Mamma Mia! Food!

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“Rocky and Mayur have ventured out to explore food from all parts of India and curate videos on Askme.com – I’m contributing my part by relishing my favorite dishes at Mamma Mia and sharing my views with you all!

You can also upload your video review on AskMe and stand a chance to meet Rocky and Mayur.”

We were returning from Thalayolaparambu, and instead of taking the other usual taken shorter routes through Muvattupuzha, Mulanthuruthy or Kolenchery, we decided to take another route, through South Paravoor and Udayamperoor, leading to Thrippunithura and then Thrikkakkara. There was the need to have food, but we couldn’t find a good restaurant in the rush at Tripunithura, but at Thrikkakkara, just a few metres before the Bharata Matha College, we managed to find a restaurant which I had heard about before, but could never visit until that moment – the place called Mamma Mia.

It was called the "Food Court" and they actually meant it :D

It was called the “Food Court” and it surely has that kind of a setting 🙂

The entrance was inspiring and so was what awaited.

The entrance was inspiring and so was what awaited inside in this case.

The one thing I knew better than the rest of the facts is that the restaurant belongs to Siddique – no, not the director of Bodyguard, but the actor who is also a well-known personality in Kerala. He is a person known for a variety of roles, from handling comedy with great skill, to being a villain as well as doing supporting roles; he has done them all. He has provided so much support to the superstars and the new faces of the Malayalam movie industry on the screen. So, when we took the right turn to this restaurant, we were expecting that kind of a variety with Mamma Mia.

There is variety in stalls, and you can be sure about that!

There is variety in the available stalls, and you can be sure about that!

You have the pictures of some great personalities to look at!

You have the pictures of some great personalities to look at while waiting!

We reached there around 12:55 PM. The crowd was not much, and even if there were more guests, there was plenty of space for them all. The setting was like that of a food court with different stalls around, and it made us wonder if we had to go for self-service. But as soon as we had chosen a table, the waiter was quickly there to take the orders. We were five, and so we ordered three plates of Kerala Meals, one Biriyani Rice and one Vegetable Noodles, along with out usual common curry of Paneer, this time the variant of Chilli Paneer. Yes, I am a proud vegetarian now, and I hope I can keep it that way.

Why is always Kerala Meals the first thing to come?

Why is Kerala Meals always the first thing to come? It makes me jealous.

The Kerala Meals remained the same, and we don’t usually find much differences related to that from different restaurants – we felt that it was overpriced. They were served almost instantly, followed by the Biriyani Rice. The Vegetable Noodles and Chilli Paneer took more time though. Biriyani Rice tasted very good, but I felt that it was a little too less in quantity. May be the rising hunger also played a part in that feeling. The Vegetable Noodles was also good with nice quantity, and I felt that Chilli Paneer was very fresh – and it wasn’t too spicy; I usually have different types of Paneer with too much of a spicy feeling, but this felt better.

Biriyani Rice comes second because it is also rice :D

Biriyani Rice comes second, may be because it is also rice and it is noon 😀

The time taken for serving was lesser than we thought, that too with more people coming in to have food. We finished the food program with Mango Shake and Vanilla Ice cream. The shake was good with both quality and quantity even as there was no ice cream scoop in it. The ice cream tasted the usual way, as vanilla has been the usual choice for very long. Well, there are actually a lot of choices here, and the menu book proves to be a good and interesting read. There are also a few things on it which I haven’t heard about, and I look forward to trying them on another day when I go for a movie at PVR, Cinemax or Q Cinemas through that route.

The last things to come might be the best, in most cases ;)

Still, the last things to come might be the best, in most cases; I can prove 😉

The ambience was actually very good. There were pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Sachin Tendulkar and other prominent figures on the wall in black and white. The service was actually the best thing here. The waiter assured us that the rest of the food will be ready in two minutes as there was a slight delay in the case of the Noodles and Paneer. He told us that the centralized billing system was not working and so he got separate bills from different counters. When he saw that I was staring at the bills and taking snaps, he took the payment to the counters, paid them and went back to each counter and also brought me the bills back after asking if I would need it. Well, I needed them to write this post!

Well, these were the ones which finished the good times!

Mango Shake and Vanilla Ice cream were the ones which finished the good times!

The price is fair here for most of the food items. There was also enough parking space and a guard to help us with the same. Even though the traffic was heavy, he made sure that he made a gap there so that we could go through. It usually takes us a lot more time to get through. The washroom and toilets were also clean. The location is very nice, on the Seaport-Airport Road close to the well-known Bharata Mata College where I had also studied for some time. You can also take a bus because the stop is quite near to this restaurant. There are other restaurants around, but this one catches attention better. It feels good to find a new place to have food and it turns out to be something for the favourites list! #AskmeFood

There is even some variety in bills! See and understand :P

There is even a lot of variety in the bills! See and understand 😛

***All photos used in this blog post were taken by me at the venue.

TeNy

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Real Neat Blog Award

I have been nominated for a blog award, the first of its kind that Tea Cerebration(s) has received; the Real Neat Blog Award, from Amreen.

Here is her post on the same: https://painttheworldwithwords.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/the-real-neat-blog-award/

Thank You Amreen 🙂

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The answer to the seven questions she asked:

What do you blog about?
A lot of things. Mostly movies, travel and fiction.
What inspired you to blog?
It was mostly loneliness.
Your Favorite Book/Quote/Poem?
“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” – Ulysses.
If you had a chance to keep another name, what would it be?
Dracula. I would like that. Or even Frankenstein.
Your Favorite Author?
Lord Tennyson. I like my name.
What’s your favorite sport?
Tennis on television. For a game on court, Badminton.
Your tips on blogging?
Just think and write. No need for anything else.

The rules of the award:

  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  • Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  • Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc).

I nominate the following bloggers:

Maniparna
Namrata
Moon
Tara
Raja

My seven questions to them:

  1. Which is your favourite movie?
  2. Which is your favourite song?
  3. Choose your favourite vampire?
  4. Which is your most visited blog post?
  5. Your Favorite tennis player?
  6. Which browser do you use the most?
  7. Which is your most commented blog post?

Congratulations and drink tea 🙂

TeNy

Simona Times: Kochi Edition

I hereby present the first edition of Simona Times, the first full kitten newspaper from Central Kerala. There has been a great protest among the cat community as they have felt that the cats are being avoided and people are just loving the dogs. They have made it clear that it is disappointing that some dogs even have a better status than humans. It is against this discrimination, that the self-proclaimed leader of the Kerala Cat Community, Simona came up with a petition in which she got the finger prints of all cats of Kerala without any discrimination on the basis of gender, colour and meow dialects.

The number of protests has only been increasing these days, and unless justice is served, the cats hope to take to the next level. Another indirect result of these cat movements and revolutions is the publication of Simona Times. Simona works as the reporter and editor of the newspaper with special support from two unknown cats about whom no information is provided. Each and every day and night, Simona goes out for four hours to collect information about the lives of the cats around. International Cat Community has allocated special fund and appreciation for the same.

Full News:

Control the dog lovers, Simona tells the common man.
For the last few days, dog lovers have been racially abusing Keralites for no reason while using lies, and related to the same, Simona has declared full support to Kerala’s common man. She has demanded prison for those stray dogs which have been chasing the little kittens, and has offered her help in identifying the worst among them who have hurt human children. She also talks about a few animal lovers who have asked the common men to get rid of cats and get dogs instead. She adds that these dog lovers who show so much hate should not be allowed to affect the decisions of the common man.

Simona denies the existence of her viral childhood photo.
A photo when Simona was a little kitten has been spreading rapidly through the internet. People have been talking about how cute she was, and that there is no better looking little kitten and a lot of them have shared it on their Facebook, Google Plus and Tumblr profiles. But Simona has completely denied that she ever looked like that. She has declared that she has always been a big, strong cat. She often tell the stories about how she has scared the dogs of the neighbourhood with a special form of cat martial arts, which she calls Simonatica Meowzikia.

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The old photo of Simona the Kitty which she denies to be of her.

