Category Archives: Movies

Amazon Prime In India: My views and a Catalog of Good Content

Important Note: This is not a promotional write up. Amazon’s not paying me to write this.

I always believed Traditional TV to be a very poor medium of entertainment. We want to choose what ‘we’ want to watch and ‘when’ to watch them, instead of letting the TV decide for us. With the pace of modern life, we want greater control on the content and timing.

Thankfully, traditional TV is now officially dead. Before we continue to the rest of the article let us take a moment of silence for the Traditional TV as our parents knew it!

Welcome Amazon Prime Video in India. With all the contents and shortcomings of it (coming below), I think the wishful thinking of a good and legal streaming service isn’t just a wish anymore. The introductory price of the subscription too, Rs 499 for a year comes to around Rs 41 a month, is highly welcoming indeed. Compare it with the most basic plan Netflix provides which is Rs 500 PER MONTH, and you can see why the price provided by Amazon seems surprising.

I have managed to start with the 30 day trial first, just to test the features of this streaming option Amazon Prime is providing. I did hear about some content being censored on Amazon Prime, but I can easily check the length of the video on IMDb, before deciding to add it to my watchlist. So far content wise its a bit of a let down, still I managed to shortlist various good stuff on my watchlist. I certainly hope new content will be added, and also browsing of content would be a bit better in future.

I tried to analyze the content provided under Amazon’s Prime Video. Here’s some from my shortlist. Do note that the genre I like to watch, which will heavily influence my opinion on the content provided by Amazon are: Sci Fi, Action, Thriller, Cyberpunk, Fantasy. I dislike Horror and (only) Drama shows in general.

Note: The direct links to the Amazon Prime website won’t work if you aren’t login to Amazon prime service. I intend to mention IMDb link in future if there’s demand.

Amazon Original Series:

This section contains few shows that I never heard. Some shows which I added under watchlist are following:

Amazon Prime Video is now live in India with aggressive pricing, local content catalog


The Man in the High Castle
(Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): A glimpse into an alternate history of North America. What life after WWII may have been like if the Nazis had won the war.

I didn’t add anymore shows from amazon original list, just due to my taste. But worthy mentions in Amazon Original series include, The Grand Tour, Hand of God and Bosch. Do consider that the 4th episode of “The Grand Tour” is highly censored.

TV Shows:

There are many TV shows on Amazon, thought I couldn’t find popular shows like Flash, Arrow or Legends of Tomorrow. But I found these good ones (with description from either Amazon Prime or IMDb:

Extant (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): a mystery thriller about a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family when she returns after a year in outer space. Her experiences lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history.

The World’s War (Documentary, History): British historian David Olusoga, along with other historians, narrates the story of millions of Indian, African and Asian troops who fought and died alongside French and British troops to help win the war against Germany, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.

Startup (Crime, Thriller): Nick Capelli emerges from prison into a world where his once strong mafia family has eroded, leaving him with no direction, but an uncontrollable need to try to recreate his past criminal life. In the modern world where the mafia doesn’t command respect like it used to, this series takes a look at what it would take for a modern crime organization to rise today. [I JUST ADDED THIS FOR Martin Freeman!]

V (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) stars in this reimagining of the hit miniseries from Scott Peters, creator of The 4400. “Visitors” appear in every major city in the world, promoting a message of peace … but could they be a threat to our existence?

Britain’s Greatest Generation (Documentary): Documentary series on the generation who fought or lived through World War II.

Fringe (Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi): An FBI agent is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena.

Best of AIB (Comedy, World Cinema: Indian): Do they need a description?

The Storytellers (Drama: Plays/Performance, World Cinema: Indian): Remember the good old days of sitting around a campfire sharing stories? The Storytellers is a modern day take on that. At a time when interactions primarily take place across screens, The Storytellers encourages people to look up and connect with one another by sharing their personal life experiences face to face, without inhibitions and with honesty.

Fullmetal Alchemist (Anime): On one fateful night, Edward loses an arm and a leg, and Alphonse losing his entire body in an alchemy experiment gone awry. From this point, Edward’s only concern is finding a way to return his brother to his body. He soon finds himself in the service of the government as a State Alchemist. It is here the amazing story of the youngest State Alchemist in history begins.

Chi’s Sweet Adventure (Anime, Subbed): Cause, Cats!.

People of Earth (Comedy): In this half-hour comedy about a support group for alien abductees, a skeptical journalist investigates their supposed alien encounters. The more he digs into their oddball claims, however, the more he realizes signs that point to his own alien abduction. The onetime outsider now finds himself part of this eclectic group of misfits, while struggling with the idea of life beyond our world.

Mr. Robot (Crime, Drama, Thriller): Follows Elliot, a young programmer working as a cyber-security engineer by day, and a vigilante hacker by night.
I guess Cyberpunk isn’t a genre anymore, but I was pleasantly surprised to have this show on Amazon prime. Although I am sure there will be censorship in this.

