Girl on the 3rd Floor

Vampire Owl: What shall we find on the third floor?

Vampire Bat: What if there is no third floor?

Vampire Owl: If there is someone on the third floor, there would be that floor, right?

Vampire Bat: The movie itself seems to depend on illusions and hallucinations, and so we cannot ignore that possibility.

Vampire Owl: Well, death can also be an illusion. Not everyone really dies.

Vampire Bat: And not everyone really lives. I have heard that.

Vampire Owl: I have read some highly polarized reviews on this movie, and so I will also be having some doubts before watching it.

Vampire Bat: Maybe it is a case of the movie being watched only by two entirely different levels of auidence?

Vampire Owl: Well, maybe we can serve as that missing level.

Vampire Bat: This one has CM Punk, and so with all those WWE memories, we need to.

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

What is the movie about? :: Don Koch (CM Punk / Phil Brooks) wants to have a new beginning in life, as things don’t go that well as expected and his wife Liz Koch (Trieste Kelly Dunn) is carrying. According to him, the mother and the child would enter a new house which he bought in the Chicago countryside, and he himself would be renovating it. Without any professional help, he stays at the new house, and prepares it. He meets their religious neighbour Ellie Mueller (Karen Woditsch) from whom he understands that the house has a terrible past, and he even hears some strange sounds inside, pointing to supernatural interventions. He also meets Sarah Yates (Sarah Brooks) who is supposed to be living just near the house, and almost starts a relationship with her, only to try and keep her away after one night in the name of his wife and unborn child.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Don meets Sarah again on the next few days, but decides to avoid her and keep her out of the house, even though she seems to try to visit him every day. He calls Liz’s friend Milo Stone (Travis Delgado) for helping with the work, as the house seems to have a lot more to be done every day, with more and more faults being exposed, and part of it actually falling down – even the piping and electrical lines don’t seem to work well enough. But, as Milo finds out about Sarah, he is not happy at all, as he knows much about Don’s earlier life and how he used to be a cheating husband and a hedonist with no control over his activities. Sarah takes Milo to the basement and murders him with the help of a girl with a distorted face, coming out of the walls of the house. She also manages to kill his dog which seems to be watching everything. Don doesn’t have any idea what is happening, and there is more to the house than what meets the eye.

The defence of Girl on the Third Floor :: There have been many similar movies resembling Girl on the Third Floor in the past, but this might easily be the simplest of them all. The movie does provide the feeling that the house is alive from the beginning itself, and there are those moments which keep us guessing, on the edge of the seats. There is always something within the walls of the house, and it includes a walking, mutilated corpse – but what we see more are those coming out through the holes on the wall and the plugpoints, none of them giving an idea that the terror will be over anytime soon. Danger is established as a part of living in this particular house, that too without showing the mutilated figure much, and there is no violent shaking or shadows telling tales – this haunting is realistic and there is not much of special effects used here either. There are some messages to go with it too.

The claws of flaw :: Girl on the Third Floor is quite slow with its proceedings from the beginning itself. At no point does it seem to try to speed up things, quite satisfied with the pace with which it is working. Even though it is okay to go that slow in the beginning stages, the same can’t be said about the later situation, when picking up pace was needed towards the end. There is no big scare jump in the last few minutes unlike what was expected with all these established much earlier. The movie also ends with scope for a sequel with the process seemingly going on to continue, but there is no real explanation for that. There is no big cast to support the movie, and there is zero humour here, providing nothing to support in between. Parts of this movie can also be confusing for some people, as not many things are that direct in comparison to the usual horror movies with a haunted house at its centre and a mysterious girl.

Performers of the soul :: CM Punk a.k.a. Phillip Jack Brooks is not the person you have known as part of movies, or even television series and short-films. He is a mixed martial artist, but he is best known for his time in WWE, where he had some of the biggest matches in the industry written by his name. In wrestling entertainment, his four hundred and thirty four day WWE Championship reign happens to be the longest of this century. He had retired from all professional wrestling in early 2014, continuing in mixed martial arts, but he still has that skill for cinema shown by WWE stars, particularly The Rock whose recent movie, Jumanji: The Next Level was a big entertainer. CM Punk doesn’t disappoint in this flick, as he plays the role really well, and so does Trieste Kelly Dunn who plays the pregnant wife with all the worries. Sarah Brooks is really good as the girl in the house, and she has the mysterious person here under control.

How it finishes :: Girl on the Third Floor, despite its simple appearance, has enough to keep it going forward within the horror genre. With its setting and led by a WWE superstar, there is enough fuel that is in store and is used well. There is only limited resource that gets burned, and still, the effect is more. The usual Insidious and The Conjuring more of scares are not to be expected, as there are more like The Nun and Annabelle to support such cases. This one is rather the old style movie with a haunted house which doesn’t spend time scaring its protagonist all the time, but instead gets through him in parts, slowly and steadily. It is the house which preys the on a hero’s flaws, and as that includes overconfidence and arrogance, things take a turn for the worse. That would be a reason for a ghost to act on it, and you can’t really blame the supernatural being in that case. Along with this, you can also watch other lesser known horror movies like In the Tall Grass.

