Thursday, July 22, 2004

Clerks - Movie Review

"The only trouble with this place is the customers"

Poor white America is fucked up. That is the most common opinion that most people have. Kevin Smith has made a living out of that opinion. He makes presumably fucked up characters and gives them lots of respectability (I am NOT talking about Jay).

He characterizes their frustrations, tribulations and their reactions in probably the best satire among all his works in Clerks. The work is true and close to his heart, since his characters seem like people whom he grew up with. He himself plays the Buddha-like Silent Bob in all his movies.

What is different about Clerks? How is it different from other movies? Nothing great you see a glimpse of all the bigger characters he created later on but in this movie like the self righteous boyfriend (Chasing Amy), the matter of fact and practical girl (Chasing Amy, Dogma again), the lazy sidekick who makes some very astute observations (all his movies), the tobacco activists (Mallrats), Jay and Silent Bob (all his movies)? the list goes on and on.

The movie is also peppered with dialogues that will make you give a wry smile. The satire is almost too good to resist if you have seen his other movies. You will be able to see why Kevin Smith is such a great script writer. He characterizes and supports his characters so well! Here are some lines from the movie that I found good.

(to the crowd)
And you people: Don’t you have jobs
to go to? Get out of here and go
In obvious satire of the customer's sub-urban residing place
I hate this fuckng place.
Well? he is a clerk in a poor sub-urban convenience store. The passion with which he says it is unnerving.
Making a male climax is not all
that challenging: insert somewhere
close and preferably moist; thrust;
Lol combination of frustration and ennui can be a dangerous thing. Our man satirizes about everything he comes across.
I’m sure he wasn’t sleeping.

You calling me a liar?

No; he was probably just resting
his eyes.

Dry humour is often the resort of the bored. Don?t watch this movie if you cannot laugh at yourself a few times.
Empire had the better ending: Luke
gets his hand cut off, and finds
out Vader’s his father; Han gets
frozen and taken away by Boba Fett.
It ends on such a down note. And
that’s life-a series of down
endings. All Jedi had was a bunch
of Muppets.

More dry humour. I associated with this quite a lot. The conversation goes on to a theory about the ?death star? from the Star Wars movies. Funny would an understatement.

Who cares? That lady’s an asshole.
Everybody that comes in here is way
too uptight. This job would be
great if it wasn’t for the fucking

From a video store clerk... :)... the movie I funny juxt because it is too commonplace.

So happy laughing!! And enjoy.

Friday, July 09, 2004

State of Fear - Book Review

I will start my lambasting of this book from where I left out the last time I reviewed a Crichton book. I had mentioned after reading Prey, that MC should probably once again start writing books like Eaters of the Dead and Jurassic Park and stop trying to blind us with his purported scientific refulgence. He, in plain and simple words, is NOT qualified to write such ’scientific’ books. It is not possible to consider him as a serious science fiction or fantasy writer either.

State of Fear only reinforces my opinion of MC. See? this is his MO. He reads way too many scientific journals? and writes a research paper with pseudo-sensational discoveries that he sends to The International Scientific Journal of Burundi and Neighbouring Villages. His journal paper gets turned down even there, and so he publishes it as a book with equally boring and predictable characters for us to read. The book sells a few million copies just for the curiosity value and he makes a wad out of it. MC is a big time sham.

The story in short:
> Radical Environmentalists (REs henceforth) want to keep spreading fear.
> REs are disappointed that Global Warming is not as fearsome as had previously sounded since quite a lot of statistics contradict it.
> So REs go about starting seemingly natural calamities that would once again start frightening people. They have in their agenda,
  • Earthquakes
  • Tornados
  • Storms
  • Tsunamis
Did I leave anything out?
The REs find ways to cause all those at the drop of the hat.

For eg, they seem to have found out a way to cause an earthquake with the help of earth vibrating machines producing standing waves? I don?t know what to say. I got a lot of flak when I theorized the tsunami as an American conspiracy? and that they had used something called the HAARP to start the earthquake. Probably I should start writing conspiracy theory under the name of MC. It will get a million hits then.

> Going on, an all knowing philanthropist, a cynical lawyer who is yet good at heart, two women, and a multi-purpose computer guy (I don?t know what he does except tap on his keyboard and come up with statistics all the time) try to thwart the radicals.
> They are successful otherwise all of us would be dead by now. Duh!

