Deep Impact

Deep Impact is a 1998 movie directed by Mimi Leder and starring Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Leelee Sobieski, Ron Eldard and Morgan Freeman (as the US President). Most of you must have seen it on cable if not in the theatres, as they kept showing this movie for many years on cable all the time. The movie shares a similar premise to Armageddon, which also came out in 1998, although there it was an asteroid that threatens the destruction of all life on earth (you say tomato I say… ) and although the latter made more money (perhaps due to the more famous cast) this one was slightly more appreciated by the scientist community and well, even I like this one more than the latter, which is a cheese-fest as far as I am concerned.

I hadn’t seen this film in several years, perhaps since watching it a few times in 1999-2002 period but most of the movie was fresh in memory as I sat down to watch it again last night. For those of you who remember it, a young high school student and amateur astronomer Leo Biedermann, discovers a new bright object in the sky while on a school project and shares his discovery with astronomer Marcus Wolf who realizes that the object is a comet on a collision course with Earth. While trying to get the information out, he however is killed in a car crash but the government does find out about it a little later. A year later ambitious journalist reporter Jenny Lerner picks up the story about the resignation of the Secretary of the Treasury (James Cromwell in a tiny role) and rumours about ‘Ellie” thought to be a mistress and approaches him about the official story being that his wife is ill. As she leaves Jenny is accosted by FBI agents who take her to US President Tom Beck. Beck tells her to wait two days before making the discovery public, thinking that she got wind of all the details. Turns out that ‘Ellie’ is not a mistress but is ‘E.L.E” – Extinction level Event, much to the shock of Jenny.

Two days later the president has a large press conference which is widely televised and reveals the truth;  the comet, named Wolf-Biederman, is 7 miles (11 km) wide—large enough to cause a mass extinction, and possibly wipe out humanity, if it hits Earth. He also announces the joint venture with Russia to build a space craft called ‘the Messiah’ to transport a team of astronauts, who will land on the comet and destroy it by exploding it with nuclear weapons. After landing on the comet, the crew members plant nuclear bombs 100 meters beneath the surface. When the bombs are detonated, the ship is damaged and loses contact with Earth. Instead of being destroyed, the comet splits into two smaller rocks nicknamed “Biederman” (1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide) and “Wolf” (6 miles (9.7 km) wide), both world-threatening. A last-ditch effort to use Earth’s missile-borne nuclear weapons to deflect the two chunks of the comet also fails. The president declares martial law and  reveals that governments worldwide have been building underground shelters. The United States’ shelter is in the limestone caves of Missouri. The US government conducts a lottery to select 800,000 ordinary Americans aged 50 and under to join 200,000 pre-selected scientists, engineers, teachers, artists, soldiers, and officials.

The movie is much less about the heroism of unlikely candidates that save the world and more a softer, thoughtful and personal approach to the impending destruction of life on earth. Jenny who has been estranged from her father, who had divorced her mother and remarried a much younger woman, gives up her spot in the evacuation to a colleague who has a young baby, and chooses to reconcile with her father and face death on the beach near their summer house where they share a lot of happy memories. Her mother choses to enjoy a nice meal, dress in her finest jewellery and outfit and kill herself weeks before the event. Leo and his family are take to the caves but his new bride Sarah’s family is missed out on the list. She stays back and initially Leo’s family forces his to leave without her but Leo hitches a ride back and finds Sarah. Sarah’s parents make her leave with Leo on a motor bike and take her baby brother with them and save themselves. The smaller comet the impacts in the Atlantic Ocean creating a megatsunami and millions of other people perish as the tsunami destroys the Atlantic coasts of North and South America, Europe, and Africa.

The astronauts in the Messiah decide to to undertake a suicide mission with the remaining nuclear warheads. After saying goodbye to their loved ones by video conference, the ship reaches the fragment and enters a fissure to blow itself up, which breaks Wolf into much smaller pieces that burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. So although a lot of cities & land were destroyed and millions were killed, most of the earth survives and reconstruction & rebuilding starts for the world to recover. Jon Faverau, Blair Underwood, Kurtwood Smith, Vanessa Redgrave & Denise Crosby have minor supporting roles as well. I like the film and think it’s a better movie and holds up better all these years later. 7.5 outta 10!

