Friday, November 29, 2013

Firefly - I joined a cult!

You can't guess what I am watching these days. I am confident enough to offer a wager but let's not go that route. I will just tell you.

It's not a movie, it's not a TV show, it's not a documentary, not a music video, not a home movie, not even an advertisement....give up yet?

Long long ago on a planet called there was this man called Joss Whedon. He wrote and directed a show called Firefly. The show had low network ratings and was cancelled after one season by Fox. But the people who watched the show were immense fans. Not just fans but crazy fans. They actively tried to resurrect the show, even raised some money for it.

It didn't work. But then later on in 2004, Joss Whedon made a movie based on a show, it was called "Serenity". The movie had some overlap in the story from the show and then progressed with the story. The movie was also loved by the Firefly fans and got more coverage than the original show.

Couple of years ago I across the movie - "Serenity" and got it. I love sci-fi movies. But I have a huge choice of movies and TV shows that I can watch so I try and see the trailer, find out about the movie and see which one tempts me the most.

In a quick research I found out the story that I have mentioned above. I read that this show and the movie have a cult following. Now, honestly, I am not much for cults. But the movie itself seemed interesting to I want so far as to watch it.

The movie was fantastic! I love sci-fi and I have watched a truckload of them but this one just blew me away. Not just from effects, they were good, but the story line and characters, the writing was simply great!

Then I just had to get the TV show. And once I watched that...well, there was no going back! I was hooked! And I joined the rest of the world in feeling awfully sorry that the stupid network cancelled this gem. The DVD version of the show has 13 episodes, the pilot is 88 minutes long, but rest of the episodes about 42 minutes each. Even when I was watching them the first time, I could feel that I was watching something special! That's rare!

The thread of this thought. Every year, there are several huge events held in America centered around comic books and other related stuff. I don't know if there's any held in UK at all, but US is the kind of place where this kind of fun things take place. These events are Comic con, Dragon con and Sci fi event.

As you can imagine all kinds of nerds attend these events. As part of these events there are some panels made up of the cast and crew of TV shows and (I am guessing) movies. The cast and crew on these panels answers questions in front of a limited audience. Sometimes the questions are asked by a moderator, other times directly by the audience, it can be a mix as well.

One of my favourite TV stars Zachary Levi (Chuck) has started a charity for which he organizes informal panels where audience can ask what they want of their favourite stars.

All these events are recorded, some on personal cameras, some professional (Zachary's Nerd Machine YouTube channel has the latte) and they can be found online mostly on YouTube.

Even though firefly has been cancelled for 11 years now, there is still a huge demand for a Firefly panel at these events and they are well attended.

And that is what I am watching these days!

I don't know how I found the first video but once I watched it, I was hooked. I had never watched anything like that before. I find that I liked to hear about the show and hear its cast and crew answer questions about it.

In 2012 there was a 10th anniversary of the show's cancellation and there are videos from those panels at Comiccon and other events. There are other interviews from 2013, and some 2010. I am just finding all that I can and watching them. They are damn addicted!

I am very impressed by the cast and the audience alike. The cast members and the crew (writers and director) are always so in love with the show even after doing other stuff in their careers. And you can see the chemistry between the various cast members and director, writers. These are successful Hollywood people and yet when they talk to the audience they are very down to Earth and friendly.

Oh, and they are witty! The videos are so funny because of their wit and leg-pulling humour. But the fans are also amazing! They ask these fantastic questions, some insightful, some cheeky but all interesting.

I am enjoying these videos very much.

The tagline that you see in my previous post "You can't stop the signal!" comes from the movie Serenity and is kind of catchphrase.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

iPhone buyers are idiots...

..or at least that's what Apple thinks.

Look at these spec's for iPhone 5s and tell me if you don't agree with me.

I mean where is the upgrade part?

Apple, have you even seen the specs on other phones in the market? When even a Windows phone is beating an iPhone, I think it says something about the company's direction and their "innovation". And I am sure there will still be a few brainwashed fanbois who'd like to tell me that iphone is (still) the king! Jeez!