Cats ask to be declared as a subdivision of vampire species.
With dogs getting all the special reservation status here, many cat communities have been asking for a separate status. As most of the humans are going for dogs, cats are looking to join the vampire subdivision so that they will be better appreciated as part of the group better. Vampires are known to love cats more, and with wolves replacing the dogs in vampire territory, cats have more opportunities serving the undead world. Some of the cats are already working as a connection between this world and the other, and the cats are hoping to make it official.

Humans preparing fish at home to be rewarded by local cat committees.
This news had spread very fast, and a lot of jealous dogs had protested against the same. As humans have been eating less fish and are deviating towards having chicken, mutton, beef and duck, the organization of local cat committees have asked humans to choose fish instead and be rewarded. The committee has offered free mouse search at each and every house which has fish at least once a week. Some of the bigger cats have even offered protection against the snakes. More fish means more service, and there are new advertisements being set up related to the same.

Cat revolutionaries ask for security posts in guarding zapota and guava.
The Cat Revolutionary Movement has recently gained a lot of supporters among the common cat community. It has actually become so popular that even the breeds from outside have asked for a special membership status. Their most recent demand is for jobs. As dogs have been ineffective in guarding zapota and guava from the bats, the cat revolutionaries have offered humans their service in return for fish. Simona has declared that cats are the only true hunters who can save humans and their property from the dangerous flying creatures in return for just fish and nothing else.


A video of Simona and a bat above proving her skills.

TeNy

Old Songs: Of Nostalgia

***Favourites from the old songs list.

Ambalapuzhe: Adwaytham (1991)

During my childhood, I have never loved a song like I have loved this one. I wonder if there is such a song which has peace as well as divinity running through it. I had actually gone through a really tough times to get this song recorded on a cassette. But it was really worth it in the end. There is a certain amount of cuteness running through this songs, even though the movie maintains full seriousness. I love the lyrics a lot too. With a fine star cast, the movie was also something to watch without fail.

Ragadevanum: Chamayam (1993)

Telling the story of fishermen who are part-time stage actors, this movie was one which unexpectedly became a favourite. There is so much of powerful dramatic performance in this movie, and the beauty of the songs come up as a big asset here. As Manoj K. Jayan and Murali brings the performance to a higher level, it is this song and “Rajahamsame” which steal our attention. Still, the other song in this movie remains the more popular one, and this one caught my attention much later.

Thumbi Penne: Dhruvam (1993)

In this movie which I consider Mammootty’s best ever, there is an interesting list of cast, including Suresh Gopi, Jayaram and even Vikram as Gauthami plays the leading actress. The movie has some of the most powerful moments among all those flicks of the time, but this songs remains beautiful in a simple way. This is a movie which I highly recommend, and this is one of the two beautiful songs from the film. You can’t really take the nostalgia out of this song. The movie was also Vikram’s debut in Malayalam.

Ponveene: Thalavattam (1986)

Somewhat based on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and also remade in Hindi as Kyon Ki along with having a Tamil remake too, this movie had a strong impact at that time, and also has some interesting songs, among which this is one of the two more beautiful ones. “Ponveene” will surely come at top in many lists. There is another version of the same song in the movie. I remember this as one of the first songs I have heard which had a long lasting impact on me. Two other songs will follow below.

Onnam Ragam: Thoovanathumbikal (1987)

I know the other song in the movie, “Megham Poothu Thudangi” as the more popular one because of its rain imagery and the presence of Sumalatha as Clara. But I choose to go this one because it has been part of my life more than the other. It is another one of those rare songs which seem to have a certain amount of divinity, and also striking the nostalgia elements of a past when life was not that complicated and things had a lot better direction. I never really stopped listening to this one!

Thamarakili Paadunnu: Moonam Pakkam (1988)

I don’t know if it is because I know what is going to happen in this movie as I have watched this one quite a number of times – the song provides a mixture of feelings. the other song “Unarumee Gaanam” also comes up with the same feeling. There are times when I wonder which one of these is my favourite, but it has been a difficult job to choose. The emotions run strong with this one, and we miss beautiful songs like this one these days – lets hope to get the glory back both with the songs and the movies!

Mayatha Marivillitha: Ulladakkam (1991)

This one was one of those songs which made me feel a lot of happiness. I have felt that this one had a lot more bliss to provide that any other song. There is a lot of optimism in this song, even as the movie does have a rather tragic finishing. There is something like a certain hope against hopelessness here. We need songs like these to come up in movie nowadays, but we are forced to listen to just very few good songs every year, nothing really getting to a top level.

TeNy

Thrillers Make it Home

This is a day on which nothing interesting happens. Still, today is the day meant for making some unknown thriller movies popular, or at least a little better known. This is not about Inception, Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, Shutter Island, Hannibal, Red Dragon or the rest of those popular ones, as they are better known that even those superhero movies. I have added more than one kind of thriller, and with these movies, horror and philosophy mostly joins with the thriller genre to create the impact provided. I would start with the movie which has its situation in the title itself.

Unknown (2011): Liam Neeson rules the show in this psychological thriller which has us on the edge of our seats. As a thriller, its ability can’t be questioned as the suspense is well-built and maintained to reach an end where everything comes together and there is nothing lost in the process. It tells the story of a man who travels to another nation, but after an accident, can’t seem to be back with family again as his wife refuses to accept him as her husband – another person has taken his place there. In this adventure to find one’s place, Diane Kruger plays the supporting character, and she also does very well.

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Shuttle (2008): Knowing when to improve the pace and how to go on to make its point, Shutter is an interesting thriller with a message. Peyton List and Cameron Goodman nicely plays the ladies who are lost in rather unknown territory as the driver of their cab turns out to be not just a driver. There are many thrilling moments and twists keep happening to help the story unfold as the movie go through into the final revelation. There is some blood and gore, but never reaches a high level. This is not to be confused with the horror movie Shutter, which released in the same year.

Clinic (2010): Based on the real incidents which features the abduction of newborn babies, the movie has six pregnant ladies who wake up in the middle of nowhere with their children removed. The suspense about this unknown world is maintained very well in this movie. Tabrett Bethell does a wonderful job here, unlike what she was supposed to do in one of the most ridiculous Bollywood movies ever, the doom of logic which is called Dhoom 3. There is also a final shocking twist in store. All the actresses in this movie has done a good job, and there are not many male characters in this one who gets much screen-time.

The Grey (2011): Liam Neeson plays the newfound leader of a group who are stalked by wolves waiting for an opportunity in the cold. Based on the short story called Ghost Walker by Ian MacKenzie Jeffers, this one is more like a survival thriller or adventure thriller. It even has a powerful philosophical side running through. For the abusers who hate humans and go racists in the name of dogs, they should be happy because there are no dogs hurt in this movie, but only the wolves. I had to clarify this for them because they see anything and will start hating humans for no real reason. Well, some hate for the fellow humans averted is that much of goodness restored for humanity. Full review here.

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The Cell (2000): I have watched half of the movies directed by Tarsem Singh and this is his best as I know. This comes with a very interesting concept which brings things together. It sends us into the dark world inside the mind of a serial killer, as a virtual reality device allows one to enter there and collect information. Also note that Jennifer Lopez is the heroine here. There is a lot of artistic beauty in this dark psychological thriller. This one brought variety and life to the genre long before there were more twists added. Well, one has to imagine how worse it would be in the minds of the new age racists who have come up with an idea to hate humans in the fake pretence of loving dogs, as the focus is on skin colour.

After.Life (2009): This one might not be suitable for all kinds of viewers, as the pace is slower, and it is more interested about giving the viewers more philosophical thoughts about human existence, and what it means to live or die in a world which doesn’t really care. Who is alive and who is not, is a question that goes beyond reality. Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci are the two people who are present throughout this movie, and in the creepy atmosphere of a morgue. Liam Neeson had his usual strengths with simplicity, and Christina Ricci was stunningly good as a person disconnected from life so much that her being alive never ceases to be a mirage. It makes you ask questions.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the movies.

TeNy

The Sea and the Sands

I have always loved to visit those lesser known places. The usual beaches to visit for someone from Cochin would be the Cherai, Fort Cochin, or even the Aleppey beaches. If you go further South, it would be the Kollam, Varkala, Kovalam and Shankumugham. The Northern Kerala has Payyambalam, Muzhappilangad, Kozhikode and others. But it is a few of those lesser known beaches that caught my attention more than the others. They have provided me some interesting moments. Well, there is no shortage of good beaches in Kerala, and those with lesser crowd means more happiness.

