Shershaah

What is the movie about? :: Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra) had always wanted to be part of the military force, and achieves the same dream many years after he started thinking about the same. He has been someone who remained strong from childhood itself. He gets assigned to keeping an eye on the terrorist activities in the border area of Jammu and Kashmir area. Things seem safe and under control when he goes there, but as expected, there is always more than what meets the eye as far going close to the borders is concerned. They come against the first group of terrorists quick enough, and Vikram is blamed for not following the orders by Captain Sanjeev Jamwal (Shiv Pandit), even though everything ends perfectly. But Sanjeev still thanks him for saving his life in the process and making sure that the fight ended with them on the winning side, with no casualties at all – they end up being very good friends.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, there is something more terrifying going on in the background, with acts of terrorism ready to come across the border, and part of it also having roots already. At the same time, there is a flashback of the soldier’s life when he was at his earlier ages. While studying in Punjab University, he had fallen in love with Dimple Cheema (Kiara Advani), who hadn’t noticed him earlier, but had later gone to become his fiance. She had managed to get approval from her father only by telling him that if she won’t get to marry him, she will never marry anyone in her life. He also feels that he should join merchant navy instead of army to get a better salary so that he can get Dimple’s father to agree, but moves back on the same because his dream still drives him forward. She decides to wait for him, as he goes to be part of the army, and she would make sure that there are no more possible alliances being discussed at home.

And what more is to follow around here? :: Back at the camp, there seems to be many battles going on, and not just the small infiltration by the small scale terrorists. Vikram is quick to establish himself as a skilled soldier, and he is also good friends with the local people of Kashmir, due to which some people agree to become informers for him. He is also in charge of some risky operations in the process. There is also a bigger battle in store, as the Kargil War is about the begin. Despite being able to go back home on leave, Vikram has to return very soon, and join his team. Vikram is not someone who would stand back, and it seems that the enemy is crossing all limits, forcing them to quicken their actions. It would be a war which was to decide the future concerning two nations, as well as Kashmir, and the question remains about what is to follow in this for Vikram, as people back at home continue to worry. And then, there are more tales to come.

The defence of Shershah :: When we have war tributes in here, there was always something for us to watch, and this one also stays close to that idea. We also need acts of bravery to keep our world intact. There are some fine actions here which will be remembered, and are going to stay in our memory for the best. The combat scenes are all good, and there is something for our patriotic hearts, which stay on after the film ends too. The emotional side also remains strong, and we feel as part of the moments which the soldiers live through. It is always nice to have good movies dealing with the characters and subject. There are also some visuals of the world around them which never ceases to show the beauty of Kashmir. Along with the same, there is also the war during which the newer generation needs a reminder because even we were too young during the situation in Kargil, or were not born yet – we do get a reminder. You are always happy, and often in bliss to get the same in the name of the country.

The claws of flaw :: When we consider this movie as a work about a war hero, it could have been much more, with better elements of realism having scope to be present. After all, we have had many war movies before, not just in Bollywood, but also in Hollywood, even those works which were awarded well nationally and internationally. The background story, especially the love story remains too weak, and the same adds as an unnecessary part to an otherwise straightforward story of bravery in the border. Focusing on the romantic angle with songs never get old, and as far as love and songs being inserted somewhere when it should be kept at minimum, there is nobody in the whole world matching Bollywood. We do have the predictable moments in here too, and the film chooses not to go for innovation, going through the safe paths rather than anything else. The dramatic moments could also make way for more realistic style in comparison. There were immense possibilities regarding the same too, and there are moments which remind us of the same.

Performers of the soul :: Sidharth Malhotra handles things right, and he has blended into this role quite well too. This is a different kind of role compared to the type of roles in which I had seen him before. He looks very good in this role, and he is even more than that. In the scenes of war, he does the best, and he gets to be inspirational in the display. Kiara Advani is pretty good in what she does, but the love story is rather weak, and not that much suitable in the totality of the scheme of things. She could have got a better role if it was the college time period being shown with less focus on the romantic side, but romance always comes out of somewhere in these films, and that will continue to be the greatest cliché of all time. The other performers are also good, but they don’t really get that much to do. Shiv Pandit is the one who gets our attention the best among them, and there are a few more actors playing the soldiers that have something in here.

How it finishes :: It is always good to provide some tributes to the war heroes, and in doing the same, Shershaah does succeed. The movie still didn’t have that much of a promotion as Toofaan had in this part of India, and that is a shame, because the film should have released with more people knowing about its presence on Amazon Prime Video, the OTT platform which most people uses around here. Still, they would sooner or later understand that this is an interesting, as well as entertaining war drama. There is also a strong emotional side to the same. Being a tribute to the brave soldier who was awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, the great award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War, the film has those perfect moments which will work for the patriot among us. You can never have enough of films on our soldiers, and we pay our respect to the man of valour. Therefore, we watch this movie on Amazon Prime Video, and stay safe from COVID-19 for now. Happy Independence Day and Happy Onam in advance.

Release date: 12th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Shiv Pandit, Jaaved Jaaferi, Nikitin Dheer, Himmanshoo A Malhotra, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar, Sahil Vaid, Raj Arun

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Tomorrow War

What is the movie about? :: From a distant future of war and destruction, we come back to December 2022, as a biology teacher and Iraq War veteran, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt), is highly disappointed during the Christmas season, as he fails in his dream, which was to get a job at a research center. As he watched the FIFA World Cup with his family at a Christmas party, he was shocked to see a few soldiers from thirty years into future arrive in the middle of the ground. They warn everyone that humanity is facing extinction while facing a group of aliens unless they get some help for this timeline. The world’s militaries respond with drafting, and a huge number of well-trained people are sent into the future, but less than 20% survive, and there is always the need for more people to be sent to future. There are lots of rebellions against the war, because people feel that they are going to die anyway, and there is no need to finish one’s life much earlier. Everyone is depressed because there is the clear idea that it is the alien group that is going to win in the end, and there is no real hope related to that.

And what more is to follow? :: As the hope remains low, there is not much that there is left to be done, but the drafting goes on, and Dan is also chosen to fight in the war of the future. His family is not happy with what has happened, and his wife Emmy Forester (Betty Gilpin) hopes that he can find a way to bypass the drafting with the help of his father James Forester (JK Simmons), a former veteran soldier who has turned an anti-government activist after the Vietnam War. But he has to go anyway, and joins the team which is undergoing basic training under the troops from the future. But there is an emergency as there is an attack going on in the future, and without any further training which was to last about seven days, they are sent forward in time to Miami Beach but the coordinates get messed up, with most of the members of the team dying. Soon, they are ordered by Colonel Forester (Yvonne Strahovski) to rescue the nearby lab personnel and recover their research data before the area is bombed for clearance from alien infestation.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The team does manage to complete the mission, and they barely escape from the situation. Charlie (Sam Richardson), a techie, and Dorian (Edwin Hodge), a third time traveler into the future are the two survivors who are able to make it to the camp. Now, there is a lot to be done in a future, which seems to point towards human extinction, and the alien control over the planet one way or the other. In the new world of the future, they have to capture a female alien, and the types are rarer than the males which are basically everywhere. As they are living in a future where there are not many safe areas, with most of the continents already infested by the creatures which have reproduced enough to limit the human activity to certain areas, a research into causing the aliens to go extinct instead of humanity is a near possible adventure. The question also remains if there is a future that they can save, and if all these are worth the pain which they take.

The defence of The Tomorrow War :: There is an interesting future in store within The Tomorrow War, as this film with both aliens and time travel have you interested in the science fiction elements yet again. This is a combination which has worked really well before, with films like Edge of Tomorrow, working so well with the audience – being in a tomorrow with a war going on against aliens is a fair deal as far as any sci-fi fan is concerned. There is a lot of action in store here, and the alien detail is nice, even though having similarities with the Alien franchise which we have been missing since Prometheus and Alien Covenant, two films which had us asking for more. The visuals of the future Earth is also very nicely detailed, and the destroyed cities make us want to have more battles with aliens out there. The post-apocalyptic side of the film remains strong, thanks to all the action and the special effects, with the visuals never ceasing to remain stunning. This one can also have a prequel about the coming of the aliens, and maybe bring a franchise into motion.

Positives and negatives :: This is the kind of film which could have scenes which the Russian movie The Blackout had in its early stages, and that particular flick’s first half could actually be one interesting prequel to this one, with connections being made to the colder areas of Russia. There was surely scope for more terrifying sequences with aliens. To add to it, the pseudo-intellectuals can always find a reason to blame this film, but I am yet to discover what exactly would be their reason this time, for they have all randomly bashed Hollywood action films which were nothing less than grand. After all, it is not easy to make a film like this, and if Bollywood would try anything close, they can do nothing else than mess it up completely, with a long line of cast which is there in the name of nepotism instead of skills and quality. There are a few things which can be predicted here, and some of them come naturally to us, and not as surprises. There could have also been a few sequences about the missing years of alien attack, and a clearly defined theory about what has happened with the aliens.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt whom we had last seen in Avengers: Endgame and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gets to save the world again, and this time against the aliens. We could be having another Guardians of the Galaxy or Jurassic World in his usual roles, but this one has indeed established another memorable action role for him. Yvonne Strahovski is very much suitable to action flicks and thrillers, as we have seen before with The PredatorI, Frankenstein and Angel of Mine. But her presence in the future feels kind of restricted. Betty Gilpin has very less to do in comparison. JK Simmons has some nice moments to be added in the end. Others like Edwin Hodge and Sam Richardson are good additions to this kind of a movie. Others like Mary Lynn Rajskub, and and Seychelle Gabriel also have limited presence, but one would want them to have extended roles to play here. The film could have expanded rather than keeping its focus into the personal side in an alien invasion situation which is moving towards human extinction as well as the end of the world as we know it.

