Dracula 2012 3D (Malayalam)

I hardly watch any Malayalam films anymore. I have never reviewed a Malayalam film in my life as a blogger (from September 2002 onwards) even though Malayalam is my native tongue. That shall change today. Dracula 2012 3D is a 2013 Malayalam 3-D feature film directed by Vinayan, starring Sudheer Sukumaran, Prabhu, Monal Gajjar, Nassar, Shraddha Das and Thilakan. This was one of the last movies of veteran character actor Thilakan who passed away before the release of the film.

Roy Thomas and his new bride Lucy are in Romania on their honeymoon, as Count Dracula enthusiast Roy made a detour in their plans to take an additional 3 days while on the way to England. They visit Bran Castle, the Count’s original castle,  and that evening Roy calls his former guru, a powerful Swami (Tamil actor Nasser) who conducts exorcisms to rid demons from people, to ask if it is possible to contact dead spirits using the rituals he learned from the Swami. His guru replies in the affirmative so Roy leaves his wife to go shopping the next day while he goes back to the castle and sits in a dungeon like room with his pooja stuff and attempts to contact the spirit of Count Dracula – which the idiot is successful in. First of all the Romanian authorities would never let some layman come in and conduct his own experiments in the castle! Ok, so the spirit of Dracula comes, thanks Roy for awakening him, takes the form of a ridiculous looking CGI hairy vampire, attacks Roy and lets his spirit enter the man. Roy is now Dracula! He then goes to visit his wife Lucy, who is soaking in the bathtub while wearing a large towel, and drinks her blood and converts her into a vampire.

Roy’s family panics back home in Kerala when they get word that both he & his wife have disappeared from their hotel. His brother, Benny Thomas, is an Assistant Commissioner of the local police and uses his political contacts to get a search conducted for his missing brother and sister-in-law. Meanwhile Dracula / Roy, using the alias Prof. William D’Souza, has made his way to Kerala having arranged for his belongings, including some coffins, to be shipped to an old, scary looking house. Raju, who works for the agency that arranged the shipping of his belongings strikes a friendship with the Count and stays overnight when some wild dogs attack him on his way out. Dracula is stunned when he sees a photo of Raju’s lover Meena (also his cousin who just so happens to be the younger of the Swami’s two daughters and a resident at a nearby hospital) as Meena looks just like the Count’s wife back when he was human. You know the story, her death caused him to…get violent and drink blood that comes out of the knee of a statue of Christ on a cross? OK! Dracula invites both Raju and Meena to a dinner party the next evening, stopping for a few minutes to kill Betty, a woman who recognizes him as Roy. Lucy, now a vampire, goes to visit Roy’s young niece and bites her but is interrupted by the arrival of Benny. By this time, news of Roy & Lucy’s disapperance has made the local bishop contact bishops in Romania who arrive at Benny’s house with Dr. Paul Robinson, a Malayalaee Indian psychiatrist, who just so happens to have been practicing his trade in Romania for the past 25 years!

The bishops, who are Indian actors trying badly to make up a foreign sounding accent, tell them what happened to Roy – how the fuck do they know what happened? – and have come with Dr. Robinson (huh? is that a Malayalee Indian name?) to convince the family that Roy is now possessed by Dracula. Dr. Robinson, played by veteran Tamil actor Prabhu, acts like a buffon and comes to the same conclusion himself (how you ask? In his own words “Romania…..so Dracula…vanish” ok solved!) and joined the bishops. Meena now is haunted by the Count, dreaming about him every night. So now we meet Taraa (sexy Shradhaa Das), Meena’s older sister who is a sultry chick wearing some of the most revealing saris I have ever seen in my life, herself a powerful poojari/ priestess. She meets Dracula / Roy and unwittingly reveals that she is conducting a powerful pooja deep in the forests (as her father is away) to protect her family & household. To convince us, Dracula is driven away by the image of two poisonous snakes, when he tries to attack Taraa from behind. So he must stop her from completing the rituals. This priestess, dressed in a clingy little outfit, does a song & dance item number in the jungle for the snakes! Hahaha – but before she can finish the routine, she is attacked by Dracula. Later at the hospital, Dr. Robinson convinces the head doctor to have crucifixes and garlic kept in Taraa’s room but at night she has the nurse take them away as she finds the smell terrible and says as the cross symbol is not part of Hinduism, she does not believe it.

