CONTRABAND – REVIEW

(No Major Spoilers)

Chris Farraday (played by Mark Wahlberg) is an ex-smuggler, who now leads a legit life after starting his own business. He is happily married to Kate (played by the beautiful Kate Beckinsale) and they have two kids. Everything seems to be cool until Kate’s brother Andy, screws up a smuggling job on a cargo ship. Due to a surprise inspection, Andy is forced to throw away the drugs into the ocean, in order to avoid getting arrested by the Custom officials. This pisses off Andy’s boss Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) who warns Andy of dire consequences if he doesn’t compensate for the loss. Briggs also threatens to kill Chris’s family. In order to protect his family and Andy, Chris takes matters in his own hands when he decides to run a last contraband, so that he can repay Briggs with the “earnings”.

Contraband is a remake of the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavík-Rotterdam. The movie has several clichés and a certain degree of predictability. It gave a “been there, done that” feeling, perhaps because I’ve watched several heist movies, which are far more superior in comparison. Those looking for a really intelligent movie will probably end up being disappointed. But overall, I still found Contraband to be a pretty decent thriller. Mark Wahlberg does really well and keeps the viewer engaged. To wrap it up, I’d suggest that you watch this one with little expectations and you’ll probably enjoy it.

Bottom line:

Contraband is a good enough one-time watch thriller.

My Rating:

3/5

DATE NIGHT – REVIEW

(No Major Spoilers)

Date Night is a movie about a middle-aged couple, played by Steve Carell and Tina Fey, who lead a regular routine life. There’s little excitement or adventure in their monotonous married life. Fearing that this insipidness could eventually lead to a failed marriage, the couple attempts to spice up their life by doing something different. This unfortunately lands them in trouble and a series of seemingly hilarious events follow.

I’ll get straight to the point. There’s nothing interesting about the overall plot. I managed to get through the movie only because of the lead cast. Steve Carell and Tina Fey are simply amazing and genuinely funny. They make this movie pretty watchable, as they provide several good laughs and chuckles. But overall, the movie isn’t very good. In fact there are a couple of events in the movie that one might find plain stupid. However, if you’re a fan of Carell, you’ll definitely find it enjoyable (provided you don’t try to make too much sense out of the movie).

Bottom line:

Date Night is a silly yet enjoyable no-brainer. If you’re a fan of Steve Carell and/or Tina Fey, go for it!

My Rating:

2.7/5

DONNIE DARKO – REVIEW AND THOUGHTS

(No Spoilers)

**** This is the review of the Director’s Cut ****

I came across the plot of Donnie Darko on IMDb and I couldn’t take it seriously. The plot went like this:

“A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.”

I was like “WTF?!!? Really? A bunny rabbit?”. The movie’s high rating surprised me. Recently, when a friend of mine told me that it’s really good, I finally decided to give it a chance. And I’m so glad that I did! Now it is easily among one of my favorite movies.

Donnie Darko is a movie that could go either way with people. That is, you will either just love it or simply hate it. That’s probably because it’s pretty unique and not for everybody. However, it has developed a huge cult following. And despite that, there are many who seem to think that it’s highly overrated or just plain bad.

Now Donnie Darko is indeed complex, tedious and even weird..but in a very good way. When you realize what’s actually going on in the movie, you are left spellbound. It makes you want to watch it again, and when you do, you unravel more and more. It’s like a big puzzle that needs to be worked out, in order to be appreciated. Given the complex nature of the movie, many people who tried watching it, basically gave up on it and moved on, having absolutely no idea about what they had actually missed. I’ve heard many people rambling about how much the movie sucks and how much they hate it. If you’re one of them, the reason behind your hate is probably the fact that you just couldn’t fit the pieces together. And when others tell you that, it pisses you off. Or maybe you live under the delusion that you actually did get it and it’s the story that is flawed. Plus the fact that the movie is so popular gets on your nerves and makes you hate it even more. With due respect, lose your ego and give it another chance. Watch it again and figure it out.