How it finishes :: The Tomorrow War will remind the audience of Edge of Tomorrow, even though the core idea remains different, and the film lacks someone like Emily Blunt in its full run. There is no denial of the fact that the film is complete entertainment, and you don’t really need to listen to some self-proclaimed great critics who write for some newspapers – they are more interested in providing lower reviews to science fiction in comparison to Bollywood nonsense as most of them are not able to understand the idea or enjoy the grandeur on the screen. You can only guess who impressive this would have been on the big screen, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the kind of films which can stun us with what is displayed on the screen with the special effects and maybe even a little bit of 3D effects. As of now, it seems that it is better for us to remember that feeling and enjoy the film on a laptop with Amazon Prime Video. After all, we are all restricted in that case, but not restricted as far as enjoying action-packed science fiction is concerned.

Release date: 2nd July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Chris McKay
Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Betty Gilpin, JK Simmons, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge, Jasmine Mathews, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Keith Powers

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Without Remorse

 

What is the movie about? :: A group of US Navy SEALs are led by Senior Chief John Kelly (Michael B Jordan) through Aleppo in Syria, while the Syrian Civil War is at its peak, and ISIS has a considerable presence in the country. In between all the destruction that they see around them, their mission is to rescue a CIA agent who was earlier taken hostage by ISIS members. But they are shocked and surprised as they come across what seems to a Russian arms depot and not an ISIS safehouse, and the people they were fighting seemed like experts. It turns out that Deputy Director Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell) knew that the mission involved fighting the Russian military, and the team, without knowing what they were facing, only manages to survive and escape with the hostage before an airstrike is called on the location. But only three months later, the military officers who were involved in the operation are murdered one after the other, while John spends his time at home with his pregnant wife Pamela M Kelly (Lauren London) after retiring from the force.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It turns out that John’s home is also attacked at night, and even though he is able to kill one of the attackers, his wife and the unborn baby are killed, while he ends up in critical condition at the hospital. It turns out that it was a group of Russian FSB operatives who attacked them, and it turns out that it is a retaliation for what happened in Syria. But, Robert is not interested in going through the investigation, as even though it is a foreign attack on the US soil, CIA considers the scores settled, with no need to escalate it as an international problem between two nations and their allies around the world. There is also nothing to link the FSB members to the Russian government either. Lt Commander Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) helps John with the needed information, and he takes matter into his hands, as he tracks down the Russian diplomat who issued the passports to the FSB operatives He forces him at gunpoint to provide the name of the surviving assassin, before killing him.

And what else is to happen here? :: John does get the escaped name as Victor Rykov (Brett Gelman), but is sent to prison for what he had done. He also has a fight in the prison, but gets himself in control as he is given an audience with CIA and the rest of the US Department of Defence. United States Secretary of Defense Thomas Clay (Guy Pearce) decides that he would send John with the other operatives to find Victor, as his anger, determination and need for vengeance can be used effectively even though nobody else is certain about it. But even though they travel to Russia in a cargo plane undercover, they are discovered by a Russian fighter plane which shoots them down. This leads to the relation between the United States and Russia reaching a new low after Cold War. They just manage to escape as the flight lands in the sea, and John’s doubts about Robert gets to a new high as he hadn’t taken the same flight with them. Even though he repeats that he knows nothing, there is the feeling that there is something clearly wrong about this particular mission.

The defence of Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse :: We always love to have a movie with a high revenge element turn into something with an international conspiracy. There is enough suspense being built here, and we have some twists to add to it, as many things here are not exactly as what they seem. The action is good, and it is mostly focused on shooting, with the support of some explosions, and the feeling of war is always there, even when it is not really on the screen. The sequences are nicely done, not just with the fights, but also with the settings, reminding one of those nice first person and third person games which we have played in the past – after all, the gamers of early 2000s will surely remember games like Rainbow Six and what followed, including Rogue Spear, Take Down, Raven Shield and others which are also based on the works of Tom Clancy, and took the shooters to another level during the time of release. The movie version is quick and keeps up the pace throughout its run-time here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t add that much new as one would have expected. It could have managed to get rid of some of its predictability here, and there doesn’t seem to be an attempt to add more to the plot, as a deviation from the book has happened as the makers have tried to change the setting to contemporary times. The hero is also a little bit too strong for this kind of a movie, even though he is still not seen as a superhuman as some of our good old blind fans would have liked – they still have Bollywood to have such dumb movies of non-acting megastars. Some of the twists that await us can be sensed, and we have a number of moments when things could have gotten much better. Also, if you are looking for the usual kind of full of action or full movie, that is not going to happen – it is a trend among the viewers from this part of the world. This is certainly the movie which we would have wanted to see as a better one.

The performers of the soul :: Michael B Jordan with his strong performance leads the way here, even when the character does make us feel that there was much more deserved rather than following the safe path. The action as well as emotional side seems to work well for him here, and gets some fine battle scenes to work in his favour. You are often reminded of Will Smith in Gemini Man too. It is said that Keanu Reeves was also offered the main role here, and that would have been nice too, considering what he has been doing in the John Wick series as the hitman without limits. Beyond the protagonist, the one person who makes a big impact is Jamie Bell, who is the kind of person that suits this kind of films, and if a sequel is being made, he deserves to be there. Lauren London doesn’t have much to do in here, and the only female character who gets any importance is Jodie Turner-Smith who plays Commander Karen Greer, and it is played well. Guy Pearce does his job in a neat manner too.

How it finishes :: Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse gets its release in Amazon Prime, and this is indeed the right time to be on OTT at least in India, as this is the season of COVID-19 again, and not many Indian films are releasing on any of these platforms anymore. With the novel on which it is based, written in 1993, and set during the Vietnam War, this one takes a move forward in the timeline, placing itself in the contemporary times as it serves as the origin story of John Clark, a character that is repeated in the other works of the series. There seems to be quite a good number of differences which are to be noted. The fans of the book might or might not like them, but as far as most of us around here are concerned, we haven’t read the work. I would consider this one to be an interesting movie with focus on origins. The opportunity for the sequel can also be seen here, and we can wait to see how another film can build on this.

Release date: 30th April 2021
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Stefano Sollima
Starring: Michael B Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Luke Mitchell, Jack Kesy, Brett Gelman, Colman Domingo, Guy Pearce, Lauren London, Todd Lasance, Cam Gigandet, Jacob Scipio

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Rising Hawk

Vampire Owl: Hawks are not part of any vampire army as far as I know.

Vampire Bat: I am still not letting go of the possibility of having a Vampire Hawk.

Vampire Owl: Hawks do not make good vampires. It was proven a long time ago.

Vampire Bat: It is a myth. There is no real history behind the same.

Vampire Owl: It is written in the Great Vampire Scrolls. So, it has to be true.

Vampire Bat: Everything written on it need not be true, as it also says that owls are dumb.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that they had excluded that chapter from the scrolls.

Vampire Bat: The scrolls have been edited many time since its inception into the Vampire Hall of Fame, which makes it flawed.

Vampire Owl: Well, I don’t really like the hawks anyway.

Vampire Bat: You don’t really need to invite them home, do you?

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: The Mongol army is leaving a trail of destruction on its path, as it is led by Burunda Khan (Tserenbold Tsegmid) – the terror spreads towards the west, devastating everything on its path as it reaches the Carptathian mountains. Zakhar Berkut (Robert Patrick) and Rada (Alison Doody) had led their group of villagers to the highlands, but the terror doesn’t seem to end. The Mongols, with their vast army, is looking for new lands to conquer and pillage, with nobody able to stand against them, as the largest empire of the time would stop at nothing with only destruction to be found on their path. They had trained their sons Maksym (Alex MacNicoll) and Ivan (Rocky Myers) in combat seeing this moment before them, but they do know that they won’t be able to fight this battle alone, as stopping Mongols is a near-impossible task, with so many tribes, villages and kingdoms trying and failing miserably in the last few years.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Tuhar Vovk (Tommy Flanagan) is the person who can make the different there, and his daughter Myroslava (Poppy Drayton) is in love with Maksym after he saves her from a bear during a hunting expedition, but it is not something the rich and influential Tuhar wouldn’t approve, as he considers Zakhar Berkut and his sons as mere commoners with no real achievement to boast about. At the same time, there are brutal raids from the Mongol cavalry, which the villagers consider as demons on horseback. As everything they know being threatened, they would need to unite and make a last stand here. But fighting the forces of Burunda Khan would need near perfect military tactics because there is no possibility of matching the Mongols in number and regular fighting methods. What would be their plan now, as death stares at them right on the face, as a Mongol arrow could come in at any moment?

The defence of The Rising Hawk :: The visuals of the places are surely good, especially with the nature having a fine say here. You cannot blame the idea there, because the underdogs fighting a large group of expert military force consisting of specialized archers, agile cavalry and ruthless swordsmen who wouldn’t stop until they get to leave a trail of terror, is indeed something to think about. The big tales of valour have always impressed us, and it is the same which this movie also tries to achieve. Tales of such courage without that much of an exaggeration was always needed. Ever since we had read the tales like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, we have always been interested in stories around Carpathian mountains – we have desired to visit Eastern Europe for long, and at least watching this movie gives us some happiness, and the hope that we can get to be there at some point. What you see around here is more beautiful than the rest, indeed.

The claws of flaw :: The Rising Hawk doesn’t live up to its premise, which is so huge – there were so many possibilities with the underdogs fighting the vast army of Mongols who are clearly unstoppable by all means. The beginning stages of the movie are quite slow too, and we await the action, and some change from the predictability, but the leading hero, his brother, the lady love, the parental affection – all these go through the predictable patterns. Many of the moments here do remind us of many other previous films. The problem with the low budget can also be seen here, by just looking around. It should have also had some classic fighting scene or a grand scene to remember, and that is not provided here. A movie focusing on war against a near invincible enemy cannot afford to be ordinary with its fights, unless it is a love story with just background in store. The romance in this movie also struggles to reach the height. It has to be noted that the Mongols are also not exactly as we had known them.

Performers of the soul :: Most of the performances are satisfactory, even though it is not without the flaws. The two elder actors do the best job around here, as Robert Patrick and Tommy Flanagan clearly has the advantage as they are more or less like another form of Professor X and Magneto – old friends who now stand divided, even though the chance of coming together again is always there. Then we have Poppy Drayton, the British actress who also has her moments in this movie – she is a lovely presence, and excels in emotional sequences, along with managing the action scenes well enough, especially with the bow and arrow in hand. Alex MacNicoll does a pretty good job too. The others just seem to blend into the whole thing, not doing that much, including the Mongol king himself, who could have been a scarier figure, a terror that could have had no replacement. Alison Doody who plays the mother is also just enough for the purpose.