Kappil Beach
District: Thiruvananthapuram
Along with the beautiful Varkala Beach or Papanasam Beach, you can add this one to your journey there, as it is quite nearby. It has sand between the meeting points of sea and the backwaters, and the beach is a wonderful place to enjoy your evening. There are many coconut trees and not many people – the rain makes things more beautiful. You can also see Jelly fish in the waters of the lakes as they come very close to the land. There is not much of a crowd around which also means a lot of peace and cleanliness. We stopped there on our way to Varkala, and then also just for the sake of a detailed visit.

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Azhikode/Munakkal Beach
District: Thrissur
This is not to be confused with he place having the same in Kannur. This one is near Kodungallur, and as you travel beyond the popular and crowd favourite Cherai Beach while coming from the city of Cochin, you reach Munambam, a beach by itself, and when looking from that side, you can see Azhikode Beach on the other side, and Ernakulam district changes to Thrissur then. You can cover all these beaches in one stretch if you go this way. It is also known as the Munakkal Beach, and it has a very long and wide shore line, and with less visitors, you get a lot of space to yourself. There are many benches and trees around to give you a better feeling.

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Puthuvype Beach
District: Ernakulam
We first visited this beach when there were supposed to be the off-road vehicles called beach buggies. I thought that this was going the adventure sport way, but that wasn’t to happen. But it still remains a nice choice with not much crowd. The location makes sure that it won’t be that popular, and there are some interesting religious places on the way there, both Hindu and Christian. There is also a lighthouse, and as far as I know, this is the only beach in Ernakulam district to have a lighthouse nearby. It is also closer to Cochin and also close enough to Cherai Beach, which means that a connection can be made as a group of tourist destinations.

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Chavakkad Beach
District: Thrissur
We travelled all the way just to visit this beach. It is only five kilometres from Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, the most famous Hindu temple in Kerala and just three kilometres from the oldest church in India, the Palayur Saint Thomas Church. So, spirituality is surely not that far away. This is one of those bigger less explored beaches, and the number of tourists present there when we visited there was absolutely zero. Someone seemed to be coming by the time we were leaving though. There is something like a peaceful beauty related to this beach, and you can add this to your list of lesser known beaches to visit.

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Andhakaranazhi Beach
District: Alappuzha
For some of the beaches, the name itself gives a thrilling effect. It has recently acquired more tourists, but when we visited Alappuzha some years ago, that was not the case. It can be easily accessed from Cochin, Kottayam and Alappuzha, and the place is a clean as well as having more natural beauty than a regular beach because of the presence of the backwaters side. Movies like Idukki Gold were shot here and there are some very old churches and temples around. This one actually has a lot of scope due to its location and how beautiful it looks during a sunset with some tourist support already there. This one can inspire a poem on a beautiful day.

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Snehatheeram Beach
District: Thrissur
The shores of love? Insteresting name for a beach. As you enter, you can see a stone which says that this place was the winner of Best Tourism Destination in Kerala for the year 2009-2010. It seems to have lost some of its power, and there was hardly any visitor there when we were there. There are some raised platforms around, and the place has the serenity to make us feel better. The maintenance is good. More than a beach, it provides a lot of options to spend time on. It can be enjoyed as a park, and may be an interesting place to sit and write a blog post.

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***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot Camera.

TeNy

Of Ants and Heroes

I watched Marvel’s latest Ant-Man on the first day first show of its release in India. Despite the highly positive opinions that it managed from the critics in North America as well as the United States audience, it seems to create a lesser impact here. There were only seven people to watch that movie when I watched it here and most of them actually arrived late. It is quite unusual for a superhero movie, and I would say that it never really came close to be accepted as a superhero movie here. Only those posters featuring Iron Man Armour, Thor’s Hammer and Captain America’s Shield seems to have created any interest among the common people.

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Ant-Man will have a big struggle here. It seems that the movie is going to be changed right after the weekend or reduced to just a show as far as the common theatres are concerned. It will run better at the multiplexes, but even there, Minions, Inside Out and Baahubali have managed to score over this one. Here, I am going with the general audience, and I would say that it is not even close to being one of the top movies from Marvel, and it is a superhero who is not really there being the right part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I am going to share my favourites from Marvel on this occasion.

5. Thor (2011)
The man or rather the immortal with the hammer always had immense possibilities. With Thor: Ragnarok coming up in 2017, one has to remember that the franchise has been using the possibilities very well. The combination of myths and futuristic technology has worked really well for this one, and the speciality of the first movie is that it is more emotionally effective, and has a strong message. Along with talking about the worth attained by sacrifice, and with the assertion that where one is born is not the final decision maker, Thor makes an interesting point which is very much valid in a place where too many things are hereditary and reservations are based on caste and religion. Then there is Natalie Portman, and her presence makes it work even better, and you know what Loki can do.

4. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Developing further from its predecessor, Thor: The Dark World is just a little ahead of the first movie featuring another version of the Norse God. Malekith the Accursed and his Dark Elves are a fantastic group of villains who mix dark magic and technology in such a way that they create a huge impact. Loki remains a favourite character, and the final battle is a treat to watch, just like the darker parts of the world. Visually more stunning than its predecessor, what this world comes with is a good mixture of things. Thor movies always have a special feeling, as it is so close to the myths. This one has already made sure that there will be something bigger in store for the third movie of the series, especially if you think about the meaning of the title there – it is something to watch out for.

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3. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Successfully establishing its ideological power, Captain America: The First Avenger thrives on its messages of sacrifice and duty. This movie made Captain America my favourite Avenger and also the most interesting character from Marvel. The characterization of Captain America takes the hero model to another level and makes all other superheroes just too selfish and not ready to make the right stand. From the extremities of weaknesses, Captain America is established and this selection is based on goodness and morality rather than anything else. It also makes sure that he remains more humane than any other superhero. Well, he might be the most impossible character. Red Skull is an interesting villain here too.

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The fans of the original Avengers couldn’t really take this one as this was smarter. It is the only reason why this had less collection at box-office, but still there this one did collect huge. Even the critics have the first movie more, but that is more because they were too addicted to the predecessor that they couldn’t come out of it and also failed to understand Age of Ultron which had a much better idea, message and action sequences. The addition of two new superheroes was actually a very nice boost here, and Scarlet Witch is always a joy to watch. This movie actually has more than what instantly meets the eye, and it deserved to be the top grossing movie of the year, but strange nostalgia got Jurassic World to a higher level and emotions made Fast and Furious 7 bigger than what it really is.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Among the movies from Marvel, I consider this to be the most brilliant one. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not just a superhero movie, but a thriller with some fine ideological support. The plot is smart and intelligent, and the presence of a brain never really hurts even though visuals are those most cared about in the superhero movies. Well, Captain America has always been more of a supersoldier than a superhero, and so this nicely develops into an interesting plot. There is also that seriousness maintained, which Ant-Man could never manage, and unlike the way Iron Man series has been going, this one doesn’t go the predictable or repetitive way either. An intelligent superhero will only do good to the franchise.

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***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the movies.

TeNy

Tale of Five Towns

I have traveled a lot in a particular area more than any other, from the time I can recollect anything about the same. Just because I had nothing else to do, one day, I looked at the Google Maps and checked for those five towns to which I have traveled the most, and made a connection between them. I found out that the connection that I made looked like a mask; and for me, it felt like the mask of Zorro, Robin, the Green Hornet, the Spirit, the Phantom, the Green Lantern and the Lone Ranger – well, in simple words, it looked like a domino mask.

These five towns are part of the Ernakulam district of Kerala, not that far away from the city of Cochin. They are Aluva, Angamaly, Perumbavoor, Muvattupuzha and Kothamangalam. All of these towns were visited by me for watching movies, and all of them had the presence of Indian Coffee House at some point of time. There are also interesting tourist places close enough to them, mostly related to natural beauty and the same can be said about places of religious and spiritual significance. They are all well-developed, and have some interesting restaurants and bakeries for the food lovers.

