Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Good, the Bad and Ugly- again

You might have read my previous post The Good, Bad and the Ugly. This time I have changed the order slightly. Just for a change. Its bad, Good and the Ugly...
The Bad
For Special Services by John Gardener:

Its 1981, the renowned British secret agent James Bond, passing middle age and his famous "license to kill" taken back, is facing the largest dilemma of his career as a spy- "whether to sleep with his old American friend's daughter"... Sounding comic?... Unfortunately this novel is, although John Gardener who takes forward the Bond legacy after Ian Fleming does not intend it to be so.... This installation of Bond is a bore... cliched...probably Gardner felt it is more appropriate for a movie version... saved only by a wonderfully written car race sequence.

Spectre, a criminal organisation Bond had finished off years before has re-emerged... and so has its leader Blofeld, whom Bond had supposedly killed years back. Either it is Blofeld risen from ashes or it is some one who carries on his work and name..... his sibling, son or.... (daughter?)
Come on ... prick, you just gave away the suspense...
(Who cares? No one is going to read this crap any way.. after all you have written about it... )
And Bond is sure this time Spectre is upto some thing nasty... ... (World Domination?)
Ok I dont think there is no suspense in this case... 
This time their hub is Texas...

So along with the daughter of his best friend Bond is deputed to USA, for Special Services, where a wealthy ice cream manufacturer Bismaquer  is upto something naughty in a huge ranch...the story progresses with many hurdles Bond and his assistant has to cross on their way... like
Nena... Bismaquer's wife, a single breasted French lady who is hell bend on helping Bond,  
Luxor, a corpse like assistant who tries to kill Bond in a wonderfully  narrated Race sequence...
Giant cannibal ants... and Huge pythons... and a drug which makes the consumed a slave of authority..

The plot is like a giant sieve with gaping holes... 
Gadgetry is weak.. the only thing he uses is... a rope and a hook while an elevator crash...
The worst part is were Bismaquer helps Bond escape from Spectre's clutches, because he turns to be a ... hm.... I know its weird... a gay...(HAHAHAHA)
Seriously... this book is a big joke.. read at your own risk....

 The Good
Shall We Tell The President by Jeffrey Archer 
Shall we tell president is a wonderful novel on terrorism written by Jeffrey Archer. It is highly entertaining and thrilling... The reviews compare him to alexander Dumas... and I feel it is rightfully told... he is a wonderful story teller.
First female president of USA has sworn in and her priority is Gun Control Bill, and within two years she is almost close to her aim much to the distress of big firms manufacturing guns and explosives for internal market... FBI recieves a threat for her life 7 days before the bill is put for vote... and within an hour among five people who are aware of threat, four are murdered... the survivor Mark Andrews is pitted in a race against time and a bunch of assassins, probably helped by a senator to save the Presidency... 
This is a must read novel... a real page turner with some serious suspense woven through

The Ugly
Patriot Games By Tom Clancy
Jack Ryan is an American History teacher on a visit to UK, where he rescues the royal family from a murder attempt by Irish terrorist... Although he becomes a hero over night, he makes himself and his family vulnerable to the most cruel and brutal  terrorist organisation in world... 
The plot is good and suspense is great but the climax was a bit of a let down... too far fetched, but it is readable stuff... pick it for a lazy afternoon reading....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Devil or Raging sea?

I was in a dilemma, I had read all the books available and had come to change them from that small lending library (Cherry), but the guy had not opened... He opens after 4pm... it was only 2pm, had to kill 2 hours and I was in-front of Liberty complex... with two choices- Pokkiri Raja or Haeundae : The Day After, a Korean Tsunami movie.. In between Devil and a raging sea I plunged head long into the sea... 

Thats how I ended up watching a B movie in theater, something that I never does... But with Pokkiri Raja playing I can let my guard down... literally..

