The Amityville Horror (2005)

This review was written in 2006 on another blog that I had before this one. I’ve just made a few tweeks.

This is a movie based on the 1977 book which was ostensibly inspired by a real life mass murder in Long Island, New York. A movie was made in 1979, which is still one of my family’s favourite horror movies, although I can’t remember seeing it. And I didn’t know much about the story either, so that left me as a newbie to the movie. It stars Ryan Reynolds as George Lutz and Melissa George as Kathy Lutz. The couple, along with their three children, move into what they believe will be their dream home; unaware that it previously belonged to the DeFeo family, and that Ronald DeFeo, Jr. had murdered his parents and siblings with a rifle the year before. DeFeo had claimed it was the “voices” that caused him to do it. It doesn’t take long for the Lutz family to start hearing ghostly voices, and witnessing apparitions, including the ghost of Jodie DeFeo, who appears to little Chelsea as a friend.

George is the most affected, and he eventually becomes a danger to those around him. In the true story (at least, some believe it to be true) that inspired “The Amityville Horror,” George Lutz woke up demonized every night at 3:15 a.m., the exact time a boy living in his house a year earlier killed his family The local priest is called in to bless the house, and he fails, warning Kathy to leave the house before it’s too late.

There are some creepy moments in the film, which disappointing because it ends so quickly and without proper closure as such. There were so many angles that the movie makers could have tried, in order to really make this an excellent movie. I read that this version is more true to the book by Jay Anson and not the original movie of 1979. Hence people who saw & liked the first movie may have reservations after seeing the 2005 version. The kids in the movie do a terrific job, Melissa George plays a convincing young mother torn between protecting & raising her three kids and the love she has for her new husband.

But the top marks for the movie should go to Ryan Reynolds, who plays a good disturbed character. Reynolds is know more for his goofy characters and his funny roles like “Michael Bergin” in the sitcom series Two Guys & A Girl and as “Van Wilder” in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (and yeah Deadpool). A guy who normally makes us laugh and wince to hilarious & disgusting antics like farting & stuff, stuns in a total makeover role for him.

I give this film a 7 outta 10!

5 Day Stay In

After 5 days I go back to work today. This is because while, Wednesday was a public holiday due to it being Indian Independence Day, I didn’t go to work the next two days due to issues with the floods in Kerala. Even though my area in the city wasn’t affected many other areas were. No owning a vehicle, I depend on Uber or Ola to get to work and back. But some other areas were affected and hence there were no cabs running and buses were having it difficult. Hence I stayed back home for Thursday and Friday.

I stayed up late watching movies or tv shows. During the mornings I would drink coffee and check the news. Converse with my cousins and try to find out news and information about relatives who were stuck in other places. Twice I managed to get some food delivered – Friday night I bought some garlic chicken and last night we had some plain chicken curry and chapatties and gobi manchurian for my sister who is vegetarian now.

It was more calmer yesterday and it didn’t even rain and I could have gone out for a while but unless it was needed to buy some stuff I wasn’t in the mood to go out. We do have our small store near us and that sufficed for now. I didn’t enjoy these 5 days as it wasn’t the kind of holiday you would want away from work. I did have internet and could relax at home but it wasn’t enjoyable and it wouldn’t be right anyway.

A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place is a 2018 American science fiction horror film directed by John Krasinski, who stars with Emily Blunt, his real-life wife. The film is produced by Michael Bay’s company, Platinum Dunes,  Principal photography took place later in the year in upstate New York. In A Quiet Place, a family must live life in silence while hiding from extraterrestrial creatures that hunt by sound.

So that’s the premise of this film, which starts on day 89 of the attack. We don’t get to see how the alien creatures landed or we sent to earth and how the destruction started and wiped out almost everyone on earth, including most of the animal life. But there is this one family – dad Lee, mom Evelyn, older deaf & mute daughter Regan, sons Marcus & youngest Beau. They are scavenging supplies in a store and head on their way. Beau plays with a toy spacecraft which he finds in the store and he turns it on – a few seconds later he is killed by one of the creatures before Lee can get to him.

First of all, in this kinda situation why would you have your family walk single file, with the dad carrying the older son, mom just behind him, then the oldest kid and the small kid walking way at the back of the line? That is just asking for him to do something silly (like little kids would do) and get himself kid! It’s bad parenting! Over a year later they live in a farm in the countryside and Evelyn is pregnant and is due. Lee takes Marcus fishing with him and tells him, they can talk next to the waterfall and sound of falling water as the aliens won’t hear them talking softly as the louder noise will distract them. Ofcourse this is also the time when Evelyn has to go into labour and walking down the steps she steps on a sharp nail and drops a lantern.

