Proxima

Vampire Owl: Have you heard about the vampire team planning to travel to Proxima Centauri?

Vampire Bat: No, such a plan was discarded after Doctor Frankenstein created a portal and ended up being crazy for three weeks.

Vampire Owl: It is depressing, because vampire space travel was only beginning to get popular.

Vampire Bat: You could have some temporary relief by watching a movie on space travel.

Vampire Owl: This one seems to be drama and not really science fiction.

Vampire Bat: Drama is more close to life than science fiction as far as humans are concerned.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t disagree with that statement. They always create some drama.

Vampire Bat: It is also the one reason why humans stopped evolving.

Vampire Owl: I do feel that they can still evolve like some of the alien species which we had met while traveling through one of those portals.

Vampire Bat: Well, lets see how far they can go and fight their own upcoming extinction.

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

What is the movie about? :: Sarah Loreau (Eva Green) is preparing herself for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station, after different stages of training on Earth, and a final quarantine which would follow. She is very excited about it, as she finally had the chance which she was waiting for, throughout these years. She had kept so many things away just for this special opportunity which rarely comes to her field. But her daughter Stella Akerman Loreau (Zelie Boulant-Lemesle) is certainly not even close to being happy about it. She does like the idea that her mother is going to the stars, but hates the fact that she has to leave her for such a long period of time, first out of the nation and then far away from Earth itself. This would mean that Stella and her cat would have to stay in a new house in a new neighbourhood in a distant city, with her father Thomas Akerman (Lars Eidinger) as the parents had separated, despite falling in love while working at the same space agency.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But things have to go as planned, and they have to follow the procedure, as she has qualified with great difficulty, and now there will be no replacement in her place. Sarah leaves for further training, much to the dismay of Stella who is left to adjust with the new home and the new school were she keeps struggling with Mathematics and also in making new friends, being a new loner. At the same time, Sarah has some initial struggles with keeping up, and her colleague from the United States, Mike Shannon (Matt Dillon) considers her to be more of a space tourist, as he is a war veteran who has served in Irag and Afghanistan. But he does appreciate her hard work as time progresses, but as she develops an infection in a new wound, Sarah has further struggles to go with. At the same time, the bond between the mother and daughter which was very strong and special seems to be having some cracks here and there. Now, Sarah has to keep up both her lives going, and it is a question whether she can do the same.

The defence of Proxima :: As one would expect, the movie thrives in the work of Eva Green, who excels as the astronaut mother who struggles to keep the two sides of her life going. The movie serves as a reflection of anyone who is trying to seek new heights, but cannot let go of the old world to which the person belongs to. The training sequences are nice, and the emotional moments are all in control, with everything safely handled by Eva herself, for this is her movie. As the movie was shot in different original training facilities of the European Space Agency, everything feels more real, just like the feelings. The movie’s progress is also steady, even though we are given the idea of what to expect in the beginning stages itself. As the movie chooses to go realistic over everything else, we do have the interesting family drama which depicts the mother-daughter relationship without much of a trouble. In the same, there is quality guaranteed.

The claws of flaw :: Proxima had scope to be something more, with both its dramatic side and it could have been an action thriller of a lesser level too, with more twists being added to the training sessions and time of quarantine. People who are looking for some science fiction are going to be disappointed, because the same is not there, and we can say the same about the action and thriller side too. It could have also had more of emotional moments together, and there could have been more of bonding scenes between the astronauts in the facility. The fact that it keeps changing the language in between is a little bit strange, as it remaining a French movie with English subtitles would have been fair enough. It could have also used some flashback to add to the tale, because our protagonist here does seem to have had a long interesting past. If it had used all the elements perfectly, there was chance for a flawless film here, but Proxima does come somewhat close.

Performers of the soul :: With birthday on the 6th of July, it is a good time to give Eva Green some lovely birthday wishes, as she is one actress who has been special throughout her career, reminding us of some fine roles which she had played so well – this movie is not that much of an exception in that case too. The lovely actress has that kind of movies in her list which I have loved to watch, with the last few being my personal favourite Dark Shadows, the grand sequel 300: Rise of an Empire, the much different Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to be added to the list. She is fantastic in this movie, and we see the emotions running wild on one side, and the determination of the character on the other – Eva is delightful to watch in this film too, and she carries the movie on her shoulders with so much of ease. Zelie Boulant who plays the daughter also comes up with a fine performance. Matt Dillon does a fine job in the supporting role too. The rest just working along, as this one is indeed the Eva Green show from the first moment to the time when the credits starts rolling.

