Kimi

Vampire Owl: I know a witch by this name.

Vampire Bat: Witches don’t have such names – it should be nickname.

Vampire Owl: Northern Witches are now known by some special names.

Vampire Bat: Are you trying to say that they are going to modernize soon?

Vampire Owl: Yes, their covens are all with electricity now.

Vampire Bat: The witches no longer use magic to light their covens?

Vampire Owl: No, they are now deviating the power taken from the nodes elsewhere.

Vampire Bat: So, they are now deriving cent percent of power from their chaos node.

Vampire Owl: Yes, they are now more powerful than ever. Two of them now serve as sources of unlimited chaos energy.

Vampire Bat: You have to warn the vampire border fortresses. Nobody can stop a fully chaos charged witch, not even a full werewolf army with armour on a full moon.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Bradley Hasling (Derek DelGaudio) is the CEO of a technological firm known as Amygdala, and the newest product in their list is Kimi, a smart speaker which makes use of human monitoring to improve its search algorithm. They are planning to have a stock launch which will help them to earn a good fortune. Sharon (India de Beaufort), a journalist is suspicious about the same, and considers it to be a case of controversy. Angela Childs (Zoe Kravitz) is an employee who works for the same company as part of the Seattle division’s work from home policy. She is supposed to monitor incoming data streams from Kimi devices and make the needed corrections to the code, so that the software can be upgraded and improved. But she continues to stay at home at all times, as she has agoraphobia, and due to the anxiety disorder reaching new heights, things only get worse for her. COVID-19 pandemic did make it almost impossible for her already. Her mother’s advice doesn’t really help either.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She does stalk people living the apartments and Terry Hughes (Byron Bowers) is her man of interest, whom she end up calling into her apartment as she also feels sex starved. Yet, she is not able to start a romantic relationship with him, as it is no longer her point of concern, living all by herself and not caring about anybody else. One day, as she is working, she goes through a recording that she feels is a sexual assault. As her co-workder Darius (Alex Dobrenko) who is initially suspicious that it is just an argument helps her, she is able to find information about the account holder, a lady named Samantha Gerrity (Erika Christensen). She later finds out that the lady was also killed, and there is a hitman associated with it. She intends to talk about this to Natalie Chowdhury (Rita Wilson), a high ranked executive who is in charge of the operations there, but she doesn’t want to go out. But considering her state of mind, will they be ready to listen to her? Is there something sinister about this particular company? Should she be worried about all of these?

The defence of Kimi :: There is something about Kimi that will keep us going. The protagonist and his struggles are quite close to what the introverts might come across, and in the current world, it is only appropriate not to trust another human being. There are some fine camera angles which make things better too – how her situation inside the house and also when she ventures outside are all nicely taken. The first exit out of the place after a shower and brushing is to be appreciated further. The talk in the bedroom had nicely served to let us understand her character already. They have also served a happy ending here, and there is never a situation of too much of danger around – it seems like she can handle them all by herself even though she does get unexpected help. Even with so many complex happening in between, what we see on the screen is kept simple and things get solved also with a certain amount of luck here. As the movie is on Amazon Prime Video, more people will watch this lesser known interesting thing.

The claws of flaw :: There seems to be a dark side to the main character’s past, but it is not shown well enough for anyone to believe if that really happened or if she was hallucinating, having mental problems for a long time. The use of flashbacks doesn’t seem to be something of importance around here. We also have times when the main character is just an irritating person rather than anything else. After all, the movie itself focuses on her all the time, and the other characters seem like people with no identities for most of the time. Well, humans have the right to be irritating and evil, and therefore we go through that. There were many moments when some action could have been added – fight scenes can serve fine around here. This would have also been a big thriller with a few moments given better focus. This could have been the girl on the run, and throughout the process, there could have been a big adventure, with some funny moments to add to it – the humour could have been used more effectively here.

