Category Archives: Pop Culture

Amazon Prime, Netflix, movies and series I like, everything on this page is open for your reading pleasure. My genres of interest is anything under the roof but mainly Sci Fi, Cyberpunk, Action, Thriller and Anime.

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.

What 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.

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.

Story wise movie doesn’t give much to offer. Except the basic premise of survival and some flashbacks there isn’t much to say. Visual effects were also just acceptable. Certainly not that what is expected of this age. The pace of movie was rather acceptable, and father son combo was the selling point.
But what I think lacked much in After Earth, was the fact that Earth didn’t seem much dangerous to me. Mr. Night failed to get more dangers for the actor to fight against. And it felt like movie was cut short due to budget constraints at a later stage of production. This is why the time is took to built the pace seemed long, but the actual time devoted to Earth felt short and rushed.
Talking about performance of Jaden, real son of Will Smith, I have to say he needs much to learn. He is shown to be a boy who gets scared easily. But is later shown to gather courage to do what he sought out to. Its not like this is his fist cameo with Will Smith. He first worked with his father in “The Pursuit of Happyness”. But unlike that film After Earth wasn’t a Will Smith movie. After Earth can be said as Jaden’s role as a first billed star cast.
One thing I liked about this movie was the Soundtrack. It felt immersive enough. After all the music was created by James Newton, the man behind soundtrack of Batman Begins, along with Hans Zimmer.
Overall, movie didn’t feel something to drool over. But is worth a watch. Maybe when it comes out on DVD, or TV. But I liked it. It’s not a lot of times when you get to see a father and son movie that are father and son in real life.
Rating: 6 / 10.

Continue reading After Earth : Danger is real, Fear is a choice

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

I had low expectations from the movie before I went to watch it on Friday night with 3 of my friends. Owning to the title of the movie and Bunny (Ranbir), I thought this will be another cheesy bollywood rom-com film. First half of the film was right upto what I was expecting. Typical masala type movie with a dance number and awesome larger than life “Hero” character. But the humor didn’t disappointed, and there were many instances were we got the opportunity to laugh. Specially the tomboyish character Aditi (Kalki Koechlin, I like her), and his dialogues.
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Looper (2012)

Genre: Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller


If you know me any better you would know that I love Science Fiction. And Time Travel stories is what I live for. Maybe that’s why I was excited beyond my wits when I went to watch Looper.
Rian Johnson‘s Looper is a Sci Fi thriller based on the aspects of Time Travel. I won’t reveal the plot apart from quoting IMDb:

“In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.”

You get to know the plot in the first 10 min itself as a self narration by Joe played by “Joseph Gordon-Levitt” as a lead role. And then begins a story set 32 years into the future. It doesn’t take long before we encounter “Bruce Willis” played as the future Joe, which sets the  story in true motion.
What strikes the most is the low budget of the movie. With less than half of the budget of Unbreakable (another Bruce Willis movie from 2000 and the closest movie with which I can compare the two in terms of production value) I did feel it lacked the glam of Hollywood. But that doesn’t mean movie is bad. In fact story of Looper is quite original and which stands it out from the crowd of sequels/prequels that have engulfed Hollywood today.
Continue reading Looper (2012)

The Amazing Spider-man

Watched The Amazing Spider-Man today morning.

It was amazing. Despite that it was a reboot, I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were various aspects which made this movie less dramatic but more closer to reality. I got to know a lot about Spiderman then the previous franchise ever told. Since the movie covered some aspects of the Peter Parker’s parents, it felt more involving. From the childhood to how he managed to become Spiderman, the character development seemed phenomenal. But the role of Irrfan Khan totally looked like it was for namesake.

Whoever saying it contains less action is disillusioned, or maybe skipped some scenes while buying popcorn or something I think the action was justified. Granted not a lot of action sequences were done in broad day light like it did in the former trilogy, but that played a little role in making the movie a little dark and grim.

One of the things that I missed in this version of the Spiderman was the quote, “With great power, comes great responsibility”. But I totally loved the humorous side of Peter Parker. The appearance of Stan Lee was also funny! And Gwen Stacy (played by Emma Stone) was a welcome change. She was cute!

Also, I would like to say that it’s better not to compare it with the original Spiderman. Both have their places. Personally I won’t be able to tell which of them is better until the end of the trilogy (if it’s done). But the after credit scenes guaranteed a sequel that seems worth waiting for.

Totally worth the watch for me. Might also go for a second time, with a friend. Rating: 4/5.

Prometheus (2012)

Plot (from IMDb): “A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.”Let me begin by saying that I haven’t watched the original movies of the Alien franchise, to which Prometheus is being regarded as the prequel too. So I didn’t have any expectations or pre notions about the movie. But I was aware of the basic plot of the previous movies, which involved gruesome ways of their attacks.The genre of the movie says, it’s an Action, Sci-fi and Horror. Sadly to me, it seemed to fit in neither of the three perfectly.The movie begins slowly. Too slowly. And it’s not a complaint. I have seen good movies with slow start. But this one just keeps on dragging.

There was no character development so to speak. Except that of Noomi Rapace (Elizabeth Shaw, in movie) and maybe of Michael Fassbender (David, in movie).
I didn’t felt the story either. And I won’t say screenplay was any good either.
Speaking of horror, there was maybe just a couple of time where I was spooked but overall, saying Prometheus a horror movie will be injustice. And that is coming from someone who is not a fan of horror movies just because they scare the sh!t out of me.
The built up which is developed in the first half of the movie just doesn’t justify the climax. Almost everyone who will watch the movie will agree that the climax could have been a lot better. The way it ended it looked like I was watching the first episode of a series.
Something which is good and which was apparent from the trailer was the cinematography. It was good. But again not something we haven’t seen before.
Maybe these kinds of movies are just not my type. Maybe the ones who like “Alien” and its sequels may relate something to it… but for me, Prometheus was one movie I could have easily skipped if I haven’t got the chance to get the premiere passes.
Rating: 2.5/5
Continue reading Prometheus (2012)

The Avengers

Plot: (from IMDb)

Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki and his army.

