Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Contagion - The Real Test of Humanity?

Watched the movie 'Contagion'.  Even if you haven't seen the movie, you would've probably guessed that its about a contagious disease, an epidemic to be more exact.  We have seen movies like this before, '28 Days Later', 'Resident Evil' etc.  But this movie, is much more realistic.  Its not an action packed adventure like Resident Evil or a thrilling apocalypse like 28 Days Later.  This is more of a drama that tries to portray how people in general react to this danger and what actions individuals take.

It reminded me of something Joker said in 'The Dark Knight', "their morals, their code...it's a bad joke.  Dropped at the first sign of trouble.  When the chips are down, these civilized people, they'll eat each other."  That sounds a little extreme but its not too far from the truth.  When our life is at stake or even in an increased level of risk, we drop our ethics.  Worse than that, we start to doubt our fellow men.  Our fears move us to survival mode and we start suspecting everyone and everything.

Its easy to be law abiding and decent when its all good.  We think that we are the good guys just because we give lift to someone on our way to work.  We think we are civilized just because we gave some money to charity last year or because we paid taxes this year.  But how ethical will our actions be when we are put in tough situations?  What if, one day our financial system completely collapses and we enter an age with no rules, no order?  Will we still be kind and gentle in a chaotic world?

There is no single answer to that question.  Some people will still do their best to be humane and be helpful.  Some, will just switch to survival mode and act as if its 'every man for himself'.  We get a sense of this, in the movie.  We see how some people get scared and turn violent while a few risk more than we ever would to help others.  Those selfless acts are the reason we humans even have a civilization today.  And those individuals who went into survival mode, they are probably today's terrorists and extremists.

So, what will you be, when the chips are down?!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Dark Knight truly Rises

Finally, the trailer for the movie The Dark Knight Rises is here.  Lets get straight into it

I still remember what made me go crazy about The Dark Knight.  It was Joker's laugh at the end of the trailer for TDK.  It was epic, just perfect!  This trailer for TDKR reminds of that feeling.

For me, the best part of this one is definitely the music.  The trailer starts with the soft and humble voice of a kid.  Then the music disappears into the background with a tinge of suspense in it.  In typical Hans Zimmer style, it keeps raising slowly, with the kid's voice still in the background.  Then, the chanting starts and it gets aggressive.  Finally, it comes alive at the 1 minute 45 second mark, by which time, I can't stop myself from jumping from my seat & shouting it out loud!  At the end, we hear the music from the climax of TDK which has probably become synonymous with the Batman logo.

The only thing that I'm not very comfortable with is the clarity of the voice.  Even though Joker's voice was weird, it was still crystal clear.  Oh well!  Considering that I'm going to see this movie repeatedly, I guess I needn't care.  I went to imdb to find out what was being said in the trailer and I happened to glance at the Trivia section where I saw this.

Eva GreenAngelina Jolie Blake LivelyRhona MitraCharlize TheronAbbie CornishVera FarmigaJessica BielNatalie PortmanGemma ArtertonKate MaraCharlotte RileyEmily Blunt and Keira Knightley all auditioned for the role of Selina Kyle. After the initial audition process, Biel and Mara all screen tested. Ultimately, Anne Hathaway won the role. 

That is a huge list of cast being auditioned for one role and not to mention that most of them are top actresses.  This shows us the level of sincerity with which the director is approaching the character instead of just casting some big name.  The same goes for most of the characters in the movie with names like Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet being considered.  Yes, I know, the film studio and the movie's casting directors were probably the main force behind this, but the fact that so many talented actors were auditioning for roles that weren't number one, simply adds credibility to the director's abilities.

I just can't wait to watch this movie in the theater!  I'll probably go to the theater every weekend simply to catch this trailer.. :P

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rant of the Day!

I'm warning you straight away that this post is a rant.  So, if you are in a good mood, stop reading right now so that I don't spoil it.  For those who are still reading, well, lets continue..  I'm sure you've faced this situation too => you are in a good mood and looking forward to the rest of your day but suddenly someone does something that just puts you off.  All of a sudden you just wish that the day comes to an end soon so that you can begin afresh tomorrow.  Well, that's exactly how I felt and to get over it, I decided to write this post.

