Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's raining movies out here

Click on the images to see in full resolution.

Behold once again how Ravi aka Crudo Cruox's avarice towers over my significantly more modest haul. Also, what appears to be a deliberate attempt to strain poor Rajesh Balakrishnan's limbs with the load of multiple copies of the same album (see top)

The Tower of Babel in close-up:

Modest haul in close-up (sorry for the flash but on my ancient camera I can't seem to get an non-blurry pic in the evening without using it):

Modest haul in more detail below:

1. I love me my Hammer horror and other thingies. Batman's a digibook and Blade Runner's the 5-disc (3BD + 2DVD) Complete Collector's set.

2. The name's Bond, James Bond.

3. The Criterions - including the most monstrous Criterion release of all time

4. Godzilla in full glory

5. And these came in today from Amazon UK. Return... is a Steelbook loaded with extras. Like I said, it's raining movies.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Freefall - 360

His first and foremost urge was to violently throw up; it was all so delirious and confusing it took him some time to deduce what had happened. When it finally struck, he was overcome by another wave of nausea. He'd gotten what he'd just wished for – he now had 360° vision.

His mind whirled in rage and terror at this new development. It wasn't even as if it was something he had repeatedly prayed for or craved with any consuming fervor, just a thought that had occurred to him as he was walking along the deserted beach. Even though he'd been to this place earlier, he had been once again captivated by its beauty: the wind, the sky the currents white and steel gray tirelessly throwing themselves upon the sands. There was such an immenseness to the scene, his eyes widened in greedy appreciation, wanting to taking in more and more and still more...

As he placed a tentative foot fresh spasms of dread drove through. With such an all-encompassing vision he had no perspective. He could not say what lay before and what was behind him. Distance became impossible to judge. But it was infinitely worse when he inclined his head. In one sweeping move he was looking at both earth and sky, and it felt as though he was being hurled between the two. As a child it had been one of his favorite pastimes to go up to the terrace of his house, lie flat on the floor eyes shut tight, then suddenly open them. At that instant it would seem to him that he was falling toward the sky, like it was some immense ocean. It was a sensation both terrifying and exhilarating. Now he worked desperately to keep his head straight so he would only have to deal with the horrors of the horizontal plane.

He could also see himself from both sides, though in his mind he could not tell front and back. How had this happened? Had he sprouted an extra pair of eyes at the back (and why always a pair), or had his own expanded out of their sockets to cover his entire head. The latter option so disgusted him he felt no urge to ascertain the truth.

It was when it began to rain that he realized the other thing. In all this while he had not once blinked. He willed himself to, concentratedly, but almost like it was some inverted blindness, he could not shut out his horrifically panoramic vision. The splashes of rain blurred and filmed over like water drops against a windshield, and he could not bring himself to wipe or shield what had become of his eyes. Each splatter sent ripples and distortions across the whole of his sight. Then he could bear it no longer and broke into a run.

For a spell he didn't perceive where he was headed, as he madly dashed, stumbling and struggling. It was ironically the chill of the water rocking against his legs that told him where he was. It had been wet weather all through, and the sea was suffused with a barely controlled fury. He tried moving back to shore, but his confusion by now was so complete he could do no more than to helplessly watch as the current dragged him further away. Floating on the back of mad foam-flecked waves his new-found eyes took in both wild sea and stormy sky and he felt as if he were suspended between two infinite depths. He was in freefall.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

King Solomon's Slaughter

Call me a politically-correct wuss, but some 50 pages into King Solomon's Mines by Rider Haggard, I'm more than a little horrified by what constitutes heroic adventure here. A trio of white men lead a band of African natives to look for the brother of one of the white men who was last heard of making his way towards the mythical mines. In the course of this expedition, they enter wild country and their first reaction is "Oh look, animals. Let's shoot them all. This brother hunting mission can wait." And it's not like they shoot what they can eat. Not even close. After shooting a giraffe, the 3 white men out of a total party of 10 shoot down 8 full grown elephants from a herd. That's nearly one elephant per man. And the rest of the herd gets to escape only because these trigger happy blokes got tired of chasing after them. Apart from these 8, there's a badly wounded bull elephant who goes on a rampage, finally running blind toward the white man who shot him in the first place. Just when you think that some redemption is at hand, it's not he who dies but a poor native who steps forth to hurl a lance at the beast to save his "I'll shoot me down a brace of elephants" master.

I'm wondering if I should go ahead with this.

