Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Books: Without Fail

Jack Reacher is contacted to test the security arrangements of the Vice President of USA. The Security Services classify this as a routine operation to evaluate the readiness of the agency in protecting the Vice President. Jack Reacher goes through the exercise and points out the security holes in the current arrangement. That is when the Agency decides to hire Reacher's services. But this time, it is not for an operational exercise.

Lee Child shifts the background of Reacher book to politics. The stakes are higher like the previous novel. But this time around, the visibility is also higher. There is little room for errors. With resourceful and deranged bad side , the novel soon turns into a cat-and-mouse game. Reacher has to travel extensively as part of Vice President's entourage which results in rapid changes in the locales. This combined with the hectic schedule of Vice President makes the goings very interesting.

The backdrop chosen makes it a very brisk read. If you haven't read the other books in the series, it may be difficult to catch up.

The other books in the series are.
Killing Floor
Die Trying
Tripwire
Running Blind
Echo Burning

Tags: Books,Lee Child,Jack Reacher




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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Movie Review: The Last Stand

An aging sheriff, of a sleepy little town near the US-Mexico border, has to put up resistance for an international criminal who is trying to flee US on a high speed car. While the criminal has all the resources that money can buy at his disposal, the sheriff only has a band of misfits. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as the aging sheriff Ray Owens and Eduardo Noriega as the fleeing criminal Gabriel Cortez.

At the core, it is a David v/s Goliath match. What makes this movie a passable watch is the direction by Kim Jee-Woon and the photography by Kim Ji-Yong. The movie has high speed car chases, stunts using the getaway vehicle, heavy duty gunfire, fistfights and bad acting. Essentially, there is everything you look for in a Schwarzenegger movie.

Although the action takes a while to pick up, the comic scenes by Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville keeps you smiling during the buildup. When the action starts, it is not the adrenaline that gets you. Instead it is the nostalgia of the old Schwarzenegger movies. All of it is there. Not necessarily in a better format. But definitely, in a form that will be satifsy the fans. When the chase ends up in the corn field, direction and photography comes into foreground. The chase and the hide-n-seek using the two cars - Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 - is worthy to be watched. 

Jaimie Alexander and Rodrigo Santoro plays the quintessential couple whose relationship is being tested amid the chaos. Forest Whitaker delivers one of the worst performances in his career as the FBI man.

This is for Schwarzenegger fans. If you are not one, I still recommend this if you have nothing else to do as there is no heavy duty thinking to be understand in order to understand this movie.

Language: English 

Genre: Action 

Rating: **

For trailer, click here.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Photos: Cafe Life

This was taken during the black and white night organized by the fellow photographers. The idea was to shoot in monochrome. I passed in front of a cafe somewhere in the backstreets of Odeon which displayed a variety of coffee making apparatuses. I decided to take a picture through this glass equipment. Hope you like it.


Picture Courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/photokkaran

Tags: Photos

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Movie Review: Jack Reacher

Christopher McQuarrie adapts the novel named "One Shot" by Lee Child for the big screen and also directs it. Jack Reacher is the hero created by Lee Child. The character already has a cult following. Given this in mind, it is herculean task to bring him alive on the screen. Christopher McQuarrie has to ensure adaptation turns out to be a good movie and thereby not only satisfy the fan base but also the regular movie goer. He finds a middle path to achieve this goal which makes the movie an interesting watch. The movie is about a man accused of shooting 5 innocent civilians in broad daylight and Jack Reacher(Tom Cruise) arriving in the city to solve the mystery. 

I haven't read "One Shot". But judging from all the books I have read so far from the Reacher series, the movie is bigger than the books. Lee Child unravels the mystery based on Reacher's conversations with other characters. The same happens in the movie but Reacher's conversation is a voice over the scenes thereby clearly telling the audience what happened. This works in setting the tempo of the movie. The dialogues in the novel by Lee Child is cheesy. Nobody in the real world talks like that. This is the second strength of the movie. The casting. 

