Movie Review: Skyscraper

Image result for skyscraper posterWill Sawyer is no John Maclane. And Skycraper is no Die Hard. Image result for finger pointing down gifImage result for we're not worthy gif

But be as that may, it has the potential to be an entertaining movie despite having to live up to the rep of movies of the same ilk having scored BIG at the box office and becoming cult classics. There are mainly 3 things to know about this movie:

  • Dwayne Johnson, for all his histrionics during the WWF days, is understated in his portrayal of a worried dad and an ex-FBI agent. In fact this movie could be re-titled Skyscraper: Where The Rock Gets The Stuffing Knocked Out Of Him. The man gets battered all over getting this family back.
  • Neve Campbell, in a far better turn than in all her Scream avatars, is a military doctor mom who has her shit together. She’s not She-Man but she doesn’t go down without a fight either. Image result for sidney scream gif
  • The Bad Guy- Roland Moller is fine as a cold-blooded Scandinavian extortionist-hitman but he is no Hans Gruber either [ takes a moment to pay a silent tribute to Alan Rickman].

One can’t help but compare similarities with Die Hard- 2 law enforcement guys, both jump of buildings and both get the bad guys in the end…by throwing them off the building of course! Oh yeah…spoiler alert. Sorry.

But where Skyscraper has the backing of a lot of technical stuff bringing the high rise hi jinks to life, Die Hard was the opposite. The main technology used were the 2-way radios the terrorists had and of course the code breaking their resident geek did to get to the bonds in the Nakatomi safe. I mean we all know Bruce Willis didn’t actually jump off a building in this scene, but the low-tech worked overall and that too, tremendously!

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So why am I writing about Skyscraper if this is turning into a reason to binge watch the Die Hard series? Because Skyscraper may make you go “meh” but you won’t leave bored. And you’ll be rooting for The Rock the whole way…and it’s a point in his favor that the man doesn’t keep taking his shirt off to prove his machismo. Salman Khan…are you listening?

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Rating- 1.5 stars

Your What Now?

Yesterday the offspring went back to school after a little over a 2 month break. Part of the back to school celebrations was a movie before the school opened AND a chocolate milkshake at CCD after school opened. I wasn’t in favor of milkshakes in this weather (rainy, gloomy at times and full of sniffles as far as the ear can hear) but hey…gotta keep the troops happy. More importantly it was to acknowledge and reward the rather difficult decision that was accepted by MLM of there being no television Monday to Friday and being allowed access to t.v. only over the weekend and in a measured manner.

I enter CCD and ask for a milkshake while MLM bounds about like a puppy let off their leash…he has his nosed pressed against the glass with the eclairs and chocolate pastries inside and looking like Oliver Twist. Whereas his mother, aka well-fed me, looks like I caused Oliver Twist’s situation in life. But more about my gluttonous ways later. Now, and this usually ends up happening to me (viz an inexplicably weird and slightly dumb situation) on asking for the milkshake I get this reply, “Madam…our BOGO is not there”.!!!

Reading something and hearing it read out can often have different reactions in people. Even when I read BO-GO, my mind processes ‘buy-one, get-one’. My mind doesn’t phonetically sound out the letters. So hearing BOGO, I said HUH??!! The guy behind the counter gestured in a downwards and sideways sweeping gesture and again said, “Our BOGO is not there.”

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By this time, thinking of him lacking in some ahem…parts or “things”, I made a really sad face before it hit me that the BOGO offer wasn’t available any longer. I was so relieved to have understood him that I positively beamed at him and said NO PROBLEM! Which may explain his odd looks at me…since when do customers get happy about knowing that the free stuff stopped?

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Serenity NOW!!

I’m an only child. That was by design. I am used to space. I love space. Not the ones with galaxies and monkeys in the cube (cue theme music from 2001: A Space Odyssey). But spaaaace.

I have one child. One husband. That too is by design. Too much of a good thing and your head explodes and all that jazz.

The husband and offspring are pals. They fight. They roughhouse. They bicker. All. Near. Me. When. I. Am. Being. Spacey.

I keep the lights off, put on mellow music and veg out. And the bed suddenly dips. Or there are upheavals in it and a small body hurtles itself onto the bed and there are quakes all over.

Then the larger body hurtles in after the smaller one and there is tectonic movement. And lo and behold…NO SPACE pour moi.

I blame my parents. If I had 5 siblings I’d be used to lunacy by now instead of suffering through it sporadically.