That Weird Childhood Dream

I’m gonna try and recollect this very vivid dream that I had when I was a child. I must have been around 8 or 9 years old when I dreamed this but I remember most of it so vividly since I used to tell this to my family & relatives a lot and hence had kept most of it fresh in memory.

I was in Kuwait at the time and 8 or 9 year old me, in the dream, went from my apartment to the apartment opposite ours, where our family friends and my close friends at the time lived. When I opened the door instead of my friends greeting me, I saw a big cat sitting on one of the sofa chairs. Wanting to get it outside, I picked it up and was about to put it out on the corridor when it scratched me on my eyes with it’s paw. I closed my eyes in pain and I blacked out. When I came to I opened my eyes to see the smiling face of one of the boys in my class looking down at me. Surprised to see him in that apartment, I asked him for help but he just snapped his head and the buckle of his winter cap hit me in the eyes and I blacked out again. When I came to, I was in a huge airport!

Now not able to make any sense of what had just happened or how I had happened to get there, I knew I needed help. I saw some cops coming after me and I knew I was in danger. I walked away from them and as I turned around a corner, I noticed a huge swimming pool, with ice in it! What the heck was an icy swimming pool doing in the airport???!! And when I looked into the waters, I see Bollywood superstar Dharmendra in it and beckoning to me to follow him as a means of escaping from the cops. So I jumped it (I didn’t know swimming in real life at the time but whatever) and followed him. We made our way underwater and swam away from that area to another section of this huge airport and I happily got out and thanked him. I managed to get myself dry with towels from a sweet lady who pretended that I was traveling with her and she managed to get me a ticket (I had my passport with me, magically) and we rode the airport bus to the plane and then boarded the plane to India. As soon as we landed, I thanked her and I hitched a ride all the way to Mattancherry which is where my mother’s home was. However when I got there, the roads were all turned to sand due to a heavy sand storm and I met an uncle of mine, who let me into my grandparent’s house.

I then went to sleep in one of the rooms and woke up still tired and starving. I made some sandwiches in the kitchen and once I ate them I went to the living room to watch some tv. I was alone in the house and surprised to see that the tv was setup high on the wall on and I couldn’t find the remote control. So I tried jumping to reach the switch to turn it on but it was too high for me. One last attempt saw me hit the switch and the tv came on but…as I fell down, I knocked the tv down as well and it fell and hit me right on the head ~ which is when I woke up! Weird dream right?

Write A Letter To Your 100 Year-old Self

Dear 100 year old me

I hope you have remembered to put on your heavy thick glasses because, grandpa, you should know that you can’t read anything without them on. Do you have them on? Good. How are you you old fart? You just turned 100 you say. Holy crap that is ancient, dude. I can see that all the remaining hair on your head is completely white. But dude, what’s with your pubes that it is also snow white! And can you even get it up anymore? No, didn’t think so. When was the last time you were able to get it up, 20 years ago?

There now, don’t fall asleep on me. I know you are 100 years old but geeze old man, stay awake for the duration of this letter atleast. So does it feel to be a 100 and outlive all the people your age and a lot of people younger than you as well? Bet you are glad that you signed that long term insurance deal / cable tv package / cell phone connection now aren’t you? What’s that, you don’t even remember what your friends or family members looked like anymore? That’s a shame. So how do you spend your days other than napping 6 times a day and peeing & pooping in a pan? How’s that hot home nurse you have at your beck and call? Did you ever pinch her butt? No – not even once? Everyday?- atta boy!

So Rosh did you ever think that you’d ever live to be a 100? Not the greatest thing in the world is it? I mean young people seem to like you and want to take a picture with you but it’s not anything great. You can’t do much so you are confined to yoru house, sitting in your big comfy chair or lying in bed. Once a day that hot nurse takes you in your wheelchair for a spin around the house and the street but each time you get confused as to is it the same place or not as your memory isn’t what it used to be.  And you can’t read or watch tv anymore. And it’s no fun falling asleep and peeing in your pants. What is it that you miss the most of your youth?

Do you have many regrets? Do you want to live a few more years or do you wish it could all end now? Was it worth it to live on for a century? Don’t you just hate being all alone with all that you loved and who loved you long gone?

