Alexa…Get Me A Gun!

I got too busy catching up with my folks and forgot to publish this last night.

A little girl who’s become a part of our family of 3 was paying us a visit this evening. Needless to say with TO turning 10 and his cuteness factors dipping day by day; a chirping and twirling child always scores higher on the Awww scale. And they know it too!

TO was busy utilizing some unscheduled screen time when his little friend dropped by. After giving her some toys to play with, he snuck back to the living room to watch some inane crap that he’s very fond of these days.

When I asked for a quick sitrep, the little one promptly ratted him out and smugly waited till he came to play with her. Ah..girl power!

They played, they made a dinosaur park, fenced with dominoes and then they started tormenting my poor poor Alexa.

Now our Echo Dot’s a Gen One and getting on in the years. After going back and forth trying to decipher TO’s accent and then just going back to her factory settings, she now had to contend with understanding chipmunk. Because that’s how fast and perpetually talking 3 year old girls sound like.

Today Alexa had to shuffle between Baby Shark, Faded and Bulleya, which she kept interpreting as Imagine Demons’ Believer. After getting barked at by an increasingly annoyed munchkin and being spoken to by a giggling older child, Alexa gave up the ghost and just rebooted. That’s how she lets us know she’s not going to take our shit anymore!!

Soon after I was dropping a reluctant munchkin home. I’d already disappointed her by not forking over chips before dinner time and limiting the cookies to plain vanilla ones and nothing worth licking in leisure.

She was a bit miffed with me and to recover some ground with her I told her Red’s birthday was coming up and asked for gift ideas. She said, “Give him a gun. A big one.” Seeing my surprised face she added, “Give him some polos too. They come in green colors and they are nice to eat. Polos and guns are the best gift ever!”

There. It’s settled. Red’s going to have the oddest 40th birthday ever. Tons of polos and hopefully a gun. But maybe El Munchino isn’t too far off the mark. Look at Red instructing the flesh&blood in the fine art of aiming and shooting. Ah..out of the mouths of babes…

Movie Review-Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

There’s a different kind of fun to be able to see a movie as a ‘phust day phust sow‘…but when the movie ends up spanning the realm of moderately entertaining to ‘how high were they when they wrote the damn script‘, you know you’d have been fine watching it after a few weeks or not at all.

For a movie that’s supposed to be slick and exciting, this particular slice of the F&F franchise lives up to neither. It’s cliched to say the least and oh-so predictable. But let’s dissect it properly shall we?

The 8th installment of Fast and Furious reunites Hobbs and Shaw with macho posturing that’s meant to turn into ‘I got yuh back brah! in the end while they save the world and manage to inject an adequate number of quips to qualify the movie as being funny as well. That they managed to insert a tourism promotion for Samoa is a nod to Johnson’s roots and his being a producer am sure.

Here’s the story- After an ex-MI6 agent gets cybergenetically enhanced and wants to bring whoop ass down on those who get in the way of his organization and his vision of a better world, Hobbs and Shaw get pulled into the action to bring their own version of whoopass to counter the whoopassery being dished out by Mr.Quasi-Android. Played by Idris Elba (hubba hubba), Brixton Lore has all the gadgets, all the cool bikes, costumes and enough internal hardware to have metal detectors going off perpetually.

Hobbs and Shaw unwillingly get drawn into the action for different reasons. Hobbs because his agency loans him out to MI6 and Shaw because his little sister is being framed for all the havoc Brixton’s been wreaking in order to get to a biologic weapon that can…wait for it…DESTROY THE WORLD!! Who saw that coming?!

Now little sister, played oh so dully by Vanessa Kirby, has injected said biologic weapon into her own bloodstream to prevent also said baddies from getting their mean, nasty paws on it. Thankfully for her, the weapon is in small capsules which are on a timer- they will get released into her body after an ‘x’ amount of time passes. Thankfully the movie makers are nice enough to keep that happening during the length of the movie and not have it spillover into another installment.

Between hobnobbing (ooh…punny me!) with Russian arms dealers to get the lowdown into where an extraction device for the virus can be accessed to tearing up the streets of London, Hobbs and Shaw build up a camaraderie that’s fooling no one. Jason Statham should have as little of a speaking role as possible. After his less than stellar turn as Jonas Taylor in The Meg, Statham should keep his roles to those of the Handsome Rob ilk where he’s not required to win people over with his diction and ability to emote beyond a point.

