Stowaway

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Doctor Frankenstein had a stowaway on his Ultimate Machine of Nightmares?

Vampire Bat: Why would someone want to have a ride of nightmares?

Vampire Owl: I guess they wanted to witness the greatness of this invention by the greatest scientist of all times?

Vampire Bat: Why are you not understanding that he is not a real scientist at all?

Vampire Owl: You are saying this because you studied arts only.

Vampire Bat: I am well aware of the way of science. Mr Frankenstein has no role in it.

Vampire Owl: You should understand that he can teleport you in a second or two.

Vampire Bat: Even those witches of the north can do that.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about teleportation to another realm.

Vampire Bat: He just creates a virtual reality within his laboratory and pretends that it is another realm. He cannot even teleport Uncle Dracula’s lost fangs.

[Gets a paneer masala dosa and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: A two year mission to Mars has been approved for the spaceship, MTS-42, which has the mission commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette), biologist David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim), and the ship’s doctor and researcher Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick) on board. They are taking the first steps to call Mars the second home, and each of them is very good with the needed abilities and extended training. Everything seems to go fine with the launch, and they are all glad to be on the way to a great expedition. Soon after the takeoff, they discover a launch support engineer, Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson), an unexpected traveler who seems to be caught and fallen unconscious between the two modules of the ship. As he falls down, the device that scrubs carbon-di-oxide from ship’s air is destroyed. They use use emergency lithium hydroxide canisters to get rid of the carbon-di-oxide from the air, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Marina is not sure about what has happened here, and wonders if something strange is going on in the background.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Michael wakes up and wants to go home, but everyone knows that a return is not possible now. He slowly adapts to the situation, as the company promises to help his sister to go through her life in his absence with guidance and monetary support. David begins cultivating his algae experiment of the ship before reaching Mars, as there is the need for some extra oxygen, but it is also not that much effective. The damage done to the carbon-di-oxide scrubbing device seems to be permanent, and their life support seems to be in trouble. If they are not able to find another method for the supply of oxygen, they are going to fall short of breathable air. The only option seems to be a spacewalk to climb the tethers of the spaceship and recover liquid oxygen from the upper stage of the rocket. Even though the other two are okay with it, Zoe is not ready to sacrifice Michael to make sure that they have enough oxygen for their journey, and the commander decides to wait for ten days to come up with a solution. But can they have one in time?

The defence of Stowaway :: The space and the spaceship around here are indeed well-detailed, and there is one final adventure to be done as the movie gets near its end, which provides a charming view of space. The world here has good detail, both outside and inside the spaceship. There is always the question about the significance of life of a person when it would mean the death of three others who are more important not just for one mission, but for the entire humanity. This something about the talks here, as there seems to be no clear solution for a problem. There are many routes which this movie seems to take too. The movie does talk about the importance of faith, belief and hope in life, even though it is indeed a double-edged sword which can end up ruining everything like a person too much motivated by a motivational speaker. Well, after all, we know that the life itself is about some tough choices that we make, and in the end, we are all just going to die a terrible death and lie a few feet under.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is surely slow, and never does it even try to get any faster, which is rather strange, as we look at all those possibilities which have been avoided. It doesn’t try to be that entertaining either, as the speed is never that much to keep us that much engaged with the possible thrills. There is that drag which is felt because the film has too many moments and dialogues which could have been avoided – a two hour movie was not needed to deal with this kind of a theme which never chooses to go bigger. The movie’s question does feel strange too, about humanity and all, because science has already brought extinction upon humanity, and most of the human beings do not deserve to saved. And, we all know that humans are not going to make that much of a sacrifice after thinking too much – so much of thoughts better lead to brutal murders. We don’t know that much about mission being undertaken here either, except for where it is headed, and related to some of the possibilities after reaching the destination.

The performers of the soul :: Among the performers, Anna Kendrick is the only one face that we seem to recognize at first sight. We have seen her in very less number of movies in the last few years, but as we see her again, she seems to be another actress who seems to get younger as time progress – we recognize her as almost the same as in those much earlier movies. Despite not being the commander, she is the true protagonist and heroine of the movie, and the one who is ready to make a different at any cost – she does the lady with the most conscience in a wonderful way. Toni Collette has been there for longer, but most of us have seen her in movies which are rather too old, which means that recognizing her would be difficult. She says good as the commander who has to take some very difficult decisions. Daniel Dae Kim plays the man with his own assumptions about success of the mission quite well. The only other character and the one who brings the change to the mission is Shamier Anderson, a job quite well done.

How it finishes :: There has been no shortage of interesting journey through space which Hollywood has undertaken – it was at times complicated like Interstellar, with great visual splendour of space like in Gravity, hope for colonization of another world like in The Martian, horror inside the spaceship like in Life, terror in space colonies like in Doom: Annihilation, searching for secrets of humanity like in Prometheus, more on drama and romance like in Passengers or even going the fully entertaining in Star Trek way. The Chinese had The Wandering Earth and the Koreans had Space Sweepers, now we have this one. Stowaway is closer to the genre of drama instead of becoming the thriller. It still has enough of the engaging moments, and also has the moral questions running through. Even though most of us will not get to space and will face the human extinction event, we will clap to the rich people going to space and living happily ever after, following the discoveries similar to that in this movie are made. Until then, we will watch similar movies again and again, adjusting to the interesting moments that they provide, as the apocalyptic event awaits with a terrible beauty ready to be unleashed.

Release date: 22nd April 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Joe Penna
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson, Toni Collette

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Outside the Wire

Vampire Owl: The area beyond the Greater Cemetery is now considered outside the wire.

Vampire Bat: Do you feel that there is a war coming soon?

Vampire Owl: Well, humans are building more weapons of war.

Vampire Bat: You are thinking that those weapons are meant for us.

Vampire Owl: After they are done with most of their own, yes.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that most of their weapons will have any effect on us.

Vampire Owl: The weapons of mass destruction will erase the world as we know it.

Vampire Bat: Such a destructive and disappointing species.

Vampire Owl: I will ask Doctor Frankenstein to come up with an invention which can go back in time and brutally murder all those human scientists whose inventions led to these new generation of weapons.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein‘s time machines made of vampire steel are as much fake as humanity’s love for each other.

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

What is the movie about? :: The year is 2036, and there is a violent civil war going on in Eastern Europe between pro-Russian fighters and the local resistances in Ukraine, a struggle which seems to be nowhere close to reaching an end. After years of war, the United States has finally deployed their peacekeeping forces, and among them are the robotic soldiers known as GUMPs. But the team is ambushed, much to the dismay of the human soldiers. While disobeying a direct order, a drone pilot, Lieutanant Thomas Harp (Damson Idris) deploys a Hellfire missile against a suspected enemy missile launcher. The commander on the ground wanted time to save two marines who were caught in the danger zone, but Harp had felt that if he choose to delay the drone strike, all forty of them would die, and an attack would actually save thirty eight of them. But the senior officers do not believe in the same and considers him responsible for the death of those two soldiers.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Despite not being court-martialed, Harp is redeployed to on-site combat duty at Camp Nathaniel, where the United States military forces have set a base of operations for the war in Ukraine. He is supposed to work with Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), who seems to be very strict as well as experienced, but turns out to be a very advanced android super soldier, the first of his kind – experimental, but a seemingly perfect prototype machine masquerading as a top level human officer. At the base, this is a secret known only the the commander of the camp, Colonel Eckhart (Michael Kelly), and now Harp. Leo has come into existence only five years ago, but is already programmed to be an effective killing machine. Their ultimate aim is to stop the terrorist known as Victor Koval (Pilou Asbaek) from gaining control of a vast network of nuclear missile silos which were left in the Ukrainian SSR possessing most of the nuclear weapons of the Soviet Union.

And what more does the future hold in a world of chaos and destruction? :: Russia has lost any control which they had over the rebels, and the new powerful terrorist is very close to controlling most of Ukraine and also those missile launcher facilities – it would prove lethal for world peace as much as it would mean for Ukraine and its remaining resistance. It could be the end of the world with nukes in the hands of such a terrorist who doesn’t even have religion or any of the morals to control him. They come across a reported attack on a truck with was providing aids, leading to a stand-off between the United States soldiers and the local militias. But the armed locals and the pro-Russian insurgents are the least of their problems as the trained spies and snipers of Victor Koval are there, which means that the possible event which could lead to the end of the world is closer than they thought. Then, what if the most dangerous man in that part of the world also manages to get the secret codes to the nuke? After all, he would do anything to get them – paying in billions, using brutal force or anything.

