Pitch Perfect

I’ll be honest, I picked up this movie to watch soley for two of their actresses – Anna Kendrick & Anna Camp. Both of whom I like a lot – Kendrick is so tiny & cute, I could just eat her up & Camp is a hot belle! I had seen a bit of the beginning of this film on tv a few weeks back and then decided to give it a try later. Pitch Perfect is a 2012 American musical comedy film directed by Jason Moore. Featuring an ensemble cast, including Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee, Adam DeVine, with John Michael Higgins, and Elizabeth Banks, the plot follows a college women’s a cappella group that competes against an all male rival group from their same college to go to the nationals.

Barden University’s all female a capella group the Barden Bellas performs well in the nationals until Audrey, their defactor leader) projectile vomits during her solo as she tends to do when under pressure. She and the group are humiliated and lost all chances of winning the competition It’s 4 months later and freshman Beca, a budding music producer, is reluctantly joining college under orders from her father, who is also a professor at Barden. He makes her attend classes for a year; if she still thinks it won’t work, she can go to LA to pursue her producer dreams with his blessing. But he wants his aloof daughter to also join a club and have the full college experience. Beca attends the fair for freshman and the recruiting for the various clubs, which also includes the popular all male a capella group The Treblemakers (seriously the way those guys pose and sing, I wanted to slap them!). After much persuasion from co-founder Chloe, who likes Beca’s singing, our wannabe producer (who really just mish mashes songs that have similar beats) has Beca join along with a motley crue of other freshmen Cynthia-Rose, Stacie Conrad, Lilly Onakuramara, and Fat Amy.

Meanwhile Beca also joins to work shifts at the campus radio station where fellow freshman Jesse, a new recruit for the Treblemakers, is also interning. He takes an instant liking to her and they become friends. Under Aubrey’s strict tutelage and choreography, the Bellas rehearse the same medley of songs that got them to the finals last year but it is apparent to almost everyone that it has gotten stale, which goes the same for their tight air-line stewardess style suits as their costumes. Despite that they place second in their state which means they get to go the semi-finals. A brief mock fight between an older group and the Treblemakers ensues after the competition which ends with some property being damaged and Beca is the only one caught and taken to the station. Her father is furious at her and tells her that he will no longer fund her trip to LA and Beca is upset and lashes out at Jesse who tries to stand up for her. Later at rehearsals Beca tries to get the group to be more adventurous and although the others seem receptive, Aubrey puts an end to it. At the semis they perform the same medley, which even gets the announcers yawning, when Beca improvises in between. This throws some of the girls for a loop and Aubrey berates Beca who ends up leaving the group.

The Bellas come in third in the competition behind the Treblemakers and the Footnotes. When the Footnotes are later disqualified from the national competition because the lead singer was in high school, the Bellas are called to take part instead. The Bellas reform after spring break, with the notable exception of Beca. During rehearsals, Chloe stands up against Aubrey’s stubbornness. The group starts to fall apart, which sparks a fight. Beca tries to makes up with Jesse but he declines as his feelings were hurt. Beca goes back to the Bellas and apologizes and they hash it out after some hilarious stuff! More receptive to changing things up, Aubrey asks Beca to lead them and they rehearse some newer material. Meanwhile, group leader Bumper leaves the Treblemakers after being offered a job as a back-up singer for John Mayer. With Bumper gone, Jesse persuades the Trebles to let his previously-rejected roommate Benji join the group in Bumper’s place. At the finals, after the Treblemakers wows the crowd, the Bellas come on stage in different outfits and a different medley which includes a song from Jesse’s favourite movie and he is thrilled. The Bellas end up winning and Jesse & Beca kiss at the end of the competition.

Now, this is a fun film with some hilarious stuff here and there. I do not like this vocal only style of music (it’s not really music) with guys straying and staying in boyband zone and really silly rap & hip-hop stuff with vocal beats, sounds effects and beat boxing. I usually stay away from that stuff but in this music it works. School Of Rock it is not but it has it’s moments, 7 outta 10!

