Rise of the Black Swan

Vampire Owl: I have missed the Vampire Swan for quite a long time.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that we haven’t really employed one.

Vampire Owl: There was the one which stood guard near the vampire canteen.

Vampire Bat: It was the Vampire Duck, on temporary service.

Vampire Owl: You had ducks as temporary vampire guards?

Vampire Bat: Well, there was the zombie threat and we were in short of troops.

Vampire Owl: Still, why didn’t anyone choose a majestic black swan instead?

Vampire Bat: Well, the ducks charged less, and zombies never know the difference.

Vampire Owl: They would have known if they had reached the castle during the attack.

Vampire Bat: Even then, the zombies would eat only the brains of a duck.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Black Swans is an American private military company owned by the family of William Lewis (Tom Wilkinson) and his children Grace Lewis (Ruby Rose) and Oliver Lewis (Owain Yeoman). British Army’s Special Air Service Commander George Clements (Andy Serkis) gives them the mission to clear a remote village somewhere in Georgia for a transnational gas pipeline. But the villagers are not ready to leave their homes, and the Black Swans brutally murder all the men, leaving the women and children to run for their lives. But the atrocities committed in the village were filmed secretly, and red notices are served following the accusations of crimes against citizens of different countries. The international law demands that the United Kingdom extradite the three accused – William, Grace and Oliver to the Hague for a trial. The Prime Minister Atwood (Ray Panthaki) asks Clements to kill William and anyone who comes against them so that the involvement of the government is covered.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: William had already become too rich and influential with his mercenary business, buying new homes and business. The team attacks the mansion of the Black Swans and Clements personally murders William, only to find that Grace and Oliver are not there anymore. It seems that they had all of these planned, and Grace always knew what was coming to them. Tom Buckingham (Sam Heughan) who is planning to propose to Sophie Hart (Hannah John-Kamen) is one of the special troops who attempted to raid the mansion, and fought off a good number of Black Swans who were guarding the area. He decides to go to Paris on romantic trip with her, as there is a doubt which remains among both of them about their love affair, and both do wonder if they love each other than much to get married. But that really doesn’t really seem like a good idea, as he notices someone who looks like Grace inside the Eurostream train going to Paris.

And what more is to follow in this dangerous journey of another king? :: Soon enough, the train is hijacked by Grace and her group of Black Swans with the support of Oliver. Tom manages to escape from the train and starts sending updates his good friend and fellow special troops officer Declan Smith (Tom Hopper), who informs the authorities about what has happened within the tunnel. Major Bisset (Noel Clarke) who is the commanding officer of the operation wishes to save as many hostages as possible, while this becomes breaking news in the television channels all over the United Kingdom, and many speculations arise as the news reaches world-wide. Clements is also sent to the location by the Prime Minister with only one aim, to finish off Grace who knows everything about their secrets. Tom is determined to save Sophie, but she refuses his aid and is not ready to leave the train as there are so many passengers in there who needs some medical assistance. Grace asks for a ransp, of $500 million from the company which wanted to have the villages cleared, Britgaz. But can she get that, and can the hostages be saved?

The defence of SAS: Rise of the Black Swan a.k.a. SAS: Red Notice :: As expected, this one serves as the action thriller which it was supposed to be. It provides some of the very engaging moments with so many lives at stake. Ruby Rose remains strong in another action movie role, like she had done in John Wick. She continues to excel in the action scenes, and remains strong with a certain psychotic side. Sam Heughan remains strong in the role that is about saving too many people. Hannah John-Kamen also does a fine job, while Andy Serkis and Tom Hopper remains good. The settings serve really good, and being caught in a train within a tube full of mercenaries ready to kill, serves the purpose well. The movie surely feels somewhat old fashioned, but maintains a certain amount of standard related to that, even though it never goes down to that level of those silly mass masala movies of Bollywood or some of those overrated high budget movies of the South. The world here surely keeps itself from going down from the suitable level.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does remind us of many other movies, even though it is not of that much strength as some of the others. For most of the film, people seem to reiterate the fact that the main character here is trained, and isn’t too much bothered about his presence on board the train. There is also a certain amount of silliness with the movie’s primary antagonist and her actions, and even though she is menacing, is not even. They surely had the budget to add some special scenes around here too, and also some spectacular action sequences which are not usually seen. A little bit of exaggeration, especially related to action scenes was expected, and the same is present around here. The predictability factor is also present without doubt, and we know mostly what is going to happen around here. You have the specially trained hero trying to save the people inside a train from a group of mercenaries led by a merciless maniac.