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I’d Want To Start A …

You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?

Ok, this is now one of the top things in my list of ‘Things I hate about living in India’ – the bad beer we get! All we get are lagers throughout most of India. It seems that there a handful of craft/microbreweries in India (I hear of one in Bangalore, Pune,  Chandigarh and Panchkula in Punjab and Gurgaon, Haryana ) – about 20 in total, some of which are quite small and the nerve of this one journo who says that the microbrewery business is “booming” in India!! 20 in some North Indian cities and Bangalore and all of a sudden its’ booming. Typical North Indian attitude of overstating and also forgetting the rest of India!

All I can get is lagers; commercial, plain, bland as hell and bad beer. Like one American who told that although he loves India he says we have the worst beer in the world. Well I dunno about the world but yeah, our beer sucks. Big time! It hasn’t helped that I’ve been watching so many youtube videos of beer reviewers in North America, mainly Canadian ones and the description and visual appeal of the beers that these guys gets drive me crazy. I want a hefeweizen, I want a chocolate stout, I want a coffee porter, I want an Irish red ale!! I want to try all those beers and if I can’t European, American or Canadian ones, then I’d want to be able to get those qualities of beer over here. So I’d like to start a brewery!

So if I am given the plot of land and given the financial resources, I’d build a brewery and hire some top ace brewers and have a brewrey running over here in Cochin. I’d make them use the choicest ingredients and make all the types of beer that I’d want to taste. IPA, red ales, porters, stouts, imperial stouts, hefeweizens, altbiers, brown ales and fruit flavoured beers. I’d sell them here in small quantities, make a profit first and then start expanding the business as we grow and I can afford to make more.

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Awesome Lunch With My Cousin

I hadn’t spent my time with cousin Sujith since the new year, except for a brief late dinner of pizza at Dominos last month. We needed a much longer session with good food and drinks so we could discuss more movies, Scifi and atheism/religion. We decided to have it today. We met just after 12:30 pm this afternoon at Golden Dragon in Ravipuram, which is our favourite place to hang out. We had a beer each and 2 vodkas. Beers were not cold enough. And they only had plain Romanov and none of the flavoured ones.

We went all out on the food tying out 6 different dishes but no rice or noodles or anything like that. we mostly stuck to starters kind of items but having 6 of them was awesome. We did 2 each of chicken, prawn and pork dishes including spring rolls.

The honey glazed crispy pork (pictured above) was delicious and delightful. Chicken Spring rolls and prawn spring rolls were awesome, as I expected them to be as were the Dragon chicken and Schezwan fried prawns, which are both usual items that we order.  And the dragon crispy fried pork (pictured below) was awesome too.

All in all a great outing. We were there till almost 4pm at which point we went to get some ice cream sundaes to finish off our day.

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : James Bond Movies

This is my top 11 James Bond movies out of the 23 that have been released so far. Since I just watched Skyfall, the latest movie in the franchise, this seems like the perfect time for it. While these are the top 11 for me, it’s not in an particular order.

  • GoldenEye
  • Octopussy
  • Casino Royale
  • Tomorrow Never Dies
  • The Spy Who Loved Me
  • Moonraker
  • Goldfinger
  • The World Is Not Enough
  • Skyfall
  • The Living Daylights
  • Quantum Of Solace

This is my list, what’s yours?

Skyfall

Directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall is the 23rd Bond movie in the 50 years that the franchise has seen movies being released and the 3rd featuring Daniel Craig as the world’s most famous super spy. The film was produced by Barbara Brocolli and Michael G Wilson and also stars Javier Bardem, Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes & Naomie Harris. As most of you might know by now, Skyfall is the most successful Bond film ever becoming the 14th film, as well as the first Bond film, to cross the $1 billion mark worldwide. As of March 2013, it is the seventh-highest-grossing film of all time, the highest-grossing film in the UK, the highest-grossing film in the Bond series, the highest-grossing film worldwide for both Sony Pictures and MGM, and the second-highest-grossing film of 2012. Wow that is impressive!