The Rock’s USP is his quips and mountain man muscles and he doesn’t disappoint but neither does he set the screen on fire. Both the leads seem to be straggling with a script that has them just going through the motions and doing unbelievable things while not getting a scratch on themselves or acting like it was a walk in the park. Ryan Reynolds comes in with his inimitable brand of humor and his interaction with Johnson are some of the actual fun parts of the movie.

As for the action sequences, imagine this…a car hooking a helicopter during a chase to save the damsel. The helicopter rises higher and higher and the car achieves liftoff as well but in the nick of time is saved from going over a cliff by a line of cars ahead of it playing choo-choo trains. Instead of going whoa or even oooh…the audience was laughing or saying “gimme a break”. But over the cliff they go and miraculously no one is hurt. Would a broken bone or two be so out of place when plummeting off a sharp cliff face onto a sea/beach full of jagged rocks.

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But the objective of this review isn’t to trash the movie. It’s to say that maybe this franchise is on its last legs. Gone are the days when F&F stood for cars and actual speed. Now it’s brawn, some cars, a whole lotta destruction, uber bad guys and a rather lame attempt to keep going till the next installment. Quit while you’re ahead people.

Go see it if you’ve got a lot of free time on your hands or you really like either Johnson or Statham or are a diehard fan of the series. Barring that, there’s not much to recommend this one. It’s testosterone-laden to the hilt!

Rating 1.5 stars

Movie Review: Judgementall Hai Kya

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Kangana Ranaut has been in the news for so many things in the recent past that any movie of hers is newsworthy mainly because of the gossip around the actor. Although, IMHO, she’s become typecast for her neuroses in the earlier movies; she still manages to deliver a believable performance as person who is psychotic and yet not entirely off her rocker.

Rajkummar Rao fits well into edgier characters as smoothly as he does the feel good ones. His turn in Stree vs ELKDTAL vs JHK are varied as they are well-etched and with their own distinctive feels. He is truly a good actor in every sense of the word. He belongs in each of the movies he does.

The disclaimer at the start of the movie is also something that’s commendable in a place like India where mental health issues are a huge taboo and a dirty secret that’s more liable to be swept under the rug than be tackled head on.

Onto the actual reviewing: The movie is engrossing but it’s no OFOTCN or Nobody’s Child. It is however, a thought provoking look at a life tinged by pain and feelings of not belonging anywhere and being heard by those who matter.

The direction is fairly taut with Kovelamudi dropping the ball only when Rao starts fessing up to all his crimes which were deemed as psychotic ramblings of a delusional woman. Kangana sometimes overdoes it with the wide-eyed stare of a person who lives in a parallel universe inside her own head. Sometimes the scariest people are the ones who remain calm on the surface but are churning with maladaptive thoughts and hallucinations inside; desperately hanging onto shreds of reality.

The ancillary characters mainly make up the comic element in the movie. Whether it’s a long-suffering, hoping-to-get-laid sort-of boyfriend, or the ineffectual, obese cop (Satish Kaushik) who perpetually keeps eating; adding to his weight and his inefficacy. Jimmy Shergill doesn’t add much to the movie; gravitas or otherwise. His cameo needed to be better fleshed out. And for God’s sake, why does Amyra Dastur get work? She makes very little impact. At least someone who could breathe some life into a role needs to be brought in. She fails to strike a chord with the audience at all. The opening sequence of the movie with the blood splatters, spills and the origami is actually more poignant than many things in the entire film.

In the end, Rajkummar Rao with his sociopathic turn and Kangana in her delusional avatar, carry the movie forward and take it a step in the right direction; making mental illness lose its stigma and helping people know that it’s *not* a dirty word.

Rating 3.5/5

Nuts To You!

People tend to see shapes in the clouds, some even see things with their eyes closed but I think TO kind of took the cake today.

After he got home from school today and was having his snack, he suddenly said ‘Mustache’. For a second I thought he meant I needed to schedule an appointment with the beautician and then he said, “Look Ayu, there’s a moon and a kidney.”

By then I knew it wasn’t me he was referring to…phew! And then he pointed at the jar on the table that had cashews. And pointed out where the mustache, kidney and moon were.

So why am I not gloating over my child’s sense of abstraction and imagination? Well..a few minutes later when I asked him to pick up his socks off the floor and put them in his hamper, he needed help finding them. Guess where they were? Right at his feet!

