Feeds RSS

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Me thinks I like it better.
So I'm going back.
Follow me!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Partner

One of the first John Grisham books I ever read, and one I recently bought and reread. Good reason too... the book is freaking amazing!

The second he stole the money, he knew they were coming after him. He planned his disappearance, making it seem like he was dead. He changed cities like mad. He fled the country. He changed his name. He changed his appearance. Yet he knew they were coming. He prepared for it and was always careful. And sure enough, they came.

They found him in Brazil, and they tortured him until ordered to stop. In spite of all of that, they didn't get the location of the money... just the name of a girl. And the hunt was on for her, though she had disappeared. He, meanwhile, came back to the states... a prisoner accused of stealing a whole lot of money... after he had seemingly been buried. There were so many questions... who's body had been buried? Why had he left his wife/daughter? How did he know about the money, let alone steal it? Where was the money now, and how much of it was left? Was he to be accused of murder too? So many questions... and only one person knew all the answers.

Him. And he wasn't going to give them up that easily.

I really love this book, as I mentioned above. And, as with most novels, I'm not able to convey the plot via post. Simply, you should just go read the book if you haven't already. Or even if you already have. It's that good.

My only complaint... I'm not a big fan of the way the book ended. He won the entire battle, John... let him have some of his life.

The Amateurs

Marcus Sakey's The Amateurs follows 4 friends (Jenn, Mitch, Ian & Alex) who live wholly unsatisfying lives. They all have big-time secrets that they hide from each other, but are still best friends who meet once a week at a bar to talk (Alex is the bartender there). One night, Alex happens across his boss' safe and sees a ton of money that obviously isn't coming from the bar. A bit later, the boss asks Alex to act as muscle for a shady deal in the back office.

Seemingly on a whim, the 4 friends (after some coercion to get everyone to agree) decide to rob Alex's boss. They all have plans for their share of the money. The plan is simple... Alex will act as muscle. Ian & Mitch will come in, rob the guys & tie them up. Jenn will be waiting out back with the getaway car. And the plan goes to perfection... until the 2 guys get out and see an obstacle in their path... someone talking to a really uncomfortable Jenn. A shot rings out, and just like that, the 4 friends are dealing not only with shady money (that was going towards something much bigger and much more deadly than drugs), but also a body.

They decide to sit on the money until things clear up, causing issues for Ian, who had borrowed guns with the promise to return them & pay some money that he owed in a couple of days. Throw in all the secrets the quartet had shooting out, a quick implosion of their friendship and the 'bad guys' coming after them hard to get not only the money but something else the friends have, and things aren't looking good. And when the issue becomes that of national security, things get blown apart.

The story is an alright one. The plot seems a bit poorly planned out, and the national security issue that shows up at the end just doesn't work too well. You don't feel much sympathy, if any, for the characters who have been working towards the end by hiding big secrets from each other and carrying out a poorly planned scheme to try and get rich quick.

That said, it wasn't all that bad. I've definitely read worse, though not in recent time, for what it's worth.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Resolutions

1- Drink less soda. (This really shouldn't be that hard. Even with a late night class.)
2- Swear less. (Again, shouldn't be too hard. Fewer Jazz games?)
3- Find some sort of career plan & stick with it. (This could be a bit harder.)
4- More movies. And definitely more books. (I'm trying.)
5- Learn to cook. (Ha ha ha ha ha)

More to come?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009



Just 1 semester left!!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Am The Messenger

Written by Markus Zusak (same guy that wrote The Book Thief), I Am The Messenger is a different type of book in all regards.

That's not necessarily a bad thing... nothing is going to live up to The Book Thief. This book takes place in a more modern time, and follows a main character who's life changes after he prevents a bank robbery from going down. He starts getting these cards (the aces) with names/instructions on them, and sets off to do whatever is required (though he's not quite certain because the first one is just a group of names). He's given various instructions, and with nothing better to do, he sets out. He's going around helping people that need it in various ways... but with no idea why he's been chosen. Or who's behind it all. And what it'll mean for him in the end, when all 4 aces have been played.

It's an interesting story, and a fairly good read.
It takes a while to get started, but after he visits the first location, the speed of the story picks up and you're in for a ride.
I enjoyed it (though maybe not as much as some of the books I've read since).
Worth checking out, in my opinion.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Book Thief

Some books are just amazing.
This is one of them.