Haeundae : The Day After is a disaster movie.... of course with minimal budgets and cheesy special effects and high on melodrama... Probably in Korea it is not a B movie, but when compared to Hollywood giants like 2012, or The Day After Tomorrow it is really Child's Play (pun intended). The only difference between the latter movies and the Korean effort is that this one has a story, whether it is bad or tolarable is another matter, but it had a story... now when it has a story it creates some human interest... and my problem was all actors looked same.. I was confused for around first quarter of the movie... They may be Korean Shahrukhs and Korean Kareenas but they where all looking the same. 

And there were a lot of characters... a divorced scientist who yells in every scene that a Mega Tsunami is coming and he has to save some lives, his wife who thinks that all this is a ploy to take her daughter away from her (I never got the logic of that), a fisherman who loves the daughter of another fisher man who was killed in previous Tsunami that happened in 2004, the girl who comes to know that he is responsible of her father's death, a life guard who helps a girl from drowning, a mayor who wants to buitl a shopping mall and is opposed by public.... almost more than half of the story deals with their love lives and trivia... 
Then Tsunami strikes...and all hell breaks loose... 

On the positive side... there are some scenes that are really inventive... like the one where the scientist rescue his daughter from falling from 17th floor of a building and camera zooms out showing the whole building... and comedy scenes are really hilarious... especially one on the top of a bridge where a container loaded ship is struck on the top rail of the bridge and a comedian runs and dodges from the stuff falling from it and escapes in hair width... and some emotional scenes really connects... one where all main characters looking out of the windows of their respective homes during a fireworks display showing their love to the place... 

And the best thing about the movie is it is not preachy don't have over the top heroism... characters are highly believable and tsunami scenes are far better than what they shown in Dasavatharam.. But its bit dragging, bit over sentimental and far less exciting as a disaster movie... my recommendation is watch if you are not having any other choice.. .(I dont consider Pokkiri Raja a choice!)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kites: Give it some patience

And I watched Kites today.. First day first show. Not intentional. I was planning to watch a movie today, came to Thalassery, nothing interesting was there... Pappi Appacha.... watched and got royally screwed... Pokkiri Raja, Alexander the Great... no use of watching them... Katha thudarunnu.... already watched....a Thai Tsunami movie.... cannot watch a B movie in theater.... Only new Malyalam release is "Mummy and Me" {another movie being made is called "Yakshiyum Njaanum"- Yakshi (a lady demon in a white sari roaming around killing people) and Me. Coincidence?}

Any way I dont want to see that.. Because Kunchako Boban is there in it... I dont like Hrithik Roshan, I hate his wooden acting, but I detest Kunchako Boban... I may go to that movie if some one says it is an exceptionally good one and Kunchako is only doing a guest role in it... or better he dies in climax... still better he dies some time before that... best being before titles start... Like they do in old Amitabh Bachchan action flicks where his father, invariably any bad actor of the times, is killed before title starts, so that conveniently Amitabh can take his revenge by the time of end titles and save the movie from the hamming of the actor who happens to be his father in the movie....

To make it all short, by 11:30 I found myself parted with my Rs 35 (thats what I love about Thalassery.. ticket rates are too less here...) in old Liberty theatre... waiting for the movie to start..

Now about Kites... to tell the truth it started very slow and uninterestingly.... when a romance scene was going on, I was busy planning what I should write in this post which is a bad sign for any movie. But then things started looking good.... The story started picking speed some time before the break and turned suddenly to an action thriller to my surprise... lot of chases and gunshots....
It is the story of a Dance instructor (the reason is to show off Hrithik and it is no way important to story) who marries immigrant girls, helping them to be eligible for green card and earns commission. He succeeds in wooing a rich man's girl (Kabir bedi and Konkana) for money. Later he learns that her brother's (a mean man with a badly trimmed beard with an even worse Hindi) fiancee is a girl whom he had married recently (Barbara Mori), and she is also in the game for money. Things starts brewing between them(evidently because they drink lot of champagne when together) and they decides to elop... Now this is expected because story is written by Rakesh Roshan who made a married Madhuri run away with a mute Shahrukh in a dump Koyla... But again praise to the director... we get lot of good moments on their way making the movie worth watching... best ones being their language barrier, Hrithik speaks only Hindi and English, while Barbara even kisses in Spanish. The climax is well built with some wonderful and captivating editing...