Taking him seriously - where is MC wrong
He wants us to assume that global warming is cased by the green house gases alone. So if there is no one-to-one correlation between the temperature rise and the increase in green house gases (there could be a million other reasons that have been maintaining the earth's atmospheric and surface temperatures), it is no proof to say green house effect is bogus. If we don't assume that, 90% of the logic in the book is repudiated.

He gives us statistics from selected cities and does not show us the collective global trend. After-all this is Global warming not Local warming? he comfortably shows us only the date collected from specific locations that have shown trends that contradict the global warming phenomenon. That is pretty biased I would say.

When I started feeling that way, I did not waste any more time with this book? it is just too long and boring.

To sum up?
This book can be gauged neither as a science fiction novel nor as a scientific journal. It has neither entertainment value nor sound scientific reasoning. It is replete with boring graphs and equally boring characters who can be dismissed with contempt pretty much like Sehwag dismisses a half volley with contempt to the cover boundary Ball ka ghar hai boundary types. This book belongs to the trash can. Send it there.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Colonial Cousins - Aatma - Music album review

In the lingua franca of downtown Madras, this album is not that much enough? It could have been better. But it achieves what Hari and Lezz might have intended to release this album for? to put you to sleep. You wont last more than 2 songs. I promise.

This is not worthy of ownership, but you can listen to it a few times if you have a bootlegged copy of it. Otherwise, I would ask you to play Maharajapuram Santhanam on your tape player, some English-pop on your CD player and a 3 second sample of a drum beat on repeat on your computer? at the same time... to get the same musical effect that this album produces.

1. Mata Pita
American country music fused with South Indian Classical.

Overview: Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Shaker, drums, Hariharan singing Sanskrit lyrics with a western touch, Lezz contrasting with his acoustic guitar, Terrible English Lyrics(TEL), the Irish flute at the end that reminds you of bands like Cuillin. Beautiful. The pick off the lot.

2. Sri Rama
70s Jazz Piano with a slightly heavy base, and Lezz with his really TEL, Hari in his baritone asking Lord Rama what he had for dinner... Lezz answers... you start laughing.

Overview: Piano, drums, Electric guitar, Metallic flute.. reminds you of Boureee. The piano and the soothing beat take the lead? and the rest of the song just slips by without you even noticing.

3. When did MLTR start collaborating with Lezz and Hari?
This is what Turn around makes you think. Sounds a lot like Breaking the rules to me. Lezz croons huskily and Hari as usual does some Indianising with some filmi-ishtyle oooooh's and aaaah' s. There is not a lot of experimenting in this song.

Overview: Electric guitar, some computerized beats, sounds like what the triple bongo produces, and some good recording if you are listening on your headphone.

4. I have to mention Dil Mein Tu!!!
Starts with some sitar? promising enough. Then suddenly Def Leppard starts playing? and before you have time to recover? Lezz realizes that brain rhymes with cocaine and again and starts mouthing deadly lyrics that would put a retarded 13 year old to shame.

Hari starts belting some killer alaap with a Papa was a rolling stone BG. And then Lezz comes back on with lyrics like

I will get you Ice cream,
I will make you scream
and you run to get your dictionary.

Overview: Organ (you got a dirty mind you know??!!), Lezz Lezz, some coloured girls for the ooos, the Sitar, Electric guitar, drums, Mohan Veena, The ?papa was a rolling stone? beat?

Dil mein thhooooooo heeee Tu
Can it be me and you?

Other brilliant excerpts

When I was a Baby Child
I’d always run to mama

Mom and Dad are the ones I love
I know I can’t find no woman. (really ???)

Should I Run
Should I Stay
Should I walk away?


Songs to listen to:
Mata Pita, Guiding Star
Songs to avoid:
The rest. (7 in number)


Monday, June 21, 2004

Virumandi - Movie Review

There are a few movies about which you hear a lot about quite a few months before the release of the movie. This was one movie which was overly publicized. In one of his interviews, Kamal said he made this movie for 3 kinds of audiences, and he hoped ardently that it would appeal to those audiences and make this movie a success. I watched this movie and thought seriously for 10 minutes and came up with the possible classes of people who might think this movie is appealing. So if you are one of the following genii, I would advice you to rent the tape and watch it in the comfort of your home with the recommended paraphernalia.