The story, told mostly through the point of view of a single narrator (played by Death), follows a young girl in Nazi Germany as she becomes a book thief and goes from there. During this time, she gains & loses friends, family & books while she & her family try to hide a big secret.

Nothing I say will do the book justice.
Just go read it.

(Note: I was recommended this book by a friend who said that the narrator reminded her of me. I've since talked to about 4 others who have read this book as well... no negative words about it. So just go read it. Now.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

It's Christmas

Which is only cool if...

1- You get presents & give them in return.
2- You have friends to exchange presents with.
3- You get along well with your family.
4- Your religious beliefs (or whatever) celebrate Christmas.

Since none of those are true for me, this is just another day (albeit one without work).

So... it's Christmas.


Happy Holidays to everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Catching Up... Movies

I've fallen way behind on this... so quick reviews of recently viewed movies.

Monsters V. Aliens
Interesting. Some funny parts, but it seemed to be a pro-government, anti-president, pro-woman's rights movie. Nothing wrong with that, but yeah. Loved the president dance scene, and loved B.O.B. Especially when B.O.B. dumped Derek for the jello.

Ek Ladka Ek Ladki (1992)
Salman Khan as a poor guy. Neelam as a rich, spoilt brat. Anupam Kher as the uncle. Throw in 3 kids, a couple of animals and amnesia, and you have a fun movie. Not really suspense-ish, since you know what's going on even while the characters don't, but still fun. Some (limited) action, and laughs aplenty. Only complaint... not a big fan of the songs. Salman is awesome as always, and Neelam is great (though annoying early). That dog is kinda annoying at times though.

Inaam Dus Hazaar (1987)
Sanjay Dutt has a name that is also the name of a CBI officer, causing concerns amongst the bad guys, who start chasing him. In the process, he also gets accused of murder, putting the cops on his tail. Running from them all, he falls in love with a girl who he forces (at knifepoint) to help him (Meenakshi Sheshadri). Of course, it can't be that easy and the bad guys catch wind of where he is and start chasing him (and her). Songs are meh, but the acting is nice. Liked Meenakshi, who I haven't seen much of before.

Do Knot Disturb (2009)
Govinda. Ritesh Deshmukh. Rajpal Yadav. Ranvir Shorey. Sohail Khan. Lara Dutta. A bigger Sushmita Sen. A couple of nice songs. Your typical extramarital affair comedy, but at least it had a more deserved ending than No Entry (Salman Khan gets off with no issues) or something. Ritesh/Ranvir & Sohail are great. Sushmita... looks big. Wow. Lara is alright. Govinda gets a bit annoying at times.

What's Your Raashee? (2009)
A Hrithik Roshan look-a-like & Priyanka Chopra (x12) combine with a couple of nice songs and some comedy to give you a good movie? Really? Well, it worked here. It's a very long movie though. Very long. Watch once, and that's about it.

I also have to catch up on books, but that'll come later...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Note To The People At Work...

And more from GraphJam

This describes it perfectly.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Zaalim (1994)

The correlation between movie “goodness” and number of ‘bad-guys’ is obviously negative.

That quote (written by me) pretty much sums up my view on the movie.

I have now seen 1/3 of the 12 (12!!) movies that Akshay Kumar had release in 1994. Of them, I'm pretty sure this one was the worst.

We have a big family, including father (Alok Nath), 3 sons (Vishnu Vardhan, Arun Bakshi, Akshay Kumar) and daughter (Preeti Khare). Two of the sons are married (not Akshay, obviously), and soon enough, the third (Akshay, obviously) has a girlfriend (Madhoo). There are also the bad guys (Mohan Joshi, and son Arjun). And another villain (Ranjeet, who shows up later). We learn through a couple of flashbacks that Akshay Kumar has a serious anger issue... when he got mad, he beat people to a pulp (and even killed a kid that was around his age). Since then, he hasn't fought due a promise/vow his father made him take. Until he got seriously beaten up by Arjun, and the vow was removed.

Arjun & Akshay end up having a boxing match, and Akshay wins. Arjun, upset, had seen Akshay's sister cheering, and rapes her while in the hospital. One of Akshay's brother's is a doctor, so he finds out and tells the family, though they make Akshay promise he won't do anything. She is hurt by the family not doing anything, but gets the family to support her in a fight against Arjun. Her father (judge) goes to convince the rest of the justices to have a trial, and they agree. On the way there, the baddies end up killing father & daughter. The other son (a police officer) finds out and heads home. Before telling Akshay though, they handcuff him to a metal bar in the window so he won't do anything stupid. And then they go to the funeral.

