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Wild Hogs

I’ve actually seen most of this movie twice on cable before sitting down to watch the whole thing a few days ago. Wild Hogs is a 2007 comedy biker adventure film starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence & William H Macy as 4 biker friends in the city who go on a bike ride to get away from their lives. Also starring are Ray Liotta, Marisa Tomei, Jill Hennessey, Kevin Durand, Kyle Gass & a cameo by Peter Fonda. Directed by Walter Becker the film was made on a budget of $60 mil and made $253.6 mill at the box office.

Doug Madsen, Woody Stevens, Bobby Davis, and Dudley Frank are four middle-aged suburban  men and best  friends living in a Cincinnati area suburb who find themselves frustrated with the pace of daily life and lack of adventure. Doug is a dentist who has trouble relating to his son Billy, Dudley is a single computer programmer who is afraid to talk to women. Bobby is a henpecked plumber whose wife has made him return to work after having taken a year off to unsuccessfully write a book, and Woody is a rich lawyer married to a supermodel. They are also part of a recreational bikers club in the city but find it boring. Woody proposes that they dump the club suggests a motorcycle road trip to California to the others. Initially only Dudley jumps on board but slowly the other two get excited about the trip and make arrangements (Bobby lie about a conference) and they set off on their bikes.

Along the way they have several misadventures like Dudley lighting their tent on fire, encountering a gay highway patrol bike cop who seems to want to bond with all 4 of them and one really uncomfortable moment when the 4 of them are skinny dipping and a family with small kids also join them! After the father sees them naked the family panics and runs off. The Wild Hogs stop at a  a roadside bar, where they meet the Del Fuego gang, headed by the tough biker Jack. Jack calls the Wild Hogs “posers” and has his gang take Dudley’s bike, forcing the men to leave with Dudley in a sidecar attached to Woody’s bike. The 4 friends ride a bit before Woody stops angered and pissed off and sneaks back to the bar,  cuts the fuel lines of the other bikes and takes Dudley’s bike back. When the gang sees him leave with the bike, they try to follow only to find the bikes out of fuel and an accidentally dropped cigarette causes an explosion with the leaking fuel and the bar is blown to bits. Now Woody, who told the others that he got the bike back by threatening a lawsuit, is the only one who sees the explosion in his rearview mirror and is scared as he knows that he caused it. He makes the others skip on refueling at a gas station – which unknown to them is the last one for the next 200 miles and – they end up pushing empty heavy bikes, in the hot sun, along to the next town. As they reach the diner, they help themselves to water & cold beer to quench their tired selves and are initially mistaken for the Del Fuegos, who torment the townsfolk from time to time. The friends then explain who they are and the town folk.

As the gas station is closed for the local festival & despite Woody getting antsy, the 4 friends have to stay in the town and take part in the festival. Dudley soon falls in love with the diner owner, Maggie, and they kiss after dancing. Two members of the Del Fuegos see them there as they terrorize a resident. Bobby goes and humiliates the two thinking that the lawsuit will keep them from doing anything. The two bikers go back to Jack to report while the Wild Hogs are treated like heroes. The next morning a scared Woody convinces the others to leave and tell the truth to his friends but then the entire Del Fuego gang shows up. Jack threatens to wreak havoc on the town unless the Wild Hogs pay for the damage to the bar and takes over the diner, causing Dudley to go out and is captured while trying to defend Maggie’s diner. In order to get Dudley back the other three go and also get captured and are beaten but they refuse to lie down and keep trying to fight. Seeing this the townsfolk band together and stand up to the gang. Before a big fight can ensue, Jack’s father (Fonda) and founder of the gang rides in and berates his son.  Blade berates Jack for letting four “posers” hold off an entire biker gang, questioning aloud just which side was the “posers,” and saying that the bar was merely an insurance scam and therefore he was glad that the Wild Hogs destroyed it. Blade tells the Del Fuegos to leave town, and ride the open road until they remember what riding is really about.

As the townsfolk & the Wild Hogs celebrate & cheer, Doug and Bobby’s wives arrive, and Doug reconciles with his son. Bobby’s wife orders him to return with her, but he refuses, finally standing up to her and convincing her to let him finish the ride. So on again the 4 guys rides to Los Angeles. During the end credits it is shown that the 4 got Extreme Makeover to give the Del Fuegos a new bar to call home. While most of the bike gang is ecstatic and grateful for their new home, Jack is shown only crying and not saying anything, most likely out of joy.