Summer Holidays…Why Moms Crumble

If you’re a mother…chances are that you more than just like your kid. Who could resist them? Imps, scamps and monsters to the core but dammit if they aren’t the cutest ones at that!20180513_075244

 

The reason the charm of the summer holidays wear off so quickly…for moms, is that the child is always looking to you for the answers of “what next”. You like the fact that they can sleep in (meaning you don’t have to get out of bed bleary-eyed either or enjoy the paper and coffee in peace instead of pieces), that they don’t have to hit the sack at a particular time; again meaning you get to enjoy your dinner leisurely and aren’t dependent on their chewing speed for a tablespoon of rice and daal.

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Bedtimes are full of cozy, lazy cuddles and long-drawn out reading sessions that you get to do in different voices instead of speed reading through the entire thing so the child is in bed and lights are OUT! with military precision.

Sleep deficits aren’t an issue and you can pretty much do the chores any old-time since your world as you know it is spinning slower and slower and slower. But there’s a catch too…the time passes slower and slower and S-L-O-W-E-R as well. The child is ALWAYS there. Your clothes folding time that you used to enjoy with reruns or bawdy stand-up comedy is now highly sanitized with animated stuff playing or the ecology-supporting content. Or in my case, reruns of Jurassic World.

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The occasional beer you used to sneak in on those days becomes a rare commodity with a pair of bright eyes staring right at you and often speaking directly into your ear canal, “Are you drinking alcohol?” And you gulp it down quickly and often the wrong way and cough your way into saying, “Yes and I am and NO you can’t have any till you’re 35!”

It’s not about keeping the children busy all the time either…it’s about spending time happily. That goes downhill very quickly. The kids have a routine that works for them. With that gone for 2 MONTHS they look towards the constant authority figure to help them understand what is it that they should be doing. And therein lies the rub. You would prefer that it be productive and fun and the child is thinking only fun.

You do one pillow fight and roughhousing session and limp back to your corner and the child, still rearing to go, wants to be body slammed again or use you as a trampoline again.20180520_092022

While you’re winding up for the day and the kitchen is wiped clean, that’s when the love of your life wants to make a purple cake of all things and looks suitably disheartened when it’s refused. You give in once and by 11 pm you’re the one putting everything away, there’s flour everywhere and imp has licked the mixing bowl and spoon clean and bounded off to bed

Our kids have more distractions these days. We didn’t. Or even if we did, we sorted them out the way our folks told us to. These days, kids want us to tell them exactly what they want to hear. You want them to exercise creativity? They’ll want to design a pot on the pottery app instead. You want them to draw something they like and they turn the topic to what they want for their birthday instead. And that is an unending list or a rather expensive one.

It’s in parts tough and endearing because they are still growing up and need their parents around. And the parents (read me) don’t know how much active parenting is needed while balancing everything else that needs to be done. It’s easier to turn the telly on. But you pay for that later in spades when the kid can’t envision a minute without digital stimulation.

So summer holidays? Necessary evil that keeps you loving your kids for the first and last weeks. During the rest of the time it’s anyone guess to see who breaks first. Usually it’s the parents dialing up Dominos and booking movie tickets and shoving the kids out to door and towards the park saying, “No rush…come back when you want…TAKE YOUR OWN TIME.”

Mine starts school tomorrow and while I am genuinely happy to be getting back to my usual routine but I will miss him every second he’s gone. For the first hour anyhow.

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Movie Review: Raazi

Meghana Gulzar’s making a name for herself in tackling the tough topics people talk about, wonder about but don’t always want to dramatize for a Bollywood consumer; their usual diet being movie that have 5 songs, dancing on mountains and always a happy ending.

With Raazi she achieves a narrative that doesn’t falter, she touches on patriotism without becoming rabid and she coaxes good performances out of her already capable cast.

The movie however, isn’t superlative. Alia’s fear, vulnerability and soldiering on in the face of danger is portrayed well enough. But is it a very taut performance? Not entirely. Her constantly looking around and observing the comings and goings while she spies, is a bit obvious and repetitive. Her guilt at the extreme step of taking a life is also portrayed quite convincingly. People who help her shine are actors I hadn’t come across earlier but who clearly are good at their craft viz Jaideep Ahlawat. Arif Zakaria is underutilized in his role. He of the expressive eyes and the rhetoric, could have been given a better deal in this movie. He’s sadly almost a prop.

Soni Razdan, Rajit Kapur, Shishir Sharma come in when they’re supposed to, do their bit and leave but barring Shishir Sharma they don’t really have any meaty roles or dialogues and are around to hold up their bit in the story.

So what’s good about the movie? The dialogues, the OST (Dilbaro is a song one can listen to again and again), Alia, the locales, the restrained story telling and not portraying Pakistan as the Devil’s Incarnate all adds up to an interesting watch. And with each movie, Alia proves how effortless she can slip in and out of roles in movies like Student of the Year, Highway, Badrinath ki Dulhania and Raazi. She has a good range of emotions and brings a freshness to her characterizations.

