Friday, April 24, 2009

Where is the justice?

I usually stay away from politics - Mostly because I feel discussing it is a waste of time. However, sometimes, it just cannot be ignored and certain events just have to be discussed, the primary reason being that these events are used time and again to play hate-politics.

Came across this wonderful eye-opening article that is a textbook example of how sensitive topics should be handled - factually.

I warn you that it is long, however, I strongly urge every self-respecting Indian to read it fully and after reading to spread awareness about this. After all what is the point in simply reading stuff just to kill time!

Riotous Reportage: Gujarat 2002
Sandhya Jain
18 April 2009

The author is Editor,
PS: Had posted the entire article here, but then it could be a copyright issue! So pls read the link instead!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Roadies - not the show!

U know how the bikers try to squeeze into any available space on the road. Well, one of them tried to squeeze in front of the swift and royally nudged the bumper. The guy looks at me in the eye, looks at the bumper and does not even apologise! Such incidents are a common occurrence in every city of India, and in many places, they are also accepted. but not in Bombay! And certainly not when the guy does not even apologise! Several maneuvers later, his bike is at 90 degrees to the direction of the traffic and smack in between a cab (ahead) and the Swift!

I got pissed. Had every right to. I thought, well, the bumper is screwed, why not fuck him up a little and teach him a valuable lesson.

I put the car in gear and drove it a few inches ahead. The pillion rider looks up and hits the hood of the car - as if I didn't know what I was doing. Bugger now had his finger print on my car too!

I get encouraged by the banging and moved ahead a bit more and rev up the engine for special effect. That did the trick. Now the pillion rider gets scared and moves both his legs to the other side of the bike. The guy driving the bike gets off his vehicle and comes up to me.

I said "Well, it looks like now I have your attention. Next time don't squeeze in front of cars and drive with some dignity. And don't forget to say sorry if you scratch some one else's car. You can go now".

The bugger went away without uttering a word. At least he did one thing right! I got out and guess what? Not a scratch on the bumper. Apparently they must use good paint at Maruti, huh!

If only everyone drove with just a little common sense, there would be at least 1/4th less traffic-jams on the street!

This post is also a comment on this post! It is during times like this that I wish I had wings! But then I look at the population and think, there would be a jam up there too!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More electrifying than the first! Movie review Crank 2 : High Voltage (2009)

If you liked Crank, you will love Crank 2 or Crank: High Voltage!

Yes people, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have made my favourite movie even better and now its even electrifying-ly funny(pun intended!).

The movie is Rated R for frenetic strong bloody violence throughout, crude and graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language.

The movie is produced by Lakeshore Entertainment and Lionsgate (Lionsgate is the same company that produced the SAW movie series! Exciting bunch of people they are!)


Jason Statham is Chev Chelios, this time he loses his heart! (not figuratively, but literally!) [Check out the pic]

Dwight Yoakam is Doc Miles, who still has massages from nude ladies and has "Chocolate" for his receptionist. (Any guesses as to why she is called Chocolate?)

Amy Smart is Eve - still blond, but now smarter (lives up to her name, eh!) and savvier (she now has an iPhone) Did I mention she is a stripper?
Corey Haim is Randy - Randy is a pimp, ladies n gentlemen!
[You can see Eve tossing Randy on a car in the pic]

Efren Ramirez is Venus - he is Kaylo's twin brother - also gay with FBT - Full body turrets!

Reno Wilson is Orlando (Again, I forgot who he was... He must still be unimportant!)

Keone Young is Don Kim - a syndicate leader

Art Hsu is Johnny Vang - A guy who is carrying Chev's heart in a ice box! (yep, seriously!)

Ling Bai is Ria - a prostitute saved by Chev who is now smitten by him [Pic on right]

David Carradine is Poon Dong - A 100+ year old mafia honcho who wants Chev's heart and other "well endowed" body parts to keep living his racy lifestyle!

Billy Unger is Young Chev - Watch out for the talk show part in the movie. Its too funny!
Jamie Harris is Talk Show Host and Geri Halliwell is his mom.

Joseph Julian Soria is Chico - A gang .. oh well, see the freaking poster on the left.. lol!

The plot is once again, super simple - Crank 2 starts where Crank left off - Chev falls from a chopper, bounces off a car and lands splat on the street! Before the medics can get to him, he is scooped off the streets (literally with a shovel!). Having survived a deadly Chinese poison - the Beijing cocktail, the gangs want him for his body parts, starting with his heart. So they cut him open n take it and replace it with an artificial 4 chambered battery powered one! (Seen on the left. PS: The heart used in the movie is an actual artificial heart!)

