Of fractures and what not

One week with a fractured foot and I have gone through quite a collection of movies/series on my hard drive. And all that’s on the hard disk needs to last foIMG_20160602_172646r another three weeks. That’s right, I am counting the days before the full leg permanent cast comes off by June 22. A check up at the doctor’s yesterday determined that the injury was an old one that got worse over time. Surprising question was why didn’t I notice it all this time. Last weekend’s excruciating pain and my inability to place my foot on the ground led to an emergency experience that lasted the whole Sunday. Talk about missing the IPL finals.

So on this cheery note, I have viewed and reviewed a few of the gems I came across during the week.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – Britain’s most obnoxious radio jockeyindex is at it again. This time on the big screen. I have always enjoyed the foot-in-mouth shenanigans of Alan Partridge (sort of brings memories of a cross-Atlantic contemporary – Alan Harper) and it was time his bloated ego got its space up there. This time our RJ from Norfolk has to deal with a ‘Dog Day Afternoon‘-like situation and in his own incompetent way handles the hostage crisis till the end. With a lot of familiar faces from the TV series, those of you connected to Partridge’s life can relate to the nonsensical brilliance that Steve Coogan‘s character offers. While on painkillers this was a good way to start my recuperation. Oh and I loved the music from the opening sequence.

Sherlock Holmes: The Abominable Bride – My fascination for all things Holmes brings me to the latest offering from Benedict Cumberbatch and co. One of the best portrayals of Holmes, this hour and a half long episode focuses on a specific case from the past interjected with scenes from the present. I cannot reveal more, but say that there are some neat Gothic touches to this tale of a wronged bride along with the usual surprise twists that come along with Arthur Conan Doyle‘s fables. A cheer out for Dr. Watson too and Mrs. Watson. Look out for one of my favourite scenes from the books – The Reichenbach Falls.

the abominable bride sherlock holmes

Amores Perros – Before finding success in the States, Innaritu directed this gem of a tale based in Mexico City. Dogs are the connection between three story arcs that make this film. Loyalty, honesty, love are the themes that emanate strongly from this beautiful, brutal and dramatic featuamores perrosre. Everyone has a story to tell and Amores Perros (Life’s a Bitch) proves what good story-telling is all about. As with Latin American films, the emotions are strong, vivid and portray the ghettos of Mexico to the high life and revolutionary idealistic zeal of the educated. All the while marking the perils that life can hold out to us.

 

Sicario – Staying with Mexico. What a movie! Benecio Del Toro has been a favourite ever since ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas‘ and the performancesicario del toro emily blunt he puts in here is matched by Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin in a hell of a cartel movie. From scene one you get the feeling that the next shot is going to be the last for the protagonists and it goes on till the end. Never a dull moment, this has one of the best military road scenes when an elite crack team makes it across the US border to bring in a cartel suspect. Del Toro’s silence lurks in every scene and there’s a lot to say in that. His character is the mission and till the end you never guess what his exact role is within the Special Forces. One of the best movies of 2015 and certainly deserved a lot more accolades than it got.

The Devil’s Backbone – Sticking with Spanish revivalism, this Pedro Almodovar produced movie with one of my favourite director’s at the helm – Guillermo Del Toro, brings in Spanish Gothic horror in the midst of the Civil War of the 1930s. Set in a remote orphanage with spookydevils backbone del toro happenings, this tale of war and ghosts weaves its way through the deserted Catalonia region. The horror is real and there are scenes that would make you cringe and sink deeper into your bed. What I loved about this movie was the poetry. The actual poetry that the orphanages doctor brings out in his discussions with the students and the woman he loves. There can be no greater description of a ghost (or Phantasmo as they say in Spanish) than the words used by the good Doctor. Love, betrayal and resurrection in the time of war… that’s what the Devil’s Backbone stands for.

Plebs – Back to TV series. And my favourite genre – Brit comedy. Set in ancient Rome, with all modern day mannerisms, Plebs is a sporty laugh riot with memorable characters to boot. I LMAO on this one. Who would have thought the Romanplebs‘s had such a great sense of humour. From Roman orgies to Cypriot monks, Plebs takes you through the life and times of Caesar’s civilians as they live through gladiator fights, bureaucracy and the occasional refugee who steals the hearts of the protagonists while leading them on. The master slave equations are hilarious and one to watch out for in this comedy. Plebs dabbles a bit with the ‘Carry On…’ humour to prove that Rome was not built in a day.

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The Strain – a review

I have absolute faith in Guillermo Del Toro‘s abilities as a film director. After all he did resurrect some pretty difficult comic book stars (Hellboy & co.) and completely engaged audiences with Pan’s Labyrinth. And before I forget, yes he is directing one of my all time favourite adventure classics – The Hobbit. When my sister asked me to gethe strain - Guillermo Del Toro - Chuck Hogant a book by Chuck Hogan from Blossom’s, it did take me some time to get through to the book. ‘The Strain‘ was actually listed in Blossoms’ database under Guillermo Del Toro’s name and on checking out the book I realised Del Toro and Chuck Hogan were co-authors here. This should be something. It’s no doubt that I expected the onscreen brilliance of Del Toro to be reflected in the novel. About Chuck Hogan I had not heard much except the fact that he is having one of his books converted into a Ben Affleck movie which does say quite a bit of his skills (I rate Affleck very highly after watching Gone Baby Gone).

The book is sort of a modern retelling of the Dracula story, but the start of this novel really had me hooked. It begins with a legend of a vampire somewhere in Eastern Europe and then moves to present day New York where a plane eerily shuts down completely after landing on the JFK tarmac from Germany. It is creepy and a page turner at this point as security and airport crews try to figure out why no one is making an effort to disembark from the plane. The platform is set for a horror thriller as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) tries to ascertain what’s happening here and whether this could be some terrorist biological threat. I love books that start of as scientific challenges and end up with a supernatural twist that break all rules of logic. That’s why X-Files worked and that’s why the show still remains my favourite.

The Strain progresses at a fast pace and every page reflects its share of the action from different points of view. However the central theme of the story revolves around a motley group of New Yorkers who have their own agenda in fighting this strain. I would not like to give away too much, but this I have to say, towards the end, the book did veer into cliched territory at times. But I am not going to take away any credit from the authors. The news is this book is a part of a trilogy and will then be moved to the big screen. The book does read like a vivid big screen portrayal and you can almost imagine the Xbox gaming opportunities in some of the action sequences. Del Toro and Hogan are great storytellers and credit goes to them for rising above the cliches (most of the time) that they could have so easily fallen into while writing this novel. I got a sneaky feeling that whatever cliches were in there, were inserted deliberately as a tribute to the horror genre.

The book plays like a roller-coaster ride into a nightmare thats very real and present. I rate a book by the speed with which I complete it (high marks for a quick completion) and I did finish ‘The Strain’ pretty quickly so it does rate highly on my review radar. The next book in the trilogy is called ‘The Fall‘ and ‘The Strain’ does lay the groundwork for an interesting sequel. Horror fans, Del Toro and Hogan do not disappoint. For the others, its still a great read.