Jack Reacher is 6 feet 5 inches where as Tom Cruise stands way below 6. Yet, Tom Cruise is able to get the essence of Jack Reacher and make us overlook many things with mixed expressions (sometimes deadpan and otherwise not) along with peculiar style of dialogue delivery. The same is true with Emerson played by David Oyelowo. David has more cheesy dialogues to say. But watch him say it and you may find respect for some of the lines. Robert Duvall as Cash and Richard Jenkins as Alex Rodin delivers a natural performance where the former plays a role which is written to endear the audience. It is Rosamund Pike as Helen Rodin who falls flat. Overall, the cast is good mix of people who over or under or rightly emote.

The director has taken special care during the introductory scene of Jack Reacher. Anybody who has read the novel immediately connects with the detachment of Reacher with materialistic possessions. The background music by Joe Kraemer is not loud but appropriate to elevate some of the key scenes and also the adrenaline levels.

This is a good escapist fare. 

Language: English 

Genre: Thriller 

Rating: ***

For trailer, click here.

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Books: Echo Burning

Jack Reacher gets into trouble with a local sheriff in a small town in Texas. When he plans to quit the town by hitchhiking, Jack is picked up by a beautiful woman with Mexican heritage named Carmen Greer. At the outset, Jack realizes Carmen has an ulterior motive. But what is it? In order to find this out, Jack travels with Carmen to a very sleepy little town in remote Texas named Echo where prejudices run rampant.

Lee Child sets his thriller in an America small town. The underlying theme is prejudice. In order to highlight this, he brings in diverse characters who are discriminated, not openly, based on the heritage and also by the choices they make. Because of the setting, this novel stands out in the Reacher series. Even though it is not as colorful as the settings in the other novels, the ruggedness of the terrain adds to the drama in the novel.

Strictly for Reacher fans.

The other books in the series are.
Killing Floor
Die Trying
Tripwire
Running Blind

Tags: Books,Lee Child,Jack Reacher



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Monday, January 21, 2013

It is tough to work with Indians

It is tough to work with Indians. If you are thinking this as a politically incorrect statement reeking of prejudices and a sure fire way to get sued to the end of the world, hold your horses. When the person uttered this, there was no hatred in the statement, only exhaustion. And the cute young girl standing next to the person tightened up, throwing a furtive glance at me. The glance was to check what kind of emotion played on my face, hurt or offense or mixed with both these emotions.

To be frank, my face only showed exhaustion, the one created by a strong gush of work immediately following the lull accompanied by a vacation. A poor infrastructure and an alien language for all parties involved used as the medium of communication can make normal work turn into exhaustive, demanding and draining. Add to the potent mixture, the nature of communicating news; be it bad or good. The entire exercise will drain you of all energy.

As the week progressed, there were a sense of deja vu. I heard this expression two more times. The second time was spoken out when the guards were done at the end of a day. He also looked tired. The third time was a taunt from a colleague. Is it really bleak? I will not hesitate in answering that. No. The answer is this not because I am an optimistic. Even though one of them uttered the disturbing sentence, he also pointed out the fault lies in both parties. "We also need to change", his own words. "We need to understand what you are trying to say". He concluded with a statement which is also funny. "Currently, we both agree there are deliverables. But our view of what needs to be delivered is different from your view. We need to bridge the gap".

To conclude, an equilibrium or a stable state is reached if given time. I was in a meeting on Friday where the first guy who uttered the statement was on a conference call with his counterparts in India. When his team members in France could not fully comprehend what was being discussed, this guy could fully understand, agree and also explain to his local team members.




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Saturday, January 19, 2013

With friends like these...

With friends like these... Have you heard this expression? If you have, have you experienced such a situation? If you have, then you have a story to tell. I have experienced many situations which is apt for this expressions. I joke about this with my friends. I don't remember any of it now. Still, I have a story to tell. The story is not about me. This story is about my young friend and his friend. After what have transpired, believe me you will think twice before being friends with my young friend. As for me, I am glad to be his friend not only he will not be able to pull this one on me but also he being a good person like all other friends of mine.