Unfortunately, the heart is designed to sustain the person and is not meant for vigorous, stressful activities! And if you know Chev's lifestyle from Crank, its anything but peaceful! The external battery sustaining the heart is ruined in 10 minutes of him getting it. The internal power only lasts for a short time before the 4 chambered plastic pump would stop. Chev has to keep him self electrically charged by any means necessary to stay alive! The premise has now been set for a lot of weird, shocking, funny moments in the movie!
Oh yes, he also has to retrieve his original heart that has been implanted in Poon Dong after killing a bunch of people while trying to stay alive! no problem at all.. lol!

Like its predecessor, this movie too has its share of unrealistic moments and pushes the 'reality' envelope a lot many times! People who have not watched Crank and who do not know what to expect will find asking themselves "What? How is that possible?". But for the fans of Crank, its all good! Why you ask?

Because this is Crank 2! People going to watch this movie would expect to see something shocking (another attempt at pun), violent, crass and outrageous! They would expect the "in-your-face" outrageous-ness! Without showing these things, the movie would not be fit enough to bear the title of Crank!

********** Warning! Spoilers ahead!!!!!! **********

Here are a few reasons why you should watch this movie!
1. It has Jason Statham in it! The guy simply knows how to entertain! I like his sarcastic dry wit displayed throughout the movie!
2. Random violence!
3. Random nudity!
4. Boob busting moments - A stripper gets shot in the tits and the silicone oozes out of her boobs! Excellent premise for Crank 2 the video game for ones with a twitchy trigger finger!

5. A sex scene on a race track where Eve 'rubs' against Chev to generate static electricity to keep his heart pumping while he is pumping her and a horse jumps over the pair in heat! (How freaking cool is that!) I was LMAO in the movie with the others viewers! (A semi drunk girl even shouted "oh yeah" in the audience! lol)

6. The violence is so big, the directors had to resort to clay-like animation to depict it! It was so freaking cool for me coz it reminded me of the 60's tv show for kids called Giant Robot (It was aired in the 80's on good ol' DoorDarshan!)

7. It has bare chested men of all sizes - tattooed, fat, fit, scrawny, muscular! take your pick and ogle away ladies! (don't miss the tongue and nipple clamp on Chev on yer right) ;-)

8. The titles are in retro-cool 8-bit graphics!
9. There are 2 heart surgeries shown in the movie! A must see for every self respecting wanna be heart surgeon :D
10. It depicts a strike by porn stars. The banners n chants are hilarious!
11. Its a Jason Statham movie and its Crank! Satisfaction guaranteed baby! 'Nuff said!

Watch it and have some cheap thrills and lots of racy, violent, electrifying action! Its a pretty cool movie!
6.5/10 for regular viewers
7/10 for action movie fans
7.5/10 for ones with a quirky sense of humor
8/10 for fans of the series!

Action packed adrenaline pumping movie !! Movie Review: Crank (2006)

When the movie is "Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use", the audience is pretty much forewarned that this movie is not a family drama, right? So whats the point in trying to write a clean revu of a dirty movie. Here is your warning then....

Warning ! This revu is only for adults. It contains crude language along with references to drug use :-) If you cannot handle foul language, better stop reading right now - no sh!t !!

"Crank" is a smelly, yellow form of "meth" that is usually snorted. However, this review is about the movie by the same name and not about the crude form of "crystal meth" used for addiction and for getting high. For news on crystal meth see -

Jason Statham ... plays Chev Chelios, a professional assassin who gets poisoned and has to keep himself pumped with adrenaline to stay alive

Amy Smart ... plays "Eve", a dumb blond bimbo who is slow in getting things in perspective but good for sex !

Jose Pablo Cantillo ... plays Ricky Verona, a rival of Chev Chelios

Efren Ramirez ... plays Kaylo, a gay-funny-filler-type character in the movie

Dwight Yoakam ... plays Doc Miles, a smart resourceful doctor who fixes up Crazy Chev and likes getting massages from nude ladies

Carlos Sanz ... plays Carlito, a two timing syndicate leader who deals in drugs, guns and prostitution

Reno Wilson ... plays Orlando (I forget who the hell he was.... must be unimportant... )

Edi Gathegi ... plays an Haitian Cabbie driver who gives Chev some Haitian drug made from plants (he refers to Chev as a crack-head and calls the drug "Haitian plant sh*t".... LOL)

Keone Young ... plays Don Kim, another syndicate leader and a rival of Carlito whom Chev is supposed to kill

Valarie Rae Miller ... plays "Chocolate" (yeah.. that's her name). She is Doc Miles’ assistant cum receptionist (pun intended) and is unscrupulous

Yousuf Azami ... plays an Arab Cabbie (he has a scene involving a reference to Al-Quaida that happens so suddenly, its funny)

Written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, Produced by - Lakeshore Entertainment, Lions Gate Films, Radical Media and GreeneStreet Films; Crank is a bad-a$$ action packed adrenaline pumping funny movie that will get you high !!

