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Well, it’s been a darn busy and rough week at work and fortunately, my weekend was wide open. So after a lazy start and taking a chance with the God of Rain in Glasgow, I ventured for the 2D screening of Thor’s third adventure in his standalone series and within the first 15 minutes I ended up regretting for not opting the 4D or the IMAX viewing!!!

Well before we head down the Realms of this visually enticing fantasy, the usual disclaimer – *** this post may contain spoilers ***.

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THOR: RAGNOROK

 

Although, I’m extremely excited and eagerly awaiting the Justice League, MCU is way way ahead of the curve.

The Origin story around the main characters has been changed (Artistic License), however all the pieces fall into place. And If you’ve seen BBC’s Sherlock’s Season 4 , Ragnarok’s pretty much on the same story line, culminating with the “Mutually Assured Destruction” as of the Season 1 Finale! And that’s all I’m gonna say in the interest of not giving out spoilers (also, there’s a reason why I mention Sherlock ).

The movie is a visual master piece with Asgard and, the planet of Sakaar.  Not to mention the aerial combat across the skies of the planet of Sakar, Battle between Hela and the Valkyries or the fights in the Grandmaster’s Arena,  The Asgard Palace and the Bifrost’s Rainbow bridge … Definitely recommend for a 3D/4D or an IMAX Viewing.

What I loved most was the character development especially the Hulk’s… The struggle between not knowing where he was, (after He jumps onto the Quinjet and switches to stealth mode in Avengers: Age of Ultron ), bumping into Thor in the Arena on Sakar, his transformation back to Banner and finally transforming back into the Jade Giant in the finale fight… Amongst all the previous versions of the Hulk, Ruffalo’s is the most realistic and palatable. Ruffalo, ofcourse has to wear a body suit (or could well be CGI) however, the big Green guy looks really believable, unlike the previous ones (Eric Banna / Eddie Norton’s where the Hulk looked completely different from the actual human – facial cues etc). The bonding between Thor and the Hulk is executed with so much finesse!

Hemsworth, Hiddleston are at their usual best being the Gods of Thunder and Mischief. Idris Elba holds his ground as the all-seeing, all-hearing Asgardian sentry of the Bifrost, Heimdall. Tessa, as the Valkyrie is refreshing. Anthony Hopkins’ cameo as Odin is less of royalty, and leans more toward humanly paternal !

The pièce de résistance, however is Cate Blanchett as Hela , the Goddess of Death. She’s beautiful and ruthless at the same time.

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Cate Blanchett as Hela: The Goddess of Death

Wish she was given more screen time,  having said that, whatever screen time she has, the 2 time Academy award winner is, to simply put, Mesmerising !!! (***sheepishly grinning ***).

 

 

As a critique, I have to say the story has a few loop holes, especially Thor being vulnerable to electrocution or the fact that the chip on his neck is still functioning despite blasting off lightening or not taking off the chip much before (however on the last part, one could argue that Thor’s more Brawn than Brains, he is not the tactician, or a one who thinks on his feet).

As an Avid movie Goer, this movie ticks all the boxes, Action, Adventure, Comic Relief, the Music, with Led Zepplin’s “Immigrant Song” perfectly blending into the fights  and above all the grandeur of visual cinematic experience that Marvel’s known for.

Taika Waititi gives us a 130 minute Cinematic Marvel ! The best of the Thor Series so far!.

To sum it all up:
As an Avid Cinema Goer : 8.5/10 , As a Fanboy : 8.5/10 and as Critique : 7.7/10 – a whopping 8.2/10 !

 

P.S. : Don’t forget the Mid and Post credit scenes !

 

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Another year, Another iPhone … Then 10 minutes later another new iPhone – X … beefed up hardware, same old features (when compared with Android) , and a more refined look all for just £999.

A decade ago, when the capacitive touch iPhone was launched, it was, by leaps and bounds, way way ahead of the curve than any other phone of that generation. This was truly a remarkable piece of innovation, craftsmanship, and opened doors to a completely new realm for the consumer…

Over the next few years, Steve Jobs, ensured the iPhone was the best in terms of:

1: Innovation and technology

2: User Experience

And this was the cornerstone, upon which Steve Jobs, built the church of iPhone followers.