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1. Perumbavoor: The town lies in the centre of the other four towns, with less than twenty kilometres to each of them, the closest being Angamaly. Aluva-Munnar as well as the Main Central Road joins here to create one of the most prominent junctions without a National Highway passing through. The closest places of natural beauty are Kodanad which is famous for the elephant rescue/training centre and Paniyeli-Poru which is known for its serene beauty. With no railway connection, Perumbavoor along with Aluva and Angamaly becomes the three big towns near the Cochin International Airport. There is famous temple at Iringole Kavu near Perumbavoor, and other interesting places of worship also exists for all the three major religions.

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2. Angamaly: Even though Kalady, the birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya, and Malayattoor, where Saint Thomas had prayed remain close to both Angamaly and Perumbavoor, it is this town which has the railway station which serves these two places of spirituality. National Highway 47 connecting Kanyakumari to Salem goes through the town, and it has one of the largest churches in India, and the town has a long history of Christian spirituality. It also has one of the best-looking Kerala State Transport Bus Stations, and one of the earliest modern style multiplexes in the area in the form of Carnival Cinemas. The only double-decker bus service in the district starts from here. This also serves as the border town of Ernakulam district with Thrissur district close to it.

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3. Aluva: Often stylized with the older name of Alwaye, its most well-known part is the Sivarathri Manappuram and the Siva Temple there. Aluva Sivarathri is very famous, and the Advaita Ashram here was founded in 1913 by Sree Narayana Guru. St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary is also one of the oldest in the state. Aluva stays on the National Highway 47 connecting Kanyakumari to Salem, and Aluva-Munnar road is a common route taken by tourists. Aluva is where the city service to Cochin starts, and also the point from where the Kochi Metro begins, thus making it the unofficial finish-line of the city. Surrounded by the river Periyar, Aluva is also home to the Federal Bank Head Office. The Marthanda Varma Bridge is a significant landmark and the railway station is a busy one. Union Christian College (UCC) is the oldest college, and Premam movie shows a lot of the town and the college.

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4. Muvattupuzha: On the Main Central Road, Muvattupuzha lies as a border of Ernakulam district towards the higher grounds. Connected to Perumbavoor with a perfect road and also well connected to Kothamangalam, it also has the districts of Kottayam and Idukki close enough to it, making the place more like an entrance to the the lower lands. It easy to go to both the smaller Areekal falls and the larger Thommankuthu falls from here, passing through Thodupuzha. You can also travel to Ilaveezhapoinjira, Vagamon and other places of natural beauty from here.
Muvattupuzha, despite the absence of a railway station and being further away from the airport, has undergone very good development, including becoming the only town outside the Kochi city limits to have a mall with multiplex.

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5. Kothamangalam: Located closer to Muvattupuzha than any other town and also well connected to Perumbavoor, Kothamangalam is more like a gateway to the natural beauty of Kerala’s hilly areas. With no Latin influence, the town is known for its ancient Syrian Christian churches. It is a major pilgrimage area for the Jacobite Syrian Church, and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church also has a strong presence there. The Thrikkariyoor Temple nearby dates a long way back. Interesting places of natural beauty like Bhoothathankettu, Thattekkad, Urulanthanni, Pooyamkutty etc are nearby, and this is the path which you follow to Munnar and all the beautiful places related to that destination despite being further away from air travel and railways.

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***I have shared one photo of natural beauty from each of these towns along with the Google Map screenshot. All the photos were taken on my camera or mobile in the last five or six years. The most traveled cities are in the order – Aluva, Perumbavoor, Kothamangalam, Muvattupuzha and Angamaly.

TeNy

Where Did They Go?

I have watched so many Malayalam movies in the theatres. It is a procedure which started long before I began watching the movie in other languages. I have always loved them for the power of their scripts. There were interesting flicks even from the new directors. But nowadays, one has to wonder what has happened to the quality of the flicks. There have been too many mediocre movies being released, and the quality has really come down. There seems to be a struggle going on with finding the right story.

Lets go back to 2013. There were seven top quality movies in the year, or even more. I can easily remember a few of them right now because they had created that awesome impact like no other movie which came in the later years. Celluloid had become that tribute to Malayalam cinema which seems to have created that impact among all kinds of audience. I consider it as the best movie of the year and Prithviraj Sukumaran had lead the way in the story of J. C. Daniel, the father of Malayalam cinema.

Among the movies of 2013, Amen had a status close to glory. It was a fairy-tale kind of tale with magic realism, and using the strength of the backwaters of Kerala to create scenes of visual magic. Lijo Jose Pellissery builds on and on through that magic, and in this love story of divinity and hope, Indrajith Sukumaran and Fahadh Faasil runs through with their brilliant performances. It stays in one’s mind for long and makes sure that it feels awesome. There was also news that there were chances for the same to be remade in Bollywood having Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role.

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Philips and the Monkey Pen was another beautiful work which made the point perfectly, and with kids as the major characters, the movie comes up giving very relevant messages. It manages to be a heart-touching story with simple elements. Sanoop Santhosh stars as protagonist in this movie which has the older performers like Jayasurya, Remya Nambeesan and Joy Mathew playing supporting roles. It is sad that the same producers couldn’t recreate the magic in their later movies and the two directors of the movie were not much heard about after that.

Then there was Drishyam. There are no doubts related to the highest grossing movie in the history of Malayalam film industry. Jeethu Joseph’s masterpiece which has been remade into four languages already, has the final one releasing this month-end. With Mohanlal right there with what he always does the best, Drishyam was the one movie everyone was talking about at that time, ruling the theatres for quite a long time. Lets hope that the Bollywood version will also do justice to the movie like the Tamil version, Papanasam.

Among the movies of the year, Left Right Left also had a special place in the heart of the common viewer, as it was the political drama thriller which was closest to that less explored genre. It was great to see so many powerful characters in one movie, and those amazing performances in it. Then there was another class act from Jeethu Joseph, in the form of Memories, which was a special dark thriller. With Prithviraj’s stunning performance and the script which is once again the winner, this one is also wonderfully taken with a protagonist having his lack of perfection.

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The final movie is North 24 Kaatham, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam and also provided Fahadh Faasil with the Kerala State Award for the Best Actor. The man had played a character suffering from OCPD, and with very less words being said, could create a big impact. The movie goes through the incidents which changes his life on a day of harthal. Are there movies of this quality these days? May be one or two which can be found here or there. Is it too far away from 2013 to continue making movies of such quality? The best we had this year so far is Mili, and the last year, it was Iyobinte Pusthakam.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the movies, Amen and Memories.

TeNy

Your Cabin in the Woods

Horror is forever; just like the vampires. There are only a few full horror movies which can claim to have 91% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and in the last three movies, no entertaining horror movie has managed to gain that. Do mark that I don’t consider the overrated flick, The Babadook as entertaining – I am still to figure out what brought the better ratings for that one, and I will write about it when I do find out the truth behind the same. Even The Conjuring did fall short, and so it is a great achievement that one movie has made among the usual ones.

The name of this movie can be guessed from the title itself – it is The Cabin in the Woods which did excellent with the critics and good at the box-office, but still remains a rather unknown title in South Asia. Well, it never really released here, and may be it could have got a theatre after the release of The Conjuring, after which all those horror movies started releasing one after the other, none really making the same impact with the audience. The Cabin in the Woods just came a little early, and the big horror fan teams were not active at that time.

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The Cabin in the Woods is not just horror, as it is also a slasher. Another thing that it manages to be is to become a satire on the movies which can be classified more into the category of torture porn than anything else. It can also be considered as a horror comedy which makes fun of the use of violence, nudity, torture and sadism in those movies which uses them for no reason instead of integrating them or working them as necessary part of the flicks. The Cabin in the Woods doesn’t add them as stupid fun, but uses them effectively to mock a few other flicks which have brought the genre down.

There are horror movies which have used all the elements in the right manner, and while making use of those which never did along with becoming the satire, The Cabin in the Woods actually becomes that horror movie which is never to be missed. It also knows where to use the elements and when to stop. Even its bloodiest moments are controlled, and never going beyond a certain limit. The dumb movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service which tried some of the similar things and miserably failed becoming the true nonsense, which was strangely appreciated, can actually learn from this movie.