Akshay talks to his nephew, and ends up getting the keys to the handcuffs. He's gone by the time the family gets home... and then people start dying.

The movie really isn't all that. Akshay gets kinda annoying, Madhoo is just annoying, and no one else is really worth writing about. I was kinda hoping that Ranjeet would be good (has that ever happened), but that was obviously a pipe dream. The songs weren't very fun, and all in all, the movie was just a big waste of time.

Which is what you expect when an actor is working on releasing 12 movies in 1 year.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Word From The 'Wise', Part V

Run run as fast as you can, you can't catch me ... you're fat.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

IQ vs. Religion

The graph shown above relates the arithmetic mean IQ measured in various country's populations, to the fraction of each country's population that believes religion is very important.

The US value is circled in red.

So, does it imply religion clouds our minds with untrue facts?
Obviously, the response that will depend on who you ask... religious people will say no (or something), not-so-religious people might say yes, non-religious people will say yes (or something).

At the least though, it's interesting to consider.

Acid Factory (2009)

So, you know how there are those movies that have really bad songs, no character development, a lot of yelling & pointless blowing up of cars?

Yeah... this fits that. (AKA, it sucks.)

Told in a combination of "at the moment" and "in the past," the story is about a group of characters (Fardeen Khan, Aftab, Dino Morea, Danny, Manoj Bajpai) who wake up in an unknown location with no memories of how they got there or why they got there.

Through flashback, you are told that Fardeen is an undercover cop, who is working to try and capture the main bad guy (played by Irrfan Khan). To do this, he ends up joining with Manoj Bajpai & Danny (after stealing a car in a chase scene involving a ton of blown up cars).

Back at the acid factory (as it's been decided they're in) all the guys have woken up from the acid, but have temporary amnesia. Manoj is handcuffed to a railing... and that's the only thing keeping him from falling. Danny is tied to the chair. Aftab & Dino have been partially beaten up. Fardeen, who was the first one to wake up, has already answered the phone. The caller (Irrfan) mentions a bunch of names, and tells him to make sure that someone is dead. Fardeen, of course, is confused.

The story goes on... they're all confused about what's going on, but realize that it was a kidnapping of 2 people by 4. They just don't know who was kidnapped & who were the kidnappers. They realize that there should be one more person there, and they start searching. And with that, the troubles begin.

Who is who? And will they be able to escape before Irrfan shows up and kills them?

As I mentioned, the songs sucked. Due to the characters not knowing who they were or anything, there was no character development. A couple of the characters (Dia Mirza, Aftab) were yelling most of the time. It was fairly annoying. There was some action towards the end, but that's about it.

The acting was just meh... not sure why Dia Mirza keeps taking on roles like this (Jai Veeru, Cash before). Or why Manoj Bajpai has taken his last couple of roles (this one, Money Hai Toh Honey Hai). The story itself had a shot, but it was just too messed up at times. The death was expected, but unnecessary.

Nothing you'll regret missing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Supernaturalist

I came across this book in our basement one day, while I was working on doing my laundry. The cover of the book (which looked like this) caught my eye... largely because it kinda glowed in the light. Anyhow, that (plus the fact that I didn't really mind the only Artemis Fowl book I've read, which was also written by author Eoin Colfer) was enough for me to pick up the book and give it a read.

The story is set in the future at some point, and follows an orphaned 'kid' (he's 14, so I don't know if you'd call him a kid or not) named Cosmo Hill. He's sent to an institute for similar kids, where they're pretty much guinea pigs for the many dangerous products being tested. Having had enough, he gets the opportunity one day and escapes... though his friend dies during the escape.

He, meanwhile, is saved by a crew of kids who, like Cosmo, can see the weird creatures that seem to feed on the human life force or something... something very few can see. Cosmo, after recovering, joins them as they set out to rid the world of these creatures that are always awaiting human suffering to get into the action.

And then they learn a couple of horrible secrets that leave them struggling to figure out what exactly it is they believe... and what they should be doing about it.

