with the two friends in crime, he gets more of the better lines. He is an excellent zombie slayer and I hope he slays Twilight vampires too. Puja Gupta plays the gorgeous lady lead, and her arrival in the violet bikini marks the beginning of the twist, which would be complete on the very next morning. She transforms from the hot girl to the damsel in distress and then to the shotgun-murderer of the zombies by the end. She is undoubtedly a great addition to the beauty of Goa. Look out for the pool scene and when they take refuge in an abandoned house and try to figure out if one of them is really a zombie with question about Uganda and Mathematics. Go Goa Gone is undoubtedly a clever movie, and it is evident in the execution rather than everything else combined.

A week had the movie 3G as the big release, and here, two movies starting with alphabet G – 2Gs were the big releases from Bollywood, and this one would surely eclipse the other – after all, this movie has three Gs while the other has only one. Zombies would approve that it is reason enough for their success, running a full-time of 111-Nelson. The fun begins from the start itself, and it never ends; with the ending it has got, I would be looking forward to a sequel. This movie is what the Malayalam movie Kili Poyi could have been; with the heroes wandering around in Nee Ko Nja Cha style, the zombies add to the fun which is to be expected when the youth goes to Goa after a break-up and work-tension. Go Goa Gone is unlimited fun, and not your logically superior movie, but it still comes up with a strong message against the use of drugs. They have managed all of these and brought them together in such a manner that there is lots of blood and gore, and the zombie terror, still it is incredibly funny. The references to the movie Evil Dead, and the vampires and zombies of Hollywood just adds to the fun. Overall, it is non-stop entertainment without brains – for all the brains have been eaten by those zombies who are as hungry as any of the non-Twilight vampires a.k.a the real vampires.

Release date: 10th May 2013
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Raj Nidimoru & Krishna D.K.
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Puja Gupta, Kunal Khemu, Vir Das, Anand Tiwari

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Shootout at Wadala

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There is always something about John Abraham, whether with his debut movie that is Jism, the special ones which were Kabul Express and No Smoking, my favourite performances of him which are Zinda and Taxi 9211 or even his most stylish performance ever, that is Force – as long as the fans of Dhoom won’t disagree. To add to it, however you look at it and whatever some of the critics say about it with an artificially created anguish which has created a fake reflection of imperfection which is more applicable to Chak De India, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal was also something special. Dostana didn’t fail to impress me and Garam Masala is of lesser importance only because of its Malayalam original eclipsing it. He has always been underrated, as all the fans stood by the actors who have a famous family background, and our man is more of what I would feel to be a self-made man, something which I consider to be of great importance in a world of pride, prejudice and reservations. As the Vampire Bat thinks a lot about where he is from, it is something which always catches the legendary bat attention. Well, once you catch the attention of the Vampire Bat, there is no lack of the paranormal analysis which would be based on a few cups of tea and the absolute truth which can be obtained only by seeking in the sea of lies which is shown to the common movie watchers through some reviews.

Consider Django Unchained for a change – what was in it? Nothing other than racism supported by gore. It leaves the intellectual ones with more wrong questions than anything else. If the performance of those actors alone would make that movie superior, our own shootout would be far ahead with an all-round performance. Well, this movie does take them all aside, and happens to be John Abraham’s best performance ever – from now on. No, it is still not going to mesmerize you, as that step is still far away. The movie is the sequel to the 2007 film Shootout at Lokhandwala, and is based on the book Hussain Zaidi’s Dongri to Dubai – but as I haven’t ventured into these two initiatives and my knowledge is limited, I shall not comment on them. Its dramatization of the first-ever registered encounter by Mumbai police is also something I know nothing about – by nothing I mean a perfect void which would justify all the absence, and I shall not talk about something which happened before I had fallen into this world of misery in an official way. For now, I would know that there is a location called Wadala and there was an encounter there, and the rest shall be my immediate conception of fiction through a movie which has already been praised enough by the critics – for this praise is the absolute truth and nothing else.

Well, as I don’t fall prey the type of nonsense which says like “Sholay is the greatest Indian cinema” kind of stuff, and the stereotypes like “men with muscles can’t act”. The presence of pride and prejudice is so much, and the absence of sense and sensiblity is evident even in this age; may be Jane Austen knew this when she named her novels. As the second axiom shall be easily proved when one watches the movie, I knew all the time that Sholay was so overrated that even the word would be ashamed of it. Even from a long time ago, I knew that it made no sense. It would always remain an unsuccessful imitation of the West in the most ridiculous manner. It had absolutely nothing to generate any feeling, and none of the events were of significance. The presence of only the DD National channel at home would still force people to watch it more than once, and it is surely this nostalgia that has helped in making it attractive even at this age. But, I will not compare this movie to that pseudo-classic, as this belongs to the new world. They would still make them worse with remakes, as there was Aag, as well as movies like Agneepath which might be the worse of them all. Coming back to this movie, it is beyond all those over-hyped movies. It is also not your typical masala entertainer even if the elements are there.

Well, by the time I finish deconstructing these pseudo-classics, the fake movie lovers will come up with more lies. There is this unreal world created by these people which doesn’t need to be turned upside down, but there is the need for the existence of the real world, the world of truth. But I am not going to publish them in detail as a movement against the majority who are brainwashed to believing that the name of the best movie is “blah blah” and “mr. blah blah” is the best actor. I am beyond these lies though, as now I know that the medium is the message. I would never watch a movie according to what the critics say, and I believe the same would be the case of anyone who has some individuality left within them. The media manufatures consent and makes you believe, and now the critical reviews seem to keep people from watching movies or preventing them from doing the same. In this movie’s case, there are a good number of positive reviews, which is a good thing to see, but for all the negatives, there is something we don’t know. It can still be subjectivity and the powerful assertion of oneself, but then, why would a common man read those reviews looking for objectivity? We can only hope that they are just personal opinions, in that case, I really wish they were all blogs like mine which is not really read by people before going for a movie.

