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Total Recall: Top 10 Movies of 2008

Now, we all know that 2008 was a year of big movies, including some really big sequels. So, here is a post in which I recollect the best of the best that 2008 had to offer in film. So the countdown begins here!

10 ) Burn After Reading

The Cohen Brothers returned after the Academy Award winner No Country For Old Men with this hilarious dark comedy. Though the plot’s a bit complicated, it offers good laughs, with great performances by Brad Pitt and George Clooney. The movie tells the story of a former CIA Agent (John Malkovich), his wife (Tilda Swinton) and her secret lover (George Clooney) and two gym emplyoees (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand). A CD containing highly classified data from Malkovich’s CIA Files, secretly extracted by his wife falls into the hands of Brad Pitt while his colleague becomes fast friends with George Clooney. The rest is pure comedy! ๐Ÿ˜€

9 ) Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na

This could be termed as the typical Bollywood movie, but with a difference. A fresh breath into Bollywood, an industry that’s almost rusting with dead-brainers these days. The movie centers around teenage liveliness and loveliness. Marking the debut of Imran Khan and first lead-role for Genelia D’ Souza, this Abbas Tyrewala movie twisted the age old Indian taste for love stories and mixed it with well-delivered comedy. The only low-down? It’s just a one-time watch.

8 ) Iron Man

Probably the first big Superhero blockbuster of the year. Based on the comic book series by the same name, this action-packed movie set new standards in the superhero movie genre. Robert Downey Jr.’s performance was impeccable and the movie automatically won over many critics’ hearts. The movie is tells the story of Industrialist Tony Stark, a giant in the weapon manufacturing industry, whose illusions about war get shattered when he is abducted and asked to create a WMD to be used against his own nation. He then takes the cover of the Iron Man and tries to put an end to everything that he was once the center of. Amazing movie to say the least.
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December 27, 2008 Posted by | Movies, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Review: Yes Man!

Yes Man Poster

Director: Peyton Reed
Producer: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jim Carrey, Terrence Stamp, Zooey Deschanel et al.
Based on the book The Yes Man by Dannie Wallace.

This was a not-so-big release in India during the Christmas Week, but it was one that I didn’t want to miss. Jim Carrey’s return with a well made romantic comedy was good enough to mark his return to form.

The movie premises on the story of Carl (Carrey), whose monotonous life changes for good when he is encouraged to say ‘Yes!’ to every opportunity that comes to him, by a motivational speaker who hosts a group every week to preach about the greatness of the word ‘Yes’. The concept revolutionizes his life and soon, he finds himself getting over his ex-girlfriend, learning to play the guitar, bungee jumping and even finds a new soul-mate. The movie follows Carl, as he enjoys his new found life and how he copes with it the drastic change in himself.

In all, its a funny movie, with Jim Carrey’s charisma making you laugh everytime he shows up. Great supporting roles by Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper and Rhys Darby too. With an innovative script, this is a must watch for all Jim Carrey fans. But for others, I would suggest waiting for the DVDs to come out, for this genre of movies does not feel different in a movie theater compared to the DVDs.

I would give a 7/10. One of the best comedies of the year.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Movies, Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

26/11: My Take on The Mumbai Attacks


I really wanted to write a post on the Mumbai Attacks much earlier, but due to my exams, I couldn’t. Well today marks one week after the attacks started off in the financial capital of India and much has been said about the incidents, a lot of introspection done by everyone who could have helped curb the tragedy, the plot uncovered and what not. So, I don’t want to go into the details of the exact incidents but wish to speak my mind as to what I think of the whole situation.

Slap on the Face for The Indian Intelligence

As soon as the terrorists held two of the biggest hotels of the nation captive, the first thing that probably went though everyone’s mind was- How could a strike of such large magnitude have been missed by the Indian Intelligence? Just how could a dozen terrorists swim across oceans and rivers in steamboats and hold a whole city under siege?

Well, actually, it turns out that Indian Intelligence did not miss any of the information. That is what is even more astounding! India had almost every last detail of how the attack was going to be held and there were even warnings on the day before the attacks took place. But the bureaucrats of this nation love sleeping, and sleep they did! My say is that these irresponsible officials should be sent packing this very moment! We need to look after the security of a billion, for Heaven’s Sake and if these are people who are assigned this task, we might as well take a knife and stab ourselves. But not all is the Intelligence’s fault. Yes, they did not act timely and appropriately to the threat, but when they did forward their concerns, there was zero co-operation from the Maharashtra State Government! What sort of leaders are they! The Navy Chief in a press-conference yesterday said that the information received from the IB was not something they could act upon and that they should have sent better information! Crap! How’s that for partnership!

We Need Answers!