It's nothing amazing, but it's still a nice book and a fairly easy read. I might even argue that it's better than the 1 Artemis Fowl book I have read (though that's up for debate). And I'll probably be reading the yet-to-be-released sequel of this book at some point in the near future as well. Worth a shot, if nothing else.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Playing War

If only...

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Changing View On The NFL & Sports In General...

I was sitting and watching the NFL on Sunday, like any other fan. It was about 5 minutes after kickoff of the Cardinals/Bears game... aka before it had turned into a complete blowout. Neither team is a favorite of mine, but the game did have a good view at what Roger Goodell had turned the NFL into... an offensive minded game where defenders can do almost nothing. It's like the Arena Football League was, except while the AFL was family targeted, the NFL is just about taking your money.

They take your money and give it to rich, money-first owners and to players who increasingly are getting paid more and more to whine whenever a call doesn't go there way and in some cases are protected as if they are wearing skirts. (I don't mean to be sexist there, but that's pretty much what the term has become around the league.) It's football... it's about the hard hits and the defense. Yet, it's quickly becoming the 'No Fun League' (what in god's name was wrong with the random TD dances Chad Johnson... at the time... or Steve Smith had? They were... FUN!) where even looking at a QB (only if they're last name is Manning, Romo, Favre or Brady though) is enough to get you penalized. I mean, if they don't wanna get hit, go play flag football. I'm all for preventing injuries, but they're taking it too far. They claim to be making it fan friendly... yet all they're doing is getting rid of the defense to try and attract more fans. Sure, scoring is nice. But as someone who remembers when defenses were even just partially relevant (well, kinda remembers), the degradation of the game has been drastic. And quick. And annoying.

Anyhow, I was watching the game and came to realize 2 things. The first I mentioned above... the game has become a kinda bore to keep up with. Defense has gone to hell. And second... I wanted to watch a game that wasn't going to be on TV. Why? Because I live in Salt Lake, and they've decided that if I'm not a Broncos fan (which they couldn't air this week because the Broncos are on Monday Night Football), then I must be a bandwagon fan. So we got the Patriots. We got the Giants. We got the Cardinals. And that was that.

Sure, you can watch other teams. It just involves paying a ton of money to get DirectTV or the Red-Zone Channel or what-not. And it's annoying as hell. I, as a Panthers fan, have seen maybe 3 non-playoff Panthers games on TV here since their Super Bowl run a couple years back... 1 on Sunday Night Football and a couple that they switch too after the other game on FOX/CBS is over or turns into a major blowout. I don't have the money to pay for the channels. And I'm pretty sure that if I did, they wouldn't be very high up on my "want" list. And yet those are the only choices I have. They refuse to let the games air online for free. They won't even let radio stations broadcast them online, so you can't even listen to them. I guess, as they say, that money is king. And I hate it.

I get it... it's the "in" thing now. The NBA has been moving towards that, and the Jazz recently joined the crowd, meaning I can't watch Jazz games. I have NEVER seen a Pirates game on TV in Utah (there was one this past summer when we were in New York and they were playing the Mets). NEVER. I can follow on MLB.com, but they've started charging if you want to watch highlights that they post after they happen (somewhat live). But still...

I've never spent money on NFL gear. I've never bought a NFL ticket or been to a game (kinda hard in Utah, it is). I have no plans of doing it in the near future. (Same is true of the MLB, and I haven't been to a NBA game in like 6 years.) Charging me money isn't going to make me pay for the TV deal, and it isn't going to make me go buy a ticket. No. Instead, it's making it get to the point where I don't even care anymore.

I mean, sure I follow the Jazz. Via Yahoo! Sports' box-score (highly unreliable/ineffective and a pain in the ass, by the way). I follow the Pirates. Until about July/mid-August, when the lack of a salary cap in the game dooms them and they fall out to the point that following them is a pain. I try to follow the Panthers on Yahoo!'s box-score (see above complaints, they're the same here).

But increasingly, I'm realizing that I just don't care. For the NBA, it's a bit hard. They're my home team, so I still follow them... even as I get sick of the act. For the Pirates, things are looking up and I'm just hoping they'll make it to the playoffs before I give up.

But for the NFL... as I sat and watched the beginning of the game on Sunday, I realized that unlike previous weeks, where I had at least some interest & all that... I just didn't care. The game went on for a bit, I followed for a bit and then turned the TV off. I completely ignored the Panthers game this week (despite how important it was), choosing instead to do homework & take an afternoon nap. And in that span, I came to realize that I just don't care anymore. I'll finish the fantasy teams I have this season (maybe), but after that... I doubt it. Fantasy football is all but dead to me.