Type A
* You LOVE watching movies with a ’’village subject’’, whose main characters are a few Thongattan Paatis and people talking thamizh with a Coimbatore accent regardless of which part of Tamil Nadu the movie is based.
Thongattan - A heavy gold earpiece that stretches the earlobe to the shoulder level
Paatis - Old People
Coimbatore - A town in central Tamil Nadu where I presume all the ’village extras’ in Tamil movies are outsourced from.

* You enjoyed those old maudlin Tamil movies directed by Bhim Singh where Shivaji Ganesan(An immense actor.... hehe) does the role of a frisky First Year B.A. student,who wears a coat to college to hide his 42 inch waist. Later in the movie, he has financial problems either because his father gets cheated by the evil uncle or because his brother falls in love with the wrong kind of woman.. or both... and the entire story revolves around his love for his wife, brother, father, mother or his recalcitrant and evil uncle.

* You have this excessive urge to express yourself emotionally and your tearglands are always in the ’Get Set... Ready’ mode.

Required Paraphernalia:
. Large towel with excellent water absorbant and retentive capabilities - 1 Nos
. Large bucket into which you could squeeze the excess tears - 1 Nos
. Some Vethalai Sunnambu(Green leaf and lime that when chewed on becomes red) or Thattai Seedai(’Rice Flour patties deep fried in vegetable oil’ lol lol lol have you ever been to those ’Indian Restaurants’ in USA ?).
. Some Glucose/ Lime, for you might become dehydrated.

Type B
* You go to Nandanam Arts college (A college in the heart of Chennai whose students have a collective IQ of maybe -20....) in a 47A(Public Transportation that, during peak hours resembles a tamarind sack left out in Amazonian heat) and spend your most productive time of the day on the footboard or on top or the bottom of the bus.
* You ’put one O’ (A very suave way of expressing your approval) for whichever ’figure’ (go figure.... hehe) you happen to chance upon in the bus.
* You think Mookan from Ayodhya Kuppam (A fisherman colony in Chennai where fish have a longer lifespan than man), is the coolest guy on earth because he uses his veecharuva(sickle) and veeravel(spear) to eat Karuvaadu Soru. (native Tamil Nadu Non Vegetarian Dish... Ok Ok.. let me try. ’Dried Sea water fish fried in oil and made to soak for a few days in a pot also containing Pazhavarusi and water (You dont even want to know... blve me.)).
* You think most village disputes are settled the ’Mookan way’.

Required Paraphernalia
. Cigarettes.. you might need a lot of these breaks. The love scenes are only at the end of the movie.
. Some ’machis’ (friends... partners in inertia) to pass those comments about human anatomy using... human anatomy or vegetable and fruits as reference.
. Some Eeral Puttu and Vellai Paniyaram (more south Indian Munchies just to get you in the mood for the oomph) to fill the inter-cigarette-break intervals.


Type C
* You relish arguments titled ’The different types of Greek Ethicologies and their relation to the bourgeois in Central Madras’.
* You are eternally looking for the ’message’ in any movie you watch... even cartoons... :). You absolutely HAVE to know what the director is thinking in every frame...
* You think talking over the dinner table about how the artists perceptions of the death penalty is either going to seriously change the ’system’ or prove to the other eaters that you are knowledgable.
* I tell you... you will spend hours talking about the movie... even if you dont end up liking it.

Required Paraphernalia:
A Laptop.
Internet Connection.
Google Google Google.

If you are any one of the 3 above, I assure you would adore the movie. Ofcourse you could be the garden variety Kamal Fan apart from these categories who would anyway appreciate whatever tripe ourman dishes out. I dont want to argue with you. I still think he is the best India has to offer in terms of sheer variety and histrionic ability. But I just dont want to see him in a few roles. This is one of them.

OK.. last piece. I congratulate you if you have come this far. You are well and truly jobless :). Like me. As for me, I used only the Fast Forward button while watching the movie. I could not stand more than 15 minutes of this truly boring movie and I wish to God that Kamal either becomes a software engineer or starts making movies where he plays a software engineer (a form of lowlife that I happen to be a member of)... whichever pays him more. I cannot stand to see him as a yokel crying over his dead grandma. Please... I want to enjoy the movie... not lament through it !!