Apr 24, 2015

Avengers - Age of Ultron | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

Starting with Avengers, I'll be reviewing several of the movies that I've watched this year.. 


Avengers: Age of Ultron



Making sequels that can beat the success of its predecessors are a mighty task.
You are burdened with the need to achieve higher and do better. 
Avengers: The Age of Ultron, in many ways gives you your ticket's worth. There is the usual VFX wizardry that Marvel movies have now come to be famous for. 

Tons of action that will make Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk fans happy. There are new demi-Gods and superheros but a wafer-thin storyline. 
Joss Whedon shines in parts. He manages to even squeeze in a meatier role for Romanoff and Banner. 
There is simply too much carnage and concrete mayhem. For 2 hours too long. 
I felt visually exhausted 45 minutes into the movie and I am pretty sure I had to stifle a yawn sometime after that. 

Should they create a Part 3?  There are no strings on me..

My Rating: 5.5


What does the ratings mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience.

Apr 4, 2015

As you liked it: Feb/Mar 2015

Over the last couple of months, the sheen has begun to fade off Mr Narendra 'Ironman' Modi. 

Rumblings of a defeat began when they lost Uttar Pradesh. Ofcourse, like the well-oiled PR machine that the BJP has metamorphosed into, the upper crust at BJP claimed the loss didn't really matter and the real test was J&K and Delhi. And so they got just about pass marks in J&K and snubbed so badly in Delhi that Modi is still smarting from his loss. And

what does Modi do when he is down? Well, the same thing that most of us do when we are depressed and need a break - Travel! And boy did he travel! He's spent close to ₹ 380 crores ($ 70 mil) in just 10 months. 

From promising to being a party with accountability and transparency, the swift and ruthless way he and loyalists within the party threw Bhushan and  Yadav is familiar territory for the Indian electorate. Arvind Kejriwal, has become the one-trick pony that most Indian politicians are. From Jayalalitha to Mamata B, feeding the electoral masses with lofty promises of free electricity, water and everything else has become the single best way to get to power and then remain there. And if you don't get to deliver them, you can always blame the opposition and dissidents for err.. well opposing. For Kejriwal (and Modi), life has come full circle. 


How dare Obama talk to us about religious tolerance? We are very tolerant towards Hindus and we love to flaunt that. Unlike in the US, where the government thinks it is against the law to even mention Jesus Christ or anything Christian or where Hindus and Muslims are discriminated against. 

Obama, the Holy Bible says 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Amen to that.

About a year ago, when we were still a Congress-run establishment, I had spoken of how a BJP win will embolden a bunch of idiots to saffronise or otherwise claim India is a Hindu nationPrediction fulfilled. I think we need to pay for some history lessons here. It is a

terrible terrible thing when politicians dip their fingers and draw lines based on religion and I can't think of a single instance of when dividing a country based on religion has turned out to be a great thing for its people.

But then, we do have some good news  - Like school principals who publish monthly lists of errant students who didn't pay fees, the BJP published yet another list of Indians (and their companies) who stashed away their billions into tax-havens abroad. Before you go checking if your name is on the list or not, relax. By the time you read this, the taxman would have already spoken to your over-paid Auditor and you can pay a nominal million or so to grease the government's palms and legalize this stash. Why the Congress didn't think of this before beats me! 

But if you don't want to pay this 'fine', fine! Allow me to point the sorry case of Mr Sahara to you. 

In other desi Defense news, let's cheer as we fit the newly designed Barak 8 long-range missiles to our destroyers (warships). Designed to track and destroy anti-ship missiles while it is still 70 kms away. As always, Pakistan and China aren't comfortable with this.


And the government ordered a probe against the Coast Guard DIG for claiming to have blown off the Pakistani boat that was intercepted a few weeks ago. #ShootTheMessenger


Our favorite Twiterrati and Mr United Nations guy, Shashi Tharoor got the midnight knock from the coppers. Big Effing Deal! Another palm to be greased and a few more news-reels later, he will walk out of this smelling like roses. Fast-forward a year and he will be walking down the aisle again. Incredible like that!

Goan minister told nurses who were taking part in a strike to be mindful of the darkening effects of the sun. Hell ya! Maybe he should be handing out Garnier sun blocks too.


As much as we love to ban stuff, we are equally allergic to admitting to our own failures. So while Modi has been promoting 'his' Gujarat to the world, perhaps he must also tell the world that there is an epidemic-like situation in the wake of rapid spread of swine flu. The 350+ who have died may have got their ₹ 5000 in compensation (aka the cost to buy their silence) but this is just the kind of apathy that we are famous for.


If you are one of those with deep pockets, a burning desire to see your name in the media and an itching urge to own the now 'infamous' suit that our benevolent 'outsider' PM wore on the Republic day parade, then you could bid and buy it. Being auctioned for charity, this gets our PM valuable brownie points and he will be hoping this will shut the mouth of his critics.


Our former Prime Minister Mr Manmohan 'Theek Hai' Singh got some reprieve when the Supreme Court stayed the government's summons to testify on a Coal Block allocation scam. I can't believe Mr Singh is innocent as much as I can believe he knows how to be assertive.