Dracula comes and drinks her blood and she dies only to rise as a vampire herself later in the night. Benny, who was standing guard outside sees Dracula and is shocked to find that it is his brother Roy. The two fight but Dracula escapes with Taraa and takes her to a coffin in his lair. Later the Swami comes home to find his older daughter dead and using his powers finds out that Dracula is infact Roy using the alias Prof William D’souza! The Swami, Dr. Robinson, Benny & Raju go to the house to confront Dracula and find the dungeon / lair. Also it is first time that I have seen two vampires getting into the coffin from elsewhere just as it is about to turn dark! Benny & Robinson kill Lucy by driving a stake through her heart while the Swami has a showdown with Dracula. Dracula leaves to go find Meena at her house, while the others kill vampire Taraa. Swami passes on his powers to Raju and tells him to go rescue Meena. Dracula meanwhile is making Meena drink his blood and is chased by Raju & Robsinson. Benny & Swami are killed by drowning as they chase Dracula. Robinson & Raju use Meena’s pyschic connection as a GPS to find the Count in an old cemetery where there is a fight between Raju & the Count. As daylight breaks Raju & Robinson open up a gravestone where Dracula had tried to hide in to escape the sunlight and is killed. End of a terrible film.

Terrible CGI, terrible story, terrible acting in a terrible movie. Thilakan overacts as a madman in Kerala who somehow has been waiting for Dracula to reappear. And he vanishes towards the end, into thin air! There is a lot of overacting – Prabhu looks foolish, the Swami thinks his shawl is a superhero’s cape and has powers of it’s own, the women are terrible actors but meant mainly for eye candy. And people keep overdoing the refering to Dracula as “Prince of Darkness”! There’s a lot of kissing of the forehead – hey this is an Indian movie from Kerala after all – and lip to lip kissing is kept to a bare touch. No French kissing at all! There’s a couple of song & dance numbers (“Prince of darkness, I love you” goes the lyrics) C’mon Dracula! It is a ridiculous effort from director Vinayan and the legend of Dracula must be pissed off at this pathetic excuse of a film. I will give it….a grudging 3 outta 10! But I did laugh out loudly quite a lot during this film

Star Trek Continues : Lolani

The second and much awaited episode of Star Trek Continues was released on their website a couple of days ago and onto Youtube a day back. In this episode the crew encounters a troubled Orion slave girl—but can they rescue her without causing an interstellar incident? Much like the first episode I am impressed and a little bit stunned by authentic this low budget “fan film” show continues to shine & impress and looks almost like the original thing.

The Enterprise comes across a Tellerite freighter drifting in space and try and hail it offering assistance. Scans indicate 3 lifeless bodies, all Tellerite, and an Orion lifeform. Captain Kirk and Spock head to the transporter room after asking the crewman on duty to beam up the Orion. By the time they get there, the Orion Slave Girl that they had beamed up has the officer, Kenway, held at dagger point, having initially surprised him with her charms. She pushes him into the path of Spock & Kirk and runs away but is later cornered. Kirk manages to take the dagger from the injured Orion and she is taken to sickbay to heal under the care of Dr. McCoy. Dr. Elise McKennah, the ship’s consellor is brought in to help ease the newly arrived Slave girl and wins her trust. The Orion Slave Girl says her name is Lolani (guest star Fiona Vroom) and that she was sold by her slave master to the owner of the Tellerite ship and that the other two Tellerites fought with her new owner ending in the deaths of all 3. She two was injured but managed to avoid any fatal injuries. Kirk has quarters assigned to her and Dr. McKennah acts as her guide for a tour of the ship. Lolani is charming and engaging, even more than the natural pheromones that Orion females secretes that most males of any species find irresistible.

She uses her abilities to try and coax Kirk into letting her stay and asks for asylum. However Starfleet Commodore Gray (guest star Erin Gray) informs Kirk that by Orion law, which Lolani is under, she is supposed to be returned to her previous owner who can then keep her or resell her to another bidder. Orion females are very popular “commodities” trafficked through the  slave markets of the Orion Syndicate and despite what humans or any other members of starfleet may feel, they are obligated to bide by the Orion rules or risk an inter-stellar war. Lolani also builds a rapport with Kenway, after she apologizes to him for attacking him as she was beamed up to the Enterprise. Kirk gets word from Spock & Security Chief Drake, who had gone to the Tellerite ship to investigate, that they have come to the conclusion that Lolani killed 2 of the Tellerites with her dagger. Lolani, fearing that she would handed back to her slave master, tries to escape from the Enterprise with the help of Kenway by stealing a shuttle but are stopped in time. The crewman is confined to quarters until his next duty shift and Kirk asks McCoy to prepare and vaccinate every member of the crew from being affected by Lolani’s powerful pheromones. Kirk has Spock do a mind meld with Lolani during which the true picture comes out – heavily abused by her slave master, she was defending herself from equally cruel & vicious Tellerites and killed them in self-defence.

