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12
Aug

Book Review: “The Martian”

“As with most of life’s problems, this one can be solved by a box of pure radiation.”

Author:

Andy Weir

Publisher:

Crown Publishing Group

Published On:

2011 (electronic book), March 2013 (audiobook), February 11, 2014 (hardcover)

Review:

To tell you the truth, I don’t know what genre this falls in as it’s not technically a Sci-Fi book, because it feels very real and everything is fact based, and it might be a thriller but it is set on Mars.. Oh well..

Back to the review, yes?

The Martian is quite the unique novel. It a survival story but on another planet and has quite a bit of humour in it. The book follows Mark Watney as he tries to survive on Mars after his team thought he was dead due to a sandstorm. He tries to survive using the resources available on the planet and find a way back home.

The story is told to us in the form of log entries and it’s like Mark Watney is, himself, telling us the story of his survival. I really liked this approach to the story telling, rather than the regular kind. It added that extra layer of realism to The Martian. You can see that Andy Weir has worked hard on this book with all the research. Its mainly for that reason that i found it difficult ti classify this book into a particular genre.

The characterization of Mark was amazing. The dialogues and the wit were superb. Though, the secondary characters could use a little touching up because, to me, some of them felt…dry. Towards the end, the book has you at the edge of the seat (or bed, or..whatever or wherever you sit while reading this). You root for Mark and you feel for him. In the first few chapters, Weir gets us emotionally invested in the character. Weir’s writing style is very easy to read and the tech-talk doesn’t bore the reader.

The Martian has elements for the hardcore readers as well as those casual ones. This is definitely one of my favourite books in the year!

 

Side Note: I am scared for the movie adaptation because Matt Damon has been cast as Mark Watney and personally, I don’t think Damon can pull the role off. But we’ll know in 2015.. 

Final Verdict: 

9/10

Here’s another quote:

“It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.”

10
Aug

Movie Review: “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Groot: WE. ARE. GROOT.

Director:

James Gunn

Producer:

Kevin Feige

Screenplay:

James Gunn, Nicole Perlman

Cast:

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord

Zoe Saldana as Gamora

Dave Bautista as  Drax the Destroyer

Vin Diesel as Groot

Bradley Cooper as Rocket

Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser

Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta

Karen Gillan as Nebula

Djimon Hounsou as Korath

John C. Reilly as Corpsman Rhomann Dey

Glenn Close as Nova Prime Irani Rael

Benicio del Toro as Taneleer Tivan / The Collector

Josh Brolin as Thanos

Ophelia Lovibond as Carina

Peter Serafinowicz as Denarian Garthan Saal

Based on Guardians of the Galaxy  by Dan Abnett Andy Lanning

Music:

Tyler Bates

Review:

I was very excited when I heard that this was being adapted to the big screen and I had high expectations. So, when I saw the movie yesterday, I was blown away by its’s sheer awesomeness.

Guardians of the Galaxy is about a group of misfits and outlaws –  A thief, an Assassin, a talking tree, a genetically engineered raccoon and a mercenary. Quill discovers an Orb with the Infinity Stone that is wanted by Thanos and Ronan and is on the run from assassins who want the orb for Ronan. There is also a bounty on him by Yondu, whom he had betrayed for the orb. To collect the bounty, Rocket and Groot try to kidnap Quill while Gamora does the same but for Ronan. In the end, they are all taken to prison where they team up and try to save the galaxy.

The movie makes you emotionally invested in the character from the very beginning. Its hard not to feel for Quill after that. We also get mentions of each character’s origin story and that all that is needed, I guess. In fact, you are emotionally invested in each of the characters from the very moment they are introduced.