Dexter (Crime, Drama, Mystery): When blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan is not out solving murders, he spends his time as a serial killer who eliminates those who do bad things.

Constantine (Drama, Fantasy, Horror): Seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine is armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and a wicked wit. With the balance of good and evil on the line, Constantine uses his skills to find the supernatural terrors that threaten our world and send them back where they belong.

Wolverine and the X-Men (Animation, Action, Adventure ): The story picks up one year after the attack on Xavier Institute that caused the disbanding of X-Men and the mysterious disappearance of Professor X and Jean Grey. Wolverine must reunite his team to find out what happened that fateful night. Their position as mutants doesn’t make things any easier as the MRD (Mutant Response Division) is hunting down and exterminating them.

The Girlfriend Experience (Drama) : Christine Reade is a second year law student and a new intern at a prestigious law firm. Her focus quickly shifts when a classmate introduces her to the world of transactional relationships.
I don’t need to explain why I added this show.

Elementary (Crime, Drama, Mystery): A modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with the detective now living in New York City.

Movies:

I am surprised by the fact that I could shortlist only a few movies from the below list, but it goes on to show that movies catalogue is really small. I have added some worthy mentions below my watchlist.

Amazon Prime Video is now live in India with aggressive pricing, local content catalog

Mr. X in Bombay (1964): Shobha’s dad who is a scientist gets into a difficult situation after an experiment he was conducting goes wrong and kills his employee Manohar.
Indian Sci Fi movie from way back. I can’t miss to watch this.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001): In a future world, humans share aspects of their lives with companion robots called Mechas. But when an advanced prototype robot child named David is programmed to show unconditional love, his human family isn’t prepared for the consequences.
One of my all time favorite from Spielberg. Will watch this again and again until my last breath!

Saving Private Ryan (Action, Drama, War): Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out Of Water (Comedy, Animated): On a mission to save his world, SpongeBob SquarePants is headed to ours for the first time ever! When pirate Burger Beard steals the Krabby Patties recipe, SpongeBob and friends must unleash their inner superheroes in order to defeat a super-villian.

Sarbjit (Biography, Drama, History): Biopic of Sarabjit Singh, a farmer residing at Bhikiwind, Punjab, near the Indo-Pak border, crossed the border after having a couple of drinks. However, he was mistaken to be an Indian spy and was sentenced to capital punishment.

Worthy mentions for movies (which I have already watched): War of the Worlds (2005), The Godfather, Lemony Snicket’s Series Of Unfortunate Events, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, The Dictator, Into The Wild, Watchmen, Finding Neverland, Stardust, Paycheck, World War Z, Minority Report and Star Trek series.

Bonus:

The worst movie I could find on Prime: Journey to the Center of the Earth. Just watch the rating and review on IMDb. I do intend to TRY to watch this.

Conclusion:

I always thought how a Steam like model can be implemented for video industry, and how I would support it if the price is justified. Amazon’s Prime video seems like a good direction to go into and definitely the one streaming service subscribing is required to.

The most awaited movies in 2016 : Hype is real!

Below is a list of 21 movies to be released in 2016 that are most hyped. If you love Sci-Fi, Superhero, Adventure, Action, Fantasy and Thriller then this list should be on your IMDb watchlist. The list is arranged as per the US release date.

1. Deadpool

(Release date: 12 Feb 2016) [Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi]

Plot: A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers and adopts the alter ego Deadpool.
Marvel had a field trip with this character since months now, put in place excellent PR campaigns and been preparing for this movie since they got the Deadpool wrong in Wolverine movie. The hype can’t be more real than this and perfect to start the year!


2. Triple 9

(Release date: 18 Feb 2016) [Crime, Drama]

Plot: A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.
Added this out of league movie, just because of the tone from the trailer.


Continue reading The most awaited movies in 2016 : Hype is real!

Heroes: Ordinary People with Extraordinary Powers!

Heroes is an American series which aired during 2006-07. Each episode every week use to take my breath away. Heroes is back after nine years as Heroes Reborn. And this is when I felt nostalgic and decided to re-watch the first original season of Heroes. And damn I realized it was more awesome then I initially thought. This article is an account of my views about the breathtaking original season of the show.
Heroes_Logo

Heroes Season 1 : Genesis

It is where it started it all. A group of people from all around the world started discovering that they have powers. Claire, a 16 year old girl from Odessa, Texas, could heal herself after an injury of any extent, an ability known as Rapid cellular regeneration. Matt Parkman, a man from Los Angeles could read minds. Nathan Petrelli, coming from New York could fly. Niki Sanders from Las Vegas, had Dissociative Identity Disorder, that means she was two person in one. D.L. Hawkins, husband of Niki, could pass through walls. Peter Petrelli, brother of Nathan, could absorb powers from others and could do Anything! My favorite, Hiro Nakamura, could bend Time and Space, which means he could Travel in time. And then there was… Sylar! Like Peter, Sylar could absorb power from others too, but in order to do that, he had to murder the other person and eat(?) their brain. Its as disgusting as it sounds. There were other smaller characters with powers too. And all of them together had one role, that is to stop Sylar destroying New York.