The defence of Outside the Wire :: We notice that Outside the Wire has created a fine world for the science fiction elements to start working effectively, early enough. The visuals are really good in this war-torn world In the beginning, there is the feeling that this one would go through action-war mode, but that idea which was earlier challenged with a few machines and later made clear, has a few interesting points for everyone to ponder about. It talks about war and the human need for the same with effectiveness, and we do understand that all sides are almost the same and loves to see collateral damage with the death of so many civilians. There is the fine display of hidden hatred being displayed around here, and we see a lot of the true nature of humans, even the machines who are created by them. These are also the kind of things which would happen at some point of time in future, and we are all with knowledge about the world descending into chaos sooner or later. The action is very good for most of the time with melee combat and gunshots being there, and we are glad to see different elements coming together. Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris do some good work here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t make the best use of its resources, as we see a world in not so distant future, with advanced technology and interesting weapons. The war machines could have been used with more effectiveness, as we see a lot of fights struggling to go big on different occasions. The world of war which has been created here could have more of similar products of science and technology at work. The basic idea that the movie was trying to prove could have been clearer, but here they choose to make things rather easy. There is no big action moment that stands out around here, even though there are so many human and machine soldiers around here. At times, the movie just seems to move around without much of a clue, and the ideas about the use and effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence never really gets as strong as it should have been. It does keep one wonder about how well Will Smith has performed in so many science fiction action movies in the past, the one man who would have fit in here so well, and even brought a lot of audience to this lesser known film.

How it finishes :: When we look close, Outside the Wire seems to be a movie which has predicted the Russian invasion of Ukraine in another form. The movie deals with the interesting scientific concepts and also talks about the human greed and their never-ending need for more wars, even though the fact that the film has focused only one side feels rather strange – humans have always wanted war, and they have always hated each other, which means that this is not something restricted to a nation or two and their allies. We have always been looking for science-fiction doing their best, as we never stop wondering about a post-apocalyptic future with science playing a major role in ending the world as we know it. As science has been continuously contributing to making the global warming worse and developing enough weapons of mass destruction, along with helping the Artificial Intelligence and other machines to take over, we are all looking for the apocalyptic event, and this one surely has shades of the same.

Release date: 15th January 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom
Starring: Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Emily Beecham, Michael Kelly, Pilou Asbaek, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Henry Garrett, Enzo Cilenti

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Space Sweepers

Vampire Owl: I have a history of sweeping space for years.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this is the kind of space which you think it is.

Vampire Owl: Yes, how many spaces can there be?

Vampire Bat: This is certainly not about the space which you cleared in the cemetery.

Vampire Owl: I was talking about the space in Doctor Frankenstein‘s laboratory.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that is going to count as space in science fiction.

Vampire Owl: The laboratory has been part of science fiction movies for a long time.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein himself is part of fictional programmes only.

Vampire Owl: I just hope that the Frankenstein monster doesn’t hear you.

Vampire Bat: There is no such monster. You are now taking characters out of stories.

[Gets a mango cake and three cups of Darjeeling tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 2092, and the world that we know of, is no longer a suitable place for living. All the greenery of the forests have vanished, and deserts have spread. Fading sun and acidic soil has caused the plants to disappear. It was like Earth was on life support. But most of the people are forced to remain on the planet and live through is polluted ecosystem. The UTS Corporation has arranged an orbiting space habitat for people who can afford them, and only a few elite people are able to enjoy this Earth-model ecosystem which assures a happy living space for everyone who becomes part of it. The place is completely governed by UTS Corporation who defined the laws, and decided who came in and went out of there. Earth which used to be the symbol of life has become what space used to be – a symbol of death. James Sullivan (Richard Armitage) serves as the CEO of the corporation, and has his own collection of the best of the world, and is also cultivating life on Mars using a super plant.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: James intends to open a colony in Mars too, and considers it as New Eden. He considers humans responsible for the situation of Earth, and assures everyone that the new world will not be like that. Ninety five percent of the total human population fail to find a spot in the new world, and many non-citizens are forced to survive as space sweepers, collecting space debris floating in Earth’s orbit and then selling it to the company factory. One of the main space ships which try to do so and become very successful is the Victory. The team is led by Captain Jang Hyun-sook (Kim Tae-ri) who was earlier on the other side, but is now against UTS after knowing its true motives. She had even tried to assassinate its CEO, but failed miserably. Kim Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki) who is also a part of the team, used to be on the other side too, and is looking for the body of his daughter who was ejected into space after some debris collided with their station some time ago, and he is running out of time. The others are Tiger Park a.k.a. Park Kyung-soo (Jin Seon-kyu) and Robot Bubs (Yoo Hae-jin).

And what else is to follow in this adventure in space? :: All of the crew seems to have their own story, but has to come up with a new tale of their own now. The space ship Victory picks up a space shuttle floating in space, with a little girl inside. This girl named Dorothy (Park Ye-rin) is supposed to be a weapon of mass destruction which was created by the notorious terrorist group named Black Fox. As Dorothy’s bag has a phone with a number of missed calls, they call and connect to Kang Hyeon-u (Kim Mu-yeol), and make a deal with him to return her for a grand price. It is also assumed that she is also a robot, and that despite her appearance, she is very dangerous. But it seems that what they knew about the girl and the Black Fox might not be true, and there are some sinister motives that UTS might be having. Soon, their mission would change to something else, because James Sullivan likes to keep his own secrets about Mars, Earth and the orbital station. Dorothy will also have to play a part in the same, a very disastrous one.

The defence of Space Sweepers :: The story of the movie is nicely set with a fine premise, and the setting of a future world is nicely done. We are immersed in this world which is sure to come, as Earth is surely going to fall at some point, and a world without human extinction itself is a surprise. This new world is nicely detailed, not just with the newly created eco-system, but also related to space and everything around. Along with being the visually spectacular thing as expected, it is almost emotionally strong with its content. There are moments which keep us going with action, thrills as well as the drama. Kim Tae-ri also comes up with the best of performances among the cast, and other follow well – there is something about her as the captain, and the rest are only glad to continue the good work. We have been in short of some good space adventures after missing the Star Trek movies in the theatre, and this one adds well here. We did get to watch the Chinese movie, The Wandering Earth as a space odyssey, and now we have this one, strong enough to compete with the Hollywood movies based on future’s space.

Positives and negatives :: This doesn’t move that much away from what we have seen before including the theme and the visuals, but latter does get a special touch. It doesn’t raise itself to a complete fun movie, even though it doesn’t become a preachy film with Elysium-like content. With such open space, the opportunities were endless though, and all are not taken. There could have also been a Korean touch with this one, while this one goes close enough to Hollywood instead. It is also a lesser known movie, even though it basically stands taller than so many overrated Hollywood movies. The villainy in this movie is also a little bit too predictable, and there could have been some twist related to that, despite taking the safe side there. People do tend to expect more from a film like this, as the trailer looked to be of top class, and there are not many Korean space movies which I know about – so many of them have been about horror instead. I do feel that there is always scope for more of this kind of movies from South Korea.

How it finishes :: Space Sweepers deals with a future which is not that far away, and it is also the one which we are to expect sooner or later. Even though the facts about orbital stations and colonization of other planets might not be that accurate, the ultimate end of Earth and the escape of the richest among them – the quickly science-loving millionaires and billionaires to other planets remain true. Consider it in that manner, this movie is a fine prediction of a terrible future, which we have seen in other movies too, with or without the shots of space. I have also given it a chance in my novel, Wrath of the Future, which was published in 2020, after the first wave of COVID-19 had seemed to come down. Well, you always need a little bit of the future’s possible horror to think about, but that hasn’t really helped to make humanity better, has it? Well, it doesn’t seem to come close, and thinking about that, let us enjoy this movie the most for its entertainment value, as it creates that grand spectacle on the screen.

Release date: 5th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Jo Sung-hee
Starring: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, Yoo Hae-jin, Richard Armitage, Kim Mu-yeol, Park Ye-rin, Oh Ji-yul, Christian Lagahit, Kim Hyang-gi, Anupam Tripathi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Reminiscence

Vampire Owl: I do see my long lost memories on a screen.

Vampire Bat: Do not tell me that this is about another invention of Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: He is too much addicted to the present to go into the past.

Vampire Bat: His addiction is with the impossible future.

Vampire Owl: There is no future that is impossible for Sir Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: Do not call him that. He was never knighted by the Count.

Vampire Owl: The knighthood is not a thing of title anymore. It is something of action.

Vampire Bat: There is no action can he can come up with to deserve it.

Vampire Owl: You will know it once he is done with the grand experiment.

