Star Trek Beyond

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Vampire Owl: So where does it go beyond?

Vampire Bat: How can I know? I have only seen enough to know that it is Star Trek.

Vampire Owl: Can it be beyond the gates of hell?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is indeed possible.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that there are many other interesting gates which can lead to better places?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but everyone makes their own choices about movies, and we do go for this one!

Vampire Owl: And we do make some wise choices.

Vampire Bat: We made such choices for the previous movies of this franchise.

Vampire Owl: This should be the chance to make three out of three.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not.

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

What is the movie about? :: As the USS Enterprise arrives at the space station known as Yorktown, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) has applied for a position as Vice Admiral because he can find no meaning to what he has been doing with the spaceship with endless journeys which had stopped making sense to him. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is to be the new captain of the ship according to him, but the man from Vulcan is also not without his problems as he wishes to continue the work of his own future self as the person has died. His relationship with Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) had become too strained that it no longer exists. Kalara (Lydia Wilson) who comes out of an uncharted nebula to Yorktown, seeks help to reclaim her stranded ship along with its crew. The Enterprise volunteers to be of use and is immediately sent on a rescue mission.

So, what happens next? :: The only place where USS Enterprise reaches is right into trouble, as an ambush awaits them led by an enemy called Krall (Idris Elba) who seems to be some kind of mutated alien creature from unknown space. Krall and his army search for a relic called the Abronath which the crew had as part of an unsuccessful diplomatic mission. As his search turns out to be unsuccessful, he takes most of the crew as prisoners instead, and the ship is destroyed. Only a few of them including Kirk and Spock manage to be free on the new planet. There, they would come across Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), an alien scavenger and with Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) and Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg), prepare plans to save their crew members and try to stop the dangerous villain from finding that relic to use it as a weapon which could destroy life on more than one planet.

The defence of Star Trek Beyond :: The movie looks really good, and the visuals effects keep saving the day again and again. We know that there are so many worlds, and this one makes use of such presence to bring some visual splendour on the screen. There are also some interesting action sequences to go with it, or rather a lot of them. We cannot question this movie’s skills as an action movie, as Star Trek Beyond excels right there, even though one might feel that it happens at the expense of other factors of the flick. With evil trying to destroy the whole world and our heroes trying to save it again, the thrills are there as expected too. There is also the message about unity in diversity, if you want to look at it that way. We also have all out interesting characters continuing to be here, except for the one played by Alice Eve, which is surely a bad miss.

The claws of flaw :: For some reason, this third movie of the franchise doesn’t make the best use of all those which are available. It had the opportunity to make us explore a new world with the protagonists, but they just choose to go normal, which is not that appropriate considering the kind of scope this franchise has. The villain is also not that powerful as the antagonists of the previous movies – we feel that he is stronger in the beginning, but as things progress towards the end, he becomes part of that twist which is not that effective. It is a lot like the ideas getting limited for no reason. There was so much scope with how things were going, but all of a sudden, people seems to be afraid to try anymore, and even when they have managed to keep this one enjoyable, we are always looking for more with a Star Trek movie – it is supposed to get better and cross frontiers to go beyond without being repetitive!

Performers of the soul :: This movie’s entertainment is surely not that much dependent on its performers who don’t get to do that much as they did in the previous movies, as the movie provides less chance with going for the visual effects and action instead of concentrating enough on the characters. The one person who impresses more though, is Karl Urban who gets to bring more fun to us than in the previous flicks. There is also Sofia Boutella playing an alien scavenger, and even though her character is more cliche and without providing us with the surprises, she is really good there – we had to get a good character in here, and here is one. Even with Idris Elba playing the villain, they just couldn’t get enough of that ‘evil creature trying to destroying the world’ idea. We surely had it working better in the previous two movies. Zoe Saldana does mostly nothing, and Chris Pine as well as Zachary Quinto are not that much fun as in earlier movies with the crisis in their characters’ minds.