How it finishes :: The Rising Hawk is certainly not trying to rise above the usual historic films that we have been watching for a long time. Supposed to be based on the historical fiction book Zakhar Berkut by popular Ukrainian writer and poet Ivan Franko, a work which hasn’t reached this part of the world. If we look further at it, there are many historical films which have dealt with the same idea of the underdogs fighting against hordes, and winning an impossible battle or two. The tales about the Kingdom of Travancore standing tall against the much larger country and military power, the invading Kingdom of Mysore lead by Tipu Sultan is well known in the South Indian states. Such tales of the smaller defending force winning against the bigger, invading force are always inspirational. We have had similar situations in all parts of the world, and when you look into history, when you are fighting an invading Mongol force, you just cannot stop being the underdog.

Release date: 10th October 2019
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: John Wynn, Akhtem Seitablayev
Starring: Robert Patrick, Alison Doody, Tommy Flanagan, Poppy Drayton, Alex MacNicoll, Alina Kovalenko, Rocky Myers, Oliver Trevena, Oleh Voloshchenko, Andriy Isayenko, Erzhan Nurymbet, Tserenbold Tsegmid

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

15 Minutes of War

Vampire Owl: This is till longer than our last war against the werewolves.

Vampire Bat: That was not a war, but an ideological difference problem.

Vampire Owl: Okay, then what about the war against the zombies?

Vampire Bat: There has never been a direct war with the zombies.

Vampire Owl: You are denying the existence of life-threatening situations.

Vampire Bat: I am only denying its status as something it is not, and not its existence.

Vampire Owl: Okay, what is this particular war about?

Vampire Bat: The movie itself is about a hostage situation and not a war.

Vampire Owl: It seems that nobody got time for a real war.

Vampire Bat: Yes, everybody is busy with the war against the Corona virus which seems to be a long and tiresome process.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: In February 1976 in French controlled Djibouti, a school bus suddenly sees a number of gunmen and is taken hostage. After continuing to drive to the border of Djibouti attempting to cross the Somalian border, only to be stopped just before that, as the border security forces of Djibouti shoots it on the wheels, leading to them to halt just before the border, with the Somalian forces looking on from the other side, ready for anything including a full shootout with their neighbours. A negotiation doesn’t seem to be possible, as they intend to take the bus to the other side of the border. The terrorists won’t show any mercy as they don’t care about the children at all because they are white, and are most probably all French. They would be happy to see some of them dead, and didn’t care if the kids are hungry or not. This creates a crisis on both sides of the border, with each second being important.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Francois Simon (Claudio Dos Santos), the bus driver is asked to inform the military and police that any attempt to come near the bus will lead to the death of the kids. Jane Andersen (Olga Kurylenko), one of the teachers of the students’ class rushed to the scene evading the barricades, and asks the terrorists to let her help the children, as they let her stay on the bus as long as she doesn’t create any trouble there. This becomes a crisis which is to be dealt with extreme care, as the life of children are at stake. Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale a.k.a GIGN, an elite police force from Paris specialized in counter-terrorism and hostage rescue reaches there with the intention of freeing the school bus with zero hostilities among children. They are lead by Andre Gerval (Alban Lenoir) who decides to hide behind the rocks around the bus, and wait for the signal from Paris. But will that be coming in time?

The defence of 15 Minutes of War :: It has to be noted that the movie doesn’t even take fifteen minutes to begin the initiation of action with the school bus abduction happening so early. The situation of the hostages and the terrorists are presented well, and the movie is always in control regarding the same. Saving innocent children from terrorists and criminals never really loss its value in movies, for having little kids in the captivity of cruel, remorseless men with guns is something that has everyone tensed, even those who do not care about the movies of this genre. The location has some nice visuals with the shades of the sand having one green bus in the centre. The action is all nicely done, and the tension has been built really well. The final shooting is something which has us at the edge of the seat, and as there is a large amount of uncertainty in play here, 15 Minutes of War has us hoping for the special skill or at least the miracle or luck to help the kids.

The claws of flaw :: Most of the big action, as said in the title is limited to the last fifteen minutes or rather been ten and fifteen minutes here. The movie doesn’t really rush around here, and there is a certain amount slowness that we can find, as it changes focus towards people outside the bus a little more than expected – it should have kept more within the bus unless there were some plans being made about the possible attack on the bus to kill the terrorists and free the children. There are movies which have dealt with the hostage crisis even better, when we look back further, and they had all focused more on where the hostages were held, and in this case, that was even more needed. Some people can choose to be on the side of the terrorists citing reasons from the past, but anyone who holds children at gunpoint to get what they want can only be pure evil, and someone creating terror on the innocents will be called by one name only.

Performers of the soul :: When the Olga Kurylenko is attached to a title, you feel that it could be an interesting thriller, for the Bond girl from Quantum of Solace has been a name associated with some of the most entertaining titles. From the video game shooters made into cinema like Hitman and Max Payne, to Centurion from the past and Oblivion in the future, both history and science fiction had some fine movies for her. Johnny English Strikes Again had her with the gun in a different way while The Courier had her back to action thrillers. We now await more of interesting titles with her in the lead, like The Translators, Empires of the Deep and The Bay of Silence, all supposed to have their own dosage of thrills. If you go in between, you will see Mara and The Emperor of Paris. So, there is not doubt about her skills in movies like these, and she continues her fine form. Alban Lenoir is the next one to catch our attention, and he is very good here.

How it finishes :: Originally titled L’intervention, the movie makes another fine French war thriller which will catch your attention by keeping the tension going, with a thrilling beginning itself. Well, when you see a school bus with white children in what seems to be an African country, and you have also seen that this is an action movie with a hostage crisis right in the middle – that is a heads up with only a few seconds advantage, as the movie takes you on the bus with the children so well. There has been the absence of movies featuring hostage crisis well enough, and this one does manage to solve that absence up to an extent. This is also among the three movies of Olga Kurylenko which I watched in the recent past, and I have to say that all of these have been eight plus out of ten movies for me, and that would make me consider the leading lady as one safe bet as far as movies are considered, both English and French in language spoken.

Release date: 30th January 2019
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Fred Grivois
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Alban Lenoir, Kevin Layne, Michael Abiteboul, Sebastien Lalanne, David Murgia, Guillaume Labbe, Vincent Perez, Josiane Balasko

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Blackout

Vampire Owl: I usually have my own personal blackouts, and here we get one in a movie.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that the movie deals with a more serious issue.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I know that it deals with aliens causing blackouts.

Vampire Bat: Indeed. But there should be more about than what we know.

Vampire Owl: We have known aliens very well, for there is nothing better than Alien.

Vampire Bat: We will always have more than one type of alien.

Vampire Owl: Yes, we will always have predator and the others.

Vampire Bat: There could be millions of types of alien species out there, and the movies come up with only a few.

Vampire Owl: I hope that this one will be an interesting one.

Vampire Bat: Russian movies have been doing something special every time, and so this one might also bring something like that.

[Gets a green apple cake and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: Something has gone seriously wrong with Planet Earth. Nobody is sure about what has happened, but there is a total blackout with all electronic equipment ceasing to work, and the communication with different part of the world is lost, except for a small circle in a part of Russia. All of the world’s major cities have fallen, and the troops which were sent outside the small circle do not usually come back either, and the survivors make the defence of the area strong by upgrading the existing forces and technology, while looking through the areas just outside the borders. But nothing gives them a clue about what has changed the world they knew, and what is happening now. There seems to be some strange forces at work outside, and many suspicions are there, including alien attack, demonic presence, humans with a weapon with they have not known about before, and many others. The religious groups all around the world feel that the end of the world is near.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There are terrifying sights of corpses everywhere, and it doesn’t seem to have stopped with anyone, except for one person whom they see, that manages to run through the bullets without being hit even once. The biggest problem is that they still have no idea what they are dealing with, and what kind of enemy is present on the other side. There is a man whom they see at times, a bald man who keeps covering his face, and seems to have some sinister motives, but disappears too soon for people to find him close enough. Who or what is destroying everything on Earth, seemingly attempting to end all traces of civilization and life? What has happened outside the area which has electricity? How long will the final outpost of mankind and the last hope for humanity survive against all odds? What can stop this unknown enemy who knows everything about the survivors, but nothing is known in return? Is surrendering to fate even an option for the remaining small number of people?

The defence of The Blackout :: The first thing that you notice about this particular movie is that it looks fantastic on the screen, in more than one way. We have a futuristic world with a nicely detailed future city, as well as the weapons being more high-tech than normal. The detailing in all of them are really good too. The background music is really good, and it gives us that feeling of some futuristic danger. The environment is also nicely created, and we have some fine fight scenes, all of them too good. The idea is also working really well, as this one goes beyond the usual style of terror from the paranormal and the supernatural, as Russian movies seem to do that quite often these days. There are lots of fight scenes going on here, and there is one scene which comes in the beginning, as all the soldiers and automated turrets are focusing only on one thing, the darkness – it is one intense sequence, and nothing which comes later in the movie matches that.

The claws of flaw :: The problems that we see with The are a few, one of them surely being its length, as it does have a little stretch in between with moments which were not needed. Then, the ending is also not that good, and we cannot approve of the final moments with the film’s idea of a hero being different from what we understand. The truth is that the characters which they fight in the end has better points to make, and those who pretend to be heroes or heroines have no idea about what is the best for the planet or about how to ensure human survival. We differ in opinion right there, and the female characters are rather forced into action here, and how they change all of a sudden become a little bit strange. There were also many ways in which the movie could have gone forward too. It seemed to be creating a certain amount of mythology involving a higher being, but it is not done in the best possible manner. There is always more to have with an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic movie, as we see the possibilities being endless.