Meanwhile her previous owner, the Orion Slave master (Lou Ferrigno) has reached the Enterprise and is beamed aboard. Kirk hopes a civil welcome and dinner with the senior officers will convince the alien that Lolani, and all females of their species, have more worth and shouldn’t be kept as slaves. However, even though he makes a solid argument using earth women and Dr. McKennah as an example, the Orion says he wants to be on his way. Kirk receives a reprimand from Commodore Gray, when the Orion complains to his government and Starfleet is warned to abide by their laws. Gray tells Kirk that he is to obey the decision and let Lolani be taken away. Lolani bids farewell to the Enterprise crew and is beamed aboard the Orion ship with her slave master but just as they move away they ship explodes killing both the Orions. A devastated Kirk goes to the quarters where Lolani stayed during her brief time aboard the Enterprise and finds a recorded message left behind by her. In the message, which Kirk broadcasts to the whole ship, Lolani states that the time has come for a change in her culture and that Orion women need to be freed from slavery. Kenway asks for time off to go and visit her family and Kirk hands over the recorded message to him, asking him to play it for them.

Excellent episode, well done yet again guys! Hard to believe that this awesome stuff is so low budget and a fan made project that runs on donations and has no big studios helping them out. Which is why ofcourse the gap between episodes 1 & 2 is 3 months. I officially love the 2 episodes that Star Trek Continues has put out so far, more than the 2 big budget JJ Abrhams directed movies! Yes, this little budget show knocks them biggies on their asses with a collective sucker punch! Negatives – no Chekov, very little Uhura (she barely says a line or two) and Sulu. The Canadian actress who plays Lolani, Fiona Vroom, sounds odd (meaning very North American accent) for the alien role at first but midway she captures your heart and soul and does a fine job. Bravo!

Won’t You Be My Neighbour?

Who are your neighbors? Are you friends with them, barely say hi, or avoid them altogether? Tell us a story — real or invented — about the people on the other side of your wall (or street, or farm, or… you get the point).

For the past 7.5 years I’ve been living in an apartment building, the top floor of a 7 storey building. So no fences or backyards or front yards. Ours is a small congested building with 2 apartments per floor and a small parking area that always cramped for space. I do not spend time with my neighbours. I barely speak to more than a handful of them and that too will usually be a casual “hi”, “hello” and the usual small talk. I don’t know atleast half of the people living in the building.

There’s a few of them I don’t like. The building at one time used to be own by a family of brothers before they sold off the apartments to different people but these big ass, rich brothers still act like the building is theirs. This was very evident during the recent bathrooms & pipes renovations that we had going on at the time in our building. These guys would come in to our apartment and others claiming to want to oversee things even if there was no need or purpose to do so. They just want to lord over the other families and pretend that they own the whole building as before. I avoid them as much as I can and usually just nod in their general vicinity as acknowledgement.

A couple of the people are nice and I chat with them on occasion usually when we pass each other in the lobby area or in the elevator ride up or down. That’s about it and that’s all I want from them.

Prompt from the Daily post at WordPress.com

The Butler

From director Lee Daniels and written by Danny Strong, comes this decades answer to Forrest GumpThe Butler. Based partly or rather inspired partly by the true story of the real life of former long time White House butler Eugene Allen, the movie is about an African-American butler who grows up from the cotton fields of Georgia and later becomes a long time butler at the White House where he witness notable events. The movie has an impressive cast led by Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Terrance Howard and small roles as historical figures by Robin Williams  as  Dwight D. Eisenhower, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Minka Kelly as First Lady  Jackie Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan& Jane Fonda as First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Cecile Gaines is a young boy who grows up in the cotton plantations of Georgia and when his mother is raped by their white owner, his father finally stands up to him and is shot dead. The caretaker of the estate takes in young Cecile, as his mother goes a little crazy and becomes mute, and trains him as a house servant. In his teens Cecile goes off to find work in the cities but finds food & work being denied to him. One night he breaks into a large hotel’s bakery to eat and is caught by Maynard, the black master servant. Maynard offers him a job as a server and trains him well and after a few years recommends him for a position in a Washington D.C. hotel. While working at the D.C. hotel, Cecil meets and marries Gloria, and the couple have two children: Louis and Charlie. In 1957 is hired by the White House to be a butler during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration. He meets and befriends maître d’ Freddie Fallows, head butler Carter Wilson and co-worker James Holloway. At the White House, Cecil witnesses Eisenhower’s reluctance to use troops to enforce school desegregation in the South, then the President’s resolve to uphold the law by racially integrating Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. Soon Louis graduates from high school and chooses to go Fisk University in Tennessee although Cecil feels that the South is too volatile.