With some apologies for thinking and being different, lets focus on our movie of the moment. John Abraham has done a fantastic job as the protagonist/antagonist, with a powerful transformation from the college student who aims at the ceiling to the merciless gang leader who aims at the clouds. From the man of fear to the man who creates fear, he has done a great job, and the latter works perfectly for him. This is quite different from all the roles he has done so far, as it is the main role and it requires so much effort, and he hasn’t lagged behind. He is the one who carries the movie forward on his shoulders, even as Anil Kapoor as the valiant police officer also comes up with a strong performance and the presence of Jackie Shroff as another police officer never ceases to bring some old memories back; but a cameo it is for Jackie. Kangna Ranaut is good in the limited screen presence required for an action movie. Tusshar Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai and Sonu Sood actually seem to come up with something better every scene. The first one surely requires a special mention for the moments he creates.

There is clearly the battle between two sides, plus another extra side, if you could find it. Between all these, there are three item songs, by Sunny Leone, Priyanka Chopra and Sophie Choudry, and the first one even if the most revealing is closer to the story than the others. The other two would seem to add more colour to the whole movie which is full of action, blood and gore – not as gory as your favourite Hollywood slasher movie, but by Bollywood standards. The second item song by Priyanka Chopra could actually be avoided as not belonging to its genre, and the third one by Sophie Choudry might be the most surprising and the more appropriate to what has been happening in the action scene. As the second one pales in comparison, and there is one other song, the whole world of Manya Surve gets so much longer than the average viewer would like. There is also a bit of slow-motion action to add to it, but the Keralite viewers has seen the biggest use of it, and it might not be even big enough to not notice. The power of the movie lies in the fact that it was executed so well, even as there is nothing extraordinary in there, neither in the script nor the adventure which moves a little towards predictability in the end.

Another thing is that this movie came so close to ending the legacy of the non-Indian named movies in my movies list, but with the words “shootout at”, the statistics remain that I have never ventured into reviewing a movie with a non-Germanic-Romance language name – it could be said non-English, but one has to think twice about the words like “Amen”. So this is a legacy which this movie too shall not break, and instead would choose to continue, with a place name which is out of it, but in totality an integral part of the legacy. As all those Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi movies which I found interesting to review had those type of names, it is interesting that most of the movies with local names have failed, especially in Malayalam; starting from Annayum Rasoolum, going through Lokpal to Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla. Well, this movie makes sure that the non-native titled movies keep their status above average. The two or three Malayalam movies in the theatres also continues this legacy, and so does a number of upcoming movies; therefore lets see if I can get to bless the reviews list with a movie of native title; Akam had come so close, but just missed out – that should make the masala entertainer/superstar flick fans who try to impose their lies in a violent and baseless manner incredibly happy.

Release date: 3rd May 2013
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Sanjay Gupta
Starring: John Abraham, Kangna Ranaut, Anil Kapoor, Tusshar Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai, Sonu Sood, Jackie Shroff (cameo), Sunny Leone (cameo), Priyanka Chopra (cameo), Sophie Choudry (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Oblivion

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It was about six or seven years ago, that the Vampire Bat landed on a game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and he landed on his broken tooth which made him as addicted to it, as Count Dracula is to his coffin. This sequel to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and the predecessor of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim had shocked him in a good way, like no other game had before, and his wish was to write a review on it, giving it 100/100 along with Mass Effect, for providing him with that world, his second life where he actually lived, died, resurrected and got beheaded/shot on the head – well, he loved these two games so much that he finished it, as he wanted to that right from the beginning with no rest. For years, the Vampire Bat wished for the movie adaptations of these two, especially of the first one which was his mythical/fantasy world of chivalry compared to the inter-star battles and interactions of the second. But he has been disappointed for long, and here what he get is a movie of the same name as the Oblivion game, with a setting similar to the Mass Effect game. No, the movie doesn’t resemble both of these in story or theme; but this coming together of the elements of these two games is what came to the mind of this nocturnal soul when the first time he saw the movie poster, and he wouldn’t have dared not to share it.

The awesomeness of these two games are clearly visible in this movie though, but not in a way which has similarities. In those games, we could travel anywhere, but coming into the movie, it is a limited world which follows an alien invasion which nearly destroyed the Earth. After the devastation of moon which caused horrible natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis and terrible climatic variations. The land is left uninhabitable with the mankind being transported to their new habitat. Former Marine commander Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a drone mechanic who repairs flying machines with advanced weaponry used for defence against alien lifeforms, and is also one of the last few humans stationed on the dying planet with his co-worker Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) living in a baseless tower-like structure thousands of feet above the Earth, but she is still no Rapunzel, and neither is he her prince or adventurer, something which shall be revealed later. Most of their memories are erased, and the knowledge about their past stays locked at the moment. For now, their relationship would seem to reveal that they are in love and might have been even married.

They are part of an operation to clean up the remaining forces of the alien invasion who are referred to as scavengers and also extract the planet’s remaining resources and are due to join the rest of humanity on Saturn’s moon Titan. Jack and Victoria maintain contact with civilization through a video link with their commander, whom they recognize as Sally (Melissa Leo) who is their symbol of hope and salvation, an escape from a world which is almost a wasteland and surrounded by radio active areas. Jack suffers from dreams which are more like flashbacks, having images of New York before the alien invasion and an unknown beautiful woman (Olga Kurylenko). Meanwhile, Jack rescues an unknown woman from a crashed spaceship as she was encased in a sleeping capsule, in a state of hibernation/hypersleep, and she turns out as the woman from his dreams. But they are captured by a group of humans led by Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman) who reveals to him that there are no aliens on the planet and it is the humans who are hunted by the drones. He requests Jack to reprogram one of the captured drones. But Jack refuses. Malcolm then tells Jack to visit the radio active areas which are restricted to him, and there all his doubts will be cleared.