The performers of the soul :: You will not be able to take your eyes off Zoe Kravitz in this film which is all about her – it is clear that she is so good, as she adapts so well into this character, evolved a lot from Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant. This wouldn’t be a role that can be easy to play for the usual celebrities who are so much used to being part of the public fame. This is the same reason why almost nobody from this part of the world will find it easy to play this kind of a role, except what you had seen in North 24 Kaatham. The moments of her going out for the first time after a long time is among the best scenes – from a shower and electric toothpaste to how she goes on unnoticed by the the public is something worth noting for sure. For all celebrities, this kind of roles would require more work, and she has has surely nailed it. The other performances are of so much less significance in comparison here. Byron Bowers has a few dialogues and some moments to add. At the same time, Jaime Camil makes an interesting killer, and it would have been nice if there was more of the action with him around – some fight scenes could have been added here and there with him and the gang around.

How it finishes :: Kimi seems to remind one of Amazon Alexa, and the movie also serves as a cautionary tale about the possibilities of secrets being leaked through some of the newer technologies, which seems to offer more, but is also doing something else in the process. It also gives a nice picture of anxiety and agoraphobia, both being blended in here. It is also something which most of the introverts would love, and being at home all the time is not considered strange anymore with the Corona virus pandemic and work from home establishment changing things. Well, one wouldn’t be able to live a life like the protagonist of this movie though, as the person would considered mentally unstable and forced to an institution, or will be forced by the family, friends and locals to go out and talk with people. Being at those so called developed countries does have more advantages. Then you remember that this is the least of the advantages that you can have there.

Release date: 10th February 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Zoe Kravitz, Betsy Brantley, Rita Wilson, India de Beaufort, Emily Kuroda, Byron Bowers, Alex Dobrenko, Jaime Camil, Jacob Vargas, Derek DelGaudio, Erika Christensen, Devin Ratray, Andy Daly, Robin Givens, Charles Halford, David Wain

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Lego Batman Movie

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that he is not your relative who left home many years ago?

Vampire Bat: No, Batman is not related to any of us. You can refer to any vampire code.

Vampire Owl: But bat is still the most popular thing in vampire mythology, and might link to all of us.

Vampire Bat: And Batman is the most popular superhero, thanks to Christopher Nolan.

Vampire Owl: I am rather surprised by the same. I had thought that humans never really liked the bats.

Vampire Bat: They are really not fond of the owls either.

Vampire Owl: It is their loss not to like the owls. I even have plans to save humans from extinction.

Vampire Bat: But your plans have always been about taking over the world.

Vampire Owl: Taking over the world is very significant as a part of saving the world.

Vampire Bat: Batman surely won’t like that.

[Gets three cups of black tea with a piece of marble cake].

What is the movie about? :: From the usual DC universe, we are taken to the Lego universe, where Batman (Will Arnett) continues to fight crime like no other, in the Gotham City, something which he seems to have been doing for an eternity and more to come. The caped crusader remains the city’s last hope against a large group of villains including the menacing king of them all, the Joker (Zach Galifianakis), his love interest and most faithful follower Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate), and the rest of them – a list having Two-Face (Billy Dee Williams), Poison Ivy (Riki Lindhome), Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), Penguin (John Venzon), Killer Croc (Matt Villa), The Riddler (Conan O’Brien), Bane (Doug Benson), Mr. Freeze (David Burrows), Scarecrow (Jason Mantzoukas) and Clayface (Kate Micucci) among others. Batman also remains Gotham’s most loved figure, even though he doesn’t have a social life otherwise.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: During one of the Joker’s master-plans including a group of Gotham’s master-criminals, he faces Batman talking about himself as Batman’s greatest opponent of all-time, without whom the man with the bat symbol would have no purpose. He tells Batman that he is the reason why Gotham’s favourite superhero has to wake up every morning and be what he has been for many years. Having given the difficult option of catching him or saving the city, Batman chooses to let him go without second thoughts, telling him that he is not important, and even Superman (Channing Tatum) is more interesting than him. With his feelings hurt being not even as important as an alien who can’t be a bad guy, Joker decides to have the ultimate revenge on Batman, and make him as well as everyone in the city understand how significant a villain he is.