Louis joins a student program led by activist James Lawson, which leads to a nonviolent sit-in at a segregated diner, where he is arrested. Furious, Cecil confronts Louis for disobeying him. Gloria, suffering from her husband’s long working hours, descends into alcoholism and has an affair with the Gaineses’ neighbor, Howard. In 1961 Louis and his friends are attacked by the Ku Klux Klan while riding one night in the Freedom Bus. Louis is shown participating in the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade, where dogs and water cannons were used to stop the marchers, one of the movement’s actions which inspired President John F Kennedy to deliver a national address proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Several months later, Kennedy is assassinated and Gaines is shown breaking down. Before she leaves the White House Jacqueline gives Cecil one of the former president’s neckties as a goodwill gesture. Louis is later shown participating in the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement, which inspired President Johnson to demand that Congress enact the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Later after Martin Luther King’s   assassination, Louis visits and tells his family that he has joined the radical organization called the Black Panthers. Upset at his son’s actions, Cecil orders Louis and his girlfriend, Carol, to leave his house. Louis is soon arrested and is bailed out by Carter Wilson. Cecil becomes aware of Richard Nixon’s plans to suppress the movement.

Cecile’s younger son Charlie joins the Army and goes to Vietnam and is killed a few months later. Cecile is celebrating his birthday with Gloria when they get the news. Louis does not attend the funeral, based on a conversation he had with Charlie which infuriates Cecile and drives a further wedge between him and his elder son. when the Black Panthers resort to violence in response to racial confrontations, Louis leaves the organization and returns to college, earning his master’s degree in political science and eventually running for a seat in Congress. In the 80s, Cecile stands up to his white supervisor over the unequal pay and career advancement provided the black White House staff. With President Reagan’s support he prevails, and his professional reputation grows to the point that he and his wife are invited by President and Nancy Reagan to be guests at a state dinner. Yet at the dinner and afterwards, Cecile becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the class divisions in the White House. Finally, after witnessing Reagan’s refusal to support economic sanctions against South Africa, he resigns. Gloria tries to mend things between Cecile and her older son and tells her husband that Louis has told her that he loves and respects them both. Slowly accepting his son’s actions as heroic, Cecile reconciles with Louis at a Free South Africa Movement protest against South African apartheid, and they are arrested and jailed together.

As the film moves towards 2008, Gloria dies shortly before Obama is elected as the nation’s first African-American president, a matter of great pride to Cecile and his family. Cecile prepares to meet Obama in the White house as the movie ends, with him walking towards the Oval office. Although the movie is “Hollywood-esque” and a lot of stuff is written for the sake of the movie, the film is very well acted and it is a wonderful film to watch. I was totally engrossed and emotionally touched, even if the story is fictional for the most part and I was a bit disappointed at learning that going into the movie. 8.5 outta 10 for me!

Arsenal 1 Liverpool 5

I’ve said for a long time – Arsene Wenger is the biggest problem the club has! Fire him, buy top players and make a strong winning team. With him in charge we are not going to win anything anymore. A shame to watch us as league leaders be humiliated at Liverpool losing 1-5. The game was over in the first 20 minutes as Liverpool went on a rampage & scored four in a devastating show of attacking football. By the end of the first half Arsenal were lucky to not have been 6-0 down! In the second half after Liverpool scored their 5th, Arsenal were able to get one back via a penalty spot kick. I hate Wenger and what he’s reduced the club to. Arsenal have a lot of good players but not enough to consistently challenge for the big 3 trophies – League, Champions League and the FA Cup. At best we could, if we are very lucky, win the FA Cup. we just don’t have it against the big clubs – Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City & now even Liverpool! It’s what I feel based on watching the team against the other top teams. I feel bad for the players because they have played their best throughout the season to gain all these points but they need help to strengthen the squad and it hasn’t happened.