Performers of the soul :: The characters were well established in the beginning, and bringing some fine performances, until in the end, they are everywhere. The two women Lukerya Ilyashenko and Svetlana Ivanova had their characters perfectly defined in the beginning, but as the movie progresses, they become some strange civilians, and in the end, they become not so much of that they were – both actresses are caught by the flaws in characterization. The main male actors Aleksey Chadov and Pyotr Fyodorov also have problems from the same, but they work really well until those last moments. Except for those last few moments, there is nothing much being lost in the acting department, because there is a flow which leads to that ending. Kseniya Kutepova is another solid female around here, as she leads her forces towards the possible victory against the impossible enemy. The non-human entities also have their moments with the performers being good.

How it finishes :: It is nice to be in contact with some Russian movies, which seem to be rising above Hollywood which is more or less depending on the same formula, even though not as much as Bollywood. Among such movies which don’t think about coming up with different ideas, this Russian film does seem to feel the need, and does manage to do things well enough. We all had our experience of lock-down and did hear about quarantine – this one does provide a similar kind of an effect even though for slightly different reasons. A little more care with the ending, and its ideology by the finish, would have surely made this movie very much closer to reaching the highest quality. But until then, The Blackout is there for some entertainment from the future, and it has those edge of the seat moments like some of those self-proclaimed fantastic action movies from Hollywood never really had. I would go for more of movies like this one.

Release date: 21st November 2019
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Egor Baranov
Starring: Elena Lyadova, Svetlana Ivanova, Pyotr Fyodorov, Konstantin Lavronenko, Aleksey Chadov, Kseniya Kutepova, Filipp Avdeev, Ilya Volkov, Artyom Tkachenko, Sergey Godin, Ksenia Kutepova, Anastasiya Venkova, Angelina Strechina, Aleksandr Nedorezov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Torpedo U-235

Vampire Owl: Do you remember when was the last time we saw a torpedo in a movie?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it was in The Wolf’s Call, a French movie.

Vampire Owl: This one wouldn’t have that one being launched, I guess.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this one seems to show the need to deliver the torpedo.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that this movie is set during the Second World War.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it seems to have fictionalized history well enough.

Vampire Owl: For some reasons, the name of Hitler is coming back at different places.

Vampire Bat: Yes, after all, the Second World War is the event most learned in classes.

Vampire Owl: Well, he is the best known figure of that particular war, isn’t he?

Vampire Bat: Yes, everyone I have seen in the vampire world knows that man.

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

What is the movie about? :: The Second World War is at its higher points with Hitler’s power unmatched by anyone else, and during these times, commander Stan (Koen De Bouw) and his weird group of resistance fighters are given the mission to deliver a stolen Nazi submarine filled with atomic uranium, which can be used for weaponization. This amount of uranium, if captured by the Nazis again, could lead to terrible consequences. Therefore, the team would do anything to get it to the United States, while Nazi Germany would do anything to make sure that it doesn’t. The team has to get this boat from Congo, and they are given some time to study about the submarine, the German u-boat, short form for undersea boat. But they have to start the journey too early, because they are discovered by German Destroyer ships from a distance, with information about their mission being leaked. Due to the same, Stan is also forced to take his daughter Nadine (Ella-June Henrard) with them, whom he was planning to leave at a safe place in Congo.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Stan himself has a past with the Nazi death squads, as he had tried to save a few Jews who were running away from Hitler’s Jewish Holocaust, and he had lost his wife and son in the process, left only with Nadine – the girl is in love with Filip (Joren Seldeslachts), another member of the crew, a relationship which Stan doesn’t approve of. The team also has help from a German captain who knows the u-boats in and out, as well as an African man who was left inside the submarine while loading the supplies from outside. These two are to become two important people who would be instrumental in ensuring the team’s survival. During the first and Second World Wars, the u-boats were efficient weapons against enemy naval warships, best used in enforcing blockades. They were not that into direct battles, and attacked merchant convoys bringing supplies from parts of the British Empire, and from the United States to Europe, but in this case, it has to prepare for battles too – can they survive?

The defence of Torpedo: U-235 :: The movie has some nice visuals, not just outside, but also inside the u-boat submarine which has some nice detail, even though not as much as we had seen in The Wolf’s Call. But it is always nice to see one of those older type of submarines both inside and outside. The movie seems to be made in a low budget considering its content, and has done pretty well to rise above those limitations. There are some fine action sequences, most of them involving guns, but there are not too many – we do have torpedo launches too, as we see two submarines going against each other, a submarine against a destroyer, and a submarine against a fighter plane. The feeling of the Second World War and the Nazi terror is maintained throughout the movie – there is a Nazi threat over the head at all times. It is the kind of thing that can keep almost any movie alive. This is the kind of movie which could have another mission with another movie in this franchise with fictionalized World War bravery.

The claws of flaw :: The movie has a little too many dialogues, and often it gets far above the action which happens. The romantic and emotional side of the movie including the girl is rather dull. The romance becomes a rather unnecessary addition which doesn’t seem to have much of the romantic elements, and the emotional side gets rather too weak because of this love story that works in between. The funny side is also not used to its best advantage, and the final moments seem a little bit forced – for some reason, they wanted to save the girl’s life; maybe the shortage of female characters went to far ahead, and for the same, they want to do the impossible defying logic. The film surely could have had a better climax and ending, because so much was established in between, with the scope seemingly reaching a new level. Maybe they felt that there was enough already and didn’t want to try too hard – well, that is true as we look and understand that it has enough to be an action thriller mostly set inside a Nazi submarine with atomic submarine inside it.

Performers of the soul :: Ella-June Henrard plays a character who seems to be there just because they needed a female character in a movie full of men – she doesn’t get to do much until the movie gets towards the end, and most of the time, serves as just a distraction. When such a decision was made, it needed to have better quality with opportunities as well as the performances, and without the first one mentioned, we can’t really have the second one. Maybe they wanted to give her something, and provided her the perfect shot even though she was not really supposed to be part of the team. A Belgian actor Koen De Bouw plays the main character, a Nazi hater with a rough past, and he does very well, while a German actor Thure Riefenstein plays the German u-boat Captain who displays some hope for humanity during a time of terrible crisis and hostility against humanity. Joren Seldeslachts who plays the love interest of the girl is caught in that romantic side, but otherwise it works well for him too. The next one to make an impression is the man from Congo who is left in the submarine as it dives, and he is one force who will be noticed for sure.

How it finishes :: Torpedo: U-235 serves the purpose in having another fictionalized account of war, and it is always better to have this one instead of movies like Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds because this one at least has some control over its history and doesn’t decide to kill Hitler in ridiculous ways. There are similarities which can be found here related to the latter. Our movie here has some fine content, and it has a thrilling adventure which could have been better – it doesn’t use its submarine to that much of an effect like The Wolf’s Call did. But you are not short of entertainment, and there is also a certain amount of humour in store along with the seriousness related to the atomic uranium, and the danger of traveling under water with such scary stuff, along with being chased by powerful German submarines, fighter planes and destroyer ships. When you make a World War II movie well enough as this one, there is entertainment, and we are glad to have the same to go through such edge of the seat moments.

Release date: 23rd October 2019
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Sven Huybrechts
Starring: Koen De Bouw, Thure Riefenstein, Ella-June Henrard, Joren Seldeslachts, Sven De Ridder, Stefan Perceval, Bert Haelvoet, Rudy Mukendi, Gilles De Schryver, Robrecht Vanden Thoren, Vic de Wachter, Martin Semmelrogge, Stefan Weinert

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Balkan Line

Vampire Owl: So, we are travelling further through unexplored territories.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that we should have travelled through these movies much earlier.

Vampire Owl: A Russian and Serbian collaboration is the kind of movie that we needed.

Vampire Bat: We have had a good dose of movies with collaboration already.

Vampire Owl: But, we are never short of having more and more of those.

Vampire Bat: These are all a result of the Corona Virus lock-down though.

Vampire Owl: We always have the chance to watch more movies during times of crisis.

Vampire Bat: It is nice to have some stories set somewhere around the Balkans.

Vampire Owl: There is some history about that place that we need to read about too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, our history texts in this part of the world don’t have enough information about it, and it is quite disappointing.

[Gets an blueberry cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: The events in the movie happen during the Kosovo War which was fought between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanian rebel group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with further air support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the Albanian Army which was there to provide support on ground. The NATO military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had reached a another level during the Kosovo War with their bombing of the country without the approval of United Nations, and in opposition to Russia and China, in the name of humanitarian intervention for Albanians who were forced to move out of their homes. As the disastrous bombing which caused many civilian deaths and mass destruction is almost over, Slatina airfield in Kosovo is taken over by terrorists led by a ruthless Albanian warlord, Smuk (Aleksandar Sreckovic). There is an operation planned by the Russian intelligence to capture the airfield from the terrorists, and a team is formed for the same.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As the Yugoslavian army had retreated following the merciless NATO bombing, the terrorists from Albania had taken over most of Kosovo. The Serbian minority in different parts of Kosovo remains unprotected from these terrorists targeting them, as these criminals plundered, murdered and raped through the area, and the duty of recapturing this particular airfleld came to the Russian intelligence officer Aslan-Bek Evkhoev (Gosha Kutsenko) and a former paratrooper-turned-mercenary Andrey Shatalov (Anton Pampushnyy) with their teams. At the same time time, Jasna Blagojevic (Milena Radulovic) whom Andrey had met and saved earlier from the terrorists who were targeting Christians, especially Russians and Serbians, was also taken as a hostage, and after they take over the airfield, they would have to defend it after being outnumbered heavily. Can they do it at a time of hostility when neither side will dare to stand back, whether it is about showing bravery in war or ruthlessness in genocide?

The defence of The Balkan Line :: It has to be noted that The Balkan Line is a movie with many moments which rise above those scenes from war films which are overrated. The final one hour is a real treat to watch, and the final forty five minutes make a blast like no other. With those action sequences, the movie scores higher than ever, and the last stand in the airport is a glorious one, with almost every soldier catching our attention. There is an act of bravery or brutal strength that will stay. The actors are all perfectly chosen for their roles, and they have given almost everyone something to cheer about. As this seems to have fictionalized moments too, there is no need to think too much about how accurate this is because two sides will always have different tales to tell and can make movies out of them, but what is shown on the screen is excellent work. There is no doubt about the quality of action that we see on the screen, and the thrills are too good with high intensity.