In the plot, the lead character gets poisoned with a Chinese drug called "the Beijing cocktail" that has no antidote. The drug is inhibiting the absorption of adrenaline in his body eventually shutting down his heart and killing him. To stay alive, he has to keep himself pumped with adrenaline. This leads to a series of crazy events as the protagonist tries various means to stay pumped up while trying to stay focused at the same time and extract vengeance on the people who have poisoned him. While this is certainly not a whodunit, I’ll still only say this much about the plot as you’ll want to see and enjoy the rest yourself.

The plot is slick and simple ! No need to use too much brains... This is a movie that you can just sit back and enjoy. However, its not brainless either - It has repeat value !! I have seen it multiple times and it has managed to keep me in splits each time !! That's how a good action movie should be. It should keep you well entertained amidst all the violence and Crank does just that and does it beautifully !! There is not dull moment in the movie. Once you get into its groove and move along, the thrill ride it’ll take you to is spectacular !!

I liked the movie as i’m a fan of Jason Statham. He is like our own Sanjay Dutt (an actor from India) - A cool bad a$$ who is like able !! His movies are crazy, but they are guaranteed not to bore you and the action is cool, humor is dry and sarcastic and the dialogues are even cooler. You will be entertained... period !! Fultoo paisa vasool !!

The movie has its share of goofs and some are very obvious. The lead character gets shot, but is later seen walking normally. While falling from a chopper, he has enough time to call his GF and leave her a message on the answering machine ... (yeah right !!) Point is - This is not a technically perfect movie and you have to take some scenes with a grain of salt. Although existent, the goofs are few and far in between and I still recommend the movie in spite of these goof-ups.

Top 10 reasons why should you watch this movie ?==============================================================
1. There is a car driven thru a shopping mall that winds up sideways on an escalator.
2. There is a sex scene where the protagonist screws his literally Blond girl-friend in a china town with a bunch of teenage school girls watching and cheering him on !
3. There is a lot of drug use in the movie.
4. It has a Nokia phone in it with a really cool ring tone that generally wakes up the lead character after he has passed out while doing his many crazy antics in the movie.
5. It has a lot of gun action and a couple of cool car chase scene.
6. It has 2 hand chopping scenes and one scene where a sewing machine is used on a hand - Tatopoulos Studios has done the special effects just for these two scenes.[note: one of the hand chopping scenes is actually very funny - After chopping the hand from the arm, Chevy tells his side kick - a f@g - "Wanna hold hands ?" and throws the chopped hand at him - Now you tell me people -- to be able to make a joke like that when you are dying - isn't that funny and cool... !!]
7. If you can handle crude language and drug abuse, along with the start to end action, the movie is interspersed with a lot of humor for the audience.
8. If you want to learn how to steal a bike from a cop at a traffic light !
9. If you want to have some cheap but cool fun :-)
10. If you are a Jason Statham fan. Though I must warn you, if you are not, there is a good chance you might become one after watching this movie :-)

Question- Why are you still reading the fcuking revu, punk !! Get your b#tt to the store, pop the dvd and get your adrenaline pumping, but do it after leaving a comment else you’ll get a bullet in your a$$... punk !! - The movie is full of such dialogues n lingo.

Fist published here by me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lives upto its name - Maruti Suzuki Swift ZXi Review (2006)

The swift is a marvel of Japanese Engineering, European styling and Indian Manufacturing!

~ How did I choose? ~
It was It was difficult to buy a car from overseas - but it could be done, I said to myself. I started by calling some friends and checking reviews on Mouthshut. Having owned an Esteem, choice was to just buy a sedan for their sheer handling. But dad said no! With his age, getting in and out of sedans was a problem for him. A jeep or a minivan was out of the question in Bombay. So the only option was a hatchback! I primarily dislike all hatchbacks in India for their high centre of gravity. You see, I like to speed and a high CoG can be a little problem... Diesel vehicles were out too as the travel is not more then 1500 km/month.

I dislike Hyundai bcoz their cars look good on initial value, but maintenance costs are higher and they get you on spares - said my mechanic and also neighbour who owns one. I said to myself, let me just get an Indica and be done with it - sasta, tikau and patriotic too :-) My gf’s brother had just got his Xeta and even she suggested it to me. I booked one!! However, having sat in one earlier, I knew it was not the car for me. I want performance and good looks too !! A quick family vote and out came the results - dad didn’t want to go for a petrol Indica, His words "Petrol car should be a Maruti" – Also found sis and mom didn’t like Indica. Out goes the Xeta and the booking was cancelled. The Zen Estilo is ugly and looks cramped; Wagon R feels unsafe above 80 KMPH. The popular choice by elimination was Swift, which was my preference too in the first place!! It also had a few extra BHPs over the Xeta. It’s just a testosterone thing ladies :D

A quick look on safety features and the natural choice was the top end model - ZXi - why settle for less!. It has a plethora of features that enhance safety and also includes air bags. Did you know air bags are not even an option on any of the Tata vehicles? Simply appalling! The colour once again was settled by a quick vote and the winner was "Red" - mom’s choice. A few calls around the city and the car was found. Comment from gf - "I knew you would go for Swift" *how wicked* !

