Tag Archives: review

I am Pilgrim – Review

I Am Pilgrim (Pilgrim, #1)I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Guardian review of the book proclaims it as “The only thriller you need to read this year”. Perhaps rightfully so. The book is well researched with a highly intense tempo maintained throughout the long- ish storyline (900 + pages … whoa ! )

So while the length might put off many of the nuclear-reading segment of the ebook age (those who like their books short and sharp), the multiple subplots and parallel story-lines inherent in the book make it more like a collection of stories. Among the major tales, there is one on international terrorism, another on a murder mystery, an underlying plot of the memoirs of an ex-spy , among others. Not bad at all, pretty engrossing once we start getting engrossed.

There has been a lot of ground work apparently done by the author on various aspects from the executions in KSA to the life of a spy to the way espionage politics occur between international intelligence groups to the mercilessly consequential yet high frequency of cognitive dissonance in the secret world . Not to mention the very striking operating procedures of an international undercover job, especially when its one to save the free world.

A good book. Though initially a reader might be overwhelmed by its length, there is a terrible feeling of bereavement when the book is finished. Especially after the chest-thumping, action-oriented climax.

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Ra.One Review : You burn Raavan so many times because you can’t kill him

First day first show of Ra.One . Thank my lucky temporal cosmologies that it released during the Diwali holidays

Purpose of such expensive movies

I now believe in a certain theory about a direct correlation between mega budgets and positioning a visual treat as the foremost USP of a film.

The most expensive Indian movie made to date (surpassing the budget of the previous topper, Enthiran) gives what such a mega-budgetory extravaganza promises …. a visual treat which in itself is a thing of awe for the average Indian movie-goer. ( Talk about the Indian success of Enthiran or Avatar, for example)

Anyway nothing wrong in it. How else do you justify , what else can you possibly contrive with super budgets other than have tons and tons of special & digital effects ūüôā

One important conceptual point ¬†ūüėČ

G-One (the good digital guy played by SRK) ¬†and Ra-One (the bad digital guy played by Arjun Rampal …yes! Ra.One is Rampal , not SRK as some gullible chaps might be strutting around thinking!!!) are digital manifestations made of optical fibres or electromagnetic rays¬†coalesced¬†into tangible manifestations of energy; whatever! I don’t really know ! But mind you ! They are not robots or any sort of mechanical beings made of metal…

The plot

Ra.One = Major plot from Terminator 2: Judgement day ¬†+ Hero powers & special effects of Iron Man + Villain’s creation-idea from¬†Virtuosity

Bien sur!  The whole virtual man protecting the kid  idea is straight out of Terminator 2.

The HART concept about a high-technology core that resembles a human heart embedded ¬†into both G-One and Ra-One, ¬†is a direct lift-off from Iron Man. The whole optical fibre shit from where the AI filled gaming characters come out into the real world , is Virtuosity…

The special appearances and gimmicks

The kid’s dream featuring ¬†Priyanka Chopra and Sanjay Dutt (as Khal Nayak) in the opening scene . And even the three imaginary Chinese ladies called Uski -Lee (lol ! ) , Teri-Lee (Rofl !) ¬†and Sabki Lee (Lmao!)! All these are there only for the whole SRK-Ego-trip phenomenon which we are getting to see more and more these days ¬†(For a similar observation, watch the Don2 trailer with the slogan, The king is back ūüėČ )

Well ! Well ! But me being a fan and all , I wouldn’t really crib too much about it . The gimmickry in question was actually pretty visually breathtaking (SRK fighting Khal Nayak ((Sanjay Dutt)) with the latter rapid firing punch-dialogues that would make your laughter nerves itch )

Action -sequences

They were good very good. For an Indian movie, the effort and soul put into the action sequences and related effects is quite visible.Sometimes you might wonder what’s the point ? ¬†But this is an action flick and thats how action flicks around the world are ….

The real Ra.one stands up

Arjun Rampal is amazing as the villainish Ra.One with his whole voice, his physique and sense of random alacrity. He was good ! Perhaps they should have given him a little more air-time rather than focus on G-one’s ¬†goofy doofy humor ¬†in the second half.