On to the movie :

  • It’s probably one of the best Bond movies ever and will be hard shoes to fill next time around. Bond is a stark version of the one we’ve know. He is broken and recovering from near death.  On a mission to retrieve valuable information, from a mercenary,revealing the identities of several MI6 operatives in the field, James is inadvertently shot by his co-agent Eve and falls into the river below, leaving a lot of people to think he’s dead. The chase & fight scene is excellent. Bond recovers in secret and is using his supposed death to retire.
  • When M’s computer server is hacked and the MI6 offices are destroyed in an explosion, it puts even more political pressure on her, led by Gareth Mallory, the Intelligence and Security Committee Chairman, who wants her to resign. Bond comes to know of this and returns and is made active again, albeit after a series of physical & psychological tests which he failed but which M lied and said that he passes. MI6 meanwhile has relocated to their emergency offices underground.
  • Bond goes after the mercenary, Patrice, and tracks him in Shanghai where the latter is on an assassination assignment. The two fight but before Bond can get him to identify his employer, Patrice falls to his death. A search of the mercenary’s equipment leads Bond to an exotic gambling casino in Macau, where he runs into Sévérine, whom he witnessed as an accomplice in the assassination, and asks to meet whoever she and Patrice work for. After fighting off her bodyguards, with a little help from Eve, Severine joins Bond and says she will help him if he kills her employer.  They travel to an abandoned island off the coast of Macau, where they are taken prisoner by the crew and delivered to Raoul Silva. A former MI6 officer who had previously worked under M, Silva has turned to cyberterrorism, orchestrating the attacks on MI6. Silva kills Sévérine, but Bond overpowers his guards and captures Silva for removal to Britain.
  • Silva wants revenge for what he sees as M’s betrayal (she had to choose between him and saving several other people and she chose the latter) and – in a bizarre scene – reveals what the damage has done to him, showing Bond his false teeth and jaw. At MI6’s underground headquarters, Q attempts to decrypt Silva’s laptop, but inadvertently enables it to access the MI6 systems, allowing Silva to escape from MI6 custody. Bond chases after Silva in the tunnel network  under London and follows him to the public inquiry where politicians are taking M to task on her handling of the case. ond arrives in time to join Mallory and Eve in repelling Silva’s attack, and M is hurried from the building by her aide. Bond drives M to Skyfall, his family estate and childhood home in Scotland. Laying a trap, he instructs Q to leave an electronic trail for Silva to follow, a decision Mallory supports.
  • Bond, M and Kincade – the groundskeeper of Skyfalls – set up traps and arm themselves before Silva (led to the house by Bond & Q) and his men arrive via a helicopter. After fending off & killing the first wave of attack, Bond sends M & Kincade through a tunnel that goes under the house. When Silva’s men attacks for the second time, Bond sets off an explosion which kills off most of the remaining men and destroys the house. He escapes via the tunnel but are caught by Silva and one of the mercenaries. As Silva goes to kill M, Bond escapes the mercenary and kills him.
  • At a small chapel near the house, Silva catches up to an injured M and forces his gun into M’s hand, begging her to kill them both. Bond, having been delayed fighting Silva’s henchmen, arrives and kills Silva, but M succumbs to her earlier wound and dies. Bond returns back to London and meets up with Eve who retires from field work to become secretary for the new head of MI6, Mallory, who assumes the title of M. And Eve’s full name is revealed to be Moneypenny.

The film won several accolades, including the BAFTA Awards for Outstanding British Film and Best Film Music; the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture; and was nominated for five Academy Awards, of which it won two: Per Hallberg and Karen Baker won the award for Best Sound Editing, and Adele’s theme song won Best Original Song. Visually, I say this movie is stunning and it’s easily one of the best movies out. I give it a 9 out of 10!

International Woman’s Day

On this International Woman’s Day, a lot of importance will be given to what seems to be a recent spate of rape & molestation / abuse cases against women in India. I say what “seems to be” because I don’t think that it is an actual increase in rape & molestation cases at all – it’s just that we are better informed and more and more cases are being registered, compared to say 10 or more years ago. So if anyone tells me that this current times are more violent in terms of rapes & abuse – I say bullshit! Women have always been abused and rapes have been going on for as long as there have been sentient humans on this earth – it’s just that you get to hear a lot more of them than the previous years. And what with Facebook, Twitter and other such social media, the news spreads around like never before. Some say that social media is bad because of this very reason, I say it  is a plus point of social media services.