On the other hand, Android was fast gaining momentum, and in a span of a couple of years managed to catch up with the features of the then available iPhone.

In the years to come, we lost Steve , and there was a new Cook in the kitchen (pun very much intended). Android on the other hand marched on forward with new features, new and improved flagship phones which could give any iPhone a run for its money.

And since Steve’s departure, it almost seems like Apple has been playing catch up with the features already available on Android.

There hasn’t been any significant, ground breaking, swept of my feet innovation from Apple on the iPhone front. One thing, however, that they’ve maintained, is the User Experience.

At first , It almost seems senseless, but come to think of it, it is a brilliant stroke of Mastery. To quote a very wise friend of mine:

You have to see it this way Richie. If you game, listen to music, read books, exercise etc and don’t mind not having the ability to share music etc then Apple is a fantastic choice.

And yes I’m inclined to agree… For a novice to semi skilled user, who wouldn’t want to be bothered with the delicate intricacies of processing speed, CPU cores running or clock speed or just content with the existing features handed to him/her, the iPhone does perfectly fine…

Over the last couple of years, Android has just looked at launching newer features, ,concentrated on speed and beefing up the CPU … But what Android hasn’t actually concentrated on is refinement around the apps.

We all praise the free open source projects and the ability it gives us to tweak and enhance the existing code. However, there are safeguards around the bigger software and OS es. And I think its time Google implemented the same around the Play Store apps as well.

This would be the first stepping stone for Android toward refinement.

Personally, I think, we’ve reached a point of saturation with how much innovation and features can be shoved into a block of glass, metal or plastic which is just about the size of an 8 block piece of Chocolate. The human mind, on the other hand has an infinite number of ideas and theories for newer models and innovation, but those will have to wait until the hardware or the manufacturing technology catches up. In the meantime, I guess we ought to focus on the most important thing, the User and the User Experience!

Arthur C. Clark wrote,

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Hoping for more magic…

For the last couple of days, my FB, Twitter timelines and every news feed is flooded with various articles, people’s messages and thoughts about the sad and untimely demise of Linkin Park ‘s Chester Bennington on the birthday of Chris Cornell.

Both Chris and Chester’s music helped many of us get through our teens , amidst all our angst, growing up , rebellious days of our lives and years later during re-unions when we’d sit around reminiscing the good old days – and for this I’m grateful.

Posts, with Chester’s song’s lyrics turned into beautiful obituaries , old videos and all of that – was beautiful…

What’s important though and what we need to actually think about (beside remembrance) is their Mental Health, their state of mind which led them to take so drastic a path, the Road Untravelled .

Taking a life is in itself life altering – something almost all of us would not be able to fathom. Accounts from Soldiers, Snipers, UAV Drone Pilots, (documented or otherwise) describing their state of mind, what they are feeling, going through, PTSD, mental and trauma – it’s beyond the scope of understanding of most of us.

Imagine the state of mind which leads a person to end his/her own life!

Ever wonder what they were going through, their thoughts , the trauma (emotional, physical , mental ) – what was it that pushed them to the brink – to the very end – to so unfathomable an act?

I’m sorry if this seems to be just another rant from another fan … What’s saddening to see is that none of the posts are (let alone giving a shit ) not even talking about Mental Health.

We’re living in times where we’ve got kids shooting up other kids in schools, teenagers getting hooked on alcohol and drugs , wanting to live the High life, the young ending their lives.

The hard truth is Mental Health is a serious issue and we need to be talking more about it.

Lord knows what could tick off a person, the smallest of things could act as a trigger, push a person overboard into doing something drastic.

If a friend opens up to you about something that’s bothering him- don’t dismiss the talk and call him a pussy or any derogatory term !

Make it a point to speak to your family and friends, especially your loved ones , family members – speak up and let them speak .

Organizations too need to work towards Mental health of employees ! In this day and age of machines and automation, with technology designed to take over our jobs and render us humans, our work, our means of livelihood irrelevant , making us replaceable. Ever so frequently we hear about folks ending their lives due to the stress of the job, loss of a job, failing relationships and much more.