Chammak Challo

I don’t need to analyze this ūüôā But I had to mention it ūüėČ

My verdict

Here are some more reviews to look at…¬†TOI,¬†imdb,¬†rediff,¬†DC

As for me, I like it ..not as much I would like a brilliant movie, but the way I would like a popcorn-fare! ¬†Though the concepts have all been borrowed , re-hashed and jumbled up from Holly wood sci-fi movies, the execution of the movie shows the effort and the heart put into the movie. And for that , my appreciation! Anyway, whatever the SRK-bashers might be tempted to say, nothing is going to stop the movie from becoming a profitable venture (for all we know, it probably had already recovered its money from distribution sales even before the movie’s release)

Karan Bajaj ..covered !!

Adding to my book-reading marathons are the works of Karan Bajaj. For information on the author and the plots of his two books , look at good ol’ Wiki¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karan_Bajaj

Anyway so here below are the reviews of his two books, both of them National best sellers
 
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Keep off the GrassKeep off the Grass by Karan Bajaj
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The thinking man’s chetan bhagat is what some call the author. I totally agree.

Definitely more hard-thought-inducing than Chetan Bhagat and for me, certainly more entertaining.Some anecdotes in the movie, ‘3 idiots’ (at least the more ‘filmy’ parts) seem to be taken from this one rather than Chetan Bhagat’s ‘five point someone’. But well! Thats just my opinion.

Anyway, a darker , a mroe satirical take on elite campus life as compared to many other contemporary,similar and concomitant works by ivy-bschool-league Indian authors. Worth a try though some parts are too ambiguous/ridiculous to be taken at face-value to be reality.(The last reason is the only factor influencing a rating-drop from a potential 4 pointer to a 3 pointer)

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Johnny Gone DownJohnny Gone Down by Karan Bajaj
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good book … relatively a better narrative than ‘Keep off the Grass’ (the author’s previous book) which is a decent book in itself (at least compared to Chetan Bhagat’s run-of-the-mill no brainers which are more in the genre of *masala adventures for dummies** )

Follows the adventures of an American ivy league grad to different parts of the world of South East Asia to Latin America. Throw in monkhood, artificial limbs, Brazilian models and bad-ass gangsters to make a heterogenous but attractive concoction that is an amusing narrative of the age-old formula, yet novel in style.

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Incept the dream among shit squeaks …

Everybody is talking about Inception. I see that this one `s rating shot up in imdb from an astonishingly ridiculous 6.* to an expected 9.* ¬†in two days flat. Hmm … Probably the people who rated the movie before are all Americans … lol … the yankees don`t understand anything do they ? ūüėÄ ¬†(Its a joke me hearties!)

A collegue and friend of mine writes this whole scene to scene description on imdb. Talk about serious fanhood ūüôā More dope on the movie is to be found ¬†here and here!

The defn

Anyway, the dictionary defines it in a simple way as below :The beginning of something, such as an undertaking; a commencement

So I guess the combo of the successful movie`s theme and the definition prove the fact that dreams are in most cases the primary genesis of ideas.

The movie

To put the plot short, its about the protagonist and his team trying to change the thinking of a person by altering the origin of his thinking ,i.e.,  his subconscious. The medium to tap that subconscious is his dream.

I would take the pains to mention the character of Mal because the actress is sexy ūüôā and of course also because she is the main antagonist. The hero`s dead wife who being such a strong surpassed part of his memory? keeps popping up in his dreamland missions.

Yup! I guess memories are painful sometimes.

Hero

Leonardo de caprio is soon becoming an immaculate actor both because of his acting and the stories he selects. I mean his recent movies , Shutter Island and Inception (not to mention older ones like Catch me if you can, the Departed, The Aviator) make Titanic look like  shit-squeak.

Back to the movie ….

What this movie is ¬†…

  1. Another feather in Leo`s cap
  2. Another diamond in Nolan`s treasure chest
  3. Good thought provoking movie leading to endless debates and interpretations
  4. One with the keep-guessing ending where the audience are free to make their conclusions on the hero`s fate
  5. The movie that shall make the totem famous ¬†ūüėČ

What this movie is not …

  1. Though a brilliant piece, ¬†its not an epic , ¬†like The dark knight or The Matrix or LOTR …. its more like a dramatic documentation of events (of the mind,yes ! ¬†but just events none the less) . The complexity is in the novelty of the theme not in the plot.
  2. It is like a lecture on the fictitious theme, but sans the ending, doesn`t leave much for the audience`s interpretation ¬†( audience`s imagination inducing … try the joker from dark knight for instance)

