Month: January 2010

Filmblog: Casablanca

casablanca poster

This is my vague attempt to try and give thought on most of the films that I watch…sounds ambitious right? Well, I guess there are criteria (no musings on Universal Soldier to be found here)

There was quite a glut over the festive period so I’m playing catch-up here and, not lacking in ambition, have started with the classic of all classics…

Typically, my reaction on seeing this for the first time, was: really? that’s it? To be fair, this is my first time but I didn’t find what’s possibly the key to the story, to be believable: the love between Bogard and Bergmand (Rick and Ilsa). So if this aspect failed, what remains?

Make no mistake, the film is still wonderful; if their romance didn’t convince, it is beautifully shot, and some great great scenes and dialogue (not including “play it again Sam”). The look and feel of the film is gorgeous and IS romantic.

Although Bogard is the lead, I preferred in fact Renault (Claude Rains) who in his role as local Police Captain, plays both sides against the other for his own gain. Finally walking off with Rick at the end of the film…

In a nutshell, a lovely film that will get better with more viewings and of course has aged as well as a 1946 Petrus.

I’ll be dropping in more thoughts soon!


First Friday Rant: Numb3rs


We like to think we only get the good stuff, the cream of the crop of American TV, over here in the UK. Sadly for every season of Sopranos, 6 feet Under, The Wire etc, there will always be an exception proving the rule.


In this case, I reluctantly draw your attention to Numb3rs. That’s right: in case we can’t read, they have even inserted a 3 where the e would appear. How clever of the production team to do so.

This is comfortably one of THE worst shows ever to grace my flat screen. Not only does the title itself patronise the viewer, but the acting is passable at best, the scripts and story-lines are preposterous and the whole show has a crap look and feel to it – trying to copy num3rous other shows (you see what I did there..?)

All things considered, this show is best described as “derivative”, trying to ape CSI and the like, but without even the tongue in cheek humour of NCIS.

So, thanks Numb3rs: you have deservedly Christened my first Friday Rant! Have a great weekend one and all.

Favorite Bollywood Movies of 2009

I’ve been meaning to write a little bit about Bollywood (I know some people hate the word as they feel it’s derivative of the term Hollywood and the colonial name of the City of Mumbai– I like using it as it just sounds better then the Mumbai Film Industry)  movies in more details then our occasional review of the genre but I worry about the cultural gap.

Like Westerns or Kung Fu movies, Bollywood speaks a different language and dances to a very different beat and it’s hard to criticize them with the same standards as we do maintream movies. Bollywood movies are supposed to entertain one of the largest audiences and make lots of money!

It’s a prestigious and long standing independent industry, which unfortunately doesn’t receive the respect it deserves. I have been force fed these mass-appealing entertainment juggernauts since birth but they have now become a part of my being. I can watch all the Korean, French or American movies I want. But nothing feeds the craving for all out paisa vasool (AKA your money’s worth) entertainment as Bollywood does! It’s like coming home to your parents and having your favorite dish prepared for you, served up with some mango pickles and lassi.

2009 wasn’t a great year for Indian Cinema although SlumDog Millionaire win at the Oscars did put the spotlight on the potential. But instead of being able to cash out on the limelight the country went into a producer’s strike that lasted and as with the Writers’ Guild Strike in 2008 in the US, it had long lasting impact on release schedules, marketing budgets, star salaries but most importantly the weekly hit of singing, dancing and dishum dishum that “Jo(-winder) Public” craved for.

Another trend that affected the industry, as it effected everything else in the world, was the Global Economic meltdown. Since the past few years corporate houses (e.g. Reliance group, BIG, UTV) saw investment possibilities in funding movies for a quick buck, the gamble paid off and actors and producers started charging enormous amounts.

Salaries were going through the roof, quality was nowhere to be found but when the US market crashed it, it deflated a lot of egos.

2010 already is proving a good year with some very exciting releases lining up, special mentions to Kites (redited by Brett Ratner), My Name is Khan (Distributed by Fox) and Veer(awesome Troy like epic).

So these are my favorite Bollywood flicks of 2009, some of these I have reviewed in more detail on my badly maintained personal blog but I would suggest, stop reading, go to Amazon and order these flicks!


Riding on the wave of 80’s nostalgia this movie revisits the classic Masala genre meaning you get everything in small doses, action, romance, singing and dancing.

All of this goodness is covered with balls out action and harebrained scenario. If you can identify with the character you are in for a thrill ride where you are the one shooting people in the face (in slow motion with Pecs gleaming in sweat). Girls are pretty, villain is evil and the Hero is awesome!

What more can a man ask for? Click here for the trailer.

Ps this is not the Angelina Jolie movie based on the comic from Mark Millar

Ajab Ghazab ki Prem Kahani

I got to admit I had very low expectation of this movie and it completely took me by surprise.

It’s a very funny (I hate to use the term whacky adventure as it makes me think of Scooby doo) romantic, it’s harmless and very well shot and it just flies by. The main cast is hilarious and both actors pitch in a performance that you really don’t expect seeing their past efforts. Ranbir Kapoor is destined to be the next big thing in Bollywood and this was the first proof how his appeal is able to draw crowds.

And I even liked Katrina Kaif for her performance for once. Oh and the songs were pretty catchy too!

3 Idiots

The Biggest Box Office in all foreign markets. 3 Idiots talks about so many different things which I am trying not to spoil as I want to have an in depth review with the guys. This was my favorite movie of the year, it had me laughing and it even made me shed a tear or 2.