Will wait till the next Meghna Gulzar movie to see what else she has up her sleeve. This movie? 3 out of 5.

 

Backseat Diaries

MLM and I went to see Antman&Wasp today. We’d made plans ever since we saw the trailer online but I had some unexpected travel come up and the movie date got pushed back. It’s a testament to his affection that he waited to see the movie with me. Of course his father wasn’t keen on another superhero movie after I dragged him to see Deadpool-2 so going with me was kind of a moot point.

But I digress. After the movie, a gushing offspring started off with his commentary and critique of the movie from the backseat. He told me if he could ever be Antman then he’d definitely want me to be his Wasp aka partner because he loved me so much.

You’d be lulled into an “awww” right at this point except this child has my and his father’s DNA in equal measure. But sometimes it seems like those sets of gene are pounding my contribution to a pulp.

So I was told, after someone surfaced for air, that while I would have made a good Wasp, I wouldn’t fit into the costume because I was so fat! And all this said in the most matter of fact way as possible.

Adding fuel to the fire was an advert which was shown during before the movie started targeting good food habits by the way of reducing sugar, oil and salt.

I was asked why didn’t I reduce all those things? If I did I’d become thin and maybe be able to fit into the costume for Halloween…next year.

I swear this kid is geared up to be the most loving nemesis in the history of the world.

The Flip Side To Classical Conditioning…

I run from my kid. It’s the truth. After the first hugs and kisses of the morning are done I run and hide; especially during his summer break. He’s like a bloodhound. He can always track me down. No matter where I am. SIGH.

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No loo is secure enough. No pressure cooker whistle is loud enough, or a hair dryer for that matter. His chipmunk voice always floats through…BIIIG SIGH.

I was thinking with a clouded headed today (before the caffeine hit my system and brought me to life) that if my life were a sitcom it would undoubtedly start with my kid standing near my bed and peering down at me and me waking up with a start. Every. Single. Time.

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It happened this morning as well. I was drifting in dreamland. When my semi-awake radar detected the force of a stare leveled at me for a bit. I woke up to see the flesh and blood, looking at me and saying something about some hand pointing up at something. As is my wont, I tend to kick out at anything and anyone who disturbs me from my sleep and then burrow back into the pillows and back under the covers. When said disturbance still didn’t get deterred, Red asked him to get into bed with us at the risk of letting things linger and setting off the near-feral wife before dawn.

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Between the whens, the hows, and whats we managed to get the child to brush, rinse, spit and repeat and have his milk and then started the actual “fun”. And yes, if I were to narrate this bit to you, the word fun would have had air quotes around it as well.

My kid has a habit of starting his chats with me as if we had been in the midst of a conversation and had taken a break. I could be folding clothes, doing laundry, stalking David Boreanaz (yum yum) on social media and suddenly a small (but loud) voice will say, “But Ayu….” and that will be it for the me-time bit. Until the curiosity has been satisfied completely, we will be beset by ‘But Ayus”.

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This morning the ‘But Ayu’ got delivered right into the ear canal while I was having breakfast. And I told the light of my life, “no butts, no noses, hands, ears or any body parts. And no talking till I ask you either.” A sad little body turned around and started walking back to his room, back hunched, body posture totally downcast. I felt bad. For a nanosecond. And then began to count in my head while I quickly gulped down my breakfast…10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5…and there it was..”But Ayu…when will you talk to me?”

Hey…the kid’s a monster. But he’s my monster. And hump days are meant to be wonky anyhow. Upwards and onwards peeps.

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Book Review: The MEG Series

I love watching creature movies. Not the Creature From The Black Lagoon kinda movie, but creatures like dinosaurs, sharks (Oooh! I love shark movies), crocodiles etc. I draw the line at snakes but that’s just good sense!

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When I saw the trailer for the movie MEG, I did what I usually do…I jumped to Wikipedia and learnt that the movie was inspired by the books written by Steve Alten. Then I did what I do next; pulled up the books on Amazon and despite hitches here and there have read the MEG series all the way through barring the next installment that’s coming out this August.

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Now watching a movie is so stimulating and one can really bring the books to life but these books had a life of their own. The descriptions of the prehistoric apex predators of the primordial seas is just that good! And to add to the crisp and compelling narrative, is the layering of all the factual data that adds credence to Alten’s prose.

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From the Mariana Trench to the Panthalassa Sea (something I got to know only after cracking open this series), these books provide a vivid depiction of life when creatures were literally larger than life and how man reacts to them in his environment in the present day.

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Along with peoples’ greed, avarice and constantly needing something new to bring them out of the tedium of their daily lives; this series keeps you engrossed because you want to know just what will come out of the depths of the ocean this time around and how it will wreck chaos and havoc a thousand times over!

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It’s over the top. But fun. It’s unbelievable till you start to Google all the animal names Alten mentions and you realize that each and every one of the existed.