Here is what happened. I was on the escalator with him towards the metro in La Defense. We were going down an his friend was coming up from the other side. So his friend was accompanied by a beautiful woman. Obviously, they were on a date. So his friend was shy on spotting my friend and shook hands while they passed each other. When the couple were out of our earshot, my young friend turned up and yelled something in French.

My French is bad. So I asked what it was. Have you any idea about what my friend shouted to his friend was? Hold your breath. He shouted, "How much did you pay for the woman?". In my younger days, I have also ridiculed my friends in public and also been involved in sabotaging the chances of a rival of a friend in many ways when it came to the matters of heart. But this is unheard of and also beyond imagination.




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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Movie Review: Arbitrage

Nicolas Jarecki's film tells the events unfolding in a few days in the life of a billionaire. The billionaire, Robert Miller(Richard Gere) has everything going for him at sixty. He has a beautiful family and a successful business. When the movie opens up, he is trying to sell his business although his grown up children, who also work for him, are surprised. He is quitting when he is still riding high. Unknown to the outside world, everything is not everywhere near bright beneath what is being projects. There are events happening which could derail Miller's plan.

The film is an interesting watch because of two things, the structure of the movie and the performance. The screenplay is penned by the director himself. The movie opens up with the busy and happy life of Miller. Then it slowly shows the darker side of Miller. The first act is slow but the tempo picks up when Miller gets into trouble. As the movie progresses, Nicolas Jarecki paints his lead player in such a way that it is impossible to categorize him. All this is made possible by Richard Gere. Richard Gere looks younger than his years and also portrays the many emotions of Miller to create conflicting emotions in the viewer. Though there are other seasoned performers like Susan Sarandon and Tim Roth, all of them are overshadowed by Richard Gere.

The movie is based on the world of finance. Luckily for us, the director does not get into the jargon and confuse us. Instead he focuses on the self-created trappings of success. Finally, this movie could also have been a thriller. Instead the director focuses on the drama while building tempo by borrowing shades of a thriller. 

Definitely worth a watch for the direction and the performance.

Language: English

Genre: Drama

Rating: ***

For trailer, click here.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Photos: Drumming the book

This one is for book lovers. A book lover needs no explanation on the joy of touching a book. Although I have migrated to Kindle a long time back, the book store is still on the top of the list if I want to spend time while having no specific plan. 

As for the picture, it is a staged one where one of my photographers readily agreed to pose as the hand model.


Picture Courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/photokkaran

Tags: Photos

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Movie Review: The Man with the Iron Fists

When a movie is presented by Quentin Tarantino, you naturally expect it to be a movie worth watching. When the movie in question is related to martial arts, featuring some of the Tarantino regulars and Russell Crowe, you wait in anticipation. But is the movie worth the wait? No, for many reasons. Bad acting, bad direction and confusing editing spoils all the fun associated with watching a martial arts action movie. As a viewer, I am ready to let go of my last drop of disbelief in my system. But if you can't weave a trace of a story on top of action pieces and bad acting, there is nothing to save such a movie.

The movie is told as by the Blacksmith(RZA) and set in the Jungle Village. Not only the village has a preposterous name but also is an abode for lawless men who names end with Lion namely, Gold Lion, Silver Lion, Bronze Lion etc. When Silver Lion(Byron Mann) kills Gold Lion to usurp power and also capture the Governor's gold, all hell breaks loose in the Jungle Village. Zen Ziyi(Rick Yune), the X Blade, wants to avenge the death of his father, Gold Lion. Brass Body(David Bautista) is hired to defend Silver Lion from Zen Ziyi. At the same time, a stranger named Jack Knife(Russell Crowe) arrives in the town and hires a room at the local brothel run by Madam Blossom(Lucy Liu). Now, the stage is set for mystery and eventually the revenge.