And what follows the same in the movie? :: Meanwhile, Batman leads a boring life as Bruce Wayne, having only his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Ralph Fiennes) as the one close to him. His only other big friend is the Batcomputer (Siri), and he spends his lonely time in the Batcave, doing everything by himself. Later, the city is having the programme of retirement of Commissioner Gordon (Héctor Elizondo) and the ascension of his daughter Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) as the new police commissioner of Gotham City. There, Barbara plans to have the police do the work, and not the vigilante Batman who hasn’t been that much successful as expected. It is then, that Joker also comes in with most of the other criminals, and they all surrender, leaving Batman with nothing to fight for. But both Batman and Barbara are doubtful about Joker’s real intention. What would that be?

The defence of The Lego Batman Movie :: The movie clearly follows the path of The Lego Movie, and the feeling of the same is maintained in this one. This also manages to be slightly better than the original movie. The jokes are very much working right from the beginning, and most of them nicely make fun of the superhero movies, especially Batman and Superman with those super-villains. It does manage to take the elements of a superhero movie, and nicely use them in the tale to create the humour. There are also villains from outside the DC, including Lord Voldemort, Sauron, King Kong, Witch of the West and Agent Smith. We can also consider this one was a sarcastic take on how the superhero movies are made, and how the characters are created in them. Batman’s attitude towards Superman, as well as to Iron Man, all becomes part of the fun, as the tale is rather re-written here, and this is also one of the best depictions of Batman and Joker relationship, even though funny.

The claws of flaw :: This one doesn’t become your usual animated movie, if you look at it closely. It can’t be associated with the beauty of the animated movies which have ruled our minds, like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen, Inside Out, Rise of the Guardians or anything similar. All jokes don’t come strong either. There will always be people who don’t like this kind of animation, and also those considering Batman as something bigger than everything else, who will find parody done in a cruel way when they look at this one. There is also quite a slow middle part for this one, and the childish ways also follow this movie. There is a certain exaggeration which is also there as we look further into each character. Also in the end, except for Batman, nobody else has really changed, which makes this movie something about him and him only, as the character talks about all the time. This could have surely been wider with its message, and also more focused on the world.

How it finishes :: There are a few lessons which the DC Extended Universe can take from this movie too, and can apply when they come up with another movie in the franchise. Even though The Lego Movie was a good movie without doubt, we have a pleasant surprise here as this movie manages to come up as a fine spin-off to the same. There are so many moments that will remain in your mind to come back again when watching a superhero movie again, like Batman keeping the password for his computer as “Iron Man sucks”, the never-ending hate between Batman and Joker, the strange friendship or the lack of the same between Batman and Superman, and many other things. We could have had many superheroes about whom a spin-off from The Lego Movie could have made, but it is about Batman because after The Dark Knight franchise, everything had deviated in his way, and most of the fans will find it easy to say that Iron Man sucks for Batman – even the coming of Wonder Woman won’t change much – Batman will always be Batman, and as the movie asks, we can only be ourselves, as we can’t be Batman.

Release date: 10th February 2017
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Chris McKay
Starring: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Jenny Slate, Siri, Héctor Elizondo, Lauren White, Mariah Carey, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Billy Dee Williams, Riki Lindhome, Conan O’Brien, Jason Mantzoukas, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Micucci, Doug Benson, David Burrows, Matt Villa, John Venzon, Laura Kightlinger, Todd Hansen, Chris McKay, Richard Cheese, Channing Tatum, Ellie Kemper, Jonah Hill, Adam DeVine, Brent Musburger, Ralph Garman, Chris Hardwick

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Allegiant

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Vampire Owl :: We haven’t really managed to build our own dystopia yet.

Vampire Bat :: But why are you looking for a dystopia when it could be an utopia?

Vampire Owl :: Dystopia is the more stylish thing. Utopia is not something that much interesting for our kind.

Vampire Bat :: It is more due to your choice of movies.

Vampire Owl :: I have been choosing the right movies. You know, dystopia is the dream of every known vampire.

Vampire Bat :: That only proves that you know just a few vampires.

Vampire Owl :: I know more than you think I know. It is why I am the one true Vampire Owl.

Vampire Bat :: Can you not think about the dystopia and watch this movie?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, just like I did for The Hunger Games. But a part of my mind is fixed on dystopia.

