Thursday, 23 October 2008

My Movie Watching Guide

I enjoy seeking the best movies to watch, books to read, music to listen to and food to eat. Which is why I've compiled a list of points that I aim to remember, to ensure that I always pick the best movies to watch, instead of flops or mediocre movies that'll only waste my time, money and energy.

1. Avoid old movies – any Hollywood movie (and most other movies) made before 1995 can only be appreciated when seen in the social/historical/etc. context in which it's been made. If you're unable to watch a movie this way, you're probably going to find it slow and boring. For example, Once Upon a Time in the West might be rated high, even though I find it slow. This is true for many Sergio Leone, Ingmar Bergman and Frederico Fellini movies. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Don’t watch a movie simply because it’s been given a high rating - for all you know, the people who rated it high could be your parents, who definitely have a different view about what makes a movie worth watching. A black and white silent film like Battleship Potemkin could be a masterpiece in your great grandparent's eyes and a snooze in yours.

3. Research movies before spending money on them - don’t watch a movie simply because it’s a foreign film or an offbeat movie – many of them are flops. Research the movie first. A movie might be good to critics who only follow technique whilst ignoring the very subject matter that you might love or hate. For example, Pulp fiction is original, fresh and creative, but its graphic content doesn’t make it everyone’s cup of tea. If you can’t look at a movie objectively, then reading up on its story and subject matter is essential to avoid any disappointment or unpleasant surprises.

4. Avoid Big Budget Hollywood action thrillers – they’re mostly mediocre. Avoid them like the plague. The bigger the budget, the bigger the unrealistic stunts, thin story lines, plot holes, and cardboard characters with uni-dimensional black/white or good/bad personalities with no grey areas.

If you like a movie, make a note of the director and writer’s names - then see other movies credited to the same people. Chances are, if you like one of their moves, you’ll like most of them. This ensures continuous satisfaction. Don’t see a movie because of its cast. They never matter.

6. Avoid movies with low ratings – common sense actually. If a recently released movie’s been panned, stay away from it. Eg: Hannibal Rising.

Avoid British Comedies – they’re usually boring and not as good as American ones, not that American ones are that good either.

8. Don't watch Bollywood movies


Monday, 20 October 2008

Movie Reviews: Taxi Driver, Himalaya

Saturday – left home at 3.00 - went to Raghuleela – explored the place – discovered they have a Gold’s Gym and multiple banquet halls on the 4th floor. Visited e-Zone as well. Left just as the crowds were trooping in. Walked to Vijay sales and inquired about a new DVD player. Then went to CCD next door and had a Mochachilla – not as good as my usual Choco Frappe.

Watched Taxi Driver at MD's place – both my computer and DVD player are out of order. A 1976 film written by Paul Schrader and directed by Martin Scorcese. A good movie about loneliness, though the ending seemed a bit too convenient.

Sunday – left home at 12.00. Went to Zenzi at Bandra to see Himalaya at 1.30 (part of the NDTV Lumiere festival). Met friends there. The movie was awesome.

It's a 1999 Nepalese movie directed by Eric Valli, and seems to showcase the beauty of the Himalayas. The story is set in Tibet, among a mountain tribe that trades salt for grain. When the chief Yak herder dies, his best friend (and the village elder’s main rival) takes over the caravan. The village elder, keen on seeing his own grandson take over, starts a caravan of his own.

The movie is a collection of contrasting perspectives – the clash between old and young, traditional and modern, aggressive and patient. The characters seem to feed off each other, balancing each others view points. We see similarities between the two main conflicting characters. The old chief and the new chief both emerge as extremely stubborn, though one is traditional and the other modern, they both share a common desire to lead their people to the best of their ability. The young boy is inquisitive, his monk-uncle thoughtful and calming. Add to this the way that the different characters develop over the course of their journey.

An interesting observation was the Tibetan practise of Sky or Celestial burial towards the start of the movie. A possible inspiration for the Necromancer’s story in Neil Gaiman’s World’s End?

Split up later and went to the Columbian Cafe, the new coffee place on Hill road. 