Heroes Characters
(Clockwise from Top) Peter, Claire, Ando, Sylar, Nathan, Noah, Mohinder, Matt, Maya (not in first season), Hiro, Niki (or Jessica) and Angela

Season 1 was great. It slowly opened up the lives of people with extraordinary abilities and their reaction to it, while their lives crossed one another. And by the end each of the characters had some part to play. The story telling by the creator of the show, Tim Kring had a unique style in portraying the story and the character development. On the pretext of the power of time travel with Hiro, Kring use to take us to past and future in a blink of eye, thereby giving us glimpses of the story which would otherwise take many episodes to reach.

I can still not get over how the first episode of Season 1 of Heroes ended…

*mild spoiler begins*
Hiro is shown to have teleported to New York from within metro train in Japan. As soon as Hiro realize this and he reaches Time Square, he flung his arm in air and explains, “Yattaaaa!!!!” Everytime I see it, and in hindsight realizing what story is to be followed, sends shivers down my spine.
*mild spoiler ends*

Even watching Season 1 now, makes me think, that they had a plan. The first few episodes tells what exactly will happen. Rest of the season is just to answer, “how”. And boy does this season does that brilliantly.

In comparison to the first season I would not even want to talk about the rest of the season. So I would just summarize the rest of the season here.

Heroes Season 2: Generations
Several characters are introduced. Origins of “The Company” is revealed and something about a virus named “Shanti” threatens to kill most of human population.

Heroes Season 3: Villains and Fugitives
12 bad guys are escaped and hunt begins.. and something something.

Heroes Season 4: Redemption
Something I don’t even remember. And if I even remember somehow, I would probably want to forget.

Heroes Reborn Season 1: Awakening

Looking at the first episode of Awakening, it made me realize how great the Genesis was. So much so that I had to watch the Season one in its entirety to be dazzled again. But I am hoping later episodes can create that awe that original Heroes started. Although I am very skeptical.

cheerleader
Save the Cheerleader, Save the world!

What made Heroes Season 1 Special?

Coming back to Heroes first season, it seemed that it had a vision, and it had a sense of completeness. Right from episode 2, we knew how it was going to end. Every character arc was handheld maturely. Every character’s role was defined. Season one wasn’t pretentious. Every episode was allocated to unfold story arcs of a set of people. And when character used to cross paths, we knew it hold a pretty significant importance. The journey of Heroes season 1 and not just the climax was a ride into a world I can probably never forget.

Characters:

The characters in the original stories represented a wide variety of audience and was very balanced. On one end of spectrum we had a girl with dual personality – a rather dark tone, and a jolly Hiro Nakamura on the other end, with an ability that every one must have thought about when they were a child. At one end we had a man who was very doubtful about his ability to hear thoughts, and on the opposite end was a man who was confident about his ability to fly. At one end was a man who could absorb others power and still remain true by heart and on the extreme end was a man that could murder anyone for the lust of power. But midst all of these people with powers, there were people with no supernatural power at all. And what this show makes it interesting that those people are no less significant.

HiroNakamura
Hiro: The one who can bend time and space

Storytelling:

One of the best thing about the original Heroes is the storytelling. Yes, it had flaws. But the writers knew what they were doing and Tim Kring knew how to present the story in the most enthralling manner. To show the climax of the show in just the 2nd episode, sets a standard and the show actually stays put to it. The later seasons were met with bumpy roads and bigger plot holes. Many blame the writer’s strike that happened during later seasons but we may never know the actual cause.

CGI and Visual Style:

Half Helix Symbol
Half Helix Symbol

The effects in the show were practical, short but believable, subtle yet had an impact. The focus of the show was more on story than CGI, and hence CGI used was rather sparingly and wisely. For instance, when you have to show that someone was flying, you get the shots of building, panning and going up and down the streets. It makes ‘you’ imagine that you are flying. When Hiro needed to travel in time, the character just disappears and appears where it’s supposed to. Just like it would actually be for any Time Traveler who could travel in time just by thinking. The show didn’t need some flashy effects to show that. The use of paintings to show future (and past) was another practical effect that made the show memorable. You can use a painting to show as much or as little about the things to come in the show. As a viewer whenever you saw a new painting and the revelation which it brought, you were dazzled since you knew that its about to happen in near future. And don’t even get me started with the half helix symbol that if you can notice throughout the show.