This alerts a creature nearby & Evelyn hides but flips a switch that changes the exterior house lights to red as a danger signal to the others, and struggles to remain silent during her contractions. Marcus & Lee runs into an old man, who screams after his wife’s body is found and is killed by a creature. A chase happens in the end where a creature is tracking Evelyn, while another hunts Regan. Lee comes to the house, leaving Marcus with some fireworks, which he fires to distract the creatures. Regan and Marcus are chased to a grain silo where the creature attacks them Regan’s cochlear implant reacts to the proximity of the creature by emitting a piercingly loud high-frequency sound that drives it away. The children escape from the silo and reunite with Lee.

Lee sacrifices himself to save his kids and escape to meet mom and the new baby. When the creature returns to invade the basement, Regan, who realizes that the sound made by the implant distresses the creature, switches the device back on and places it on a nearby microphone, magnifying the feedback. Painfully disoriented, the creature exposes the flesh beneath its armored head, which Evelyn shoots, killing it. The family views a CCTV monitor, showing two creatures attracted by the noise of the shotgun blast approaching the house. With their newly acquired knowledge of the creatures’ weakness, the members of the family arm themselves and prepare to fight back.

While the storyline is unique, using silence and sign language to great effect, less backstory leaves me a bit baffled as to how come almost everyone else is dead and no other signs of civilization seemed to have survived. Where did the alien creatures come from, how did they get here, who sent them and set them loose on our planet? The horror is genuinely fresh and the kids do a great job. 7.5 outta 10!

Chelsea 3 Arsenal 2

Marcos Alonso’s late strike settled a chaotic Premier League classic in Chelsea’s favour after Arsenal fought back from two goals down and threatened to earn a point at Stamford Bridge. But, despite the victory, coach Maurizio Sarri said he did not believe his players were ready to challenge for Manchester City’s title. Sarri’s side had built a two-goal advantage inside the first 20 minutes as Pedro turned in Alonso’s cross and Alvaro Morata added another seconds after Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shot over from close range.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan wasted a similar opportunity before pulling one back with a low shot that Chelsea’s new £71m keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga should have saved, before Alex Iwobi put the Gunners on level terms. Aubameyang and Iwobi missed further chances before half-time and Chelsea controlled the second half, Alonso sweeping in substitute Eden Hazard’s cross nine minutes from time to make it successive wins for Sarri and two defeats for new Arsenal manager Unai Emery. This was a heavyweight Premier League meeting for newcomers Sarri and Emery – and they were provided with plenty of food for thought after an engrossing 90 minutes.

Emery is perpetual motion in his technical area, pacing constantly from almost the first minute, a blur of gesticulations and dramatic effect with cajoling and encouragement throughout. The Spaniard is still trying to put his imprint on this Arsenal team after the end of Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign, and he is very obviously a hands-on figure. It is also clear from the manner in which Arsenal got back into the game – even though they ended defeated – that his new players are fighting for their manager. His style of a high defensive line and playing out from the back is a work in progress but both Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi are alarmingly short of pace for such an approach and this needs to be addressed.

The Time Machine (2002)

I watched several movies during my break from work. The first one was a movie which I seen a few times before but on checking my blog, saw that I hadn’t reviewed it. The movie in question is The Time Machine, which is based on the famous book by H G Wells of the same name and similar to the 1960 movie. Arnold Leibovit served as executive producer and Simon Wells, the great-grandson of the original author, served as director. The film stars Guy Pearce, Jeremy Irons, Orlando Jones, Samantha Mumba, Mark Addy, Sienna Guillory and Phyllida Law, and includes a cameo by Alan Young, who also appeared in the 1960 film adaptation.

However it does not take the entire plot of the book or the previous movie that did stick to the original story. Instead we have a very loose storyline that leaves you not entirely satisfied with the ending. There was so much more could have done with the movie, but it was like they were in a rush to finish the film. Maybe the directors wanted to keep the film short and short it is….it falls way short of my expectations and I think it was a waste to shoot this movie without having a well written script & thought out process. The film is set in New York City instead of London, and contains new story elements not present in the original novel or the 1960 film adaptation, including a romantic backstory, a new scenario about how civilization was destroyed, and several new characters, such as an artificially intelligent hologram played by Orlando Jones, and a Morlock leader played by Jeremy Irons.

