Constantine, Electra, Flying Daggers…. hey, Don’t Panic!

Dear Gentle Reader, here is an unabashedly delayed third and final installation of my movie reviews. As a bonus, I have added three new reviews of some really good recent movies.

Before I go any further, here is a shameless plug on me. In the early part of this month, I was busy attending a week long advanced course on BizTalk, by Deepdive who conducts various training programs for Microsoft on topics which (sic) are not very popular. Besides being very informative, the break from office work helped to clear up my mind quite a bit. Meanwhile, I had the chance to use a Creative Zen player for a couple of days. With the first hand experience of the i-Pod lifestyle, I can now relate to the reasons for its popularity. Enveloped in the bubble of music wherever you go, the Zen brings a newfound zest to your mundane daily activities like commuting.

However, unlike others, music has the effect of immobilizing my thoughts and mesmerising my senses. I say unlike others because, many find listening to music going well with performing any activity especially ones that require a lot of concentration like reading. It is just the opposite for me and if I ever blog, it is often necessary to turn off my headphones for me to proceed. Nevertheless, this does not diminish the utility of the Zen or the iPod. Comparing both, I find Zen a much better buy, because of its additional features like the FM radio or Voice recorder. However, the rocker of Zen is quite dodgy and less accurate to use than the iPod’s wheel, at least for me.

Further on the topic of gadgets, I aborted my plans to buy a Nokia 3230 in the eleventh hour:cry:. The main reason being its slow speed of operation and poor industrial design causing dust accumulation. This combined with its known shortcomings of poor/non-stereo audio output, led me to call it off. So it will be a Sendo X2 for me. Thankfully, this comes at a very affordable price tag of £150. However, it is still not having a full qwerty keyboard. My requirement is, as you might have guessed, is a Series 60 smartphone. If only I could get my hands on Lenovo P930 !

Bhute recently purchased a Sony Erricson P910i which, despite its ugly body, is a revolutionary convergent device. It is a serious PDA-killer with amazing audio output (unlike Nokia phones) and a reasonable camera to boot. Its QWERTY keypad though a vast improvement over P800 wouldn’t be your preferred input device.

Other than all this is, of course, my incessant hobby of game development. I spent a good part of last 2 weeks trying out Irrlicht game engine. Now, I’m tring out the Ogre engine. The latter having the backing of a number of commercial and open source projects behind it. My learnings from integrating Blender and Irrlitch is to use the Cal3D format for import/export of skeletal animated meshes.

Okay, movie-time:grin:!

Kinsey

Kinsey tells the story of Alfred Kinsey(Neeson), a scientist who dared to bring the taboo subject of sexual habits not just to the intellectual sphere but also to the coffee table. If you are like me then you will like this Biopic (a new fangled term for biographies). It starts off with a slightly witty scene involving Kinsey (assisted by his wife) training his team on effective interviewing techniques. The rest of the movie is a flashback, starting from his early childhood under a puritanical father. Young Alfred finds it suffocating to advocate the hippocritical causes that his father often required him to. He takes up teaching zoology and gets fascinated by the subject of gall wasps. He gets intruiged by the observation that - No two wasps are alike. Meanwhile, he falls in love with one of his students and they marry. As years pass, his incessant hobby of collecting wasps consumes his life. A newly wed couple’s misinformed notions brings the topic of human sexuality to Kinsey’s attention.

With the same zeal, Kinsey conducts a landmark study on this subject. Unsurprisingly, his methods and intentions are questioned and ridiculed. While this is a film on a serious subject, it is entertaining at the same time. Many critics believe the movie has a lot of relevance in the present American context. Nevertheless, I found Kinsey a touching and meaningful film. Recommended for serious film goers. Verdict: 3.5 / 5.0

Finding Neverland

I found this costume drama to be interesting, because of Johnny Depp. His transformation to the playwright Sir James Barrie is astonishing. He carries his Scottish accent to such a finesse that you would actually tend to believe that he has one.

I would quickly wind up by saying that, this film failed to impress me, perhaps due to over expectation. It is a kind of tear jerker that I don’t appreciate. :roll:. Verdict: 2.0 / 5.0

Constantine

If you felt that the concept of heaven, hell, and angels have been beaten to death on Television, then watch ‘Constantine’. They you would say it again :mrgreen:! But seriously, it did build up quite well. I felt genuinely interested in the idea of a character who could cross to nether worlds. But somehow the movie failed to deliver with its unrelated subplots.

There are some who criticise the movie, for tilting it toward Keanu than the original comics. Since I have never read Hellblazer comics, I didn’t find it a problem. The effects are quite good for a theatrical experience. All in all, above average. Verdict: 3.5 / 5.0

Elektra

Elektra was disappointing to me, as I was expecting something on the lines of Daredevil. They virtually made a hash of eastern mysticm and self-discovery (hint: Spiderman), to make a big budget semi-chick flick. Other than the standard hack and slash sequences (hint: razzle and dazzle), we have some good acting from Jennifer Garner and Kirsten Prout. Verdict: 2.5 / 5.0

House of Flying Daggers

I was entralled by the trailers of this movie, as virtually ever scene looks picture perfect! Being an old Matrix fan, the action sequences also looked promising. Watching the movie, I got thrilled to bits as it turned out to be even better than I hoped for.

HoFD is a Chineese (you would watch it with subtitles) romantic story set in ancient China. All the elements (ie filmi masala) you would expect in a commercial film are here - action, romance and drama. Nevertheless, the sensitive portrayal of every character makes it stand out from the regular cartoony ones one sees in such movies. After seeing it, one cannot help remark - Hollywood, you better watch out. Highly Recommended. Verdict: 4.0 / 5.0

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Any serious sci-fi fan, would have read The Hitchhiker’s precisely because it never takes itself seriously. The film tries to bring justice to the wild and wacky imagination of Douglas Adams and more or less succeeds in doing so. Having read the book, I found the characters to be almost the way I had pictured them. Some of the sequences are also literally breathtaking. The animations showing the contents of the Hitchhiker’s guide are quite funny and well made.

All in all, a nice entertainer. Recommended. Verdict: 3.5 / 5.0

This post turned out to be a huge post. So huge that I could almost hear it squeeze itself into the MySQL database when I published it. Pays for being late. In fact, pays for being me:wink:.

Hi! Welcome to ArunRocks, an odd collection of writeups on programming, travel, gadgets and practically anything under the sun. This state of affairs could be blamed on the ecelectic interests of your host, Arun Ravindran. He loves programming in several languages especially Python. He is currently a developer member of the Django Software Foundation. Read more...

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