How it finishes :: As this movie is known as SAS: Red Notice, it is not to be confused with that particular movie which has the big names like Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot in the lead. This one is also an action movie, but surely more serious than that one. This is also an entertaining ride as much as that one though. As a movie based on the novel with the same name by Andy McNab, whether it satisfies the fans of the books is yet to be known. But as of now, we can enjoy the work done here, thanks to the lot of action that goes on around here. We are never short of a possibility of a terrorist attack happening at any part of the world, and so we are looking for a lot of saviours in action. It is the kind of movie in which we go with the flow of action, and get immersed in the adventure that we witness around. Well, after all, most of us might not be traveling in the Channel Tunnel in our lives, and a lot of us most probably won’t be inside a high-speed train or travel underwater – let us enjoy what we see on the screen in that way too.

Release date: 12th March 2021 (UK); 5th November 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Magnus Martens
Starring: Sam Heughan, Ruby Rose, Hannah John-Kamen, Anne Reid, Andy Serkis, Tom Hopper, Noel Clarke, Owain Yeoman, Ray Panthaki, Tom Wilkinson, Jing Lusi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Raccoon City

Vampire Owl: We have all been the fans of Resident Evil franchise, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the franchise about zombies coming over.

Vampire Owl: Well, these are surely not the zombies that we know well.

Vampire Bat: The zombies of science, not the kind of our realm.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that the zombies of science might be even stronger.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they have the technology to make zombies that strong.

Vampire Owl: Yet, they are will never be as strong as vampires.

Vampire Bat: But, you have never really battled a pure undead zombie.

Vampire Owl: The pure bloods have been dead and buried for centuries.

Vampire Bat: You don’t see them that often. They are like the vampire elders.

[Gets a vegetable pizza and three glasses of oreo shake].

What is the movie about? :: Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) returns to Raccoon City in 1998, where she and her older brother Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell) lived in an orphanage there which was run by the Umbrella Corporation. William Birkin (Neal McDonough) who ran the institute was using the children for his experimental research at the Umbrella Corporation, and Claire had noted a disfigured little girl in particular. Claire has returned to the city to find her brother, but Raccoon City which used to be the home of the Umbrella Corporation, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company had turned into a ghost town with the company moving to a new location. Only a small crew of the last few employees remained there. As Claire returns by hitchhiking in a truck, which accidently hits a woman in the middle of the road. But as the two argue over what is to be done with the body, the woman stands up and disappears without a trace. The woman seems to be walking strange, as if affected by some strange disease, and the trucker’s dog does drink some of the blood on the road and begins to act strange and bites him later.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Leon S Kennedy (Avan Jogia), a Raccoon City Police Department rookie officer who just got there visits a diner and finds the waiter having blood coming out of her eyes. The waiter dismisses is as nothing of significance, and is also not ready to see a doctor. She finds her brother Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell), who is a member of the STARS Alpha Team along with Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen) and Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper). Claire feels that there is something wrong with the city, and asks Chris to get out of there, but he feels that he owes to the Umbrella Corporation which looked after him after she had run away. Claire tries to convince him that there are many theories about what is going to happen to the city which has been abandoned by the corporation on purpose, but there is nothing that can make him change his mind, as he is also not happy about her leaving her as a child. Chris leaves for the police station after an alarm is activated by the Umbrella Corporation.