It’s silly & fun and I just can’t avoid a movie with Tim Allen & John Travolta in it, although the real star of the movie is William H Macy. I’ve never cared for Martin Lawrence. 7.5 outta 10!

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ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Date With A Celebrity

You have won a contest, and the prize is a date with any famous person you choose! Who do you pick?

Here is my top 11 celebrity women that I’d pick. Some of the women are quite older than me, but still beautiful & sexy and I’d love to spend some time with them. So here goes:

  • Isabelle Boulay
  • Amanda Tapping
  • Virginia Madsen
  • Rhona Mitra
  • Antonia Collette
  • Bellamy Young
  • Melissa Archer
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • Maxim Roy
  • Sonya Walger
  • Jeri Ryan

This is my current list, it can change from time to time but some of them will always remain and have been there for a while. Ta da, I love all these 11 women.

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The Green Eyed Monster

Tell us about the last time you were really, truly jealous of someone.

I’ve been and still am jealous of people who have, seemingly, everything that I want and don’t have. Luck for example. The well paying, cushy job with plenty of perks and travel expenses and live in nice hotels and visit lots of places. Who live in nice apartments and get married to the women they want to get married to. Who seem to have all the latest gadgets just after they are launched in the market and keep changing them every once in a while.

Do you know the main reason I am jealous of them? It’s  because in most cases these people are bastards & bitches. They don’t deserve any of these good things that seems to just fall into their lives but they do. Life is fair? – fuck that shit! No these guys & women are just a pain in the ass to almost everyone but they have it good. I’m thinking about a few actual people I know when I type this post and I just wonder, how the fuck do they get so lucky!

Some of us have to work at it and most of the time it doesn’t work out but we keep at it. These people – bah! I hate them. Yes I am green with jealousy & envy but I wouldn’t if they were nice people or had to work for it. No these people have all the luck and they are fucking assholes to boot.

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2013 NHL Playoff Lineups – Conference Finals

The Conference finals of the 2013 Stanley Cup are upon us. It might have been a shortened season due to the new CBA being sorted out but it hasn’t been short on entertaining. Looking back on my predictions of the semi-finals or the round of 8 I was quite close to predicting things as it came to be. And the conference finals, it must be noted, are being contested by the teams that won the last 4 cups. Are we seeing a big 4 being formed here?

Eastern Conference Finals: It’s gonna be 2011 champs Boston Bruins vs 2009 champs Pittsburgh Penguins. I had predicted the New York Rangers to win their series against Boston in 7 but instead the Bruins won in 5 and showed how hungry they were to win the cup back again. And as I predicted the Pittsburgh Penguins did beat my Ottawa Senators in 5 game. Pittsburgh seem very strong, with scoring depth throughout the lines. They seem set to win their 2nd cup in 5 years. And they are a strong team. I predict that they will win 6-2.

Western Conference Finals : This one was a lot tougher and took longer to be completed. The West outshines the East in stronger teams. Anyways, I picked the Blackhawks to win in 6 and they did it in 7, after staging a comeback against the Detroit Redwings. Chicago is primed to repeat their success of 2010 and they seem eager & hungry. But can they get past the strong Los Angeles Kings, who are the defending champs? Speaking of whom they fended off the San Jose Shark, who I  thought could win but this was one series I was sitting on the fence for. It was hard to predict and rightly so as it went down to the wire in 7 games.

Prediction: It will be Chicago vs Pittsburgh!

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Extra Powerful Vision

You encounter a mysterious man offering you a magic potion that, once sipped, will make one of your senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch) super sharp — but dull the others. Will you sip it, and if so, what sense do you choose?

Sight! Definitely sight! I wear spectacles, have been wearing them from the age of 10 (so that’s 26 years) and boy they are a pain. I don’t want to go in for laser-eye surgery as of yet, maybe sometime in the future. Wearing glasses for short-sightedness is a royal pain in ass (no I’m not wearing them there, duh) and so I would choose to get the eye sight improved and heightened!

I wanna be able to see far off things very clearly, distinguish objects further than any other mortal can see. Infact I want x-ray vision so I can see through walls, buildings, into the women’s locker rooms, see what’s behind closed doors, find what dangerous stuff lurks behind every corner and delve deep into the depths of the earth.