I liked the car the moment I saw it. With its contemporary European design, it looks so inviting, almost begging me to get behind the wheel. The features are great and the seats are a delight!! Before buying, I had thought of putting in sportier seats in my next car, but the OEM seats are already comfy and sporty too.... I loved them!! Points to Maruti for not cutting corners here!!

The Electronic Power Steering is superb. The wheel feels like guiding a butterfly - effortless and it makes city driving a breeze!! The engine is super and is nicely mated with the gearbox. The car has a sturdy feel to it. The quality of interiors is also very good. Once you get in, the vehicle seems to wrap around you and isolates you from the outside world. I like the fact that it has small windows and an even smaller rear windscreen (with a wiper too). I read in some reviews people have complained about not being able to see while backing up, but it’s a plus for me as I love privacy!!

For me, not having electronic side mirrors or a factory fitted sunroof was a bigger negative. What I agree with the other reviewers is the nagging rattling from the left front door. Why are so many people complaining about these rattles from new cars - MARUTI LISTENING? Fix it guys!!

Other than this - I have nothing to complaint about and I’m very picky when it comes to cars. Ask the dealer I bought the car from. I kept them on their toes because of the poor customer service they gave me.

Why should you go for ZXi? Here are some reasons - It has an auto climate control, wider tyres and the ZXi label on it! Besides offering you a superior ride and handling, people notice it :P Not enough ? Here are some more experiences.

~ It can avoid you an accident ~
Pls see comments section on how ABS and EBD in the Swift and some quick thinking on my part, a cyclist and a cabbie save the day! {Posted at the end}
~~~ ZXi with ABS and EBD is the way to go ~~~~

It can render your girlfriend speechless ~
I was on my drive to Pune and having been on the expressway twice in 3 days already, I knew the road pretty well by now. It was on my 3rd run that - if I may use such a reference - I really "found" the car! The gf was talking n talking about something that was quite trivial to me and I was enjoying the drive at 120kmph. Seeing a traffic-free road ahead, I floored the pedal - talking was still on - reached 150 - talking was still on - reached 160 - talking was still on - reached 165 (my previous best on the expressway!)... I was really excited now.. the excitement however was misunderstood for interest and talking increased - reached 170... 175... 180... 185 .. I stayed there for about 10 seconds and I knew we were maxxed out - nirvana was attained - I was one with my swift! If the swift were an airplane - I was maverick - I was supersonic baby!!

I pointed the speedometer to my gf and it may sound ironic, but the speed put the brakes on her incessant rambling and rendered her speechless. I was thinking - I’m glad I have a witness. When we reached saner speeds, I planted a kiss on my Swift - I could sense a twinge of jealousy from the passenger seat - It was a "sweeeeet" drive!! You know the money is well spent if the drive makes you feel so good!!

Point to note is - the car was so stable even at high speeds as it was not noticed by her till I pointed out the speedometer!!

~~~ ZXi with its wider tyres, quite ride and stability is the way to go ~~~
~ Engine ~
The 1.3L 16V 32bit Hypertec engine produces 87 bhp and torque band starts from a low 1500 RPM range and stays flat till 5500 RPM - very good for city driving as it minimises gear changes. Being all Aluminium, its lighter, it has better cooling ability and a better acceleration then the Getz.

Mileage - 10-16 KMPL with AC. +0.5-1 without.

~ Award Winning Drive ~
Look at the number of awards won by the car. It has won car of the year awards in 9 countries, the 10th one being India!! - With all these awards backing your purchase, you are surely driving a winner!!

While on the website, done forget to check out the "Super 6 advantage" and the "Evolution links" that describe the Swift’s birth from a motorcycle to a concept vehicle to a stylish passenger vehicle that retains the "Gotta have it" flavour of the concepts. You can also check out the complete specs of the cars and models and prices on the site.

Thanks to Maruti Suzuki for bringing a truly international quality product to India !!

Hope you enjoyed the drive – let me know your thoughts :D

!! Spike !!

The incident !
It was night and the headlights were quite ineffective in what lay ahead due to the ambient light and the incessant Bombay rain. As I approach the narrowest portion where the car will just fit in the gap b/w the barrier and the taxi, I see a cyclist spring up in between the left headlight and the centre of the hood about 15 feet in front of me. I must be doing 45-55 kmph. I hit the brakes to avoid hitting him, but there are loose stones and gravel on the road so the car skids. The ABS kicks in and it stops the wheels from locking up - Its a situation when the ABS can somewhat be your nemesis..... I hit upon the realisation that the car was not going to stop or even slow down..... I made a decision that its better to hit the taxi than the cyclist as it will not cause human harm. It is at this time that I thought of a gamble.... I can turn the wheel!! If I cannot stop, it will make me slide on the gravel with the wheels not pointed straight and this will slow me down.... So I turn to my right - to hit the right side of my Swift to the left side of the taxi.... and I start the slide - This causes 4 things to happen –

1) gravel and stones start flying to the left
2) the car starts to turn slightly right unwilling
3) I slow down a bit and buy me more time
4) the cyclist - who I could now see was a bhaiyya on a black Hero ’doodhwala / tiffin-carrier’ cycle with hooks on the back carrier. - He hears and maybe even feels the stones on the cycle and immediately swerves to the left as the barrier curves making the lane wider.