I don’t know about the others but I’ve wanted Wenger to leave the club for the last couple of years now. Even this year, top of the league, with his inability to bring in top players I knew it was only a matter of time before our weaknesses are showcased in front of the clubs like Man U, Man City, Chelsea & Liverpool. I blog about each game I watch and in each I have stated that I want Wenger to leave the club or change his attitude when it comes to buying players. Maybe not like Chelsea or Man City but relax the purse strings a little bit more. When push comes to shove, our boys have played much better but the squad isn’t anywhere as strong as it could be – only because with Wenger we can’t get top class quality talent to come in as he won’t allow the club to spend money. And the upper management listen to him. We really needed some help coming in during the transfer window – the result was ridiculous! We are not a squad that can win the BPL, Champions League and it’s a actually a credit to the players that they have done this well.

Wenger and his stupid philosophy of not buying top class players because he feels it’s too much money (it’s not his money, the club is willing to spend but the board listens to him) should pack up and leave amicably at the end of the season. If not fire his ass!

India At The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

The XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics is currently being held at Sochi, Russia (7th Feb 2014 – 23rd Feb 2014). This winter olympic games is already marred by the by major controversies, including allegations of corruption leading to the aforementioned cost overruns, concerns for the safety and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes and supporters during the Games due to the country’s recent restrictions on the promotion of LGBT sexual relationships (which have led to ongoing protests) and various security concerns over threats by jihadist groups tied to the insurgency in the North Caucasus. Several fans from various nations have opted to boycott watching the games due to these factors.

Here’s my 2 cents worth – I wouldn’t boycott watching the Olympics if its an event I would normally watch. I’d still support my teams/athletes and watch the sports that I love. The sportsmen & women have not done anything wrong, so I’d support them and keep watching. But if there’s any way I can show my displeasure & disapproval to Mr. Putin and his government in other ways, I’d join in. But my issue is something else altogether and it’s to do with India and not Russia. One look at the different countries who’s athletes will be competing in the various sports sees a large nation missing – ofcourse it’s India! India has never had much success at the Summer Olympics, much less the Winter ones. We normally send one or two people to the Winter games (I’m not joking; last time in Vancouver we had 3 Indians representing our nation). This year I checked the competing nations and found no Indian flag! But there are 3 Indian athletes at the Olympics and they will competing.

Himanshu Thakur (Men’s Giant Slalom), Nadeem Iqbal (Men’s 15km Classical) and Shiva Keshavan (Luge Men’s Singles) are all Indians competing in their respective sport but will be under the Independent Olympic Participants category. This is because the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), who are responsible for selecting athletes to represent India, is suspended on 4 December 2012 due to non adherence of International Olympic Committee rules and on the basis of corruption, government interference. Several members of the IOA have been charged with crimes. The IOA was formally banned for not following the Olympic Charter in their elections, instead following the Indian government’s Sports Code. The IOA held elections under the Indian Sports Code due to a directive from the Delhi High Court. On 15 May 2013, International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to lift the ban on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as Indian representatives from the government and sports bodies reached an agreement with IOC officials but the suspension remained. It was announced on December 31, 2013 that India would be competing under the Olympic flag in Sochi. Elections by the Indian Olympic Association are scheduled two days after the opening ceremony, which would not provide enough time for the suspension to be lifted.

A shame India, a goddamn fucking shame indeed! My heart goes out to the 3 athletes and I hope they do well.

Using IRC After Almost 6 Years!

I haven’t used regular random online chat (using a program called MiRC) in ages. I used to use it all the time till about 5 or 6 years ago. And now I got a reminder as to why I don’t use it.

Random person comes to do a personal chat with me (handle shall be withheld to protect the “innocent”

She : Hello. I like your handle. Do you want to chat?

Me : Ok, nice to meet you. How are you?

She : I’m great. I’m 21 .f. florida A/S/L please?

Me (thinking, she’s gonna think I’m way to ancient) : 37.m. kochi

(Now admittedly, I forgot to put India instead of just Kochi or Kochi, India since Kochi or Cochin isn’t very well know but….)

She : Oh how wonderful! Are you excited for the Olympics there?

****dumbfounded silence on my part*****

She : Wait a minute – how do you know English? Aren’t you a Russian?

Me : No, not Sochi. Kochi. It’s a city in South India.

She : India? You’re an India? How do you know English? Don’t you speak Indian over there? This is a trick!

Me: Goodbye!

And with that I closed my MiRC application!

What We Need Are Replicators!