Talking about puzzles, every puzzle requires a certain amount of effort to be put into it. If you don’t put any/enough effort, you obviously can’t enjoy it. And as a result, when you find yourself unable to solve the puzzle, you tend to get irritated with it and therefore, you shun it. This is exactly what happened with people who claim to hate Donnie Darko. But when you put a lot of thought and finally do work out the intriguing puzzle that the movie is, you realize how truly amazing and beautiful it is. Although the story could have several interpretations, I personally felt that it was a hybrid of sorts between sci-fi and the concept of God.

Jake Gyllenhaal excels in portraying the character of a troubled teenager. The movie has several good performances, but Gyllenhaal is the highlight and he does his job convincingly. The soundtrack is LITERALLY mesmerizing and haunting, that blends beautifully with the narration. I freaking loved the hell out of it. Here are some brilliant tracks from the movie:

  • Mad World
  • Gretchen Ross
  • The Artifact and Living
  • Time Travel

Like I mentioned earlier, this movie is not for everyone. Don’t watch Donnie Darko if:

  • You’re not into the sci-fi genre.
  • You are the lazy movie watcher. That is, you don’t like to think a lot while watching any movie.

Bottom line:

Donnie Darko is profound, intriguing and a thought-provoking masterpiece, that stays with you. A must watch!

My rating:

4.2/5 (Mind-boggling)

The Guitar – How the awesomeness began!!!

Beginning to play the guitar was something that happened to me by chance. It all started when I along with my family went to visit my father’s close friend, George, at a nearby city. I was probably 15 back then. Although I was already into rock and metal, the idea of actually learning to play the guitar had never really occurred to me. But the aforementioned visit changed that, when I met George’s son, Rohit. When I entered their home, I found the guy jamming in the living room! He was playing a sexy metallic-black electric guitar, while he was surrounded by all the cool gear..I saw amplifiers, several effect pedals, cables, etc. Of course, I was totally clueless about all this equipment back then, but what I knew is that they looked freaking badass! All of this was completely new to me and hence I was pretty overwhelmed. But what made me go “WOW!!” was the sound! The heavy distortion sound blew me away!

Later, when I checked out his room, I wasn’t surprised to see the walls covered with posters of bands such as Nirvana, Guns N‘ Roses, Metallica and many more. He had a whole bunch of acoustic and electric guitars lying across the room, which kind of impressed me. As we engaged in discussions regarding guitars and music, I asked him to play some of my favorite songs. I can tell you that watching somebody jam is FAR better than listening to tracks on the PC or iPod (provided the instrument is played well of course). And this guy was a beast! He played solos that were originally played by guitar legends such as Slash, with utter ease. Watching him play gave me goosebumps. At the time, it was almost like watching God work his magic. When he noticed my rising curiosity, he started teaching me the basics after handing me one of his acoustic guitars. And I really appreciated that. He explained about the strings, how the tuning pegs affect the pitch and how the instrument is tuned. When I got a hang of it to an extent, he taught me a couple of chords. I picked up quite fast to be honest. And later, guess what? We jammed! The song was Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Our families seemed quite pleased with this development.

Later that day, while we were hanging out with our families, I was surprised when George made us stop by at a music store. Yes!!! That’s when I bought my first guitar! I was elated! Later, Rohit taught me some simple intro riffs for tracks such as the Mission Impossible theme, Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water and a couple more. And trust me..the feeling I got when I was able to reproduce my favorite tunes, using my own bare hands, was just out of this world! Later that night, when it was time to bid farewell, I thanked George and Rohit. Had I not visited them, I probably would have never pursued the instrument.

And that’s how it all started! I was hooked! I had something to be passionate about. I could spend hours on the guitar and all that time spent on it was more than worth it. I was filled with a sense of contentment. I had something to genuinely feel proud of..