And what more is to happen in this world of some strange chaos? :: Claire is attacked by a strange woman who keeps saying “Itchy Tasty”. She manages to keep her away and escape on Chris’ motorcycle. At the police station, it is said that an earlier team had gone missing while investigating the Spencer Mansion which was owned by the head of the Umbrella Corporation – it is investigated by the team led by Chris. At the same time, the truck driver who was bitten by his dog is transformed into a zombie, and crashes his truck in front of the police station, soon dying. As the police chief tries to escape, Leon remains the only person in charge of the police station – he would also be forced to return to the police station as there seems to be no way out of the city now, with Umbrella Corporation guards trying to keep the people inside and contain what seems to be an outbreak. There is the zombie dog of the trucker and many zombie-like people outside the police station, and there seems to be no way out of there of the police station now. With the mansion also overrun by zombies, the team also struggles to find a way out.

The defence of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City :: I have always been happy about video games made into movies. As I was a gamer since my childhood, I would always feel some nostalgia when my favourite games of the past become movies of the present – it makes me go through the journey again. It is the same reason why I was only happy to hear about a reboot of this big franchise of adaptation. The movie does start well, and it does focus on Claire and Jill in the beginning itself – they are two of my favourite characters. There are some interesting shots of zombie attacks here, and a lot of shooting follows. There are some good-looking camera shots with the help of darkness, and some of the music also manages to come up with effectiveness, even though you know that there was the chance to do things better as we remember the original. The scope for a sequel is pretty much there too, but one might feel the need to add some more of interesting characters and have a better horde of zombies, as the audience has already seen so much. The performances are not that much, but fine.

The claws of flaw :: Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is not that heavy in action in comparison to the original movie franchise or the games. It is also not that scary as the movie which started the movie adaptations with a similar setting. The waking up of Alice in the bath tub and the lift scene are only a few of them. That movie had a lot of stylish and iconic moments which we continue to remember. There were also some memorable dialogues to add to it. Even the costumes of the main characters lets the fans down up to an extent. Releasing so many years after the first movie, this one could have had better special effects. Some more innovation to the tale and its presentation could have suited the present scenario better. There is not enough strength in the attempts made around here. There are movies in the earlier series which are worse than this one, but for a reboot which had all the chances to start again in style, this one lags – remember that the games were the kind which kept us so much immersed in them. One really seems to lose the way so much while trying to make adaptations of video games.

How it finishes :: We have already watched so many movies of Resident Evil, and have played so many games in the franchise. The games have been integral part of our childhood, and still brings us the nostalgia about those which CDs which we received with the computer magazines – those were the demo versions of interest. If we go back to the first movie of a very long franchise, it was also something of a lot of interest – things started to change only with the third movie, as the second one had also continued the proceedings of the world really well. The earlier Resident Evil franchise starring Milla Jovovich was indeed something of interest, even though losing its way with the story at times – yet, we are happy to have a reboot which can also come up with some interesting titles as it progress. Well, we know that we are all standing close to a biohazard created by human manufactured viruses, and corona virus might only have been the tip of the huge iceberg. As we heard in that original movie long ago, everyone is going to die down here.

Release date: 24th November 2021
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Hannah John-Kamen, Robbie Amell, Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia, Donal Logue, Neal McDonough

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ant-Man II

What is the movie about? :: A flashback tells the story of Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) who shrinks between the molecules of a Soviet nuclear missile which was launched during the Cold War, successfully disabling it, but was trapped in the sub-atomic quantum realm with no hope of returning. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) went on believing that Janet is dead until Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) became the new Ant-Man and discovered a way to enter and return from the quantum realm. Hoping that Janet might still be alive, they try to repeat the process of entering and contacting the quantum realm. But things get messed up when Scott joins the team of Captain America and fights against the other Avengers. For violating the Sokovia Accords, he is put under house arrest, while Hank and Hope moves away to avoid arrest.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Later, when Hank and Hope manages to open a tunnel to the quantum realm, Scott receives a message from Janet with whom he is quantumly entangled. After Scott makes a call to Hank, Hope takes him to their new hideout, where a new laboratory was set up. FBI officer Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) is in charge of checking him, but Hope sets a decoy at this home. As they consider the message as a confirmation that Janet might be alive, there is the plan to create a tunnel through which one of them can enter and bring her back. For the same reason, they are collecting the needed materials from the black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) who brings up a new deal to buy their laboratory, which Hope refuses. But he is not the kind of person who takes no for an answer.