Positives and negatives :: The Balkan Line is a little too long for a movie of the genre, and it does drag in the beginning stages, but it does pick up the pace quite well. This much of a grand finish might not have been expected in the middle stages of the movie. There might be questions about historical accuracy, but as it seems, a lot of this movie is fictionalized, especially the main incident in the end having not much of a historical background. After all, there is always more than one side to history, but we can always come up with tales of heroes, especially those who were not real – but there could be some truth to things in parts. This movie is more or less about the fictionalized fight in the last moments, and that glory can easily take away the rest of its problems. With that, I would say that I am glad to have found this movie, with one of the best entertainment in the final one hour. We are completely into that battle in and around that airfield which is a glorious one indeed.

Performers of the soul :: The movie seems to have a team of Serbian and Russian actors working here, and they manage to do the job fine for a war flick. Among them, Anton Pampushnyy plays the most notable role, as he has those moments which are the most memorable for us, including that incident involving him saving the passengers of a bus after a priest is murdered by the terrorists. He remains solid as his character, and Gosha Kutsenko who is the leader of the gang maintain the same solid structure here. Ravshana Kurkova who plays the sniper of the team makes herself perfectly suitable for the action, and never stays behind, matching up with everyone around. Milena Radulovic who plays the doctor with some special interest in the man who saved her life, is another one to look out for – from witnessing the death of her pregnant patient and moving through hostage situations, there is the feeling of melancholy on her face, which reflects the situation of the world around her quite well. The rest of the case supports well.

How it finishes :: It is always good to watch movies like The Balkan Line because we no longer has NATO or the United States saving the day here, like almost of all alien movies and war movies are concerned. This way, we also get a different perspective of things, even if these are somewhat based on a few incidents during a war which happened some time ago with a fictionalized side. Then there is also the need to watch movies in other languages, and Serbian is also one of them, after watching The Whistlers, a Romanian movie. There seems to be some fine Eastern European movies which one would need to watch, and The Balkan Line is one of them. After all, we also have Novak Djokovic, one of the best on the tennis court, an entertainer who has not many parallels – this movie is also one fine entertainer, and it has moments which will establish itself as one of those interesting war movies, even though not as much as American Sniper and others which have followed the wars with full realism.

Release date: 21st March 2019
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Andrey Volgin
Starring: Anton Pampushnyy, Ravshana Kurkova, Milena Radulovic, Gosha Kutsenko, Miloa Bikovic, Gojko Mitic, Sergey Marin, Nodari Janelidze, Kirill Polukhin, Dmitriy Frid, Svetlana Chuykina, Aleksandar Sreckovic, Miodrag Radonjic, Nikola Randelovic, Roman Kurtsyn

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Battle of Jangsari

Vampire Owl: I hope that it would be like the battle we had with the zombies.

Vampire Bat: We had a battle with the zombies last year?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the one which was fought near the meeting point of two rivers.

Vampire Bat: Wan’t that a battle with the werewolves?

Vampire Owl: Yes, they looked like wolves, but technically, they were zombies.

Vampire Bat: I do not understand the idea which you are talking about.

Vampire Owl: See, these werewolves were bitten by zombies. Therefore, the are former werewolves who are now zombies.

Vampire Bat: So, you are taking out the werewolf qualities out of them, and saying that the zombie characteristics will takeover.

Vampire Owl: Yes, if you are bitten by an undead, you are no longer alive. The werewolves will acquire the qualities of the undead which bit them.

Vampire Bat: Okay, I guess the only problem will be if a werewolf is bitten by a zombie and a vampire. One has to wonder which characteristics will be taken by the wolf.

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

What is the movie’s background about? :: As the Second World War ended, the Allies lead by the Soviet Union and the United States of America liberated Korea from Japanese control, days after the dropping of atom bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With two major powers set to on a Cold War for many years after the defeat of Germany and Italy as well as the weakening of Great Britain and France due to war, Korea was divided into two zones of occupation, as the Soviets were in control of the northern half while the Americans administered the southern half. As different governments having exactly opposite ideologies were established on both sides, there was continuous tension, and each group proclaimed ownership of the whole of Korean peninsula, but didn’t launch a full-scale attack until then. But on the 25th of June, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea, it had marked the beginning of the Korean War, fought completely in the Korean peninsula.

So, what happens with the events here? :: North Korea, had the support of the major Communist nations of China and the Soviet Union while South Korea, had the support of the United States of America and its allies. The United Nations Security Council itself had approved the sending troops in support of South Korea against what was a full scale military invasion without provocation. A total of twenty one nations are supposed to have provided support to the United Nations defence of South Korea, but United States of America was the leader with ninety percent of the troops provided for the purpose. After the first two months of war, South Korean Army and the United States forces Korea were almost defeated. But in September 1950, an sea-based United Nations counter-offensive was to be launched at Incheon, to cut off many North Korean troops in South Korea. A group of seven hundred and seventy two student soldiers has the task of staging a diversionary mission at Jangsari Beach in South Korea.

And, what is to follow here, as this is war, and a case of final defence for the South Koreans :: This particular attempt at landing would trick the the North Korean forces into thinking that the opposition forces would be soon launching a decisive invasion there would distract the North Koreans from Incheon. But the waves are very high and there is a shortage of landing boats. The student soldiers have no idea what they are doing, and the only thing they has done since getting into the ship, is vomitting. This seems to be a strange and impossible mission on the beach for the students who are trained at nothing except a little boot camp time, while highly trained North Korean defence await on the shores. Can they succeed in this, or will they at least dare to try, as North Korea is very close to making its dreams of one Korean peninsula under them? How long can the South’s resistance at the Nakdong River in the southernmost region stand, and how good is the United Nations in stopping this?

The defence of The Battle of Jangsari :: As you might have expected, there is war written on it right from the beginning, as far as The Battle of Jangsari is concerned. With a thunderstorm seemingly around, we know that there will be no smooth sailing in the movie for the troops, and it is certainly a kind of foreshadowing. The movie is full of some nicely worked out scenes of war, with battle tanks, guns and landmines never ceasing to come up on the screen, as one battle follows the other. There are also those emotional sequences, as some of the soldiers even have a tale to tell, and we also come to know that this is a hopeless situation, from where an escape seems to be too distant. The area where the battles are fought is perfect to provide those nice visuals too. The performances are all good, especially considering the fact that we have a young cast here. Lee Ho-Jung plays the only female among the soldiers, and she does a fine job too.

The claws of flaw :: With a premise and an idea like this, the movie could have achieved a lot more for sure. As it gets near the end, things begin to get more and more predictable, even though there is no certainty about who all will be the ones to survive. The battles could have been more, and we needed to see more of the battles happening in other parts of Korea, at least as a quick reminder. Megan Fox’s character is underused, and there is not much being done to create a change there. The movie also suffers from the absence of female characters, both on the battlefield, and also outside. With Megan around, there could have been more, maybe even with the help of a flashback that goes far behind before the North Korean invasion started. For someone who is coming from outside countries like Korea, Russia, United States of America, Japan, United Kingdom and China, maybe people could use a little bit more of information on this war which hasn’t been known much at this part of the world.

How it finishes :: As far as The Battle of Jangsari as a war movie is concerned, there was lot more to be taken, but it doesn’t do that. It is still a fine film with a forgotten episode of war, which will always be something of interest. As we are not that familiar with this particular war in comparison to the World Wars and the Cold War, this could a fine new experience for us, as the Korean perspective only becomes more interesting. The war with some extraordinary deeds of courage, and an emotional touch which keeps getting stronger towards the end, makes The Battle of Jangsari a movie which needs to be watched. As we take a look at a movie on Korean War which might be the first film most us around here watch based on a war from that side, this might be a war movie you will recommend to many others. After all, there is some history around here, and most of the war movies teach you that, mostly from one side of the battling nations. They have surely kept this one simple and enjoyable.

Release date: 25th September 2019
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Kwak Kyung-taek, Kim Tae-hoon
Starring: Kim Myung-min, Megan Fox, Choi Min-ho, Kim Sung-cheol, Kim In-kwon, Kwak Si-yang, Jang Ji-Gun, Lee Ho-Jung, Lee Jae-wook, Dong Bang-Woo, George Eads, Jeong Jong-Jun, Kim Min-Kyu

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rogue One

Vampire Owl: The title of this movie has already made me think about Rogue Two.

Vampire Bat: It is the problem due to thinking too much about sequels. I don’t think that there will be another Rogue, as this is supposed to be a spin-off standing alone.

Vampire Owl: Some movies have too many sequels anyway. I can’t even remember when I first heard about Star Wars. Maybe we should see the rings and live only for seven days, so that the memory works better.

Vampire Bat: It is something that goes beyond centuries for humans, so I have heard.

Vampire Owl: But it hasn’t been that much known throughout the world, I wonder why.

Vampire Bat: Well, even Star Trek became popular only in the last few years – before that they had copied the same to make Captain Vyom.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I remember that it had such an uncomfortable timing that I ended up missing the food provided for many wedding, betrothal and house warming functions for watching it.

Vampire Bat: But, during those times, we never knew the original.

Vampire Owl: Star Wars was more popular than Star Trek during those days.

Vampire Bat: Now, there is the twist – everyone we love around here loves Star Trek more.

[Gets three cups of breakfast tea with a piece of orange cake].

What is the movie about? :: Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), an expert in weapons research is hiding on a planet, away from the dictatorship called Empire and its sinister motives which include but are not limited to enslavement of people. Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), who is in charge of the weapons research for the Imperial Military Force finds him and forces him to build a superweapon called the Death Star, which is capable of destroying planets from a long distance away, thus giving supreme power to the Empire. While his daughter is saved by the wanted rebel and an extremist Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), his wife is killed by the Empire in the conflict. Galen is left with no other way, and is forced to go with Orson to provide his expertise, while Saw and his forces continue to resist the Empire which only grows stronger and stronger with time, while the rebels focused on newer methods to take down the Empire.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Years later, a cargo pilot of the Empire, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) turns to the side of the rebels, as he brings a message from Galen to Saw, and he is captured by the extremist rebels. Meanwhile, Jyn Esro (Felicity Jones) who is a prisoner of the Empire, gets rescued by a rebel officer, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) who takes her to the rest of the rebels, and there, they convince her to find more about her father and the Death Star so that they can make good use of the information; their true intention is to kill him though. They will be joined by a re-programmed droid from the Empire, a blind but skilled warrior Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and his fighter friend Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) who would have more than what they could handle on a normal day. Can they figure out Galen’s message, find him and stop the Death Star before it begins destroying the rebel bases, or even the planets on which they stand? Is there hope against the Empire which stands so strong?

The defence of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story :: Despite it not becoming that much of a popular thing here, this movie continues in the path set by its predecessors in the franchise, and does the same thing again, and provides the entertainment beyond the known world. Well, Star Wars is something that doesn’t age, and can go on to make more and more sequels, and shall continue to become success for many years to come. The message about rebellion continues, as the dictatorship also continues to do what it has been doing. The nostalgic feeling should work for those who had grown up watching Star Wars – those VCR and VCP days had more than one cassette of this franchise, with the first Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi; these used to be the special movies which looked too good, but not many people had watched them. The visuals and the special effects are too good, and you are going to love the final battle scene for sure, with all the splendour. Well, a stand-alone spin-off Star Wars movie is good to keep you strong while waiting for the next flick.

The claws of flaw :: The lack of popularity of Star Wars around here has hurt the possibilities with a lot of people no aware of how this series is progressing; about where it all began, where everything is going, and who all are these people, you wonder – well, not many people who have watched those earlier Star Wars movies are there to watch the newer flicks in the theatres, you know, and a stand-alone spin-off will only confuse them. Well, if people are confused about this, you can’t blame them, and they can only enjoy parts of this one in that case. Also, the one point to note is that there is not much of a change or variety in proceedings in this movie, as this becomes more Star Wars, rather than bringing a new special element. Star Wars: Force Awakens was certainly a better movie than this, and it seemed to try to be something by itself unlike this one which goes on and on with its usual stuff. Also, its attempt to work on the nostalgia that we have for this movie works not that much with the audience here. The emotional side is rather weak.

Soul exploration :: Well, Star Wars has always been about the rebellion against the dictatorship, as we had felt a long time ago. But during those times, the need was not this strong, and with a lot of things forced on us for no meaningful reason, one has to wonder if we are all the rebels against that part of the society which steals our individuality from us, for which new rules are made; when rules are not really made for people, and it is just for a certain group of people, we wonder if this situation in Star Wars is not so different from what we have now. There is so much hate in the world that hope seems too far away, as far as the stars are. Star Wars also has the message of hope, and battling against all odds. But how strong is everyman against the troops which are controlled by fascism which threatens to destroy not just worlds, but also the idea from the minds of the people? Star Wars movies keep bringing that hope in one way or the other, against the mighty Empire which would call for fake patriotism and not rebellion, but revolution happens in one way or the other.

How it finishes :: As it is clear for many people, people in India are not really much of fans for the Star Wars franchise, even though I remember having watched the series, and becoming interested in the same – I was among a few people who did, for Star Wars surely had no takers in the schools, tuition classes or even among the cousins. The presence of some of the Star Wars games was what helped me further to keep the interest alive, and while those earlier games had the Jedi Knight hero, there was also Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds which provided the feeling of playing Age of Empires II: Age of Kings again. Even though it keeps making so much money in the United States, and maybe also in Europe as well as other English-speaking nations, it would have to try hard to make it work better in India for better collections – but you never get bored of watching a Star Wars movie as far as I am concerned, and I have enjoyed watching this one too. We await the real sequel of Star Wars: Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi releases with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega after this one from the director of Godzilla. So, may the force be with you.

Release date: 16th December 2016
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Jimmy Smits, Genevieve O’Reilly, Anthony Daniels

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

1971: Beyond Borders

Vampire Owl: It has been some time since the last war movie had released.

Vampire Bat: You remember that Kandahar with the same character in the leading role was released in 2010.

Vampire Owl: And the last movie with soldiers at border in Picket 43 of 2015.

Vampire Bat: The director did act in Anarkali and Action Hero Biju after that though.

Vampire Owl: I have been looking forward to our own war here though.

Vampire Bat: You mean to talk about expanding the vampire territory beyond the current borders.

Vampire Owl: Yes, you know that it has always been my patriotic intention. The zombie minions are trained for the same.

Vampire Bat: They are trained, but that doesn’t supply the brains.

Vampire Owl: We are buying them at the Goblin Market at fifty five percent discount.

Vampire Bat: That explains the never-ending preparation for war.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn and vegetable puffs].

What is the movie about? :: Colonel Mahadevan (Mohanlal) is fighting with the United Nations troops in Georgia. There, his team saves the lives of a group of Pakistani soldiers who have also been fighting for the United Nations. After some friendly chat, Mahadevan invites the Pakistani troops to their battle honours day, an invitation which they seem to accept. While the programme is going on, it is revealed that Mahadevan’s father, Major Sahadevan (Mohanlal) had fought a battle against the Pakistani commander’s father, Mohammed Akram Raja (Arunoday Singh), in the 1971 Indo-Pak War for Bangladesh, and it had resulted in the death of the commander on the losing side. There is also more than that happened during those days of war, and we see Sahadevan narrating the same story to his grandchildren accompanied by his wife, Parvathy Sahadevan (Asha Sarath).

So, what happens next? :: Sahadevan is going through a holiday and some fun time with his friends at his hometown, when the news about the war reaches him. He decides to leave early before the telegram arrives, much to the dismay of his wife, son and all others who hoped for his presence there for a longer period of time. The same is the case of many other soldiers, especially Sudharshan (Krishna Kumar) whose father is extremely ill. The path ahead seems to be difficult for his team, as this is not the usual war for territorial gains, and the presence of a strong enemy force at their area makes things tougher – but there are some brave, tough and patriotic soldiers who are there with him for support; Lieutenant Chinmay (Allu Sirish) and Captain Aadhiselvam (Sudheer Karamana) are two of such men whom he meets and has his attention very soon. But Mohammed Akram Raja is determined to win this war and go home – well, so is Sahadevan.

The defence of 1971: Beyond Borders :: The movie’s best action sequences involve one with the battle tanks, and another one which has the two commanders going at each other in the end, even with the extra punch of heroism making both sequences strange at times – heroism without intelligence is not a quality that a hero should go for, and that makes one less a hero and more of a daredevil. The visuals are really good here, and there are some touching moments, which successfully make one feel for the troops as well as bring a certain amount of patriotism to keep the flame strong enough. The scenes of war deserves the appreciation, as it only gets better these days; yet there is the feeling that each of them could have been better. As it is said in Sir Walter Scott’s Lochinvar, “So daring in love, and so dauntless in war” – these are the qualities that determine the two main characters here, and after the deep consideration that war is meaningless, they will fight to death for their respective nations, obeying orders. The intention here seems to be good, as well as true – just not enough of the best application of ideas.

The claws of flaw :: There is that feeling of having seen all these before, especially with three movies already with Mohanlal playing the main character – Keerthi Chakra, Kurukshetra and Kandahar, along with the Prithviraj Starrer Picket 43. Except for having Mohanlal instead of Prithviraj, this one is surely closer to the last one, giving the idea that you can’t blame it on the enemy country, and it is all because of war. So, in one way or the other, it is patriotism which is responsible for the deaths of many people in more than one nation. Even in the opening credits, there is that long narration which won’t seem to make much of a difference as we go through the movie that touches not much of the same. The movie also doesn’t maintain the pace all the time, and there is too much repetition in store. The heroism displayed in this movie is also overdone, especially considering the fact that it tries to prove that this is all for the nation rather than being personal. The stereotypes also keep rushing, and we see an emotional side dependent on the same with less battle plans and too much lost between the meaninglessness of war and patriotism.

Performers of the soul :: Playing two characters, the son and the father, Colonel Mahadevan and Major Sahadevan, this one has been made for Mohanlal yet again. Major Mahadevan is not a character that Keralites as well as other Malayalam movie lovers will forget for a long time, and this one goes back to bring the prequel tale. This is no tough job for Mohanlal who controls this one, even though the father character is certainly inferior to the son – there are too many sequences which just seem to contradict the situations here for him. Allu Arjun’s younger brother, Allu Sirish also makes his Malayalam debut in this flick – there has been no shortage of dubbed movies of his brother getting success here, and lets hope that this will follow up with more from him; here he surely has our attention. But it is Arunoday Singh who leaves the best mark here – he shines as the Pakistani commander, and could use more of such roles with material to perform. All the female characters are left with not much to do in this movie.

How it finishes :: There has been some great success for Malayalam movies recently, most prominent ones among them being Mohanlal starrers themselves, Pulimurugan, Oppam and Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, all three belonging to three different categories of action, thriller and drama respectively. Prithviraj’s Ezra had also went on to become the highest grossing horror movie of all time in the industry. Then, here is the war genre being explored yet again by Mohanlal – Major Ravi combination again. With The Great Father doing great job at the box-office, and the movies like Take Off staying there due to the excellence in making, 1971: Beyond Borders was to face some competition, but during this holiday season, it could stay there for some time easily – it is sure to do that for sure, and has the usual ingredients need for a movie in this genre, but there was always the scope to make this a better movie; this chance has been missed.