As citizens of India, I guess we all have the basic right to safety. If such a major incident could happen under the noses of the Ruling Party (don’t want to get into politics here), then what hope is left with the common Indian? And we might have given ourselves false hopes had this been a first attack of its kind. But no!! 6 major cities attacked in 6 months! Jaipur, Delhi, Assam, Kashmir, Mumbai… the list never ends! Its scary to think of the depths of the oceans we’re swimming in. What we first need is a Government which can answer to the public. We don’t want diplomats repeating in nasal voices the same old lines about “bringing the guilty to justice” and “condemning the dastardly acts on innocent lives”! When I heard that the Prime Minister was going to address the public on national TV during the attacks, I really did not have many hopes from him. But the monotonous nature of his speech let me down, nonetheless.
What good is a Home Minister who does parrot-talk every time innocent people are massacred in the nation. The sense of deja-vu never ends with these rusted ‘leaders’.

Take Out Those Camps Across The Border

Now this is one part that I’m sure every Indian has a voice on. More than a 1000 people killed this year in terrorist activities in India and we still find it a doubt whether or not to remove those militant camps in PoK. Our neighbours want a never ending list of ‘evidence of their involvement’. Kargil ’99, Red Fort and Parliament ’01, Delhi ’05, Mumbai ’06 and now in ’08. We have shown the world everything there possibly can be to prove that its ‘Pakistan’ that reflects in everything related to terrorism in India. The ISI funds, the ‘banned’ organizations like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar and others train and the Pak Govt supports!
Any self-respecting nation’s leaders wouldn’t have had second thoughts of taking over ever single piece of weed that flourishes under such animals after so many provocations! But here we are in India, still taking permissions from the super-powers and try to convince Pak that it was they who killed, when they know that fact best! Who the heck is anyone else to tell us what to do in such situations!!?? We take out any and every threat to the peace of this nation and I don’t think we are answerable to ANYONE in the world!
But let me make it clear! We do not want a war against Pakistan, we want a war against the terrorism of Pakistan! And May The Lord Be With Us In This Fight!

Wake Up From Thy Slumber, India!

We obviously cannot forget what has happened, but we sure can learn from it and make sure this doesn’t repeat itself. And this time the reaction from the masses is different. The youth are taking up the cause to the streets in candlelight protests across the nation and Indians worldwide are feeling an anger and frustration they haven’t felt in recent times. The Media has played a responsible role so far, too! Usually, terrorist attacks make 2-day news in India. But The Mumbai Attacks are still fresh in the minds and hearts of everyone. The internet is buzzing with voices! Major changes are being made in the political arena, sending us rays of hopes that times are changing for the better. Though it is sad that it takes 350 lives and 700 casualties for our nation’s eyes to open, it is better late than never.
The Security Forces, on whom only a fraction of the required amount is invested for training, need to be bettered. The nation owes an eternal debt to all those ATS, NSG and Police Officials who laid down their lives for the nation.
One also feels disgust towards figures like Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh, who conveniently invited son Ritesh and director Ram Gopal Verma to tour the Taj, as if some party would be organized there. Also, Mr RR Patil, who had the guts to say that ‘such small incidents keep occuring in big cities’. The Kerala CM, Mr VS Achutanandan, had the mettle to say that had it not been Maj Sandeep’s house, not even a dog would have turned up at the residence of the slain hero’s parents. Meanwhile, Raj Thackrey kept up his good work by promptly asking his wife to send an SMS to all her friends stating that all the victims and rescuers were Marathi. Talk about Patriotism!
Keeping the negatives aside for a moment, this one attack has united Indians more than ever, I feel! This is the momentum we need to carry for this fight against terror go ahead. Many have set the ball rolling and it is now upto us, in whatever small way, to never let this flame die off!
Proud To Be An Indian.
May All Those Who Died Rest In Peace.

December 3, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Happy Diwali!!

Here’s wishing every reader of this blog a very happy Diwali!! Have a blast today! Burst a lot of crackers, but play safe with them. May you have a great year ahead!
Cheers!

October 28, 2008 Posted by | General, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Review: Google Chrome Web Browser

The big launch!! Google’s very own web browser to compete with the likes of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox! Released yesterday, I downloaded my copy this morning and have just one word for the Beta Version- Wow!
You’ll love it from the moment it starts. For beginners, it copies all your major settings from Mozilla Firefox / Internet Explorer, like your bookmarks, your password settings among others, so you don’t need to waste an hour or so configuring it to your needs. At first look, it looks a bit blank and simple, just like the Google Website. But don’t get fooled by the looks. The speed is 3X compared to what Firefox gave me and 5X to IE! Once you start using it often, it shows the web pages most often visited by you on the right side as soon as you open Chrome! The bookmarks are there as well, making navigation difficulties a thing of the past!