So please do not get shocked at the “sudden” reports of rapes being reported at a rate of almost 1 per day. There are probably 100 more happening which are never reported. 10 years ago very few were reported. 50-100 years ago even fewer. Now we just to hear about it and we can no longer claim naive & blind ignorance to it. Yes the recent brutal rape & abuse against the medical student in Delhi was shocking and it shook the nation. Yes the 3 year old who was abducted, raped and later abandoned near a building in Malappuram, Kerala is shocking. When you and I look at 3 year old girls, we see joyful and innocent little people. Some bastards get aroused and see a sex object for their whims & fancies and they abuse the children. Sick and perverted minds who need professional help and/or a sound thrashing for the crimes that they have committed. While India portrays a peaceful, spiritual and religious outwardly facade to the rest of the world, Indians have tended to forget that we know better. India has a large population of around 1.25 billion people, the second largest in the world. We are a vast country and this many people means that we have more bastards and assholes than most other countries. Law of averages! And that means we will have more abuse than most countries as well.

What about the abuses that are not being reported? The young girls raped by a cousin, an uncle or worse by their own father. By an adult who is supposed to protect them. What about the millions of young girls “sold” to marriage, slavery or prostitution and being forced on by a malicious male? What about the millions of girls who are groped in buses, trains, public places like theaters, temples or churches? What about the girls in some Muslim families who are treated as nothing more than objects? What about the woman who still wants to be with an abusive husband or lover? Give a thought to all of these women and girls on this day. It’s not a fair world when you think about it. Yes there is a lot of beauty and there are a lot of good things and good people but there are also way too many bad things that can happen to you. I wish it wasn’t that way. I wish no one ever had to feel hurt or any pain or get abused in any sort of form. I wish everyone would just live and let live. I wish there were only good in this world but I know that for now that is only fantasy and wishful thinking. Someday the women of this earth will be free from abuse and torture and humanity will progress towards the peak of their abilities. It’s not gonna happen in my lifetime but it will be in the distant future. I hope we get there fast.

And although yes a lot of males do these terrible deeds, not all of us guys are like that. Some, like me, just want to share their lives with the right woman. To love and to hold, to care and to share and to pamper and spoil and be the right partner in the brief existence we have on this planet. So not all of us are bad –

sincerely yours

President of the lonely hearts chronic bachelor hopeless romantic club!

Melting In This Heat

It’s become so hot here in Cochin and I think the rest of Kerala is no better off as well. From February onwards the state starts to heat up and we go into proper summer from March onwards. Ofcourse we have no winter season or spring or fall – just heat, monsoon and more heat. But the period between March & June until the monsoon season starts is the worst and it’s just getting worse every year. We need some cooling down like no other places does. Ofcourse I guess we aren’t the most sunniest or hottest place on the planet, that might go to one of the desert areas or some place in Africa, I guess. However, we have the humidity factor and that just makes things worse.

Today has been a real scorcher and it didn’t help that I left the office at 1pm to go to the bank. Scorching heat! I was left to a puddle of mess in no time and once my work at the bank was done, I crossed the street to a small joint where they served cold fresh fruit juice. With ice! I had an orange juice which worked for about 5 minutes cause I was in the hot sun again. I quickly took an auto and headed back to the office – I was gone all of 25 minutes but I was so drained and so tired that I just couldn’t do anything else but drink around 500ml of water in one gulp and then felt so full that I skipped lunch. The rest of the day was me feeling so drowsy and tired that I put my feet up and relaxed till it was quitting time.

Even at 5pm it was blazing hot and the sun was in full form. On the way back home, I bought a 2 liter bottle of 7up which I then proceeded to put in the freezer for making it nice and chilled so dad, mom & I could enjoy it with our southern fried chicken dinner. Oh the heat, the heat!

RIP Stompin’ Tom Connors

Yesterday Canadian icon and well-known country / folk singer Stompin’ Tom Connors passes away due to natural causes at the age of 77. Focusing his career exclusively on his native Canada, Connors is credited with writing more than 300 songs and has released four dozen albums, with total sales of nearly 4 million copies.