You’ve been granted magical engineering skills, but you can only use them to build one gadget or machine. What do you build?

Granted magical engineering skills and that I can only build a single gadget or machine, there is only one choice that I would make. A replicator, much like the ones that you see on Star Trek shows (TNG, DS9 & Voyager).

There is nothing more important that feeding, medicating and clothing every human being on the planet and ofcourse our animal friends. People need comfortable clothing, beds, sheets and we need easy & cheap materials for the same. Food, drink, medicine – all necessary and needed for a healthy & happy person. So with my magical engineering skills I will make replicators – that serves different purposes!

First and foremost – food, drink & medicine replicators for every home so that you and your family never go hungry or thirst and once installed you don’t have worry about buying anything anymore! Works on voice command so order up the food & beverage of your choice. And if ill just order the appropriate medicine, once you consult a doctor.

Clothing and related replicator – for covering yourself tastefully, comfortably and if you so choose, in various designs!

Metal & other materials for building

One for furniture and decorations related, for your home & pleasure! With these things I hope a lot of issues of humanity would get solved! Now where’s my Nobel prize?

Prompt from the Daily Post At WordPress.com

Household Tasks

What’s the household task you most dislike doing? Why do you think that is — is it the task itself, or something more?

It’s dusting and sweeping. I don’t do it at home since I suffer from asthma and usually just a little bit of the dust can get me started on a sneezing marathon and have an attack of breathing difficulty. We have a maid who comes in Monday to Saturday and usually sweeps my room and does a quick wiping of the floor with a mix of cleaning liquid and water using a cloth. Next would be ironing and folding of clothes as I suck at both. What bugs me the most though is that India is a very dusty and polluted nation and just from leaving the widows open for a few hours, you can attract all kinds of dust that stick to your belongings.

I hate having to iron shirts and pants and we give most of our clothes to a guy who has an ironing cart and who comes and does the ironing for you. I’ve manage to make my bed, yes I’ve managed to “learn” that although only when I change the sheets! I’m not gonna make my bed everyday.

Prompt from The Daily Prompt At WordPress.com.

Cracked – Season 1

From the CBC comes Canadian crime-drama series Cracked created by writer Tracey Forbes and Toronto Emergency Task Force officer Calum de Hartog and executive produced by Peter Raymont and Janice Dawe of White Pine Pictures. The show that debuted in 2013 features a newly created unit, the Psych Crimes Unit, within the Toronto Police department that consists of a unique team of police officers and psychiatrists who respond to bizarre and frightening crises and solve compelling cases involving emotionally disturbed criminals, victims and witnesses. The lead detective is experienced SWAT officer Detective Aidan Black (David Sutcliffe) who was involved in two fatal shootings that were deemed clean and justifiable in the following inquiries, after multiple psych evaluations, which were inconclusive but did show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. After suffering from a public breakdown he is reassigned to the new Psych Crimes and Crisis Unit and partnered with psychiatrist Dr. Daniella Ridley (Steffanie von Pfetten),  a partner without a badge or gun who he doesn’t yet trust, but is determined to.

Dr. Ridley, helping to design the Psych Crimes and Crisis Unit with Inspector Diane Caligra (Karen LeBlanc) after leaving her prestigious position at St. Stephen’s Hospital following a relationship and break up with the Chief of Psychiatry, Dr. McCray. Caligra, after becoming concerned with Aiden Black and recognizing he has symptoms of PTSD but not wanting to waste him as a police officer, she transfers him to the unit and asks Dr. Ridley to “watch” over him. The other two members of the unit are Detective Poppy Wisnefski (Luisa D’Oliveira), a young, cynical, impatient officer whose motives for being on the team are career related as it is “one step up to homicide”, and her partner Dayo Ade as Leo Beckett, a compassionate psychiatric nurse from inner city emergency rooms and urban mental hospitals. Also part of the cast are Mayko Nguyen as Homicide Detective Liz Liette, Aidan’s long-term ex girlfriend and colleague. After getting upset at how emotionally distant he was and his emotional inaccessibility, she moved out and Paul Popowich as Dr. Sean McCray, Chief of Psychiatry at St. Stephen’s Hospital, where Dr. Ridley used to work and to whom some of the victims are handed over to.

