Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ex Machina -- Movie Review

I think I am making up for missing most of the movies released in 2015 by watching them this year :) This is the second movie I am catching and WOW! Ex Machina has been listed as #1 in most of the top 15 Hollywood movies for 2015 and I agree 100%. While it is essentially a sci-fi film, it is also emotional, thrilling, and unexpected.

Caleb and Nathan
The movie begins when a developer, Caleb, working for BlueBook (an Internet Search Engine company) wins a week long stay at the CEO's estate. The CEO, Nathan, is a child prodigy who started writing code at 13. When Caleb is dropped off at the estate, he is not sure what to expect. Nathan is not quite what he expects. He is given a key card which allows him access to certain areas in the house. The house also is a research facility and Caleb is taken totally by surprise when Nathan asks him to sign an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) that seems very detailed and not standard. 


Caleb signs it but is not too happy. That changes when Caleb realizes that Nathan has built a female
Ava
robot with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Caleb has to test if she exhibits true AI or is simulating human emotion - a test known as a Turing Test. The female robot is Ava. The interactions between Ava and Caleb are recorded and watched by Nathan except when there is a power cut. The conversations between Nathan and Caleb are not that of an employer with an employee or one between friends but weirdly personal. Nathan ribs Caleb about his quotable quotes and Caleb tries to fit in and comes across confused, curious, and very natural.


Nathan and Kyoko
Nathan's maid or girl friend, Kyoko, has very little to say or is mute but after appearing suddenly, she is there for the rest of the movie. She performs a choreographed and well-synchronized disco routine with Nathan and it is obvious from the way they dance that they have done this often. 


I was trying to get ahead of the story and guess where it might go and I was surprised every time. The movie does not employ too many twists but each twist was crisp and later you realized that that was the only way to go. The ending was so unexpected that it stayed with me for a long time. It was not an ending I could accept but it was actually perfect. There is a fair amount of nudity and while it can distract, I doubt it was used for that purpose in the movie. However, because of that, I would not advise you to watch the movie at home with children, family etc. Watch it when you can and let me know what you think. If you have already seen it, let me know what you think.  
     

Friday, January 29, 2016

Burger King Visit -- Restaurant Review

CheesyItalianFries--Too Tangy
It was a day for completing a lot of necessary Bank work and so I left early from office. The Arien promised to pick me up from office and he did. After the boring work was completed, we found out it was too late for lunch and so we decided to walk into Burger King. This was our second visit but I really liked the options. Both of us were very hungry and went overboard. The Arien ordered the mutton whopper while I chose the regular veg whopper. We also ordered the Hi-fries (I chose cheesy Italian Fries) and the thick mango shake with it.

The burger buns were fresh and the size was definitely bigger than McD's usual. When McDs came to India first, their burgers were huge too though that has changed over the years. The cheesy Italian fries was a bit too tangy for me. Also, the whopper has pickled cucumber which adds a tangy taste and so it all became too much for both of us. The Mango shake was absolutely amazing - we ordered one between us and so it was manageable. It was very very tasty.


The Arien felt guilty about having an outing without Kuku. If Kuku had been part of this trip, we would have been two hassled parents running after him. This time, we ate together (that almost never happens), we had a bit of conversation (i.e we actually spoke to each other not announced stuff in the vicinity of each other), even joked a bit. I called this our time-out :P

Friday, January 15, 2016

Funky Monkey -- Kuku has fun

Kuku has been spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos of kids playing in these indoor play Centers. We started him on Rhymes and suddenly he was watching these kids videos (Videos of kids made by parents such as Toy Reviews, family play time etc) and now he refuses to let us guide him to the videos which we want him to watch, So, he pretty much watches any video he likes. Anyway, while watching the play center ones, I wondered if we had any in the city for a toddler and I chose Funky Monkey. Its quite close to my Aunt's place where we usually congregate for Pongal/Sankranti and my cousin was visiting with his 12 year old daughter. The age group was supposedly 0-12 years and so I thought my niece would like it but she is a grown-up twelve and did not want to enter the place. So, only Kuku had the most fun on that day.

They charge ~500 for 90 minutes and a single parent must accompany the child or children into the play center or arena. That parent must wear socks or buy socks from their counter. It was pretty crowded as a birthday party was going on as well. Kuku, of course, did not want to play on anything specific to his age. He wanted to go down the huge slide and he did so a gazillion times and sometimes in reverse i.e he turned around and sat looking to see if anyone else was coming after him. The Arien was fed up and completely exhausted at the end of 30 minutes :) We had another 60 minutes to go :( I cleverly opted out of going into the play arena with Kuku. It was fun for Kuku though. He was very happy.

We stopped for a snack at 'The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf". We ordered the usual stuff. All of them were good but their omelet was really good. The Arien said that we should have ordered that for Kuku instead of letting him feast on blueberry cake which though he loves he does not handle too well. We plan to do this again next month. Lets hope its not like our other plans :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Wazir -- Movie review

First movie in a cinema theatre, after a really long time (Uttama Villain does not count, considering we watched the movie from the Exit steps while Kuku watched his Rhymes on the Arien's phone). It was a team activity and we were catching the morning show - the 10.10 one. I wanted to laugh but I also wanted to make it. It was decided that we would catch the movie at a mall which is quite close to my place. What happened that morning: Kuku on tantrum mode, sent him very late to his playschool and was at the receiving end from his teacher, no service road entry from my house to the theatre, no right turn at the theatre entrance, and no change for the Auto. With so many obstacles working against me, it was indeed a total surprise for me that I made it before time. I was at the Theatre at 10 am :D Now, for the story of Wazir.