After his fiance Emma is killed in a mugging gone wrong, Alexander creates a time machine within a 4 year span. He goes back in time and saves Emma by avoiding the park where she was killed but later that night she is killed by a runaway horse carriage. Alexander realizes that any attempt to save Emma will result in her death through other circumstances. Distraught, Alexander travels to 2030 to discover whether science has been able to solve his question of how to change the past. At the New York Public Library, a holographic sentient librarian called Vox 114 insists that time travel is impossible. Alexander travels to 2037, when the accidental destruction of the Moon by lunar colonists has begun rendering the Earth virtually uninhabitable. While restarting the time machine to avoid debris, he is knocked unconscious and travels to the year 802,701 before reawakening.

The human race has reverted to a primitive lifestyle and the Earth has healed. Some survivors, called “Eloi”, live on the sides of cliffs of what was once Manhattan. Alexander is nursed back to health by a woman named Mara, one of the few Eloi who speak English. He observes the broken moon and suggests that maybe his teachings led to this future. He makes friends with Mara and her younger brother Kelan, one of few Elio who still speak English.  The next day, the Eloi are attacked and Mara is dragged underground by ape-like monsters. The creatures are called “Morlocks” and they hunt the Eloi for food. In order to rescue her, Kalen leads Alexander to Vox 114, which is still functional after 800,000 years.

Alex goes to an underground cave and is capture by the Morlocks and taken to an area where Mara sits in a cage. Alexander meets an intelligent, humanoid Morlock, who explains that Morlocks are the evolutionary descendants of the humans who went underground after the Moon broke apart, while the Eloi are evolved from those who remained on the surface. The humanoid Morlocks are a caste of telepaths who rule the other Morlocks. The Morlock explains that Alexander cannot alter Emma’s fate, because her death is what drove him to build the time machine in the first place: saving her would be a virtual impossibility due to temporal paradox. He then reveals that the Morlocks have brought the time machine underground, and tells Alexander to get into it and return home. Alex does but fights the Morlock and ages him by pushing him outside of the machine’s temporal bubble.

Alexander stops in the year 635,427,810, revealing a harsh, rust-colored sky over a wasteland of Morlock caves. He goes back and saves Mara, destroying the rest of the Morlock by starts the time machine and jams its gears, creating a violent distortion in time. Pursued by the Morlocks, Alexander and Mara escape to the surface as the time distortion explodes, killing the Morlocks and destroying their caves along with the time machine. Alexander begins a new life with Mara and the Eloi. Back in his own time, his housekeeper is talking with Philby, Alex’s best friend, who offers her a job in his household as he knows that Alex isn’t coming back.

I like this movie a lot but there are two many changes that don’t seem to fall in properly and the explanations of the newer themes and changes takes away the simplistic yet romantic charm of the original storyline. Nevertheless I still like it enough to rate it a 7.5 outta 10!

RIP Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, whose gospel-rooted singing and bluesy yet expansive delivery earned her the title “the Queen of Soul,” has died, a family statement said Thursday. She was 76.Franklin died at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, surrounded by family and friends, according to a statement on behalf of Franklin’s family from her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.

The first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she had 88 Billboard chart hits during the rock era, tops among female vocalists. At the peak of her career — from 1967 to 1975 — she had more than two dozen Top 40 hits. Over the course of a professional career that spanned more than half a century, Franklin’s songs not only topped the charts but became part of the vernacular.

The “official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit,” the family statement said. Franklin’s fans paid tribute with flowers and a crown left on her Hollywood Walk of Fame star in Los Angeles. Her death comes three days after a source close to Franklin told CNN’s Don Lemon that the singer was in hospice care.

Joel Campbell Leaves For Frosinone

Joel Campbell is ‘very happy’ to be at Frosinone after agreeing a three-year deal to sign for the Italians. Sport Mediaset in Italy are now reporting that the Costa Rican forward has arrived at the club. They quote him as saying “I am very happy to be here,” when he arrived for his medical this morning.

Frosinone were promoted ahead of this season to Serie A for only the second time in their history. They reportedly tried to bring in Lucas Perez this summer, but it was clear from his agent’s comments that the Spaniard wanted to remain in London and the Premier League. The Serie A side have now taken advantage of the connections they built up with Arsenal during that negotiation to move for another out-of-favour forward at the club instead.

Campbell struggled last season with a number of injuries that restricted his playing time to just 142 minutes with one goal and one assist to his name. A knee operation last summer kept him sidelined until October. That was followed by a sprained ankle just a couple of weeks later that kept him out even longer. He only returned to action at the start of March after 126 days out. Campbell has never really complained about being shunted around Europe by Arsenal nor about the lack of opportunities afforded to him by his parent club.