WWE – The Nostalgia

I’m 23 years old now and yet I find myself watching the main event of Wrestlemania 28 with the enthusiasm of a 12 year old boy. I started watching WWE (which was WWF earlier) when I was a little kid and that’s thanks to my brother, who was a big fan. I remember how I used to adore the guys like Bret “Hit Man” Hart, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and many others. I used to admire The Undertaker too, although he used to creep me out with his evil-ish looks and the whole “Deadman” persona. The arguments I used to have with my friends as to which wrestler was the most dominant, my brother and I watching it on TV almost religiously, the collection of postcards with pictures of WWE stars on them…these are the memories that I’ll always cherish. Wow, those were the days. I was just a kid who saw those huge guys as heroes. I continued to follow WWE on a regular basis for years. Later on, guys like The Rock and Triple H were also among my top favorites. However, around the time when I completed my Junior High School, my interest in the WWE kind of faded away and I moved on to other things.

I’ve come across a lot of people who make a fuss about how fake the WWE is, how watching it is dumb and a waste of time. And honestly, I’ve found that quite annoying. That’s because these haters think they’re the smart ones and the millions of fans who’re loyal followers of the WWE, are a big bunch of imbeciles. Now, everybody knows that the wrestling in WWE is not actually real. They build characters, create storylines and so on. And the people in this business admit that. WWE is all about drama and entertainment. And the fans enjoy it for exactly what it is. So the haters who still live under the delusion that they’ve made a genius discovery, really need to do some research.

I personally have a lot of respect for these wrestlers (or performers). Why? Yeah they sure practice well and probably even have a couple of rehearsals before the actual performance. But aren’t they putting their bodies on the line just to entertain the people? This business is risky and anything can happen. One error on the performer’s part could still result in his/her bones getting shattered, serious neck or back injury..or something even worse. I still freak out when I watch these guys perform some high flying maneuvers and other stunts.

One bad accident can screw their career and/or physical well-being. So I feel they deserve the appreciation and respect.

Although I’m not a regular viewer of WWE anymore, I still do like to catch certain events which involve my favorite performers, just for the sake of memories. That brings me back to the main event of Wrestlemania 28, “The Rock vs. John Cena”, in which The Rock won, much to my delight. Who doesn’t like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? The guy’s got charisma and he’s quite an excellent performer. No wonder he’s doing fairly well in Hollywood.

I never really liked John Cena, despite his popularity. On the contrary, I had always found him to be annoying. And the fact that he has become “the face of WWE” as many put it, kind of pisses me off. So I was pretty satisfied when he ended up losing against The Rock.

Yes, even today, I do turn into a child when I watch it. In fact I still get the chills sometimes, when I watch the dramatic entrance of The Undertaker. I get goosebumps when The Rock delivers one of his signature moves, “The People’s Elbow” on his opponents. I still enjoy listening to his cheesy catchphrases. Sometimes it’s like watching a sitcom. Well, I guess I’ll always have an emotional attachment with the WWE, for the nostalgic childhood memories that it evokes.

Randomness!!!

Finally! I have created a blog of my own. I had been planning to do this for a long long time, and I’m glad now that it’s finally done. So do I have a super-cool idea or an elaborate plan with this? Nope, not really. So why did I feel the need to create this blog? To be honest, that’s not quite clear to me.

Why do people create blogs? Some do it in order to discuss or share their thoughts or ideas regarding a specific subject, or to raise awareness relevant to a particular issue. Some use it to derive the benefits of business activities such as promotions, advertising, etc. Finding like-minded people and thus making new friends might be another reason. While others like to use it as a mere outlet of sorts, when they have too much to say and/or very few people around to listen. Or is it sheer boredom? Perhaps it is.

So what exactly do I have in mind? I don’t think I can be specific, but it is perhaps a combination of some reasons that I just mentioned. So all I can say for now is..welcome to total randomness!

So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness.

– Sidney Poitier