Music and Sound effects:

This is probably the MOST important thing that makes the original Heroes memorable to me. Tim Kring gave the music directors total freedom to write music. And I must say the composers did a phenomenal job. Every character have its own signature style of music. Claire have a “dreamy” cue which shows the doubts and confusion that Claire have while she explores the extent of her abilities. Sylar had this distinct sounds of clock’s ticking to show how he have a knack to understand how things work like he use to understand and fix the complicated clockwork. Niki had a soundtrack that use to change to wind and Indian voices when Jessica use to take control to make viewers believe about her being possessed. Matt, who could read minds use to be depicted by voices in reverse. Hiro had a style of music that showcased an “urgency” and a sense of “unpredictability”. So on and so forth. Combined with other soundtracks of the show, makes for a pleasant visual cues that made us more aware of the show. Needless to say Music was a very own character in the show.

Peter from Heroes
Peter Petrelli: The man who can do everything

Narration style:

The start of almost ever Heroes episode began with a monologue and/or end with too. And most of the monologue was done by a character on the show who had no powers. Yet he was connected to almost every other character. This is Mohinder Suresh, a genetics professor from India who wanted to carry on the work of his father, Chandra Suresh. The monologue use to raise mostly philosophical questions. It use to tie every character under common emotion and use to help them connect on a spiritual level. The narration sometimes were also done by other characters, which would play a crucial role in the respective episodes.

Heroes is a tale of Superheroes, survival, courage, and friendship.

Heroes have a grave impact on my way of thinking. And when I re-watched the original series it grew over me. I realized the depth of characters more than what I knew when I watched it almost 8 years ago. And I hope Heroes Reborn do justice with the spirit of original Heroes. There’s so much to talk about this show.. but probably later. For the time being I will end this article with this quote from Sylar… the greatest villain of all time.

sylar_at_halloween
Tick tock …

Source for Sylar quote: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Sylar-at-Halloween-time-264240044

Bajrangi Bhaijaan: A surprisingly feel good movie

When a group of my friend insisted me to watch a Bollywood movie I had two choices. Salman Khan’s seemingly mindless flick, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” or an VFX intensive “Bahubali“. For my geek oriented mind the later was an obvious choice. But as it turned out choice was a myth and I was dragged to the theaters for Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

Now, I am not a Salman fan. I like him as a guy, but despise his movies a lot. At least which came out from past few years. So when I went to watch this movie I had totally zero expectations. The formulaic approach of releasing movie on festivals like Eid, I totally thought this was also going to be a mindless no-brainer and an insult-to-Physics action movie.

So believe me when I say that you have got to see this movie! It shattered most of my expectations and proved to be a game changer for his stereotypical role that had become of Salman in recent times. And I am not exaggerating.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a story of a Pakistani girl who gets lost in India, and later meet Salman Khan, who after some incidents makes reuniting the girl with her family his mission.

The little girl a child actress “Harshaali Malhotra” is one of the cutest I have ever seen. She is speech impaired in the story, but what she lacked makes up by her cuteness and expressions that won my heart many times over.

I was hooked right with the opening scene of the movie itself which I found commendable. When Salman is introduced in typical hero fashion (with a song) all those apprehensions about his recent kind of movie started to appear in my mind. But as the movie progressed those slowly faded away and what shaped till the end of first half was a movie I appreciated with my hands open. The character of Salman is that of the guy in Aparichit. A guy who doesn’t lie since he believes he is a true devotee of Hanuman. Little does it helps him achieving his mission.

There are many good actors who are also introduced slowly, like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, whose presence provided big comic relief to the movie in later half. Om Puri also have a small guest role.

What I loved about the movie is that there are situational comedy all over the film and yet it feels very serious. No character seems out of place or stretched. What I also loved about the film is that Salman isn’t a larger than life character and story shows him as a common man. Well mostly. It was obvious that Salman would kick some behinds of people but it’s only on one occasion in this film and if we spare some of the emotional drama that happens at the climax, this film was pure fun to watch.

One of the shots with Salman, the girl and Nawazuddin
One of the shots with Salman, the girl and Nawazuddin

On musical side, leaving couple of songs, every other song was good to hear. Song from Adnan Sami was a delight. Most of the songs was in the shape of background score which you can’t miss due to its tie up with the story. I only found one bad song about chicken but that was just an exception rather than the norm. And this is where you can take a break to have some air. But buckle up after that since rest of the movie will be some ride.

This movie on some levels made be speechless. Probably because I had some other expectations. If anyone remember the film Lucky: No Time for Love, which came out exactly ten years ago. Lucky had Sneha Ullal in lead female role and was one of the rare Bollywood movies that I totally loved. Lucky had a similar theme to that of Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Salman met Sneha in a terrible scenario of war, and made reuniting Sneha to her  family his mission. The film had a heart that touch on various emotional states of human mind on many levels. Bajrangi Bhaijaan greatly made me feel the same.

Salman with Harshali
Harshaali is a delight to watch

But while Lucky had failed miserably, Bajrangi I feel have the potential of being a blockbuster. At least I hope so since the taste I have for movies doesn’t always appear to be a mass favorite. Not a lot of Salman movies have impressed me, yet Bajrangi felt like a blow of fresh air. Something which I would have easily missed because of my presumptions. This movie is a must watch because of its story, its music and its characters. Also because of the glimpses of Pakistan that it shows in the second half. Its a must watch for its good intentions and because of the little girl that made me smile without even a single dialogue.