Release date: 25th October 2019
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Travis Stevens
Starring: CM Punk, Sarah Brooks, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Elissa Dowling, Karen Woditsch, Tonya Kay, Travis Delgado, Marshall Bean, Bishop Stevens, Anish Jethmalani

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hobbs and Shaw

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins in London, with a group of MI6 agents trying to recover a deadly virus, Snowflake, which is good enough to cause a global pandemic, bringing humanity closer to the sixth extinction. As they retrieve it from the global terrorist organization Eteon, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), an Eteon soldier fitted with advanced cybernetic implants arrives and kills all agents except for their leader, Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby). She injects Snowflake into herself to keep it away from others’ reach and escapes from the scene. Brixton frames her as a traitor who killed her team and stole Snowflake, and it leads to her being on the run from more than one intelligence agency. Both Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. The Rock) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) are given the duty to track her down and find Snowflake before it gets to Eteon or some other terrorist group.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It turns out that Hattie is the younger sister of Deckard, and after talking to their mother Magdalene Shaw (Helen Mirren) in prison, he finds it his duty to protect her. As expected, Luke and Deckard can’t get along, and that does cause problems as far as the mission is concerned. They do find her in the end, and even though she is taken to the CIA office, Brixton arrives with his team of mercenaries and captures her. Luke and Deckard manages to save her after trying to defeat Brixton in hand combat without any success. They manage to get away, and decide to find a way to get the virus out of Hattie who only seems to have a few days remaining. They figure out that she has to be killed needs to use an extraction device from the Eteon factory in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Brixton frames them as terrorists, and makes things further difficult.

And what more is to happen? :: For the same, they are helped by Madam M (Eiza Gonzalez), who is Deckard’s old flame, as well as a robber who lives in Russia – she also provides them with some special, powerful weapons. This leaves them with even lesser amount of time to get the virus out of Hattie. Brixton is also searching everywhere for the virus that he feels will change the world forever. With no option to save her, and after getting all the information from the creator of the virus, Professor Andreiko (Eddie Marsan) they decide to have her transferred to Brixton and then go after her in the factory where it was created, as it is the only place where it can be extracted. With time running out, they get their resources ready, while Andreiko is captured by Brixton. It is a tough task ahead for the two people who just don’t want to see each other – can they defeat Brixton, the man who is more like a superhuman with all the implants, or will death be unleashed on common people?

The defence of Hobbs and Shaw :: This is one movie in the Fast and Furious franchise that could do without its “FF” tag, as it has a story which can stand alone, and with its main characters and all the action around, has such great strength beyond the franchise. It is so good even without those scenes of racing in the streets, even though there are also present. The great action sequences go a long way beyond our expectations. The movie has the chases, hand to hand combat, a vertical walk and a grand final battle which has a group of cars against a helicopter. The best thing about the movie is that it knows where to draw the lines, and how to make things believable, helping the willing suspension of disbelief – it is something that some of those dumb masala Bollywood movies can never do. This one begins well and ends well, and in between has a lot to remember. The visuals are stunning, and the best is in store in the end, at Samoa.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has a certain amount of humour in there, and not all the comedy works here. Sometimes, the comic side tries to come in when not needed and the least expected – sometimes, we just love to avoid it as not being part of this grand adventure. All parts of the movie are also not at the same level, leaving us with ups and downs. The use of family idea gets repetitive, but is once again used effectively with the scene shifting to Samoa bring one more family together. Well, we know how much Fast and Furious 6, Fast and Furious 7 and Fast and Furious 8 talked about family, and that is one element which comes up in anything related to the franchise. There is also the talk about people being above technology, and regarding the final setting and The Rock who comes up with such a situation, it becomes believable. There are moments when we feel that it is this movie that needs the sequel and not the original series – Vanessa Kirby might be one strong reason for that.

The performers of the soul :: Fast and Furious franchise is known for its protagonists who have no hair on their head – this one does the job without Vin Diesel though. This is that kind of an occasion where it works perfectly without him – the contrasting styles of the two actors playing the two real different characters become perfect here. Dwayne Johnson brings the power of the Rock or rather Hercules in the last few scenes as we also have Roman Reigns joining in to give a reminder of that WWE world which we have loved for long. Jason Statham’s protagonist who comes with a different style of action has us asking for more. Vanessa Kirby is too good in the action sequences too, as she brings everything into the scene perfectly – Mission Impossible: Fallout had here doing less action, but not this time, as she has some fine sequences of action which we are going to remember. She can surely have a lot more action movies. Idris Alba does a great job playing the villain too. Elza Gonzalez has a small, but noticeable role.

How it finishes :: We have always wanted more of the Fast and Furious franchise, and this one makes sure that there is more, and that too with the two superstars who could be even bigger than the whole movie. With Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham launching the right punches, this one offers even more than what we thought it would deliver. A complete entertainer from the beginning to the end, Hobbs and Shaw is a movie that you shouldn’t miss, as far as you are looking for a grand action thriller. There will be more fast and furious movies coming up, but this one will be remembered for what has brought to the screen in a grand fashion. We are gladly past the boring street racing saga to aim at something higher. Creating a spin-off out of a successful franchise and making it as big as the original series requires some fine skills, and here the same is on display. Hobbs and Shaw will keep the expectations high until the next movie in the franchise arrives.

Release date: 2nd August 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba, Eiza Gonzalez, Eddie Marson, Helen Mirren, Cliff Curtis, Roman Reigns, Josh Mauga, John Tui, Lori Pelenise Tuisano

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Central Intelligence

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Vampire Owl: So, are we looking for what the Rock is cooking?

Vampire Bat: No, we are not. We will just watch the movie and come back to the castle.

Vampire Owl: But I am hungry. As hungry as a werewolf on an indefinite hunger strike during a full moon night.

Vampire Bat: When he say so, it doesn’t really mean that.

Vampire Owl: So, he doesn’t cook?

Vampire Bat: Whether he cooks or not, we are not going to have that.

Vampire Owl: So, it is not available with the movie. You mean to say that there is no offer.

Vampire Bat: No, it is not. We have to buy our own food with money from our pockets.

Vampire Owl: And unfortunately, we have a cashless vampire economy.

Vampire Bat: But we have the food here.

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

What is the movie about? :: At a big event, the school’s most popular student and star athlete Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) is being honored by the students and teachers. At the same time, a bully, Trevor Olson (Jason Bateman) and his arrogant friends grab the overweight student Robbie Wierdicht (Dwayne Johnson) from the gym shower and throw him into the centre of the event to humiliate him. With only Calvin and his girlfriend, Maggie Johnson (Danielle Nicolet) showing some sympathy to him, Robbie disappears from the school never to be heard about again for a long time. Many years later, Calvin is married to Robbie and is working as a forensic accountant. With both of them working, and spending almost no good time together, they feel that their marriage is in trouble, and Calvin is also disappointed with his work itself, finding it dull and boring.

So, what happens next? :: While spending his boring time at work and being highly displeased that people who are not that good as him are getting promotions and raise, Calvin receives a friend request on Facebook from a man named Bob Stone – even if he can’t figure out who this man is, he just accepts the request. The man on the other side reveals that he is the old schoolmate Robbie who had disappeared long ago, and asks for a meeting. As they meet, the two are surprised to see that the situation has gone upside down with the man who was supposed to be a big success is caught in a job he doesn’t like, and the one who was humiliated and considered to be good for nothing is now a muscular man with a lot of confidence and happiness – plus he is more than that. Calvin will know more about it when a group of CIA agents led by Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan) arrive at his house – it is the time to save the world, can it be done?

The defence of Central Intelligence :: There is fun guaranteed with Central Intelligence as the two of the leading actors and situations continue to bring the laughter to us, and the action is also stylish from The Rock. There is one thing that we can be thankful about more than anything else, and it is that this one doesn’t go on to be like that terrible, third-rate movie called Kingsman: Secret Service which was the worst comedy movie which we had the chance to watch in such a long time – so many people have pretended to like it just because critics have felt something in the vulgar and violent presence in the movie, but nobody here is falling for that. Here in this movie, we have the fun that we can relate to, and with The Rock punching not just through the walls, but also through our need for comedy, there is the strength of Central Intelligence that gets magnified with its cast. It is the same reason why the movie holds things together even when it is going through a lazy path in between.

The claws of flaw :: One has to feel that with more situations added, Central Intelligence could have been a lot more fun, and might have even become the funniest movie in a long time. The plot also doesn’t hold on strong enough, with a climax that doesn’t go on to create that much of big effect with its twists or the comedy – the big twist could have been done better, but this one refuses to do the same. We do feel this idea is done too many times before, and this one needed the special ingredient within. There are jokes that are rather repetitive, and some of them are not really funny for the common man or the thoughtful ones – the presence of such jokes could have been avoided to fill up with those more quality ones. We remember the movie The Rundown which was also called Welcome to the Jungle – with The Rock himself teaming up with Seann William Scott, that was actually more fun.

Performers of the soul :: The Rock stays at the centre of this one too, bringing all fun right to us – Dwayne Johnson plays this role bringing so much entertainment to us. Always the entertainer, whether it is the WWE where he is one of my all-time favourite wrestlers with the Undertaker and Triple H, or even in the movies like Hercules or the Fast and Furious series, there is no exception on his part here. He scores not just with the comedy, but also with those action sequences. Kevin Hart becomes the right partner for him with all the fun around. Their combination is so much fun that, they provide almost everything that this movie needs – it is only until the two meet that you have to wait, and everything begins right there, as you would expect. Aaron Paul who is a lot remembered for Need For Speed, once again has a nice role to do which seemed to be so simple for him. Amy Ryan nicely fits in as the agent too.

How it finishes :: Along with the entertainment, there is a strong message against bullying in Central Intelligence. It shows how someone who was bullied and considered to be among the worst students in all ways, having the least chance to succeed, get to be the person that nobody expected him to be. The same works the other way too, with the big success story of schools and colleges being not meeting the expectations. Well, you gain nothing by underestimating or overestimating people, as none of them are the same. One day or the other, each of us have to face the world in our own ways, and with what we want being different in each case, the judgment that people pass on us won’t be the right one. Everyone is different, and all of us have our own success stories. It is up-to the so called society to accept us as what we are.

Release date: 17th June 2016
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, Dilan Boyack, Timothy John Smith, Megan Park, Ryan Hansen, Thomas Kretschmann, Phil Reeves, Kumail Nanjiani, Slaine, Melissa McCarthy (cameo)

centralintelligence

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

See No Evil 2

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Vampire Owl :: I feel that we shouldn’t watch this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Why? You didn’t like the first movie?

Vampire Owl :: No, not that; even if we tell others that we see See No Evil, we actually see the evil which is committed on the screen, but it should be about seeing no evil. So, it implies that we are lying. You will be writing about this movie. So, if you write that you saw See No Evil, that means that you saw all the evil deeds on the screen and in the end, it means that you saw evil instead of not seeing the evil. That is a lie. Vampires don’t lie.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t get this see-saw evil. What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl :: I am saying that this movie asks us not to watch it, and it is a fact.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t really think that you should create a complicated issue out of a horror slasher movie and its title.

Vampire Owl :: How can you say that? I demand the right to use my owlish brain.

Vampire Bat :: Why does it never work when needed?

Vampire Owl :: I can’t help it. I am an evil genius and my needs are different.

Vampire Bat :: So, it is true that the branch of a tree fell on your head?

[A few minutes of silence].

What is it about? :: Amy (Danielle Harris), Seth (Kaj-Erik Eriksen) and Holden (Michael Eklund) are working at a morgue late night. As it is Amy’s birthday and with her getting ready to leave, they get to know that the bodies of nine victims of a murderer are being brought, along with that of the killer, Jacob Goodnight (Kane); and she decides to stay and help them instead of going for a party. Due to her absence, her friends Tamara (Katharine Isabelle), Kayla (Chelan Simmons) and Carter (Lee Majdoub) sneak in to celebrate her birthday along with her brother Will (Greyston Holt) as they begin a party in the morgue. But what will they do when they find out that the killer is alive and is killing one after the other?

The defence of See No Evil 2 :: Coming from the Soska sisters Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska who came up with the movie American Mary in 2012, this is a sure improvement from there – that movie itself had some nice elements, but none that effective. They have also starred in the nice beginning credit scenes as corpses. There is nice treatment of this regular slasher movie which makes it rise above the ordinary. See No Evil 2 is surely going to be something of interest for the WWE fans. There is Kane doing what he has done in WWE for a long time; there is total devastation as he used to do with his opponenets. Jacob Goodnight is sure to become a character to be remembered for a long time, and the setting and the style only adds to the overall terror quality of the movie. The elements of fear nicely focuses on the killer and the environment. It is good fun with thrills.

The claws of flaw :: There are things that go on without reaching anywhere, with the attraction between the co-workers and the brother-sister relationship being just two of them. The return of the villain doesn’t have any explanations, as we can’t stop feeling that it is just an attempt to make things work once again with the same character and the actor. There is a certain supernatural feeling about the character with surely damages things. The flashbacks which go back to the first movie only makes things too strange and less interesting to follow as they break the continuity of the story. The horror elements never really go above a certain limit which has been set by the inability to do anything special. The killings are nothing beyond the ordinary, and the ending is just something which could have been better planned.

Performers of the soul :: Glenn Thomas Jacobs whom we know as the WWE wrestler Kane remains the biggest asset of this movie, and it surely was a good idea to bring the character back for him, as he seems to do this role with certain ease. Working as the brother of The Undertaker and being part of The Brothers of Destruction was a job too good with the mask, and this one has him returning with another mask. Danielle Harris is one of those scream queens who has been there in horror movies doing similar roles for a very long time, mostly related to two movies of Hatchet series and four belonging to the Halloween franchise, and the list doesn’t end there. She is right there with the role, but it is Katharine Isabelle, the other queen of horror who steals the show – the one from Ginger Snaps franchise and American Mary, not easily recognizable in this new style, but this is a different character for her as she adds humour and fun to this movie.

How it finishes :: With some fun and scares here and there, this one is a sure improvement from the first movie. The environment, the leading character and the two leading ladies are those factors which make sure that this works better than the previous movie. We have had some interesing killers including Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Victor Crowley; so Jacob Goodnight will only add nicely to that list which has the stranger names like Rusty Nail and Chrome Skull. There is one certain thing about this franchise, and it is that the whole thing has managed to move away from the weaknesses of the first movie. See No Evil 2 works, and how much it works is dependent on the taste.

[After watching the movie].

Vampire Owl :: I think that we should follow the pattern.

Vampire Bat :: What pattern?

Vampire Owl :: This one tells us how to establish a base at the morgue. Why didn’t we ever thing about it?

Vampire Bat :: I am currently thinking that this is better than the predecessor.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, that is established already. What about the pattern?

Vampire Bat :: I don’t think that we should establish new vampire bases without permission from Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, the permission has to be taken, but this is one place where we can establish the base without further trouble.

Vampire Bat :: You don’t think that the current cemetery bases will be enough?

Vampire Owl :: No, there is something big coming. I can feel it. We need the morgue.

Vampire Bat :: It is Insidious: Chapter 3. Just make sure that you watch it.

Release date: 21st October 2014
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Starring: Kane, Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle, Chelan Simmons, Michael Eklund, Kaj-Erik Eriksen, Greyston Holt, Lee Majdoub, Sylvia Soska, Jen Soska

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Vampire Owl :: But we were expected to have watched Guardians of the Galaxy last week, right?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but with Hercules being postponed for some dumb movies, this also seems to have been delayed.

Vampire Owl :: So Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which was to release this Friday should release next weekend.

Vampire Bat :: And movies like Lucy will go missing.

Vampire Owl :: We have a long life-span. We can wait, may be it will release many months later.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with immortality having its glitches.

Vampire Owl :: Are we going for Into the Storm?

Vampire Bat :: May be no?

Vampire Owl :: Fine, I thought I would need that for the owlification list.

Vampire Bat :: It does have more shows, even as critics have annihilated it.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Twenty six years after he was abducted from Earth by space pirates, Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) steals an orb for which many others are making similar attempts. His successful stealing of the item meant that there was a huge bounty on him set by the leader of the space pirates, Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and an assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is sent after him by Ronan (Lee Pace), a member of the scientifically advance war-loving race called Kree. Two bounty hunters – a humanoid tree Groot (Vin Diesel) and a genetically engineered raccoon called Rocket (Bradley Cooper) are also after the man who stole the orb, but a complicated fight with Gamora and Quill leads them to prison from where they come up with a plan, and supported by Drax (Dave Bautista) who is looking for revenge against Ronan, break out of the prison. They would initially look to sell the device, but after knowing how dangerous it is, they will have to join forces to save the galaxy against the man who look forward to destroying it, as he take the orb from them.

The defence of Guardians of the Galaxy :: This movie is all about the entertainment, and there would have been no doubt about that one. It is that fun ride which makes one laugh, go through the thrills and also add some emotions to the same. The characters are superb, and they remain interesting and most of the situations become further interesting due to them, and each has some special characteristic, and belong to a different species. That should remind us gamers about Mass Effect, one of those awesome games set in space, with the need to save the known universe from a group of alien invaders known as the Reapers (without that much detail and other stuff). But this movie is light and without the complications, and there it scores with the common audience. The visuals are great too, with the spaceships and awesome gadgets being used, and the world of space nicely using the power of technology to its advantage, and 3D is pretty much effective too. The computer-generated stuff rarely gets this good, one has to admit. You won’t need the super-powered heroes for this one!

The claws of flaw :: Guardians of the Galaxy has pretty much a predictable run with what is has, and it remains what we usually see. The movie has a lot more to do before it establishes itself completely, and I would guess that the same would be done in the sequel which is supposed to come out in 2017. There is a lot of background to be established, and this movie is without much power in its plot. The movie could have taken a few more minutes to establish a better universe and work on the worlds that exist within the same. The galaxy could have been better known before there were guardians for the galaxy, and these guardians themselves are misfits and outlaws who turn heroes, something which we have seen so many times. It has a good amount of silliness, which does work with its universe of aliens and spaceships, but not without them. This one has a long way to go before becoming something like the game Mass Effect with its character and universe. There is a lot of thinking to be done.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt makes his character impressive, no doubt about that one, but the one who struck me more was Zoe Saldana as the green lady Gamora. She was blue in Avatar and was in space before in both Star Trek movies, and here she is green, and she plays that character to perfection. Dave Bautista makes a very strong appearance here, and his quiting WWE drama was rightly for this movie’s promotion – and it is good to see him having such nice role which suits him, along with making another comeback to WWE some time later. Interestingly, there is also a funny side to this tough character. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel gives voice to the two other guardians, and Cooper’s Rocket might be the fan favourite in this movie with the funny lines and the interesting moments. Karen Gillan’s Nebula came up as another surprisingly interesting character. Lee Pace’s Ronan is a strong villain, and makes a powerful impact, but the character Thanos leaves us wishing for more which could come to us in an upcoming sequel.

Soul exploration :: The movie is all about saving the world from the evil forces, and there is not much to think about it in a complicated manner. There is the orb which gives great powers and the most evil of them all wishing to take control of it to cause destruction and chaos all around. The heroes are all former outlaws who have lost something and are not really good or bad, but capable of goodness. The movie is sure to leave the audience happy and with no signs of disappointment, and there its success lies. If you have loved The Avengers, there is not much doubt about falling in love with these heroes who are in no way super with their powers, but do take their chances. They make up a strange team and become the guardians, and with a little expansion of the world that was in this movie, that too in detail, would work wonders for this franchise in the next entry of the franchise. That should be the masterpiece.