The casting couldn’t have been more perfect. Chris Pratt was amazing as Star-Lord and going through the list of other actors who auditioned for the role, I just can’t see any of them as Star-Lord. Pratt has the dumb, dickish air about him and is, in ways, similar to his Parks and Rec role. Zoe Saldana is one of my favourite actresses and she was amazing as Gamora! I was a bit apprehensive about Dave Bautista as Drax, though. But when I saw the trailers and the actual movie, I realised he, too, was perfect for the role. Unlike others of his kind, Dave can actually act and his comic timing is great! Vin Diesel might have had only 4 words in total ( “I”  “We” “Am” and “Groot”) but he won all of our hearts with those few words. And Rocket. Rocket is hilarious and amazing. Bradley Cooper does an amazing job with the voice. Lee Pace looked nearly unrecognisable, as Ronan was an amazing baddie. Karen has very few scenes in the movie, but whenever she graced our screens, she was superb.

The visual effects in the movie are stunning, Groot looked amazing, Rocket looked real, Thanos looked scary! The music, especially the 70’s and 80’s tracks in the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 were just a joy to listen to and fit in perfectly with the numerous other 70’s and 80’s references. The story and the dialogue were superb and the characterisation of each was brilliant.

Certain scenes that need to be mentioned – Peter Quill’s dance-off with Ronan was hilarious and enjoyable and didn’t even feel out of place. The Dancing Groot was perhaps the cutest and best scene in the whole movie! Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have a toy that does that!

Guardians of the Galaxy is the best movie marvel has given us. This movie is what other marvel movies wish to be. In short, the movie was PERFECT. 

Final Verdict:

10/10

 

7
Aug

Movie Review: “Lucy”

Director:

Luc Besson

Producer:

Virginie Silla

Writer:

Luc Besson

Cast:

Scarlett Johansson as Lucy

Morgan Freeman as Professor Samuel Norman

Choi Min-sik as Jang

Amr Waked as Del Rio

Pilou Asbaek

Mason Lee

Analeigh Tipton

Music:

Éric Serra

Review:

Lucy was a movie I was very excited to see for a few reasons. One, it was Sci-Fi and action. Two, because it starred Scarlett Johannason and Morgan Freeman. The trailers made it look really good. But unfortunately, the movie was a bug disappointment.
The movie follows a twenty-something girl named Lucy living and studying in Taipei who is tricked into becoming a drug mule. But the tables are turned when the drug leaks into her body and allows her to access more than 10% of her brain. She starts off using this to take revenge against her captors.
The second half of the film sees her trying to bring in the others who have been used as mules and extract the drug from them so that she can use it for her self and then she will be able to access 100% of her brain to help Professor Samuel in his research.
The first part has some really good action scenes and was pretty interesting. But the second seemed to lack logic and was just very boring. In the end, (SPOILER ALERT) she downloads all her knowledge into a small pendrive.
The movie had some weird scenes towards the end, which reminded me of the final twenty minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The acting wasn’t too great either. But the music by Éric Serra was really really good, and it’s a shame that the movie couldn’t match up the music. I really loved that Mozart’s Requiem was used in the movie. I had high expectations from this and sadly this turned out to be a sub-par film..

Final Verdict: 

5/10

2
Aug

Book Review: “Kafka On The Shore”

“Chance encounters is what keeps us going.”

Author:

Haruki Murakami

Translator:

Philip Gabriel

Published on: 

January 2005

Review:

I haven’t read many Murakami books, and the reason I read this was my Book Club. It was my final book club, and I wanted to take part so I read the book. The other Murkami book I had read was 1Q84, and that was a tedious read. Not because it was boring but because of the length. Kafka on the Shore was not only different in terns of the choice of the protagonist, but also the speed and the character development. 

The book follows Kafka who is trying to escape his father and an Oedipus Curse; one, which his father said, would come true no matter what. The curse states that Kafka would kill his father, sleep with his sister and fall in love with his mother. But his mother had left him when he was very young taking his adopted sister with her. In parallel, we see Nakata (who isn’t very bright) who can talk to cats. While searching for a cat, he is forced to kill a man who is murdering cats to make a flute out of their souls. Because of which, Nakata, too, has to run away. 

The two leads have very interesting and amazing supporting characters. Oshima was mysterious from the beginning and when he speaks, you just want to listen closely. Hoshino, is fun to be around and the way he takes care of Nakata is something you don’t see too often. He is patient and kind and develops into a better person. 