None of us can control what’s in our fate, what’s written in our destiny, but what we can do is listen, open up and be there for each other.

Sometimes it’s as simple as just asking “Are you OK ” –

Weep not for roads untraveled
Weep not for sights unseen
And if you need a friend
There’s a seat here alongside me!

Solitude!

Another day,another time.

Made to wait…

A bit of consideration would be nice…

I came here to get away…

Things have been really depressing

Her betrayal, as cold as ice…

Moving on isn’t easy,

Heartache and sleepless nights,

She’s already done it before you know, twice!

I ought to be smarter…

Steel that heart of mine…

Not hurting any more, comes at a price!

Volgograd, Russia – Aug 23 17:03 hrs

“Are you fuckin’ kidding me!!!??” Clive shot a surprising glance…  Adam was silent, as though he’d seen a ghost…

“Holy Christ!!!”— Clive as aghast, “is that Her…”, “Yep” … Adam blurted without lifting his head from the rifle…

 

crosshairs

 

Langley, Virginia – Aug 19 02:19 hrs

“Morning Clive – What’ve got?”

“Not much Chief – just the usual chatter”, Clive shrugged his shoulders, “We know that Karpowsky’s gonna be in Saratov in 3 days however we still don’t have the exact location for the rendezvous sir”.

“That’s not good enough – based on the Intel we have – the deal’s going down on the 23rd” Chief Anderson looked grim as he stormed off into his cabin.

Clive knew Anderson wasn’t happy and he had to get results – his quarterly review was up next month and he didn’t want to go back to filing – 8 months earlier – Clive had applied for the analyst position in Anderson’s team – although he’d never had any experience as an analyst – Anderson was pretty impressed with Clive during his interview.

 

It had been 4 days straight, Clive had spent in the office – Tracking down the whereabouts of Karpowsky – The Arms Dealer – The AGENCY was hell bent on getting their hands on Karpowsky – the prime suspect behind the bombing in Minsk 6 months ago – the prime target being the Trade Delegation from the Secretariat of Commerce to discuss the export control regulations restricting trade with Belarus.

Clive was just beginning to warm up to the new job when this case was assigned to Anderson’s team; however Donnie was the Chief Analyst then. Clive worked at gathering chatter and low level Intel. Mid of July – Donnie was declared M.I.A. when one of the covert ops in Kiev to capture Karpowsky’s top lieutenant went haywire.

Anderson wasn’t very pleased with the way things went down – however he had no time to lose and had to make amends. He had walked to Clive’s desk and declared Clive was the new point Chief Analyst. It was not even a day that Donnie was declared MIA and Anderson had asked Clive to take over Donnie’s role – it seemed rather cold – Anderson had that effect on people. 3 days later Donnie’s body was found near the Kyiv Reservoir.

 

Within 2 and a half weeks Clive had managed to track down Karpowsky’s whereabouts and confirm the arm’s deal on the 23rd of August, much to Anderson’s surprise for a rookie to pull off such a feat.

Clive was still hung upon Anderson’s words – “I knew you had potential – but this is fascinating”…

 

 

Langley, Virginia – Aug 20 20:47 hrs

Anderson’s phone buzzed – “Anderson – yes sir”… Just then Clive had walked into Anderson’s office – Anderson motioned him to come in however held his hand with a finger up gesturing – hang on a moment. “Yes Sir – Absolutely I do understand …” this followed by another long silence from Anderson – his face grim. Finally he hung up.

“This better be good Clive”, Anderson obviously wasn’t pleased with the conversation he had on the call – “that was the Director of the AGENCY – if we lose Karpowsky this time it’s not gonna look good”.

“Chief – the deal’s going down in Volgograd at 1600hrs on the 23rd – it’s at the Gregorowich Inn – half a mile from the forest”, Clive handed him a chat transcript.

Anderson raised an eyebrow while he read the transcript, he dialled a number and motioned “that’ll be all” with a Nod – Clive walked outta the room. He had hoped Anderson would atleast say something – Clive walked back to his screens dejected and got back to analysing the Intel and chatter.