GENERAL2G NetworkGSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - all models
 CDMA 800 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 - A1533 (CDMA), A1453
3G NetworkHSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 - A1533 (GSM), A1453
 CDMA2000 1xEV-DO - A1533 (CDMA), A1453
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 - A1457, A1530
4G NetworkLTE- all models
Announced2013, September
StatusAvailable. Released 2013, September
BODYDimensions123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 in)
Weight112 g (3.95 oz)
 - Fingerprint sensor (Touch ID)
DISPLAYTypeLED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size640 x 1136 pixels, 4.0 inches (~326 ppi pixel density)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass, oleophobic coating
SOUNDAlert typesVibration, proprietary ringtones
3.5mm jackYes
MEMORYCard slotNo
Internal16/32/64 GB storage, 1 GB RAM DDR3
SpeedDC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, LTE, 100 Mbps; EV-DO Rev. A, up to 3.1 Mbps
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot
BluetoothYes, v4.0 with A2DP
USBYes, v2.0
CAMERAPrimary8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED (True Tone) flash, check quality
Features1/3'' sensor size, 1.5 µm pixel size, simultaneous HD video and image recording, touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, HDR panorama, HDR photo
VideoYes, 1080p@30fps, 720p@120fps, advanced video stabilization, check quality
SecondaryYes, 1.2 MP, 720p@30fps, face detection, FaceTime over Wi-Fi or Cellular
FEATURESOSiOS 7, upgradable to iOS 7.0.3
ChipsetApple A7
CPUDual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone (ARM v8-based)
GPUPowerVR G6430 (quad-core graphics)
SensorsAccelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
MessagingiMessage, SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email
BrowserHTML (Safari)
GPSYes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS
ColorsSpace Gray, White/Silver, Gold
 - Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- AirDrop file sharing
- Siri natural language commands and dictation
- iCloud cloud service
- iCloud Keychain
- Twitter and Facebook integration
- TV-out
- Maps
- iBooks PDF reader
- Audio/video player/editor
- Organizer
- Document viewer/editor ((Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- Image viewer/editor
- Voice memo/dial/command
- Predictive text input
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Po 1560 mAh battery (5.92 Wh)
Stand-byUp to 250 h (2G) / Up to 250 h (3G)
Talk timeUp to 10 h (2G) / Up to 10 h (3G)
Music playUp to 40 h
MISCSAR US1.12 W/kg (head)     1.18 W/kg (body)    
SAR EU1.00 W/kg (head)     0.80 W/kg (body)    
Price group
TESTSDisplayContrast ratio: 1219:1 (nominal) / 3.565:1 (sunlight)
LoudspeakerVoice 68dB / Noise 66dB / Ring 69dB
Audio qualityNoise -93.6dB / Crosstalk -90.3dB
CameraPhoto / Video
Battery lifeEndurance rating 54h

Tech specs source:

Kapil Sharma Press Conference

Even his press conferences are fun to watch:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

One Sher and meaning

Hazaron saal nargis apni benoori pe roti hai,
Badi mushkil se hota hai chaman mein deeda_var paida.

हजारों साल नर्गिस अपनी बेनूरी पे रोती है
बड़ी मुश्किल से होता है चमन में दीदावर पैदा
                                                                                            - अल्लामा इक़बाल

Nargis, I am given to understand, is a rare flower that blooms once in many, many years. And even that flower has to mourn its woeful fate for thousands of years before an appreciator of its beauty is born.

It's a deep sher with multiple layers in its meaning and obviously multiple ways to interpret it.

I take it that a thing of beauty created by the creator is without value unless there is someone there to appreciate it and admire it for what it really is. In my view there is a moral here to be nice to those who love us and admire us instead of being too proud of our beauty, our status or our accomplishments.

There are many Hindi film qawwalis on this debate, one sher that I am remembering right now is:
Nazrein jo na hoteeN to nazaaraa bhi na hota,
Duniya mein haseenoN ka guzaaraa bhi na hota.
Nazron ne banaya hai inhein buut bhi khuda bhi,
Nazron ne sikhayee hai inhein shokhee bhi adaa bhi. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Legendary Actor Pran Passes Away

He was an amazing actor and definitely one who left his mark on the Hindi cinema. He will always be remembered in the history of Indian cinema.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Movie - Jab Tak Hai Jaan - Initial Rant

I have just started watching it, in parts while I cook and do the dishes, so these are only my initial grumbling complaints with it, there will be more I am very sure.

First scene - Shahrukh Khan is diffusing a bomb. His colleague who has been working on it for 2 hours cannot find the receiver in the bomb. But SRK finds it in a matter of minutes, without any hesitation. Okay, maybe so because he's really smart. But here's my problem, he tells the other guys that the terrorists had hidden the receiver inside the RDX and put lead around so it wasn't showing in X-ray scan as well. If a terrorist is smart enough to build a radio-signal controlled bomb, would he be so stupid as to put the receiver inside a lead box? 

Lead, I should explain, has a very dense atomic structure, so dense that even X-ray cannot go through it. Similarly, radio waves also cannot go through lead! So, any receiver stuffed inside a lead box will not receive any signal from any remote! Wtf is going on here?

Next issue - Anushka Sharma reading SRK's diary in which he mentions that he was 25 on this day when his life started. Flashback starts. 25? SRK? If he's 25 I am not even born yet! Not only does he not pass for 25, or even for 35 in any way, they have not even made an effort to disguise his age by changing clothes, hairstyle etc. He looks the same except for the beard. So, we are just supposed to believe he's 25 because the writer wrote it so?

Guitar scenes - Both SRK and Katrina are shown playing guitar in the movie. Neither of them bother to move their left hand while pretending to play guitar. To be honest, this is something that bugs me in most TV shows and movies. But having done guitar scenes in my own films, I also know how difficult it is to get a non-guitarist actor to put the left hand on the fretboard in any convincing manner.

Only that much for now. I'll add more to it later or create new posts and more things bug me about this movie.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Movie Review - Liberal Arts - Finally some Awesomeness from Hollywood

"An education in Liberal Arts will solve all your problems."

I have a very ego-centric way of judging books. If I feel like I could write something like this with some research and patience I don't get that impressed. I like it, I am impressed but not that much. The same goes for movies.  If I could make something like this with a big budget and a good team, I enjoy it but I am not blown away.

Liberal Arts is in the second category. I feel like I could not write something like this in a hundred years! It combines the two - it's an amazingly well-written story which has been shot in just the right way and the output is truly mind-blowing!

The story in itself is very simple, one protagonist coming to terms with the process of growing up. That's it in a nutshell.

I am going to try and make this review very short as I like everything about the movie - everything! So I could gush over it for hours but I would try not to.

The two things that I loved most about it is characters and dialogue. Characters are mostly real-world but still they have a depth to them and a twist of some sort. And dialogues, oh my god! Every movie, even the worst ones, usually have one or two lines that make it worthwhile. This movie has lots of them. There are so many profound, thought-provoking dialogues that you want to just pause it and ponder each one for a while.

Another thing I liked was Josh Radnor. He is my favourite character and actor in the TV show "How I Met Your Mother" and he is just perfect for this role! Absolutely perfect! I love his acting on the whole but he has shined in this film. Bravo!

The other characters are also well-cast be it Elizabeth Olsen as the intellectual and sweet 19 year old co-ed, or Allison Janney as the cynical Romantics professor. And all the actors have done a great job, no complaints from any of them.

There is one character that I must mention. Nat - the guy in the park, who acts like a combination of a hippie and a saint. Extremely well performed by Zac Efron.

The events are there, things happen, but not huge, dramatic things, just simple things that happen in real life with real people. But each event has dialogue and I felt almost holding my breath to listen to each line carefully. I don't do that very often!

I don't want to give too much away but I can't help but mention one dialogue which I found very funny, especially as delivered by Radnor.

Jesse (Josh Radnor): I am taking you off post-modernists.
Dean (John Magaro): What are you prescribing?
Jess: There are these...vampire books. Kids love them. They will empty your mind like anything!

There are a couple of elements which I love because of my personal bias. There are references to classical music and a lot of references to reading books. Love both!

The climax doesn't feel like the climax but the whole movie is more like a cloud of thought that enters your mind with a gentle breeze from one side and floats on exiting on the other side without any thunderclaps.

Finally, the feel of the movie. The overall feel of the movie is very positive, amusing and thought-provoking. The final message is very life-affirming and optimistic. God knows we need more such in today's world!

Conclusion: You should watch it if, and here I am going to sound like a snob but, if you can understand a movie about ideas and not about events. 

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