RIP Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indian politician who thrice served as the Prime Minister of India, first for a term of 13 days in 1996, for a period of eleven months from 1998 to 1999, and then for a full term from 1999 to 2004, passed away today. He was 93 years old. Apart from politician with great oratory skills, Vajpayee was also an acclaimed writer who wrote several poems.

He was a member of the Indian Parliament for over four decades, being elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house, ten times, and twice to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house. He served as the Member of Parliament for Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh until 2009 when he retired from active politics due to health concerns. Vajpayee was among the founding members of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh which he also headed from 1968 to 1972. He was the Minister of External Affairs in the cabinet of Prime Minister Morarji Desai.

When the Janata government collapsed, Vajpayee restructured the Jana Sangh into the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980. He was the first Indian prime minister who was not a member of the Indian National Congress party to have served a full five-year term in office. He was conferred India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, by the President of India in 2015. Vajpayee remained unmarried. He adopted Namita Bhattacharya, the daughter of BN Kaul and Rajkumari Kaul.

A Kerala Flood Update

The death toll from the fresh onslaught of rain in Kerala since August 9 has climbed to 75 as the state is reeling under one of the worst floods in history. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had once again called PM Modi on Thursday to seek more aid considering the situation. or the first time in history, the state has opened 35 of its 39 dams. Meanwhile, operations at the Cochin International Airport have been suspended till August 26 due to flooding in and around the airport. A red alert has been issued in all the 14 districts of the state.

Train services have been disrupted and road transport services are in disarray with stretches of roads coming under water. Officials said a holiday has been declared for educational institutions in all districts barring Kasaragod for day while colleges and universities have postponed exams. Rise in flood waters in Periyar River due to the rains and opening of all shutters of all major dams including Mullaperiyar, Cheruthoni, part of Idukki reservoir, and Idamalayar, have severely affected lives of people in downstream areas.

My uncle and aunt in Chenganuur have their rented house flooded and they moved to the second floor. The second floor is quite higher than the ground level so they are ok for now. The Navy is patrolling on boats and checked on them but they are good for now. Tomorrow they might have to move. They have biscuits, bread and some snacks with water. My cousins in Aluva have had to move from their home to their mother’s family home yesterday but the water levels in Aluva and neighbouring suburb of Kalamaserry was rising way too high. So they evacuated based on the advice of authorities and moved to a flat that one of my cousin’s own in another area of Cochin.

No cabs are running today and even autos seem to be rare. I stayed home from work after thinking about it for a while. A lot of people did.

Food Review #244

The Derelict Burger @ The Grill Lab (Edapally) – Not for the faint of heart! Two big beef patties, a fried egg, cheese, peppercorn sauce and Bolognese sauce and the weird choice of coleslaw. It’s a 10 tissue burger and it’s really messy. It’s way too much stuff between two buns. I rated it a 10 outta 10 but after a while, the sauces started overwhelming the patties and extra large jalenos started becoming a bit too much. I found out that there is such a thing as too much meat in a burger. I recommend every meat lover to try it once. My cholesterol went through the roof.

1 Book Or 1 Show

Would you rather read only one book for a year or only watch one television show for a year, and which book or show would you pick?

I don’t think it’s possible for me to pick just one book to read for an entire year. Besides I don’t read that many books these days and despite having been a voracious reader for most of my life, up until the age of 33. Nowdays if I do get to read a book it takes several weeks for me to get through it, whereas I used to read 10 books in a few days. But I guess I will pick It by Stephen King since it’s my favourite and it’s pretty lengthy.

Tv show – if I had to pick just one tv show that I can watch for an entire year and cannot watch another, I guess I could go the easy route and select a long running show like Supernatural (13 seasons and still going strong), Bones (12), CSI (15) or Stargate SG-1 which ran for 10 seasons plus 2 tv movies. But I will go with Star Trek TNG both for content and variation in their themes and stories. It ran for 7 seasons and, I guess we can’t include the 4 theatrical films, but it offers a whole lot more episodes.

Unless I cheat there and just say Star Trek which means, 3 seasons of TOS, 7 of TNG, 7 of Deep Space Nine, 7 of Voyager, 4 of Enterprise and 1 season of Discovery (which is currently ongoing).

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR AUGUST at The SitsGirls

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Steven Spielberg Directed Movies

Steven Spielberg is the greatest movie man of our times. His movies will go down as some of the best cinematic experiences of all time. This is my top 11 favourite films of his which he directed and so none of the ones he only produced make the list. That might be for another day.