And what is follow with the tale? :: But an attack from a masked figure follows, and both Scott and Hope are forced to be in a fight against an unknown force. This figure takes their laboratory which was in a shrunken state, and they are left with no other option to find Janet and bring her back. Hank’s former partner at SHIELD, Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) helps them locate the laboratory, but there is a surprise waiting for them there with the masked figure and a past that he had long forgotten. Their target also seems to be Janet, and now the question remains if they can get to her and bring her back before any harm is done to her. What is this incident of the past that has come back to haunt Hank? Is there an escape from this masked figure which seems to be able to walk through walls? With Thanos searching for infinity stones at another part of the universe and Avengers spread apart, is there hope for mankind at all?

The defence of Ant-Man and the Wasp :: Among all the superheroes, Ant-Man is indeed the hero with a difference. This one might also be the most family friendly superhero above the rest of the team. He has evolved into a big superhero from the shadows of those names which had become part of people, as this one is more or less the everyman character. We all missed him in Avengers: Infinity War, one of the biggest superhero movies of all-time. The quantum realm looks really great in 3D, and the action sequences with shifting size are too good. The battle on road is something special with everything happening so quickly and precisely. The movie is also a lot of fun. The use of humour in this movie is something to be appreciated. The new characters introduced here are also interesting, and this one nicely blends into the Marvel Cinematic Universe according to where Avengers: Infinity War has left us – you will need to wait for a few minutes after the movie finishes to know that.

The claws of flaw :: The superhero stuff has managed to be so big that Ant-Man with its nice little moments might not be that enough. These days, the superheroes are going for something so huge that this movie might feel rather small. It can also feel like a long introduction to the quantum realm, and a reason to introduce more characters. It is more or less about our expectations about superhero movies that define this, but such expectations have been working beyond one cinematic universe, and are those which cannot be avoided. The movie also lacks a strong single villain, as the danger here is related to survival, and therefore the lack of existence of pure evil or just evil can be seen. Maybe this movie could have released before Avengers: Infinity War – placing it after Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok or Black Panther would have been perfect, but with avoiding that scene in between the credits.

The performers of the soul :: Paul Rudd is as good as he has been in the form of Ant-Man and Scott Lang, being the likable character for everyone including the families. Evangeline Lilly who is most known in this part of the world for playing Tauriel, a Woodland Elf in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, makes a great team with him, and the two easily holds things together in this movie as a fantastic pair. She is surely proving to be the right choice for action and adventure movies. Michael Pena is a lot of fun in the movie, as he brings the humour with ease. Hannah John-Kamen as a character looking for survival, is a perfect cast, as she seems to reflect the emotions of the same incredibly well. Laurence Fishburne is solid as always, and we are always glad to have him around. Michael Douglas carries on the role without any difficulty. Michelle Pfeiffer also joins in here.

How it finishes :: We are never really tired of having more and more superhero movies. Avengers: Infinity War was such a big hit with records being set all around the world, and coming a long way up the list of highest grossing movies of all-time, following the box-office and critical success of Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok. Justice League might not have managed to be that big as Avengers, but DC Universe will also catch up very fast with Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman being all-time favourites in many lists. It is during these times of the big superheroes that the smallest of them all, Ant-Man and Wasp getting all the attention. Well, we wish for more superheroes, and having more of them on the list will only help the cause. This one is another entertaining entry in that list of memorable superhero movies, and if Ant-Man becomes a family favourite fun superhero above the rest, I wouldn’t be surprised either – it is anti-Deadpool and all that Deadpool will never be!

Release date: 6th July 2018 (USA); 13th July 2018 (India)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Hannah John-Kamen, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip Harris, David Dastmalchian, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.