How it finishes :: It is no surprise that Proxima‘s biggest asset is Eva Green, and the same is reflected throughout the flick, with the focus never really shifting from her, as she brings the magnificent performance to elevate this movie to where it would have been, with another actress in her place. But those who watch this movie should note that it is not science fiction unlike some idea being given here. As the movie stays as close to a realistic world as possible even with an upcoming space travel, Proxima does deliver a strong drama which works with the mother-daughter relationship very well. It is the kind of movie that one can choose to watch during Eva Green’s birthday week, and the French actress’ work is reason enough to go for it. If you are going for science fiction in space or other planets, we do have those other titles, and expecting a Gravity, Interstellar or The Martian in this case will be wrong, as the tendency will be there as people see the lady wearing the spacesuit on the poster, but that is just one side of the tale.

Release date: 27th November 2019
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Alice Winocour
Starring: Eva Green, Matt Dillon, Zelie Boulant, Lars Eidinger, Sandra Huller, Aleksey Fateev, Nancy Tate, Svetlana Nekhoroshikh, Anna Sherbinina, Vitaly Jay, Lionel Ferra, Manuela Aguzzi, Gregoire Colin, Trond-Erik Vassal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Valerian

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time we went through space?

Vampire Bat: Yes, that was when the portal created by Doctor Frankenstein opened at the wrong place.

Vampire Owl: It is still a much debated topic. He says that the portal still opened at the right place, which has another portal as a connection.

Vampire Bat: There is no history of the existence of having a portal connected or placed within another portal.

Vampire Owl: He always makes new history. Last time he did something like this, it became a novel.

Vampire Bat: There is real debate on that, about his motives behind the same.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Uncle Dracula trusts him more than anybody else?

Vampire Bat: Yes, just like the Frankenstein Monster trusted his monster. Where did it lead him?

Vampire Owl: Frankenstein Monster’s case is different. He was never really alive to be dead, and so he never really got out of life to die.

Vampire Bat: Life and death, they are just two sides of a leviathan’s coin, marked with the sign of the undead.

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

What is the movie about? :: A long way into the future, a former International Space Station has reached critical mass, getting relocated into deep space, being renamed as the city of Alpha, a space-traveling world inhabited by millions of creatures from many thousands of planets from different galaxies as humans build contact wit them. With the population going out of control, there is a special police force created to preserve peace as well as law and order, and it has Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner Laureline (Cara Delevingne), who go on special missions all around the galaxy to make sure that everything works according to the plan. It is one of those days when they are having some vacation time that Valerian dreams about Princess Liho-Minaa (Sasha Luss) who is living in a planet with her peaceful group of people who fishes for pearls, but has their world destroyed by spaceships coming right out of the sky. But he is clueless about how the dream could be so clear, and it is as if the princess is calling out to him.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: It is analyzed that the message could have been from any time period and any part of the universe, and there is no chance of finding what could have caused the message to get through him, and the source remains unknown. At the same time, their next mission is on, with the need to get something that replicates almost anything in the universe – but it turns out that the same is with the black market dealer Igon Siruss (John Goodman) who is part of an extra-dimensional marketplace. There, Valerian and Laureline find the secret to unlocking something which has been troubling the government for a long time – Commander Arun Filitt (Clive Owen) of something strange happening in the centre of Alpha, and that the troops sent into that particular area have not returned, and the area which is out of their control, is growing. Now, it is up to the two to find more of the missing links, and unveil the big mystery.

The defence of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets :: What you would notice as the first thing about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is that it is one of the most beautiful things that you can watch on the screen, as the space, the planets, the world of thousands planets, as well as the alien creatures and people, they all make it such a colourful world which has so much detail with everything. The skill is not limited to that, as there are those nice action sequences which go with them, and there is also one mystery to come to light. What you see on the screen is the marvel that you will need to keep watching again and again, as we are transported to that world which has no boundaries in extravagance. You might need this one to make sure that you can escape to that world, some place further away than any travel site can tell you, as imagination run high here, and there is a twist to be discovered, as one would expect with a movie like this, as dark secrets get out.

