Movies over the Weekend

I was glad to be at home on a weekend after a long time. Thanks to the Common flu, I bunked work. This was my chance to catch up with some movies. So here comes the “Movies over the weekend” blog post after a gap.

Ayan

ayanSurya’s acting has become quite predictable and monotonous again. I think he performs only under pressure of A Class directors. But nothing to complain as the story itself wasn’t so great. Tamanna was a fresh face to watch, but she has a long way to go in the acting department. The plot revolves around an educated youngster who is involved in smuggling anything, (except drugs) into India. The movie was quite fast paced in the first half. The comedy part, embedded into the storyline makes it an easy watch. But as the plot thickens, the movie becomes “yet-another-hero-villain” story. The acrobatic man-hunt, car chases and stunts are new to Tamil movies but inspired from hi-octane Hollywood flicks.

gRate: 2.5/5

12 Rounds

12roundsJohn Cena, the Wrestling super star tries to win a battle outside the ring. John Cena is a police officer who assists the capture of an high profile thief. In the process, the thief’s girl friend is killed. One year later, he breaks loose out of the prison and kidnaps John’s girl friend. He gives John 12 tasks to be completed. If he completes the tasks, the thief promises to return back his girl. Little does John realizes that all these tasks are linked to a high profile robbery, that has been planned earlier and executed under his nose. Its a fast action, movie from the director of Die Hard 4.0 and producers of Speed. Mindless stunts, adrenaline pumped action and intelligent plot makes this movie a good watch for action lovers. But the plot is highly predictable and its a typical Hollywood B Grade stunt movie. Anyways, who cares as long as we are not bored. Paisa Vasool ūüôā

gRate: 3/5

The Accidental Husband

accidentalhusbandRadio Show host Emma Lloyds (Uma Thurman) ruins a local fireman Patrik Sullivan’s (Jeffery Morgan) wedding by talking his girl friend out of marriage as a part of her show. Patrik is set to get his revenge but in the process (like in any other movie) he falls in love with her. Uma Thurman has portrayed excellent performance and that, only experience can bring in, at the same time, her age shows in most of the part. Jeffery Dean Morgan and Colin Firth have done an excellent job. Just that I find no difference between the Colin firth in this movie and Bridget Jones Movies.¬†Nothing new in this movie either. I was pleasantly surprised to find some popular AR Rahman tunes as the title song and also in the background.

gRate: 2/5

The International

internationalThis is one movie that I was eagerly expecting to watch after I saw its trailer in a theatre. But the movie turned out to be something different from its trailer. I was expecting something like “Shoot ’em up” after I saw Clive Owen in the trailer. This movie is about money laundering and a bank involved in high profile deals with Nukes and war arms. The flick is good to watch in big screens just for its exotic European locations.¬† Otherwise there is nothing new or exciting,¬† including Naomi Watts, about this movie.

gRate: 2.5/5

The Defiance

defianceWanted to see this movie just for Daniel Craig. Its set in the Nazi period when the Jews were hunted down. Daniel Craig and his 2 brothers set out to the forests to save themselves from the Nazis. They find a group of Jews hiding in the forest. Daniel Craig offers them food and shelter and soon the group (The Otriad Camp) grows in size. Fighting against all odds, this is a true story of a leader who saves thousands of his people from being slaughtered by the Nazis. Impressive photography and picturization has done good to this movie but nothing can save the growing boredom for the audience as its a movie which falls between the genre of a documentary and a feature film.

gRate: 2.5/5

Buying gold from a bank?

gold_pamp_1_oz_bar_pkgRecently there is an increased aggressiveness from banks to sell gold. Almost every single bank out there is selling gold in fancy sealed packs with certificates attached to it. Banks hold gold reserves which are proportional to their financial holdings. Earlier banks were not allowed to sell gold directly to the customer. They had to liquidate gold to release the cash, when required. But now with the amended rules from the Reserve Bank of India, every other bank has opted to sell the gold directly to the customers out there. This is a quick and easy way liquidate their gold reserves. But as customers, do we benefit from it?

With the stock markets tumbling like a stack a cards, the next best investment is Gold. Customers, mostly working class would love to jump the Que and get things done faster. So these people want to buy gold, but they are not willing to spend their time waiting in Que or juggling crowd in a jewellery store. Also they don’t trust the Jeweller’s integrity. So they end up buying gold in banks. Some banks also offer door delivery. This results in happy customers and more business for the banks. But as an investment, does it do any good to your pockets?

The answer is “No” and why?

  1. Yes, banks are trustworthy when it comes to purity, but the certificate they give is worthless. A purity meter in any trusted jewellery showroom would suffice for a quality check.
  2. Banks sell gold at premium rates. They sell it for at-least Rs 200 more, per gram.
  3. They don’t buy back the gold.
  4. When you try to sell the gold to a jeweller, you obviously loose the overhead paid in the name of premium price.