Vampire Bat: You call what he is doing in the so called laboratory an experiment. I call it a death wish without limits.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: In a not too distant future, climate change has led to the sealevels rising, resulting in a flooded Miami. The temperature has risen so much that people prefer to go through most part of their lives at night. Sooner or later, the sea is supposed to claim the whole city. Nicholas Bannister (Hugh Jackman) and Emily Sanders (Thandiwe Newton) used to serve in the military forces, but is now running a business which helps people to relive their memories in a world which has no hope about the present or the future. Most people come there because they cannot live in a present which feels disastrous, and wishes to go through their past lives again and again, often due to nostalgia, and at other times because of a loss. Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) is their latest customer who wishes to find where she kept her keys, from her memories. As the memories do get visualized every time to help Nicholas guide the customers through their past, him and Emily gets to watch most of the things which the customers have gone through.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: After Mae leaves her earrings behind, Nicholas finds her in the nightclub, and they start a relationship, but Emily doubts her and wonders if she has some other motive in being with him. Later, one day, Mae disappears without a trace. Nicholas tries to find her by reliving his own memories of their relationship. It is something that could trap him in the memories forever, but he continues to do so for months. Emily is disappointed about his transformation, and asks him to move on. He feels assured that someone so much in love won’t disappear all of a sudden, and something might have happened to her, while Emily feels that their business is going down as customers as decreasing. He does find her earrings in a gutter, making him believe that she cam back for him, but Emily assures him that a lot of things ends up out there, and it could be from a long time ago. When prosecutor Avery Castillo (Natalie Martinez) calls him to retrieve the memories of a suspect. But it is not something that he will like.

The defence of Reminiscence :: There was always supposed to be something about Reminiscence, as we know that it is about memories, love and a mystery which will bring the twists. The concept is brilliant, and from an apocalyptic world, it moves to science fiction, and then to a mystery with ease. It is the kind of world which we will have sooner or later, sea taking over the land as a result of global warming, and this one also has the smartness show it as a gradual thing, and not as something happening in a few days or months. Well, it is a reminder to us that we are moving slowly towards that possible end, and none of us are doing anything about it, as the rich already have their Elysium and control of most of the money, while we are fooled easily. The journey takes you through what can be called a complete package. This one is not predictable at all, and there are some nice surprises in store – the twists add to the melancholy, and as the protagonist says, there is no happy ending in real life, but we understand that there can always be beauty even in the sadness. The ending of the movie, even though not a happy one, is a beautiful one indeed.

Positives and negatives :: Reminiscence does make us feel that we have seen some of it before, as it is surely a collection of different elements merged into one – yet, you see that final moments of it feels very much unique and incredibly touching. There are some slow moments in the middle, which might be the scenes which pull this movie a little bit backwards by not adding the needed ingredients there. When thinking about the memories and a future, you are quickly thinking about Total Recall and Ghost in the Shell, but they were all action, as you look at them. This movie also has its fine dose of action sequences, and there are twists and thrills awaiting in the memories along with the charm of love. There are not many science fiction thrillers which are able to create such an emotional effect on audience, and that too related to love. Lisa Joy’s one and only full-length feature film is here to stay in the heart. You avoid that tendency to slow down, and you have a work which you can watch, and be touched in multiple ways.

The performers of the soul :: Hugh Jackman is fantastic in this movie which has him in a role which has emotions running through him so well. He also makes a charming pair with Rebecca Ferguson, a couple like we haven’t really seen before. On one side, we have the long living mutant, Wolverine with healing powers and on the other side, we have the assassin from Mission Impossible series of movies – two people of action are the people in love here. There is no other two performers who could have made this work so beautiful. While the thrills are effective and the mystery is present throughout the film, it is the romance that makes the apocalyptic future’s science fiction a thing to remember, and the dialogues from these two are to stay with us for a very long period of time. It is the kind of tale which would have everyone asking for a happily ever after, unlike those half-baked romantic nonsense served as if there is true love being shown. Negative shades are also not new to Rebecca who played the full, strong antagonist in Doctor Sleep. Thandiwe Newton is also a powerful support while Cliff Curtis’ villain is strong enough. The other thing you note here is the perfect melancholy on the face of Angela Sarafyan.

How it finishes :: I will never understand why this movie didn’t do that well at the box-office, for it is a lovely and divergent take at the same time. The mixture that this film provides is something which is suitable for everyone, with different genres touched with the power of human memories and emotions. There is the feeling of mystery that goes through this world which seems to be almost apocalyptic with a realistic feeling, and the science fiction elements nicely blend in here to make the journey better. Also a romantic movie, this one focuses on that side with supremacy in the final moments. You will find this movie to be a lot better than what the reviews say, and there is that beautiful feeling of abiding sadness and a bliss of true romance which follows you from different directions. It has that kind of performers who keeps you so engaged in it, more than how it would have been with any other. Reminiscence is the kind of movie I would recommend for most people, and it would have even done better if it had released here before the Corona virus pandemic, for the admirers of Wolverine would also love this particular avatar.

Release date: 20th August 2021
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Lisa Joy
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Natalie Martinez, Marina de Tavira, Angela Sarafyan, Daniel Wu, Mojean Aria, Brett Cullen, Javier Molina, Sam Medina, Norio Nishimura, Nico Parker, Roxton Garcia

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oxygen

Vampire Owl: I had earlier heard that vampires no longer required oxygen to survive.

Vampire Bat: Is this a result of one of the experiments of Doctor Frankenstein?

Vampire Owl: Yes, he has actually found a substitute this time.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t really trust him about controversial inventions.

Vampire Owl: You have been talking about our best scientist for so long.

Vampire Bat: I wonder why you are not able to understand the difference between a scientist and an alchemist.

Vampire Owl: Well, alchemist degree is no longer a valid one.

Vampire Bat: He has passed only BSc. Alchemy, I am telling you.

Vampire Owl: When he cleared the degree, it was a valid subject.

Vampire Bat: You are going to be struggling for survival, if you go with what he provides.

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

What is the movie about? :: Elizabeth Hansen (Melanie Laurent) wakes up in a medical cryogenic unit with no memory of who she is, and how she got there. The Artificial Intelligence machines which was supposed to take care of the system informs her that the oxygen level is low, and her request to go out of the unit will not be accepted. She is also informed that despite the failure of the unit being reported, nobody has come up with a reply. The advanced Artificial Intelligence with which she communicates is named MILO (Medical Interface Liaison Officer) tells her that she is identified as Omicron 267, and is not known by any other name. Her medical report is not available, even though she is there to get better after being sick after some point of time. External communication is not available, but she is finally able to transmit the details of her situation outside the unit through emergency services. The police are confused as she can give them no information of use about herself or her present location. She is able to provide them with the unit’s model and serial number, which are printed on the interior. But she is told the unit was destroyed three years prior.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: A DNA analysis provides a match for her though, and it shows pictures of her, which helps her to identify her name as well as an an idea of her work, and up-to an extent, some idea about her family. She is told that she has forty three to seventy two minutes remaining with her Oxygen level. When her medical report finally becomes available, she is shown as perfectly healthy, much to her dismay. She does find the number of her husband, but another woman answers, and that doesn’t help her cause at all. Some of the memories seem to come back to her, but she is not certain about them. Soon, palliative care is ready to be deployed, but she stops the same, even though threatened against doing the same. She tries to cause destruction to the unit, but gets an electric shock in return. With only a few minutes of oxygen left, how long can she stay strong enough, and alive? Is there something sinister behind her being locked in the cryo unit? Who could be find all the trouble that she has to face? Is there some secret which only she knew before being locked in there, or is there an even bigger mystery that involves many people?

The defence of Oxygen :: The movie keeps us interested in the protagonist, as we hope for information about her, and it moves between optimism and pessimism at regular intervals, with more and more knowledge about the person coming to light. There are questions being asked here, about life, what is means to be human, and how memories make a person or destroy one. There is always more and more doubts about the nature of humanity and its existence, and one is reminded of minuteness with one grand shot of the whole space with the chamber unit – it is a thing of glory, well-designed and of quality. We do make many guesses about what is happening out there, and where the protagonist is, but there are twists which are good enough to bring another series of guesses – only a very few of those guesses come true in this case. There is the mystery to be solved and revelations to be made, as we look forward to finding the truth and hoping that our protagonist is saved. The progression of this movie a reminder to many people on how to use the minimum materials to the maximum effect – as long as you have a leading actress who can do wonders.

Positives and negatives :: The movie can feel a little too long because all the action is set in the chamber unit which feels like a coffin. Some of the initial moments are the ones which provides that particular feeling, and the rest has us discovering more and more about the protagonist well enough. The pace is never really increased as we look at it, and there are similarities with other movies, even though this has the feeling of a perfect new space which is not explored as it is, ever before. People might have also wanted this movie to progress in some other ways instead how it has gone forward. There could have also been more visuals of the world by the end, but I would guess that they didn’t want the scenes to move outside much at all. One also feels the need to see the life on the new planet instead of just one scene – there have been many films which have people traveling to another planet, but there is not even one which shows what happens after they reach there and start a civilization. Well, we are the fans of Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, Warcraft and others – we need to see that one in another world, and we are yet to see the same on the screen with effectiveness.