When you watch this movie directed by RZA, you also conclude that RZA was inspired by the same kind of movies which inspired Tarantino to make the Kill Bill Volumes. But RZA's script lacks the beauty of  Tarantino's script. Tarantino's script works in multiple ways; the simplest way to see it as a movie and the most complex way is to see it as a movie which has references and homages to other movies in this genre. RZA decides to tell a story of warring clans and ends up confusing the viewer with a multitude of characters. The success of the movie is in just one thing. RZA was able to get all the famous names to sign on this venture. But the end product is so shoddy that you wonder why these famous names are doing in this venture! The biggest letdown is Russell Crowe. Even though he has a lot of funny names, this is the most inconsequential role he has done to this day.

Stay away from this.

Language: English

Genre: Action

Rating: *

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Photos: Alien in Paris

This is more like being in the right place at the right time. If I weren't, I could not captured this picture.


Picture Courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/photokkaran

Tags: Photos

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Books: Running Blind

When Jack Reacher sees a owner of a recently opened Italian restaurant is squeezed by local thugs, he can't help himself from interfering. A resourceful Reacher is able to rough up the goons without putting himself or the restaurant owner at risk. But FBI takes him under arrest as soon as he reaches his home. He is the prime suspect in a string of murders involving army women who had filed sexual harassment complaints. The profile of the killer matches Reacher.

In the fourth book of the series, Lee Child casts Reacher in a role which he has long left behind; the role of an investigator. This time around, Reacher is not working for the military but teamed up with FBI. Like the earlier novels, Lee directly hurls the reader into the vortex of the events without wasting time. With a killer to catch, Reacher is running against time. This helps in building the pace and Lee can handle fast paced action with words. The events might be unbelievable but you are carried away. There are many times the investigation is sidetracked. This is the downside of the plot.

Strictly for Reacher fans.

The other books in the series are.
Killing Floor
Die Trying
Tripwire

Tags: Books,Lee Child,Jack Reacher



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Pappettan goes for shopping

If you are wondering who Pappettan is, click on this link and find out.

The sales have started in Paris. This is the time when there are people who take RTT(a kind of compensatory leave in a very simplistic terms) to go shopping. They are justified. If you don't make it past the door in the first three days, you don't get anything at all. Like Parisians, Pappettan also was excited about the sales.

Pappettan: I'm leaving work earlier today.

Me: *thinking if he works at all*

Pappettan: The sales are here. I want to get clothes for a baby.


Me: *shocked and waiting for a bomb*

Pappettan: My cousin is pregnant and I would like to buy clothes for her baby.

Me: *disappointed as the news is not a bomb* When is the baby expected?

Pappettan: It is too early. It is not yet time to find out the gender.

Me: *surprised* How are you going to buy the clothes then? *also thinking about the superstitions about buying clothes before the baby is born*

Pappettan: Well, I am going to get whatever I like in white.

Me: *confused as I think it is yellow when the gender is not known*

Pappettan: *after a brief pause* What the hell! Even if the baby is boy, he can wear pink if I get him pink. What right has he to complain? He is only a baby!




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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Photos: Leisure Ride

There were many pictures taken during my trip to Thailand. But all of them turned out to be a very personal nature. This is one of the pictures that can be shared as it is impersonal. This was taken at the floating market in Pattaya. Although the water in not clear, the ride is relaxing and also sleep-inducing.


Picture Courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/photokkaran

Tags: Photos,Thailand,Pattaya,Floating Market

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

French Lessons: Maribataire

Have you heard the terms marié and célibataire? If you are single, I assume you know what a  célibataire is. My young friends know this word even if they do not know anything else in French. I have witnessed a conversation where in an young turk was quick to state, "I'm a célibataire". Forget the syntactical and semantic construction. He was able to drive the point home. marié and célibataire stands for married and single respectively. That is the French lesson.

But what about people like me? I am married but staying away from home as part of a work assignment. My colleague at work had come up with a term  maribataire . The word does not exist. But like my young friend, my colleague is also able to drive the point home with the ingenious conjugation of two words. For my colleague, it means best of both worlds. I differ. Living in two zones is not necessarily the best of both worlds.