Just a simple equation. Assume you have paid Rs 120 for gold, whose market price is 100 today. Tomorrow, you go to sell the gold assuming there is a Rs 10 increase in gold price. The price rise is on the market price of gold and not on bank price of gold. So you get Rs 110 and you have lost Rs 10.

I have seen a lot of customers who have lost quite a hefty sum when they want to liquidate the gold they purchased from bank. They are clueless as to what happened and why they are loosing money at a point where they must have actually gained money in the current gold price scenario.  But when the equation is explained to them, they realize that they have been taken for a ride.  Surprisingly they victims are usually educated mass. What amuses me is that these people generally bargain for 1 rupee or 2 rupees with vegetable vendors or street shops, but ultimately loose out their money to the corporate bigwigs.

General advice is to buy gold from reputed showrooms. Make use of the carat meters that are available with many jewellers nowadays. For investment purpose, gold coins and gold bars are suggested rather than jewellery. Pretty packaging, Brand names and certificates are not worth the premium price you pay. And finally, spread the awareness.

Face to Face with Tata Nano

Tata Nano: The iconic Low-cost car from the house of Tata.

Initial impressions:

  1. Delivered as promised for 1 Lakh INR,  though the low end model would cost 1.3Lakh on road.
  2. Looks sturdy, but too small, even for a small car, but big for an autorickshaw.
  3. But spacious interiors.
  4. Looks sort of cute like jelly bean.
  5. Lost of room for customization. A pimped up version of Nano would look really sexy.

Images credit: My Bro AJ

The Integrated world of Music around me

This is how I exactly want the gadgets around me to communicate and feed me the music. Most of the music data files are stored in my home computer system.  Right now, I transfer the music to my Mobile, iPod or USB stick by connecting them to the home system, only when I am physically at home. I might want to download a new music track from the music store while on the go. Sometimes I want to listen to a classic track, which is not on the internet, but I have it archived in the Mega capacity external harddrive plugged to my home system. The scenarios are numerous, but in common, I want to sync all my music devices with one another and would like to exchange music between them. Streaming music is not a very economical option. So he is what I want to have.

whatyouseeiswhatiwant

Assuming that all the devices have bluetooth capability, wifi and hi-speed¬†Internet access. To start with, I load a few songs to my mobile from the home system. I start listening to them. Then I move on to the car. I pull out my earphones and connect my mobile to the car audio system, via bluetooth and continue with the track. Sometimes, I may carry my laptop as well.¬† The car audio can connect to the laptop, which I have mod’d to act as wi-fi router as well, so that I can stream music from any Internet Radio station. I reach work and the office PC instantly detects my mobile or portable audio system. I may not preffer to listen to music via my office PC. But I would like to see the track details and control the mobile music player from my Office PC. I connect my office PC to Home PC and fetch a few track and update my mobile or the iPod, without having to store anything in the office PC.

Imagination is endless… but… why not?

The country Kabadi team Rocks!

vennilakabadikuzhu_blog

Its not often that you come across a movie without dark villains, unrelated song sequences, death defying stunts, skimpily clad item girls, or punch dialogues. If they make such movie, the story may fail to connect with the audience most of the time and it fails. But Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu is an exception. It lacks all the usual masala ingredients and yet it connects with the movie watcher.

Its an sports underdog story. The movie is in the line with Lagaan or Chak de!. When I reviewed Chak De, I felt that more such movies can be made with sports as theme. I specifically wished for movies made out of Kabadi and like sports. But never expected that my wish would come true with lots of extra dimensions added to it. The movie talks about a team of village youngsters of various background, caste and status, united by the game of Kabadi. Kabadi is like a chess games which demands a lot of stamina and adrenaline rush. I don’t remember stepping onto the Kabadi court after school. But I enjoyed this movie as much as I enjoyed playing Kabadi at School.

The youngsters in the movie are similar to fully loaded surface to air nuclear missiles, but without guidance firmware. They have never won a match away from their home grounds. In home grounds as well, they invite weaker teams to get the satisfaction of winning. The trend of loosing was persistent in their sporting career, until they meet this magical coach. The coach takes them under his wings and teaches them the art of team work and ways to bring out the fire within them. But this is all any regular sports-underdog-winning-the-final-match kind of movie. But what makes this particular flick stand above the rest of its genre?

2nos3pw

Technically the movie is a clean winner. Be it the screenplay, editing, camera or lighting, the movie come out as a neat finished product. The story is minimalistic, crisp and can connect to any age group. The love story weaved into the storyline is totally awesome. The grit and determination displayed by the coach can be lauded as sheer performance. Humour is not a separate track. It merges with the story line like a smooth gradient. But its not a laughter riot all the way, as well.  So, right proportions of love, emotions, sentiments, comedy, action and realistic story adaptation makes this movie stand out.

All was well, until the final 10 minutes of the movie. I really don’t understand the need for such an anti-climax. Shock and disappointment spoiled the entire 3 hours of movie watching experience for me, towards the end.

The cast is most of the crew are debutantes. Everyone has given their best for this movie.

gRate: 3.5/5

gAdvice: Don’t miss it, but walk out of the theatre just when they win the finals.