Movies over the Weekend

Have been watching quite a few movies over the past few weeks. Let me sum-up and write out short reviews on the good ones.

Step up 2 the Streets

This is yet another underdog movie. Its about freestyle street dancing. The movie features some fantastic hip hop beats and lots of amazing dance movements. The entire cast is a bunch of rubber bone dancers. The choreography is splendid and attention has been paid to each and every movement. The climax dance in rain is the crown jewel of the movie. The story is not unique but the screenplay keeps you glued to the movie. If you are a fan of gravity defying, super synchronous, rare to watch freestyle dancing, then this movie will prove to be a clean entertainer.

gRate 3.5/5

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane na

Aamir’s blood relation and production house has proved that its worth its value. Imran is totally awesome to watch and so is Genelia. Genelia has come up with a never-before performance, but would seriously advice her to shed the cute-curious-adrenaline-filled college girl image asap, else she would be branded and loose out of the industry soon. The plot is unique and the screenplay is just right. No macho heroism for a debutant from a starry family. No overacting by any of the cast, except the girl who hears the story. My best moments in the movie are the ones with Nazrudin Shah’s appearances. I would not say that this is an out-of-the-box movie, but the somehow this movie relates to at-least a part of every-one’s life. Go watch it and comeback with a super-happy-refreshed-young mind.

gRate 4/5

WALL-E

YAAM (Yet another animated Movie) and YAASM (yet another animated superhit movie). WALL E is about a lonely robot who is left to reside on earth and all the humans fly out to space to live in a spaceship. Their only hope of returning to earth is discovered by WALL E (short for Waste Allocation Lift Loader, Earth-Class)and his gobot (girl robot) EVE ((short for Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). Their journey and destiny to bring back the humans to earth and win each other’s robotic heart (or rather Memory/Processing Module) is the storyline. Don’t miss this if you are a fan of animated movies.

gRate 3.5/5

The Superhero Movie

yuk…why do they try satirical comedy if they don’t understand the basic literal meaning of comedy? The aim was to mock spiderman movies make fun of other superhero movies. The target totally missed and the result is a gross boring movie.

gRate 1/5

update!

Kung Fu Panda

After failing to deliver the promised with SHREK 3 and OVER THE HEDGE, Dreamworks animation house is back in business with KungFu Panda. Watching through the movie, initially i was sort of getting bored, but the momentum picked up and the really funny scenes and action sequences started pouring in. Just after Po enters the Jade Palace, its laugh after laugh, excellent voice acting, amazing CG animation. The story was great and the background was beautiful, it really felt like an ancient Chinese city. The plot revolves around a wannabe-kungfu-figher-overweight, cute, clumsy panda called Po(Jack black). He hears that the dragon warrior is going to named and he wants to see it, but sudden turnaround of events, he himself is appointed to be become the Dragon warrior much to the horror of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and the Furious Five: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Viper (Lucy Liu), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Crane (David Cross) and Monkey (Jackie Chan). Shifu must find a way to train him. One hilarious moment after another continues until Shifu recognizes Po’s true driving force. This is just in time as the villain Tai Lung (Ian McShane), a snow leopard has returned as he believe is the true Dragon Warrior.

gRate 3/5

Speed Racer

The Wachowski Brothers have done it again! Yes, they have made a splending movie that will link to mythology, karma, parampara and bhavishya. They have made a movie with high octance action sequences and laymen can enjoy the action while the philosophers can get the hidden messages. But its kinda boring and contains highly bollywood-type brother sentiment and family sentiments. Mr and Mr Wachowski, you can’t sell this movie in India, we have seen much more like this.

gRate 2.5/5

Why Panchvi Pass is not Exciting?

I am a die hard SRK fan and would watch anything from advertisement to movies featuring SRK. When SRK came into the KBC arena, there could be none happier than me. I was so excited that I could watch my demi-god everyday. When he was done with KBC, I eagerly awaited his next TV venture, Kya Aap Pachvi pass se tez hai? This was supposed to be a adaptation of Are you smarter than a fifth grader? I haven’t watched much of the english version, but have watched a few of its episodes from youtube and my expectations grew on the Indian version. Expected to have fun watching it… but was totally disappointed… why?

