Monday, September 30, 2013

Some thoughts on Breaking Bad ! *spoilers beware*

Breaking Bad is over !

There has been no other TV show that has left me spellbound as much as Breaking Bad. I have watched a fair bit of TV series (Sherlock, Homeland, 4 seasons of Fringe, 4 seasons of Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, House of Cards to name a few) and I think Breaking Bad is not only better in terms of casting but is superbly supported by the script, content and direction.

There is no rooting for one in Breaking Bad - This is what makes it totally, totally special. I mean with GoT you take sides (Starks are good, Lannisters are evil, Khaleesi should win cos well she is Khaleesi etc.), but with Breaking Bad your take on the characters keep swaying from one episode to another. You wish Walter was dead when he points to the hiding Jesse, but then you feel sad when he is ready to pay 10,000$ for one hour of time of a total stranger just cos he feels so alone (this was my most saddening moment of the entire series). You are emotionally tied to those characters, thanks to some brilliant writing/directing and the characters portraying the pain with such reality.

Humor at intense moments - I mean who would have thought Skinny Pete and Badger would make a special appearance in the finale or Huell going shit scared looking at Jesse's brain all over or those countless Saul moments (belize, rabid dog, 2 steps away from sainthood etc.) when Walt/Jesse is in dire need of help. Brilliant stuff this from Vince and the writers. This dark humor quotient was there all along the series - the ignorant Jesse at the beginning of the series, Skinny Pete & Badger adding to the madness and finally followed by Saul and Huell..

I think the main success of Breaking Bad lies in how simple it was for the audience to connect with the characters. For instance, in Sopranos, with italian-sque mafia story, it was pretty difficult to follow the lines. you tend to lose what they are trying to convey. I think House of Cards has all it takes to equal Breaking Bad in terms of quality and may even better it.

All said, I think the excitement of waiting a week to know what lies ahead and watching it with the whole world added another dimension to the excitement. I feel as someone who is going to start watching the series now at one go, he/she might not feel the same excitement as those who watched it first. Monday mornings are going to be dull again..

With Breaking Bad done, I can't wait for the spin-off series on Saul Goodman "Better Call Saul" to begin. Bring it on, bitch !!

Some of my fav lines by some of the characters -

Walt - "I am the one who knocks", "Say my name", "Heisenberg", "We are family", "Tread lightly"
Jesse - "Magnets, bitch", "Science, bitch", "Yo!, Mr. White", "Say the words"
Skyler - "I fucked Ted" (this was giving back to White where it hurts)
Saul - This list is endless. I love almost all the scenes of Saul. "Better call Saul", "Send him to Belize", "this guy is punctual, with a captial P", "I didn't know you were a big moose lover (when Jesse says he would choose Alaska)"
Hank - "I am ASAC Schrader and you can go fuck yourself", "I don't know who I am talking to (when he discovers White as Heisenberg)", "You are the smartest man I have seen, but you are too stupid to see. He has made up his mind 10 mins ago", "Jesus Christ, Marie"
Flynn - "Have an A1 day", "Why are you still alive", "You asshole (addressed at Walt)"
Uncle Jack - "Heart wants what the heart wants", "cry baby rat", "That fancy phone of yours, where does it say this exactly", "it looks blue to me"

finally, last but not the least -
Holly - "Momma"

This is definitely the last -
Salamanca - "Ting Ting Ting" :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

iLoveSteve - An Ode to the iCon - Steve Jobs - Episode #1

The earliest I could recollect my memories with Apple was when an event organized by our department gave away iPod Shuffle 2 GB for the first prize winner. That was in 2005 or 2006. A friend of mine who had an iPod Shuffle 1 GB then exchanged it for the new 2GB shuffle and we wrapped the old 1 GB and gave it to the winner! I thought my friend has gone really mad and crazy. Come 2010 and I am one such crazy Apple fan/devotee/aficionado/fanboy.

I have a very bad memory. I can hardly remember my school pals, so I don't really know when I started reading a lot about Apple and Steve Jobs. May be I found there is a sense of prestige/status when my friends discussed about Apple/Steve and I wanted to be a part of that elite group.

The book 'The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs' explains how Steve cleverly pitches for each of his new products. Steve first introduces the "Villain"(the status-quo) and then introduces the "Hero"(the Apple Products) to create a spell-binding impact on the audience. His life story has been one such. The "Villain" being John Sculley who drove Steve out of Apple and the "Hero" Steve himself!