So I’ll take the cup or bowl from the mysterious man and drink that magic potion all up. Screw the other senses!

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Land Of The Dead

From the guy who made zombies a household name, comes 2005’s Land Of The Dead. George A Romero wrote & directed this horror flick, that is preceded by Night of the Living DeadDawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, and succeeded by Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Eugene Clark, Robert Joy & John Leguizamo. Smaller roles are filled by Sasha Roiz, Krista Bridges & Pedro Miguel Arce.

3 years after a zombie apocalypse, mankind are setup in outposts across the United States. Our movie is focused on the one in Pittsburgh, where a feudal system of government is in place presided by the corrupt ruler Paul Kaufman. Bordered on two sides by rivers and on the third by an electric fence, the city has become a sanctuary, with the rich and powerful living in a luxury high-rise called Fiddler’s Green while the rest of the population subsists in squalor. Using a heavily armored vehicle that can travel through the zombie-infested areas with ease and with the help of remote-controlled heavy machine guns and video cameras, teams of men & women head out to nearby towns & cities for supplies and essentials led by Riley Denbo, creator of the specialized vehicle, and the assassin Cholo DeMora who reports to Kaufman for special favours. The teams also use fireworks to distract the zombies, who seem to stare at the skies in bewilderment as long as the fireworks light up the night sky. On one such outing some of the zombies seem to be capable of comprehending and learning. Led by a former gas station owner “Big Daddy” the zombies pick up whatever they find handy; sticks, pipes and Big Daddy also manages to snatch a machine gun from one of the humans leaving the city. The zombies head to Pittsburgh led by BD and cross a river by walking on the bottom (not needing oxygen they aren’t harmed) and reach the city’s fences.

Cholo, while gifting some champagne to Kaufman, s denied an apartment in Fiddler’s Green despite his longtime, devoted service to Kaufman. Upon being rebuffed, Cholo threatens to destroy Fiddler’s Green with the Dead Reckoning, seized by himself and his assistants Pretty Boy, Mouse, Anchor and Foxy. Zombies attack as they are leaving, but Cholo orders his crew not to intervene. Meanwhile Denbo is arrested along with Charlie and Slack, a woman they rescued from being Zombie bait by a bar owner whom they killed. As Cholo threatens Kaufman, the leader sends Riley to stop Cholo, alongside 3 soldiers – Manolete, Motown and Pillsbury. Charlie & Slack tag along but by now some of the zombies have sneaked in and Manolette is bitten and killed by Slack before he has a chance to turn. Once they come across Dead Reckoning, Riley devises a plan to approach the vehicle alone. Against Riley’s orders, Charlie, Slack, and Pillsbury follow him, but they disable Motown and leave her behind on the grounds of her loyalty to Kaufman. Cholo realises that Riley is working for Kaufman and holds both Riley and Charlie at gunpoint. Before Slack and Pillsbury can react, Motown, who has come round, opens fire and nearly kills both Riley and Cholo, before being bitten by a zombie and executed by Slack. With this distraction, Riley de-activates Dead Reckoning’s weapons systems and convinces Cholo to allow him escape Northward, while Cholo goes west. Cholo is later bitten by a zombie and returns to kill Kaufman.

As the people run in panic from the zombies and the firing from the guards & soldiers fail to hold them back Kaufman is cornered by BD in his garage. When Big Daddy leaves the garage, the now dead-and-reanimated Cholo attacks Kaufman; but both are killed by Big Daddy when the latter causes an explosion. Riley and his crew discover that although most inhabitants have become zombies themselves, some had followed Mulligan to escape. Pretty Boy has the opportunity to kill Big Daddy and the zombies; but Riley orders her against it. Riley and his friends then use Dead Reckoning to leave the city and head toward Canada.

It’s ok in places but I found myself finding it a bit predictable although the self-aware zombies threw me in for a loop. 6 outta 10!

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Dream Projects

Tell us about something you would attempt if you were guaranteed not to fail (and tell us why you haven’t tried it yet).