Tags: French Lessons,Married,Single


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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Parental permission

A week back, I received an email from one of my friends. It was grand plan. Grand plan for a week's vacation in Italy. It sounded like fun. The vacation is affordable. There are many places to cover in 5 days. But... Yes, there is a but. But the vacation is set for June. That is six months away. I am not much a planner. There are a lot of things that can happen in 6 months. Then, I also remembered what another friend of mine remarked, sitting on a chair which looked like a rocking chair and with a look that looks directly into your soul, "Guys, the key to traveling cheap in Europe is to plan ahead". So the email makes a whole lot of sense.

I am glad when my friends behave like a sponge. Learn and assimilate. Isn't that key to survival? That is exactly what my friend did. He learnt and assimilated. Gone are the days of spontaneous unplanned travel. He is looking out for the best deals and planning for the future. I'm glad. There are still people in my friends circle who learners. I said learners and not quick learners for obvious reasons. Now, why am I talking about these travel plans? For a reason. When all of the recipients of this email convened for a dinner, this email was the subject of discussion. The most surprising response to this email came from a girl who was also an adult. I confess I have a condescending way of referring to young people. Don't you think I'm justified thanks because all the decades I have put on the age-meter?

When the rest of us lauded the plan and asked for more time for confirmation, the response of the girl was  interesting. She wanted more time for a different reason. What might that be? She is awaiting her dad's response. It is a long journey and she wanted to know if her parents are okay with this. I'm not sure how you are going to react. For me, it was a moment with multiple emotions. After attaining adulthood, who would wait for permission from parents? Moreover, I have a daughter too. I wonder if she is going to ask me for permission to do something like this after being independent?




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Friday, January 4, 2013

Pappettan talks about sitting opposite a beautiful woman

If you are wondering who Pappettan is, click on this link and find out.

On a quiet evening, Pappettan broke away from his reverie and asked me a weird question.

Pappettan: What are the advantages of sitting opposite a beautiful woman?

Me: *grinning* Sitting opposite in a public place? If that is the question, my answer is... Time flies.

Pappettan: Well, more like sitting opposite a beautiful woman at work.

Me: *thinking hard* I never had an opportunity. So this is an hypothetical question...

Pappettan: *silent and waiting for my answer*

Me: *thinking hard* Difficult to work?

Pappettan: *silent treatment*

Me: Well, it helps to forget worries? Like an adrenalin shot when things are down?

Pappettan: *fed up with my lame answers* You make a lot of new friends.

Me: *surprised* How?

Pappettan: Earlier in my workplace, there was a beautiful woman sitting opposite to me. In that office, a lot of men said hello and started a conversation with me everywhere... near the coffee machine, in the corridor...

Me: *interested as this seems to be a good story*

Pappettan: Then, they would turn up at my desk to say hello. This continued for a couple of days. Third day onwards, they would drop in and say hello to the girl sitting opposite me.

Me: *suppressing my smile*

Pappettan: *sighs* Yes, I was used! *after a pause* But still you make a lot of new friends.

Tags: Pappettan Says,Beautiful Woman


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Pattaya...Method in madness

Method in madness. That is one of the distinct things I remember from Pattaya. There were a lot of tourists in Pattaya. On all the popular spots, you can see hordes of tourists. I was one in the crowd. Where there are tourists, there are tourist guides too. I spend two days in Pattaya. The first day, I ventured out on my own. The second day, I had signed up with a tour group.

The second day turned out to be interesting. A van picked us from the hotel. It went to other hotels and picked up more people. All us were dopped off at Pattaya beach where we met a woman who was supposed to accompany us in the trip to Coral Island or Ko Larn. After waiting for 10 minutes, the woman moved us to another group led by another woman. She said, "She is my cousin. You can go with her". Then we boarded a boat, went to a bigger boat which served as launchpad for para-sailing and then again to another boat from where you could participate in sea-walking, before finally ending up in Coral Island. In case you wanted to try out para-sailing or sea-walking, you paid the guide and guide gave a token. The token served as the ticket.