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Kingsman: The Secret Service was a bloody stereotype which should have been blown right out of the theatre, as it is kilometres away from being funny or interesting. It couldn’t go on to become a satire and glorified all the possible stupidity. Meanwhile, The Cabin in the Woods manages to become every good thing that this year’s spy movie couldn’t. The people without the ability to think differently will still consider this one as just another horror movie. It should happen with a lot of people, and so a warning has to be issued related to the same.

This movie uses the idea of the “deserted cabin” which has been successfully used in many other horror movies. The movies which used it successfully include the Evil Dead franchise, and Cabin Fever has it in the name itself; I Spit on Your Grave and Wrong Turn had their own cabins, and here, we use the perfect example of the same, and at the same time making fun of the whole setting. This one has college students at an abandoned cabin, and a number of horror cliches are unleashed on them leaving them with no option but to fight them off watched by unknown people.

Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly), Holden McCrea (Jesse Williams), Marty Mikalski (Fran Kranz), Jules Louden (Anna Hutchison), and Curt Vaughan (Chris Hemsworth) are the five people left for the fate this time. The performances are really good, and they themselves make fun of the stereotypes used in horror movies. There is also a final twist in the end, and the movie itself becomes a reflection of how horror movies are made, or a thought about what would happen if reality shows were made based on horror rather than the repeated things that are shown on television. This is fun, and it works on brilliant idea, that of more than one existence – as a horror, comedy, satire, slasher, thriller and also that of a separate existence in the mind of a horror lover and inside a possible reality show.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of The Cabin in the Woods.

TeNy

Please Let Them In

There was a time when I was depressed about how the vampire movies were being made. Byzantium was a relief in that case, and before that movie, there was another flick which brought a certain relief, but it was even more unknown and didn’t do much at the box-office either. It was not that well-received because people were really not expecting this kind of a vampire movie, which they will consider not their kind of entertainment and also not the kind of horror that they want.

Well, the situation was more about making a choice. But it also meant that another vampire movie which had the true essence had to go down. It is never a good sign for a true vampire lover who wishes to keep the vampire essence closer to the vampires rather than mixing or bringing it to the human side so much that it makes one wonder if the resultant creature is a human in a vampire disguise. So, it is once again up-to us to bring such lesser known movies further attention.

Based on the novel Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist and also coming after a Swedish movie of the same name had already released, this one has a lesser reception. Let Me In has managed good critical reception though, even as most of the people who have watched the Swedish original are stubborn and not ready to watch or accept this because they were too attached to that one. You don’t usually see this much critically appreciated movies in the horror genre, and Let Me In is not just about horror.

Chloë Grace Moretz is the future: She has been one amazing child actress, and now into even more mature roles

Chloë Grace Moretz is the future: She has been amazing.

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a boy neglected by his parents and bullied by other students at school, has a girl called Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz) arriving to live next door with her father Thomas (Richard Jenkins). She is pale, acts strange, has no friends and wishes to have no acquaintances outside what seems to be her small world of two. Still, the boy and girl soon become good friends, but it turns out that the latter is not what she is actually believed to be. There are mysterious deaths happening in the neighborhood, and soon, it is the father who goes missing.

Bullying is a central point in this movie and the movie speaks against it. It is the major factor on which the protagonist’s life is developed, as he remains hopeless, and feeling eternally weak before the bullying students until he meets the girl, his first real friend and a strange source of power. The relationship between the two develops slowly, but beautifully, without any exaggerated additions. She is the strength that he has longed for, and as the movie reaches the end, the two are good enough to compliment each other, as he finds the strength to resist the bullies.

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The vampire’s need for blood and their hidden lifestyle is shown without the style and glorification that it had with some of the movies of the time. There is nothing that much of beautiful about it here with being the creature of the night. There is not even the strange mystery which is often equated with beauty. Things are rather clear here. It is not that interesting being the immortal vampire. The need for blood is beyond control and the requirement of hiding is so much. There is no usual kind of entertainment, but there is the skill of story-telling and the strength of strong emotions in display here.

The kids are too good in this movie; there is not much about the adult characters here though. Chloë Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee come up with incredibly mature performances. The former adds a very significant strength to the adaptation, as she works through her vampire-self with elegance in this movie. She adds her own charm to the character, and once again proves herself as the future of the movie world. You will surely need to watch Let Me In, and may be the Swedish version, Let the Right One In depending on which one you get. Here is another #UnknownMasterpiece.

TeNy

Ready with the Punch

Even though this movie came after the multiplexes were established here, it never came to any of the malls. It is actually a shame considering what kind of nonsense comes to the big screen these days. There are movies like After Earth which had absolutely no idea what it was going to do for the audience here, but still managed to be here. So, with hopes that whenever an interesting movie doesn’t get released here, a punch is delivered, I would like to talk to a movie which was not critically acclaimed and neither was it a box-office star.

Here is another unknown movie, an equivalent of supreme visual power, the Emily Browning starrer, Sucker Punch. There are only a few reasons why this movie failed to click for people. The number one reason is that it is too intelligent and the basic idea went right over the head of the viewers, and they only managed to see the entertainment that was on the screen. Another major reasons include hatred for no reason, having absolutely no idea about what is happening, and agreeing to some pseudo-intellectual critics because there is a fake veil of intellect.

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Sucker Puch tells the story of a young girl nicknamed Babydoll (Emily Browning) who is sent to the mental asylum after blamed for the death of her younger sister. Her abusive stepfather plans to get her lobotomized so that the truth related to the incidents are not revealed. To save herself from the fate, Babydoll creates a plan to escape from the institution, and it includes four things which she should find. She imagines a fantasy world for the same, and attains the help of the other inmates, Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), Amber (Jamie Chung), Rocket (Jena Malone), and Rocket’s sister Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish).

The support of music that the movie receives is really good. It sets the mood for the happenings of this movie as it begins with “Sweet Dreams are made of this” – it remains my ringtone since a few years ago. From there, it goes on to be a visually stunning experience. There is beauty on the screen, and the action sequences are really well-made. It is like going through a video game and have such quality in the rendering which is rarely seen with the best graphics card. There is more than one beautifully created worlds here, and they are very well connected to the original story.

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Zack Snyder is someone with cent precent record as far as I am concerned as a viewer. As we wait for his Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to come up, we remember movies like 300, Watchmen and Man of Steel; Sucker Punch might be less critically acclaimed, but I would consider this his best creative work ever. It is not only creative on the screen, but also leaves the audience to find the layers on which it works. Talking about the same, there are two fantasy worlds inside the real world and this structure leaves something for the brain. Things are not directly told this time.

The layers are actually connected in an interesting way, and it is the kind of thing that we all wanted in our lives. It is this pure escapism that all of us need to get a better in this terrible world as we create our own wonderful universe. The cast here which is lead by Emily Browning is very interesting as the support from other ladies including Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung remains strong as well as beautiful. You have to love how things come together in the end, with the story of courage and sacrifice getting to its appropriate finish.

If one is to watch Sucker Punch, it has to be done surely without prejudice, and not with a negative state of mind. There might be enough reviews to put you away from Sucker Punch, but the truth about this movie is different. You can love it or hate it after looking at the entertainment from a distance, but while thinking about how it actually works in a more detailed way, there are not many options. You have to be prepared for something different though, and also to think in that path of variety set by the movie. Here is another #UnknownMasterpiece.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of Sucker Punch.

TeNy

Sharpen Your Fangs

Most of the vampires have enjoyed some good time at the box-office with those movies with fangs driving hard into the necks of those currency notes. Some of the most mindless vampire franchises have done so well, that one has already gotten $3.345 billion world-wide. The most shocking thing is that the last two movies of that franchise which were the worst, actually managed to earn more than the the rest. It is a strange world, and a change of human perception about the vampires has made sure that this strange, meaningless vampire romance was going to take over to satisfy some audience.