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Read it for an escape from the humdrum of books which don’t cause your pulse to race…however slightly. Read it because it’s just that unputdownable!

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Why Life’s Like The Wizard Of Oz

When I woke up with a weight on my chest this morning and realized it was my kid’s heel on my sternum, it led to yet another epiphany. Life’s like The Wizard Of Oz (hold the Wonderful).

Dealing with kids often morphs us (read me all the way through) into the Wicked Witch of the East. Red usually is the Good Witch and magically smoothes things over with his placid tone and his magic wand (aka hugs and kisses and a nicer, pleasanter demeanor) while I’m all riled up and fit to have an army of flying monkeys to do my nefarious deeds.

See, sleep is important. UBER important. And when sleeping with an adult, despite what they show you in the movies, they eventually disengage and go their own way. You don’t pretzel and spoon beyond a point. You have S-P-A-C-E. Blessed, blessed, blissful, beautiful space.

Red’s travelling now and the brat’s bunking with me. That means that after reading to him and doing a bit of cuddle time I have “space” for all the time it takes for him to fall asleep viz 10 minutes. And then the magnetic pull begins.

I have woken up with an elbow to my eye, a butt in my face or a child sprawled across my torso and me having dreams of drowning somewhere because I couldn’t breathe.

The child in question is damn smart. He gravitates towards the well-padded parent and not towards the bony one. EVER!

This morning was no different. After a night of semi-bingeing on Grey’s Anatomy (I know, I know…) I slept off good and proper and didn’t even have any weird dreams that I could recall. And then suddenly there was a sudden and rather sharpish whomp on my chest and lo and behold it was a child’s heel. Now MLM for reasons unknown to me has a pointy chin, elbows and heels that he loves to dig into his mother’s rather substantial flesh. Love I suppose…

I woke up and quasi-gently rotated said heel of said child off me and onto the bed and added 2 pillows between us for good measure but the moment was gone and sleep had fled. Again. And because am weird, I thought of the Wizard of Oz where my offspring isn’t Dorothy but Toto. The frisky puppy who got Dorothy into trouble in the first place. Frisky and lovable but irksome at times too.

So Toto and I will wait for the Good Witch to get back and then my flying monkeys will rest. Till Toto acts up again.

Y-A-W-NNNNN

Movie Review: Veere Di Wedding

I almost didn’t watch this movie. Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor aren’t quite the draw for me personally. Add to it, the reviews had been less than stellar and I didn’t want to watch a badly made chick-flick when I could use those 2 hours to sleep or read instead…color me pleasantly surprised!

Now this movie isn’t a must-watch or even a repeat-watch but for a one-time watch with a buncha gals or even guys who get the Punju colloquialisms, it’s worth the money. The rest of the movie is about relationships. Between friends who become family. Between parent and child and definitely between a woman today and the world around her.- Bottom line? It’s entertaining and that’s what’s to be remembered about movies. Thought-provoking or not-they serve to entertain.

Is this movie hatke? Well…it is woman-centric for one. Guys are a part of their lives the same way they happen to be in real-life rather than a larger-than life reel-life man with bulging muscles who romances onscreen for a 3-minute song spanning from Switzerland to Botswana with 5 attire changes which often includes a sari pallu longer than Princess Diana’s wedding train. Phew! Head-spinning global lau (Gujju-ishtlye love).

This is a story about women who are believable; especially in this day and age. There are plenty of them out there who run from marriage, structure, socially sanctioned relationships and having to do Mata ki chowki at the drop of a pin! And Bollywood being Bollywood, would have them all be from the upper crest as well so impromptu trips abroad are also viable.

I was watching this movie with a Dally-based (aka New Delhi) friend (she’s a veere too I guess if one goes by the definition in this movie) and she, amidst gales of laughter, assured me the depiction of Wast (West) Dally (Delhi) was a very apt caricature.

And let’s not even get to the bling…if there’s no bling, there’s no big fat Indian wedding at all. All families have their skeletons and dirty secrets, every couple has stuff that rips at their seams, every girl is prevailed upon at some point in her life to “get-married already” by her mother. Same as the characters in VDW.

I’d read somewhere that the F-bombs in the movie seemed contrived or excessive. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. My gal pal reminded me how “unpolished” my own speech was before the advent of motherhood. It contained allusions to human anatomy and mothers and sisters quite a bit. Something I engage in now primarily while driving.

I think people should watch this movie. It’s fun. It has a lively pace. It’s not excessively dramatic or melodramatic and I made a fun memory watching it with someone with whom I have a 17-year-old history. That’s what makes this movie relevant. It won’t win Oscars. But it wasn’t meant to.

I left the theater dancing and laughing. Paisa vasool.