A movie that had Farhan Akthar and Amitabh Bachchan had to be good. I had not read the reviews yet and so I had no idea what the story was all about. Well, it starts with the story of Danish (Farhan) and Ruhana (Aditi) - their marriage, their love, their child. A snap decision made by Danish results in the separation between him and Ruhana. And around that time, he meets Omkarnath Dhar (Amitabh), a chess enthusiast and an unlikely friendship builds between them. The friendship helps heal the rift between Danish and Ruhana. It also leads to Wazir.

Image Courtesy: http://www.hindustantimes.com/movie-reviews/wazir-review-a-revenge-saga-that-is-not-angry-but-devious/story-ZsKd1IQBRluKxwxFan8INK.html

The love story of Danish and Ruhana was edited well and in a few well-shot scenes, the love that they shared was there for the audience to see. The scenes between Amitabh and Farhan are entertaining with Shatranj or chess-specific metaphors thrown in. Not too many to bore the audience and so it was ok. The entrance of Wazir (Neil Nithin Mukesh) added a chill to the story. John Abraham was in yet another cameo. I almost suspected him to be the villain but he was not :)

Image Courtesy: http://www.hindustantimes.com/movie-reviews/wazir-review-a-revenge-saga-that-is-not-angry-but-devious/story-ZsKd1IQBRluKxwxFan8INK.html


I think we were waiting for some obscure twist but the movie was not trying to be clever - it was pretty straight forward. But, there was something missing in the movie. Maybe the editing was too slick for some scenes and too lax for the others. The pace was jumpy.

The last explanation video was not needed I feel. It assumes that the audience would not be clever enough (a way of saying they were stupid, in fact) unless smne actually spoke during the scene to say: "I did this and then I did that and then..." followed by the actual shot of the action. One of the two would have been sufficient.

Image Courtesy: http://www.bollywoodmania.co.in/2016/01/review-wazir-is-gripping-thriller-with.html

The movie was jes ok though it had all the trappings of a good thriller and whodunit but somehow the story meandered and did not do a good job. Ok to watch once. Aditi looked lovely and Neil looked venomous. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

A very very Happy New Year to you all :D

January has proved to be quite hectic - a number of outings, get-togethers, lunches, etc. - so unlike 2015 that I am very late in posting about those happenings. After a lot of thinking, I have decided to back-post all the January posts so do not be surprised if you suddenly see a lot of posts for January after seeing nothing all month.

Have a nice day and nice year!!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

An interesting evening -- Kuku's II Metro Ride

We wanted to visit the play-gym near our home but when we reached there, it was closed. Not wanting to spend the evening at home, we decided to go on the metro. Kuku has not been on one for almost six months now.

We parked at the Byappanhalli station and walked in. I forgot all about the frisking and walked toward the escalator when I was asked to go back. Kuku didn't want to wait and decided to go on the escalator by himself. He made for the escalator but the security guard, decided to stop Kuku. Unfortunately, he was not aware that Kuku hates to be carried by someone he does not know. In seconds, ppl looked shocked at the volume on Kuku! I was handed the screaming toddler with a smile while he continued bawling away. The screaming toddler suddenly had a bucket full of tears falling from his eyes and he wanted to get down while wiping his tears with his hand. Uff!! I was ready to sit down and cry - seriously!  I was already wondering why I had even thought this was a good idea but the rest of the evening was actually quite nice.

Anyway, after all the hoo-haa, we reached the platform without any more incidents. Kuku stared awe-struck as the metro train silently entered the station. After we boarded the train, he held on as if for dear life. The snap shows how scared he is :)

He also watched as the door beeped every time it opened and shut (at every station). At every station he kept saying 'Aaachu" (finished). We wondered if he wanted the ride to be over or he wanted to know if it was over.

We got off at the MG Road station and took a walk on the MG Road boulevard. It was quite late in
the evening but not very cold and so we happily walked almost all the way. Kuku really enjoyed the walk. He insisted on walking and refused to be carried and he made cheeky faces at his dad as his Dad was busy shooting candid pics.

It was a nice walk and there was a nice little Dasaprakash which did not look like it was functional but surprisingly it was. We decided to stop on our way back. The Arien ordered for a masala dosa and coffee. I ordered for vada. Vada was badly burnt and tasted awful. Masala dosa was yummy. Coffee was good as per the Arien.

Then came the shock - no return metro ride. It was after 8 and apparently, for a few days the train was not available after 8. We could not get an auto and we kept walking. It was not a warm evening and we were not dressed for walking in the cold. We finally got an auto and we were trying to protect Kuku from the cold air and he tried to push my hand and duppatta away! Uff. I do not think we have ever been that happy to see our car as we were that day. Serves us right for not looking for notices :(

An interesting evening!!


Monday, October 19, 2015