I strongly believe that feelings spread; from one person to another, from one person to an entire group; its just contagious.  Say for example, there are three of you sitting together but minding your own business.  A fourth guy comes along and is in a grumpy mood.  Now, if you three were already in a fun mood, then, his grumpiness won't affect the other three too much.  On the contrary, he/she might get cheered up thanks to you guys.  But if the mood is already mundane or just normal, then the grumpiness starts spreading.  This is why I always try to hide my bad mood when in company of others.  But some people, just don't give a damn..

Some people just complain for everything.  This is like this, that's like that, oh why me, why is everyone like this, bla bla..  But most of all, I get really annoyed when people complain about helping someone.  I don't care if you help others or not, but don't complain about it if you do.  If you don't wanna help, just tell them so & leave it at that.  Its pointless to decide to help someone and then complain about it.

I ain't Mahatma Gandhi; I'm just a selfish little human being like most people.  But even my tiny brain/conscience understands that we help others to feel good.  When we help others, we get a sense of satisfaction, a good feeling and at the same time, we have improved someone else's life.  But if you are going to complain about it, then you aren't going to feel good.  And to make it worse, you'll probably spoil the mood of someone else who happens to hear you complain.  And to make it even worse, the next time you have an argument with the person you helped, this feeling will come to your mind and you will get even more angry.

This just seems counter-intuitive to me.  My point is simple, don't force yourself to do something and then complain about it.  Of course, we all do things that we don't really want to, like for example, go to work.  But there is a difference between accepting our decision and complaining about it.  Learn to accept it; if you can't, then don't do it.

P.S.  To my friends, this is not directed against any of you; the person I'm ranting about will never, ever, read my blog..  :D  Ah!!  It feels good to let it all out!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Road Trip to Hogenakkal!

A good road trip had been long pending & so, when my colleague Arun suggested a weekend trip to Hogenakkal, I immediately agreed to join him.  Sadly, no one else did and so, it was just me, him & two avengers (yes, he has an avenger too  xD).  I had office till 3.30pm on Saturday and so, started straight from work to Hogenakkal.  Our plans were a little fuzzy but our aim was simple, 'road trip'.  So, we took to the street and headed towards our destination.

It took us an hour just to escape the city & the sun was setting fast.  So, we rode for nearly 140 kms before taking our first break.  By now, it was clear that we were going to be pretty late because Hogenakkal is around 340 kms. from Chennai.  Our other option was to stay at Dharmapuri for the night & continue the trip in the morning. But after riding another 100 kms. in the dark, we felt that it wasn't so bad and that we could make it the whole way.

We burst through the highways till Dharmapuri where we had our dinner & then slowed down.  The road was now tricky with no light and no traffic.  We reached a pay check-post around 10.30pm and the next 15 minutes were the best ride of my life.  The curved hill roads & sudden hair-pin bends at pitch black darkness with absolutely no distraction was a dream to ride through.  Riding Nirvana!

We found a room and settled in around 11.30.  Didn't feel tired, didn't have back pain though I can't say the same for my butt.  Had a nice chat till 2 and woke up around 10.  Hogenakkal wasn't much of a hill and so, no bike rides over there.  Visited the waterfall, had a nice ride in those hand-made rafts.  The waterfall wasn't spectacular but the route they take you on those rafts is amazing.  I have never experienced anything like that before.

We started again around 2.30pm and had a nice ride through those curved roads again.  We came across a pretty good hotel near the Krishnagiri bus stand.  After that, we hit the highways once again.  Compared to our city traffic, the drivers on the highways are pretty disciplined.  They use their indicators while changing lanes, they wait for a passing vehicle instead of just jumping out & blocking you and most slow vehicles stick to the left lane as the right lane is meant for overtaking.  In such an organized highway, riding in the dark is not so hard.

Reached home around 9.30..  Covered 680 kilometers in 30 hours with a good night's sleep and also managed to visit a new location.  Now THAT is a weekend worth its hours!  Thank you Arun!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The movie that you wouldn't wanna miss!