Well, all praise to the director Anurag Basu, who showed much restraint in not turning it to an art movie or into a Rambo ripoff, ensured that half the movie is shot in slow motion so that it won't be over before interval and never goes overboard with Hrithik, Barbara and others (he should get a best director award atleast for not giving Kangana a bigger role) Kites is a well made movie but you have to give some patience, its much slower than you can imagine... and not lose heart initially by a wooden Hrithik in romantic parts, it could have been worse, thank God it was not Shahrukh...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reality bites

A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr:

This book, based on real story of a civil litigation happened in USA is a thrilling account of legal action that can give any well written legal thrillers a run for their money. It is the story of the crusade of a young and flamboyant lawyer against two huge industrial corporations, greedy lawyers representing them, a partial judge, prejudiced jury and everything that went wrong against him... It is interesting and same time depressing, some thing that gives us the message every thing need not go always right in life.
When many children are affected by Leukemia in Wobourn county, a concerned parent decides to check out the reason and suspect the polluted drinking water. She decides to take legal help against pollution of water by two big industries in the county. Defending the chidren becomes the job of a boistrous, Porsche driving young lawyer, Jan Schlichtmann, who enters the scene lured by fame and millions of dollars, and later on it becomes a battle to give justice to his clients. A legal battle where justice is at stake and greed and corruption is the driving force. A battle that turns Jan Schlichmann bankrupt, Quixotic, and almost insane... But it is an account of how a man can make the difference in a corrupt world.. Although Jan loses everything, his house, his firm his car and almost his saneity, he does his job of disbursing justice.
The book is adapted to a movie starring Travolta and Duvall which althogh was critically acclaimed, never became a success commercially.

The Feather Men by Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, an ex SAS agent and explorer (it seems once the guy was pissed off by frost bite during a vigil and cutoff his affected leg with a saw) chronicles the true story of a secret, covert organisation of SAS agents hell bent on protecting ex SAS secret agents...
In Dhofar, Oman, a dying Sheikh recruits a secret organisation calling themselves the Clinic, lead by a lethel assassin to enforce Tha'ar ( revenge) on the killers of his sons killed in battle field, so that his political and economic aspirations for his surviving son in his tribe is realised. The clinic starts its operations in 1975 and by 1990, 4 british officers who worked in Dhofar are killed by causes diaganosed as natural. What the clinic never realised was that a secret British organisation The Feather Men are behind their heels to track them down and do justice to the four officers. They fails four times and the last chance is now to prevent harm being done to a writer and SAS agent who is also destined to chronicle their extra odrdinary story.
Heard a rumour that Jason statham will do the role of the leader of assassination group in the planned movie version.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Good, Bad and Ugly- 3 Novels.

The Good

First among equals by Jeffrey Archer:
How interesting would you expect a book to be that deals with the life of three aspiring British politicians (I read the US version of the novel, but in UK version there are four guys competing) told parallel with the ups and downs they face in personal life, career, in elections and in Parliament in a story spanning around forty years? Sounds boring? Believe me, when Archer tells the story you wont be able to stop reading....
It is early 90s and British King is in a predicament. Elections are over and there is a tie. He has to consider the prime minister candidates and call upon one guy on whose shoulders the future of the country is to be for the next term. There are three names to be considered, but one of them already out of the race and he has to chose the first among two equally talented men.... Then plot goes 40 years back. The political lives of three totally different individuals, from different backgrounds are chronicled. And the best thing is that the suspense is broken in the last sentence... So my recommendation is grab the book and start reading...

The Bad

Insomnia by Stephen King
An 80 plus year old guy is stuck by severe insomnia after his wife's death. He starts seeing auras and stuff around people. And one guy whom he likes goes nuts and beats the crap out of his wife.. and the whole town divides and fights over a speech to be given by a abortionist... and he starts seeing some bald headed men in places where people dies and he dont know whether he is insane or is it others who thinks they are normal...
I had never read any Stephen King before, at least not fully, read Pet Semetry some pages and then Cujo some pages. I like him because of movies like Shawshank redemption and Misery. That was the reason I picked up the book. But it is no fun.... No terror, no suspence.. lot of bizarre things happening in 660 pages and after some time you dont care what happens...