Born Charles Thomas Connors (known as Tommy Messer) in Saint John, New Brunswick he was was later adopted by the Aylward family in Skinners Pond, Prince Edward Island. At the age of 15 he left his adoptive family to hitchhike across Canada, a journey that consumed the next 13 years of his life as he travelled between various part-time jobs while writing songs on his guitar. Typically writing about Canadian lore and history, some of Connors’ better-known songs include “Bud the Spud”, “Big Joe Mufferaw”, “The Black Donnellys”, “The Martin Hartwell Story”, “Reesor Crossing Tragedy”, “Sudbury Saturday Night” and “The Hockey Song” (also called “The Good Old Hockey Game”; the last is frequently played over sound systems at NHL games.

Connors’ habit of stomping the heel of his left boot to keep rhythm earned him the nickname “that stompin’ guy”, or “Stomper”. It wasn’t until Canada’s 100th birthday, July 1, 1967, that the name Stompin’ Tom Connors was first used, when Boyd MacDonald, a waiter at the King George Tavern in Peterborough, Ontario introduced Tom on stage. Fearcely nationalist, he famously boycotted the Junos for protesting the fact that Canadian musical artists living and based in the US were eligible for awards. He felt that in view of the fact that they had chosen to live and work in the U.S., it was only fair that they competed with Americans for Grammy Awards, and left the Juno competition to those who lived and conducted business in Canada.

Longings Of The Lonely Heart

While on the bus ride to the office I noticed this woman standing just a couple of feet in front of me. I must admit that I have a wide variety of tastes when it comes to women. I find all kinds of women to be attractive and desirable – maybe a little too much Or let’s put it this way, where most guys I know will dismiss a woman as being plain and/or not pretty, I will usually find something about them that makes them seem really beautiful in my eyes. I know, I’m weird that way.

So back to this woman; I watched as she climbed into the bus and took a position right in front of me. She was dressed in a churidhar and had a brown handbag. She didn’t find a seat and so stood as she paid for her ticket and then stood facing me sideways. I looked at her and tried not to be too obvious about it and thought “There’s a nice looking woman”! She was smooth skinned but not too fair skinned. She wasn’t wearing any makeup, except for a bindi on her forehead. She had these small earrings and a thin gold chain around her neck and a lady style thin watch. No sindoor – check! No wedding ring – check! No mangalsutra – check! She wasn’t too thin, infact I’d say that she has a nice body. As she turned I couldn’t help but stare at her backside which, when another woman passed her by and her churidhar top was pulled a bit, was accented for just a minute and I must say – nice, round rump!

So yes I notice all these things, without looking like a lecherous old goat. Age wise I’d say that she’s probably around 31-33. As she turned her back to me, I did see a stray grey hair or two.  I am greying at the sideburns myself. As I kept looking at her she began to look more & more desirable to me. I wondered what kind of a person she is, what were her likes and dislikes. Does she like cats and dogs?  I looked at her arms and wondered what it would be like to kiss them and to feel them around me, holding me. I wondered what it would like to talk to her and if she would like my silly jokes and antics. She would have to be the more stern & serious one if we were in a relationship, cause I’d be the funny one! And I just know it that no matter what, I would be able to make her smile & laugh – cause I’m cute that way! I’ve not been able to share my life with any woman yet – wake up next to each other, make coffee and breakfast, head out to work together, plan the day/week/month’s shopping, come back home, make dinner & eat it while talking about our day. Watching tv together – oh I’d love to have a woman that I could introduced my favourite stuff to! Have her be part of my special world. And ofcourse, going to bed at night, having that warm body next to me.

I want that. And as she got down at her stop I took a long last glance until the bus started moving again and I could no longer see her. And I sighed a deep sigh and came back to reality, getting down at my stop and came to my office building. But the longing is still there in my heart.

Battleship

So Inspired by the long-time popular board game by Hasbro, Battleship is directed by Peter Berg who also co-produced the movie. The film stars Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, John Tui, Brooklyn Decker, and Tadanobu Asano and released by Universal Pictures. I cannot say just how much I was looking forward to the movie when it was first announced but the reviews – both written as well as the ones I watch on Youtube – weren’t very promising and my hopes were dashed. I’ve never played Battleship, infact my only awareness of it is from the Tintin comic book Flight 714 in which Captain Haddock plays the game while on a flight with a cheating billionaire. Released in April, 2012 the movie has made around $304 mil.; a decent enough amount for most. However considering it’s $209 mil budget, the industry would consider the returns as quite disappointing.