Without divulging much of the story, I must say that this is one helluva book, a book that’ll keep you engaged and give you more questions than the answers. Murakami’s writing style is poetic and lyrical and it has this flow to it. Even translated into English, it retains the same beauty. There are a million of unanswered riddles. Its tough to grasp it on the first reading, but you enjoy it nonetheless. It is one of those books you keep coming back to to understand and learn something new upon every reading

Final Verdict:

8.5/10

2
Aug

Movie review: “Begin Again”

Director:

John Carney

 

Producer:

Anthony Bregman, Tobin Armbrust, Judd Apatow

Writer:

John Carney

Cast:

Keira Knightley as Gretta

Mark Ruffalo as Dan Mulligan

Adam Levine as Dave Kohl

Hailee Steinfeld as Violet Mulligan

James Corden as Steve

CeeLo Green as Trouble Gum

Mos Def as Saul

Catherine Keener as Miriam

Music and Lyrics:

Gregg AlexanderDanielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, Rick Nowels and Nick SouthwoodJohn Carney and Glen Hansard

Review:

Walking into the cinema hall, I really didn’t expect much from this movie. Hell, I didn’t know it was a musical until Keira Knightley started singing. Its usually these kind of movies that wow me and I was blown away by this movie.

The story is simple, Gretta (Knightley) has a magical voice and Dan (Ruffalo), who is a washed up and drunk producer, is enthralled by her voice and wants to produce her album. At first she refuses, but later she comes around to it. The reason she is in the States is her boyfriend, David Kohl (Levine) who is a singer and moves here for his album. He later cheats on her and she moves in wither her bestie, also a singer, Steve (Corden).

The movie’s opening is a bit wonky with them spending time showing us some of the scenes again and again to recap the story of the two lead characters. Through the flashbacks that bring us to the Bar where Dan discovers Gretta, we are told the story of the two.

The story is quite interesting and keeps you engaged for duration of the film. The performances by Knightley and Ruffalo were good, and the chemistry they shared was pretty good and seemed real. Adam Levin’s acting on the other hand… not too keen on watching his act again. Beards DEFINITELY does not look good on him.

Now about the songs; Keira Knightley has an amazing voice. I cannot stress enough the beauty and angelic quality to her voice. When you hear the songs she sings, you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Who knew she had such an amazing voice? The songs were brilliant and something you can keep going back to. Lost Stars and Like a Fool are definitely one of my favorites.

So.. If you’re looking for a nice Comedy Musical flick, Begin Again is the one for you!

 

Final Verdict:

8.5/10

18
May

Orphan Black: “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est” Review

**Spoilers** Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 5 “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est”

Director:

Helen Shaver

Writer:

Tony Elliott

Review:

This episode opens to Rachel discovering Daniel’s body and decides to bring down Sarah. She also threatens to make Cosima suffer until Sarah is brought in. Sarah is still on her quest for answers while Kira is with her father, Cal. While Helena remains to be the cutest thing on the show, other than Kira. Cosima and Delphine make some new discoveries and the Prolitheans are trying to get Helena back to implant her with test tube baby.

Rachel seems to be one uptight b**** who thinks she is better than everyone else. I’m glad we got to see more of her in this episode and we were able to see how she reacts to Daniel’s death. And just as I had guessed, she was very very cold about it. In the wake of Daniel’s death she gives Paul a promotion and makes him her monitor to report to Dr. Leekie.

Sarah decides to take Helena with her to Fee’s (who shall now be called Brother Seestra) place to get her cleaned up and then Brother Seestra takes her to Art’s house where he questions her about Maggie. Sarah is just running around hunting for some more answers. Cosima discovers something new about Project Leda through Dr. Leekie who also disregards Rachel’s orders and administers the cure on Cos.

Helena escapes from Art’s place and goes to Maggie’s locker where she takes a sniper rifle and plans to kill Rachel. Sarah and Art find the Locker and find new clues about Project Leda. Then then find Helena, who has everything set up to kill Rachel. Sarah convinces her not to kill Rachel because they have Brother Seestra and she also tells her that she loves her (?).