  1. The 5 filmi kids are highly artificial. Real life (non-silicon) kids from different schools for each episode would have been more interesting.
  2. I don’t believe that these kids knew the answers by themselves. These kids have spent most of their time before the arc lights and would have never gone to school. I don’t even believe that they can get their alphabets right unless dictated by a director.
  3. Why do these kids squeel when the contestants select them or a section? Totally irritating.
  4. The questions asked are not genuinely 5th grade questions. Some of them are from IAS/IPS GK chapters.
  5. SRK is awesome but he carries himself like he did in KBC. Expect a few variations for this kind of show.
  6. Then there is these contestants who are not very enthusiastic but always nervous to stand near SRK.
  7. Every now and then, mention of sponsors like compaq, airtel… clearly shows the money making interests. Ofcourse thats the ultimatum, but need not be so obvious.

Shahruk ji just wind up this season of panchvi pass and lets go back to the movies and rule the bollywood. Do what you do best. Leave out small screen for some chotta motta wannabe star. Probably the true cabability of the show would come out then.

iPhone 3G actual rate

Disclaimer: I don’t have anything against Stevie. I am a apple fan and iPod fanatic.  😉

The third generation iPhone has been touted to be less expensive compared to to iPhone 2G. But this is just a marketing gimmick. Probably iPhone 3G will not damage your wallet when you purchase it, but gradually as you use it over the contracted period, a big hole will be burnt in your pocket without actually realising the heat. Lots of debates going on in the web about its pricing, exchanges, upgrades, etc… But its price is not yet officially announced in India. Do you actually think that a high end phone like iPhone 3G would be available for Rs 8000 ($199)? If you, then just have a look at my chart below (derived from AppleInsider). Its a price chart of the UK service provider O2. And there is not much variation in the AT&T iPhone tariffs.

For those who are not familiar with the contract system: Service providers give you the handset for free or for some initial charges and make you sign an agreement wherein you will be locked with their service for the entire period of 12 or 18 months.

This system is not popular in India except for Blackberry – Airtel combos. But with the introduction of iPhone in India, Airtel or Vodaphone will definitely start giving out contracts and the big question is, are the customers going to be charged 51k to 100k for iPhone 3G. Will have to wait for answers!

Also read: The Real cost of iPhone

My advice for the desi guys onsite/uni in UK or US is to opt for the lowest plan and not to go for the free* plans. People in India, get a unlocked version in black market and don’t apply upgrades to it or else it will be bricked 🙂

Candy cents

5 kaasu thirudina thappa? Thappu ille
5 thadave 5 kaasu thirudina thappa? Thappu mathiri thaan theriyuthu
5 paer 5 thadave 5 kaasu thirudine thappa? thappu thaan…

– This dialogue from Anniyan movie could have been a object of ridicule for many serials and commercials. But in reality…

Indian Government has been minting coins with various denominations and over a period of time, some of the denominations have been pulled back. But in recent times, though the government has not stopped neither minting or withdrawing certain denomination, some coins are not accepted by shop keepers and vendors. Lets talk about the 50 paise scarcity. 50 paise is not a very weak denomination and one can still buy a lot of stuff for just 50 paise. Though the government is still minting 10 paise and 25 paise, lets not talk about it as you can rarely put them to use (other than start collecting them). A few months back I got to know from a news channel that coins like 1 rupee or 50 Paise are being used to manufacture razor blades and then smuggled out of the country to be sold at a higher value. This is illegal and equally illegal is vendors not accepting denominations of valid coins. But I really don’t care when they refuse to accept it. It really puts me off, when they refuse to give proper balance back to the customers.