Modi accomplished yet another coup de maĆ®tre when Sri Lanka signed a nuke deal with India, snubbing China.


In an annual tradition of arresting and then releasing fishermen, Pakistan repatriated 173 Indian prisoners. Hey Pakistan! How about not arresting them in the first place?!

And so, we had 'India's Daughter'. A documentary that looks at how our men are raping women and the system that shields the wrong side.
We shouldn't really have banned the documentary. We should have shown it for free, heck we should have made it mandatory for all channels to show it. That way, we could have seen how shoddy the documentary really was. That way, we could have had a rare glimpse into the depraved mind of a rapist. But No!
We went ahead and banned it. Brilliant! The makers of the documentary couldn't have asked for a better way to advertise it. BBC laughed its way to the bank and millions saw the documentary anyway. Chutzpah!

But that didn't stop or deter our men from raping our daughters. 

Take the instance of a girl who was raped and killed in Rohtak. Her half-eaten corpse was found scavenged by nature after man satisfied his sexual urges.
Or the instance where an elderly nun was gang-raped by men within the confines of her convent.

The arm-chair activists and candle-wielding warriors did a retrospect and realised we failed our women. Gee, you think so?!

The others decided to take the law into their own hands. 

Example 1: A mob of thousands dragged an alleged rapist from his prison cell, beat the shit out of him and paraded his naked torn body through the street in Nagaland. Fist bump yeah! Let's all celebrate over champagne at our new found sense of outrage towards men who victimize the women in our country. This from the land where we saw a teenager whose clothes were ripped off her body under the lights of a dozen cellphones. #MisplacedRage
Example 2: A random group of women practice martial arts and self defense and armed with sticks and spirit will protect women in Delhi. Yes, this is exactly what we need. Desi 'Charlie's Angels' and women vigilante groups to protect the rest of us. 

Abroad, the ISIS continues to outsmart and outwit the smartbombs and unusually smart West. Be-headings and burning continue. Amidst all of this, the West's romance with naming random terrorists (and people it doesn't like) continue. We continue to obsess about 'Jihadi John' while thousands are being displaced and hundreds being killed. Which makes me wonder  - No one is really talking about how the West is producing more jihadis. Not so long time ago, the US (and its stooge across the Atlantic) were feeding us with tall tales of how countries like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan are breeding grounds for terrorists.
Well, Uncle Sam, so is the Great Kingdom of The Queen and The United States of America! 
Dissent, it seems, starts closer home. 

Another round of plane crashes for you. It might seem like we are having a lot more plane crashes than a few years ago, but I think its just a sign of our times. We are better connected, yet less secure.
 

We had one Thai pilot who saves the lives of hundreds when he crashed his crippled TransAsia plane into a river and another who deliberately killed hundreds abroad when he crashed his Germanwings aircraft into the French Alps. Lufthansa won't have it easy in the months to come. 


In this month's Hypocrite Ahoy!
As is customary for armchair activists nowadays, they created online petitions and hashtags to 'fight for justice'. 

Thousands of people took to the streets and vandalized government property when a popular IAS officer was found hanging in his apartment complex in Bangalore. Noble! #DKRavi

An American policeman who brutally attacked and left an Indian man, who was visiting his son in the US, found kinship and we all raised our candles and voices against racism. Great!

Calling all hypocrites: Spare a hash-tag for Chandrabose too. The middle-aged security guard who was run over and brutally killed in broad daylight, details of which will make Salman Khan blush and Uday Hussein gush with pride. 
The culprit: Beedi tycoon and multi-millionaire Muhammed Nisham
The reason: The guard took a little longer to open the gates to let him in. Apparently, Mr Nisham is no stranger to breaking the law. He has a dozen or more cases against him in Kerala and Karnataka. His last high-profile brush with the law involved when he let his 9 year old son take the family Ferrari and Range Rover out for a spin. The foolhardy bastard and proud papa that he is, he shot and uploaded a video of this outing online and bang! All outrage and nothing else happened. This case is just another bug in the windshield that is Nisham's life. It's going to take a couple of lakhs but he (like most other Indians in his league) will come out of this smelling fresh, sporting a salt and pepper beard. Easy Queasy.

We, probably are the biggest hypocrites in the planet because we think our Muslims are 'Pakistanis', North East Indians are 'chinkies', South Indians 'Madrasis' and our North Indians 'Biharis'. But when a German professor thinks all Indian men are rapists, all I hear is 'How could they do this to us?'