The Ugly

Presumed Innocent By Scott Turow:
A public prosecutor is raped and murdered. The prime suspect is her colleague who once had a relationship with her. Presumed Innocent is a chilling story of an innocent man who has to prove himself innocent despite of all evidences and witnesses who are against him. What follows is a breathtaking journey through a maze of rape, lust, corruption and murder where all soft spots- love, loyalty and companionship are buried deep. Suspense is top notch...
Only reason why I categorized it as ugly is that a reviewer has compared it to Hugo which is pure stupidity. This is just a good thriller told wonderful and thats it... Nothing classic...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Close encounter with a Star

Last day I went to watch a Malayalam movie, "Katha thudarum" (The story will continue), directed by Sathyan Anthikad. It is a nice movie, simple and one that has a story worth to be told, a rarity these days considering the cinematic excuses churned out of the movie industry in Kerala. I was in Thalassery waiting for an email and had to kill the time. The movie hall offered a good refuge from the hot climate as it was air conditioned.

The rush was minimal because two big movies where being screened in nearby theaters. When I entered the movie was started and I somehow found a comfortable seat scouting in pitch darkness. The movie was coming around beautifully.. It was the story of a Hindu girl marrying a Muslim guy without permission from parents and are ostracized from families, living independent. The guy is killed and the wife and their small kid comes to road... and as usual Jayaram, the good Samaritan rickshaw driver helps them out...

The person sitting next to me was quite a disturbance, unrest and mumbling something inaudibly, but eyes glued to the silver screen. A crowd scene was going on... suddenly the guy give a very small jump from his seat, turned to me and said, "I was in that scene...". Now I knew why he was acting like a dumb-ass.

"I had worked in this movie for about 20 days" he told me.

"Are you there in any more scenes?" I asked.

"Ya , I am there in some more".

Through out the whole movie he was searching for crowd scenes because only in such scenes he had a chance to appear. And other times he was showering movie trivia on me, about locations and co actors.

During Intermission he shown me the photos he had taken with Innocent, Jayaram and all. He was a man of around 50, lean, around 5'6", a beard trimmed neatly wearing a good looking shirt, a lined jeans and with a small hunch back... He had acted in other movies also, he did a bit scene in Pappi Appacha.. where he helps Innocent when the latter is stabbed by the villain. He has also done the English movie from which Thilakan was kicked out...

After the interval he was able to locate himself in the background of a scene... some serious, emotional stuff is going on and he walks in the background from one end of the frame to another end, half naked, with a Lungi on and a ladder in his hands, probably as a coconut tree climber. He was very happy that I could recognize him... and I was also happy .. it is not an every day occurrence, watching a movie sitting next to a 'star' even if it is a shooting star.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Santa Jokes...

Not feeling like blogging .. So enjoy some cut and paste job:


Q: Why does a sardar study in front of mirror?
1) It saves revision time.
2) He likes combined studies.
3) Lastly he wants someone to keep an eye on him.....


Sardar's dad died and he was crying. After a couple of minutes sardar cries louder.
Friend:- What happened now?
Sardar:- My sister just call me. Her dad also died......


NASA ne 3 sardaro ko chand pe bheja, rocket uda magar adhe raste se vapas aaya.
Unko pucha gaya to bole... : Aaj amaswas hai chand to nahi hoga.......


If sardar wants to dial 9449494494.. how will he dial........?
He will first dial ..... 94494
and then press "REDIAL".....................

Waiter gives bill to Sardar ji.
Sardar: Take this card.
Waiter: But sir, this is Ration Card
Sardar:So what? You have written ALL CARDS ACCEPTED.......

Sardar: Mujhe phone pe dhamkiyan mil rahi hai
Police: Kaun de raha hai
Sardar: BSNL wale, bolte hai ki agar bill nahi bhara to kaat denge......