People have always loved comeback stories. Be it the rags-to-riches of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ or the innumerous number of Rajnikanth movies where he becomes a multi-billionaire in a 5-minute song, we have adored them. Steve’s story was one such. But does that explain the blindfolded following of Apple? Not really. When I started reading the first book on Apple, ‘Revolution in the Valley - The Insanely Great Story of how a Mac was made’, I understood the other side of Steve. He was steadfast in his approach, ridicules the effort of the development team till he achieves the desired quality, harsh in dealing with people that made him a fearful manager. This made me feel that he should have been one manager whom no one would have wanted to work with. But then there was this other side of him where he can go to any length for the team. Sample these.

"During one fine night, the fire alarm suddenly broke out at Apple. Steve asked his team about the alarm and they claimed that the alarm often goes blaring. Steve shouted “Can someone stop that alarm?” and the next moment he was seen with a huge hammer and smashed the alarm into pieces."

"There were two main divisions at Apple during the late 70s: The Lisa division and the Macintosh division. Steve headed the Macintosh division and the two divisions were always at loggerheads. When Andy Hertzfeld, one of the new engineers who joined Apple during the late 70s (Author of Revolution in the Valley) wanted to move to Macintosh division from the Lisa Development team, Steve came to Andy’s cabin and asked him to move to Macintosh. Andy who was in the midst of a Lisa work said Steve he would need atleast 2 weeks to move to Macintosh as there was still some unfinished business in Lisa. Steve, without a second thought, pulled the power-cord of Andy’s computer and without a word took all his belongings (along with Andy’s computer) to the Macintosh division."

There were very many such instances such as these. If you get a chance, try reading this book. A book that might convert you to the Apple religion. Forever.
When Steve rejoined Apple in 1997, he was far more flexible and easy to work with. But if there was one quality that never left Steve and might never leave him is his “PASSION”. A Passion to build amazing products. It is this Passion that has made him a Visionary, that differentiated him from everyone else, that has made Steve what he is today. His resignation was imminent. Apple has a brilliant roadmap and succession plan that might still make Apple an unmatched organization for the next few years, but just the thought that Steve is no more at helm leaves a void.

The next blog in the series ‘iLoveSteve - An Ode to the iCon – Steve Jobs’ would commemorate the brilliant phrases/impactful speeches of Steve. The Steve that we all know, see on stage with the blue jean and black T-shirt, a Salesman who could sell a vacum.

An iFan

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ko - Music Review

The 'Ayan' combo is back and with the teasers it looked like 'Ko' is going to be a musical treat. Have been listening to the songs for the last 3 days and in a position to review.

1. Ennamo Edho

Whatyaaa song ! The moment I heard the song in the trailers, I fell madly with the song. The fresh lyric and the catchy tunes for 30 sec were enough for me to fall in love with the song. The rendition of Alaap Raju and the really catchy lyric by Madhan Karky adds just the right mix to the song and makes me wait more from the album. Madhan Karky has been a wonderful find. Have been appreciating his work in 'Irumbile', 'Nenjil Nenjil' from Engeyum Kadhal and this song is just the best of his work yet.

2. Amali Thumali
Setting the expectation with Ennamo Edho comes a very easily findable Harris Tune in Amali Thumali. Sung by Hariharan and with the initial lyric looking very similar to Hasili fisile, the song never takes off. Not a great follow-up to Ennamo Edho

3. Netri Pottil
The song that tries to wake up the youth of today, the lyric department is again entrusted with Madhan Karky. Naresh Iyer at his best yet again and with just 2 mins of running time, the song fills the mood rightly. A good work by Harris trying to claw his way back and let us know that the all isn't over yet.

4. Venpaniye
Harris's fav singer is back. Bombay Jayashree it is. A soothing number by her and Sriram Parthasarathy sounds more like Vaarayo in terms of the melody. Simple arrangements of beats and nothing that gets you on the high. Both the singers try to provide the husky feel to the song and the soothes you. I feel melody has been Harri's space and he proves time and again why he is so good at them. A wonderful number

5. Gala Gala
I have always felt party kind of songs aren't Harris' cup of tea. He proved that with 'Adagada' from Sathyam movie. Gala Gala is sung by the youth brigade of singers. Krish, Haricharan, Tippu. I guess this is the song where all celebrities including Surya make an appearance. A normal track in the album and grows on you to an extent when u keep listening to it.