How it finishes :: One does feel that the makers shouldn’t take this much time to come up with a sequel, as we know that three years is too much of a gap between movies in a franchise like this – they did the same with the first two movies too, but this time, the time period between the two feels even more. I have to say that even though this movie is not as good as its predecessors, it is still an enjoyable flick, and we can look forward to another movie in the series with better ideas. There is still one thing that I would hope for – for the space ship in this movie to not be destroyed partially or completely, and I would also make a humble request not to make the action take the centre stage – it should not get to become Fast and Furious or XXX in space, because Star Trek should always be more than that. We trust the franchise enough to hope for that.

Release date: 22nd July 2016
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Chris Pine, Karl Urban, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Sofia Boutella, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Lydia Wilson, Sara Maria Forsberg, Deep Roy, Joe Taslim, Melissa Roxburgh, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Greg Grunberg, Danny Pudi, Kim Kold, Anita Brown, Doug Jung, Dan Payne, Shea Whigham

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hitman: Agent 47

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Vampire Owl: It has been a long time since I last played this game. I am having heavy Hitman nostalgia.

Vampire Bat: It is not just about this game, but a lot more. Our gaming life has been dead for very long.

Vampire Owl: I will just consider this as a video game then. May be it is actually so, and it could be the reason why there are so many negative reviews on this movie.

Vampire Bat: It is not really surprising. Some people will give very high ratings to violent movies when it is directed a particular person, for absolutely no reason. The content is not important for them there. But we will see Hitman: Agent 47 as it is really supposed to be watched. We owe that much to our gaming past.

[Gets the tickets].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1078-hitman-movie-review.html

Hitman is a name which is heard a lot among the gaming circles, and the love for this assassin goes back to the year 2000 when Hitman: Codename 47, the first game of the Hitman video game franchise, from IO Interactive released. Among the PC games, this had a special status, and one can proudly accept that this is something which changed the future of stealth-based action games. The sequels including Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman: Contracts and Hitman: Blood Money were all much talked about titles in the gaming world, and with more in the shops and a new title coming up for the gamers, another movie based on the video game was inevitable.

Dr. Peter Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds) is the man behind a secret laboratory experiment which involved the creation of perfect assassins who never felt any remorse, fear or love, and had highly exaggerated speed, stamina, strength and intelligence which made them the perfect killing machines. But realizing the fact that he was doing something wrong, he abandons the idea and idea and disappears, leaving very powerful people on his trail. His daughter Katia (Hannah Ware) is also on the run, hiding somewhere in Berlin according to the last information. Many organizations have tried to recreate the idea and couldn’t succeed; one of them called Syndicate International decides to find the girl and get to the father at any cost.

As ICA (International Contracts Agency) decides to stop the Syndicate from getting its hands on the program, Agent 47 is contacted by his contact Diana (Angela Baby) and is provided with two names to terminate. Katia who has some strange visions and special sensory skills is searching for her father while she is approached by a man called John Smith (Zachary Quinto) who offers her protection against people who are trying to kill her. Meanwhile, Agent 47 finds and approaches her, but gets into a gunfight with John while Katia runs away. But there will be more to it than what meets the eye as the people of the Syndicate won’t rest until they get what they want.

The success of this movie will depend on what each viewer expects from a flick like this – if it is a cent percent adaptation of the game which is expected, they are going to be disappointed. There is not much of a stealth mode for this protagonist as in the game. But when we look at this from another side, isn’t a lot of action also possible in the Hitman games? The second game of the franchise actually had a lot of situations where one could just go through the enemies and the character shoots people without trying that much of stealth. Our protagonist has those special skills for big action too, and he has used them very well here – it is just that things are done rather straight for a change.

This seems to have a series of incidents which follow the great assassinations of Agent 47, as one the villains do say that he is a big fan of the protagonist’s work. So, the man has already had his shares of silent assassinations, and so if we are looking for a stealth mode, we should rather ask for a prequel rather than keep saying that Agent 47 works in shadows and doesn’t come out as an action hero. Here, Hitman is immersed in full action, and what the viewers need to do is to enjoy the wonderful sequences rather than keep complaining about it. About the story, it is surely working well, and has a number of similarities to the first game of the franchise.