How it finishes :: Into the Storm has more shows, but Guardians of the Galaxy should surely hold strong in this part of the world in the absence of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which is yet to find its release here. The demand for disaster movies is not that much as it used to be, and storms come nowhere near things like the end of the world and global destruction. The found footage category doesn’t add anything positive either to an already dying genre of movies which has nothing else to offer other than destruction. But Guardians of the Galaxy belongs to that immortal genre which can prove interesting even after a lot of repetition added to it. Because of the same, Marvel gets another movie and a beginning to another franchise which they can use nicely as the success of The Avengers has been repeated here, even as this one doesn’t seem to be good enough to break those records. This is another big superhero movie indeed, and that too in space.

Release date: 8th August 2014 (India); 1st August 2014 (US)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Mikaela Hoover, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Ophelia Lovibond, Gregg Henry, Peter Serafinowicz

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hercules

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Vampire Owl :: But we were expected to have watched Hercules last week, right?

Vampire Bat :: Didn’t they already prove that good movies are prevented from releasing in India or postponed? Remember The Purge Anarchy, Devil’s Due and Deliver us from Evil? They had just taken all the screens for something like Kick.

Vampire Owl :: We were lost last weekend; like Count Dracula who knew about a blood pool and couldn’t find it.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but the moment has arrived.

Vampire Owl :: So we will finally watch Hercules.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with 22 Jump Street as a possible substitute in case of a houseful situation.

Vampire Owl :: See what they did with Hercules and delayed us our opportunity last week – this is why we should owlify this world.

Vampire Bat :: In the name of Madras Cafe, Amen, Celluloid, Drishyam, Memories, North 24 Kaatham and The Lunchbox, can you just delay the owlification procedure?

Vampire Owl :: I shall ask the owlifier.

Vampire Bat :: You do that later, now lets check the Rock.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) leads a band of mercenaries, Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), and his own nephew, an inexperienced fighter but elegant storyteller Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) through a number of battles and winning them all. The legend is about Hercules being the son of Zeus, who has accomplished the impossible against all odds. His reputation is far beyond anything that is known in the Greek world, matched by nobody else. This makes sure that the princess of Thrace, Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson) approaches them with an offer they can’t leave behind, as they are offered as much gold as their weight. They are asked to lead the Thracian army into battle against the barbarians who are supposed to lead by an evil man and his minions. Hercules and his mercenaries run through the enemies only to be confronted by a truth which was never really expected. After this twist, they have to make the decision which will change their paths forever.

The defence of Hercules :: The one thing that one can be sure about is that the movie delivers exactly what it was supposed to bring to the audience. Some might need a little more, but this a lot to be exact. The power-packed performance from the Rock as Hercules is there, and the mythological hero is given some other sides here, and some good companions are also added. There is so much strength in the action sequences, and the wars are nicely depicted and so are the heroic deeds. The 3D is very good especially with Atalanta’s arrows and the monsters around. The CGI with the monsters is also good and the Greek world is nicely re-created, and surely not overdone with splendour. I would say that the delay of this movie release in India actually made the result movie make us feel a lot better. In the end, we are left with the need for the more of the hero or may be a prequel or more about the twelves labours that he achieved. Just some information for the doubters – he is Hercules, a demigod and he can do a lot more than what is shown in this movie – no exaggeration there.

A few troubles :: Those who are not big action fans might find fault with this one, and a prejudice for the WWE superstars will also work against them. Unlike, some of those sons and daughters of superstars who get a free ticket to act in the movies, these people from wrestling entertainment can act very well – keep that in mind. If you don’t like action movies or The Rock, please do not watch this movie, and never even have a look at it and spoil its awesomeness. Its name was already spoiled by another Hercules movie released much earlier this year, in the name of The Legend of Hercules, and that proves how well this movie has managed. Then, if you don’t like the Greek mythology or don’t follow it, care not much about this movie, because you will need to develop some love for the same to enjoy this movie more. Well, if you don’t like this movie, I would guess that you would need to go and watch movies like Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3. May be Bollywood movies will suit you more, with random people performing bigger stunts than a demigod. Otherwise, you can show respect to the action-packed stuff which is this movie and watch it with pride.

Performers of the soul :: There is no one like Dwayne Johnson who is suited for this movie, and there is nobody like the Rock in doing such roles. The former WWE star is one of those people whom I have always thought as the great hero from the Greek mythology. He once again proves why he was among the greatest entertainers in the history of professional wrestling and at the top of the WWE chart. He often becomes bigger than most of the other things in the movie. He has such a great screen presence and his physique helps him in being the incredibly strong demigod. The next person whom one will notice will be Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Atalanta, the huntress making a powerful impact with her arrows which are shot with such speed and accuracy that this character often takes over a lot of action. She is another perfect fit for the character. Irina Shayk has only a small role as Hercules’ wife unlike expected. Ian McShane has some nice funny moments there, and Rebecca Ferguson is quite appropriate for the role of the princess even as there is not too much there to do. The other companions of Hercules are pretty good too.