The claws of flaw :: There are moments when you feel that Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has been focusing the most on its visuals – it is no crime, and we are invited into a wonderful feast on the screen, but you are certain to feel that there was scope for more with its story that goes beyond planets and galaxies. The last few moments take a little more time to reach the end unlike having a smooth run – there is a little unnecessary extension there without which the movie could have been smartly smoother. We also hope that the audience can grow up to this movie, instead of claiming that any fantasy movie without quality is so good just because it is from their industry – they were not looking for substance them, claiming that the over-hyped movies was something which it surely couldn’t go on to become. We have such shameless people around, and so, it is no surprise that the critics would also want to please them up to an extent.

Performers of the soul :: There is some good chemistry being shared by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in this movie which is about the two more than anyone else, except for a few aliens, if we look closer. Well, most of the Bollywood fans are not going to call this one chemistry for sure, and we can say the same about those critics who have been watching too many of those romantic melodrama nonsense for years. A good science fiction or action flick might be a long way out of their world. One might have still wanted more with the protagonists, but they are good, maintaining peace not just in the city of thousand planets, but also for the viewers. You remember Cara Delevingne from Suicide Squad, she made a wonderful Enchantress, a young archaeologist who was possessed by an ancient evil force – of course, critics took the right to be prejudiced then. Dane DeHaan was fantastic in A Cure for Wellness, if you have watched it, and when we consider the superhero movie stuff, it is The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s Green Goblin and Enchantress making a lovable no-longer-villain couple.

How it finishes :: Coming from the director of the surprise awesomeness Lucy, you will see that Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is that beautiful world on the screen that deserved more than what it got – the same was the case with Jupiter Ascending and John Carter, both having some wonderful worlds on the screen, with tales that go the distance; but we know that the audience and critics cam both be the kind of people who got the history of not making excellent movies score with box-office collections or opinions. Well, at least movies like Pacific Rim and Terminator Genisys did well outside North America to get the attention that they deserved. Well, it is good to have divergent audience all around, and only then can we nullify the effects of prejudiced viewers. For the same reason, lets hope that more people watch this movie and come with the good opinions, inspiring a sequel to Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – we can see that the scope is rather endless with this one, like in the game Mass Effect.

Release date: 21st July 2017
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Rutger Hauer, John Goodman, Elizabeth Debicki, Sam Spruell, Alain Chabat, Thom Findlay, Mathieu Kassovitz, Jonas Bloquet, Sand Van Roy, Sasha Luss, Louis Leterrier, Olivier Megaton

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Life

Vampire Owl: This looks like the tale of someone new to life.

Vampire Bat: Not just life; something extra-terrestrial in nature.

Vampire Owl: You mean like aliens returning once again to get rid of humans from this world for everyone’s good.

Vampire Bat: Extra-terrestrials are kind of better than humans, you know.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I recently met an alien who also gave me the idea to get rid of these humans and save Earth.

Vampire Bat: Absence of humans actually proves to be better for all other life-forms, I wouldn’t deny that.

Vampire Owl: There is no point in denying the same, because it is the truth. We should have actually finished them off when we had a chance.

Vampire Bat: Don’t you remember that it was a team decision to let them not become extinct, as we needed them to write stories about us?

Vampire Owl: But we have been trying to get the voters against the same after they decided to come up with Twilight and its successors. The current voting status in the vampire imperial chambers against human extinction is 591 against 409. It was 880 against 120 earlier.

Vampire Bat: Well, humans are becoming so evil that everyone except them want them extinct. They are giving competition to even the demons.

[Gets three cups of Munnar tea with a piece of pineapple cake].

What is the movie about? :: A probe which was collecting information about possible existence of life in Mars has returned from the planet, with something that is to prove the same and change the future of humanity forever. Even though it strays of the path, the same is intercepted by the crew of an International Space Station. The exobiologist of the team, Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) is successful in reviving a dormant cell from this sample received from Mars after repeated attempts and failures. This new organism fascinates everyone among the crew who belongs to different nationalities, including the medical officer Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), quarantine officer Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), systems engineer Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds), pilot Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada) and the commander of the space station, Katerina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya).