  • Write a book and get it published: I mentioned it a while back that back in 1999-2000 I had started writing a novel with some scifi elements in it. I ended up writing (or typing up on my computer as I was saving it on MS Word) 13 chapters of the book while I managed an internet cafe, which gave me lots of free time on my hand to do my thinking & writing. I scrapped the whole thing, deleting all the files when I got stuck after the 13th chapter (oh you unlucky number) in a moment of frustration. I would like to get it done.
  • Pitch a show for tv and a couple of movies : I have some ideas for a science fiction tv series and for a series of science fiction movies (both not connected to each other). Blame my over active imagination for that. I wish I could pitch them to a studio and have it seen to fruition. I also have another non-scifi series in mind, which I think will be awesome. It’s a cop-crime drama, very gritty and violent.
  • Write lyrics for a major rock band : That’s been the biggest dream since I was 11 years old. Be a rock star. And if not, write a song for one of my favourite rock band and have them record it, release it as a single and watch it become a hit.

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Bad Ass Doohan

From Cracked.com

James Doohan was an actor so typecast, it probably would’ve been easier on him to just legally change his name to “Scotty.” Doohan was the lovably-beleaguered engineer from Star Trek, and virtually nothing else. He found very little work outside of being Scotty, and his “Ah’m givin’ ‘er uhl sheh’s gut, Cap’n!” is about the only thing people remember, aside from his being the most stereotypically Scottish character in history aside from Groundskeeper Willie.

It’s really too bad that Doohan was seen as a sci-fi engineer and nothing else, because he had so much more to offer. You don’t command, fight in, and survive D-Day by being a talentless hack, after all. Doohan was a member of the Canadian Air Force around the time of World War II and was so good at what he did that he could afford to risk his life purely for shits and giggles. At one point, somebody dared him to hop in his plane and slalom between a series of telephone poles, and he successfully did just that. That stunt earned him the painfully uncatchy title of “Craziest Pilot in the Canadian Air Force.” It also earned him severe reprimands from his superiors. Still, totally worth it, bro.

Doohan wasn’t just stunts and insanity though; he was an artillery captain, leading his men to battle during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Doohan survived, but took one for the team. Actually, he took six for the team, as he was shot that many times in the legs and hands, ultimately leading to the amputation of his right middle finger. Now, chances are you didn’t ever see a nine-fingered Scotty while watching Star Trek. That’s because, instead of giving the character an origin tale where his fuck-you finger was shot off in a tragic Phaser accident back at the Academy, Doohan chose to hide the amputation. You rarely saw his hands close up and, when you did, they weren’t his, but rather a stunt double.

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Sight, Sound, Smell & Sensation

Write down the first sight, sound, smell, and sensation you experienced on waking up today. Pick the one you’re most drawn to, and write. (For a bigger challenge, pick the one you’re least drawn to.)

I woke up at 7;15am, tired from battling the cough, cold, sore throat and chest congestion since late Saturday night. I couldn’t bring myself to get up from bed and so wrapped the sheets around me tightly and lay there thinking lazily about stuff. By a quarter to 8, I did get up to the sound of something hard hitting on metal. It wasn’t too loud just enough for me to hear it but it was a familiar sound. It took me a few minutes to realize what it was, as I rubbed the remaining sleep from my eyes and put my glasses on. Knowing what it was meant no hurry, so I plugged in my laptop and switched it on and then opened my bedroom door to come out to the living room. The sound? Is nothing but the noise that the crow’s talon’s make when it hits the metal railing of my balcony.

As I must have stated a few weeks back, we’ve been getting 2 regular crow visitors and 3 or 4 pigeons on the balcony on a daily basis. This is because my mum started putting out some rice in a small plastic bowl set out on the balcony for the pigeons and soon these two crows also joined in. During breakfast, if we are having dosas for breakfast, the crows keep cawing loudly until one of us gives them a piece or two of crispy dosa. If you give one crow bread or something else he will start ‘abusing’ you in crow language and then sulk of and fly away and only return the next morning.

So that was the sound. Having a bad cold means I can’t really smell anything. First sight is ofcourse the walls of my bedroom or the ceiling perhaps, first thing I see as soon as I wake up. The only sensation I felt was tiredness and some pain due to my illness.

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Arrow – Season 1

I remember very little about Green Arrow a costumed crime-fighter who appears in comic books published by DC Comics other than a couple of comics that I read way back in the mid 80s. The CW has a new series Arrow based on the fictional superhero and the Arrow universe. The series draws comparisons with both Smallville & the Christopher Nolan era Batman movies and I can see that in them. While also focusing on the romantic & family lives of the leads in the series, it also features a vigilante not afraid to kill for the good of the city and it’s residents.