Predestination (Spoilers)

I was able to watch Predestination few days ago and the movie was every bit I was expecting. I started to draft this blog, but it took me a while to complete.

Maybe the cause of my fixation with Time Travel and having been read a lot about Time Paradoxes, I understood the “main plot” in one shot. Heck, I would even say that the movie felt a little slow even if it was clocked around 90 min, for what was it worth. But the reason why I put “main plot” in quotes is that while the plot is crystal clear in my mind, to be able to write this post, I watched it again just so to note more details that I may have missed the first time.

The least you know about Predestination more you will enjoy it. Hence this article isn’t actually a review but an analysis of the movie’s plot. Needless to say, if you are into Time Travel movies, it’s best to watch the movie first and then come back here in case you need to know what actually happened in the movie.

Spoilers from here:

Predestination is a movie that will be a cult classic for those who want to study about “Predestination paradox”, “Novikov self-consistency principle” and “Bootstrap paradox”.

The events in the movie have no origin, no middle and no end in terms of causality. But instead is filled with loops that have to be followed in the order it is to be performed. A girl is dropped to an orphanage, raised to become a women, had a sex change into a man, time travels into the past, falls in love with his female version, gives birth to a baby girl, and then turns into someone who becomes totally unrecognisable, who then takes the baby girl back to the orphanage, there by closing one of the loops the movie had. But the movie have so many such loops that it easily gets viewers confused.

I am wondering about the prowess of writers who manages to write such a plot. If we write the movie chronologically of how she grew up, the involvement of her future self makes it complex. If we try to write about it in chronologically of Time it will be more challenging since causality will be very difficult to explain. Hence for me to be able to decipher all the loops I will need some terminology to setup.

A = Jane – The baby girl.
B = Jane – The women
C = John – After sex change, Jane becomes a man.
D = Ethan – When John’s face is burned he becomes Ethan.
E = Old Ethan – When Ethan becomes the Fizzle bomber.
R = Robertson, the person representing SpaceCorp

Keeping in mind above terminologies here’s what happened in the movie, plot wise:

1. The film starts in 2-Mar-1970, with C. When he’s at the location of the bomb trying to defuse it. But E tries to shoot C. (6 shots are fired from both sides in total). C while defusing the bomb burns gets his face burnt in the process. D comes into picture here and helps C escape the scene by sliding the time machine to him. C escapes to 0900, 21-Feb-1992.

2. In the next shot we see D (who have just transformed from C) in the medical room. (BTW, here he says, “I doubt my own mother will recognize me”, which is foreshadowing the event when D meets A and B :D)

3. D starts with a job at the bar as a bartender (in unknown time). This is where C arrives in the bar and D was waiting for him. It is also here where C tells D his life till now. (BTW, at this point D tells him the joke about, “What comes first, the chicken or the egg?”, again foreshadowing the story).

C narrates D his story. And following events occur:

4. D drops A to the doorstep of an orphanage (0945, 13-Sep-1945).
5. A grows up into a girl. And she is confused about her gender since she knows there is something wrong about her. We will know soon what that is. She also wanted that when she would have a child, the child would have both a father and a mother, and so she vowed to be a virgin.
6. A grows up to B and is invited by R to join some kind of space program. (which we later comes to know that is actually not a space program but a way to recruit people who can travel in time).
7. But here B was rejected from the program since R found out that she had a two full set of organs: Male and Female. (We would know why later).
8. B then stumbles with C and since C is just a male version of B, C is captivated by her own beauty.
9. B gets pregnant from C.
10. C left B letting her sit on a park bench. (24-Jun-1963)
11. R shows up at B’s residence but founds out that she was pregnant, and again rejects B for SpaceCorp.
12. B comes to know about her weird body structure.
13. B gave birth to A, but someone steals the baby. (Later we come to know it was D).
14. And now, after some 3 major operations and many months later, B changes to C.
15. C now have a hatred for the one who ruined her life by making her pregnant.
16. C tried again to get enlist into SpaceCorp, but he was unsuccessfully.
17. C came to New York and started working as a chef but then she came up with the idea to publish articles under the pen name “The Unmarried Mother”. Reason that C was first a women, made her able to write so good with “women’s angle”.

18. D now opens up and says C that he can get him to meet the man who ruined her life, and “guarantee’s that he would get away with it”. (It is here that he asks “what if I am Fizzle Bomber, then proceeds to ask C if he’s a Fizzle Bomber, foreshadowing that Both are infact the Fizzle Bomber).