Arsenal Blow 3-0 Lead To Draw Vs Anderlecht

In one of the worst displays of blowing a lead, Arsenal let slip a commanding 3-0 lead at home against Belgian champions Anderlecht  to draw 3-3. At the 60th minute the Gunners were looking dominant and their attack was glistening with power. Mikel Arteta’s penalty put the Gunners ahead after Danny Welbeck was fouled by Chancel Mbemba. Alexis Sanchez doubled the lead with a stunning 20-yard volley before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added the third after a superb run in the second half. That should have been it. That was all that was needed but you know what a 4th goal would have been nice. But you know what? It all came tumbling down like a house of cards in a gust of wind.

Arsenal’s bane in recent memory has been their lack of defensive cover and the need for a strong defensive holding midfielder who can bulk up the middle. And yet again that was what cost us precious points. Anthony Vanden Borre, who was terrible defensively for his team, reduced the deficit from close range but was clearly offside. However this slipped both the linesman (he was right there, how the hell did he miss it?) and the referee’s attention. Then Monreal, who was praised for his last couple of performances substituting in central defence in the absence of Koscielny was the guilty party in conceding a penalty and Vanden Borre stepped up to score it. The lapses were showing. Wenger brought on Lukas Podolski & Tomas Rosicky in the 81st minute to add fresh legs and speed to press on and perhaps create a goal scoring chance or two but to no avail. Arsenal were still set to book their place in the knockout stages when the inevitable happned substitute Mitrovic headed Andy Najar’s 90th-minute cross past Wojciech Szczesny from close range. Per Mertesacker the guilty one here in not being able to do enough to throw the pesky one off track.

Though Vanden Borre was clearly offside when he scored his first goal, there can be no excuses for the lapses of concentration that allowed the Belgian champions to take a point. The Londoners still need one point from their two remaining games – at home to Borussia Dortmund on 26 November and at Galatasaray on 9 December – to advance. But with Dortmund five points clear, their hopes of finishing top of the group and heading into next month’s draw as one of the seeded teams are fading. Wenger was furious at the end but look no further than the reflection in your mirror Arsene. And he stated in the post-game press conference, when asked whether he planned to strengthen his defence in the January transfer window, “Honestly it’s not the worry tonight”. This guy has lost the plot!

The “Kiss Of Love” Movement

It all started in the city of Calicut (Kozhikode in the local language). The “kiss of love” protest was planned after Hindu activists vandalised a cafe in Calicut city last week saying students were using the place to date. A disgusting report on a local News channel (who should be ashamed of themselves for creating a sensational type report) deploring the newer coffeeshops that have opened up near the beach area, a popular hangout for the youth of that city, secretly recorded young lovers (I assume that these are college age and perhaps just out of college kids) meeting in the private area behind the cafe “Down Town” and engaged in kissing and hugging. After the report was aired on tv, goondas from the Yuva Morcha group assaulted the cafe and it’s owners, causing damage to property as well.

Just days after that activists formed a small group and gathered massive support online via Twitter and their Facebook page. Their plan was to gather at the Marine Drive in Kochi (formerly Cochin) city on Sunday and kiss in protest. Dating and public displays of affection are still largely taboo in India. People of all ages, income brackets and ideologies soon joined in and supported the cause and made plans to meet up at Marine Drive. However, organizers failed to reach the proposed protest site after being taken into police custody as a preventive measure to ensure violence didn’t break out between them and hardline Hindus and Muslims. They were bundled into police vans about a kilometer away from Marine Drive, the proposed protest site. K.G. James, Kochi’s police commissioner, said 32 protesters were taken into police custody as a preventative measure and released a couple of hours later. They were not charged with any offence. Protests inspired by the event in Kerala were also held in other parts of India including Mumbai and Hyderabad on Sunday.