But most of all it changed the way I think and how I will raise my children ( if one day I have them or  whenever they are able to track me down but bounty hunting ain’t what it used to be).

All iz well people… all iz well…


We’ve had a whole episode on this movie so you can always go back and revisit episode 1!

I got one word though


Love Aaj Kal

Together with Ajab Prem Prem ki Ghazab this were my 2 romantic movie pics of the year.

Love Aaj Kal is the story of how love has evolved from our parents generation to us.

I have to admit I haven’t revisited the movie since but if you want a great date movie for Valentine’s day, this is it!

Dev D/ Luck By Chance

The 2 movies that illustrate the changing face idea of Indian cinema.

Dev D is a modern take on the classic novel which was given the grand treatment a couple of years ago starring superstar SRK. Anurag Kashyap (the director of Black Friday,which was amazing but ran into problem with censors) had a very different take, he took Dev from the beautifully lit gondolas of Bengal to the gutters of LSD laced nightmares. A Bit over trainspotting, a lot of Leaving Las Vegas but all accompanied by an AWESOME soundtrack. My second favorite movie of the year and the one I have probably revisited the most. This is not a family movie!

Luck By Chance I reviewed extensively on my Things on my bheja. Although at the time I was not aware this would still be my favorite movie at the end of the year but it still stand outs for me.

All of this to say, if you haven’t ever watched a Bollywood movie, you can pick out one of these pics and be ahead of the curve or you can share Martin’s opinion on bollywood movies also in our episode1 and agree that most Bollywood is shit! But that’s probably coz y’all can’t dance 🙂

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Episode 4 UPODCAST – A Prophet (Un prophete)

This week we will French up a bit, and take you behind prison walls for a six year ride to follow Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim) a young Arab who is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin. The movie is directed by Jacques Audiard.

Check out the trailer for Un prophete below


Underwhelming Trinity of the week;

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Episode 3 The 80’s Classics- Midnight Run

After India and New Zealand, you will travel back in time to 1988 to check out Robert De Niro (in his Golden Globe-nominated performance) as a bounty hunter and Charles Grodin as his prisoner! Check out the trailer for Midnight Run below


First let me take you to our world of underwhelming trinity¦

Asim this time shares with us The 20 Best Canceled TV Series

Marty will be talking about building the ultimate database of sampled music and cover songs on WhoSampled!

And I will be introducing to you a new and futuristic side to Laptops to come!

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Favorite Movies of 2009

A happy 2010 to everyone!

This period of the year when we are curled up on our couches under a cozy blanket and a cup of soup, we start to reminisce about the year gone by. How we wish we had been able to change certain things for the better and how we could have avoided some mistakes that in hindsight should have had predictable outcomes.

But it is also a period where we are forced to stay inside hiding from Mr.Freeze ( I’ m not talking about Arnie in his career defining performance) and read other people’s thoughts about what the best movies were for 2009.

So here are my picks.

Just a few caveats:

  1. I had to have seen this movies in 2009 ( hence I managed to sneak in Up in the Air and not A serious Man or The Lovely Bones)
  2. Clearly these are the picks I enjoyed the most and not perfect movies or critically acclaimed movies in any sense ( altough reading some of my favorite online critics at /Film I do see some comparisions)
  3. I did not rank , neither did i sort it

So in the immortal words of Lando Carlissian: here goes nothing:

Inglorious Basterds: Tarantino can do no wrong in my book, this was my favorite movie of the year. Hans Landa is a character that will stay with me till my dying day.

Avatar: I thought for a long time to put Star Trek on the list instead since it is a tighter story but Cameron’s achievement with Avatar are groundbreaking and Pandora is a world I want to keep revisiting.

The Brothers Bloom: A severly underrated movie that I would urge people to seek out. This has been stuck on repeat and the one movie I have tried to make all my friends watch

500 days of Summer: As they say in french, this is my “coup de coeur” the one movie that stuck closest to my heart this year. I’m adding the trailer because it says it all… this is not a love story.


District9: This gem came out of nowhere, with a considerably small budget and and unknown cast and director, thanks to the support of Peter Jackson, this was the breakout of the year.

Where the Wild things Are: Hauntingly beautiful

Moon: I think you can see from my list that I’m a pretty big sci-fi fan. But this small UK funded movie surprised me in so many ways. Sam Rockwell in a towering one man show.

Up: Everything is magic in this movie starting from the Cloud short at the beginning. Specialmetnion also to the first ten minutes silent movie that chronicles the couple life… haven’t cried as much since Bambi’s mom got shot by 50 Cent.

Up in the Air: Snuck in my top ten, it’s the kinda movie that sticks to you and like Where the Wild Things are has a hypnotic beauty to it.

Watchmen the Director’s Cut: I loved the comic and loved the movie. It might not be the movie we wanted but it was the movie we deserved.

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Episode 2 Horror- Black Sheep

Small ticket entertainment we may be, but you can’t accuse us of not trying to visit the corners of the world


India one week and New Zealand the next. That’s right folks for episode 2 we visit the land of Lord of the Rings and apparently some demented man-eating sheep – check out the trailer for Black Sheep below


But before the main event, we also have the underwhelming trinity!!!

Ahmed wants to go 3D TV

Martin shares a musical 3-some from his collection

And Asim shares some really good film scenes from some really bad films!

You can always e-mail us at Join us next week for an all new episode and an underwhelming experience!

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