No Blood, Just Death

Not often do I see crime and gangster dramas without a blood splattering show. ‘Siberia’ was one such example. Less (in fact, none at all) blood, fewer dialogues, some steam to get you hot and an insanely predictable end. Love lost, cause lost, not sure why it all started in the first place.

Gosh, I have seen Keanu Reeves in a better shape and in a much better house as an actor. Sadly, he is approaching nadir in this so-called thriller.

Deceptive Vengeance

It’s not inspired, it’s purely taken from ‘The Invisible Guest’. Yet, watch Badla for one man’s tormenting eyes which describes a hundred tales – Mr Badal Gupta.

I call it, ‘Vengeance with Venom’

Human Sans Logic

If man has to choose between money and man, he will go straight for money. In a world of such perennial aura and superlative torrents, ‘Triple Frontier’ offers solace. But I am quite deterred by the aftermath depicted.

How on earth do you manage to infiltrate in to the den of a most wanted Narco terrorist with a bunch of extremely self motivated ex army men equipped with state-of-the-art logistics and no one blinks an eye? Worse, the narco terrorist whose forest wrenched mansion was just ambushed, doesn’t care to retaliate and they are left alone to happily walk away with all the booty?!

The plot here hangs in an unknown frontier, this time.

Bazaar – Bizarre Market

Certainly not ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, but tries to come close. Share market, ‘Bullish’ vibes, the inevitable passion to brutally excel in what you play for and deny the eventual – these are traits for the ones who dare to enter this playground with balls aplenty.

‘Bazaar’ falters in the last 30 minutes or so, but still remains watchable till the penultimate frame. It brings back Saif Ali Khan to do what he does best – remain subtle, hold on to his natural histrionics and act. Which he does impressively, and it solely remains to be his film. I seriously think he should stop doing those baseless Rom-Coms, which looks so jaded and irrelevant to our times. He has much more left in him as long as we have scripts with meat.

Watch it for Saif, his plot and others.

Blackmail – Vengeance is Inside

When does a person blackmail another person?

When he realises that he is being screwed upright behind his back and still expected to believe that things are hunky dory between the mundane episodes of life.

Well, that’s exactly the plot here. What you are bracing for is an entertaining series of encounters and the fetish yet evil face of human adversity. One follows another, a vicious circle develops and ends up destroying each of their lives. Well, you can argue if they ever had one.

சர்வம் தாளமயம் – Refreshingly Rythmic

I have not watched a musical for a long time now. They don’t make classic musicals any more.

But ‘சர்வம் தாளமயம்’ bought back poignant moments in a musical journey which stands out as simple, light hearted and make-you-feel-good drama with an outstanding soundtrack, which in many ways describes A R Rahman – The Master Composer.

Carnatic Music with a blend of vocal magic and art of percussion instruments. I love the semblance of anything which is connected to our roots, and this is just so apt.

Thank you Rajiv Menon, for giving us a glimpse of the ‘Mozart of Madras’, just like old days.

Twin Scare

Veronica

I am not a great believer in the occult. But, there have been times of mesmerising helplessness when I start adoring the devil which ceases to exist without the goodness around us.

But, Veronica has nothing to do with goodness, though. It’s about pain, recklessness, human disdain and much beyond, our hemisphere.

I thought the eclipse and the game of calling the spirits conflicted each other well, and quite imminently, become the soul play of this dread woven tale.

You have the usual jittery elements of a horror flick – A blind sister called ‘Sister Death’ who can see what others cannot, a family which is disintegrated due to the woes of a single mother responsible for her 3 children and the unsurpassable quotient of the ‘Occult’.

But the young protagonist of this film, ‘Veronica’, looks believably naive and shattered by the conspicuous elements that consume her life. With the unsurpassable shadows that threaten to take her life away while having to protect her siblings, the character has some glorious shades of vulnerability that takes your breath away.

The penultimate scene when she is on the verge of being taken away, with a pinch of self destruction stands out in this reasonably clouted horror drama.