Adding and editing bookmarks is similar to the function in Firefox. Its the best Browser for Gmail (and other Google services) users! No crashes in Gmail! The Gmail and Orkut pages would hang or at least slow down my old computer ever so often, but Chrome’s got no such issues! And there always is a guarantee that this is a product from one of the best software industries in the world.
This one is going to be a giant killer in the web browsing market! Google took 1 year of research work to finally come up with this BETA Release. Microsoft and Mozilla beware! This thing is going to be the next big thing! Already creating ripples in the virtual world, Chrome was a silent release (unlike the hyped Firefox 3.0 release, which I didn’t find much different from Firefox 2.0), but I guess its not got even one rotten review so far! Go for it, you wont regret it! That Firefox update can wait guys!

Download Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/chrome

September 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Got the Sony Bravia LCD TV!

This was due for a long time and finally, last week, we got it! The 32″ Sony Bravia LCD TV! The model name is KLV-32S400A from the Bravia ‘S’ Series. The sleek look and the features made me fall for it and i knew at that very instant, if we were to buy one, it would be this one!

The features now. It boasts of the HD Tech and the Bravia Engine 2, which incorporates full digital signal processing technology in all high-quality image processes, maximizing the features of display devices and producing life-like images. The fully digital video-processing circuit can reproduce optimal, high-resolution images from SD signals and HD signals. The Dynamic Contrast Ratio is 15000:1 and the panel contrast is 1800:1. The display resolution is a healthy 1366 x 768. Among other Audio capabilities, its got good surround sound tech and looks good on a wall-hanging!

Love this thing and the first major experience is watching footballing action on it! What a difference from the previous 20″ TV!! Feels like those giant screen telecasts compared to them..! Whoa! A very good buy indeed!

In short, The Bravia Series sure lives up to the expectations..!! Cheers!

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

A Brief History of The Joker


We all know about this clown from the Batman Series. But a look into his creation and evolution over the long decades is another interesting story in itself.

The Creators:
One very interesting thing about The Joker’s origin is that the character was inspired by actor Conrad Viedt‘s appearance in the silent film, The Man Who Laughs (1928).


Conrad Veidt (The Man Who Laughs) on the left. Heath Ledger (Batman: The Dark Knight) on the right

Bill Finger, the ghost writer co-creator of Batman, brought credited Batman creator Bob Kane a photograph of actor Conrad Veidt wearing make-up for the silent film The Man Who Laughs, and from this photograph the Joker was modeled. This influence was referenced in the graphic novel Batman: The Man Who Laughs, a retelling of the first Joker story from 1940.

The credit for creation of the Joker is disputed. Kane responded in a 1994 interview to claims that Jerry Robinson created the concept of the character:

Bill Finger and I created the Joker. Bill was the writer. Jerry Robinson came to me with a playing card of the Joker. That’s the way I sum it up. [The Joker] looks like Conrad Veidt โ€” you know, the actor in The Man Who Laughs, [the 1928 movie based on the novel] by Victor Hugo. […] Bill Finger had a book with a photograph of Conrad Veidt and showed it to me and said, ‘Here’s the Joker’. Jerry Robinson had absolutely nothing to do with it, but he’ll always say he created it till he dies. He brought in a playing card, which we used for a couple of issues for him [the Joker] to use as his playing card.


Origin:

Though many have been related, a definitive backstory has never been established for the Joker in the comics, and his real name has never been confirmed. He has been portrayed as lying so often about his former life that he himself is confused as to what actually happened. As he says in The Killing Joke: “Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… if I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” In Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth written by Grant Morrison, it is said that the Joker may not be insane, but has some sort of “super-sanity” in which he creates himself each day to cope with the chaotic flow of modern urban life.

The first origin account, Detective Comics #168 (February 1951), revealed that the Joker had once been a criminal known as the Red Hood. In the story, he was a scientist looking to steal from the company that employs him and adopts the persona of Red Hood. After committing the theft, which Batman thwarts, Red Hood falls into a vat of chemical waste. He emerges with bleached white skin, red lips, green hair, and a permanent grin.

The most widely cited backstory can be seen in The Killing Joke. It depicts him as originally being an engineer at a chemical plant who quits his job to become a stand-up comedian, only to fail miserably. Desperate to support his pregnant wife, Jeannie, the man agrees to help two criminals break into the plant where he was formerly employed. In this version of the story, the Red Hood persona is given to the inside man of every job (thus it is never the same man twice); this makes the man appear to be the ringleader, allowing the two criminals to escape. During the planning, police contact him and inform him that his wife and unborn child have died in a household accident.

Stricken with grief, he attempts to back out of the plan, but the criminals strong-arm him into keeping his promise. As soon as they enter the plant, however, they are immediately caught by security and a shoot-out ensues, in which the two criminals are killed. As the engineer tries to escape, he is confronted by Batman, who is investigating the disturbance. Terrified, the engineer leaps over a rail and plummets into a vat of chemicals. When he surfaces in the nearby reservoir, he removes the hood and sees his reflection: bleached chalk-white skin, ruby-red lips, and green hair. These events, coupled with his other misfortunes that day, drive the engineer completely insane, resulting in the birth of the Joker.

