Thursday, July 28, 2005

This Harry Potter thing...

These cartoons were swiped from:

and will be removed if anyone has any objections!


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Thursday, July 21, 2005

The only watchable reality show on TV!!

Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days

Morgan Spurlock literally "burst" into the scene last year with Super Size Me, a documentary that brought down McDonald's....or atleast tried to. In it, Spurlock tried to gauge the effect of fast food on his health by eating (and drinking) only from the McDonald's menu for 30 whole days, three meals a day! He also set a couple of other rules: one, he must have every item in the menu at least once in the 30 day period and two, must agree to "superisize" it, if asked by the McD's server.

Well, to cut a long story short, his body doesn't respond well to this assault: he gains lotsa weight, starts experiencing heart and liver problems (he is given a clean bill of health before he begins) and a reduced sex-drive. Indeed, this debut feature proved so successful that McD's removed "super size" meals from its menu just before the documentary's wide release. Incidentally, it was also nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar.

Now, Spurlock brings this idea to the small screen as (what else?) a reality show! 30 Days asks the question: What happens if you expose a person to a radically different environment than he is used to for a period of, well, thirty days? One of its first episodes, for example, made an orthodox, conservative Christian live with a gay room-mate in a gay community for a whole month. Another one had Morgan Spurlock and his girl friend live out the period on minimum wage!

The resulting drama, while not throwing in too many spectacular suprises, does make for very interesting viewing. It also doesn't feel too contrived either because people, who have spent a lifetime forming opinions, can be hardly expected to change them in a month. The orthodox Christian, taking that example again, considered gay people to be sinners, going by his interpretation of the Bible; he is still of the same mindset 30 days later, though there is a definite thaw in his behavior towards them as he gets to hear their concerns and realizes that their lifestyles are very similar to his.

The show's latest episode was especially gut-wrenching. A mother tries to stop her teenage daughter from binge drinking by going on a month long drinking spree herself. The mother's daily routine is reduced to shambles as she ends up feeling lethargic all the time, hardly ever has an appetite and in general, feels her health worsening: none of this, however, has any effect on the daughter who finds it funny that her mother is behaving like her other friends, sometimes having no memory whatsoever of what she did all night or "blacking out" as the daughter fondly calls it (something she doesn't seem to worry about). At the end of the 30 days, the mother gives up on her daughter and decides to focus instead on her 12-year old son, who is reduced to tears one day when his mother ignores him, heavily drunk.

All this is different from the numerous formulaic "reality" shows that seem heavily scripted and full of "fake" people; almost all of them seem to want to humiliate their contestants more than anything else, making them compete with each other in degrading contests while taking sadistic glee in capturing their disappointment and tears after they lose; of course, they also have this stupid rule where a contestant is "kicked out" at the end of each episode, something that was original in the very first "Survivor" but has been beaten to death since then.


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Sunday, July 17, 2005

And R.A.B is...

In the interest of not spoiling it for those who don't wish to know, you are going to have to click here to find out who R.A.B is.

Just remember where you got it first!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, I figured that just as I read that note from his Highness R.A.B. And it makes perfect sense, considering the fact that he was murdered by the death eaters while he refused to do something that Voldemort asked him to. All making perfect sense! And one more hunch - this Hepzibah Smith from whom Tom Riddle gets the Hufflepuff trophy, might be related to Zacharias Smith of Hufflepuff. Could be wrong, but just a hunch.

5:16 AM  
Blogger Santosh Sankar said...

I guess almost everyone guessed that one!! One of my friends here didn't though and I took great pleasure in telling him ;)

A couple more things. One, from mugglenet: apparently in OotP there is a locket that Harry finds in Sirius's house that he can't open. Haven't checked on that yet.

Two, that locket, I'm guessing must be with Mundungus!

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of my friends haven't guessed and it gives immense satisfaction in smirking at them and saying "What? You dunno who R.A.B is? Ok, hint - OoTP" and watch them run to fetch their copy of OoTP.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Santosh Sankar said...

Nice! I wish I had your friends!

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

via Mugglenet interview:

MA: R.A.B.

JKR: Ohhh, good.

[All laugh.]

JKR: No, I'm glad! Yes?

MA: Can we figure out who he is, from what we know so far?

[Note: JKR has adopted slightly evil look here]

JKR: Do you have a theory?

MA: We've come up with Regulus Black.

JKR: Have you now?

MA: Uh-oh.


JKR: Well, I think that would be, um, a fine guess.

MA: And perhaps, being Sirius’s brother, he had another mirror –

JKR: [drums fingers on soda can]

MA: Does he have the other mirror, or Sirius’s mirror —

JKR: I have no comment at all on that mirror. That mirror is not on the table. [Laughter from all; Jo's is maniacal.]

What say, you?

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Santosh Sankar said...

Well, that's settled then. She pretty much accepts that it's Regulus in the later part of the interview...

About the mirror: very interesting point...there doesn't seem to be any other point for introducting the mirror, is there??

And there was also an interesting bit about Voldemort giving Lily the choice to live...Never noticed that! How important is that!!

7:38 AM  

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Not a children's book!

Plot points and other such things aside, my first comment about HBP is how kids who read this book (or have it read to them) are going to be mentally traumatized for the rest of their lives! I swear! And that's only part of it! Frequent occurances of "rude hand gestures" and unmentionable "curses" (not those Curses) are also going to make it extra-hard for poor parents to explain this book to the kids!

Well, good luck to them...

I think the best thing I like about this book is how rationally each of the characters behave and how logically various situations evolve and diffuse (or explode) . Fans will be happy to know that there are no stupid emotional outbursts from the Harry like the infamous ones in the Order of the Phoenix; he also listens to his elders (shudder!), doesn't take (too many) stupid risks and the death of the major character, when it comes, feels less inevitable than it did the last time.

There is especially this good bit about the nature of phrophecies and such, that exemplifies that logic I was talking about. Many books and movies, ok some, ok, I'm talking about The Matrix movies, have been let down when they get too deep into the nature of "The Prophecy", which is after all a "belief" system that seemingly has no place in an otherwise logic-driven universe. Not Harry Potter, it'd seem! I thought J. K. Rowling was going down a suicidal path when she gets into this in HBP! But, no! She actually ends up almost entirely redeeming what appeared to be a weak plot in the previous book.

This also brings me to what I didn't like about the book. I think the fact that there isn't much of a plot to speak of (Maybe the next book will prove me wrong! I hope so and I actually think so)! This book basically serves to tie-up all the loose ends from the first five books and set up the last one. And from what I read (from 1:30 am to 7:30 am) that's pretty much all it did. Sure, there is a plot about something-and-something but it seemed to beside the point (A second reading might convince me otherwise). I kinda got the impression that this book is a sort of sacrificial feed to the frenzied masses to sate their appetites as Rowling gears up to write the big one. In fact. it seems like Books 6 and 7 are two parts of a single big book.

So, yes, HBP definitely tied a million loose ends from the previous books but it also left some very delicious questions unanswered. Till Book 7 then...

And that's another two years away...atleast!

The countdown begins...

NOTE: The synopsis in the book jacket reminded me in a big way of the "scrolling text" that marks the start of each Star Wars movies, content-wise that is.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OOoh, I've not got my copy yet. I'm still half way through book 5.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Santosh Sankar said...

Good, good! I'm glad I didn't reveal anything from the 5th book. Enjoy!

1:54 PM  

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Friday, July 15, 2005

The magic number is...


If you're going "Huh?", know that I'm merely trying to say that I'll be the 44th person in line tonight outside Barnes & Nobles (Lafayette, Indiana) to buy you-know-what.

That's "44", for those who weren't paying attention.

Can't hardly wait!


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Thursday, July 14, 2005

The real Gary Oldman?

In the world of movies, this is the closest anyone has gotten to being truly invisible!

Clockwise from top: Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element;
The Contender; Hannibal; Harry Potter and the Prisoner
of Azkaban; Dracula; Batman Begins and Air Force One

My interest in this exceptional actor was piqued after watching his tremendously understated performance in the recent Batman Begins while happening to watch Hannibal on TV around the same time. Checking up IMDB to see who it was that played the horribly disfigured Mason Verger in the latter, I was blown away by what I found!! Never in a billion years would I have guessed! The role seemed inconsequential for an actor of his caliber but I realized that's one of the things he excels at: playing seemingly minor characters and making the role his own.

The montage above is a tribute to man who truly disappears...into his characters


Blogger antickpix said...


Gary Oldman is the man. He is one of my personal favs, and one of the few actors who make a mediocre movie (Romeo is bleeding, Sid and Nancy etc.) watchable, and it's nice to see others who seem to share my love for him (if that sounds gay, I don't care.)


PS: I stumbled across your blog, and love it, so please give me your credit card details so I can proceed to enrich your life.:)

10:00 AM  

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Friday, July 08, 2005

Some spectacularly potty Potter predictions

Who's the Half-Blood?

In the spirit of the release of ze very eagerly awaited Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I've decided to make some uneducated and half-witted guesses as the nature of its contents

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't read any of the Potters you should know that the following half-truths may reveal crucial plot details of more than one book. You should also seriously consider jumping off a cliff.

Here goes...

Numero 1: I'm pretty sure of this one: In true LOTR spirit, Sirius (the) Black returns as Sirius (the) White to complete his journey in this world.

Numero 2: Who snuffs it in this book? Ans: Albus Dumbledore. But why, you ask? The cover (pictured above) shows Dumbledore instructing Harry on something. My guess: He's the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. And we all know what happens to them!! (But don't worry, he'll then return to guide Harry in spirit, a la Scooby Dooby Obi-Wan Kenobi)

Numero 3: Ron and Hermoine get seriously snuggly in this one!

Numero 4: Who's the titular half-blood prince? Difficult, very difficult. Let's work this out. Half-blood "Prince" suggests that there must a half-blood "King". And do we know any half-blood who happens to be a King? Or a Lord? Could that be Lord Voldemort? Why, yes! And that would make the half-blood prince his illegitimate son/grandson, probably conceived after a long night of Dark magic and Butterbeers!

Numero 5: What is the big secret that is going to be revealed about Lily Potter, Harry's mother? My guess is it'll be something to show that Harry is related in a more intricate way to the Dark Lord than we've been led to believe. The revelation will also involve Aunt Petunia in some way and will tie into all the above numeros (except, possibly, numeros 1, 2 and 3)

Over and out.


Anonymous matte said...

dei psycho matte here da hilarious predictions how u doing me siiting vetti in TCS @ this moment

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Santosh said...

Thanks, matte (I thought it was matti) anyway, I'm being kept busy with research work :( nothing much else...

Btw, I've been checking ur blog...are u posting something these days or what?

8:05 AM  

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Saturday, July 02, 2005

The aliens and the annoying kids

The audience in the theater watching War of the Worlds with me, I swear, were rooting for the two kids in it to be disintegrated within 10 minutes into the movie! Seriously! As poor Tom Cruise tries to flee the marauding aliens in their tripods armed with death rays, he has to put up with an annoying Dakota Fanning, his 10 year old (or so) daughter who keeps screaming (No, make that screeching), that she wants to see her "mommy" and with a headstrong teenage son, played by whoever, who wants to go back and fight the aliens...

Other than that, this is a solid Spielberg entertainer, which means that it is way better than any other alien invasion movie made in this planet! The special effects are fantastic and like his earlier movies (ET, Close Encounters and A.I.), Spielberg can't resist showing us the aliens themselves, who turn out to be the least imaginative of the FX. The ending also left a bit to be desired. Safe to say that Steven Spielberg's obsession with family values takes the gloss of an otherwise brilliant Sci-Fi movie.

NOTE: DON'T read this review of the movie at unless you want all the fun of movie watching sucked out of you! Disgustingly one-sided!!! And these are by people who get paid to watch movies!!!!


Blogger Chris said...

It has to be a one sided article on Salon, and I loved it. The most boring reviews are ones that are, "oh I love this gerat movie. Praise praise crap crap" The best are the ones that butcher the movie and give you something to think about. War of the worlds was a dissapointment for me, so I guess that would make me one sided

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kills me about the salon thing is that they have apparently never read the orignal War of the Worlds. Guess what, it IS an anti war book. Having Tim Robonson is no coincedence. The book is all about how the British empire would probably fall from too many occupations, and rotting morality.. Its no wonder that SS picked this story.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous JohnnyWaco said...

Too bad Stephanie Zacharek took it so personally. I'll admit that WAR OF THE WORLDS must be the grimmest alien invasion movie filmed. Of course I could read the September 11th references. Of course I got the Algerian-French war references. It's too bad she thought Speilberg was slumming this time. But I suspect it is Zacharek who prefers the superficial cutesy mold. This may be the best Spielberg film in years -- and, yes, that *is* easy to say.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Santosh Sankar said...

My problem with Stephanie Zacharek's review is that she was so fixated with what she perceived as Spielberg's "indecency" that she lost all perspective when watching the movie (and writing a review). That's my problem with the one-sided review, Chris. It is fun for atrocities like "Gigli" but not for WoW.

If you notice her review, almost every paragraph is about how Spiel- is trying to shock us by referring to 9-11, how he is trying to shock us by blowing up people and showing little kids in terror. We get it! This movie is meant to shock and scare the audience! That does not make Spiel- a bad guy or the movie a bad one!

And like Anon and johnnywaco said this movie, like the book is supposed to be about War and its consquences. You can't pick on the director for trying to be loyal to the book's message, while trying to update it to present times! Jeez!

Finally, for a much more balanced viewpoint check out Roger Ebert's (negative) review of the movie in his website. I may not always agree with him but atleast he's no snob (And notice how he discusses plot holes which is one reason why a lot of ppl disapproved of the movie in the first place)

12:08 PM  

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