Performers of the soul :: We know Melanie Laurent the most from two movies, the critically acclaimed Enemy and the crowd favourite Now You See Me, both being films which can be watched many times. She has been part of other movies to remember, and this one is going to have bigger status among such films, with a performance which is focused on her. Even though there are some people being shown in flashback memories, the present is all about her, and she makes sure that there is perfection when it is about her. The other people whom we notice are one in the form of the Artificial Intelligence and the other is the person who are regular in the flashbacks. The success of this performance from Melanie lies in the fact that she makes us go through the different emotions of her with ease. We are able to relate to the person and what she is going through, thanks to her perfect run through the emotions, the journey from not knowing to what she comes to know, as well as what she comes against, as wrong information. We also have the doubts that she has, and sometimes even more than what she comes up against, in a small world resembling a coffin. It is not just her character battling out there, as we are also part of the same.

How it finishes :: The director of this movie is known for some of the most memorable thrillers, with the last one being Crawl, with one crocodile on the hunt – you remember that his first English film was The Hills Have Eyes, and movies like Mirrors and Maniac provide further testimony to his skills, even though those were closer to horror rather than any other genre of significance. This one comes as a science fiction thriller, and it is also one effective thing in the genre, adding to Gravity, The Interstellar and The Martian from one angle, while it is also a survival thriller like The Shallows and Buried. Yet, one movie which this one reminds us of, is Meander, considering being locked in small spaces, and having almost no idea of what is happening around. Related to these movies, our movie here also has a solid status for sure. With its surprises, and possessing a fine performance from one person at the centre of all of these, the movie is a thing of quality. It might feel long due to being located at one place at all times, but this is one film which you feel the need to keep going as you hope for a person’s survival against all odds.

Release date: 12th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Starring: Melanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Possessor

Vampire Owl: We do feel that we are possessed very often.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but they are gentle spirits of the forest.

Vampire Owl: There are gentle possessors. Possessing another person’s body is evil.

Vampire Bat: The gentle spirits of the forests have the right to possess.

Vampire Owl: It is not that gentle a possession. I know that.

Vampire Bat: There is a deal between Vampire Elders and the Spirits. You have to honour that as part of our allegiance.

Vampire Owl: There is no honour among non-vampire entities.

Vampire Bat: Honour is just a word. The definition goes by our actions.

Vampire Owl: Possession of another person’s body is not an act of honour.

Vampire Bat: Well, honour depends a lot on the opinions anyway.

[Gets some potato chips and three glasses of Spanish delight shake].

What is the movie about? :: In a certain alternate reality, Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is living as an assassin, but that requires her to take control of others’s bodies to carry out the murders which have become part of her life. The agency of the assassins use an implany installed in the captured host’s brain to control the person, and Vos’ consciousness is inserted in there. Vos decides how to go through the murder using the new body. After the job is completed, she forces the host to commit suicide, or get shot by people, which is the basically the only way for her to get back to her own body. She is considered to be one of the best assassins the group ever had, but as she spends too much of time in the bodies of others, imitating them, she struggles with her identity, and often fails to understand who she really is. She has to practice in her real life to speak normally, just like she has to practice before taking the identity of others. The memories of the murders which she had committed continues to haunt her at all time, spoiling her limited time with her family.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who is in control of the agency, is confident about Vos, but hopes that she is detached from her family, which would make her an even better assassin, as attachments are holding her back. She also holds on to lot of her memories from the past. She is forced to take the next assignment too early despite not being that stable – this time, she has to take the body of Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) and murder the host’s lover Ava Parse (Tuppence Middleton) and his future father-in-law John Parse (Sean Bean), who is a wealthy CEO – the large amount of money and the properties are the target here. In the end, the CEO’s stepson would be taking over the company, and this would also bring the agency a lot of money. But the mission is only a partial success, as Ava is dead, but not the main target, John Parse survives. Vos is not able to escape from the body either, as she cannot make him commit suicide. She understands that she cannot leave this body due to a damaged implant, and she is now strong enough to overpower his will. Now, an inside crisis begins.

The defence of Possessor :: Possessor does have some fine ideas behind it, and we feel them to be strong in the first half of the film. The initial scene is quite a strong one, and it is what makes us very much interested in seeing what is to be followed. There is the courage to go divergent, which is seen here, even though the same losses the strength after showing so much strength in the beginning. The question is indeed asked about identity here, and the problems when one person tries to becomes someone else. It tells the viewers that the basic nature always wins, and you just cannot try to be another person like acting a role. The movie does remain dark throughout its run, and there is nothing like hope of positivity being thrown here, even though we feel that there is a family with a child involved, and there would be a “happily ever after” coming up soon. Well, we know that reality is a dark, tragic space where people are only interested in selfish deeds, and therefore, this movie more or less reflects the same. After all, humanity is not of hope in the present, past or the future.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t really have the strength to go through this idea with the visuals, which could have been better, and the action could have been stronger too. The science fiction elements could have also been used with clarity around here. Some more clarity would have only helped the movie, and as it moves towards the end, the focus seems to be somewhat lost, even though the beginning stages were making us wishing for the better. Too many images come and go here, but without them coming together well enough, this cannot be considered as the best of use of the available resources. You can always have a Hitman, John Wick, Gemini Man or Anna doing their job, but not without some fine visualizations. The early death of Tuppence Middleton is also disappointing, considering the fact that she was one nice addition to the film. In the end, one does wonder if all these were for this one thing, as you were expecting that grand finish, and not something like this.

Performers of the soul :: Andrea Riseborough’s performance is the one to remember, and there is no doubt about the same. Her work is limited due to some strange visions and the lack of clarity which the movie has. Christopher Abbott does a pretty good job, but having the mind-controlled, confused character not leaving out the complication at any moment, leaves him limited too. Tuppence Middleton is the actress whom we had seen in a supporting role in Jupiter Ascending, and she has the skill to come up with something notable out of nowhere – it is no exception here. She is lovely, but we don’t get to see her for more, as her character is killed, and we see another work from her vanish too early for our liking. Sean Bean is very good yet again, and when he is there, we love how things proceed. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays another complicated character who has a few moments to remember. Rossif Sutherland’s role is rather limited here, and when we begin to feel that Kaniehtiio Horn was going to show promise, her character is also killed.

How it finishes :: Possessor seems to be the one movie which is more critically acclaimed and award-winning at the film festivals. The movie is interesting, and does have its moments, but one might not find it as that grand as those critical appreciations suggest. As I had written in the earlier paragraphs, the idea is very good and so are the messages, but they could have shown in a better way, and some of the characters could have also been used in better ways rather than just killing them. Yet, we are interested in the divergent idea and the path less taken, as we look forward to seeing such risks being taken further. If you like the difference in ideas being taken into consideration without holding back, this would appeal to you. Other than that, this one goes on a slow journey which begins strong, and gets weaker by the end, not strengthening its possibilities. So, it is a personal decision to be made on watching this film, and as these are the times of Corona virus pandemic, most decisions are indeed personal in nature, as solitude comes with different pandemics of the world, and the quarantine that follows the same.

Release date: 2nd October 2020
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Brandon Cronenberg
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Tuppence Middleton, Kaniehtiio Horn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland, Sean Bean, Raoul Bhaneja, Gabrielle Graham, Gage Graham-Arbuthnot

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bloodshot

Vampire Owl: I am ready to take the bloodshot right now.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this is not exactly a vaccine filled with blood.

Vampire Owl: I know that Doctor Frankenstein is developing such a vaccine.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but this is not it – and he is too crazy to be successful in it.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein is a man of many skills. Madness is only one of them.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the result of his last experiment is now leading the zombie army against us.

Vampire Owl: You can’t blame a godly figure for giving his creations freewill.

Vampire Bat: Even Mary Shelley called him only as Modern Prometheus.

Vampire Owl: I am much older than anyone calling anybody by any name.

Vampire Bat: Okay, do take your Bloodshot vaccine when it is available in the goblin market.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is having his vacation somewhere on the coast of Southern Italy with his wife Gina Garrison (Talulah Riley) after a successful hostage rescue operation in Mombasa off the south east coast of Kenya. But they are captured by Martin Axe (Toby Kebbell) and a group of mercenaries who murder both his wife as he is not able to answer a question about their earlier mission. As Ray promises that he would have his vengeance, Martin kills him too. But he finds himself waking up elsewhere in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the laboratory if Rising Spirit Tech (RST). Dr Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) and Miss KT (Eiza Gonzalez) explains to him that he was dead, and the United States military had transfered his body to their research facility. Ray had become the first successful human revival as part of the experimental Bloodshot program, as a new nanite technology has brought him back stronger than before and healed his injuries.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Ray has no memory of what has happened with his life though, and he is more or less of a blank slate. The company explains to him that his body was sent here because there was nobody to claim it, and the research focused on building, reconstructing and enhancing soldiers with different methods using exoskeletons and higher levels of regeneration. But when he comes up against his memory of his wife’s murder, he immediately leaves the place, and two other cybernetically enhanced soldiers, Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan) and Marcus Tibbs (Alex Hernandez) are sent after him. But as he runs through the security forces of who seems to be his enemy, there is more than what meets the eye, but he wouldn’t understand it. But the undercurrents will get to him sooner or later, as he is taken back to the company to recover. What is the secret that he needs to find out sooner or later, and how will it change his world?