So, what happens next in the movie? :: One day, this organism which was named Calvin, seems to be dead. While trying to revive it, Hugh is attacked by Calvin who escapes by smartly using the electric shock tool used on it. Rory who gets in to save him, gets killed by the creature which keeps getting bigger and bigger. As it escapes through the vent, the rest of the crew are concerned about what is to happen next. Calvin also gets to Katerina, who is also killed, but leaves it outside. Despite the crew trying their best to keep Calvin outside and launch it into deep space using the thrusters, it manages to get through. The International Space Station, after having used so much of fuel through the thrusters to attempt to kill the creature, keeps getting closer to Earth, and seems to be slowly getting into the planet’s atmosphere to get burned. They come up with a plan to finish off the creature, but this one is a lot smarter than they think, and will adapt to anything they can bring – so, what will follow?

The defence of Life :: You have the feeling of going through something close to the Alien franchise with its creature. The execution is also very nice as we can see this one progress. This has its elements of mystery and horror working during the early stages itself. The creature itself develops steadily, and we see it through the different stages of evolution. With Mission Impossible‘s own Rebecca Ferguson and Jake Gyllenhaal around, this also well-acted without causing any change for doubt. The special effects are really good, and we see the space and the ships looking really good. There is also nobody to be the star here, except the alien, with a name, manages to be the one who controls things all the time as an intelligent life-form just recently born. Life surely provides the entertainment with its memorable moments, and the final scene surely brings a nice twist, and is better than what most of the people might expect for a movie like this.

The claws of flaw :: The similarity with Alien franchise is there, which doesn’t really give that original feeling with this one, especially considering the fact that Alien Covenant shares the same year of release with this one, and happens to be a better movie than Life. We have actually watched a little too much of Alien franchise to easily like another one so similar to it. Maybe, it is more like Alien combined with Gravity kind of feeling with its mood. You do have so many space movies with big ideas, like Interstellar, The Martian and Passengers – well, this one comes below them all as far as the rating is considered. As you go on, you will see that this one can’t be considered that evolved with the creatures like Alien, as there is one thing here, which is not that huge, but that could change with the possible sequels which look a little bit too far away right now. Ryan Reynolds disappears too early into the movie, and it is a sad thing for the fans of Deadpool. Maybe, they could have brought some big scary moments with the alien attacks, while using the setting of space along with the same.

Soul exploration :: As the title suggests, the movie is about “life”, but not of humans or any species on Earth, but rather on what exists outside. This search for life which has been going on for many years, seems to land humanity in trouble without doubt, and with no chance for redemption, as you witness how it ends here. Life tells you that there are some boundaries which are not to be crossed. With so much to do otherwise for your own fellow beings, this is not something which is urgent, as references are made to the situation on Earth too. But as with all those big inventions of science for the rich, making life better for the common man is not the first option. The rich always have the first chance at science and its inventions. It also makes too much of curiosity, which surely kills the cat, the reason for all the terror which is to follow. The crew, with its partners on Earth just crosses a line, and understands the consequences of what they had done. Also, a human life is more important than any other creature, and so one should understand.

How it finishes :: There is also that kind of ending which will ensure that “life” goes on, and it can be taken through more than one meaning. The option for sequel is left open there, and lets see if this can develop into a franchise like the Alien series, even though the box-office collection doesn’t really point to the same. Still, you can’t deny the fact that this could be a franchise that has the potential to give the Alien group of movies a challenge for supremacy. With Prometheus and Alien Covenant, that franchise has started exploring further, and Life could just do the same thing. One has to think that this movie has just begun its adventure, and its alien life-form has more and more to do with its humans. A good science fiction horror movie in space is often too hard to find, unless there is a future when something like Event Horizon or Pandorum are to be found here and there, all the time. But for now, Life is indeed the fine addition to the list which is rather small.

Release date: 24th March 2017
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Alexander Nguyen, Hiu Woong-Sin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.