Once a Sardar was roaming in the jungle
Suddenly he saw a snake hanging on a tree
Sardar went a little closer to the tree and looked at the hanging snake
And he said: "Aise latak ne se height nahi badhti, mummy ko bolo COMPLAN pilaye.. "..

Sardar and Wife were waiting for the train
Itane me PUNJAB MAIL aayi,
Sardar bhag ke train me chad gaya aur wife se bola
Jab PUNJAB FEMALE aaye to chad ja....

Chota Santa Singh Road pe Potty kar raha tha..
Police ne use pakkad liya.
Jab Use le jane lage to Santa bola : "Oye Saboot to utha lo.... "

Santa: Parso meri biwi kuwe me gir gayi, bahut chot lagi, bahut chilla rahi thi.
Banta: Ab kaisi hai wo..?
Santa: Ab theek hi hogi, kal se kuwe se awaz nhi aa rahi hai..


Monday, May 3, 2010

Two novels by Female writers

Keeping Faith By Jodie Picoult:
Heard a lot about the author and her novel My sister's Keeper which was made to a movie. So while taking this one to read I had some expectations. Even though there is good suspence and emotions I personally dislike the novel. I normally dont like the faith, church, miracle stuff, and there is no serious discussion on any of this in this book. A Jewish child just after her father walking out of their home when caughted red handed in adultery begins experiencing some out of the world experiances. She sees an imaginery friend, recites passages from Bible, gets stigmata and shows healing powers. Her mother wants to protect her from the media frenzy , her father feels her mother who was mentally unstable some time back is behind this and wants the kid back, an atheist TV reporter desperately wants to prove it a hoax, Christian priests wants to know why a Jewish kid is selected for this, and thousands of devotees flock to their home making a mess of their lives. Their is nothing wrong with the story or narrative but I am not for the Faith stuff.....

Kaleidoscope by Danielle Steel:
An old and dying attorney approaches a private detective for finding three women who happened to be sisters at their birth. They where separated long time back because their father who was once a soldier while marrying their mother who is French, and later became a highly successful actor killed her. They were adopted by three different families in three different parts of the world. The attorney feels that he could have avoided the tragedy and wants to amend his misdeed before his death. The detective starts a race against time to confront the sisters who dont even remember their ill fortune.
It is a good story, but only problem is that all characters are basically of two types, those who have an ego and those who dont. This difference is responsible for all the twists and turns in the story, which makes it sort of preictable.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dance to the tune

I read this Japanese novel by Haruki Murakami, 'Dance dance dance' last day. It is supposed to be sequel to 'Wild sheep chase'. The novel portrays the surreal adventures of the protagonist, a nameless self employed copy writer. It deals in loss and abandonment of human relations.

Copywriter dreams regularly about the Dolphin hotel, which is a cheap dirty place where he had lived with a call girl lover Kiki, who is missing from then. He feels she is searching him, through dreams. He is 34, divorced, not a salary man, doing odd jobs (Shovelling cultural snow- in his words) and alone. He decides to go to the hotel, which is now turned in to a 26 storied huge establishment under new management. There he encounters Sheep Man who is responsible of connecting the things in his life (whatever tht means). Sheep Man advise him to continue dancing to the tunes.

On his search for his lost love he meets an array of queer characters, the hotel receptionist whom he falls for, a complex 13 year old kid who foresees problems, her confused parents, a movie actor who is typecasted as a docter or teacher, a one handed poet and a call girl who was a colleague of Kiki and who gets brutally murdered. Our hero dances to the tunes played to him and finally all secrets are bared.

The surrealism is quite subtle here, much toned down from Kafka. Kafkan influence can be seen when he is interrogated for murder of the call girl. He even says he was reading The Trial when officers come to his place.

What I liked about the book is the attitude of copy writer- staying put and waiting for things to happen in its own course which is what Sheep Man means by dancing to the tunes. I think novel is a parable on adapting to an advance technology. The protagonist is a man of 60s who goes through the advancement of capitalism in mid 70s, he views the change in attitude and takes his time to come in terms with it.