6. Aga Naga
A hip-hop genre of song which I personally dont like. Not a great finish to the album. Too many singers and too many variations make it a not so fav track to me. This is the poorest track of the entire album.

All said, the expectations that Harris sets with the first track "Ennamo Edho" never happens again in the album. Netri Potil and Venpaniye are 2 other good tracks to the album. On the whole a 3/5 for KO. Hope the visuals add better effect to the songs. A good follow-up to Ayan though !

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Endhiran Movie Review

So the much anticipated Tamil movie of the year releases. Rajni movies are a craze and for someone born in Tamil Nadu, its imbibed in your DNA to shout out yourself when you see the "S U P E R S T A R" on the screen. And here comes a Rajni movie after 3 long years and it's festival time for all Tamil fans all over the world with 'Endhiran'.

What Rocked
1. The thing that rocked the most was the final 40 mins of the movie. Rajni was at his scintillating best with Chitti 2.0 :) How I wish he were a Villain throughout his career !! Whoooodaaa performance !! Especially, the scene where he tells Ash that there is a black sheep within the Robots. Awesomeeee !! Just fantastic. Thalaivaaaaaa !!!!

2. The conceptualization of the final 40 mins were just brilliant. The formations that the 100 Rajnis do were simply mindblowing. Be it the snake, or the drill, or the gun, or the final "ONE" Robo(with all Rajnis), the imagination is very good. I am not sure who to be credited with this. Whether it is Shankar's imagination or it is people at Stan Winston studio. But hats off!! Great final 40 mins and brilliant visual efx.

3. The initial few scenes with the Chitti 1.0 are quite good. The way he interprets blindly the commands did tickle your funny bone now and then. The action sequences with Chitti in the train, the 'Kaali' avatar that Rajni takes in the slum you feel like Shankar has got into the groove and its going to be a roller-coaster ride only to find that you have to wait some more time :(

Now, Now.. The hard part to swallow

1. What happened to the Rajni introduction scenes !! ? Whether it is kissing the snake in padayappa, or the camera spanning from his running legs to his face in baasha/annaamalai (and so many other movies of his), it shoots up your adrenaline. What the hell happened to Shankar!! ? Where is the slow-mo editing !! :( An introduction with Rajni screwing up a Robo isn't the best!! :( May be Shankar had wanted the introduction to be subtle, but when will we fans get a chance to throw the torn tickets up in the air and shout at our pitch !

2. The first half was extremely noise-less !! Am i watching a Rajni movie on the Second day in Chennai and that too in a low-class theatre sandwiched between Rajni fans ?!?? Sadly didn't feel so..

3. Shankar is a commercial masala director. Accepted. But if you thot first half was bad, the second half starts with something even worse. A 10 min scene where Chitti talks to Mosquitoes !! WTF !! Felt embarrassed seeing it. Toooo lengthy. May be the editor Antony dint edit it for the visual effects people have put into. But sadly, really bad.

4. With a 150 crore budget, there is no one else who could have given such an opening. I read a statistic somewhere. 2250 prints * 4 shows a day * 500 people per show * 150 Rs per tkt ~= 75 Crores a day !! But even then, Rajni is just tooo old to be accepted as a scientist :( be it the shrinking skin, or an overdone make-up to hide it, just doesn't fit in the bill !! But the Villain Rajni rocked ! He looked more chic and was oozing with style as Chitti 2.0.

All said as Shankar said this movie is an "experience". but don't go with an expectation of a "Rajni experience". No intro scene, no mass introduction song, no punch dialogues, no swinging of his coolers.

Final verdict:
Book for the 9:00 AM show and go to the theatre at 11:00 AM to enjoy this Shankar's dream project.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raavanan - Movie Review

Its the most expected movie of this year and the promotional campaigns by the entire team of Raavanan has been going on and on in "News" Channels in the last fortnight. And where there is much hype(which indirectly signifies that's the only way to get back the money invested on the film) the film is to be made of poor quality. But in Raavanan the crux of the story, casting and almost everything is top-class but it fails to hit the audience.