With a spoiler alert, this paragraph shall proceed. It is revealed that the mystery woman is Jack’s wife, Julia who was with Jack and Victoria when they approached the alien ship, before Jack sending her and the other crew of the ship who are in hypersleep, into the space by detaching the backside of the ship, keeping them away from the aliens. Later it is found out that Jack and Victoria are cloned and there is a large number of clones of both, and they were not born, but grown – a reminder of The Matrix and The Daybreakers, I guess. Their supposed to be passionate relationship is also a product of these alien method of growth and one photo of them together. The alien shown here is more of a super computer, may be sent by the possible original aliens, masters of technology. This monolithic structure is clearly logical in its talks and even uses the images known to the originals of the clones so that they could be made to believe and obey. It creates a little dystopia to the group of two, or the groups of two to be exact. They are actually oppressed and are made to fight against their own race by naming them scavenger aliens. But, thanks to the imperfection of the humans, the imperfect cloning technology of the aliens and also a possible divine providence, Jack becomes somewhat the original again and leads the fight against his former employers. The solution would surely be much better than using a computer virus in Independence Day style.

The mystery starts and ends with Tom Cruise’s Jack – may be brings something from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall. We have had so many Jacks, from Jack Reacher to Jack the Giant Slayer, Jack Frost, Jack Sparrow, Jack and Jill etc. Here, this one is more of a thinker and a lover of nature, which makes Thomas Babington Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome catch his attention, and he has quite a good collection of books including Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, which he has kept in a small house in the middle of greenery unaffected by the destruction that has gone around for years. He is no parrot and this poetic imagination and love for literature makes him different, and may be he evolved thus after his cloning and erasing of memory. How can one not remember what happened in the movie The Island? Such a thing is perfectly applicable to an alien technology. Well, there is no limit for fiction, and if too many limits are placed, it would lose its right to be called fiction. It would become closer to reality, which would still spawn the question, who’s reality? Now that would be something better left untouched. This is another one of Tom Cruise’s memorable characters for sure, even as he may not be the perfect protagonist, and even if he may be many, numbering in millions. He seems to have fitted into the character with ease.

Jack’s should be existential. He should have been that confused in that wasteland, and also when he had realized that he was just a clone or a copy of someone else. There was that redundant identity crisis and those dreams which seemed to perpetuate nothing. His life gets more and more absurd every time he tries to get answers, as all the answers lead to him finally being a random copy. He had waited for salvation, the firmament which awaited him in the moon of Saturn, but that too is crushed. Now what would remain for him to end as a nihilist, but he has the last fight on his list, as he decides to help the human rebels, and in that process, even sacrifice himself. It is through that loss of life, that the Earth could be redeemed. But who needs an alien invasion to destroy the planet, and considering what is done to it, who might be the aliens? Some are alien to the planet and also to their fellow human beings, and in that case, aren’t these aliens with a powerful inverted pyramid computer better as they keep the human race alive? There is the oppression factor, but is that so much of an oppression considering what humans have done to their own kind for centuries and still continue to do the same in a worse manner even while calling themselves modern and technologically advanced?

Morgan Freeman is as solid as ever, and the two women, Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough goes through their sequences as the characters themselves. The former is the emotional lover and the latter the passionate lover. Still, their roles are limited despite the screen presence. Another thing is that the CGI and the special effects out-did the beautiful women. As Jack “wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills” in his mosquito-like helicopter (like that futuristic helicopter they called Raptor in Unreal Tournament 2004), the visually stunning world is brought to light. There is destruction clearly visible, and the signs of the civilization included destroyed buildings, ships and bridges half submerged in sand, never-ceasing smoke from some areas and so on. There are gaps leading to somewhat an abyss between a group of buildings held together by soil or may be in their own centre – a path to Hades and Persephone, half-destroyed structures which look like different things all together, as well as whatever is underground and underwater. To add to it, there is the beautiful area of nature with the small house. Oblivion is an experience, and a lesson to mankind, as well as a reminder of the power of art and literature – rooted on that creativity which is more important than logic, for science can win brutal battles, but to win the war, you need art and literature, as they heal the soul better and people need their wounds to heal and their scars to fade after a major disaster.

Release date: 13th April 2013
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Zoë Bell, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Django Unchained

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The Vampire Bat knew only one Django and was planning to give him knighthood for being such a wonderful coffin-dragger. It would have been an awesome feeling to have one’s own coffin. What about the awesome graves where he could have worked with the Ghost Rider with a stylish motor-bike or a horse-on-fire burning bright? This bat has always dreamt about those coffins, graves and wastelands along with ghost towns. But he could get none of them in this one. Still, there were those strange horses which were not really on fire. May be this new breed of horses could go to school and end up as smart toothless people. Well, they would still be highly vulnerable to being shot by the new Django who can shoot like a gun’s ghost in a human-spirit form who has come back to seek revenge. The number of vengeful spirits never seem to throw the Vampire Bat into that bloody abyss of nonstop boredom, as he had so much of those intolerant revenge stories that he could see only one side of this world which is full of evil and supposed-to-be-evil followed by glorified revenge full of blood and scattered body parts which might have brought the most evil vampire and the most stupid zombie into that Ring girl’s well of eternal shame.

What the Vampire Bat had was a Mango Icecream so that it could rhym with the movie, and that was indeed a success and would later prove to be an even better experience than the movie itself. The movie starts with the shots of several male slaves being chained and transported to work in a possible plantation which run on slave labour. Among the slaves is Django (Jamie Foxx), who has been sold away from his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) – a name which the Vampire Bat heard as many things other than this certain one. They encounter Doctor King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German dentist and a bounty hunter in the shades of an abandoned area on the way. After getting rid of the trouble from the slave owners, Schultz offers Django his freedom and a reasonably good payment in exchange for helping him track a number of people whom he has been tracing as part of his hunt. After they find and hunt down the targets, Schultz continues with Django as they do the same work. During this period of time, Schultz trains Django in the art of bounty hunting and on using a gun with efficiency.