 

About an hour later Anderson walked towards Clive – “Well then – Summon the rest of the team, let’s take the bastard down”. Clive looked up at Anderson and he knew that the Chief was happy with his job.

“Chief – should I contact Adam too?” Clive was hesitant – Everyone in Anderson’s unit knew of the falling out between Adam and Anderson. Clive and Adam were best friends since college – Both had moved to the AGENCY after 2 tours in Iraq and Adam had earned the best sniper title in the AGENCY.

Earlier in April during one of the missions – Anderson had asked Adam to take the shot – however Adam hesitated and the target had managed to escape. Anderson and Adam had a huge altercation and Anderson had suspended Adam from the team for disobeying a direct order – pending a full enquiry. A week later the same target was found dead –shot thru the Heart and the Head – Adam’s style.

During the hearing – Adam stated that he didn’t take the shot as there were kids around and the collateral damage was something he wasn’t willing to accept. Given that Adam had completed the mission a week later – the suspension was dropped by the panel – however Anderson wasn’t too pleased with the outcome.

Anderson knew that he needed Adam this time as this was the only chance to take out Karpowsky before he went off the grid again. Anderson looked at Clive and nodded – however Clive did sense his hesitation.

 

Langley, Virginia – Aug 21 04:22 hrs

 

“Right then”, turning to the Schematics of the Gregorowich Inn and the surrounding area, Anderson continued “Alpha Team, Jones and Tim cover the north side, Liam and Chad – you guys are Bravo, take the Lobby – Anyone in or out of that building I want to know –, Clive and I will cover the East exit – Clark and Adam– you will be perched on the roof top on this building a block across Gregorowich Inn – should give you wider view of the forest as well. I want eyes on every one in or out of that building.

The deal goes down at 1600 – Karpowsky will exit the hotel at 1645 – he’s gonna have the usual 4 man team with him – Once his SUV leaves the hotel – Liam and Chad that’s your cue – you guys will tail him – keep a fair distance – Once they reach this bridge – Jones and Tim that’s where you come in and take out the rear tyres of the SUV – Clark and Adam – you take out the rest of Karpowsky’s detail – Clive and I will then move in and grab Karpowsky. We make our way to Astrakhan and then enter Georgia via the Caspian Sea – from there we fly back with Karpowsky.

Any questions?”

“I want Clive as my spotter” Adam was still reading his assignment file – Anderson wasn’t too pleased with Adam’s tone – he reluctantly nodded, “Wheels up in 30”

 

 

 

 

Volgograd, Russia – Aug 23 17:03 hrs

 

One of Karpowsky’s men had noticed Jones and the mission had now turned from a “Seize and Capture” to “Termination”…

 

Before Jones and Tim could react – out of now where there was a faint sound of a shot in the distance and bang – Jones was dead… head shot…

 

Everyone ducked for cover – Another shot was fired – this time it was 2 of Karpowsky’s guys were taken out…

Liam and Chad tried to move closer to Karpowsky’s SUV – and there was another shot – this time it was Chad –

It was complete Chaos…

The comms on the secure channel buzzed, “Foxtrot, you are clear to engage, TAKE THE FUCKIN’ SHOT!” Anderson sounded enraged!

“What are you gonna do?” Clive sounded grim – Adam felt the cold of the metal on the butt of the file where he had placed his chin!!!.

“Clark, take the damn shot!” Anderson’s patience had run out …

Just has Clark acknowledged the orders – 3 shots were fired… the comms line went blank…

“Target down…” Adam’s voice crackled the comms line to life…,

“Clive, confirm the kill” Anderson still furious …  “Yes sir – All there thru the heart … Sniper down!!!”, Clive still shaken…

As he turned his sights towards Adam, he witnessed something he hadn’t thought was possible …

A single, solitary tear – rolling down Adam’s face…

 

 

…. To be Continued…

 

 

Given that I’m more of a DC fanboy, and not much prowess on the Marvel front, I’ve decided not to give out spoilers for this review.
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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Civil War revolves around this very phrase… As seen in the trailers, the Avengers are taking a flack for all the mayhem and destruction we’ve witnessed in Avengers-I , Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron. After the break up of SHIELD, the Avengers have been running missions and another botched mission raises more eyebrows and the UN steps in as a governing body over the Avengers.