What amazed me was a simple fact. Our original group was merged with another group. People were shifted between groups. Money was paid to the tourist guides for activities like para-sailing and sea-walking. There was no record of what happened. Even the money trail ended with the tourist guides. But what about the people in the boat performing para-sailing and sea-walking. When was the money transferred to them? It seemed chaotic and unplanned for me.

Like I said there is method in madness. When we reached back at the Pattaya Beach and waited for van to drop us back to the hotel, the guide was recording the day's collections in a long piece of paper stuck inside a notebook. I still have not figured out how the whole thing works. But I am sure it is based on some primitive yet effective way. Everyone there is connected to each other and most of the business is conducted on trust.

Tags: Travel,Pattaya,Ko Larn


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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Movie Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

It is a trilogy! It is better to know this fact before stepping into the hall. This way, you are not expecting closure at the end of the movie. Be ready to wait for next two years (mostly during Christmas time judging from the history) for Peter Jackson to release the remaining two parts. I wasn't aware of this fact. I haven't read the book either. Years back, I attempted The Lord of the Rings and stopped after navigating it through a quarter of the distance. I prefer the movies. The movies are better than the sluggish pace of JRR Tolkien. 

The movie traces the adventures of Bilbo Baggins(Martin Freeman), who was the inspiration for Frodo(Elijah Wood) to leave the comfortable confines of his home resulting in what was shown in The Lord of the Rings(LOTR) trilogy. The movie unfolds as an older Bilbo(Ian Holm) pens down his experiences in a journal for Frodo. In his younger days, Bilbo is unwittingly ensnared into an unexpected journey by Gandalf(Ian McKellen) to help the displaced dwarves led by Thorin(Richard Armitage) to regain their lost home and lost treasure. There are references to the LOTR trilogy where already familiar faces like Gollum(Andy Serkis), Elrond(Hugo Weaving), Saruman(Christopher Lee) and Galadriel(Cate Blanchett) popping up in the narrative.

When Peter Jackson directs, there are two things to look out for; size and pace. Think big. Whatever you think big, Peter Jackson can think bigger. There are amazing castles, dungeons inside mountains, waterfalls etc which makes your jaw drop because of the amazing size. Of course, this is done using CG. Peter Jackson score on two counts, visualization and also letting us know the proportion. He does so by placing the camera so far away from the point of action in order to make the actors seem tiny and also putting the viewer in a place not found in either their world or their imagination. These technique also helps in the final sequence where Gandalf and the posse of dwarves are being chased by the Orcs. The escape through the crisscrossed wooden bridges suspended high above the crevices is imagination at the best. Then there is the pace. Peter Jackson takes his time to tell the story. Having read a bit of LOTR, I know Peter Jackson tries to film each and everything Tolkien writes. For Tolkien, it is a sentence. For Peter Jackson, it is multiple cuts and angles. It is no surprise the movie is slow. The pace is negative point of the movie especially for a someone who has not read the novel.

It is the story of Bilbo and Martin Freeman suits the role. Bilbo is no great fighter. He is an ordinary Hobbit. Yet, there are instances when he shows courage under extraordinary circumstances surprising his companions. Martin Freeman fully conveys the bewilderment, self doubt and compassion with moderate doses of comic antics without going overboard. Ian McKellen as Gandalf reprises his role from the earlier trilogy and continues to humor us. Richard Armitage as Thorin has a raw deal. It is difficult to make out his good features and his acting abilities because of the clothes, beard and the wig.

The pace is excruciating at times. Still I recommend you to watch it because this is cinema, a completely unbelievable world created out of nothing. Make sure you see this in a theater equipped with a big screen and an excellent sound system.