Roger Goodell can keep changing TV contracts to screw the current fans. They can keep charging more and more money to see bigger and bigger wimps. They can let the officiating go to hell. They can let cheaters get away with the cheating. They can trade in old fans for money.

I really just don't care anymore.

(Note, in the above... I am not talking about the NFL draft. While I hate the way it's going, it's still on my good side. For now.
Roger Goodell is trying hard to ruin that as well by screwing with the timings. And ESPN's lack of coverage after the 1st round is annoying too.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Health Care Passes The House...

AKA Women's Rights be damned.

Because obviously men & their religious views have the right to determine what a woman wants.

Seriously, and this probably isn't my space to speak because I'm a straight guy, but still... if you don't want an abortion (or gay marriage or whatever)... DON'T GET ONE! It's that simple.

No one is going to make your church/religion not a religion if they don't marry gays. They'll go somewhere else and get married. You don't even need to recognize it. But to force your opinion on others (no matter the topic) is just stupid.

Let people live their lives! It's not like they're trying to force something upon you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fuck You, Maine!

The title says it all.

Normal People...

I met a gay person. He was a guest speaker in class.
Surprise surprise... he was just as normal as everyone else!

(In other words, I still don't understand the hatred of PEOPLE and the desire to force one's RELIGIOUS VIEWS on others. Let people live their lives!)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Utes 22, Wyoming 10

This makes just the 2nd football game I've been to in my undergraduate years... the first coming early in my freshman year (when the Utes pummeled Utah State).

It was fun.

Things I learned/noticed...

1- It's much more fun to go in a group of 7 than alone.
2A- If I had more undergrad years, I'd consider joining the MUSS.
2B- Provided, of course, that UTA wasn't run by assholes. Which it is, so I couldn't.
2C- I mean, if I don't have a way home, that kinda makes it hard.
3- It can get really cold really quickly.
4A- The Utes offense is way too conservative at times.
4B- It was Wyoming... the Utes should've win running away.
5- Thank god for a friend in the MUSS, or we would've been standing way far back.
6- I was confident the Utes would win, and Wynn they did!
7A- For those that think no one in Utah swears/drinks, you're wrong.
7B- Should've seen/heard the people behind us.
8A- BLACKOUT BABY! 2-0 now. 2-0
8B- Last year it was TCU. This year, Wyoming. Slight drop-off, no?
9- Why does it always seem like the Utes play up/down to the competition?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nazar Ke Samne (1994)

Yet another Akshay Kumar movie from the mid-90s. This time he comes together with Farheen, Ektaa, Mukesh Khanna, Kiran Kumar, Dalip Tahil & Ashok Saraf in a suspense/thriller type movie.

The movie starts off with the death of some guy. It ends up being a newspaper editor. The guy accused of the killing (a photographer) was arrested by the police at the scene of the crime 45 minutes or so after the given time of death. His family turns to lawyer Kiran Kumar for help, who tries to help clear his name and doesn't even ask for money (it is a poor family... they try but he turns them down). Kiran is running the case masterfully, and seems to have the case won, before an eye-witness shows (Akshay Kumar) shows up and ends any chance of the guy getting out.

Akshay, as it is, didn't see the murder or anything. He was paid to lie, and since he is poor and needs money, he takes it. It's his profession that he works Ashok Saraf. The family of the photographer is shocked, obviously... led by his sister (Farheen). She meets Akshay Kumar, shows him how his lying (he explained to her why he did it, but she was unmoved) has affected her family and sobers him up. He decides then and there to help her find the actual culprit.

So then it's on. Him & Farheen & Ashok Saraf and eventually Ektaa (a prostitute that is Akshay's friend) & Mukesh Khanna (a poor guy who saw the murderer but doesn't know a name) are all thrown in trying to find the guy with golden shoes (a picture accidentally taken by the photographer when the murderer knocked him out).

The movie, to be honest, wasn't much fun. The suspense was revealed too early (despite being somewhat obvious) and whenever the movie seemed to get going, the action would be stopped by a song. I mean, the song after its revealed that Akshay was lying is fine. But then right after that, Farheen seems to be ready to do something... and they have a song. And then they fight the bad guys a bit, Farheen is saved by Akshay... and they have another song (though I liked this one a bit, so whatever). Then the Mukesh Khanna song to introduce him. And another love song. And then the song with Ektaa when she tries to keep Jimmy (a bad guy) occupied.