Stark agrees to this babysitting, and so do some of the others, however, Stark and Cap’n don’t see eye to eye on this one.

And Just as the Peace Treaty is to be signed, all hell breaks loose and at the centre of it is Cap’n old buddy Bucky Barnes.

What ensues is a cat and mouse game of high thrill chases and some serious action.

The storyline is great, and the plot twists are very well executed.

The fight scene at the Leipzig airport could have been a little more crisply edited.

As for the chase thru Berlin’s city centre , I was mighty thrilled as I had just seen the same streets in person the night before…

I’d categorize Civil War more as a Mini Avengers (no Thor and Banner, I ought to call it ‘Mini’), with the movie equally dominated by Chris Evans and Downey Jr.

Also, MCU seems to have got their “Wall Crawler’s” rights back from Sony.

Black Panther is a splendid addition to the story arc… Can’t wait for the Standalone feature.

All in all, I’d say this was a brilliant effort by Marvel.

Do watch out for the dual post credits scenes, but if you’re expecting a glance into the Infinity War, MCU has something else planned for you….

Rating: 7.2/10

Do watch it… I might go again!

I’m not going to lie to you – I’ve got mixed feelings and thoughts about this one.

I understand not everyone is a fanboy or has followed the DC Story Arcs Comics / Cartoons, so I’m going to split this review into 2 perspectives:

  1. The FanBoy – Crazy ass Batman Fan and ardent follower of the Comics and Cartoons (yes I’m 29 years old and I still watch cartoons).
  2. The Avid cinema goer who loves a good flick – however doesn’t follow the comics or cartoons.

 

Before I begin – I’d like to state that this review will have spoilers and if you haven’t watched the movie yet – I’d say now is the time to close this and form your own opinions.

If you still wish to continue – let me be clear – you have been warned!.

  1. The FanBoy:

Firstly – the Title is Misleading – you’d think that this movie is based on Frank Miller’s Masterpiece – The Dark Knight Returns and the forming of the Justice League.

Well, its partly true – the Movie is based on 2nd Part of the The Dark Knight Returns where Bats and Sups both in their old age go head to head and The Death of Superman – (aka Superman: Doomsday)

And Zack Snyder and the editorial team decided to make a complete mess of these two brilliant Story lines.

Ben Affleck did seem the right choice and this batman is much darker – the cynicism, the “don’t trust anyone” attitude is brilliantly portrayed – however the over all essence of Batman (The guy who always has contingencies for contingencies and then some ) – seems to be lost.The end scene where Bruce mentions to Diana about uniting the rest of the gang – seems a bit off- that’s not the Bruce / Batman we all grew up to.

The bat mobile – not one clear shot of the beast – I mean c’mon – Nolan used the tumbler in 2 movies both scenes were shot during the night – same as BvS:DoJ – however he made sure the audiences got a full view of the Tumbler with enough street lighting so as to drool over that beauty!

Snyder on the other hand has not managed to give one clear shot of the batmobile – the chase scene has a few explosions – however not even the light of those explosions was used to show the batmobile.

I could go on and on – but to summ it up:

a. Need for Better Editing – the initial credits of 10 mins laying the Caped Crusader’s origin story could have been skipped – Nolan did a whole movie on it and people haven’t forgotten it!

b. Need for Better character showcase

  • Big Blue / Clark / Kal – despite the power always has empathy towards the human race – and Cavil has done justice but could have been better.
  • Bruce / Bats – already wrote about it above – lacks the Demeanour of the Playboy Billionaire.
  • Diana / Wonder Woman – Gal Gadot has been not been completely wasted – the action sequences are good – pleasing – she could’ve bulked up a bit (The Amazons are a health race of women) – but then She’s got her own movie / origin story coming out – so fair enough –
  • Alexander (Lex) Luthor – Eisenberg – oh for F! sake the clothes that he’s worn – Lex is a business man and an Intelligent human – why would you make him wear sneakers and those horribly co-ordinated   shirts. Lex is crazy, however lacks the flamboyance, the Class, the sophistication of a true genius.
  • Lois Lane – Amy Adams – She looks desirable !   😛 😉 😀

The movie however does have some good moments – but overall – Naah!!! Below Par!