Public Bus conductors are the No 1 accused culprits when it comes to not giving back proper change. These guys just refuse to give 50 paise back and a simple calculation will tell that they will be making a profit of Rs 200 to Rs 300 per day, by just not giving back 50 paise. A very easy way to swindle around 30k per month without actually cheating the government.

candies for 50 paiseAlso now the vendors have found a better way to give change (substitute) for 50 paise. Candies… From petty shop owners to chain departmental store, everywhere you can find people giving you 50 paise worth (MRP) candies to customers. I find it very irritating coz I am not a kid to be offered with candies. To be forcefully offered something a customer doesn’t want and charge him for that should also be made illegal. Will they accept candies from customers instead of money? If i offer 20 mint-o-fresh candies to a shopowner and demand stuff for Rs 10, will he accept it? Or when he has to give me 50 paise, if I give him a candy, will he give me 1 rupee? (I got into a huge argument with Reliance Fresh cashier when I tried this today morning…finally got my 50 paise…) The actual wholesale price of these candies would be 10-15 paise and they are given as substitute for 50 paise. A 35 paise margin in a shop like Reliance or Spencers would also bring in unaccounted / untaxed Rs 400-500 in to cash box per day.

50 paise on its own is not a big deal to waste one’s day with your bus conductor or store keeper. But I would prefer to give a couple of 50 paise coins to beggars rather than to loose it with people who try to swindle it and be a victim of this un-noticed large scale scandal.

As a precaution, I prefer to swipe my plastic in shops and also carry a couple of 50 paise coins and 1 50 paise candy in my wallet. Shopkeepers be ready for a brawl when I step in…

Dell Hell

There has been a lot of positive reviews and praises for Dell floating in the web. Blindly relying on these reviews I took a giant leap and purchased myself my first Dell laptop. Its a XPS series and Model M1210. XPS is supposed to be the premier lineup in Dell production line and its the most expensive of the lot. I was ready to pay the extra money imagining I would get a red-carpet welcome in the customer service area plus superior performance and quality product. I was decieved by Dell in all three areas.

1. Red Carpet Customer Service

After one year, I wanted to extend my warranty and I contacted Dell by email. They responded fast but the response was very bland. No greetings, no regards, no contact details in the mail. I was surprised. But then I didn’t want to make a fuss. So I asked for my quotation for my XPS system. The guy sent me a quote for Inspiron system. I repeatedly told him that I have an XPS system. But he kept sending only the Inspiron quote. When enquired, I was surprised to hear that they have only one template for quotation PDF and it can accomodate just Inspiron. But still I can go ahead and get it as it would cover my service tagged Laptop. I was not so sure about this. By this time the guy in Dell India Support (Extended Warranty Section) lost his patience. So I contacted another guy over the phone, only to find that he reports to Guy 1 and he too sent me the same quote but with my laptop model mentioned in the remarks section. Yet this quote is for Inspiron.

I decided not to go for warranty extension with a company with such poor infrastructure. I really dont understand, if they can’t reprogram the tool to support XPS and other product lines as well.

I decided to buy the replacement for the battery and I found out that its not possible to check it online in Dell’s site. So I called them again and when the call center guy hears my issue, without any warning, he puts me on hold and transfers my call to a person responsible. And that person not available in desk so I go to her voice mail. It doesn’t route to any other person who can help me. Is there only one person who can sell battery in the entire Dell Asia?

Dell India Customer service is highly chaotic and ill-managed.

2. Quality Product

After exactly 1 year, the battery life started exponentially decreasing. This is not my first laptop and I have had many brands before and every one of them had a very decent battery life and they would run fine for years. I tried contacting the Technical Support team a couple of times and the made me wait for 40+ minutes in each of my call and the line got disconnected automatically. I didn’t want to waste anymore of my mobile bill (I dont have access to Toll Free number) and I started searching the web and found out that its the same case with many. The 53 watt 6 cell lithium battery would not last more than a year. Probably this could be a dell-tactic to make consumers buy more from them even after the laptop purchase. One of the worst unethical tactic I have ever come across. I never expected Dell’s products to be of such inferior quality.

3. Superior Performance

The XPS line-up is not a great thing to drooll about. Its just an average laptop and even Vista rated it as 3.5 in its hardware performance rating. Nothing great about either Dell brand or the XPS co-brand.

My next laptop will definitely not be Dell and I would never recommend Dell to any of my friends.