Review : Earthstorm

EarthstormThe Plot

 A massive asteroid / meteor crashes into the “dark side” of the moon causing havoc in weather and tides on Earth. The planet is them bombarded with city sized asteroid debris causing much death and destruction. Scientists then discover that the debris raining down on earth is not that of the asteroid but is in-fact pieces of the moon itself who now threatens to tear itself apart and crash into earth resulting in Armageddon.

Opinion

🙂 I knew i was exposing myself to a lot of frustration, garbage the minute i hit the download button on my torrent client , but i have a weakness for films based around such plot-lines – Armageddon ,Deep Impact, Sunshine etc and not watching it was never an option.

I was actually feeling quite confident that it would not be too bad or cheesy at all considering the fact that Stephen Baldwin was in it. Not that Stephen is a Tom Hanks but he does have alot of films and acting experience under him.

Needless to say he did not help. In-fact he looked more uncomfortable, rigid than anyone else in the film. Flat dialogues with a very noticeable effort to deliver on dialogue’s. The other actors were not far behind in their convincing abilities. Anna Silk was obviously present there to try and provide the “hot girl in distress’ angle to the whole thing while Amy Price could have been done away altogether.

The effects are not good at all and it comes to light as soon as the movie comes on. One of the first scenes is of the asteroid striking the moon and instead of feeling that its happening in space , it feels like a clip picked straight out from a video game…and this carries on for the entire movie. Some of them feel more outdated than what one would expect to see on the old Star Trek series.

The pace is fast , things keep happening all the time minus on or two moments of self – reflection by the actors which unfortunately are just YUCK!  Not something you would plan a whole evening around!

 

 

Review : The Host

The HostThe Plot

One day, a mutant suddenly appears from the depths of the Han River and spreads panic and death. A local businessman’s grand-daughter is taken by the mutant. In the middle of the grief the family discovers that she is still alive and go to rescue her facing independent perils , and challenges along the way.

Opinion

Watch the movie if you dont have anything else to do , thats how i ended up seeing it. The plot line was actually not that bad as was the general pace and suspense the movie kept alive and in the end turned to be quite a reasonable way of spending 2 odd hours.

 The basic problem in enoying this movie is the english dubbing. While the dubbing in itself is good, a lot of emotion , and dialogue effect is lost in translation. Scenes which were meant to be sad , self reflecting with a strong under effect of tragedy ended up looking like comic scenes straight out of a friday night martial arts film on Star Movies…and this is what took away from most of the fun.

The special effects were good , the monster did not look scary to me (but i have watched one too many sci-fi flicks) and seemed to be rather clumsy at times with a strong resemblance to a frog on wobbly legs. But close ups and slower scenes were good and so was the detail.

Sound was ok , nothing to write home about but the tracks did their job reasonably.

I would not advise anyone spending too much money on seeing this film. While it is schedule to hit theatres in India i doubt that the life for the movie on screen will be more than 10 odd days. Better to hop on to a bit torrent client and download it.

Over all rating would be 5 / 10….mostly because there is no way for me to evaluate the acting since the dubbing reduces the “feel” factor.

Driving to Shimla – Economics and Otherwise

Shimla I am continuously asked about tips/information on driving to Shimla by friends and acquaintances all the time and being the destination that it is thought there might be many of you out there who might find this information useful as well so penning it down. You can always get in touch with me for more specific details! Let’s talk of all the other things except finances first. TIME: If you are driving to Shimla for the first time then give yourself about 10 hours. roughly broken up into 8 hours driving and about 2 hours of stops. When u leave Delhi can play a big role in how much time you take. I just went up recently in a Zen. Left at 4:30 in the morning and reached Shimla at 10:30…a straight 6 hours (a record even by my standards) with a half an hour stop for breakfast and another half an hour for tea. But getting out of Delhi can be a very time consuming process in itself. I went up again and left in fact at 330 but got caught in a jam and reached Shimla at 1130…so it affected my entire time by an hour.

ROAD: The over all road condition is pretty good. I break it into 3 Segments. Primarily Delhi to Ambala , Ambala to Kalka and Kalka to Shimla. After u have left behind the normal bumps and potholes of Delhi roads u can sit back and cruise. It’s an excellent road, sometimes 2 laned sometimes 4 all the way to Ambala. Ambala to Kalka is congested. It’s a single road with no divider (be careful while overtaking here) and lasts a good 45-50 Kms to Kalka. Once you have hit Kalka then again, sit and enjoy the drive. The road has just been done up and contrary to a lot of fears driving in the hills is not bad at all. The road is sufficiently wide, level, just look out at corners for oncoming vehicles and ull be fine.

