Io

Vampire Owl: We are watching another movie quick enough.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is surely a plan of Vampire Fate.

Vampire Owl: So, you mean to say that Fate is a vampire too.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not. Fate meets all requirements for the same.

Vampire Owl: For something to become a vampire, first it needs to exist.

Vampire Bat: Fate’s existence has been proven over the centuries.

Vampire Owl: But has Fate ever lived in a physical form?

Vampire Bat: Yes, Fate is already part of the air we breathe.

Vampire Owl: That sounds like the Corona Virus.

Vampire Bat: After all, this Corona Virus pandemic itself is a work of fate itself.

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

What is the movie about? :: When the Earth was going to be destroyed mostly due to pollution resulting from human activities, many scientists had started working on a power station that could be sent to space to harvest geothermal energy from other planets. But it would be too late, as people were dying in their sleep, while some others were suffocating in the streets, with the blood in their veins turning black due to a higher level of pollution. The change in atmospheric composition due to the same led to many spaceships with people flying into the sky and then into space as an act of Exodus turning the power station into a colony, like a lifeboat floating about another celestial body. For the same, they had chosen the fourth largest celestial body among the moons in the solar system which has the highest density among them, and has the lowest amount of water around. Discovered in 1610 by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei and named after the mythological character Io, a priestess of Hera, Jupiter’s volcanic moon, Io now has a higher significance for humans.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Most of the people on Earth had already fled, but a very few still try to survive on its surface. Sam Walden (Margaret Qualley) is one of those very few humans who have some hope left about Earth, and she chooses a high altitude area where the air is somewhat breathable, even though she does make some visit to the highly polluted areas with masks to collect some samples. She is also raising bees, hoping that they can help clean the air, but is asked by her boyfriend who lives on the Io station to join him, as they are planning to live at a newer, greater place, with no hope left for Earth which has fallen to human greed. Sam’s hopes are ruined when her bees are killed by a terrible storm which also destroys some of her equipment and sources of power. But she does maintain some hope, as she continues to be in contact with her long distance boyfriend from Io, and tries to carry on with her objective, even though without that much of a plan this time.

And what more do we see here in a wold without hope for future? :: At the same time, a man named Micah (Anthony Mackie) arrives there on a balloon, and asks for her father and scientist, Dr Harry Walden (Danny Huston) – but he is not there, and she assures him that he will be back soon, maybe the very next day, after some field work. He decides to wait, as Harry was someone who believed that there was hope for humanity on Earth, and he needed to meet the man. But the problem here is that Harry has been dead for a long time, and she has been lying all the time. Micah was brought here by the message from Harry which had further brought him hope – the message was sent by Sam, and this would lead to a crisis, as both of them will have a few things to realize, and the same is to be done together. Is there hope left for Earth, or can they make another choice? Where will they end up in the end, dead or alive while fighting for survival in a dying planet?

The defence of Io :: Here is another post-apocalyptic movie which has the expected stuff, even though not with the action-filled adventure of a science fiction. The emotional moments are serene, and effective, and the cast is perfect for the same. Margaret Qualley’s face has that kind of melancholy going through her, which brings the feeling effectively, whether it is about loneliness or the loss of hope – yet, there is some hesitation, something which Eva Green didn’t have even for a bit in the science fiction drama, Proxima. Anthony Mackie provides the support well enough, even though Margaret eclipses everything around with a certain beauty of hopeless sadness that always surrounds her. The visuals of post-apocalyptic world is done just in the right way, and there are areas where it does have some fine work in store. The references to the mythology are good, but can feel overdone to a number of people who are not familiar with the same. The feeling of failure of faith, belief and hope feels natural too.

The claws of flaw :: Io is indeed a slow movie, and never does it pick up the pace, even though there were many opportunities to do so, especially considering the fact that this is a post-apocalyptic world that we have in store here. For such a world, there is so much potential, even in isolation, as we have seen in many other movies which have setting after the destruction of Earth due to one reason or the other. The best of science fiction had a chance to come in on many occasions. This definitely depends on what you are expecting from a movie like this, as this is not your usual stuff with the same idea at all. The romantic is also not that good, and the film could have easily gone on without it – after all, this is not that kind of a flick. The movie also deserved a better ending, considering how it had built up slowly towards that finish. It could have also had some fine visuals of space with Io out there, along with some moments at the space station, as they have come this much already, when you look at it.