1. First things first. Stunning Visuals.. Probably one of the best cinematography in recent times. you could get from the trailer, the quality of the camerawork and believe me its absolutely fantastic. Go and watch it in theater/get the best quality DVD to feel it(I would prefer going to theater). Santhosh Sivan has been a brilliant cameraman and I wonder why he hasn't been used so much in the industry. Particularly the Usire poguthey song and climax sequences were canned superbly. Part of the credit should go to those who chose such wonderful locations with lush green landscapes, waterfalls etc.

2. Aishwarya Rai's performance. Though she has a lesser physical activity compared to Vikram, she does her best in emoting for the scenes. I feel she has done by far her best performance in Raavanan. The movie revolves around her and she does a neat job. She has less dialogues but her eyes are made to talk more. Mani is best here.

3. Vikram as ever is at his best. Great dialogue delivery, body language. He proves he is a good actor but wasting 2 years for just a single project makes me question his choice of roles. He does what the character requires him to do.

Apart from these, no more highlights quite a lot of things that went horribly wrong.
May be Mani thought he could mesmerize the audience with just the visuals bombed badly. Story is a very predictable one. Vikram kidnaps Ash (Prithvi's wife) and Prithvi comes in search of her and he wins.. There is a twist in the climax which also becomes predictable (so should I call that a "twist"? ;) ) Prithvi has nothing much to do he keeps following Vikram throughout and wins over him.

Priyamani talked so much in the interviews and her character comes a mere 15 mins and that includes a 5 min song!!! I think Mani, after seeing Priyamani in Paruthiveeran thot she acts well in a gang rape scene and gives her a similar such sequence and she does well here too :)

Biggest let down was ARRs BGM .. Songs were not upto the standards(let alone Usire poguthey, kalvare) and his BGM was even poorer. This could probably be his worst ever composition for a Mani movie.

The climax was a little confusing. Is Ash falling in love with Vikram? Is Vikram in love with Aishwarya Rai? or probably is Mani also confused on this and thought that it would be best for the audience to decide?

Though the movie runs for over 2 hrs and 15 mins you feel as if you have watched a 3 hr movie. Very slow/poor screenplay, very cliched story, very predictable scenes makes you feel its not worth even a watch but I still recommend you to go for it just for the stunning visuals by Santhosh Sivan and for Aishwarya Rai.

2/5 for Mani's Raavanan..

P.S: I have not watched 'Raavan' yet but am sure AB would have definitely not performed as Vikram. So I guess, it should be still worse :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The new flavour for "IPL 4"

This post was supposed to be published on the final day of IPL 3. But as a perfect S/W professional, the deadline got missed due to some poor planning.. So please spare me for posting this so late. I know all of you are so engrossed with the news on the T20 debacle, the pub brawl, Kirsten's comments on the fitness , but lets take sometime to look at IPL 4, the "most successful IPL" (term already coined by IPL Governing Council)

Lalit Modi may not be the official commissioner for the next IPL, but he has already jot down some new rules for next year's IPL to make it more interesting and more nail-biting. And here are those. (Note: A little bit of this already made rounds in Cricinfo :(, but believe me I m not plagiarizing, I had these things on my mind but couldnt post it before)

1. From next year, there will be no one-sided matches. All of 94 matches will, as Ravi Shastri would say, "Will go down the wire" (*Whistle**Whistle*). This is done keeping in mind the interest of the public watching the match at the stadium and those watching it on SET MAX. The maximum run difference with which a the side batting first can beat the side chasing is within 10 runs and all matches will be played atleast played till the 19th over. Similarly the maximum wicket difference for a win would be utmost 3. So even if a side (with all of 10 wickets in hand) need 6 runs from 1 over to win, they would end up as losers as they should have lost atleast 7 wickets. Speaking on this Lalit Modi said "We have always heard people talking about keeping wickets in hand to win a match, but now with this new rule the sides should have a strategy to lose a wicket at the right time. This would make a more mental competition between sides apart from Cricket".