After collecting a number of bounties and surviving with ease, they go on to free Django’s wife Broomhilda, whose current owner is Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the charming and stylish, but cruel owner of a plantation in Mississippi. They come up with a certain plan to make a big offer for one of the slave fighters of Candie, who fights till death, a offer which he can’t refuse. This catches both the curiousity and attention of the slave owner and he immediately agrees. But the seemingly flawless plan which was so close to success is shattered as the expressions of the two lovers raise the suspicions of Candie’s loyal and senior slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) who finds out that Django and Broomhilda know each other very well and that the sale of the slave fighter is just a trick meant to hide another big plan which lies beneath. This is where all the fun ends, and the death of Schultz would leave the Vampire Bat with nobody to root for. From this, the age of boredom begins. There are stupid shootouts and ridiculous explosions, with the presence of “the people of the night cooling glasses” and “the strangest of the strange horses”. The nonsense would reach a new level and ends with a ridiculous smile.

Well, Django’s “D” is silent, as he himself mentions, but the movie is anything but that. There is lot of violence and I am pretty much confident that there is the presence of even more violence around as the Censor Board has surely tried hard to make this PG-13 and give it an 18+ Adult rating in India. Django Freeman is evil, not by choice but by circumstances. He has so much body count that would make Count Dracula and Lestat de Lioncourt retire and beg for mercy from a dead wood elf with no teeth. Meanwhile, Doctor King Schultz is of lesser evil, as he works with his white man’s guilt to save one man, and to save the man’s wife, he loses his life. Now, that should balance his life and make it rather neutral or a little aligned to the side of good. But Django is away from redemption. He chooses the path of revenge without remorse, and thus the path to hell and may be even compete for a hell-hot cup of tea from the hands of the devil. He is highly hostile to anyone of another race, the only exception being the man who saved and trained him; he is also hostile to one person of his race, the man who is loyal to the people of the other race. That brings such a huge equation of race into the situation – bombarded to be exact.

Jamie Foxx’s Django is a very good potrayal, even as the character is at no point likeable – he has done well to make it so. There lies his success of showing the forced evil. Christoph Waltz winning the Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actor would be no surprise to anybody who has watched the movie. His character rules the movie, with the witty dialogues, action and lots of fun. He provides some of the best lighter moments, and also does the serious side with an incredible amount of mastery. Leonardo DiCaprio comes up with the power of extreme evil which seems inherent in the character. He should still be remembered for his Inception and Shutter Island, but this one also comes up with a memory leaf. Samuel L. Jackson hasn’t really fallen behind, as his character makes a powerful impression. Kerry Washington also contributes in the expected way, making this a movie of performances rather than anything else. It is here, in the acting department where the movie scores the most, followed by the one-liners which creates a great first half only to be made powerless by the second part of the second half and the climax scenes.

As far as Quentin Tarantino is concerned, this is still inferior to Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds. Those stand a few Petronas Towers higher than this one. But there is no shortage of blood and violence here too. One has to wonder if these movies should belong to a new bloody genre. There are too many killings and in many sequences, blood and gore has the upper hand and humanity becomes mere spectator in chaos and brutality. There is no sympathy or empathy throughout the movie, especially when the guns take over and spits hell like fire-breathing dragons. Still, its treatment of the racism and slavery could have been better if it was done in a more realistic fashion. Well, not all movies can be “the art”, and this is that moment when the grand wish was to focus more on creating that entertainer which could gross a lot rather than something which could have made humanity aware of the truth. But this shall make the waves, even as not in the way it should have, if thought about from a righteous side – a sad movie for humanity indeed, as even movies like Hostel and Saw knew what was good and evil. Well, one can say that Django Unchained is a true torture porn of the worst level.

The more important of the questions might be about which kind of audience this movie targets. They are surely not for the intellectuals nor for the faint-hearted. The next doubt would be if this is a story of the revenge of a certain race or the story of a pure hearted man of one race helping the man of another race and even facing death in that process. This is surely no respectful treatment of anything, but for the mindless fans with its weird style, glorified violence, senseless admiration and huge historical twists, this might be a treat. There might be disrespect (to which side – or to both?), and there might be too much easiness, but as far as I know, this is a little too much to take as a movie treating such a subject. Satire? May be a little bit, not that much – can we really separate the reality of tragedy to have that feeling? In simple words, one race shedding the blood of others and vice versa – colouring the walls with shades of red is not what I wished for; I would have agreed to the same on some other occasions, but not on this. The movie came to India kind of late, and I am not really unhappy about it, as watching this one late has had its advantages – to hear about it and disagree on many occasions. There is the first half which gave hope, and what follows is not of expectations, and therefore clear thumbs down for the second. Another thing – beware of a drag and length.

PS: My rating for this movie has come down a lot since writing this, but I am not bothering to bring it down just because I don’t want to think about this again. I wish that I had asked only to the right people before watching this movie!

Release date: 22nd March 2013 (India); 25th December 2012 (United States)
Running time: 165 minutes
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Dennis Christopher, James Remar, Michael Parks, Don Johnson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

3G

The Vampire Bat’s desire for horror has been getting stronger and stronger every day. The procedure of watching Murder 3 actually accelerated it to the maximum and therefore 3G was not to be missed. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, The Cabin in the Woods, House at the End of the Street or The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia never came to the theatres here. There was no question of The Woman in Black. For Paranormal Activity 4, they might have had an early heart attack. But unfortunately, Piranha 3DD did arrive as pseudo-horror. The only hope was to adjust with the Resident Evil and the Underworld series as horror even as they could no longer fit into that category. This ridiculous attitude towards horror might be the worst thing about the theatres and malls around here, as they don’t really mind the local language horror movies, not checking if they are any good. At least 3G made it to most of the theatres around here, even if it is no material of Silent Hill quality. The silence of depression which every horror fan faces around here needs to be treated, and therefore, this review is going to be quite lenient – there will be no hard measures taken on this movie and it will be given a free pass in many departments.

“Wherever you go i am there: Gadha Jam” said Mohanlal in the 1989 Malayalam movie Vandanam. Here, it is a mobile phone which says the same. It is an advanced phone for a spirit to try and infect, with touch screen and 3G facility. The movie begins with a guy murdering his girlfriend stabbing her through the right eye right after proposing to her in an abandoned area. Then the screen shifts to a stylish opening credits shown in a very innovative way in the beginning. There is the mention of the billions of phone users in the world. It also talks about the large number of phantom calls which are received worldwide which cannot be traced. Here, these calls are related to spirits of the other world trying to connect to this world. That did sound a little overreaching for me, but that also gave a push both to the expectations and the skepticism. This is the beginning of an ambitious plot and we might be talking more about its ambiguity later, but for now lets get on with it.

The 3rd generation of mobile telecommunications technology makes way for Sheena (Sonal Chauhan) who comes out of the saline water of Fiji in a red bikini; and that much talked-about scene ends with a not-so-happy conversation with her lover Sam (Neil Nitin Mukesh). But all the minute problems are solved as he comes to Fiji to be with her, losing his mobile in the process and initiating the “Kaise Bataaoon” song. There are surely in love, but are always interrupted, first by Sam’s own hallucinations which makes him see demonic faces not only on others, but also as a ghost – something which interferes with their relationship. The second stage makes him near-possessed and almost makes him strangle Sheena in her bath tub and also to take his own life by hanging. Then the spirit seems to take over him completely. To add to it, there is a video of a girl getting murdered inside the phone while strange sights and voices happen on the outside. The attempt to get rid of the phone has already failed, as it came back from being deposited in the sea as well as being broken into pieces. That should have been expected when there are dead people involved.

Neil’s territory is divided into two, one of a passionate lover and the other of the possessed. His performance as the former is never under doubt and the as the latter is incredible at times and okay on the other occasions. One of those moments is when he is seen possessed over the bath tub of his lover and the other when he asks a priest, “Have you forgiven yourself?”. The moments are strange, but effective enough. There is also a scene of bloody murder which is strange, but still powered by his thrilling performance. Sonal has the supporting role, looking gorgeous and playing the character who hesitates to leave her lover despite of the haunting that happens around him and inside his mind. She never looks less than stunning throughout the movie. Her presence here only does the movie good, even though it is surely not for giving a big performance that she is there. I wouldn’t guess that people were expecting something else around here.

This movie is less of a thriller and more of a horror flick, and in that case, this one is far ahead of any of the movies in Bollywood. I would not deny that Murder 2 and Murder 3 were better in wholeness, but the fact remains that 3G better in parts. But, the problem is that this lack of wholeness makes this one inferior to the other two I mentioned. Still, the advantages of 3G includes its ability and its use of that ability to successfully generate the visual and audible fear supported by good use of sound effects & camera, in a much spookier way compared to its predecessors. The creepy environment is successfully created even in the presence of two of the best looking people on the screen, and the attention successfully shifts more to the horror elements than them. The fact that things get kind of absurd and fails to make much sense as a movie with its weaker logic still makes it good in parts. 3G certainly has its moments of horror glory, but there also those of extreme stupidity creating moments of unintentional comedy. This is more of a minor oasis in the desert of romantic comedies and mindless action for the starving horror fans in India.

There was a lot of scope for this movie, but the ghost who tries to be Miss India and a grown-up version of The Ring girl at the same time, along with the fluctuations in the story has left the audience with more to ask for. There is a certain absence of intellect as well as the presence of ambiguity throughout the movie, even as the first half rarely explains anything. The best not-so-hot, not-so-intimate scene in the movie still came in the first half, when our hero is playing a game of car race in a taxi in the mobile and with a crash in the game comes a car crash in real life, as they land in the hospital with the spirit mobile which is left unscratched. Well, watch it for Neil Nitin Mukesh’s depiction of two personalities, the possessed and the unpossessed, the dazzling beauty that is Sonal Chauhan and the interesting concept of horror which hasn’t been tried this effectively in Indian movies. There is also a message against porn in the movie, and the presence of a hidden message against the effect of technology in our lives, especially that of the mobile phones. I hope you can recollect that much remembered scene from The Ring when Samara crawls from the tv and kills Noah with fear. Nobody crawls out of the mobile though, as the ghost is both inside and outside; but keep that in mind.

The need for horror has reached its highest point right now. Unless, the multiplexes and regular theatres do not hesitate to show the bloody movies of International horror standards, there will be no satisfaction for the common horror fan. The movies like 3G, Murder 3 and Table No.21 might serve as satisfactory thrillers or sources of horror which might give a small, but certain amount of relief. If one thinks about Dracula 2012 3D in Malayalam, no lets just leave the literary works alone; for they are to be more classics than just horror and the vampire life would just be like a random Twilight unless the soul of the work makes it way to the screen. Well, how can you reach the heart even when you cut incredibly deep if there is none? How can you influence the brain if it is already frozen and unavailable? 3G doesn’t really appeal to the brain, but for the heart, it is another story. It won’t really matter how this one would turn out to be, but there will be no stopping the horror genre. If the best horror movies are brought to the theatres, that would be incredibly satisfying, or otherwise there is 3G.

