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Movies watched, and awaited...

Monday · 30 Jul 07 · 03:55 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

I have quite a bit of movie-related news to write about.  In the recent past I've only watched a few movies since I was occupied with a lot of other things, but there are a number of interesting upcoming releases that I am awaiting.

Die Hard 4.0, 28 Weeks Later

The movies I watched after coming to Hyderabad are —

  • Die Hard 4.0 — A very enjoyable movie which I watched at PVR Cinemas.  Bruce Willis returns as cop John McClane, who has to save the day when terrorist Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) begins causing mass chaos by shutting down everything connected to a computer — and since these days, everything is connected to computers, this has major implications.  McClane has help from hacker Matt Ferrell (Justin Long), who he saves from an attack by Gabriel's men.  Also in the cast are Maggie Q (who plays an evil martial artist henchwoman of Gabriel's!) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy McClane, John's daughter.  Of course, in a movie like this the story isn't really that important, and Underworld director Len Wiseman stages some very effective action scenes here.  I liked the fact that they tried something new in the action sequences.  I guess I'll have to see the movie again to ascertain whether I like it as a "true" Die Hard movie, but overall, it was really good.  I also enjoyed the short appearance by Kevin Smith, and liked the scenes featuring Cyril Raffaelli (of District 13).  8/10.
  • Zodiac — This is a David Fincher film, so it is obviously an excellent movie (the man hasn't made a bad film till date in my opinion, in fact even his weakest work would rate atleast an 8/10 for me!).  This film is an account of the investigation into the serial murders committed by the "Zodiac" in the 60s and the 70s.  The movie is based on true events, and this is an investigation that spanned close to 40 years and to date, remains unsolved.  The movie is a detailed look at this complex investigation and has great performances from Jake Gyllenhaal as Robert Graysmith (the San Fransisco Chronicle cartoonist who wrote the book the movie is based on), Mark Ruffalo as Inspector Toschi and Robert Downey Jr as reporter Paul Avery.  9/10.
  • 28 Weeks Later — This is a sequel to Danny Boyle's zombie-inspired 28 Days Later.  That movie traced the outbreak of the Rage virus in Britain, which caused mass devastation and turned most of the population into mindless, flesh-craving cannibals.  A small group of survivors were pitted against the infected in this film, and they encountered more terror when they finally arrived at a military base.  The sequel picks up a parallel story thread, where six months after the outbreak, "District One" is a walled-off, military patrolled area within London, where repopulation is happening and there is a semblance of normal life, that is, until the Rage virus re-appears, and brings chaos once again.  I liked this movie better than the first one, as it has a tighter, more focused story and some excellent (and bloody) action/gore sequences.  Music by John Murphy was great as well.  8/10.

As for upcoming movies I'm interested to watch, there are lots!  Let's have a look at a few of them —

Resident Evil: Extinction and Rush Hour 3

  • Resident Evil: Extinction — The third in the Resident Evil movie series is directed by Russell Mulcahy and features Milla Jovovich as Alice, battling zombies in the Nevada desert along with a few other survivors.  Seems great, and there's a theatrical trailer that was released very recently here, at Yahoo! Movies.  I hate the new Yahoo! Movies video playing system though, so didn't get to see the trailer properly.
  • Rush Hour 3 — Another Part 3, this one is releasing next month itself.  Looks to be quite a fun movie to me.
  • Halloween — August 31 is the release date for this remake of the classic Carpenter film, from writer-director Rob Zombie.
  • Death Sentence — From James Wan, the director of Saw comes this revenge movie starring Kevin Bacon.  Also to be released Aug 31.
  • 30 Days of Night — This adaptation of the comics of writer Steve Niles and artist Ben Templesmith, by director David Slade (Hard Candy) is apparently unrelentingly dead serious and very scary!  What better tone to suit a movie about an appearance of vampires in Barrow, Alaska, where it's going to be 30 Days of Night!  Looking forward to October!

  • Saw IV — Oct 26 is the release date of this fourth film in the amazing Saw series, and apparently this one just got slapped with an NC-17 rating!  Anyway, above you can see small versions of the International poster as well as the San Diego Comic Con '07 exclusive poster for the movie.  I love the tagline — "It's a Trap".  Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman.
  • Southland Tales — From Richard Kelly, writer-director of Donnie Darko comes this apocalyptic tale set in 2008.  This is going to be released finally in December.
  • 1-18-08 (Cloverfield) — Even the title of this movie remains in mystery, all I know is that this is a movie which is shot handheld-camera style, and features either a huge monster causing destruction, or an alien invasion.  Either way, the poster as well as the trailer feature the Statue of Liberty with its head blown off.  From producer J J Abrams, to be released in January.
  • The Dark Knight — Christopher Nolan's sequel to his Batman Begins features Heath Ledger as the Joker, and you can see a teaser trailer here.  To be released Summer 2008.
  • Star Trek XI (Reboot) — J J Abrams again, and he's making the eleventh outing in the big-screen Star Trek series.  This is supposedly going to feature a young Captain Kirk and crew.  December 2008 is the release date.
  • Watchmen — The Paul Greengrass version was cancelled a long time ago, and the project is now in the hands of Zack Snyder (300).  A test image was revealed some months back, and now casting choices have been finalised for this film.  The book's artist Dave Gibbons even did an exclusive poster for the San Diego Comic Con (AICN article), and the website is now active, listing the release date as 6 Mar 2009.

Whew.  It's way too late now so I will write the Doom post tomorrow.

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Back to Hyderabad!