It was this move on his part that relaxed my heartbeat a little as the worst possibility of hitting and injuring a person was out of the way.

This gave me more time and space to deal with the reluctant right hand turn into the taxi.

I now turned the wheel to my left to try and straighten the car and shift from 3rd to 2nd gear to apply engine braking and this causes me to slow down further and to send a slew of gravel and stones flying into the side of the taxi. This makes quite a sound that even I can hear with closed windows. The taxi driver, with his slightly open windows, would have had a much more pronounced sound effect and he swerves a little to the right giving me room to move ahead. My right foot is off the brake and pat on the gas - I zip thru the melee - unscathed!!

Welcome to Bombay :D

~~~ ZXi with ABS and EBD is the way to go ~~~

PS: The original article written by me is here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The drive!

April has me seeing a lot of birthdays, but out of all of them, there is one that is near and dear to me! Its the birthday of my (late) grandpa. He was a man of few words - over the years, I have learned a lot from him. Perhaps the biggest lesson he preached was 'simple living - high thinking' a motto that the man lived by for his whole life - also one that he tried to inculcate in everyone around him, especially thru his way of life.

In honour of his 1st birthday since he passed away, my family is organising a blood donation drive. I'm certain that where ever he is, he will love the idea of a 'celebration' that helps other people - without the big pomp and show! After all, it's something that goes with his life-motto!

The drive will be organised in Bombay on Sunday, 19Th April between 9 am - 2 pm. The blood collection will be done by Samarpan Blood Bank in affiliation with Sarvodaya hospital.

If you are available and can make a donation, please send an email to for details on the venue. If you cannot, there's an idea for you in case you like to celebrate an occasion by doing public service!

PS: Feel free to spread the word - family and friends are welcome.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Movie Review: The Departed (2006)

One question whose answer remains doubtful in the movie is - Whose baby was it? I put my money on Leo Caprio - whats your take... :-)

The movie is rated R for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content and drug material - The review is rated only PG-13 :D

When the stakes are high, Insurance is everything! And when you are a mole for the police in the mafia that already has a mole in the police - you can never have enough insurance!

A quick review of the movie would be that it was released in 2006 and it won 4 Oscars in 2007 for Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Editing, Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Writing- Adapted Screenplay. Mark Wahlberg was nominated for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. These awards alone would be reason enough to watch this movie. For a complete list of awards, pls see

Even with a cast like Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga can you be sure the movie will be good? Not unless you have a director like Martin Scorsese putting it all together.

The plot is simple. The Irish Mafia and the Massachusetts State Police both have their moles in each other’s organization. The execution is complex - this is where the movie won its Oscars. The irony shown in the story is superlative - Leonardo Caprio (William M.’Billy’ Costigan Jr.) comes from a crime family that he hates, so its relatively easy for him to penetrate the mafia. hailing from a rich family, he hates his roots so much that he prefers to join the police even if it means leading a life of poverty and hardship. Matt Damon (Det. SSgt. Colin Sullivan) hails from a poor family and since he was a kid, he has been granted numerous favors by the mafia don who treats him like a son - even he joins the police force, but not to serve and protect, but to act as a mole for the Irish crime boss - Played by Jack Nicholson - flamboyant, gutsy, crafty, womanising drug dealer, Frank’s character shows considerable amount of flair that suits his role as an Irish mafia boss. His character is the one to watch out for in the movie - even after so many years, he still has tremendous screen presence and will entertain you in his inimitable style. The casting was perfect as Billy, played by Caprio was cast along side Frank, because Matt Damon certainly could not have played Billy’s character as convincingly and craftily and stood up against a capricious Frank as well as Leonardo did.

But for me, it was Mark Wahlberg as Det. SSgt. Dignam and Martin Sheen as Det. Capt. Oliver Queenan who impressed me much. Together they both played the good cop - bad cop extremely well with Dignam constantly teasing and taunting Billy to keep the fire alive in Billy when he gets tired after living a dual life as a mole. At those times, Queenan plays a father figure in Billy’s life and earns his trust convincingly. Credits to Mr. Scorsese for showing this scene, along with many others, in a few frames that would take 3-4 pages of intense writing for a good author to aptly describe. Indeed, if The Departed were a novel written by a dead author, the writer would be lying peacefully in his grave knowing that justice has been done to the book thru this movie!