The defence of Bloodshot :: As a superhero origins movie, Bloodshot does have enough to keep us interested. The action is all good, and there are some fine visuals as well as those computer generated stylish elements which all come together nicely as a superhero movie should have. It came at a time when we were desperately in need of some superheroes, not just because of COVID-19 pandemic, but also because of our good old Avengers no longer being in the scene with the final spectacle which finished some of its superheroes either by death or by retirement. Diesel’s fans are going to be really happy about this one, as he does things the way has been doing it for a long time, and it reminds one of his much earlier movies. The final action scene is a spectacle, and there were others of our interest earlier too. The movie’s sequel should also have immense possibilities, as there is one almost invincible superhero ready to save the world against all odds.

The claws of flaw :: Bloodshot is a film which could have brought some more twists instead of going the predictable path at times – the superhero movies tend to do that, but this one surely had better opportunities to do that in comparison to a usual movie of the kind, and yet it doesn’t take that chance to keep itself safe. As an origin story, this one keeps itself to the basics, and waits for a possible sequel to do the job better. People would have still expected more, and something which would keep them finding the extraordinary. It does give some of the clues about its twists a little early. For a superhero, there could have been more death defying scenes earlier too, after all, we have seen what our hero could do in the much bigger series with cars, and those bigger car-like things. There might also be those people who can be confused between this movie and Deadshot, and that is not surprising as we consider the number of superheroes we were familiar with, that too in such a short period of time.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, the movie is depending on Vin Diesel to keep the heavy impact going, just like he has done for a long time in his career. The superstars like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Vin Diesel are meant to be superheroes at some point of time, and out hero, the latter had given us that idea quite long time ago. Diesel has another action movie covered here, and he does that with ease, just like he has done with many other action franchises in the past. Eiza Gonzalez also comes in as an action star with this movie, as her skills can also be seen around here. Alex Hernandez and Sam Heughan also does well with those action sequences. At the same time, Guy Pearce makes a pretty good villain, even though the chances of some bigger and better sequences of the mastermind would have done much better. Lamorne Morris remains the most likable character in the movie, and the role seems to suit him really well.

How it finishes :: Bloodshot does seem to have managed its origins story right, and now it is to be seen about how a possible sequel would go. The movie could have surely grossed more if it was not for the COVID-19 pandemic which came in so quickly, and ended its run in the theatres. It did return into the television quickly enough though, and we have another superhero to follow into that gap which Avengers had left behind. Well, we never really have enough of the superheroes, and the sequel to this movie can bring something more special. According to the Corona infested world, we surely will have to wait a long time for such a possibility. Until then, we do have this version, which has the interesting adventure with action and thrills. You can surely give Bloodshot a chance, as Vin Diesel is someone who brings a minimum guarantee on the big screen.

Release date: 13th March 2020
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: David SF Wilson
Starring: Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Guy Pearce, Talulah Riley, Lamorne Morris, Johannes Haukur Johannesson, Alex Hernandez, Tamer Burjaq, Siddharth Dhananjay

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Superdeep

Vampire Owl: I thought that Meander had gone quite deep with its crawlspaces.

Vampire Bat: We cannot be sure that it was about going deep into the ground.

Vampire Owl: From the final moments, it did give me that feeling.

Vampire Bat: The feeling should most probably be wrong.

Vampire Owl: I am more confident about Russian science fiction than others.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I do remember Sputnik and The Blackout.

Vampire Owl: Russian high budget films seem to have some quality which Hollywood lacks.

Vampire Bat: Hollywood seems to be running out of ideas like Bollywood.

Vampire Owl: Bollywood is not what we usually associate with new ideas.

Vampire Bat: Still, they are so much available everywhere.

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

What is the movie about? :: The action is set in 1984, during the final years of Soviet Union, before its final dissolution into Russia and the other nations. Anna Fedorova (Milena Radulovic) works as an epidemiologist is working for a vaccine for the government, but wishes to resign her post as the head of research, as her research associate is now dead due to trying the vaccine on himself without precautions and no preliminary animal testing. As there is a quick need for the vaccine, the military continues to force her to do what she has been doing, and she is also authorized to continue the human trials, and come up with a result. She still considers herself to be fully responsible for the failure of Vaccine MX23, and the death of her colleague. Her original idea was also to shut down the project immediately, but that wouldn’t be an option in Soviet Union. With the military having an eye over everything, things now have to proceed faster than ever.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The Soviet soldiers in Africa are going to require this vaccine soon, and there is a deadline coming up – the government has never been fans of those who fail to meet the deadline, even if it is by a few days. Soon, Anna is seen as being congratulated on her success in developing the vaccine in a short period of time, much ahead of the deadline. She also receives a call from the military, and she is informed about an incident in a secret underground research facility at Kola Superdeep where sounds of unknown origin were discovered below the surface after twenty people had hone missing. The facility is going to be shut down soon, and there is the need to collect the samples very soon, for which she cab lead a team. For this, some fine rewards are offered to her. She finds the offer to be appointed as the head of the Military Biological Defense Institute to be something which she cannot turn down, and that leads her to the secret facility set in snow.

And things can get only stranger in this world of chaos :: With a group of highly armed soldiers, she reaches there, only to be approached by a strange man who refuses to obey instructions, and is shot. The stranger detonates a hand grenade to kill himself, and there is some damage caused to the helicopter, and the cew is also slightly hurt. This comes as a shock to Anna who feels that there is more to what has happened now. Anna notices the corpse, and finds out that there is something strange about the body, as she continues to collect samples from the remains. The dead man was supposed to be a scientist who came up and lost control of his mind, but according to the crew, he had become so strong that nobody could hold him down. Anna also checks the miners from the mining shaft attached to the secret facility, but she is able to find nothing specific. One of the miners do give her a clue, that this is not about a disease, and it is basically hell down there. Now, it is up to her to find something out of that particular idea.

The defence of The Superdeep :: Milena Radulovic whom we know from The Balkan Line leads the way well in this film which has her as the advantage. The film does have some fine visuals of this particular world which goes a long way underneath the surface of the planet. The fine detail around here does provide us with the feeling of 1980s and the Soviet world. It is different from what we see in the usual Hollywood movies, and that difference works as an advantage to take us to a different universe. It also reminds us of some of those computer games with some fine graphics. This is more or less like a whole world down there to explore, and we can surely make a video game out of this. There are moments when it also reminds one of Prometheus and Alien Covenant, as there is something out of this world at work. There is also a certain amount of alien-like horror working out here. The detailing here is also very good, and unveiling this mystery only makes things scarier. The fear here feels real, and the thrills go on.

Positives and negatives :: The Superdeep doesn’t have good beginning, as we do have our doubts about what is to happen, after the start. Other than the main character, the others don’t contribute that much around here. Once the film gets its setting to the snow-filled world and underneath it, we are quick to know that we are up for something that will keep us glued to the seats. The sound effects nicely contribute to the same as much as the atmosphere created. All these contribute well to the fear generation. The idea of the creature at work here brings more to totality too. There is so much about the creature that is scary, and it is not just the view itself. The limitations and the lack of soul in science can also be seen here, as we see the sinister motives here too. The ending leaves a few things to ponder about, not just about humanity and its survival as well as weakness, but also about what is to happen next, leaving the possibility of having a sequel at some point.

How it finishes :: Russian film industry has been very good in making some special science fiction movies, and this one is the latest addition to the same. It is also like a computer game in which we enters a dangerous new world, and we enjoy this setting a lot. It does reminds one of Doom, but does manage to create its own identity, thanks to the Soviet style which is reinvented really well with a certain amount of quality. The scary elements also work really well here, and the horror that is provided here can stay. If you are into science fiction horror, you have to give a chance to this film too. Among the recent flicks, you might have watched Russian demons, ghosts and witches through Guests, Queen of Spades, Baba Yaga and others, but it seems that the best of horror lies in science fiction. You can take a look back to The Blackout and Sputnik along with this one, and this is a film that I consider at a higher level, somewhat above many Hollywood films dealing with similar elements.

Release date: 4th November 2020
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Arseny Syuhin
Starring: Milena Radulovic, Maksim Radugin, Nikita Dyuvbanov, Vadim Demchog, Kirill Kovbas, Viktor Nizovoy, Sergey Ivanyuk, Albina Chaykina, Artyom Tsukanov, Nikolay Kovbas

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Meander

Vampire Owl: I remember having met an elf with a similar name.