Annihilation

It is about the precarious conjunction of technology, vulnerabilities and life. Human beings like the unknown, and they despise it as well. The desire and passion to go beyond limits is our fantasy. But such fantasies of deep rooted resistance also comes with fatalities that could destroy the very meaning of human existence.

A research centre becomes an island of death. People go in, they don’t come out. The ones who did make it, are never the same again. Yes, it’s about the genius of human brain vetted with technology and invention. But, at the same time, we are so immersed in a life beyond us that it turns out that we might never return to our self when all this that mattered, looks so refreshingly curious and menacing.

‘Annihilation’ cannot be termed as a ‘Horror’ film, because it isn’t. ‘Horror’ relates to the unseen, unbred and evil. This, has none of them. Yes, the form factor is relevant and remarkably irrelevant at the same time. Though an impression of invincibility looms large over the plot and it’s equally tiltillating and dysfunctional characters, they still look convinced to get flushed and destroyed. They have their reasons to do it as well, which is another testimony to justify their indulgence in this will-not-make-it-back adventure.

Coupled with some stunning frames and close shave moments, ‘Annihilation’ is a myth that threatens to destroy our civilisation with caressing brutality.

Netflix – My New IMAX

I love Cinema. Cinema is education and emancipation in the same terrain.

Big screen cinema is what I live for. But in the last 18 months, I see it differently.

You call it priorities or indulgence, big screen doesn’t woo me any more.

Streaming is the new moolah in the streets of movie goons these days.

It has it all – Movies, TV Series, Documentaries and some good content for kids.

I confess, am hooked on to Netflix. Totally, completely.

Local cable operators, private set top boxes and channel based content is all gone for a toss, big time.

Cinema halls don’t look inviting anymore, when I know that a ‘Narcos’ or a ‘Marseille’ is waiting to provide all the goosebumps I need tonight.

That compels me to mention how Netflix has kept me busy over the last few months.

My applause could be yours, so please post your comments if any of these enthralled you as much as it did to me. I am listing the toppers only, the complete list might consume you.

Narcos

It tops the category in ‘Netflix Originals’ and remains my personal favourite, head over heels.

Never has been a Drug Mafia’s life been so provocatively captured and produced on screen. Some outstanding performances from lead actors, enviable location shots and some heart pounding sequences makes ‘Narcos’ a blockbuster product.

All 3 series are available in Netflix, gearing up for the fourth in 2018.

1922

I am not a huge admirer of Stephen King, particularly for his approach towards insanity and the subsequent strangulated ways. That said, ‘The Shining’ is one of my most watched films and I don’t think I will ever get over it. ‘1922’ is a close shave to mortality, or may be even immortality. The very thought of killing someone is a sin and sends shivers down your spine, worst if that person happens to be your wife.

The story of a man saddled between his overtly ambitious wife and a nubile son, 1922 takes you on a ride you will never want to go.

The fanatical desire of a man to kill his disinterested wife and protect his son for a prosperous future takes an ugly turn and ends with the demise of the glorious clan – humanity.

I won’t say it is a must watch but if it’s your genre, then go for the kill.

The Sinner

It started off as another run-a-bloc story till it turned me upside down.

A riveting thriller which tells the story of a woman who withstood agony, pain and submission to unravel her own identity. Showing off combination of subtle and powerfully etched characters, this original series will keep you in the edge of your seat, for sometime to come.

Streaming in Netflix.

Diana

The charming princess of people and the most coveted jewel in the British crown, or rather the opposite of it.

The story of Princess Diana is a fairytale one. From her wedding to Prince Charles to that fateful night in Paris, she was an enigma and an angel to this world.

‘Diana’ propels this image and takes a tumultuous look in to her personal life. Quintessentially, this was a bold attempt to crash in to the curious life of one of the most watched individuals in history during those times.

Though controversial and panned by British media for obvious reasons, Naomi Watts delivered the performance of her life as the adored Princess. If there is one reason to watch this docu-drama, it is her.

Streaming in Netflix now.

Full Metal Jacket

I have a penchant for war drama and epics. Not for the blood, but for the passion and madness to protect something which is so universal and vicious in its existence.

‘Full Metal Jacket’ stands out for execution. Discipline can sometimes get to your nerves, it can take you places if you survive the initial hell.