2. Considering the kind of entertainment that Sreesanth provides on the field, Lalit Modi has added a clause especially for Sreesanth. A new rule applicable only for Sreesanth. According to this rule, Sreesanth will be "The Player for all Teams" . More on this rule, Lalit Modi said," Sreesanth is a unique character. its fun to have him on the field and we have discussed with SET MAX and they report that the TRP ratings go off the roof when he plays for Kings XI Punjab. So we ll have him as permanent member in all IPL Matches". Asked about what will happen if both the teams playing on a particular day prefer not to have Sreesanth in the side, Mr Modi said, "There will be an auction for not having him in the side. Whichever team bids higher, they will be declared winner and Sreesanth will have to play for the other team". On hearing this none of the teams felt happy apart from the MI.

3. With a completely new auction for all players in the next years IPL, Modi was excited and said, "this is going to be the most profitable revenue generating auction for the IPL. No other sport, NBA, EPL, nothing comes close to our auction". He also added that, "the maximum cap for a single player will be $7m and anything over it will go to IPL(which invariably means it goes to Lalit Modi's personal account)

4. "A Greener IPL 4" :Next year the IPL is gonna be greener than this year. We will be having 2 stupid green tips instead of one(which no one is gonna understand) and at the end of the match there will be twice the amount of firecrackers to celebrate the win and pollute the environment. When asked whether the firecrackers are contradicting the Green IPL theme, Lalit said, "in IPL 3 we did the same. we got tremendous response on the use of firecrackers from some eminent personalities like Shilpa Shetty. So we are gonna continue this year as well. Its our interest to keep our franchises happy as well as give some Green tips for others to follow".

5. IPL 4 on Twitter!! : If it was YouTube this year, the next year it is going to be Twitter. You have to follow Lalit Modi to keep updated with the scores. He said, "I will be posting the updates on the scores for every 5 overs. The Live telecast from the stadium will be delayed by 5 mins. So you can keep updated with the latest score by following me. "

6. After the amount of media attention that Lalit Modi got post the Sashi Tharoor controversy, Mr Modi has decided to rope in one politician to play the role of a spoiler like Mr Tharoor to keep the events off-the-field also very interesting in the next IPL. "With Mr Tharoor,we never really rehearsed to have such events. It just happened. It was wonderful to keep some news about IPL to be telecasted on the News channels. So we are planning to rope in Lalu Prasad Yadav for next year's IPL to be our "Controversy Politician". He is funny and a great critic. So you guys will be enjoying a lot more next year on the off-the-field events. My team has prepared some great controversial stuffs over which me and Mr Yadav would be fighting on the last few weeks of IPL 4. I assure you that" said Mr. Modi

7. Next years commentary team to talk sensible. As people criticized the commentary team's poor vocabulary this year, the IPL has decided to give coaching to the commentators. Modi said "This is one area which we would definitely like to improve. We have a very strong commentary team, but its unfortunate to hear such comments about them. So we are planning to have the coaching done by Ramiz Raja to our commentary team who would give expert advice on the use of English language and the cricket jargons. I listened to one of the best ever lines by Ramiz during the ongoing t20 wc which made him the inimitable commentator to seek advice from. And this was the line which made me a fan of him.'Everything on the on side, nothing on the leg side... and all the runs have been on the on side'. Also, since we know the results of each and every ball of the match, we would have Ramiz to write down and the commentary team will just have to read it out during the Live telecast. " But Sivaramakrishnan has strongly opposed this by saying he has done dumber commentary than Ramiz but amazed by why Lalit preferred Ramiz. (Probably they had an auction for that too!!! )

This is all what Lalit Modi had to say when asked about IPL 4, but since he was busy preparing the 9000 page defence document to BCCI, he signed off from us in typical Rajni style saying "this is just a trailer. Await more news"

Watch this space for more guys !!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Story of Vijay's next thriller movie - Sura

Source: Indiaglitz

"The story is about the power of youth. Usually most of the youth wants to play safe when they see atrocities happen in front of them. They feel insecure and tries to escape out of the situation fearing many factors. But Vijay having all the courage tries to put things right by using all right means including politics. But when all fail he becomes a one man army to weed out social crimes without fearing for anything just like a shark would hunt its prey alone. With sufficient political overtones ‘Sura’ will also have its share of punch dialogues. "

Verdict: In Goundamani's voice
"iruvanthanju varushama ne ithaye thaana da solitu irukka.. makkale intha maathiri naaingala elaam neengale adichu thorathidunga"

--Edited post the release

Sorry guys, this was not the original story. The movie sucked much more than this :)
I believe even the above story could have been better

I m planning to sue Indiaglitz for giving us the wrong story