Even though there is not much from the rest, Rupert Friend and Hannah Ware do leave a nice impact in this movie. Hitman: Agent 47 uses the action sequences to some great advantage, and sets up well for both the prequel and the sequel, even though one still has to doubt the possibility for the same. There is a lot of style in the way in which the action sequences are taken, and the blood and gore also maintains that quality. What one has to wonder about here is if people only care about gore when some directors use it? Stylish violence is not something that is particularly booked for a few people. Hitman: Agent 47 uses it here, and you have to admit that it is worthy.

Hitman: Agent 47 might be in no way that much interesting for everyone. But what it provides the gamers is an opportunity to see one of the most loved game characters on the big screen, despite the liberties which the movie has taken while doing full justice to the action side. This is not the movie which you need to think about a lot and compare with other titles and the games themselves, but enjoy it as the action-adventure that it has brought to the viewers. You might not remember the story for a long time, but the way of recreating the video game is worth it; there is something about a different take on the same subject, right?

Release date: 4th September 2015 (India); 21st August 2015 (USA)
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Aleksander Bach
Starring: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann, Angela Baby, Dan Bakkedahl, Emilio Rivera, Rolf Kanies, Jerry Hoffmann

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Star Trek II

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Star Trek might be one of the most popular franchises based on its theme, but this surely is my first encounter with it. But the situation seems to be all set to change, as this movie surely seems to have increased its fan base by one on this day. Still, throughout the ages, Star Wars had been a favourite – but I had to miss this one at that time. Now, I am surely into this series, and its main aim, that is exploration and not invasion, destruction or colonization. There is the need to watch the Original Series, and it would add to my list. For now, this movie has come early to this part of the world, compared to its United States release. Even as it is the twelfth Star Trek movie and works as the sequel to the movie Star Trek which was released in 2009, this one still works well as a stand-alone version, with not much questions remaining unanswered. This could have have been the first movie of the series and might have still worked here, and that was evident from the reactions of the people in the theatre hall, and there is no visible doubt about the fact that it was their first Star Trek experience, and they clearly enjoyed it. This one might not do as good as Iron Man III or The Dark Knight Rises, but is still a formidable force in a world which is not used to such an environment in a movie.

In Star Trek: Into Darkness, the spaceship USS Enterprise is sent to explore another planet, but finds a volcano which is very close to going off and wiping out its primitive inhabitants. Nobody is supposed to know anything about it, but as the first officer and good friend Spock’s life is under threat, Commander Kirk is forced to reveal the Enterprise to the planet’s civilization to rescue him leading to the indigenous people worshipping the ship as God as the crew leaves. It was a heavenly object to a group of people who were in such early stage of their civilization that they hadn’t even discovered the wheel – they get to see a space ship instead and be stunned. As a result, Kirk is relieved of command, and Admiral Pike takes over the command of the Enterprise. But, later a meeting is called as the result of a bombing, and a resulting shootout leads to the death of Pike ultimately leading to Admiral Marcus sending Kirk to take out the terrorist who has taken shelter in the homeland of the war-loving Kilgons. The Enterprise is supplied with seventy two long-range photon torpedoes to be fired at the terrorist’s hidden location once they can locate him. As he fails to have enough information, chief engineer Montgomery Scott refuses to take the unidentified weapons aboard the ship and is thus forced to resign. The Admiral’s daughter, scientist Carol Marcus also joins the crew, under a false identity.

But the ship is stuck at the Klingon homeworld as there is malfuncion in the ship’s core, and they are saved by the same man whom they were planning to capture, whom after surrendering, reveals his real identity as Khan, a genetically enhanced superhuman, who has been in cryo-sleep for three hundred years after fighting an unsuccessful destructive war on Earth, and his success could have deprived the Earth or even the whole galaxy of most of its population. When he says “My name is Khan”, I wonder if something comes to the mind for the Bollywood fans – but in this case, there would be no possible second half of that sentence. This man would indeed be another name for terror without any boundary. As Carol and McCoy look into one of the torpedoes, they realize that each of them contain a genetically enhanced superhuman in cryo-sleep, the remaining members of Khan’s diabolical crew. Khan explains to Kirk that Admiral Marcus used Khan to develop advanced weapons to start a war with the Klingons, while keeping his crew as hostages. Kirk understand that they might be in big trouble, as none of the possible solutions might work out, as they are stranded in space.