Release date: 15th March 2013
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Sheershak Anand-Shantanu Ray Chibber
Starring: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonal Chauhan, Mrinalini Sharma, Asheesh Kapur

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Murder III

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The Vampire Bat has never been the fan of the original movie, Murder – but he was forced to change that one opinion to think about following the series with Murder 2. That made sure that this was going to be a series which has the worst in the beginning itself. It doesn’t matter how good people might think it was, it was never a good copy from Hollywood. The second was more close to glory as Prashant Narayanan came up with one of the best performances witnessed for such a long time. It was both gruesome and awesome at the same time. Then, the question would be about Murder 3 right now and the answer might be somewhere in between the first and the second of the series. It could never rise upto the second, but still creates a better impact than the first. It is supposed to be the remake of the Colombian thriller The Hidden Face, but at no point does it gives a feeling that it does not belong to this part of the world, for it has been changed well enough. It might still seem to defy logic, but that is something which is to be forgiven to attain the maximum effect of the needed horror.

Any disappointment about the movie has to be left to the first half, which is a little strange – it has a photographer who has turned alcholic after losing his girlfriend, along with his new girlfriend. He is a young man who just lost his future wife and has brought another one out of nowhere; not really inappropriate for the Murder series, but still something which tells the viewer a little about the protagonist, the new-age Icarus whose interests are as unlimited as his ambitions. He has his wings, but the question might be about the path through which he is flying, and also about his other interests while moving so close to that fire-starter who can burn more than just a few things of wax. He might have to think again about all these, and it is doubtful when he will have the opportunity to do so. Meanwhile, his first girlfriend is more of the one who sacrifices her own interests. Now that would make the question of her leaving him obsolete. That is a fact which would keep the cops on his tail, investigating about his hands in her disappearance. But knowing them as a loving couple, not many would doubt his involvement in her absence.

His second girlfriend is more of a Lady Icarus, from one angle, even as she is shown more as a sympathizer in the first half. There is no point where one can be sure about this one character though. She is not really a static character, but still not someone whos progress can be easily traced. There are events happening all around, indicating the presence of some supernatural force and a mystery that surrounds the protagonist. Most of it just seem to happen just for the sake of frightening, until most of the twists and further explanations are done in the second half of the movie. It brings light to what lies inside the shadows of a world which looks too simple from outside. It brings two worlds and combine them into one; there is one inside the mirror and the other outside; both human, one free and the other imprisoned – but the souls of both might be in their own prison. One of them is not seen and the other is there for everyone to see. A reversal of roles is a possibility which is attempted soon enough, what lies beneath the depths of the hearts of two women and one man is difficult to know.

The whole story revolves around the three people and the love triangle. While the first half almost made a mess of it with a kind of “romantic horror” or “horror romance” which was neither here nor there, the relations get intense and further explained in the second half. It suddenly surprises and even shocks the viewer out of nowhere, at a moment when it seemed to be running out of everything. It starts climbing from there, towards a good, justified climax and a fine finish. That wouldn’t make the first half bad though, as it never really failed in a collateral manner even in the beginning stages as some might have thought it to be. There are shades of what might happen in the second half right from the beginning itself. The essence of mystery never leaves the little world of this movie. It leaves some scratches for the audience to be in the hunt for the mystery. The creepy house and the strange surroundings are supported by a bath tub, bathroom sink and the shower acting in a supernatural way.

The most exciting question of the movie would be if there is a murder which would justify the title? The second movie had lots of bloody murders, but this one is more of a psychological murder. There is the murder of faith and trust, and there is the possiblity of one or two murders which might have happened in the end – that is an ambiguity, an ending which could be interpreted in more than one way. It might be an end with the death of two, death of one and the imprisonment of the other, or with nothing too bad happening in the mansion. Love continues to be a matter of life, death, horror, mental disorder and everything else, and its role is above the supernatural yet again. It might reach even bigger heights of the mind in a possible Murder 4. What we see in the movie is that redemption is attained by the ones who has taken them out of the attention of fake, carnal love. The rest are left to feel the heat. Well, there is beauty to the heat, and gorgeousness to the horror – not one, but two; for there is no way to deny that.

Sara Loren and Aditi Rao Hydari has made this one more of a movie centred on two women, almost entirely different, but still has their lives centred on one man. The former keeps the first half running with her stunning looks while the latter runs the second half. The female characters run from sympathy to seduction and possessiveness to torment, a journey which is independent from one another, but not entirely separated in the sequence of events. Both of them begin as simple victims to an infatuation which drives them to one man and the creepy mansion. It is only a matter time before the love-birds would be no less than the vultures of selfishness. As it continues to bring more and more questions into the heads of the viewers, the more successful it becomes. But still, there are the missing parts, for the movie has its own low points where its horror becomes kind of laughable. But that is something worth forgiving for the total effect, especially for the minutes towards the end of the movie.

Thinking about the most talked-about side of the movie, this is not exactly the erotic thriller. There is sensousness and the scarcity in the department of clothing could be taken into account. But this actually takes the elements of relationships and mental status to the new heights instead of the physical relationships. This time, it gets closer to the emotions even if the skinshow never loses its role in the movie. The philosophy might be mostly hidden, but the absence of a true villain or a true hero is the evidence of the fact that this is more open to the discussions than ever, unlike the previous two movies of the series. That adds to the absence of Emraan Hashmi as a new thing to the series. In simple words, what Murder 3 has done is that it has provided some proof that there is hope around here for the horror genre even without ghosts and serial killers; there is future in many forms, and this future is more than just stunning.