But the question remained if such movies had to be made, and also if such books were to be written with not caring for the vampire essence? Interview with the Vampire maintained the basic vampire essence, and so did Vampire Journals; none of them needed to go into the strange teenage romance. Let Me In had recreated the same so much, and didn’t go down to a childish fantasy. There is a movie which knows how to make a rather beautiful and thought-provoking vampire stuff; something that Twilight had completely missed out, and with its complicated protagonists and complete artistic beauty, that movie is Byzantium.

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Byzantium is a less recognized beauty. It is not known that much among even the most regular movie viewers. The reason might be that it never really got a wide release. It comes from Neil Jordan who brought us Interview with the Vampire, and this movie maintains the feelings of that one including alienation, solitude, hopelessness and eternal doubt. The movie begins with these lines “My story can never be told. I write it over and over, wherever we find shelter. I write of what I cannot speak: the truth. I write all I know of it, then I throw the pages to the wind. Maybe the birds can read it”.

In a word which completely takes you into its eerie feeling, Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) and Clara (Gemma Arterton), the mysterious daughter and mother pair is on a never-ending run and finally seems to have somehow settled at the Hotel Byzantium. They have been chased by a group of vampires for around two hundred years. The flashback story goes back to the time of the Napoleonic Wars during which Clara is born. But at Byzantium, it is not just the past that will come to trouble the mother and daughter, as the present will catch up to them to force them in order to make decisions.

We have been forced into the CGI beauty which has often overtaken the beauty of the world and its people, and Byzantium takes you back to it. Saoirse Ronan plays a wandering beauty who carries a burden of melancholy with amazing skills. Four years after City of Ember, she once again brings the audience to a standstill with her performance as the lone vampire youth who never ages. Kirsten Dunst played such a character as a child vampire in Interview with the Vampire, but Eleanor’s troubles go deeper. She has the feelings of not just Claudia from that movie, but also that of Louis de Pointe du Lac.

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The one thing we can tell Saoirse Ronan’s character is to stop being so sad, as it basically depresses the viewers and makes them wonder how an immortal beauty can be portrayed with such powerful and abiding sadness. In such a world of no happiness, Gemma Arterton is Clara Webb, charming, seductive and deadly. Traversing between the darkness and the light, or rather dark grey and light grey, she is a character who saves the day in more than one way, and that depiction is rather of a domination that rises above the expectation. As she says “I had eyes that cut through lies, I had lungs that breathed eternity. Felt I’d lived my whole wretched life just to prepare me for that moment“.

Byzantium is a movie which replenished my vampire essence which was taken away by three movies, the completely worthless and shameless one called The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the hopeless one called Twilight and the clueless one called Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters. Byzantium is unbelievably artistic in its presentation, stylish with its environment and brutal with its emotions. It is like a form of art which does justice to the vampire mythology and never boasting about. As it hasn’t been promoted enough, I provide this post for celebrating this rather #UnknownMasterpiece.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Facebook Page of Byzantium.

TeNy

The Fire Still Burns

The list of interesting movies which didn’t get the attention of the mainstream audience is endless. I would add a movie released in 2008 to the list. It had less scope to be popular here because the first big mall in my state opened only in 2009 and a multiplex in the form of Cinemax only followed at the same mall much later. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the people I know haven’t watched this one. Yes, Star Movies is once again the channel which has made this movie known here.

I am hoping to have more people getting to know about this movie. It was a box-office flop, and I can only wonder about the reason for the same in North America. May be people misunderstood and expected the wrong thing from this movie. The reviews were positive to mixed, but things didn’t work well with the audience. This movie is an adaptation of a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Jeanne DuPrau which was published in 2003, and this lone flick which remains the only one in the franchise is known by the name, City of Ember.

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The movie was released just about two months after the release of the last book in the series; The Diamond of Darkhold – but thanks to the terrible reception by the audience, it remains the only movie of the franchise, with any hope for a sequel lost without hope. City of Ember is a movie which deserved more. May be it released a little bit too early, considering the increase in the viewership of English movies now and also the better love for the movie adaptations from books. It can do well with a reboot during these times.

City of Ember has a very interesting setting. It takes us to a dystopia which has existed for a long time after something like an end of the world had happened. The human civilization is limited to this world underground which is actually running short of supplies. As the new world was established inside a giant cave, the generators falling apart meant continuous darkness and the trouble with plumbing works happened to be other reasons along with the food shortage. As the leaders refuse to accept the doom and won’t allow an exploration to the outside, there is no easy way out.

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The movie uses the idea of the dystopia, and how it chooses to remain the same without going to explore the other possibilities due to concern, fear, anxiety and thoughts of losing power. The present city gives them what they want, and it goes on and on in the same way without any change, and it has worked for them. So, even in a distant future with things seemingly getting worse, they have that feeling that everything will get back to normal and everything will be all right.

The design of the world is indeed special and has a special dark beauty for itself. The performances add to the total charm. Saoirse Ronan leads the team with that charm that not many young actresses could come up with. It might be one of those movies which established her talents so early. Harry Treadaway follows and he does a significant job in keeping side efficient. I would still say that even with fair performances from the rest of the cast, nobody can match the leading lady on the screen.

City of Ember itself is a reflection of our present world in which the situation is getting worse and nobody cares. The only difference is that our planet can still be saved, and an escape is not the best solution. But the much needed qualities to inspire the same is missing, and people were fed with a need to win at any cost, right from their childhood – so it will actually be a strange thing if someone actually bothers about the humanity as a whole without caring for the personal gains.

***The images used in this blog post are cropped from the screenshots taken from the movie.

TeNy

The Judgment is Here

I was wandering through the hot topics which were running, and this week’s In(di)spire topic instantly caught my attention. It was about reviewing a great movie or a great book which failed to get the attention of the mainstream audience. I thought about it, and finally managed to keep the idea vampire-free. It was difficult, but I decided to choose a movie which failed at the box-office, and not many people I know realize its strength either. At the same time, it is also one of those movies which has a name with most of the people confuse with the spelling.

The reviews were positive, but it couldn’t bring people to the theatres at that time. Even I missed the movie on the big screen, but thankfully, it comes to Star Movies very often. This movie has one other speciality. Some time after its release, after it had disappeared from the theatres, people realized that it deserved a sequel, and the Facebook Page demanding a sequel has more than double the total number of likes which the movie has. With over one lakh fans hoping for a sequel even as the first part did bad business, this movie is Dredd.

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I am confident that Dredd would have been a big hit if it had released these days. Mad Max: Fury Road with its post-apocalyptic mayhem was a huge success, and Dredd is much bigger than that in action, adventure, chaos and themes. The 1995 Sylvester Stallone and Diane Lane starrer Judge Dredd based on the same comics actually had better collection with negative reviews. I would say that Dredd was lost somewhere in between due to no fault of anyone associated with. If you consider the situation here, Dredd was never a character well-known, and needed more boost.

Dredd thrives on its imagery, of a future metropolis among the wasteland Mega-City One, a world of extreme violence where judges manage the law and order in the streets as they are police, judges and executioners, all at the same time. Among these criminals, some of them reign supreme, and one such figure is the queen of crimes, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). The Judges Dredd (Karl Urban) and Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) will go to the two hundred storied tower where she rules, as three men are skinned alive and thrown from the top. But Ma-Ma will seal off the building with them inside and make sure that no more judges will come that way. Judges don’t think so though.

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The movie is full of stylish violence which never really gets out of hand except for the blood – the limits are maintained. There is a lot of action involved and the efficient use of Slo-Mo and not the usual slow motion makes the sequences amazing to watch; there is an artistic beauty like never before. Slo-Mo is a drug which reduces the user’s perception of time heavily, and it is a smart excuse used here to make use of the slow motion in an efficient way and yet not disrupt the pace and flow of the movie. It would have been even more joy to watch it in 3D, but we all have missed that!

The cast brings some unbelievable amount of strength to this movie. Karl Urban does the incredible with most of his face covered. The character never removes the helmet, and it is a depressing thing that even as he continues to make nice impact in the leading role in a lot of movies, none of them have gone on to become big hits; not Pathfinder, not Doom and not this one. He brings the surprise here and so does Olivia Thirlby. It is an exceptional performance from her too, with her psychic side as well as in the role of a judge. I would say that this is her best ever; it is strong, emotional and stylish.