Some movies are a good timepass; some are just not worth watching; some movies are so thrilling that they make you forget where you are but only a few movies keep you grounded in reality while stealing your heart away.  Bala is particularly good at creating such movies but his movies are always tainted with sadness.  I remember reading in my school text book that songs that express sadness will always be the most melodious ones.  That's the rule that Bala follows..

Deiva Thirumagal doesn't really follow Bala's footsteps.  Yet, it somehow captures the magic that only Bala and a few other directors have brought on screen.  It even goes one step further by not framing anyone as good or bad.  The old days of Ajith, Vijay & Rajini where the do-gooder fights against the main crime boss are over.  The tamil industry is moving towards a more sophisticated approach to film making.  Movies like Naadodigal, Aaranya Kaandam are taking us into a new era where the script is the hero and the screenplay is the star.  And Deiva Thirumagal is the best example thus far.

We are well aware of Vikram's acting skills.  But acting can only take a movie a short distance without the proper script.  A movie like Anniyan (though I enjoyed it), doesn't really utilize the actor's ability.  Deiva Thirumagal pays homage to the actor's skills by fully utilizing it to immerse us into the story.  Vikram deserves a movie like this and the movie deserves an actor like Vikram.  There were a few scenes where the story was weak but as Bala said, its not the story, its the character that's more important.  This isn't really a perfect movie but art doesn't need to be perfect.  It just needs to capture your imagination and this movie captures more than that.

The movie doesn't answer any questions; it doesn't say whoz right and whos wrong.  But it makes you feel human and that.... is the most important character a movie should have.  Hats off to the crew behind Deiva Thirumagal!  Anyone and everyone should watch this movie.  Vijay is a director that I'm gonna keep my eyes on.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ever heard of the term, anti-intro?

Last weekend's tournament was a disaster for me in my ways.  Its ok to lose but to not fight at all is something I find hard to accept.  Usually when things go wrong, I try to bundle up all that anger and use it to propel me in something else.  So, I decided to go AWOL for the next tournament and set my sight on the racing game Trackmania Nations Forever.  I've for long been a fan of racing and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to see whether I've still got it in me to compete.

I went berserk; bought myself a new Xbox controller and started practicing like crazy.  I kept playing till my fingers hurt.  It has been just three days though but I've already seen around 20 videos of the game, the last year's finals and the various tactics in the listed maps.  The city level qualifier is on 23rd & 24th July and so, I laid out a plan to practice in an organized fashion, with one map on each day.

I even set myself a target which I hoped to achieve considering all went well.  My target was a podium finish at the national level.  That maybe a hard target but what's there in competing if you don't aim high!  I got all geared up, even started listening to some uplifting music.  And suddenly, like all things in life, it came crashing down! (as usual)..

You see, the national finals is on the weekend in August.  I had agreed a month back to go on a trip with my family on this particular weekend, which I obviously forgot.  Damn!  I've heard of anti-climax, but this is anti-intro..  Do I feel dumb right now!!  :|

Oh well!  I fell in love with the game in these past three days and so, gonna continue the practice and at least compete at the City Level..  I do hope I get some opponents to make this worth my time..

Friday, June 17, 2011

Racing in the DiRT

I was looking for some new game to kill time and I heard that DiRT3 was out.  Being a fan of Colin McRae and racing in general, I decided to check it out.  The first thing that caught my eye was the graphics.  I don't know how they do it but with each version, the graphics just keeps getting better.  Maybe its just that we spend so much time looking at concentrate walls in NFS that the tracks filled with greenery in DiRT becomes a welcome sight for sore eyes.

If you have tried Colin McRae before then you'll know that DiRT is no easy game to master.  So, I took it slow for a couple of races so that I can settle into the game.  What I realized soon after is that the game was pretty darn easy (compared to the usual Colin McRae).  So, what's the big deal you ask?  Damn man!  The difficulty is everything.