Language: English

Genre: Action

Rating: ***


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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Books: One Step Behind

Wallander is back. This time, he is again trying to prevent a deranged mind from committing murders. There are a group of youngsters who are reported missing. One parent suspects the worst has happened to her daughter. The police cannot officially proceed as this is a man missing case without any evidence of foul play. To make matters worse, Wallander's associate Svedberg is found in his apartment, brutally murdered. Are these two apparently unrelated incidents linked?

Henning Mankell is here with the next installment in the Wallander series. In tune with the confusing times where the old guard is being replaced by new, both in terms of generation and also in policies & procedures. Mankell adds more drama by adding another factor, Wallander's health. He is lonely and aging. To make matters complicated, Wallander is diabetic too. But does he slow down and take care of himself? No, he has to act fast before the killer strikes again. How do you uncover the mystery when the killer is so meticulous in not even leaving a fingerprint or tiniest bit of clue for the modern scientific methods? Fortunately, no crime is perfect and Wallander is more patient and meticulous than the criminals.

As a reader, we are aware more about the killer than Wallander. But how does Wallander solve the mystery with the limited resources available to him? That is the pure pleasure of reading Mankell. Also, the underlying    theme of changes in politics and society adds to the pleasure of reading. There are good people who are determined to stop crime. But it is not easy being them. That is the message of the series.

It is for you if you love mysteries. I advice you to follow the series as how it was written. It is the best way to read. For the earlier titles in the series, please see below.

Tags: Books,Henning Mankell,Kurt Wallander



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What are you wearing today?

It is time to go back to work. Festivities are over and the new year has kicked in. So, it is time for business, as usual or with renewed vigor and new perspectives depending on how you look at it. That brings me to ask a simple question. What are you wearing for work today? I am a casuals man. The kind of work I do is white collar. But the kind of attire I wear is blue collar. I am referring to jeans here. If you are asking why jeans is being referred as blue collar, then you need to dig deeper to the origins of jeans.

I was glad when I moved to California. I was assigned a project there and I escaped the tristate area. Who wants to go to work stuffed in a business suit armed with a suitcase and a newspaper? That sounds unappealing for me. The casual approach to work-wear of the Silicon valley was more appealing. Wear what you feel like and work in the cutting edge of technology. Can you beat that combination? Over in France, everybody dresses for work. Fashion is so important that my young friend forbid me to wear sneakers except while running. Since I am no runner, the sneakers is lost, buried deep in the stuff acquired over the years.

Coming back to what we wear for work, the most interesting information was about the complaints about their partners. The men and women agree on this. The common complaint was the women dresses nicely for work and not at home. It was a woman who brought it up and a man on the table immediately backed it up by citing his partner's example. I am no expert in the field of fashion. But I have a question. It is from a man's point of view. We love to see women dressed up. It definitely serves a coolant on a mundane or a boring day. But what about the women? Don't you want give them a chance to smile?

Disclaimer: The question is directed to all the handsome men who is desperately in need of wardrobe upgrade. The preacher, I mean me, is exempt from the question.




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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Revisiting the old questions

3 weeks of vacation. It is the longest vacation I have taken in years. Though the longest, it was still not sufficient. That is the predicament with a vacation. Arriving back from the vacation, I notice a lot of changes around. Paris has changed. Most of the trees lining the various sidewalks are naked without the leaves. It is looks different and beautiful at the same time. In winter, it is always dark when you are outside thanks to the shorter days and longer nights. The naked trees looks right in the longer nights.

The naked trees are not the only change. At work place, there are a lot of new faces. Many old faces have moved and new faces has been inducted. I like the infusion of fresh blood into the team. Have you observed the questions asked by a new face? They are eerily similar to the ones we raised when we were new to the team. These are also the questions we might have stopped asking when we got ourselves full swing into the action. Sometimes, these questions might turn out to be irritating or tiresome for us.

The forgotten questions, no matter how discomforting it may be, is good to be revisited after a while. The passage of time may given us more wisdom to see things clearly. We do not need any external help to revisit the old questions. But in the business of life, we often forget these old questions. That is where the new faces or the infusion of the fresh blood comes into picture. The world is new for them. They aren't afraid to ask questions.




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