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.

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.

Alien Covenant

A Flashback to Prometheus :: The predecessor was set in the year 2089, when the scientific vessel named Prometheus decided to make a long journey to a distant moon LV-223 to find the truth behind the creation of mankind. Their ultimate aim is to find the ones called “engineers”, the humanoid aliens who are supposed to have come before humans who were created on their image. Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), a billionaire, founder and CEO of Weyland Corp is funding this journey. Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) is in charge of the expedition, and the archaeologists who found the signs for these, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are also part of the journey. Always helping them is the android David (Michael Fassbender). But things get messed up as they realize that there is some biological weapon at work and the engineers are dead, with some other strange creatures ready to be unleashed.

More of the Flashback :: There are just signs of what might have been a huge and thriving civilization a long time ago. But it is what lies beneath the same that bothers them more, as more and more members of the crew seems to be infected by some strange disease. Those who are not killed by one creature or the other, had to be killed due to the infection either by their own people or by creatures that came out from inside. Elizabeth herself who is sterile, is found out to be pregnant and she has to use an automated surgery table to take out a creature which has been growing fast, right from inside her. Everyone except Elizabeth and David have met with a terrible end as the movie finishes, and that includes Peter Weyland who was also in that spacecraft searching for an answer to live forever. There is only the search for that unanswered question about the origin of man that remains.

What is the movie about? :: It is the year 2104 and a certain colony ship Covenant is on a journey towards a distant planet Origae-6 with two thousand colonists and one thousand embryos aboard, all set to begin a new settement. There is an incident on the way, and affected by the solar flares, the ship sustains major damage and some beyond repair – a number of colonists are killed, and Captain Branson’s (James Franco) stasis chamber catches fire causing his death. This breaks his wife, Daniels (Katherine Waterston) who vows to stay strong despite the setback. The most senior officer in the ship, Oram (Billy Crudup) assumes the role of captain despite his own doubts about himself. But as the ship intercepts a signal which has human voice coming from a planet which is supposed to have no life, it is him who sees the need to help whoever is left on the planet.

So, what happens next? :: The new destination also seems to have a fine chance of being home to the new colony with its similarities to Earth. In their search for the signal’s location, two of the crew members are affected by an alien spore to which they make contact without knowing. One of them who reaches the landing vehicle has an alien coming off him, and the eventual result is the destruction of the vehicle. The other one has an alien coming out of him in the open space, and leads the group being attacked by more aliens from all sides, until David makes his appearance again with a gun. With his help, they contact the spaceship which responds and offers assistance in getting them back again. But there is more than what it meets the eye with David, who knows more about engineers and the creatures on the planet than anybody else, and has plans for everyone. Are they going to do humanity good or bad in the long run with necessary sacrifices planned?

The defence of Alien Covenant :: There is some nice use of darkness in this movie, and we also get to see the tale go nicely forward with hope for another sequel. We can also be sure about the presence of some nice scary moments, even though they are not that much lasting – the shower scene in which you had seen a screaming Callie Hernandez is certainly the scariest, followed by many scenes, but that creature in the end is certainly the reminder of how majestic a franchise this one is. With the performances, it is Michael Fassbender who excels as David and does a great job as Walter, with two androids being safe in his hands. Then there is Katherine Waterston, the real protagonist of this one replacing Noomi Rapace, and we hope that her character’s tale is not over with this title in the franchise, as we need Daniels to be there unlike Shaw who was gotten rid of. There are also some nice special effects to go with the same, and the creatures look great as usual – the visuals of the world also has your attention.

The claws of flaw :: We do miss the protagonist of Prometheus, and we also needed better explanations and more answers to how the creation was made. The possibilities were so much with how the earlier film had ended. There were mysteries going to come to light, and more worlds to be explored, but that doesn’t happen here. Except for the main characters, the rest are also rather less recognised, and even if some characters are intended to die early with smaller alien infections, or get into the shower and be killed by an alien later, memorable moments for all would have been better in a movie franchise which is supposed to go on and on – we need them to be distinct to know and understand when one dies, whether it is with an alien off the spine, stomach, chest or mouth. We could connect to Noomi Rapace’s character as well as Charlize Theron’s, and so being a sequel to Prometheus brings some certain damage to Covenant‘s journey, as it doesn’t build on what was left, and never tries to bring anything revolutionary to the franchise, and not even more of horror that could have been there.

How it finishes :: With a better explanation for its universe and its creatures, as well as more twists and terror from the creatures, Alien Covenant could have done even better, but it is a fine product as it is now, for it has something or the other from the previous movies of the franchise which have all entertained us in one way or the other. It has begun connecting things together, and is certain to finish the franchise some day as a complete product. As a whole, this one here is also a product that will make certain that there will another movie in the franchise, one that is even more interesting – you will know once you see how this one ends. The truth is that possibilities are endless with a franchise like this one, with the first Alien being the reason why I really developed love for alien movies when I was a child – I wasn’t born at that time, and it wasn’t the most popular movies among youth here, and so I had to wait more until I got to watch that – I hope that the next Alien movie doesn’t bring any more waiting.

Release date: 12th May 2017 (India); 19th May 2017 (USA)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Callie Hernandez, Demián Bichir, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, James Franco (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.