Vampire Bat :: Here we go again.

[Gets some jackfruit chips and three cups of tea].

What is it about in the first movie? :: The first part of this tale is set in the future, at the city of Chicago with the world being safely restricted inside walls. The society is divided into five factions, each standing for a quality, Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (fearless). The factionless were called the Divergents, and had to live a life without hope. Beatrice Prior a.k.a. Tris (Shailene Woodley) is one of them, but after managing to hide that information, she chooses the faction of Dauntless. During her time at the faction, she slows makes her way to the top after seeming like an underdog, and a good number of secrets are revealed in the process. There she destroys the plans of Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) looking forward to take over.

How does the story go in the second movie? :: Jeanine Matthews, despite being stopped by Tris, doesn’t back away from her plans as an artifact box with the symbols of all factions is found. She feels the need to open the box, as it is believed to have the messages from the creators of the city. But opening of this particular box can only be done by a very strong Divergent who is able to go through the challenges of all four factions. As expected, Tris is the one to open the box after passing all the tests, and the message calls the Divergents the result of a successful experiment and calls them to return to the humanity that waits outside the walls. Jeanine is murdered, and lots of speculations go on about what awaits them outside the walls, as nobody has an idea about how it all got to the present situation.

So, what is this third movie about? :: The curiosity about what awaits outside the walls catches the interest of many people, but the soldiers under Evelyn Johnson-Eaton (Naomi Watts) blocks all the paths that lead outside. The trials for their enemies is conducted by Jack Kang (Daniel Dae Kim), but most of them become just executions. Tris and Four (Theo James) are not that interested in the happenings there, and escapes from inside the walls with Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Christina (Zoë Kravitz), Tori (Maggie Q), and Peter (Miles Teller) to find out what is actually outside. There they find out just wastelands coloured red, and even the rain drops feel like drops of blood. But soon, they discover a group of people, who are technologically advanced. Lead by David (Jeff Daniels), they tell a story, but there is that question about how truthful these newfound allies are.

The defence of Allegiant :: One can safely say that this movie is an improvement from its predecessor, Insurgent, even though surely not as good as the first movie, Divergent. Based on the first half of the last book from the Divergent series from Veronica Roth, there is a fine setting for the interesting final movie which is to come. The visuals are pretty much interesting, and the world surely looks good. The action sequences get better here, and story is also an improvement from its predecessor which had spent too much time around a box. This one also has a rather positive progress of things, and comes to a happy finish even though that would have surely seen near impossible at some point. The lead actors are solid, and the romance between the leads is also something that works. The message is also on the positive side, and there should be something to take home for many.

Claws of flaw :: There is trouble in the acting department here and there, and not all special effects are that interesting to the eye. There are parts of this world which could have looked better in another way, and a number of dialogues could have also been better constructed in a more serious manner. This is also nothing like The Hunger Games which has actually proven to be the better dystopian flick with almost every book and movie. There are times when we feel that this one shouldn’t have been split into two movies, as there was better scope to be further rich in content here. There was surely the chance to be real “divergent” for this movie, but that is not really utilized, with situations going predictable on many occasions, and the tension being built not that much used to the advantage – a well-known path is followed more than any other in this case.

How it finishes :: This one does manages to keep one interested with its world, and the incidents that keep happening. The three people who make the biggest impact here though, are Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Naomi Watts. With the idea already there, and with this dystopian setting so well used in other movie, this one could have done even better; but with what all it possesses, it does make a pretty good watch. This is the kind of world which has the ability to get interested in it again and again, even though you have said no to the same thing earlier. We can only wait and see how well this one has finished to set path for the final movie in the series, as The Divergent Series: Ascendant, is to be released on June 9, 2017. With lesser box-office collections for this movie, lets see how things turn out for the final one.

Release date: 18th March 2016
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts, Jeff Daniels, Octavia Spencer, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Nadia Hilker, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Ashley Judd, Bill Skarsgård, Daniel Dae Kim, Mekhi Phifer, Xander Berkeley, Jonny Weston, Keiynan Lonsdale, Anna Stevenson

allegiant

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mad Max: Fury Road

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Vampire Owl :: Do you know that this director’s last movies were Happy Feet and Happy Feet Two?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, the Vampire Penguin did inform us about the same.

Vampire Owl :: And we are going to watch this one.

Vampire Bat :: Ninety Nine percent at Rotten Tomatoes and nine out of ten at IMDb for an action movie – then why not watching it?

Vampire Owl :: Well, I have my doubts. They rate random violent action movies as awesome. Quentin Tarantino knows that for sure.

Vampire Bat :: Quentin Tarantino has nothing to do with this one. And the trailer was awesome. It called for a quick 3D watch!

Vampire Owl :: It could be also because we love Charlize Theron.

Vampire Bat :: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is also there, if you want another reason. Remember Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Vampire Owl :: Let’s go for this then.

Vampire Bat :: It is exactly what I am talking about. I also have to write my two hundredth review with this one.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: In a distant post-apocalyptic future where the resources are scarce and there is rarely the trace of civilization, Max (Tom Hardy) is captured and is imprisoned to be used as a blood bag for the sick boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult) in a part of the world which is ruled by a tyrant called Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Meanwhile, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who was sent by Joe to collect fuel drives away, and the tyrant realizes that she had also taken his five beautiful wives whom he had selected to bear his children without the deformities of the normal people around him. As Nux makes an attempt to make an impression with the captive attached as the blood bag, Max escapes, and joins forces with Furiosa and the wives Angharad (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), Capable (Riley Keough), Cheedo (Courtney Eaton), Toast (Zoë Kravitz), and Dag (Abbey Lee), as they hope to reach a location called “Green Place”.

The defence of Mad Max: Fury Road :: This one goes directly into the action, and we know what is expected here. We have something like the ultimate action movie which is so quick in its action and thinks not much about bringing up the rules. There are modified vehicles battling in the middle of nowhere – a lot like warships fighting on the sea, and here the four-wheeled monsters fight on the sea of sand. There are sandstorms instead of the storms in the sea, and there is a lot of work in the design of those vehicles, that is for sure. There are gunshots, melee combats, racing and people falling dead all the time. The pace is so good that you don’t wish to take your eyes off the screen. The dialogues also turn interesting soon enough. The background score is also impressive. There is also that display of humanity when it is left with no law and order, as we see the chaos which the lack of civilization brings to the humans. There is madness, and there is fury!

The claws of flaw :: Never does this movie venture too much without the action which seems to be imprinted throughout its run. There is the scope for more and more of story, but the focus remains on the action sequences which keep coming. This leaves the option to say that this is another mindless action movie – but that is still disputed, and depends on how you take it. The ending also doesn’t come up with that big surprise or climax, as the action just continues to lead to the end. There are things left unexplained about the situation, and there is not much smartness displayed by the characters in this movie as the actions are rather reckless. Yes, there is the need for willing suspension of disbelief, but it is easy in this case as the situation is of a post-apocalyptic future.

Performers of the soul :: The performances, especially from the leading cast remains the strength of this movie. The first name that needs attention here is Charlize Theron. This is not the kind of avatar in which you would expect to see her, but this is a role in which she excels. She plays the character who becomes the reason for this movie as well as all the action that we get to witness. She plays an amputee, but is still one of most powerful female action heroines of all time. Tom Hardy also makes it out strong as the titular character, and he surely has the best moments. You might not recognize Nicholas Hoult in the first look, but he steals a few moments nicely. The ladies play the wives well, and another person you need to look out for is the former WWE wrestler Nathan Jones who had teamed with the legendary Undertaker himself, as the strong Rictus.

Soul exploration :: The movie ventures in the post-apocalyptic future when the world has plunged into chaos. It comes up with that situation when almost all the resources have finished, and also when humanity finds chaos again in the absence of civilization. Without order, there will be only people fighting each other, and it is a possible state of the world in the future in the presence of its never-ending wars. As no surprise, the future will still have its weapons, even if the resources are to be so scarce. The final stages mean that someone will try to have them all without thinking about sharing. An experience close to the end of the world won’t make people any better, but will make them worse, trying to make “the survival of the fittest” happen in every case. Then there is the need for redemption as often spoken about by the main lady, and for the same, there is need for courage, sacrifice and revolution.