In a normal racing game, you win most of the races in the first attempt and you keep moving forward along with the story.  Your interest in the game is maintained by your desire to drive faster cars while you are immersed in the story.  But in Colin McRae, its different.  There is no story and the slow cars are as much fun as their faster siblings.

The USP of a Colin McRae game is that its insanely difficult.  A normal game has Easy, Medium and Hard whereas a CMR has 6 to 9 difficult settings and not to mention the various assists that can be turned on or off.  Reaching pole position in medium difficult will take you months.  To win a race in high difficult setting is near to impossible for most players.

You know you can't beat the computer, so, you keep trying to beat your own time.  If you ace one corner, you might get a .4 sec advantage.  You keep trying again and again for hours perfecting every single turn.  All of a sudden you get that perfect lap where you kissed the apex in every corner to beat the computer by .2 seconds!  In that moment, you will feel INVINCIBLE!  In that single moment, you will have realized what gaming is all about!

Its that feel that I miss in this game.  They have toned down the difficulty and I'm finishing first regularly even though I've played the game for just two days.  I'm hoping that the game will get more difficult as faster cars get unlocked.. *fingers crossed*

Monday, March 7, 2011


I just saw a movie called 'Buried'.  Its about a guy trapped in a coffin.  Period.  That's pretty much it.  Technically, that's the whole story.  I'm not sure how to explain this, but, it was brilliant.  I haven't seen such a good movie in a looooong time.  I still can't believe that a movie taken inside a box can be so good.  Unbelievable!

The movie also gave a good example of how desperate, drastic and mad some people are.  They are the ones you would call 'terrorists'.  There are also others who are basically, just greedy.  They are just people blinded by money and comfort.  I don't think I've to explain who they are.  If you don't know, you'll get it when you watch the movie.  The rest of the people, they are just helpless; not completely innocent but helpless.

There are lots of movies that thrill you, make you laugh, cry and even think.  This movie doesn't fall under any of those categories.  This one, falls under a special category.  The category is called 'Must Watch'.  At least once in their lifetime, everyone should see this.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rocky Balboa

The name Rocky Balboa doesn't need an introduction.  The first thing that would come to our mind when we hear that name is the awesome tune 'Gonna fly now'.  He was one of those characters from our childhood that we simply admired.  The latest Rocky movie was released in 2006 and I just watched it again last night.  Weirdly enough, my bro didn't seem that impressed by the movie and my colleague even called it 'too artificial'.  I can't really blame em because the movie wasn't exactly brilliant.

On the other hand, the point that the movie tried to make was just inspiring.  The whole movie can be summed up in one short speech.

I can't possibly explain it in a better way.  The truth in that speech hit me hard.  We can give a thousand reasons as to how someone else's action or inaction affected us.  But in the end, whatever happened was because of us more than anyone else.  Our life is, what it is today, because of us.  No use in blaming anyone else.  Somewhere along the way, WE gave up.

Just listen to this speech every morning and try to relate it to what happened in your life the day before.  You might actually experience a profound change in your attitude and eventually your decisions in life.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Learn Something New Every Day!

There were a lot of good practices in our culture that we have now forgotten.  But that's because, in today's world, those practices aren't even relevant.  Then again, we have not developed that many new worthy practices either.  Well, if you feel the same way, then here is one you could try:


Yes, its just another website.  But wait, let me explain.  This website has a lot interesting articles which are both short and informative.  These articles are about the concepts behind a lot of what we use or experience in our real life.  For example,

  • how is the cost of petrol determined or
  • what's the difference between a two-stroke and a four-stroke engine.
It can even be about something more basic like
  • why is it not possible to manufacture water or
  • how does a hurricane work.
It can sometimes even be fun like
  • what would happen if everyone in US flushed their toilets at the same time or
  • what would happen if you never took a bath.
But no, its not a fictional take on that scenario, its a factual look at the concepts behind it.  There are new articles posted all the time and there is a huge archive of such articles.  Its also damn easy to find an article that interests you.  Just cycle through or refresh the four articles in the main page.  Or, you could try the Random Zone, where you can click a button to get random facts, quotes and articles.

My suggestion is, visit the site once every day.  Find one article that interests you.  Read one article every day!