Vampire Bat: Well, this is certainly not a fantasy movie.

Vampire Owl: Elves are as real as we are. None of us are fantasy.

Vampire Bat: Well, for humans, we are all fantasy elements.

Vampire Owl: The girl on the poster does look very much real.

Vampire Bat: You surely cannot say the same about her surroundings.

Vampire Owl: The poster here doesn’t seems to mean anything.

Vampire Bat: It could be a reflection of the useless lives that the humans lead.

Vampire Owl: Well, with the terrible mindset that they have, what else can they do?

Vampire Bat: They could always choose to be extinct and save the planet and the other life forms that live without hate.

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

What is the movie about? :: Lisa (Gaia Weiss) who works as a waiter is seen lying in the middle of a road in the countryside until a car arrives from a distance. She starts walking, but the man in the car, Adam (Peter Franzen) who works as a night watchman offers her a lift, as there is nobody nearby, and there is no hope of finding civilization soon enough. They seem to get along well enough, and Lisa is disappointed about her daughter’s death – she realizes that the girl would have been nine years old on that day if she was alive. There is the feeling of melancholy that runs through her, and she hopes that she could die one day and unite with he daughter again. It is then that it turns out that the man who is with her is a murderer, and the police is in search of him, as she realizes the same from the news on the radio. But the realization comes a little late, as he slams her head against the dashboard of the car, leaving her motionless.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Lisa wakes up in a small room which seems to have no way out. She is clothed in a strange suit which tightly fits her body, and a strange light-emitting device is attached to her wrist. Later, a door on the side opens and reveals a narrow tunnel through which she crawls with great difficulty, and the door closes right behind her, leaving her trapped inside on her all fours. She has no option, but to continue crawling, trying to find and exit which could lead her to freedom. The device on her wrist also seems to have a timer and alarm, as it seems to remind her of time running out, as she has to go squeeze through extremely narrow passages, as she moved towards light. As the roof of the tunnel comes down, almost catching her buttocks stuck within, that would be only the first of the challenges that she would have to overcome, soon to be followed by a rotten body, water, acid and others.

The defence of Meander :: Almost whole of the movie has just one setting around here, and it has also dealt with the same effectively. There are some fine traps in here, and the more terrifying thing is that they are all within a crawlspace, with the chance of escape being really minute – I wouldn’t give most of us any chance with this, but we root for the lady in distress here, as we are more confident about her getting through, even though not as much as Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider would. Here, in between, we come to know that there is more to all of these than what meets the eye, and that there is something beyond our comprehension, most probably supernatural or paranormal at work. The same is revealed in the end, and it means that we have further scope for a sequel here. After all, this kind of a premise, like that of Prometheus and Alien Covenant, even though lesser in grandeur, can have many different paths to follow. The mysterious feeling never really leaves us.

The claws of flaw :: Meander is surely not the usual kind of a movie, and it goes divergent from even any other possible film who can deal with a similar circumstance. It doesn’t have much more than what it provides here, and leaves us with minimal settings. People who don’t wish to see one person trying to fight it all to make the way out of a long crawlspace won’t find this one to be of their type. Even though this is supposed to be science fiction, the same type of elements show less of a presence around here. We also feel that this could have been better, more direct in what it does, because you know how these have worked really well with the video games. There could have been direct ideas provided here, and even though there could be symbolism being connected here, there is not much that we can use directly. We do have many films with one actor getting all the focus, and others being almost absent – Sunny is a recent example, and this one could have done more with the one character other than the trap escape acts.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has only two actors, and it is more or less about Gaia Weiss, who is there for the whole of the movie, and works through it very all, as her character keeps trying to survive against all odds. She nicely fits in here, and one would feel that if there is a full action film coming soon, she could be right in there, doing a great job. She plays the character that has do the impossible, and she does some fantastic work as the one person who goes through all of these. To add to it, there is also an emotional side to her character, which is also portrayed well. Peter Franzen also has some work to do, but he has a very less time on the screen. Basically, we can say that everything is left to Gaia, and she becomes the sole pillar on which the movie depends on, as far as performances are concerned. She never looks like she is going to lag with that much of a weight on her. Not many people could have handled the same so well too.

How it finishes :: Meander makes a fine French movie that has different elements coming together even with almost everything set in one particular place. It is all about survival, set in a seemingly difficult situation, much scarier than The Shallows where we know the enemy, and much hopeless than The Platform in which there was at least the certainty of food and a possible companionship. Unlike the rest which has some hope for its protagonists, this one is at an advanced level of leaving almost no chance to survive, like a hopeless level of The Maze Runner. As a film which gives you claustrophobia, this one is surely an experiment which you might want to remember for long. As the lady moves through this particular crawlspace world, you are into some slow and effective moments of thrills, unlike the ones that we usually see elsewhere. It is that tale of survival which once again has the protagonist fighting against all odds, and we are all hoping for her to survive.

Release date: 11th October 2020
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Mathieu Turi
Starring: Gaia Weiss, Peter Franzen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Tomorrow War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vivarium

Vampire Owl: I have heard that Vive la France is an expression used in France to show patriotism. Does the title have anything to do with it?

Vampire Bat: Well, I think that they have chosen an interesting name. It means an enclosure made for keeping animals in semi-natural conditions for observation or study.

Vampire Owl: It is strange, but I will agree to it. The name does catch one’s attention.

Vampire Bat: Do you wish to rename your vampires quarters with this name?

Vampire Owl: I haven’t even come close to renaming it. The present one is a highly intellectual one.

Vampire Bat: There is nothing intellectual about naming a home as mansion.

Vampire Owl: You will not understand. I have always wanted to have a mansion.

Vampire Bat: I will not understand such foolishness, ever.

Vampire Owl: I would rather be anywhere other than a vivarium.

Vampire Bat: Well, lets see where our main characters here happens to be.

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

What is the movie about? :: A young couple, Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots) want to purchase a house and move in. Both are not married, but looks forward to start a new life together soon. For the same, they visit an estate agent, Martin (Jonathan Aris), who seems to be acting strange, but comes up with a special offer for them. According to him, a new development known as Yonder might be perfect for a young couple who is trying to begin a new life far away from the busy city life. The place which as a series of homes looking almost the same, seems to be beautiful, and at the same time, silent, empty with no house seemingly occupied, and also giving the feeling of being out of the world. Martin shows the couple around house number nine and then they cannot find him around. Gemma and Tom try to leave Yonder, but however they keep moving, they end up in front of the same house. The car eventually runs out of fuel and they are forced to stay in house number nine.

So, what happens with the events here? :: They try to go up to the roof of the building and see if they can have a better look, but there is only an unlimited of series of similar houses to be seen, and nothing else. All houses seem so perfectly identical, and even the sky looks the same everywhere, with the clouds also being perfectly shaped. As they looked towards infinity, they decide to follow the perfect sun-like thing by jumping over walls of the houses, going in a straight line. But that also leaves them at the same place. Then at home, they find food items and groceries being delivered. But soon, they find a little boy being delivered – “Raise the child and be released” – the message written on the delivery box said so, and they begin to think that it is their only way to escape. At the same time, Tom also begins to dig of a pit hoping to escape underground, as there is no other way to go. Can the couple escape from this seemingly impossible situation? Or will they be stuck there forever? What is with this child who seems to be growing up faster than normal?

The defence of Vivarium :: The movie keeps its mystery elements strong, and it arouses the curiosity of the audience with ease, and as it gets into such an environment very early, we are also into it guessing soon enough. This time, it is a kid who is at the centre of everything, and you remember the other kids who were indeed dangerous, including Orphan and The Prodigy. Lord of the Flies proved it with a group of kids, while The Room had another kind of child, with The Influence having a child becoming a nightmare. The movie shows the dream of buying a villa, and shows how the protagonists are trapped by it. There are many points in the movie which become classic, and its idea of the aliens is nicely divergent. The creepiness here is not in frightening people, and the maze-like structure which the villa becomes, is going to make even a Minotaur proud. After all, we are in such a structure, with no chance to escape, as each and every day brings the same routine, while we are caught in it.

The claws of flaw :: There are areas where Vivarium goes unexplained, and even though it does try to live up to its name, there is not really an attempt to go into that further, or give a stronger feeling about it. The aliens seem to be a little bit clueless about what they are doing too, at a time when all these could have had better explanation that showing a cuckoo growing up – this doesn’t exactly become the same. As the two protagonists have been alone for a long time, there were more that they could have done, and further methods of escape could have also been attempted. The boy here could have also been a little bit threatening rather than remaining annoying all the time – you remember the boy of The Room who was surely developing into a genuine threat. More additions could have been done within the neighbourhood to make it further creepy or rather scary.