Release date: 7th April 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Major Ravi
Starring: Mohanlal, Arunoday Singh, Allu Sirish, Renji Panicker, Sudheer Karamana, Devan Asha Sarath, Priyanka Agrawal, Srushti Dange, Neha Khan, Saiju Kurup as Gunner Nathan, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Zoya Zayed Khan, Pradeep Chandran, Krishna Kumar, Manikuttan, Shafeeq Rahman, Sudhir Sukumaran, Kannan Pattambi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Take Off

What is the movie about? :: Sameera (Parvathy) is a divorced nurse who is trying to work hard in the local hospital and pay the debts of her family, as well as ensure that the studies of her younger sisters are also dealt with. She was formerly married to Faisal (Asif Ali), and has a child, but they were separated due to problems in both families related to her work as well as the differences in way of seeing things. Shaheed (Kunchacko Boban) who works as a male nurse in the same hospital, is in love with her, and is hoping to marry her if she agrees some day. Both of them are expected to go to Iraq for work soon, and in that way, earn a better salary. Sameera finally decides that it is better for her to marry Shaheed and move on, as he is also moving to Iraq, and her relatives would make her get married to someone else anyway; at least she finds Shaheed as a good person and he is in love with her.

So, what happens next? :: After marriage, Sameera gets pregnant, but they soon have to move to Iraq and join the new job. They have heard that the place is not that safe, but there are other nurses who work there and earn a good salary. It is the year 2014, and ISIS has launched itself into the major cities of the nation. It is at the same time that Sameera’s son Ibrahim a.k.a Ibru (Master Eric) comes to live with her. Their location, Tikrit, as well as Mosul where Shaheed had traveled to with the military, all are under attack despite the repeated assurances that the army of the country will keep them safe. Sameera is shocked when she realises that Mosul is captured by the extremists and has become impossible to reach on phone. She approaches the Indian ambassador to Iraq, Manoj Abraham (Fahad Faasil) who assures her that he will do his best to find her husband.

And what is to follow between the chaos and destruction? :: It doesn’t take the ISIS long to take full control of all significant landmarks in the city of Tikrit with the military falling and later becoming a non-existent force there. The militants also make it inside the hospital and keeps the nurses as hostage. Shaheed is still in Mosul, captured by the militants there. But Manoj is determined to rescue and bring all these people back to India in one way or the other. For the same, he works with Ranjan (Prakash Belawadi), his superior officer as well as Jayamohan (Prem Prakash) who is a rich Malayali businessman with many connections in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. With the External Affairs Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Kerala in contact with him, he will try a plan which is claimed to be risky by more than one person, but is considered to be the best option to bring the nurses home by Manoj himself.

The defence of Take Off :: The movie is based on the captivity of forty six Indian nurses by ISIS, and their evacuation by the Indian government, which was one of those celebrated events and a major achievement for the nation – it takes a lot of effort to recreate and add something extra for the creative and cinematic side, and still keep it simple and real. The director has succeeded in doing the same here. The movie has nicely handled the situations of war, and also related to the hostage crisis – with terrorism to be worked with here, things could have gone different ways, but all goes well in this movie; we see balance and maturity in everything here. The emotional side is also strong, and things are kept realistic as well as interesting at the same time, a quality which has been only fakely attributed to certain movies these days.

Positives and negatives :: The first half of the movie is more about the family drama, with the final few minutes getting the protagonists to reach Iraq, with the terrible disaster of a war waiting to happen. From there, it is a thrilling adventure, and the movie works as two here. This movie is visually geat, and also has some nice music as well as background score to go with the same. The movie, despite not trying to bring anything out of the box, got all of us interested, with how this tale is told, and how the characters feel simple and real as the common man who wishes to make money for their families while protecting the same. Even with its smaller budget compared to the Bollywood movies like Airlift which deals with the evacuation of Indians too, Take Off can easily give a fine competition – in simple words, it is surely better than the Bollywood movie dealing with this. There is a better re-imagination here for you to watch.

Performers of the soul :: There is no shortage of interesting performances here, and Parvathy manages to keep her character at the right place, even living through the war on most of the occasions. The different stages of life of her character are nicely portrayed, and this is sure to bring more and more applause as the movie runs in the theatres and will be watched by more followed the highly positive opinions – following Charlie and Ennu Ninte Moideen. Kunchacko Boban has a controlled performance here as he once again plays a character who will appeal really well for the family audience, after Kochauvva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho. Then there is Fahadh Faasil who arrives in the second half, and steals the show – there are so many moments for him as he goes strong after Maheshinte Prathikaaram once again, and the last few moments are undoubtedly his. The child actor Eric is also too good. Prakash Belawadi, Prem Prakash, Asif Ali and Alencier Ley Lopez also catch our attention with their smaller roles.

How it finishes :: We had the Akashay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur starrer Airlift directed by another Malayali, Raja Krishna Menon, which had dealt with a similar crisis and somewhat same kind of situation which released in 2016 and had received many positive opinions. While Airlift was based on the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, this one is based on the 2004 ISIS invasion of Iraq. Both are about evacuating the Indians left in the nation torn by war, and both has the patriotism as well as the final success that goes with the same – both have also received a lot of critical acclaim, and has been in the news even before the release. The comparisons maybe many, and it is certain that what we need are movies like Take Off and Airlift which deals with the situations related to common people who struggle anywhere in the world, and it is also significant how realistically their tales are told. This is the best movie of the year so far, as it joins C/O Saira Banu, Alamara and Honey Bee 2 which are running in the theatres stronger than the rest.

Release date: 24th March 2017
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Mahesh Narayan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Parvathy, Fahadh Faasil, Prakash Belawadi, Asif Ali, Prem Prakash, Alencier Ley Lopez, Parvathi T, Anjali Aneesh Upasana, Master Eric, Joju George, Sidhartha Siva, Devi Ajith, Divya Prabha, Prashant Nair, Rukhsar Rehman

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Airlift

airlift (1)

What is the movie actually about? :: The movie is based on the world’s largest civil evacuation of all-time, the act which was about rescuing a huge number of Indians stranded in Kuwait during the Iraq-Kuwait War when Iraq forcibly occupied Kuwait and made it the nineteenth province of Iraq. Due to this evacuation process, Air India is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of people evacuated by any of the civil airlines. The movie begins by saying that the characters are fictional and are inspired from a real incident. There are two real-life heroes who played a big role in helping the Indians in Kuwait to get them to evacuation though, as it is mentioned in the end of the movie – Mr. Mathews and Mr. Vedi who are shown during the final credits as the messiahs in reality.

So, what happens in the story-line of the movie? :: Ranjit Katiyal (Akshay Kumar) is a very successful businessman in Kuwait, and has good relations with the rich Kuwaiti people and its government. Despite his roots in India, he never really identifies himself as an Indian being one of the richest men in the city. He is living a happy life with his wife Amrita Katyal (Nimrat Kaur) and their child. Everything has been going in his favour until Saddam Hussein orders the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The soldiers consisting of even young boys with hatred for the nation which they have just conquered, wanders around causing chaos and destruction as all evil becomes legal as long as it is committed on the people who are now living under their guns no matter the ethnicity. Facing such a situation, Ranjit has to make more than one decision not just to save his own family, but also that of many other Indians.

The defence of Airlift :: The movie’s highest point is the climax and the ending – I am telling this before talking about anything else because it was so well executed and it could bring that wind of patriotism flowing in the right direction. The truth is that we feel such a patriotic feeling which is not forced, but it just gets into us and makes us feel amazingly good and proud to be Indian. A movie like Airlift was in need because Bollywood needed to have something as real as this, keeping the heroism, despite restricted to one person being kept as close to reality as possible. The protagonist’s return journey to his roots is something that we will all cheer about too – there is always something about your nation, your people and your your culture; it never really leaves you. I do have my doubts about the new generation, but somewhere, you are still part of your roots. The camera shots surely add to the total effect too.

Claws of flaw :: There is no chance to find this movie as a perfect one, even though it could have been that with some more attention. Some of the characters could have been used better, as you look at them not really contributing that much as you would have wanted them to be, as a situation like this could never be about one or two people being the heroes all the time. I would have loved to see an effort which was a lot more combined. The characters could have been better developed, and some of them are just there to be present or to go through all these. There are also some problems in the middle, and pace often gets to a lower level. A little more focus on the war could have also done better for this movie. I believe that a movie like this can also do without the songs. There was also a little bit of hurry to finish the movie by the end. Also remember that this is no entertainer for the usual fans.

Performers of the soul :: Akshay Kumar provides us with another realistic movie with a touch of patriotism an year after Baby released. Two of my favourite Bollywood movies of last year had him, with Brothers being the other flick. As of now, it seems that 2016 will be no different. We can confidently say that this movie will be among the best of the year, and I am not surprised that Akshay Kumar is once again the person to deliver the same. Well, this is movie does rest on his shoulders all the time because it is so much centered on his character. He makes thing work amazingly well here. Nimrat Kaur provides him the support. Lena has kind of a noticeable role here too! The other performer is actually the situation itself. The rest of the cast actually don’t need to do that much as one would expect for a situation of life and death; maybe it could have used them better, but it works as of now.

Soul exploration :: We have watched a good number of movies with patriotic elements in them. But when we look at this particular movie in comparison to that, this is one of the realistic and the most righteous display of the same. Patriotism in its purest form is one of those qualities which one can be really delightful about, and without any doubt, Airlift has that without preaching. This certain quality is what makes Airlift an interesting watch for all Indians both in the nation and living abroad. This is where the movie keeps scoring. If Airlift doesn’t touch your soul and make you think as an Indian no matter where you are, I don’t see any other movie doing the same. It is rightfully the movie for the soul, and you will feel the same during its run-time.

How it finishes :: Bollywood’s fine run this year continues, as Airlift follows Wazir and provides Bollywood with that boost for the beginning of the year which works nicely with the intellectual side as the industry takes another break from those huge silly entertainers. The advantage of having the popular actors performing in movies like these is that these better flicks get releases at most of the theatres. It is quite a necessity considering how many mindless movies Bollywood has been coming up with. The movies like Airlift are a lot in need, and it is a must watch without doubt. If there are movies which cent percent deserve to be in the one hundred crore list, Airlift can also be considered one of them. I don’t know how the usual audience will consider this movie, but if you don’t support this movie, it is your loss as well as that of Bollywood.