Monday · 30 Jul 07 · 03:16 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

I reached Hyderabad on 11 Jul and started work on 12 Jul.  Unfortunately I've been spending much more time at office than I'd like to (things seem to be settling down now though) so I haven't had the time to do much interesting, only work.  This was the first Sunday that I was completely free, so thought I'd use this time to finally make an update here.

The last few days at Chennai were quite hectic, and towards the end there was a farewell organised by the Chennai HR Team (thanks to all who organised and attended this).  After all was done at Chennai, I left for the airport on 11 Jul morning, only to miss my flight (till date, the first flight I have missed) due to traffic!  Fortunately, I took the next available flight and was able to reach Hyderabad that evening.  I started work the next day itself.

From then on, things have been really busy, but other than the fact that too much time is spent at work (which I am not happy about), I am really glad to be staying at home.  My new cellphone number here is +91 99591 55953 if you want to reach me.  I don't have a work phone yet.  An interesting thing is that I am working at a client location, so there are stricter security procedures to be followed, due to which I am actually using two cellphones.  My Sony Ericsson W700i has a camera and storage, so it's not allowed inside office.  So I got a non-camera, non-storage Samsung SGH-X210.  This phone is nice but I prefer the W700i any day — I miss having the camera and Walkman with me all the time.  Anyway, I am using the W700i whenever I am not in office.  I am really impressed with the usability of Sony Ericsson phones (even a couple of months back when I went to buy a phone, I didn't feel like getting anything other than a Sony Ericsson handset).

Other than this, I have a couple of things to report, which I will actually cover in two separate posts.  First is regarding the movies I've seen and am awaiting.  Most notably, I watched Die Hard 4.0, Zodiac and 28 Weeks Later, and there are quite a few interesting releases coming up.  Second is regarding Doom mapping.  I was busy with campus recruitment, training for my new assignment and moving to Hyderabad during the past couple of months.  So, no new work has been done on Stygian_Nebula.  But here is an important announcement that should make quite a few people happy.  I don't know how many of you remember this project called The Ninth Gate, which was started way back in 2001.  This was a proposed E4 replacement for The Ultimate Doom, by Pablo Dictter, Tobias Münch, Damian Lee, my brother Varun and myself.  We worked enthusiastically on this and some really excellent maps were created, but the project remains incomplete till date (8 out of 9 levels are done).  Since everyone is occupied with "real life", we have now decided to release the levels individually!  That's right, these great levels are finally going to see the light of day.  More on that in an upcoming post.

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Goodbye Chennai!

Sunday · 8 Jul 07 · 12:33 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

Well, it is finally official — I'm getting transferred to Hyderabad next week!

Goodbye Chennai!  From Karthik, Sandip, Rajith

It's hard to believe that two years have passed by so soon.  After joining TCS in May 2005, Rajith, Sandip and myself were among the people allocated to the Chennai branch after our induction, and we occupied a house in Ambattur.  Fast-forward to the present, and a role change is being looked at for all the people who joined with us — Sandip has already moved to Kolkata (the picture above was taken at Chennai Airport on the day Sandip left), and Rajith and myself would be moving to Mumbai and Hyderabad respectively, on Wednesday.  My next assignment would involve recruitment, so for the past couple of weeks I've been undergoing training from the Recruitment Team at Chennai.

TCS BFS SC — My farewell

On 22 Jun, the HR Team at Sholinganallur office organised a farewell for me, and on the next day, Rajith and myself were invited over for lunch at Sangeetha's place, and later we visited Anusha's and Charles's homes as well.  Was great, and after that we got to see Sivaji at Raakki theatre!  This being just about a week after the release of the much-hyped film, there were huge crowds outside the theatre.

Watched Sivaji at the theatre — huge crowd!

The next day, Rajith and me filmed some footage that will be possibly used for an upcoming music video for my Boulevard of Broken Dreams cover!  I'm taking the footage over to Hyderabad and will let Varun work some of his magic on it.

Drawing of Rajnikanth as Sivaji — The Boss.  By Karthik

I recently also did a drawing of Rajnikanth in Sivaji — The Boss and it's come out pretty nicely!  Should note that this was based on a photo I took of a Sivaji sticker which was pasted inside one of the autos in Chennai!  This one was done on grey paper with colour pencils, and I was surprised at how little time it took (I don't think I spent more than half an hour or so on it).  Have a look at that here, and please give your comments!

Laminated Artwork — by Karthik

Yesterday I went to the SNR office and gave gifts to the team I worked with for the past one year.  Like Varun did with some of his photos a year and a half ago, I prepared printable versions of some of my paintings and got some laminated pieces produced.  The ones I used were: Rain (8 copies), Jungle (7 copies), Sticky Alien Goo (4 copies) and Crash Test Zombie (1 copy).  Samples you can see above, these are the ones I retained after giving away the rest (obviously, I didn't give anyone the zombie piece!).  And this morning, I sent off most of my luggage to Hyderabad through Chennai Packers and Movers.  So what plans over the next few days?  Rajith and myself are vacating the house tomorrow and we'll be moving to a hotel, where we will stay for the next couple of days.  My flight is booked on Wednesday, and I'll be home in Hyderabad that day.

I'll certainly miss a number of things in Chennai — places, DVDs, Tamil movies, etc.; but most of all I will miss the people I was close with over the last two years (you all know who you are).  Anyway, life must go on...

This also means I won't have internet access from Sunday morning onwards, and will "reconnect" only once I reach Hyderabad.

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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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