Performers of the soul :: Imogen Poots is a highly underrated actress, and she proves to be fantastic yet again in this movie. The audience from this part of the world might know her from Need for Speed, the game-based movie which had her as heroine, looking kind of like Anushka Sharma from an angle or two. There has been many movies with her name with it, but I don’t think that any of them had a theatre release around here, except for, maybe the A-1 cities with big malls, like Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad – maybe cities like Pune and Ahmedabad had them too, but that wouldn’t have attracted much of the audience. The British actress takes this role to perfection, and you can see many situations reflecting the same. Jesse Eisenberg will be known for the audience here for Now You See Me and its sequel as well as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which were the last big movies of him widely released here, and he also does a fine job. The rest of the cast just gives some good support.

How it finishes :: At a time when people got caught in their homes, or at times the neighbourhood with nowhere to escape, Vivarium becomes a fine reflection, as the protagonists are also facing the same situation. They are left with a house in the neighbourhood, and they can’t go into any other houses around there, and are to spend their time inside with whatever food is being delivered from outside. It does feel like a certain kind of quarantine, but this is the kind from where there is no escape. There is no network coverage on the mobile phone, and the television only shows some strange lines and grains all around. Vivarium doesn’t seem to reach that greatness that it intended, but it is so much close to it. The movie makes us feel our emotions, and make us think about the usual themes about humanity and other species well enough. It is a movie that we should watch, and will like more or a little less according to our tastes. You can feel an experiment, even though not exactly in the form of The Belko Experiment or The Platform.

Release date: 18th May 2019
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Lorcan Finnegan
Starring: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Danielle Ryan, Jonathan Aris, Molly McCann, Senan Jennings, Eanna Hardwicke, Come Thiry

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Replicas

Vampire Owl: Do you think that there will be people like us forming replicas?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I am sure that there will be at least a few, but not with the same vampiric characteristics and skills.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that a vampire can be cloned?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but the resulting person can only be a human, because vampiric traits cannot be taken into a clone.

Vampire Owl: So, you are saying that a vampire when cloned, becomes human?

Vampire Bat: I would think so. It is what Doctor Frankenstein said.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t listen to the mad doctor in this particular case.

Vampire Bat: Maybe, you can see what happens in this movie.

Vampire Owl: Keanu Reeves is back with another science fiction movie?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it hasn’t managed to have many positive opinions, but I have a feeling that we are going to like it. After all, there are more people like our Frankenstein.

[Gets a paper roast and three glasses of pineapple juice].

What is the movie about? :: William Foster (Keanu Reeves) and Ed Whittle (Thomas Middleditch) are scientists working for a a rich and influential American company set in Puerto Rico. This research firm known as Bionyne Corporation has been known for trying the impossible, with the amount of money they have put in to the scientific research which would help many people in the United States of America, and all around the world. Their attempt to transfer the mind of dead soldiers into a robot codenamed 345 keeps failing, and with the last attempt, it shows self-destructive behaviour, and the scientists are forced to stop the experiment until they find the missing link which would help them to connect the brain with the new robotic body. William and Ed tries to find a solution using their skills in defining neural pathways and human cloning respectively.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Jones (John Ortiz), their boss warns them about stopping this project and firing them, because those who had invested in this project needed results, and not just progress. William decides to go to a boating trip with his wife Mona Foster (Alice Eve) and three children Sophie Foster (Emily Alyn Lind), Zoe Foster (Aria Leabu) and Matt Foster (Emjay Anthony). But the trip turns to be a disaster, as a tree falls on the car, and the vehicle which losses control crashes into a river, leading to the death of William’s wife and children. But William doesn’t want to give up, and he calls Ed with the necessary equipment, hoping to bring his family back again. But will that work out as he expect them to? Is he good enough to do what he had earlier tried, this time with his family? Will the returning members of his family be the same? What will the company think if they find out what he has beeing trying to do?

The defence of Replicas :: The idea that lies beneath is movie is really strong, and serves well enough to keep the movie going – we have seen the dead person’s mind being transferred to a robot before, in movies like RoboCop, a franchise which has had some interesting movies, and a not that interesting reboot. We had also seen similar elements in Ghost in the Shell, and therefore, the scope was surely there. The movie’s best moments include the scene in which the wife is taken out of the pod, the man taking the corpses of his family and placing it on the side of the river, the moment when the wife knows what is happening, and also the final moments of the movie which has an interesting twist. The movie does have its thrilling moments in between, and the last few minutes are even quicker in action. After all, you know what Keanu Reeves is capable of.

The claws of flaw :: The opinions about the movie hasn’t been that good, but it is mostly because people have been overthinking this idea. After all, this is science fiction, and we are not really bothered about the science part as much as fiction, because most of us leave it with the tenth standard of plus two. Most of us haven’t used most of the advanced science and mathematics which we learned during those later years of school in life, and having chosen another stream, frying the brain with such things are indeed useless. But, there is no denying the fact that Replicas could have been better if it had dealt with the problems of cloning – instead, everything seems to be too easy here, and finally, our protagonist has a fine solution to all of these, and it all seems to be custom made for him, with him getting all that he wanted. After all, he is not John Wick, at least for now.

Performers of the soul :: Keanu Reeves has been a man known for Speed and The Matrix, and recently, very much as the hitman in John Wick, as he kept on murdering people one after the other as the popular assassin. Other than the action thrillers, he has suited the best for science fiction movies, and we have already seen that some movies actually combined these genres to make the best out of his works. He has no problem in working with role either, as he remains solid. Alice Eve is the perfect choice to play the cloned wife, as she gets that kind of a look in her face perfectly, and we remember how well she had dealt with her role in Star Trek Into Darkness – she gets into science fiction very well. Thomas Middleditch played his role, just okay while John Ortiz makes a pretty good villain. Emily Alyn Lind who was seen in Doctor Sleep also does good with the other kids, even though they are not significant around here.

How it finishes :: Replicas is the kind of movie which we usually miss at the theatres because there are not many screens being assigned to it, and it is also the kind of movie which the critics tend to bash by trying to find some science in it, when what the usual audience wants from a science fiction is only a very minute amount of science – otherwise, it would be too boring for the common man. I found the movie to be an entertaining one, and the thrills felt real, as we wanted to know the consequences of the protagonist trying to play god like Frankenstein did in a novel, many years ago. The emotional sequences also connect very well, and Keanu Reeves could easily pull this off, but he couldn’t satisfy the critics enough, as it seems from the low rating the movie received. During this lock-down season, try giving Replicas a chance, and lets see how much you agree to the critical opinions.

Release date: 11th January 2019
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emily Alyn Lind, Emjay Anthony, Aia Leabu, Nyasha Hatendi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Wandering Earth

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Earth can wander?

Vampire Bat: I have never known about Earth being a wanderer. Can it go to tourist destinations and see places?

Vampire Owl: This movie has Earth wandering around with he help of human technology to escape the solar system to save all life.

Vampire Bat: So, you mean to say that extinction is delayed in this case too.

Vampire Owl: Yes, this time it is the Chinese that saves the day.

Vampire Bat: So, after The Monkey King 2 and The Mermaid, it is time for another full-length Chinese movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and we haven’t had something like Interstellar, Gravity or The Martian in a very long time.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have missed space as well as the possible end of the world.

Vampire Owl: There are not many things that I have missed so much.

Vampire Bat: This one looks grand. So, it could assure fine quality science fiction during the possible end of the world.

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

What is the movie about? :: The Sun which is getting older is about to turn into a red giant and would engulf Earth’s orbit very soon, and this realization forces the world nations to form a United Earth Government, an act of unity which never happened in the long history of humanity. The plan here is to take Earth out of the Solar System to the Alpha Centauri system which is many light-years away, so that mankind can be saved from extinction which seems to be very close. For the same reason, grand thrusters known as the Earth Engines, are built across the planet to keep Earth moving, after stopping its rotation. Many people die due to grand tsunamis that occured after the rotation stopped. As Earth moved away from the sun using the newly formed Earth Engines, the surface was frozen, forcing the remaining people to live in huge underground cities. These areas were built near the engines to make sure that there is enough power.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As this plan to keep Earth moving for many years, almost taking one hundred generations to finish the mission, a young man named Liu Qi (Qu Chuxiao) takes his younger sister Han Duoduo (Zhao Jinmai) on a journey at the surface. It happens to be an unauthorized trip to the surface, but as they travel in a heavy transport vehicle using fake IDs from criminal gangs and also using their grandfather Han Zi’ang’s (Ng Man-tat) heavy vehicle clearance pass. But their journey is halted by the security forces who takes them to prison, and they are soon joined by their grandfather who tries to bribe the authorities to get them out. Liu Peiqiang (Wu Jing), Liu Qi’s father is an astronaut who is at an international space station that is supposed to help navigate the Earth on its journey that would last thousands of years, and also has DNA of animals and seeds of plants stored to ensure better life in the next solar system.