With the Master at work, Kubrick’s trademark exploits remain stunning. And remember, this film was shot a long time ago.

The blood stains, the fireworks, dilapidated locations, edgy characters and the oath of a marine.

By all means, FMJ is a must watch. Remember, it’s a Stanley Kubrick film.

Streaming now in Netflix.

Suburra – Blood on Rome

Another mafia series rolling up your sleeve is interesting. This time, in Rome.

Shot extensively in the streets of Rome, ‘Suburra’ provides a stunning account of the politics and organized crime which treads a web of deceit, corruption and greed inside the Vatican.

Gobbled characters, the struggle for power and nepotism with an overdose of lust, propaganda and extermination is a perfect foil to fuel your inner sanctum.

Come, watch the blood flow in the streets of Rome.

Streaming in Netflix now.

குரங்கு பொம்மை

A local goon trying to wear a gangster’s hat, an old man with loyal submissions and a caring family, a devil in the shape of a man. If the ensemble cast is stitched with these characters, what do you expect? Perhaps, a tepid, outclassed flick. Oops! You will be surprised. It turns out to be a little stunner.

Such scripts have few takers, especially in desperate days when everyone is donning the ‘niche’ title to create the ‘most wanted’ magic on screen. But the ones who eventually make it out of the archives are the ones that keeps our cinema alive. Yes, honestly. Yes, truly. If you ask me, Superstars don’t make Cinema. They bestowed upon for a curiously different reason. Films like ‘Kurangu Bommai’ make the cut to retrieve cinema from the clutches of foregone parody.

Goon is a gangster but human. The devil who looks like man is the real animal of this film. It’s really the deluge of human needs and the gory extent he ranters himself to meet his desires is the real torment of this mini thriller.

The cast. All of them were affable and superb. Stuck to their lines and impeccable expressions from the lead actors (there are actually 3 of them) are believable and insane. I loved watching ‘Bharathiraja’ on screen, as an actor. I was always sure about the actor in him, many years back. This time, he is the nemesis and the protagonist, in a disjointed way.

Tamil cinema, I love you for such films of pure tenacity and dodged thrills.

Trivia: குரங்கு பொம்மை in English is ‘Monkey Doll’.

Has Apple Dis-Evolved?

I am not sure, but am quite certain. A company and the co founder who were once emphatically accused of ambushing other products are in a wave of jilted revolution. If I can say that.

Even though Apple is a super power and Steve Jobs’s DNA is the foundation of this company. But it is clearly visible that the ecosystem of the company has changed. Well, we call it adaptability in modern, naive terms. But I wonder, how Apple would have shaped up if Steve was still alive. Not the other Steve (chuckles).

Jobs once said, the most beautiful instruments ever produced in this world are our ‘fingers’. But Apple does promote a stylus these days – not saying they vigorously propagate it, but just saying. He was against big screen iPhones – makers like Nokia and Samsung were torched in his keynotes. I hold a Plus in my hand as I pen down these words. iPad was never going to

Make it beyond 9.7”. We now have an almost 13” Pro looming over us. The once spectacularly announced Shuffle and Nano have been relegated to in- shelf status, I am being nice by saying they are not obsolete. I have a gut feeling, the touch will soon be a product of the past though we might still have consumers who like to substitute the iPhone for a cheaper alternative. I would say, it is a poor man’s iPhone.

Mac Mini exists but then, they are like the crocodiles in the zoo. They are visible when everything around is dead and silent. Apple TV is trying to unleash rejuvenation but they are doing it in a painful pace. 2017 is late.

Next week, we might see 3 iPhones. The third one – not sure what it is touted to be but it marks the 10th year anniversary of the iconic phone. More surprises, design changes and iOS 11. But, revolutionary. I don’t think so. In fact, this was Steve Jobs’ favourite word that made the WWDC’s a rage in those days.

Different Pods are making their debut. Air Pods, Home Pods, and of course, the Watch. Never been a big admirer of the watch though.

I won’t give the WWDC a miss next week, but my memories of an Apple Keynote will never be the same again.