Shot in Vancouver Arrow is developed by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg and stars Stephen Amell as billionaire playboy, & son of Robert Queen who helms Queen Industries, who spends five years stranded on an island following a shipwreck that claims the life of everyone else on board, including his father and Sara Lance, the sister of Oliver’s girlfriend Laurel (Katie Cassidy), a defence lawyer working in the Glades, and with whom he was having an affair. Other main characters include Colin Donnell who plays Oliver’s best friend Tommy Merlyn, Willa Holland who plays Oliver’s younger sister Thea, Susanna Thompson who plays their mother Moira Queen. David Ramsey plays John Diggle, Oliver’s partner who started out as his bodyguard but who is later told the truth and joins Oliver and becomes his conscious. Paul Blackthorne plays det. Quentin Lance, Laurel’s father and Starling City police detective who holds a grudge against Oliver and blames him for Sara’s death. Other than the main cast the major supporting roles are  businessman Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman); Walter Steele (Colin Salmon), the former CFO of his father’s company who is now the CEO & Moira husband & Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) a tech whiz who later joins Oliver in his quest.

Initially we are led to believe that Oliver was alone on the island for 5 years after the yatch in which he, his father, Sara and some of his father’s people were traveling in, subsides in the ocean but as the series progresses we come to know about the true nature of the island – it is a prison camp set up by the Chinese for dangerous criminals and Oliver finds himself the target of a special military mercenary unit tasked to exterminate the prisoners. He joins Yao Fei, a special operative from Hong Kong,  Slade Wilson, an Australian Intelligence operative who came to the island to free Yao Fei and Fei’s daughter Shado and fights against the unit. The trio are also responsible in training Oliver, improving his fitness & survival skills and teaching him how to use many weapons, including the bow & arrow which he masters. What he also doesn’t tell his family & the authorities is that Robert survived the yacht sinking but killed both himself & one of his men to give Oliver all the supplies needed and a better chance at surviving. Robert entrusted his son with a small book that contains a list of people responsible for taking advantage of the city. Oliver promises his father to right the wrongs of his family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory and bring the list of businessmen to justice.

Oliver will find out that his mother was also part of that group of influential men & women and that Tommy’s father Malcolm was the chief instigator. Malcolm has an alterego, a black hooded archer, and is set on destroying the Glades – a neighborhood filled with poverty and crime but where also some good people live – as it was where his beloved wife, a charitable woman, was mugged and killed while running a hospital. Malcolm is blinded by rage and craves vengance and is equal to Oliver in strength and skill and in some ways is his superior. As the series progresses Oliver must find a way to bring these men to justice, find out who set his father out to die by sabotaging the yacht (it turns out to be Malcolm) and stop Malcolm from killing a lot of innocent people. Along the way he, with the help of Diggle and later Felicity, must also protect the city from other criminals who feed drugs and violence to the citizens. Oliver also struggles with his feelings for Laurel, initially pushing her away to protect her and she & Tommy start a relationship. Oliver dates an old friend of his, a vice cop named McKenna Hall for a while but after she leaves he realizes that he cannot lie about where his heart lies. Tommy is shocked to learn of Oliver’s alter ego and is angry. As the season ends, Oliver is able to kill Malcolm but not the bomb that is set in the Glades – Tommy is killed when looking for Laurel.

Very exciting show with enough balance between the fights, intriguing drama, crime, some comedy and romance. It’s a good mix of everything that we love about a show including cool gadgets. Cannot wait for the second season.

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Basket Case

Ok, here is something I blame nostalgia for – this is a movie I last watched 31 years ago! Yes, back in 1982 when I was still a 5 year old, innocent boy. When I was young my parents would watch a lot more English language films (mostly due to less availability of Malayalam movies on VHS) as did most Indian parents when Hindi movies weren’t available. We also watched some horror movies as a family like Evil Dead, Omen & this one Basket Case– both of which I remember watching around that time, scared shitless and peeping out from behind the sofa. Now all 3 form part of their own trilogy or had sequels but I only remember watching the first of all three franchises. Basket Case is one that my sister and I remember vividly as being scary for a 5 year old and a 11 year old back in 1982. I never found a copy of it in my search till now but I downloaded the movie and watched it yesterday afternoon.