How it finishes :: Io is the post-apocalyptic science fiction drama which deviates from the usual path, and seems to be proud of it all the way. After all, it shows what could happen at some stage later, and therefore being realistic is an understatement. The fall of humanity and Earth has been predicted for a long time, and this Corona Virus has asserted the weakness of science in front of most of the enemies whom humans are going to face, and clearly none of the advancements of science can save them. Considering the same, Io is indeed a realization, of the weakness and hopelessness of mankind. You have to move with slow and abiding sadness of the movie to like this version of post-apocalyptic science fiction – otherwise, you might not find this particular version to be interesting. During this time of COVID-19, you know that we might not be that powerful to even delay our extinction for a limited period of time and we are certainly not the saviors of our planet, but the ruthless destroyers.

Release date: 18th January 2019
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Jonathan Helpert
Starring: Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie, Danny Huston, Tom Payne

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the first Portuguese movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Italian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Latin movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Polish movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Russian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Serbian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Russian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Ukrainian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Indonesian movie review on the site.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Neerali

What is the movie about? :: Sunny George (Mohanlal) is gemologist who works for a reputed firm. He is an expert in the science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials, and is considered to be someone at the top of the company heirarchy with his experience and connections. Working at Bengaluru, he only makes some visists back to Kerala when possible. His wife, Molykutty (Nadhiya Moidu) is pregnant with twins after a long wait, and as the date approaches earlier than expected, it calls for an urgent visit back home. The other two girls in his life, Naina (Parvatii Nair) and Lekshmi (Megha Mathew) are attracted to him, and the former is so attached to him that she is not willing to let him go. But Sunny sneaks out of the office and travels to Kerala in the pickup truck of Veerappa (Suraj Venjaramoodu) who has his own problems. To add to this, they are quietly followed by a team of goons lead by Rajan (Dileesh Pothan).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: They are traveling through the highranges, and all of a sudden, they come across someone crossing the road, and while trying to save the man, hits on the side of a truck, leading to Veerappa losing control of the vehicle. They go all the way down, and stops at the edge of the cliff further below the road. The two are stuck inside the vehicle, with just the back tyres stuck on a log. With the front side of the pickup truck suspended in the air, they have no way of getting out. Veerappa is seriously injured and cannot move, while Sunny’s attempts to get back to the cliff bear no fruit. Veerappa’s mobile is stuck in a precarious position while Sunny’s mobile has no outgoing facility because of Lekshmi forgetting to pay the bill despite being assigned the task. The two incoming callers Naina and Molykutty are in no mood to hear what he has to say as the former thinks that his intention was always to cheat her and the latter feels that she is going to die. Is there a chance for escape though?

The defence of Neerali :: A good survival thriller is something that we have all lacked for a long time – Hollywood had so many of them including The GreyThe Shallows, The Martian, Everest, Gravity, 127 Hours, The Revenant, Buried and others, while Bollywood had that less known little flick known as Trapped. There are moments that has us on the edge of the seat, and the question mark about more than one thing is always present. We also have interesting questions being asked here, about relationships and on what it takes to survive, even though they are not taken that much further. There are moments when movie go a little philosophical, and we see a little bit of magic realism with the protagonist’s father making an appearance with a gun pointed at him. There is no heroism from the protagonist this time, and it is a clear bonus, and having a the main character as a helpless and rather realistic one is always better than having those supercops and superfighters. The visuals are nice too.

The claws of flaw :: We can see that Neerali was aiming for more, but it is not that much there as a survival movie – so many things could have added to this tale of survival, and we could have had the protagonist facing more, and getting out of all those troubles in a believable way. We know how well the mobile phone can be used in a survival thriller as proven by the movie Buried. The idea to bring back the Nokketha Doorathu Kannumnattu model with Mohanlal and Nadhiya is still something to be questioned, as all the references fall flat, and fails to make any positive impact – the same only gets irritating. The first half had actually promised more than what the second half could deliver. Adding some better music would have been nice too. There are also a few things that are left untouched in the end, and one is left wondering if it was done intentionally, and if it was done so, one has to wonder about its effect.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal does a great job as the protagonist in peril as expected, and it is on him and his character that the whole thing is centered on. Its own his actions that most of the happenings in the movie proceeds – the decisions that he make would decide not just his life, but also that of others. We see the helplessness as well as the abilities nicely reflected here. We would have still wanted to see him as a more close to life character here though. Suraj Venjaramoodu is the other character whom we see here with Mohanlal for more time that anyone else, as the traveler and partner in distress, hanging above death staring from underneath. His character isn’t given that much of a depth, and we know him mostly from the dialogues made in the vehicle. He looks good here, and the kid who plays his daughter has also done a natural job. But we know that Suraj could have had more with at least some nice dialogues inside the pickup truck hanging from above.