And what is to follow later in this tale? :: Liu Peiqiang’s mission in space is finally going to end and is all set to return to Earth after the Chinese New Year, and meet his son who has been very unhappy about leaving him behind. Liu Qi’s only happiness in the world is his adopted teenage sister Han Duoduo who was saved during the tsunamis by his grandfather. But the plans of a possible family reunion is soon destroyed, as huge earthquakes occur on Earth, as the planet has a gravitational spike during its journey close to it, instead of gaining a gravitational assist, and the Earth Engines are disables as a result. This would get Earth much closer to Jupiter, setting it on a collision course with the giant gas giant, which is many times bigger, and would mean the end of human life on all cities. With all the destruction around, the family escapes from the prison along with a fellow prisoner named Tim (Mike Sui) who is half-Chinese and half-Australian, as they get caught in a mission to save Earth. But can they do it and move Earth away from the largest planet in the solar system?

The defence of The Wandering Earth :: The movie does manage to have some good performances from Qu Chuxiao in the lead, Wu Jing as the father figure, Li Guangjie as the captain, Zhao Jinmai as the sister figure, Ng Man-tat as the grandfather figure, and others who support pretty well. But the movie is never that much about people, even though the emotional side is awakened at times, especially related to the family relations – the big advantage of the movie remains with the action-filled adventure set in the future, nicely managed in a world which is very well designed. There is a fine world that we see here, giving our eyes some beauty which is there to stay even after we finish watching the movie. The post-apocalyptic world is among the best, and the designs of the underground cities, the grand engines with the view of Earth and Jupiter, the new frozen world on the surface, and the message of hope are all nicely delivered. The thrills are delivered well.

The claws of flaw :: Even though the emotional touch is surely there, the characters remain underdeveloped, and the sister character, even though becomes one that catches our attention, doesn’t have that depth – the father-son relationship also struggles to move on, and the final sacrifice is the one thing that saves it, as its background remains too strained to be likable. There is also a certain amount of predictability related to that, and even with a new idea of using the Earth to go to another solar system instead of a spaceship to take people to another planet, the idea is not that much explored to the full potential. Even with the final attempt being something of zero chance of survival, when people go for it instead of supporting the survival of the species, one has to wonder what kind of astronauts and scientists are these people. At least the Artificial Intelligence did loss hope in mankind by then. This one surely needs a sequel to let us know how it goes after that fine finish, and I hope that it arrives soon.

How it finishes :: The Wandering Earth is undoubtedly the best Chinese full-length movie which I have watched so far, but it has to be noted that I haven’t watched many of those movies. It is a visually stunning spectacle which takes you on an apocalyptic as well as post-apocalyptic journey through a world which needs to be saved, and this is where the science fiction wears it action-adventure boots, and gets you on a thrilling adventure. It might not make you feel that it is entirely new inside, but what you see on the outside with its idea, is innovative. It might feel familiar at times, but also impressive, when you witness this grandeur on the screen. It is China’s third highest-grossing movie of all-time, and it might be their first full-scale space adventure, with apocalypse written all over it. Loosely based on the 2000 novel with the same name by Liu Cixin, the movie has you immersed in that world from the future.

Release date: 5th January 2019
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Frant Gwo
Starring: Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjiem, Ng Man-tat, Zhao Jinmai, Wu Jing, Qu Jingjing, Zhang Yichi, Yang Haoyu, Li Hongchen, Yang Yi, Jiang Zhigang, Zhang Huan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

9

What is the movie about? :: Dr Albert Lewis (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is a very successful astrophysicist who have had a love for science since his childhood. He didn’t have that family life that he wanted though, as his wife Annie (Mamta Mohandas) died with childbirth, and his son Adam (Master Alok) is a known menace in the neighbourhood as well as school, leading to multiple change of educational institutions. As Adam was involved in another incident which left his cousin on a wheel chair, even the relatives are hostile to the boy. With Adam being expelled from his school in the middle of the term for another fight with a student, he gets an assignment from his mentor, a world famous scientist, Dr Inayat Khan (Prakash Raj). The idea is to watch, analyze and record the scene of a huge comet from the Himalayas, where it would bring a different scene altogether. With his team mates and Adam, he reaches the place, and stays at a remote guest house owned by his mentor.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It turns out that this comet is not your usual one. It produces an Electro Magnetic Pulse which would disrupt the modern day life – there would be no electricity, internet or mobile phone; modern day vehicles wouldn’t be able to provide transportation. It would be more or less like going back to nature, without having those facilities which people hold dear. There is panic all around, and Albert who reaches the seemingly Victorian-styled huest house makes sure that there are enough candles and lanterns. He also makes some adjustments to an older vehicle and makes sure that it works even though the usual transportation shuts down. As the shut down occurs, the sky turns red. Albert who is watching the amazing sight comes up again a stranger, Ava (Wamiqa Gabbi) who is lost in the woods. He takes her to the guest house, but there seems to be something special about her. She seems to be holding on to some secrets – what would they be?

The defence of 9 :: There are so many things being dealt with, in this movie which is a combination of genres. The horror in this movie is nicely done, and we have the same with a seemingly Victorian Gothic setting which has everything for a horror thriller. The supernatural, death and decay, ancient beliefs, unsolved mysteries, nightmares, hallucinations, large old building with only a few people, darkness, loneliness, fear – they are all there, and at the same time we wonder if some alien terror is going to be unleashed or if the world is going to end. The mystery element is also nicely made up, and it goes right through the movie. The darkness is the most beautiful thing in the movie, and you fall in love with night here. There is quality in how the setting has been used, with the beautiful as well as creepy visuals; the sound effects are also lovely. There are many Hollywood movies that comes to your mind, and also that same quality.

The claws of flaw :: The story here is not that easy to digest for everyman. It just puts too many things in here and also has an ending which is left open as well as unclear. It is also too long and has too many scenes with the apparition of one dead wife appearing, a case of terrible repetition which could have been avoided. The ending could have also been more direct – even though having multiple interpretations is not that bad, the horror feeling that was established earlier should have been allowed to continue to make an impact and leave the theatre with the audience. After all, the audience have gone through all these, and one of those interpretations just nullify the same. It is the supernatural of the movie that rises above everything else here, and the same should have taken full control and came to a conclusion in the end – well, when there is a chance to go full Gothic in a setting like this, I would take it.

The performers of the soul :: Prithviraj takes another divergence and another risk with this movie, but this doesn’t trouble him that much because he has been to such a situation before. He has played the protagonist looking for answers, who would be wandering through mystery and horror in different films. We have seen him in the dark flicks like Memories, Adam Joan7th Day and Ezra, making nice impact. The Hollywoodish feeling that he maintained even in last year’s Ranam and Koode are also to be remembered. Prakash Raj is just there for some time, and there is just him going through the long talk and no action. Mamta Mohandas is just there for the song with very short flashbacks and to keep coming back as apparitions in stylish clothing – there could have been more. Mamta is not someone who is to be restricted to that, as we feel that the flashback is more relevant than ever in this movie.

Further performers of the soul :: At the same time, Master Alok brings a fine performance as the child in trouble, and we see something that makes him right for the genre. Back after the much appreciated Godha, Wamiqa Gabbi is fantastic as the mysterious girl who turns out to be more than just a damsel in distress troubled by a piece of comet. There are fine moments which reflects the creepy side is a beautiful way, as she walks through the huge building as lights are turned off, staring outside from a bath-tub and coming up with a mysterious, creepy smile on more than one occasion. She seems to blend into the Gothic horror so well, and I will be glad to see her in a full-horror movie. You look here, and feel that she could be in something like Crimson Peak. Rahul Madhav and Adil Ibrahim are there in smaller roles, and we also see some unknown actors who are there for a short period of time leaving something nice behind.

How it finishes :: It can be seen that 9 goes through different genres at the same time. There is science fiction and the supernatural, as the movie is a psychological horror thriller with a scientific background. It is the first big movie to combine all these well, and one of the first movies to deal with some science fiction of such grand scale. There are questions that go unanswered with the same, and there are moments when we feel that the grip is lost – it could have surely been better, but as it is now, makes an interesting watch. 9 is surely an effort in the right direction, and we can hope to have more movies of the same kind after this. If a combination like this can have everything in the right quantity and quality, there is no limit to how good it can be. Until such a movie is made, we can go to the theatres and enjoy 9 this week.

Release date: 7th February 2019
Running time: 149 minutes
Directed by: Jenuse Mohamed
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Prakash Raj, Wamiqa Gabbi, Mamta Mohandas, Master Alok, Tony Luke, Vishal Krishna, Rahul Madhav, Adil Ibrahim

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.