All the actors - again, thanks to Scorsese’s direction - get into the skin of their characters, which makes this movie almost like watching a 5 star rated play on the screen. But as this is a movie with opportunities of retakes, it cannot be given 5 stars by me - even though the director is good enough to be compared with other top dogs competing alongside him. I say that because I have seen better directors in Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrik who have managed to satiate the film-freak in me more than Mr. Scorsese did. I cannot help but place The Departed next to Pulp Fiction and it manages go neck to neck with it in terms of entertainment, repeat value and suspense (that in itself is a big compliment to this movie). However, the suspense in The Departed is very tautly managed - I was watching it for the second time, and yet the movie seemed very fresh to me and the ending gave me immense satisfaction - which is why I chose the opening of this review carefully.

The sound editing, the film editing, the screenplay, the casting, the art-direction, the special effects is all top notch - the movie makes all these aspects stand out. The spray of blood shown during executions is very realistic as is the sound of guns being fired during a fight. The "popping" sound of the fire exchange changes when heard thru the police radio - excellent attention to details! Eyes used to convey the lust and lunacy of a mafia boss in a scene was shown extremely well without making the scene gross or showing excessive skin. The craftiness and complexity shown in the only strong female character in the movie was superb (played by Vera Farmiga) - credits to Mr. Scorsese for handling the emotions and the on-screen passion very well and tastefully. The change in the face of a tired and exhausted pill-popping mole Billy is very much noticeable, thanks to the make-up that was done just right.

All in all, this is a brilliant piece of movie making that can be watched over and over every couple of months and it’ll keep entertaining you - but as I had already seen movies like Pulp Fiction and A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrik) that were made ages ago this movie, I cannot give The Departed a 5 star rating - It still gets a stellar rating of 9.8/10 - definitely worth keeping in the collection of all movie connoisseurs!

!! Spike !!

PS: This review is dedicated to my very good friends Lalit (MS id - bildebej) and Ipsi (MS id - ipshonlu) for our Italian discussions that sparked the writing of this review - cheers mates !

Note: This review was originally written by me here. I watched the movie again today and that gave me the perfect opportunity to use my best friends, copy and paste to migrate it to my blog. I'll be moving my stuff from the old site to the blog as and when time permits.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How did Kate Beckinsale help iron my clothes! Movie Review: Underworld (2003)

Dark was the night and eerie was the atmosphere! The moon kept moving in and out of the clouds, its silhouette faintly visible from behind the thin ones. Playing hide and seek with the clouds, it came out from behind a particularly thick one, casting its silver light thru the bedroom window. It was in this brief moonlit moment that I first spotted her. She was standing on the edge of the bed, looking down with a serious expression on her lovely face. The mop of jet black hair cascading from her head was cut short, yet long enough to cover her eyes, which appeared closed. She would have fooled any other man, but not me. I could see that they were ever so slightly open. But it did not matter! With her keen olfactory senses, she could have sensed my presence from miles away! She stood coyly, flashing a lycra clad leg from beneath her long leather coat that was wrapped around her tight body like second skin. She held a gun pointing downwards from her left hand. It was clear she was not here to play.

"Do it!" she commanded. "Its such a boring job!" I replied. "Well, that's only if you're alone. Tonight, I'll be your company when you do it. Open up and pop it in!". Something told me not to argue with a woman holding a gun in her hand. So, I opened the buttons, first one, then the other. One more button and the thing slid out from the slot eager to receive that round shiny thing with a hole in the center. There was a slight purring sound.... (or was a whirring sound?) Another button here and there and we were all locked up n loaded! A faint music played from the speakers as the TV came to life with the menu of "Underworld" displayed on the telly! I pressed play on the dvd remote and I brought out a huge load of clothes to iron. It was going to be a long night ladies n gentlemen, for the movie is 121 minutes long!

Starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Kevin Grevioux, Bill Nighy, Underworld (2003) is directed by Len Wiseman. The movie is very cool and I liked that its complex story held my interest for the full 2 hours of playtime. Underworld is a tale of a long standing feud between the vampires and the lycans. The story is not your ordinary blood and gore tale of mindless killing. What makes it intriguing are intertwined plots of double cross and forbidden love.

For any modern day vampire/werewolf tale to hold my interest, the graphics have to be slick. This is where the movie scores its points. The lycans' transition from human form to a werewolf is pretty cool. It is accompanied with screaming n shirking, but its still nicely done for a horror movie. i.e. It is not at all cheesy like the beginning of this write up :D

The use of flashback adds to the mystery of the story. The flashbacks are not irritating, because they play an important part in the overall story. Beckinsale really has a penchant for such movies. She fits the bill perfectly to a T. Looking cool n coy with a deadpan expression on her face, she has the right look to play the part. Be it a vampire slayer Anna in Van Helsing or a vampire, Selene in the Underworld series, she has the right expression and the perfect amount of paleness to play the parts convincingly. She also has the bod to look cool in tight fitting lycra. Her fitness makes the action sequences very much believable on screen! (of course its all fake action and we know it very well, but it still has to look convincing at that moment, right?)