19. D time travels with C and brings him to 1705, 3-Apr-1963, gives him money and a gun and asks him to change clothes.
20. D also tells C to make the conversation to this time period, to its absolute minimum.
21. C then stumbles with B and realizes that it was himself who she met with in 1963. [Connected to point 8]
22. D goes to 1970 (0845, 2-Mar-1970), to stop E, the Fizzle Bomber. [Connected to point 1]
23. C is also there trying to defuse the bomb which E planted and while he tries to do it, he burns his face, (who then converts to D). (Exactly 6 shots are fired here, just like before). [Connected to point 1]
24. D travels to 2-Mar-1964, the time when B gives birth to A. [Connected to point 13]
25. D steals A, the baby, and take her to start of the story (0945, 13-Sep-1945) and drops A to the doorstep of an orphanage. [Connected to point 4]
26. D travels to 24-Jun-1963 when C is talking with B sitting on a park’s bench. D tells C that he would have to leave B. [Connected to point 10]
27. D takes him to 12-Aug-1985 and leaves him with the Tape Recorder where he have recorded instructions throughout his journey which would help C perform his work.
28. D would not retire and he wants to do that by going to 1975. R tells D that after he reaches to 1975, his field kit (time machine) would get decommission. D then travels to 1200, 7-Jan-1975 (date near to the blast by Fizzle Bomber) in preparation of his retirement.
29. The Time machine though, doesn’t get decommission depicting that he have a fully working time machine at it’s disposable.
30. D researches a lot on locating E, the Fizzle bomber and traces him in a Laundromat.
31. D recognizes E that he is “himself” but now aged.
32. E starts the conversation by saying “he missed D”.
33. E then tells D that he is not actually a Fizzle Bomber, but he have actually saved many lives using the Time Machine.
34. But all the persuasion proves futile, and D kills E.

35. The movie ends with a montage of all the phases of the protagonist’s life from, A -> B -> C -> D -> E.
36. In the very last shot before credits roll, D says “he misses C” like he mentioned before (or after) when he becomes E and meets D in Laundromat. [Connected to point 32]

Timeline Chronology:

Finally, taking into account all that that happened in the movie, here’s the actual timeline chronology:

13-Sep-1945 - Assumed birth-date of Jane (as per city records).
03-Apr-1963 - Ethan brings John to past in order for him to kill "the person who ruined his life")
24-Jun-1963 - When John leaves Jane on the park bench.
02-Mar-1964 - Real birth-date of Jane (as per the person's chronology).
02-Mar-1970 - Old Ethan plants bomb, John tries to defuse the bomb and Ethan tries to kill Old Ethan.
07-Jan-1975 - The date Ethan chooses to get retire
xx-Mar-1975 - The Main Bomb that the Fizzle Bomber manages to blast in New York.
xx-xxx-1981 - Invention of the Time Machine
12-Aug-1985 - Ethan have brought John to the 'facility' where he would get trained for 'the job'.
21-Feb-1992 - John traveled from 1970 after he gets his face burnt and becomes Ethan.

Predestination is an incredible and an excellent movie. It have got breathtaking attention to details and amazing execution of the paradoxes.

Ugly – A not so ugly film

I use to watch a few Bollywood movies. And then I saw Ugly from Anurag Kashyap. What followed next were a lot of surprises and regrets.

I was surprised since I never expected such a movie to be coming out from today’s Indian cinemas, and regret since I have seen very few movies of Kashyap’s movie before and none from the recent times!

Quoting from IMDb,

Ugly is a terrible tale of corruption, indifference, and systemic violence which starts when 10 year old daughter of an aspiring actor disappears.

Yes, the film’s as dark as it sounds. Just eleven minutes into the film the daughter disappears. What happens next is a reflection of the sheer terror of our own society. The film takes you on a spin ride that feels so real that you start to think you are a part of the film. The actors did such a phenomenal job that it surmounts the very definition of what acting means. You feel as if the story is being broadcast Live on your screen.

The dialogues of the Ugly doesn’t feel scripted out. In fact I would not be surprised if Kashyap didn’t give the actors any script at all. At some places it felt as if maybe he just explained the plot to the actors and let them speak their own dialogues.

Even though the theme of the film is dark it also have a lots of Humour, which gives the film a much needed comic relief. There are a lot of moments in the film which makes you chuckle so hard that you almost forget the dark premise. Special mention have to be given to the policeman in the film, Jadhav played by Girish Kulkarni. When he sings the Item number, “Tu mujhe nichor le”, I just burst out laughing.

And yes, the film does go in length to feature a fictional item number complete with a scene from the dance itself!

Ugly, doesn’t shy away from scenes which might make the viewers uneasy and dares to be different and while if it’s Kashyap’s signature is yet to be judged. Hence my next set of movies will be what I heard are best from Anurag Kashyap’s contribution to Hindi cinema, Gangs of Wasseypur, Bombay Talkies and That Girl in Yellow Boots.

While the title of the movie is “Ugly” the film is a beautifully directed by Kashyap. There maybe other interpretations of the title of the film, but I think it refers to the ugly side of humanity which always resides within us, lurking and trying to find any opportunity to show it’s ugly face,  no matter how much we try to ignore it.

