The Foreigner

I haven’t watched a Jackie Chan film in ages. I respect the guy and the torture he puts himself through in some of his action movies and he is hardworking as hell but I haven’t wanted to watch any of his stuff in many, many years. The Foreigner is a 2017 action thriller film directed by Martin Campbell and written by David Marconi, based on the 1992 novel The Chinaman by Stephen Leather. The British-Chinese co-production stars Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Michael McElhatton, Liu Tao, Charlie Murphy, Orla Brady and Katie Leung, and follows a businessman who seeks revenge for the death of his daughter.

Quan’s daughter Fan is killed in a bombing of a bank (she was in the store next to it) the former retired Vietnam War special operations forces soldier who now runs a Chinese restaurant in London, is devastated. His now dead wife and he were shot as Thai pirates boarded their ship, that was taking them and other migrants from Vietnam to Singapore many years ago, and stole their two young daughters. Fan was his third child and his wife died during childbirth. A group of rogue IRA activists calling themselves the “Authentic IRA” claim responsibility.

Quan tries to bribe Scotland Yard officer Richard Bromley for the names of the bombers but is rejected and told to stay away while the investigation is going on. Quan next focuses on the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Liam Hennessy, who speaks publicly about his status as a former leader of the IRA forces while condemning the bombing. He haunts the Minister after being rejected on multiple occasions and bombs his office, and threatening more unless he gets the bombers’ names. Hennessy, while having ordered the bombings to come with warnings as part of a political ploy to solidify the radical factions, does not actually know who the bombers are, as they are rogue members of the IRA. He is in fact outraged that no warnings were given and civilians were killed. Hennessy tries to identify the bombers by changing the code words they use after any bombings are carried out, but the rogue members catch on and outwit him.

Meanwhile, he sends numerous mercenaries and personal enforcers after Quan, who manages to escape or defeat all of them.  Quan then brings the fight to Hennessy, hiding in the woods outside his Belfast farmhouse and attacking it with more homemade bombs. As Hennessy’s men attempt to track him in the woods, Quan uses traps to disable a group of three and attempts to interrogate one of them, but he is shot in the shoulder by a fourth mercenary and flees. Hennessy decides to send for his nephew Sean Morrison, who was part of the Royal Irish Regiment with Bromley, after Quan in hopes that his tracking skills can be used to stop him for good. A second bombing, this time a double decker bus in London sees Hennessy contact British politician Katherine Davies, and promises the capture of the bombers in exchange for the pardoning of some of his former IRA comrades.

Bromley’s team manages to identify the bombers and relays the info to Hennessy who then relays the information to Sean. After a knife fight in the woods, Quan manages to capture Sean, who reveals the name of one of the bombers: Patrick O’Reilly, who was also behind the bombing that killed Quan’s family. Quan lets Sean go out of mutual respect. ennessy, meanwhile, interrogates his head enforcer McGrath, discovering that the true mastermind is Mary, Hennessy’s wife, who also hired Maggie; she has never let go of her anger at the British for the death of her brother and resents Hennessy’s working for them. Hennessy executes McGrath for his betrayal and for involving his wife and mistress, then orders Sean to execute Mary—with whom Sean is having an affair—before returning to America.

Quan manages to get to the bombers before the cops under the pretense of fixing a gas leak and single-handedly kills all but Maggie. The police raid the apartment and find a severely wounded Maggie, whose real name is Sara McKay. They torture her into revealing the location of their next bomb, which has been planted in a laptop to be detonated on a plane heading to a security conference and they are able to get to it in time. With the threat resolved, Bromley orders the operation leave “no loose ends” and Maggie is executed. Hennessy gets a call from Davies, who tells him that he will retain his position as a politician but will be under her thumb. However Quan confronts Hennessy and forces him to post a picture of himself kissing Maggie to the internet, telling him that he should be ashamed of himself and the whole world will know that he is a terrorist.

Bromley realizes Quan’s role in the events and has him put under surveillance, but decides not to take any further action. The film ends with Quan returning to his restaurant, and Lam embracing him as he puts the past behind him. Good action and fights. I found the whole political angle and the IRA bombing business more interesting that Quan’s quest for revenge. A 7.5 outta 10!

Boxing Day Bore

Well back to work I go. It’s only been three days but I feel lazy. Also, I have not enjoyed them as much because a)Saturday I slept most of the day away having woken up up only by 1:45 pm (whoa!) and then feeling so tired that after brushing my teeth and having lunch I went straight back to bed, though instead of sleeping I watched a movie and some tv before getting up at around 5pm.

Saturday I slept late, by 4 am, watching movies all night and Sunday I went out. Monday I was in for Yule and after a nice big lunch of fried chicken, fries and beer I slept for 90 minutes. And we have had mosquitoes, buzzing around all late evening and night making it hard for me to sleep and enjoy myself. Sheesh! And it’s been warm. Well altleast the day time is fine, the mornings are actually breezy.

I watched 6 movies this 3 day weekend – Jeepers Creepers 3, James Bond : A View To a Kill, Demolition Man, Gremlins, Indian Jones & The Raiders of The Lost Ark & Alien. That’s a good variety of films don’t you think? Now it’s back to work and I don’t want to go!

Eboue’s Situation Gets Better

Turkish club Galatasaray have offered to employ their former player and Ivorian International Emmanuel Eboue. The club is reported to have offered the player the role of an assistant coach for their under 14 side. The story of Eboue’s financial and familial woes was headlines over the weekend after the U.K. Mirror reported that the club-less defender was on the brink of suicide after losing all his earnings in a bitter divorce case. A soccer website, Futbolarena Turkey, said Eboue will begin work as he aims to obtain a coaching licence. The Istanbul side will rope him in, give him an accommodation and a decent salary as he works his way up the ladder.

He had a playing stint with the Turkish giants between 2011 and 2016 having transferred from Arsenal. He played 77 games and score four goals during his stay. The ex-Arsenal man admitted to being pushed on the brink of committing suicide given the turn of events. “I want God to help me,” he says. “Only he can help take these thoughts from my mind,” he told the Sunday Mirror. He said a court has awarded all his earnings to his estranged wife adding that he has not seen his children since June this year. He is currently unable to play due to ill-health and also has a FIFA ban around his neck after a row with his agent.

The player said he had no money to hire a lawyer and bailiffs were after him to serve him with documents to hand over his apartment to his wife. He admits to being naive with money and signing all documents that his wife presented to him. He adds that he more often than not signed bank documents without knowing exactly what they said or meant. His wife Aurelie has yet to respond to the allegations.

Happy Yule To You

Well, happy 25th of December to everyone wherever you are. Just another Monday but I get the day off so I am happy about it. Today I was planning on just staying at home and enjoying myself with some movies and buy dinner via home delivery and drink a couple of beers. Well my folks ended up going to a relative’s house along with my sister and niece for lunch so I thought I’d buy some chicken for meself.

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I thought maybe pizza from Dominos or Pizza Hut for a while, since they go really well with beer but I was really in the mood for fried chicken. So I ordered a three piece from Chick King with French fries, some mayo and garlic sauce in these small containers. It was yum! I drank my beer and ate my chicken and enjoyed a quite afternoon at home.

I fell asleep at 3pm and took a long nap so I will be up for a while after I go to bed so I will watch a movie or two. Hope you all have had a good day.

Relaxation Man

After a few weeks I finally went out for a while. Nothing special planned but just for some good food and a bit of shopping. I woke up very late as I had slept so late in the night or early morning. I finally fell asleep by 4 am after tossing and turning and only woke up by around 10 am. I had just a coffee and then showered and shaved and waited till almost 12:30 pm before heading out.

I hired an Uber and went to The Burger Junction in Panampilly Nagar. On an empty stomach a nice, juicy burger with bacon and fries and a sweet Nutella shake is awesome. I spent some time there before leaving for Center Mall. I shopped for some secret Santa gifts and ended up selecting a customized coffee mug and a men’s wallet. After that I went to Big Bazaar two floors up and bought a few things like shampoo, deodrant, talcum powder, apples, snacks and chocolates.

Then I went to Subway as I was still a bit hungry and had a Mountain Dew and a club sub before hailing another Uber and going to the self service BevCo in Gandhinagar and bought six beers. Hmm it’s been a while since I had any. Then I made my way back home for some relaxation. In the late evening while watching YouTube I downed a couple of those beers and then had dinner by 9pm. Now watching movies.

Jeepers Creepers 3

Jeepers Creepers 3 is a 2017 American horror film written and directed by Victor Salva and the third installment in the Jeepers Creepers franchise, taking place in between Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers 2. Jonathan Breck reprises his role as the Creeper. The movie stars Meg Foster as Gaylen Brandon, Gabrielle Haugh as Addison Brandon, Stan Shaw as Sheriff Dan Tashtego, Joyce Giraud as Deputy Dana Lang & Gina Philips appears in a cameo at the end.

Set between the events of the first two films, the movie initially shows us a scene from 23 years before the events of the film in which the Creeper takes a victim and a man finds sees a severed hand fall from the sky. Now, 23 years later the police discover the Creeper’s truck filled with dead bodies. The truck is booby trapped and a cop is injured. Sheriff Dan Tashtego, who has just arrived with a small group of soldiers informs Sergeant Davis Tubbs that the creature is thousands of years old and must be stopped.

However the truck, which is headed for the impound by a tow truck and a deputy is attacked and the Creeper takes the driver as Deputy Lang watches in fear.  The next day, Gaylen Brandon sees a vision of her son Kenny, who was killed by the Creeper twenty-three years earlier. He warns her that the Creeper will return soon to uncover something buried on the property and will kill anyone there, including her and her granddaughter, Addison. 4 teenager bikers find the truck in a field and approach it only for one of them to be harpooned and the rest killed off by the creature. Addison goes into town to buy hay for her horse. When she can’t pay for it, her friend Buddy helps her out and the two drive up to a plantation house to deliver more hay. There they find the owner and a couple other men hiding under cars, but before they can get help the Creeper arrives and abducts Addison, leaving Buddy traumatized.

Gaylen shows the officers the severed hand which when held gives a person secrets about the Creeper in a vision. Addison meanwhile wakes up and finds one of the bikers, Kirk, in the truck and they try to escape but Kirk ends up being speared in the head by a boobytrap. Tashtego and Tubbs discover the Creeper’s location and with the soldiers they approach the truck and shoot at it but the bullets rebound against the strong metal and a solider wielding a large gun is killed. The creature explodes a device that falls under their car and Tashtego and Tubbs find them knocked over in the field. Tubbs gets out and tries to shoot the Creeper, but all of his attempts fail. Before the Creeper can kill Tubbs, Tashtego calls him and he goes for him instead.

When the Creeper jumps into the air, Tashtego shoots him several times with the machine gun, but the bullets have no effect and he is tackled to the ground and struck in the head with an axe. When the Creeper stands he removes his axe from Tashtego’s head and walks away, while Tubbs watches from afar. At night Addison escapes when the Creeper attacks her inside the van but she causes the spear to shoot out and impale him in the head. Even this only temporarily phases him but she escapes, doges his spear and is found by Gaylen & Buddy. The Creeper is hit by a truck but he doesn’t die and kills the driver and rages in anger when he sees a sign that says “We know what you are”.

The next day, Addison says goodbye to Buddy as he leaves for a high school basketball game in the same bus that is attacked by the Creeper in the second movie. Twenty-three years later, Trish Jenner is seen typing a letter on a computer calling for people to fight against the Creeper when it returns, and vows to get revenge on the Creeper for the death of her brother, Darry. Which means we could have another sequel and I hope so. This is one of my favourite horror franchises, especially the first one which I think is awesome. The second was ok and this one lacked much tension or horror and is more or less a slasher film with a supernatural being at the helm. It’s good enough for a 6.5 from me.

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 3

Roberto Firmino’s powerful finish earned Liverpool a draw in an incredible Premier League encounter that had seen Arsenal score three goals in just five second-half minutes. The Gunners had been trailing 2-0 after Philippe Coutinho scored his first headed league goal in England before Mohamed Salah added a second early in the second half with a deflected strike. But Arsenal suddenly came alive as Alexis Sanchez headed in Hector Bellerin’s cross from close range before Granit Xhaka’s thumping strike was too powerful for Simon Mignolet’s weak save. Barely two minutes later Mesut Ozil put Arsenal ahead with a neat clip over Mignolet.

Play swung from one end of the pitch to the other at blistering pace, with both sides looking capable of scoring with every attack. But it was Liverpool who had the final say in one of the most thrilling Premier League encounters in years as Petr Cech could only take the sting out of Firmino’s shot and the ball bounced over the line. The point meant Liverpool held onto fourth place, with Arsenal remaining fifth – a point behind the Reds. This had looked like being a routine win for Liverpool after a dominant first half. They led through Coutinho’s clever header and should have had more but for some uncharacteristically wasteful finishing by Sadio Mane and Salah. However, it was not long until the Premier League’s top scorer had his 15th of the season, and so began an incredible six minutes…

52 mins: Salah races on to Firmino’s superb pass and makes it 2-0 with a deflected finish. Arsenal, who have not had a single shot on target, look beaten.

53 mins: Out of nowhere, Arsenal are back in it. Sanchez is well placed to nod in Bellerin’s cross from close range.

56 mins: What’s going on!? Arsenal are level! Xhaka tries his luck from 25 yards and the ball fizzes through Mignolet’s hand.

58 mins: Goals! Goals! Goals! Arsenal are ahead as Ozil is on to Alexandre Lacazette’s backheel before clipping the ball over Mignolet.

The Gunners were no doubt helped by Liverpool’s poor defensive performance, but Arsene Wenger praised the character of his side to stage such a fightback.

Your Ultimate Christmas Movie?

I am not religious and neither do I celebrate Christmas for family reasons because a) I am an atheist and b) my family is Hindu and not Christian so even the cultural thing doesn’t come into the picture. I am grateful for any holidays I can get (just the 25th & the 1st for this year) to relax and drink some beer and eat some good food. Repeat that for the next weekend as well since New Year’s falls on a Monday. Yipee!

Part of the fun of this time of the year is to watch Christmas movies. For me and some others it’s not the traditional kind of Christmas movie or involving a Santa atleast. My movies are usually Gremlins, Die Hard or Home Alone. It’s always these three for me and I alternate between the three each 25th.

Off the top of my head I can only think of these three but I guess the Dutch horror film Sinter Klaus is another option. What are your Christmas movies?

Arsenal 1 West Ham United 0

Manager Arsene Wenger says Arsenal cannot afford further injuries over the busy Christmas period after striker Olivier Giroud suffered a hamstring problem in their Carabao Cup quarter-final win over West Ham. Wenger, who made 11 changes from the weekend triumph over Newcastle, saw his side struggle to break down the defensively resolute visitors in the first half. But England forward Danny Welbeck broke West Ham’s resistance just before the break, turning in Mathieu Debuchy’s header across goal as the hosts stayed on course for a first League Cup win since 1993.

The Gunners’ night was soured by the loss of Giroud to an injury that could rule him out for three weeks, while Francis Coquelin also limped out of the match late on. With Arsenal embarking on a run of 10 games in 36 days, Wenger admitted the loss of Giroud had come as a blow. West Ham boss David Moyes also named a much-changed side but they failed to click in attack, with the belated introductions of Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho and Marko Arnautovic unable to undo the home defence. Neither Joe Hart, restored to the West Ham side for the rested Adrian, nor Arsenal’s second-choice goalkeeper David Ospina were forced into much action in what was a disjointed contest.

Moyes’ side had been content to sit back and try to catch Arsenal on the counter during a low-quality first half, but even with the attacking changes they could not muster a single shot on target. Arsenal will face Chelsea in the semi-finals. The Blues host the first leg in the week commencing 8 January. The second leg is two weeks later. Manchester City and Bristol City meet in the other semi.

My Personal Mascot

What Would Your Personal Mascot Be?

A Golden Retriever. Just like my beloved Shawny who was my best friend from 1994 till 2005. And who set the standards for love, loyalty and devotion. That’s what I want to be known for and my personal mascot should also have those characteristics.

I have never known a day that went by when she was with me, that she didn’t cheer me up with her love and affection. When I was sad, she was there with a wagging tail and a loving lick saying “Cheer up human”! When I came home from work post midnight, anytime between 2:30 am to 4:00 am, as I reached the gate in the company cab, Shawny would be waiting there for me. Everytime, without fail, at the gate. With a look on her face that would be either “I am been waiting for you all day, hurray that you are back” and in her later years “Finally, where have you been all this time, young man?”.

I need a dog in my life but for long it has been as if I was replacing her. It’s not, as I have come to realize. And it would nice to have another dog for a few more years.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Staring & Swiping Do Not Mix

Well I’m back to 7:30 pm to 4:30 am shifts again. This seems to be something more of the norm for my department now. And I think I prefer that because of the fact that I seem to get some free time at home and I don’t have to stretch too much at work either.

I made a mistake a lunch a few days ago which I forgot to mention. I had lunch at the office cafeteria and my meal came to Rs.75. When I swiped my card, the guy at the counter had pressed Rs.75 but I tried entering my pincode a little too soon and either I or the guy at the counter must have accidentally entered a 0 at the end so it actually swiped for Rs.750! Gasp! Egads!

I realized the error as I was eating lunch so I went back to the counter and showed it to the guy in charge. He checked my order and the amount and gave me back the change. Ofcourse my friends at work who I were having lunch with said that I made the error because I was ogling some chick at another table! I swear I only stared for like most of the time!

Wannabe Wanderer

Tell us about the top five places you’ve always wanted to visit.

  1. Canada – always Canada. Well ever since 1998 or so, I have wanted to move to Canada and explore her cities, towns and countryside. No other place I’d rather visit and possibly even live in.
  2. The UK – England first, Scotland, Wales & N.Ireland too. The sights, the towns, the pubs, the people, the FOOTBALL!
  3. Parts of the US – I guess it’s safe to say that for someone like me there are some areas of the US that are scary right now. There always seems to be crazy things happening. But the USA has many areas I would love to see and enjoy.
  4. The Netherlands & Belgium – Holland is one of my favourite places to see sights off and I put Belgium along with them as they are similar in some cases. Beautiful cities and towns and football, beer and food!
  5. Scandinavian countries – I have had a life long love affair with Sweden (or atleast since 1987) and I want to see her. Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland too. Some of the cities in these countries look downright amazing.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Power Rangers (2017)

Power Rangers is a 2017 American superhero film based on the franchise of the same name, directed by Dean Israelite and written by John Gatins. It is the third Power Rangers film, and is a reboot. The film features the main characters of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television series with a new cast, starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Banks.

I remember watching some of the tv shows as a kid and late into my teens and I remember watching the first movie once or twice. It was never one of my favourites as the franchise has always been aimed at kids and teens and never appealed to me much once I hit 20. This obsession with teens as superheros must have some qualities that certain people like but it never worked well for me. Over the years I had forgotten about this franchise and only remember it in 2011 when I started binge watching the show Flashpoint and saw that Amy Jo Johnson was also in Power Rangers.

This reboot has 5 young adults acting as teens who acquire the Power Coins in some rock formation. The Coins were brought to earth by the six interplanetary warriors, the Power Rangers, who arrived 66 million years ago, tasked with protective life on earth. They were betrayed and destroyed by a former Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa, but the leader Zordon is able to get their robot Alpha 5 to cause a meter shower that wipes out the dinosaurs and kills him while knocking off Rita into the bottom of the ocean where she supposedly dies and decays. Jason, Billy, Kimberly, Zack & Trini are forged into a team and practice their newly acquired super strength and powers.

A fishing boat pulls up Rita’s corpse and once out of the freezing cold, she thaws and attacks humans to gain her powers and former self back. Zordon’s consciousness is still in an ancient ship buried in an underground cavern beneath the sea. They have 11 days before Rita reaches full power and summons her minion Goldar (a creature made out of gold that she acquires from stores and very originally named) and destroys all life on earth. After training for 11 days the team finally bonds and discovers that they can morph and they have one major battle, in which much destruction is caused to buildings, landscape and vehicles (but I doubt if any human was killed) and Rita is slapped into space.

The kids return to their former lives and things are normal though they retain their powers. It’s a bit too cliched, formulaic and rushed and it’s not very entertaining either. I was happy to see Naomi Scott (who I last saw in the short lived Terra Nova) but the rest of the main cast of Rangers are new to me. Choosing Elizabeth Banks to be the villain was a bad idea. Bryan Cranston as Zordor? It’s more comical than anything and perhaps they should have done an animated version. The movie flopped at the box office and I am not surprised. 6 outta 10!

RIP Bruce Gray

I just got to know about it this morning. Veteran Canadian actor Bruce Gray passed away on the 13th of December due to cancer. He was 81 years old.

He was probably best known to Canadian audiences for his portrayal of investment banker Adam Cunningham on the Global series Traders, the father of the groom in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and the recurring role of Judge J.E. Reilly on the soap opera Passions and the ghost of Joe’s father on the hit television show Medium.

However, he made appearances in American media; particularly in science fiction. He portrayed Sky Marshall Dienes in the movie version of Starship Troopers, an interrogator of Captain John Sheridan on Babylon 5, legendary Vulcan philosopher Surak on Star Trek: Enterprise and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2008 film Recount. He appeared several times on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Admiral Chekote.

He also had a guest-starring role on the popular cable television series Queer as Folk, playing gay millionaire George Schickel. Gray was the face of the leader of a fictitious anti-Amsterdam organization in a print and internet advertising campaign for Amstel beer. Gray had brain cancer that had metastasized throughout his body. He was in hospice care for about two weeks before his death.

Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez said his side “need something in January” after they dropped into the relegation zone with a fourth straight defeat at Arsenal. The Magpies have lost eight of their last nine Premier League games, gaining just one point from a 2-2 draw at West Brom. They rose to as high as fourth earlier in the season, and were in sixth place after beating Crystal Palace on 21 October, their last win to date. “We’ll try to bring in some additions that will bring a lift to the team,” said Benitez. Mesut Ozil’s brilliant volleyed goal in the first half was enough for Arsene Wenger’s side, who dominated until Newcastle rallied late in the game.

Newcastle are reported to be the subject of a £300m takeover bid by PCP Partners, with club owner Mike Ashley said to have recently met with PCP’s owner Amanda Staveley. Ainsley Maitland-Niles hit the side-netting for Arsenal before the break, but Newcastle only came to life in the latter stages, with Ayoze Perez failing to take advantage of two rare chances when he put a shot and then a header over the bar. The result puts Arsenal into fourth place while Newcastle have now claimed just one point from the last 27. Jack Wilshere came closest to giving Arsenal breathing space late on when he saw his side-footed shot saved by the recalled Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal.

It was Newcastle’s 10th straight Premier League defeat to Arsenal and they are now without a league win since 21 October when they beat Crystal Palace 1-0. Seventh in the table at kick-off and without a win in three matches is not the sort of run-in to the busy festive schedule that Arsenal are accustomed to. And hamstring and groin injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott respectively also gave Wenger much to ponder in the lead-up to the meeting with Newcastle. They looked slick for much of the afternoon and threatened around the edge of Newcastle’s area on a regular basis, but the lack of the killer instinct in front of goal led to some edginess as the match wore on.

Ozil’s moment of magic was the one real ray of light on a grey afternoon, the Germany international showing impeccable technique and balance to strike the ball beyond a helpless Elliot after Newcastle failed to clear. With Liverpool the next league visitors to the Emirates, Arsenal will be thankful for the split second of brilliance that helped to end a worrying dip in results.