Release date: 15th February 2013
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Vishesh Bhatt
Starring: Randeep Hooda, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sara Loren, Rajesh Shringarpure, Shekhar Shukla

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Jack the Giant Slayer

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Back in the childhood, there was a story which featured in a lot of books, a fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk”. But the adventure had not met its end at that time; now, after the return of Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Hansel & Gretel to the new movie world, another fairy tale comes back to life in a different manner – our legend this time goes like this “Fee Fi Fo Fum, ask not whence the thunder come; For between heaven and earth it’s a perilous place, home to a fearsome giant race; Who hunger to conquer the mortals below, waiting for the seeds of revenge to grow”. The original one was “Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman, Be he live, or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread”. The difference between the fairy tale and the movie doesn’t end there, for Jack is not someone who steals anything, but a hero and the defender of his realm. He never even takes anything to or from this world to the other. But he is still a boy from the farm and he kills some giants (two to be exact), just in defence though.

“Fie, foh, and fum, I smell the blood of a British man” would be the words of Edgar in William Shakespeare’s King Lear, but it might be better suited to the giants. Did those giants bother you in your childhood dreams and convert them into horrible nightmares? Where they your nightmare creatures? If they were, this is the time to redeem them. The giants haven’t really got their evil image running, as gentle giants tend to become more popular. But with giants, you never know and here it is proven; with gentle Jack and not-so-gentle giants who love to eat humans more than anything. Jack is just a simple farm boy; he is no Jack Sparrow and surely no Jack McClane. But what he does would change his life forever. From his fear of heights, or the fear of falling as he himself would call it, the man without any noble blood would rise to save the kingdom and the world of the humans from an invasion of the man-eating giants and also marry the beautiful princess to become the next ruler. If there is something like destiny, Jack has the best experience of it; if there is fate, it belongs to Jack; and as this fairy tale itself belongs to him as his own story, this is a fact which would be easily known.

Jack, the son of a farmer and Isabelle, the daughter of the king are shown to listen to the same bedtime story about giants and their invasion of human realm as the result of the creation of a gateway with magical beans in the form of a huge tree as part of an attempt of a few monks to reach heaven by the use of sorcery. The battle was clearly in the favour of giants an mankind could have faced extinction before a group of monks could create a crown which could let the wearer control the giants and force them to go back to their world. The connection was severed and everything went back to normal. Most of the people believed the story to be just a random legend, but both the kids believed in it. Ten years later, Jack has lost his parents and Isabelle is a wandering princess. The king’s right-hand man and adviser wishes to own that crown and re-link the two worlds unleashing an army of giants which he could control. His attempt to steal the remaining beans lead to a monk giving them to Jack before being captured and killed.

Meanwhile, the princess keeps wandering away in search of adventure and ends up in Jack’s house looking for shelter from the heavy rain. Their conversation is cut short as one of the beans get wet, it starts working and sprouts into a huge tree taking Jack’s house and the princess with it. Jack is thrown out of the house and is later found by the king and his soldiers. So our orphaned farm boy Jack has to set off on a quest to rescue a princess by climbing the huge tree to the middle world between the land of man and the land of God. But he would not be alone, as he is accompanied by the king’s best soldiers as well as the treacherous adviser who is looking for a chance to be in the world of giants and also the king’s most loyal leader of the royal knights. They would be in not just unfamiliar territory, but also a land infested by the world’s largest cannibals. An addition to this trouble would be the fact that the adviser has taken the crown with him to prepare the giants for the invasion of man’s world. The crown has its own power, as it is made out of the heart of a fallen giant of the former invasion.

The movie resembles Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters in many ways and it has a richer story, but too predictable and longer than need; it also has lesser 3D effects an weaker CGI compared to the witch-hunting action-horror fantasy. The horror element is als quite weak and there was the need for the darker elements in such a story. Instead this one is chosen to be watched by almost everyone, instead of giving it the power of horror and terror which it deserved. In the end, it continues to be a fairy tale with a happy ending; for they lived happily ever after and the tales of the giants continued to spread, creating new versions. Still, it scores over the lesser fairy tale re-builder which was Snow White and the Huntsman and is on level with Red Riding Hood in many ways. But then too, the effect created by the giants fails to grow like that seed; it could have reached the top with wings, but it decided to crawl underground and keeping itself safe. One has to wonder if the Twilight effect has completely destroyed the power of awesomeness in fantasy.

There is Nicholas Hoult, the Beast a.k.a Hank McCoy of X-Men: First Class who has blended into the character with no mutant-effect provided to the character, and Eleanor Tomlinson as the beautiful princess Isabelle never creating a question about a better cast; the same is the case of Stanley Tucci as Lord Roderick – the villain; not really the scariest one around, but still perfect for the way in which the movie has progressed. Ewan McGregor’s Elmont, the leader of the royal guard, makes that right character for a fairy tale adventure filled with action. As a whole, it is a perfect situation, but still the movie doesn’t rise as is should have; it is as if change was much less suited to this movie than the rest. But, with slight improvements, this could have made this genre, something spectacular, but such a thing was not to happen. The need to be on the safe side has locked this one – it has prevented the movie from going average or below average, but the same thing has prevented it from rising above the horizons from its own genre.

So this is where the Vampire Bat has started off for the month – one Jack, a princess and a large number of giants. The choices were many, especially among Malayalam and Hindi movies, but the decision to go for the classic fairy tale resurrection was not a bad idea. It has delivered; not completely in the way the Vampire Bat had expected it to, but surely in a way which didn’t disappoint him at all. He could just escape into it from a world which had much less for him. The vampire bats getting eaten by giants with bad teeth and foul breath might not make such great news, but still it would be an honour for him. The expectations are still there, if not for giants, it should be for awesome movies; and there is no rest for the Vampire Bat, nothing this world is aware of. There is still the need to be there for the right movie, something as good as Celluloid; that would make this a significant year if such an experience would happen in the first half of the year.