How it finishes :: Mad Max: Fury Road might not do that well at this part of the world as it is not the usual viewers’ choice action movie with the users’ choice kind of things. This is mostly action, but things remain too grim for the general audience who would surely prefer to see Avengers: Age of Ultron or Fast and Furious 7 instead of this one. But you need to watch this one in the theatre more than any other, as you seek chaos in the sands past the apocalypse – the world is so good that it might even make you satisfied only with the 3D. Mad Max: Fury Road becomes the movie of the week; not so sure about the box-office collections, but it is a certainty with the critics and action lovers. This is actually the fourth film in the director’s Mad Max franchise, and may be we should watch the others too – I haven’t done it yet. This brutality in brilliance gives an order!

And that was the 200th review! 😀

Release date: 15th May 2015
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: George Miller
Starring: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoë Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Abbey Lee, Riley Keough, Courtney Eaton, Nathan Jones, Megan Gale, Josh Helman, Melissa Jaffer, John Howard, Richard Carter, Jennifer Hagan, Gillian Jones, Angus Sampson, iOTA, Joy Smithers

madmax

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Insurgent

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A Flashback to Divergent :: I have noticed a number of people in the theatre being clueless about this, and therefore, lets take a flashback ride to the first movie. You can choose to skip this paragraph if you needn’t. In Divergent, within a future post-apocalyptic world of dysopian nature, the known human society is divided into five different factions according to the qualities of each person: they are Dauntless (the brave), Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest) and Erudite (the intelligent). There are tests done for the same and those who don’t fit into the factions or the Divergents are left with no part in the society. But one young lady called Beatrice Prior will join Dauntless despite being a Divergent, and will go on to stop the faction Erudite and its leader Jeanine Matthews’ attempt to take over as the leader of them all.

What is it about? :: Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) continues her hunt for power, as she finds an artifact box with the symbols of all factions. She needs to open it as the box is believed to have a message from the founders of the city, and she hopes that it can solve the problems of the Divergents restoring the remaining factions with her as the leader. But only a strong Divergent can open it as the procedure involves going through the simulation which includes the challenges of all the factions. Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller), and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) are on the run, but Jeanine’s team reaches them – they separate as Tris and Four leave for Candor after going through the Factionless which is lead by Four’s mother Evelyn Johnson-Eaton (Naomi Watts). But things surely seem to be heading for a war.

The defence of The Divergent Series: Insurgent :: The idea has already been set, and so Insurgent has it easy to work with. The detail of the environment is very good, and it is good to watch he dystopian world in 3D. The special effects never cease to catch our attention in this movie. The action sequences remain interesting, and the audience only end up asking for more of the same. The idea of being Divergent is taken to another level, and there is twist at the ending which leaves us hoping for more in the sequel – hope the next movie delivers a lot more. The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1 will get released next year and The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 2 in 2017, and lets hope that this works very well as there seems to be something big coming, as the impression has been made.

The Claws of Flaw :: Insurgent is a step backward from Divergent, and it is not divergent in its treatment of the subject. It doesn’t go on to establish itself as a special dystopian movie as we had expected with the ending of the first movie. The first one had established the world, but this one actually has almost nothing related to a dystopia which is provided directly and we are left to pick up a few things here and there. The message is not that powerful here with the divergence and the society. Instead, this movie tries to hold on to predictability and last minute escapes. The movie should have dared to go outside what it has established and could have brought more here. Instead, the movie manages to go on and on with the idea that we already have. There is no real attempt to change the society in a big way other than trying to bring the dictator down. Divergents are also just declared special!

Performers of the soul :: It can be safely said that it is Shailene Woodley who saves this movie from going further down its level. She has given her best here, carrying this movie forward as the Divergent protagonist. She has only made things better here, and she is the one who provides this movie with any opportunity to match up-to its predecessor even though Insurgent doesn’t end up doing so. Among the new additions to the movie, Naomi Watts stays ahead of the others, as is very much convincing and interesting. Theo James just manages to be okay playing the support. Ansel Elgort has a forgettable outing there as the strange brother character. Kate Winslet manages to be just an okay villain while Miles Teller is very good here.

