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Friday, May 21, 2004

Troy - Spectacular but really c'mon...

Troy in short has tried to be Lord of the Rings in this earth instead of Middle-earth. You will see so many elements such as the cinematography and choreography that are so similar to LOTR. However, Troy should be given credit where its due. It has done a good job with the spectacle. Wolfgang Peterson has given Peter Jackson some competition in this department.

However, story-wise it is okay. It is not something I will talk about the next day over coffee or anything. The battle and fight scenes were the only absorbing moments. Here the director has done a splendid job in choreographing the fight scenes, especially the one between Achilles and Hector. It shows a battle of aggression that does not hold back on one side and aggression brought on by wrong-doing, loyalty and duty on the other. Eric Bana's (Hector) performance is one of the best throughout the movie and of course I don't think Peter O'Toole needs mention here.

The other moments are few and they do not hold up very well. This is mainly due to the actor's lack of ability to delive dialogues with any Greek authority. Also, the dialogue does not lend itself to incredulous grandeur that was evoked in movies such as LOTR. Some of the dialogues that Agamemnon has are just downright pathetic. They do not befit a great king of kings and a warrior. The less mentioned about Menelaus the better. The guy looks more Scottish with a Scottish accent than Greek. He just doesn't fit the Greek bill for me. Orlando Bloom is funny but effective as Paris and Diane Kruger is well just pretty. However, the sort of passion and ardor is not evoked in the scenes where they are together. This brings me to my point. There are really no scenes where the viewer feels like he has much to lose or gain by getting into the character's shoes. The characters do not evoke any feelings of regret, pain or happiness in the audience. LOTR was more effective in doing so due to its amazing character development.

Brad Pitt as Achilles... please!!! The guy does look the part very much but he has a very hard time carrying it off. Achilles in the Illiad is emotional, aggressive and overall a very colourful character. However, Brad Pitt is just straight and not very emotive in his performance. He tries to do so especially with his love and when he is with Sean Bean (Odysseus). Another more involved performer such as Russell Crowe would have done justice to the job.

However, the same cannot be said about Eric Bana as Hector. He is probably the only actor in the whole movie who keeps to the character so well. He evokes a conflicted emotion of loyalty to his father and loyalty to his country. It is extremely effective and I think Wolfgang Peterson has played to Eric Bana's strength here. Bana has done a wonderful job bringing out aggression, emotion, conflict and strength all of them hallmarks of a great and intelligent warrior.

Overall the movie is well done; however, it does leave the heart to desire a bit more performance wise and handling wise. Definitely worth a watch, atleast once.

Rating: 3/5 (any object you'd like to put here.)

Monday, May 10, 2004

Testing things out here...

Well, just found that released a new version of their site
with some new features. This is a nice feature... I can blog from my
email. Did you know that? All you have to do is create a special sort of
an email address in the Setting part of the website. Then just send an
email to that address and you're free to go. Very useful when I'm on a
Unix system that might have just console access. Besides, its a pain
sometimes to login to the blogger site anyway. But, good job with the
email deal here... Very nicely done... IF IT WORKS!!! :)

Okay enough movies...

Well, summer break's here and that means more time for me to blog and do things I don't usually do such as sleep. Isn't that wonderful. Anyway, I have to talk about my latest infatuation -- Dancing. Hahaha. You can call it infatuation because I bought almost $200 worth of clothes figuring that I would dance. Well, being the wise man that I am I did buy them such that I could use them at other places too... But anyway that's beside the point.

The point is that now I'm learning Latin Dancing. I would post a few picture if I had any. Infact I'm searching for a few. It will be on here if I can find someone who actually took the pictures. My partner says I'm pretty good at it but damn I can't get the beat. I forget to go with the beat when I'm excited and just go with some tune in my head. BIG MISTAKE!!! Never do that especially if your partner knows how to dance. They will be frustrated and never dance with you again... Not the case here I'm happy to say.

Anyone out there into dancing the Merengue, Salsa and such. Drop a line. Maybe some tips and hints... Would appreciate it very much.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Main Hoon Naa... kyon fikar karte ho... Main Hoon naa...

WOW!! Well, there are two adjectives to describe this movie -- FORMULA, MASALA -- just the right mix with all the right elements. A complete fundoo movie that you'll enjoy the whole way. Its funny, melodramatic, action and period all rolled into one awesome bollywood fare. This movie could just be what Bollywood has been looking for. The first true-blue hit of 2004, it is packaged absolutely well for fame. A very, very, very brief gist of the movie follows (A FEW SPOILERS HERE!!).