What a shit poor movie! The horror is laughable because the effects are at best amateurish and the acting is horrendous. The budget is at $33,000 and most of it was spent on the puppet and the stop animation required to show the creature move. The cast look like they were pulled out from the streets and asked to be in the film on the spot and given 5 minutes to prepare. Not that they had much to work with in the first place but anyways. And the place – especially the hotel and the doctor’s office – laughable. Is this really New York City? I would have thought that even hotels in the poorest cities in India in 1982 would be ashamed to have such classless look about them!

Anyways Duane Bradley is a young man from upstate New York. When he was born, he was one half of a pair of Siamese twins but what was attached to his side was a lump of just a deformed head & face with two swollen claw like hands on either side. At birth their mother died and their father was enraged at the sight of the monster attached to his son. From day one the father hated & verbally abused Belial, as the creature was called and only the boys maternal aunt loved Belial as much as Duane. At the age of 10, the father paid 3 doctors from NYC to surgically separated against their will. Belial was tossed aside along with the garbage but he still possess a telepathic link to Duane. The latter releases his brother who then kills their father – cut clean in half by an electrical saw – and the two brother go to love with their aunt, who doted on her nephews. After her death, Belial telepathically tells his brother to take him to the city so they can track and kills the doctors responsible for the surgery. So putting Belial in a basket (hence the title) and find a seedy motel filled with crooks, low lives & prostitutes to stay in. Duane feeds his brother copious amounts of burgers & hotdogs while he tracks the doctors.

Belial the beautiful

He finds doctor one, strikes up a conversation with the blonde, busty reception and meets the doctor. The “acting” of the actress is so fake, almost as fake as her hair, which I almost swear is a wig! As it is morning and there are others in the office, Duane leaves but not after getting the receptionist to offer herself as a guide for sightseeing the next day. That evening the doctor is killed by Belial (in an unintentionally hilarious scene) and returns to Duane, who is waiting with the basket. The next day Duane goes alone to see the receptionist, Sharon, and they tour the city. As they click romance sparks and they kiss but Belial can sense this and goes berserk in his room, messing things up and alerting the other tenants. He slips into the toilet to avoid the cops who investigate and Duane promises that he is never leaving him. They then go to next doctor and kill her too – in another hilarious and amateurish acting scene of epic proportions! Later an older man who tries to steal money from Duane is also killed by Belial. Duane goes to drink with the disgusting prostitute that befriends him and in his drunkenness, tells her everything but she doesn’t believe a word he says. He then tries to get rid of Sharon, fearing that Belial may kill her too and although she sees him and is scared she still wants to be with Duane, but he throws her out of the room.

That night Duane has a nightmare that he is running stark naked across a deserted NYC streets (yes you his bush & schlong) and finds a naked Sharon in bed and plays with her boobies (which are big and nice, thanks for asking). In reality it is Belial who has dragged himself to her place (impressive for a blob with no legs) and finds her naked in bed. He kills her and then proceeds to have sex with her corpse (eewww gross) and Duane finds him doing this. He grabs Belial and puts in the basket and brings him to the hotel. In the room Duane bickers and screams at Belial, who proceed to grab his brother by the gonads and struggling the two fall from the window and hang onto the neon sign of the hotel. As the other tenants watch the two brothers struggle and finally fall to their deaths.

I had enough by the 20th minute but still wanted to see the movie completely. 2 outta 10!

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The Rains Have Arrived

It has been raining for the past 3 days over here. Finally after months of heat and humidity and dust and pollution in the streets of Cochin city, we finally get the long needed respite by way of rains. As I have stated before, it started getting quite warm by the end of January and by late February it is quite hot. March, April & May are usually the worst times as far as heat & humidity are concerned to be living in Kerala and this year has been terrible. Usually the monsoon season for Kerala starts in June (right in time for the first days of the school year) and goes on till the end of September, then we have a brief respite and it picks up again for a month or so. No fall or winter for us – just summer and monsoon!

Today has been actually a bit chilly. I did some dusting & cleaning in my room, long over due but then I’m lazy. Threw out a bunch of old office stuff – work diaries, product & process information of my old company & client’s stuff. Lots of dust. Cleaned up the dust on 10 novels and some cds & dvds. Spring cleaning can be good. Found this gem – a dvd of the Neil Young documentary Heart of Gold, which I bought in 2009 and never watched. Thought it was lost. It’s up for Sunday viewing. With the schedule power cut for 30 minutes at 7pm today, our area will have had a grand total of 9 power cuts for the day. Next year we will have a black arm band mourning day to commemorate this auspicious occasion. It seems that they had a major issue, when we called them up. No shit Sherlock – 6 power cuts from 9am – 1pm is definitely a major issue.