Soul exploration :: Just like its predecessor, this movie also focuses on what it takes to be different or divergent, and focuses on the journey that occurs due to not agreeing to the norms of the society. In a world where moving away from the accepted norms of the society is a crime, one heroine continues to rise. This divergence leads to revolution and a change of order. Identities change here, and being smart comes with the extreme desire to rule over the others, which the intelligent faction in the movie displays. They are the masters of science and cannot stand someone else who is better than them, just like the Divergents who are good in more than one skill, and from their jealousy, the movie moves forward to the next level.

How it finishes :: The movie is based on the book of the same name, which is the second book in the much talked about Divergent trilogy written by Veronica Roth, even though the fans here seems to be lesser in number. The first one was an interesting movie itself, and the second one nicely follows the path which was set up by its prequel without doing anything special, which makes Divergent the better movie without doubt. This actually became the first Hollywood movie I watched this month, and may be the only one of its kind which I managed to review. Yes, my movie watching adventures have been decreasing, thanks to the censor board banning movies, and some of them not even making all the way here. There are also personal reasons, but I am going to find time for the same here and there as long as the bans and the selections of movies by the theatres make more sense.

Release date: 20th March 2015
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoë Kravitz, Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd, Daniel Dae Kim, Keiynan Lonsdale, Suki Waterhouse, Rosa Salazar, Emjay Anthony, Janet McTeer, Jonny Weston

insurgent

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Divergent

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Dystopia, the weakness :: The more relevant opinions should say that the weakness that haunts the world is more related to vampire romance, something which completely destroys the purpose of existence of vampires, no wonder Louis de Pointe du Lac felt that his life was pointless, and Anne Rice might have had a good idea what was to come next when she sat down to write Interview With the Vampire and all those works which followed in The Vampire Chronicles. Now, dystopia has risen to a level which is close to the vampire romance, and thanks to The Hunger Games, the scope for such fiction is proved immense; one has to agree that even Stephenie Meyer’s The Host and its movie adaptation had an extended feeling of dystopia enforced by the aliens. My first idea of dystopia came from Stephen King’s The Running Man which I read long ago, and that 1987 movie of the same name, Arnold Schwarzenegger and María Conchita Alonso. A dystopian America sells quite well. Even mindless movies like Escape from New York worked very well (questioned only by its own sequel Escape from L.A.) and now we know what a safe territory is, even safer than some vampire romance which can coin the terms like “still a better love story than Twilight“.

What is it about? :: The story is set in a future Chicago as the world has transformed into a dystopia inside walls. The society has been divided into five factions with five different qualities, Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (fearless). The factionless were to live a hopeless life. Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) has grown up in Abnegation with her parents and brother, and it was the faction that run the government. Its selflessness was proven by their work in taking care of the poor, the sick and the factionless. To the surprise and sadness of their parents, her brother chooses Erudite and she chooses Dauntless, even as she does know that she is a “divergent” who has different qualities and such a person is considered a threat to the current social order in the dystopia. Christina (Zoë Kravitz) and Al (Christian Madsen), two former Candors, and Will (Ben Lloyd-Hughes), a former Erudite joins her friends group as she struggles to go on with an environment with which she is not familiar. She starts off at the bottom of the list threatened to be thrown out, but slowly begins to make her way up with the help of the instructor Four (Theo James). Soon, there will be more secrets to be unveiled though.

The defence of Divergent :: Another world awaits you in Divergent, a world which you are not unaware of, but it is still a world which you will enjoy once again – it is that kind of a world which gathers a dimension for just curiosity itself and thrives on it like Count Dracula on drop of blood. In the beginning itself, they show a huge fence, seemingly electrical along with skyscrapers which seems to have survived some Armageddon which ravished a lot of the known world. Its themes are many and its world nicely detailed with some nice effects added here and there. The post-apocalyptic city is really nice, with a train running through the centre and buildings connected with some kind of mechanical technology. The action sequences are nice and realistic, and the final combat scenes are well done. There is melee combat as well as shooting, and a lot more during the time of training for the fearless ones. The idea of the divergent among the factions is nicely developed out of something which we are all familiar with – the rebellion in the dystopia. The leap of faith moment and the initiation in style are two things I loved more than the rest.