Throughout the season the unit responds to cases where they combine police investigative skills and psychiatric insight to resolve crises and solve crimes. The case vary from a single father who is bipolar and goes off his meds and goes manic and seemingly psychotic rampage believing that he & his son are under attack to a bullied girl who’s mother is part of a religious cult that could have dangerous & disturbing consequences. Also are a delusional homeless man who is attacked by a man behaving like a werewolf due to a drug that he took without knowledge. In the process Aiden get semi-involved with a women who is disturbed and believes that she and Aiden have a solid relationship and almost kills Liz as she feels that the latter stands between them. Another case is of an Indian immigrant who was deemed not mentally fit to stand trial into the brutal murder eleven years earlier of Peter Fong, but he who admitted to the killing and now after his release, a former cop plans to get justice. A seemingly schizophrenic homeless teenager finds a baby, seemingly abandoned, and Aiden and the team’s investigations lead them to a teenaged mother who herself was kidnapped as a small child. A bipolar musician, who goes off his meds, is found nearly naked on the streets and this case leads to a betrayal of love and a death in revenge. After this case, following the death of the bipolar musician, Aiden is troubled and finds it difficult to sleep.

Aiden & Daniella next are called to a disturbed former NHL enforcer who has violent outbursts and aren’t happy when they later learn that he is working as a snitch for Organized Crime Detective Rachel Fenton to out a mob boss. There’s also a lady cop who’s daughter committed suicide due to bulling. The coroner’s inquest into the school bus incident where Aidan shot the perpetrator Dominik Laszlo dead, Laszlo’s knife in the process which in turn killed student Jason Beckmire causes a rift in the unit when Aiden finds out that Caligra had Daniella report to her on Aiden’s state of mind. Feeling betrayed he asks to be assigned another partner and hence the teams are reassigned among the 4 of them. A sex crime & an former soldier’s case is up next and the final case is of a disturbed man who kills his brother-in-law to keep his sister, who is having an affair, from losing her child in the divorce case to follow. As their investigation closes in on him, the man kidnaps Daniella and beats her but Aiden & Poppy arrive and it’s Poppy who is forced to shoot him to save Danielle & Aiden from being killed. As the season ends it seems that the rifts are healing when poppy gets the info that the man has succumbed to his wounds. Aiden has also started a relationship with Rachel.

Director, Director!

If you were involved in a movie, would you rather be the director, the producer, or the lead performer? (Note: you can’t be the writer!).

Ok, if not the story than I would probably….be the director rather than the lead performer or the producer. See I have a bunch of stories that, atleast to me, seem like good stories to be made into a movie. So even if I couldn’t direct I’d love to be a writer. However if being the writer is not available I’d like to be the director as even if the story is not mine, I can give the movie my own vision based on the story and following it.

I’d like to have the movie follow a certain pace, a certain story telling which will enhance the actual story. I’d like each of the movie shots to have shades of their own and the scene to showcase the emotions of the actor or the overall feeling of the scene/dialogue or point of discussion. That’s what I feel!

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Bru’s Cappuccino Packets

Bru is the preferred coffee brand of choice in my household. We prefer it to the more costlier Nescafe and the cheaper Sunrise (these are the only three instant coffee powder brands that we buy). Given a choice, I would probably buy Bru over the other two. Yes you get more fancier brands but they are too expensive for this family.

Bru had launched different packets of these cappuccino styles & flavourings (not sure when but I have seen a few here and there) but I find them lacking in quality and taste whenever I have tried such stuff before. Recently I found a single packet of the Creme flavoured cappuccino powder, enough for making a 120 ml cup of coffee, which came free with something else I bought at the store. Yesterday evening I thought I’d try it out and see how it measured up to the cappuccinos I have had at cafes like CCD and Barista.

One word – yuck! It tasted so bad enough though I followed the instructions to the letter. The aftertaste was so terrible that I had to eat a banana just to get it outta my tongue!

The Fifth Estate

A collaboration between Britain, the US & Belgium, The Fifth Estate is a 2013 film about the news-leaking website WikiLeaks. It was directed by Bill Condon with Benedict Cumberbatch as its editor-in-chief and founder Julian Assange, and Daniel Brühl as its former spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Stanley Tucci, Carice Van Houten, Alexander Siddig and Laura Linney are featured in supporting roles. The film’s screenplay was written by Josh Singer based in-part on Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website (2011), as well as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy (2011) by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding.