The storyline is about another alien invasion film with extremely advanced alien villains, who came to earth after we broadcasted a  powerful signal from a communications array in Hawaii to a recently discovered exo-planet called Planet G by NASA and thought to have similar conditions to that of earth. That was in 2005 and now in 2012 they have reached earth. Here’s what I don’t like about the recent spate of these alien invasion movies featuring almost mechanical & one-dimensional aliens, who don’t get any character development or even lines to speak and their whole motivation for invading us seems to be just because we’re an alien race to them. Why do they do that? We can’t talk to them, communication attempts aren’t even done and it’s just a story of David vs Goliath. And ofcourse in most cases we win! Rather than a military and/or Air Force against the aliens, this time it’s the US Navy and with some help from the Japanese and one character who is a living poster for injured veterans, an Army veteran who’s legs were blown off while in combat. And ofcourse(!!!) the aliens are no match for match for an American vet with prosthetic legs and an attitude that could melt the hull of their ships!!!

In 2005 our hero, Alex Hopper, is a slacker who messes up everything he has ever been doing and loving rebuked by his older, more responsible Navy officer brother who sees the capabilities in him. On his birthday a drunk Alex offers to buy a chicken burrito for the object of his affections and breaks into a closed supermarket and is caught by the cops. His brother gets him into the navy where he hopes the discipline and rigors will shape him up into a better & responsible man. The girl, Samantha, just so happens to be the daughter of Admiral Shane, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Coincidence? I think not! So fast forward to 2012 and Alex’s ship joins the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) in Hawaii. His brother Stone Hopper is commanding officer of another ship in the exercise overseen by Admiral Shane. Hopper is in a rivalry with some of the Japanese sailors, especially Captain Nagata, Commanding Officer of a Japanese vessel. Alex is in a relationship with Samantha and dangerously close to being kicked off the Navy for his negligence, tardiness and when he gets into a fight with Nagata, he is told that post the exercise he will be discharged. This is when the aliens attack; 5 alien ships approach earth and their communications ship crashes in Hong Kong, causing heavy damage and casualties there, while four others land in the water near Hawaii. A huge mothership creates a force field, trapping the three warships. The aliens destroy the Samson, killing several sailors & commander Stone Hopper and the Japanese ship Myoko. The John Paul Jones is damaged killing it’s captain and several others. This leaves Hopper, as the highest ranking remaining officer in command of the ship, much to his reluctant and the disbelief of the others.

Some of the aliens on the other ships have taken control of the communications array in Oahu, Hawaii. Samantha, a physical therapist, just happens to be accompanying the retired U.S. Army veteran and double amputee Mick Canales on a hike to help him adapt to his prosthetic legs quite near the array and they see the aliens in action. And they just happen to run into scientist Cal Zapata who informs them that the aliens are using the array to signal back to their home planet. He retrieves a radio that will allow Sam and Mick to contact the John Paul Jones and relay this information. Meanwhile Hopper & his men rescue the Japanese sailors who survived their ship being blown away, from the water and confer with Nagata. Nagata suggests using NOAA’stsunami warning buoys around Hawaii to track the aliens and as night falls the John Paul Jones opens fire and destroys two of the alien ships. After capturing one of the aliens they find out that the aliens are sensitive to sunlight, and decides to lure the third alien vessel close to shore, where they shoot out its bridge windows as the sunrise blinds the aliens. In the ensuing battle, both ships are destroyed. The humans reach the shores and needing a new ship, they acquire the only remaining naval vessel, USS Missouri, which had been decommissioned and turned into a museum. With the help of retired old officers, the crew get the old battleship ready and go after the mother ship. Apparently the highly technologically advanced aliens are no match for old navy vets and rock music – specifically AC/DC!