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Adventures Of Tintin
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • Jurassic Park / Jurassic Park : Lost World
  • Schindler’s List
  • E.T.
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Jaws
  • The Indian Jones Movies
  • The Terminal
  • War Of The Worlds

Former Colleague Takes His Own Life

Yesterday as I was getting into my office building, a former colleague, who works in one of the two other companies in the same building, came by to say hello. As we stepped into the elevator he asked me if I had come to know about Sijo. Sijo was another former colleague who worked with me in FirstSource from 2007-2009. He then left to go and join the US Army’s admin department in Iraq and then would later marry a Malayalee nurse living in the US.

He got posted to the US and joined the Army in the mainland. He kept in touch very briefly mainly on Facebook. I remember he would post once a month his earnings as per his investments in the stock market or shares and stuff. Each post would go like this ‘Thank you Jesus or heavenly father for the profit you have given me’. He would also shared a screenshot of his app or website where it showed his earnings.

What I got to know yesterday is that he had borrowed a lot of money from several sources to invest and I guess he ran into a lot of losses and debts. When they came a calling he decided that the only way out was to end his own life. He leaves behind his wife and family (I don’t think he has kids). His funeral is this Friday.

RIP Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart

Jim (The Anvil) Neidhart, who formed the popular Hart Foundation tag team with brother-in-law Bret in the 1980s, died Monday. He was 63. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office in Wesley Chapel, Fla., said Neidhart fell at home, hit his head and “succumbed to his injury.” No foul play was suspected. Neidhart, a native of Tampa who turned to wrestling in 1979 following a professional football career with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys, was trained by WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart in Calgary.

Married to Stu’s daughter, Ellie, he became a member of the legendary Hart family before joining the WWE with Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith and Bret (Hit Man) Hart. Neidhart wrestled mostly for WWE from 1985 to 1997 and was known for his pink and black gear, maniacal laugh and goatee. Neidhart and Hart held the tag belts for nearly a year after beating The British Bulldogs in early 1987. They enjoyed another long reign as champs after defeating Demolition in mid-1990. Neidhart also teamed with Bret’s younger and late brother, Owen, and wrestled in singles competition. The two Hart brothers joined Neidhart, Smith and Brian Pillman in a re-formed Hart Foundation faction that enjoyed a strong run in 1997.

Neidhart, who earned the “Anvil” nickname after breaking the California high school record in shot put, was initially managed by Jimmy (The Mouth of the South) Hart as the Hart Foundation went on to capture two WWE world tag team championships. Ross Hart, his brother-in-law and a former pro wrestler, told The Associated Press that Neidhart suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and it was believed he suffered a grand mal seizure on Monday. Jimmy Hart said Neidhart seemed in good health when they last saw each other in April on WrestleMania weekend.

Neidhart competed in Calgary Stampede wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling in the early 1980s before joining the-then World Wrestling Federation in 1985. In the ’90s, Neidhart was part of the Hart Foundation group that feuded with Stone Cold Steve Austin. He last competed in the organization in 1997, but one of his three daughters, Natalya, is a WWE superstar. Neidhart wrestled briefly for other wrestling promotions and had brushes with the law and spent time in drug rehabilitation later in life. But he found a second act as comic relief on “Total Divas” and was filmed going shopping with his daughter and teaching wrestlers how to golf.

Arsenal 0 Manchester City 2

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side will get even better as they deservedly beat Arsenal on the opening day of the Premier League season. The Gunners were playing their first competitive game without Arsene Wenger in charge since 1996 but were well beaten by the defending champions. Raheem Sterling put City ahead in the 14th minute when he got the ball on the corner of the box, cut beyond two players and rifled home from 20 yards.

Riyad Mahrez went close to scoring on his league debut for City when his free-kick was saved by Petr Cech, who denied Aymeric Laporte from the follow-up. It was always going to be a tough first game for Unai Emery at Arsenal and they had few clear-cut chances – with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Alexandre Lacazette shooting wide from outside the box. Sterling, who was selected on the left wing over Leroy Sane, opened the scoring when he received a pass from Mendy, making his first Premier League start since September.

Record goalscorer Sergio Aguero should have had his 202nd City goal when he was played in one-on-one from the halfway line but he shot right at Cech – with De Bruyne free in the centre. Bernardo finally sealed the points when he finished from Mendy’s cutback. It would be unfair to judge Arsenal – or Emery, who replaced legendary manager Wenger this summer – based on a performance against the country’s outstanding team.