Oh me, oh my. Kids!

When Your Friends Are His Too…

Red doesn’t value my opinion in many things. Par for course since he’s a husband. But my choice in music (Hindi, loud and boisterous to some throat warbling that I’m ok to listen to), movies and books is where his skepticism is the highest. I can honestly say he reads stuff that’s lightyears away from being on my radar. He reads fiction, non-fiction both but it’s a bit cerebral for me. I’m more of the whodunnit, whytheydunnit and aretheygonnacatchwhodunnit– kinda person.

Now I have a friend who he gets along with quite well. She’s smart. She READS. And she doesn’t read fluff- some of the traits that have endeared her to him more than others of my circle. A few days ago I happened to see a book reco from this friend of mine and ordered it because it seemed like something Red would enjoy and I wouldn’t have to tax my fluff-lovin’ brain much either.

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I’d just told Red that I ordered a book for him and his eyes widened in alarm! I had to tell him who reco’d it and he started breathing normally again. Sheesh! You give a guy Beloved to read once and he holds it against you for life! And this from a guy who enthusiastically read about ‘electric sheep‘! Bleh.

 

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

My kid thinks I’m blind AND dumb. If he didn’t, why on earth would he cut off a clump of hair that he couldn’t untangle instead of bringing it to his mother who’s so damn handy with a comb and also when we have a detangler spray handy as well? My face is going to have permanent indentations from all my facepalming.

Anyhoo, two days ago TO walks up to me very nonchalantly and asks for screentime access when I notice a lopsided part of his hair. On asking him what happened to his hair he goes coy and says “nothing” and then once I poke him on the bald spot he can no longer deny, he tells me how it was hurting him to comb his hair and he just cut it to make easier on himself. 🙄

After making it clear to him that a combover wasn’t something he should have to consider in this tender age, he agreed to get his hair cut so it would seem nice and even and less like male pattern baldness was setting in for a 10-year old.

At the parlor however, his desire to look funky had to be recalibrated because he didn’t have enough of floopy hair left on top to have a mohawk or even a mushroom cloud-like shape. What was inevitable was a bootcamp look. Ye Gods.

Am sure we’ll be visiting the stylist again, soon, for yet another hair dilemma. As I was telling someone yesterday, he went from pretty to butch in a single snip!

Knockout Day Conversation

So TO is a cricket buff. Am not. He has good hand-eye co-ordination. I don’t. He’s more like Red in this regard. Thank goodness.

This was our talk today- Me: ” Kane Williamson…ummm hmmm…hello there!”. TO: “He’s OLD Ayu!”. Me: ” He’s waaay younger than me baby!” TO: YOU. ARE. OLD. AYU”

After that bit of heartbreaking talk, I again made googly eyes at a clip of Kane Williamson Williamson practising prior to the match and TO piped up,” Eww…do you want to marry him?” Me: ” Can I marry him?” TO:” You should ask Prash (Red)”.

And that in a nutshell is enough of mother-son bonding for today.

What The F*** Did You Say F*** For?

Last Sunday TO had some of his friends over for a pizza lunch. It went just fine. All the complaints, tears, sulks, hurt feelings and booboos turned up bang on schedule at the 2 hour mark like they do with x number of kids under the same roof for a given amount of time.

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One of the little ones was happily lazing at the dining table, with his feet up on the opposite chair and drawing out the cheese from his pizza slice and his friend was peppering him with questions, one after another, with nary a break. And then this happened:

Child#1– Hey J…did you see..blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah??? Child#2– munch munch, chomp, chomp, chomp…No. Child#1– But it was blah blah blah blah blah blah. Child#2– chomp chomp, more pizza…munch munch. Ok. Child#1– It was so blah blah blah blah blahx10!! Child#2- Hey M..shut the f*** up! And there was a bit of silence for a bit. Only because the rest had their mouths stuffed with pizza.

 Child#1 comes over to me and says (sadly and loudly),”You know J said shut the f*** to me!!” Before I can decide whether I should have my outraged, sad, stern or even my controlling-my-laugh face, Child#3 goes, “You should NEVER say F*** because it’s a BAD WORD!!” Child#4 chimes in-” I NEVER say F*** because it’s not a nice thing to say F*** and I’m not supposed to say it! Child#1– “But J said F*** to me RIGHT NOW (and pouts)!!” And my very own Bratosaurus leisurely finishes the pizza in his mouth, burps and says “Parton me (he says ‘parton’ instead of ‘pardon’) and adds, “We should all stop saying F*** because my mother is right here!”