Masalany’s performance as Helena, Sarah and Rachel was outstanding. Again, the last scene with Helena and Sarah when she stands in front of the rifle was brilliantly written and directed and performed. This episode was very good, and its only half way through the season. Alison is missing this episode and so was Mrs. S. But I’m glad that everyone’s arcs aren’t crammed into one 45-minute episode.

Again, the previews for the next episode look amazing!

Final Verdict:

8.5/10

12
May

Game of Thrones: “The Laws of God and Men” Review

**Spoilers** Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 6 “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Director:

Alik Sakharov

Writer:

Bryan Cogman

Review:

This episode opens to Stannis and Davos at the Iron Bank where Stannis is declined financial aid by Tycho Nastoris. But, Davos finally convinces Tycho to provide the aid. They then decide to sail back to Westeros. Dany deals with being the Queen of Mereen and her Dragons cause trouble again.

Back in Westeros, Yara tries to take Theon back, but it backfires and she returns defeated and says that Theo is dead. Ramsay commends Reek (or Theon) for his loyalty and then gives him a new job. And in Kings Landing, Tyrion’s trial takes place.

Lets talk about the trial, shall we? In the books, the trial is a very important part that brings about a major change in Tyrion’s character and propels the character in a whole new direction. I was eagerly awaiting this scene because I was excited to see how they pull it off, and at the same time I was also scared because I didn’t want it to be ruined.

The  trial got the last fifteen minutes of the show.  It was without any interruptions and it was shown beautifully. From the moment Tyrion walks in, you know that everyone is going to go against him and throw him under the medieval bus (Or Dragon?). You can also see it on Tyrion’s tired and exhausted face that he knows it too. Jaime, as usual, tries to help Tyrion and avoid him being executed. I was surprised by Vary’s betrayal as it caught us off-guard, but it was a welcome surprise. But towards the end, Shae comes out and betrays him and he snaps. He gives his powerful speech of how he is guilty of being a dwarf and he has been on trial his whole life. The whole courtroom erupts at the end of his speech and he demands trial by combat.

Peter Dinklage should be given an Emmy, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, a BAFTA..Hell, any damn acting award should be given to this man for his powerful and amazing performance this episode. I am in awe of his talent and the way he keeps surprising us with the feat of his skills.

Dany is struggling with her dragons and Hizdhar Zo Loraq comes to ask for the proper burial of his father who was crucified by Dany. The dragon looks amazing and we can see her control over them failing.  At Dreadfort, Yara comes to rescue her brother but find him to be lost. He is afraid of her and doesn’t seem to return. Seeing this, you realise how broken Theon is and he truly has become Reek. Theon, truly, is dead.

Even after writing this, I still am in awe of that Trial Scene..

Final Verdict:

9/10

11
May

Orphan Black: “Governed as It Were by Chance”

**Spoilers** Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 4 “Governed as It Were by Chance

Director:

David Frazee

Writer:

Russ Cochrane

Review:

The episode continues from the last episode where the car Sarah was in, was hit by a large truck. It turns out that it was Cal’s truck. In the time it’s taken Sarah and Rachel’s Lawyer to get to the intersection, Cal found a safe place for Kira, got a new ride and came another way and bashed into the car. This was strange because I don’t see same plot-holes in Orphan Black.

Cal demands answers from Sarah but she refuses. She leaves Kira with him and decides to find Mrs. S and to get some answers about Project Leda. Alison, on the other hand, wakes up in rehab and doesn’t remember checking her self in. She calls Felix who convinces her to stay a while.

Helena doesn’t remember her wedding night and Gracie decides that she has had enough and attempts to kill Helena. But, Helena prevails and strangles Gracie leaving her unconscious and then escapes, where she comes across Art who is taking pictures of the whole area.

In the meanwhile Sarah makes her way to Mrs. S’s apartment and tries to find some answers. Felix, as always, helps her and Cosima drops by too. We learn A LOT about Project Leda through this. Sarah then makes her way to Rachel’s apartment where she encounters the lawyer, again. He ties her up and wants to kill her. But, Helena comes to the rescue and saves Sarah and then asks for her help. While all of this is happening, Mrs. S goes searching for Carlton, the man who brought Sarah to her.