In this month's DILLIGAF section,
  • A WhatsApp picture of a male student lying on the laps of 4 other girl students got the college and the students into hot sambar. Apparently, the moral brigade's spidey sense was sent tingling and they didn't leave a stone unturned in pounding sense into everyone around. 
  • Meanwhile a video of a nude woman dancing atop a desk in a police station in Paraguay sparked calls for an investigation. See, if this was in Bangalore / Kerala / Mumbai / Kolkata or Anywhere else in North India, the moral brigade would have burned that district out of the map
  • But if you are a woman in Saudi Arabia, here's another thing you should be careful about: Don't let your steam off on WhatsApp. It could land you trouble like this young lady discovered.
  • We had Rakhi Sawant declaring her undying love for Virat Kohli. This is called Optimism. I think she stands a better chance with Bobby Darling. Now that is a match made in heaven. She is a certified nut-job and Bobby Darling, well is,  Bobby Darling.
  • After winning yet another term into office, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu got a stern yet sugar-coated threat from Uncle Sam. 
  • A hidden cam in a clothing store landed Fab India in fab trouble, after Union HRD minister Irani Smriti discovered the camera in a ladies trial room. Ms Smriti, we understand you are outraged but this isn't new. Google for hidden camera MMS and you'll be inundated with videos of women who have been recorded changing their clothes, having sex, answering nature's call and every possible act that a voyeur could ask for. If you really want to rid the society of this scourge, then delve into the reasons why men do this in millions of stores/homes and workplaces.  Or you could say DILLIGAF.
  • And if you are a Hindu mother, and you thought BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj was right when he said you should achieve your quota of producing 4 children each, then relax. RSS pipsqueak Mohan Bhagwat has rebuffed the order. You can continue to produce as many as you want. If you ask me, our Hindu leaders are secretly envious of Muslim families that believe in large families, but they won't be caught dead admitting it. Hypocrisy, anyone?
  • We want western tourists to come and spend their dollars and rubles here. But don't party. And if you party, we will pull out our camcorders and record you for our personal titillation. Incredible India!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the super-rich 'Crusaders of Christ'.

Saving the best for last, 

Indian Cricket - Ah yes, that one sport our quasi-sporting nation encourages, embraces and worships. With the Cricket World Cup that had about a dozen teams battled out. Yes, I'll call it a battle even though it resembled more like a bully storming through some scrawny kids in a playground.
The Indian team, decided to stay back in Australia after a disastrous tour there. Good point. No reason to come to India after a debacle like that, right? And so they went into the tournament as former Champions and current under-dogs (read Write-Offs). They play a few matches against low-rung teams like Pakistan and such and win! That's right! They won! They really did win! Hurray! And they reach the semi-finals and that's where they meet the only team that really mattered  - Australia. Well by now we, loyal Indian cricket fans, have all but forgotten the disastrous India Tour of Australia 2014-15 and decided to book the entire stadium in Sydney. Yes, because we are that forgiving! 
India stood still. Not a single patriotic Indian (except for the ones protecting our porous borders) stirred. And India went to the crease first. And the top order fell fast and frequent like dominos on speed. 
Maybe we had to remind them that this was the do or die match. 
Maybe we had to remind them that this was a one-dayer and not a test. 
Maybe we had to remind ourselves that they aren't as good as we are told to believe. 
Did you even see the scorecard? Barring the Captain, none of the others scored above 50 runs. Compare that to the Aussies and you'll begin to see why we are just a mediocre team with an exceptional PR team. 
Back home, next-gen fans began to console themselves and their cricketing idols that this is okay. 'You are allowed to lose', they said, 'after winning so many matches, we are okay with you losing'. How benevolent of us! 
Reminds me of how I used to score 100/100 in drawing, arts & craft, moral science and PT but if I didn't score 60 and above in Math, Science and other subjects, it didn't matter how I did in anything else, would it? Ditto. 
But we still got a scapegoat to blame  - Enter Anushka Sharma. Bad choice or Wrong timing or both? Maybe we lost because Poonam Pandhey didn't offer to strip this time. Thank God its over just in time for IPL.  

Indian Badminton - Saina climbed to the top of the Badminton world which was dominated by the nimble Chinese. She was ranked # 1 even though she lost to Carolina Marin in the All England Series. Climbing to the top of the rankings is no mean effort, and what we lack in consistency we make up in sheer numbers and good PR. Star Sports has been looping a series appropriately titled 'Saina's climb to the top'. Great! She'll use this to demand she be awarded the Bharat Ratna this year.


And in closing, here's a story (with some modifications) that has been doing the rounds since the last many years


Original Story:

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and
laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool

and laughs dances plays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

Indian Version:
The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant's a fool and laughs dances plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.


NDTV, BBC, CNN , Asianet show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The World is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
  • Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house.
  • Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter .
  • Mayawati states this as 'injustice' done on Minorities.
  • The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper
  • CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers.
  • Railway minister allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'.
  • Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the 'Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act'[POTAGA] , with effect from the beginning of the winter..
  • Education minister makes 'Special Reservation' for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions in Government Services.
  • The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, it's home is confiscated by Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV, BBC, CNN.
  • Arundhati Roy calls it 'A Triumph of Justice'.
  • Railway minister calls it 'Socialistic Justice'.
  • CPM calls it 'Revolutionary Resurgence of Downtrodden'
Many years later...
The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar company in Silicon Valley, 100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India.
And that's why India is still a developing country...!!

And finally, here's Deepika Padukone with yet another rant on behalf of women everywhere (yawn). Apparently, the lass is bent upon staying relevant whether she has movies or not. Can someone please tell her to STFU.

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