On the other hand, you've got a total idiot in Akshay. I mean, only one guy knows where they have Jimmy trapped. He doesn't get it. And only one guy knows where he's going to meet Ektaa. He still doesn't get it. Lucky for him he turns around when sleeping, or Mukesh Khanna kills him and he dies without knowing.

The songs weren't all that good, save for the title song. The acting was just meh... Kiran Kumar, Dalip Tahil, Akshay Kumar... they were all just partially there. The actresses didn't have much to do. Ashok Saraf was funny at parts, but that's it.

It's not the worst Akshay Kumar movie out there, but it could've been so much better (though the title is way too revealing).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snow On The Ground...

Consider me not a fan.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If You Don't Want It To Be About Race...

Don't play the race card.

You play it, and that's what it becomes.
Another story of "I'm blaming you for racism because I can"...

That's the problem... everyone is about blaming others instead of maybe relaxing a bit.
Rules are rules... follow them and if you don't like them, ask them to reconsider... don't make it a lawsuit.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Word From The 'Wise', Part IV

If life gives you a lemon... throw it back at twice the speed.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995)

Sabse Bada Khiladi is a movie that I've always held close to me... not because I'd loved it (I'd never seen it before), but instead because I grew up listening to (and loving) the songs. Watching it, I fell in love with the songs yet again. Oh, and the movie wasn't too bad either.

Laloo (Akshay Kumar) ends up in the good graces of a rich businessman (Avtar Gill) after saving his life. Avtar, ever thankful, gives Laloo... an orphan... a room in his house. And one day, after Laloo bring his drunk/drugged daughter (Mamta Kulkarni) home without taking advantage of her state and after he (Avtar) meets the guy Mamta loves (Mohnish Bahl) and becomes disgusted with him, he decides that he wants Mamta to marry Laloo. Mamta leaves the house with Mohnish, and Avtar has a heart attack. He ends up in the hospital and asks for his daughter... Laloo goes and kidnaps her (more-or-less) right before she can leave to go get married and brings her in. Her father goes into a coma, and since that is (for some reason) considered to be the end-all, they read his will. Everything will go to Mamta... provided she marries Laloo within a 1 month time frame.

She is up in arms, but after Mohnish's father (Sadashiv Amrapurkar) tells them that he's willing to be the divorce attorney for her (simple plan... marry him, get divorced, take the money from him), the 2 (Laloo, Mamta) get married. During the reception, Mamta announces her plan to everyone there... and the lawyer lets it be known that Avtar had expected that and put in an addendum to the will that if they got divorced, everything would go to Laloo. Laloo, after marriage, turns into an ass. Mamta, unable to stand this, talks to Mohnish, who decides to kill Laloo. After a brief struggle, the 2 of them manage to kill him but when trying to dispose of the body, they get caught by a police inspector (Gulshan Grover). Grover agrees to help them if he gets paid, so they agree to that and push the car down a hill/cliff, and it explodes ways off.

Gulshan, with his money, resigns from his post, and it is given to Vijay (also Akshay Kumar). Vijay heads to the city, having an enmity with Sadashiv that is ready to boil over, and desperate to find out what happened to Laloo... who just might be his long-lost twin who was presumed dead years ago (killed by Sadashiv).

The plot is interesting... it had some chances but wasn't as solid as you'd like to see from a suspense movie. A couple of the points seem to come out of left field... for example, what is the point of trying to frame Gulshan Grover? Sadashiv & Mohnish I understand, but Gulshan Grover? It makes sense after the bribe-taking, but the plan was made before that. Also, Mamta's about-face seems a bit rushed and isn't very well explained.

The songs are, in my opinion, great. I loved listening to them, and watching them wasn't too bad either.