In a nutshell, Ugly is a break from the normal rom-com films that Bollywood makes today, it dares to do what most other directors gets apprehended of.

It’s a dark movie at its finest.

Bollywood is filled with so much crap today that films like Ugly gets lost amidst the noise and fails to get the recognition it deserves among masses. Needless to say, we need more of these. Anurag just made a new fan following here.

End note: If anyone tried to spot cameo of Alia Bhatt in Ugly, she’s at around 42:31 but you may miss her in the blink of the eyes!

The Theory of Everything

A lot of time have passed since I last wrote a good movie review and after I watched Theory of Everything, I had this urge to write that I couldn’t contain.

The Theory of Everything is a biographical  movie which tells the story about the romantic side of Stephen Hawking and his relationship with his first wife, mostly unknown to the general public including me. Movies like this (based on some living legendary person) always feels a little diplomatic (like The Social Network) but are still, for the lack of a better word, interesting and also motivational.

In my teenage years I use to love all those documentaries on Discovery about theories with mind bending possibilities. It always use to take me to amazing realm of a world that remains invisible to the naked eye. Hence it was natural that I was expecting to be dazzled yet again and experience that once again on big screen. But what I saw actually was the story of him before he become a successful physicist. The movie is a story not about his professional work rather it’s solely focused on the personal life of Stephen Hawking. We got to know about how incredibly nice Jane (his first wife) was with Stephen. She was an incredible woman to sacrifice so much of her life for the love she had for Stephen. Her devotion towards Hawking for so many years was rather unparalleled.

I was expecting a cameo of real Stephen Hawking in the movie, but Eddie Redmayne, the actor who played Stephen did such an incredible job that the cameo wasn’t really missed. I haven’t watched other works of Redmayne but the portrayal of him as Hawking really transpired my imagination and felt like it was the real Hawking himself on the screen. The wife of Hawking was acted by Felicity Jones who was also good. Involvement of David Thewlis was a little distracting at first since I was used to see him as Lupin in Harry Potter movies. Guess what, he is a professor in this movie too and hence I didn’t find it out of character.

Anyone who have read the Marriages subsection on Wikipedia had already read the whole plot of this movie, since the story is consistent with what was shown on screen.

In a nutshell, The Theory of Everything is a Romantic and emotional film that grips you till the end, except when in second half you realize it’s not just a romantic film, but a Biography first. Even though having interest in Cosmology and Physics, I enjoyed the film very much. I got to know the personal side of his personality, about the man I have always adored as a cosmologist.

If I could reverse the time, I would still watch this film  and probably love it again.

Now, here are some Fun facts which I came to know after some research (no spoilers):

  1. Stephen Hawking is English, not American, as I discovered from this movie! What!?!
  2. At the end credits of the movie, the name of the casts which are credited are in the reverse order of appearance since “reversing the time” is the theme of the movie. So if you are watching this movie you may observe it first hand.
  3. Stephen Hawking owns the copyright to the “electronic voice” that he speaks through the computer!

Lastly, even though real Stephen Hawking doesn’t have a cameo in the film, he does lends his voice in the end of the movie reciting one of his most famous quotes. And while the quote ended on screen I could hear claps from some people in the audience. I gladly joined them with few claps myself. The quote was so overwhelming and profound that I think I felt the impact it created on my perception towards life. I would end this post with the same quote,

There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.

– Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking

Bobby Jasoos

While my choice of genre doesn’t really allow me to digest modern popcorn blockbuster Bollywood movies, I often tend to enjoy them occasionally if served with a good story and execution. I will have to say that Bobby Jasoos was not one of them.

Bobby Jasoos seems to be a half baked, self pretentious attempt in directing by Samar Shaikh and endorsed by Diya Mirza as a Producer, whose skills could have been better utilized as an actress to save this movie a little.

BJ-Poster-Landscape-1

The story of Bobby Jasoos is about a 30 year old muslim girl named Bobby, residing in the heart of Hyderabad city near the iconic Charminar. While she keeps herself involved in investigating cases in night and trying to get a proper detective job in daytime. She is having a rough time in securing clients as a detective, but luck takes a big turn as she receives an assignment that pushes her to her limits. Rest of the film is a riot as she tries to struggle her career as a detective and manage her family emotionally who doesn’t seem to be in favor of what Bobby does.

While the film seems to have so much potential what makes it fail is the treatment. The film starts of in a humorous tone and actually seems like to begin with the right foot. But as it picks up pace we are introduced some of the people that seems like a cliche examples of typical characters from all of the Bollywood movies I detest watching. Slowly the viewer is faced with slapstick humor, family drama and been-there-done-that events that feels like Deja Vu in the course of a family drama movie.