The overall execution lacks the panache – Snyder should take a queue from Bruce Timm or Lauren Montgomery !

2.The Avid Cinema Goer:

For this I will compare the MCU Movies – Honestly I’ve been more of a DC fan than Marvel when it came to comics – that’s because DC’s got a fantastic strong hold when it comes to Animated series and movies.

Now if I were to compare the fight scenes from the Avengers, IronMan, Cap Am movies – the storyline, twists, execution (even the flashbacks and the “slow mo” scenes for impact) are sublime and blend in well – you thoroughly enjoy the film and the outcome – add to that the end credits scene leaves you wanting for more.

BvS:DoJ – no end credits scene – decent story line, a twist – however fails to deliver the visual pleasure which the MCU movies bring.

Bucky Barnes – is the Winter Soldier, Killian – is the real Mandarin were fantastic twists – Zack on the other hand uses the oldest twist in the book – “Martha the Mom” – (Martha Wayne / Martha Kent) – it has a bit of emotional flair – but it’s still not quite the twist you’re looking for in a movie like this .

Perhaps Nolan is to blame for his twists with Harvey Dent and Talia in the 2nd and 3rd installations of His Trilogy!

 

Well at the end of the day – I am disappointed – both as a FanBoy and as an Avid Cinema Goer – who loves an action flick with a good twist.

 

As a FanBoy – 2/10.

As an Avid Cinema Goer – 6.9/10.

 

DC/WB studios can still turn things around – and in order to do that – Joss Whedon or Chris Nolan ought to be raked into take over the reigns here on now!

Down the Rabbit Hole

As I look up at the night sky
The wind gently parts the clouds..
In the soothing moon light,
They form your face, gentle and shy…

Along the shore the waves gently touch my feet
It’s so serene and pure…
Wandering down memory lane
Reminiscing your caress, comforting and sweet…

First rays of dawn tearing thru the darkness,
Get me back to reality…
Then again I stumble down the rabbit hole,
Searching memories of you and the rays of happiness

Mine, but never mine!!!

As I gaze into the emptiness that fills around me..

a droplet falls from my eyes…

While your memory races back to the time…

When i thought i had everything…

all that i had always wished for were mine..

i try to hold in what is deeply within your soul..

But the burning is so intense; that you just can’t help..

can’t extinguish it though..

during the night sometimes i fall asleep..

And at the same time all my pain is able to fade…

The only true feeling that i feel, is the wetness of

a drop that is left by a single tear and a little hope to live

without a heart which was mine but never mine!!!.

Too Close

This song describes just what I’m going thru..

You know I’m not one to break promises,
I don’t want to hurt you but I need to breathe.
At the end of it all, you’re still my best friend,
But there’s something inside that I need to release.
Which way is right, which way is wrong,
How do I say that I need to move on?
You know we’re heading separate ways.

And it feels like I am just too close to love you,
There’s nothing I can really say.
I can lie no more, I can hide no more,
Got to be true to myself.
And it feels like I am just too close to love you,
So I’ll be on my way.

You’ve given me more than I can return,
Yet there’s also much that you deserve.
There’s nothing to say, nothing to do.
I’ve nothing to give,
I must live without you.
You know we’re heading separate ways.

And it feels like I am just too close to love you,
There’s nothing I can really say.
I can lie no more, I can hide no more,
Got to be true to myself.
And it feels like I am just too close to love you,
So I’ll be on my way.

So I’ll be on my way.

And it feels like I am just too close to love you,
There’s nothing that I can really say.
I can lie no more, I can hide no more,
Got to be true to myself.
And it feels like I am just too close to love you,
So I’ll be on my way.

So I’ll be on my way.
So I’ll be on my way.