Limitless.

limitless

[rating=6]

Another film recommended by my friend Abhaya. To make it worthwhile, his message to me said “‘Limitless’. Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. Fabulous.” I bought it lock, stock and barrel and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the film.

Thank you Abhaya.  It was fabulous in both the classic and the ordinary senses of the word.

Eddie Morra: Well, in order for a career to evolve, I’m gonna have to move on.

Carl Van Loon: And you would even think that, would only show me how unprepared you are to be on your own. I mean you do know you’re a freak? Your deductive powers are a gift from God or chance or a straight shot of sperm or whatever or whoever wrote your life-script. A gift, not earned. You do not know what I know because you have not earned those powers. You’re careless with those powers, you flaunt them and you throw them around like a brat with his trust-fund. You haven’t had to climb up all the greasy little rungs. You haven’t been bored blind at the fundraisers. You haven’t done the time and that first marriage to the girl with the right father. You think you can leap over all in a single bound. You haven’t had to bribe or charm or threat your way to a seat at that table. You don’t know how to assess your competition because you haven’t competed. Don’t make me your competition.

Eddie played by Bradley Cooper and Carl Van Loon played by the inimitable Robert De Niro.

Why particularly this dialogue? Unless I have missed something elsewhere, this must be the longest speech made by Niro in any film. Apart from the length of the delivery, just look at the message that it sends to people who think that they can compete with someone who has gone through the mill to reach the top!

And another one, short, sharp and thoroughly enjoyable for an alley cat who had oncc climbed the corporate ladder:

Loon: Have you been talking to anyone?

Morra: No, I haven’t been talking to anybody, Carl. I’m not stupid.

Loon: I know you’re not stupid, Eddie, but don’t make the classic smart person’s mistake thinking no one’s smarter than you.

Some script writing what?

There are other actors who almost all play small but powerful roles but these two carry the story on their shoulders and very broad shoulders they are indeed.

A very unusual story, told with brutal honesty and aplomb.  Acting and direction of the highest order with some very deft camera work, makes it a must-see if you have not already seen it.

 

 

The Girl In The Spider’s Web.

girlinthespidersweb

My favourite heroine Lisbeth Salander is back and with a vengeance as should only be expected.

Caveat, the book is written by David Lagercrantz and so does not quite come up to the standards set by Stieg Larsson, but it is very readable indeed.

The story is full of computerese and other jargon. Those portions therefore are difficult to understand for someone like me. But because of that perhaps, the story is very believable, particularly now with so much one reads about invasion of privacy by the big brothers everywhere.

The narrative is fast paced and taut. All the characters come alive on the pages. I read it in my kindle and regretted that I had not bought the hard copy. In the latter, I could have easily gone back and forth to recollect the hard to remember names and characters.

And as should be expected, all the bad guys get their just rewards bar the main antagonist who escapes to live and bring us another sequel. I hope that Lisbeth Salander Mark V makes for better reading with less jargon.

For my readers who have read the earlier three books, this is a must. WWW, there, I have just given my verdict.

Telephone Bills.

bill

For the past many years my average monthly mobile telephone bill would be in the region of Rs.800.00 Many people that I know said that this was what they were paying too and so I had accepted that as part of my monthly outflow.

Two months ago I had an occasion to travel with a couple of good friends who also used the same service provider that I used and while exchanging notes I discovered that they were paying much less than I was while their usage as I could see was much higher than mine. They could not explain to me what different plan they were using and I kept my thoughts to myself.

On returning home, I consulted my daughter in law Manjiree as to how this vast difference could be and she having handled similar problems in her corporate life charged off to the local outlet of my service provider and discovered that I was using a package that was far too high for my use and that I could change it to a lower one for the next billing cycle.

She duly arranged for the downsizing, if one could call it, last month going through quite a process for that, and I got my first bill since the change over yesterday. If anything, with the addition of whatsapp usage with much higher traffic during the last month, the usage should have been much higher than earlier months.

Even I was in for a big surprise as the bill came to under a third of what I had been paying earlier despite no reduction in my pattern of usage.

This brings me to the question as to whether the service provider should have taken the initiative to point out that I was in a wrong plan or whether the principle of caveat emptor applies.

The Bridges Of Madison County.

Bridges

The more I experience such films, the more I appreciate modern technology that enables me to see old films and catch up with a period of not seeing films at all.  It is really a blessing and those who know me closely also suggest that this new found hobby keeps me out of mischief too!

Here is another instance of one review leading to my seeing another movie recommended by a friend. On reading my review of Mystic River, my friend Jayant had commented on its link in Facebook as follows: “Had loved ‘The Bridges of Madison County”, and I had responded with, “Sending for a DVD. Your recommendation is good enough. If it does not satisfy me, I can always claim a refund from you.” The DVD came and I saw it on Saturday evening, and Jayant, you don’t have to worry about sending me a refund.