Meanwhile, organizers said their personal Facebook accounts were temporarily suspended and a page created to garner support was removed for several hours on Monday. The page has amassed over 74,000 likes since it was created last week. By late afternoon on Monday, it was accessible again. Soon after the original page disappeared, a replacement page was created and included a post containing a line by Chile’s Nobel-Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda that read, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” Facebook said the page received a large number of reports for spam and that’s why it was taken down. Users can report any page created on Facebook and can select options including “It’s harassing me or someone I know”, “I just don’t like it” or “Something else” when lodging a complaint. The page was restored back in a few hours.

This event may have had met with a “failure” in reaching it’s meeting point and having the organizers taken in by the cops (while the violent activists were roaming freely) but it succeeded in lighting a fire in the belly of most free thinking people in the state and elsewhere. Similar protests and actions are being organized in solidarity and we will see a sea change in the nation. No one has the right to beat up people who express their affection by kissing or hugging and no groups have the right to enforce their so called “morals” on the rest of us. Disgusting comments by backward thinking people – “If it was my sister seen kissing in the cafe then we would kill her” – screamed on comment on Youtube! The rights of the girls/women in her own life be damned! What do these people expect – that their sisters are only to be kept at home, learn cooking and then marry & have sex & later babies with the guy that their parents choose? She is to have no say in the matter at all? Thinking like this should be left in the 16th century where it belongs. I can’t believe this nation came up with the Kamasutra!

Danger, Danger Future Buyer!

The year is 2214, and your computer’s dusty hard drive has just resurfaced at an antique store. Write a note to the curious buyer explaining what he or she will find there.

Uh ho! Abort, delete, cancel! No way don’t do it. Do not connect that hard drive to your computer and check the files that are in there! No, no don’t!

Well, yeah you will find some porn pics and a lot of pics of women I like. I like to look at them. Over & over again. You will also find a ton of pics of rock stars and guitars – I love music. A ton more of pics of nice looking cities and places and food. Food porn galore!  Including my own set of photos of the food I like to eat. And coffee. And booze.

And some sports pics. Lots of pics of Star Trek, movies and tv shows. And….lots of music in the form of mp3s (almost 60gb worth of stuff). Some movies and tv show episodes as well. There’s a bunch of images I’ve downloaded of cool things, things I like and I am interested in from the internet. You know the stuff that you usually post to Tumblr and/or Pintrest! I call them “gallery” & “images” section. Lots of animals especially dogs, cats, puppies & kittens.

What else? Some drafts of stories I am working on and which I never seem to finish. Some application software installation files. Some wallpapers and a few wordpress themes. Etc etc. Nothing too exciting or controversial – except for the nudie pics! But hey, who doesn’t have them? Even your dad has them. And your priest (but those are of another kind) and the swami!

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

The Merry-Go-Round Of Kerala Politics

In Kerala we have this wonderful situation : When one party is in power, the opposition accuses them of illegal activities, crimes and corruption and will files cases, demand investigations and hold dharnas & harthals against it. In a few years the roles are reversed and the same two political goondas are at it again – the opposition is now in power and has to deflect the alleagations of illegalities, criminal & corrupt activities. And more cases filed, investigations, harthals and strikes.

All this causes unnecessary tension, strife and a whole lot of money and time wasted. And in the end WE the public are the big losers.Again and again and again!

Isn’t it high time Kerala did something about this? We know they are corrupt and greedy and liars – why do we keep electing them?

Pace Oddity : Slowing And/Or Speeding Things Up

If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?

Slowing down things that usually zooms by:  :D Sex! No, well actually yeah. I would want to slow down the pleasurable things so that they would last much, much longer. Orgasms anyone? Imagine a mind-blowing orgasm that lasts for 2 hours! Ah ah ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. LOL! I know I have a dirty mind but yeah why the heck not. So yes, all the pleasurable things in life be it as simple as a great drink or some awesome food, great music or movie, television shows, hanging out with friend, holidays, parties, time in a spa, sleep when you are really tired, good feelings, kissing and sex! All of the the good things and even life in general. As in the lifespan of everyone and your pets. We could live longer and have more fun and enjoyment and good times.