The claws of flaw :: This movie is quite a lot like The Hunger Games, and explores a similar setting with a dystopia and training of young people to be capable for violence and if possible, inflict death upon the enemies. There is no deathmatch here, but there is that capture the flag (Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena fans check!). Being alienated is becoming far too common a thing these days as corruption in politics, the worst of such thing inflicted upon us by Kristen Stewart’s Isabella Swann. The movie’s faction choosing ceremony reminds us of the four houses of Harry Potter, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Hufflepuff. Remember the choosing of jobs in City of Ember? That should be another memory slowly coming out forced by the incident. The movie could have tried something innovative to have its own identity which would look entirely different from the rest. But taking the safe path was going to be more suitable for the first movie of a possible trilogy with a possible extensions due to divisions. But one can be sure that all the flaws of the whole franchise might be lesser than those from just one half of any movie of the Twilight series, especially the latter ones. Mortal Instruments: City of Bones did come with more flaws, but that was pure nonsense.

Performers of the Soul :: There was the awesome Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games, and one might not be able to place anyone else in her place with a similar setting around. But Shailene Woodley is very close, and she is so good as the character that one feels almost of the same feeling for Beatrice Prior that was felt for Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire. Shailene has almost everything that the Twilight heroine lacked, and she makes sure that Beatrice is never out of control. She fits into that world right from the beginning and gives us one of the best female protagonists in a dystopia. She has great moments and wonderful lines in a movie which depends so much on her performance and she delivers. She is not just the cute face right there. It is sad that Kate Winslet had so less to do in a role which was about being a mastermind villain from the faction of intelligence. The same can be said about Maggie Q who is just there to be there! Ashley Judd’s existence itself is her presence in the movie. Theo James does his role nicely, and finishes strong as the trainer and the lover. I will leave special mention for Zoë Kravitz as Christina who looked and acted wonderfully throughout the movie.

Soul exploration :: The movie has a lot of themes being explored in it, both directly and indirectly in its world. The whole division into four factions according their qualities and job is more like the ancient caste system itself, but lets not go further into that. In the case of factions, there are people who think different and has the ability to go against this order which forms the core of this dystopia – they are the divergents, to be better known as the rebels. As such a world is lead by the sympathetic faction, one can only wonder how long before two others, the brains and the muscle power can take over. So we need the divergents. What about our current society? Don’t we need them as a dystopia always threaten to happen in one place or the other? Haven’t such “different” people contributed a lot more to the world than the normal ones? When I was in school, I was to expect to join one of the two factions, engineering and medicine, with the two hidden faction, commerce and management – where did I join? Well, I had to diverge, and that had to be dauntless. That was just an example, but lets choose to be different rather than fit into groups with difficulty. Lets just not take the violence in the movie with it.

How it finishes :: Based on Veronica Roth’s Divergent, the movie present us with another dystopian world to ponder over. Even as I haven’t read any work by her, this does seem to work quite well. Being the opposite of utopia, dystopia always had the power to keep the readers and viewers interested. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin told us the story of a world which is slave to logic and machines, completely against any kind of creativity. George Orwell gave us more in his Nineteen Eighty-Four. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World might be the title which comes to the mind of most people. Remember Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange too. There are lots of such novels which has explored the themes related to dystopia in a powerful way. Divergent takes a leap into the same, but not exactly in the same way. I don’t know about the book, but the movie does fine as it throws at the audience everything it got. The visual media has been nicely used for the same purpose. It released here late, and as this is a festival season full of regional movies, the movie won’t do that well here, and the shows are limited too – quite the bad time of the year to release this one here!

PS: Don’t read the name as “Detergent” because one of my friends did! 😀

Release date: 11th April 2014 (India); 21st March 2014 (US)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Neil Burger
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Maggie Q

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.