Acting-wise... Akshay carried the movie, as you'd expect from a Khiladi film. Especially as Laloo, but even as Vijay, he makes his presence felt. Plus, punching/destroying an apple during a song, beating up Mohnish Behl with Mamta Kulkarni and when he stops a guy from attacking him with a stool between his legs and then throws it at another guy while jumping... just random scenes you've come to expect from Akshay. He does it all. Mamta, I wasn't really impressed with. But she played her role alright; scared, triumphant & everything in between. Avtar didn't have much to do. Sadashiv was an alright villain... I much prefer his comic twist in the Govinda/Chunky Pandey version of Aankhen. Mohnish Bahl was good too... there are times where it really seems like he's getting the emotions for him and is the good guy. Gulshan Grover is hilarious in the first half. Weird shoulder and all. Especially when he breaks into a semi-dance while Akshay is kissing Mamta. He's a bit more serious in the 2nd half, but it's all good.

Sabse Bada Khiladi isn't the greatest Khiladi movie I've seen (Main Khiladi Tu Anari), but it definitely isn't the worst either (the horrible Khiladi 420). It's a fun movie though, with Akshay doing his thing and no one really making the movie a pain to watch. Plus, Akshay had a pony-tail in the song, which was just weird.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Do Qaidi (1989)

Govinda + Sanjay Dutt... 20 years ago.
Holy crap.

You have an honest police officer, Suresh Oberoi.
You have the villains... Amrish Puri & Gulshan Grover... who he suspects of bad things.
You have two small-time thieves who quickly come to hate each other (Govinda & Sanjay Dutt) when Sanjay betrays Govinda.
You have a girl dressed up as a sardar (Farha) as she beats up on guys and tries to find her missing sister (Neelam). Obviously, Farha falls for one of the thieves (Sanjay) and Neelam for the other (Govinda).

Things go on... Suresh Oberoi catches Govinda & Sanjay (working for Amrish Puri) and takes the drugs they were transporting... but they manage to escape when the police car transporting them crashes. The bad guys get pissed when learning he lied about only capturing some of the drugs (cop betrayal alert!), they kill him. And the blame, obviously, falls on Govinda & Sanjay. And all of a sudden, 2 small-time thieves who hate each other but are handcuffed together are on the run, with the cops & the villains all after them.

And as luck would have it, they finally become friends... only to end up meeting Ranjeeta Kaur and 2 kids... Suresh Oberoi's family (wife & kids).

Again... Govinda & Sanjay Dutt 20 years ago. Wow. They looked very different.

The acting was solid... Govinda, Sanjay, Farha, Neelam, Suresh Oberoi, Anupam Kher, Gulshan Grover, Ranjeeta Kaur... all of them. The songs were meh... though the "Sing Song" song when the cops showed up while Govinda/Sanjay were trying to fight was hilarious to watch & hear.

It's not "blockbuster" material, but its still a fun comedy that also features things like Farha (& Neelam) beating up on guys, Govinda & Sanjay both unknowingly saving someone close to the other and "Amar Akbar Anthony" being re-written as "Kanu, Manu, Kanu-Manu"!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Deadline: Sirf 24 Ghante (2006)

Sometimes, movies are just amazing. For example... this movie.

The story is fairly simple. You have a rich doctor (Rajit Kapoor), his wife (Konkona Sen Sharma) and their daughter. One day, while the doctor is out of town to receive an award, wife/daughter come home from shopping... and daughter gets kidnapped. One of the kidnappers (Irrfan Khan) stays with Konkona, and 1 goes with the daughter to a different location (Zakir Hussain). Meanwhile, after receiving the award, the doctor also ends up with a part of the kidnapping trio in his room (Sandhya Mridul).

Their demands are simple... pay them 1 crore rupees in 24 hours, and the daughter goes free. As luck would have it though, the kidnapped daughter has asthma, forcing Irrfan Khan to take Konkona Sen Sharma to another location to give medicines to Zakir Hussain & daughter. As a result, after the doctor is able to find 1 crore rupees, Irrfan Khan raises the amount to 2 crore, with the argument that he deserves more for saving the daughter's life.

Meanwhile, things go on. Konkona Sen Sharma tries to kill Irrfan Khan. The daughter tries to escape. The doctor finally gets 2 crore... only to have Irrfan raise it again. Things go on. The doctor finally gets the 3 crore, brings it into the room... and Sandhya Mridul pepper sprays him and disappears with the money. A distraught doctor heads home... his daughter isn't there. And Konkona lets him know that they'll never see their daughter alive again.

Why? Well, if you watch Bollywood movies, it's probably very obvious. Which is the only real letdown of the movie. The movie is relatively quick (1 hour, 40 minutes) and has no songs, which is definitely a plus. While the reason for the kidnapping seems a bit extreme, the acting is enough to overcome a minor issue.