Chris Pine as Commander James T. Kirk has come up with full power, as the character scores both with its negatives and positives. Each decision he takes seem to change him and lead him to the moment of the ultimate sacrifice. Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the chief medical officer – this could have been a longer role, even as there are some good memorable lines from him, for the Native American Viking of the Pathfinder, as well as the shooter of Doom had never really attached to the minds of the viewers as they never clicked as action movies, even as I have always felt the first one was superior stuff and the second one was quite fine. Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura also has quite a smaller role, even as it is significant. Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock steals show in many ways, as the one who chooses not to feel, but still has the feelings for his best friend, and finds his logic at the right moment, sometimes evoking laughter and sometimes saving lives. As half-Vulcan, half-Human, neither belonging to here nor there, but having the qualities of both, the man is more Vulcan among a group of humans and not really of his own species, thus more of an outsider even when considered more belonging to the group than anybody else.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan makes the perfect augmented villain of another timeline; condemned, frozen and now back in business. He is highly effective in his powerful superhuman role which is threatened only by the fear of the death of his comrades. He makes Peter Weller’s Admiral Marcus a lesser and weaker warmonger, another role which has been done according to the need. Talking about Alice Eve, the name reminded me more of the two superhuman, but gorgeous women – Alice of Resident Evil and Eve of Species; a bond with the T-virus and with the alien DNA respectively, both seemingly having all positive effects on beauty as well as strength and aggression. Both Milla Jovovich and Natasha Henstridge had made their roles memorable enough to make the characters that popular. Leaving the unreal superhuman element aside, one also can’t stop thinking about that 2010 romantic comedy film She’s Out of My League, when a gorgeous Molly McCleish was out of the league of an ordinary Kirk Kettner. Well, here she proves the same by being out of the league with those looks, and there should be a lot more coming for her in a sequel.

Still, I wouldn’t disagree on the fact that there is exaggeration involved here; thinking about that romantic comedy, exaggeration is never out of the equation, and it is time the common movie watcher of this part of the world who rarely checks the names of the leading actresses know a few names other than the usual leads; its time someone other than Megan Fox and Paris Hilton is known to the lesser movie watching world. The best extentions of the procedure of knowing go only from Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Meg Ryan, as far as Keira Knightley, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Further into the movie, it is no surprise that here she no longer does the same with a romantic character, but with her role as Doctor Carol Marcus – and she is surely the eye candy in this movie, but she is not simply that. She is the balance between the evil of her own father and the righteousness of the crew of The Enterprise. It is her help that leads to the discovery that changes the whole situation of being misguided into the abyss and it is her presence that leads to their ship getting an extension of lifeline which is instrumental in the final battle.

Star Trek is not just a movie – it is a spectacular environment created by the wonderful special effects and the 3D which works correctly. It works so well, right from those moments in those bright, coloured planet with dazzling red coloured trees and the natives painted white, who throws their spears at our heroes, or rather the viewers, thanks to the 3D. The movie is about authority, and also about personal relationships, as well as the collision between the worlds of emotions and logic. The job is done professionally, and it is evident in the ratings in IMDB as well as the critics ratings. Its background philosophy has also worked out well, and there is no doubt that this ship is heading towards a sequel. This encounter between the different worlds, and the species, not as the usual alien invasion is something which is worth more what The Avengers and The Transformers were worth. This is so much like that one game which I felt more than anything else, which was Mass Effect. Commander Shepard might be Commander James T. Kirk, Garrus Vakarian – Commander Spock, Ashley Williams – Doctor Carol Marcus/Nyota Uhura, Kaidan Alenko – Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy; the Reapers could be Klingons or Romulans – such a connection has helped me in liking the movie even more with relation to my favourite game.

Release date: 10th May 2013
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Bruce Greenwood, Noel Clarke, Peter Weller

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.