Release date: 1st March 2013
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, Ewan McGregor

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

David

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The Vampire Bat was re-introduced into this world, but he is struggling to be a movie-watcher with so many horrible movies around. David was a relief, and therefore he shall write about it, but considering the fact that only seven of the fourteen movies he watched in the last thirty days managed to be satisfactory, he surely wishes to sleep for a century and wait for that day when no movies are made. There should be discount for tickets for the Vampire Bat, for he saves so many movies of the world from being left unwatched. He is doing a great service, for which even free tickets might be not enough. May be free tea with tickets would do. The Vampire Bat shall look towards the firmament for now and wait for that moment when it starts raining movie tickets.

Why wouldn’t the Vampire Bat be disapponted. He had to watch Race 2 – old wine in an old bottle, while Kammath and Kammath and Lokpal were old wine in older leaking bottle. Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla was more like fish out of water gasping for air. While Da Thadiya had fish evolved with legs and thus made good contact with the people of the land, this little fish could make not keep people of the land or a flying Vampire Bat interested. Midnight’s Children had already lost its battle in a comparison to the novel. The Vampire Bat has been digging his own grave so that he could be buried in there forever, until something called David came to his attention. Then he went to watch it in Hindi and ended up watching it in Tamil. But it is not something he complained about, as he enjoyed the movie and considered it the best Indian movie he watched so far this year even as there is a long way to go.

What do we know about David in movies? There was the 1988 Malayalam movie David David Mr. David starring Balachandra Menon and Sumalata. But that would be totally unrelated to this one. Then there was King David of Bible, the ruler of Israel. The righteous king even with all his flaws, the warrior poet was mostly responsible for the Book of Psalms. But that was never the beginning, as the story of David and Goliath might be of more popularity. How it would relate to the upcoming Malayalam movie of the same name will be another story. Back to the original story, there stood Goliath, the strongest and the tallest of all, and there was young David with his sling and stones. Then fell the strongest; and the weak became strong. This has been repeated in the history with the rise and fall of huge empires all around the world.

The Hindi version has three Davids, but here there are only two to deal with. The first one belongs to 1999 Mumbai. He is a musician just like the Biblical figure. But his peaceful life is disrupted when his father, a priest is attacked by an anti-Christian group as part of communal politics. The second one belongs to 2010 Goa, a fisherman leading a happy life. He falls in love with a deaf and dumb girl who is soon to be married to his good friend. Both of them have to make decisions which will change their lives forever – one of them seeking revenge while the second one seeking love. But both of them would be committing their own acts of evil which they might repent for the rest of their lives. The battle is between the conscience and desire – between goodness and the basic desires. The world around plays a major part in dragging them to both sides. But eventually what triumphs forms the central point of the story.

Both Davids have to face their own inner demons which take the form of Goliaths – one of revenge and the other of lust (the one-sided infatuation based on looks could never be termed as love, but as sin – for King David himself had committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah and later married her). The same David had killed her husband, a murder which one of our Davids would have also committed. Even as the external opponents, the minions who are responsible for this situation of revenge to be created – they look stronger in the case of the musician, but the internal demon would work better in the case of other. The ultimate result of the battle against the two demons occur only in the end, even as the scene is shown to be set right at the beginning of the movie. It is the battle of the two Davids against two Goliaths, both internally and externally. This is a battle which is fought both physically and mentally, but is finally won in the mind.

Vikram has once again proved that he is such a versatile actor. Even as he is shown mostly as an alcoholiac, his character is never boring or withour passion. Jiiva has come up with a strong performance too. There are moments of pure awesomeness in the movie. The rest of the cast has successfully supported these two, on whom the stories are based on. It might not still be found an entertainer but I never found it boring at any moment. The transition between the stories are quite well done, and as both of them keeps the interest-level high, there is not much of a confusion in the change. Last year, we had Cloud Atlas which had too many stories to deal with. After that experience, one couldn’t be blamed of being confused and left in a slough of strange thoughts. This one has just two – both of them simple and never leaving the audience in an abyss. This is an inner journey of twins of the situation who never meet.

There are the messages of morality, making it nothing less than a morality play indirectly transformed to suit the modern world. There is good and there is evil – but as said in Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire: “Evil is always possible, and goodness is eternally difficult”. In the same book, Vampire Lestat had also added that “Evil is a point of view”. As the movie agrees with the first, I wouldn’t say the same with the second. If there was something like a point of view involved in it, the first choices would have been to succumb to revenge and lust. The first one would have been righteous payback and the second one irresistible eternal love. Some of the jokes are too foolish to suit the philosophy of the movie, but the rest add to the lighter side and throughout the movie, there is this eternal battle and the question “to be or not to be”. But our musician is no Hamlet and the man you saw at the beach is no selfish lover. There is a warning though – if you are allergic to moral advice and preachy tone can give you head ache, this movie might create no waves in your head filled with that “point of view”.

Release date: 1st February 2013
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Bejoy Nambiar
Starring: Vikram, Jiiva, Isha Sharvani, Tabu, Lara Dutta, Sheetal Menon, Nishan, Nassar, John Vijay, Shweta Pandit

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Vampire Bat’s Grand Debut

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Lend your ears to the Vampire Bat
For he likes them for dinner
He munches on them for hours
Until he needs a root canal

He is the one to watch out for
Uncle Dracula’s trusted lieutenant
Vampire Owl’s partner in crime
Who reviews Movies of the Soul

Of the horror and of human terror
Of this world and the other
Of that beauty of darkness
Dimensions make no difference

For the vampire bat has one favourite
Other than the tea which is blood
Other than the elixir of life
And the lost fountain of youth

It is not of his favourite books
Or those destinations of choice
Neither is it about his favourite sport
He has one movie to show reverence

Along with Solomon Kane, Constantine,
Pandorum, Prometheus and Book of Eli
There is one which deserves more
That is Interview with the Vampire.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

*Starts tomorrow with Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.