Thursday, 16 October 2008

Colour IQ Test

Found this interesting colour test through Rachel Hulin's blog. After clicking on this link - - I saw the screen below. The goal was to rearrange the squares on each line in colour progression.

Apparently the lower the score, the better. I got a perfect score i.e Zero.


Monday, 13 October 2008

Animal Quotes

Was sent these cool animal quotes a while ago:

"Where there are no tigers, a wildcat is very self-important." -- Korean Proverb

"A hippo does not have a sting in its tail, but a wise man would still rather be sat on by a bee."

"Where there is sugar, there are bound to be ants." -- Malay Proverb

"When the mouse laughs at the cat there's a hole nearby." -- Nigerian Proverb

After dark all cats are leopards." -- Native American Proverb (Zuni)

"If stretching were wealth, the cat would be rich." -- African Proverb

"One should not send a cat to deliver cream" -- Yiddish saying

"Don't call alligator long mouth till you pass him." -- Jamaican Proverb

"Let every fox take care of his own tail." -- Italian Proverb

"Hay is more acceptable to an ass than gold." -- Latin Proverb

"It is not the horse that draws the cart, but the oats." -- Russian proverb

"In a cat's eyes all things belong to cats." -- English saying

"God gives every bird his worm, but he does not throw it into the nest". -- Swedish Proverb

"A bird is known by his feathers." -- Yiddish Proverb

"One camel does not make fun of another camel's hump." -- Ghanaian Proverb

Even monkeys sometimes fall from trees." -- Japanese Proverb

"The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives." -- Native American Proverb

"If you want to know what a tiger is like, look at a cat." -- Indian proverb

A roaring lion kills no game." -- African Proverb

"Show a dog a finger, and he wants the whole hand." -- Yiddish Proverb

"Give to a pig when it grunts and a child when it cries, and you will have a fine pig and a bad child." -- Danish Proverb

The cat is a lion to the mouse." -- Albanian proverb

"A tiger does not have to proclaim its tigritude." -- Nigerian Proverb

"At high tide the fish eat ants; at low tide the ants eat fish." -- Thai Proverb

"An ox with long horns, even if he does not butt, will be accused of butting." -- Malay Proverb

"An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox." -- Mexican Proverb

"In dog years I'm dead" – Unknown

"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend, and inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -- Groucho Marx.

"The scientific name for an animal that doesn't either run from or fight its enemies is lunch." -- Michael Friedman

"Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant." – Unknown

"Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of his tail." – Unknown

"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person"- Andrew A. Roone


Sunday, 12 October 2008

KGFI '08

Took a train to Churchgate on Sat to catch the Kala Ghoda Festival of India. This Oct version of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival festival didn't have all the trappings and festive air of its larger February cousin, but didn't exactly disappoint either.

Saw a lot of cool tribal Warli paintings - but too expensive. You'd think that that stuff would be the cheapest. Instead, it was around Rs.500 for a doormat size painting. The guy in charge of the stall didn't want any pictures taken. Don't know why; was he afraid somebody would try to copy the designs?

There are always a few people who don't want any photos taken of their goods. Personally, I think screw them, its a public place and I can photograph whatever I want. I know my rights. But I know it's not worth arguing about. If they don't want their stuff photographed, that's cool with me, I'll just go somewhere else. There are a lot of interesting objects waiting to be captured.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Weekend Bore

This weekend was quite boring. I saw a couple of duds - Transformers and Fantastic Four 2. While FF2 was at least watchable, Transformers was pretty terrible.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Computer and Systems Engineering: The software project life-cycle Cartoon

Found this funny cartoon on the Software Project Lifecycle:

Computer and Systems Engineering: The software project life-cycle Cartoon

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Movie Reviews: Miller's Crossing, The Deer Hunter

Miller's Crossing

A 1990 film noir written and directed by the Coen Brothers. Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) walks a tightrope between two rival gangs. Excellent script, good story, well executed. Plan to see all the Coen Brothers movies.

The Deer Hunter

An intense 1978 movie directed by Michael Cimino, about steel workers drafted to fight in Vietnam and who return mentally affected. Pretty good movie. Probably set the standard for Russian Roulette displays in movies today.