The head vampire Viktor, (played by Bill Nighy) is a particularly powerful character shown in the movie. It would take a lot of ruthlessness, power and intelligence to rule over an entire army of vampires and to keep them all under check. Viktor's character displays that power and intelligence very nicely in the movie.

I also liked the character of Raze in the movie (played by Kevin Grevioux). Raze's character is that of an evolved werewolf. He is a loyal, ruthless killer who can turn into a wolf at will. i.e. He need not wait for the moon to be full to change form. Choosing a big, burly, muscular guy for the part of killer werewolf was very clever as it makes the transition more seamless and yet, interesting.

Lucian, played by Michael Sheen, is another cool werewolf character. His character is vital to the story as it plays an important role in the feud between the lycans and the vampires. His character can pop bullets out of his head while healing. Pretty cool, ain't it!

I give the movie 4/5 because -
A) Its a vampire movie
B) It has good graphics
C) The story is not at all boring. Its a complex tale well told!
D) Kate Beckinsale helped me iron my clothes! How freaking cool is that! muhahahahahahaha !!
(Ok, it was because she looks pretty freakin cool in Lycra! That was just to satisfy the purists!)

Watch it so you can enjoy the 2nd movie Underworld:Evolution (2006). You can even start with the latest in the series - Underworld: Rise of the lycans (2009). Its a prequel to Underworld (2003).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Movie Review - Fast and Furious 4 (2009)

New Model. Original Parts.

The tag line could not be more true for this movie! As big a hit the 1st one was, the 2nd and 3rd parts of this franchise failed to create equally big ripples due to the absence of Vin Diesel!

The poor performance of duex and trois meant that Vin is back for the 4th one! After all, the original is the original

<-- Diesel power Baby! (the BDS does not stand for BAD ASS.. lol)

Fast and Furious 4 completely ignores part 2 and 3. The story picks up from where part 1 left off... (FBI mole Paul Walker, allows Vin to run away). Hiding from the cops, Vin is running his operations in Dominican Republic (Again, an apt place coz Vin's name in the movie is "Dominic".. lolz)

The plot of this movie has gangsters, drugs, cops, chicks and the Cars! The original team of Paul Walker (FBI agent), Diesel (Dominic Torreto), Jordana Brewster (Vin's sister and Paul's GF), Michelle Roderiguez (Vin's GF) are back for this rocking movie! Vin still drives Muscle cars and Walker sticks to driving Imports! The chicks are good eye-candy and they even get behind the wheel once in a while. The best of them is Michelle, coz shes the only one who gets dirty under the hood and also handles herself quite well everywhere else - on top of the car and even on the backside of a truck!

While the plot is quite interesting, it is the car chases that kinda get a bit repetitive! (Yep, I said it!) The best thing about the 1st movie was the exotic car racing that was shown on the screen. When it comes down to that, part 1 certainly comes out on tops among ALL 4 movies. The car sequences in 4 would have worked has the movie come out at the time part-2 was released. The main car chase sequence in part 4 feels very "game-like" and it had a Tokyo-drift-like feel to it (remember the race on the mountain?) This is where the story comes in handy and prevents the movie from being termed as a dud!

The plot, combined with the chemistry, that's carried forward from the original, between Walker, Vin and Jordana is what held my interest in the movie.
<--- (Lock it load it and pop it! Thats done right... FnF style!)
For me, the initial adrenaline rush was over after the first 2 car race sequences and the rest of the sequences had a "game like" feel to them - bad lighting, too much dust n dirt being kicked up (to give them the benefit, the sequence was pictured in a desert), but still... It didn't do it for me.

Perhaps its because between part 1 and part 4, I have watched other movies that have come out with better car sequences! (Death Proof - top 10 best car chases ever! Chicks doing the chasing further adds to the appeal.)... Or perhaps I was tired from a long night and the darkness of the theater was too tempting for my body to resist!
All being said, It was a good movie. Certainly worth a watch, but not worth canceling dinner plans with your date. Thankfully, the friend I went with preferred this movie over a mundane dinner... just one reason why we get along just fine... lol
Rating -
2.5/5 for plain movie goers
3/5 for people who like movies that give them an adrenaline rush!
3.5/5 for fans of the franchise

***********WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD***********
I loved the 1st sequence the most! Vin and Michelle are robbing an oil truck-train. The sequence was picturised in daylight, so the viewer can see the scene a little more clearly and its easy to follow the fast action on screen.
The street race was good and exciting, but the GPS voice was VERY annoying! I get enough of that in real life... movies are suppose to allow me to escape from that!
The tunnel sequence was the most bizarre of the 3 main race sequences. It gave the mountain race sequence of Tokyo Drift a run for its money for being fake! I felt it was included purely for the sake of a movie based video game that might come out in future.