Further performers of the soul :: Nassar has an appearance which last a few minutes while Dileesh Pothan is wasted in a role which doesn’t go anywhere – something that we don’t see with him on the screen often. Nadhiya Moidu is the biggest disappointment in this movie, as the pair never connects to the audience and the same can be said about her character – it is clearly overdone, and we feel that her presence is more as a necessary pregnant character rather than anything else. There is nothing good that she adds to the movie, and Girly Mathew of Nokkatha Doorathu Kannumnattu gets the bad name because of the attempt to drag that feeling into this flick in which the same doesn’t belong at all. Parvatii Nair does her job really well though, and she seemed to blend in so well into this character with certain problems for herself. Megha Mathew who was there for only a few minutes also leaves a mark, as we notice the same early.

How it finishes :: We can see that Neerali ventures deep into that survival thriller territory, which Malayalam cinema industry hasn’t been that interested in exploring. With some more of imagination, the movie could have done very much better – this one is still a thriller with its moments, but more could have been achieved. Yet, we can hope that there will be more of similar movies to come, and that the genre could get a much needed boost. Next time, when someone makes an attempt at this, it could go deeper. Until then, let us be glad that this movie has made an attempt at variety, and could do without much of heroism or style from the protagonist, leaving us with more of a human world rather than that of strange superheroes made from the so called superstars. Neerali brings the divergence, and we appreciate the same.

Release date: 13th July 2018
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Ajoy Varma
Starring: Mohanlal, Nadhiya Moidu, Parvatii Nair, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Dileesh Pothan, Megha Mathew, Saikumar, Nassar, Santhosh T Kuruvilla, Bineesh Kodiyeri

<— Click here to go to the previous review. Click here for an interesting TV/Web Series.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Descent into Darkness

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the famous quote which has been very much applicable to us?

Vampire Bat: There has been more than one of them that applied to us.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about the one which was regularly referred to, during our first few classes for vampire apprentices.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about one of those quotes about darkness, aren’t you?

Vampire Owl: Yes, it was also written on the first page of our vampire texts.

Vampire Bat: I didn’t realize that you actually read those books.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I read them when I want to sleep. Reading them gives me sleep at times when it evades me.

Vampire Bat: Now you are talking like one of those strange school kids.

Vampire Owl: Well, the quote was about the need for vampires to get into that darkness.

Vampire Bat: Yes, about descending into darkness.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Arrowroot biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Sorgoi Prakov (Rafael Cherkaski) arrives in Paris from an Eastern European country, to make a documentary about the European Dream, in the lines of the American Dream which is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, that proclaims that all men are created equal” with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In the beginning, his journey through the capital of France seems to be all going well, with wonderful places to visit and people being very nice to him. It seems to him that his European Dream is going to work so well. There seems to be happiness all around, and Paris seems to be the perfect place to begin his European Dream. It makes him believe that he has taken the right decision to go on this journey, and that things can only get better. But it turns out that it is the other way around.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: Things were certainly not going to get any better for him, as there was always the chance for all going worse, with some bad decisions, and bad luck – being at the wrong place at the wrong time was just one of the villains. He does get beaten up by people who tries to steal his camera, which is broken, because of which he has to buy another one. He runs short of money, as he doesn’t hear from his producer, and has to adjust in many ways living in the city. He still thinks that everything is in control, but it turns out that not much remains in his hands. The artificial world of pubs and parties with drugs and alcohol adds to him being further away from the reality, creating one of his own, which includes brutality in his madness. His world changes, and he goes on becoming the exact opposite of what he was, bringing in a European Nightmare instead of European Dream.

