Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The ornery movie post

No I am not going crazy. Quite some time back since I posted the last review rite?

mOdhi viLaiyAdu / மோதி விளையாடு : Same Charan who directed vattAram? :-( :-(.
a) Please stick to Bharadwaj, don't let the chemistry go
b) Have the characters emote a little

Dishyum / டிஷ்யூம் : Bold new direction of modern cinema! Really well done. I think it got an "A" certificate just for that one crappy song. Funnily, that song gets detached and gets shown on all TV's. LOL!

Baba / பாபா: I would say Rajnikanth almost had it and threw it away. The movie failed to create a good intersection between Rajni's mass image and the story. But that scene where the kite follows Rajni and that corresponding BGM - goosebumps!

Sathyam / சத்யம்: I think it was a fairly decent movie. Not sure why it flopped. But seriously, some director should experiment next with one man versus 400 goondas. Time for a reality check in that aspect. Nayanthara  - skin show as usual :-(

20-20 : Not sure where I have seen so many stars in a single movie before. Let's see - Mammootty, Mohanlal, Jayaram, Kalabhavan Mani, Suresh Gopi, Gopika, Nayanthara (one song). Simple story, but awesome direction and performances!

pollAthavan / பொல்லாதவன் : Totally wasted climax. Otherwise realistically made plot.

Bheema / பீமா : I think it flopped for the climax. But I would say it is the perfect climax for violence. Anyway, same comment about 1 man vs 400 goondas.

Crash: Will every single setting have a racial insinuation? But this movie is very relevant for the daring questions it raises. Time for a reality-check! Even for the viewer, the kind of revulsion that Matt Dillon's character creates is a directorial triumph!

Guru [Malayalam]: This is a cinematic masterpiece! So grossly and sadly underrated. The way these movies are treated is a reflection on us as viewers!

poo / பூ: Watched only the climax. A poetic ending, but something that would probably not go well with the mainstream audience!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Typing this from Trivandrum.

Came here for a friend's marriage. Sweet-shock. Being the capital city, it is surprisingly low key. Very less population, very moderate buzz-buzz. Even autos are cheap :)

Weather is slightly more than moderate (hotter side). The views from the train are stunning (Kollam lake is massive and beautiful. I even saw swans on it!)

Couldn't spend much time roaming around since I got only a day's leave. May be some other time.

I even got the movie I was loong searching for (Guru in Malayalam).

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Random Marketing Musings

Watch the above ad for Tropicana 100%. They tell you it has "no added color, sugar or preservatives". They don't tell you it has no added flavor. Indeed it has added flavor. So does it really count as 100%? Anyway, this version is a lot better than the sugar added version. But it is still a good example of subtle marketing isn't it?

I was browsing through some chocolates where I saw this one called "Fruit Tella" from Perfetti. What caught my eyes was that it had the dark red symbol on it (instead of green - which implied it was non vegetarian). So looking through the ingredients, it listed gelatin from animal origin. Scary! Who ever thought you would have to contend with animal ingredients on a chocolate? And in India! May be we should start watching out for more of this. I am at least happy they listed this clearly. In India, you can get away without doing any of these. I remember another chocolate called "Mars" that also had the dark red circle on it. But from the ingredients, I never could make out why. Eggs?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Spam Cheating

Today, I got an SMS from an unknown sender called "MD-TWORLD". Not one, but 16 messages.

First, it was spam (unsolicited, non-permisson message). Next, it was an attempt to cheat. See the message content:

Apparently, several other folks have received this same message (so many winners in the draw!). See here. Apparently, the senders haven't even bothered to filter duplicates in the numbers and have blasted this message umpteen times. One would think that these messages would be ignored normally, but a few close folks I know have fallen for these kind of emails. There were few who were checking the authenticity of the message (which is good, but it is still a waste of time).

The normal process is to collect a "processing fee" to transfer the money. It works by the magic of numbers. If one million people were spammed, and let us say 99% ignore. The 1% who fall for them make the count 10,000. If one thousand rupees was collected as fee for each one of them, the scam fetched 10 million rupees.

Sadly, laws in this country are not yet so rigid to prevent these occurences. I am only wondering how this sender got my number. Or would that again be just permutations of ten digits? I just hope no one falls for this.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Effects of Global Warming?

I read something chilling today.

This news article lists ice cap images from American spy satellites and it shows that they're receding. Well, this is the same thing Al Gore was saying all along. Again, there would be people who say that the temperature rise is not man made.

Anyway, the chilling thing was not that it showed the ice caps were receding. But the fact that these were available since 2006 and the earlier [Bush] administration tried to hide them (or marked them as "classified"). This is the exact problem we have been facing for centuries now. People who can make a difference serving vested interests instead of the common good.

Makes me very sad :-(. In any case, a personal note of thanks to the Obama administration for letting these pictures out. It is a very boosting sign that the issue is being taken seriously.

Monday, August 03, 2009

One line reviews...

Heat: Top notch screenplay. But extremely heavy movie. Plods on for 2.5 hours. Intense!
Training day: Denzel and Ethan Hawke light up the screen. For the gangster theme it carries, it still says "What goes out comes back around"!
Duplicity: Whooooooooosh! Falls flat because of its [needless?] complexity.
12 Rounds: Quite entertaining, so long as you switch off your brains at the start. That villain was irritating!
6 days, 7 nights: I think Harrison Ford wanted to do some feel-good off beat movie. Nothing special or bad about the movie.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I am a professional

A scene from "Man on Fire"

Kidnapper to Denzel: I am a professional
Denzel: You know, everybody keeps telling the same thing, and I am sick of hearing that.

What the kidnapper was implying was that he was a small part in the big kidnapping incident and he just played his part as a professional. Some times, this dividing line works, and sometimes it doesn't.

A cab driver picks up a hitman and drops him at his destination (cabbie doesn't know).
Most will agree it's ok.

A cab driver picks up a hitman and drops him at his destination (cabbie knows he is on an assignment).
Technically, the cabbie is just doing his job (of dropping a passenger at his target place).

I am guessing the parties will be divided here. There is no clear answer. Will professionalism work here? Is there a demarcating line where the person is just doing his/her job versus contributing to a situation which no one wants to exist in general?

The gun manufacturers are just manufacturing guns. It's (just) an industry. But is there a link between them and the number of murders that happen through guns? What about bombs?

There truth is, "I am a professional" is not a valid answer. However, in differing contexts, where we draw a line between ok/not-ok will vary. Not just by the context, but by person as well.

Extrapolating this - what about entire industries that behave "professionally"? For example, consider an IT organization that develops programs or provides IT services for a company that manufactures guns.

No easy answers - but definitely needs enough thought and clarity!
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