Friday, December 29, 2006

Movie Review - Veyil or Veyyil

Veyyil, is a commendable effort... reviewers never fail to point out that this effort is from Shankar's S Pictures. And as usual, it has a nice story... and set in interesting locations. The places the movie is based reminds you of the old Bharathiraaja movies... based in villages that have not been 'facelifted'. You know.. the kind of locales that people immedietely label as 'gritty' in their reviews.

Characters are well made. Simple and realistic. Pasupathy stands out. His mannerisms and voice intonation... when he re-introduces himself to his brother... or when he claims innocence of pilfering... pretty close to what I percieve as realistic.

Bharath looks very comfortable in his role as the younger brother. His scenes with Bhavana are straight out of Kaadhal... violent guy, timid girl. His scenes with Pasupathy where he exhibits a sort of repentent love because of the guilt he had felt as a kid... are interesting. The macho scenes that are mandatory to maintain his status as "Chinna Thalabadhi" fall flat. He needs to put on atleast 1 more stone.

Bhavana I think has used up all the 'make up saamaan' that had been bought for the movie. Shriya plays a character who works in a matchbox factory and lives in a shanty. Yet she finds the money to tweeze her eyebrows once a week. In the movie, they are almost as carefully shaped as Vijayakanth's in Chinna Gounder. (Have you seen them? They are a work of art...)

Its been almost 3 months since I watched a Thamizh movie in teh theatre.. teh last one being Perarasu. This movie, I watched because I had nothing else to do was worth the wait. Inspite of a few shortcomings some of which, I obviously had blown out of proportion... the movie was eons ahead of the other tripe that came out these last three months.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Book Review - Thermopylae - Gates of Fire

I recently watched the trailer of a movie. "300". Was as impressed as any one of those average middle class suburbanite slobs that I am... I went ahead and bought the book about "Thermopylae"... "Gates of Fire" by Stephen Pressfield. The book was well written and impressive enough to keep my attention for more than 4 hours. Commendable.. I usually get bored after 30 minutes of reading a book, but I finished this book.

The book is about a group of 300 elite 'Spartans'. (history and the book says these 300 were joined by more than 700 from other tribes), defending Greece from a humungous Persian army. The persian army lands at the marshes of Mallaca Gulf, and has to proceeds south. That is the only road, as there are no wide paths through the mountains. On the other side of the mountains is Greece and inbetween there are 1000 Greeks. (300 of which are Spartans, that this book tries to glorify).

Xerxes lands at point A, with maybe a million soldiers, and has to pass through road B. The Greeks who do not fear their lives are at points C, D, and E with their contingents and keep pushing the Persian invaders off the cliffs which are marked in bright pink. Well cliffs are pretty dangerous places to get pushed off and persians die like lemmings on a suicide spree. (Well that BTW is a myth.. not to be taken seriously).

So there is this greek king called Leonidas. 60 years of age, but an great leader, who first builds a wall (red bar) in front of a battle plain on a cliff, which can hold around 4000 persians at a time. He convinces the 1000 Greeks by his side, that even if each Greek kills 4 Persians, the battle can be won on a day by day basis.... Flawless logic and the Greeks implement it. once, twice, thrice... again and again and again till the Persians get really irritated. Those are the high points of the book.

The rest of the book is about how the Persian outwit them.... pretty intersting and there is a thrilling raid by a group of 10 spartans to kill Xerxues.. howver they pronounce it... but to no avail. He lives and kills every one of the spartans the very next day.

The book is being narrated by a Spartan slave, and he holds your interest in a story, whose result you arready know. Read the book. Pretty interesting. Also watch the series of "making of 300". If you enjoyed Sin City, and you enjoy war movies... i guess this will be one more treat from Frank Miller.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Game Review - NFS Carbon

NFS - Carbon (really don't know why it is called that...) is not innovative, but still manages to keep your interest if you finish the races quickly. Also... just imagine this... I am writing a review abotu a game that I played... how bored should i be to do that ? and how MORE boring must the game be for me to actually write somethign bad about it ? Right now, not even Solitaire will bore me :-). So here goes.
Team members:
It is possible for you to form your own team comprising of drafters (race with you... find the best path to race), scouts (find hidden tracks and shortcuts for you), blockers (disable other competitors for you). Also you have a fabricator whose advice you can get to soup up your car to perform well. Race map:You race in a city on the coast with both the sea and the mountains nearby. Some race tracks take you through the mountains are pretty engaging, but still others are just throught eh city... mad speed. I am playing the game with a Porsche Cayman and the souped up version reaches speeds of 180 mph. There is not to much intelligent innovation as the car handling is no different at 120 and 180. And oh !! she is part of your 'team'.

Game story is pretty simple. The city is divided into 5 areas each controlled by a gang, and eveyry gang has a beef against you because of an incident that happened a few eyars back. You return and try to regain territory. There is a subplot which is a riddle about why certain policement singled you out and let you escape and about a bag of money carried by your girl friend. Very weak to say the least.

Racing is pretty standard, there are six main kinds of races... drifts, speedtraps, circuits, laps and timed runs. Among these, speed traps are pretty interesting with your average speed going through checkpoints makes you the winner. Drifting is a bit more difficult in this game with some mountain paths letting you fall off the cliff while drifting. Thre are 'boss races' where you notch up points for following the area boss along pretty tough mountain paths.. and by keeping him behind you when you are leading. Those are some of the more interesting races in the game.
Free roam is a feature where you can try to evade cop cars and once they lose sight of you, safe houses spring up all over for you to enter. Street cred increases but there is no apparent improvement. Cars are pretty standard where you can choose between muscle, (high accel.) Tuner (high handling) and the european kind which has both in copious doses). Once you get a car that can reach 170 - 180, there is no way a cop car is goign to catch you. Cops show up more often later in thea game when you already have earned better cars. So it really does not make sense then.
Well I feel OK that I am playing the game. Maybe you will too.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Movie Review - Broken Flowers

Bill Murray, veteran indoor scenery in a few Hollywood productions has expressed desire to start emoting in movies which would give him an opportunity to move his facial muscles. After accessorizing bar stools, leather couches and over-stuffed pillows in movies like Lost in Translation and especially Broken Flowers, Bill Murray (Movethat Thinghere to family) felt it was time to move on in his career.

“I have always been comfortable staring at air molecules and I now notice some of them strike my face. I think it is time for me to start reacting to those air molecules”, said Murray breaking his usual deadpan exterior by moving his lips almost one eighth of an inch. “In Broken Flowers, the leather couch I was sitting on posed a serious threat to my screen presence. That is not the Bill Murray you will be seeing now onwards”, he added emphatically.

“The inertia in Bill Murray’s performances is so high that it would take more than just one kilo Newton to lift his left eyebrow alone”, said noted physicist Alfrad Nobal. He added there was no need for studios to get alarmed as Chuck Norris is available free of charge to provide the necessary physical impetus to Murray’s jaw.

“Broken Flowers will be the last movie I will act as a middle aged loveless successful loser in search of a woman friend who will stay with me for the rest of the 3 months I will live”, Murray said before tasering himself for making such a decisive statement... bringing the interview to a sudden end, pretty much like the movie.