Ah, today is a day for lots of hot black coffee and soft buns that have tooti fruity in them. And fried fish!

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Population 436

Population 436 is 2006 mystery / horror (nothing major) small budget movie starring Jeremy Sisto, Fred Durst (yes, lead singer of Limp Bizkit), Peter Outerbridge & Charlotte Sullivan (I’m watching her on Rookie Blue). Directed by Michelle MacLaren & produced by Gavin Polone the movie shares similarities in plot to the classic horror The Wicker Man and also The Village.

Steve Kady is a recent widower who lost his wife & daughter in a car accident and works for the US Census Bureau. He is sent to investigate the remote village of Rockwell Falls to interview residents concerning the population – for over a 100 years the village has retained the exact same population of 436! Just outside the village he is distracted by a young woman who falls from her horse and his vehicle hits a pothole and bursts two tires. He doesn’t get help from the young woman, Courtney, who instead tells him to walk his way back to the nearest town, but deputy Bobby comes by and drives him to the village. With no places for rent, Steve is put up at the house of Courtney & her mother.

Something is so apparently off with the townsfolk – some seem hostile to Steve, some keep staring at him and others seem overly friendly & welcoming. There is also allusions to something that they call “the fever” which apparently affected a young girl who is being treated by the only doctor in town. Steve is plagued by nightmares once he is in there and he starts his work. Finding the people odd he also is horrified to learn that the doctor hasn’t been to a medical college but been trained in a traditional manner by his father before him. Also no one wants to leave the village save for Courtney but she is quite to others about it. People who try to leave Rockwell Falls seem to meet with bizarre and deadly accidents, or just vanish, which the residents believe to be the work of God. The small town crazies who are overly religious angle is played well here. Although he befriends Bobby, Steve finds himself attracted to Courtney who the deputy also fancies and is planning on proposing marriage too. But one afternoon Steve & Courtney talk and end up having sex in the barn, which Bobby just happens to see.

After stumbling upon some books on Biblical numerology, Kady realizes that the townspeople attach a mystical importance to the number 436 and are willing to go to extreme lengths to keep the population at exactly that number, including executing surplus residents. The first scene of the movie shows a baby being born and a man being killed to keep the numbers that way. Anyone who expresses a desire to leave is treated for the ‘fever’ by Dr. Greaver, the town doctor, with electroshock therapy or in extreme cases, frontal lobotomy. It gradually becomes apparent to Kady that the residents of Rockwell Falls have no intention of allowing him to leave. He sneaks in to meet the young girl, Amanda, who tells him that she is being kept a prisoner but she changes her tone when the others come. At a fair Steve is appalled to see a willing woman being executed to keep the number at 436 and goes hysterical as the townsfolk corner him. He is taken to the clinic to be treated for the ‘fever’. He escapes the clinic, and is sheltered by a sympathetic resident who reluctantly helps him plan his escape. Steve sets  fire to the town garage as a diversion and rescues Amanda from the clinic, but is forced to leave Courtney behind after discovering that she has been lobotomized by Dr. Greaver.

With two deputies chasing them, Steve & Amanda steal a tow truck and make it to the highway, after Bobby has a change of heart and helps them get away by killing the other deputy, but just like in his dream, Steve sees that there is thunder & lightning and a cross appears in front of the mirror as well as a doll. While he is distracted by these, the truck veers into the path of an oncoming semi-trailer truck, killing them both. As the movie ends, a co-worker of Steve has come to Rockwell Falls to search for the missing Steve (the townsfolk fakes a letter from Steve saying that he has found faith & a lover and has decided to stay in the village) but his car too hits the pothole, bursting his tires. This time the sheriff arrives and says that Steve left recently and takes the man into town, alluding to the wedding of Bobby & Courtney.

The story is ok but the movie drags out a lot with nothing much happening for a long time. It’s not scary at all save for a couple of jumps. Shame that Peter Outerbridge, a man who made his tv character (Dr. David Sandström in Regenesis) memorable for his speeches, doesn’t even speak in this movie till half way through. No bad acting in this but the actors aren’t given much to work with and hence the movie suffers greatly. A reluctant 6 outta 10 from me!