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Lena Headey makes one of the best female villains of all time. You might not even recognize this Cersei/Gorgo if you weren’t told. This is too good from her. That is not all. The world design, the judges costumes, the weapons, the interiors, all have been nicely adjusted to create a realistic and yet stylish environment and sequence of events. You need science fiction, crime drama, action thriller or something with a relevant theme? Dredd got them all, and it just needs you to watch it. Star Movies is there to make sure that you do.

TeNy

For this Festival Season

This weekend becomes special because it is a festival season. There are some interesting releases for Eid this year, even though none of them are too hyped. If anything is hyped, that is outside the Malayalam movie industry in the form of Bajrangi Bhaijaan which is the only Hindi movie here at the multiplexes. Malayalam movies arrive this weekend without trying too much with the advertisements; the promotion is quite less considering the fact that there is no real shortage of stars.

It will still be Bajrangi Bhaijaan which will have more screen than any other movie, at the multiplexes as it will not only restrict the number of shows of other movies, but also eliminate presence of Baahubali, the Telugu version, leaving the Tamil and Malayalam dubbed versions to fight the battle. But one of the four Malayalam movies is going to rule the local theatres restricting the rush for every other movie. Premam might still survive along with Baahubali, but for the rest, it is going to be tough this weekend too.

As I look forward to this weekend with no Hollywood releases, I have the need to choose a movie from this list, and I have decided to choose Madhura Naranga. The significance of this movie is that Kunchako Boban and Biju Menon, the highly successful team comes together again. Bhaiyya Bhaiyya was the last time we had seen them entertaining us as a team. That movie itself was only a fair watch and a release along with the Prithviraj starrer Sapthamashree Thaskaraha clearly diminshed its chances.

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The director Sugeeth also joins with the two actors after two interesting movies Ordinary and 3 Dots. Neeraj Madhav also joins them after the recent success story with Nivin Pauly and Aju Varghese, in Oru Vadakkan Selfie. There is no doubt that this trio can do a very nice job together as long as the story and dialogues support the same. He does provide some good support in every case, and you will know that if you watched his earliest big hit, Sapthamashree Thaskaraha.

The daughter of the late actor Ratheesh, Parvathy is also making her debut as the heroine opposite Kunchacko Boban in this movie. Her elder brother, Padmaraj Ratheesh had already made his debut in the Mammootty starrer Fireman earlier. The movie is shot across Dubai and Sri Lanka with a full romance story expected by the viewers. The trailer is interesting, and looking at all the available options, this one has a good advantage, and there should be good rust for the first show.

Love 24X7 seemed like another love story with less romance from the trailer. It seems more inclined towards a family drama with some extra elements supporting a genre mixture. The variety avatar should be a welcome change as far as Dileep is concerned. Meanwhile, the last election campaign seems to be inspired a movie, the Mammootty starrer, Acha Din. It is supposed to be a family entertainer, and Mansi Sharma will be another interesting face for the Malayalam movie industry.

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At the same time, KL.10 Pathu starring Unni Mukundan becomes the fourth release for the weekend. It looks like a much simpler story with football playing a major role in the plot to create the twists. Our hero seems to have a new style in this one. Chandini Sreedharan is the heroine. But Prithviraj-Indrajith-Arya starrer Double Barrel seems to have postponed the release date further, and that eliminates the chance for another one, bringing the competition down. Let’s see what actually happens this weekend! 🙂

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie, Madhura Naranga.

TeNy

UCC: Random Thoughts

It has been two years. Time has moved fast, and I still remain where I was by the end of July 2013. I was going through the final stages of my project on vampire as a cultural construct at that time, and after two years, the vampires remain, or rather the ghosts of the vampires, and the new ones have also joined my imaginations. After two years, nothing really has happened with my life except for the fact that the distance has increased considerably; distance not just to one thing, but to many.

I am away from my college, the students and teachers, further than ever. We have moved from Aluva to the present location, which means myself and the college no longer shares the same town. Even after leaving Union Christian College, I used to wander around the place, having tea at the nearby restaurants and bakeries. I was close enough, and I had a few visits after I left officially. There were a few friends visited and the teachers were also there. The distance from my home to college remained three kilometres at that time.

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Now, it has all changed though. With the distance, the world itself has broken away into two, one from the past and the other of the present which is a void. My only hope remains that my former classmates will call me for their weddings. I do suspect that some of the girls might be already married and I never knew. I hope that the food at those functions was not that good; otherwise I will be very disappointed. Well, I guess that I was pretty much expendable and the time had arrived to use that particular characteristic – I feel that now.

Everyone has evolved into something else, and there are no assignments, seminars or projects to talk about or to be of help. So, there is more chance of my mobile number being scrapped, and someone can always say that it was the mobile which was lost or changed. They are more practical and I am a wanderer in the thoughts which won’t have any significance for a normal person these days. May be I can use that “former intellectual” tag and use it on my name plate, hanging it on the gate of my house as a memory.

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UC College has surely made me a better person, and I have talked about it on my earlier post. But the depressing thing was that it was too short a period of time for me. There were also enough strikes to make it even shorter. I feel it even more after watching the college in the movie Premam. But I would still not doubt the fact that it was the right time for me to study there. I did feel that the forces present there at that time were custom made for me, including the students and the faculty.

When you feel that a place has made you a better person, and now you have no connection with the same, it should feel terrible, or at least for me, it does. I know that as we consider the expected model of the college days, mine wouldn’t count as interesting. It is not worthy of being an entertaining collection of two years for humanity. I haven’t had a huge friend circle, and without those quiz programs, I would have been mostly unknown in my department too. But I was glad with what I had, and the books.

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I enjoyed watching the rain which made the college which is close to nature even more beautiful, joining my favourite lecturers for a cup of tea or having onion vada with one of those faces which I knew. I loved to go to the library and collect those vampire-related works, and I loved where I parked my car. I won’t say that it was about having fun, and for the same reason, it was closer to my heart. I have enjoyed loneliness with a book under the tree and keeping on ordering for more tea at the canteen while working on my vampire thesis. And now there is no connection. My previous post, The College Days at UCC which was a contest winner, had a more optimistic side, but it has been some time!

***The photos were taken by me at UC College; there are no surprises there.

TeNy

Bought from Flipkart

***A list of some interesting things I bought from Flipkart.

Photo of a part of room with key holder and wooden shelf

Photo of a part of room with key holder and wall shelf (Taken on Zenfone 5)

Eveready RF-06 Rechargeable 5 Blade Table Fan
Among all those things which I bought, this one has the power to save the day more than any other. I have always wanted the battery fans because the power cuts are so frequent, and we are still looking for an inverter. This is a rechargeable fan with LED lights which will help a lot when the electricity fails us again. With such willingness to play with te consumer feelings, the electricity board virtually asks us to buy this and blame them a little less. The switches also glow in the darkness and so things get easier. It is actually quite small, but still powerful. I had to call the electrician to assemble those pieces which came in the name of the fan, but it has served me very well after that 😀

Sajja Craft Wooden Wall Shelf
This comes as parts which can be assembled with ease, and how easy it is, can vary. I have actually used this one in a different way, not like the zig zag mode which is shown in the picture but in the model of the steps which go towards the corner. I have used it to keep a basket in which I put all my move tickets, a small desk calendar, a pen holder, a Transformer toy and a Buddhist pagoda souvenir which I bought from Sri Lanka. It can surely take a lot of weight. There is another one which I bought, and it has one layer for putting small things and some hangers for putting the keys. Click here for that one: Love Wall Shelf

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Design o Vista Wooden Key Holder
When I went back to look at it, a few days after buying it when there was an offer, I saw that it was permanently discontinued. I actually wondered why. It is amazingly good-looking, even without it being that much of a use as a key holder because of the smaller size. Still, we can use it to create an effect of having something special in our rooms. It is now the first thing that the people who come into my room notice, and they are asking what it is. It looks like a small safe, and has a map on the front with a ship wheel and bowline on it. There is also another showpiece from the same company which I bought – a ship model which was a nice thing too – see The Figurine