TRAFFIC: this of curse depends on when u leave. Ideally leave early and you will avoid messes at Sonipat and Panipat , 2 of the most crowded places and Ambala to Kalka depends on a little luck as well. From Kalka to Shimla traffic is not too much. Kalka will be crowded, then Solan and that’s about it.

STOPS: more than enough choices on the way. What i personally do is to stop at a Dhaba called ’’jhilmil’’ at Karnal, most amazing lassi and paneer ka parathan….then no stops still about Dharampur, which is roughly an hour from Kalka. But if u can’t wait that long then like i said there are enough choices.

TOLL: While driving to Shimla u have 3 toll stops One at Karnal (50) One near Ambala (11) and one at Kalka (30), on the way back the same tolls apply except the one for entering Himachal (30)

FINANCES: I will have to make certain assumptions here i.e that one would travel ,otherwise, in a train (shatabdi AC chair car) , Taxi, or A deluxe Bus.

As far as one person driving up goes it’s not economical. But the minute 2 are involved it’s cheaper to drive up.

1000-1200 Rs for fuel, 200 for stops, 90 for tolls = 1300.

1300= total cost one way (the more the number of persons coming the lower the cost per head)

Train : 550 for one AC Chair car ticket to chandi, then either a Taxi which is 1500-1800 or a bus which will be about 250. So total cost one way =2000/ 800

Taxi from Delhi: obviously close to about 3000.

Plane roughly 6000 one way

Bus: a normal deluxe bus (Volvo) which the Himachal govt runs costs 550 per ticket which would have gone up now because of the hike in petrol.

Hence it is economically quite a viable option as well.
The best part of course is getting there at your own pace.

A hidden haven – Murud Janjira

Murudh at Sunset

I had the opportunity to go to Murud in Feb. Had just got married and my wife suggested the place based on a friend’s recommendation. I had never heard of it and was really apprehensive since images / photographs were not that easily available. Anyhow we were to go to Murud from Goa.

We took an early morning train which left at around 6 from near Colva beach. The train here i have been told invariably ends up running late and by the time we got there it was close to 4. About 2 hours late but the journey was definitely worth it. One travels through some of the most amazing valleys and foothills throughout this ride. The train is nice and clean, comfortable and overall very polite, decent passengers. You can just go open the bogey door and sit down and watch the scenery going by and i promise you time will fly.The train does not have direct connectivity with Murud.

 You get off about 45 kms away at Roha and then need to arrange for local transport to get there….and this is when it hit me- this place is surprisingly cut off allowing for a true get-away.We got off the station and we stunned to realize that no taxi’s were available since there are not too mnay to begin with. Choices–an auto. Now i ride in autos a lot in delhi ut this was sheer fun..imagine traveling 45 kms in an auto..first on the plains, the on the hills, through a reserve forest and then dropping down to Murud. What an experience. An auto from here to the heart of Murud town will be about 150-200..and u don’t have too many choices so expect to pay that. The journey takes anything between 1-1.5 hrs..ur in an auto after all.

We were staying at a resort called ’’The Golden Swan Beach Resort’’. For around 2000 a day we got a small independent cottage with an attached bath, ac, TV, running hot and cold water. The room service is excellent thought the menu can be a bit restrictive. We went during the ’’bird flu scare’’ so most items associated with that were off. The entire resort is located on the beach. Walk out of the cottage and about 100 meters away is the beach. During high tide the entire beach gets covered and the water stands right up to the foundation wall of the resort. High tide is twice in a day, during noon and then late evening.DAy-1 :— Got to the resort at around 5:30, not too much time to spend on the beach so took a short walk and got back to the resort.

The resort does not have a liquor license so if you think you’ll want to swig a few back then carry your own. There is a shop in the town. Thats where we went and picked ours. About a 25 minute walk along the coastline. The village is quaint to say the least. It has modern technology but the culture reeks of pure tradition and the architecture is to die for.DAY2- woke up early and spent most of the day on the beach. Then hired an auto to take us to the docks where you can hire a boat to take you to the Fort. The fort is impressive to say the least and is quite unlike something i had ever seen before. It’s huge and right in the middle of the bay surrounded by water at all sides. The 2nd heaviest cannon in India is here. Definitely worth a look.

The boat rides about 150, a guide (which i would recommend) is another 100 and the whole trip at a leisurely pace would set you back by about 2 hours or so. Came back, sat on our porch and spent the rest of the day there.DAY 3- A good breakfast and spent the day exploring the town further and of course at the beach.,DAy4- we left the resort at around noon and got to Alibagh where we boarded a ferry to take us to Mumbai and then flew out from there for Delhi.It’s definitely a must see but my only advice is take enough time. Don’t make it a rushed trip. We spent 3.5 days there but would have loved to have another few.Email me if you wanna see some snaps.

IMP Note- Dont expect your mobiles to work there.