But still it is definitely a good movie, a messiah-like relief  compared to the shit-squeak  called knight and day which released at about the same time in India  (Of course! Wouldn`t deny that Cameron Diaz is still all woooooooh inducing)

Proud people

Boy ! The ones who would be so proud of the movie`s ideas are¬†Freud (due to uncontrolled overwhelming projections which cross boundaries irrespective of the dream host … ¬†the character Mal for instance)¬†,¬†Jung (due to the whole dream within a dream within a dream thing) and good ol`Lyn Chat (the technical reason why she likes it is something I don`t know.Just a hunch)

Emperor`s clothes analogy

Remember the  short kids` tale , The emperor`s new clothes ?

The amusing thing I observed about this movie is that some people , even if they might not  actually like it, end up saying that it was good.  Why ? Because they might possibly be scared that  denying its enjoyability is synonymous with shouting , *I am too stupid to understand!*

Awesome job by the makers for successfully inducing that kind of mass-thinking , even after the audience walks out the theatres … Not many movies do that these days!! ¬†ūüôā

Blue skies and seas

Blue! Arguably India’s most expensive Bollywood movie to date, is just another Kambhakt Ishq with action thrown in. ¬†Tons of flamboyance, all the dude dom in the world, white-goatee sporting Akshay Kumar, obese Sanjay Dutt, stuttering Zayed Khan, ¬†sleazy super-bimbo Lara Dutta, hyper-squeaking Rahul Dev and absolutely mediocre movie quality.

The plot

As far as the story is concerned its a treasure hunt and the reasons &  mysteries behind it.

The action

Most of the more expensive action sequences, adventure scenes are in no way related to the story line.

The characters

The first half dwells too much on the build up. For instance, Aarav aka Sarkar (Akshay Kumar) ‘s lavish, flamboyant life style and his playboy image ( this trait of AK has been drained dry in almost all of his recent movies). Or Zayed Khan trying to do a fast and furious in his introduction.He does a decent ¬†job but compared to the originals like Vin Diesel, he comes across as a a little, pansy, nipple-sucking infant! Then there’s a face-off inspired scene between Akshay Kumar and Sanjay Dutt where they are in a ‘friendly’ boxing match.

Lara Dutta is wasted in a role which just calls for her to wear a bikini and show off her figure. ¬†Of course, going by the popular perception of her acting prowess, she¬†wouldn’t¬†be able to do anything else anyway.

Zayed Khan, Rahul Dev (who sounds like a super mutated squirrel in the movie), Katrina Kaif are just there ! I mean just there to create a false feeling  that the director is adding value to a useless story line.

The faux pas

Hmm…talking of Sanjay Dutt, that brings ¬†the author to ¬†be a little cruel …

  1. He looks like Lara Dutta’s grandfather. Had to prevent myself from puking when the supposedly titillating duet ¬†between Lara Dutta and Sanjay Dutt came up.
  2. Fine ! There are older actors¬†like¬†Salman Khan too who prance around with pretty young things. But at ¬†least, the likes of Salman Khan look like actions heroes with all those muscles et al. Sanjay Dutt looks like an old boob-job with a paunch too evident not to notice ūüė¶ . Totally out of place for this movie.
  3. Look at the poster below … need someone explicitly explain why Sanjay Dutt is turning the other way?? ¬†To hide his paunch of course

Of course Sanjay Dutt’s acting is good¬†any day. But an action pop-corn fare that¬†relies¬†more on the action sequences, with little scope for showing acting skills …. doesn’t exactly call for an old man (who looks too tired to even talk) ¬†do super man stuff!

…..

Faux pas …geographic

According to the initial plot, the treasure was supposed to be shipped from UK to India.Thanks to a storm it gets lost in the Bahamas (the Carri bean) . Now ..now! How the heck did it get washed away to the other side of the world.

The shipping route from UK to India is across the Mediterranean which is thousands of miles away from the carribean, Well ! Just because the Bahamas make for a cool tourist location for film shooting ? Idiots!

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All in all, go watch it if its being screened in an IMAX screen thats not too far away from home. And only if you just want a partial-kick experience at times of absolute fursat (boredom). But if you miss it, you wouldn’t really be missing something worthwhile.