he battleship evades the mothership’s gunfire and destroys the force field and the ship’s turrets. Alex uses the last shell to destroy the communications array on the island, leaving the Missouri defenseless. Just as the alien mothership is about to destroy the battleship, jet fighters from the RIMPAC fleet arrive and save the crew by destroying the weapons fired from the vessel’s last turret with the forcefield being down. The aliens are destroyed by the combined efforts of the naval forces. At the end of the movie a ceremony is held to honor the Navy personnel and Alex, who is promoted to Lieutenant Commander, is presented with a Silver Star and accepts Stone’s posthumous Navy Cross and is also given command of a ship of his own. After the ceremony, Alex asks Admiral Shane for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The admiral initially refuses but invites Alex to lunch to discuss the matter, referencing how Alex and Sam met. Post rolling of the credits, 3 schoolkids and a handyman run in terror as an an alien hand reaches out of an object they have just opened. Sequel, perhaps?

Despite all that, I did enjoy the film. You just have to put aside the predictable plot, the American armed forces promotion and the forgettable performances by some of the cast, especially Rihanna. Why must all African-American rap singers & RnB female singers make movies? Is there some unwritten rule in Hollywood? They are terrible at it. In case she says all the predictable stuff; as the missile approaches the alien vessel, the camera closes in on her and she says “boom” – sound effects as well? and pumps her fists at the right times. No acting skills. The action is fast paced and fun but don’t expect anything great from the film. I give it a 7 outta 10!

India’s Biggest Shopping Mall 2B Opened

Lulu Shopping Mall is a shopping mall that is to opened on the 10th of March in the Cochin neighbourhood of Edapally. It will be one of the largest malls in Asia and is built on an area of 16, 98,261 sq ft, with total area for mall alone at 300,000 square metres (3,200,000 sq ft) and the remaining portion for a premium five-star hotel managed by JW Marriott Hotels. It is anticipated to be the largest mall in India with 1.6 million square feet of Gross Leasable Area, beating the Phoenix mall of Mumbai which has a GLA of 1.34 million square feet. More than 360 outlets including food courts, restaurants, family entertainment zones and a seven-screen multiplex will all come together to make Lulu Shopping. The estimated cost for this project is more than 1500 crore rupees. The mall is run, managed and set up by the EMKE group, a business group with interests in Middle East, Africa and Asia and who’s staff have strong ties to Kerala.

As many as 320 international and national brands have a presence in the mall, out of which 46 are coming to the state for the first time. According to officials, about 30 new brands including Walt Disney and Barbie (Mattel) will come to the mall soon. The first Mac Donald Restaurant in Kerala will be opened at Lulu Mall. The mall will have an indoor ice-skating rink, a 5-D cinema hall, bowling alleys, water rides and electronic games. The mall provides a parking area for over 3,000 vehicles. As soon as it opens Lulu Mall is expected to have huge crowds of people thronging to it’s many stores and facilities and be a landmark for the city & suburb. he mall expects about 50,000 visitors a day and the expected monthly revenue is `80-`100 crore, said the officials.

The complex will house, among many others:

  • Lulu Hyper Market (2 Levels)
  • a 3500-seated Food Court that has 18 multi-cuisine kitchens and three fine restaurants
  • 71,000 sq ft, 8-screen multiplex with fabulous computer games, bowling alleys, rides, and amusement
  • Expansively spread check-out counters
  • Ample parking space that can easily accommodate up to 3000 vehicles
  • Money exchange centres
  • Bank counters & ATMs
  • 16 pairs of escalators, travelators, elevators, and lifts
  • Spacious corridors
  • Large glass central atrium with translucent roof
  • Facilities for the disabled
  • Easy access and exit

Lulu Hypermarket on the ground floor having an area of 25,800 square metres (278,000 sq ft) selling fresh, frozen, canned food, fruits and vegetables, along with butchery, bakery, hot food counters etc. Lulu Department Store on the First floor with 13,500 square metres (145,000 sq ft) of shop floor selling non food items like garments, footwear, luggage, white goods, cosmetics, electronic goods etc. International home furnishing store of area 49,500 square metres (533,000 sq ft). Gross leasable retail space over 19,800 square metres (213,000 sq ft).

I know that you westerns in the US, UK, Canada, Germany etc etc are used to big malls but for us here this is the biggest deal ever! We have smaller malls that are mostly wannabes and they don’t have much in the form of entertainment – except for shopping and some dinning. We are all excited for the international brands as well.