My experience:

“The Avenger” as I expected was an amazing ride into the awesomeness that the best of Hollywood can offer.
The moment I saw the trailer of Avenger I knew it was going to be a unique experience. Fortunately I got a chance to catch its premiere in PVR Plaza today. Not many movies are built up on the foundations of movies from about 9 years into the past. And not many movies do it as successfully as The Avenger did.

Movie starts quite slow and begins from where it left in Captain America. But it soon gain pace once our heroes are introduced. And from then on, it only gets better.
My biggest concern from the movie was how will the screen time be divided in all those super heroes. But the movie uses it for the advantage and tells us an incredible story.

There are many references in the Avengers that alludes to movies which were a stepping stone to it. So the knowledge of all the characters will of course help to understand some of the subtle humor in the movie. Most of the humor was, as you could have expected, from Tony Stark aka the Iron Man. And many other are from the Hulk. And the rest was because of the cultural differences between the characters and was a bit foreseeable.

Visual effects was as expected mind numbing. Hulk showed a greater range of emotions due to the motion capture tech been implemented I presume first time in Hulk series. And we see Iron Man new ways to “Suit Up”! Speaking of Suit up.. we also have a character which was nice to have: Cobie Smulders (or Robin Scherbatsky) from “How I met your mother”! One sequence which send the shivers down the spine was when all the superheroes were shown one after another in once coherence fighting against the army of Loki. It was Epic! (and this is not a spoiler).

And one thing more. My 3D experience was not good. The active shutter glasses kinda felt like it absorbed all the colors from the movie. So I watched most of the movies without 3D and it was quite good. AFAIK, this movie was not meant to be 3D, and was converted later into one. So I felt it kinda ruined the movie for me.

I think it goes without saying that The Avengers is a must watch for all Marvel fans and anyone who have an appetite for a little super heroes! As for me, I am going to watch it again and this time in 2D since I feel it deserves a re-watch!

30+ Hollywood Movies to look forward to in 2011

(Read the original article at Techrepublic.) Last year has been an awesome thrill ride into the world of unknown and visits to the places, not even conceivable by human mind before. The Lovely Bones, took us in the life after death; Alice in wonderful took us to the aftermath of the original; Prince of Persia, took the game to reality; Inception took us on a ride inside dreams and the sequel of Tron, abducted us inside the digital world. While the past year did all that without even a slightest of hesitation, this year, 2011, the excitement is only going to rise.

Following is a list of 30 movies which any self-respected geek must make sure to watch at any cost in the year 2011, along with its storyline and the time of release.
Note: Some descriptions are from IMDB, and release dates can be tentative.
So buckle up and enjoy the ride…..

1. Sanctum (4 Feb) [ Action | Adventure | Drama ]
From James Cameroncomes another movie, that it bound to get all the attention it needs. This time, Cameron is going under water, and exploring maybe the only place left to explore on earth. While Sanctum was inspired from a real story, of survival of a crew of divers, from the underwater caves, James had informed, that it is purely a fiction. Sanctum is going to be 3D, a trend which has become popular with the success of Avatar in 3D.
Continue reading 30+ Hollywood Movies to look forward to in 2011

2012 – The End – Or Just the Beginning

2012 (film)Image via Wikipedia

12th December 2012:
“Water came rushing in from all sides of the island and submerged the complete city in one sweep. Huge rocks were falling from the skies and blasting like Atom bombs all over the mountains. Rocks started to melt like wax does in the coal and houses began to vaporize in seconds.
The minute longs earthquakes were shattering the landscapes, and buildings were collapsing like when a tower of cards crash when even one card is pushed from its base. Bridges were collapsing, trucks blasting and there was havoc everywhere!”

Just the words above can generate chills in the spine. Now imagine watching the destruction on 30 by 70 feet screen size and dolby digital surround sound. Oh, it has GOT TO BE one of the most Amazing Experience ever. And it was. So much so, that I had to watch it two times to get it through. Continue reading 2012 – The End – Or Just the Beginning

Inception – Dare to Dream

Leonardo DiCaprio at the Body of Lies film pre...Image via Wikipedia
The first thing which comes to mind after you have watched the trailorof Inception, is that you will see Leonardo DiCaprio on the Big screen! It’s a known fact, about him being a good actor, and its hard to imagine him without getting the record-setting “Titanicin mind. But I am glad to say that Inception may have broken this cliché, and instead many people would now remember him for Inception instead!
Although its very difficult to write a review of Inception, after just a single watch (ya, its that obscure), but this is just an account of my experience and knowledge while doing so.


Inception is all about dreams, and its invasion. Few people, has the technology to go inside someone’s dream, and steal what is called the most important thing in the modern world – Information or secrets. “Cobb”, the main protagonist of the story (of course Leo), has a job to use their dreams to extract the information, and hence he is called, “extractor”. As the story progresses we watch Cobb and his team  playing with the minds of people that they target, while Cobb trying to deal with his own secrets of his memories. That’s all is needed to Incept the idea of Inception in your minds.

Continue reading Inception – Dare to Dream