Speeding up things that normally drags on: all the negative things and the boring stuff. Exams, lectures, long travel in buses, trains and cars. The wait for your friends and or relatives to arrive. The wait for your favourite sporting events, movie releases and or tv show releases. Labour, pregnancies, birth, operation, painful procedures, distasteful and non-pleasant procedures, waiting at the hospitals, waiting for your wife to get ready ( :D ) and all other things that could take a long time.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

Arsenal 3 Burnley 0

Arsenal recorded a second successive league win for the first time this season as Burnley’s woes continued. The Clarets frustrated Arsene Wenger’s side for 70 minutes before the excellent Alexis Sanchez struck with a close-range header. Calum Chambers then added his first senior goal from a corner as Burnley’s resistance crumbled. Sanchez fired in his second from Kieran Gibbs’s cross to leave Sean Dyche’s side rooted to the bottom of the table. The scoreline was harsh on Burnley, who defended manfully for much of the game, but once Arsenal discovered a cutting edge the visitors’ rearguard was left brutally exposed. Howeve Arsenal should have scored atleast 2 of the 4 or 5 other chances they had. Sanchez scores his ninth and 10th goals of the season.

Carzola was guilty of missing a great opportunity while Lukas Podolski had three great shots on goal – the first of which was a brilliantly taken volley save by Burnley’s keeper Tom Heaton but had he headed it, it would probably have been a goal for sure. The Gunners had been behind in each of their previous four home league games this season but a repeat of that scenario was never likely against a Burnley side who offered little going forward. The hosts dominated possession in the opening exchanges but initially struggled to fashion clear-cut chances. Sanchez was their liveliest attacking outlet and it was he who created their best opportunity of the first period. The Chilean played in Danny Welbeck, who skipped past two defenders and beat Heaton only to see his shot come back off Kieran Trippier.

The Clarets continued to hold firm after the interval to raise hopes of an unlikely point but Arsenal’s breakthrough eventually arrived through the irrepressible Sanchez. Chambers sent in a fine cross from the right and summer signing Sanchez got above Trippier to power in his ninth goal of the season. Burnley’s resistance was broken and Arsenal took just two minutes to add a second. The Clarets failed to defend a corner and Chambers bundled home after Heaton had saved from Welbeck. After Walcott was introduced, the Burnley keeper continued to impress, brilliantly denying Lukas Podolski. But he could do nothing about Sanchez’s second as the visitors slumped to a sixth league defeat. Theo Walcott came on as a substitute in the 80th minute to make his first appearance since the FA Cup third-round win over Tottenham on 4 January.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

When Michael Bay was announced as taking the production reigns of the reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie there was understandably a huge outpouring of hurt, anger, disbelief and rage among the millions of TMNT fans. I remember watching & reading blog posts, Facebook posts and vlogs about the decision to hand over the production to Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes. The 2014 movie is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and stars Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner, and Will Arnett.

What I am surprised about though is that there reported origin story going to be that TMNT were infact aliens was scrapped and instead a very similar story of them being affected by a mutagen was used instead. Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start; it turns out that back in 1999 April O’Neal’s father, a scientist, was developing some type of mutagen while working for his boss Erick Sacks – a famous scientist and businessman. April was there as a child and took care of the 4 baby turtles and a rat that were injected with the mutagen; however O’Neal found out that Sack’s real intent was to unleash a deadly virus in NYC and once the place was quarantined, offer the mutagen as a remedy. The Japanese underworld lord Shredder leader of the Foot Clan, and adopted father of Sacks, is behind the plan as well. O’Neal set the lab on fire but was killed by Sacks but unknown to them April had wandered into the lab and seeing the lab in flames, set the rat and the turtles free into the sewers to save them. The mutagen had a positive effect on the animals; it made Splinter and the turtles grow into larger bipedal beings and made them intelligent by leaps and bounds. Splinter raised the boys as his sons and learned martial arts from a Ninjitsu book he found in the sewers.