Songs don’t help either. Neither of the songs in the film leaves an impression on the viewers mind, rather give them a chance to take a break and catch up on sleep while they are at it. There is one particular song in the movie which I won’t specify to stay away from spoilers, and which I personally think was totally uncalled for in the situation. Perhaps the pacing or editing could have been a lot better, so as to give the movie a coherent flow.

In this movie Vidya Balan in the role of Bobby gets to change in a lot of getup (around 12) but most of them doesn’t help the story in much ways. It looks as if she was made to change just for the sake of humor. While the film can be considered short at just 121 minutes, it feels somewhat dragged occasionally, and fails to let viewers invest their emotions into any of the characters except of the lead character.

That being said, the film does have its moments but those are just a few. I would also say it was a daring attempt to try to execute a movie with only a female lead, who for the most part remains out of glamor, and where she is also shown to break free from many of the stereotypical role a women is portrayed in Indian movies. I would also have to admire Vidya Balan for her acting skills as she was very convincing in all of those getup she did onscreen. I would not blame the execution of the movie on her since the onus of the complete movie lied on her shoulders alone. And she did her role perfectly.

It would be fair to say that while the first half of Bobby Jasoos, raises viewers interest a little, second half helps it raise even further, but the final twist fails to live up to the expectation.

One more movie “Queen” was also released recently where the story was about a female lead who is shown to break free from various stereotypical roles, but it would be unfair to compare both of them, because while Queen was set up in vibrant and colorful foreign cities like Paris and Amsterdam and was more closer to today’s generation, Bobby Jasoos relates more to India and typical Indian family drama, and was filmed totally in the streets of semi urban parts of Hyderabad which gave the movie a special flavor of India, more closer to most of the people of the country.

Combined with all other things I would rate the film a 6 out of 10. Extra 1 to give bollywood a break from the male dominant masala movie and an attempt to create India’s own Sherlock Holmes.

Mawaru Penguindrum – Anime

I have watched a few Animes over the duration of a couple of years. I have watched Clannad, a beautiful comedy drama that make me cry many times over the course of two seasons. And I have watched Steins;Gate a science fiction anime which haunted me for days with its creepy “time travel gone wrong” images. But I have never watched an anime like Mawaru Penguindrum which was confusing yet engrossing with each passing episode, although after a period of time.

Mawaru Penguindrum is a story of three main characters: brothers Shouma and Kanba and their sister, Himari. The girl Himari has a terminal illness that causes her death just as the series begins. But a magical penguin spirit revives her from death on a condition that the brothers must find a secret stuff called, “Penguindrum” which would give her sister’s life for forever.

Mawaru_Penguindrum_-_19_-_Large_25What follows is a strange tale of complex story, subtle humor and dark pasts of the characters involved. What makes this anime unlike any other is the extensive use of Symbolism. Most of the flashbacks and even the climax are mere representations. This makes the series hard to understand since its difficult to decipher whats real and what’s not. But that is also what makes the series worth the watch. Since it relies on viewers to decipher the hidden meanings that it bestow.

One more contrasting thing about the series is its weird mix of childish humor with mature themes. The significance of the sexuality theme is once again left for viewers to decode and the one thing which have left me in awe.

Coming to music, there are a fair number of different compositions spread across the series. Two different opening theme songs, and nine ending songs. It also has three insert songs (the songs played in the middle). And all of the soundtrack are excellent, with my favorite being, “The Children of Fruit and Destiny” which I think is the crux of the series. Music amply complements the comedic nature of about first 12 episodes and the sudden pace of the tone and speed of the second half of the season.

You need to have watched a fair amount of anime to get used to the tone of Mawaru Penguindrum and to truly appreciate the genius behind it. This series is must watch for those who like to watch something different and not something clichés and formulated and its for those who like to figure things out rather than being spoon fed.

If you ever decide to watch Mawaru Penguindrum then one thing have to be kept in mind that the first half may deceive you. And you should hold on until the real plot starts to kick in. But be warned that when it comes it may catch you unguarded, while you frantically search for the answers, buried deep inside the minds of the characters.

I for one will need to watch the series again, cause I myself am not sure what actually happened with Himari and their brothers and how to interpret the climax. After all, the Penguindrum is not an easy thing to find!

After Earth : Danger is real, Fear is a choice

*** This review may contains Spoiler ***

Genre: Action | Adventure | Mystery | Sci-Fi

After Earth is a Sci Fi survival story of a boy named, “Kitai Raige” (Jaden Smith) who crash landed on a planet along with his father “Cypher Raige” (Will Smith), and have to survive various kinds of dangers that Earth greets the crash landers with.

I have to admit that the trailer when I saw it months ago, did get me excited. But fortunately I saw today that it was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and all my hopes were out. It was this low expectation that made the movie worth a watch.

After-Earth-2013-Forest-View

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Mr. Night, but he have a knack of making movies too boring sometimes. But fortunately his last movie “The Last Airbender” wasn’t his last movie as a director. So when I say After Earth wasn’t a total disappointment, I mean it.

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