And in the final scene, we see the prolitheans’ lab where it seems they are growing a test tube baby with Helena as the mother.

This episode was great! Definitely a step up from the previous episode. Felix seems to be the link between the three clones and acts as a support for most of them. His scenes with Alison are, as always, sweet and amazing. Cal tries to be fatherly towards Kira and bonds with her while waiting for Sarah to return. Tatiana’s performance as both Helena and Sarah was superb. Especially when both are in the same scene and Sarah is afraid of Helena but she just wants to be comforted.

I’m really happy with this episode and I’m dying to know more about Leda and Mrs. S..

Final Verdict:

8/10

5
May

Orphan Black: “Mingling Its Own Nature With It” Review

**Spoilers** Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 3 “Mingling Its Own Nature With It”

 

Director:

T.J. Scott

 

Writer:

Alex Levine

Review:
This weeks episode sees Sarah on the run, Alison is still dealing with the after-effects of Aynsley’s death, Cosima and Delphine continue making ‘crazy science’ and discover something new, and finally Helena is welcomed into the family.
In this episode Sarah, Felix and Kira are on the run from everyone while Rachel’s lawyer is still pursuing them. Sarah takes them to a cabin which turns out to be owned by Cal, a man from Sarah’s past. He turns out to be Kira’s father. And Felix leaves them to come back to Alison for her Musical. Rachel’s Lawyer finally finds Sarah and she is separated from Kira…..again.
Alison, on the other hand, has discovered that Donnie is her monitor and is also preparing for her musical ‘Blood Ties.’ Angie is trying to get some information from Alison, but fails. Alison while performing falls off the stage.
Delphine shows Cosima the video diary of another clone who was the first to show symptoms of the respiratory disease. This was six months before and Katja and had died three days ago. They examine the body and make some new discoveries (‘Crazy Science’)
Helena is held up with the Prolitheans and well… She is forced into marriage.
Honestly, this episode wasn’t as good as the last two. Firstly, Sarah just got Kira back, I don’t see why they had to separate them so soon. Cosima and Delphine’s arc was quite…boring, really. On the bright side, we did get a new clone. I’m unclear as to where Felix is going now. I loved the brother-sister thing Fee and Sarah had going on, and in this episode, it seems to have ended. The whole Helena arc was quite messed up and the end of her arc rubbed me the wrong way. But the ending of this episode has got me excited for the next episode and also the preview.

Final Verdict:
7.5/10

28
Apr

Orphan Black: “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” Review

**Spoilers** Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 2 “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion”

 

Director:

John Fawcett

 

Writer:

Karen Walton & Graeme Manson

Review:

This week’s Orphan Black opens to Helena being treated at the hospital where the Prolitheans are also present. We then see Art being inducted into the clone club and then they go out to locate Kira. They reach a motel where Sarah finds a trail leading to the laundry room and from there she is taken to Kira. Turns out, Kira had been taken to a safe location by Mrs. S and staged it to look like an abduction. Cosima is being tempted by Dyad and Dr. Leekie to make “crazy science” with Delphine and she also meets Rachel. Alison, on the other hand, figures out that Donnie is her monitor and deals with Aynsley’s death.
The episode was quite good, and it also answers some of the questions from the premiere. Mrs. S has taken on the role of being a bad-ass this week. At first, I did find it weird that Sarah got Kira back so quickly, but towards the end of Sarah’s scenes, I’m happy they did that. Now there is more room for surprises. But still, we don’t know if Mrs. S is actually on Sarah’s side.
What I didn’t like was that they have under-utilised Felix. In the two episodes we’ve seen, he hasn’t really had his own thing. He just seems to be the support for Alison and the others. But now, I hope that something more happens since Sarah, Kira and Felix have decided to run away.
Two episodes in and Orphan Black Season 2 is still going good. And from the preview for the next episode, it seems like there’s a new clone!

Final Verdict:
8.5/10

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