So 15 years later we have the now 6ft tall teenaged turtles sneaking out of the home in the sewers to fight the oot clan who are raiding the city. April, a tv reporter who is assigned to lighter material goes out on her own to investigate the raids by the Clan when she spots a vigilant. Later at a subway she gets captured by the foot clan members who are holding hostages when the turtles beat them up and free the hostages in the dark. April follows them to a rooftop and takes a few photos on her camera but she is caught and her images are erased. She later realizes that there are the same turtles she helped to raise and named – Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo & Michaelangelo – and tries to do research on them. She is fired by her boss when she brings up the story of mutant turtles but convinces her colleague Vern Fenwick to take her to meet Sacks. She tells him about the turtles; he believes her and gives her a card (with a tracking device in it) to contact him if she finds out more. Meanwhile Splinter is angry that the turtles were fighting the Clan and orders them to bring April to him. He thanks April for rescuing them all those years ago but Shredder and his men track them down and enter the sewer hideout. A battle ensues in which Splinter is badly injured and Michealangelo, Leonardo & Donatello are captured and taken to Sack’s lab.

Raphael is thought to be and left buried under a pile of rubble but he comes to and carried Splinter to a table with April’s help. Splinter instructs Raphael and April to save the other three Turtles. April calls Vern to give them a ride to the laboratory where the other three Turtles are being held. When they arrive, April frees the Turtles, who join Raphael in fighting Shredder, but Shredder escapes. April, the Turtles, and Vern escape down a snowy mountain with The Foot in pursuit, and manage to get away after some ridiculous scenes. The Turtles have a showdown with Shredder at the top of Sack’s building in NYC while Vern & April get the mutagen from Sacks and April heads onto the rooftop to give it to the Turtles. With April’s help, the Turtles finally defeat Shredder who falls off the roof where he is immediately surrounded by the police. He is last seen touching the spilled mutagen. The last scene is the Turtles, now traveling in a van fighting crime having been given the go ahead by a recovered Splinter, accidentally destroying Vern’s new car.

When you compare the 90s movies and even the rather good animated movie from a few yeas back, this movie has none of the charm, the humour (it manages a couple of chuckles from me) and more violent noises than the first 3 movies put together! There’s nothing subtle about this and the Turtles come out as being brutish and stupidly silly – it’s like ordering a luscious pizza and finding lots of dirty mold on the cheese & bread! The origin story is stupid and April keeping them as pets and naming them – c’mon! Typical Bay film with lots of things going “boom” and loud talking and shouting and cars being damaged and buildings getting destroyed. 6 outta 10!

Two & Three Star Bars Get 1 Month Reprive

In a major relief to two-star and three-star bar owners, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday held that status quo order obtained by them from Supreme Court against the closure of bars would be valid for a period of one more month. With the High Court order, the bars will remain open for a month from Friday evening. The Bench, which observed that the appeals merit a deeper examination, held that the order issued by Supreme Court directing the state to maintain status quo in the implementation of the abkari policy needs to be preserved for the time being, pending consideration of the appeal. On the observation by the Single Bench that the hotels with classification of four-star and above are not frequented by youth, students or the less affluent sections of the society, the Division Bench said that “it does not agree with this proposition. The rich man alone behaves properly and the poor will not, is against the mandate of the Constitution of India and the will of our country”.

The relief was given by Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph while considering the appeals filed by the bar owners seeking to quash the Single Bench order which granted permission to function hotels having four and five star and heritage categories. The state will file an appeal on Tuesday against the Single Bench order directing to grant licence to four-star hotels. The bars cannot function for the next two days. Hence, there was no need for an interim order and the court can consider it on Tuesday, the counsel for the state argued.