Major Ram Prasad Sharma aka "Ram" (SRK) is the son of Brigadier General Shekhar Prasad (Naseeruddin Shah). Ram is sent to a school in Darjeeling by the Commander of the Indian Army (Kabir Bedi) to protect his daughter from Raghavan (Suniel Shetty). Word about Raghavan here... he carries off the role of the mindless terrorist very well... he is a lunatic and you get to know how silly and loony he really is in the beginning itself. After a while he just becomes funny, not scary (which is good!!). Anyway, getting back to the story Raghavan is trying to derail the general's "Project Milaap" which is a friendship gesture from both India and Pakistan. By this program 50 prisoners from both sides were supposed to be released to the other side.

Sanjana (Amrita Rao) is the general's daughter and she hates her dad and the army. Ram goes there with two missions. One is to protect Sanjana and the other is to re-unite with this step-mother (Kirron Kher) and brother Lakshman aka "Lucky" (Zayed Khan). Ram is the "naajaayaz aulaad" (bastard child) of Naseeruddin Shah if you haven't figured that one out yet.

Anyway, Ram goes to school as a student. He meets the school principal (Bomman Irani), physics teacher Mr. Rasai (Satish Shah) and hindi teacher Mrs. Kakkad as well as a host of other characters. Then we have a nice time with the kids and connecting with their generation. Kudos to SRK here since he plays the older man "uncle" role very well while giving the limelight as the young hero to Zayed. Here he also meets the absolutely, smoldering hot chemistry teacher Ms. Chandni (Sushmita Sen)!! She exudes beauty, I said beauty mind you, not sexy. Not that I'm implying she is not sexy. But, her beauty is absolutely mesmerizing. Every time you see her on screen you feel like you are transported to a different place, its wonderful. Anyway, there is love in the air until the new physics teacher, Mr. Raghav Dutta (Suniel Shetty) enters the picture.

Then shit hits the fan and Suniel Shetty goes crazy with everyone around him (trying my best not to reveal anything here). Anyway, the story follows the standard formula but does it so well, it is worth watching it just for the way the movie is done.

If you are going to watch it watch it with the whole family. It is a wonderful family fare and takes you back to the 80s, 70s way of movie-making. Definitely not a waste of time and worth your time...

I need to start a way of rating these movies... Let's start doing it now. How about this?

Rating : **** out of 5. I'll come up with a much more elaborate rating in a few days. That will assist you better maybe.

Masti: Arre waah, kya masti

This is possibly one of the worst Bollywood fares I have seen. Now, I am not going to go out and say that I have seen many bollywood movies these days. But maaan!!! I could not sit through more than 10 minutes of this movie. It is aboslutely horrible. It is a disgrace to the art of filmography. I mean this is absolutely terrible...

Firstly, there is no story to follow. The premise is just based on 3 guys who are unhappy with their family lives after having a great time in college. This part was okay but after that things take on such a double-meaning that it is impossible to even laugh. I mean it just feels dirty, not funny. There is a fine line between being funny and being an asshole shaking his thing on the screen.

I mean the first 3 songs have these 3 guys who have no clue how to act. I used to think Vivek Oberoi was goood but this movie may just change that... However, having not seen the whole movie I'm not going to pass any judgment on the story and its handling. Besides I don't think I'm ready to put myself through that movie again... Sorry, but it was terrible.

Wait up for a review of "Main Hoon Naa..." I'm watching it as I'm writing. It'll come up soon.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Gmail a-rockin...!!

HEY!!!! Maybe my previous post had some effect. Well, even if it didn't I will believe that it did and the world is a better place because of it. Anyway, I am trying Gmail now...

It has a much cleaner interface than many of the other webmail services. Definitely a good reduction in the amount of advertising that is usually present on these services. You'll especially appreciate the elimination of the flash and other ads at the top and the bottom of the page which is a staple in Hotmail and Yahoo!! Though I love Yahoo! to death it just does some things like the flash ads in the introductory page that are just way too annoying to ignore.

One little feature that I seem to be using more and more often is the keyboard shortcuts. Though being an ardent Mozilla Firefox user I have had problems with the browser not understanding whether I'm typing a google command or using "Type Ahead Find" feature. This situation is a bit confusing and I'm not sure what exactly is going on there. If anyone out there has any information on how Google's keyboard commands work please let me know. Maybe I can alleviate this problem in Firefox.

Also, the "Labels" feature is definitely interesting and could find more acceptance as its usage gets more widespread. I'm finding it useful already though I don't have a lot of mail in the inbox. It seems to work by just labeling each email that you get. If it is a reply to a previous mail that you sent then it is automatically added under the original email's label. Of course these labels don't contain your email and you can delete them willy-nilly (very unlike folders). So, you can delete the labels but the email remains intact somewhere in the innards of your inbox. Believe me after a few months of trying you will fill-up the box and the search feature will definitely come-in handy.

I haven't had much time to go through the thorough user experience. There is still a lot to explore such as the "Starred" feature that I still don't completely understand, anyone care to explain? Anyway, keep a watch out for more Gmail experiences right here...

Meanwhile, check out a sample screenshot: gmail.jpg