Criminal career:

From the Joker’s first appearance in Batman #1, he has committed crimes both whimsical and inhumanly brutal, all with a logic and reasoning that, in Batman’s words, “make sense to him alone.” The character is the archenemy of Batman, and has been responsible for numerous tragedies in the Caped Crusader’s life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle) and the murder of Jason Todd (the second Robin).

Portrayals:

The character has appeared in numerous Batman related media; portrayed by Cesar Romero in the 1960s Batman television series; Jack Nicholson in the 1989 film Batman (Nicholson’s version of the Joker ranks #45 in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 50 film villains); voice actor Mark Hamill in 1990’s Batman: The Animated Series television series; and Heath Ledger in the 2008 Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight.

Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)

In this movie, releasing on 18 July, 2008 worldwide, Heath Ledger plays the Joker. The film is also been seen as a fitting tribute for the actor, who died in January 2008 after a drug overdose. He had completed the filming for his appearances in the movie by then.

Heath Ledger described the Joker as a “psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy”. Nolan had wanted to work with Ledger on a number of projects in the past, but had been unable to do so. When Ledger saw Batman Begins, he realized a way to make the character work consistent with that film’s tone, and Nolan agreed with his anarchic interpretation. To prepare for the role, Ledger lived alone in a hotel room for a month, formulating the character’s posture, voice and psychology, and kept a diary, in which he recorded the Joker’s thoughts and feelings to guide himself during his performance. While he initially found it difficult, Ledger was eventually able to generate a voice that did not sound like Jack Nicholson’s take on the character in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. He was also given Batman: The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth to read, which he “really tried to read […] and put it down”. Ledger also cited inspirations such as A Clockwork Orange and Sid Vicious, which were “a very early starting point for Christian [Bale] and I. But we kind of flew far away from that pretty quickly and into another world altogether.” “Thereโ€™s a bit of everything in him. Thereโ€™s nothing that consistent,” Ledger said, adding that “There are a few more surprises to him.”

July 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Blogging again…!!

Spent the whole day today customizing this blog. It really is a tiresome job for a beginner like me. I first made a blog in May last year but had to give it up. Why? ‘Coz i forgot to make a backup of the original template and pasted the script of some flashy looking template i found on the net instead. Result: My blog was blank except for a few pictures featured on the template. I didn’t know how to come back from it and scrapped the idea of blogging.
Then the idea of blogging struck me again and i made a new blog and posted some stuff on it. But with the exam season beginning, i left that to stagnate too.
But now that the exams are over, ive decided to revive that same blog. Spent a lot of time customizing it and yeah, took basic precautions like making back-ups of the templates ๐Ÿ˜› . Added a few widgets and played around with the text colours. Hope this look is good for this blog. I really hope i have stuff to keep posting on this.
Any suggestions to improve this would be appreciated very much ๐Ÿ™‚ . So, have a happy time reading my blog!!!

March 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Sachin falls on 99….yet again!!

The day before Diwali was expected to be a great one. But it wasnt one….wakin up early morning, 56 FC daparted for a match against South City. The mood was so light that we never even considered the fact that we might end up losing. And yeah, u guessed it right….a pathetic 3-0 defeat. They did not win the match for themselves, but we lost it for them…!! It was really frustrating.
Returning from the match, a few friends and I were discussing the Indo-Pak match that afternoon. Once again, we never thought that this Indian side could lose to such a hapless-looking Pakistan side. And once again, India lost the match rather than Pakistan winning it!!
When the match started, i soaked up all the energy of the match and was watching Sachin (The God of Cricket) play the way only he can. I felt a sort of completeness that i had never felt, for it had been a long time seeing him play those sort of shots. It was a great feeling. Toying with the Pakistani bowlers and making fun of them. And before i know it, he’s on 99…!! Great..!! The whole crowd stands up ready to applaud, the Indian dressing room also eagerly waiting, cameras ready in the hands of some staff members there. And then lightining strikes- Sachin caught behind on 99!!!!!
I could not believe it, nor could anybody else (including the Pak players)!! I jus stood gazing at the TV for a minute or two before i came back to my senses. Anyways, the match continued and i watched hopelessly as India went from 186-1 to 260-7!!
And then the third dissapointment of the day…Pakistan winning the match with one ball remaining!!! Wow!! A great warm-up to Diwali!!!
But anyways, Diwali was better than expected with friends and families gettin together to burst those crackers and make a lot of noise. Eating and driking continued side-by-side all the time.
An awesome day that was….
Anyways, i just understood the same thing 3 times that day- never underestimate ur opponents or else ur in for some serious heart-breaking moments ๐Ÿ˜› !!

November 10, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment