NewCastle United 1 Arsenal 2

Granit Xhaka’s excellent free-kick set Arsenal on their way to a third consecutive victory under Unai Emery as Newcastle remain without a Premier League win. Despite being frustrated in the first half, Xhaka opened the scoring for the Gunners with a long-range free-kick that flew past Magpies goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. As the visitors grew in confidence, Mesut Ozil met the rebound of Alexandre Lacazette’s blocked effort to double his side’s advantage and ensure Arsenal won consecutive away league games for the first time since May 2017. Ciaran Clark responded in stoppage time for the hosts, but Newcastle remain 18th in the table with just one win in their past 10 league games.

Rafael Benitez’s side remain on one point, equalling their worst return after five Premier League games – although they had much the better of the first-half chances as they pressed an Arsenal defence determined to build from the back. The early pressure forced errors, as keeper Petr Cech passed the ball out for a corner and defender Shkodran Mustafi’s stumble was indicative of an Arsenal back-line still trying to get comfortable with a new style of play under Emery. However, Arsenal returned the stronger side after the interval and scored twice in 10 second half minutes to secure the points – despite a late Newcastle rally.

Following a tough start to Emery’s reign, with opening league fixtures against champions Manchester City and Chelsea, victory at St James’ Park is the Gunners third consecutive win and they now appear to be gaining some momentum under Arsene Wenger’s successor. And it did appear, once they got into their stride, that Arsenal’s players are adapting to Emery’s philosophy – although on evidence there remains plenty of work to do.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a 2018 American science fiction adventure film and the sequel to Jurassic World (2015). Directed by J. A. Bayona, it is the fifth installment of the Jurassic Park film series, as well as the second installment of a planned Jurassic World trilogy. Derek Connolly and Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow both returned as writers, with Trevorrow and the original Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg as executive producers.  Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, B. D. Wong, and Jeff Goldblum reprise their roles from previous films in the series, with Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Isabella Sermon, and Geraldine Chaplin joining the cast.

Set 3 years after the events of Jurassic World, a¬† small team of¬†mercenaries¬†arrives on the abandoned¬†Isla Nublar¬†to collect¬†DNA¬†from the remains of the¬†Indominus rex¬†at the bottom of the park’s¬†lagoon. After successfully collecting a bone fragment, the team’s survivors barely escape the island following attacks by the¬†Mosasaurus¬†and¬†Tyrannosaurus rex. As a US Senate hearing debates whether Isla Nublar’s dinosaurs should be saved from an impending volcanic eruption. Mathematician¬†Dr. Ian Malcolm¬†testifies that the dinosaurs should be allowed to perish to correct¬†John Hammond’s¬†mistake of¬†cloning¬†them. Hammond’s former partner,¬†Benjamin Lockwood, summons Claire Dearing, who has started¬†the Dinosaur Protection Group to save the animals, to his¬†Northern California¬†estate.

Lockwood and his aide,¬†Eli Mills, reveal a plan to relocate the dinosaurs to a new island sanctuary and Claire is needed to help reactivate the park’s dinosaur¬†tracking system¬†to locate the animals, particularly Blue, the last surviving¬†Velociraptor. Although they are estranged, Claire recruits Jurassic World’s former¬†Velociraptor¬†trainer and Blue’s alpha, Owen Grady, to help capture her. Things go wrong and it turns out that Mills has hired a mercenary team led by¬†Ken Wheatley to capture 11 dinosaurs on the¬†black market. They also use Blue. They will also unveil the¬†Indoraptor, a new¬†genetically-modified¬†dinosaur created by geneticist¬†Dr. Henry Wu¬†using¬†Indominus rex¬†and¬†Velociraptor¬†DNA. Wu wants Blue’s DNA to create an enhanced¬†Indoraptor but after Blue is shot and bleeding badly, paleo-veterinarian¬†Zia Rodriguez uses T-Rex blood, that Owen and Claire took from a doped up Rex, for a transfusion.

At the ¬†Lockwood’s estate, Mills & Gunnar Eversol auction the dinosaurs and the Indominus rex fetches a royal sum of $30 million. After his granddaughter, Maisie, informs Lockwood about the auction, he confronts Mills, who murders him. Maisie is later revealed to have been cloned from Lockwood’s deceased daughter and is the reason John Hammond, who opposed¬†human cloning, ended their association. The dinosaurs are transported to Lockwood’s estate and caged. Zia and Franklin narrowly evade capture, but Owen and Claire are apprehended and confined. Owen incites a¬†Stygimoloch¬†into breaking open their cell. They find Maisie, who leads them to the auction where the¬†Indoraptor¬†is being sold despite Wu’s protests that it is a prototype.

Owen disrupts the proceedings by luring the¬†Stygimoloch¬†into the room. In the ensuing chaos, Wheatley tranquilizes the¬†Indoraptor¬†to extract a tooth as a trophy, but it feigns sedation and escapes, killing him, Eversol, and others. The¬†Indoraptor¬†hunts Owen, Claire, and Maisie throughout the mansion. Zia releases Blue, who attacks the¬†Indoraptor, causing it to fall through a glass roof to its death. When a¬†hydrogen cyanide¬†gas leak threatens the caged animals, Maisie is unable to let them die and frees them, despite Owen’s objections. The¬†Tyrannosaurus¬†devours Mills and tramples the¬†Indominus¬†bone, destroying it. Owen, Claire, Maisie, Zia, and Franklin escape safely, while Blue and the other dinosaurs escape.

In a new U.S. Senate hearing, Dr. Malcolm declares the beginning of a Neo-Jurassic Age, where humans and dinosaurs must learn to coexist. The closing scenes show the freed dinosaurs roaming wilderness and outer urban areas.

To be honest this film did not capture my attention and imagination the way the first two did and the previous movie did. It just lacks actual thrilling moments and is kinda predictable to be suspenseful at all. I do love the way they did the dinosaurs. I give it a 7.5 outta 10!

Royal Night Out

Yesterday was a good day. I was asked to go and be the final interview panel for the recruitment drive at our Marine Drive office. The HR Recruitment team had lined up several candidates that they had screened and usually someone from Service Delivery goes in to finalize on which ones fit the bill for our process. As they needed more people and they were running short on panelists, my manager asked me – at 4:15 am and after I had reached home post shift – if I could go and do the selecting at 2:30 pm.

I haven’t been part of conducting interviews since 2011 so I was game. I woke up by 11 am and went to Marine Drive by 2:30 pm. One of the guys there gave me the lowdown for about 20 minutes. Then I started and continued till almost 6:30pm. No breaks. I then took an Uber and went to Royal Residency as we had a function there as an R&R for the CLS team in Kochi. I was among the last to arrive and then the fun started.

After some fun & silly games and some awards given out, we started dinner and it was good. Dessert follower and we took photos and then left. I dropped one of my colleagues enroute to my home and I then proceeded to relax in my lungi and enjoy the rest of the late night before sleep hit me.