The movie tells us about the meeting between Assange & Berg, which took place in 2007 at the Chaos Computer Club event in Berlin. Previously the two had only corresponded via email, spurred by Daniel’s interests in online activism. Together they work on  WikiLeaks, a website devoted to releasing information being withheld from the public while retaining anonymity for its sources. Their first major target is a large Swiss bank, Julius Baer, when reports of illegal activities being conducted in their Cayman Islands branch. The bank sues the organization but the judge rules in the favour of WikiLeaks and the jubilant duo push forward in publishing information over the next three years, including secrets on Scientology, revealing Sarah Palin’s email account, and the membership list of the British National Party. Initially Daniel loves their work but things star to strain when the BNP’s membership release which also had the addresses of the members. He loses his job when it is found out that he is collborating with WikiLeaks and his relationship is also tense. Assange laughs off his concerns & issues, implying his own life has been more troubling. Julian’s behaviour towards Daniel also is abrasive & thoughtless, such as abandoning Daniel & his parents at their house after accepting an invitation for dinner, before the dinner had started.

The movie has brief moments of flashbacks that hint at Assange’s troubled childhood, and involvement in a suspicious cult, and that Assange’s obsession with WikiLeaks has more to do with childhood trauma than wanting to improve the world. Julian lies about having 100s of workers; instead it’s multiple email addresses created & used by him. Julian also seems to have different lies about why his hair is white. Daniel fears that Julian’s agenda for WikiLeaks is more than just improving the world. However the real issue becomes when Daniel suspects that Julian’s initial claim of protecting the identity of the sources of the leaks is infact so people will come forward and that Assange does not actually care who gets hurt by the website. To this Assange says that more good is done by the leaks which outweigh the harm created. Daniel’s girlfriend urges him to make sure that Julian doesn’t go too far. And then the Bradley Manning leaks hit the website; hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, including a video of an airstrike in Baghdad, the Afghan and Iraq War Logs, and 250,000 US Diplomatic Cables. Daniel urges caution and the documents be reviewed first and, before releasing them along with several major newspapers, that the files be redacted to protect the source. Although Julian agrees, Daniels finds out that Assange has no intention of sticking to the agreement and is also grooming someone else to replace Daniel as his right hand man.

The redacted documents are eventually released by the newspapers, resulting in media and public uproar, forcing American informants to flee from their countries of residence and many America diplomats to resign. Before Assange can go further, however, Daniel and the other members of the original WikiLeaks team delete the site and block Assange’s access to the server. In a later interview Daniel discusses with The New York Times about the mistake in giving Assange such a large platform, even though the reporter feels that Julian may have done a good thing, though be untrustworthy himself.  Daniel also reveals the real reason for Assange’s hair – that it had been a custom of the cult he had been part of in Australia, also including that he once walked in on him dyeing it that colour. WikiLeaks continues on releasing information with Assange either regaining access or rebuilding it. Assange himself is shown to be living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in the wake of an outstanding warrant on sexual allegations. He also denounce the two films being made on him & WikiLeaks as they are based mostly on Daniel’s book and calls hiring him the one mistake he made.

Great acting by Cumberbatch depecting a flawed & troubled man who perhaps has so many layers to him beyond what is already known. Brühl & Thewlis also do really good work here but the film lacks any excitement or even a narrative flow. 7 outta 10!

Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace

Atleast for a day Arsenal went back to the top of the English Premier League after they heaved & hawed during a 2-0 victory at the Emirates stadium over Crystal Palace. Following a goalless first half, in which Palace were doggedly defending their goal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got his first of the season when he finished calmly after intelligent play from Santi Cazorla. Palace could have had an equalizer but Cameron Jerome’s diving header was excellently saved by Wojciech Szczesny. Oxlade-Chamberlain then doubled his tally for the season after he combined with team-mate Olivier Giroud. Until that point it looked like being a frustraling afternoon for or Gunners boss Arsene Wenger as Tony Pulis’s Palace appeared content to play for a point.

The result takes Arsenal back above Manchester City, although Manuel Pellegrini’s side can in turn regain top spot if they beat Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on Monday. But Arsenal, bidding to win the title for the first time since 2003-04, gained a vital three points to move two clear with Liverpool and Manchester United the opponents in their next two league games. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s last goal before this match came at the Maracana last June as England drew 2-2 with Brazil in Rio. But the 20-year-old, who missed four months of the season with a knee injury, was the difference between Arsenal and Palace, and could yet return to Brazil in the summer as part of Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad.

The Eagles’ only first-half chance fell to Marouane Chamakh, but the Moroccan, who scored 14 goals in 67 appearances in just over three years with the Gunners, wasted the opportunity with a heavy touch. Arsenal have 55 points after 24 games played.