The acting carries this movie to amazing heights. Konkona Sen Sharma, as the worried/frustrated/angry mother, is solid. At the end though, she has to be thanking everything holy that Irrfan didn't kill her... she gave him so many chances. At the meeting with her daughter. When he tries to pull the gun on him. When she tries to kill him. Etc, etc.

Irrfan Khan as the lead kidnapper is amazing yet again. He's able to fit into almost every role naturally, be him the villain (like here) or a comic sidekick (Sunday) or one of the main characters in a good role (Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota) or whatever. His anger, his pain... it all seems real. Which is what you're looking for from an actor.

Zakir Hussain is awesome! Other than the fact that they have Devdas playing in the background for a second (ugh!), of course. He's a smoker... a big time one at that. But he's unable to smoke throughout the movie because of the girl's asthma. He'll sit and play with the cigarettes though. He seriously seems like he's trying to have a ball with a girl that he's kidnapped... trying to make sure she's happy as can be and not having an asthma attack and all that. He goes to make the coffee, he makes tomato soup, etc... he's generally anger free, save for 1- Doctor calling him an idiot and 2- daughter trying to run away. One of the best roles I've seen him in.

Sandhya Mridul & Rajit Kapoor are more or less invisible... they don't have much to do save sit in the hotel room and look all weird... Sandhya randomly breaks out laughing (really awkward & unnecessary, in my opinion) while Rajit is just tensed the entire time. That said, they handled the roles well, which in a movie like this is a huge need. The daughter is solid too. The asthma attack scene was a bit weird, but other than that, she plays it well too.

I loved this movie... you should go watch it ASAP. (And if you don't like it, change your movie views. It's amazing.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Alliance

I first read this book a long time ago. I think it was like 8th grade. Before that, I think it was 6th grade... my teacher (Miss Adams, if I remember the grade correctly) read us the book a bit at a time. I loved it then, but had been unable to find it since 6th grade.

I finally came across it recently, and had to give it another read. And sure enough, I still loved it. Gerald Lund has a winner here.

Set some time in the future, 18 years after a nuclear war has wiped out most of the people, the story takes of quickly. There are a group of villagers that survived and are living life while constantly having an eye out for others that survived. One day, they happen to notice a couple of trucks... and then one of the 2 guys there gets tased (assumed shot at the time though). Our main character, Eric, leaves after a gunfight, and runs back to the village. A group of men set up to protect the town, and we learn that one of the new guys at the village is actually with the attackers and knocks Eric out before running to help his guys out.

Eric wakes up eventually and at that point everyone at the village that survived the fighting (his father isn't one of them) is at Shalev, one of the cities that has been set up by a group of survivors. The city is almost like a version of "Utopia"... there is no "bad" stuff going on. The reason is that everyone has been implanted with a system that shocks them whenever they get agitated, even just a bit. Everyone from the village is implanted, excluding Eric... who they hope to convince to join the Guardsmen.

Eric, though, isn't impressed. He has a couple instances of major anger, and ends up getting implanted as well... at least until they (Nicole, who's watching over him most of the time; the Major, who leads it all; Travis, the betrayer from the village) think he's better. Eric meanwhile schemes with another villager (Cliff) on escaping... which involves removing the implantation (in the neck) & the wristwatch at the exact same time (to prevent a fatal shock).

Somehow he overcomes the shock enough to steal some bolt cutters from a museum, while fooling the 3 overseers into thinking that he was trying to steal the rifle & failed. And then it's on. Cliff frees him & he frees Cliff... fighting of death to do it. And then they're on the run. Having had enough of the Utopia, they're freeing whoever wants to be freed from the implantation, frustrating the Major more and more with each freed person.

And it's all leading to a final showdown between those that are freed and those that are there to defend the Alliance Of Four Cities, with Eric, Cliff, Travis, the Major & Nicole all being forced into action.

I've never had much luck with sci-fi books (2 or 3 exceptions, of course), but I have no problem with this one. It's quick, it gets to the point and stays there... and it doesn't overwhelm you with a bunch of awkward terminology. Always good. And the relationship (read: sarcasm!) between Eric & Nicole throughout the book is fun. Can't go wrong with that.

It's a nice read at the least, and a kinda frightening look at what might be in the future.

Phillies To The World Series

Yay for them.
It's all irrelevant anyways.