Soul exploration :: Even as I have always preferred Achilles among the Greek heroes just like most of the people would, there was always something about Hercules and Odysseus, a lot more than a few others like Perseus, Thesues and Jason for sure. My interest for Hercules was there not only in his brutal strength and his demigod status, but also in his suffering. Along with his adventures known as the the Twelve Labours of Hercules, he has suffered a lot, and never had the great status as some other heroes did. He was never a greatly revered general or a king, but a man who went through a lot of trouble to accomplish some of the tasks considered impossible. Even among the monsters, there is nothing more interesting to me than Hydra. The physical strength element is there, and so is the divine side, but he achieved something even the gods of the times would have doubted on achieving. The demigod side is rather brought down in this movie, and Hercules here is rather made more mortal, bleeding and even captured and beaten up, and as he goes on with his companions, there is nobody who is considered as a lesser mortal among the group. This newly achieved mortality is rather a nice addition to this movie.

How it finishes :: This movie is as strong as its own hero and the man who leads the cast. The strength of the Rock as the powerful character as well as his own image is reflected in this movie. The Rock has made his best comeback as the hero right here. It is what the action movie fans have always hoped for, and it is what this movie delivers. It releases with 22 Jump Street here, but I would choose an action movie with The Rock in it instead of some stupid comedy with added adult stuff which had an overrated first part – I got a feeling that I might like that one too though. If you haven’t read much of such mythological tales, it might be time you read some. If you are looking for some simple re-telling of the Greek mythological stories, I would recommend Tales of the Greek Heroes by Roger Lancelyn Green – a part of Puffin Classics available in India. With the tagline “Walk amongst the gods and men”, this book gives a quick and easy reading of the tales of Hercules (Heracles), Theseus, Atalanta, Prometheus and many others. Well, I am surprised about what some of the Indian reviewers are writing about this movie, and I hope they continue enjoying some “extra special” Bollywood movies.

Release date: 1st August 2014 (India); 25th July 2014 (US)
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Irina Shayk, Ian McShane, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, John Hurt, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie, Rebecca Ferguson, Steve Peacocke, Joe Anderson, Tamina Snuka, Barbara Palvin, Tobias Santelmann

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fast and Furious VI

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Fast & Furious 6 is many things, and when we take two of its major components alone, the good old Destruction Derby has met Need for Speed once again, and whatever was left undone in Fast & Furious 5 a.k.a Fast Five is accomplished here, and that too in a magnificent fashion. If you are looking for logic, this isn’t the movie for you, but still it is as close to reality as possible considering its genre. Well, your reasoning and the strict principles of validity are rarely correct in a world of complete chaos. The elders of evil are the perpetrators of this chaos which is hidden enough from those who lacks the eyes to see, and sadly that includes a lot of people. When someone looks for truth through something as incomplete as science, there is this chaos which will finally devour the world into a black hole of inhumanity and cruelty to nature which started a long time ago. There is this lack of faith which might make watching this movie further difficult. Well, there is not always a perfect definition for everything and not every theory is qualified enough to called by that name. This perfection of logic itself is a lie, as it can never be attained. In that case, this movie is pure imperfect logic which makes a powerful impact.

How did it feel to wake up at another part of the universe in Star Trek, a few weeks ago? Well, this is not another universe, but it is still a new world of absolute mayhem. This world will have no aliens, but it can still give enough alienation to the common man, which should be another reason for its success. For series which I had least interest in, has developed into something which I can’t resist, thanks to Fast Five. I had thought that I was done with it by the fourth of the series, but as we all know, good things do come to those who wait. No, I do not belong to the group of the new age procrastinators group. I do whatever I have to as early as possible, but as long as the things which are not under our control are concerned, I shall wait without losing faith. When one understands that most of the things are not of your control and the world you know needs waiting, as John Milton had said in On His Blindness, “They also serve who only stand and wait”. So, there are times when you have to take that leap of faith, and believe – those are the moments when logic goes to its grave and you get the much deserved reward for waiting with undisputed, incomparable faith which is a quality of you. Still, never leap into the wrong place, for it is a sin even from a movie watcher’s perspective.

Here, we come back to the two major components again, as Destruction Derby was one of the first of the computer games I ever played, and Destruction Derby 2 followed. That vehicular combat game based on the sport of demolition derby, the collisions, destruction, damage, and all the mayhem that followed. The defensive style and taking calculated risks were two things we had learnt from this game. Still, we never ended up finishing this game which was second only to Road Rash in popularity among us. It was a welcome change from those never-ending driving simulations, a hybrid. The same is the case of our movie, which successfully accomplishes its role as a combination of more than one thing; the first thing being vehicular combat and mayhem. The second one is Need For Speed, which has very little to contribute to this game, except for one race which didn’t even go and get completed in the right manner. But still, it is the base of everything, the reason why I ever cared about the first few movies of the series in the first place. It was never the most influencing game of my gaming life, but the Brooke Burke inspired Need for Speed: Underground 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted changed many things including my superior love for action and strategy games. The time spent by me for the latter was so much that I had to retire myself just one step before finishing the game, as the second best, in order to continue my search for more games.