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The lesson here ladies and gents is this- always get the pan pizza with the thick crusts. Opt for the crusts filled with cheese if need be. It takes a while for these little yappers to get their tireless jaws around the whole thing. They can effectively talk AND curse with the thin crust pizza and spew half-masticated pieces of food all around in the process.

Here endeth the lesson.

 

 

Movie Review: Annabelle Comes Home

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When is a horror movie not like a horror movie? When it fails to scare, that’s when. While the closing credits are scrolling on the screen, the only question that comes to mind is “Why the heck did Annabelle come home if she wasn’t going to cause out and out mayhem and carnage?”

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Picking up where Ed and Lorraine Warren meet the nursing students and bring Annabelle into their homes, this movie borders on the (not so) funny-ha ha and cheap theatrics and very little on the actual spook factor.

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Always referred to as a conduit through which an evil spirit tries to get its hands on a soul, Annabelle does precious little to actually acquire a soul when given the chance. Instead she unleashes a room full of malevolent spirits (literally roomful) and each one comes in, says ‘Boo’ and goes away just as easily. I have never seen a movie where the supernatural bad guy is subdued this easily. Jason had to be killed over 10 sequels, Freddy over at least 5 and even the shark from Jaws was more tenacious. This movie was truly a bah! humbug kind of a situation for those of us who like to be spooked and feel the cold, crawly fingers of fear inching around us while we sit in a darkened theater and watch the hapless preyed upon.

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Onto the players- Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are so comfortable in the role that they are cast in that they don’t seem to have to try at all to become the Warrens. But in all honesty, their time on the screen was fairly limited as well so…

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Judy, played by McKenna Grace is the surprise package. She’s sweet, vulnerable and rather believable as the child who can sense spirits and is also terrified of them. She sort of has a Haley Joel Osment-vibe going for her. One hopes she gets better movies rather than that of the Mean Girls ilk as she matures as an actress. Madison Iseman as Mary Ellen fulfills her part well enough but the introduction of Bob the teenage boy and the Hellhound chase he takes part just make for a discordant comic element which was unwittingly brought in; or was it?

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The demons that are unleashed either suffer from very little focus given to their individual characters or in the way they’re made up to look because they don’t look scary enough! The demon trying to suck out Judy soul, the dead priest who guides them to Annabelle or even the Ferryman and his passengers who all appear with coins over their eyes, artfully placed to make them look creepier; are all just sad props in a movie where the main character just didn’t do enough.

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Annabelle Comes Home doesn’t come up to scratch. The first two movies in the series were much better. One can avoid this. Even on home media. Better yet, give Ol’ Chucky another go. He was something…

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Rating: *

Waiter..There’s A Fly In My Soup

Well…there may have been a fly and there may have been a waiter and there definitely may be some soup somewhere in this universe. But this morning it was just me and TO, sitting at the dinning table while it was still a bit dark out.

He was all agog about going to his cricket class after having a break of 4 days. I made him a quick breakfast of toast and jam and was just lurching towards the coffee mugs when suddenly this happened: “Ayu…come here please!” Ayu duly went and was faced with the crisis that would lead to humanity being at utmost peril…a portion of a bread that wasn’t covered with enough jam!

TO-” my bread is empty here. Me- it’s not empty..it just has less jam. TO- but it’s almost empty…that spot has jam but this corner doesn’t have any jam at all!”

Me (going back to the kitchen and gripping the butter knife the way Carrie’s mother held the cleaver)- “Shall I put more jam for you then? Why don’t you eat the rest of the other bread while I put more jam on this bit?” TO-” I want to eat it all together Ayu. I’ll wait till you put more jam. That’s it..a little more to the right, no..that’s going out of the bread! Yup..a little more to the left…perfect! The whole bread is covered now. I can FINALLY eat in peace!”

Me, bleary-eyed, sleepy and caffeine-deprived, ” Am so glad I could take care of your jam emergency baby. Nothing makes a mother happier than stuffing more sugar into her kid and being micromanaged into the art of spreading jam on a piece of bread.” And pat comes the reply- You’re welcome. Kissy kissy”

AAAAAAAAAARGHHHHHHHH!