The defence of Descent into Darkness :: The movie’s highlights come in the last few minutes, with the madness reaching a terrible level. The last scene at the house brings the best of them all. It deserves applause about how those scenes are managed in a realistic, but cruel manner. In the end, we realize how the world changes people, and the idea about hope is mostly that much of a lie, as this party culture with alcohol and drugs contribute to making a person worse through pubs and all their unnecessary additions to the life of youth. The performances are good, not just with the lead, who excels, the rest also follows up well even if they are only those smaller roles. The alternate title of the movie somehow reflects The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, a book, by Jeremy Rifkin. But in the end, we know that there is no big dream that can be achived by a common man all by himself.

The claws of flaw :: The accent used in this movie might feel a little difficult to understand for people at this part of the world at some points. There are moments in there which seems to be added for the sake of being there, or maybe to have the flick at a good length in totality. We also feel that the movie could have been really scary with its madness, and while some are surely part of the madness in a depressing manner, others are just funny – but it gets really better in the end. The dark humour is somewhat there, and the cultural differences might be bringing it down for our audience here. There is also the feeling of the need for more after we watch the trailer, and the expectations were surely bigger. The movie also misses out on having a memorable female character; even as the movie was based on one person in particular. Someone whom he meets in the city, maybe? Or someone whom he decides to murder?

The newfound love for the subgenre :: There are not many people who love to watch the found-footage horror around here, and I am myself a new person interested in the genre. When a found-footage horror movie can catch your attention, you know that it is going to get better for the genre here. There was The Last Witch being an interesting one made in low budget in the genre, and now there is this one. We remember the movies like Cannibal Holocaust, The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, [REC] and Cloverfield which were talked about a lot, with The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity becoming the representations of the subgenre a lot. With this movie showing signs of some smart plans, maybe, we are awaiting more to come in the found-footage horror, and the best might be yet to come, as did horror with The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe last year.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: The strange things that humans do these days. Even Doctor Frankenstein is better.

Vampire Bat: Their control over their own mind and heart is rather questionable.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that most of these humans are already insane.

Vampire Bat: Well, they are better blood-suckers than vampires are, and they have proven the same with their wars.

Vampire Owl: There is the certainty of evil in them.

Vampire Bat: They possess inherent evil, and still call themselves to be of neutral alignment between good and evil, while holding that evil in mind.

Vampire Owl: I am pretty sure that they are more aligned to evil than our kind ever had been.

Vampire Bat: I would rank them with werewolves and dark elves, and at times with the zombies.

Vampire Owl: With their latest technology, they are already zombies enough.

Vampire Bat: Yes, more or less like your zombie minions.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 15th December 2017 (World-wide release on Amazon Video, POV Horror Roku, POV Horror Amazon Fire TV, and all Android devices)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Rafael Cherkaski
Starring: Simon-Pierre Boireau, Elodie Bouleau, Rafael Cherkaski, Roland David, Charles Dhumerelle, Xavier Kerf, Corentin Koskas, Denis Larzilière, Loïc Lefebvre, Philippe Pasquini, Omar Salim

<— Click here to go to the previous review. Movies of the Soul recommends Thor: Ragnarok as the movie not to be missed this year.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Trapped

Vampire Owl: Aren’t we all trapped? Isn’t that the reality of our world?

Vampire Bat: How are you trapped? You are wandering all around.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about being trapped in this body and this world.

Vampire Bat: Oh! So, you want to be dead and meet Lady Death to be with her again.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is kind of like that. There is that certain need which doesn’t go away.

Vampire Bat: You do no the consequences of the same, don’t you?

Vampire Owl: Will I be locked in the top floor of the vampire castle like this particular person ended up?

Vampire Bat: No, unless you make the mistake of locking yourself in. I am sure that you can get out through the keyhole, invoking your inner vampire anyway.

Vampire Owl: Dude, my vampirism is rather inside out.

Vampire Bat: Well, you have to find your true inner vampire, and it is now or never.