Release date: 22nd January 2016
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Raja Krishna Menon
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Nimrat Kaur, Feryna Wazheir, Lena Abhilash, Inaamulhaq, Purab Kohli, Kumud Mishra, Prakash Belawadi

airlift

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Shaman

shaman (4)

Premise of The Shaman :: For thousands of years, men have undergone vigorous training to become the Shamans. These well-trained people have traveled into the other world, finding and healing the souls of people. In the beginning of the twenty third century, they are no longer the healers, but mankind’s deadliest weapon, as there is more that they can do during a war. The year is 2204, after seventy three years of continuous war and destruction. There is a long battle going on between The Atlantic Alliance and The White Federation and the world is in chaos. According to the Shaman’s school of thought, every creature or object has a soul. As the Shamans go into the other world known as the Netherworld and convert or destroy the souls of their enemies’ huge battle machines, both sides come up with defensive strategies against the Shaman attacks.

What is it about? :: These intelligent machines are widely used for battles during the times, and they are the toughest opponents which are better to be dealt with indirectly, as direct confrontation is leads to too many casualities. As a Shaman called Joshua (Danny Shayler) tries to convert the soul of one enemy battle colossus which has destroyed about two thousand men, this one is ready for him. The soul of the colossus (Susanne Wuest) knows that he is coming, and has read information about him. Joshua has a troubled past which can be used against him if known. In the other world, the machine will use his own strength, the manipulation against him. He will have four minutes to deal with this machine or he will die with the troops and his squire Lene (David Sayers). Can he come up with something special here?

The defence of The Shaman :: The short film gets you into the story right in the beginning with an introduction and some interesting information about the premise – it makes sure that we have the idea what is to come next. Then, we are introduced into the movie’s story-line related to the Shaman called Joshua and his battles. There are some stunning visuals to go with the story. The visual splendour is the kind of thing which can challenge those big Hollywood movies, as the futuristic world devastated by wars will immediately catch your attention – the explosions add to it. The idea is no different as it is worth making a full length movie which runs for at least two hours. There is strength in the core, and we can be sure that it can be developed into big movie, and we can only hope that if it does, it releases at this part of the world.

How is The Shaman special? :: The Shaman has a special place among the short films, and it is one of the best which I have watched. As Hollywood comes up with too many remakes, it is always nice to see a new idea instead of bringing the same thing again and again. The idea which is used in this short film is also something which got a lot of potential. There is absolutely no dull moment in this one, and you are completely into the idea of Shaman, soul, Netherworld and the connections being made. The Shaman has that kind of a universe which can be developed a lot. There can be a prequel as well as a sequel in the form of full length movies, because the theme will catch the audience attention with ease. The science fiction fans are sure to love the basic idea and its development.

Soul exploration :: This is my first attempt at reviewing a short film, and The Shaman is a good flick to start doing the same. Throughout this movie and as the film ended, I was hoping that this was longer, even as a short film, I wished for at least ten to fifteen more minutes. When the idea is great and it also looks fantastic, I would wonder why one won’t want the movie to go on for a very long time. You can watch the trailer of the movie below to understand what this short film is going to be about. I am sure that you will find it an interesting trailer, and it gives a nice idea about what the movie is about. It should have you interested to watch the complete short film which is shared in the end.

Performers of the soul :: There are two characters who get most of the attention, and there are three who are the main characters – the Shaman, the Squire and the Soul of the Colossus. The performances in The Shaman were actually very good, especially with Danny Shayler who plays the titular character and Susanne Wuest who plays the Soul of the Colossus. The sequence between them is well done, which is why one would want to have them again if there is a full length movie getting made. A more detailed sequence between them would do a longer movie a lot good, and it will be the first thing I expect along with the tales of the Shaman as a person. David Sayers as Lene also does a good job here. We can be sure that the talent does exist here, and there will be more to come if there is a full length movie.

Further details about The Shaman :: The Shaman premiered at the New York based Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year and was also screened at many other film festivals around the world. The trailer of the movie had over four million views on Youtube. The whole movie is now available on Youtube to watch, and has subtitles in English, Russian, Spanish, German, Japanese and Chinese. It is also online on Vimeo as of now and was also selected into the Vimeo Staff Picks. It was also featured in Short of the Week. The movie has a rating of 7.5 on the IMDb, and it is surely ahead of most of the short films that you watch these days. It is mentioned as one of the best short films of the year, and one can be sure that it is deserving of that description. You can watch the full short film at the Youtube link below and come up with an opinion.

Release date: 17th November 2015 (Online); 18th April 2015 (Premiere)
Running time: 17 minutes
Directed by: Marco Kalantari
Starring: Danny Shayler, David Sayers, Susanne Wuest, Edmund Jäger, Adam Thomas Wright, Anton Noori, Stefan Bernhard, Samuel Jung

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Picket 43

picket43 ()

Vampire Owl :: Is this the right time for a patriotic movie?

Vampire Bat :: Surely it is. We had harthal just a few days ago and observed another bane of our nation. After a negative thing for the nation, this is our chance to reclaim the good things.

Vampire Owl :: So after lots of harthals giving losses of thousands of millions of rupees, we can always gain patriotism by watching movies?

Vampire Bat :: May be movies like this will help. Lets watch and know more about it.

Vampire Owl :: Will such movies make the common man any better?

Vampire Bat :: People only take what they want. So, I doubt it.

Vampire Owl :: Still, they are all patriots on three days an year and if that Team BCCI or Indian cricket team wins the World Cup.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but when there is the need to do something for the nation, it is to be seen if what is preached can be practiced.

Vampire Owl :: This is the season of Facebook patriots and social workers.

Vampire Bat :: And lets see what Picket 43 brings to the season.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Hareendran Nair (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is one of the Indian soldiers who are posted at Picket 43, an area on the border which has seen regular ceasefire violations, and has also lead to the death of a number of soldiers from the Indian side. With the last soldier murdered by the militants, the place becomes something to be talked about a lot among the soldiers and Hareendran Nair is the latest person to be posted there, alone except for a dog with him. As his superior officer Vinaya Chandran (Renji Panicker) denies him leave to go back to his lover to marry her or to support his ailing mother, he is left with no option but to stay at the hostile area. The Pakistani soldier on the other side keeps shooting on regular intervals until a change is made, and another soldier Mushraff (Javed Jaffrey) comes for service. Hareendran and Mushraff becomes friends and the latter promises the former that no militant will come through his picket to attack India as long as he is alive.

The defence of Picket 43 :: The power of patriotism is once again on display here, and this is one of those movies that we need to watch now and then. This might also be our director’s second best movie after Keerthi Chakra that has come after a long time. The movie is also about friendship and that too beyond borders and all kinds of obstacles,as humanity thrives without limitations. There is also mutual respect and love for one’s country which are proclaimed again and again. It also makes things clear that friendship has no limits and it can be made with ease if needed in the presence of a good heart. There is an idea given about the hardships that the soldiers suffer and the sacrifices that they make to serve their country, keeping their personal choices away to keep the citizens safe. The beauty of Kashmir is well captured, as the snow covered world as well as the green side are equally amazing, even as the white side suits the working of the movie better. The shots at Picket 43 are the best of the movie.

The Claws of Flaw :: The family drama and romantic side are completely out of place. It is good that they mention that it is love, and otherwise it would have been really difficult to find any romance there – almost everything shot in Kerala remains clear negative and was not needed. Even the shots which were supposed to be in Pakistan should have been better taken with more imaginary power instead of just going through that Malala-Taliban model idea which needed not much thinking. The focus should have been even further on the friendship and talking about their philosophies about life and what they think about war, and how the two nations could go into a better relationship. Well, those who are expecting a Tango Charlie model philosophy and a powerful anti-war ideology are going to be disappointed. The heavy non-linear narrative style might also depress a few. The songs are also not that up-to the mark. The final shooting scenes also go into heroism, something that was not supposed to be part of this movie. Being slave to the clichés is sometimes a fashion, isn’t it?

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran shines in the movie as the Indian soldier guarding Picket 43; he excels in those emotional scenes and nicely manages the lighter moments too. He is there throughout the movie, and there is not much time in the movie without his presence, and we can safely say that this is his movie. The next big character, and among the two really significant characters is the Pakistani soldier played by Javed Jaffrey who steals our hearts from the other side. May be he was chosen because he played a Pakistani soldier in the war satire which was War Chhod Na Yaar. Whatever be the reason, he has done an amazing job here. Both of them get some nice dialogues, and a few memorable lines too. Then there is the dog which is a cool addition to the movie, even as there was more scope for things to be added with the pet. Renji Panicker is also good. Prithviraj’s love interest has a forgettable outing here, and so do most of the characters of Kerala episode.

Soul exploration :: Picket 43 links friendship, patriotism and sacrifice together to make an impact, and these are major elements of this movie. The first one is the major theme of the movie which also asserts humanity and hopes for peace, so that there could be humans who no longer hate each other for no real reason – friendship beyond boundaries is the factor at the core. Patriotism is present here and there, but I have felt better of the same with the other running movie from Bollywood, Baby. The use of patriotism was expected and in the beginning and end, it is even more strong – but it is still not a core element. The sacrifice element is also in abundance, and it is not just for the country, but also in the name of friendship and honour, thus the sacrifice element joining the other two together. May be the forced happy ending was not necessary. Even the dog becomes a symbol another friendship here, even as it has no role in the other two elements.

How it finishes :: Releasing on the Republic Day weekend, Picket 43 is doing a nice job at the theatres along with Mili, not really being a mutual challenge as the themes are entirely different with the two, bringing no comparisons into the question. It is also the right time for the release of this movie. There is no better time to get the best results at the box-office. What needs to be appreciated is the effort to take a movie like this, all the way from the South to the North, and using so many themes in it. The same thing seems to be rewarded nicely by the audience, and it was also the movie which has had most number of screens having shows. Yes, Major Ravi is back with this movie. Lets hope for peace and no war, and also pray for a bright future in the relationship between the two neighbouring nations which still have hope for better relations. May God bless our soldiers and may goodness and humanity thrive among chaos and destruction.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Major Ravi
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Javed Jaffrey, Renji Panicker, Sudheer Karamana, Kannan Nair, Haresh Peradi, Angana Roy, Anu Mohan, Anshu Sharma, Sreerag Nambiar

picket43

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.