Anyway, the book in question being out of copyright, I can safely paste the text that offended me:

Presently we caught sight of the herd, which numbered, as Ventvögel had said, between twenty and thirty, standing in a hollow, having finished their morning meal, and flapping their great ears. It was a splendid sight, for they were only about two hundred yards from us. Taking a handful of dry grass, I threw it into the air to see how the wind was; for if once they winded us I knew they would be off before we could get a shot. Finding that, if anything, it blew from the elephants to us, we crept on stealthily, and thanks to the cover managed to get within forty yards or so of the great brutes. Just in front of us, and broadside on, stood three splendid bulls, one of them with enormous tusks. I whispered to the others that I would take the middle one; Sir Henry covering the elephant to the left, and Good the bull with the big tusks.

"Now," I whispered.

Boom! boom! boom! went the three heavy rifles, and down came Sir Henry's elephant dead as a hammer, shot right through the heart. Mine fell on to its knees and I thought that he was going to die, but in another moment he was up and off, tearing along straight past me. As he went I gave him the second barrel in the ribs, and this brought him down in good earnest. Hastily slipping in two fresh cartridges I ran close up to him, and a ball through the brain put an end to the poor brute's struggles. Then I turned to see how Good had fared with the big bull, which I had heard screaming with rage and pain as I gave mine its quietus. On reaching the captain I found him in a great state of excitement. It appeared that on receiving the bullet the bull had turned and come straight for his assailant, who had barely time to get out of his way, and then charged on blindly past him, in the direction of our encampment. Meanwhile the herd had crashed off in wild alarm in the other direction.

For awhile we debated whether to go after the wounded bull or to follow the herd, and finally deciding for the latter alternative, departed, thinking that we had seen the last of those big tusks. I have often wished since that we had. It was easy work to follow the elephants, for they had left a trail like a carriage road behind them, crushing down the thick bush in their furious flight as though it were tambouki grass.

But to come up with them was another matter, and we had struggled on under the broiling sun for over two hours before we found them. With the exception of one bull, they were standing together, and I could see, from their unquiet way and the manner in which they kept lifting their trunks to test the air, that they were on the look-out for mischief. The solitary bull stood fifty yards or so to this side of the herd, over which he was evidently keeping sentry, and about sixty yards from us. Thinking that he would see or wind us, and that it would probably start them off again if we tried to get nearer, especially as the ground was rather open, we all aimed at this bull, and at my whispered word, we fired. The three shots took effect, and down he went dead. Again the herd started, but unfortunately for them about a hundred yards further on was a nullah, or dried-out water track, with steep banks, a place very much resembling the one where the Prince Imperial was killed in Zululand. Into this the elephants plunged, and when we reached the edge we found them struggling in wild confusion to get up the other bank, filling the air with their screams, and trumpeting as they pushed one another aside in their selfish panic, just like so many human beings. Now was our opportunity, and firing away as quickly as we could load, we killed five of the poor beasts, and no doubt should have bagged the whole herd, had they not suddenly given up their attempts to climb the bank and rushed headlong down the nullah. We were too tired to follow them, and perhaps also a little sick of slaughter, eight elephants being a pretty good bag for one day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Cabin and The Rowdy

Went town-side today to catch a couple of films with pals:

Cabin in The Woods was up first. Thankfully I had kept away from the internet buzz about the film, not even visiting the IMDB page before seeing it, because the entertainment value of the film primarily depends upon you wondering what's going to happen next. It works decently enough as a meta-fiction spoof on the 80's haunted house / slasher genre, specifically referencing Evil Dead, Hellraiser and their ilk. It's a geekboy idea that will not stand up to any close scrutiny, being as full of absurdity and contrivance as the horror film conventions it aims to cock a snook at, but first viewing goes pretty smoothly and some moments ahead into the film, which I shall refrain from spoiling, have a lot of heh-heh-heh coolness value for splatter-horror fans.

We were all pretty chuffed with the film, and after that proceeded to a decent if not entirely great lunch at the Indigo Deli. The chilled melon soup was not chilled enough and on the sweet side, not to my liking. Pastrami and Cheese sandwich was alright, though not juicy the way I would have preferred (isn't that how a freshly prepared Deli sandwich should be?). Passion fruit sorbet for dessert was quite lovely, though, and at half the day gone we were generally at peace with the world.

And then came Rowdy Rathore. We walked out at the Intermission, what a waste of time. Action-packed my bleeding ass, the first action scene of any note comes just before the interval, more than an hour into the film and, without going into any details for fear of losing my sanity over the remembrance, everything before that is soul-suckingly inane filler. And the action scene was nowhere worth it, no imagination in the choreography. One would have thought that with Akshay Kumar being a skilled action hero who can do many of his own stunts, we would see some fairly spectacular stuff, but no, it's just haphazardly put together yawn material. It's amazing how once you apply terms like mass and masala to a film, it need not aspire to any notions of pace or grip in the screenplay. Dabangg was a recent film that got the masala formula perfectly with a pacy script, punchy dialog and badass fight scenes. This one, like the numerous Dabangg clones already out or in the making, randomly flings shit at the wall hoping something will stick.