It has been a long time since a love story has had such an impact on me. The last one that affected me as deeply as this one was Love Story. That film’s unforgettable opening line of “What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?” kept coming back to my mind as this story unfolded.  What can you say about a fantastic performance by Meryl Streep?

The Bridges of Madison County is a flashback story of an Italian war bride coming to Iowa to a dull farming life, losing her dreams of America only to find illicit love in middle age which sees her through to her end. A beautiful story powerfully portrayed by Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood providing a remarkably sensitive support.  Once again the latter impressing me with his directorial and acting skills.

There is no point in rating this film.  This is a film that I will cherish as much as I do Love Story.

 

Movies And Me.

This post has been inspired by two comments left on earlier posts by two friends. One on the blog itself by Shackman on my post Mystic River. I quote him – “It is an excellent film. Luckily I am not handicapped by my dislike for performers personal lives/politics so I wil see movies regardless of my dislike of them personally. I am no fan of Penn’s but the guy can act. As for Eastwood’s directorial abilities, the man tells a great story while respecting the material and the audience. I’ve been a fan since his debut Play Misty for Me.”

The other was by another friend Mahesh on my facebook wall where a link to my post on Jazbaa was given. I quote him – “You see a lot of movies I can’t keep pace with you.” And I responded – ” Mahesh, unlike you, I have no other unmanageable distractions!” Mahesh has grand children!

During my post education days, I would catch movies regularly on my so called upcountry tours as there was no other entertainment those days. This meant that I went to theaters in small towns and mostly saw Hindi films and occasionally some English reruns. While back in town, on Sunday mornings, theaters would show some English movies apart from just a handful of theaters that regularly showed a limited number of English films. Back home movie going stopped after our son was born and never really re-started as the advent of TV saw to it that once home, I would be too lazy to get dressed again and go out. Further with smuggled VCRPs being available in plenty and video tapes being loaned from libraries at ridiculously low rentals simply got me out of the habit of going to theaters. Except for some really important films, like Star Wars we did not go to watch movies.

After retirement, I should have been seeing movies regularly, but my late wife’s health and after her demise my caregiving duties for my late father prevented any further forays into movie going. During this period I also lost interest as I was more involved in reading and had even stopped watching TV. The old VCRP was junked and I never got a DVD player till providence came my way and I was given one in exchange for a favour I did for a friend about two years ago. I still did not connect the player up till about a year ago and since then I have been seeing films regularly at home via the DVD route as online buying and renting DVDs is so easy. Meanwhile, multiplexes closer to home and a footloose friend in Ramesh ensured that I started going out to theaters to watch movies as well.

I am actually catching up with a lot of movies that I had missed during the period that I was away from them and whenever I get a lead from a friend I immediately see it one way or the other. For instance, many of my recent DVD viewings have been old movies referred to by someone or the other in some context to something else. For instance, I learned from Shackman quoted in the first paragraph that Clint Eastwood has been directing films since 1971! And his reference to Play Misty For Me had me scooting to buy a DVD online. I saw it last night and was quite impressed!

There are others waiting to be seen, mostly old Hindi films that I had not seen when they were released and I do not generally review them as my readers are unlikely to be interested.

Now that I am retired and have the wherewithal to indulge, why not? And, Mahesh, I repeat, unlike you, I have no other unmanageable distractions!

Family Size.

Hum_do_hamare_do_349372020
This ubiquitous sign without any text is the most well known image in India. It stands for:
v 2

One of India’s great success stories voluntary family planning that restricted the growth of population to manageable levels. Voluntary, except for a short while, when Indira Gandhi had declared a state of emergency and her son Sanjay Gandhi drove the state to effect forced and indiscriminate sterilisation which eventually boomeranged on the mother and son duo.

My grandparents and their children inevitably had large families, ranging from seven to four children each, with one late marriage that produced only two.  My parents had four children.  Most people that I know in my generation, have restricted their families to two children and in my case too, we would have had two had medical advice post our first child’s delivery not suggested that we restrict it to one. I am glad that we got that advice, as we have been able to provide our son with the best of every possible facility in growing up which would have been difficult had we been forced to share our resources with two children.

Today, the situation is fraught with costs of educating children, apart from finding good institutions to send them to, and many young married couples prefer to either be DINKs (Double Income No Kids) or DISCs (Double Income Single Kid) because,  a single income family, at least, in cities,  is simply too expensive to manage.  And, I am also seeing many young people not wanting to get married and take the responsibility of parenting.

So, from my own family’s example, of my grandparents having seven children to my parents with four and mine with one child, to that child being without any children, I have seen first hand, the reduction in size of the Indian family which is not unusual.

This is my contribution to the Weekly Loose Bloggers’ Consortium (LBC) endeavour to post on one single topic every Friday. Today’s topic has been suggested by Maria.  I hope that you enjoyed reading my contribution.