[Gets three cups of strong tea with Mariegold biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao) is not the most popular person in the company which he works and has very less number of friends. He has problems talking about his love to Noorie (Geetanjali Thapa), but finally when he manages to do the same, they are together – now the problem remains that they need to get married before she is forced to marry someone else. But before that, he needs to find a house for them live in, and he is just not able to do that with his small salary – both of them don’t earn enough together, and can’t afford to give advance to renting a new house in the locality. There seemed to be many choices earlier, but soon, he seemed to be running out of options, and as the clock seems to be moving so fast, he is prepared to be settled with anything. It is then that he gets what he wants, and feels that this is all going to work fine, but little does he know that it is only going to mess up everything further.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The new place that he gets to stay is a room at the top floor of an apartment which is newly built, and is at a great height. It is not used for living, as there is some legal issues with its construction, and a case is pending at the court. It stands tall in the city, with no people within and around, as only one old security guard is there to look after the whole thing, and doesn’t really care what happens. So, renting out this place seems to be too easy for the young broker (Yogendra Vikram Singh) who is only happy to gain anything from the same. So, without letting the guard know about it, he just moves in with the essential things without telling his friends or anyone at the company, even his own lover. After he falls asleep, he wakes up late next morning, and in a hurry to get to his lover, goes out, and runs back to get his mobile which he had forgotten – but he had left the key outside the door, and ends up getting locked inside.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: He finds that his mobile is on low battery, and quickly tries to make calls, but soon the battery gets to zero power, and it turns out that there is no electricity there either. There is no water supply either, and his attempts to break the lock as well as the door itself fails. He tries shouting, but nobody hears him from that far away, and his attempts at writing down things on a cardboard box reaches nobody – even when it reaches someone, it is taken only as a prank as everyone knows that nobody lives in the flat which is plagued by a court case. As days go on, he begins to have hallucinations, and decides to take more desperate measures to ensure his own survival. But the question remains how long he can go on like this, with no chance to communicate to the outside world about his hopeless situation, which gets more and more desperate every day? There is the need to act quickly, or he is done.

The defence of Trapped :: You will find Trapped in its own divergent mode to be effective right from the first moment all these things in the flat begin. This genre is not really something that brings our movies into the confort zone, neither does it do the same for the audience, but this one seems to have got the balance here. You feel the need to get the protagonist out as much as he does for himself – being a common caught in a terrible situation, his tale connects to us better than the others. It also shows the situation in a busy city where nobody cares for the others – it is to be noted that the nobody never really cared that the protagonist was missing and didn’t care to come looking for him – it is all work and nothing else in a busy world which has so less for the common man. We have that there will be hope for more at some other times, but there is none. Rajkummar Rao is undoubtedly the star here, as he makes things better every second, starting from that door getting locked. Geetanjali Thapa has a cute and smart presence in this one when she is there.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does have its slower moments in the middle, and the beginning actually feels rather too ordinary and interesting – it takes getting locked inside an apartment to make things interesting. One also wonders why people never really noticed the fire even in the night – something like that is possible in an abandoned building, and it had to be checked for, no matter where you are – these days, people are suffering from the terrible lack of curiosity, or are they not? It also reminds us of a number of survival thrillers, and you know the names without second thoughts, as they are that good. This won’t come close to being there with them though. It is also the same reason why you would want more with this movie, with more efforts to escape, and what else can be tried differently in an effective manner. The songs are not that interesting, but they are not to focused on.

How it finishes :: When you consider how well this movie seems to have been done, one can only wonder why it doesn’t get to release here with some publicity – we know that even if it is a good movie, the cast wouldn’t matter that much – we know how some of those Bollywood superstar movies run here without much of an audience leading to shows getting cancelled again and again, finally disappearing from the theatre list in less than a week. This type of movies need to have its trailers and posters all around here, and after getting that needed attention, can get to be watched by more people. Serious survival horror has had less attention in our world, and other than Warning which was taken from the much popular Hollywood movie, there is not much being even remotely close to being known to the public. We could have always used more, and it is surely nice to have this one around here. I am sure that we are going to have more of such divergence in the future, like there was with movies like Phobia and Raman Raghav 2.0.

Release date: 17th March 2017
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Vikramaditya Motwane
Starring: Rajkummar Rao, Geetanjali Thapa, Yogendra Vikram Singh, Rahul Dutta , Malay Garg, Girish, Patrick Graham, Rajiv Khanna, Hawk McNab, Hardik Mehta, Rahul Patel, Anup Rupanwar, Shiladitya Sen, RN Shukla, Vivek Soni

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.