Pigeon Kettle Favourite 1000 ml Electric Kettle
As a tea lover, I have always wanted an electric kettle; we actually had one already, but I wanted to have one for myself for those tea adventures. The other one is Prestige, with an extra coating, special colour, design and so costing a lot more; this is rather a cheap and worthy alternative. The kettle remains the easiest way to boil water, and there will always be that day on which it is too cold, but you really want to take a bath. So, I had to choose this one to save the day. I use this many times a day, and this should be among the most used electronic equipments at home – still, nowhere near the total time of this laptop working 😉

Anjali Multi Purpose Juicer Plastic Hand Juicer
I always wanted to keep making juice and drink during those breaks between tea, and with one part of my room being somewhat a kitchen, I add this one to the list of things used there. Watermelons and oranges were the best choices with the juicer, and with self-sufficiency in having something other than tea achieved, I can write more in peace. I hope to test it with grapes sooner or later. May be with harder fruits, it can serve as the means to some exercise, or may be even get broken, thus proving that we are strong enough 😀

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Portronics POR 465
This did feel a little over-priced when I first looked at it, but the quality here is really good; just looking at the other less priced things will give you an idea of how much better this one is in comparison with anything else of similar type. The transmission speed is also a lot higher. There are four USB 3.0 ports to make sure that the problem of having a low number of USB slots is solved. I had always wanted something like this for my laptop because with the mouse, USB internet device and the external speakers connected, there was no free USB slot for me to connect anything more.

VISKO 601 Garden Tool Kit
Here is a multi-purpose device for the garden. This is a much needed thing to work on the beautification of the nature around our homes. The collection of tools will make us more interested in gardening as things geta lot easier. The product is surely worth the price and it has inspired more of a family gardening here. ***These are the seven interesting things which I bought from Flipkart during the last six months. Do you have a similar list? I believe that you do, because we are all sailing on the same boat of blogging, and internet shopping should come naturally to us.

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***The images used in this blog post are from the pages of these products at Flipkart.

TeNy

And then the TV Series

I have developed a love for TV series only recently. The case of Game of Thrones has been of eternal recommendation. Everybody loves that one, and Sherlock has its long list of admirers, and after this writing is complete, I hope to create more for Hannibal too. The next to watch on my list are VikingsSpartacus and Breaking Bad. I made the choice to skip True Blood and The Vampire Diaries as a Twilight reminder came up and that was shocking.

SHERLOCK [Seasons: 3. Watched: 3]
Rating: 8.9/10 @TV.com

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For a long time, I had believed that Robert Downey Jr. is the only one who could be Sherlock Holmes, and I have even considered the man the one true Holmes and less identified him with being Iron Man. Benedict Cumberbatch is not the only person who changed my views on the true Sherlock, because there was Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson and Lara Pulver as Irene Adler. Jude Law was very good, but Martin was so perfect in the role. Rachel McAdams was the cutest Irene with that hair style, but Lara Pulver became more of that character. Now I have two favourite people each for all three of these characters.

I might still prefer to watch Holmes with that older setting because it is the one true investigator from my childhood, but with this cast, Sherlock TV series is always a joy to watch. It was only the third season which was a let down for me, and the credit for the same goes the very last episode, as “His Last Vow” left me less interested. The secret of identity of Watson’s wife and the villain with Appledore Mind Palace felt ridiculous; it was only the possible return of Jim Moriarty that gave me the desire to wait for the next season. Season Two was my big favourite and Season One also felt awesome.

GAME OF THRONES [Seasons: 5. Watched: 5]
Rating: 9/10 @TV.com

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I came quite late to the Game of Thrones fan club which meant that I had to watch four seasons in a week and also got to watch the fifth episode soon enough. The result is that now I am left waiting with so much desire to know what happens next; the fifth season’s end had me desiring to know what is next, more than ever. There is no other program which has kept me with such desire to know what happens next, and never in my life has so many of my favourite characters been dead. Well, the Vampire Team has hoped that some of these dead people join the group (only those with heads on the necks).

As I expect for a lot of more people to die, I keep my trust on Tyrion Lannister. I was sure that the character played by Sean Bean had ninety nine percent chance of dying, but I should have kept it at a higher level. I have loved how the characters change and twists happen throughout the movie, and how those unexpected things come out of nowhere. I have special love for the undead, and I will also support a few minor characters whose names shall revealed after their deaths. Until now, I am sure not to love only one character, Sansa Stark, and everybody knows it. In the end, Game of Thrones is just the truth about humanity.

HANNIBAL [Seasons: 3. Watched: 2]
Rating: 9/10 @TV.com

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Based on the characters in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, Hannibal arrives to take the gore and psychological horror to another level – rather too violent for the normal viewer; a lot more than Game of Thrones, and much more disturbing. Most of us might know Hannibal Lecter as Anthony Hopkins who received the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal in Silence of the Lambs. Here Mads Mikkelsen comes up with another brilliant performance as the psychiatrist and serial killer who plays mind games with the FBI. Hugh Dancy plays Will Graham, the FBI special agent who discusses his problems as well as the cases with the devil himself as he descends into an abyss of terrifying minds. The murderers are many, and cops are less here! And there are amazing quotes flying everywhere.

I have watched only two seasons of the series, and found them too interesting to stop. Caroline Dhavernas is another complicated addition, as her intelligent character remains clueless for most of the time in the two episodes. Laurence Fishburne of The Matrix, Othello and Event Horizon makes a powerful impact here. Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds is fun, and Kacey Rohl as Abigail Hobbs is one cute addition in a world of chaos. You also get to see the Scream Queen and the Grand Lady of Horror Movies, Katharine Isabelle who plays another character with her own special weirdness. Almost everyone is strange and a possible serial killer, and that makes this series really special 😀

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of these three television series.

TeNy

The Banana Pedagogy

There is something about the new generation parents. There is usually no time for everyone these days, and for the rest of them, there are just instructions. It is a busy world and they are caught in that web of timelessness which runs through modernity. They work as if the life is based on a book, and also comes with a list of things to do and not to do. Even with all their lack of experience and time, they feel that they could do good, but it is nowhere close to being true.

What we see is a reflection of the method of teaching which is used in the schools and colleges, to teach and to consider the receiver as the one to just hear and obey what all are told to them. But with this lack of experience and time, one has to wonder if parents of this age can really afford to do that. The education system itself is already messed up due to the same. The solution is to be the one to care, and establish that connection with the children just like how a teacher-student should work.

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In a world where teachers are chosen from an outdated BEd course or a ridiculous question paper which tests luck in the form of test supported by reservations based on caste, community and religion, the education level is already going down, and so the goodness has to begin at home. You can’t trust what is taught anymore, because it is just forced down your throats. You can’t be sure about how well your child undergoes the thing which is called education even though a better and more suitable name should be something else.

This is the time when anyone and everyone passes the State Board Exams with free A+ and also with all the available vanity, envy and avarice, as you can see flux boards everywhere shamelessly boasting about the same. I have known many kinds of boasting, but what we see here is boasting from the government about more students passing, and from those related to the students about the number of A+. It is a clear case of the lack of values and the reflection of the fact that A+ doesn’t give one a better standard.

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In this age when students don’t even get their text books at the right time, the parents’ support is more important than ever. You can’t trust the internet with the pedagogy, as you end up being a dumb student from IIN believing everything which is seen on internet remains true throughout life. Yes, everyone passes the tenth from the state without studying anything these days, compared to that struggle which the students had to go through at the time when our generation studied. But what do they gain?

The students are left with no values or even less wisdom and there is more chance of going the wrong path with inappropriate friends, and so buddy parents become very important in the present world of chaos. They have to make learning fun and make sure that their children don’t deviate from the path which is the best for them. It is more of a need rather than what is wanted. There are a few such responsible parents in the present world, and some children are born blessed.

A parent can easily help a child in building a fine vocabulary and improving the knowledge in history depending on the knowledge of the person. There are also chances in the basic science and Mathematics. Childhood should be fun as well as informative. It can’t be forced like some other things. Children got to grow up, and it has to happen well; for the same, the skills of the parents and the approach which they follow, become very significant. It is based on the childhood that the rest are built.

Also look out for ‘Khuljyaye Bachpan’ from Kellogg’s: https://www.facebook.com/mychocos

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of Kellogg’s Chocos which can be accessed through the above link.

TeNy