The story progresses somewhat like this: Following their successful Brazilian heist in Fast Five, Dominic Toretto and his crew of expert criminals have retired and living in different parts of the world. Brian O’Conner and Mia Torreto has a kid, and Dominic Toretto has retired to a life with Elena Neves. Meanwhile, Luke Hobbs and his new partner Riley are involved in the investigation of an unexpected attack on a Russian military convoy. They find a new group of professional criminals led by a man called Owen Shaw responsible for the attack. Hobbs requests the help of Dominic with a new photo of his former girlfriend Letty Ortiz, who was supposed to be dead. Dominic gathers his crew together and they accept Hobbs’ mission in exchange for a pardon for all of their past crimes so that they can finally go back home again. During their first encounter with the gang, Letty arrives to help Shaw, and shoots Dominic thus helping Shaw in escaping. Later, she is revealed to be suffering from severe memory loss. Later, Dominic battles Letty in a street racing competition and later explains her past to her, but there is nothing remembered and she leaves. The complicated situation demands the capture of Shaw and the return of Letty to the extended family where she belongs. The two things will demand more than just a car race or a fist fight, and even shooting has its limitations – only extreme destruction can solve it.

Vin Diesel is back as Dominic Toretto a.k.a Dom, and there might be so many occasions that he is back again. Other than being Riddick, he has been Xander Cage and Hugo Cornelius Toorop, both having inferior status, and Riddick being a little lesser compared to the popularity that Dom has brought him. Well, the good old Dom remains the same, and whatever told of him will bring no surprise nor new information in a fast and furious world which continues to conquer the world. Elsa Pataky plays his love interest for a short period of tension free time, after which Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty Ortiz takes charge. It is from then, that Gina Carano as Riley takes charge. They have such a fight which might have been made to parallel the Vin Diesel – Dwayne Johnson fight of the fifth movie, but this one is a little behind. Still, it is one of the highlights of the hand-to-hand combat side of the movie, a side which is of lesser significance. There is a lot of power involved in the battles involving the two women, and there is no doubt that there has been a lot of effort put behind it. Brian O’Conner, the former FBI agent continues to be cool with Paul Walker at the helm. Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar has a sad end, but not without a cause nor without showing her dose of heroics. Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto has a lesser involvement with this mission, as she is left behind on the Spanish island with the kid.

Luke Evans as Owen Shaw scores as the villain, but compared to what Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had achieved with his hunt for the protagonist, this is a little far behind. The Rock was undoubtedly the main attraction of that movie, and in this one, he has a slightly lesser, but a more positive role to play. Still, there is no shortage of action scenes for him, and he has only got better. We can still know what he is cooking, and it is pure action whoever he is against. He is rightly considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, and he gets closer to more glory in movies each and every time he is there. Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges are there for the fun part as usual, and so is Sung Kang. Well, still not everyone gets out of the movie, a clue which is already given in this review, and it surely can’t be the crowd favourites Dom or Hobbes. If such a thing had happened, this would have been a fairy tale action adventure mayhem, one of the first of its kind with such a plot and cast. For a movie which can work very well even as a stand-alone version, as it is powered by everything an action movie can dream about; the more appropriate question would be what it should have had, and there is nothing much, as long as its genre is concerned.

The one-liners work and so does the escapist fantasy world which has been provided. The action sequences are breath-taking, which includes the group of cars take down a battle tank as well as a huge airplane trying to take off. There are enough twists, not of high quality, but still deserving a few claps. The movie’s two hour plus is more of a positive, but still, there were more expectations from the trailers. The most significant scenes of the movie are those shown in the trailers, and thankfully they are quite long. But there could have been a few more scenes to support them. There is no shortage of the memories of Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels. Still, it defies death, and for those extremists and fundamentalists, defies logic. Laws of Physics? What is a law but what you feel? There is nothing like that to create unnecessary logic in this movie. Well, Physics was pure evil and I knew it during my school days. The only thing worse was Mathematics. The fact is that this series will continue to rule the theatres. It has released here a day before the world-wide release and who wishes to let go of such a wonderful opportunity? The stylish and powerful action which keeps one wishing for more and the answer comes in the form of Jason Statham who seems to assure a sequel as the villain who brings a new game to the scene. It makes sure that the vehicular combat shall live on! This is not to be missed by the fans of the franchise at any cost, as the impact on the big screen is that intense.

Release date: 23rd May 2013
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Gal Gadot, Gina Carano, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, John Ortiz, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Sung Kang, Rita Ora, Jason Statham (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.