Loved the exchange between Gisele (Gal Gadot) and Vin when she tries to hit on him and he shuns her. The lines might be cheesy, but appear to be tailor made for Vin's delivery... And he delivers them just right.
Vin's car totally rocked! Paul's car sucked towards the end of the movie.... Black and White...? Seriously?? Did the designers run outta ideas or was it the budget? I bet on the latter with the economy tanking .. lol

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Movie Review: Roman Holiday

She is a princess, he is a journalist. She is bored of her puppet-like life, he has an interview with her. She runs away and is "rescued" by him. Together they explore the streets of Rome where the princess "lives" her life!

The tag line reads, "Audrey Hepburn at her Oscar-winning best in an immortal comedy-romance!"
How true is that tag line for this wonderful, light hearted, romantic, comedy! There is just 1 reason to watch this movie and it is Audrey Hepburn! Period!

The way she has expressed the emotions thru her face and her body language just has to be seen to be believed! The quiver of lips... the eyes that speak volumes without the tongue uttering a single word....

The graceful princess romping on the streets of Rome, protected and yet uninhibited, naive, carefree and happy! [Can you tell that I am completely smitten?! :-))]

Her acting in the movie can be a guide book for any woman in need of a lesson for exhibiting class! Absolutely mesmerising stuff!

Gregory Peck plays the Journo and Eddie Albert, the much needed, yet elegant, side kick in any romantic comedy! (he was literally kicked a few times in the movie by Gregory.) His role showcases that side kicks do not have to demean themselves on screen for the sake of comedy! Something that film makers of today can learn from this classy movie.
Released in 1953 - but still completely fresh and with a lot of repeat value - the movie bagged 3 Oscars and was nominated for 7 more! Needless to say, Hepburn got the "Best Actress in a Leading Role" for her superb portrayal of Princess Ann - a well deserved win indeed!

The chemistry between the lead pair is very natural. Gregory plays the quintessential gentleman - macho, understanding and protective, but with a vested interest. For the better part of the movie, Princess Audrey is a bubbly girl, who wants to break away from the monotonous routine and have some fun, while retaining her class! Their wonderfully restrained acting is what leaves you guessing and thinking "what happens next" even though this movie is no mystery! (The movie has been directed by Williams Wyler.)

A definite collector's item for any self-respecting movie aficionado!!!!! The fact that its in black and white only enhances the charm of this Roman Holiday!

Lewis Hamilton Disqualified from Australian GP!!

You know the season is off to a bizarre start when you are closer to the 2nd race, but the results of the 1st race are still being decided!

In a new twist to the already twisted tale of the Australian GP, Hamilton has been Disqualified! Yep!! Disqualified! The saga started when, post race, McLaren raised a complaint about the Toyota of Trulli overtaking under safety car conditions. The race stewards had a meeting and Trulli was found guilty. The result was a 3rd place finish for Hamilton and a 12th place for Trulli and Toyota.

A second inquiry revealed that McLaren and Hamilton had Lied in the 1st inquiry! The radio chatter between the team and driver revealed that McLaren had instructed Lewis to let Trulli pass!

FIA's statement on the same and the much interesting transcript of the radio chatter can be read here.

The result us a DSQ for Hamilton and a reinstated 3rd place podium for Trulli!

This leaves the winners of 2008 drivers and constructor's champions without any points in the beginning race of 2009!

At this time, the Brawn GP team deserve all the accolades that are being showered at them. The reason I use the words "At this time" is because a hearing is scheduled for the 14th of April 2009 concerning the interpretation of rules for the "diffuser" by various teams - Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams. With the recent performance by the Brawn and the Toyota team, coupled with the non-performance by McLaren and Ferrari teams, the latter will use this opportunity to try and throw a wrench in the works for the other teams! Because for them, winning seems to be more important than the sport and when a debutant team wins in such a grand fashion, it only rubs salt into the injured egos of the big guns at McLaren and Ferrari. the question remains - In case of an indefinite answer to the rule interpretation, will the FIA uphold the results in the interest of the sport? or will it be money and power swinging the results?

The good thing for now is that the controversial diffuser broke on Barrichello's car in a 1st corner incident! This proves beyond doubt that the Brawn cars have genuine pace!

A conversation with a friend also brought up an interesting point - According to him, both Button and Barrichello are known to carry bad luck. The fact that the Brawn GP team won inspite of their bad luck, speaks volumes about them! (For me, the biggest carrier of bad luck is Kimi! I personally believe that the only reason he won the 2007 season is because of Luca Di Motezemolllo throwing his weight behind him! Ferrari will be a much better team the moment they chuck Kimi out!!)

The last time a team making its debut had a one-two finish was at the 1954 French Grand Prix led by Juan Manuel Fangio for Mercedes. The Brawn GP team did it while running with a Mercedes engine too. That should be some consolation for McLaren, huh!

After the dramatic start to the season, I cannot wait to see what surprises Malaysia will spring!